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The Role Of The God In Ancient Sumer And The Importance Of Nanna The Moon God

952 words - 4 pages


Mesopotamian religion was not a religion which can be traced down to its roots. It was not founded at some specific moment in its history by a powerful religious mind who was able to impose his religion on those around him. Instead, Mesopotamian religion was the product of similar communal feelings towards the same need for guidance in the ancient times. The Sumerians were able to derive their religion from the viewpoint of their traditional culture. Hence the reason why the god they worship are reflections of their own daily lives.

The gods were regarded to be entirely like men, but better. They had a body and shape that was identical to humans albeit the imperfections and untouched by human weakness. In Mesopotamian religion, they behaved like men. They interacted with each other, sometimes fighting, and traveled by chariot or by boat. They also lived in their own houses. In Sumerian, the same word was used for house and for temple.

The early deities of Mesopotamia were later referred to as the Anunnaki gods. They were a group of Sumerian deities that formed the Mesopotamian pantheon. Within this Pantheon were seven gods of great significance. These seven were then arranged in two triads with one left over. The first triad was that of An, Enlil and Enki. An was the founder of the divine dynasty, and was the father of the ruling kind of the gods. Even though he was technically the most powerful, An left the exercise of sovereign authority to Enlil, who was god of the sky. The last god of the first triad was Enki. He was the intelligent adviser of the king Enlil and was god of the water. The second triad was composed of Utu, Nanna and Ishtar, who were the gods of the sun, the moon, and life giving power respectively. Hence the two triads each symbolized the divisions of the universe (Heaven, Sky, Earth) and the divisions of nature (Sun, Moon, Life). The seventh Sumerian deity was Ninhursag, who was the mother goddess.

Mesopotamian rulers did not cease to praise themselves in their dedications and commemorative inscriptions for having undertaken and accomplished several building projects that served as great sanctuaries for the gods. These temples were built around a central room where rich and precious statues and images of the gods were placed. Around this image, which was thought to be the guarantee of the presence of divinity within the temple, daily ceremonies were organized which provided sustenance for the god. The worshippers in Mesopotamia considered these sacrifices simply as the god's meal.

Nanna was the Sumerian name for the Mesopotamian god of the moon. He was the son...

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