A Woman to Know: Enheduanna

Like the light of the rising moon, she exuded delight. — Enheduanna

(Ancient calcite disc featuring an image of Enheduanna, via the Penn Museum​)


She's the first named author in history — male or female. As a high priestess of Ur, one of the largest Sumerian city-states in ancient Mesopotamia, Enheduanna wrote poems in cuneiform, dedicated to the moon goddess Innana. She held a privileged position at the city temple. and most amazingly, she's the first writer we have on record to write in the first person:

I, Enheduanna,
the high priestess,
I carried the ritual basket,
I chanted your praise.

Never in history has a single woman's declaration of "I" held such importance.

This newsletter was inspired by a beautifully energizing conversation with Gina Walker, director of Project Continua at The New School. The researchers at Project Continua are recovering women's narratives and female biographies throughout history, and you can read more about the important work they do here.

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