About Enheduanna, High Priestess of Sin at Ur
The scribe written out of history
Virginia Woolf pinpointed the problem female writers faced when she famously declared: “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman”. Indeed, how many people know that the first ever author was female? Enheduanna, a Sumerian poet, lived in the 23rd century BC and was the world’s first writer to be known by name. As High Priestess of the Temple of Sumer, she worked in a key religious-political role for her father, King Sargon of Akkad, who tasked her with reconciling the Sumerian and Akkadian gods to create stability in his empire. At the same time, she scribed the first hymns, psalms, poetry and prayers – models that were later copied by the Hebrew Bible and the Homeric hymns, and even influenced early Christianity. Her powerful writings included the story of ferocious warrior goddess Inanna, who defeated a mountain even though the other gods refused to help her.