Aššur, Ashur

Provenance: Mesopotamia (Assyrian)
Gender: Male
Divine Attributes: War, Wisdom, Justice, Kingship, Agriculture, Creation
Name’s Meaning: Blessed or Fortunate, Glorious
Titles, Epithets, and other Descriptors: Ashur the Creator, King of the Universe, Lord of the four Quarters of the World, King of all the Gods, Great Lord, The Almighty Lord, God of All Nations, Father of the Gods, The Great Mountain, God of Ashur, Host of Heaven, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Creator of Man
Iconography: Winged Sun Disc, Tree of Life
Astrological Affiliations: Sun, Pisces Constellation
Descended From: Assyrian Tradition: Lahmu
Descended From: Babylonian Tradition: Ea
Siblings: Anšar, Kišar
Consort/s: Mullissu
Progeny: Ninurta and Zababa
Patron City: Aššur/Qal’at Sherqat
Attested in Literature: The Assyrian Cosmology, Aššur The Creator, Cuthean Legend of Creation, The Inscription of Tiglath-Pileser I, The Annals of Assur-Natsir-Pal, The Inscription of the Black Obelisk
Regional/Cultural Identity: Enki, Enlil (Sumerian), Bēlu (Akkadian), Aššur (Assyrian), Marduk (Babylonian), Alalu (Hurrian), Ra (Egyptian), Belos (Greek), Demiurgus (Gnosticism)


Aššur, Ashur
Aššur was the supreme god of the Assyrian pantheon and equivalent to the Sumerian gods Enlil and Enki, the Akkadian Bēlu, and the Babylonian god Marduk. He was viewed by the Assyrian people as the god of creation, creator of the heavens, of Earth, of Man, and Father of the Gods.

The name Aššur is thought to be derived from an Akkadian term which means blessed or fortunate. His name as spelled in Sumerian is Anšar 𒀭𒊹, which means “whole of heaven.” Due to sharing this name or title with the Babylonian God Anšar, many conclude Aššur and Anšar to be the same individual. Others however, consider Anšar to be an attained title, such as An, Enlil, Enki, etc.

Titles and Epithets
As the supreme creator and the tutelary deity of the early Assyrian capital city Aššur, he was held in high esteem by the Assyrian people. He was assigned many titles and epithets, some of which are shared with other deities. He is often referred to in literature as The Host of Heaven, The Almighty Lord, The Great Lord, Ashur the Creator, Creator of Heaven, Creator of Man, Lord of the four Quarters of the World, King of the Universe, King of all the Gods, Father of the Gods, God of Aššur, God of All Nations, and The Great Mountain.

Divine Portfolio
Aššur was often described as a god of Creation, Kingship, War, Justice, Wisdom, and Agriculture. He is typically referenced by Middle to Late Assyrian period rulers, and also theophorically as part of an official’s name.

He is most commonly depicted as enclosed within the winged Assyrian sun disc. Typically holding a fully drawn bow, or holding the bow in one hand and the other hand raised. In popular bas-reliefs, he frequently appears above the Assyrian Tree of Life.

As an astral deity, he was associated with Heaven and the Sun. In the Babylonian Zodiac he was identified with the constellation Zibbātu, or Pisces, and was linked with the month of March or Addaru .

Attested Chronological Range
Aššur was first mentioned ca. 2000 BCE, in a Neo-Sumerian text as a god of Assyria. It was around 100 years later that he was recorded in an Assyrian building inscription as the patron god of the city Aššur. During the Old Babylonian period until the sack of Babylon, from 1800 – 1600 BCE, Aššur had been eclipsed by the rise of Marduk. He would eventually rise in popularity again during the Middle to Late Assyrian Empires, 1300 – 600 BCE.

Currently, very little genealogical records which definitively identify Aššur’s family exist. However, there are indirect or secondary sources that can be alluded to in which we can effectively construct Aššur’s family tree according to his known parallel identities.

No literature identifies a deity begetting the god Aššur, nor is there any known mention of his creation. However, when understanding Aššur to be Marduk, we can determine he is a son of Ea and Damkina. This implies his siblings would be Tutu, Enbilulu, Adapa, and possibly Inanna, Ereshkigal, and Utu. In Assyrian literature and building inscriptions, his consort is identified as Mullissu and their children are Ninurta and Zababa.

Regional Counterparts
In what is referred to as the Aššur version of the Enuma Elish, Marduk is the protagonist of the story. However, in an Assyrian building inscription, the god Aššur is accredited with all of the tasks Marduk had accomplished in the Enuma Elish. As both are the creators of Heaven, Earth, and Man, they are undoubtedly parallel identities. Due to Aššur’s connection to Marduk, and Marduk’s connection to all other Ancient Near Eastern gods of heavenly creation, his regional counterparts are not difficult to assume. The Assyrian god Aššur’s parallel identities are the Sumerian Enki and Enlil, the Akkadian Bēlu, the Hurrian Alalu, the Babylonian Marduk, and the Egyptian god Ra.

Some Assyriologists propose that Aššur was conflated with the earlier Sumerian god Enlil. Others disagree while mentioning the connections they share are merely echoes of the same deity referenced in a neighboring tradition or culture. In this case Sumerian tradition taking root in Assyrian culture.

Attested in Literature
In most cases, the literature in which Aššur appears in are royal inscriptions. There are however a few cases where he is featured in a more important role such as The Assyrian Cosmology, Aššur The Creator, Cuthean Legend of Creation, The Inscription of Tiglath-Pileser I, The Annals of Assur-Natsir-Pal, and The Inscription of the Black Obelisk.