A Tribute to Womanhood

Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.



Enheduana was the first female name in "recorded" history, the first known author to write in the first person.  While there were many who wrote before En Hedu Ana, she was the first to identify herself.

Enheduana lived about 4500 years ago in Babylon. She was a poet, a priestess, and a warrior and  was revered as the most important religious figure of her day. She was the daughter of Sargon the Great, the ruler of all of Babylon at that time; her mother was a Sumarian priestess.  Sargon placed his daughter into a position of power; namely, she became the High Priestess of Nanna, the major temple in Ur.  This was an extremely powerful role for as the en priestess, she was the only one who could appoint a new ruler.  Enheduana also was in charge of directing all the activities of daily life such as trade, farming, and crafts.  She also began monitoring the movements of the stars and the planets. 

Enheduana helped her father to solidify his political power by merging the worship of many local city goddesses into worship of the Sumarian goddess, Inanna. According to historical tales, both she and her father were banished from Ur by a relative who took power. As a result, Enheduana and Sargon went to live in Sumaria.  And, it was while they were in Sumaria that she became so passionate about Inanna, the Sumarian goddess, that she began writing her incantations. Eventually she and her father were restored to their home in Ur, and Inanna was installed as the highest of the goddesses. Enheduana survived her father and continued on as High Priestess during the reign of several of his successors.

It seems that she was much a politician as a priestess, and later religions and religious writers appear to have emulated her.  Through her powerful incantations to Inanna, she not only changed the course of history  but she  continues to be remembered centuries after her death.  

She is the author of over 42 brief temple hymns and three longer hymns.  The following is a poem that speaks of her view of wisdom and how one goes about attaining it:

"The true woman who possesses exceeding wisdom,
She consults a tablet of lapis lazili
She gives advise to all lands....
She measures off the heavens,
She places the measuring cords on earth."

Enheduana was both a mystical and heroic figure...a wise woman as well as a powerful priestess...a true feminist.


1 comment:

  1. it's interesting to know how powerful a priestess was back then. So what happened to that power??