Provenance: Mesopotamia (Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian)
Gender: Male
Divine Attributes: The Heavens
Name’s Meaning: Whole heaven or The entirety of heavens
Titles, Epithets, and other Descriptors: Chief of the Gods, Creator of the Gods, Creator of the Anunnaki
Descended From: Babylonian Tradition: Lahamu and Lahmu
Descended From: Assyrian Tradition: Ea and Damkina
Siblings: Babylonian Tradition: Kišar
Siblings: Assyrian Tradition: Kišar and Aššur
: Kišar
Progeny: Babylonian Tradition:Anu, Ki (w/ Kišar)
Progeny: Chaldean Tradition: Anu, Antu, Enlil, Beltis (w/ Kišar)
Attested in LiteratureEnuma Elish, The Murder of Anshar, Seven Conquered Enlils
Regional/Cultural Identity: Anšar (Sumerian), Assoros (Greek), Ptah (Egyptian), Hypsistos (Greco-Phoenician)


Anšar plays a vital role in the Enuma Elish. In this text he is portrayed as Chief of the Gods and offers advice during the war between the Primordial Gods and their offspring. The defeat of Tiamat, although by the hands of Marduk, is still referred to as Anšar’s triumph.

Although he belongs to the Babylonian tradition, Anšar 𒀭𒊹 is a Sumerian name which means An (heaven) šar (whole, complete, or full), “whole of heaven” or “entirety of the heavens.”

Titles and Epithets
In the Enuma Elish he is referred to as Chief of the Gods, signifying his divine right to rule as 1st born of Lahmu. In the Murder of Anshar myth he is referred to as King of the Gods.

Divine Portfolio
He was associated with Enlilship, and the Heavens.

Attested Chronological Range
He was first mentioned in the Enuma Elish, which dates back to around 1500 BCE, although earlier texts do appear to have influenced the tale. Some of Anšar’s regional counterparts, such as Ptah in the Shabaka stone, precede the oldest Babylonian mention by at least 500 years.

The genealogy of Anšar is recorded in the many versions of the Enuma Elish, however different traditions of that text offer a slight variation to his immediate family. In the Babylonian tradition, a translation provided by Heidel states that Anšar was the first born of Lahmu and Lahamu. In an Assyrian version, Lahmu is considered Ea, his wife is Damkina, and another of their sons was named Ashur. Since both Anšar and Aššur are fathered by the same deity, they can be considered brothers. In all traditions regarding Anšar’s lineage, Anu is listed as his son, and Kišar as his sister-wife.

Regional Counterparts
Some have proposed Ptah as the Egyptian counterpart of the Babylonian Anšar. This is due to the fact that Anšar in the Assyrian tradition is born from a Sun god, symbolized by a serpent (Ea/Lahmu). This reflects how in the Shabaka stone, Ptah is mentioned as manifesting after the creation of Atum, who is also a Sun god symbolized by a serpent. It should also be noted that both Ptah and Anšar have a child named after the heavens, who in succession after their father, both ruled over heaven. Lastly, both of their male grandchildren were associated with the Earth, Geb (god of the earth) and Enki (lord of the earth).

Some scholars have conflated Ashur and Anšar due to the varying traditions of the Enuma Elish which point out both as the first born son of Lahmu. However, because of the discourse between the two in some versions of the Enuma Elish, it is impossible for them to be the same deity. As sons of Ea, Anšar seems the elder, while Aššur was the younger.

Attested in Literature
Anšar, although an early King of the Gods, is not featured in many texts. His role in the Enuma Elish is important, however it is more of a secondary role. In the Murder of Anšar myth, he meets his demise at the hands of Enki, who in this text appears to be his brother as Lord of the Earth, a title Marduk attained in the Enuma Elish. Lastly, Anšar appears in a list of seven defeated Enlils implying at one point he held the title of Enlil. It was perhaps that title itself which influenced Enki to assassinate him.