Campaign of the Month: February 2017
The Anunna god of the sun and justice
Unlike his venerable father, Sin, Shamash is a judge more than a mentor and a warrior more than a helper. The sun-god, though fair in his rulings, is nevertheless as hot-tempered as the daystar itself and allows himself no rest until wrongdoers are punished; his name is so synonymous with justice that those who were innocently or wrongfully killed in ancient times cried his name as they died, knowing that he would avenge them. He extends his aid to the underworld as well, descending like his father into its depths during the night in order to help judge the dead, and returning to burn brilliantly in the sky during the day.
Shamash and Ishtar
Though Shamash loved his younger sister dearly, he could see that she was fractious and unpredictable and worried that she might bring some harm to herself or the rest of the pantheon if no one took her in hand. Seeking to find her a calming influence, he approached the shepherd god Tammuz and described her loveliness; Ishtar, however, would not hear of allowing Tammuz to court her and instead set her heart on a young farmer. Using all his powers of persuasion, Shamash cleverly convinced her to consider the young man’s suit and proudly brought her bridal linens to her in person on her wedding day, causing the most volatile of goddesses to settle down in wedlock.
Shamash and Tammuz
It happened that Tammuz, his brother-in-law, called out to Shamash from the earth one day while he was resting; looking down, Shamash was appalled to see that bandits were pursuing him, threatening to kill him for his belongings. Coming quickly to his rescue, Shamash turned him into a snake so that he could hide in the tall grass, and then into a gazelle so that he could run more fleetly than his pursuers. His pursuers were too persistent, however, and Shamash was forced to rescind his protection when Tammuz appeared before them and voluntarily delivered himself to death.