More than 2,500 years after the epic search for Immortality by Gilgamesh, another legendary king - Alexander of Macedonia - emulated the Sumerian king and Egyptian Pharaohs in the very same arena. In his case, too, the claim to Immortality was based on being partly divine.


The evidence suggests that Alexander, through his teacher Aristotle, was aware of the earlier searches; but what he probably did not know was that the root of his specific claim to divine parentage lay in Uruk’s GIPAR ("Nighttime House") and its inner sanctum, the GIGUNU.

Soon after Alexander was crowned king of Macedonia in lieu of the assassinated Philip II, he went to Delphi in Greece to consult its famed Oracle. Only twenty years old at the time, he was shocked to hear the first of several prophecies predicting for him fame, but a very short life.


The prophecies served to increase his belief in rumors that had been circulating in the Macedonian court, according to which Philip II was not really his father; but that he was really the son of an Egyptian Pharaoh by name of Nectanebus who had visited the Macedonian court and secretly seduced Olympias, Alexander’s mother. And Nectanebus - a master magician and diviner - so the whispering went, was in fact the Egyptian God Amon, who disguised himself as a man in order to sire the future conqueror of the world.

No sooner did Alexander reach Egypt (in 332 B.C.) than, after paying homage to Egyptian Gods and priests, he set his course to the oasis of Siwah in the western desert, the seat of a renowned Oracle of Amon. There (so the historians who had accompanied him reported) the great God himself confirmed Alexander’s divine parentage. Thus affirmed as truly the son of a God, the Egyptian priests proclaimed him a Divine Pharaoh.


But instead of waiting to the and attain immortality in the Afterlife, Alexander set out to find the famed Waters of Life right away. His searches took him to subterranean places filled with magic and angels in the Sinai peninsula, then (on orders of a Winged Man) to Babylon. In the end, as the Delphic Oracle prophesied, he died famous but young.

In his search for immortality Alexander, leaving his troops behind, went toward the Land of Darkness, to find there a mountain called Mushas. At the edge of the desert he left his few trusted companions and proceeded alone. He saw and followed "a straight path that had no wall, and it had no high or low place in it." He walked therein twelve days and twelve nights, at which point "he perceived the radiance of an angel." As he drew nearer the radiance became "a flaming fire," and Alexander realized that he was at the "mountain from which the whole world is surrounded."

Speaking to Alexander from the flaming fire, the angel questioned him, "Who art thou, and for what reason art thou here, O mortal?" and wondered how Alexander had managed "to penetrate into this darkness, which no other mortal hath been able to do." Alexander explained that God himself had guided him and gave him strength to arrive at this place, "which is Paradise." But the angel told him that the Water of Life was somewhere else; "and whosoever drinketh therefrom, if it be but a single drop, shall never die."

To find the "Well of the Water of Life" Alexander needed a savant who knew such secrets, and after much searching such a man was found. Magical and miraculous adventures took place on their way. To be certain that the well is the right one, the two had with them a dead dried fish. One night, reaching a subterranean fountain, and while Alexander was sleeping, the guide tested the water and the fish came alive.


Then he himself immersed in the waters, becoming thereby El Khidr - "The Evergreen" - the One Who Is Forever Young of Arab legends. In the morning Alexander rushed to the indicated place. It was "inlaid with sapphires and emeralds and jacinths." But there two birds with human features blocked his way. "The land on which you stay belongs to God alone," they announced. Realizing that he could not change his fate, Alexander gave up the search and instead started to build cities bearing his name, thereby to be forever remembered.

The numerous details of the Alexander search that are virtually identical to those of Gilgamesh - the location, the name of the mountain, the twelve periods of the subterranean journey, the winged Birdmen, the questioning by the guards, the immersion in the well of the Waters of Life - indicate a familiarity with the Epic of Gilgamesh; not only with the literary work (which continued to survive to our times), but also with the raison d’etre for the search - the partial divinity, the divine parentage, of Gilgamesh.

Indeed, even the claims by Egyptian Pharaohs that they were fathered by Gods or, in the very least, nourished with mother’s milk by a Goddess, can be traced to the time and place of Gilgamesh; for it was in Uruk that the custom and tradition began with the dynasty to which Gilgamesh belonged.

The Kingship began in Uruk, it will be recalled, when the future city consisted almost entirely only of the sacred precinct. There, according to the Sumerian King Lists, "Mes-kiag-gasher, the son of the God Utu, became high priest as well as king." Then, after reigns by Enmerkar and Lugal-banda and an intermediate reign by the divine Dumuzi, Gilgamesh ascended the throne; and he, as stated, was the son of the Goddess Ninsun.

