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Who created the Sumerian gods An and Nammu?

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rakovsky View Drop Down
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  Quote rakovsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Who created the Sumerian gods An and Nammu?
    Posted: 03-Sep-2016 at 17:26
In the Torah, El/Yahweh/Elohim made heaven and earth, which held the watery depths (Tiamat).

In Egypt, the city of Memphis taught that Ptah commanded Creation and ordered the elements including water (Nun), which made the gods who in turn made heaven. In Thebes, Egypt, Amun made the elements and Created the cosmos.

In Sumer, Nammu(the waters) was the mother/consort of An(heavens). An and Ki (earth) made other gods, the Annunaki ("offspring of An"). An was the supreme father god. But who made Nammu and An? Are there legends or lengthy Sumerian writing about Nammu and An?




Fred Svenn writes:

In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically NAMMA = ENGUR) was a primeval goddess...  a female principle of a watery creative force, with equally strong connections to the underworld, which predates the appearance of Ea-Enki.

Harriet Crawford finds this “mixing of the waters” to be a natural feature of the middle Persian Gulf, where fresh waters from the Arabian aquifer mix and mingle with the salt waters of the sea. This characteristic is especially true of the region of Bahrain, whose name in Arabic means “two seas”, and which is thought to be the site of Dilmun, the original site of the Sumerian creation beliefs. The difference in density of salt and fresh water drives a perceptible separation.

Nammu was the Goddess sea (Engur) that gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) and the first gods, representing the Apsu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall.

She was the goddess of the primeval creative matter and the mother-goddess portrayed as having “given birth to the great gods,” is not well attested in Sumerian mythology. She may have been of greater importance prehistorically, before Enki took over most of her functions.

Nammu was the mother of Enki, and as the watery creative force, was said to preexist Ea-Enki. According to the Neo-Sumerian mythological text Enki and Ninmah, Enki is the son of An and Nammu. It is she who has the idea of creating mankind, and she goes to wake up Enki, who is asleep in the Apsu, so that he may set the process going.

The Atrahasis-Epos has it that Enlil requested from Nammu the creation of humans. And Nammu told him that with the help of Enki (her son) she can create humans in the image of gods.


One website (saggiga.tripod.com)  claims that Nammu was An's spouse and that they were a real couple of beings in 4000 BC, although I think this is the author's invention. He writes:

Sumerian religion is a family story !

Around year 4000 BC, the first famous sumerian couple lived in the island of Dilmun (Bahrain) : Nammu (wife) and An (husband).
Nammu was the mother and ancestor of all the gods.
After her death, Nammu became the Goddess of the sea (abzu) and An became the God of the Sky.
Nammu will be later called Ningal and An : Nanna (Akkadian names).

Nammu and An had many children :
- Enlil (older boy), lord of the air (Lil),
- Ninhursag (girl), queen of the mountains.
- first called Sud then Ninlil (girl), mistress of he air, wife of Enlil.
- Enki (young boy), lord of the sea and the magic,
- Inanna (girl), mistress of love, procreation, and war
- Utu (boy), lord of the sun and justice.

http://saggiga.tripod.com/religion.html


Gary Web on his website about Mesopotamia quotes some texts and says that the Cosmogony can be arrived at from them:
In other words, "mother goddess". Their mating resulted in the birth of the gods, the organization of the universe and the creation of man. The Sumerian account is, when compared to Babylonian and some other accounts, rather simple and straight forward: In the beginning there was a primeval sea (Nammu) with a united "cosmic" mountain. The mountain comprised heaven (An) and earth (Ki). The union of heaven and earth then caused the air (Enlil) to come into being, which in turn separated heaven and earth. It is somewhat similar to the Bible. However, there are differences

...
According to the Sumerians creation has to be accomplished by the mating of the gods. Air (Enlil) was created by the union of heaven (An) and earth (Ki). The moon (Nanna) was created by the union of Enlil and the goddess Ninlil. The sun (Utu) by the union of Nanna and the goddess Ningal. And on and on. The God of the Bible merely had to speak it into being.

The myth calls Nammu "she who gave birth to heaven and earth", but there is no reason to assume that she alone created them. No where else in Sumerian mythology does a god have the power to create something by themselves, let alone a "minor" goddess like Nammu. There may have been another god present and we have lost this portion or, more probable, the cosmic mountain was already there, the "gave birth" meaning the mountain rose up out of the sea.

