Enheduanna, the “World’s First Author”: An Analysis of Ninmešarra (the Exaltation of Inanna) and Inninšagurra (Queen of Vast Heart)

General Article





Enheduanna, Sumerian literature, Sumerian poetry, interpretation, authorship, Ishtar, Inanna, Sargon


This article discusses two written works by Enheduanna of Akkad. The aim is to understand the texts through a close reading and draw out any information offered about Enheduanna herself. The first text is Ninmešarra, or the Exaltation of Inanna. This is the most famous of Enheduanna’s authored works. It discusses her exile from Ur and acts as a praise hymn for Inanna. The textual analysis highlights the significance of Enheduanna’s writing style and use of first-person narration in conveying her experience of expulsion. The second text discussed is Inninšagurra, or Queen of Vast Heart. While it offers fewer instances of first-person narration, it still highlights a sense of internal struggle that can be related to what is known of Enheduanna’s life. These texts are thematically similar in their depictions of Inanna and the author, which this article discusses in terms of the question of early first-person narration as a form of autobiographical writing.


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How to Cite

Coetzee, Akira. 2023. “Enheduanna, the ‘World’s First Author’: An Analysis of Ninmešarra (the Exaltation of Inanna) and Inninšagurra (Queen of Vast Heart): General Article”. Journal for Semitics 32 (2):16 pages . https://doi.org/10.25159/2663-6573/13660.



Received 2023-05-11
Accepted 2023-11-28
Published 2023-12-19