The Lapis Gates of Sumer

Intro to Sumer

The Gods

The Texts

Sumerian Calendar

Ancient Rites



The Great Hymn to Enlil
Enlil and Ninlil
Enlil and the E-kur
Enlil and Sud
Enlil and Namzidtara
The Power in 'Growing Weather'

Next to An in rank, but embodying energy and force rather than the calm authority of An, is Enlil or Nunamnir. The name Enlil means "Lord Wind" and the title en, which stands for "lord" in the sense of "productive manager" shows that it has primarily the power in the moist winds of spring -growing weather- that is aimed at. Further traits suggest that Enlil is that power particularly seen by the farmer, for he is the farmer's most versatile implement, the hoe, which, like the plough, comes into play when the humid air of spring makes the soil workable. His throne is Du-kug, (also spelled 'du-ku' in other sources -Michele), "the holy mound," i.e., the storage pile of grain and wool. His wife Ninlil or Sud is a grain goddess, daughter of the god of stores, Haia, and the barley goddess Ninshebargunu or Nidaba (spelling was updated since the writing of this book to 'Nisaba' -Michele). His son is Ninurta, god of the plough and of the spring thunderstorms.

The role of Enlil as the spring winds bringing nature back to life is well conveyed by a passage from a hymn in his honor:
O mighty one, you hold the rains of heaven
and the waters of earth,
Enlil, you hold the halter of the gods
(of nature)
Father Enlil, you are the one
who makes the vines grow up,
Enlil, your (warm) glow brings in the deep
the fish to maturity,
you let the birds in heaven, the fish in the deep,
eat their fill.