En-hedu-ana (Akkadian: 𒂗𒃶𒁺𒀭𒈾; 2285 BC - 2250 BC), also known as Enheduana or Enheduanna, meaning "lord or lady ornament of An" or "high priestess ornament of An" (An being "the sky" or "heaven") was an Akkadian princess as well as high priestess of the Moon god Nanna (Sin) in Ur. She was the first known holder of the title, 'En Priestess', a role of great political importance which often was held by royal daughters .
She is regarded by literary and historical scholars as the earliest known poet in history . Her untitled, collective religious written works, usually referred to as the Hymns to Inanna, En-hedu-ana's Hymns to Inanna, or simply En-hedu-ana's Hymns are some of the oldest examples of literature in recorded history. The hymns are also the first to use a first person narrative mode.
As a priestess and religious figure, En-hedu-ana came to honor Inanna above all the other deities of the Sumerian pantheon and greatly assisted in the merging of the Akkadian Ishtar with the Sumerian Inanna among Sumerian theology and religious thought. Thus she greatly changed common religious practices in Sumerian religion.
On the back of En-hedu-ana's alabaster disk lies an inscription recording her as the "daughter of Sargon of Akkad", a relationship that has been taken both literally and ritually. If literally true, the relationship attests Sargon's successful policy of appointing members of his family to important posts. He initiated a long tradition whereby the king appointed his daughter to the post of En of Nanna. Penelope Weadock's article on "The Giparu at Ur", Iraq 37, pp. 101–137, 1975 lists all of the names of these En Priestesses spanning a 500-year-period. Near the end of her life, En-hedu-ana called on Inanna for help as she reveals in nin-me-sara, her most famous hymn, because she temporarily has been dislodged from her position by Lugal-Ane, a rebelling Sumerian King showing this "imperial" appointment to be locally unacceptable. According to Annette Zgoll, the Sumerian people believed that En-hedu-ana had written nin-me-sara so effectively that her prayers to Inanna were answered with nine victories thus quelling nine battles between the Sumerians and the Akkadians. This allowed her nephew, Naram Sin, who was then king, to unite Sumer and Akkad successfully for several years. After this historic coup, En-hedu-ana was restored to her post as En of Nanna in Ur.
Nin-me-sara was revered as a sacred document and 500 years after her death, during the Babylonian era, it was used as a text copied by students learning to be scribes in the Edubba, scribal schools. Zgoll used over 100 clay tablet copies of the hymn to create her translation of nin-me-sara thus pointing out how popular the hymn was. Few Mesopotamian literary texts have boasted as many copies.
On the alabaster disk, she called herself the "zirru of Nanna," a mysterious term of which Joan Westenholz has assisted in the translation as - the embodiment of the Goddess Ningal, the wife of the moon God Nanna.
Historians have noted that Enheduanna's work displays the concept of a personal relationship with the divine, to wit:
I am yours! It will always be so!
May your heart cool off for me
May your understanding... compassion…
I have experienced your great punishment
My Lady, I will proclaim your greatness in all lands and your glory!
Your ‘way’ and great deeds I will always praise!
* 1 Hymns
* 2 In modern cullture
* 3 See also
* 4 Notes
* 5 References
* 6 External links
En-hedu-ana is known to us as the author of several Sumerian hymns. She generally is considered the earliest author known by name. The hymns she wrote to Inanna celebrate her individual relationship with Inanna, thereby setting down the earliest surviving verbal account of an individual's consciousness of her inner life.
* Nin-me-sara, "The Exhaltation of Inanna", 153 lines, edited and translated first by Hallo and van Dijk (1968), later by Annette Zgoll (1997) in German. The first 65 lines address the goddess with a list of epithets, comparing her to An the supreme god of the pantheon. Then, En-hedu-ana speaks in the first person, complaining that she was exiled from the temple and the cities of Ur and Uruk, asking for intercession of Nanna. Lines 122-135 recite divine attributes of Inanna.
* In-nin sa-gur-ra (named by incipit), 274 lines (incomplete), edited by Sjoberg (1976) using 29 fragments.
* In-nin me-hus-a, "Inanna and Ebih", first translated by Limet (1969)
* The Temple Hymns, edited by Sjoberg and Bergmann (1969): 42 hymns of varying length, addressed to temples.
* Hymn to Nanna, edited by Westenholz
Westenholz edited another fragmentary hymn dedicated to En-hedu-ana, apparently by an anonymous composer, indicating her apotheosis, becoming a deity following her death.
In modern cullture
Minnesota author Cass Dalglish has published a contemporary poetic adaptation of Nin-me-sar-ra