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West Asia

The moon god of Ur and first son of Enlil, the Sumerian god of earth and air. As ‘lord of the calendar’, his cult exhibited monotheistic tendencies, since it was Sin ‘who determines the destinies of distant days’ and whose ‘plans no god knows’. According to Genesis, Abraham hailed from Ur by way of Harran, both cities devoted to the moon god. In Arabia, Sin was also worshipped under various titles and it is likely that Mount Sinai, first mentioned in Hebrew texts about 1000 bc, was connected with moon-worship.

Other names for Sin were Suen and Nanna. Addressed in prayer as ‘perfect in lordiness’, Sin was associated with fertility, ‘lord of the cowherders’, the nether world, and kingship. A myth of Nanna's wooing of Ningal, the mother of goddess Inanna, relates how the god is repulsed until he has filled the rivers with the early flood, made the grain grow in the field, and caused fishes to be in the marshes, reeds along the banks of rivers, stags in the forest, plants in the desert, honey and wine in the orchards, cress in the garden, and long life in the palace. Only when all this bounty occurs is Ningal prepared to come and live with Nanna in his lofty dwelling on top of the ziggurat in Ur.

Subjects: Religion.

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