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The androgynous prophets (1)

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03 Religious festivals, cults, rituals and practices

01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

03 Religious festivals, cults, rituals and practices

03 Religious festivals, cults, rituals and practices

Neo-Assyrian Empire
Old Assyrian and Old Babylonian Empires
Neo-Assyrian texts
Old Assyrian and Old Babylonian texts

The evidence suggests that some of Ištar’s or Mullissu’s prophets were castrates. There are two prophecies for Esarhaddon from Bayâ and Ilussa-amur, which clearly state the prophets were at the same time both a woman and man, as the name has a feminine determinative but the person in question is referred to as DUMU (“son”) or with a masculine pronoun. The same practice also applied to Mari, where there were castrate assinnu-prophets in the service of the goddess Annunitum (= Ištar), two of them known by their proper names. The assinnu named Šelebum falled into trance in the temple of the goddess and delivered an oracle for the king (ARM 26 213), another assinnu, named Ili-haznaya also delivered an oracle (ARM 26 212).

Sources (list of abbreviations)
ARM 26 212
ARM 26 213


Lapinkivi 2004, 160Lapinkivi, Pirjo. The Sumerian Sacred Marriage in the Light of Comparative Evidence. State Archives of Assyria Studies 15. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Coprus Project 2004.

Pirjo Lapinkivi

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