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Inanna on the Ishtar vase

Inanna (also Ninanna, Niniana, Ninsianna, Inana, Innin, Ninegal ; Sumerian , d IN ANNA) was one of the great Sumerian goddesses under An or after taking possession of the Eanna sanctuary, also alongside An. Cuneiform sumer dingir.svgCuneiform sumer inana.jpg


In Sumerian her name with the character MUS was written what the Red Ring bundle means. This is also one of the symbols with which she was often represented. In older times the DINGIR determinative was not always introduced as a designation for a divine being, later this is mandatory. The original variant of the name was probably nin-an-ak , "Mistress of An / Heaven". Perhaps she received it because she took possession of the Eanna as described in a story ( Inanna and the great heaven ). As soon as a vowel morpheme appears in the name, it always ends in [k], which is due to the genitive form.

As an epithet , Inanna carried, among other things, the designation " falcon of the gods" (sur 2 -du 3 must -dingir-re-e-ne). The meaning of their original name is not clear. In the further course of history it was derived from Mistress of An and Mistress of Heaven . "Queen of Heaven" and Ninegalla ("Lady of the Palace") are epithets of the Inanna.

In addition, the name occurs in the following forms: in-na (-an) -na or for the emesal form of the name ga-šan-an-na . Under Akkadian influence, Inanna had been living since the middle of the third millennium BC. Equated with Ištar . In Asia Minor , Inanna also appeared as Šawuška (In-in Ša-gur 4 -ra).


Detail from a boundary stone of the Babylonian king Meli-Šipak (1186–1171 BC). The eight-pointed star symbolized the planet Venus ( Musée du Louvre , Paris)

Her planet was Venus , she was revered as both the morning and evening star, and her holy city was Uruk , today's Warka. Her temple in Uruk was called Eanna .

Inanna had many forms and shapes. What emerges, however, are her characteristics as a goddess of love and sexual life, as a belligerent and conquering deity. Furthermore, she is considered to be the epitome of everything feminine, but also played an important role as the deity of royalty and ruler and as an astral deity . Inanna could appear male or female.

"Family relationships"

Depiction of the Holy Wedding with Dumuzi.

In Uruk she was considered the daughter of the sky god An, in other myths she appears as the daughter of the moon god Nanna and the moon goddess Ningal . However, Inanna's relationship with An is unclear. Occasionally he appears as her father, but Inanna also as his wife. Inanna's children Šara and Lulal came from this. Dumuzi usually appears as Inanna's husband . In the later Ur-III period , Ninegal is used as a special form of Inanna and takes over the following genealogy: daughter of father Nanna and mother Ningal, sister of the sun god Utu , lover of Dumuzi and sister-in-law of Geštinanna . Her messenger or vizier was Ninšubur . In other regions, Ninegal is also worshiped with Nungal ( goddess of the prison ) and is considered the daughter of the sky god An and the underworld goddess Ereškigal .


The later merging to Inanna explain the present two genealogies in the Sumerian myths. In today's research, their possible origin from the land of Aratta is discussed. In Sumerian mythology , her arguments with Enki , her holy wedding with Dumuzi and the associated descent into the underworld to Ereškigal are particularly noteworthy, with Ereškigal being named as her sister in this context.


Her symbol was the 8 or 16-sided star and her sacred number was 15. Her temple was the Egalmaḫ.


In some Sumerian city-states, it is believed that a " holy wedding " was celebrated between Inanna and the king. Here the union of Inanna with the shepherd god Dumuzi was understood.


The sources are divided into epics, songs of praise (hymns, heroic songs, šìr nam.ur.sag.ĝá d, love songs, prayers and ritual texts.


Other literary works in which she plays a role

  • Enmerkar and Ensuhkešda'anna
  • Olga Tokarczuk : Anna In w grobowcach świata , Kraków 2006
    • German translation by Esther Kinsky : Anna In in den Katakomben. The myth of the moon goddess Inanna , Berlin 2008


  • Iddin-Dagan A or song for the rite of the sacred wedding of the goddess Inanna with King Iddin-Dagan of Isin. Obtained in 14 texts from Nippur from the reign of Iddin-Dagān .
  • 2018: Opera in three acts Ahat Ilī - Sister of Gods by Aleksander Nowak with libretto by Olga Tokarczuk based on her novel Anna In w grobowcach świata / Anna In in den Katakomben


  • private prayers, especially the songs nin-me-šár-ra . These were written by En-hedu-anna , daughter of Sargon of Akkad.


