Ninurta

From Academic Kids

Ninurta 'Lord Plough' in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology was the god of Nippur, identified with Ningirsu with whom he may always have been identical. In older transcriptions the name is rendered Ninib and in older commentary he is sometimes seen as a solar deity.

In Nippur Ninurta was worshipped as part of a triad of deities including his father Enlil and his mother Ninlil.

Ninurta often appears holding a bow and arrow and a mace named Sharur to which he speaks when attacking the monster Imdugud, and which answers back. Sometimes he stands on a composite creature with a lion's body or a scorpion's tail in pursuit of Imdugued, who was a winged lion with feet and tail of a bird as well.

In one story Ninurta battles such a monster called Imdugud (Akkadian Anzu). In what may be an alternate version another text relates how the monster Anzu steals the Tablet of Destinies which Enlil requires to maintain his rule. Ninurta slays each of the monsters later known as the "Slain Heroes" (the Dragon, the Gypsum, the Palm Tree King, Lord Saman-ana, the bison-beast, the scorpion-man, the seven-headed serpent), and finally Anzu is eventually killed by Ninurta who delivers the Tablet to his father, Enki.

The cult of Ninurta can be traced back to the oldest period of Sumerian history. In the inscriptions found at Lagash he is appears under his name Ningirsu, that is, "the lord of Girsu", Girsu being the name of a quarter within Lagash.

Ninurta appears in a double capacity in the epithets bestowed on him, and in the hymns and incantations addressed to him. On the one hand he is a farmer and a healing god who releases from sickness and the ban of the demons in general and on the other he is the god of the South Wind, as the son of Enlil, who was the angry, jealous god of Air. While Enlil was the father of Ninurta, Enlil's brother, Enki, was Ninurta's mentor.

He remained popular under the Assyrians. Two of the kings of Assyria bore the name Tukulti-Ninurta. Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BCE) built him a temple in the new capital city of Calah (now Nimrud). In Assyria Ninurta was worshipped along with Assur and Mulissu.

In the astral-theological system Ninurta was associated with the planet Saturn. The consort of Ninurta was Gula in Nippur and Bau when he was called Ningirsu.

Parts of this article were originally from the 1911 Encyclopędia Britannica article on Ninib.

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