|Parents||Abzu and Tiamat (Enuma Elish) or Anu's ancestors such as Dari and Duri (Anu theogony)|
|Consort||his sister Lahamu (Enuma Elish)|
|Children||Anshar and Kishar (Enuma Elish) or Alala and Belili (Anu theogony)|
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La?mu ("hairy one") is a class of apotropaic creatures from Mesopotamian mythology. While the name has its origin in a Semitic language, Lahmu was present in Sumerian sources in pre-Sargonic times already.
La?mu is depicted as a bearded man wearing a red garment (tillû) and usually with six curls on his head. Some texts mention a spade as the attribute of Lahmu. The artistic representations are sometimes called "naked hero" in literature.
Lahmu were associated with water. They were generally believed to be servants of Enki/Ea (and later on of his son Marduk as well), and were described as the doorkeepers of his temple in Eridu and possibly as the "guardians of the sea" known from some versions of Atra-hasis. Some texts list as many as 50 Lahmu in such roles. It's possible they were originally river spirits believed to take care of animals, both domestic and wild.
Apotropaic creatures such as Lahmu weren't regarded as demonic, and in fact protected the household from demons, though myths may depict them as defeated and subsequently reformed enemies of the gods. At the same time, they weren't viewed as fully divine, as their names were rarely, if ever, preceded by the dingir sign ("divine determinative") and they do not wear horned tiaras (a symbol of divinity) in art.
In god lists a singular Lahmu sometimes appears among the ancestors of Anu, alongside a feminine counterpart (Lahamu), following the primordial pair Duri and Dari (eternity) and other such figures and preceding Alala and Belili. Assyriolgist Frans Wiggermann, who specializes in the study of origins and development of Mesopotamian apotropaic creatures and demons, assumes that this tradition had its origin in northern Mesopotamia. Lahmu and Lahamu aren't necessarily siblings in this context. Long lists of divine ancestors of Enlil or Anu from some god lists were at least sometimes meant to indicate that the gods worshiped by the Mesopotamians weren't the product of incestous relationships.
In Enuma Elish, compiled at a later date and relying on the aforementioned tradition, Lahmu is the first-born son of Abzu and Tiamat. He and his sister La?amu are the parents of Anshar and Kishar, parents of Anu and thus ancestors of Ea and Marduk according to this specific theogony. Both of them bestow 3 names upon Marduk after his victory. However, Lahmu - presumably of the same variety as the apotropaic rather than cosmological one - also appears among Tiamat's monsters.
A fragmentary Assyrian rewrite of Enuma Elish replaced Marduk with Ashur, equated with Anshar, with Lahmu and Lahamu replacing Ea/Enki and Damkina. Wilfred G. Lambert described the result as "completely superficial in that it leaves the plot in chaos by attributing Marduk's part to his great-grandfather, without making any attempt to iron out the resulting confusion."
Some biblical scholars, such as William F. Albright, have speculated that the name of Bethlehem ("house of lehem") originally referred to a Canaanite fertility deity cognate with La?mu and La?amu, rather than to the Canaanite word lehem, "bread". As described above, Lahmu was neither fully a deity nor connected to fertility.