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The Uruk Period

The Ubaid Period (c. 5000-4100 BCE) when the so-called Ubaid people first inhabited the region of Sumer is followed by the Uruk Period (4100-2900 BCE) during which time cities began to develop across Mesopotamia and Uruk became the most influential. The Uruk Period is divided into 8 phases from the oldest, through its prominence, and into its decline based upon the levels of the ruins excavated and the history which the artifacts found there reveal. The city was most influential between 4100-c.3000 BCE when Uruk was the largest urban center and the hub of trade and administration. In precisely what manner Uruk ruled the region, why and how it became the first city in the world, and in what manner it exercised its authority is not fully known. The historian Gwendolyn Leick writes, “The Uruk phenomenon is still much debated, as to what extent Uruk exercised political control over the large area covered by the Uruk artifacts, whether this relied on the use of force, and which institutions were in charge. Too little of the site has been excavated to provide any firm answers to these questions. However, it is clear that, at this time, the urbanization process was set in motion, concentrated at Uruk itself” (183-184). Since the city of Ur had a more advantageous placement for trade, further south toward the Persian Gulf, it would seem to make sense that city, rather than Uruk, would have wielded more influence but this is not the case.

The city was most influential between 4100-c.3000 BCE when Uruk was the largest urban center and the hub of trade and administration.

Artifacts from Uruk appear at virtually every excavated site throughout Mesopotamia. The historian Julian Reade notes, “Perhaps the most striking example of the wide spread of some features of the Uruk culture consists in the distribution of what must be one of the crudest forms ever made, the so-called beveled-rim bowl. This kind of bowl, mould-made and mass-produced, is found in large numbers throughout Mesopotamia and beyond” (30). This bowl was the means by which workers seem to have been paid: by a certain amount of grain ladled into a standard-sized bowl. The remains of these bowls, throughout all of Mesopotamia, suggest that they “were frequently discarded immediately after use, like the aluminum foil containing a modern take-away meal” (Reade, 30). So popular was the beveled-rim bowl that manufacturing centres sprang up throughout Mesopotamia extending as far away from Uruk as the city of Mari in the far north. Because of this, it is unclear if the bowl originated at Uruk or elsewhere (though Uruk is generally held as the bowl’s origin). If at Uruk, then the beveled-rim bowl must be counted among the many of the city’s accomplishments as it is the first known example of a mass-produced product.

The City Districts & Gods

The city was divided into two sections, the Eanna District and the older Anu District, named for, and dedicated to, the goddess Inanna and her grand-father-god Anu, respectively. The famous Mask of Warka (also known as `The Lady of Uruk’) a sculpted marble female face found at Uruk, is considered a likeness of Inanna and was most likely part of a larger work from one of the temples in her district. The Eanna District was walled off from the rest of the city but it is unclear if this was for ceremonial purposes or if, in building the newer Eanna District, the builders required a wall for some reason. The historian Samuel Noah Kramer suggests that Anu, the male god, presided over the early city until the rise in popularity of his daughter Inanna and, at this time, she was given a private dwelling, complete with a wall, in the Eanna District. Since temples were considered the literal dwelling place of deities on earth, and since Inanna is regularly depicted as a goddess who very much preferred things her own way, perhaps the walled district was simply to provide her with some privacy. Kramer also notes that, even though Inanna continued to be a popular deity throughout Mesopotamia (eventually merging into Ishtar) goddesses declined in power and prestige at the same time, and at the same rate, as women’s rights deteriorated. This being the case, perhaps the Eanna district was walled off to restrict access to a male priestly class. As with much concerning Uruk’s history, however, this theory remains largely speculation.

Facade of Inanna's Temple at Uruk

Inanna played a pivotal role in the mythological history of Uruk as it was she who stole the sacred meh from her father-god Enki at the sacred city of Eridu and brought them to Uruk. The meh were, in the words of Kramer (who first translated the cuneiform) “divine decrees which are the basis of the culture pattern of Sumerian civilization.” As Eridu was considered, by the Sumerians, the first city created by the gods and a place holy to them, the removal of the meh to Uruk signified a transference of power and prestige from one city to the other. In the tale of Inanna and The God of Wisdom, Enki god goes to great lengths, once he finds the meh are stolen, to have them brought back to Eridu – but in vain. Inanna has tricked her father and now Uruk, not Eridu, would be the seat of power. Eridu was associated with rural life and the primordial sea from which life sprang; Uruk was the embodiment of the new way of life – the city. The story would have provided an ancient Mesopotamian with the reason why Eridu declined in importance and Uruk rose to the heights it did: it was the work of the gods.

