The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 2. (of 7): Assyria eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 577 pages of information about The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 2. (of 7).

For the special characteristics of these various gods—­common objects of worship to the Assyrians and the Babylonians from a very remote epoch—­the reader is referred to the first part of this volume, where their several attributes and their position in the Chaldaean Pantheon have been noted.  The general resemblance of the two religious systems is such, that almost everything which has been stated with respect to the gods of the First Empire may be taken us applying equally to those of the Second; and the reader is requested to make this application in all cases, except where some shade of difference, more or less strongly marked, shall be pointed out.  In the following pages, without repeating what has been said in the first part of this volume, some account will be given of the worship of the principal gods in Assyria and of the chief temples dedicated to their service.


The worship of Anu seems to have been introduced into Assyria from Babylonia during the times of Chaldaean supremacy which preceded the establishment of the independent Assyrian kingdom.  Shamas-Vul, the son of Ishii-Dagon, king of Chaldaea, built a temple to Anu and Vul at Asshur, which was then the Assyrian capital, about B.C. 1820.  An inscription of Tiglath-Pileser I., states that this temple lasted for 621 years, when, having fallen into decay, it was taken down by Asshurdayan, his own great-grandfather.  Its site remained vacant for sixty years.  Then Tiglath-Pileser I., in the beginning of his reign, rebuilt the temple more magnificently than before; and from that time it seems to have remained among the principal shrines in Assyria.  It was from a tradition connected with this ancient temple of Shamas-Vul, that Asshur in later times acquired the name of Telane, or “the Mound of Anu,” which it bears in Stephen.

Anu’s place among the “Great Gods” of Assyria is not so well marked as that of many other divinities.  His name does not occur as an element in the names of kings or of other important personages.  He is omitted altogether from many solemn invocations.  It is doubtful whether he is one of the gods whose emblems were worn by the king and inscribed upon the rock-tablets.  But, on the other hand, where he occurs in lists, he is invariably placed directly after Asshur; and he is often coupled with that deity in a way which is strongly indicative of his exalted character.  Tiglath-Pileser I., though omitting him from his opening invocation, speaks of him in the latter part of his great Inscription, as his lord and protector in the next place to Asshur.  Asshur-izir-pal uses expressions as if he were Anu’s special votary, calling himself “him who honors Anu,” or “him who honors Anu and Dugan.”  His son, the Black-Obelisk king, assigns him the second place in the invocation of thirteen gods with which he begins his record.  The kings of the Lower Dynasty do not generally hold him in much repute; Sargon, however, is an exception, perhaps because his own name closely resembled that of a god mentioned as one of Anu’s sons.  Sargon not infrequently glorifies Anu, coupling him with Bel or Bil, the second god of the first Triad.  He even made Anu the tutelary god of one of the gates of his new city, Bit-Sargina (Khorsabad), joining him in this capacity with the goddess Ishtar.

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The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 2. (of 7): Assyria from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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