What Were the Ancient Sumerian Gods Called?
The Anunnaki (also transcribed as Anunaki, Annunaki, Anunna, Ananaki, and other variations) are a group of deities who appear in the mythological traditions of the ancient Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. Descriptions of how many Anunnaki there were and what role they fulfilled are inconsistent and often contradictory.
In the earliest Sumerian writings about them, which come from the Post-Akkadian period, the Anunnaki are the most powerful deities in the pantheon, descendants of An and Ki, the god of the heavens and the goddess of earth, and their primary function is to decree the fate of Sumerians.
In Inanna’s Descent into the Netherworld, the Anunnaki are portrayed as seven judges who sit before the throne of Ereshkigal in the Underworld. Later Akkadian texts, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, follow this portrayal. During the Old Babylonian period, the Anunnaki were believed to be the chthonic deities of the Underworld, while the gods of the heavens were known as the Igigi.
The ancient Hittites identified the Anunnaki as the oldest generation of gods, who had been overthrown and banished to the Underworld by the younger gods. The Anunnaki have featured prominently in modern pseudoarchaeological works, such as the books of Zecharia Sitchin.
Situated in Mesopotamia, ancient Sumer was a collection of city-states. The Sumerians had advanced militaries, mathematics, and writing. And many of their writings tell modern people about Sumerian culture. The Sumerian civilization existed from 4100 B.C.E. until around 1750 B.C.E. The name “Sumer” meant “land of the civilized kings.” The Sumerians were one of the first groups to divide time into hours and minutes. They also had a complex religion that involved gods called the Anunnaki.
The Anunnaki were believed to be in charge of Sumerians’ fates. Many myths involved members of the Anunnaki passing judgment on humans. Additionally, the gods were described as children of the Earth and sky. Most people chalk these stories up to mythology, the same way they do the Greek gods. However, others wonder whether there’s more to the story.
Some researchers believe the Anunnaki may have been actual beings. One popular theory is that they came to Earth from another planet to enslave the human race and forced Sumerians to mine gold for them. Some believe they came from the mysterious Planet X, which they say passed close to Earth thousands of years ago.
Then, when they had what they needed, the Anunnaki returned to Planet X. Some even go so far as to say the Anunnaki were a species of reptilian humanoids. They believe these reptiles helped the Sumerians develop their systems of writing and mathematics. Further, they think the reptiles are still around today and wield power in the human world.