A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology by Gwendolyn Leick

By Gwendolyn Leick

The Dictionary of old close to japanese Mythology covers assets from Mesopotamia, Syro-Palestine and Anatolia, from round 2800 to three hundred BC. It includes entries on gods and goddesses, giving proof in their worship in temples, describing their 'character', as documented via the texts, and defining their roles in the physique of mythological narratives; synoptic entries on myths, giving where of starting place of major texts and a short historical past in their transmission throughout the a while; and entries explaining using professional terminology, for things like different types of Sumerian texts or kinds of mythological figures.

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The ritual context of these texts is still unclear, although it has been proposed that they formed part of the so-called Sacred Marriage ceremonies. According to other texts, the happiness of Inanna and Dumuzi was doomed. Dumuzi, the shepherd, did not integrate into the urban Sumerian pantheon. He remained the ‘shepherd’ and continued to live in the steppe with his herds. It is there that he dies and disappears. Several Sumerian compositions explain how his death came to pass (see also Inanna and Belili).

The first seems to have something wrong with his arm, so Enki appoints him to be a certain type of court official. The second being has a ‘tic’—his eyes are constantly blinking; he is to be a singer. The third is crippled, but Enki also finds a ‘good fate’ for him, although we don’t understand what it is. The fourth man has uncontrollable ejaculations and Enki cures him with a ritual bath. The fifth is a barren woman and she is assigned a place in a ‘harem’ (probably a priestly function). The last creature seems to lack sexual organs of any kind and Enki appoints him to be a court official.

Fertility amongst animals and people is seriously disrupted and only restored upon Inanna’s return. Other compositions describe 35 DYING GODS the effects of Dumuzi’s absence on milk production. The substitution theme also occurs in the myth of Enlil and Ninlil, where Enlil is banned to the underworld as a punishment for the rape of Ninlil. In a series of further sexual encounters he engenders four other deities, three of whom end up in the underworld as his substitutes. ) (b) In Ugarit, Baal (see Baal-Myths) is eaten by Mot and with him vanish the dew, the rain and the storm.

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