In Mesopotamian mythology, Lamashtu
Dimme dDim3-me) was a female demon, monster, malevolent goddess or
demigoddess who menaced women during childbirth and, if possible, kidnapped children
while they were breastfeeding. She would gnaw on their bones and
suck their blood, as well as being charged with a number of other evil deeds.
She was a daughter of the Sky God Anu.
Lamashtu is depicted as a mythological hybrid, with a hairy body, a
lioness' head with donkey's teeth and ears, long fingers and fingernails,
and the feet of a bird with sharp talons. She is often shown standing or
kneeling on a donkey, nursing a pig and a dog, and holding snakes. She thus bears some functions and resemblance to
the Mesopotamian demon Lilith.
Lamashtu's father was the Sky God Anu
(Sumer An). Unlike many other
usual demonic figures and depictions in Mesopotamian lore, Lamashtu, was said to act in
malevolence of her own accord, rather than at the gods' instructions. Along with
this her name was written together with the cuneiform determinative indicating deity.
This means she was a goddess or a demigoddess in her own right.
She bore seven names and was described as seven witches in incantations. Her
evil deeds included (but were not limited to), slaying children, unborns, and neonates, causing harm
to mothers and expectant mothers, eating men and drinking their blood,
disturbing sleep, bringing nightmares, killing foliage, infesting rivers and
lakes, and being a bringer of disease, sickness, and death.
Pazuzu, a god or demon, was invoked
to protect birthing mothers and infants against Lamashtu's malevolence, usually
on amulets and statues. Although Pazuzu was said to be bringer of famine and
drought, he was also invoked against evil for protection, and against plague,
but he was primarily and popularly invoked against his fierce, malicious, rival
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