Sharur (Car-ur) was the magical battle-mace of Ninurta, the Mesopotamian warrior god of winds and storms. As an animated mythological weapon, Sharur served as a fierce protector as well as a trusted advisor, messenger and spy. The battle-mace played an important role in the late third millennium BCE Sumerian Exploits of Ninurta, gathering military intelligence, relaying communication to and from Enlil, and eventually helping Ninurta defeat the demon Asag. The text described Sharur as a lion-headed weapon which could sprout wings and fly like a bird, with the power to trample mountains.

Like the storm god Ninurta, Sharur embodied the powerful natural forces of thunder clouds, roaring like a lion and flying like an eagle. As such, the battle-mace shared similar characteristics with the Imdugud (Anzu), which in the mid-third millennium BCE became a heraldic victory emblem of the city state of Lagash, its warrior kings, and its storm deity Ningirsu, an early variant of Ninurta. Votive battle-maces displaying images of lion-headed eagles, like the one pictured here, thus combined two major symbols of the warrior storm god and may have provided inspiration for the later stories.

Sharur was an early example of the many magical weapons celebrated in the mythologies, folklores, and literatures around the world.

Image: Votive limestone mace head dedicated to Ningirsu, featuring an image of the Imdugud (Anzu) grasping the tails of two lions, along with three human figures (not shown here). The inscription at the top reads, “For Ningirsu of E-ninnu, the workman of Enannatum, ruler of Lagash, Barakisumun, the sukkal, dedicated this for the life of Enannatum, his master.”  From Girsu (Tello), Iraq, Early Dynastic IIIB, c. 2400-2250 BCE. The British Museum, London, BM 23287.  Photo (sharpened) by Paul Hudson from United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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