|Anu (ah' noo)
||father of the gods and sky god
associated with all heavenly wonder, father of Ishtar. The city of
Uruk was sacred to him.
|Anunnaki (ah noo nah' kee)
||spirit gods of the underworld who judged and
determined the fates of the dead.
|Aruru (ah roo' roo)
||great mother goddess of creation who molds
Enkidu from clay in the images of Anu and Ninurta. She is also called
Mammetum in her role of decreeing destinies
||paradise regained, land where the sun rises,
where the deified Utnapishtim settled after surviving the great flood.
|Ea (ay' ah)
||god of water and wisdom, protector of human
beings, his breath-born words encourage hope. He is also called Enki
|Eanna (ay ahn' ah)
||the sacred temple of Anu and Ishtar in the
city of Uruk
|Egalmah (ay' gahl mah)
||the sacred temple of Ninsun in the city of
|Enkidu (en'kee doo)
||a "natural" man created by Aruru,
modeled after Anu and Ninurta, to become a rival then friend/alter
ego to Gilgamesh. He is introduced to civilization by his union with
Shamhat, the sacred temple girl.
|Enlil (en' lil)
||god of earth, wind and air associated with
the savage arts of soldiers. He sent the great flood that drowned
all but Utnapishtim and his family and sent Humbaba to guard the cedar
|Ennugi (en noo' gee)
|| minor gods or demons.
|Euphrates (you fray' teez)
||river originating in the mountains in the
north of Turkey and emptying into the Persian Gulf after joining the
Tigris. Ancient Mesopotamia, "The-land-between-two-rivers,"
derives its name from its location between the Euphrates on the west
and the Tigris on the east and is believed to be the cradle of civilization.
|Gilgamesh (gil'gah mesh)
|| hero of the epic, son of the goddess Ninsun
and possibly former king of Uruk, Lugalbanda. His insatiable appetites
and unbridled behavior drive his subjects to seek help from the gods
to divert his overabundant energies from their sons, daughters, and
brides. Gilgamesh is an historic figure, as well as the legendary
hero of a number of ancient tales.
|Humbaba (hoom bah'bah)
||nature god, assigned by Enlil to oversee the
cedar forest, slain by Gilgamesh and Enkidu. He is also called Huwawa.
|lgigi (ee gee' gee)
||collective name for the great gods of heaven
associated with blood, madness and revenge, often associated with
|Irkalla (ear kahl' lah)
||a name for the underworld, also used in place
of Ereshkigal, the queen of the underworld and wife of Nergal.
|Ishara (ee shah' rah)
|| see Ishtar.
|Ishtar (cesh' tar)
|| goddess of love and sexuality, also of war,
patron of Uruk with her father Anu. She wrought deadly havoc after
her rejection by Gilgamesh. She is called Ishara in her role during
the sacred ritual of marriage, and is also called Inanna and Irnini.
|Ishullanu (ee shoo lah' noo)
||gardener of Anu, one of the many discarded
lovers of Ishtar.
|Lugalbanda (loo gahl bahn'dah)
||shepherd and early king of Uruk, thought to
be the father of Gilgamesh. He was later deified.
|Mt. Mashu (mah' shoo)
||twin peaks representing the place where the
sun would rise and fall.
|Mt. Nimush (nee'moosh)
||peak on which Utnapishtim's ark came to rest,
formerly called Nisir.
||underworld demon linked with fate as a negative
|Nergal (near' gahl)
||chief god of the underworld responsible for
plagues, chief enforcer and soldier-in-arms.
|Ninsun (neen' soon)
||wise goddess, mother of Gilgamesh, wife of
Lugalbanda. Her name means "lady wild cow."
|Ninurta (neen oor'tah)
||god of war and agriculture, associated with
the south wind. Enkidu is created partially in his image.
|Nippur (nee poor')
||city sacred to Enlil, religious capital of
|Nisaba (nee sah'bah)
||goddess of grain, often depicted with hair
of breeze-blown grain. Enkidu's hair resembled hers.
|Shamash (shah' mahsh)
||sun god and god of justice who despises evil.
He encourages Gilgamesh to destroy Humbaba and protects him in the
|Shamhat (shahm' haht)
||sacred girl most likely from the temple of
Ishtar who brings civilization to Enkidu through her union with him.
|Shuruppak (shoo' roo pahk)
||an ancient city of Sumer located north of
Uruk, former home of Utnapishtim, from where the gods issued the great
|Siduri (see door' ee)
||barmaid who lives near the salvific shore.
She advises Gilgamesh to abandon his quest for immortality and enjoy
the temporal pleasures allotted to mortals while he may.
||shepherd of Uruk, god of vegetation, virgin
boy until his union with ishtar, then another of her discarded lovers.
He is also called Dumuzi.
|Ubaratutu (oo bahr ah too' too)
||god and father of Utnapishtim, former king
|Ulay (oo lie')
|| river where Gilgamesh and Enkidu rested.
|Urshanabi (oor shah nah' bee)
|| ferryman and sailor god whose boat crosses
the waters separating the garden of the sun from the paradise where
the deified Utnapishtim lives. He conveys Gilgamesh to Utnapishtim.
|Uruk (oo' rook)
||ancient city on the Euphrates River, a center
of Sumerian culture circa 3000 B.C., kingdom of Gilgamesh and sacred
to Anu and Ishtar.
|Utnapishtim (cot nah peesh' teem)
|| legendary survivor of the great flood who
was granted immortality. Gilgamesh seeks from him the secret of eternal
life. He is also called Ziusudra.