Anunnaki


Sources can be found at the bottom of the page.

Section: The Annunaki

Ancient Aliens: “In the ancient texts of Sumeria we have descriptions of these being descending from the sky called the Annunaki. The term Annunaki means ‘those who from the heavens came.”

This is entirely wrong. The word Annunaki means “princely seed” or “princely blood”. The idea is that the Annunaki were direct creations of Anu, who was regarded as the father and king of the gods. [1][2][3]

As we will see, this is the main idea associated with the Annunaki in the minds of Sumerians, that is that they were directly created by Anu, and so it makes sense that even their name reflects this idea, that is that they were the offspring of the prince.

“The term itself means ‘of royal seed’ or ‘princely seed’ because the annunaki were considered the offspring of Anu or An – the great God of heaven. The annunaki were also the offspring of An and his consort “ki“ of heaven and earth. [There was] this divine coupling [in] the way the Mesopotamians conceived their pantheon.”

So if the term Annunaki means princely seed or offspring of the prince, how is it that Ancient Aliens says that the word for Annunaki means those who from heavens to earth came?

The short answer is that everything Ancient Aliens says about the Annunaki comes from a man named Zecharia Sitchin. Sitchin wrote many books claiming that the Annunaki were really aliens. Unfortunately, at the time that he wrote this in the 70’s, there weren’t many ways for ordinary people to see if what he was saying is true or not.

To put it simply Sitchin’s translation of the word Annunaki is wrong.

Michael Heiser: “You’ll often read, especially in the writings of Zecharia Sitchin, that the annunaki means something like ‘they who from heaven came’ or some other description that makes them sound like aliens or extra-terrestrials. There isn’t a source on the planet by any Sumerian scholar that would agree with that definition. It’s not a difficult term. I personally don’t think that Sitchin knew Sumerian at all because if you’re going to get a term associated with a very group of important deities wrong, I have to wonder what else you’re going to get wrong.”

Sitchin claimed to be an expert on Sumerian writings, yet we can now see that he didn’t seem to even understand the basic grammar and vocabulary rules of the Sumerian language.v Several real scholars challenged him on his translations, and on his lack of any academic credentials in the field, pointing out that there is no record of Sitchin having anything but a journalism degree[4]:

One such scholar is Michael Heiser. “To this day I haven’t been able to find, nor have other people of whom I’ve asked help – people who liked Sitchin – any credentials of him knowing any of the languages or him being credentialed in any way in ancient near-eastern studies.”

As we progress and look into some of the specifics of Sitchin’s views – articulated by Ancient Aliens – I think you will see that determining the truth about this difficult subject is not out of the hands of the common person.

AA: “It says, word for word, that these beings descended in flying vehicles from the sky.”

This is a preposterous statement. I challenge anyone to produce this “word for word” text.

You can do a search online[5], and literally see all the references to the word Annunaki in the Sumerian texts. The only time it refers to anything even close to this is when it talks about the Annunaki being direct creations of Anu in heaven. A few examples of this would be:

The Anunna, the (gods), whom An conceived in the sky.

The Anunna, whom An in the sky conceived.

These texts emphasize the point that the main Sumerian concept regarding the Annunaki was that they were directly created by An – that’s what’s being said here.

The idea that the text says that they “descended out of flying vehicles” is pure fiction, and that’s the nicest way I can think of to say that.

What Ancient Aliens does here is they show pictures of the winged solar disk as they talk about the Annunaki, and I guess they expect the audience to think that the texts speak of these disks like spacecraft in the Sumerian stories, when in fact the solar disks seen in the iconography are not associated with the Annunaki at all, but rather with the sun and or sun god[6].

This is probably why Tsoucalous says the following:

“And they were always described or depicted [as] floating above some, quote unquote, regular people.”

Since the Annunaki are never depicted floating above people’s heads, we can see that they want people to believe that the solar disk icon equals the Annunaki spacecraft.

This is wrong for several reasons.

Number one, the solar disks in the Sumerian culture, really did represent the sun or the sun god.

