abzu: (Babylonian Apsu) Root of the word "abyss"; underground sea of freshwater and home to Enki; in later Babylonian stories, it is personified as Apsu, the first husband of Tiamat
Adab: An important Sumerian city between Lagash and Nippur
Adad: See Ishkur, Hadad
Agade: Lost capital of the Akkadian Empire; founded by Sharru-Kin (Sargon the Great); probably in or near Babylon; laid to waste by the Gutians during the reign of Naram-Suen and was said to be cursed forever afterwards
Akkadians: Semitic speaking inhabitants of Northern Babylonia; derived from the name given in Genesis
Amarru: See Amorites
Amorites: (Amarru; Martu) A nomadic tribe that spoke a Semitic language; they eventually infiltrated all of Mesopotamia and founded the Babylonian and Assyrian Empires; the name is derived from 86 references in the Old Testament, sometimes equating them with Canaanites or the ancestors of the Canaanites
An: ("Heaven"; Babylonian Anu; Greek Uranus; Hindu Brahma) God of the Sky/Heaven; an enigmatic figure who makes decrees from his place in heaven but never ventures out
Anshan: An Elamite city-state in southwestern Iran
Anshar: ("Firmament"; "Sky arch"; Assyrian Ashur) Babylonian god; husband to Kishar and father to Lahmu and Lahamu
Annunaki: ("Those who came from Heaven to Earth"; Anunna) General name for the Sumerian and Akkadian pantheon
Anu: See An
Anzu: ("Raven"; "Sky-Wisdom"; Imdugud; Assyrian Pazuzu; Greek Zeus) Giant storm bird; Lugalbanda meets one after being left in the Zagros mountains; Another one steals the Tablets of Destiny from Enlil; Enlil's son Ninurta finds him and slays him, returning the tablets to his father
Apsu: (abzu; Egyptian Nun; Greek Oceanus) Babylonian god killed by Ea (Enki); personifies the primeval waters that encircle the world
Aratta: Another name for Susa (Susin)
Aruru: See Ninmah
Asag: A demon that Ninurta slew while in the netherworld; possibly another version of Anzu Ba'al: ("Lord"; "Husband"; Babylonian Marduk; Canaanite Hadad) Common name used throughout Mesopotamia for the storm god
Ashur: (Babylonian Marduk, Anshar?) "Father of the gods"; national deity of the Assyrian Empire
Babylon: A city in northern Sumer which an Amorite dynasty turned into the capital of an empire; the official language spoken was Akkadian
Bad-Tibira: A city in southern Sumer; it's temple to Dumuzi was called E-Mushkalamma or E-Mush
Black-headed ones: See Sumerians
Chaldean: Neo-Babylonian; a nomadic people who invaded Mesopotamia in the 1000s B.C. and inhabited the Babylonian territory
Cronus: (Sumerian Enlil; Hurrian/Hittite Kumarbi) Greek god of time and the upper sky
Dagan: (Canaanite Dagon) Semitic fish god of the west; represented on statues as having the tail of a fish
Dead Sea Scrolls: Old Testament scrolls written by Jewish Essenes in a male-only sect near Qumran sometime around 200-68 B.C.; they were stored in clay jars and hidden in caves in the Judean desert near the Dead Sea where a young Bedouin found them in 1947 while looking for a lost goat; the scrolls found were 1000 years older than the earliest existing copies, including all the books of the Bible except Estar as well as Enochian literature
Dilmun: (Bahrain; Biblical Eden) The Sumerian and Babylonian island of paradise where no one can age or get hurt
diorite: Very hard green or gray volcanic rock
Dumuzi: (Babylonian/Canaanite Tammuz; Perisan Mithras; Egyptian Osiris; Greek/Egyptian Serapis; Egyptian/Phoenician Attis; Greek/Phoenician Adonis; Greek Dionysus; Greco-Roman Apollo; Roman Bacchus; Norse Odin) Shepherd god who is hung on a stake in the netherworld as a substitute for Inanna but rises in the spring to be replaced by his sister Geshtinanna; often given the title "Mother-Dragon-of-Heaven"
Dumuzi the Fisherman: King of Uruk I; first ruler to wed the goddess Inanna in the Sacred Marriage Rite5
Dumuzi the Shepherd: King of Bad-Tibira before the Flood; first to be called Dumuzi
Ea: ("House of Water"; Sumerian Enki) Babylonian name for Enki; taken from the name of his temple
E-Abzu: (E-A; E-Engur) Enki's temple in Eridu
E-Anna: ("House of Heaven") Inanna's temple in Uruk
