Twin Myths from
around the world.
West African Myth.
The Hero Twins from the Popol Vul.
Greek Mythology.
The Navajo Twins.
The Founding of Rome.
Canaanite Minor Deities.
Egyptian Twins.
Sumerian Twins.
 
 

West African Myths.

Liza

Liza is a deity of the Fon people who live in Benin, West Africa. Liza is associated with the Sun, which is regarded by African people as fierce and harsh. Liza is depicted as male and inseparable from his partner, Mawu, who is associated with the Moon. Mawu and Liza were also regarded as twins. Their unity represented the order of the universe. Liza is said to dwell in the East, and Mawu in the West. Mawu and Liza were born from Nana Buluku, who created the world.

In a different legend, Mawu and Liza were the creators. They used their son, Gu, to shape the world. Gu, the divine tool, was in the shape of an iron sword. He taught the people the art of ironworking, so they could make their own tools and shelter. Unfortunately, Gu did not know humans would use their knowledge to make weapons. With the help of the cosmic serpent, Da, their ideas came to life.

Liza was also the god of day, heat, work and strength. Mawu was the goddess of night, fertility, rest and motherhood. When there is an eclipse, it is said that Mawu and Liza were making love.

Mawu

Mawu is the supreme creator god according to the Fon people of Abomey (Republic of Benin). Mawu represented the Moon that brings the night and cooler temperature in the African world. Mawu is depicted as an old mother who dwells in the West. Coolness is an expression of wisdom and age for the Fon people.

Mawu has a partner called Liza that is associated with the Sun. Mawu and Liza are regarded as an unseparable unity at the basis of the universal order. Together they created the universe. They used their son Gu, the divine tool, to shape the world. They were also aided by the cosmic serpent, Da. Mawu and Liza were twins.

When there is an eclipse of the Sun or the Moon, the Fon people think that Mawu and Liza are making love. Mawu and Liza are the parents of seven pairs of twins. These twins are gods with different domains. Mawu is the goddess of fertility, joy and rest. Liza is the god of day, heat and strength.

From:

The Myth of Mawu.
 
 

The Origin of Bamoun

I've been told that the Bamoun people celebrate the unity of the Grassfields through the image of a double headed snake. Early on they were ruled by two brothers who fought and tried to kill one another. In one account I was told these brothers were twins who disliked each other and wanted to be in sole power over the people. Through magical means they were transformed into the double headed snake which now represents unity over discord.A ceremonial drum from Bamoun. The double headed snake is from the creation of the Bamoun people.
 
 

Why the Yoruba no longer kill twins

In traditional practices, the Yoruba of Nigeria would destroy twins upon birth, and sometimes the mother as well. They believed either the twins were an evil omen or that the mother must have been with two men to have two babies at once. This is no longer practiced and I found one myth as to why.

An oral tale tells how twins became accepted into the community as the descendents of monkeys. It is for this reason twins must never eat the meat of monkeys. It has been said that a farmer from Ishokun (later this village bacame Oyo) was angry when a group of monkeys began raiding his crops. He began shooting all of the monkeys he saw and their numbers began to dwindle. They used all their power, their ju, to savoid being killed but they still noticed a decline in their numbers. With their power they entered the womb of one of the farmer's pregnant wives. This caused twins to be born, but they would die soon after and their souls would return to the monkeys. After a few births like this an oracle called the farmer and told him what was happening, that if he continued to kill these magical monkeys calamity would continue to plague his family. The farmer ignored this and as a result all his wives continuously gave birth to these kinds of children who would die soon after birth. The farmer consulted another oracle about his problem and it was confirmed that his monkey killing was causing the deaths of his children. He also told the farmer that the twins his wife was expecting were not ordinary children, but were possessed of great powers and were of divine origin and must have their every desire satisfied. They would bring good fortune to those who were benevolent towards them, but if they were neglected or abused then they would incur the wrath of the orisa-ibeji, a deity who protects twins. This set of twins brought the farmer great prosperity and he also obeyed the command to make sacrifices every eight days on the same day of the week as their birth.

