Mesopotamian Mythology Mesopotamian mythology is essentially the combination of the ancient Babylonian, Assyrian, Akkadian and Sumerian myths. Each of these peoples developed their own religions, but due to their proximity to one another, their mythology became intertwined and are collectively presented in this section. Mesopotamian mythology was also influenced by other surrounding cultures, including the Hittites and the Phoenicians.
Sumerian religion and Babylonian religion Overview map of ancient Mesopotamia. In the fourth millennium BC, the first evidence for what is recognisably Mesopotamian religion can be seen with the invention in Mesopotamia of writing circa BC.
The people of Mesopotamia originally consisted of two groups, East Semitic Akkadian speakers later divided into the Assyrians and Babylonians and the people of Sumerwho spoke a language isolate. These peoples were members of various city-states and small kingdoms. The Sumerians left the first records, and are believed to have been the founders of the civilisation of the Ubaid period BC to BC in Upper Mesopotamia.
By historical times they resided in southern Mesopotamia, which was known as Sumer and much later, Babyloniaand had considerable influence on the Akkadian speakers and their culture. The Akkadian speaking Semites are believed to have entered the region at some point between BC and BC, with Akkadian names first appear in the king lists Mesopotamian mythology these states circa 29th century BC.
The Sumerians were advanced: The Sumerians remained largely dominant in this synthesised culture, however, until the rise of the Akkadian Empire under Sargon of Akkad circa BC, which united all of Mesopotamia under one ruler.
The Akkadian Empire endured for two centuries before collapsing due to economic decline, internal strife and attacks from the north east by the Gutian people. Assyria had evolved during the 25th century BC, and asserted itself in the north circa BC in the Old Assyrian Empire and southern Mesopotamia fragmented into a number of kingdoms, the largest being Isin, Larsa and Eshnunna.
In BC the initially minor city-state of Babylon was founded in the south by invading West Semitic -speaking Amorites. It was rarely ruled by native dynasties Mesopotamian mythology its history.
Some time after this period, the Sumerians disappeared, becoming wholly absorbed into the Akkadian-speaking population.
Assyrian kings are attested from the late 25th century BC and dominated northern Mesopotamia and parts of eastern Anatolia and northeast Syria. Circa BC, the Amorite ruler of Babylon, King Hammurabiconquered much of Mesopotamia, but this empire collapsed after his death, and Babylonia was reduced to the small state it had been upon its founding.
The Amorite dynasty was deposed in BC after attacks from mountain-dwelling people known as the Kassites from the Zagros Mountainswho went on to rule Babylon for over years.
Assyria, having been the dominant power in the region with the Old Assyrian Empire between the 20th and 18th centuries BC before the rise of Hammurabi, once more became a major power with the Middle Assyrian Empire — BC. During the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Mesopotamian Aramaic became the lingua franca of the empire, and also Mesopotamia proper.
The last written records in Akkadian were astrological texts dating from 78 CE discovered in Assyria. The empire fell between BC and BC after a period of severe internal civil war in Assyria which soon spread to Babylonia, leaving Mesopotamia in a state of chaos.
A weakened Assyria was then subject to combined attacks by a coalition of hitherto vassals, in the form of the BabyloniansChaldeansMedesScythiansPersiansSagartians and Cimmerians beginning in BC.
Babylon had a brief late flowering of power and influence, initially under the migrant Chaldean dynasty, which took over much of the empire formerly held by their northern kinsmen.
However, the last king of Babylonia, Nabonidusan Assyrian, paid little attention to politics, preferring to worship the lunar deity Sinleaving day-to-day rule to his son Belshazzar. This and the fact that the Persians and Medes to the east were growing in power now that the might of Assyria that had held them in vassalage for centuries was gone, spelt the death knell for native Mesopotamian power.
The Achaemenid Empire conquered the Neo-Babylonian Empire in BC, after which the Chaldeans disappeared from history, although Mesopotamian people, culture and religion continued to endure after this. Effect of Assyrian religious beliefs on its political structure[ edit ] Like many nations in Mesopotamian history, Assyria was originally, to a great extent, an oligarchy rather than a monarchy.
Authority was considered to lie with "the city", and the polity had three main centres of power—an assembly of elders, a hereditary ruler, and an eponym. The ruler presided over the assembly and carried out its decisions.
The third centre of power was the eponym limmumwho gave the year his name, similarly to the eponymous archon and Roman consuls of classical antiquity.
He was annually elected by lot and was responsible for the economic administration of the city, which included the power to detain people and confiscate property.
However, kingship at the time was linked very closely with the idea of divine mandate. For the conquered peoples, however, it was novel, particularly to the people of smaller city-states.
In time, Ashur was promoted from being the local deity of Assur to the overlord of the vast Assyrian domain, which spread from the Caucasus and Armenia in the north to Egypt, Nubia and the Arabian Peninsula in the south, and from Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean Sea in the west to central Iran in the east.
Worship was conducted in his name throughout the lands dominated by the Assyrians. With the worship of Assur across much of the Fertile Crescentthe Assyrian king could command the loyalty of his fellow servants of Assur.Mesopotamian mythology is essentially the combination of the ancient Babylonian, Assyrian, Akkadian and Sumerian myths.
Each of these peoples developed their own religions, but due to their proximity to one another, their mythology became intertwined and are collectively presented in this section. Ashur. In Akkadian mythology and Sumerian mythology, Ashur is a sky god - husband of his sister Kishar; their children Lahmu and Lahamu, and the parents of Anu and Ea (and, in some traditions, Enlil).
Norse Mythology (also Germanic, Nordic or Scandinavian Mythology) is the mythology of Scandinavian peoples. Like many ancient mythologies, the Norse myths were handed down verbally for many years. Most of our understanding of Norse myths comes from later recordings of . Mesopotamian mythology from Godchecker - the legendary mythology encyclopedia.
Your guide to the Mesopotamian gods, spirits, demons and legendary monsters. Our unique mythology dictionary includes original articles, pictures, facts and information from Mesopotamian Mythology: the ancient Gods of Babylon. Since we have been used as a research reference by discerning writers, .
Author's Note: While I may have taken a few minor historic liberties concerning the legends of ancient Sumerian and Babylonian mythology, much of what was .
Godchecker guide to GILGAMESH: Famous Sumerian and Akkadian hero.
Gilgamesh is the Mesopotamian Hero God and comes from the mythology of Mesopotamia. Read the facts about Gilgamesh in our legendary mythology encyclopedia. Used by teachers, researchers, kids, pagans, believers, games-players, novel-writers, atheists and other mortals since