Back to Home Page or Contents or Asian Mythology or Article Index
Enlil, lord wind, Mesopotamian (Sumerian) [Iraq], is god of the air. He was worship from 3500 BC, or before, to about 1750 BC. The son of primordial An and Ki, Enlili was the tutelary deity of Nippur where, in his honor, the Ehur sanctuary was built, not rediscovered, and he became the most important god of southern Mesopotamia during the third millennium BC. His consort was Ninlil who was impregnated by the "waters of Emlil" to give birth to the moon god Nanna. (In the Akkadian pantheon his consort becomes Mulliltu.) He is depicted in a horned headdress and a tiered skirt, or by a horned crown on a pedestal.
According to the Hymn to Enlil, he works alone and unaided. He is said to have made the pickax, "caused the good to come forth," and "brought forth seed from the earth." He was invoked to bless his cities to ensure prosperity and abundance. So great was his importance that other tutelary deities were said to have traveled to Nippur to give Enlil offerings. Enlil created several deities concerned with the overseeing of the natural world. In his destructive aspect, he permitted the birth goddess to kill at birth and was responsibility for miscarriages in cows and ewes. His believers saw him manifest himself in both benevolence and destructive violence. His natural status was gradually decreased in the Babylonian and Assyrian pantheons, being superseded by Marduk and Assur. A.G.H.
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York,
Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 76-77