From that day on the farmer was friendly with the monkeys on his famr. After this all of the farmer's wives bore healthy sets of twins and ever since that time and the farmer's success twins have been welcomed into Yoruba society!

from: Oruene, Taiwo. 1985. ‘Magical Powers of Twins in the Socio-Religious Beliefs
                of the Yoruba.’ In Folklore. Vol. 96:ii, 208-216.
 
 
 
 

The Hero Twins in Maya Mythology
 

The story of the Hero Twins in the Popol Vuh is a tale of a battle between the forces of good and evil. Our focus will be on their adventures with the lords of the underworld, Xibalba (or Place of Fear). To tell the tale, we first have to know how the Twins came to be. Before the Hero Twins, there was another set of twins, who were the sons of the creator gods Xpiyacoc and Xmucane. The twins' names were Hun Hunahpu and Vucub Hunahpu, who were great ballplayers. One day, the lords of Xibalba were disturbed by their playing so they sent for the twins and eventually killed them.

One of the twins, Hun Hunahpu, was not completely killed, however. His head was severed and placed on a tree, which later bore fruit. One day the daughter of one of the lords of Xibalba came by the tree. Her name was Xqiq, or Blood Moon. The skull of Hun Hunahpu, which also possessed the spirit of Vucub Hunahpu, spit on her hand and caused her to become pregnant. Once her father discovered her pregnancy, he ordered her execution. Blood Moon was able to escape Xibalba and went above ground to the house of Xmucane, the first twins' mother. Blood Moon eventually gave birth to the Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque.

The twins later discover that their fathers had been ball players. They find their fathers' playing gear, with the help of a rat, and start playing ball. The lords of Xibalba hear the playing and send for the twins to come down to the underworld. What follows is the adventures of the twins and how they came to bring honor to their fathers and make the earth a better place. Like their fathers, the Hero Twins are put through a series of trials and tests by the gods of Xibalba. On the final test, Hunahpu's head is taken off by a bat and taken to the Xibalban lords for them to use as a ball in a final match. Xbalanque tricks the lords during the game, and switches his brother's head with a squash. He is then able to put his brother back together. The lords try to trick them once more by asking them to leap four times over an oven but the twins leap into the fire instead. Their bones are ground up and scattered into the river. After five days, they reappear as fish, and then appear as dancers and actors.

 They perform various magic tricks for the Xibalban lords and ultimately defeat them in this way. The last trick they performed was by Xbalanque sacrificing Hunahpu, dismembering him, removing his heart, and then bringing his brother back to life again. When the head lords, One Death and Seven Death, see this trick, they ask the entertainers to also do the same trick on them. The twins gladly do so, only this time they do not bring the lords back to life. They reveal their true selves to the rest of the underworld and give the terms of defeat for the lords of Xibalba to live by. Thus the lords of Xibalba were defeated. They attempt to revive Vucub Hunahpu's body but are unable to do so. Instead, they promise to always give honor to him and pray to him during this time (Hunahpu days). This part of the tale ends with the Hero Twins ascending and becoming the sun and the moon.
 

from:
The Hero Twins.

Further Reading:
The Hero Twins in Veracruz.
 
 
 

Greek Mythology

Castor and Pollux.

Heroic Spartan brothers, the Dioscuri, who rescued their sister Helen from Theseus. The Hero Twins also sailed with the Argonauts. Castor was mortal while his brother Polydeuces qualified to be admitted to the godly congregation on Mount Olympus. They are eternally joined in the night sky as a constellation.

From:
Encyclopedia of Greek Mythology.

