Campaign of the Month: February 2017
The Anunna goddess of the Underworld
The fearsome and terrible queen of the underworld, Ereshkigal is in many ways a dark mirror of her twin sister Ishtar: beautiful yet terrible to behold, she is the warden of the dead and strictly enforces the boundaries of the lightless citadel in which she dwells. None who enter Ereshkigal’s realm ever leave again save the gods themselves, and even they know they are out on parole rather than truly released. Ereshkigal almost never leaves her realm, tasked as she is with the containment of all those who have died in the vast millennia of her life, and so the few children she manages to bear are all the more precious to her.
Ereshkigal and Kur
In the beginning, there was no ruler of the Underworld; it was a barren and empty place and the dead cried out for order and safety. The great dragon Kur, one of the banished sons of Tiamat, was stirred by their wailing and determined to end it by slithering into the home of the gods and pleading their case. The gods agreed that there must be a ruler and gave Ereshkigal to him to take back to the Underworld, but Enki marched into Irkallu after them and battled with the beast in an effort to rescue her. Though he was victorious, Ereshkigal never returned to the heavens with him; she remained below at the order of the pantheon, becoming the dread queen of the dead.
Ereshkigal and Ishtar
When Ishtar sent Ereshkigal’s husband Gugalanna forth and he was slain by Gilgamesh, the death goddess mourned for him and blamed her sister for his demise. Ishtar herself descended into the Underworld shortly thereafter, claiming that she wished to comfort her sister, but Ereshkigal saw that she was not repentant and instructed her gatekeepers to strip the goddess of all her power. When Ishtar appeared in the throne room and complained of this treatment, Ereshkigal struck her dead and hung her body on a hook in her throne room for all to see, refusing to release her until the gods offered up Ishtar’s own husband in permanent trade.