The Bad Bathroom Guardian: The Imdugud

Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (

Ah, the confusion. For some reason there are always creatures of myth that appear to be impossible to pin down. Just when I think I know what it’s all about, I turn the page and realize that no one knows. Case in point, this month’s creature imdugud.

The first difficulty I encountered was is imdugud actually called imdugud? Sometimes it’s referred to as Imdugud, like it’s an individual’s name. Other times it’s imdugud, like it’s just a species name, like how you would call a dog a dog. But wait! Occasionally it is referred to by the name Anzu, but other times it’s anzu, like that’s its race. After all I’ve read, I’m taking this stance. There are anzu. Then there is Imdugud, who is an anzu. It’s like how Lassie is called Lassie, but Lassie is a dog. Got it? Good.

Next issue is its appearance. At first I was certain that Imdugud is a winged lion with the head of an eagle. Then I started finding sources describing Imdugud as an eagle with a lion’s head. When Imdugud has an eagle’s head, the beak is said to able to cut through anything. Its feathers form an impenetrable armor.

Everyone seems to agree that Imdugud brought rain and storms. When it would flap its wings, violent windstorms would occur. Thunder was its roar.

One of the most common tales of Imdugud involve it being tasked with guarding the bathroom of a god. Sometimes Imdugud was tasked to be the door keeper to Enki’s (a Sumerian deity) bath. Of course, you guessed it, other times Imdugud guarded Ellil’s (a different Sumerian deity) bath chamber. No matter who was in the tub, that deity was the possessor of the Tablets of Destiny. A powerful artifact that allows anything spoken to become manifest in reality. Well, while the deity in question was soaking, Imdugud stole the Tablets. Don’t worry kids, our world isn’t designed by Imdugud talking. Imdugud got his feathered (or furred) butt kicked and the Tablets were restored.