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For other uses, see Nabu (disambiguation).
Lee Lawrie, Nabu (1939). Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, D.C.
God of wisdom and writing
Attendant God from the Temple of Nabu at Nimrud, Mesopotamia..JPG
Statue of the Attendant God from the Temple of Nabu at Nimrud, Mesopotamia on display at the British Museum.
Abode Borsippa
Symbol Clay tablet and stylus
Consort Tashmet
Parents Marduk and Sarpanitum

Nabu (Syriac: ܢܒܘ‎) is the patron god of scribes, wisdom and literature, being worshipped by the Assyrian and Babylonian people. He was identified as the son of the great god Marduk by the Babylonians and as the son of Ashur by the Assyrians.[1]


Nabu's name means "to call" in Akkadian language, while later cognates in Aramaic language and Hebrew language translate it as "one who has been called" or "one who can prophesy".[citation needed]


Nabu was known as Nisaba in the Sumerian pantheon, gaining prominence among the Assyrians and Babylonians in the first millennium BC following his association with Marduk.[1] Nabu was worshipped in Babylon's sister city Borsippa, where his statue was moved to Babylon each New Year so that he could pay his respects to his father.[1] Nabu's symbol was a stylus resting on a tablet.[1] His wife was the Akkadian goddess Tashmet.[1]

Nabu was also seen as the inventor of writing, an oracle, and the patron of all the rational arts. He also possessed the tablets of destiny, which fixed the length of human life. Due to his role as an oracle, Nabu was associated with the Mesopotamian moon god Sin.[2]

Nabu wore a horned cap, and stood with his hands clasped in the ancient gesture of priesthood.[citation needed] He rode on a winged dragon known as Sirrush that originally belonged to his father Marduk.[citation needed] In Babylonian astrology, Nabu was identified with the planet Mercury.[citation needed]

Outside Mesopotamia[edit]

Nabu's cult spread to Egypt and Anatolia due to Aramaic settlers.[citation needed]

In the Bible, Nabu is mentioned as Nebo in Isaiah 46:1 and Jeremiah 48:1.[3][4] In Hellenistic times, Nabu was identified with the Greek god Apollo.[1]

As the god of wisdom and writing, Nabu was linked by the Romans with Mercury, and by the Egyptians with Thoth.[citation needed]


A statue of Nabu from Calah, erected during the reign of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III, is on display in the British Museum.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bertman, Stephen (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia (Paperback ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 122. ISBN 9780195183641. Retrieved 2016-08-08. 
  2. ^ Green, Tamara M. (1992). The City of the Moon God: Religious Traditions of Harran. Leiden: E.J. Brill. p. 34. ISBN 9004095136. Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  3. ^ "Isaiah 46:1 NIV – Gods of Babylon – Bel bows down, Nebo". Retrieved 2015-06-23. 
  4. ^ "Jeremiah 48:1 NIV - A Message About Moab - Concerning Moab". Retrieved 2015-07-02. 

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