A Woman to Know: Enheduanna
|Julia Carpenter||Mar 7, 2016|
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:
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.
Add to your reading list:
Princess, Priestess, Poet (Betty De Shong Meador)
Innana, Lady of Largest Heart: Poems of the High Priestess Enheduanna (Betty De Shong Meador and Enheduanna)
Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women (Jane Hirschfield)
Enheduanna (Project Continua)
The Dinner Party Heritage Floor: Enheduanna (Project Continua)
Documents that Changed the World: The Exaltation of Innana (University of Washington)
Sex: A History in 30 Objects (The Penn Museum)
The Ur Digitization Project (The Penn Museum)
Scholars help translate poems of priestess (University of California-Berkeley)
Enheduanna (Ancient History Encyclopedia)
*~Send your recommendations for women to know! Reply to this newsletter with your lady and she could be featured in an upcoming edition.~* You can browse the archive on Tumblr.
Thank you to all of you who have made recommendations for Women's History Month here! Please respond to this newsletter with more ideas, more women and more more more. Your input is greatly appreciated. <3