THE PRISONER IN
"The incident of the
Tower of Babel brought to an unexpected end the
longest era of Peace on Earth that Man can recall. The chain of
tragic events the incident had triggered had, we believe, a direct
bearing on the Great Pyramid and its mysteries....
"....To the many enigmas pertaining to the construction and purpose
of the Great Pyramid at Giza, two more were added after its
completion. All theories concerning them, having been based on the
assumption of a royal burial as the pyramidís purpose, have been
flawed and wanting. We believe that the answers lie not in the tales
of the Pharaohs, but in the tales of the gods.
At this point Mr. Sitchin writes several pages detailing the
construction of the Pyramid; however, despite of this section (in
the book) being more updated, the reader of previous books in this
series, would be, by now, familiar with many of such details,
therefore, I will skip several pages from Book 3 and continue with
this chapterís Prisoner story:
"That Marduk was imprisoned alive in the "Mountain Tomb," there is
no doubt; texts that have been found and authoritatively translated
attest to that. Other Mesopotamian texts throw light on the nature
of his offense. Altogether enable us to arrive at a plausible
reconstruction of the events.
"Evicted from Babylon and Mesopotamia,
Marduk returned to Egypt. He
promptly established himself in Heliopolis, enhancing its role as
his "cult center" by assembling his celestial memorabilia in a
special shrine, to which Egyptians made pilgrimages for a long time
"But seeking to reestablish his hegemony over Egypt,
that things had changed since he left Egypt to attempt his coup díetat in
Mesopotamia. Though Thoth, we gather, did not put up a
struggle for supremacy, and Nergal and Gibil were far from the
center of power, a new rival had emerged in the interim: Dumuzi.
That younger son of Enki, his domain bordering Upper Egypt, was
emerging as a pretender to the throne of Egypt.
"And behind his ambitions was none other than his bride
- another cause for Mardukís suspicions and dislike.
"The tale of
Dumuzi and Inanna - he a son of Enki, she a
granddaughter of Enlil - reads like an ancient tale of Romeo and
Juliet. Like Shakespeareís drama, it, too, ended in tragedy, death,
"The texts amply
identified this god. As in the Ninurta texts, he is called A.ZAG and
nicknamed The Great Serpent - a name and a derogatory
epithet for Marduk. His hiding place is also clearly identified as
"the E.KUR, whose walls awesomely reach the skies"
"The record of the trial and sentencing of
Marduk is available from
a fragmentary text published by the Babylonian Section of the Museum
of the University of Pennsylvania. The extant lines begin where the
gods had surrounded the pyramid, and a god chosen to be a spokesman
addressed Marduk "in his enclosure"; "the one who was evil he
implored." Marduk was moved by the message: "Despite the anger of
his heart, clear tears came into his eyes"; and he agreed to come
out and stand trial.
"....In sentencing Marduk the mystery of
Dumuziís death posed a
problem. That Marduk was responsible for his death there was no
doubt. But was it premeditated or accidental? Marduk deserved a
death sentence, but what if his crime was not deliberate?
"Standing there, in sight of the pyramids, with
Marduk fresh out of
his hiding place, the solution dawned on Inanna.... There was a way
to sentence Marduk to death without actually executing him, she
said: Let him be buried alive within the Great Pyramid! Let him be
sealed there like in a gigantic envelope....
"....The judging gods accepted her suggestions: "The mistress art
thou... The fate thou decreest: let it be so!" Assuming that Anu
would go along with the verdict, "the gods then placed the command
to Heaven and Earth." The Ekur, the Great Pyramid,
had become a
prison; and one of the epithets of its mistress was, thereafter,
"Mistress of the Prison."
"It was then, we believe, that the
sealing of the Great Pyramid was
completed. Leaving Marduk alone in the Kingís Chamber, the arresting
gods released behind them the granite plugs of the Ascending
Passage, irrevocably blocking tight all access to the upper chambers
"Through the channels leading from the "Kingís Chamber" to the north
and south faces of the pyramid, Marduk had air to breathe, but he
had neither food nor water. He was buried alive, doomed to die in
"The record of Mardukís entombment, alive, within the Great Pyramid
has been preserved on clay tablets found in the ruins of
Nineveh, the ancient Assyrian capitals. The Ashur text suggests that
it had served as a script for a New Yearís mystery play in Babylon
that reenacted the godís suffering and reprieve. But neither the
Babylonian version, nor the Sumerian historical text on which the
script was based, have so far been found.
"Hienrich Zimmern, who transcribed and translated the
from clay tablets in the Berlin Museum, created quite a stir in
theological circles when he announced its interpretation at a
lecture in September 1921. The reason was that he interpreted it as
a pre-Christian Mysterium dealing with the death and resurrection of
a god, and thus an earlier Christ tale. When Stephen Langdon
included an English translation in his 1923 volume on the
Mesopotamian New Year Mystery Texts, he titled the text The Death
and Resurrection of Bel-Marduk and highlighted its parallels to the
New Testament tale of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
"But, as the text relates,
Marduk or Bel ("The Lord") did not die;
he was indeed incarcerated inside The Mountain as in a tomb; but he
was entombed alive.
The drama, which is played by actors is explained in the book "The
Wars of Gods and Men."
Towards the end of the play:
"....As a gesture of good will,
Gula (the spouse of Ninurta) sends
to Sarpanit (the sister-wife of Marduk) new clothing and sandals for
Marduk; Mardukís driveless chariot also appears. But
dumbfounded: she cannot understand how Marduk can be free again if
he had been imprisoned in a tomb that cannot be unsealed: "How can
they let him free, the one who cannot come out?"
"Nusku, the divine messenger, tells her that
Marduk shall pass
through SA.BAD, the "chiseled upper opening." He explains that it
Dalat biri sha iqabuni ilani
A doorway-shaft which the gods will bore;
Shunu itasrushu ina biti etarba
Its vortex they will lift off,
his abode they shall reenter.
Dalta ina panishu etedili
The door which was barred before him
Shunu hurrate ina libbi dalti uptalishu
At the vortex of the hollowing, into the insides,
a doorway they shall twistingly bore;
Qarabu ina libbi uppushu
Getting near, into its midst they will break through.