These are astounding revelations, especially in light of the episode of the taking of human wives by the Nefilim that caused Enlil to seek the annihilation of Mankind. It took Mankind, the Anunnaki, and the Earth itself millennia to recover from the trauma of the Deluge. It took millennia for the Anunnaki to gradually, and step by careful step, grant Mankind knowledge, technology, domestication, and, finally, full-fledged civilizations. It took the better part of a millennium to develop, in Kish, the institution of Kingship. And then, so unexpectedly, boom! Kingship is transferred to Uruk, and the first dynasty is begun by a son of a God (Utu/Sha-mash) and a human female ...

While the sexual shenanigans of other deities (some already mentioned, more to come) have been recorded in the ancient texts, Utu/Shamash does not appear to be one of them. His official spouse and consort was the Goddess Aia (Fig. 51) and the texts do not ascribe any infidelities to him. Yet here we encounter a son of his by a human female, a son whose name, functions, and locale are clearly stated. What was going on? Have the taboos been removed, or just ignored by the new generation?

Figure 51

Even more peculiar was the case of Ninsun, the mother of Gilgamesh (Fig. 52). Her own genealogy and the record of her offspring are illustrative of the mixing of generations that was taking place among the Anunnaki - perhaps as a result of the fact that some retained the longevities acquired on Nibiru (and counted in Sars), others (the first generation on Earth) partly affected by Earth’s shorter cycles, and yet others (third and fourth generations) more Earthlike than Nibiman.

Figure 52

Anu, who besides his official spouse Antu had numerous concubines and (at least in one instance) ventured even farther afield, had as a result a great number of official and unofficial offspring; we have met so far Enki, Enlil, and Nin-mah, all three half brothers and half sister of each other (i.e. born of different mothers).


It turns out that Anu had yet another, younger daughter, named Bau, who became the wife of Ninurta, Enlil’s son by his half sister Ninmah. As far as one can judge from the texts, Ninurta and Bau (Fig. 53) led an immaculate marriage, unmarred by any infidelities.

Figure 53


It was a marriage blessed by two sons and seven daughters, of whom Ninsun ("Lady Wild Cow") was the best-known one. This genealogy made her at one and the same time a granddaughter of Anu as well as a granddaughter of Anu’s son Enlil. (Enlil, it ought to be mentioned here, begot Ninurta on Nibiru; after Enlil had espoused Ninlil on Earth, he was scrupulously monogamous).

No less confusing was the makeup of Ninsun’s offspring. On the one hand she was the mother of Gilgamesh. The Sumerian King Lists state that his father was the High Priest of the sacred precinct of Uruk; the Epic of Gilgamesh and other narrative texts concerning him assert that his father was Lugalbanda, the third ruler of Uruk. Since the first such ruler, Meskiaggasher, was both High Priest and king, the assumption is that Lugalbanda, too, held both posts. The upshot is that Ninsun, whether officially espoused to the mortal Lugalbanda or not, had sexual relations with him and bore him a son.

But on the other hand Ninsun was also having sex with Gods, or at least one God. According to the Sumerian King Lists the young God Dumuzi reigned briefly in Uruk, between Lugalbanda and Gilgamesh. The Lists recognize the full divinity of Dumuzi, for he was a son of Enki. What the Lists do not mention, but what is attested by considerable literary texts dealing with the life, loves, and death of Dumuzi, is that his mother was the Goddess Ninsun - the very same Goddess who was the mother of Gilgamesh.

Ninsun thus had sexual liaisons with both Gods (Enki) and men (Lugalbanda). In this new phase of Divine Encounters, she was emulating not only Utu/Shamash (whose spouse was the Goddess Aia, yet had a son by a mortal female), but also Inanna/Ishtar, the twin sister of Utu/Shamash. The fact that all these encounters in one way or another involved Uruk was no accident; for it was in Uruk that the GIGUNU - the "Chamber of Nighttime Pleasures" - was first established in the Gipar.

Unlike Utu/Shamash and Ninsun, Inanna/Ishtar is not mentioned in the Sumerian King Lists in connection with Uruk; but in the Epic of Gilgamesh she joins the two as a featured divine actor in the saga. In a way she belonged in the tale perhaps more than they, for she was the patron-Goddess of Uruk and it was due to her that what was only a sacred precinct became a major great city. How she achieved that was described in a text known as "Enki and Inanna" that we shall soon examine; but first one should explain how Inanna became associated with Uruk - indeed, how she came to be called "Inanna" to begin with.

