There is much confusion and misinformation about the Mesopotamian Anunna gods also called Anuna or Anunnaki. Many so-called authors and self-styled ‘self-taught scholars’ have made sensational claims about these Mesopotamian gods, including statements that they come from a planet called “Nibiru”, and that ancient texts proclaim things that no real scholar can find in any of the texts. So now it’s my turn, much of what I am about to write is factual with many references, but I am also going to give you my interpretations on the words, texts, and connections to other ancient near east texts, namely the Hebrew Bible and what the Hebrew writers were trying to get the reader to understand, where I give my opinion I will state as my opinion. So this will be different from most of my other posts, I am going to allow myself to speculate and draw conclusions from the evidence and my natural intuitiveness.
Is There an Anunnaki Race?
One author called these gods a race in order to push his ancient astronaut theory, then many seeing his success followed suit, claiming to be biblical, and ancient Sumerian scholars told the public a huge lie that most swallowed hook line and sinker. But here’s what the ancient text actually says about these Anunna gods. There were only seven of them, yes only seven.
After she had crouched down and had her clothes removed, they were carried away. Then she made her sister Erec-ki-gala rise from her throne, and instead she sat on her throne. The Anuna, the seven judges, rendered their decision against her. They looked at her — it was the look of death. They spoke to her — it was the speech of anger. They shouted at her — it was the shout of heavy guilt. The afflicted woman was turned into a corpse. And the corpse was hung on a hook.Inana’s descent to the nether world lines 164-172
I admit that I am often slow, but please tell me how you can have a race of just seven entities? How can one planet has a mere total of just seven entities is more boggling than most of the fantastic claims I have read out there. What’s more, the seven names are given and as for “Planets”, these gods are also given correlation to the five visible planets and the two luminaries, and we know these seven stars/planets. I say stars because the ancient Mesopotamians had no clue what a planet was, Mul is the word used to describe shiny lights in the sky, it was used for the stars and for the planets we now know about. We are also given the names of these seven Anuna gods, These Anunna were the most powerful and important deities in the pantheon were the “seven gods who decree”1:Kramer, Samuel Noah (1963), The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character, Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, pp. 122–123. An, Enlil, Enki, Ninhursag, Nanna, Utu, and Inanna.
These authors say that “The Sumerian texts say these beings came from a planet with a 3600-year orbit named Neberu” Ok, spoiler, Nibiru or Neberu in Akkadian (Sumerian definition of Nibru given later) is translating to “crossing” or “point of transition”, especially of rivers,2Akkadian Dictionary: nēbertu *, nēburu in Akkadian Dictionary i.e. river crossings or ferry-boats. In the Mul.Apin(𒀯𒀳) a Babylonian compendium that deals with many diverse aspects of Babylonian astronomy and astrology state Neberu is assigned to a planet seen every year crossing or marking the autumnal equinox and we know that planets name, Jupiter, also called Marduk’s Star, And mentioned once as Mercury. In a 2015 report for the Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin3,Freedman, Immanuel “The Marduk Star Nēbiru”. Immanuel Freedman analyzed the extant cuneiform evidence and concluded that the hypothesis that the name Nēbiru may be assigned to any visible astronomical object that marks an equinox is supported by cuneiform evidence. Also, the Enuma Elish attests to this fact.
Nibiru is [Marduk’s] star, which he made appear in the heavens… [130-131] The stars of heaven, let him [Nibiru] set their course; let him shepherd all the gods like sheep.Enûma Eliš
The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago states that Nibiru has been associated with the area of Libra. The Nibiru constellation rose in the month of Tišritum, around the autumnal equinox. However, Nibiru was also a name for the planet Jupiter when observed in the month of Tišritum. In the MUL.APIN, Nibiru is identified as Jupiter: LINK
When the stars of Enlil have been finished, one big star – although its light is dim – divides the sky in half and stands there: that is, the star of Marduk (MUL dAMAR.UD), Nibiru (né-bé-ru), Jupiter (MULSAG.ME.GAR); it keeps changing its position and crosses the sky.The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
Conversely, Tablets K.6174:9’ and K.12769:6’ refer to it as Mercury: “If Mercury (MULUDU.IDIM.GU4) divides the sky and stands there, [its name] is Nibiru.” 4Michael S. Heiser. “The Myth of a Sumerian 12th Planet”
The Sumerian Nibru
The Sumerian “Nibru“, (not the Akkadian Nibiru) logographically recorded as 𒂗𒆤𒆠, EN.LÍLKI, “Enlil City;” Akkadian: Nibbur the city known as Nippur, a Sumerian city and in many texts the Anunna gods journey to and depart from Nibru Enlil’s city, not Nibiru (Marduk’s planet i.e Jupiter) a distinction between the two words that a nonscholar or someone who didn’t know the difference between Akkadian and Sumerian wouldn’t make. So Enlil’s home was Nibru or the city of Nippur.
Igigi and Apkallu
The term Igigi only occurs in an Akkadian context in the old Babylonian period, a Sumerian logographic equivalent of the term is nun-gal-e-ne translated as “the great princes/sovereigns”. This term is mentioned in the text called “Inana C” ascribed to the princess Enheduanna, daughter of King Sargon, the founder of the Old Akkadian dynasty. This particular composition is only attested in Old Babylonian manuscripts and it is unclear whether an older date can be proven. It is possible that nun-gal-e-ne was originally an epithet of the Anunna gods that later became identified with the Igigu under influence of Akkad.