The sun travelling across the sky everyday was seen to have been facilitated by wings on the sun. You need to know that there is nothing in these descriptions of the sun in the Sumerian texts that would suggest that they were really talking about a UFO. As boring as it may be, they were really talking about the sun.

One way to demonstrate this is found in the epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh worships Shamash, the sun god, in order to get favor for part of his journey, and he does this by facing east in the morning – that is, in the direction of the rising sun.[7]

The idea that Ancient Aliens proposes here that the Annunaki actually came out of the solar disks or that they were pictured riding in them is just a lie; there is no way around it.

“We can find not only descriptions of the annunaki, but also depictions. We can see them in statues; in carvings, so it’s all very interesting to see that those beings looked like modern-day space travellers with weird suits; some of them wore wrist watchers; they had boots on and helmets and, above all, wings.”

All throughout the Ancient Aliens series they show these pictures of Akkadian winged genies and refer to them as Annunaki. But funnily enough winged genies aren’t Annunaki. In fact these reliefs are not even Sumerian, they’re Akkadian.

But hey, while were here we might as well explain what’s going on in these images, even though they have absolutely nothing to do with the Annunaki.

The belief was that certain aspects of nature were controlled by these winged genies. Most notably they were responsible for the fertilization of the crops.[8][9]

They were often depicted with a bucket of pollen or water in one hand, and a group of male flowers or a pine cone in the other hand. They often are depicted as fertilizing a date tree which was a symbol of fruitfulness.

Sometimes they would be depicted as being pointed at the king which, because of the accompanying inscriptions, we know means that the king was seen to be a type of intermediary between the gods, and responsible for the fruitfulness of the land and the people.[10]

One way to demonstrate this is by explaining what Ancient Aliens calls a “wristwatch.”  First, you should take note that if this is a watch then these genies were serious about timekeeping, because they wore one on both wrists, and often on a headband as well. This “watch” is actually an Akkadian symbol for Ishtar the goddess of fertility.  You can see the same rosette on the famous Ishtar gate in Babylon.

The fertility of the land was associated with, as you might expect, the goddess of fertility, and these beings are depicted as acting on behalf of Ishtar as they fertilize this date tree.

This also probably explains the wings, considering that the natural and visible way that a flower is pollenated is through bees and birds. Therefore it’s not so hard to see that they were depicting their spiritual agents of pollination with wings as well.

AA: “Zecharia Sitchin has essentially suggested that the reason we were visited in the remote past is because the ancient astronauts’ home planet needed gold for their atmosphere and that their gold-content in the atmosphere was depleting – so they came to earth in order to mine gold and bring it back to their home planet.”

This line about aliens coming to mine gold for their atmosphere, in the ancient past, is widely repeated by Ancient Astronaut theorists. In fact it’s become something of a foundational idea in the movement. This idea traces directly back to Zecharia Sitchin and has absolutely nothing to do with Sumerian texts.

It’s interesting to note that Sitchin doesn’t even give a place in the Sumerian texts to justify this notion that they needed gold for their atmosphere. He says the following in his book “The Wars of Gods and Men”:

“The metal, with its unique properties, was needed back home for a vital need, … as best as we can make out, this vital need could have been for suspending the gold particles in Nibiru’s waning atmosphere and thus shield it from critical dissipation.”  (emphasis mine)

So he says ‘as best as we can make out’. Who is ‘we’? And what texts would even hint at that idea. He creates this idea of gold particles being needed in a planet’s atmosphere out of nowhere.

Nowadays you can do a word search for the uses of the word “gold” in the Sumerian texts.[11] We can read every mention of this word.

Not only are the mentions of the word gold relatively few in the Sumerian texts, there is nothing to indicate anything but the most ordinary uses for gold[12]. In fact It’s a surprisingly boring study.

Thanks to meticulous cataloging of the Sumerian texts over the last few decades, and the advent of the internet, we no longer have to take people like Sitchin’s word for it.

