The Sumerians probably came to Mesopotamia from the north and east as conquerors in the fourth millennium BC and the influence of their language, laws and ideas was strong enough to be compared to that of the Romans upon medieval Europe. Their civilization, the earliest known, dates from around 3200 BC and even before the Deluge (for which there is archaeological evidence) they had five powerful cities including Uruk and Kish whose great wealth attracted the conquering Semitic tribes of Arabia. Sumeria was a city state with priests as secular rulers of a culture based on taxation of an agricultural surplus to support an urban ruling class and public works programme including state-controlled irrigation. Other cities were Lagash, Eridu and Ur. The neighbouring area of Akkad first asserted central control over Sumeria around 2300 BC and trade with Egypt and the Indus Valley may have contributed to the formation of ancient civilizations in these areas.
The Sumerians were the first inhabitants of Mesopotamia to be able to write and their language was used for writing long after their empire had declined. The Epic of Gilgamesh was part of the library of the C7th BC Assyrian king, Assurbanipal, who had it translated from the old Sumerian language spoken in Mesopotamia to the current Akkadian Semitic. There is evidence that most of it was written down by the beginning of the second millennium BC and that it probably existed many centuries before that.
|Aannapada||Alalgar, Alagar, Alapar, Alaparos||Alulim, Alurim, Aalu, Aloros|
|Amegalana||Ammeluanna, Ameluana, Ameluan, Amelun, Amelon||Anenlilda|
|Dumuzi, Dunuzi, Dauizi, Daonos||Enkidu||Enmebaragesi, Mebaragesi|
|Enmebuluga||Enmeduga||Enmeduranki, Eueduranki, Euedoraki, Euedorachos|
|Enmenunna||Enmerkar||Enmeushumgalanna, Enmegalanna, Megalanna, Megalaros|
|Ennundaranna||Ensipazianna, Ansipizzianna, Anempisana, Amempsinos||Ensukushsiranna|
|Uanduga||Ubara-Tutu, Ubartutu, Ubiartu, Otiartu, Otiartes||Untash-Gal|
|Utuhegal||Ziusudra, Zisudra, Zisuthra, Xisuthros, Sisuthros||Zukakip|
The cities of Mesopotamia worshipped the same pantheon but not always under the same names.
Igigi - the great gods
Dilmun - Paradise
Apsu - the Abyss
|Enlil||air||An + Ki||Ninlil|
|Shullat + Hanish||herald storms|
|Ishullana||gardener of Anu|
|Ningirsu||irrigation/ fertility (she-goat)|
|Endukagga/Enmul||father of Enlil|
|Anunnaki||judges of dead||Anu|
|Neti||gatekeeper of underworld|
|Ninhursag||(Ki earth, Nintu lady of birth) mother goddess, Mami|
|Ninki||form of Ninhursag|
|Ninsun||wisdom||mother of Gil.||Lugulbanda|
|Nindukugga||mother of Enlil|
|Aya||dawn||bride of Utu|
|Meskalam-dug||c 1700 BC||Shu-bad|
|Eanatum||c 2470 (Lagash)|
|Sargon||2331 usurper, Akkad|
|Naram Sin||2250||3rd son of Sargon|
Around 2350 BC, this northern Semitic people conquered the Sumerians to rule Mesopotamia. After the fall of Uruk, the Semite king, Sargon I, founded the city of Akkad or Agade in the North and it became the imperial centre in the late 3rd millenium BC. Its exact site cannot be identified but it was on the river Euphrates near Babylon.
The Semites seem to have inherited many of the Sumerian gods but they changed names, relationships and attributes in many cases.
|Ishtar (f)||love, war|
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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