The Akkadian "nabû" means "to announce, prophesize", derived from the Semitic rootN-B. It is cognate with the Syriac?(nv?y?), Arabic (nabiyy), and the Hebrew? (naví), all meaning "prophet".
Nabu was worshiped by the Babylonians and the Assyrians. Nabu gained prominence among the Babylonians in the 1st millennium BC when he was identified as the son of the god Marduk.
Nabu was worshipped in Babylon's sister city Borsippa, from where his statue was taken to Babylon each New Year so that he could pay his respects to his father. Nabu's symbols included a stylus resting on a tablet as well as a simple wedge shape; King Nabonidus, whose name references Nabu, had a royal sceptre topped with Nabu's wedge.:33–34 Clay tablets with especial calligraphic skill were used as offerings at Nabu's temple. His wife was the Akkadian goddess Tashmet.
Nabu was the patron god of scribes, literacy, and wisdom. He was also the inventor of writing, a divine scribe, the patron god of the rational arts, and a god of vegetation.:33–34 As the god of writing, Nabu inscribed the fates assigned to men and he was associated with the scribe god Ninurta. As an oracle he was associated with the Mesopotamian moon god Sin.:33–34
Nabu wore a horned cap, and stood with his hands clasped in the ancient gesture of priesthood. He rode on a winged dragon known as Sirrush that originally belonged to his father Marduk. In Babylonian astrology, Nabu was identified with the planet Mercury.
Nabu was continuously worshipped until the 2nd century, when cuneiform became a lost art.
In Hellenistic times, Nabu was sometimes identified with the Greek Apollo as a giver of prophesies.:71 As the god of wisdom and a divine messenger associated with the planet Mercury, Nabu was linked with the Greek Hermes, the Roman Mercury, and the Egyptian Thoth.:71
^Lanfranchi, Giovanni B. (1987). The Correspondence of Sargon II. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. p. 92. ISBN9515700043.