E-Babbar: ("House of White") Temple to Utu
E-Temen-Ni-Guru: Temple to Nanna (Suen)
Edubba: ("Tablet House") Sumerian school
E-Kish-Nugal: Temple in Ur to the moon god Nanna (Suen)
E-Kur: ("House of the Mountains") Enlil's temple in Nippur
Elamites: (Iran) People living in the land east of Sumer and Akkad
Ellil: See Enlil
Elohim: ("Lords") Common name for God used in the Old Testament; translated "God" in the Bible
Emesh: ("Summer") Son of Enlil who argues with his brother Enten
E-Mush: (E-Mush-Kalamma) Temple to Dumuzi in Bad-Tibira
en: ("Lord"): High priest or priestess who resided in the gipar shrine where the Sacred Marriage Rite took place
En-Heduanna: Sharru-Kin's daughter and high priestess of Ur; First known author
Enki: ("Lord-Earth"; Nudimmud; Babylonian Ea; Jewish/Enochian Azaz-El; Greek Prometheus; Hindu Vishnu) God of wisdom and water, who along with Ninmah, fashions man from clay
Enkidu: ("Creation of Enki") Gilgamesh's slave and best friend who accompanies him on all of his adventures
Enlil: ("Lord-Air"; Akkadian/Babylonian Ellil; Canaanite El the Bull; Hurrian/Hittite Kumarbi; Egyptian Min; Greek Chronos; Roman Saturn; Hindu Shiva) God of the space between the earth and the sky (heaven); he plays a very active role on earth, and is usually the one to execute decrees made by An
ensi: (ishakku) Sumerian word for ruler of a city
Enten: ("Winter") Son of Enlil who argues with his brother Emesh
Erech: See Uruk
Ereshkigal: (Greek Persephone; Roman Proserpina; Norse Hel) Queen of the netherworld
Eridu: First town and temple said to be built in Sumer; it's temple to Enki was called E-Abzu ("House of the Abyss") or E-A ("House of Water")
galla: Little demon from the netherworld
Geshtinanna: (Canaanite Anath; Greek Artemis) Dumuzi's self-sacrificing sister who undergoes torture so as not to reveal Dumuzi's location to the demons that are chasing him
Gilgamesh: ("Gilga the Hero") A Hercules-like hero goes on many adventures; he ruled Uruk I around 2650 B.C. and was said to have become one of the judges in the netherworld after he died
gipar: Shrine where the Sacred Marriage Rite took place
Gugalanna: See Nergal
Gutians: Barbarous mountain people to the east who overwhelmed Sumer towards the end of the of the second millenium B.C.
Hadad: (Sumerian Adad; Biblical Hadad-Rimmon) Canaanite storm god referred to as Ba'al; son of Dagan
Hammurabi: Babylonian king who united all of Babylonia into an empire; famous for his law code that includes the "Eye for an eye" law
Hittites: People who lived in northern Turkey near the Black Sea; they had two official languages: Arzawan (a language related to Indo-European) and Akkadian
huluppu tree: (Biblical Tree of Wisdom; Norse Yggdrasil) A tree (possibly a willow) cut down by Gilgamesh in order to make a bed and chair 0for Inanna; Inanna then uses the wood to make a pikku and mukku
Hurrians: A people who lived in Northern Syria and were eventually conquered by the Hittites
Hursag: ("Highland") Mountainous region east of Sumer, named by the god Ninurta; also associated with Nin-Hursag (Ninmah
Huwawa: (aka Humbaba) A monster who lives in the "Land of the Living" or "Land of Life" (Lebanon); Killed by Gilgamesh and Enkidu
Humbaba: see Huwawa
Imdugud: See Anzu
Inanna: ("Queen of Heaven"; Ice Age 'Willendorf Venus'; Babylonian Ishtar; Assyrian Mylitta; Caananite Asherah, Astarte; Biblical "Lady of Shame" Ashtoreth; Egyptian Hathor; Greek Aphrodite; Roman Venus; Norse Ostara; Saxon Eostre) Goddess of the morning star and Utu's twin sister; goddess of love and fertility as well as the goddess of war; she and Dumuzi are the principle deities involved in the Sacred Marriage Rite
ishakku: (ensi) Akkadian word for ruler of a city
Ishkur: (Sumerian Adad; Canaanite Hadad; Assyrian Rimmon; Biblical Hadad-Rimmon) Sumerian storm god
Ishtar: See Inanna
Isimud: Enki's vizier
Kalatur: (Kalaturru) Sexless creature created by Enki to save Inanna from the netherworld
Ki: (Greek Gaea; Roman Terra) Mother Earth; unless Ninmah is an incarnation of her, she takes no personal role other than giving birth to the gods
