‘She Who Wrote’

Enheduanna, the first named author in world history, was a remarkable woman who lived around 2300 BCE. She was the daughter of Sargon of Akkad, who appointed her as high priestess of the Nanna Temple in Ur. Her writings include the Exaltation of Inanna, the Temple Hymns, Inanna and Ebih, and other attributed works.

Enheduanna has been on my mind since I visited the Morgan Library & Museum’s exhibition, She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia, ca. 3400-2000 BC. While I had seen the Disk of Enheduanna (pictured here) at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, it was an entirely different experience to view the object within a ‘powerhouse’ gallery packed with loans from other museums and private collections. Enheduanna’s story, her image, her words, were highlighted as part of a larger narrative about goddesses, priestesses, and women of the time. The exhibition runs through February 19th and warrants a second or third visit! The catalog is also fabulous!

Image: Disk of Enheduanna, c. 2300 BCE. Calcite alabaster, 10 1/16 x 2 ¾ in. (25.6 x 7 cm.) University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. B16665. Photo (cropped) by Mefman00, CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication.

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