The Role And Function Of Goddesses In Mesopotamia

Authored by: Brigitte Groneberg

The Babylonian World

Print publication date:  August  2007
Online publication date:  June  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415353465
eBook ISBN: 9780203946237
Adobe ISBN: 9781134261284

10.4324/9780203946237.ch22

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Abstract

When looking at some Mesopotamian goddesses, for example at the mightiest, Inanna-Ishtar, or the healing goddesses, Gula and her ‘sisters’, one is impressed by the power they exercised. Often they are symbolic leaders of towns and cities, the so-called city-deities. They may accompany kings into war but, on other occasions, they may function as their symbolic sexual partners, in both ways sustaining royalty. They can lead sick people out of the underworld, back to good health towards a new and successful life. They have their own rituals in many of the main Babylonian cities and enormous wealth is kept in their names, including real estate, animals, buildings, treasure of gold and silver. They also have their personnel, such as administrators and slaves. In all these respects the chief goddesses are equal to their male counterparts.

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