Artemis

The Virgin Goddess of the Moon, twin sister of Apollo.
The children of Zeus and Leto, she and Apollo were born on the Island of Delos. Both are associated with the bow. Apollo is said to use the curved bow and Artemis uses the silver bow. She is one of only three who are immune to the enchantments of Aphrodite (the other two are Hestia and Athene).

She is a friend to mortals, and dances through the countryside in her silver sandals giving her divine protection to the wild beasts, particularly the very young. She rides her silver chariot across the sky and shoots her arrows of silver Moonlight to the earth below.

She, like the other Olympians, has favorites among the mortals but she could not protect the fine huntsman, Skamandros, from the spear of Menelaos at the battle for Troy.

Unlike her brother Apollo, Artemis is not skilled in warcraft but she can punish and kill as the will of Zeus dictates. In The Iliad (24.603), her mother, Leto, was insulted by a woman named Niobe. Niobe boasted that she had twelve children and Leto only had two. As punishment, Apollo killed Niobe’s six sons and Artemis killed her six daughters.

In The Odyssey (15.403), Odysseus was told the story of a wonderful island, Syria, where hunger and grim old age have no dominion. When the Fates determined that the noble inhabitants of this island were at the end of their lives, Artemis and Apollo would swoop down and painlessly kill them with their silver bows.

From:

Greek Mythology.
 

Apollon

The immortal son of Zeus and Leto
The name usually appears in the Greek texts as Apollon, or Phoibos Apollon, Phoibos meaning ’shining’ or ’bright’. Leto travelled far and wide to find the suitable birthplace for Apollon. She finally came to the rocky island of Delos and knew that this would be the birthplace of her glorious son. Delos made Leto swear a great oath on the river Styx that her new son, Phoibos, would not abandon his birthplace and that he would always keep his temple on the humble island. Leto agreed, Apollon was soon to be born on Delos.

After nine days and nights of travail, Phoibos was born with Rhea, Dione, Themis, Ichnaian and Aphrodite attending. He did not nurse at his mothers breast, instead, he was given nectar and ambrosia. He burst from the crib and announced his intentions: to play the lyre and carry the curved bow. Known as the twin of Artemis and also referred to as the Striker from Afar.(Hymn to Apollon).  The seventh day of each month is holy to Apollon. (The Works and Days)

Apollo in The Iliad
Leto was insulted by a woman, Niobe, who had once been her friend. Niobe likened herself to Leto and bragged that she had twelve children, and Leto only had two. To avenge the insult against their mother, Apollon killed Niobe’s six sons and Artemis killed her six daughters (The Iliad, 24.607).

Apollon was clearly on the side of the Trojans. From the outset, Apollon was angry with the Achaians for insulting his priest, Chryses. He strode the waters off-shore and, for three days, showered the Achaians with deadly arrows. His fury subsided after the Achaians had made the proper sacrifices and returned the captive woman, Briseis, to her grieving father.

As the war progressed, Apollon entered the battle on several occasions to protect and give glory to Hector, usually at Zeus’ bidding. At one point (Ibid., 7.58) Apollon and Athene took the form of vultures and, from the vantage of an oak tree, watched the bloody, yet glorious, battle. After Hector was wounded by Aias, Apollon revived him and, with the Aegis of Zeus, drove the Achaians back to their ships. Even though Apollon pitied and loved Hector he could not save him from the Fates. When Zeus turned his back on the hero, Apollon also turned away and left poor Hector to the mercy of Athene... of course, she had none.

Apollo in The Odyssey
The death of Phrontis... After the fall of Troy, Apollon continued his assaults on the Achaians as they travelled back to their homes. When the ships of Menelaos and Odysseus reached the Cape of Athens (holy Sounion), Apollon killed Phrontis, the renowned steersman. The victorious army was forced by custom to halt their journey and give their worthy companion the last rites suitable for a warrior of his caliber. This delay was the first step in allowing the murderer of Agamemnon to go unpunished for seven long years. It’s implied (The Odyssey, 3.273) that the sacrifice of many thigh bones allowed Aigisthos and Klytaimestra (the cowardly murderer and Agamemnon’s despicable wife) to get away with their heinous crime. The ’good’ news is that Menelaos’ delayed homecoming allowed Orestes (Agamemnon’s son) to bring pitiless justice down on the head of Aigisthos.

