Enheduanna’s name translates as 'High Priestess of An’ (the sky god) or 'En-Priestess, wife of the god Nannar’ (though there are other possible translations). She is best known for her works Inninsagurra, Ninmesarra, and Inninmehusa, which translate as 'The Great-Hearted Mistress’, The Exaltation of Inanna’, and 'Goddess of the Fearsome Powers’, all three powerful hymns to the goddess Inanna (later identified with Ishtar and, still later, Aphrodite). These hymns re-defined the gods for the people of the Akkadian Empire under Sargon’s rule and helped provide the underlying religious homogeniety sought by the king.
For over forty years Enheduanna held the office of high priestess, even surviving an attempted coup against her authority by the Sumerian rebel Lugal-ane who forced her into exile for a brief time. In addition to her hymns, Enheduanna is remembered for the forty-two poems she wrote reflecting personal frustrations and hopes, religious devotion, her response to war and feelings about the world she lived in.
In 1927, the British archaeologist Sir Leonard Wooley found the now-famous Enhuduanna calcite disc in the excavations at the Sumerian site of Ur. The three inscriptions on the disc identify the four figures depicted: Enheduanna, an officer of the harem, her major domo and her scribe. The royal inscription on the disc, reads: "Enheduanna, zirru-priestess, wife of the god Nanna, daughter of Sargon, king of the world, in the temple of the goddess Innana.” The figure of Enheduanna is placed prominently on the disc emphasizing her importance in relation to the others and, further, her position of great power and influence on the culture of her time.
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