When Kingship was transferred from Kish to Uruk at the beginning of the third millennium B.C, Uruk consisted only of a sacred precinct, the Kullab. That sacred precinct had existed by then for almost a thousand years, for it was originally built mainly to accommodate Anu and Antu on their state visit to Earth.


Clay tablets found in the ruins of Uruk, copies of earlier texts recording the pomp and circumstance of the event, retained enough detail to follow the carefully prescribed rites and ceremonies as well as the nature of the sacred compound and its various buildings. Besides temple-sand shrines, each with specified functions, the compound also included special sleeping quarters for the divine visitors. The two of them, however, do not seem to have shared the same bedroom.

Once the banquet and other ceremonies were completed and the meal of the night was served, the two divine visitors were led through the main courtyard to two separate courts. Antu was escorted to the "House of the Golden Bed," and "the Divine Daughters of Anu and the Divine Daughters of Uruk" kept watch outside till daybreak. Anu was escorted by male Gods to his own quarters, a house known as the Gipar; we know from a number of Sumerian and Akkadian texts that it was a "taboo" place, a harem if you will (for that, "taboo," is the meaning of the Arabic word "harim") - the place where the Entu, a chosen virgin, was awaiting the God.

In later times the Entu was a daughter of the king, and her role as a Hierodule, a "sacred maiden," was deemed a great honor. In the case of Anu and his visit to the Kullab, however, it was not a mortal female who was chosen to await him in the Gipar; it was his great-granddaughter Irninni. They spent the night in the closed-off chamber inside the Gipar, the Gigunu ("Chamber of Nighttime Pleasures"). And after that Irninni was renamed IN.ANNA - "Anu’s Beloved."

While we may view the encounter as an abhorrent case of incest, it was not so deemed at the time. Sumerian hymns extolled the fact that Inanna was Anu’s beloved, his beautiful Hierodule. A Hymn to Ishtar written on a tablet from Uruk (tablet AO.4479 in the Louvre Museum) described Ishtar

"clothed with love, feathered with seduction, a Goddess of joy,"

"with Anu together occupying the closed-off Gigunu,

the Chamber of Joy, as the other Gods stand in front."

Indeed, another text (AO.6458) reveals that the very idea of selecting Irninni for the honor of sleeping with Anu was not at all Anu’s idea - but that of Ishtar herself. It was through the other Gods that she was introduced to Anu, and it was they who persuaded Anu to agree ...

Since Anu (and Antu) were only visiting, they had no permanent need for the E.ANNA temple; and so it was that as a reward, Anu granted use of the temple to Inanna:

After the Lord had assigned a great destiny to the daughter of Sin,

the temple Eanna he bestowed on her as a gift of betrothal.

With this gift of the Eanna temple came the Gipar house, "a place of fragrant woods," and its inner Chamber of Nighttime Pleasures, the Gigunu; and in time Inanna put the place to good use.

But a sacred precinct was not a city, and the Sumerian King Lists record that it was only the son of the first priest-king, Enmerkar, "who built Uruk." It was then that Inanna decided that if Uruk was her cult center, it ought to be a full-fledged center of urban civilization. To achieve that she needed the ME’s.

The ME’s were portable objects which held all the knowledge and other aspects of a high civilization. In the current state of modern technology, one can envision them as some kind of computer disks or memory chips which, in spite of their minute size, hold vast amounts of information. In a few decades, with more advanced technology, one might compare them to some other marvelous store of information (yet to be invented).


When Nippur was to become (after the Deluge) a City of Men, Enlil complained to Anu that Enki was keeping all the ME’s to himself, using them solely to enhance Eridu and Enki’s hideaway in the Abzu; and Enki was forced to share those essential ME’s with Enlil. Now that Inanna wished to make Uruk a great urban center, she set out to Enki’s abode to pry some essential ME’s out of her great-uncle.

A text known as "Inanna and Enki" and subtitled by modern scholars "The Transfer of the Arts of Civilization from Eridu to Erech" describes how Inanna journeyed in her "Boat of Heaven" to the Abzu in southeastern Africa, where Enki had secreted away the ME’s. Realizing that Inanna was coming to call on him unchaperoned - "the maiden, all alone, has directed her step to the Abzu" - Enki ordered his chamberlain to prepare a banquet meal, with plenty of wine made of sweet dates. After Inanna and Enki had feasted and Enki’s heart became happy with drink, Inanna brought up the subject of the ME’s.