The death of Rhexenor... In one instance, Apollon is cast in the role of anti-Eros. A race of mortals was being shaped and prodded by the Immortals. The leader of this race was descended from Poseidon and Giants, his name was Nausithoos, lord of the Phaiakians. Nausithoos had two male children, Alkinoos and Rhexenor. Rhexenor was married and Alkinoos was not. Apollon killed Rhexenor (with a shower of painless arrows) and Alkinoos married his widow. This was all very fortunate for Odysseus when he was washed ashore in the land of the Phaiakians. Alkinoos and his beloved wife, Arete were fair and sympathetic to poor Odysseus. He knelt before them in cloths he had been given begging for a fast ship to his homeland. The deadly arrows of Apollon brought love and peace to the Phaiakians and their king and queen. (ibid., 7.64)
 

The death of Eurytos the archer... When Odysseus was asked to join the competitive sports with the Phaiakian men, he took up the polished bow and said that his skills were as good as any mortal man but he would never compare himself to Heroes like Herakles or Eurytos. Odysseus goes on to say that Eurytos did not live to enjoy his property and his fame because he challenged Apollon in archery. Apollon killed him for the insult. (ibid., 8.227)

Apollon and Hermes... When Hermes and Apollon saw how Hephaestus had trapped his wife Aphrodite and Ares in the act of love and displayed them for all the immortals to see, Apollon asked Hermes how he would feel if he were trapped in such an embarrassing position. The light hearted Hermes replied that he would suffer thrice the bindings if only he could share the bed of Aphrodite the golden. (ibid., 8.323)

The deaths of Otos and Ephialtes... Apollon was asked to intervene when the two monstrous sons of Poseidon and Iphimedeia threatened to attack the Immortals on Olympos. These boisterous youths, Otos and Ephialtes, were the tallest men ever to walk the earth. They were almost as handsome as Orion but they were too loud and too proud for the Immortals to tolerate. They threatened to uproot mountains and pile them up against Olympos and then climb into the precincts of the Immortals. Zeus believed they could, when grown to full stature, fulfil their threat if they were not stopped. Zeus sent Apollon to kill the dangerous youths before they were old enough to do any harm. (ibid., 11.319)

Apollon as favorable sign... Telemachos was speaking and a falcon flew by with a pigeon in it’s claws, feathers rained down as the falcon tore its prey to pieces. A companion, Theoklymenos, was sure that it was a favorable sign from Apollon. (ibid., 15.526)

From:

Greek Mythology.
 
 
 

Navajo Twins

The Twins and the Great Mother

The Navajos trace descent through the mother, and their families centers around the grandmother.  The Navajo rites, chants and dances are based entirely on the characters, incidents and places of their mythology and ritual designs. The dancers wear masks and dresses according to exacting standards, and impersonate the gods and heroes (Kachina) of their mythology.

Foremost among these ancestral heroes of the Navajos are the Twins, the sons of Sun and Earth-Mother. These Twins are also called "Little War-Gods".

The Twins free the earth from all sorts of monsters, creating order out of the prevalent chaos. The Navajo Twins closely correspond to the ones of the Pueblo Indians and those of the Mayas and even the ones of the Indians of South America. Indeed, the Navajo Twins are the counterparts of those of the Old World, pairs like Castor and Pollux, Atlas and Gadeiros, as well as the Ashvin Twins of Vedic India. In all cases the function of these Twins was ridding the world of monsters and pests, including diseases and vermin. This is true on both sides of the world.

