Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

  • Fredsvenn:


    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent
    http://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent

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    Sjur C. Papazian

    Sjur C. Papazian

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  • Transformasjon

  • Sumerian statues

  • Pendant from Mari (modern Tell Hariri, Syria)

  • Sørvest Asia – før og nå

    Den fruktbare halvmåne er en betegnelse på et gammelt fruktbart område nord, øst og vest for den arabiske ørken i Sørvest-Asia. Mesopotamia-dalen og Nil-dalen kommer inn under dette begrepet selv om det i fjellsonen rundt Mesopotamia en naturlig avgrensning i jordbrukshistorisk forstand.

    Som resultat av en rekke unike geografiske faktorer har Den fruktbare halvmåne en imponerende historie av tidlig menneskelig jordbruksaktivitet og kulturdanning. Foruten mange arkeologiske funnsteder med rester av skjeletter og kulturelle levninger så er området først og fremst kjent for dets funnsteder knyttet til jordbrukets opprinnelse og utvikling i den neolittiske tidsalder.

    Det var her, i de skogkledde fjellskråningene i randsonen av dette området, at jordbruket oppsto i et økologisk avgrenset miljø. Den vestlige sonen og områdene rundt øvre Eufrat ga vekst til de første kjente neolittiske jordbruks-samfunnene med små, runde hus, også referert til som førkeramisk neolittisk A, som dateres til like etter 10.000 f.vt. og omfatter steder som Jeriko, som er verdens eldste by.

    Under den påfølgende PPNB fra 9 000 f.vt. utviklet disse samfunnene seg til større landsbyer med dyrking og husdyrhold som viktigste levevei, med tett bebyggelse i to-etasjers, rektangulære hus. Mennesket inngikk nå i symbiose med korn- og husdyrartene, uten mulighet til å vende tilbake til jeger- og sankersamfunnet.

    Området vest og nord for slettelandet ved Eufrat og Tigris så også framveksten av tidlige komplekse samfunn i den langt senere bronsealderen (fra ca 4 000 f.vt.). Det er også tidlige bevis for skriftkultur og tidlige statsdannelser fra samme tid i dette nordlige steppeområdet, selv om de skriftlige statsdannelsene relativt raskt flyttet sitt tyngdepunkt ned i Mesopotamia-dalen og utviklet seg der. Området har derfor hos svært mange forfattere fått betegnelsen «sivilisasjonens vugge».

    Området har opplevd en rekke omveltninger, og nye stasdannelser. Nå sist da staten Tyrkia ble dannet i etterkant av ungtyrkernes folkemord på blant annet de pontiske grekere, armenere og assyrere under den første verdenskrig. Det antas at to tredeler til tre firedeler av alle armenere i regionen døde.

    Det er nå på tide at folkemordet mot de pontiske grekere, assyrere og armenere anerkjennes, at Israels okkupasjon, bosetting og vold palestinerne opphører, samt at de ulike minoritetene i området får leve sine livi fred - uten vold og trusler fra majoritetsbefolkninger eller fra Vesten, og da spesifikt USA.

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The Good Country Index

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 23, 2014

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It’s an unexpected side effect of globalization: problems that once would have stayed local—say, a bank lending out too much money—now have consequences worldwide. But still, countries operate independently, as if alone on the planet.

Policy advisor Simon Anholt has dreamed up an unusual scale to get governments thinking outwardly: The Good Country Index, which ranks 125 nations based on how much they do for others globally in seven areas: science and technology, culture, international peace and security, world order, planet and climate, prosperity and equality, and health and well being.

The ranking was created by merging of 35 data sets produced by organizations like the UN, WHO, and UNESCO over a period of nearly 3-years, according to The Economist.

“What I mean by a ‘good country’ is a country that contributes to the greater good,” Simon Anholt, an independent policy advisor who made the index, told Business Insider. “We’ve given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between.”

I am skeptical when it comes to the results, but the idea is good!

