is a member of the Annunaki gods
that were worshipped in Ancient Mesopotamia
Anu is the eldest son of the Elder Gods Anshar, god of sky, and Kishar, goddess of earth. Anshar and Kishar were the grand-children of the great sea-goddess Tiamat. Often taking the form of a great dragon, Tiamat was the ultimate power of the ocean who had coupled with the freshwater god Apsu and gave birth to a lethal progeny of creatures who ravaged the earth and terrified ancient mortals. (Tiamat might be an ancient name for the primeval earth-goddess, Gaea, but this is unconfirmed).
Among her children was the ancient god Alalu who Anu overthrew as ruler of Ancient Sumeria by fatally wounding him. Anu usurped his role as ruler of the gods as his brother Ea fought Apsu, Tiamat’s lover, for control of the seas of earth. Anu and Ea split portions of Earth between them with their sister Eriskegal ruling the underworld (Some references call Eriskegal a daughter of Anu rather than his sister.) Anu had numerous children who were worshipped as gods by the Sumerian people. Among them were the four storm-gods, Enlil, Hadad, Ninurta and Martu, his sons by the exiled Titaness Dione who he had accepted as his wife. He adopted her daughter, Aphrodite, as the goddess Inanna without any knowledge of her parentage, or perhaps to irk Zeus, Ruler of the Olympian gods, with whom the Gods of Mesopotamia had been warring with for years.
Sometime in the 25th Millennium BC, Anu eventually noticed that mortals were becoming lazy and corrupt and were allowing the temples of the gods to be neglected. Some of the gods tried to dissuade his decision, but he proceeded to destroy them all by a flood and sent Enlil to inflict earth with a deluge of rain to cover the world. Ea, meanwhile, had located an honorable man named Utnapistim and his wife Ziusudra and instructed them on how to survive the flood by creating an ark to ride it out. Utnapishtim loaded his family and all the clean animals into the ark to survive. After seven days of torrential rain, much of the known world of the Sumerian Empire had become flooded. Utnapishtim and his family eventually landed safely upon the top of Mount Nisir (now known as modern Ararat). As the waters receded, he made a sacrifice to the sun god Shamash. Now realizing the rashness of his decision, Anu allowed Utnapishtim to live on earth and allowed Enlil to bestow on him immortality. Utnapishtim and his family started repopulating the earth with new respect to the gods.
Inanna, meanwhile, fell in love with Dumuzi, the grain god, but Eriskegal, Queen of the underworld, for reasons of her own, kidnapped the handsome god. Inanna went down to the underworld to retrieve him, but Eriskegal disgraced her by having her leave an article of clothing at each of then ten gates of the underworld. By time Inanna entered Eriskegal’s court, she was completely naked and vulnerable to be taken prisoner. Anu sent Enlil to free her and Enlil found her by ripping the gates asunder from the underworld. Inanna was returned to earth, but Dumuzi had to stay behind. Anu, however, arbitrated that Inanna and Dumuzi could share six months out of the year on earth to be together.
At some point, Adapa, the mortal son of Ea and ruler of Eridu, was displeased by the storm-god Ninurta because he had sent the south wind to turn over his royal boat. He shot an arrow into the sky that injured Ninurta and Ninurta revealed his injury to Anu. Angered, Anu wanted to kill the disrespectful king, but Ea brought Adapa to him to him to avoid any bloody consequences. Anu meanwhile decided on other means to get justice on his injured son. As Adapa arrived, he offered him some of the food of the gods out of courtesy. Suspecting it to be the food of the dead, Adapa refused. Anu then revealed to the mortal king that he had refused the food of the gods and because of it now all mortals would have to suffer eventual old age and death.
Anu, however, was soon overthrown by his son Enlil, as king of the gods and ruler of Sumeria. Anu cursed him to have three miserable sons for his disobedience and escaped to the sky where he separated the heavens and the earth. Anu welcomed most of the gods into this new realm he called Celestial Dilmun, but Enlil, now calling himself Dagon, was soon overthrown by his brother Hadad, now called Baal. He confined both of them to Earth and after both of them were ousted as rulers, he confined both of them to separate kingdoms in the underworld. From the heavens, Anu reclaimed his role as King of the gods.