Both the Apache and the Navajos call the Twins by names such as "Killer-of-Enemy Gods" and "Child-of-the-Waters". These names are shared by the other Athabascan-speaking peoples. The enemy gods are the monsters that inhabited primordial earth, and which rendered it unfit for human occupation before they were exterminated by the Twins.

Most such monsters are cannibals like Big Owl and Kicker-off-the-rocks. Child-of-the-Waters is the junior twin; the helper of his elder bother.

Navajo mythology hinges on the exploits of the Twins in their quest of the mythical Center of Origin, the Paradise they identify with the Whirling Mountain at the Center of the World. In certain versions, this Paradise was reached by a man who went down the Colorado River inside a hollow log.

South American Indian mythology is presently far more complete than that of the North American Indians, for down here many tribes still survive in their pristine state, and have not yet been acculturated by the missionaries and other white influences. But an in depth study of south American mythology clearly shows a fundamental identity with that of their northern brothers, particularly insofar as the myths of origin are concerned.

The Pueblo Indians and the Luiseños turned migrants in imitation of the Twins. They thus attempted to reach the Center of the Earth where their god, Wiyot, had hidden himself after he died. Wiyot was the first of all men to die, and his death taught his people the example. In fact, Wiyot later resurrected as the New Moon, and became immortal.

from:
The Whirling Mountain of the Navajos.
 
 
 
 

Romulus and Remus: the founding of Rome.
 

Romulus and Remus, twin sons of Mars and the Vestal Rhea Silvia, were the mythical founders of Rome. At birth they were placed in a basket and set afloat on the Tiber (note the similarity to the story of Moses). The basket came aground at the grotto Lupercal, under a fig tree called Ruminal, where the twins were found and suckled by a she-wolf, and later raised by the shepherd family of Faustulus and and his wife, Acca Larentia.

When young men, the brothers decided to found a city. After studying the flights of birds, and signs in the sky, it was determined that each Romulus and Remus would be in charge of a section of the new city, but the signs also determined that Romulus section would be twice the size of Remus' section. Romulus, using a plow pulled by a white cow and a white bull, cut a furrow to mark the boundary of his section. Remus, angry at his brother getting the larger part, jumped over the furrow into his brothers section, where Romulus killed him (in another version of the story, invented later by the poet Ennius, Remus just disappeared during a storm).

Romulus went on to build the city, which was named Rome after him. He was later deified and became associated with Quirinus, under whose name he was worshipped.

from:
Ancient Mythology.
 

Here is Livy's interpretation of the myth:

Then Proca ruled. He sired Numitor and Amulius. To Numitor, who was the eldest of his offspring, he bequeathed the ancient kingdom of the Silvian clan. Force, however, was far more powerful than the will of the father and respect for age; Amulius drove his brother out and assumed the rule. He added foul deed to foul deed. He destroyed the male offspring of his brother and from Rhea Silvia, his brother’s daughter, he stole any hope of offspring by imposing perpetual virginity on her, when he chose her as a Vestal as if for the sake of honoring her.
But, as I see it, the origin of a very great city and the beginning of the greatest empire next to the power of the gods was predestined. When the Vestal was raped and gave birth to twins, she named Mars as the father of her children, either because she believed it was so or because a god was more respectable as the author of the deed. But neither the gods nor men saved either her or her offspring from the king’s cruelty. The priestess was bound and put in custody; he commanded that the boys be put in flowing water. By some chance from the gods, since the Tiber had flowed over its banks with its quiet pools, it was not possible to approach anywhere the flow of the actual river. This gave hope to those bearing the infants that they would be able to submerge the babies in the water, however languid it might be. So, as if they were fulfilling the command of the king, they exposed the babies in the nearest overflow where the fig tree Rumina is now located, which people say was called the tree of Romulus. At that time there were vast open areas in those places. The report is that when the shallow water left on dry land the floating basket, in which the boys had been exposed, a thirsty wolf from the nearby mountains turned its course to the boys’ crying. She was so gentle that she lowered her teats and offered them to the infants. The master of the royal herd, whose name was Faustulus, found her licking the boys with her tongue. Faustulus took the boys home and gave them to his wife, Larentia, to be raised.