"This description of how
Marduk shall be released has remained
meaningless to scholars; but the verses are explosively meaningful
to us. As we have explained, the irregular an twisting segment C of
the Well Shaft had not existed when the pyramid was completed and
when Marduk was imprisoned within it; it was, instead, the very
"doorway-shaft which the gods will bore" to rescue
Going back a few pages on the book:
The Well Shaft is made up of seven distinct segments, from A to G:
The upper horizontal segment (A) leading from the Grand Gallery to a
vertical segment (B) which connects via a twisting segment (C) with
a lower vertical segment (D).
A long, straight, but sharply inclined segment (E) then follows,
leading into a shorter segment (F) inclined at a different angle. At
the end of (F), a segment intended to be horizontal but, in fact,
lightly slanting (G) then connects the Well Shaft with the
The explanation above, is to give a very rough idea of what
Mr. Sitchin is talking about, when he mentions "segment C." Certainly on
his book, minute details have been given accompanied by graphics of
"Still familiar with the pyramidís inner layout,
realized that the shortest and quickest way to reach the starved Marduk was to tunnel the connecting shaft between the existing
segment "B" and "D" - a tunneling of a mere thirty-two feet through
the relatively soft limestone blocks; it was a task that could be
achieved not in days but in hours.
"Removing the stone that covered the
Well Shaftís entrance from the
Descending Passage to "G," the rescuers quickly climbed up inclined
segments "F" and "E." Where "E" connected with vertical segment "D,"
a granite stone covered the entrance in the "Grotto"; it was pushed
aside - and still lies there, in the Grotto. Now the rescuers
climbed the short distance up segment "D," and faced the first
course of the pyramidís masonry.
"Thirty-two feet above but to the side lay the bottom of vertical
segment "B" and the way into the Grand Gallery. But who could have
known how to bore a twisting connecting shaft -"C"- except those who
had built the pyramid, knew of its sealed-off upper sections, and
had the plans to locate them?
"It was the rescuers of Marduk, we suggest, who used their tools to
break through the limestone blocks, the link between "D" and "B": "a
hollowing into its insides they shall twistingly bore," in the words
of the ancient text.
"Achieving the link up with "B," they clambered to the short,
horizontal passage "A." There, any stranger would have stopped short
even if he had gone that far up, for all he would have seen would be
a stone wall - solid masonry. Again, we suggest, that only the
Anunnaki, who had the pyramidís plan, could have known that beyond
the stone facing them there lay the immense cavity of the Grand
Gallery, the Queenís Chamber, and all the other upper chambers and
passages of the pyramid.
"To gain access to those chambers and passages it was necessary to
remove the wedgelike ramp stone. But it was wedged too tightly and
could not be moved.
"If the stone would have been moved away, it would have still been
lying there, in the Grand Gallery. Instead, there is a gaping hole,
and those who have examined it have invariably used the words blown
up and blown open to describe what it looks like; and it was done
not from the Gallery but from inside the Shaft:
"the hollow has the
appearance of having been burst open by tremendous force from
within" the Shaft
"Again the Mesopotamian record offers a solution. The stone was
indeed removed from within the horizontal passageway, because it was
from there that the rescuers had arrived. And it was indeed "burst
open by a tremendous force"; in the words of the ancient text,
"Getting near, into its midst they will break through." The
fragments of the limestone block slid down the Ascending Passage,
down all the way to the granite plugs; that is where Al Mamoonís
(explorer) men found them.
The explosion also covered the
Grand Gallery with the fine, white
dust the Arabs found covering the floor of the Grand Gallery - mute
evidence of the ancient explosion and the gaping hole it had left.
"Having broken through into the
Grand Gallery, the rescuers led Marduk back the way they came. The entry from the
was sealed again, to be discovered by Al Mamoonís men. The granite
plugs remained in place with the triangular junction stone hiding
the plugs and the Ascending Passage for millennia. And, inside the
pyramid, the original upper an lower parts of the Well Shaft were
now for all future days connected by a twisting, harshly tunneled
"And what of the rescued Prisoner of the pyramid?
"Mesopotamian texts relate that he went into exile; in Egypt
acquired the epithet Amen, "The Hidden One."
"Circa 2000 B.C., he reappeared again to claim supremacy, for that,
mankind ended up paying a most bitter price.
"A QUEEN AM I!"
"The tale of Inanna/Ishtar is a tale of a "self made goddess."
Neither one of the Olden Gods, the original group of
the Twelfth Planet, nor even a firstborn daughter of one of them,
she nevertheless propelled herself to the highest ranks and ended up
a member of the Pantheon of Twelve. To achieve that she combined her
cunning and her beauty with ruthlessness - a goddess of war and a
goddess of love, who counted among her loves both gods and men. And
it was she of whom there had been a true case of death and
"Inasmuch as the death of Dumuzi was brought about by
desire to become a queen on Earth, the imprisonment and exile of
Marduk did little to satisfy her ambitions. Now, having challenged
and prevailed over a major god, she felt she could no longer be
deprived of a domain of her own. But where?
"The funeral of
Dumuzi, one gathers from such texts as Inannaís
Descent to the Lower World, was held in the Land of Mines in
southern Africa. It was the domain of Inannaís sister Ereshkigal and
her spouse Nergal. Enlil and Nannar, even Enki, advised
to go there; but she made up her mind: "From the Great Above she set
her mind toward the Great Below"; and when she arrived at the gate
of her sisterís capital city, she said to the gatekeeper: "Tell my
elder sister, Ereshkigal." that she had come "to witness the funeral
"....The texts do not explain the reasons for the harsh treatment
meted out to Inanna, nor quote the "torturing words" her accusers
cast at her. But we learn from the beginning of the text that at the
same time that she went to her trip, Inanna sent her messenger to
"fill heaven with complaints for me." Attending a funeral was thus a
mere pretext; what she had in mind was to force the gods to satisfy
a complaint that she wished to dramatize.