  • Helgard Balz-Cochois: Inanna. Character image and cult of an unmotherly goddess . Gütersloher Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, Gütersloh 1992, ISBN 3-579-01786-1 .
  • Sylvia Brinton Perera: Inanna's Descent to the Dark Sister. A feminine initiation . Eagle Books 2018, ISBN 978-3-946136-15-6 .
  • Françoise Bruschweiler: Inanna: la déesse triomphante et vaincue dans la cosmologie sumérienne, recherche lexicographique (= Les Cahiers du Center d'Étude du Proche-Orient Ancien. Volume 4). Editions Peeters, Leuven 1987.
  • Volker Fadinger : Sulla as Imperator Felix and "Eaphroditos" (= "Darling of Aphrodite" ). In: Norbert Ehrhardt , Linda-Marie Günther (Ed.): Resistance – Adjustment – ​​Integration. The Greek world and Rome. Festschrift for Jürgen Deininger on his 65th birthday. Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-515-07911-4 , pp. 155–188, here p. 166, note 51 ( online ).
  • Helmut Freydank among others: Lexicon Alter Orient. Egypt * India * China * Western Asia. VMA-Verlag, Wiesbaden 1997, ISBN 3-928127-40-3 .
  • Brigitte Groneberg : The gods of the Mesopotamia. Cults, myths, epics. Artemis & Winkler, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-7608-2306-8 .
  • Elisabeth Hämmerling: Inanna, goddess of the moon. A Feminine Path to Wholeness , Eagle Books 2018, ISBN 978-3-946136-09-5 .
  • Hans Wilhelm Haussig (Ed.): Gods and Myths in the Middle East (= Dictionary of Mythology . Department 1: The ancient civilized peoples. Volume 1). Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1965.
  • Willem H. Ph. Römer: A Sumerian hymn with Inanna's self-praise. In: Orientalia , Volume 38, 1969, pp. 97-114.
  • C. Wilcke, U. Seidl: Inanna / Ištar (Mesopotamia). In: Dietz Otto Edzard (Hrsg.): Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Aräologie . Volume 5, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1976–1980, ISBN 3-11-007192-4 , pp. 74–89.
  • Åke W. Sjöberg: in-nin sá-gur-ra. A Hymn to the Goddess Inanna. In: Zeitschrift für Assyriologie , Volume 65/2, 1976, pp. 161-253.
  • Åke W. Sjöberg: A hymn to Inanna and her self-praise. In: Journal of Cuneiform Studies , Volume 40, 1988, pp. 165-186.
  • JJA van Dijk: Inanna robs the “big sky”. A myth. In: Stefan M. Maul (ed.): Tikip santakki mala bašmu. Festschrift for Rykle Borger on his 65th birthday on May 24, 1994 (= Cuneiform Monographs. Volume 10). Styx Publications, Groningen 1998, pp. 9-38.
  • D. Wolkstein, Samuel Noah Kramer: Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth . Harper and Row, New York 1983.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. J. van Dijk: God. A: According to Sumerian texts. In: Ernst Weidner , Wolfram von Soden (Ed.): Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Aräologie . Volume 3, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1957–1971, ISBN 3-11-003705-X , pp. 532–543, here pp. 532–534.
  2. Inez Bernhardt, Samuel Noah Kramer: Sumerian literary texts from Nippur . Berlin 1961, No. 25, line 2.
  3. ^ Samuel Noah Kramer: Cuneiform Studies and the History of Literature: The Sumerian Sacred Marriage Texts . In: Cuneiform Studies and the History of Civilization (= Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. Volume 107/6). 1963, p. 495.
  4. Barbara Böck: Thoughts on a cult festival of the ancient Mesopotamian goddess Inanna. In: Numen , Volume 51, 1, 2004, pp. 20–46, here pp. 23 ff.
  5. Willem H. Ph. Römer: A Sumerian hymn with Inanna's self-praise. In: Orientalia , Volume 38, 1969, pp. 97-114.
  6. World Premiere of Ahat Ilī - Sister of Gods. Polish Music Center in Califonia, September 9, 2018, accessed October 22, 2019 .