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Ur(i)dimmu, the reading is uncertain,[1] meaning "Mad/howling Dog" or Langdon's "Gruesome Hound",[2] Sumerian UR.IDIM and giš.pirig.gal = ur-gu-lu-ú = ur-idim-[mu] in the lexical series ḪAR.gud = imrû = ballu, was an ancient Mesopotamian mythical creature in the form of a human headed dog-man or lion-man who first appearance might be during the Kassite period, if the Agum-Kakrime Inscription proves to be a copy of a genuine period piece. He is pictured standing upright, wearing a horned tiara and holding a staff with an uskaru, or lunar crescent, at the tip. The lexical series ḪAR-ra=ḫubullu describes him as a kalbu šegû,[3] "rabid dog", but due to the propensity for Sumerian culture to group canines and felines together (ur.maḫ, big dog = lion) and Akkadian to separate them (nēšu, labbu = lion), the issue remains unresolved[4] although the prominent genitalia on the few extant representations argues for a canine interpretation.[5]


His appearance was essentially the opposite, or complement of that of Ugallu, with a human head replacing that of an animal and an animal's body replacing that of a human. He appears in later iconography paired with Kusarikku, "Bull-Man", a similar anthropomorphic character, as attendants to the god Šamaš. He is carved as a guardian figure on a doorway in Aššur-bāni-apli's north palace at Nineveh.[6] He appears as an intercessor with Marduk and Zarpanītu for the sick in rituals. He was especially revered in the Eanna in Uruk during the neo-Babylonian period where he seems to have taken on a cultic role, where the latest attestation was in the 29th year of Darius I.[4]

As one of the eleven spawn of Tiamat in the Enûma Eliš vanquished by Marduk, he was displayed as a trophy on doorways to ward off evil and later became an apotropaic figurine buried in buildings for a similar purpose.[7] He became identified as MUL- or dUR.IDIM with the constellation known by the Greeks as Wolf (Lupus).[8]


  1. ^ Paul-Alain Beaulieu (1990). "Lion-Man: uridimmu or urdimmu?". Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires (N.A.B.U.) (4): 99–101.  note 121.
  2. ^ S. Langdon (1923). The Babylonian Epic of Creation. Clarendon. p. 89. 
  3. ^ Benno Landsberger, Anne Draffkorn Kilmer (1962). The Fauna of Ancient Mesopotamia. Second Part: HAR-ra = hubullu. Tablets XIV and XVIII (MSL VIII/2). Pontificium Institutum Biblicum. p. 14.  line 95.
  4. ^ a b Paul-Alain Beaulieu (2003). The Pantheon of Uruk During the Neo-Babylonian Period. Brill Academic Pub. pp. 355–358. 
  5. ^ Richard S. Ellis (2006). "Well, Dog My Cats! A Note on the uridimmu". In Ann K. Guinan; Maria deJ. Ellis; A.J. Ferrara; Sally M. Freedman; Matthew T. Rutz; Leonhard Sassmannshausen; Steve Tinney; M.W. Waters. If a Man Builds a Joyful House: Assyriological Studies in Honor of Erle Verdun Leichty. Brill. p. 117. 
  6. ^ John Malcolm Russell (1992). Sennacherib's Palace Without Rival at Nineveh. University of Chicago Press. p. 183. 
  7. ^ Frans A.M.Wiggermann (1992). Mesopotamian Protective Spirits: The Ritual Texts. Styx. pp. 172–174. 
  8. ^ Urdimmu, CAD U/W pp. 214–216.