"....The clue to
Inannaís intentions, we believe, can be found in
the book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of Moses, in which the
Hebrew code of personal behavior was spelled out. Chapter 25 (verses
5-10) deals with the instance when a married man dies without having
had a son. If the man had a brother, the widow could not remarry a
stranger: it was the duty of the brother - even a married one - to
marry his widowed sister in-law and have children by her; and the
firstborn boy was to bear the name of the deceased brother, "so that
his name shall not be blotted out."
"....The personal and succession problems that
would have caused Ereshkigal can well be imagined. Would be
satisfied to be a second wife, or would she connive and scheme to
usurp the queenship over the African domain? Obviously
was not willing to take chances. And so it was, we believe, that
after harsh words between the sisters, Inanna was hauled before a
hastily convened court of "seven Anunnaki who judge," was found in
violation of the rules, and was summarily hung on a stake to die a
slow death. She survived only because her father-in-law, Enki, on
hearing the terrible news, rushed two emissaries to save her. "Upon
the corpse they directed that which pulsates and that which
radiates"; they administer to her the "water of life" and the "food
of life," and "Inanna arose."
Sumer the revived Inanna, heartbroken and lonely, spent her
time on the banks of the Euphates River, tending a wild-growing tree
and voicing her sorrows.
"....One who had taken pity on - and a liking to -
Inanna was her
great-grandfather, Anu. It is known from Sumerian texts that
who was born on Earth, "went up to Heaven"
at least once; it is also
known that Anu had visited Earth on several occasions. When and
where exactly did Anu embrace Inanna as his Anunitum ("Beloved of Anu") is not clear, but it was more than mere Sumerian gossip when
texts hinted that the love between Anu and his great-granddaughter
was more than platonic.
"Assured thus of sympathy at the highest level,
Inanna raised the
issue of a dominion, a "land," to rule over. But where?
"....It is our suggestion that in their search for a land for
the Anunnaki decided to make the Third Region her dominion.
"Although it is generally held that the evidence for the
Mesopotamian origins of the Indus civilization and for ongoing
contacts between Sumer and the Indus Valley is limited to the few
archaeological remains, we believe that there also exists textual
evidence attesting to these links. Of particular interest is a long
text named by scholars Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, whose
background is the rise to power of Uruk (the biblical
Erech) and of
"....Arattaís geographical location (the capital of a land situated
beyond mountain ranges and beyond Anshan; i.e, beyond southeastern
Iran. This is precisely where the Indus Valley lay), and the fact
that it is a place renowned for its grain and bean storehouses bear
forceful similarities to the Indus civilization. Indeed one must
wonder whether Harappa or Arappa is not a present-day echo of the
"....Enmerkar "who built
Uruk" (according to
Sumerian King Lists),
transforming it from the nominal abode of an absently god (Anu) to a
major urban center of a reigning deity. He achieved this by
persuading Inanna to choose Erech as her principal seat of power and
by aggrandizing for her the Eanna ("House of Anu") temple.
"We read in the ancient texts that at first all
Enmerkar demanded of
Aratta was that it contribute "precious stones, bronze, lead, slabs
of lapis lazuli" to the building of the enlarged temple, as well as
"artfully fashioned gold and silver" so that the Holy Mount being
raised for Inanna would be worthy of the goddess.
"But no sooner was this done than the heart of
haughty. A drought had afflicted Aratta and Enmerkar now demanded
not only materials but also obedience: "Let Aratta submit to
This situation created what
S.N. Kramer (History Begins at Sumer)
has characterized as "the first war of nerves." Eventually,
regained rain waters and had no need to submit to Erech.
"....In spite of the rejoicing in
Aratta, its expectation that
Inanna would not abandon her abode there was not entirely fulfilled.
Enticed by the prospect of residing in a grand temple at Sumerís
City of Anu, she became a commuting goddess: a "working deity" so to
speak, in faraway Aratta, but a resident in metropolitan
"She did the commuting by flying from place to place in her "Boat of
Heaven." Her flying about gave rise to many depictions of her as an
aeronaut and the inference from some texts is that she did her own
piloting. On the other hand, like other major deities, she was
assigned a pilot-navigator for the more demanding flights. As the
Vedas, which spoke of pilots of the gods (one Pushan, "guided
through the speckled clouds" in the "golden ship that travels in the
airís mid-region"), so did the early Sumerian texts refer to the
AB.GALs, who ferried the gods across the heavens.
navigator, we are told, was Nungal; and he was specifically named in
regard to her transfer to the House of Anu in Erech:
At the time when Enmerkar in Uruk ruled,
Nungal, the lion-hearted, was the Pilot
who from the skies brought Ishtar down
to the E-Anna.
"....Archaeologists have come upon the remains of a magnificent
temple dedicated to Inanna and dating to the early part of the third
millennium B.C. - possibly the very temple constructed by Enmerkar.
It was uniquely built with decorated high columns and must have been
as lavish as the hymns that sang its praises had described:
With lapis-lazuli was adorned,
Decorated with the handiwork of Ninagal.
In the bright place . . .
the residence of Inanna,
the lyre of Anu they installed.
This "invitation" (Sacred Marriage, together for one night) is
featured in the well-known
Epic of Gilgamesh. The fifth ruler of
Erech, Gilgamesh was also seduced by Inanna, but he did not accept,
not even in exchange of promises for a glorious life, although not
everlasting. Gilgamesh accused Inanna of having too many lovers, and
he would be forgotten too.
Inanna thereupon received Anuís permission to
launch against Gilgamesh the Bull of Heaven; Gilgamesh was saved
from it at the last moment at the gates of Erech.
golden era of Erech was not to last forever. Seven other kings
followed Gilgamesh on his throne....
"....The reigns of the various rulers were getting shorter and
shorter as the site of kinship swung back and forth among Sumerís
"....In the course of no more than 220 years, there were thus three
additional dynasties at Kish, three at Erech, two at
Ur, and single
ones in five other cities. It was, by all appearances, a volatile
period; it was also a time of increasing friction between the
cities, mostly over water rights and irrigation canals - phenomena
that can be explained by drier weather on the one hand and rising
populations on the other. In each instance the town that lost out
was said to have been "smitten with weapons." Mankind had begun to
wage its own wars!