Tiamat by now was slain by the god Marduk working in tandem with his father, Ea and Anu, Ruler of the Mesopotamian Gods. He became ruler of the earth under the now ascendant Babylonian Empire by replacing Baal-Hadad. Anu and Ea together split Tiamat’s corpse in half and used it to permanently bind the separation of heaven and earth. (In later myth, they created heaven and earth from her remains)
The Babylonian Empire was soon replaced by the Assyrian Empire who revered the war-god Nergal as their patron deity in his role as Assur. They never accomplished the power of the previous Sumerian or Babylonian Empires and were constantly trying to hold their power against invading tribes and by the Phoenicians from the west who worshipped many of the same gods under different names. The conflict in interest over their worshippers divided the interest of many of the Mesopotamian gods. Anu also realized that there was unrest from the growing Judaism Religion, which erroneously accused many of the former Sumerian gods as unholy gods or demons. With this amount of concern and interior unrest amongst the gods, Anu was unprepared for the power of the Olympian gods from Greece entering Phoenicia. The god Zeus in particular fell in love with the Phoenician princess Europa and spirited her off to Crete where she gave birth to the god-king Minos who founded the Minoan Civilization. Anu was finally able to route the interest of the Mesopotamian gods in the direction of the invading Olympian Gods as they both fought to withhold their perspective worship rites and establish boundaries on earth that they could claim. Asherah drawn out of loyalty to both the perspective pantheons arbitrated the peace between Zeus and Anu and eventually came to a truce. Part of the truce was that Zeus could retrieve Inanna, formerly Aphrodite, and bestow upon his daughter her true birthright as an Olympian Goddess. The Olympians promised to stay out of lands that the Greeks invaded and the Annunaki pledged to not interfere in the affairs of the Greeks.
The worship of the Annunaki meanwhile continued to wane, however, under Judaism and the now developing Christian religion. Anu began to believe he had been cheated in the deal with Zeus and Zeus started to feel an uprising from the Annunaki. As tension became unbearable and another war between the gods came close, Zeus found a way out. The Romans started slaughtering Christians in the names of the gods of Olympus. Dissatisfied with the bloodshed, he ordered the Olympian gods to break off ties with earth completely and cease interest in worship rites. The edict came to a surprise to Anu even as Zeus in a humble position presented the dilemma to Anu and proposed the same fate to his pantheon. The pact cemented their truce even as gods like Ares, Dagon, Apollo and others refused to cooperate. In 1000 AD, the Celestials returned to Earth. Long having an interest in human beings and their development, they ordered all the gods to stop trafficking completely with mortals. Their warning cemented the non-interference rule that Zeus and Anu had began and even spread it across the other pantheons of Earth. With the heads of the other pantheons of Earth that were or had been worshipped by mortals of Earth, Anu, Zeus and the other godheads discussed the potential threat the Celestials posed to Earth.
Arbitrating on behalf of Anu, Zeus met with Odin of the Asgardian Gods and Vishnu of the Hindu Gods and they went to confront the Third Host of the Celestials on behalf of all the gods of Earth. However, Odin and Zeus were pledged not to interfere with the Celestials when the Celestials threatened to seal off the inter-dimensional portals connecting the god’s dimensions to Earth. As a result of this pledge, the Annunaki had to lessen their contact with Earth although a few of them such as Ninurta and Shamash have masqueraded as mortals and spent time living with the human beings on Earth.
Odin, meanwhile, had withdrawn all the life forces of the Asgardians except that of his son Thor into the Destroyer created to oppose the Celestials. Odin’s spirit then entered the Destroyer and animated it into doing battle with the Fourth Host. They annihilated the Destroyer, but judged in favor of humanity’s favor when Gaea presented them with twelve genetically advanced human beings, the “Young Gods.” Thor meanwhile contracted Anu as per his pact with Odin and Anu bestowed upon him a fragment of the life forces required to restore the Asgardians to life after the destruction of the Destroyer.
In recent years, both Ninurta and Shamash have become renowned to the modern citizens of Iraq as superheroes. The modern-day descendants of their former worshippers do not actually believe them to be the actual gods of myth, but merely super-powered individuals paying homage to ancient myths. Considering the political turmoil in the area today, Ninurta has attempted to obtain from his father help in trying to bestow peace to the region and restore it to the glory seen in the past. Anu has had no part in these requests because in his mind it is the responsibility of mortal man to solve their own problems and find answers for the destruction that mankind has created.