Heiser: “There are some databases online that allow you to search through Sumerian texts, and I have a video on my website sitchiniswrong.com. If you go there and click on the Annunaki tab I will show you how to search through something called the electronic text corpus of Sumerian literature. I will show you how you can search for all the occurrences of the word Annunaki and then click through the English translations of all those occurrences. You can find this material and I would encourage you to do so because you can check up on Zecharia Sitchin; you can check up on me.

When I claim that there are no texts [and] there are no tablets that have, for instance, the Annunaki on Nibiru or associated with Nibiru; that Nibiru isn’t a planet beyond Pluto, how easy would it be to prove me wrong if you knew how to search for those terms? It would be real easy, and I encourage you to check up on me and everybody else and do the work. You can access this material and know who’s telling you the truth.”

We can finally see for ourselves why the Sumerian scholars have been so critical of Sitchin, not because they are too close minded or anything like that, but because Sitchin really doesn’t seem to know what he is talking about.

Let me give you an example of how Sitchin comes up with his “amazing” translations.

Let’s take this idea that the Sumerian texts speak of mining gold. Now since the Sumerian texts do not speak of mining gold in any way, Sitchin has to construct this idea out of thin air. This is how he did it:

Let’s look at a quote from his first book “The Twelfth Planet”:

“Some Mesopotamian hymns to Ea exalt him as Bel Nimiki, translated “lord of wisdom”; but the correct translation should ‘undoubtedly be “lord of mining.”

In classic Sitchin style he never gives any reason that the “correct translation should ‘undoubtedly be “lord of mining.” He just says it should be and leaves it at that.

Again, we have Sumerian dictionaries written by the scribes themselves, and the Sumerians don’t agree with Sitchin here at all, so why should we?

I think one way to demonstrate how bad of a translation this is, is to read a little about Ea’s or Enki’s wisdom in context, and let you see if it makes sense to you as meaning wisdom or if it really means mining.

This is an example from a Sumerian text called Enuma Elish:

HE WHO UNDERSTANDS ALL
The Wise One,
The Great One,
EA who Knows ALL THAT IS,
Perceived the Plot.
He countered it
With a Powerful Spell. 

Not only does it describe his wisdom further by saying “he who understands all” but it also says that because of this wisdom he was able to perceive a plot before it happened and counter it. None of what we just read makes sense if “wisdom” means mining.

Or from the same epic:

EA,
Who knows ALL THINGS,
Knew he could not Defeat
KINGU and the Hosts of TIAMAT. 

Here again we see a contextual definition of Ea’s knowledge. He knows all again, and we see this knowledge helped him understand that he could not defeat Kingu.

These are not isolated descriptions of this knowledge; Ea is the god of wisdom for a reason. Nothing said about him makes sense if his knowledge means mining, or even knowledge about mining. All the stories about him highlight his great understanding, and conversely there isn’t even a hint that he cares a lick about digging for gold or anything else…it’s just not there. It requires an ignorance of the Sumerian texts in order to be believed.

Let’s move on to another claim about the Annunaki:

AA: “Virtually every story that’s in Genesis – the flood story, the Adam and Eve story – all have precedents with the ancient Sumerians. The story that came down to the Sumerians is that the Annunaki were mining gold on the Earth and the run-of-the-mill workers complained saying: ‘This is really hard work and we’re tired. We don’t want to do this anymore’ and so they had a big council and they decided to create a primitive worker called an Adamou. The Annunaki created humans as a slave species.”

The first thing to be aware of here is that in the epic of creation that they are referring to here, the God’s weren’t mining gold. The work that the gods were doing is creating the world, kind of what you would expect from a creation epic.

It even specifically states that they were making mountains and rivers, such as the Tigris and Euphrates. [13]The gods here were tired of creating the earth not gold mining.

The epic goes on to describe the following events:

· The gods decide to mix up themselves with clay and make man.
· As the version of men they made increased in number, the noise they made angered the gods.
· They decide to kill them off with a flood.
· One man is instructed to build a boat.
· He put animals on it.
· It rains for seven days and seven nights.
· The man and his family are saved.

