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Pantheon

(2,240 words)

Author(s): Richter, Thomas (Frankfurt/Main) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[German version] [1] Name to describe the plurality of gods In modern scholarship on religious history, the term 'pantheon' is used in systematizing the plurality of ancient gods (Polytheism). In the following, it will be used accordingly to denote all the many deities worshipped in a particular geographical area and socio-historical context. Richter, Thomas (Frankfurt/Main) [German version] I. Mesopotamia Sumerian does not have its own expression for a collective of gods corresponding to the term 'pantheon'. The Sumerian term A-nun-na, 'seed of the prince' (i.e. of Enki, …

Nanaja

(271 words)

Author(s): Richter, Thomas (Frankfurt/Main)
[German version] (Aramaic nny/ nn/ nny, Greek Ναναία/Νανᾶ; Nanaía/ Nanâ). Goddess of sexual love from the Uruk circle of gods, forming with An/Anum and Inanna/Ishtar the dominant divine ‘Triad’. The meaning of the name is as unclear as its precise form (also Nanâ, Nanāy etc.). In Babylonia, where from the 1st millennium BC Nabû was considered her partner, her cult is documented from the time of the 3rd dynasty of Ur (21st cent. BC) until into the Parthian period (centred on Uruk). From the late middle …

Nabû

(167 words)

Author(s): Richter, Thomas (Frankfurt/Main)
[German version] (Akkadian Nabīum, Aramaic nbw/ nbwy, Greek Νάβου/ Nábou, Νέβου/ Nébou), derived from the common Semitic root nb in the sense of ‘announcer/authorised person’. God of writing and wisdom, documented from the Old Babylonian period, initially in Babylonia. From the Middle Babylonian period he was considered to be the son of Marduk. From the 1st millennium BC, in Babylonia Nanaja, in Assyria Tašmētu, was considered his wife. His significance and popularity ultimately surpassed even that of Marduk. I…

Spheres, harmony of

(429 words)

Author(s): Richter, Thomas (Frankfurt/Main)
[German version] According to the Pythagorean School, the entire cosmos is harmony and number. Inspired by this (Pl. Resp. 7,530d), Plato [1] interprets the HS ( ibid. 10,616 f.) as a system of eight concentric celestial spheres bearing fixed stars and planets, turning more rapidly with proximity to the Earth. On each sphere, a siren sings the same note, but the result, in consequence of the different speeds, is a multisonous harmonía (intervals are not mentioned). For Plato, the world-soul (Pl. Ti. 34b-36c) is based on a system of multiples of the numbers 2 and 3…

Ninurta

(249 words)

Author(s): Richter, Thomas (Frankfurt/Main)
[German version] (Aramaic nšt/nrt). As son of Enlil, N. is one of the most significant figures in the pantheon of Nippur in the 3rd and the beginning of the 2nd millennia BC. N. has been attested as city god of Nippur since the early Akkadian period [3]. His name, ‘Lord Earth’, points to his original function as a fertility god; other traits - especially the function as god of war - fell to him by identification with other gods. After his mythical victory over the creatures Anzû and á-sàg that were threatening the world order, he was promoted to king of the gods (‘N. theology’ [2. 326f.]). His sig…