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in various places devoted to her worship." She was the tutelary deity of many of the cities of Babylonia, being known as Nanā at Uruk, as Bau at Shirpurla (Lagash), and as Anunītu at Akkad," while in Assyria she appeared as three goddesses at as many seats, being a divinity of war at Nineveh and Arbela, and a deity of love at Kidmuru. Priestesses were attached to her temples, and licentious, immoral practices were officially recognized as a part of her religious rites, while in some places, especially at Uruk (Herodotos, i, 199), prostitution was associated with her worship (Strabo, XVI, i, 20 p. 745 C).88 Ishtar was an exacting divinity and visited her wrath. upon those who disobeyed her mandates, smiting them and inflicting disease in punishment. The lion was her sacred animal, and possibly the dove belonged to her." She was equated with 'Astart of the Phoenicians, with Aphrodite and Eileithyia of the Greeks, and with Venus of the Romans.


MARDUK, 'king of the gods,' 'glory of Thebes,' 'founder of the zodiac,' and 'lord of planets,' was a solar deity, probably Sumerian in origin, who enjoyed only a modest rank in the pantheons of Eridu and Babylon until his rapid rise to power as the chief divinity of Babylonia through the favor of Hammurabi (circa 2200 B.C.), who effected the union of the Babylonian city-states and caused their cults to become national." He finally claimed

86 Jastrow, op. cit., pp. 83-88; also Zimmern, in ERE ii, 311.

87 L. B. Paton, "Ishtar," in ERE vii, 428-434.

88 Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris, 3d ed., i, 38 f.; also Jastrow, op. cit., pp. 475 ff.

89 Jastrow, Civilization, pp. 232-236; Zimmern, in ERE ii, 311.

90 Jastrow, op. cit., p. 213; Paton, in ERE ii, 296-297; Zimmern, loc. cit.

to be the supreme god of the Universe and even contested the position of Assur, the national deity of Assyria, though in this he was frustrated by the prestige and power of the Assyrian priesthood. As he rose to eminence, he was held to be the son of Ea of Eridu, who conferred equal wisdom upon him; and combining in himself the functions of Enlil and of Ea, he was recognized not only as the chief of the pantheon, but also as a cosmic divinity. He then appropriated the rites, titles, attributes, functions, and powers of all Babylonian deities, overshadowing them and reducing them to subordinate rank in their own cities, except in the case of Ea, whose preeminence was such that Marduk was content to be adopted as his son and as his co-equal in wisdom and dignity. He arrogated to himself the great cosmic deeds of the older gods, and many Babylonian myths appear to have been reëdited or rewritten to glorify him in the performance of the early cosmic exploits, as when, in one of the most important texts, he displaces Enlil of Nippur as the hero who killed the demon Chaos, Tiamat, in the presence of the gods, and thus freed mankind.

Next to Ea, Marduk was the most prominent divine healer of Babylonia." He was regarded as the intermediary between man and Ea and had the power of calling not only upon him, but also upon other members of the first triad of gods, Anu and Enlil, although Ea was the last resort and the supreme authority in matters therapeutic, his preeminence in this domain admitting no rival. Supplications were commonly made to Ea through Marduk, who, when implored for aid, was supposed to confer with his father and to ask what the sick man must do to be healed, but in reporting the consultations with Ea, the dignity of Marduk was preserved by the specific declaration of the former that his son knows all that he knows, 91 Zimmern, in ERE ii, 312.

while still giving directions for treatment." In the texts he is called Marduk of Eridu, thus suggesting the city of his early residence, as well as his close association with Ea and with the temple E-Apsu, the home of the rituals of exorcism, while his own temple at Babylon, called E-Sagila ('Lofty House'), enjoyed great renown. In all the texts the methods of healing are by purification, incantation, and exorcism. His consort, Sarpânîtum, is mentioned with him in some texts; and the dog was his sacred emblem.



