Real Name: Shapshu (Shamash is the later Greek version of his name)
Occupation: God of the sun
Legal Status: Citizen of Celestial Dilmun
Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of the existence of Shamash except as a mythological deity.
Other Aliases: Utu (Babylonian name), Yarikh/Jarih (Phoenician name), Nan-Hunte (Assyrian name), Istanu (Hittite name), Simigi (Hurrian name), Sivini (Urartian name),
Place of Birth:
Marital Status: Married
Known Relatives: Enlil (father), Ninlil (mother), Hadad, Ninurta, Martu, Nergal, Kinyras (uncles), Inanna (aunt), Nanna, Ninazu, Ursanabi (brothers), Aya (wife), Ningal (sister-in-law), Misharu, Kittu (sons), Ninatta, Kulitta (daughters), Hapantallis (son by an unknown mortal woman), Nusku, Isum, Usmu, Rundas (nephews), Anu (grandfather), Asherah (grandmother),
Group Affiliations: The Gods of Mesopotamia
Base of Operations: Kurnugi
First Appearance: Shamash has not yet appeared in the Marvel or DC Universes.
History: Shamash is a member of a extra-dimensional race of beings known as the Anunnaki who were worshipped as gods by the Ancient Sumerians, Babylonians, Hittites and Phoenicians in the Middle East between 4000 BC to about 1000 AD. He is the son of Enlil, the god of storm, and Ninlil, a water-goddess. According to myths, Enlil had discovered Ninlil bathing in the canals at Nippur and pursued her to the underworld where he raped her. She eventually gave birth to Nanna in the underworld, but Enlil was distraught that his son would be bound to the underworld for having been born there. Anu allowed Enlil to sire one more son who became known as Shamash, the sun-god, and Nanna and Shamash took turns living between heaven and the the underworld. They separately departed the underworld through a gate located in a cave on Mount Mashu (now modern Nemrut Dag near Mus in modern Turkey), and returned through another cave at Mount Hazzi (modern Jabal al-Aqra near Ugarit, Turkey), ruled by the god, Martu, then traveling over the river of the dead back to Kurnugi. At times, only one of the brothers was allowed in heaven while the other took the other's place in the underworld.
Shamash's brother, Ursanabi, became the ferryman who carried the shades of the dead across into Allatum, the other-dimensional realm reserved for the spirits of the worshippers of the Anunnaki. Ninazu stood guard at the gates for Eriskegal, goddess of the dead.
Enlil eventually became king of the gods by deposing Anu, but he was himself overthrown by Hadad, the god of wind. While in exile, Enlil seduced the water-goddess, Upelluri, to give him a son, Ullikummis, powerful enough to help him reclaim rule over the Mesopotamian gods. Shamash was caught off-guard upon the advance pf Ullikummis, but upon seeing him, he set upon to warn the gods of his approach, refusing their food offered in hospitality until he could deliver the news, before accepting their offers out of respect and departing. Shamash himself offered Ullikummis a great dinner to placate him, but the giant knocked him out of the heavens and Shamash fell to Earth where he was received by the sea-god, Ea. Ea caught Shamash in his fall from heaven in a net, and kept him as his guest until the god, Telepinu came to have him return to his duties. In his absence, Hahhimis, the god of frost, had seized control of Earth and froze the ground. Upon his return, Hahhimis was forced to retreat to the heavens.
Eventually, Hadad tried to gain powers over life and death for mortals, but he himself was taken captive by Namtar, the god of death. During his absence, evil spirits known as the Uttukki imprisoned both Nanna and Shamash from departing Kurnugi in order to attempt an invasion of Earth, but the god Marduk defeated them and freed both Nanna and Shamash, becoming ruler of the gods himself.
Eventually, worship of the Mesopotamian died on on Earth due to the invasions of the Greeks and the Turks and the influence of both the Judeo-Christian and Moslem religions. Shamash is no longer worshipped as a god.
His modern activities are as yet
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 520 lbs.
Strength Level: Shamash possesses superhuman strength enabling him to lift (press) 35 tons under optimal conditions.
Known Superhuman Powers: Shamash possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Anunnaki (Mesopotamian gods). Like all of the Anunnaki, he is extremely long-lived, but he is not immortal like the Olympian gods: he has aged at an extremely slow rate since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. He is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If he were somehow wounded, his godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as Anu, Ea or Enlil or for a number of Mesopotamian gods of equal power working together to revive him. Shamash also possesses superhuman strength and his godly metabolism provides him with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Anunnaki flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the Mesopotamian gods.)
Shamash also has a number of powers which seem to be mystical in nature. He can emanate light and heat and use his control over sunlight to uncover misdeeds and force other entities to tell the truth. He also has momentary prophetic glances of possible alternate futures enabling him to see the future. The full extent of his godly powers are unrevealed.
Abilities: Shamash is a capable warrior in both armed
and unarmed combat.
Weapons: Shamash carries a sword and a bow and arrow.
Pets: Shamash rides through the air in a chariot pulled aloft by two oxen. He also keeps sheep in the at the foot of Mount Mashu tended by his mortal son, Hapantallis.
Limitations: According to some references, Shamash
takes the form of an old man in the underworld and that of a young man in
heaven. It is unrevealed if the same trait can be said for Nanna.
Comments: Shamash has not yet appeared in Marvel or DC Comics.
In Sumerian and Babylonian myths, Shamash is the son of Nanna, not his brother. In Phoenician lore, later adopted by the Greeks, the sun and moon are siblings, (like the Greek Apollo and Artemis, the Norse Mani and Solveig or the Russian Saule and Meness). This is one of the few instances where I have deviated from the most original source material in order to lineate the mythology. Their brothers, on the other hand, unnamed in the myths, are purely hypothetical.
Clarifications: Shamash is not to be confused with:
Last updated: 06/08/08
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