UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Enheduana's Exaltation of Inana Helle, Sophus


The Exaltation of Inana is a hymnic and narrative poem attributed to Enheduana, the daughter of king Sargon of Akkad, who served as the high priestess of Nanna in the city of Ur. She appears as the narrator and protagonist of the poem, but because all manuscripts of the text date to five centuries after her lifetime, the attribution is uncertain. The poem details Enheduana's expulsion from the city of Ur following a revolt led by a man named Lugal-Ane. She prays to Nanna, the god she has served, but he does not answer; so she turns instead to Nanna's daughter Inana, the goddess of love, war, transformation, and paradox, aiming to recruit Inana to her cause and elevate her to the top of the Sumerian pantheon. Most of the poem is a passionate, metaphor-laden paean to the terrifying powers of Inana, culminating in a selfreferential scene where Enheduana composes the text we have been reading in a night-time encounter with Inana - swaying and exalting the goddess, and thus saving herself.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution 4.0 International