Gracious with drink, Enki presented to her some ME’s that would make Uruk a seat of Kingship: the ME for "Lordship," the ME for "the exalted and enduring tiara," the ME for "the throne of Kingship;" and "bright Inanna took them" - but asked for more. As Inanna worked her charms on her aging host, Enki made to her a second presentation; this time he gave her the ME’s needed for "the exalted scepter and staff, the exalted shrine, and righteous Rulership."


And "bright Inanna took them too." As the feasting and drinking went on, Enki parted with another seven ME’s that provided for the functions and attributes of a Divine Lady - the status of a Great Goddess: a temple and its rituals, priests and attendants; justice and courts; music and arts; masonry and woodworking; metalworking, leatherwork and weaving; scribeship and mathematics; and last but not least, weapons and the art of warfare.

Holding in her hands all these essentials for a high civilization, Inanna slipped away and took off in her Boat of Heaven back to Uruk. When Enki sobered up and realized what he had done, Enki ordered his chamberlain to pursue Inanna in her "Great Heavenly Skychamber" and retrieve the ME’s. He caught up with her in Eridu, back in Sumer. But Inanna handed the ME’s to her pilot, who flew off to Uruk while Inanna kept arguing with the chamberlain in Eridu.


The people of Uruk forever recalled how their city became a seat of Kingship and civilization in a hymn titled Lady of the ME’s; it was read responsively by the congregation on festive occasions:

Lady of the ME’s,
Queen brightly resplendent.

Righteous, clothed in radiance,
Beloved of Heaven and Earth.

Hierodule of Anu,
Wearing great adorations.

For the exalted tiara appropriate,
For the high-priesthood suitable.

The seven ME’s she attained,
In her hand she is holding.

Lady of the great ME’s,

Of them she is a guardian.

Whether Enki actually managed to seduce Inanna is not clear (an assumption that he did could help resolve the enigma of who the mother of Enki’s son Ningishzidda was). It does seem certain that as a result of her experiences with Anu and Enki, Inanna’s femininity was aroused. As Anu’s Beloved, she was made the patron-Goddess of the city of Aratta in the Third Region (the Indus Valley civilization).


One purpose of seeking the ME-tablets for Uruk was to make Uruk a major center so that Inanna could reign where it really mattered, not in faraway Aratta. Several texts have been found dealing with the contest of wills between the new king of Uruk, Enmerkar ("He who built Uruk") and the king of Aratta; the prize was not simply where Inanna would spend her time - but also where she would engage in lovemaking with the king.

In one passage in the text called Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta the latter, sure of being the favorite of Inanna, taunted Enmerkar thus:

He will live with Inanna
[separated] by a wall;
I will live with Inanna
in the lapis-lazuli house in Aratta.
He will gaze upon Inanna only in a dream;
I will lie with her sweetly on an ornate bed.

It appears that these liaisons were frowned upon by Inanna’s parents and, even more so, by her brother Utu/Shamash. When he reprimanded her, Inanna retorted by asking who will then take care of her sexual needs,

As for my vulva - Who will plough the hillock for me? My vulva, a watered ground, who will place the ox there?

To which Utu had an answer: "O lordly maiden, "he said, "Dumuzi, of lordly seed, he will plow it for you."

DUMUZI ("Son who is Life"), a shepherd-God whose domain was in the African lands of Enki’s clan, was - as we have noted above - the son of Ninsun, and thus partly an Enlilite. If there had been a hidden agenda to the proposed union, Utu did not belabor it; instead he extolled the merits of having a shepherd as a husband: "His cream is good, his milk is bright." But Inanna was thinking of a farmer-God as a husband: "I, the maiden, a farmer will marry," she announced; "the farmer grows many plants, the farmer grows much grain."

In the end, genealogy and the peace dividend prevailed, and Inanna and Dumuzi were engaged.

The poetic texts dealing with the courtship, love, and marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi - texts of which quite a collection has been unearthed - read as the best love songs of all time, explicit yet tender. When, after the parental approval was given on both sides, the marriage was proclaimed, Inanna awaited the consummation of the marriage in the Gipar in Uruk. In anticipation of the moment, Inanna, "dancing and singing, sent a message to her father" about the Gipar:

In my house, my Gipar-house, my fruitful bed will be set up. With plants the color of lapis-lazuli it shall be covered. I will bring there my sweetheart; He will put his hand by my hand, he will put his heart by my heart. In my house, in my Gipar-house, let him "make it long" for me.