There are many similarities between these Sumerian writings and to the biblical accounts of the creation of man and Noah’s flood.

Some people think this is due to the writers of the Bible copying the earlier Sumerian writings. This is problematic because even the critics who specialize in this style of ancient literature say there is no evidence of literary borrowing[14], in fact just the opposite. They propose that they must be referring to a common source for the information.

One paper by A. Heidel, A.R. Millard and D. Damrosch concludes this way:

Literary dependence cannot be demonstrated. Here, as in most of the parallels in the primeval history, it is considered more likely that Mesopotamian and biblical traditions are based on a common source. Some understand this common source to be a piece of more ancient literature, while others consider it the actual event.’ Hill & Walton, ‘A Survey of the Old Testament’, p. (2010).

Add to this that it is not just the Sumerian texts and the bible that are talking about the same basic story, but obvious elements of this story can be found in almost every early culture, regardless of its location.

Take for example the story of Viracocha in South America.

Viracocha created the heavens and the earth. He then took large stones and breathed life into them. But they became giants, so he sent a flood to wipe them out. After the flood he breathed into smaller stones than the first time thereby creating smaller people, which were then scattered all over the world.[15]

And in the bible, in Genesis 6 we see something similar. The Sons of God disobeyed God, they came to earth had sex with human women, producing giants called Nephilim. The Nephilim over time almost eliminated the original human population, and this is one of the reasons that God sent the flood.[16]

These stories are found in some form in cultures as geographically separated as you can get. They are in China, Europe, the Middle East, they are found in Native American traditions, in South America and many others.xvii

The similarities are too obvious to simply dismiss. Things like 8 people being on the boat are mentioned in a good percentage of these stories.[17]

I personally think that all these cultures are drawing from the same original story, a story that was told only one way, and that as migrations happened from this original group they started adding in details that were more locally important to them.  But that each of these cultures sincerely believed they were passing on the true account of the origin of humanity to their descendants as this story was told.

Ironically if you take it at face value, if there was really a flood and all people except for the ones on the boat were destroyed, and if most modern cultures were descended from them, the fact that the entire world seems to have inherited the same story would make sense, because they essentially had the same eight ancestors who experienced such a dramatic event, and made it a point to pass the story to each generation.

I propose that something like this really did happen in ancient history. I don’t see any logical way around it. The question I have is which, if any of these accounts, is closest to the truth?

Ancient Aliens tells us that the Sumerian version is closest to the truth because they were recorded earlier. That makes sense to a point, but we have to remember that the events described in the Sumerian texts were still ancient history to the Sumerians. So the question is not so much about the date of the writing, but rather their ability to preserve the story.

I’ll give you a few very good reasons to seriously doubt that the Sumerian accounts should be given more weight where they differ from the others.

The first is that the Sumerians stories are not logically consistent.

Take for example that in both the Sumerian and Biblical accounts, dimensions for the boat are given.

The mere fact that an important part of this story is the dimensions of the boat is interesting, but when you draw out the dimensions, you have on the one hand the Sumerian boat, being a big cube, and the biblical one being described by naval engineers as nearly perfect for maintaining stability without hull damage in incredibly rough seas.[18]

Another reason not to trust the Sumerian texts where they differ from the others is that, as every Sumerian scholar knows, the Sumerians constantly change the details of their stories to suit the different situations.

For example, texts of the same story found in the temple of Enki will differ from ones found in the temple of Innana, even if they are from the same time period, but especially if they’re from a different time period. To quote one Sumerian scholar:

“Inconsistencies are a regular feature of Sumerian poetry.”

He goes on to say that “integration of different texts [by the Sumerian scribes] often appear somewhat careless.”[19]

Compare that with the ancient Hebrew scribes, who were notorious for taking their job ultra-seriously. They had many rules that governed their coping of their sacred texts. For example, it is said that they would have to speak every letter out loud before committing it to paper.[20][21]

One example of a vindication of this meticulous attention to detail is with the Isaiah scroll found in the Dead Sea scrolls.

