People have been predicting the end of the world almost as long as it existed. Whether they thought the world would end far in the future or the very next day, there are a plethora of doomsday predictions to be found when studying ancient civilizations.
Many of those old prophecies have sparked modern intrigue, people connecting the old signs and interpreting possible dates to lead to the present or near future. In today’s day and age, we’ve all lived through the “end of the world” several times.
Some of these world-ending predictions are biblical, foretelling the rapture. Then there are other theories, like the widespread worry that the world would end in 2012 when the Mayan calendar ran out. The turn of the millennium, too, seems to spark some anxiety.
One premise that’s been hanging around for a while but recently gained some traction back in 2017 is that the world will end due to a collision from the planet Nibiru, otherwise known as Planet X. The origins of the lore surrounding Nibiru can be traced back to the ancient Sumerians, one of the first civilizations in the world.
But did the Sumerians predict the end of the world, or is the Nibiru prediction just another far-fetched theory?
The Word of Sitchin and Ancient Astronauts
Much of the interest and speculation surrounding Nibiru can be traced back to Zecharia Sitchin.
Sitchin (1920-2010) was a scholar who worked on translating ancient Sumerian and Akkadian texts and tablets. Linking his translations to interpretations of the iconography, Sitchin developed a theory concerning how Sumerians thought of the supposed planet Nibiru, the end of the world, and how their gods intertwined with it all.
His theories can be found in his bestselling book, The Twelfth Planet. Since then, people all over the world have picked up his theories and ran with them, expanding and twisting their possible meanings and consequences.
Below, we’ll get into the key aspects of Sitchin’s work and modern thoughts surrounding Nibiru and the end of the world.
Who Were the Sumerians?
Sumer was one of the first civilizations that we have any knowledge of having existed—dating back to at least 4,500 BCE. The Sumerians settled in the northern part of Mesopotamia, and Sumer consisted of several large cities.
Though not much archeological evidence is left, some tablets and inscriptions have lent insight into their language, culture, and way of life. Scholars have been able to uncover a rich tapestry of their mythology and stories through translation and interpretation.
So far we’ve mentioned Nibiru a whole lot, but what is its actual significance?
Supposedly, Nibiru is an additional planet in our solar system that the Sumerians documented and named. Though Sitchin’s research of Nibiru culminates in The Twelfth Planet, we should more so tend to think about Nibiru as a potential ninth (or tenth, if you still count Pluto) planet to our solar system.
Sitchin uses the iconography of a sun surrounded by numerous planets to support his theory that the Sumerians were not only aware of Nibiru, but placed special significance upon it.
But with science as advanced as it is, how can there be an extra planet in our solar system that we don’t know about? Especially when the ancient Sumerians did?
This can be explained by the proposed orbit of the planet Nibiru, also referred to interchangeably as Planet X. Nibiru’s supposed orbit around the sun is much larger and much more elongated than the other planets in our system. Sitchin states that one full rotation around the sun takes approximately 3,600 Earth years.
And so we only come in contact with the planet every several millennia. Sitchin ties several biblical and historic events to the presence of Nibiru, even claiming that the great flood of the Bible occurred because of the gravitational pull that Nibiru caused.
Though the crossing of Nibiru and Earth should be a good deal off based on the Sitchin’s proposed timelines, followers of the idea claim that the length of the orbit can of course change due to shifting gravitational pulls over the centuries—meaning that a potential crossing could happen much sooner than we’d otherwise think.
More fascinating than the planet itself, however, are its supposed inhabitants.
The Anunnaki and the Evolution of the Human Race
Simply speaking, the term “Anunnaki” refers to the pantheon of gods worshipped by the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. These gods were descended from An, the god of the sky. More prevalent gods and goddesses that have found their way into other cultures include Marduk and Inanna, who has been frequently conflated with the later Ishtar.
Alright, so the ancient Sumerians worshipped a bunch of gods like most other societies, so what? How does this ancient Sumerian mythology and religion have anything to do with the planet Nibiru?
Well, what if you heard that the Anunnaki weren’t gods at all…but rather aliens?
Sitchin’s theory of the Anunnaki falls right in line with what you’d expect to see on an episode of Ancient Aliens.
If we’re to go by Sitchin’s theory, the Anunnaki were (or potentially still are?) an advanced race native to the planet Nibiru. They came to Earth most likely to mine minerals, particularly gold, that their planet and atmosphere was lacking.
Upon coming to Earth, they created and bred humans to serve as their slaves and complete this labor. Sitchin uses this forced hand in evolution to explain away evolutionary gaps and missing links.
And so, being more powerful and advanced, the Anunnaki instituted themselves as gods among their human slaves, when in reality they were just strange and advanced aliens.
This idea falls in line with the now-popular premise of “ancient astronauts”—the theory that in the distant past advanced civilizations came to Earth from foreign planets and posed as gods. This set of theories is often used to explain away surprising advanced ancient technology and constructions.
Sitchin conflates his theory of the Anunnaki with the biblical Nephilim, or “sons of God,” who were said to have interbred with humankind. Good old Sitchin certainly did like to tie in his theology.
It’s also proposed that members of the Anunnaki disapproved of this inter-breeding, and so did not warn the humans of the negative effects the Earth would face when Nibiru came too close—it’s gravitational pull thus causing the great flood.
The End of the World?
So how does all this tie into the end of the world? Well, it all depends on Nibiru’s rotation and path around the sun.
Though the timeline proposed by Sitchin would be off, many have proclaimed in recent years that the coming of Nibiru was imminent. Most recently, there was a decent following who stated that Nibiru would arrive on September 23, 2017. Still, others say that its orbit has been closed for years, but that NASA has covered it up to maintain the calm.
Most claim that it is the gravitational pull of Nibiru that will put the Earth in trouble, perhaps causing another massive flood. Others seem to imagine a doom more akin to a dinosaur-killing asteroid impact.
Whatever the exact effect, there is one consensus: the arrival of Nibiru means the end of the world as we know it.
What Does Sumerian Source Material Have to Say?
It’s incredibly easy to fall down the rabbit hole of doomsday theories, but how much of Sitchin’s and his supporters’ claims are based on the original Sumerian texts?
The answer is, not a lot.
Sitchin’s translations of the Sumerian texts are largely criticized and his interpretations even more so. For starters, Nibiru is more so-referred to as a star than as an actual planet in Sumerian texts. Furthermore, there are no actual texts or pieces of evidence that support any such ties of the Anunnaki to Nibiru.
There isn’t any evidence at all. Just one man’s claims and twisting of texts to fit a theory—albeit a very entertaining and intriguing one.
So, should you start prepping for the end of days? Maybe, but the end of the world most likely will not happen because of the arrival of a mysterious additional planet somewhere in our solar system.
Don’t worry about Nibiru triggering the apocalypse—the Sumerians didn’t!
When she's not at her desk absorbing all the latest news and producing fresh content for her audience Carmina loves to spend time at coffe shops and dancing at local music festivals.