What do the Mesopotamian deities require of humanity?

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Payal Khullar | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Mesopotamian deities (Gods and Goddesses) in The Epic of Gilgamesh require humans to act as their “servants”. They want humans to make sacrifices to them, to glorify and respect them, and to live a righteous life free of sins. In the story, the fertility Goddess named Ishtar even demands physical love from Gilgamesh. In this way, the Gods appear pretty unjust and unkind at times. The Gods also bear humanlike qualities like jealousy and intolerance. They seem to have a peripheral role of intervening in human life and activity. If the people disobeyed or annoyed the deities in any way, the perturbed deities would punish the entire humanity with natural disasters and fatal diseases. As we see, Engidu dies after insulting a deity. Humans, in return of their prayers and offerings, are supposed to get good fortune, favourable climate for agriculture, safety, etc.