Thursday, April 9, 2015

#ATOZCHALLENGE: Letter I : Don't mess with Ishtar: Goddess of Love and War

Ishtar is depicted peering through a window :Assyrian Wall
"What could I offer
the queen of love in return, who lacks nothing at all?
Balm for the body? The food and drink of the gods?
I have nothing to give to her who lacks nothing at all."
 Lines from Epic of Gilgamesh 

Once upon a time there lived a Giant by the name Humbaba. He was so terrible that his roar was like a flood which would kill thousands of humans in one go. The Gods became very worried about him but they couldn't attack him directly for he was under the protection of the Sun God Utu. 

So they requested one of the bravest of all men, the King of Uruk, Gilgamesh,to slay the giant. After a bloody battle Humbaba was slain and when the King returned from the battle, his brave heart and handsome face caught the attention of the Goddess of Love and War, Ishtar. 

Ishtar fell in love with the handsome King and promised him all the riches of the world if he would marry her. Gilagamesh kept silent for a minute or so and then refused her offer. Stunned Ishtar ran after him and grabbed him by his arm, "Are you refusing me? A mere human refusing a Goddess?"

Gilgamesh said quietly, "Your love life is very well known amongst the humans. Tell me something. Have you ever loved anyone for a long time?"

Ishtar was stunned upon hearing this. Every time she fell in love, she felt it was for ever but it never lasted. Either the men cheated or they turned out to be a wimp. But Ishtar did not like being reminded of her failures. 

"Why are you blaming me for all those failed relationships?" she pouted.

Gilgamesh went to list all the men she had loved and destroyed. Starting with Tammuz, whom she had sent to the underworld. Then there was a shepherd whom, in her fit of anger, she had turned into a wolf. And the very recent one, the gardener in the house of Sin, the Moon God - who had the audacity to reject her love and in her anger she had turned him into a frog. (I kinda like her :P)

"Does this not scare you?I can do all these things with  you!" Ishtar asked sarcastically. 

"Fine." said Gilgamesh, raising his stubborn chin in pride."This will be a quick death but if I marry you, I will live everyday waiting for death."

Ishtar was furious and stormed out and went straight to her parents. Amidst many tears she persuaded her reluctant parents, Anu and Antum to release the Bull of Heaven to kill Gilgamesh. Does the Bull succeed? Will Gilgamesh Survive and will Ishtar eventually get him.. is another tale to tell. But I swear .. she was one spoilt brat :D

Ishtar was the Assyrian and Babylonian Goddess of love and war. She was closely associated with the Sumerian goddess, Inanna.  The Ancient city of Babylon, located in modern Iraq, was the main site of Ishtar Worship.



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At April 9, 2015 at 10:00 PM , Anonymous deepti menon said...

Such a spoilt brat! I love the mischief in your lines! As usual, a wonderful and little known story that you have brought to life in your inimitable style!

At April 10, 2015 at 12:05 AM , Anonymous Sundari Venkatraman said...

Ishtar needs a hard slap. ;) glad that Gilgamesh stood up to her. Lovely story beautifully narrated. A request: please mention country of origin for each story . thanks :)

At April 10, 2015 at 12:13 AM , Anonymous Prasanna Rao said...

A spoilt brat indeed. That was very courageous of Gilgamesh to reject her love :) Waiting to read what happened to the king in later parts :)

At April 10, 2015 at 12:23 AM , Anonymous beingFab said...

Oooh!!! I want to know what happens next!!! Great story!

At April 10, 2015 at 3:12 AM , Anonymous the little princess said...

Ah! You are doing mythology too..!!.great read, didn't know this story..

At April 10, 2015 at 7:13 AM , Anonymous Ranveer vishal said...

In one word, Brilliant and you make this mythology compelling:)

At April 10, 2015 at 7:56 AM , Anonymous Swathi Shenoy said...

Ah 'it is another tale's have piqued so much curiosity in me! But I have to agree. She was a spoilt brat :P

It Happens For A Reason

At April 10, 2015 at 8:34 AM , Anonymous Ruchi Singh said...

All the Gods here seem to be spoilt brats :-) Keep writing, will come back for that another tale!!

At April 10, 2015 at 10:31 PM , Anonymous Suzy said...

She truly sounds like a spoilt brat. But what happened to Gilgamesh - I hope you'll tell us in your next post.

At April 11, 2015 at 12:19 AM , Anonymous Clarabelle Rant said...

There is always that fine line between love and hate. It's very appropriate for the goddess of love to also be the goddess of war. If I were Gilgamesh, I would run and hide!!

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At April 11, 2015 at 5:25 AM , Anonymous adite said...

The Gilgamesh story has inspired many Hollywood stories...but I liked how you focused on one element of the story and made it so intriguing. Carry on, Ina! :)

At April 11, 2015 at 9:39 AM , Anonymous Janaki Nagaraj said...

But I like her...some woman with nerves.


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