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ANAHITA  August 1997

ANAHITA August 1997

Subject:

forward: Priestesses as God's wives and politics

From:

Ross Scaife <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 8 Aug 1997 11:16:54 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (95 lines)

forwarded to Anahita for Michelle Hart ([log in to unmask]):

I'd like to add the following notes in support of what Sheila Michaels
wrote about Enheduanna with regard to her position as "Spouse of Nanna".

I reccommend Joan Goodnick Westenholz's article,
Westenholz, Joan Goodnick 1989  "Enheduanna, En-Priestess, Hen of Nanna,
Spouse of Nanna" in Dumu-E-Dub-Ba-A: Studies in honor of Ake Sjoberg
p.539-556. Occasional Publications From the Samuel Noah Kramer Foundation.

Westenholz cites the inscription on the back of Enheduanna's alabaster disk
and continues:

"Enheduanna, the zirru of Nanna, the spouse of Nanna, daughter of Sargon,
king of Kish, erected a socle in the temple of Inanna.ZA.ZA of Ur and named
it "the stepped offering table of heaven"
In Old Babylonian times, copies of Old Akkadian and UrIII royal
inscriptions were made both in Nippur, Ur and probably Larsa as well; and
among those collections, a copy of Enheduanna's inscription also appears.
Thus, the inscriptions of an en-priestess of yore were of the same public
importance as those of the kings.  Note, however, the statement as well as
the depiction portray her in relation to Inanna in one of her forms.*
Neither the inscription nor the picture testifies to her relationship with
Nanna/Suen or anything related to his cult beyond the titles which she
adopts.

*In her article, Irene Winter argues that the iconography of the disk
reflects the cult of the God Nanna basing herself on a generalization that
"dedicatory inscriptions on specific objects almost never name the object
itself" (p.192, note 16).  The visual evidence that she marshalls does not
seem to the present writer to be conclusive.

It is clear that the Sumerians worshipped several Gods and Goddesses
simultaneously and that the hierarchy among the divine changed constantly
and cannot be seen as something fixed.  Hence, Enheduanna's title may have
been spouse of Nanna, (in reference to the sacred marriage rites, she
couldn't be called spouse of a goddess) and Inanna was occasionally
referred to as "hierodule of An" (nin-me-sa-ra ln.3), yet that didn't seem
to diminish Inanna's power nor did it restrict Enheduanna's worship to
Nanna alone. Enheduanna acclaims Inanna over Nanna in her most well-known
poem, Nin-me-sar-ra, "The Exaltation of Inanna"
ln122:That one has not recited as a "Known! Be it known! of Nanna,
        that one has recited as a "Tis Thine!"
ln123 That you are lofty as Heaven be it known! etc...
ln 133 That one has not recited (this) of Nanna,
        that one has recited it as a "this Thine!"-
ln 134 (That,) oh my lady, has made you great, you alone are exalted!

Enheduanna reveals in Nin-me-sa-ra one aspect of her role as high priestess
of Nanna that she cannot perform while the kingship has been seized and she
is in exile:
ln 119 I may no longer reveal the pronouncements of Ningal to man.
ln 120 Yet I am the brilliant high priestess of Nanna

This reveals her that her duties involved service to Ningal as well as to
Nanna.

Demonstrating the blurry lines of hierarchy among the Gods, Enheduanna
writes about Inanna in her poem, in-nin sa-gur-ra, "Stout Hearted Lady"

ln 93 The beloved Lady of the holy An, ....
ln 96 You alone (are) great, you have a (famous) name, heaven and earth...
ln 97 You rival An and Enlil, you sit on their seat
ln 104 The Anunna-gods bow down their nose, they hurl themselves to the
ground
ln 106 The great An feared your..., he was frightened of your
dwelling-place

It would seem that while Enheduanna's title was high priestess of Nanna,
Inanna was the ruling deity of Erech and of Sargon's empire and
Enheduanna's cycle of hymns to Inanna were crucial in propagating that.
Enheduanna's role as theologian can also be witnessed in her cycle of
temple hymns which has been seen as served her father's political ambitions
of uniting SUmer and Akkad.[Hallo & VanDijk, 1968, "The Exaltation of
Inanna"]

Her roles in the political, theological and literary spheres cannot be
undermined by simply reflecting on her title.

Michelle Hart

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