The great love between scions of the warring clans - a granddaughter of Enlil, a son of Enki - meant, no doubt, to enhance the peace between the two camps - did not last long. Marduk, the Firstborn of Enki and the claimant to supremacy over all the regions, opposed the union from the very beginning. When Dumuzi went back to his pastoral domain in Africa, promising Ishtar to make her Queen of Egypt, Inanna was elated but Marduk was enraged.


Using an indiscretion by Dumuzi as a pretext, Marduk sent "sheriffs" to arrest Dumuzi and bring him to trial. But Dumuzi, having seen death in an omen-dream, tried to escape and hide. In the ensuing pursuit, Dumuzi was accidentally killed.

When the news reached Inanna, she raised a great wailing. So great was the shock and grief also among the people, to whom this Romeo-and-Juliet love affair came to symbolize Love and its joys, that the anniversary of Dumuzi’s death became a day of mourning for a long time thereafter. Almost two thousand years after the event the Prophet Ezekiel was abhorred to see the women of Israel sitting and "weeping for Tammuz" (the Hebrew rendering of Dumuzi).

It took Inanna a long time to get over her grief; and in her search for consolation, she turned to the Gipar and its Gigunu chamber as the place where she could forget her lost love. There she perfected the rites of sex to a new form of Divine Encounter. It came to be known as the rite of the Sacred Marriage.

When Ishtar invited Gilgamesh "come, be my lover," he refused by listing her many previous lovers whom she used and discarded. It began, Gilgamesh pointed out, after the death of Dumuzi/Tammuz, "the lover of your youth." For him, Gilgamesh continued, "thou hast ordained a wailing year after year." And it was, the text implies, on those anniversaries that Ishtar invited man after man to spend the night with her.


"Come, let us enjoy your vigor! Put your hand and touch my vulva!" she would tell them. But, Gilgamesh asked, "which lover did you love forever? Which of your paramours pleased you all the time?" Then he mentioned some of those discarded lovers and their fates: One, a shepherd, had his "wing" broken after he had spent the night with her. Another, strong as a lion, was buried in a pit. A third one was smitten and turned into a wolf; yet another, "your father’s gardener," was hit and turned into a frog. "And how about me?" Gilgamesh asked at the end, "you will love me and then treat me just like them."


It was no wonder that with such a reputation, Ishtar was as often as not depicted by ancient artists as a naked beauty, taunting and inviting men to see her (Fig. 54).

Figure 54

Between those bittersweet anniversaries, Ishtar spent her time roaming Earth’s skies in her Skychamber (see Fig. 42) and thus as often as not depictions snowed her as a winged Goddess. She was, as mentioned, the city Goddess of Aratta in the Indus Valley, and paid diere periodic flying visits.

It was on one of her flights to the distant domain that Inanna/Ishtar had a sexual encounter in reverse: she was raped by a mortal; and, in such a reversal of roles, the man who did it lived to tell about it.

He is known from historical records as Sargon of Aggade, the founder of a new dynasty that was installed in a new capital (usually called Akkad). In his autobiography, a text in the Akkadian language known by scholars as The Legend of Sargon, the king describes the circumstances of his birth in terms that remind us of the story of Moses:

"My mother was a high priestess; I knew not my father. My mother, the high priestess who conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of reeds, its lid sealed with bitumen. She cast me into the river; it did not sink [with] me. The river bore me up, it carried me to Akki the irrigator. Akki the irrigator lifted me up when he drew water. Akki the irrigator as a son made me and reared me. Akki, the irrigator, appointed me as his gardener."

Then, as he was tending the garden, Sargon could not believe his eyes:

One day the queen,
After crossing heaven, crossing earth,
Inanna -
After crossing Elam and Shubur,
After crossing . . .
The hierodule approached weary, fell asleep.
I saw her from the edge of my garden;
I kissed her and copulated with her.

Inanna, instead of being angry, found Sargon to be a man to her liking. Sumer, its civilization a millennium and a half old by then, needed a strong hand at the helm of its Kingship - a Kingship that, after the glorious one in Uruk, kept changing capitals; the changes led to conflicts among the cities and eventually between their patron-Gods.


Seeing in Sargon a man of action and resolve, Inanna recommended him as the next king over all of "Sumer and Akkad." He also became her constant lover. As Sargon stated in another text known as the Sargon Chronicle, "When I was a gardener, Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and fifty years I exercised Kingship."

It was in the reign of the successors of Sargon as kings of Sumer and Akkad that Inanna/Ishtar incorporated the conjugations with the king into the ceremonies of the New Year Festival, formalizing them into the rite of the Sacred Marriage.

