Who is humanity’s earliest known author? You might guess Homer or Moses, but actually it’s Enheduanna, who lived in ancient Ur (now in Iraq) around 4,500 years ago. A priestess of the goddess Inanna — like Mara in my novella Seventh Sanctuary — Enheduanna wrote dozens of hymns that have survived in cuneiform on clay tablets down through the millennia. (Just luck, or is someone up there on her side? 😉 )
Her vivid and evocative words inspired worshipers for centuries after she lived. See if this excerpt citing some of Inanna’s powers gives you a sense of the goddess’s fearsomeness as well as her grace: “To keep paths and ways in good order, to shatter earth and to make it firm are yours, Inanna. To destroy, to build up, to tear out and to settle are yours, Inanna. To turn a man into a woman and a woman into a man are yours, Inanna. Desirability and arousal, bringing goods into existence and establishing properties and equipment are yours, Inanna. Profit, gain, great wealth and greater wealth are yours …” (More here.)
We know a few biographical details about Enheduanna. She was the daughter of King Sargon of Akkad. (Legend has it that he rose from being the king’s gardener to king himself.) At some point in her life, she fell from political favor and was exiled, but later gained back her position.
For speculation on what life for a priestess of Inanna might have been like, please check out my sexy Sumerian novella, Seventh Sanctuary.Tweet this