"The resort to arms to settle local disputes was becoming more
commonplace. Inscriptions from those days indicate that the harassed
populace was competing, through offerings and enhanced worship, for
the favors of the gods; the warring city-states increasingly
involved their patron-gods in their petty disputes. In one recorded
instance Ninurta was involved in determining whether an irrigation
ditch encroached on another cityís boundaries. Enlil, too, was
forced to order the warring parties to disengage. This constant
strife and lack of stability soon reached a point when the gods had
had enough. Once before, when the Deluge was coming,
Enlil was so
disgusted with mankind that he schemed its obliteration by the great
flood. Then, in the Tower of Babel incident, he ordered mankindís
dispersion and the confusion of its languages. Now, again, he was
"The historical background to the events that followed was the final
attempt by the gods to reestablish Kish, the original capital, as
the center of kingship. For the fourth time they returned kingship
to Kish, starting the dynasty with rulers whose names indicate
fealty to Sin, Ishtar, and Shamash. Two rulers, however, bore names
indicating that they were followers of Ninurta and his spouse -
evidence of a revived rivalry between the House of Sin and the
of Ninurta. It resulted in the sitting on the throne of a nonentity
- "Nannia, a stone cutter"; he reigned a brief seven years.
Still, conflicts followed between
Erech and Kish, and:
"....the idea of a strong hand at the helm of human kinship made
more and more sense. There was a need for someone uninvolved in all
these disputes, someone who would provide firm leadership and once
again properly perform the role of the king as sole intermediary
between the gods and the people in all matters mundane.
This personality "was found by
Inanna in one of her flying trips,
circa 2400 B.C. He had begun his career as a cup-bearer to the
of Kish. The epithet-name for this first empire-builder was
("Righteous Ruler"); modern textbooks call him Sargon I or
the Great. He built himself a brand-new capital not far from Babylon
and named it Agade ("United"); we know it as
Akkad - a name from
which stems the term Akkadian for the first Semitic Language.
"With all that,
was still a "provincial" town, lacking the stature of other Sumerian
cities, which had the distinction of having been rebuilt on the
sites of pre-Diluvial cities. It lacked the status and benefits that
stemmed from the possession of the "Divine MEs." Though they are
constantly referred to, the nature of the ME is not clear, and
scholars translate the term as "divine commandments," "divine
powers," or even "mythic virtues." The ME, however are described as
physical objects, that one could pick up and carry, or even put on,
and which contained secret knowledge or data. Perhaps they were
something like our present-day computer chips, on which data,
programs, and operational orders have been minutely recorded. On
them the essentials of civilization were encoded.
MEs were in the possession of Enki, the chief scientist of
the Anunnaki. They were released by him to benefit mankind
gradually, step by step, and the turn of Erech to attain the heights
of civilization had, apparently, not yet come when Inanna became its
resident deity. Impatient, Inanna decided to use her feminine charms
to improve the situation.
In the book "The 12th Planet"
Mr. Sitchin explains what Inanna did
with Enki, in his abode at the Abzu, to obtain the
MEs. She was
known for her sexual seducing habits, and that is exactly what she
did. Enki succumbed to her charms, and beer.... and the
easily to Inanna. When he realized what he had done, it was too
late, Inanna had gone back to her abode in her "Boat of Heaven."
"....An Exaltation of Inanna, composed to be read
the congregation, echoes the sentiments of the people of Erech:
Lady of the MEs, Queen
Righteous, clothed in radiance
Beloved of Heaven and Earth;
Hierodule of Anu,
Wearing the great adorations;
For the exalted tiara
For the high-priesthood suitable.
The seven MEs she attained,
In her hand she is holding.
Lady of the great MEs,
Of them she is the guardian . . .
"It was in those days that
Inanna was incorporated into the Pantheon
of Twelve, and (replacing Ninharsag) was assigned the planet Venus (MUL.DILBAT)
as her celestial counterpart and the constellation
AB.SIN (Virgo) as
her zodiac house; the latterís depiction has hardly changed from
Sumerian times. Expressing her own gratification, Inanna announced
for all - gods and men alike - to hear: "A Queen Am I!"
"....Hymns acknowledged her new status among the gods and her
"....Turning from her high position among the gods to her worship by
the Sumerians (the "Black-Headed People"), the hymns went on....
"....The people of Erech had every reason to be thankful to
for under her deityship, Erech had become an affluent center of
Sumerian civilization. In praising her wisdom and valor, the people
of Erech failed not also to mention her beauty and attractiveness.
Inanna then instituted the "Sacred Marriage." Involving the
priest-king, music, and male prostitute entertainers....
"....This habit of
Inanna may have begun with Enmerkar himself, a
sexual union of which the next ruler of Uruk, a demigod known as
"divine Lugalbanda, a Righteous Supervisor," was the progeny.
Continuing with Sargon I:
"A text known as
The Legend of Sargon records, in Sargonís own
words, his own personal history:
Sargon, the mighty king of Agade, am I.
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 rushes, with betumen sealed the lid.
She cast me into the river, it did not sink 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 his son made me and reared me.
Akki, the irrigator, appointed me as his gardener.
"This Moses-like tale (written
more than a thousand years before the
time of Moses!) then continuous to answer the obvious question: how
could a man of unknown fatherhood, a mere gardener, become a mighty
king? Sargon answered the question thus:
While I was a gardener, Ishtar granted me her love,
And for four and fifty years I exercised Kingship;
The black-Headed-People I ruled and governed.
"....A text known as the
Sargon Chronicle states that "Sharru-Kin,
King of Agade, [rose to power] in the era of Ishtar....
