In Mesopotamian mythology, the god who ruled Earth's domain, lorded over most of the other gods, and bestowed kingship on human beings. From Sumerian times on, Enlil (called Ellil by the Assyrians and the Babylonians), was one of the chief gods, along with An, who ruled the heavens, and
   Enki, who controlled the freshwaters beneath Earth. Enlil began as a Sumerian weather god and retained this function when worshipped by later Mesopotamian peoples. Thus, he brought wind and rain and thereby ensured that agriculture was possible; at the same time, he could bring torrential rains and floods to punish people when he saw fit. Enlil married Nin-lil, and they begat several divine beings, including the sun god, Utu (or Shamash); the moon god, Nanna (or Sin); and Inanna (or Ishtar), goddess of love and sexual passion.
   Although Enlil was worshipped throughout Mesopotamia, his main shrine was in the city of Nippur in central Sumeria. To worshippers, he was the keeper of the Tablet of Destiny, on which the fate of the gods and humans was supposedly written. Thus, it was thought that he could "see all" and knew what would happen in the future. These powerful attributes, among others, are described in the following Sumerian hymn of praise to Enlil, composed in the mid-to-late third millennium B.C.:
   Enlil! his authority is far-reaching, his word is sublime and holy. His decisions are unalterable, he decides fates forever! His eyes scrutinize the entire world! When the honorable Enlil sits down in majesty on his sacred and sublime throne, when he exercises with perfection his power as Lord and King, spontaneously the other gods prostrate [lie flat on their faces] before him and obey his orders without protest! He is the great and powerful ruler who dominates Heaven and Earth, Who knows all and understands all!
   Later, in Babylonia, the god Marduk came to wield many of the same powers Enlil had long wielded and to assume Enlil's general role of chief god.
   See also: Defeat of Anzu, The; Enki; Nippur; Utu

Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary. . 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

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