Uruk's Importance & Long Decline

During the Early Dynastic Period (2900-2334 BCE), which followed the Uruk Period, Uruk was still the seat of power in the region, though in a much diminished state, and the major dynasties of the time ruled from the city. The great wall of Uruk, which was said to have been built by King Gilgamesh himself, still rose around the city when King Eannutum forged his First Dynasty of Lagash in 2500 BCE and established the first empire in the region. The later king of that empire, Lugal-Zage (also known as Lugalzagesi), so admired the city that he chose Uruk as his capital and seat of power. When Sumer was brought under the rule of the Akkadian Empire in 2334 BCE, Sargon of Akkad continued to pay special reverence to Uruk and the sacred districts of Inanna and Anu continued in use and, in fact, were renovated and improved upon.

Pottery Dish from Uruk Period

Even though the city lost the position of pre-eminence it had enjoyed during the Uruk Period, it continued to play an important position down through the Ur III Period (2047-1750 BCE). The Third Dynasty of Ur governed in such a way as to give birth to a Sumerian Renaissance and Uruk benefited from this as much as the rest of the region. With the fall of the city of Ur in 1750 BCE and the invasion of Sumer by Elamites, along with the incursions of the Amorites, Uruk went into decline along with the rest of Sumer. The city continued to play a significant role, however, throughout the Seleucid and Parthian periods of Sumer’s late history. This is a substantial point to note in that many other Sumerian cities fared far less well at this same time. The sacred districts continued to be maintained, though to lesser degrees, into the 7th century CE; long past the time when many other Mesopotamian cities had been abandoned. The historian Bertman writes, “Uruk had a life-span of 5,000 years. Its oldest layers lie virtually unexplored, submerged deep in the mud of the alluvial plain from which its life once sprouted” (37. Perhaps buried in the ancient ruins is the answer to why the first city in the world rose as it did, where it did, and remained so important to the people of Mesopotamia for so long. Unlike other cities throughout the region, it was not abandoned until the Muslim Conquest of Mesopotamia in 630 CE.






Eanna District

Building E

Buildings F G & H

Building C



The goddess Inanna was the patron and special god/goddess of the ancient Sumerian city of Erech (Uruk), the City of Gilgamesh. As Queen of heaven, she was associated with the Evening Star (the planet Venus), and sometimes with the Moon. She may also have been associated the brightest stars in the heavens, as she is sometimes symbolized by an eight-pointed star, a seven-pointed star, or a four pointed star. In the earliest traditions, Inanna was the daughter of An, the Sky, Ki, the Earth (both of Uruk and Warka). In later Sumerian traditions, she is the daughter of Nanna (Narrar), the Moon God and Ningal, the Moon Goddess (both of Ur).


Mask of Warka

The Mask of Warka, also known as the 'Lady of Uruk', from Uruk and dating from 3100 BC, is one of the earliest representations of the human face. The carved marble female face is probably a depiction of Inanna. It is approximately 20 cm (8 inches) tall, and was probably incorporated in a larger wood cult image, though it is only a presumption that a deity is represented. It is without parallels in the period.


Inana - Nanna - Diana - Danica

D Nanna - D Inana - Di Ana - Diana - Danica

(DINGIR) ili D za bogove ili druga božanstva (stara verzija: ; kasnija zajednička verzija: )

Inanna, Nanna (Norse deity)

Inanna atop Leo the lion, & moon crescent symbol of dad

Ashur, Anu, Nannar, Shala, Marduk, Enlil, & Adad symbols; Inanna riding horse symbol of her father Nannar, & Ninhursag cautions Inanna


Knot of Inanna - Ionic order


Knot of Inanna

Since Vitruvius a female character has been ascribed to the Ionic, in contrast to the masculine Doric.

