Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the NetherworldAfterlife myth
While Enki was saling, the south wind uprooted a single ḫalub tree on the bank of the Euphrates river. A woman found it, planted it in Inanna's garden, and watered it by only using her feet; it grew massive after ten years. Inanna wanted to use it for a chair, but its bark would not break. Inanna cried and asked her brother, Gilgameš, to do it. Gilgameš cut the tree with his strength and also made a powerful mallet from its branches. During a game, both the ball and the mallet fell down into the netherworld. When Gilgameš could not recover items, his servant Enkidu offered to retrieve it. Enkidu became trapped there. Gilgameš asked Enki and Enlil to rescue Enkidu, but without success. Utu, however, obliged and made a hole for Enkidu to return. Gilgameš rejoiced and asked Enkidu how different kinds of people fare in the netherworld, ending the poem.
Inanna descends from the great above to the great below. She abandons several temples and heads for open country. She gives precise instructions to her companion—Ninsubur: Inanna says "if I don't return in three days, go to the temples and plead on my behalf." At the netherworld she enters and goes through seven gates before she is turned into a corpse. Ninsubur follows the instructions and tells Inanna's father Enkil what happened. He helps her by sending two a-sexual creatures to sneak in and bring her back to life. Once Inanna is alive she ascends while being escorted by demons from the netherworld. The demons allow her to trade her husband Dumuzi in her place.
Sladek, William R. "Inanna's Descent to the Netherworld: A dissertation submitted to the Johns Hopkins University in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy." PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, 1974.
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