"....The enigmatic reference to the "Era of Ishtar" has baffled the
scholars; but it can only mean what it says: at that time, for
whatever reasons, Inanna/Ishtar was able to have a man of her choice
take the throne and create for her an empire: He defeated Uruk and
tore down its wall... He was victorious in the battle with the
inhabitants of Ur... he defeated the entire territory from
far as the sea... " There were also the conquests beyond the olden
boundaries of Sumer: Mari and Elam are standing in obedience before
"....Yet, though promoted by Inanna, the elevation of
kingship over what was henceforth known as Sumer and
Akkad could not
have taken place without the consent and blessing of Anu and
A bilingual (Sumerian-Akkadian) text, originally inscribed on a
statue of Sargon that was placed before Enlil in his temple in
Nippur, stated that Sargon was not only "Commanding Overseer" of
Ishtar, but also "anointed priest of Anu" and "great regent of
Enlil." It was Enlil, Sargon wrote, who "had given him lordship and
"Sargonís records of his conquests describe
Inanna as actively
present in the battlefields but attribute to Enlil the overall
decision regarding the scope of the victories and the extent of the
"....It is clear from Sargonís inscriptions that he was neither
given Tilmun (the godsí own Fourth Region), nor
Magan (Egypt), nor Meluhha (Ethiopia) in
the Second Region, the domains of Enkiís
descendants; with those lands he only conducted peaceful trading
relations. In Sumer itself he kept out of the area controlled by
Ninurta and from the city claimed by Marduk. But then, "in his old
age," Sargon made a mistake"
He took soil away from the foundation of
and built upon the soil another Babylon beside Agade.
"To understand the severity of his deed, we ought to recall the
meaning of "Babylon" - Bab-Ili, "Gateway of the Gods." A title and a
function claimed for Babylon by a defiant Marduk, it was symbolized
by its hallowed soil. Now, encouraged by Inanna and driven by her
ambitions, Sargon took away the sacred soil to spread it as a
foundation for the new Bab-Ili, audaciously aiming to transfer the
title and function to Agade.
"This was an opportunity for
Marduk - unheard for so many centuries
- to reassert himself:
On account of the sacrilege Sargon committed,
the great lord Marduk became enraged
and destroyed his people by hunger.
From the east to the west he alienated them from Sargon;
and upon him he inflicted as punishment that he could not rest.
"Desperately crushing one revolt after another,
Sargon "could not
rest"; discredited and afflicted, he died after a reign of fifty
"The information concerning the last years of the
Era of Ishtar
comes to us from a number of texts. Put together, they unfold a tale
of dramatic and incredible events:
the usurpation of supreme powers
on Earth by a goddess
the defilement of
Enlilís Holy of Holies in Nippur
the penetration of the
Fourth Region by a human army
invasion of Egypt
the appearance of
African gods in the Asian
acts and occurrences that were unthinkable before
upheavals among the gods, which served as a stage on which human
rulers played out their roles and human blood was spilled without
"Faced with the reemergence of her olden adversary,
simply not give up, no matter what the cost. Seating on Sargonís
throne first one of his sons and then another, enlisting in her
campaigns her vassal kings in the eastern mountainlands, she fought
as an enraged lioness for her disintegrating empire, "raining flame
over the land... attacking like an aggressive storm."
"....For more than two years
Inanna wrought havoc all around, until
the gods decided that the only way to stop the carnage was to force
Marduk back into exile.... Unable or unwilling to remove
force, the Anunnaki turned to Mardukís brother Nergal and asked him
to "scare Marduk off the divine seat" in Babylon.
"....Having accepted the mission,
Nergal/Erra journeyed to
Mesopotamia for a face-to-face talk with Marduk.
"....Combining praise with reprimand,
Erra told Marduk that the
wonderful things he had done for Babylon, and especially its
waterworks, made Mardukís reputation "shine as a star in the
heavens," but have deprived other cities of their waters. More over,
while crowning himself in Babylon, "lights up its sacred precinct,"
it angered the other gods; "the abode of Anu with darkness it
covers." Marduk, he concluded, could not go against the will of the
other Anunnaki and certainly not against the will of
"But Marduk, citing changes that were made on
Earth in the aftermath
of the Deluge, explained that he had to take matters into his own
"....Among the post-Diluvian disorders that bothered
some failures on the part of Erra himself to account for certain
divine artifacts -
"the instrument of giving orders
the Oracle of
the sign of kingship
the Holy Scepter which contributes
brilliance to Lordship...
Where is the Holy Radiating Stone which
Marduk asked. If he were forced to leave,
said, "on the day I step off my seat, the flooding shall from its
well cease to work... the waters shall not rise... the bright
day to darkness [shall turn]... confusion shall arise... the
winds of draught shall howl... sicknesses shall spread."
"After some more exchanges Erra offered to return to
artifacts of Heaven and Earth" if Marduk would personally go to the
Lower World to pick them up; and as to the "works" in
assured Marduk there was nothing to worry about: he (Erra) would
enter Mardukís House only "to erect the Bulls of Anu and Enlil at
thy gate" - statues of Winged Bulls as were actually found at temple
sites - but would do nothing to upset the waterworks.
Winged Bulls were
erected in later Temples,
as these ones from the Temple of Xerxes in Persepolis.
Marduk agreed to leave Babylon. But no sooner
he had done that than Nergal broke his word. Unable to resist his
curiosity, Nergal/Erra ventured into the Gigunu, the mysterious
underground chamber which Marduk had stressed was off limits; and
there Erra caused its "Brilliance" (radiating source of energy) to
be removed. Thereupon, as Marduk was warned, "the day turned into
darkness," the "flooding was disarrayed," and soon "the lands were
laid to waste, the people were made to perish."
"All of Mesopotamia was affected, for
Ea/Enki, Sin and Shamash, in
their cities, became alarmed; "with anger [at Erra] they were
filled." The people made sacrifices to Anu and Ishtar but to no
avail: "the water sources went dry. Ea, Erraís father, reproached
him: "Now that Prince Marduk had stepped off, what have you done?"
He ordered that a statue of Erra, which had been prepared, should
not be set up in the Esagil. "Go away!" he ordered
Erra. "Take off
to where no gods ever go!"
"....The departure of Marduk from
Babylon brought to an end Ishtarís
conflict with him; the rift between Marduk and Nergal and the
latterís retention of an Asian presence unintentionally created an
alliance between Ishtar and Nergal. The chain of tragic events which
no one could have predicted and that no one had perhaps even desired
was thus being forged by fate, leading the Anunnaki and
closer to the ultimate disaster...