In earlier times it was the Gods who gathered to relive and retell, on the occasion of the New Year, the epic of Creation and the odyssey of the Anunnaki in coming to and staying on Earth; the festival was called A.KI.TI - "On Earth build Life." After Kingship was introduced, and after Inanna began to invite the king to her Gigunu, a reenactment of the death of her sex partner - and then his replacement by the king - was incorporated into the festival’s proceedings.


The essence of the procedure was to find a way to have the king spend the night with the Goddess without ending up dead ... On the outcome depended not only the king’s personal fate, but also the fate of the land and its people - prosperity and abundance or the lack of them in the coming year.

For the first four days of the festival, the Gods alone participated in the reenactments. On the fifth day the king came on the scene, leading the elders and other dignitaries in a procession through a special Way of Ishtar (in Babylon the processional way assumed monumental proportions and architectural grandeur that inspire awe to this day; it has been reconstructed in the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin).


Arriving at the main temple, the king was met by the High Priest, who took away the king’s insignia and placed them before the deity in the Holy of Holies. Then, returning to the dethroned king, the High Priest struck him in the face and made him kneel down for a ceremony of Atonement in which the king had to recite a list of sins and seek divine forgiveness. Priests then led the king out of town to a pit of symbolic death; the king stayed there imprisoned while above the Gods debated his Destiny.


On the ninth day he reemerged, was given back his insignia and royal robes, and led back the procession to the city. There, at evetime, washed and scented, he was led to the Gipar in the sacred precinct.

At the entrance to the Gigunu he was met by Inanna’s personal attendant, who made the following appeal to the Goddess in behalf of the king:

The sun has gone to sleep,
the day has passed.
As in bed you gaze upon him,
as you caress him -
give Life unto the king ...
May the king whom you have called to heart
enjoy long days at your holy lap . . .
Give him a reign favorable and glorious,
Grant his throne an enduring foundation . . .
May the farmer make the fields productive,
May the shepherd multiply the sheepfolds . . .
In the palace let there be long life.

The king was then left alone with the Goddess in the Gigunu for the conjugal encounter. It lasted the whole night. In the morning the king emerged, for all to see that he had survived the night. The Sacred Marriage had taken place; the king could reign on for another year; the land and people were granted prosperity.

"The Sacred Marriage Rite was celebrated joyously and rapturously all over the ancient Near East for some two thousand years," the great Sumerologist Samuel N. Kramer wrote in The Sacred Marriage Rite.

Indeed, long after the days of Dumuzi and Gilgamesh, Sumerian kings described poetically the ecstasy of such memorable nights with Ishtar.


The biblical Song of Songs described the pleasures of love in the Ta’an-nugim and several of the Prophets foresaw the demise of the "House of Annugirri" (House of Pleasures) of the "Daughter of Babylon" (Ishtar); and it is apparent to us that the Hebrew term stemmed from the Sumerian Gigunu, indicating familiarity with the Chamber of Pleasures and the rite of the Sacred Marriage well into the middle of the first millennium B.C.

In the olden days the Gipar was the separate structure to which the God and his official spouse retired for the night. The Gods who stayed monogamous - Enlil, Ninurta - have kept it that way. Ishtar, in her city Uruk, met her betrothed Dumuzi there but turned the inner chamber, the Gigunu, to a place of one-night stands. The changes introduced by Ishtar - the use of the Gipar for a new form of Divine Encounter - gave ideas to some of the male deities of that time.

Some of the best-preserved records in this regard concern Nannar/Sin (the father of Inanna/Ishtar) and the Gipar in his sacred precinct in Ur. The role played by the male king in Ishtar’s rites was played by an Entu, a "God’s Lady," (NIN.-DINGIR in Sumerian).


Excavations there unearthed the quarters of the Entu in the southeastern part of the sacred precinct, not too far from me ziggurat of Sin and clearly away from the temple-abode of his spouse Ningal. Near the Gigunu of the Entu the archaeologists found a cemetery where generations of Entus were buried.


The cemetery, and the uncovered structures, confirmed that the practice of having a "God ’s Lady" besides the official spouse extended from the early Dynastic Period well into Neo-Babylonian times - a span of time exceeding two millennia.

Herodotus, the fifth century B.C. Greek historian and traveler, described in his writings (History, Book I, 178-182) the sacred precinct of Babylon and the temple-ziggurat of Marduk (whom he called "Jupiter Bellus") - quite accurately, as modern archaeology has shown.


