NOTES ON ENHEDUANNA'S WRITINGS
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.
43. In the mountain where homage is withheld from you
Enheduanna then describes what Inanna, in her role as Love Goddess,
has inflicted upon the city of Uruk.
vegetation is accursed.
44. Its grand entrance you have reduced to ashes.
45. Blood rises in its rivers for you, its people have nought to drink.
51. Over the city which has not declared "The land is yours,"
Enheduanna now states her plea to Inanna:
54. (You) have verily removed your foot from out of its byre
55. Its woman no longer speaks of love with her husband.
56. At night they no longer have intercourse.
57. She no longer reveals to him her inmost treasures.
66. Verily I had entered my holy giparu at your behest,
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.
67. I, the high priestess, I Enheduanna!
68. I carried the ritual basket, I intoned the acclaim (?ahulap)
69. (But now) I am placed in the leper's ward,
I even I, can no longer live with you!
72. My mellifluous mouth is cast into confusion.
73. My choicest features are turned to dust.
74. What is he to me, oh Suen, this Lugalanne!
75. Say thus to An: "May An release me!"
77. This woman will carry off the manhood of Lugalanne.
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:
80. Surely she will assuage her heartfelt rage for me.
Enheduana pleads with Inanna to help her because Nanna
81. Let me, Enheduanna, recite a prayer to her.
82. Let me give free vent to my tears like sweet drink
for the holy Inanna!
100. As for me, my Nanna takes no heed of me.
Enheduana laments that in this state of unrest, she is unable
to perform her role as high priestess:
101. He has verily given me over to destruction in
104. (Me) who once sat triumphant he has driven
out of the sanctuary
109. Most precious lady, beloved of An,
110. Your holy heart is lofty, may it be assuaged on my behalf!
118. My hands are no longer folded on the ritual couch,
The "ritual couch" alludes to the sacred marriage rite in which she receives
119. I may no longer reveal the pronouncements of Ningal to man.
120. Yet I am the brilliant high priestess of Nanna,
121. Oh my queen beloved of An, may your heart take pity on me!
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.
143. The first lady, the reliance of the throne room,
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.
144. Has accepted her offerings
145. Inanna's heart has been restored
146. The day was favorable for her, she was clothed sumptuously,
she was garbed in womanly beauty.
151. For that her (Enheduanna's) speaking to the Hierodule was exalted,
152. Praise be (to) the devastrix of the lands, endowed with me's from An,
153. (To) my lady wrapped in beauty, (to) Inanna!
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"Concept of personal Goddess in E's hymns to Inanna"
Enheduana Visual Evidence
Enheduana Research Bibliography