Mesopotamian Moon God

– Nanna was a Moon God in the mythology of the ancient Near East. He was one of the most important gods in the pantheons of ancient Sumer.

In Sumer he was worshipped as god Nanna and his Akkadian name was Su’en or Sin.

The name of the Assyrian moon God Sin is often spelled as En-Zu which means “Lord of Wisdom.”

The origin of the name Nanna and Sin is unknown, but the earliest traces of his name and worship lead to the ancient cities of Ur and Uruk in Sumer.

Nanna Was The Father Of The Gods

God Nanna’s symbol was a bull, the result of the horizontal crescent of the waxing moon appearing similar to the horns of that animal. He is depicted on cylinder seals as an old man with a flowing beard and the crescent symbol.

The Early Dynastic god lists, such as Fara SF 1, reveal that the moon God Nanna was extremely important in the pantheon. His name appears immediately after the four leading gods An, Enlil, Inana and Enki.

Mesopotamian Moon God

Impression of the cylinder seal of Ḫašḫamer, ensi (governor) of Iškun-Sin ca. 2100 BC. The seated figure is probably king Ur-Nammu, bestowing the governorship on Ḫašḫamer, who is led before him by a lamma (protective goddess). Sin/Nanna himself is indicated in the form of a crescent. Image credit: Wikipedia

Sumerians were skilled ancient astronomers who paid close attention to the movements of various celestial objects. It is believed that Mercury was known since at least Sumerian times roughly 5,000 years ago, where it was often associated with Nabu, the god of writing.

A 5,500-year-old Sumerian star map of ancient Nineveh reveals people in Mesopotamian observed Köfels’ impact event. The Sumerians were naturally also interested in observing the Moon’s phases. So, it’s only natural that Moon God Nanna was closely linked to science and astronomy.

Reconstruction of the Ziggurat of Ur, the main shrine to Nanna, based on the 1939 reconstruction by Leonard Woolley. Image credit: Wikipedia

In ancient texts, Moon God Nanna is often referred to in terms characteristic of the celestial body. He is described as shining or radiant.

Moon God Nanna Was The Father Of Sun God Shamash

God Nanna was married to Ningal (Great Lady) who was a Goddess of reeds in the Sumerian mythology, and daughter of Enki and Ningikurga.

God Nanna and Goddess Nigal had three children. One of them was Shamash, the God of Sun, truth, justice and healing. The other children were Inanna, also known as Ishtar who was the Goddess of planet Venus and Ereshkigal, the Goddess of the underworld.

See also:

Shamash: Mesopotamian God Of Sun, Truth, Justice And Healing

Walls Of Uruk Built By Sumerian King Gilgamesh 4,500 Years Ago

Aqrabuamelu – Mysterious Scorpion Men In Babylonian Mythology

Mysterious Scorpion Goddess In Myths And Legends

More Fascinating Ancient Myths And Legends

Both the moon God Nanna and the Sun God Shamash are associated with issuing laws and verdicts, the determination of destinies, and the announcements of omens.

The Moon God And The Mount Sinai Connection

In the article Is Biblical Mount Sinai Located In Har Karkom Where Mesopotamian Moon God Sin Was Worshipped?, published by, the question was raised whether Nanna may have been more important than previously thought.

Biblical archaeologist Emmanuel Anati has discovered evidence suggesting that Biblical Mount Sinai was on a site known as Har Karkom in the Negev of Israel. According to Anati, people who lived in Har Karkom during the Early Bronze Age worshipped the Moon God Sin. Many temples were raised in his honor.

The cult of Moon God Nanna spread to many places and people built temples built in his honor in all the large cities of Babylonia and Assyria.


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