Definitions

Anunnaki

Anunnaki

[ah-noon-nah-kee]

The Anunnaki (also transcribed as: Anunnaku, Ananaki) are a group of Sumerian and Akkadian deities related to, and in some cases overlapping with, the Annuna (the 'Fifty Great Gods') and the Igigi (minor gods). The name is variously written "da-nuna", "da-nuna-ke4-ne", or "da-nun-na", meaning something to the effect of 'those of royal blood' or 'princely offspring' or "heaven and earth" (Anu-na-ki) The Annunaki appear in the Babylonian creation myth, Enuma Elish. In the late version magnifying Marduk, after the creation of mankind, Marduk divides the Anunnaki and assigns them to their proper stations, three hundred in heaven, three hundred on the earth. In gratitude, the Annunaki, the "Great Gods", built Esagila, the splendid: "They raised high the head of Esagila equaling Apsu. Having built a stage-tower as high as Apsu, they set up in it an abode for Marduk, Enlil, Ea." Then they built their own shrines.

According to later Babylonian myth, the Anunnaki were the children of Anu and Ki, brother and sister gods, themselves the children of Anshar and Kishar (Skypivot and Earthpivot, the Celestial poles). Anshar and Kishar were the children of Lahm and Lahmu ("the muddy ones"), names given to the gatekeepers of the Abzu temple at Eridu, the site at which the creation was thought to have occurred. The head of the Anunnaki council was the Great Anu, (rather than being just a sky god, Anu in Sumerian actually means "sky"), of Uruk and the other members were his offspring. His place was taken by Enlil, (En=lord, lil=wind,air), who at some time was thought to have separated heaven and earth. This resulted in an ongoing dispute between Enlil of Nippur and his half brother Enki of Eridu regarding the legitimacy of Enlil's assumption of leadership. Enki, (En=lord, Ki=Earth), in addition to being the God of fresh water, was also God of wisdom and magic, regarded by some as an alchemist. When the Igigi went on strike and refused to continue to work maintaining the universe, on the Shappatu (Hebrew: שבת, Eng: Shabbath) Enki created humankind to assume responsibility for the tasks the Gods no longer performed. The Anunnaki were the High Council of the Gods, and Anu's companions. They were distributed through the Earth and the Underworld. The best known of them were Asaru, Asarualim, Asarualimnunna, Asaruludu, En-Ki (Ea for the Akkadians), Namru, Namtillaku and Tutu.

A conventional analysis of Sumerian religious practice can be found in A. Leo Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization, a revised edition of which was published in 1976.

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