Inanna (fl. c. 3000 BCE)

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Inanna (fl. c. 3000 bce)

Sumerian composer whose role was similar to St. Cecilia, the patron saint of European music. Flourished around 3000 bce; achieved the status of a goddess.

The central role women have long played in music is demonstrated over and over again by the fact that they were made patrons of this important field of human endeavor in many cultures throughout history. Inanna might be best compared with the patron saint of European music, Saint Cecilia . Women living in Sumeria 3,000 years before Christ were able to be priestesses, businesswomen, and to own property. Their status was higher than would be true in later Mesopotamia, so Inanna's musical talents would not have been considered abnormal in the time in which she lived. She was said to have composed The Song of Life and Marriage as well as other Sumerian hymns. These were performed in choral form, probably accompanied by flutes, tambourines and cymbals at ceremonies. Inanna's stature grew with the passage of time, and she was venerated as the goddess of the date palm and eventually as the mother of all creation. She was said to ensure the fertility of the earth. Like St. Cecilia who was also credited with compositions and miracles, Inanna's powers were both creative and mystical.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia

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