"Two sets of events, one dealing with the goddess and the other with
her surrogate, the king Naram-Sin (grandson of Sargon) record the
events of those times. Both indicate that the first out-of- bounds
target of Inanna was the Landing Place in the Cedar Mountain. As a
Flying Goddess Inanna was quite familiar with the place; she "burnt
down the great gates" of the mountain and, after a brief siege
obtained the surrender of the troops guarding it: "they disbanded
"As recorded in the Naram-Sin Inscriptions,
Inanna then turned south
along the Mediterranean coast, subduing city after city. The
conquest of Jerusalem - Mission Control Center - is not specifically
mentioned , but Inanna must have been there, too, for it is recorded
that she had gone on to capture Jericho. Lying astride the strategic
Jordan River crossing and opposite the Anunnaki stronghold at
Tell Ghassul, Jericho - the city dedicated to
Sin - had also rebelled:
"It said not íIt belongs to your father who begot you, it had
promised its solemn word, but turned away from it." The Old
Testament is filled with admonitions against "straying after alien
gods"; the Sumerian text conveys the same transgression: The people
of Jericho having given a solemn promise to worship Sin,
father, has switched allegiance to another, alien, god. The
surrender of this "city of date-palms" to an armed Inanna was
depicted on a cylinder seal.
"....Since time immemorial, a trade route between
Asia and Africa
had wound its way along the peninsulaís Mediterranean coast - a
route later on enhanced by the Egyptians with watering stations and
by the Romans as their vital Via Maris. Ancient users of this route
thus kept well away from the central plain where the
located. But whether Naram-Sin, at the head of an army, just marched
through along the coastal route is questionable. Alabaster vases of
Egyptian design, which have been found by archaeologists in
Mesopotamia and Elam, identified their owner (in Akkadian) as "Naram-Sin,
King of the Four Regions; vase of the shining Crown of the land Magan." that
Naram-Sin began to call himself "King of the Four
Regions" affirms not only the conquest of Egypt but also suggest the
inclusion of the Sinai peninsula in his sphere of influence.
it appears, was more than "just passing through."
Inanna, with apparent immunity, intrude in the Sinai
peninsula and invade Egypt unopposed by the gods of Egypt?
"The answer lies in an aspect of the
Naram-Sin inscriptions that has baffled the scholars: the apparent veneration by this Mesopotamian
ruler of the African god Nergal.
"This puzzling emergence of
Nergal as an influential Asian deity,
and the audacious march of Inannaís surrogate Naram-Sin to
all violations of the status quo of the Four Regions established
after the Pyramid Wars - have one explanation: while
shifted his attention to Babylon, Nergal assumed a preeminent role
in Egypt. Then, having gone to persuade Marduk to leave
without further struggle, the amicable parting turned into a bitter
enmity between the brothers.
"And this led to an alliance between
Nergal and Inanna; but as they
stood for each other, they soon found themselves opposed by all the
other gods. An assembly of the gods was held in Nippur to deal with
the disruptive consequences of Inannaís exploits; even Enki agreed
that she had gone too far. And a decree for her arrest and trial was
issued by Enlil.
"We learned of these events from a chronicle titled by scholars
Curse of Agade. Deciding that
Inanna had indeed gotten out of hand,
"the word of the Ekur" (Enlilís sacred precinct in
issued against her. But Inanna did not wait to be seized or held for
trial: she forsook her temple and escaped from Agade.
"By the time a delegation of the great gods arrived in
only found an empty temple; all they could do was to strip the place
of its attributes of power.
"....Did Inanna seek out
Nergal during her seven-year disappearance
from Agade? The text does not give the answer, but we believe that
it was the only haven available to Inanna, away from Enlilís
wrath.... That Inanna would hide in Nergalís Lower African domain
seems thus a most plausible assumption.
"Did the two, talking over the situation, reviewing past events,
discussing the future, end up forging a new alliance that could
rearrange the divine domains? A New Order was indeed feasible, for
Inanna was shattering the Old Divine Order upon the
Earth. A text
whose ancient title was Queen of All the MEs acknowledges that
Inanna had indeed, deliberately, decided to defy the authority of
and Enlil, abrogated their rules and regulations, and declared
herself the Supreme Deity, a "Great Queen of Queens." Announcing
that she "has become greater than the mother who gave birth to her... even
greater than Anu," she followed up her declarations with
deeds and seized the E-Anna ("House of Anu") in
Erech, aiming to
dismantle this symbol of Anuís authority.
coup díetat against Anu was accompanied by a parallel
attack on Enlilís seat and symbols of authority. This task was
assigned by Inanna to Naram-Sin; his attack of the Ekur in
and the resulting downfall of Agade are detailed in the
Curse of Agade text....
"....Overrunning the seemingly undefended city, "like a bandit he
plundered it." He then approached the Ekur in the sacred
precinct.... Smashing his way in, he entered its Holy of Holies:
"the people now saw its sacred cella, a chamber that knew no light;
the Akkadians saw the holy vessels of the god"; Naram-Sin "cast them
into the fire...." in boats he carried off the possessions of the
city.... The horrible sacrilege was complete.
"Enlil - his whereabouts unstated, but clearly away from
"lifted his eyes" and saw the destruction of Nippur and the
defilement of the Ekur. "Because his beloved
Ekur had been
attacked," he ordered the hordes of Gutium- a mountainland to the
northeast of Mesopotamia - to attack Akkad and lay it waste. They
came down upon Akkad and its cities "in vast numbers, like locusts... nothing escaped their arm." "He who slept on the roof died on
the roof; he who slept inside the house was not brought to burial... heads were crushed, mouths were crushed... the blood of the
treacherous flowed over the blood of the faithful."
"Once, and then a second time, the other gods interceded with
"curse Agade with a baleful curse," they said, but let the other
cities and the farmlands survive! When Enlil finally agreed,
great gods joined in putting a curse on Agade, "the city who dared
assault the Ekur." "And lo," said the ancient historian, "so it came
to pass... Agade is destroyed!" The gods decreed that
wiped off the face of the Earth; and unlike other cities that,
having been destroyed, Agade forever remained desolate.
