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Notes on Ninmessara:

Enheduanna describes Inanna's violent nature appropriate of a Goddess of War as in the previous poems.

Enheduanna addresses what happens to those, eg. Mount Ebih, who do not defer to Inanna.

Enheduanna then describes what Inanna, in her role as Love Goddess, has inflicted upon the city of Uruk.

Enheduanna now states her plea to Inanna:

Enheduana tells us that Inanna asked her to be a high priestess and live in the holy cloister, giparu. She mentions some of the duties of the high priestess: carrying the ritual basket, intoning the ahulap, which is sometimes translated as a sacred incantation (Goodnick, 1987). A discussion about Enheduana's role as high priestess is forthcoming.

Then she refers to a historical event when Lugalanne, siezed control from Sargon, her father, and she was banished from her temple. As a result of losing her connection to Inanna, Enheduana mourns that she lost her beauty. For further discussion about the Goddess of Love and her sacred servant or "sacred prostitute", see Corbett's excellent book,
"The Sacred Prostitute Archetype".

Enheduana mentions Inanna's anger toward her as in the previous poem:

Enheduana pleads with Inanna to help her because Nanna refuses to.

Enheduana laments that in this state of unrest, she is unable to perform her role as high priestess:

The "ritual couch" alludes to the sacred marriage rite in which she receives
Ningal's premonitions and then shares them with the one who is requesting
the information. Further discussion about the sacred marriage rite is in progress.

Finally, at the end of the poem, Enheduana has been restored to her position.

Her beauty has also been restored, thanks to Inanna's intervention. However, it is interesting that the lines are blurred as to whether Enheduana is speaking of herself, of Inanna, or of both of them- as though they have somehow merged. Throughout these hymns, she speaks highly of herself eg. line 120: "I am the brilliant high priestess of Nanna"; line 104: "(Me) who once sat triumphant". She knows she is important and powerful and like Inanna, she is not shy about expressing it. And so perhaps, she mirrors Inanna's rise in the pantheon, and raises herself to a higher level: from priestess to goddess.


Back to Intro Page
"Concept of personal Goddess in E's hymns to Inanna"
Enheduana Visual Evidence
Enheduana Research Bibliography