It seems that the Sumerian myth is somewhat similar to the Bible. Both have a primeval sea and air seperating heaven and earth. However, almost every Near Eastern cosmogony begins with these two elements.

http://www.geocities.ws/garyweb65/creation1.html

The Gates of Ishtar website proposes:
In Sumerian mythology, Nammu is a primordial creator goddess like Tiamat, but unlike Tiamat, Nammu did not go through a series of battles with the younger deities to relinquish her power.  Like Tiamat, Nammu was the goddess of the watery deep and the creator of humanity; however her son Enki eventually took over the role as did some other goddesses “lose their power” to male gods ... Many scholars believe that these myths of Tiamat and Nammu losing their significance or power were a symbol, metaphor, or allegory for the fall of matriarchy and the rise of patriarchal societies. 

Although traditional Sumerian mythology names the sky god An and the earth goddess Ki has the elder gods, Nammu came before them. Chthonic theogony names Nammu as the progenitress of all the deities; the goddess without a spouse (unlike Tiamat) and the inherently fertile and fertilizing waters
http://ishtargates.tumblr.com/post/117471372842/tiamat-nammu-and-the-historical-problem-of-the


What do you think?

A related question is whether Dingir (god) could also mean God, in the same way that some Egyptologists like Budge said that NTR in Egypt could mean a god or God Himself. Egyptologist J. Allen cited an Egyptian passage saying that Amun, Ra, and Ptah were really one, the same being, it calls by the singular pronoun He:
  • All the gods [Neteru] are three:
    Amun, the Sun[Ra] and Ptah,
    Without their second.

    His identity is hidden in Amun,
    His is the Sun[Ra] as face,
    His body as Ptah. 
So could the Sumerians have thought that even though Nammu (waters) birthed An (sky), that ultimately God (Dingir) was behind everything?



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  Quote Aeoli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Sep-2016 at 02:30
Originally posted by rakovsky

But who made Nammu and An? Are there legends or lengthy Sumerian writing about Nammu and An?


As you said, An is child of Nammu, isn't he?

Let's check Greek Mtyhs

''Nammu was the Goddess sea (Engur) that gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) ''

Firstly there was just Choas. Then She gave a birth Erebus (Underworld, there is no heaven in Ancient Greece) and Gaia (Earth)


"The myth calls Nammu "she who gave birth to heaven and earth", but there is no reason to assume that she alone created them. No where else in Sumerian mythology does a god have the power to create something by themselves, let alone a "minor" goddess like Nammu. There may have been another god present and we have lost this portion or, more probable, the cosmic mountain was already there, the "gave birth" meaning the mountain rose up out of the sea."  

This section is interesting Big smile



Originally posted by rakovsky


What do you think?

A related question is whether Dingir (god) could also mean God, in the same way that some Egyptologists like Budge said that NTR in Egypt could mean a god or God Himself. Egyptologist J. Allen cited an Egyptian passage saying that Amun, Ra, and Ptah were really one, the same being, it calls by the singular pronoun He:
  • All the gods [Neteru] are three:
    Amun, the Sun[Ra] and Ptah,
    Without their second.

    His identity is hidden in Amun,
    His is the Sun[Ra] as face,
    His body as Ptah. 
So could the Sumerians have thought that even though Nammu (waters) birthed An (sky), that ultimately God (Dingir) was behind everything?

These kind of god combinations are not origin of the religion. They came out later with connection of different people. 

Example: Serapis -  Graeco-Egyptian god. He wouldn't exist if Greeks didn't colonies Egypt. 

Your sample is also same. Probably lower Egyptian God Ptah and Upper Egyptian God Amun-Ra.  



Edited by Aeoli - 04-Sep-2016 at 02:31
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  Quote rakovsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Sep-2016 at 13:25
Thanks for writing in, Aeoli.

So did the watery Nammu have a creator or even a male consort to create An? Maybe no Sumerian writings claim so, and they agree that Nammu was An's mother.

What writings are there about Nammu and An? I only came across small stories talking about her. Yet she must have been a major deity in some sense, because important people used her name like Ur-Nammu.

Was there a God standing behind all Creation like El for Hebrews or Ptah(The Fashioner) in Memphis? Typically the Egyptians would say that it's NTR - Ptah is Neter, Amun is Neter. And the Semites spoke of God as El. For the Sumerians the closest thing I think was Dingir. Every god had a Dingir sign. But did Nammu also have a Dingir sign or was An the first?

I found that Ur-Nammu's name was written with a Dingir inside - "Ur of the goddess [Dingir sign] Nammu", as in : Ur Ж Nammu.

But I also found that Nammu's name was written as Engur, which is a different sign and refers to the Abzu (primordial sea, deep water). The letters making up Engur mean Totality and Secret. How curious!