Inanna, "her heart was appeased" finally by her parents. What
exactly happened, the texts do not state. They tell us, however,
that her father Nannar came forth to fetch her back to Sumer while
"her mother Ningal proffered prayers for her, greeted her back at
the templeís doorstep." "Enough, more than enough innovations, O
great Queen!" the gods and the people appealed to her; "and the
foremost Queen, in her assembly, accepted the prayer."
The Era of Ishtar
"For ninety-one years
the Gutians held sway over Mesopotamia. No new
capital is named for them, and it appears that Lagash - the only
Sumerian city to escape despoiling by the invaders -served as their
headquarters. From his seat in Lagash Ninurta undertook the slow
process of restoring the countryís agriculture and primarily the
irrigation system that collapsed following the Erra/Marduk incident.
It was a chapter in Sumerian history that can best be called the Era
"The focal point of that era was Lagash, a city whose beginnings
were as a "sacred precinct" (the Girsu) for
Ninurta and his Black
Bird. But as the turmoil of human and divine ambitions grew, Ninurta
decided to convert Lagash into a major Sumerian center, the
principal abode for himself and his spouse Bau/Gula, where his ideas
of law and order and his ideals of morality and justice could be
practiced. To assist in these tasks Ninurta appointed in
human viceroys and charged them with the administration and defense
of the city-state.
"....But Lagash had escaped the ravages of the turbulent years of
Sargon and Naram-Sin not only because it was the "cult-center" of
Ninurta but also (and primarily) because of the military prowess of
its people. As "Enlilís Formost Warrior," Ninurta made sure that
those selected by him to govern Lagash should be military
proficient. One (named Eannatum) whose inscriptions and stelas have
been found, was a master tactician and victorious general. The stelas
show him riding a war chariot - a military vehicle whose
introduction has been customarily attributed to later times; they
also show his helmeted troops in tight formations.
"....Throughout the period of the primacy of
continued uninterrupted in Lagash; even the great Sargon skirted
Lagash and left it intact. It escaped destruction and occupation
throughout the upheavals of Naram-Sin, primarily because it was a
formidable military stronghold, fortified and refortified to
withstand all attacks. We learn by an inscription of Ur-Bau, the
viceroy of Lagash at the time of the Naram-Sin upheavals that he was
instructed by Ninurta to reinforce the walls of the Girsu and to
strengthen the enclosure of the Indugud aircraft. Ur-Bau "compacted
the soil to be as stone . . . fired clay to be as metal"; and at the
Indugudís platform "replaced the old soil with a new foundation,"
strengthened with huge timber beams and stones imported from afar.
"When the Gutians left Mesopotamia - circa 2160 B.C. -
into new bloom and produced some of Sumerís most enlightened and
best-known rulers. Of these, one of the best-known from his long
inscriptions and many statues was Gudea, who reigned during the
twenty-second century B.C. His was a time of peace and prosperity;
his records speak not of armies and wars but of trade and
reconstruction. He crowned his activities with the building of a
new, magnificent temple for Ninurta in a vastly enlarged
"....Gudea admits that he needed the help of diviners and "searchers
of secrets" to understand the temple plan. It was, as modern
researchers have found, an ingenious one-in-seven architectural plan
for the construction of a ziggurat as a seven-stage pyramid. The
structure contained a strongly reinforced platform for the landing
of Ninurtaís airborne vehicle.
"The participation of
Ningishzidda in the planning of the E-Ninnu
carried a significance that went beyond mere architectural
assistance, as evidence by the fact that the Girsu included a
special shrine for this god. Associated with healing and magical
powers, Ningishzidda - a son of Enki - was deemed in Sumerian
inscriptions to have known how to secure the foundations of temples;
he was "the great god who held the plans." As we have already
suggested, Ningishzidda was none other than Thoth, the Egyptian god
of magical powers who was appointed guardian of the secret plans of
the pyramids of Giza.
"Ninurta, it will be
recalled, had carried off with him some of the "stones" from within
the Great Pyramid when the Pyramid Wars ended. Now, with the
thwarted efforts of Inanna and then Marduk to lord over gods and
men, Ninurta wished to reaffirm his "Rank of Fifty" by the erection
of a step-pyramid for himself at Lagash, an edifice to be known as
the "House of Fifty." It was for that reason, we believe, that
Ninurta invited Ningishzidda/Thoth to come to
Mesopotamia, to design
for him a pyramid that could be built and raised high, not with
massive stone blocks as in Egypt, but with the humble clay bricks of
"....The era of Ninurta in
Sumer, lasting through the Gutian
invasion and the ensuing period of reconstruction, was only an
interlude. A mountain dweller at heart, Ninurta soon began to roam
the skies again in his Divine Black Bird, visiting his rugged
domains in the northeast and even further away. Constantly
perfecting the marshall arts of the highland tribesmen, he gave them
mobility through the introduction of cavalry, thereby extending
their reach by hundreds and even thousands of miles.
"He had returned to Mesopotamia at
Enlilís call, to put an end to
the sacrilege perpetrated by Naram-Sin and to the upheavals caused
by Inanna. With peace and prosperity restored, Ninurta again
absented himself from Sumer, and, never one to give up,
seized upon this absence to regain the kingship for Erech.
"The attempt only lasted a few years, for
Anu and Enlil did not
condone her deed. But the tale (contained in an enigmatic text on a
partly broken tablet catalogued as Ashur-13955) is most fascinating;
it reads like an ancient legend of the Excalibur (King Arthurís
magical sword, which was imbedded in a rock and could be pulled out
only by the one who was chosen for kingship); and it throws light on
preceding events, including the incident by which Sargon had
"We learn that when "Kingship was lowered from Heaven" to begin at
Kish, Anu and Enlil established there a "Pavillion of Heaven." "In
its foundation soil, for all days to come," they implanted the
SHU.HA.DA.KU - an artifact made of alloyed metal whose name
translates literally "Supreme Strong Bright Weapon." This divine
object was taken to Erech when kingship was
transferred there from
Kish; it was moved about as kingship moved about but only when the
change was decreed by the Great Gods.
