Aššur / Assur / Ashur

National god and chief deity of the Assyrian pantheon, Aššur (also written Assur and Ashur) probably originated as the local deity and personification of the city of the same name (precise details of the deity’s origins and development, however, remain obscure).

The emblems of Aššur vary and are probably derived from other Mesopotamian chief deities. His animal – a snake-dragon (mušhuššu) – was thus most probably a late borrowing from Marduk. Aššur is frequently symbolised by a horned cap, likely assumed from An (Anu) and Enlil. Several scholars associate the the winged disc – extremely common in Assyrian iconography, frequently including the image of a god surmounting it and appearing over scenes of battle, ritual and hunting – with the representation of Aššur. This symbol, however, is most strongly linked to the sun god Šamaš (Utu) and perhaps therefore constitutes a further example of Aššur’s appropriation of another god’s imagery. The modern supposition that commonly attributed the solar disc to Aššur is simply erroneous.

Select Bibliography

van Driel, G.

1969 The Cult of Aššur, Assen, 1969.

Holloway, Steven W.

2002 Aššur is King! Aššur is King! Religion in the Exercise of Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire, [Culture and History of the Ancient Near East 10], Leiden: Brill, 2002.

Lambert, W.G.

1983 “The God Aššur”, Iraq 45 (1983), pp.82-86.

Tallqvist, Knut

1932 Der assyrische Gott, Helsingfors: Societas Orientalis Fennica, [Studia Orientalia IV/3], 1932.

Vera Chamaza, G.W.

2002 Die Omnipotenz Aššurs: Entwicklungen in der Aššur-Theologie under den Sargoniden Sargon II, Sanherib und Asarhaddon, AOAT 295, Münster, 2002.

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