The Mesopotamian Concept of the Universe

The Mesopotamian Concept of the Universe

An – Heaven, the domain of the gods and goddesses, ruled by An, god of the sky

Ĝiš-ḫe – Sky/Firmament, ruled by Enlil

Ki – Earth, where humanity lives

Mountainous regions which encircle the earth – Called “Nagû” in Akkadian which simply means region. Little is known about these beyond their appearance on maps and vague descriptions given in various myths. They sit in the corners of the world and are the place from which the four winds blow. Additionally, the gate of An and the gate of Utu leading into Heaven and Kur respectively are found within the mountains.

Abzu – Primordial freshwater ocean, ruled by Enki

Kur – The Netherworld, where the dead live. Ruled by Ereshkigal

Sources Cited

Black, Jeremy, and Anthony Green. Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: an Illustrated Dictionary. University of Texas Press, 1992.

Finkel, Irving L. The Ark before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood. Anchor Books, 2015.

Halloran, John Alan. “Sumerian Lexicon: Version 3.0.” Sumerian Lexicon,, 28 Aug. 2018,