Inanna (/ɪˈnɑːnə/; Sumerian: 𒀭𒈹 Dinanna) was the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, combat, justice, and political power. She was later worshipped by the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians under the name Ishtar (/ˈɪʃtɑːr/; Dištar). She was known as the "Queen of Heaven" and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult center. She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star. Her twin brother was the god Utu, her husband was the god Dumuzid the Shepherd (later known as Tammuz) and her sukkal, or personal attendant, was the goddess Ninshubur (who later became the male deity Papsukkal).
- Come, Enmerkar! I shall offer you advice: let my counsel be heeded. I shall speak words to you; let them be heard.
- Rise like the sun over my holy breast! You are the jewel of my throat! Praise be to you, Enmerkar, the son of Utu!
- Father, let me have the Bull of Heaven
To kill Gilgamesh and his city.
For if you do not grant me the Bull of Heaven,
I will pull down the Gates of Hell itself,
Crush the doorposts and flatten the door,
And I will let the dead leave
And let the dead roam the earth
And they shall eat the living.
The dead will overwhelm all the living!
- My brother, I want to tell you something -- pay attention to my speech. [...] Utu, my twin, I want to tell you something -- pay attention to my speech. [...] My spouse, has made love to me, has kissed me. I wanted [the E-ana] for him. [...] But majestic An would not give him E-ana. The heavens are ours, the earth is ours: E-ana should be captured from An.
A hymn (shir-namshub) to Inana (Inana G)
- When I go, when I go -- the mighty queen;
When I, the queen, go to the abzu,
When I, Inana, go to the abzu,
When I go to the abzu, the shrine,
When I go to Eridug the good,
When I go to E-engura,
When I go to E-ana, the temple of Enlil,
when I go to where the great offering bowls stand in the open air,
when I go to where lord Enki is honoured,
when I go to where Damgalnuna is honoured,
when I go to where Asarluhi is honoured,
then I bring a dog with me,
I bring a lion with me,
I bring boxwood with me,
I bring halub wood with me.
- I go as one who brings forth water;
I go as one who brings forth water.
- When I go into the hub of the battle, I go as one who brings forth its brightest light.
When I go into the van of the battle, I go as one who brings forth its brightest light.
- When I enter the temple of Enlil, I go as its woman who triumphed over the mountains. I utter hostile words against the foreign lands; I seat my husband before me. I utter a challenge in the temples of the gods; I utter a challenge against Utu, against Nanna; I utter a challenge against Sud.
- Good as the city -- there is nothing as good as this!
Just as when Enki, the wild bull of Eridug, arrives;
as when the mother of the E-mah, Damgalnuna, arrives;
as when Asarluhi, the son of Eridug, arrives;
as when Enlil eats, as when he drinks.
- Wild bull, face of the Land! I will give life to its man! I will fulfil all its needs! I will make its man produce correct speech in the shrine.
Quotes about Inanna
- Once upon a time my princely sister holy Inana summoned me in her holy heart from the bright mountains, had me enter brick-built Kulaba. Where there was a marsh then in Unug, it was full of water. Where there was any dry land, Euphrates poplars grew there. Where there were reed thickets, old reeds and young reeds grew there. Divine Enki who is king in Eridu tore up for me the old reeds, drained off the water completely. For fifty years I built, for fifty years I was successful. Then the Martu people, who know no agriculture, arose in all Sumer and Akkad. But the wall of Unug extended out across the desert like a bird net. Yet now, here in this place, my attractiveness to her has dwindled. My troops are bound to me as a cow is bound to its calf; but like a son who, hating his mother, leaves his city, my princely sister holy Inana has run away from me back to brick-built Kulaba. If she loves her city and hates me, why does she bind the city to me? If she hates the city and yet loves me, why does she bind me to the city? If the mistress removes herself from me to her holy chamber, and abandons me like an Anzud chick, then may she at least bring me home to brick-built Kulaba: on that day my spear shall be laid aside. On that day she may shatter my shield. Speak thus to my princely sister, holy Inana.
- [H]oly Inana; without whom no lord or king could receive the lofty sceptre.
- My sister, I swear an oath by the life of heaven, I swear by the life of the rainbow of heaven, [...] I swear by the life of my throne, by my majesty: I will follow what my sister says to me, I will follow what holy Inana says to me.