So the distinctions between the Anunna and the Igigi are not clear, sometimes being synonymous with each other and in some texts they are distinct. in the Atra-Hasis5Atra-Hasis (18th-century BC) [Atra-ḫasīs] is an Akkadian epic, recorded in various versions on clay tablets, flood myth the Igigi are the sixth generation of the gods who have to work for the Anunnaki, rebelling after 40 days and replaced by the creation of humans.
Jeremy Black6British historian, writer, and retired professor of history at the University of Exeter, and Anthony Raymond Green offer a slightly different perspective on the Igigi and the Anunnaki, writing that “lgigu or Igigi is a term introduced in the Old Babylonian Period as a name for the (ten) “great gods”.
Like the Anunna, the number in most references of the Igigi is seven, but some have 8 (which is counting Marduk), The Igigu and Anunnaki are frequently attested in literary, mythological, and religious texts until the end of the cuneiform tradition. The Igigu are mentioned, among others, in the Anzu myth7Foster, B.R. 2005. Before the Muses: an Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 3rd edition. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press: 555-578, in Enāma eliš8 Foster, B.R. 2005. Before the Muses: an Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 3rd edition. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press: 436-486, and the Erra poem9 Foster, B.R. 2005. Before the Muses: an Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 3rd edition. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press: 880-913, all of which are attested in manuscripts of the first millennium BCE.
The etymology of the word Igigi is not clear,
Further reading on The Igigi
- Edzard 1976-80, “[Igigu], Anunna und.”
- Kienast 1965, “Igigu und Anunnakku nach den akkadischen Quellen.”
- Kienast 1976-80, “Igigu, Anunnakku und.”
- von Soden 1966, “Die Igigu-Götter.”
- von Soden 1989, “Die Igigu-Götter in altbabylonischer Zeit.”
Apkallu (Akkadian) and Abgal (Sumerian) are terms found in cuneiform inscriptions that in general mean either “wise” or “sage”. In several contexts, the Apkallu is seen again with the number seven as seven demi-gods or semi-divine beings, usually described as part man and part fish and often confused or described by nonscholars as the priest of Dagon, and are associated with human wisdom. these semi-divine beings are often referred to in scholarly literature as the Seven Sages. Sometimes the sages are associated with a specific primeval king in some King’s lists. After the deluge as in the Epic of Gilgamesh, these sages are described as of human descent, or partially human, as in Gilgamesh being described as 2/3rds god and 1/3 man, as well as being described as a giant and given the title “Lord of the Apkallu”. In some texts, the Apkallu before the flood and after the flood are distinguished by being referred to as Ummanu, not Apkallu. The term Apkallu (as well as Abgal) is also used as an epithet for kings and gods as a mark of wisdom or knowledge. So again the seven Apkallu like the seven Igigi maybe just be an epithet for the seven Anuna gods when talking about nonspecific Apkallu.
The term Apkallu has multiple meanings, but usually refers to some form of wisdom; translations of the term generally equate to English language uses of the terms “the wise”, “sage” or “expert”. As an epithet, prefix, or adjective it can mean “the wise“; it has been used as an epithet for the gods Ea (Also known as Enki) and Marduk, simply interpreted as “wise one amongst gods” or similar forms. It has also been applied to Enlil, Ninurta, and Adad10Civil, Miguel; Gelb, Ignace J.; Landsberger, Benno; Oppenheim, A. Leo; Reiner, Erica, eds. (1968), The Assyrian Dictionary (PDF), A part 2, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago,
The seven sages are also mentioned in the Epic of Erra (aka ‘Song of Erra’, or ‘Erra and Ishum’); here again, they are referenced as paradu-Fish11Borger 1974, p. 186. In this text is described how after the Flood, Marduk banished them back to Abzu. This banishment to the underworld is paralleled in the biblical text “sons of God” and the second temple book of first Enoch, These parallels go as far as Akkadian inscriptions which outright call the Apkallu ‘Masarre‘, which literally means ‘Watchers’. It seems then, that there seems to be an early precedent to equate the Apkallu and Sons of God.”
If you wish to know more about this connection to the Watcher (sons of God) and the Apkallu you will find this most useful;
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- 1:Kramer, Samuel Noah (1963), The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character, Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, pp. 122–123
- 2Akkadian Dictionary: nēbertu *, nēburu in Akkadian Dictionary
- 4Michael S. Heiser. “The Myth of a Sumerian 12th Planet”
- 5Atra-Hasis (18th-century BC) [Atra-ḫasīs] is an Akkadian epic, recorded in various versions on clay tablets,
- 6British historian, writer, and retired professor of history at the University of Exeter,
- 7Foster, B.R. 2005. Before the Muses: an Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 3rd edition. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press: 555-578
- 8Foster, B.R. 2005. Before the Muses: an Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 3rd edition. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press: 436-486,
- 9Foster, B.R. 2005. Before the Muses: an Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 3rd edition. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press: 880-913
- 11Borger 1974, p. 186