Ionic order - Knot of Inanna

The Ionic order forms one of the three classical orders of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian. The Ionic capital is characterized by the use of volutes. The Ionic columns normally stand on a base which separates the shaft of the column from the stylobate or platform; the cap is usually enriched with egg-and-dart.

Egg-and-dart molding at the top of an Ionic capital


Hathor - Knot of Inanna


Stećci - Knot of Inanna

Stećci - Illyrians

Anu District

Anu Ziggurat


Anu Ziggurat - White Temple

The Anu Ziggurat began with a massive mound topped by a cella during the Uruk period c 4000 BC and was expanded through 14 phases of construction, labeled L to A3 (L is sometimes called X). Interestingly, the earliest phase, used typology similar to PPNA cultures in Anatolia; a single chamber cella with a terazzo floor beneath which, bucrania were found. In phase E, corresponding to Uruk III period c 3000 BC, the White Temple was built.



In Sumerian mythology and later for Assyrians and Babylonians, Anu was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. In art he was sometimes depicted as a jackal (linked with Mesoamerican gods). His attribute was the royal tiara, most times decorated with two pairs of bull horns.

By virtue of being the first figure in a triad consisting of Anu, Bel and Ea, Anu came to be regarded as the father and king of the gods. Anu is so prominently associated with the city of Erech in southern Babylonia that there are good reasons for believing this place to have been the original seat of the Anu cult. If this be correct, then the goddess Nana (or Ishtar) of Erech was presumably regarded as his consort.

The name of the god signifies the "high one" and he was probably a god of the atmospheric region above the earth--perhaps a storm god like Adad. However this may be, already in the old-Babylonian period, i.e. before Khammurabi, Anu was regarded as the god of the heavens and his name became in fact synonymous with the heavens, so that in some cases it is doubtful whether, under the term, the god or the heavens is meant.

It would seem from this that the grouping of the divine powers recognized in the universe into a triad symbolizing the three divisions, heavens, earth and the watery-deep, was a process of thought which had taken place before the third millennium.

To Anu was assigned the control of the heavens, to Bel the earth, and to Ea the waters.

The doctrine once established remained an inherent part of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion and led to the more or less complete disassociation of the three gods constituting the triad from their original local limitations.

An intermediate step between Anu viewed as the local deity of Erech (or some other centre), Bel as the god of Nippur, and Ea as the god of Eridu is represented by the prominence which each one of the centers associated with the three deities in question must have acquired, and which led to each one absorbing the qualities of other gods so as to give them a controlling position in an organized pantheon.

For Nippur we have the direct evidence that its chief deity, En-lil or Bel, was once regarded as the head of an extensive pantheon. The sanctity and, therefore, the importance of Eridu remained a fixed tradition in the minds of the people to the latest days, and analogy therefore justifies the conclusion that Anu was likewise worshipped in a centre which had acquired great prominence.

The summing-up of divine powers manifested in the universe in a threefold division represents an outcome of speculation in the schools attached to the temples of Babylonia, but the selection of Anu, Bel and Ea for the three representatives of the three spheres recognized, is due to the importance which, for one reason or the other, the centers in which Anu, Bel and Ea were worshipped had acquired in the popular mind.

Each of the three must have been regarded in his centre as the most important member in a larger or smaller group, so that their union in a triad marks also the combination of the three distinctive pantheons into a harmonious whole. In the astral theology of Babylonia and Assyria, Anu, Bel and Ea became the three zones of the ecliptic, the northern, middle and southern zone respectively.

The purely theoretical character of Anu is thus still further emphasized, and in the annals and votive inscriptions as well as in the incantations and hymns, he is rarely introduced as an active force to whom a personal appeal can be made. His name becomes little more than a synonym for the heavens in general and even his title as king or father of the gods has little of the personal element in it.

In Hurrian mythology, Anu was the progenitor of all gods. His son Kumarbi bit off his genitals and spat out three deities, one of whom, Teshub, later deposed Kumarbi. He bit off the genitals of Anu and spat out three new gods. One of those, the storm god Teshub, later deposed Kumarbi. Scholars have pointed to the remarkable similarities between this Hurrian creation myth and the story of Ouranos, Kronos, and Zeus from Greek mythology.

