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Lee Lawrie, Nabu (1939). Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, D.C.
God of wisdom and writing
Attendant God from the Temple of Nabu at Nimrud, Mesopotamia..JPG
Statue of the Attendant God from the Temple of Nabu at Nimrud, Mesopotamia on display at the British Museum.
Abode Borsippa
Symbol Clay tablet and stylus
Consort Tashmetum and Nissaba
Parents Marduk and Sarpanitum

Nabu (in Biblical Hebrew Nebo נבו[1]) is the Babylonian god of wisdom and writing,[1] worshipped by Babylonians as Marduk and Sarpanitum's son and as Ea's grandson. Nabu's consorts were Tashmetum and Nissaba.


Nabu's name is derived from the Semitic root nb´, meaning "to prophesy".[1]


Nabu was originally a West Semitic deity from Ebla whose cult was introduced to Mesopotamia by the Amorites after 2000 BCE. Nabu was assimilated into Marduk's cult, where he became Marduk's son with Sarpanitum, Marduk's minister, and co-regent of the Mesopotamian pantheon.

Nabu resided in his temple of Ezida in Borsippa and was a prominent deity in Assyria, where several temples were devoted to him. His cult later spread to Egypt and Anatolia due to Aramaic settlers. Nabu became the god of wisdom and writing, taking over the role from the Sumerian goddess Nisaba. Nabu was also the keeper of the Tablets of Destiny, which recorded the fate of mankind. His symbols are the clay tablet and stylus.

Nabu's consorts were the Akkadian goddess Tashmetum and the Assyrian Nissaba.[citation needed] He wears a horned cap, and stands with his hands clasped, in the ancient gesture of priesthood.[citation needed] He rides on a winged dragon known as Sirrush that originally belonged to his father Marduk.[citation needed] During the Babylonian New Year Festival, the cult statue of Nabu was transported from Borsippa to Babylon in order to commune with his father Marduk.[citation needed]

In Babylonian astrology, Nabu was identified with the planet Mercury.

Outside Mesopotamia

In the Bible, Nabu is mentioned as Nebo in Isaiah 46:1 and Jeremiah 48:1.[2][3]

As the god of wisdom and writing, Nabu was linked by the Greeks with Hermes, by the Romans with Mercury, and by the Egyptians with Thoth.[citation needed]


A statue of Nabu from Calah, erected during the reign of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III, is on display in the British Museum.[citation needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Arie Uittenbogaard for Abarim Publications. "Nebo | The amazing name Nebo: meaning and etymology". Retrieved 2015-07-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Isaiah 46:1 NIV – Gods of Babylon – Bel bows down, Nebo". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2015-06-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Jeremiah 48:1 NIV - A Message About Moab - Concerning Moab". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2015-07-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>