Kur: ("Mountain"; "Land"; Kurnugia; Ganzir; Egyptian Amenti; Biblical She'ol; Canaanite Hades, Tartarus) The nether world where dead souls descend to
Kullab: Twin city of Uruk
Kumarbi: (Sumerian Enlil; Greek Chronos) Hurrian/Hittite god who eats the phallus of his father the god of heaven to become king and then sends the Illugankas against Teshub, the storm god
lahama: Sea monster
lapus luzuli: A dense semi-precious blue gemstone
Lilith: (Lilitu) A female wind demon or succubus who causes children to die suddenly; Adam's first wife in Jewish legend
lukur: An Inanna priestess who probably represented the goddess in the Sacred Marriage Rite
lumah: A type of priest
mah: A type of priest
Marduk: (Sumerian Ninurta; Assyrian Ashur) Storm god; often called Ba'al ("Husband"); national deity of Babylon
Martu: See Amorites
Masoretic Bible: The Hebrew Old Testament that Jews use today; the King James Old Testament is based on the Greek Septuagint; there is also a third Samaritan text
mashmash: An exorcist
me: Divine arts, rules, and regulations that keeps the universe operating
mina: A measure of weight; about a pound
mukku: An unidentified object that Enkidu went into the netherworld to get; perhaps a musical instrument
mushhush: Serpent or dragon
Nammu: (Babylonian Tiamat; Egyptian Neith) Goddess of the primeval sea which surrounds heaven with saltwater; she gives birth to the first humans
Namtar: ("Fate" or "Death") A netherworld demon
Nanna: (Sumerian/Akkadian Suen) Moon god of Ur
Nebuchadnezzar: Chaldean (Neo-Babylonian) king who ruled over Babylon (Sumer and Akkad) in the 700s B.C.; he laid siege to Jerusalem and destroyed the First Temple, built by King Schlomo (aka Solomon); he then enslaved the people of Judah and took them back with him to Babylon (2 Kings 25)
nephilim: Hebrew word translated as "giants" in most bibles; the Book of 1 Enoch describes them as being the offspring of the "Watchers", or angels; it is said that 200 of the Watchers made a pact and came down to the earth, impregnated human women, and taught their children the corruptions of the world such as warfare, makeup, and magic
Nergal: (Meslamtaea; Gugalanna; Greek Hades) Ereshkigal's husband; called the "Great Bull of Heaven"
Nimrod: (Akkadian Sharru-Kin) Biblical emperor in Genesis 10:8-12; "A mighty hunter before Yahweh"
Ninazu: A god of the netherworld
Ningal: Wife of the moon god Nanna
Ningishzida: (Babylonian Kingu) God of the dawn whose symbol was the caduceus; in Akkadian myth, he was sacrificed so that his blood could be used to create mankind; in the Myth of Adapa, he guarded the gates of heaven besides Dumuzi
Ninhursag: See Ninmah
Ninmah: ("Noble Queen"; Aruru; Ninhursag; Nintu; Nisaba) Mother goddess who helps Enki shape man from clay; Mother to Ninurta
Ninlil: ("Lady of Air"; Akkadian Mullitu, Mylitta) Wife of Enlil; after being raped in Uruk by Enlil, she follows him into the underworld and gives birth to three gods to replace Suen so that he can return
Nisaba: See Ninmah
Ninshubur: Inanna's vizier
Ninsun: (Sirtur) Wife of Lugal-Banda and divine mother of the Ur III rulers
Ninti: ("Lady of Life; Lady of the Rib") Goddess that Ninmah gives birth to in order to heal Enki
Nintu: See Ninmah
Ninurta: (Ningirsu; Babylonian Marduk; Hurrian/Hittite Teshub; Greek Zeus) Warlike storm god in charge of the South Wind; son of Enlil and principle deity of Lagash; also called "Farmer of Enlil"
Nippur: City of Enlil; holiest city in Sumer and Akkad, holding the largest library of texts in the country
Nusku: Enlil's vizier
Pazuzu: (Sumerian Anzu, Imdugud; Greek Zeus) Assyrian sphinx-like demon with a lion's head, large wings, and small goat horns; they rise from beneath the stagnant waters of Kur and can possess bodies and must be exorcised; king of the wind demons
pikku: An unidentified object that Enkidu went into the netherworld to get; perhaps a musical instrument
Sagburru: Old crone that outwitted the Mashmash exorcist
Saggiga: ("Black-headed ones") See Sumerians
Sargon the Great: See Sharru-Kin
Sargon II: See Sharru-Kin II