The earliest copies of the Hebrew Old Testament before the Dead Sea Scrolls were the Masoretic texts which were copied between the years 600-1000AD. So the Isaiah scroll, one of the best preserved scrolls, would be a way to prove or disprove if their scriptures had been faithfully copied by the scribes during the previous 800 years. As it turned out they did a flawless job and the Hebrew scribes were vindicated.[22][23]

So when deciding which texts are more accurate as it relates to their accounts of ancient events it is far more logical to assume that the group with a tradition of accurate preservation and transmission of their texts should be given more weight than a culture like the Sumerians who seemed to have little interest in the accurate transmission of the details of their stories.

To sum up, almost everything that Ancient Aliens says about the Annunaki is untrue, which is not surprising considering they copy and pasted almost everything in this section from the books of Zecharia Sitchin.

For more information about Sitchin’s errors in his translations of the Sumerians and Arkaddian texts, I will direct you to the excellent website of doctor Michael Heiser ‘Sitchiniswrong.com’.


[1] A. Kienast, “Igigu und Anunnaku: Nach Den Akkadischen Quellen” (Igigu and Anunnaki According to the Akkadian Sources)

[2] W. von Soden, “Babylonische Göttergruppen: Igigu und Anunnaku, Zum Bedeutungswandel theologischer Begriffe” (Babylonian God-Groups: Igigu and Anunnaku: Changes in the Meanings of Theological Terms)

[3] Die Anunna in der Sumerischen Überlieferung The Anunna in the Sumerian Tradition A. Falkenstein, Heidelberg Literal Translation (with some adjustment for clarity) by Kalene E. Barry

[4] Ibid.

[6] “Shamash.” Windows to the Universe, n.d. http://www.windows2universe.org/mythology/shamash_sun.html

[7] In the Babylonian epic Gilgamesh. When Gilgamesh and Enkidu travel to slay Humbaba, each morning they pray and make libation to shamash in the direction of the rising sun for safe travels.

[8] The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Winged Genie Fertilizing a Date Tree, 884-860 B.C.E.
Assyrian,
http://nelson-atkins.org/collections/iscroll-objectview.cfm?id=24456

[10] Ada Cohen, Steven E. Kangas. “Assyrian Reliefs from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II A Cultural Biography.” In Assyrian Reliefs from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II A Cultural Biography, 2010.

[11]   Please note before doing this search for gold: that in this search for the word gold you will sometimes see a reference to “Nibru” this is not the same thing as the infamous “Nibiru.” When they bring gold to “Nibru” they are actually taking it to a real Sumerian city:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nippur Now here is how to do the “gold” search: http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?simplesearchword=gold&simplesearch=translation&searchword=&charenc=gcirc&lists=

[12] Ibid.

[13] The Epic of Atrahasis, Line 25,26,30: http://www.livius.org/as-at/atrahasis/atrahasis.html

[16] Genesis 6:1–14  The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Ge 6). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[17] “Flood Legends From Around The World.” Flood Legends From Around The World, n.d. http://www.nwcreation.net/noahlegends.html/.

[18] S.W. Hong, S.S. Na, B.S. Hyun, S.Y. Hong, D.S. Gon April 1, 1994 “Safety Investigation of Noah’s Ark in a Seaway” http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v8/n1/noah and Jonathan Sarfati. “Noah’s Flood and the Gilgamesh Epic.” Creation Magazine, March 29, 2004. http://creation.com/noahs-flood-and-the-gilgamesh-epic.

[19] Ian Lawton. “Guide to the Sumerian Texts.” Guide to the Sumerian Texts, 2000. http://www.ianlawton.com/mes4.htm.

[20] Aish HaTorah’s Discovery Seminar. “Accuracy of Torah Text.” Accuracy of Torah Text, n.d. http://www.aish.com/h/sh/tat/48969731.html.

[22] Evans, Craig. “Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls.” 2010.

[23] Jeff A. Benner. “Isaiah Scroll and the Masoretic Text.” Ancient Hebrew Research Center, n.d. http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/31_masorite.html.