Ninlil
Encyclopedia
In Sumerian religion
Sumerian religion
Sumerian religion refers to the mythology, pantheon, rites and cosmology of the Sumerian civilization. The Sumerian religion influenced Mesopotamian mythology as a whole, surviving in the mythologies and religions of the Hurrians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and other culture...

, Ninlil (𒀭𒊩𒌆𒆤 D
Dingir
Dingir is a cuneiform sign, most commonly the determinative for "deity" although it has related meanings as well. As a determinative, it is not pronounced, and is conventionally transliterated as a superscript "D" as in e.g. DInanna...

NIN.LÍL"lady of the open field" or "Lady of the Air"), also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mullitu, is the consort goddess
Goddess
A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction as well as healing....

 of Enlil
Enlil
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both England and the United States during her lifetime. A collection of her last poems was published by her husband, Robert Browning, shortly after her death.-Early life:Members...

. Her parentage is variously described. Most commonly she is called the daughter of Haia (god of stores) and Nunbarsegunu
Nunbarsegunu
Nunbarsegunu is an obscure mother goddess and goddess of barley in Mesopotamian mythology. Mentioned in creation texts as the 'old woman of Nippur', she is identified as the mother of Ninlil, the air goddess. Ninbarsegunu instructs her daughter in the arts of obtaining the attentions of Enlil....

 (or Ninshebargunnu (a goddess of barley) or Nisaba). Another source says she is the daughter of Anu and Antu. Other sources call her a daughter of An
Anu
In Sumerian mythology, Anu was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, Consort of Antu, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as...

 and Nammu
Nammu
In Sumerian mythology, Nammu was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat in Babylonian mythology....

. Theophilus G. Pinches noted that Nnlil or Belit Ilani
Belit Ilani
In Babylonian religion, Belit Ilani was a title described as meaning "mistress of the gods" and the name of the "evening star of desire". It has been associated with Ninlil and Astarte and has been found inscribed on portraits of a woman blessing a suckling child with her right hand. Theophilus G...

 had seven different names (such as Nintud, Ninhursag
Ninhursag
In Sumerian mythology, Ninhursag or Ninkharsag was the earth and mother goddess, one of the seven great deities of Sumer. She is principally a fertility goddess. Temple hymn sources identify her as the 'true and great lady of heaven' and kings of Sumer were 'nourished by Ninhursag's milk'...

, Ninmah, etc.) for seven different localities.

She lived in Dilmun
Dilmun
Dilmun or Telmun is a land mentioned by Mesopotamian civilizations as a trade partner, a source of the metal copper, and an entrepôt of the Mesopotamia-to-Indus Valley Civilization trade route...

 with her family. Raped and ravaged by her (now-present) husband Enlil
Enlil
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both England and the United States during her lifetime. A collection of her last poems was published by her husband, Robert Browning, shortly after her death.-Early life:Members...

, who impregnated her with water, she conceived a boy, Nanna
Sin (mythology)
Sin or Nanna was the god of the moon in Mesopotamian mythology. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and became identified with Semitic Sin. The two chief seats of Nanna's/Sin's worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north.- Name :The original meaning of...

/Suen, the future moon god. As punishment Enlil was dispatched to the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal
Ereshkigal
In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal was the goddess of Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler.Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and...

, where Ninlil joined him. Enlil impregnated her disguised as the gatekeeper, whereupon she gave birth to their son Nergal
Nergal
The name Nergal, Nirgal, or Nirgali refers to a deity in Babylon with the main seat of his cult at Cuthah represented by the mound of Tell-Ibrahim. Nergal is mentioned in the Hebrew bible as the deity of the city of Cuth : "And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal"...

, god of death. In a similar manner she conceived the underworld god Ninazu
Ninazu
Ninazu in Sumerian mythology was a god of the underworld, and of healing. He was the son of Enlil and Ninlil or, in alternative traditions, of Ereshkigal and Gugalana, and was the father of Ningiszida...

 when Enlil impregnated her disguised as the man of the river of the nether world, a man-devouring river. Later Enlil disguised himself as the man of the boat, impregnating her with a fourth deity Enbilulu
Enbilulu
Enbilulu was the god of rivers and canals in Mesopotamian mythology. In the creation mythology he was placed in charge of the sacred rivers Tigris and Euphrates by the god Enki. Also he was the deity of irrigation and farming. In the Sumerian "Enlil and Ninlil" story he is a son of Enlil and Ninlil...

, god of rivers and canals, these act as substitutes for Nanna/Suen to ascend. http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section1/tr121.htm. In some texts Ninlil is also the mother of Ninurta
Ninurta
Ninurta in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology was the god of Lagash, identified with Ningirsu with whom he may always have been identical...

.

After her death, she became the goddess of the air, like Enlil. She may be the Goddess of the South Wind referred to in the story of Adapa
Adapa
Adapa was a Babylonian mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. The story is first attested in the Kassite period .-Roles:...

, as her husband Enlil
Enlil
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both England and the United States during her lifetime. A collection of her last poems was published by her husband, Robert Browning, shortly after her death.-Early life:Members...

 was associated with northerly winter storms. As "Lady Air" she may be associated with the figure of the Akkadian demon "Lil-itu", thought to have been the origin of the Biblical Lilith
Lilith
Lilith is a character in Jewish mythology, found earliest in the Babylonian Talmud, who is generally thought to be related to a class of female demons Līlīṯu in Mesopotamian texts. However, Lowell K. Handy notes, "Very little information has been found relating to the Akkadian and Babylonian view...

.

When Sud gets the name of Ninlil, wife of Enlil

In the sleeping quarters, in the flowered bed fragrant like a cedar forest, Enlil made love to his wife and took great pleasure in it. He sat her on his dais appropriate to the status of Enlil, and made the people pray to her. The lord whose statements are powerful also determined a fate for the Lady (Aruru) , the woman of his favour; he gave her the name Nintur, the 'Lady who gives birth', the 'Lady who spreads her knees'.
(...)
Proud woman, surpassing the mountains! You who always fulfil your desires—from now on, Sud, Enlil is the king and Ninlil is the queen. The goddess without name has a famous name now, ……
http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.1.2.2#

External links

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