The Epic of Gilgamesh

Role of Ninsun

Apart from being Gilgamesh's mother, what other important roles does Ninsun play in the epic
Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours
Best Answer

Gilgamesh’s mother is Ninsun, sometimes referred to as the Lady Wildcow Ninsun. She was a goddess, endowing Gilgamesh with a semi-divine nature.

Ninsun interprets dreams:

Gilgamesh has two dreams that trouble him. In the first dream, a meteor lands in a field outside Uruk. Gilgamesh is drawn to the rock “as if it were a woman.” After lifting it, he carries it to his mother, Ninsun. In the second dream, Gilgamesh finds an axe lying in the street. A crowd of people stands around it, admiring it. Gilgamesh is also drawn to the axe, as if it were his wife. He carries it to his mother and lays it at her feet. He tells Ninsun of these dreams. She interprets them to mean that he will soon meet a man, a man who will become his friend and greatest companion.

Ninsun stops the fight between Gilgamesh and Enkidu, explaining that Enkidu will become a loyal friend.

Ninsun tells Gilgamesh that Enkidu has no family, that he has lived his whole life on the plains with the animals. She tells Gilgamesh that Enkidu is loyal and will not abandon his side. Both men forget their anger and declare their loyalty to each other. They kiss and embrace.

Ninsun makes offerings to the gods. 

Ninsun is distraught when she hears of her son's plan to cement his fame by defeating Humbaba. She weeps and fears for her son's life. She bathes and dons robes before ascending to the ziggurat, where she makes an offering to Shamash as well. Ninsun prays to Shamash to help and protect Gilgamesh. Finally, she places a sacred pendant around Enkidu's neck and adopts Enkidu as her own son.