Wednesday, June 15, 2011


♥ ♥ ♥ The Awesome Woman of the Day is Enheduanna, Priestess of Inanna (2285-2250 B.C.E.) The daughter of a king, symbolic wife of a god, she is the world's oldest known author whose works were written in cuneiform approximately 4300 years ago. Credited as being the earliest recorded feminist. Her poems are highly politicized in their outrage at the downfall of her father's imperial command. The highly charged verses, which are sensual, intimate and highly personal, convey her cosmic vision and moral distress at an era which will end with their reign.

She is recognized as the virtual personification of Inanna, the primary goddess of the moon. Her royal duties included restoration of the giparu (the ancient complex in Ur), the purification or the water rites, the composition of hymns of praise, and the carrying in of the offerings in the gimasab-basket. Her music-making role, in her composition of hymns and songs and poetry, honors the moon god, displaying fertility, fecundity and good harvest. She also acts as a political mediator in that she mirrors her father's power and authority with the military.

Her hymns had a profound impact on religious heritage and after her death there is no other attested literature focusing on the moon god. Enheduanna sings songs of praise or paeans and incantations to the goddess and plays a musical instrument, probably a lyre, as several are found buried at Ur, and one rests in the University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology.

Writing and art were elite privileges, as literacy was restricted to a powerful elite. Considered the first non-anonymous author in world literature, the authority of her colophon declares the hymns to be hers, as does her employment of her first name, in the first person narrative, "I, Enheduanna…"

Banishment from Ur

You asked me to enter the holy cloister,
The giparu,
and I went inside, I the high priestess
I carried the ritual basket and sang
Your praise.
Now I am banished among the lepers.
Even I cannot live with you.
Shadows approach the light of day, the light
Is darkened around me,
Shadows approach the daylight,
Covering the day with sandstorm.
My soft mouth of honey is suddenly confused.
My beautiful face is dust.

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