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Ninurta ( d Nin.IB, d Ni-nu-ut-t (a), NIN.URTA, Nin-ur-ṭa, Ni- [ur] -ta, Nin-u-ra-as, ???) is in the Sumerian , Akkadian and Assyrian mythology a god of water and war. His place of worship was the temple E-šumeša in Nippur and in Girsu the temples Eninnu and E-padun-tila , where he was partially equated with the god Ningirsu . Its symbols are the bow, the speaking double lions head club "Sarur" and the lion. He is often depicted fighting the bird demon Anzu , but also in a victorious pose on a ridge and was therefore considered a model for various depictions of rulers.

Ninurta is fighting a bird monster, probably Anzu or Azag. Drawing of a stone relief at the temple of God in Nimrud (9th century BC)


His father is Enlil , the god of wind, also called Ea and later Aššur . In the Anzu myth his mother is Mami , in other traditions Ninlil , goddess of the wind, Ninḫursanga , goddess of the mountains or Ninmaḫ , goddess of midwives. His wife is Ba'u or Gula .


Ninurta has been documented as the god of war since the early III period , who as a radiant young god defends the gods against the bird demon Anzu , the stone demon Asag and the underworld dragon Kur .

In the Babylonian period, the figure of Ninurta served as a template for the Babylonian city god Marduk , and the fight with Kur was used as a model for the fight between Marduk and Tiamat in the Enūma eliš myth. Although Ninurta was still venerated next to Marduk during the Babylonian period, his cult only flourished again in the Assyrian period as the protector of kings and god of thunder , which lasted until 200 BC. Lasted. In late Babylonian texts he is also often equated with the underworld god Nergal . Accordingly, depending on the epoch and myth, he is either associated with Gula , the goddess of healing or Ereškigal , the goddess of the underworld.


He tied the stone mountain, he slew the bull-man in the sea, he slew the six-headed ram of the wild mountains and he slew the seven-headed serpent. Even the tireless gallu demons of the underworld fear him.


  • Child of the Ekur.


Besides the fight against demons and hybrid beings, Ninurta is mainly connected with water. He irrigates the cattle pens, the ponds and gardens in town and country, he is the tidal wave of battle. Jacobsen tries to derive his name from the word for plow, but this is not generally accepted.


Lugal nir.ğál

The Sumerian poem is both a vegetation and a creation myth. At the beginning of creation, the Asag, a hybrid of bird, lion and snake, was born in the mountains. Enlil , one of the great gods, fights the demon. But it is not strong enough and it fails. Asag gets angry and tears down the sky. Therefore chaos breaks out on earth and the state before creation returns. The god of war Ninurta, "who knows his trade", is called to help. He defeats Asag and restores the world order. With his help the rivers bring water again and the fertility of the land is guaranteed.

The Anzu Myth

This myth has come down to us in a Sumerian and an Akkadian version.

Enlil receives news that the bird Anzu was born in the mountains. Enlil uses the bird as a gatekeeper for his temple. The mighty Enlil always carries the plates of fate with him. On them the fates of men and gods are described and they give their owner divine powers. Anzu notices Enlil taking down the blackboards before bathing. He cunningly steals them and flees with them into the mountains. Because of this event, life on earth ceases. Several gods are trying to get the tablets back; they all fail. The wise Ea had the idea of ​​sending Ninurta to fight. After a long battle, Ninurta is finally able to kill the Anzu and return the Destiny Tables to their original owner. The world order has been restored and the vegetation saved.

Ninurta 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 remain the owner of the destiny plates from now on.


A clay tablet which Adam Falkenstein called the "Song of Ninurta" tells of a journey from Nippur to Eridu , Enki's residence , which the hero Ninurta undertook to ensure the fertility of the land.


  • Gerhard J. Bellinger: Knaurs Lexikon der Mythologie. Munich, Knaur 1999. ISBN 3-8289-4155-9
  • Otto E. Dietz: Real Lexicon of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archeology. Berlin / New York 2005.
  • J. van Dijk: Lugal ud me-lam-bi nir-ğal. Le récit épique et didactique des travaux de Ninurta, du déluge et de la nouvelle création. Brill, Leiden 1983, ISBN 90-04-06871-6
  • Stephanie Dalley: Myths from Mesopotamia: creation, the flood, Gilgamesh, and others. Oxford 1998.
  • Helmut Freydank u. a .: Lexicon of the Old 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
  • K. Hecker, in: Texts from the environment of the Old Testament 3/4. Myths and epics, Gütersloher Verl.-Haus Mohn, Gütersloh 1994, ISBN 3-579-00075-6 .
  • Michael Jordan: Dictionary Of Gods and Godesses. New York 2004.
  • Gwendolyn Leick: A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology. New York 1998.
  • W. Römer, in: Texts from the environment of the Old Testament 3, myths and epics. Gütersloher Verlags-Haus Mohn, Gütersloh 1993, ISBN 3-579-00074-8
  • Jacobsen, Thorkild. The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976, ISBN 978-0300022919 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gwendolyn Leick: A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology. P. 135
  2. Stephanie Dalley: Myths from Mesopotamia. P. 326
  3. a b George A. Barton, The Problem of the Origin and Early History of the Deity Nin-Ib (Nin-Urta, Nin Urash). Journal of the American Oriental Society 46, 1926, 231
  4. Michael Jordan: Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, p. 224
  5. ^ Anzu myth, panel 1
  6. ibid.
  7. ibid.
  8. Jacobsen, T. (1976). The Treasures of Darkness. P. 127
  9. ^ Daniel Reisman, Ninurta's Journey to Eridu. Journal of Cuneiform Studies 24, 1/2, 1971, 3-10