Semitic: Designating a major subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages which include: Northeastern (Akkadian), Northwestern (Hebrew, Phoenician, Aramaic, etc.), and Southwestern (Arabic, Ethiopic, etc.); derived from Noah's son Shem ("Name"), who was said to be father of the Hebrews, Elamites, Assyrians and Arabians; commonly refers to the Jewish race
Shamayim: (Sumerian An) Hebrew word for the sky and the heavens
Sharru-Kin: ("Legitimate-King"; Biblical Nimrod, Sargon) A former cup bearer to Ur-Zababa of Kish; he defeated Lugal-Zagesi to take over a unified Sumer and Akkad; founded the Akkadian Empire, centered in the lost city of Agade
Sharru-Kin II: (721-705 B.C.) An Assyrian king who made Ninevah his capital; derived from a translation in the book of Isaiah
Sharur: Ninurta's personified weapon
shekel: 1/60 of a mina
She'ol: (Sumerian Kur; Egyptian Amenti; Greek Hades, Tartarus) Hebrew term for the netherworld, although some scholars dispute this perception; listed as one of the names for Hell in the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia; translated as "grave" in most Bibles
Shubur-Hamazi: Lands to the north and northeast of Sumer
shugurra: A turban-like crown worn by Inanna
Shuruppuk: A city in south-central Sumer; home of the Ziusudra, the Sumerian Noah
Sirtur: (Ninsun) Dumuzi's mother; possibly a sheep goddess
Su: A people who helped the Elamites put an end to Ur
Suen: See Nanna
Sumerians: The first known civilization; established in Southern Babylonia in Iraq by 3500 B.C.
Susa: (Susin; Aratta) Elamite capital in western Iran
Susin: See Susa
Tammuz: See Dumuzi
tehom: Hebrew word for the primeval ocean; translated "deep" in the Bible
Teshub: (Sumerian Ninurta; Babylonian Marduk; Greek Zeus) The Hurrian storm god; fights against his father Kumarbi and his brother Ullikummi
Tiamat: (Sumerian Nammu; Canaanite Yahm-Nahar; Biblical Leviathan, Rehab, tehom, tohu; Greek Typhoeus; Hurrian/Hittite Illugankas; Greek Typheous; Roman Typhon) A multi-headed dragon that is killed by Marduk (or Ashur) to save the gods and man kind
Tidnum: Semitic land west of Sumer
tohu: (tehom) Hebrew word for formless
Torah: The first five books of the Bible: Beresheet ("In the Beginning"; Genesis), Shemot (Exodus), Va-Yikra ("And He Called"; Leviticus), Bamidbar ("In the Desert"; Numbers), and Devarim ("Words"; Deuteronomy); traditionally believed to have been dictated directly to Moshe (Moses) by God
Typhoeus: (Canaanite Yahm-Nahar, Biblical Leviathan, Rehab; Hurrian/Hittite Illugankas; Roman Typhon) Son of Tartarus and Gaea who fights with Zeus at Mt. Casius; has two snakes growing out of his shoulders
Typhon: see Typheous
Ugarit: City state near the Mediterranean coast where tablets of alphabetic cuneiform have been excavated by a French expedition
Ullikummi: A diorite man conceived in order to kill the Hurrian storm god Teshub; he fights Teshub and the others gods at Mt. Casius
Umma: A city-state neighboring Lagash that was constantly at war with it
ummia: Sage or principal of the Sumerian edubba school
Ur: City of the moon god Nanna; capital of the Ur III empire
Uruk: (Unug; Erech) City of the Sky god Anu; The white temple in Kulaba is dedicated to Anu while the E-Anna ("House of Heaven") sanctuary was dedicated to Inanna
ururu: a type of chant
Usaw: God of dusk
Utu: (Akkadian Shamash; Greco-Roman Apollo; Roman Sol) The sun god and Inanna's twin brother; he who had temples in Larsa and Sippar
Yahweh: ("I am that I am") Proper name of the God of Israel and Judah; mistranslated by Christians as "Jehovah"; translated "the LORD" in the Bible; Jews use the word "Adonai" ("Lord") instead when reading scripture aloud so as not to take the name in vain; Many Jews will not even write the words "Yahweh" or "God" on paper in case it is thrown away or otherwise destroyed
Yggdrasil: (haluppu tree; Biblical Tree of Wisdom) Norse World Tree; a great ash tree that makes up the axis of the universe and whose roots spread out to nine worlds and are gnawed on by the serpent Nidhog; Odin hung on it for nine days and went through a spiritual death and rebirth
ziggurat: A pyramidal stage-tower temple; the one in Babylon is the Tower of Babel