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Utu (Akkadian rendition[1][2] of Sumerian dUD 𒀭𒌓 "Sun",[3] Assyro-Babylonian Shamash "Sun") is the god of the sun and justice in Sumerian mythology, the son of the moon god Nanna and the goddess Ningal. His brother and sisters are Ishkur, Ereshkigal, and his twin sister Inanna. His center cult was located in the city of Larsa.

Sun god, God of Truth, Salvation, and Justice
Mesopotamian - Cylinder Seal with a Deity Accepting an Offering - Walters 42713.jpg
Old Babylonian cylinder seal impression depicting Shamash, Utu's Babylonian equivalent, surrounded by worshippers (circa 1850-1598 BC)
Abode Larsa
Symbol Mace, Saw, Sun rays from shoulders, Sun Disk
Personal Information
Parents Nanna and Ningal
Siblings Inanna (twin), Ishkur, Ereshkigal

Utu is the god of the sun, justice, application of law, and the lord of truth. He is usually depicted as wearing a horned helmet and carrying a saw-edged weapon not unlike a pruning saw. It is thought that every day, Utu emerges from a mountain in the east, symbolizing dawn, and travels either via chariot or boat across the Earth, returning to a hole in a mountain in the west, symbolizing sunset. Every night, Utu descends into the underworld to decide the fate of the dead. He is also depicted as carrying a mace, and standing with one foot on a mountain. Its symbol is "sun rays from the shoulders, and or sun disk or a saw".

The sun god is only modestly mentioned in Sumerian mythology with one of the notable exceptions being the Epic of Gilgamesh. In the myth, Gilgamesh seeks to establish his name with the assistance of Utu, because of his connection with the cedar mountain. Gilgamesh and his father, Lugalbanda were kings of the first dynasty of Uruk, a lineage that Jeffrey H. Tigay suggested could be traced back to Utu himself. He further suggested that Lugalbanda's association with the sun-god in the Old Babylonian version of the epic strengthened "the impression that at one point in the history of the tradition the sun-god was also invoked as an ancestor".[4]

Marduk is spelled dAMAR.UTU in Sumerian, literally, "the calf of Utu" or "the young bull of the Sun".

born to Namma
born to Namma
born to Uraš
maybe daughter of Enlil
Nanna Nergal
maybe son of Enki
maybe born to Ninḫursaĝ
born to Uraš
Uttu Inanna
possibly also the daughter of Enki or the daughter of An
maybe son of Enki
Utu Ninkigal
married Nergal
Meškiaĝĝašer Lugalbanda
Enmerkar Gilgāmeš

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ s.v. "babbar(2)"
  2. ^ Frederick Augustus Vanderbergh : Sumerian Hymns from Cuneiform Texts in the British Museum. Columbia University Press, 1908. p. 53.
  3. ^ Kasak, Enn; Veede, Raul (2001). Mare Kõiva; Andres Kuperjanov, eds. "Understanding Planets in Ancient Mesopotamia (PDF)" (PDF). Electronic Journal of Folklore. Estonian Literary Museum. 16: 7–35. doi:10.7592/fejf2001.16.planets. ISSN 1406-0957.  The Sumerian cuneiform character is encoded in Unicode at U+12313 𒌓 (Borger nr. 381). Borger's 381 is U4.
  4. ^ Jeffrey H. Tigay (November 2002). The evolution of the Gilgamesh epic. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-0-86516-546-5. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 

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