"In accordance with this custom,
Sargon carried the object to Agade.
But Marduk protested, because Agade was a brand-new city and not one
of the cities selected by "the great gods of Heaven and Earth" to be
royal capitals. The gods who chose Agade - Inanna and her supporters
- were in Mardukís opinion "rebels, gods who wear unclean clothing."
"It was to cure this defect that Sargon went to
Babylon to the spot
where its "hallowed soil" was located. The idea was to remove some
of that soil "to a place in front of Agade," there to implant the
Divine Weapon and thus legitimize its presence in Agade. It was in
punishment for this, the texts state, that Marduk instigated
rebellions against Sargon and also inflicted upon him a "restlessness"
(some take the term to mean "insomnia") which led to his death.
"We read further in the enigmatic text that during the Gutian
occupation that followed Naram-Sinís reign, the divine object lay
untouched "beside the dam-works for the waters" because "they knew
not how to carry the rules regarding the divine artifact." It was at
that time Mardukís contention that the object had to remain in its
assigned place, "without being opened up," and "not being offered to
any god," until "the gods who brought the destruction shall make
restitution." But when Inanna seized the opportunity to
kingship in Erech, her chosen king, Utu-Hegal, "seized
in its place of resting; into his hand he took it" - although "the
end of the restitution has not yet occurred." Unauthorized,
Utu-Hegal "raised the weapon against the city he was besieging." As
soon as he had done that, he fell dead. "The river carried off his
"Ninurtaís absences from
Sumer and Inannaís abortive attempt to
recapture the kinship for Erech indicated to Enlil that the matter
of the divine governing of Sumer could no longer be left open-ended;
and the most suitable candidate for the task was Nannar/Sin.
"....From an immense
ziggurat that dominated the valley city - a ziggurat whose crumbled remains, after more than four thousand
years, still rise awesomely from the Mesopotamian plain - Nannar and
his spouse Ningal took an active part in the affairs of state.
Attended by a hierarchy of priests and functionaries (headed by the
king), they guided the cityís agriculture to become the granary of
Sumer; directed its sheep breeding to make Ur the wool and garment
center of the ancient Near East; and developed a foreign trade by
land and water that made the merchants of Ur remembered for
"....The first ruler of the Third Dynasty of Ur,
Ur-Nammu ("The Joy
of Ur") was no mere mortal: he was semi-divine, his mother being the
goddess Ninsun. His extensive records state that as soon as "Anu and
Enlil had turned kingship to Nannar at Ur," and
selected to be the "Righteous Shepherd" of the people, the gods
ordered Ur-Nammu to institute a new moral revival. The nearly three
centuries that had passed since the moral revival under Urukagina of
Lagash witness the rise and fall of Akkad, the defying of the
authority of Anu, and the defilement of Enlilís Ekur. Injustice,
oppression, and immorality had become the common behavior. At Ur,
under Ur-Nammu, an attempt was launched once again by Enlil to steer
mankind once again from "evil ways" to a course of "righteousness."
Proclaiming a new code of justice and social behavior, Ur-Nammu
"established equity in the land, banished malediction, ended
violence and strife."
"Expecting so much from this
New Beginning, Enlil - for the first
time - entrusted the guardianship of Nippur to Nannar and gave
the necessary instructions for the restoration of the Ekur (which
was damaged by Naram-Sin.)
"....The Return-to-Righteous-Ways involved not only social justice
among people, but also proper worship of the gods. To that effect
Ur-Nammu, in addition to the great works in Ur, also restored and
enlarged the edifices dedicated to Anu and Inanna at Erech, to
Ninsun (his mother) at Ur, to Utu at Larsa, to
Ninharsag at Adab; he
also engaged in some repair work at Eridu, Enkiís city.
Conspicuously absent from the list are Ninurtaís Lagash and
"....The need for military measures was not limited to the initial
places of the ascendancy of Nannar and Ur. We know from inscriptions
that after Ur and Sumer "enjoyed days of prosperity [and] rejoiced
greatly with Ur-Nammu," after Ur-Nammu then rebuilt the Ekur in
Nippur, Enlil found him worthy of holding the Divine Weapon; with it
Ur-Nammu was to subdue "evil cities" in "foreign lands":
The Divine Weapon,
that which in the hostile lands
heaps up the rebels in piles,
to Ur-Nammu, the Shepherd,
He, the Lord Enlil, has given it to him;
Like a bull to crash the foreign land,
Like a lion to hunt it down;
To destroy the evil cities,
Clear them of opposition to the Lofty.
"These are words reminiscent of
biblical prophesies of divine wrath,
through the medium of mortal kings, against "evil cities" and
"sinful people"; they reveal that beneath the cloak of prosperity
there was lurking a renewed warfare among the gods - a struggle for
the allegiance of the masses of mankind.
"The sad fact is that
Ur-Nammu himself, becoming a mighty warrior,
"The Might of Nannar," met a tragic death on the battlefield. "The
enemy land revolted, the enemy land acted hostilely"; in a battle in
that unnamed but distant land, Ur-Nammuís chariot got stuck in the
mud; Ur-Nammu fell off it; "the chariot like a storm rushed along,"
leaving Ur-Nammu behind, "abandoned on the battlefield like a
crushed jug." The tragedy was compounded when the boat returning his
body to Sumer "in an unknown place had sunk; the waves sank it down,
with him (Ur-Nammu) aboard."
The kings that followed
Ur-Nammu were Shulgi, followed by his son
Amar-Sin, he was replaced by his brother Shu-Sin.
next (and last) king of Ur, Ibbi-Sin, ascended the
throne, raiders of the West were clashing with the Elamite
mercenaries in Mesopotamia proper. Soon Sumerís heartland was under
siege; the people of Ur and Nippur were huddle behind protective
walls, and the influence of Nannar had shrunk to a small enclave.
"Waiting in the wings, as once before, was Marduk. Believing that
his time for supremacy had finally come, he left his land of exile
and led his followers back to Babylon.
Awesome Weapons were unleashed, and disaster-unlike any
that befell mankind since the Deluge - struck.