Anu as the god of Uruk, Enlil as the god of Nippur, Nanna Sin as the god of Ur and Ea as the god of Eridu.


Anu - D-Anu - Dan

D Anu - D An - D An - Dan

8-pointed star depicted by ancient Hebrews; pictograph symbol used for God

Anu's 8-pointed star in Sumer, Anu's 8-pointed star symbol, Venus, the 8th planet travelling in from outer space, symbol later given to Inanna, the goddess of love

Iškur/Adad (god)

Adad or Iškur are usually written with the logogram dIM the same symbol used for the Hurrian god Teshub.

Hadad was also called "Pidar", "Rapiu", "Baal-Zephon", or often simply Baʿal (Lord), but this title was also used for other gods. The bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad. He appeared bearded, often holding a club and thunderbolt while wearing a bull-horned headdress.

When Enki distributed the destinies, he made Iškur inspector of the cosmos. In one litany, Iškur is proclaimed again and again as "great radiant bull, your name is heaven" and also called son of Anu, lord of Karkara; twin-brother of Enki, lord of abundance, lord who rides the storm, lion of heaven.

During the Middle Assyrian Empire, from the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BCE), Adad had a double sanctuary in Assur which he shared with Anu. Anu is often associated with Adad in invocations. The name Adad and various alternate forms and bynames (Dadu, Bir, Dadda) are often found in the names of the Assyrian kings.

Adad/Iškur presents two aspects in the hymns, incantations, and votive inscriptions. On the one hand he is the god who, through bringing on the rain in due season, causes the land to become fertile, and, on the other hand, the storms that he sends out bring havoc and destruction. He is pictured on monuments and cylinder seals (sometimes with a horned helmet) with the lightning and the thunderbolt (sometimes in the form of a spear), and in the hymns the sombre aspects of the god on the whole predominate. His association with the sun-god, Shamash, due to the natural combination of the two deities who alternate in the control of nature, leads to imbuing him with some of the traits belonging to a solar deity.

Hadad in Aram and ancient Israel

In the second millennium BCE, the king of Yamhad or Halab (modern Aleppo) received a statue of Ishtar from the king of Mari, as a sign of deference, to be displayed in the temple of Hadad located in Halab Citadel. The king of Aleppo called himself "the beloved of Hadad". The god is called "the god of Aleppo" on a stele of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser I.

The element Hadad appears in a number of theophoric names borne by kings of the region. Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated the Midianites in the country of Moab, was the fourth king of Edom. Hadadezer ("Hadad-is-help"), the Aramean king defeated by David. Later Aramean kings of Damascus seem to have habitually assumed the title of Ben-Hadad, or son of Hadad, just as a series of Egyptian monarchs are known to have been accustomed to call themselves sons of Ammon. An example is Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram whom Asa, king of Judah, is said to have employed to invade the northern kingdom, Israel. In the 9th or 8th century BCE, the name of Ben-Hadad 'Son of Hadad', king of Aram, is inscribed on his votive basalt stele dedicated to Melqart, found in Bredsh, a village north of Aleppo. A Hadad was also the seventh of the twelve sons of Ishmael.

As a byname we find Aramaic rmn, Old South Arabic rmn, Hebrew rmwn, Akkadian Rammānu ("Thunderer"), presumably originally vocalized as Ramān in Aramaic and Hebrew. The Hebrew spelling rmwn with Massoretic vocalization Rimmôn is identical with the Hebrew word meaning 'pomegranate' and may be an intentional misspelling and parody of the original.