According to his testimony,

On the topmost tower there is a spacious temple, and inside the temple stands a couch of unusual size, richly adorned, with a golden table by its side. There is no statue of any kind set up in the place, nor is the chamber occupied of nights by any one but a single native woman, who, as the Chaldeans, the priests of this God affirm, is chosen for himself by the deity out of all the women of the land.

They also declare - but I for my part do not credit it - that the God comes down in person into this chamber, and sleeps upon the couch. This is like the story told by the Egyptians of what takes place in their city of Thebes, where a woman always passes the night in the temple of the Theban Jupiter. In each case the woman is said to be debarred all intercourse with men. It is also like the custom of Patara, in Lycia, where the priestess who delivers the oracles, during the time that she is so employed ... is shut up in the temple every night.

Although the statements by Herodotus give the impression that any maiden in the lands could have qualified for this widespread practice, it was not really so.

One of the inscriptions found in the ruins of the Gipar at Ur was by an Entu named Enannedu, who has been identified as the daughter of Kudur-Mabuk, a king of the Sumerian city Larsa circa 1900 B.C. "I am magnificently suited to be a Gipar-woman, the house which in a pure place for the Entu is built," she wrote.


Interestingly, votive objects found in the Ningal temple bore inscriptions identifying them as gifts from Enannedu, suggesting to some scholars (e.g. Penelope Weadock, The Giparu at Ur) that while serving as the human consort of the God Nannar, the Entu also had to be on good terms with the official spouse, "providing for the comfort and adornment of the Goddess Ningal."

Other instances where kings sought the Entu office for their daughters abound. The reason that emerges from the inscriptions is that by having such intimate access to the God, the Entu could plead the case and cause of the king for "long days of life and good health" - the very requests made by the male king on the occasion of the Sacred Marriage with Ishtar. With such a direct access to the city God through the "God’s Lady," no wonder that successive kings all over the ancient Near East built and rebuilt the Gipars in their cities, making sure that their daughters, and no one else, would be the Entu.


This high and unique office was totally different from that of a variety of priestesses who served in the temples as "holy prostitutes," referred to by the general term Qad-isktu - an occupation frequently mentioned derogatively in the Bible (and specifically prohibited for the Daughters of Israel: Deuteronomy 23:18). The Entu was different from the concubines that Gods (and kings, or Patriarchs) had, in that the Entu did not and apparently could not (through unknown procedures) bear children, while the concubines could and did.

These rules and customs meant that kings seeking or claiming divine parentage had to find other ways than descent from an Entu (who could not bear children) or a concubine (whose offspring lost out to those of the official spouse). It is thus no wonder that during the last glorious era of Sumer, the time of the Third Dynasty of Ur, some of its kings, emulating Gilgamesh, claimed that they were mothered by the Goddess Ninsun.


The Assyrian king Sennacherib, unable to make such a claim, asserted instead in one of his inscriptions that,

"the Mistress of the Gods, the Goddess of procreation, looked upon me with favor (while I was still) in the womb of the mother who bore me and watched over my conception; Ea provided a spacious womb, and granted me keen understanding, the equal of the master Adapa."

In other instances Mesopotamian kings asserted that this or that Goddess raised them or breastfed them.

In Egypt, too, claims of divine births were made (and depicted on temple walls - Fig. 55) by various kings and queens, especially during the eighteenth dynasty (1567-1320 B.C.).

Figure 55

The mother of the first Pharaoh of this dynasty was given the title (probably posthumously) "Spouse of the God Amon-Ra," and the title passed from mother to daughter in succession. When the Pharaoh Thothmes I (also spelled Thothmose, Thutmosis) died, he left behind a daughter (Hatshepsut) mothered by his legitimate wife and a son born by a concubine.


In order to legitimize his reign after their father died, the son (known as Thothmes II) married his half sister Hatshepsut; but when he died after a short reign, the only son he had was a young boy mothered by a harem girl; Hatshepsut herself bore one or two daughters, but had no son.


(In our opinion Hatshepsut, when still a princess bearing the title The Pharaoh’s Daughter, was the biblical Pharaoh’s Daughter who raised the Hebrew boy, calling him "Mose" after the divine prefix of her dynasty, eventually adopting him as her son; but that is another subject).

At first Hatshepsut held the reins as a coregent with her half brother (who some twenty-two years later became the Pharaoh Thothmes/Tuthmose III). But then she decided that the Kingship was rightfully only hers, and had herself crowned as a Pharaoh (accordingly, her depictions on temple walls showed her with an attached false beard . . .).

