The Values and World Views of the Ancient Sumerians
The Ancient Sumerians were highly authoritative and interesting people. Their system of beliefs and values set them apart from many other ancient civilizations. Each god had a different persona and function. Strict laws were set for their people and harsh punishments were believed in for those who did not follow the religion’s strict code of conduct. The beliefs of the ancient Sumerians were the precedent for developing civilizations to follow.
God and goddesses in the Sumerian’s belief system had very diverse personalities. The women were particularly portrayed as deceitful, moody, upset, disturbed, protective, and sometimes even creators of evil. The males, on the other hand, were written as wise, fearless, bold, god of gods, majestic, victorious, perfect, and radiant. In many stories, the male god has to either save the world and humans from something that a woman initiated, or save the women because she herself is helpless. Inanna, the beloved goddess of Sumerian culture, does not help the belief. Throughout the hymns that were written for her and published in a collection by Diane Wolkstein, Inanna must turn to the men of her life for help. In the hymn The Hulupu Tree, Inanna runs to her brother Gilgamesh for help ridding her beloved tree from pests. “I wept! How I wept! Yet they would not leave me tree.” She weeps to both her brothers yet does nothing to try and rid the tree of the pests herself before turning to them. She then requires a throne to rule on and a chair to sit on. Gilgamesh must carve these things for her as well. The roles of gods and goddesses were quite different for the ancient Sumerians.
Another example of the vastly different personas of the ancient Sumerian gods and goddesses is the story of Tiamat and Marduk. Tiamat was the sea, personified as a goddess. She was also the personified version of chaos. She is the creator of the gods and goddesses, but also of evil and...
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