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ANAHITA  August 1997

ANAHITA August 1997

Subject:

Re: forward: Priestesses as God's wives and politics

From:

mac566f <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 11 Aug 1997 11:48:59 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (114 lines)

>Michelle Hart ([log in to unmask]):

>"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.


Old Babylonian scribes copied lots of ancient inscriptions, and we are
indebted to their antiquarian interests. We do not know why particular
scribes copied particular inscriptions. We do know that there was
considerable interest in the great kings of olden times: Gilgamesh,
Sargon, Naram-Sin and the Ur-III kings. Perhaps scribes copied
Enheduanna's inscription because they associated her with Sargon. Just as
we have a corpus of Enheduanna's poetry, we also have Ur III court
poetry. And that poetry was probably composed by women, if not the queens
themselves. Michelle Hart's conclusion may be correct, but there are
other possibilities.

>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 defense of Winter's position I would add that Wooley found the shards
of the plaque in the Nanna temple area at Ur. He called it the gipparu
(Akk.), the place where the en lived. I don't know what Wooley's
justification was for this, but the title dam Nanna, spouse of Nanna,
together with find spot forces me to take Winter's position seriously.

>*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.

Agreed.
>
>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.

"Several gods and goddesses simultaneously. . ." is understatement. When
the Ur-III queen Shulgisimti oversaw sacrifices, individual texts record
her ordering animals for a dozen or more deities at once!

A personal note questioned why I was so adament earlier about
Endeduanna's status. After all, her title dam Nanna can be translated
"wife of Nanna." Quite a few sumerologist use "spouse" rather than "wife"
in English translations for several interlocking reasons. The range of
dam is different than wife. In Enheduanna's time, dam is used to denote
both the wife of a man and the female companion of a god.In early Ur III
times, dam and lukur (Akk. naditu) seem to describe both wives of men and
gods, and were used interchangeably. Later in the Ur III period, lukur is
used only to describe the wife of a deified king or god, and dam is
reserved for human relationships. Since "spouse" has the special meaning
of a woman affianced to God, it seems to be a good translation of lukur
in neo-Sumerian and dam in Enheduanna's inscription.

The only clear evidence for the Sacred Marriage ritual in which a king
has intercourse with a woman who represents a goddess is in the
Iddin-Dagan hymn which dates to the Isin-Larsa age. Whether or not en
priestesses and kings actually performed the sacred marriage in earlier
times is open to debate.

>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"]

One of Enheduanna's titles was high priestess. Two seals of her servants
have survived, and there she is called "daughter of Sargon." If her
authority to construct a socle for Inanna required both an association
with Nanna and the king, her power to command servants derived from her
lineage alone.
>
>Her roles in the political, theological and literary spheres cannot be
>undermined by simply reflecting on her title.

This presumes that Winter tried to undermine something about Enheduanna.
I don't see that in the article under discussion.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Marc Cooper, History, Southwest Missouri State University
Springfield, Missouri 65804 USA
[log in to unmask]

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Diotima's address: http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/gender.html

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