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Shamash, Sumerian Sun God - Windows to the Universe

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The image above is a symbol of Shamash.

Shamash

Shamash was a Sun god according to the Sumerian mythology. Sumerians were living more than three thousand years ago in Mesopotamia. The region of Mesopotamia corresponds to the valleys of Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Today, Mesopotamia is part of the territories of the states of Iraq and Kuwait.

Since he could see everything on Earth, he represented also the god of justice. That is why Shamash was depicted as a ruler seated on a throne. He and his wife, Aya, had two very important children. Kittu represented justice, and Misharu was law.

It is said that every morning, the scorpion-men of the East Mountain would open the gate and allow Shamash to come out. He was pulled across the sky in a chariot harnessed by Bunene. At the end of the day, Shamash enters the West Mountain, and begins his travel through the Underworld. The next day, he begins yet another journey across the sky.

In Babylon, located in the south of Mesopotamia, the symbol of Shamash was the solar disk, with a four-pointed star inside it.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF