Ninḫursaĝ (Sumerian: 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒉺𒂅) was a common Mesopotamian deity assumed under various names and the fertility role. In some traditions, she was the consort of Enki.
Also known as
Ninhursag (normalized)Ninḫursaĝ (transliterated Sumerian)Damgalnuna (normalized; early Sumerian)Ninhursaga ("Lady of the mountains")Nintud ("Queen of the (birthing) hut"; normalized; Sumerian)Nintur (normalized; Sumerian)Belet-ili ("Queen of the gods"; Akkadian)𒀭𒊩𒌆𒉺𒂅 (Sumerian cuneiform)Ninmah ("Magnificent Queen"; Sumerian)"Mother goddess"
Parent belief system
SumerianReligion · Polytheistic · 7 myths
Sumerian religion refers to spiritual beliefs practiced from ca. 4500-1900 BCE in Mesopotamia, or modern-day southern Iraq. Many deities were diffused into other Mesopotamian cultures.
Notably, Ninhursag has seemingly operated through Mesopotamian literature under many names. According to Jeremy Black, this has partially to do with the actions of other deities.
"Damgalnuna seems earlier to be a mother goddess but later to have a more specialised role as the wife of Enki (and hence mother of Marduk). Ninmah's name was changed by her son Ninurta to Ninhursaga (lady of the mountains') to commemorate his creation of the mountains. Nammu is usually creatrix of An and Ki, and of the early gods, including Enki, but she also creates mankind in one poem (see creation)." 
Other credible sources indicate that Ninhursag belongs to the "Mother Goddess" category of deities.
The winged eagle-lion monster named Anzu steals the Tablet of Destinies. No other deity wants to chase him down other than Ninurta, a warrior deity known for hunting. After a failed attempt, Ninurta captures Anzu, ends his life, and recovers the Tablet of Destinies.
Ninhursag has a dedicated entry page on AMGG with the name 'Mother Goddess (Ninmah, Nintud/r, Belet-ili).' Included data from this source may provide the deity's background, function, divine genealogy, cult places, attested time periods, iconography, and more.
About the AMGG project
The Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses (AMGG) project is an extension of the ORACC project by the University of Pennsylvania. It provides a list of the fifty most common deities in Mesopotamia. The tool is intended to be a useful starting point for researchers.
The Mesopotamian mother goddess is known under many names, the most prominent of which is the Sumerian name Nintud/Nintur. Other frequent names are Ninmah and Belet-ili. She was in charge of pregnancy and birth and, especially in earlier periods, appears as the creator of humankind.
About these data
Jun. 21, 2020
AMGG @ UPenn
Cite this page
MLAModern Language Association (8th ed.)
OMNIKA Foundation Contributors. "Ninhursag." OMNIKA – World Mythology Index, OMNIKA Foundation, 21 Jun. 2020, omnika.org/stable/687. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.
Brisch, Nicole, et al. AMGG: Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses. ORACC and the UK Higher Education Academy, The University of Pennsylvania. http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/amgg/index.html. Accessed June 7, 2020.
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