In Mesopotamian mythology, Lamashtu (AkkadiandLa-maš-tu; SumerianDimme dDim3-me) was a female demon, monster, malevolent goddess or demigoddess who menaced women during childbirthand, 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 birdwith sharp talons. She is often shown standing or kneeling on a donkey, nursing a pigand a dog, and holding snakes. She thus bears some functions and resemblance to the Mesopotamiandemon Lilith.
Lamashtu's father was the Sky God Anu(Sumer An). Unlike many other usual demonic figures and depictions in Mesopotamianlore, 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 cuneiformdeterminativeindicating 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 Lamashtu.
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