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Sin, Sumerian Moon God - Windows to the Universe

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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.


Sin was the Sumerian Moon god. Sumerians were living more than three thousand years ago in Mesopotamia. Today Mesopotamia is located in the territories of the states of Iraq and Kuwait.

Sin was worshipped in the city of Ur. The high priest of his temple, chosen from the royal family, was viewed as Sin's spouse. Sin was the descendant of the sky god An. His parents were the air god Enlil and the grain goddess Ninlil. Sin was depicted as a "fierce young bull, thick of horns, perfect of limbs, with a beautiful bird of blue".

The Moon god had several different names that referred to different phases of the Moon. The name Sin indicated the crescent Moon, Nanna the full Moon, and Asimbabbar the beginning of each lunar cycle.

Enlil was banished by the assembly of the gods to live in the underworld. When Ninlil realized she was pregnant, she decided to follow Enlil to the world of the dead to let him witness the birth of his child. They gave their next three children to the gods so that Sin could ascend to the heavens to light the night sky.

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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