An was depicted as a bull. Look out!
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According to the Sumerians, An was the sky god and symbolized heaven. In fact
his name means "sky". Sumerians lived in Mesopotamia, in the region of
which corresponds to the valleys of Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Today,
Mesopotamia is part of the states of Iraq and Kuwait.
An was depicted as a bull whose bellowing was thunder. The wife of An
was Ki, the Earth. From their union were created the trees and other
An presided over the assembly of the gods. This court had the ultimate
power to judge and punish the misdeeds of gods and mortals. Sumerians
believed that the assembled gods designated the Sumerian kings, who had
to perform the duties and rites established by An. The gods used to meet
in the forecourt of Enlil's temple in the city of Nippur. There they would
enjoy a rich banquet provided by the temple attendants before discussing any
The gods were supposed to vow that they would abide by the assembly's
decisions. The decisions of the assembled gods were severely carried out
without any discrimination. An example of the assembly's rigor is the
banishment to the underworld of An's son, Enlil for having raped and impregnated
the grain goddess Ninlil, who gave birth to the moon god, Sin.
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