The name of Namma is written with the sign ENGUR as we have seen, which is composed of the signs LAGABxHAL. These two signs in turn mean:
LAGAB = napharu "totality"
HAL = pirištu "secret"

Lambert cites a text which decodes her name into these very parts, thus giving a definition. 'A Late Babylonian Copy of an Expository Text', JNES 48 p. 219:

K 232+ obv. 26
dnamma nap-har pi-riš-ti ilānimeš
"Namma, totality of the secret of the gods"


Lenzi refers to and comments on this text (Secrecy and the Gods, p. 145 n. 51):
This "sign-play" combined with Namma's connection to water probably explains her association with secrecy, Enki, wisdom, and the Apsu in various learned texts.



Edited by rakovsky - 04-Sep-2016 at 13:26
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  Quote Arthur-Robin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2016 at 02:48
Sumerian An (Semitic Ilu?) may be the same as Hebrew El, with n/l interchange. (Previously i thought that Hittite/Hurrian Anu(s) was Noah.)
Compare that Enlil/Ellil may be Helel ben Sachar (Lucifer).
[Annunaki could possibly be Bene-Elohim or Anakim??]

dNammu i have not yet any good idea.
Barbara Walker relates the name to Naamah / Namrael.
Nammu is only one of at least 4 possible different renderings. The name may be either Nammu / Nar-Marratu, Zikum/Zi-mu(-um) (Zigarun/Zigarum? (Sige??)), Engur, or Bagas?
Zikum is similar to Hebrew Tehom (and Tohu?)? Zimu is similar to Chinese Ti-mu? Zikum/Zimu(um) is similar to Hebrew Zillah? Zikum is similar to Egyptian Sekhmet?
Nammu is similar to Egyptian Khnemu, and W African Nommo? or Phoenician Yamm?

The other gods Yhwh, Ptah, Ra, Tiamat, Ki, Apsu, Nun, Amun (Ham?), Neter, Chaos, Erebus, Gaia, God, etc bring in too many to answer in this topic/post.



Edited by Arthur-Robin - 18-Sep-2016 at 22:01
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  Quote rakovsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2016 at 03:33
Originally posted by Arthur-Robin



dNammu i have not yet any good idea.
Barbara Walker relates the name to Naamah / Namrael.
Nammu is only one of at least 4 possible different renderings. The name may be either Nammu / Nar-Marratu, Zikum/Zi-mu(-um) (Zigarun/Zigarum? (Sige??)), Engur, or Bagas?
Zikum is similar to Hebrew Tehom (and Tohu?)? Zimu is similar to Chinese Ti-mu? Zikum/Zimu(um) is similar to Hebrew Zillah? Zikum is similar to Egyptian Sekhmet?
Nammu is similar to Egyptian Khnemu, and W African Nommo? or Phoenician Yamm?

The other gods Yhwh, Ptah, Ra, Tiamat, Ki, Apsu, Nun, Amun (Ham?), Neter, Chaos, Erebus, Gaia, God, etc bring in too many to answer in this topic/post.



Yes, maybe there is a relationship to Nammu with Khnum:
  • Khnum was originally a water god who was thought to rule over all water, including the rivers and lakes of the underworld. He was associated with the source of the Nile, and ensured that the inundation deposited enough precious black silt onto the river banks to make them fertile.
  • http://ancientegyptonline.co.uk/khnum.html

I couldn't find an etymology for Khnum.

Where did "Zikum/Zi-mu(-um) (Zigarun/Zigarum? (Sige??)" come up as related to Nammu?


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  Quote Arthur-Robin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2016 at 08:48
I didn't mean that there is, just that there could possibly be a name connection of Nammu and Khnemu.
The Egyptian god has a number of different spellings or synonyms:
Khnum, Khnemu, Num; Nun; Nu; N(o)ub; Kneph, Neph/Nef.* If Nu is Noah [Nanna?] then I doubt it is linked  with "Nammu".
(In Genesis the "Mighty One of Jacob" may match Khnum-Khufu? http://grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?10,1052904 .)

According to my sources Nammu is only one of 4 or more possible renderings of the Sumerian signs for "Nammu", the others being Zikum, Bagas, Engur. Hence Ur-Nammu is alternatively Uruash-Zikum in LA Waddell's king list, and Ur-Bagas in Sayce.*

* Due to my limited resources & situation it is possible i could be wrong about them being same sign/name.

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Edited by Arthur-Robin - 03-Oct-2016 at 08:52
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2016 at 11:19
For all of them was one God only=The First-Superior-Supreme One.Smile
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