(akkadian ELLIL)
   Sumerian god, one of the most important Mesopotamian deities since the early third millennium B.C. His name is usually taken to mean “Lord (of the) Air/Wind” and denotes that his domain was the earth, above that of the “below” (Abzu) ruled by Enki. Enlil controlled the weather and hence the fertility of the land by wind and rain. As such, he has characteristics of the weather gods that feature so prominently in those regions where agriculture depended on annual rainfall. In Sumer, Enlil also played a more political role, as the “leader of the gods” who presides over the “divine assembly.” It was he who conferred legitimate kingship on a city and its ruler; this was known as ellilutu, “Ellil-ship,” since the Old Babylonian period. His main temple was the Ekur at Nippur, one of the most important sanctuaries in Mesopotamia. In the myths he is described as the one “who controls the fate” and who is in possession of “Tablets of Destiny”; the seducer of the young goddess Ninlil, who became his wife; and the god whose repose is continually disturbed by humankind’s clamor. In the flood myths, it is always Enlil who decides to eradicate all human beings.
   In Babylonia, he came to be eclipsed by Marduk, who assumed most of Ellil’s prerogatives and powers.
   See also RELIGION.

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. . 2012.

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