Deity Highlight: 𒀭𒀏 — Nanshe

In Sumerian mythology, Nanshe or Nanše was the daughter of Enki and Ninhursag.

Her functions as a goddess were varied. She was a goddess of social justice, prophecy, fertility and fishing. She is most likely symbolized by pelicans and fish.

During the time of Gudea (2144 – 2124 BCE), many hymns to Nanshe appeared showing her in an elevated position in the pantheon. She was the widely worshiped goddess of social justice. She nurtured orphans, provided for widows, gave advice to those in debt, and took in refugees from war torn areas.

Holding a higher ranking in the pantheon during this era, Nanshe sometimes shared the same tasks as Utu, the traditional god of justice. She sat on the holy thrones with the other prominent gods, and was seen as a goddess of protection.

“O lady, O queen, O goddess,
Your right hand is justice.
Utu has entrusted his power unto you;
Your mercy is without end.
O Nanshe:
Great is your name in Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld.

O lady, O queen, O goddess,
The power that casts down the proud and exalts the humble.
The downcast look upon you and are strengthened;
The widow and the orphan find comfort in your great house.
O Nanshe:
Great is your name in Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld.

O lady, O queen, O goddess,
Your left hand is liberty.
The man in bondage looks upon you and is freed from his shackles;
The ravaged find healing in your embrace.
In your presence the oppressed may live and move and have their being.
O Nanshe:
Great is your name in Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld.”

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