Gula - Encyclopedia

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GULA, a Babylonian goddess, the consort of Ninib. She is identical with another goddess, known as Bau, though it would seem that the two were originally independent. The name Bau is more common in the oldest period and gives way in the postKhammurabic age to Gula. Since it is probable that Ninib (q.v.) has absorbed the cults of minor sun-deities, the two names may represent consorts of different gods. However this may be, the qualities of both are alike, and the two occur as synonymous designations of Ninib's female consort. Other names borne by this goddess are Nin-Karrak, Ga-turn-dug and Nin-din-dug, the latter signifying "the lady who restores to life." The designation well emphasizes the chief trait of Bau-Gula which is that of healer. She is often spoken of as "the great physician," and accordingly plays a specially prominent role in incantations and incantation rituals intended to relieve those suffering from disease. She is, however, also invoked to curse those who trample upon the rights of rulers or those who do wrong with poisonous potions. As in the case of Ninib, the cult of Bau-Gula is prominent in Shirgulla and in Nippur. While generally in close association with her consort, she is also invoked by herself, and thus retains a larger measure of independence than most of the goddesses of Babylonia and Assyria. She appears in a prominent position on the designs accompanying the Kudurrus boundary-stone monuments of Babylonia, being represented by a statue, when other gods and goddesses are merely pictured by their shrines, by sacred animals or by weapons. In neoBabylonian days her cult continues to occupy a prominent position, and Nebuchadrezzar II. speaks of no less than three chapels or shrines within the sacred precincts of E-Zida in the city of Borsippa, besides a temple in her honour at Babylon. (M. J A.)

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