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Temple of Anu and Adad at Assur

a Pleiades place resource

Creators: Jamie Novotny Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Jun 07, 2022 06:09 AM History
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A distinctive feature of the city of Assur is the double-temple of the gods Anu and Adad. This building, together with its twin ziggurats, was constructed no later than the Middle Assyrian period; it underwent a major rebuilding in the reign of Tiglath-pileser I (1114–1076 BC). The existence of an (unnamed) Adad temple at Assur, however, is known from inscriptions of the Old Assyrian rulers Erišum I and Ikūnum. The various parts of this axisymmetric, double-temple was given Sumerian names: Anu’s temple and ziggurat were called Ešaan and Emelamanna; and Adad’s temple and ziggurat went by the names Ešuddegeštuku and Egišlamšaršar.

35.4588951575, 43.2582285001

temple, ziggurat


The northernmost temple and ziggurat are generally believed to have belonged to the god Anu and the southernmost ones are thought to have been dedicated to the god Adad.  

According to Recension B of the Götteradressbuch of Ashur, the divine inhabitants of the twin temples were: Anu, Antu, Adad, Šala, Nisaba, Ḫamru, Šeriš, Ḫarmiš, Ningirsu, the Divine Fates, the Kulittus, the Kubus, and three royal images.

The most descriptive textual record of work on the Anu-Adad temple at Assur comes from an Akkadian inscription of the Middle Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser I (1114–1076 BC). The relevant section of that text reads:

At that time the temple of the gods Anu and Adad, the great gods, my lords, which Šamšī-Adad (III), vice-regent of Aššur, son of Išme-Dagan (II) (who was) also vice-regent of the god Aššur, had previously built, (after) 641 years had passed it had become dilapidated and Aššur-dān (I), king of Assyria, son of Ninurta-apil-Ekur (who was) also king of Assyria, tore down this temple but did not rebuild (it) and for 60 years its foundation had not been relaid. In my accession year the gods Anu and Adad, the great gods, my lords, who love my priesthood, commanded me to rebuild their shrine. I made bricks. I delineated this area, dug down to the bottom of its foundation pit, (and) laid its foundation upon bedrock. I piled up this entire area with bricks like an oven, making it 50 layers of brick deep. I laid thereon the limestone foundation of the temple of the gods Anu and Adad, the great gods, my lords. I rebuilt it from top to bottom and made it bigger than before. I constructed two large ziggurats which were appropriate for their great divinity. I planned (and) laboriously rebuilt (and) completed the pure temple, the holy shrine, their joyful abode, their happy dwelling which stands out like the stars of heaven and which represents the choicest skills of the building trade. Its interior I decorated like the interior of heaven. I decorated its walls as splendidly as the brilliance of rising stars. I raised its towers and its ziggurats to the sky and made fast its parapets with baked brick. I installed inside a conduit (suitable for the conduct) of the rites of their great divinity. I brought the gods Anu and Adad, the great gods, my lords, inside (and) set them on their exalted thrones. (Thus) did I please their great divinity.”

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Jamie Novotny, 'Temple of Anu and Adad at Assur: a Pleiades place resource', Pleiades: A Gazetteer of Past Places, 2022 <> [accessed: 24 June 2024]

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