Mesopotamia’s Hillary Clinton: Bold and Cunning Ninsun, Gilgamesh’s Strong-Willed Mother, Argued with Her God, Manipulated Enkidu, Protected Her Son in His Going to War, and Got What She Wanted


Here is a good post from Prometheus Unbound that highlights the power of women in Mesopotamia, particularly the power of goddess Ninsun, Gilgamesh’s mother and protector. Seemingly, she is the only person with whom Gilgamesh confides beyond Enkidu, his loyal servant. And it’s her prayers that help Gilgamesh escape alive from the most trying moment in his life. How is that for smart, powerful women?

Prometheus Unbound

How did ancient Mesopotamian women deal with their boys going off to war?

Part 2 of the Gilgamesh Epic may give us some clues. Here we are introduced to Ninsun, Gilgamesh’s strong-willed mother. Ninsun systematically, and with a great deal of forethought and determination, did everything within her power to protect her son.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of Ninsun, but maybe you should. Her fierce intelligence and boldness marks her as a perhaps too often overlooked sexy feminist mother diva. Here’s her story of how she wrestled with difficult circumstances, and won:

The Epic says that, on learning that her son would be going to war, that first she got dressed up to go to church—to the temple of Shamash, the sun god:

Ninsun went into her room, she put on a dress becoming to her body, she put on jewels to make her breasts beautiful, she placed a tiara on her head…

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