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Enki, with the Tigris and the Euphrates rising from his shoulders. The goat as his symbolic animal at his feet

Enki ( Sumerian d en-KI ??? Lord Earth; Akkadian Ea water house) is the name of the Sumerian god of wisdom and ruler of the freshwater ocean Abzu . He is also considered the god of craftsmen, artists and magicians. His special achievement was the creation of humans. Enki is shown with the rivers Euphrates and Tigris , which flow from his shoulders. In his hand he holds a vessel from which water gushes. He is accompanied by his symbolic animals, such as the goat fish (sometimes just a goat or just a fish) and the turtle. The boat and a staff with a ram's head are his utensils.


According to the Sumerian lists of gods, Enki is the son of An and Ki . However, in myths such as Enki and Nammu and the Atraḫasis epic , Nammu is referred to as his mother. His wife is Ninki in the Sumerian lists of gods ; in Babylonian times it is replaced by Damkina . In the myth of Enki and Ninhursanga , Ninursanga is his wife. His most famous children are Nanše and Asalluḫi , who was equated with Marduk by the Babylonians in order to establish Marduk as the son of Enki / Ea. Also namtar is named as his son. He is still considered to be the creator of the Abgal , Enkidu and many other gods and demons.


Enki has been documented since the early Sumerian period and is shown in various inscriptions that worship him as a freshwater god and god of life-giving moisture. As part of the name, Enki can be traced back even further. His main shrine Eapsu was in the city of Eridu and secured the supremacy of the city in the early days. As one of the most important gods in the Mesopotamian pantheon, Enki had temples in many other cities. When the influence of Eridus declined, his main shrine was moved to Uruk , which is reflected in the myth of Inanna and Enki .

Group of heroes in front of the god Enki, holding a bowl from which water flows


Enki is considered to be the creator of humans in various myths. Furthermore, he is considered to be the owner of the destiny plates ME, on which the fates of gods and people are written.

Enki and the world order

After Enki had redirected the Euphrates in order to make the land of Dilmun fertile, he ejaculated into the Tigris to give fertility to it too. Then he distributes the various animals of the water, land and mountains to their posts and assigns their tasks to the gods. His daughter Inanna is used as the chief priestess who brings life to earth year after year through the holy wedding .

Enki and Inanna

Inanna comes to Enki in Eridu and beguiles him with beer and her beauty. When Enki is completely drunk and gives her 14 wishes on the way, these wishes are inscribed on the destiny boards and enable Inanna to take them with her. When Enki comes to his senses again and notices the deception, he sends his demons to Inanna, but Inanna can convince the demons that she is now the legitimate owner of the destiny plates. Enki gives up and announces that from now on the wisdom tablets should stay in Uruk, Inanna's city.

Enki and Ninmah

Enki and Ninmah compete to see who can create better people. Ninmah then creates various people with disabilities. However, Enki gives everyone a role in society. Thereupon Enki turns the tables and in turn creates the being Umu'ul, with whom Ninmah does not know what to do because it is a non-viable miscarriage. So she has to admit defeat to Enki.

Enki and Nammu

The gods no longer manage to get enough flour. Thereupon Nammu asks her son Enki to find a solution, whereupon Enki knocks clay from his thigh and creates people from it.

Atraḫasis epic

When the Anunnaki are tired of working and so a dispute arises between the Igigu and the Anunnaki, Enki creates people from the blood of a slain god and the clay of Abzu in order to serve the gods. However, people become too loud for the gods. Hence, the gods decide to exterminate the people and send Namtar to decimate the people with chills. But Enki reveals to his favorite person Atraḫasis how they can defeat Namtar. He does the same with Adad and Nisaba . The gods get angry and decide that Enki is no longer allowed to tell anyone about the gods' decisions. They decide to send a flood to destroy all people. However, Enki goes to Atraḫasis's hut and talks to the reed wall behind which Atraḫasis is so that he can hear everything. He advises him to build an ark , to bring his belongings and his people onto it. This is how Enki prevents the gods from completely exterminating people.

Enki and Ninhursanga

Enki desperately wants a male successor, but his wife Ninhursanga only gives him the daughter Ninisiga , the goddess of the new moon. Thereupon he impregnates his daughter, who gives birth to his daughter Ninkur , the mistress of the highlands. Since Enki still has no son, he now impregnates his granddaughter Ninkur and she gives birth to Uttu , the goddess of flax and weaving. Ninhursanga the whole thing is now too much. She advises Uttu how to resist Enki's advances. But Enki turns into a good-looking gardener and manages to mate Uttu. When Uttu notices the deception, she begs Ninhursanga for help. This removes the Enki seed and throws it on the ground. This results in eight plants that Ninhursanga Enki places in front of him for eating. Enki then falls seriously ill. The Anunna, however, see this with concern and Enlil manages to persuade Ninhursanga to help Enki. Ninhursanga then sits on Enki, takes in the seeds and gives birth to eight gods.

The hero and the turtle

When Ninurta attacked Anzu in flight, the latter dropped the fate boards. They fell into the freshwater ocean , right into Enki's realm. After the battle, Ninurta reclaimed the fate of Enki in order to rule the fate of men and gods. But Enki, who had stood by Ninurta with his magic and wisdom in the fight before, was not ready to hand them over. He praised and extolled Ninurta as the greatest warrior in the universe, but he would keep the tablets. Ninurta got angry and threatened to destroy the freshwater ocean. Thereupon Enki formed a turtle from the clay of the freshwater ocean, which in turn dug a huge hole. And when Enki Ninurta distracted, the turtle grabbed Ninurta by the toenails and dragged him into the hole. As much as Ninurta tried, he was unable to leave the hole. Enki wanted to close the hole and bury Ninurta in it, but at the request of Ninurta's mother, Ninmaḫ, released Ninurta on the condition that Enki remains the owner of the destiny plates from now on.

Enki in astronomy

In the Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian calendar Astrolabe B , the Pleiades are mentioned as the stars of Enki .

The Enki Catena crater chain on Jupiter's moon Ganymede is named after Enki.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Leick, 1998, p. 41
  2. Leick, 1998, p. 104
  3. K. Tallqvist: Sumerian Akkadian names of the dead world . Helsinki, 1934, pp. 12 ff., 88
  4. Leick, 1998, p. 40
  5. Black, 2004, pp. 215ff
  6. Römer, 2006, p. 402
  7. Römer, 2006, p. 386
  8. a b Römer, 2006, p. 363
  9. von Soden, 2006, p. 612 ff.
  10. Black, 2004, pp. 235 ff.