The god Ninurta defeats the Asag and makes the mountains


In the time before time, the mountains were bare and fruitless with no running waters, no channels to irrigate the lands, no fresh vibrant springs to feed the Earth. One day, while the god of thunder and the deluge, Ninurta, sat by his father Enlil in his great court, a great cry went up, as something went hurtling across the horizons, as fast as lightning. It was the Sharuh: the almighty mace of Ninurta, with wings and the head of a lion. The Sharuh had come to tell him of terrible news; that the sky and the Earth had borne a child, a monster—the Asag, whose name meant ‘demon that causes sickness’. The Asag had enthroned himself as King, made the flowers his worshippers, the stones his army, and had captured neighbouring cities. The Sharuh told Ninurta that the Asag was planning to overthrow and destroy Ninurta, in his quest for power.

When Ninurta heard this, he roared a roar that was like the sound of thunder. He took his mace in one hand, and mounted his chariot that took off through the sky like a thunderbolt. Despite the Sharuh’s fearful warnings about the Asag’s power and force, Ninurta challenged the Asag, setting his mace, the wind, the thunder and the lightning against the Asag’s terrible army of stones and mighty strength. The battle raged on for days, splitting the sky, and covering the land in fire. Ninurta followed Enlil’s advice, to strike the Asag’s liver with his mace. The Asag was defeated, and with his body, Ninurta created the mountains, moulded and shaped the rock to create channels, to irrigate the land. To this day, the mountain water flows and mingles with the strong currents of the Tigris and Euphrates.

Roskar Nasan performed his oud composition entitled The Mountain Breeze.

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Finding a story clue

Fork lightning and mace

Building story world

Group discusses story

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Story listeners

The Asag and Ninurta

Ninurta and the ‘Shurah’

The ‘Shurah’


Video by Ayad Numa of the day's events