There are those who think that Larentia was called a wolf by the shepherds because she was a prostitute. This then became the reason for the miraculous fable.

from:
Classical Mythology Online.
 
 
 

Shachar and Shalim-Canaanite minor deities.

Shachar 'Dawn'
Shalim's twin twin and one of the first, if not only, pair of gracious gods, the children and cleavers of the sea. They were born of El (also called Latipan, and possibly Dagon.
He is known as the Father of the gods, 'the father of mankind', the 'Bull', and 'the creator of creatures'. He is grey haired and bearded and lives at Mt. Lel. He is a heavy drinker and has gotten extremely drunk at his banquets.) and Athirat (Athirat-Asherah, Ashtartian - 'the Lady of the Sea', Elat - 'the goddess'. El's loving consort and is protective of her seventy children who may also be known as the gracious gods, to whom she is both mother and nursemaid. Her sons, unlike Baal initially, all have godly courts. She frequents the ocean shore. ) or her female companion. The new family builds a sanctuary in the desert and lives there for eight years. According to Isaiah 14:12, he is the father of Helel or Lucifer, the 'light-bringer', usually taken to mean the morning-star.

Shalim 'Sunset/Dusk'
Shachar's twin and one of the first, if not only, pair of gracious gods, the children and cleavers of the sea. They were born of El and Athirat or her female companion. The new family builds a sanctuary in the desert and lives there for eight years.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Egyptian Twins.

Danaus

Danaus was the son of the king of Egypt and twin brother of Aegyptus who drove him and his fifty daughters (the Danaides) to Argos where Danaus took over the kingdom. After him the Achaeans of Argos were called Danai.

Aegyptus

Twin brother of Danaus.

From:

Ancient History Index.
 
 
 

Sumerian Twins.

Utu

Utu is the son of Nanna and Ningal, the twin brother of the goddess Inanna and the god of the Sun and of Justice. He goes to the underworld at the end of every day setting in the "mountain of the west" and rising in the "mountain of the east". While there decrees the fate of the dead, although he also may lie down to sleep at night. (Kramer 1963 p. 132, 135; Kramer 1961 pp. 41-42) He is usually depicted with fiery rays coming out of his shoulders and upper arms, and carrying a saw knife. (Kramer 1961 p. 40) When Inanna's huluppu tree is infested with unwelcome guests, he ignores her appeal for aid. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 6-7) He tries to set her up with Dumuzi, the shepherd, but she initially rebuffs him, preferring the farmer. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 30-33) He aided Dumuzi in his flight from the galla demons by helping him to transform into different creatures. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 72-73, 81) Through Enki's orders, he also brings water up from the earth in order to irrigate Dilmun, the garden paradise, the place where the sun rises. (Kramer 1963 p. 148) He is in charge of the "Land of the Living" and, in sympathy for Gilgamesh, calls off the seven weather heroes who defend that land. (Kramer 1963 pp. 190-193) He opened the "ablal" of the Underworld for the shade of Enkidu, to allow him to escape, at the behest of Enki. (Kramer 1963 p. 133; Kramer 1961 p. 36)
(See also Shamash)

Inanna

Nanna and Ningal's daughter Inanna, twin sister of Utu and goddess of love and war.

