Deities of the Ancient World: Nanshe

A Sumerian goddess, daughter of Enki and Ninhursag. She was a goddess of fishing, social justice, prophecy and fertility, and greatly associated with water.

She was the main deity of the city of Nina, in the region of Lagash (modern Iraq), and her temple was the Sirara temple.

According to legend, she was born to heal her father’s neck. He granted her dominion over the Persian Sea, and she was to ensure that shipments of fish reached the mainland.

As a goddess for social justice, she nurtured orphans, helped widows, advised those in debt and took in refugees. She also settled disputes and handled court cases amongst mortals. During 2144-2124 BC she held a very high rank in the pantheon and at times shared the same tasks as the god of justice.

Nanshe had the ability to interpret dreams and was seen as a soothsayer.

Other associations are beer mash, yeast, and honey, in her role as lady of the storeroom (linked to fertility and bounty).

Her symbols are the fish and the pelican.