The Sumerian Goddess Of Sexual Love And Warfare

4034 Words Apr 30th, 2015 17 Pages
Mesopotamian theology defined the gods as rulers and human beings as their servants, with nature being an object to be managed for the profit and well being of both. Consequently, deity worship plays a significant role in both the daily and religious lives of the ancient population; the two are undeniably intertwined. One of the most important goddesses in the Mesopotamian pantheon, and the one with which this paper will be concerned, is Inana. As the Sumerian goddess of sexual love and warfare, Inana—or Istar, in Akkadian—embodies two of our most instinctive and impulsive drives, as demonstrated by Freud through Eros and Thanatos (Heffron). This, then, has given Inana her simultaneously creative and destructive qualities. Inana occupies a unique diatomic space encompassing characteristics of both the traditional female and male archetypes, making her one of the most complex deities, exhibiting contradictory, and even paradoxical, traits. In Sumerian poetry, she is sometimes portrayed as a coy young girl, and at other times as an ambitious and persistent goddess; this is the basis of her dual representation (Heffron). One consistent aspect in the text, however, is her sexuality. Therefore, this paper will explore possible responses to two primary questions: 1) how is Inana portrayed in various texts, and why is this significant? And 2) what can be learned about the nature of ancient Babylonian religion and its relationship to the people through her representation? By…
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