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Ušumgallu or Ushumgallu[2] (Sumerian: ušum.gal, "Great Dragon")[5] was one of the three horned snakes in Akkadian mythology, along with the Bashmu and Mushmahhu. Usually described as a lion-dragon demon,[citation needed] it has been somewhat speculatively identified with the four-legged, winged dragon of the late 3rd millennium BC.


Tiamat is said to have “clothed the raging lion-dragons with fearsomeness” in the Epic of Creation, Enuma Elish. The god Nabû was described as “he who tramples the lion-dragon” in the hymn to Nabû.[6] The late neo-Assyrian text “Myth of the Seven Sages" recalls: “The fourth (of the seven apkallu’s, “sages,” is) Lu-Nanna, (only) two-thirds Apkallu, who drove the ušumgallu-dragon from É-ninkarnunna, the temple of Ištar of Šulgi.”[7]

Aššur-nāṣir-apli II placed golden icons of ušumgallu at the pedestal of Ninurta.[8] Its name became a royal and divine epithet, for example: ušumgal kališ parakkī, “unrivaled ruler of all the sanctuaries.”[9] Marduk is called “the ušumgallu-dragon of the great heavens.”

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ušumgallu, CAD U/W, pp. 330–331.
  2. ^ Syllablized as Ú-šum-gal-lu.[1]
  3. ^ F. A. M. Wiggermann (1992). Mesopotamian Protective Spirits: The Ritual Texts. Styx Publications. p. 167. 
  4. ^ Irene Winter (2009). On Art in the Ancient Near East: Of the First Millennium B.C.E, Volume 1. Brill. pp. 28–29. 
  5. ^ Wiggermann instead proposes "prime venomous snake”.[3] Winter translated it as "predator".[4]
  6. ^ KAR 104, 29.
  7. ^ E. Reiner (1961). "The Etiological Myth of the "Seven Sages"". Orientalia (30): 1–11. 
  8. ^ A. Leo Oppenheim (2011). "Assyrian and Babylonian Historical Texts: The Banquet of Ashurnasirpal II". In James Bennett Pritchard. The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Princeton University Press. p. 253. 
  9. ^ Kyle Greenwood (2011). "A Shuilla: Marduk 2". In Alan Lenzi. Reading Akkadian prayers and hymns : an introduction. SBL. pp. 317, 323.