Several references to her are found in the literature:

Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Underworld

A woman planted the huluppu tree in Inanna's garden, but the Imdugud-bird (Anzu bird?) made a nest for its young there, Lilith (or her predecessor, a lilitu-demon) made a house in its trunk, and a serpent made a home in its roots. Inanna appeals to Utu about her unwelcome guests, but he is unsympathetic. She appeals to Gilgamesh, here her brother, and he is receptive. He tears down the tree and makes it into a throne and bed for her. In return for the favor, Inanna manufactures a pukku and mikku for him. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 5-9)

Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven
Later, Inanna seeks out Gilgamesh as her lover. When he spurns her she sends the Bull of Heaven to terrorize his city of Erech. (Kramer 1963 p. 262)

The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi
Her older brother Utu tries to set her up with Dumuzi, the shepherd, but she initially rebuffs him, preferring the farmer. He assures her that his parents are as good as hers and she begins to desire him. Her mother, Ningal, further assures her. The two consummate their relationship and with their exercise in fertility, the plants and grains grow as well. After they spend time in the marriage bed, Inanna declares herself as his battle leader and sets his duties as including sitting on the throne and guiding the path of weapons. At Ninshubur's request, she gives him power over the fertility of plants and animals. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 30-50)

Inanna's Descent to the Nether World
Inanna also visits Kur, which results in a myth reminiscent of the Greek seasonal story of Persephone. She sets out to witness the funeral rites of her sister-in-law Ereshkigal's husband Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven. She takes precaution before setting out, by telling her servant Ninshubur to seek assistance from Enlil, Nanna, or Enki at their shrines, should she not return. Inanna knocks on the outer gates of Kur and the gatekeeper, Neti, questions her. He consults with queen Ereshkigal and then allows Inanna to pass through the seven gates of the underworld. After each gate, she is required to remove adornments and articles of clothing, until after the seventh gate, she is naked. The Annuna pass judgement against her and Ereshkigal killed her and hung her on the wall. (see Ereshkigal) (Wolkstein & Kramer 1983 pp. 52-60)

Inanna is rescued by the intervention of Enki. He creates two sexless creatures that empathize with Ereshkigal's suffering, and thereby gain a gift - Inanna's corpse. They restore her to life with the Bread of Life and the Water of Life, but the Sumerian underworld has a conservation of death law. No one can leave without providing someone to stay in their stead. Inanna is escorted by galla/demons past Ninshubur and members of her family. She doesn't allow them to claim anyone until she sees Dumuzi on his throne in Uruk. They then seize Dumuzi, but he escapes them twice by transforming himself, with the aid of Utu. Eventually he is caught and slain. Inanna spies his sister, Geshtinanna, in mourning and they go to Dumuzi. She allows Dumuzi, the shepherd, to stay in the underworld only six months of the year, while Geshtinanna will stay the other six. (Wolkstein & Kramer pp. 60-89) As with the Greek story of the kidnapping of Persephone, this linked the changing seasons, the emergence of the plants from the ground, with the return of a harvest deity from the nether world. Geshtinanna is also associated with growth, but where her brother rules over the spring harvested grain, she rules over the autumn harvested vines (Wolkstein & Kramer p. 168).

Inanna and Mount Ebih
Inanna complains to An about Mount Ebih (Kur?) demanding that it glorify her and submit lest she attack it. An discourages her from doing so because of its fearsome power. She does so anyway, bringing a storehouse worth of weapons to bear on it. She destroys it. Because she is known as the Destroyer of Kur in certain hymns, Kramer identifies Mt. Ebih with Kur. (Kramer 1961 pp. 82-83)

Inanna and Enki
The me were universal decrees of divine authority -the invocations that spread arts, crafts, and civilization. Enki became the keeper of the me. Inanna comes to Enki and complains at having been given too little power from his decrees. In a different text, she gets Enki drunk and he grants her more powers, arts, crafts, and attributes - a total of ninety-four me. Inanna parts company with Enki to deliver the me to her cult center at Erech. Enki recovers his wits and tries to recover the me from her, but she arrives safely in Erech with them. (Kramer & Maier 1989: pp. 38-68)

From:

Sumerian Mythology FAQ.
 
 





Sorry, your browser doesn't support Java. 
Home

    All photographs copyright Dr. D. Lyons, 2000. All rights reserved.