To legitimize her coronation and ascension to the throne of Osiris, Hatshepsut had the following statement put into the Egyptian royal records regarding her mother’s conception of her:

The God Anton took the form of his majesty the
king, of this [queen’s] husband the king. Then he
went to her immediately; then he had intercourse
with her.
These are the words which the God Amon, Lord of the
Thrones of the Two Lands, spoke thereafter in her
"Hatshepsut-by-Amon-created shall be the name of this
my daughter whom I have planted in thy body . . . She
is to exercise the beneficent kingship in this entire

One of ancient Egypt’s most imposing royal temples is that of queen Hatshepsut in Deir-el-Bahari, a section of Thebes on the western side of the Nile (Fig. 56).

Figure 56

A series of ramps and terraces took yesteryear’s worshiper (and today’s visitor) up to the level of magnificent colonnades where (on the left) the queen’s expedition to Punt was depicted in reliefs and murals, and (on the right) her divine birth. In this section the painted reliefs show the God Amun being led by the God Thoth to queen Ahmose, the mother of Hatshepsut.


The accompanying inscription can well be considered one of the most poetic and tender records of a sexual Divine Encounter, as the God -

disguised as the queen’s husband -

entered the inner sanctum of the queen’s nighttime chamber:

Then came the glorious God, Amun himself,

Lord of the thrones of the Two Lands,

When he had taken the form of her husband.
They found her sleeping in the beautiful sanctuary;

She awoke at the perfume of the God,

merrily laughed in the face of his majesty.
Enflamed with love, he hastened toward her;

She could behold him, in the shape of a God,

When he had come nearer to her.
She exulted at the sight of his beauty;
His love entered into all her limbs.
The place was filled with the God’s sweet perfume.
The majestic God did to her all that he wished.

She gladdened him with all of herself;

She kissed him.

To further strengthen her claim to divinely ordained Kingship, Hatshepsut asserted that she was nursed by the Goddess Hathor, mistress of the southern Sinai where the turquoise mines were and whose Egyptian name, Hat-Hor ("House/ Abode of Horus"), signified her role in raising and protecting the young God after his father Osiris was slain by Seth.


Hathor, whose nickname was The Cow, was depicted with cow’s horns or alternatively as a cow; and the decorations in Hatshepsut’s temple showed the queen being nursed by the Goddess-cow, suckling on her udder (Fig. 57).

Figure 57

In the absence of a claim to semidivinity, the son and successor of Thothmes HI, called Amenophis II, also asserted that he was suckled by Hathor, and ordered that he so be depicted on temple walls (Fig. 58).

Figure 58

But a later successor, Ramses II (1304-1237 B.C.) asserted again that his was a divine birth by recording the following secret revelation by the God Ptah to the Pharaoh:

I am thy father . . .
I assumed my form as a ram. Lord of Mendes,
and begot thee inside thy august mother.

And a thousand years later, as we have mentioned, Alexander the Great heard the rumors of his semidivine ancestry, conceived when his mother had a Divine Encounter in her bedchamber with the God Amon.

When Gods Grew Old

The Immortality of the Gods that Earthlings sought to attain was, in reality, only an apparent longevity due to the different life cycles on the two planets. By the time Nibiru completed one orbit around the Sun, someone born there was just one year old. An Earthling born at the same moment would have been, however. 3,600 years old by the end of one Nibiruan year, for Earth would have orbited the Sun 3,600 times by then.

How did coming and staying on Earth affect the Anunnaki? Did they succumb to Earth’s shorter orbital time, and thus to Earth’s shorter life cycles?

A case in point is what had happened to Ninmah. When she arrived on Earth as the Chief Medical Officer, she was young and attractive (see Fig. 19); so attractive that when Enki - no novice in sex matters - saw her in the marshlands, "his phallus watered the dykes." She was depicted still youthful and with long hair when (as Ninti, "Lady Life") she helped create The Adam (Fig. 3).


When Earth was divided, she was assigned the neutral region in the Sinai peninsula (and was called Ninharsag, "Lady of the Mountainpeaks"). But when Inanna rose to prominence and was made patron-Goddess of the Indus Civilization, she also took the place of Ninmah in the pantheon of twelve. By then the younger Anunnaki, who referred to Ninmah as Mammi, "Old Mother," called her "The Cow" behind her back. Sumerian artists depicted her as an aging Goddess, with cow’s horns ("A" image below).

The Egyptians called the Mistress of the Sinai Hathor, and always depicted her with cow’s horns ("B" image below).

As the younger Gods broke taboos and reshaped Divine Encounters, the Olden Gods appear more aloof, less involved, stepping into the breach only when events were getting out of hand.


The Gods, indeed, did grow old.


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