NABÛ ('Proclaimer'), an old Sumerian deity presiding over wisdom and over all culture, was the inventor and the divinity of writing, revelation, and prophecy, and was "a seer who guides all gods." He was the patron deity of Borsippa, across the river from Babylon, where stood his celebrated temple, E-Zida ("True House') and a renowned school which included medicine; but his supremacy in his own shrine was usurped by Marduk, and he became the son of the national god. He still retained his local influence, however, and was worshipped with Marduk, even after the Persian conquest, besides receiving adoration in Assyria, where a temple, similar to that at Borsippa, was dedicated to him at Calah. In incantationtexts he is invoked as a healer in connection with Ea and other deities; and the formulas of greeting in letters from Assyrian physicians introduce Nabû and Marduk, or invoke Nebo and his consort, Nanā." Nabû was sometimes amalgamated with Nusku and identified with the planet Mercury.95

92 See page 109, also Thompson, in ERE iv, 742; Jastrow, op. cit., pp. 212-217.

93 Neuberger und Pagel, loc. cit.

94 Jastrow, in AMH, 1917, i, 251, note.

95 Id., Religion, pp. 220-221, 459.


NINIB, an early patron of Nippur, but overshadowed and displaced by the cosmic god Enlil, whose son he became," was a divinity of agriculture, a 'lord' of the fields, and a god of the chase, as well as a solar deity, dissipating darkness, while in Assyria he was worshipped as a war-god, 'mighty in battle.' He was a beneficent divinity, a renowned healer (especially in Babylonia), and one who dispensed justice; and with his consort, Gula, he saved his subjects from the clutches of disease," bringing back to life those who were near death. In Babylonian letters Ninib and Gula were the deities always invoked for relief from maladies," and they were affectionately remembered by their people, great festivals being held in their honor at certain times of year, especially at Calah. Ninib had a temple, E-shu-me-du, at Nippur," and another at Calah in Assyria.100


NUSKU, a conqueror of all evil and a promoter of all good, was a fire-god (originally a sun-god), a divinity of charms, and a messenger between Ea and Marduk, as well as between other deities. He was equated with Gibil, their names often appear together as Gibil-Nusku; and he was associated with Sin, the moon-god. In incantationtexts he is invoked to destroy the demons of disease by fire,1o1 and in this same manner he symbolically annihilates wizards and witches, practitioners of black magic.102 96 Jastrow, Civilization, p. 197.

97 Ib.,
p. 199.

98 Id., in AMH, 1917, i, 251.

99 Id., Civilization, pp. 198, 201.

100 Id., Religion, p. 215; Zimmern, in ERE ii, 312; Jastrow, Civilization, pp. 196-201.

101 Jastrow, op. cit., p. 247.

102 Ib., pp. 226-228, 411; id., Religion, pp. 220-221; Zimmern, in ERE ii, 313.


SARPÂNÎTUM, the consort of Marduk and primarily a solar divinity, was a goddess of healing who also interceded with Ea for the sick, for methods of purification, and for the exorcism of demons of disease.103 Her name (Sarpânîtum, 'Silvery Bright One') was transformed, by a false etymology, into Zēr-banītum, 'Seed-Creatress' or 'Offspring-Producing,' and she was accordingly amalgamated with an ancient goddess Eru'a ('Conception'), whence her special function was believed to be protection of progeny in the mother's womb, and she received other names bearing on this function, as Nin-dim, 'the lady of procreation,' Šasuru, 'the goddess of the fetus,' and Ninzizna, 'the lady of birth' (?).10.


SHAMASH, the sun-god of Babylonia, the chief of the second triad of cosmic deities, and a son of Sin, the lunardivinity, was a champion of good and an avenger of evil, representing justice and being the supreme judge both in heaven and on earth. The kings of Assyria addressed him as the supreme oracle-deity; he was known as the 'lord of divination,' or as the 'lord of visions, 105 and his worship was widespread, so that at Larsa in the south and at Nippur in the north temples were dedicated to him, both called E-babbar ('House of Lustre'). Shamash was likewise a prominent healing divinity, his name frequently appearing in incantations for the sick; and he was invoked to prolong life."

103 Neuberger und Pagel, loc. cit.


104 Pinches, in ERE ii, 643; also Jastrow, op. cit., pp. 121-122. 105 Jastrow, Civilization, p. 225.

106 Ib., p. 246; also Zimmern, in ERE ii, 311.

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