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Ereshkigal: The Mighty Mesopotamian Goddess

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    Posted: 26 Jun 2018 at 13:04
Ereshkigal is a chthonic goddess that is found in the mythology of ancient Mesopotamia. She is believed to have been the Queen of the Underworld and a very powerful deity. This may be seen in the myth known as Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld , where Ereshkigal emerges triumphant after a confrontation with her younger sister, Inanna, who was a formidable goddess in her own right. Another myth in which Ereshkigal plays an important role is that of her marriage to Nergal.


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franciscosan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2018 at 02:09
I don't remember how Inanna gets out of this...?

Of course, gods and goddesses have their domains and when she Inanna enters Ershkigal's domain she has to play by her rules.  But, I didn't know she is the younger.  Her counterpart (sort of) in Greek is Aphrodite, and Aphrodite is the oldest of the Olympians.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2018 at 20:10
Why do you think the Greeks have the similar story of Hades and Persephone? 
 
http://https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ereshkigal

Inanna's Descent into the Underworld[edit]

The first myth featuring Ereshkigal is described in the ancient Sumerian epic poem of "Inanna's Descent to the Underworld." In the poem, the goddess, Inanna descends into the Underworld, apparently seeking to extend her powers there. Ereshkigal is described as being Inanna's older sister. When Neti, the gatekeeper of the Underworld, informs Ereshkigal that Inanna is at the gates of the Underworld, demanding to be let in, Ereshkigal responds by ordering Neti to bolt the seven gates of the Underworld and to open each gate separately, but only after Inanna has removed one article of clothing. Inanna proceeds through each gate, removing one article of clothing at each gate. Finally, once she has gone through all seven gates she finds herself naked and powerless, standing before the throne of Ereshkigal. The seven judges of the Underworld judge Inanna and declare her to be guilty. Inanna is struck dead and her dead corpse is hung on a hook in the Underworld for everyone to see. Inanna's minister, Ninshubur, however, pleads with Enki and Enki agrees to rescue Inanna from the Underworld. Enki sends two sexless beings down to the Underworld to revive Inanna with the food and water of life. The sexless beings escort Inanna up from the Underworld, but a horde of angry demons follow Inanna back up from the Underworld, demanding to take someone else down to the Underworld as Inanna's replacement. When Inanna discovers that her husband, Dumuzid, has not mourned her death, she becomes ireful towards him and orders the demons to take Dumuzid as her replacement.[2]

Marriage to Nergal[edit]

The other myth is the story of Nergal, the plague god. Once, the gods held a banquet that Ereshkigal, as queen of the Underworld, could not come up to attend. They invited her to send a messenger, and she sent her vizier Namtar in her place. He was treated well by all, but for the exception of being disrespected by Nergal. As a result of this, Nergal was banished to the kingdom controlled by the goddess. Versions vary at this point, but all of them result in him becoming her husband.[5] In later tradition, Nergal is said to have been the victor, taking her as wife and ruling the land himself.

Interpretation of myths[edit]

It is theorized[who?] that the story of Inanna's descent is told to illustrate the possibility of an escape from the Underworld, while the Nergal myth is intended to reconcile the existence of two rulers of the Underworld: a goddess and a god. The addition of Nergal represents the harmonizing tendency to unite Ereshkigal as the queen of the Underworld with the god who, as god of war and of pestilence, brings death to the living and thus becomes the one who presides over the dead.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2018 at 02:34
My point was that Ershkigal and Persephone are _not_ that similar.  Ershkigal is an older sister of Inanna, whereas Kore is the daughter of Demeter (Ceres) the next generation of the Olympians, and Aphrodite is the oldest of the Olympians, being the "daughter" of Uranus.  
Of course, our version is a rewriting of the myth by Hesiod.  In Roman Persephone (Kore) is Proserpina.  But, I believe there is an older version of her that is probably fierce like Ershkigal, called Pherephata, which Robert Graves translates/interprets as 'the Bloody One.'  Graves is brilliant with myth and ancient religion, but he is hardly standard or the authoritative version.
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