The Anunna

The Anunna

Mesopotamian Gods
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The Anunna

The Annuna, The Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Mesopotamia

AnunnaAnunnaki
The term Anunna indicates a group of gods in the Mesopotamian pantheon. Later on, it is sometimes used to describe the underworld gods (as opposed to the gods of heaven, the Igigi).

Functions

An ongoing and exhaustive investigation of the term Anunna is as yet missing; such an examination is made more troublesome by the term having somewhat various implications in various time spans.

In the Sumerian literary corpus, Anunna (Akkadian: Anunnaki, Anunnaku) portrays the most elevated divine beings in the Mesopotamian pantheon, however, it can likewise be utilized to demonstrate the pantheon of a specific city or city-state, for example, the Anunna of Eridu or the Anunna of Lagaš1Falkenstein, A. 1965. “Die Anunna in der sumerischen Überlieferung.” In H. Güterbock and T. Jacobsen (eds.) Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger on his Seventy-Fifth Birthday, April 21, 1965. Assyriological Studies, 16, pp. 127-140. Chicago: Oriental Institute Press.2 see additionally Katz, D. 2003. The Image of the Netherworld in the Sumerian Sources. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press. It isn’t clear the number of divine beings and which specific divine beings this term incorporates; one content talks about the ‘fifty Anunna of Eridu3 Falkenstein 1965: 130; and Edzard, D.O. 1965. “Mesopotamien. Die Mythologie der Sumerer und Akkader.” In H.W. Haussig (ed.), Götter und Mythen im Vorderen Orient. Wörterbuch der Mythologie, erste Abteilung, 42

One of the principal elements of the Anunna divine beings was to choose the destinies4 (Falkenstein 1965: 131), as bore witness to, for instance, in the Sumerian legend Enki and the World Order5 (ETCSL 1.1.3, l. 207). Notwithstanding, as of now in the Sumerian sources the Anunna are in some cases related to the underworld, as proven in the epic Inana’s Descent into the Netherworld6 (ETCSL 1.4.1, line 167), where the Anunna, the seven appointed authorities, condemn over Inana’s intruding into the underworld.

The recommendation that in the Sumerian textual corpus, Anunna are just referenced in abstract writings and that there is no proof for their worship7 (Falkenstein 1965) should be reevaluated considering new literary proof from the Ur III period, in which apparently contributions were made to (Anunna on CDLI). Be that as it may, as there are just three confirmations from administrative writings, the proof is still rather pitiful.

The significance of the term Anunna changed after the Old Babylonian time frame when it was utilized to portray the lords of the underworld, contrary to the term Igig8i Black, J., & Green, A. 1998. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. An Illustrated Dictionary, 2nd ed. London: British Museum Press pg. 34. Sometimes, Igigi appears to have a similar implying that Anunna had in Sumerian writings9 Kienast, B. 1965. ‘Igigiū and Anunnakkū nach den akkadischen Quellen.’ In H. Güterbock and T. Jacobsen (eds.), Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger on his Seventy-Fifth Birthday, April 21, 1965. Assyriological Studies, 16, pp. 141-158. Chicago: Oriental Institute Press. The purported Babylonian Creation Story, Enūma eliš10 (Tablet VI, lines 39-44), describes how Marduk appointed 300 Anunna divine beings for obligation in the sky, and a similar number for obligation in the underworld, giving a sum of 600 Anunna divine beings11 (Foster, B.R. 2005. Before the Muses: an Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 3rd edition. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press. p470).

The Anunna are sometimes equivalent to the igigi in some texts
The Igigi

Apparently, there was some disarray encompassing these terms as of now in ancient history12 (Kienast 1965: 144). In the Poem of Erra13 (e.g., Tablets I, lines 62-63; II, lines 8-9; V, line 3, see Foster 2005: 880-911), the Igigi are plainly isolated from the Anunna.

The Anunnaku are some of the time summoned in curses and furthermore show up in chants, yet are overwhelmingly verified in scholarly and mythic writings. In the Epic of Gilgameš, the expression “judge of the Anunnaki” is referenced as a title of Gilgameš14 (Tablet VIII, line 210, sadly in broken fragments, see George, A.R. 2003. The Babylonian Gilgamesh epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp 663, 861-2). This is conceivably a reference to Gilgameš’s capacity as an adjudicator in the underworld.

