Utu (Akkadian rendition of Sumerian dUD 𒀭𒌓 "Sun") later worshipped by East Semitic peoples as Shamash (Akkadian šamaš "Sun" is cognate to Phoenician: 𐤔𐤌𐤔 šmš, Classical Syriac: ܫܡܫܐ šemša, Hebrew: שֶׁמֶשׁ šemeš and Arabic: شمس šams) was the ancient Mesopotamian god of the sun, justice, morality, and truth, and the twin brother of the goddess Inanna, the Queen of Heaven. His main temples were in the cities of Sippar and Larsa. He was believed to ride through the heavens in his sun chariot and see all things that happened in the day. He was the enforcer of divine justice and was thought to aid those in distress. According to Sumerian mythology, he helped protect Dumuzid when the galla demons tried to drag him to the Underworld and he appeared to the hero Ziusudra after the Great Flood. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, he helps Gilgamesh defeat the ogre Humbaba.
Quotes about Utu
- May the people marvel admiringly, and may Utu witness it in joy.
- At that time the day was lord, the night was sovereign, and Utu was king.
- The messenger gave heed to the words of his king. He journeyed by the starry night, and by day he travelled with Utu of heaven.
- After day had broken and Utu had risen, the sun god of the Land lifted his head high. The king combined the Tigris with the Euphrates. He combined the Euphrates with the Tigris. Large vessels were placed in the open air, and he stood small vessels beside them, like lambs lying on the grass.
- All the yarns of Uttu, the splendour of kingship, belong to me.
- Utu, I greet you! Let me be ill no longer! Hero, Ningal's son, I greet you! Let me be ill no longer! Utu, you have let me come up into the mountains in the company of my brothers. In the mountain cave, the most dreadful spot on earth, let me be ill no longer! Here where there is no mother, there is no father, there is no acquaintance, no one whom I value, my mother is not here to say "Alas, my child!" My brother is not here to say "Alas, my brother!" … Don't make me flow away like water in a violent death! Don't make me eat saltpetre as if it were barley! Don't make me fall like a throw-stick somewhere in the desert unknown to me! Afflicted with a name which excites my brothers' scorn, let me be ill no longer! Afflicted with the derision of my comrades, let me be ill no longer! Let me not come to an end in the mountains like a weakling!
- Utu, shepherd of the land, father of the black-headed, when you go to sleep, the people go to sleep with you; youth Utu, when you rise, the people rise with you.
- The warrior is unique, he alone is the equal of many; Utu is unique, he alone is the equal of many. With your life you should always be on the side of the warrior; with your life you should always be on the side of Utu.
- You should not question the words of your mother and your personal god. The mother, like Utu, gives birth to the man.
- Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses: Utu/Šamaš (god) at Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus (Oracc) - University of Pennsylvania.