Issue2

Topics: Deity, Sumer, Goddess Pages: 3 (785 words) Published: April 11, 2010
Hiten Damodar
Issue 2: Was Sumerian Civilization Exclusively Male Dominated?
In considering whether Sumerian civilization was exclusively male dominated, it seems inconclusive. After looking at Chester G. Starr and Samuel Noah Kramer’s views on the topic, the answer remains far from clear. Starr took the side of yes, that Sumerian society was male dominated in both the mortal and divine realms and barely acknowledges the role of women at all. Kramer, on the other hand, found the powerful roles that women played in both heaven and earth. The conclusions these two writers come to are convoluted, at best, by their ability to find evidence that supports their assumptions about gender roles of Sumerian society.

As Starr goes on to describe the role of religion in Sumerian culture, he starts to list and describe the creator gods. He names gods like An, Enlil, and Enki and goddess Nin-khursag. Starr pays more attention to the male gods and explains their importance in the creation of the universe and the earth, while barely touching upon the goddess of earth, Nin-khursag. By the time the reader goes through the names they forget about this goddess and are more intrigued by the male gods, unlike Kramer who bases his whole assumption on the roles and importance of the numerous goddesses and making the reader pay more attention to them instead of the male deities.

To clearly recognize the dispute between the two, the reader just has to look at how each describes the goddess Inanna and her role. Starr likes to believe that Inanna was the goddess of human fertility, while Kramer believes that she was “the brave, crafty, ambitious, aggressive, desirable, loving hating ‘Queen of Heaven’ whose powers and deeds were glorified and extolled throughout Sumer’s existence in myth, epic, and hymn” (pg. 32). It is difficult to take a side when one of the most important aspects of Sumerian culture does not add up clearly and seems biased in their assumptions of what is right or...
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