Divine Genealogy and Syncretisms

Since this term envelops the significant divinities of the Mesopotamian pantheon, the genealogical connections were not quite the same as those of the individual gods that are essential for the Anunna. An is in some cases referenced as the father of the Anunna, and a few writings demonstrate that the connection between the Anunna was loving/genuine15 (Falkenstein 1965: 129-30).

Cult Place(s)

Presently, we have no information on a temple committed to the Anunna divine beings, apparently in light of the fact that all the Anunna divine beings had their individual sanctuaries in different urban areas across Mesopotamia.

Time Periods Attested

The term Anunna first shows up in the Post-Akkadian time frame, specifically in some Gudea engravings, and in a couple of Ur III writings. In its Akkadian structures, Anunnaku and Anunnaki keep on happening until the Seleucid time frame.16 (see the connection to Anunnaku in CAMS underneath).

Iconography

There are no known portrayals of Anunna or Anunnaku, just of individual divinities.

Name and Spellings

There has been some conversation regarding the significance of the name Anunna17 (see Falkenstein 1965: 128-30). The most probable proposals interpret the term as something like “Those of royal seed,”18 (Falkenstein 1965: 129; Edzard 1965: 42).

Written forms: Sumerian: da-nun, da-nun-na, da-nun-na-ke4-ne, da-nun-ke4-ne Akkadian: da-nun-na-ki, e-nun-na-ki, e-nu-uk-ki, de-nu-uk-ki;
logographic: dA.NUN, dA.NUN.NA, dA.NUN.NA.KE.E.NE;
cryptographic: dgéš-u19 (also see Kienast 1965: 142-43). Normalized forms: Anuna(k), Anunna, Anunnaki, Anunnaku, Anunnakku

Anunna in Online Corpora

Further Reading

  • Falkenstein 1965, “Die Anunna in der sumerischen Überlieferung.”
  • Kienast 1965, “Igigū und Anunnakkū“.

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  • 1
    Falkenstein, A. 1965. “Die Anunna in der sumerischen Überlieferung.” In H. Güterbock and T. Jacobsen (eds.) Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger on his Seventy-Fifth Birthday, April 21, 1965. Assyriological Studies, 16, pp. 127-140. Chicago: Oriental Institute Press
  • 2
    see additionally Katz, D. 2003. The Image of the Netherworld in the Sumerian Sources. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press
  • 3
    Falkenstein 1965: 130; and Edzard, D.O. 1965. “Mesopotamien. Die Mythologie der Sumerer und Akkader.” In H.W. Haussig (ed.), Götter und Mythen im Vorderen Orient. Wörterbuch der Mythologie, erste Abteilung, 42
  • 4
    (Falkenstein 1965: 131)
  • 5
    (ETCSL 1.1.3, l. 207)
  • 6
    (ETCSL 1.4.1, line 167)
  • 7
    (Falkenstein 1965)
  • 8
    i Black, J., & Green, A. 1998. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. An Illustrated Dictionary, 2nd ed. London: British Museum Press pg. 34.
  • 9
    Kienast, B. 1965. ‘Igigiū and Anunnakkū nach den akkadischen Quellen.’ In H. Güterbock and T. Jacobsen (eds.), Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger on his Seventy-Fifth Birthday, April 21, 1965. Assyriological Studies, 16, pp. 141-158. Chicago: Oriental Institute Press
  • 10
    (Tablet VI, lines 39-44)
  • 11
    (Foster, B.R. 2005. Before the Muses: an Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 3rd edition. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press. p470).
  • 12
    (Kienast 1965: 144)
  • 13
    (e.g., Tablets I, lines 62-63; II, lines 8-9; V, line 3, see Foster 2005: 880-911)
  • 14
    (Tablet VIII, line 210, sadly in broken fragments, see George, A.R. 2003. The Babylonian Gilgamesh epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp 663, 861-2)
  • 15
    (Falkenstein 1965: 129-30).
  • 16
    (see the connection to Anunnaku in CAMS underneath).
  • 17
    (see Falkenstein 1965: 128-30)
  • 18
    (Falkenstein 1965: 129; Edzard 1965: 42)
  • 19
    (also see Kienast 1965: 142-43)
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