Ghosts in Mesopotamian religions
There are many references to Ghosts in Mesopotamian religions – the religions of Sumer, Babylon, Assyria and other early states in Mesopotamia. The spirits of the deceased were known as gidim (gidim 𒄇) in Sumerian, which was borrowed as eṭemmu in Akkadian. The Sumerian word is analyzed as a compound of either gig "to be sick" and dim3 "a demon", or gi6 "black" + dim4 "to approach". Gidim were thought to be created at time of death, taking on the memory and personality of the dead person. They traveled to the netherworld, Irkalla, where they were assigned a position, and led an existence similar in some ways to that of the living. Relatives of the dead were expected to make offerings of food and drink to the dead to ease their conditions. If they did not, the ghosts could inflict misfortune and illness on the living.
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- Unable to stand up, unable to sit down, he laments.
Unable to eat, unable to drink, he laments.
Held fast by the door-bolt of Namtar, he is unable to rise.
- Father, let me have the Bull of Heaven
To kill Gilgamesh and his city.
For if you do not grant me the Bull of Heaven,
I will pull down the Gates of Hell itself,
Crush the doorposts and flatten the door,
And I will let the dead leave
And let the dead roam the earth
And they shall eat the living.
The dead will overwhelm all the living!