Enlil: The Sumerian God of Air and Storm

Enlil Image

The god Enlil is one of the most important and well-known gods in ancient Mesopotamian mythology.

He is the patron god of Nippur in ancient Mesopotamian mythology and was the de facto supreme authority in Sumer and Akkad.

"Enlil" refers to the following in Sumerian:

  • EN = master
  • LIL = wind

And since he symbolizes storm and power, he has the following aliases:

  • A raging storm
  • The wild bull

Enlil, who embodied order and kingship as an absolute power,

  • He's a leader but he's going to be judged
  • A cold and cruel person including the legend of the Great Flood

He is depicted like these in mythology, and there are many dishonorable episodes throughout.

What kind of god was Enlil, the supreme god of Mesopotamian mythology?

Who is "Enlil"?

It is said that Enlil was a feared god and that not only his appearance but even his light (even the gods) could not be seen.

However, Enlil is said to have looked basically like a human being.

A man with a long beard, wearing a horned crown and beautiful clothes, holding a clay tablet of heavenly destiny that described the fate of the gods

It is depicted in many texts as such the man.

As for his personality, it seems that he was short temper, with intense emotions of joy, anger, sorrow, and pleasure.

He was also a god who would follow his own desires and cause one destructive act after another.

All natural disasters such as floods and plagues were caused by Enlil, who was the chief executive....

Enlil's Family Relationships

Enlil's parents can be summarized as follows:

  • Sky god: Anu
  • Earth Mother Goddess: Ki

With such parents, Enlil, to his surprise, stole his mother Ki from his father Anu.

And when he had incestuous relations with his mother, he created "human beings".

It seems that the reason for creating humans was to take the labor of the gods on their shoulders.

Since Enlil had sexual intercourse with his mother as well, he had not one but three wives.

The most famous of these three wives was Ninlil.

In fact, Enlil has an adult mythological episode with Ninlil.

Enlil and Ninlil

Worried about Ninlil's virginity, her mother repeatedly advised her.

Goddess Image

Don't bathe in the river, lest you catch Enlil's eye.

However, Ninlil defied her mother's advice and bathed in the sacred river.

And, true to her mother's advice, the young man, Enlil, caught his eye and raped Ninlil.

In this single act, Ninlil became pregnant with the moon god Sin.

For this rape, he was held accountable as Enlil, the leader of the gods.

Ultimately, he was banished from the heavenly realm and cast into the underworld.

It is said that Ninlil, who was supposed to be the victim at this time, followed Enlil and traveled to the underworld herself.

Enlil's children

It seems that Enlil tried to keep Ninlil from coming to the Underworld.

Enlil image

Hey, gatekeeper! If Ninlil comes to visit me, don't ever tell her where I am!

He said this to the gatekeepers of the underworld and disguised himself as a gatekeeper to hide his true identity.

Ninlil image

Where is Enlil?

Ninlil came after Enlil and was looking for him.

At first, Enlil, who was pretending to be a gatekeeper, ignored her.

However, he could not resist his sexual desire and had sex with her again.

The child born at this time was Nergal.

Nergal has an intense love affair similar to that of his father Enlil.

To learn more about the love episodes between Nergal and Ereshkigal,

Please read this article.

What a surprise, Enlil repeated the same thing twice more after this.

Ninlil, repeatedly deceived by Enlil in disguise, conceived the two gods again after these acts of love.

Epic of Gilgamesh

In one of the oldest surviving heroic tales, the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enlil causes the death of Enkidu, a close friend of the hero Gilgamesh, by an unreasonable decision.

Over the love affair between Ishtar, goddess of love and beauty, and Gilgamesh, Enkidu became extremely abusive and provocative toward Ishtar.

Then, in a meeting of the gods,

Enlil image

Enkidu should be punished.

Enlil insisted so.

Enkidu could not defy the will of the gods and died.

And Gilgamesh was trapped in the grief of his best friend's death for a long time.

To learn more about the story of the "Epic of Gilgamesh,"

The Epic of Gilgamesh in a nutshell!

Please read this article.

Enlil and the Great Flood

The ancient Mesopotamian Flood legend passed down to modern times consists of the following three tales.

  1. The Sumerian version of the Flood legend
  2. The Atra Hasith
  3. The Epic of Gilgamesh

The flood legend can be summarized as follows.

  1. A flood brought about by the wrath of Enlil.
  2. From the Flood, the resourcefulness and sagacity of Ea save mankind.
  3. The world swept away by the Flood is reborn anew.

Such a flood legend appears in the Old Testament in the form of "Noah's Ark."

To learn more about Noah's Ark, a common flood legend in ancient times,

Please read this article.

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