“Apkallu” (also spelled “apkallū”) and “Abgal” are terms from ancient Mesopotamian mythology, particularly within the context of Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian cultures.


These were mythological beings depicted as sages or demigods, often associated with the god Ea (Enki in Sumerian mythology), the god of wisdom and waters. The Apkallu were said to possess profound wisdom and were credited with teaching mankind various aspects of civilization, such as rituals, medicine, and crafts. They are often depicted in art as figures with the body of a fish and the head and limbs of a human, or wearing fish cloaks that signify their association with Ea.


This is a related term used primarily in Sumerian mythology to describe similar beings—wise demigods or advisors. In Sumerian texts, the Abgal are seven sages created by the god Enki to establish culture and give civilization to mankind.

Both terms reflect the mythological theme of divine beings imparting essential knowledge and skills to humanity, which is a common motif in several ancient cultures. These beings are frequently depicted in reliefs and artifacts from the region, signifying their importance in Mesopotamian religion and culture.

Yes, the concept of the Seven Sages is a recurring theme in various ancient cultures, including Mesopotamian mythology. In Mesopotamia, these sages are often referred to as the “Apkallu” (Akkadian) or “Abgal” (Sumerian), and they are described as wise demigods or advisors sent by the god Enki (Ea in Akkadian) to teach humanity the arts of civilization, such as writing, law, temple building, and kingship.

These sages are depicted in myths and art as having both human and non-human features. Some of them are shown as part-human and part-fish, symbolizing their origin from the watery domain of Enki, the god of wisdom and water. These figures are often shown in reliefs and sculptures holding what are thought to be symbols of their office, such as buckets and pinecones, which are thought to represent fertility and purification.

The tradition of the Seven Sages was so influential that it permeated various aspects of Mesopotamian culture, from royal counsel to astronomical texts, where these figures were sometimes associated with the seven major bodies of the solar system visible to the naked eye. Their legacy also appears in other cultures, like the seven wise men of ancient Greece, indicating a possibly shared cultural motif across ancient civilizations regarding the foundation and propagation of knowledge.

  1. Uanna, “who finished the plans for heaven and earth”,
  2. Uannedugga, “who was endowed with comprehensive intelligence”,
  3. Enmedugga, “who was allotted a good fate”,
  4. Enmegalamma, “who was born in a house”,
  5. Enmebulugga, “who grew up on pasture land”,
  6. An-Enlilda, “the conjurer of the city of Eridu”,
  7. Utuabzu, “who ascended to heaven”.
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