Susa

Susa is the name of an ancient city in the Middle East (also known as Shush and Shushan), which was ruled by the Elamites, a pre-Iranian civilization that ruled across much of what is present day Iran. Susa derives its name from a local god, Inshushinak, the god of darkness and the afterlife; his name may mean…

Mordecai

Mordecai seems to be a variant form of Marduka, a Persian name meaning “servant of Marduk”, Marduk being the name of the Babylonian god of heaven, light, battle, and fertility. The name may be derived from Sumerian amar-Utak meaning “calf of Utu, Utu being the name of another Sumerian god. Mordecai is also a surname originating from the given…

Nanaya

Nanaya is the name of a Sumerian goddess worshipped by both the Sumerians and Akkadians, being the goddess of sex and war. She is closely associated with the goddesses Inanna and Ishtar, all of whom share similar functions. Nanaya could possibly be related to Inanna meaning “lady of the heavens” though that’s not certain. Another source (Llewellyn’s Complete Book of…

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…

Enkidu

Enkidu is the name of an important character in the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia which is the oldest surviving piece of literature in the world. Enkidu is a wild man, created by the goddess Aruru from clay and water at the behest of the other gods to be a rival for Gilgamesh. He grows up…

Inanna

Inanna is the name of the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and war who was also worshipped as Ishtar by the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, Astarte by the ancient Phoenicians, and who may have been influential in the development of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Inanna has long been associated with the planet Venus; her symbols are the eight-pointed star and the…

Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh is the name of the legendary king of Uruk (an ancient Sumerian city-state); he is also the eponymous hero of the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia which is the oldest surviving piece of literature in the world. He may have been based on a historical king named Gilgamesh around the 27th…

Anzu

Anzu is a Japanese female name meaning “apricot” with the kanji 杏子 and 杏. There are likely other meanings depending on the kanji used. Written in hiragana it’s あんず. Anzu (Anzû) is also the name of a divine bird or monster in several Near Eastertn mythologies (Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian), depicted as a massive bird with the head…

Eden

Eden is the name of the biblical garden where Adam and Eve came from before being expelled, becoming synonomous with paradise and anyplace that is fertile and utnouched. Although I’ve seen it listed as meaning “place of paradise” from Hebrew, it could perhaps be derived from an older source, Sumerian edin meaning “steppe” or “plain”….