Ninsun is a Mesopotamian goddess of wisdom, beauty, and maternal care. She is famously recognized as the mother of Gilgamesh, the hero of one of the earliest known literary works, the Epic of Gilgamesh. Ninsun’s divine attributes and her involvement in this epic have cemented her status as a significant figure in ancient mythology.

Ninsun’s name means “Lady Wild Cow,”. She is the daughter of sky god Anu and earth goddess Ki.

Worship and symbolism

Ninsun was worshipped in various ancient cities such as Uruk, Ur, and particularly in Lagash, where she had a dedicated temple known as Emah, or “Magnificent Temple”. Her worship was especially prominent among the royal families of the Third Dynasty of Ur. That makes sense. This enhanced their royal legitimacy, as she and Gilgamesh were seen as divine ancestors.

Ninsun was married to Lugalbanda, another deified king, and their union produced several children, with Gilgamesh being the most famous.

Modern appearances