Definitions

Enlil

Enlil

[en-lil]
Enlil, ancient earth god of Sumerian origin, worshiped in Babylonian religion. With the sky god Anu and the water god Ea, he formed the great divine triad. Enlil, also referred to as Bel, could be hostile or beneficent. He was responsible for the order and harmony in the universe, but as a god of storms and winds he brought terrible destruction.
Enlil (EN = Lord + LIL = Loft, "Lord of the Open" or "Lord of the Wind") was the name of a chief deity listed and written about in ancient Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite, Canaanite and other Mesopotamian clay and stone tablets. The name is perhaps pronounced and sometimes rendered in translations as Ellil in later Akkadian, Hittite, and Canaanite literature.

Enlil was considered to be the god of breath, wind, loft, and breadth.

Origins

One story names his origins as the exhausted breath of An (god of the heavens) and Ki (goddess of the Earth) after sexual union.

When Enlil was a young god, he was banished from Dilmun, home of the gods, to Kur, the underworld for raping a girl named Ninlil. Ninlil followed him to the underworld where she bore his first child, the moon god Sin (Sumerian Nanna/Suen). After fathering three more underworld deities (subtitutes for Sin), Enlil was allowed to return to Dilmun.

Enlil was also known as the inventor of the pickaxe/hoe (favorite tool of the Sumerians) and caused plants to grow.

Cosmological role

Enlil, along with Anu/An, Enki and Ninhursag were gods of the Sumerians .

By his wife Ninlil or Sud, Enlil was father of the moon god Nanna/Suen (in Akkadian, Sin) and of Ninurta (also called Ningirsu). Enlil is sometimes father of Nergal, of Nisaba the goddess of grain, of Pabilsag who is sometimes equated with Ninurta, and sometimes of Enbilulu. By Ereshkigal Enlil was father of Namtar.

Cultural histories

Enlil is associated with the ancient city of Nippur, sometimes referred to as the cult city of Enlil.

At a very early period prior to 3000 BC, Nippur had become the centre of a political district of considerable extent. Inscriptions found at Nippur, where extensive excavations were carried on during 1888–1900 by John P Peters and John Henry Haynes, under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, show that Enlil was the head of an extensive pantheon. Among the titles accorded to him are "king of lands", "king of heaven and earth", and "father of the gods".

His chief temple at Nippur was known as Ekur, signifying 'House of the mountain', and such was the sanctity acquired by this edifice that Babylonian and Assyrian rulers, down to the latest days, vied with one another in embellishing and restoring Enlil's seat of worship, and the name Ekur became the designation of a temple in general.

Grouped around the main sanctuary, there arose temples and chapels to the gods and goddesses who formed his court, so that Ekur became the name for an entire sacred precinct in the city of Nippur. The name "mountain house" suggests a lofty structure and was perhaps the designation originally of the staged tower at Nippur, built in imitation of a mountain, with the sacred shrine of the god on the top.

Enlil was also the God of weather. According to the Sumerians, Enlil helped create the humans, but then got tired of their noise and tried to kill them by sending a flood. A mortal known as Utanapistim survived the flood, and he was made immortal by Enlil.

References

External links

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