The word Hadad-rimmon, for which the inferior reading Hadar-rimmon is found in some manuscripts in the phrase "the mourning of (or at) Hadad-rimmon", has been a subject of much discussion. According to Jerome and all the older Christian interpreters, the mourning is for something that occurred at a place called Hadad-rimmon (Maximianopolis) in the valley of Megiddo. The event alluded to was generally held to be the death of Josiah (or, as in the Targum, the death of Ahab at the hands of Hadadrimmon). But even before the discovery of the Ugaritic texts some suspected that Hadad-rimmon might be a dying-and-rising god like Adonis or Tammuz, perhaps even the same as Tammuz, and the allusion could then be to mournings for Hadad such as those which usually accompanied the Adonis festivals. T. K. Cheyne pointed out that the Septuagint reads simply Rimmon, and argues that this may be a corruption of Migdon (Megiddo), in itself a corruption of Tammuz-Adon. He would render the verse, "In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of the women who weep for Tammuz-Adon". No further evidence has come to light to resolve such speculations.

In Sanchuniathon's account Hadad is once called Adodos, but is mostly named Demarûs. This is a puzzling form, probably from Ugaritic dmrn, which appears in parallelism with Hadad, or possibly a Greek corruption of Hadad Ramān. Sanchuniathon's Hadad is son of Sky by a concubine who is then given to the god Dagon while she is pregnant by Sky. This appears to be an attempt to combine two accounts of Hadad's parentage, one of which is the Ugaritic tradition that Hadad was son of Dagon. The cognate Akkadian god Adad is also often called the son of Anu ("Sky"). The corresponding Hittite god Teshub is likewise son of Anu (after a fashion).

In Sanchuniathon's account, it is Sky who first fights against Pontus ("Sea"). Then Sky allies himself with Hadad. Hadad takes over the conflict but is defeated, at which point unfortunately no more is said of this matter. Sanchuniathion agrees with Ugaritic tradition in making Muth, the Ugaritic Mot, whom he also calls "Death", the son of El.

Adad with his weapon of brilliance

Hadad was a dying-and-rising god

A palace is built for Ba‘al/Hadad with cedars from Mount Lebanon and Sirion and also from silver and from gold. In his new palace Ba‘al hosts a great feast for the other gods. When urged by Kothar-wa-Khasis, Ba’al, somewhat reluctantly, opens a window in his palace and sends forth thunder and lightning. He then invites Mot 'Death' (god of drought and underworld), another son of El, to the feast.

But Mot is insulted. The eater of human flesh and blood will not be satisfied with bread and wine. Mot threatens to break Ba‘al into pieces and swallow Ba‘al. Even Ba‘al cannot stand against Death. Gaps here make interpretation dubious. It seems that by the advice of the goddess Shapsh 'Sun', Ba‘al has intercourse with a heifer and dresses the resultant calf in his own clothes as a gift to Mot and then himself prepares to go down to the underworld in the guise of a helpless shade. News of Ba‘al's apparent death leads even El to mourn. ‘Anat, Ba‘al's sister, finds Ba‘al's corpse, presumably really the dead body of the calf, and she buries the body with a funeral feast. The god ‘Athtar is appointed to take Ba‘al's place, but he is a poor substitute. Meanwhile ‘Anat finds Mot, cleaves him with a sword, burns him with fire, and throws his remains on the field for the birds to eat. But the earth is still cracked with drought until Shapsh fetches Ba‘al back.

Seven years later Mot returns and attacks Ba‘al in a battle which ceases only when Shapsh tells Mot that El now supports Ba’al. Thereupon Mot at once surrenders to Ba‘al/Hadad and recognizes Ba‘al as king.

Adad with divine weapons not understood by earthlings

Mesopotamian "storm" god, associated with both life-giving and destructive properties of rain and flood.

Sumerian Iškur and his Akkadian counterpart Adad, syncretised TT  at an early stage, were storm gods, ambivalent figures whose intervention might either benefit or harm humankind. The destructive aspects of the storm god are often prominent in southern Mesopotamia, whereas in the north he was venerated to a greater extent as the beneficent bringer of rain. This probably reflects the differing importance of rainfall for agriculture in the respective regions (cf. Bienkowski and Millard 2000: 2; Schwemer 2007: 129-130). However, both sides of Iškur/Adad's character are explored in Sumerian and Akkadian literature (Schwemer 2001a: 182-3; 419-424; 2007: 134-5).

