Ana, like Il and Ra, is thought to have been a word originally signifying “God,” in the highest sense. The root occurs probably in the Annedotus and Oannes of Berosus, as well as in Philo-Byblius’s Anobret. In its origin it is probably Cushite: but it was adopted by the Assyrians, who inflected the word which was indeclinable in the Chaldaean tongue, making the nominative Anu, the genitive Ani, and the accusative Ana.
Ana is the head of the first Triad, which follows immediately after the obscure god Ra. His position is well marked by Damascius, who gives the three gods, Anus, Illinus, and Aus, as next in succession to the primeval pair, Assorus and Missara. He corresponds in many respects to the classical Hades or Pluto, who, like him, heads the triad to which he belongs. His epithets are chiefly such as mark priority and antiquity. He is called “the old Ana,” “the original chief,” perhaps in one place “the father of the gods,” and also “the Lord of spirits and demons.” Again, he bears a number of titles which serve to connect him with the infernal regions. He is “the king of the lower world,” the “Lord of darkness” or “death,” “the ruler of the far-off city,” and the like. The chief seat of his worship is Huruk or Erech—the modern Warka—which becomes the favorite Chaldaean burying city, as being under his protection. There are some grounds for thinking that one of his names was Dis. If this was indeed so, it would seem to follow, almost beyond a doubt, that Dis, the lord of Orcus in Roman mythology, must have been a reminiscence brought from the East—a lingering recollection of Dis or Ana, patron god of Erech (Opex of the LXX), the great city of the dead, the necropolis of Lower Babylonia. Further, curiously enough, we have, in connection with this god, an illustration of the classical confusion between Pluto and Plutus; for Ana is “the layer-up of treasures”—the “lord of the earth” and of the “mountains,” whence the precious metals are derived.