Descent of Inanna

Descent of Inanna - Inanna and the mes According to one...

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Inanna and the mes According to one story, Inanna tricked the god of culture, Enki, who was worshipped in the city of Eridu, into giving her the 'Mes'. The 'Mes' ("maes") represented everything from truth to weaving to prostitution. Inanna traveled to Enki's city Eridu, and by getting him drunk, she got him to give her hundreds—the exact number is unknown, because the text breaks off—of Mes, which she took to her city of Uruk. Upon sobering up, Enki sent mighty Abgallu (sea monsters, from ab, sea or lake + gal, big + lu, man) to stop her boat as it sailed the Euphrates and retrieve his gifts, but she gave him the slip. This story may represent the historic transfer of power from Eridu to Uruk. Inanna's descent to the underworld Most curious is perhaps the story of Inanna's descent to the underworld. In Sumer the Underworld was a dreary, dark place; a home to deceased heroes and ordinary people alike. Based on their behavior they could be afforded better treatment or positions in the underworld. Inanna's reason for visiting the underworld is unclear. The reason she gives to the gatekeeper of the underworld is that she wants to attend her brother-in-law Gud-gal-ana's funeral rites. However, this may be a ruse; Inanna may have been intending to conquer the underworld. Ereshkigal [13], queen of the underworld and Inanna's sister, may have suspected this, which could explain her treatment of Inanna. Before she left, Inanna instructed her minister Ninshubur to plead with the gods Enlil, Nanna, and Enki to save her if anything went wrong. Inanna dresses elaborately for the visit, with a turban, a wig, a lapis lazuli necklace, beads upon her breast, the 'pala dress' (the ladyship garment), mascara, pectoral, a golden ring on her hand, and she held a lapis lazuli measuring rod. Perhaps Inanna's garments, unsuitable for a funeral, along with Inanna's haughty behaviour make Ereshkigal suspicious[14]. Following Ereshkigal's instructions, the gatekeeper tells Inanna she may enter the first gate of the underworld, but she must hand over her lapis lazuli measuring rod. She asks why and is told 'It is just the ways of the Underworld'. She obliges and passes through. Inanna passes through a total of seven gates, each removing a piece of clothing or jewelry she had been wearing at the start of her journey. In Sumerian mythology some forms of
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burials included burying the deceased with gifts for the gatekeepers and judges of the Underworld to win their favor. Items could also be used as an amulet or protective device so stripping Inanna of each item would leave her more vulnerable to any type of attack. When she arrives in front of her sister she is naked. "After she had crouched down and had
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This note was uploaded on 01/23/2009 for the course CMLIT 108 taught by Professor Adamsfredcalvin during the Spring '08 term at Penn State.

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Descent of Inanna - Inanna and the mes According to one...

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