- Oh mistress, let your breasts be your fields!
Inana, let your breasts be your fields,
your wide fields which pour forth flax,
your wide fields which pour forth grain!
Make water flow from them!
Provide it from them for the man!
Make water flow and flow from them!
Keep providing it from them for the man!
- [T]he woman who brings order to the Ibgal.
- [S]he made Icme-Dagan, the son of Enlil, the en priest of Unug, into their guardian -- this is what Inana, the lady of heaven and earth, did; and the great An declared his consent.
- Susa and the land of Anšan humbly saluted Inana like tiny mice. In the great mountain ranges, the teeming multitudes grovelled in the dust for her.
- The lady of heaven set her mind to capturing the great heavens, [...] Inana set her mind to capturing the great heavens.
- Holy Inana embarked on the [...] the barge. [...] The south wind, that south wind, rose up. The evil wind, that evil wind, rose up. In the distant heavens. [...] The fisherman [...] Adagbir answered holy Inana: [...] "My lady, if you travel on the barge, and he raises the south wind, that south wind, and he raises the evil wind, that evil wind, barges and small boats will sink in the marshes.
- Through the reed thickets and the tall-growing reeds. She gazed in admiration at E-ana which had come forth from heaven. Šul-a-zida, An's herdsman, grasped the cosmic tethering rope in his hands. [...] He overcame the protective deities. [...] Having drunk cleansing water from the Ulaya river, Inana stamped on the scorpion and cut off its tail. Like a lion it bellowed in an angry roar but its cries died down.
- [T]he great lady of heaven delivered those words to An. Having heard those words, An slapped his thighs in [annoyance], his voice filled with sighs of grief: "What has my child done? She has become greater than me! What has Inana done? She has become greater than me! From now on, the normal length of daylight becomes shorter, and daylight converts to night-time. From today, when the day's watch is three units long, daylight is equal to night-time." And now, when day began, it was indeed so.
- She had captured E-ana from An! She secured it. [...] Now Inana speaks of the E-ana as the house that is the place of the lady. The goddess who has attained her triumphant position, Inana who has attained her triumphant position, declares in the good place: "I have captured E-ana from An." Because you are unmatched among the Great Princes, maiden Inana, praising you is magnificent!
- I will perform in song the praise of the mistress, the trustworthy lady, the noble child of the E-mah, the spouse of the king, the woman, the goddess who is worth of the ladyship, surpassing heaven and earth. I will pay her due homage.
- One should not remove what belongs to my mistress Inana.
- May Inana pour oil on my heart that aches.
- From the river, oh Inana, let my man eat.
- A junior fisherman, a fisherman of Inana, turned the double-axe against him and struck Gudam down. Gudam began to weep, and turned pale: "Inana, spare my life! I will give you bulls of the mountains, I will make your cow-pen full! I will give you sheep of the mountains, I will make your sheepfold full!"
- Inana, I will speak of your heroism. It is pleasant to praise you!
A Hymn to Inana (23rd century BCE)
- She stirs confusion and chaos against those who are disobedient to her, speeding carnage and inciting the devastating flood, clothed in terrifying radiance.
- Lines 18-28.
- Her wrath is a devastating flood which no one can withstand.
A great watercourse, she abases those whom she despises.
The mistress, a hurin bird who lets no one escape.
Inana, a falcon preying on the gods.
- Lines 29-38.
- On the wide and silent plain, darkening the bright daylight, she turns midday into darkness. People look upon each other in anger, they look for combat. Their shouting disturbs the plain, it weighs on the pasture and the waste land. Her howling is like Ickur's and makes the flesh of all the lands tremble. No one can oppose her murderous battle -- who rivals her? No one can look at her fierce fighting, the carnage, the engulfing water, raging, sweeping over the earth, she leaves nothing behind.
- Lines 49-59.
- Her great heart performs her bidding.
- Lines 49-59.
- Humbling huge mountains as if they were piles of litter, ... She brings about the destruction of the mountain lands from east to west.
- Lines 60-72.
- Your great deeds are unparallelled, your magnificence is praised! Young woman, Inana, your praise is sweet!
- Lines 272-274.
- Mother Nature
- Uni (mythology)
- Venus (mythology)