Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here


No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Numen

The present study aims at interpreting a Sumerian hymn pertaining to the cult of the ancient Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, Inanna/Ištar. Though this literary composition belongs to the realm of royal religion, and centres on the relationship between the goddess and the royal personage, the hymn also provides an insight into a cultic feast of rather popular character. The text describes a ritual; its inner logic follows the course of a cultic ceremony. Accordingly, the term "implicit ritual" as opposed to "explicit ritual", or liturgical order, can be applied. Until now the Sumerian hymn in question has been treated mainly from a text critical point of view. Certain aspects of the ritual performance, viz. the playful change of gender roles, are expressed through the epithets of the goddess. Recently, attention has been given to those epithets that allude to the power of the goddess to change her sex, and it has been proposed that they show a shamanistic side of the goddess. In what follows we shall put forward an alternative interpretation of the change of gender roles by using the concept of play and game as intrinsic to a religious system. The cultic feast of the goddess Inanna/Ištar will thus be traced back to a ritual of inversion which serves to reconstitute the moral and social order as well as to consolidate religious belief. Since our hymn is considered to be one of the main sources for the reconstruction of the so-called "sacred marriage" we shall also touch upon this ancient rite.


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Numen — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation