Akkadian, Akkadian mythology, Assyrian mythology, Babylonian mythology, Female, Mesopotamian mythology, Mythology, Near East mythology, S names, Sumerian, Sumerian mythology, Virtues/Attributes

Shamhat

Shamhat is a character in the Epic of Gilgamesh, a temple prostitute and a priestess of Inanna who is sent by Gilgamesh to tame the wild man Enkidu and bring him into civilization through sex. Afterwards, she persuades him to go to Uruk and meet Gilgamesh which results in them becoming best friends and going on a series of adventures together until Enkidu’s death at the hands of the gods. As he lay dying, Enkidu cursed Shamhat for bringing him into civilization which leads to his early death but the god Shamash intervenes and reminds him that she fed and clothed him and looked after him, which causes Enkidu to concede and blesses her instead. The origin of her name is a little tricky. I’ve seen it listed as deriving from an Akkadian root word, samahu, possibly meaning “magnificent” though it could also be related to “abundance, flourishing” or “luscious” so Shamhat could mean “the magnificent one” or “the luscious one”, likely in reference to her voluptuousness and sensuality.

Origin: Akkadian

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Variants:

  • Šamhat

 

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