His ability to deploy the destructive forces of nature meant that Iškur/Adad was also conceptualised as a warlike figure. In one Sumerian hymn, Iškur 'destroys the rebellious land like the wind. He makes it barren like the ašagu plant' (Cohen 1981: 60). Similar themes appear in Akkadian texts, including omen apodoses TT  where Adad overwhelms the army or land of the enemy (Schwemer 2001a: 416-19, 687-69).

Adad was also associated with divination and justice. Paired with Šamaš, he is addressed as 'lord of prayers and divination', and invoked to preside over haruspicies TT  or as a witness in legal contexts (Schwemer 2001a: 221-6, 323-7, 683-7; Foster 2005: 754-6; Starr 1983: 30ff.).

Divine Genealogy and Syncretisms

According to what became the dominant genealogy, Iškur/Adad's father is the sky-god An/Anu. However, in Sumerian literature Iškur is sometimes the son of Enlil; the disparity probably reflects two local traditions (see further Schwemer 2001a: 166-8; 2007: 132-3). A mother of Iškur/Adad is mentioned only once, in an Old Babylonian prayer where Iškur is called the son of Uraš (Schwemer 2001a: 168).

Iškur's wife is the goddess Medimša; Adad's wife is Šala. The god list An = Anum attests five children for Iškur/Adad: two sons, and three daughters (Litke 1998: 143 ll. 246-252; Schwemer 2001a: 67-9).

The storm god was equated with other Near Eastern storm gods including north Babylonian/Assyrian Wer, Hurrian Teššub and Hittite-Luwian Tarhun.


Cult Places

Iškur/Adad was worshipped all over Mesopotamia and beyond. In Babylonia an early centre of his cult was the temple é-u4-gal-gal(-la), 'House of Great Storms,' at Karkar, where he was head of the local pantheon; in the first millennium this role was played by the northern city of Zabban. He had a temple at Babylon - 'House of Abundance' - and sanctuaries in other cities including Sippar, Nippur, Ur, and Uruk (Schwemer 2001a: 129-61, 304-84, 638-49).

The important temple of Adad at Assur, the 'House which Hears Prayers', was converted into a double temple of Adad and Anu by king Šamši-Adad I (ca. 1808-1776 BCE). Adad's main cult centre during the Neo-Assyrian period was at Kurbaʾil, but temples for him existed in Kalhu, Nineveh and many other cities (Schwemer 2001a: 237ff, 577-81, 595-611).


Elamite god In-Shushinak

The ziggurat at Choga Zambil, southeast of Susa, was built c. 1280 B.C. in honor of the otherwise Elamite god In-Shushinak (Iskur, Addad, Haddad, Rimmon, Rammon, Adonis, Baal in the Bible).


Mare Hadriaticum - (Hadad)

Adad symbol

The origins of the name Adriatic are linked to the Etruscan settlement of Adria. In classical antiquity, the sea was known as Mare Adriaticum (Mare Hadriaticum, also sometimes simplified to Adria).

Adria (Tyrsenian) - HADRIATICVM MARE


Adad/Anu - Adana - Dan

Adad - Anu symbols

During the Middle Assyrian Empire, from the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BCE), Adad had a double sanctuary in Assur which he shared with Anu. Anu is often associated with Adad in invocations. The name Adad and various alternate forms and bynames (Dadu, Bir, Dadda) are often found in the names of the Assyrian kings. In Assyria, Adad was developed along with his warrior aspect.

Adad Anu - Ad ana - Adana - Dan



Adriatic sea; Serbo-Croatian: Jadransko More / Јадранско море; Slovene: Jadransko Morje; In Croatian and Slovene, the sea is often referred to as simply Jadran.

Hadad Ra Anu = Adrian = Jadran

  • Hadrian - (Hadad-Ra-Anu)
  • Adrian - (Adad-Ra-Anu)

Hadrian (ADad-Ra-ANu) - ADriaN - JaDraN


Ad Ra An

Adad (horn) - Ra (sun) - Anu (star)




Hathor Lady of Birth

Hathor (also spelled Athor) was the goddess of love, fertility, beauty, music, and mirth. She was represented either as a cow or as a woman with cow’s horns with the solar disk nested between them.

Hathor’s name means “house of Horus" - “house of Thor"



Horus - Adad

Mjölnir - Thors Hammer

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