In Sumerian mythology, Nanshe (Sumerian: 𒀭𒀏 dNANŠE) was the daughter of Enki and Ninhursag. Her functions as a goddess were varied. She was a goddess of social justice, prophecy, fertility and fishing. Like her father, she was heavily associated with water. She held dominion over the Persian Gulf and all the animals within. Her seat of power was the Sirara temple, located in the city of Nina. Her consort was Nindara.
- I am the mistress, so let my birds assemble for me where the sheaves are gathered!
I am Nance, so let my birds assemble for me where the sheaves are gathered!
Let the birds of heaven and earth stand at my service!
Let every bird without a name bring offerings!
Quotes about Nanshe
- A fish is held in her hand as a staff. [...] Fishes are put on her feet as sandals. [...] She has fishes wrapped around her body as a regal garment.
- The runner-fish (kackac) hastens (kac) to her.
The gurgur fish makes the sea surge up (gurgur) for her.
The flash-fish (jiri) makes the sea sparkle (jir) for her.
- Fishes will grow for her in the sea.
Fishes fly around for her like swallows.
- "I, the lady, will ride on my boat, I will ride home.
I will ride on the prow of the boat, I will ride home."
Its canopy of gold and fragrant cedarwood sparkles for her on the sea.
Its cabin shines for her like rejoicing moonlight on the sea.
"My husband is the tax collector of the sea,
Nindara is the tax collector of the sea."
- Upon the water like a large pelican. Stepping onto earth from heaven.
- Nance, sister praised by the Anuna!
Mother, beautiful matriarch of Enlil!
Nance, delighting in her pelican, erected a lapis lazuli shrine, and set the holy pelican by her feet.
She who loves the fishes and birds!
You are she who does not belittle!
Mistress mother Nance, it is sweet to praise you!
A hymn to Nanshe
- There is a city, there is a city whose powers are apparent.
Nijin is the city whose powers are apparent.
The holy city is the city whose powers are apparent.
The mountain rising from the water is the city whose powers are apparent.
Its light rises over the secure temple; its fate is determined.
There is perfection in the city; the rites of mother Nance are performed accordingly.
Its lady, the child born in Eridug, Nance, the lady of the precious divine powers, is now to return.
- She is beer mash, the mother is yeast, Nance is the cause of great things: her presence makes the storehouses of the land bulge and makes the honey [...] like resin in the storerooms. Because of her, there stand vessels with ever-flowing water; because of Nance, the baskets containing the treasures of the Land (𒌦) cover the ground like the silt of the river.
- She is concerned for the orphan and concerned for the widow.
She does not forget the man who helps others,
she is a mother for the orphan;
Nance, a carer for the widow,
who always finds advice for the debt-slave;
the lady who gives protection for refugees.
She seeks out a place for the weak.
She swells his collecting basket for him;
she makes his collecting vessel profitable for him.
For the righteous maiden who has taken her path,
Nance chooses a young man of means.
Nance raises a secure house like a roof over the widow who could not remarry.
- There is perfection in the presence of the lady. Lagac thrives in abundance in the presence of Nance. She chose the cennu in her holy heart and seated Ur-Nance, the beloved lord of Lagac, on the throne. She gave the lofty sceptre to the shepherd. She adorned Gudea with all her precious divine powers. The shepherd chosen by her in her holy heart, Gudea, the ruler of Lagac, placed the lyre Cow-of-Abundance among the tigi drums and placed the holy balaj drum at its side. While sacred songs and harmonious songs were performed before her, the kintur instrument praised the temple. The chief musician played the ibex horn for her: the song 'The house has been granted powers from the abzu', the sacred song of the house of Sirara about the princely powers was performed.
- The dream interpreteter went into the sacristy and made glittering silver ecde cups ready for her. The temple cook [...] and prepared hot and cold food for her. [...] After the meat had arrived in large bowls and cool water had been brought from the Sirara-canal, after the festival trappings had arrived from Lagac and wine had been brought from the countryside, her great oven which vies with the great dining hall, Nance's shrine of food offerings, was humming.
- The lady, the matriarch of Enlil, Nance, the lady of abundance who lives in in the Land, [...] the child of Enki, acting as a good woman for a good household, is to make the appointments. After she, as a good woman for a good household, has made the appointments, the regular offerings and daily goods of the house arrive unfailingly from the Bursaj.
- May the lady of the right commands and inalienable divine powers, Nance, be praised in all the countries!
- At new year, on the day of rites, the lady libates water on the holy. [...] On the day when the bowls of rations are inspected, Nance also inspects the servants during the appointments. Her chief scribe Nisaba places the precious tablets on her knees and takes a golden stylus in her hand. She arranges the servants in single file for Nance and then it will be decided whether or not a leather-clad servant can enter before her in his leather, whether or not a linen-clad servant can pass before her in his linen. Any registered and [...] hired person about whom observers and witnesses claim to witness his fleeing from the house will be terminated in his position. [...] The king who always cares for the faithful servants, Haia, the man in charge of registration, registers on a tablet him who is said to be a faithful servant of his lady but deletes from the tablet her who is said not to be the maidservant of her lady. [...] These words are ultimate; nothing is to be added to these rites.
- At Nance's house, the river of the ordeal cleanses a person. [...] No obstinate or threatening utterance shall arise.
- Anyone who [...] his hand and reaches out for something forcefully, and whose hand matches his mouth and who commits violence, who changes a firm foundation or alters a marked out border, who is rushing to the place of oath, [...] who desire something after having acquired something, who does not say "I have eaten" after having eaten, and does not say "I have drunk" after having drunk, and then says, "I will set a bowl before you, I will filter beer for you"; [...] then Nance does not allow him to eat any bread with fat or shining eggs, because of the violation.
- For the lady who cares for all the countries, the queen, mother Nance, sees into their hearts: the orphan, [...] the widow, [...] the waif delivered up to the powerful, the powerful delivered to the powerless, the mother who scolds at her child, the child who talks obstinately to his mother, the younger brother who talks against his elder brother or talks back his his father. [...] Nance sees into the heart of the Land as if it were a split reed.
- The guarantor of boundaries, the expert in righteous words, lady, wise woman who founded Lagac. [...] The lady who like Enlil determines fates, who is seated on the throne of Sirara -- she, the pure one, looks at her powers. At the house which has been granted powers from the abzu, in Sirara, the gods of Lagac gather around her. To weigh silver with standard weights, to standardise the size of reed baskets, they establish an agreed ban measure throughout the countries.
- [T]he lady of the storerooms, [...] with vessels with ever-flowing water and with [...] reed containers which never become empty, she ordered her herald, lord Hendursaja to make them profitable.
- My lady, your divine powers are mighty powers, surpassing all other divine powers; Nance, there are no divine powers matching your powers. An, the king, looks joyfully at you, as you sit with Enlil on the throne-dais where the fates are to be determined. Father Enki determined a fate for you. Nance, child born in Eridug, sweet is your praise.