The Anunnaki (also transcribed as Anunaki, Anunna, Ananaki, and other variations) are a group of deities that appear in the mythological traditions of the ancient Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. Descriptions of how many Anunnaki there were and what role they fulfilled are inconsistent and often contradictory. In the earliest Sumerian writings about them, which come from the Post-Akkadian period, the Anunnaki are the most powerful deities in the pantheon, descendants of An, the god of the heavens, and their primary function is to decree the fates of humanity. In Inanna’s Descent into the Netherworld, the Anunnaki are portrayed as seven judges who sit before the throne of Ereshkigal in the Underworld. Later Akkadian texts, such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, follow this portrayal. During the Old Babylonian period, the Anunnaki were believed to be the chthonic deities of the Underworld, while the gods of the heavens were known as the Igigi. The ancient Hittites identified the Anunnaki as the oldest generation of gods, who had been overthrown and banished to the Underworld by the younger gods.
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