Good Country Index

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Human Civilization – from the Indus Valley to Buddha and Plato

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 22, 2014

http://ashokmalhotra.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/buddha-and-plato.jpg

Available evidence as of now in the year 2013 appears to suggest that ancient Indus Valley was the crucible in which people from far away places such as the Armenian Highlands, Catalhouyk, Jericho and other places came together with the local Australoid population as far back as 7500 BC – 3500BC to pool together their knowledge and develop the earliest innovations of human civilization such as metallurgy, textile clothing, agriculture, animal rearing, trading, irrigation, grain storage, writing, bricked buildings, planned urban areas and a structure for governance of large areas that included urban centers that were the hubs of trading, religion and governance along along with rural areas as hubs of agriculture; on the peaceful ( no evidence of armies, wars and weapons has been discovered in archeological findings) climatically moderate and fertile plains of Indus valley.

Human Civilization – from the Indus Valley to Buddha and Plato

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The divine couple

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 22, 2014

Teshub (also written Teshup or Tešup) was the Hurrian god of sky and storm. He was equated from the Hattian Taru. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun (with variant stem forms Tarhunt, Tarhuwant, Tarhunta), although this name is from the Hittite root *tarh- “to defeat, conquer”.

Teshub is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt and a weapon, usually an axe (often double-headed) or mace. The sacred bull common throughout Anatolia was his signature animal, represented by his horned crown or by his steeds Seri and Hurri, who drew his chariot or carried him on their backs.

In the Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin he was conceived when the god Kumarbi bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genitals, as such it most likely shares a Proto-Indo-European cognate with the Greek story of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus, which is recounted in Hesiod’s Theogony.

Teshub’s brothers are Aranzah (personification of the river Tigris), Ullikummi (stone giant) and Tashmishu. His son was called Sarruma, the mountain god, an originally Hurrian god who was adopted into the Hittite pantheon.

Sarruma is a son of the weather-god Teshub and the goddess Hebat and brother of the goddess Inara. He is often depicted riding a tiger or panther and carrying an axe (cf. labrys). He is depicted behind his father on the Illuyanka’s relief found in Malatya (dating 1050-850 BC). His wife is the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka, a serpentine dragon slain by Tarhunt, the Hittite incarnation of the Hurrian god of sky and storm.

Illuyanka is probably a compound, consisting of two words for “snake”, Proto-Indo-European *h₁illu- and *h₂eng(w)eh₂-. The same compound members, inverted, appear in Latin anguilla “eel”. The *h₁illu- word is cognate to English eel, the anka- word to Sanskrit ahi. Also this dragon is known as Illujanka and Illuyankas.

Hebat

In the Hurrian schema, Teshub was paired with Hebat, also transcribed Kheba or Khepat, the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living” and the Queen of the gods. Hebat is the wife of Teshub and the mother of Sarruma and Alanzu, as well mother-in-law of the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka.

The name can be transliterated in different versions – Khebat with the feminine ending -t is primarily the Syrian and Ugaritic version. In the Hurrian language Hepa is the most likely pronunciation of the name of the goddess. The sound /h/ in cuneiform is in the modern literature sometimes transliterated as kh.

Arinniti

Hebat was later assimilated the Hittite sun goddess Arinniti of Arinna, the major cult center of the Hittite sun goddess, (thought to be Arinniti) known as UTU Arinna “sun goddess of Arinna”—a cultus of great antiquity which has similarities with the venerated bulls and mothers at Çatal höyük in the Neolithic era.

A prayer of Queen Puduhepa makes this explicit: “To the Sun-goddess of Arinna, my lady, the mistress of the Hatti lands, the queen of Heaven and Earth. Sun-goddess of Arinna, thou art Queen of all countries! In the Hatti country thou bearest the name of the Sun-goddess of Arinna; but in the land which thou madest the cedar land thou bearest the name Hebat.”

The sun goddess of Arinna is the most important one of three important solar deities of the Hittite pantheon, besides UTU nepisas – “the sun of the sky” and UTU taknas – “the sun of the earth”. She was considered to be the chief deity in some source, in place of her husband. Her consort was the weather god, Teshub. She was perceived to be a paramount chthonic or earth goddess. She becomes largely syncretised with the Hurrian goddess Hebat.

Hawwah

Hebat was venerated all over the ancient Near East. Her name appears in many theophoric personal names. A king of Jerusalem mentioned in the Amarna letters was named Abdi-Heba, possibly meaning “Servant of Hebat”.

In Aramaean times she appears to have become identified with the Goddess Hawwah, according to the creation myth of Abrahamic religions the first woman created by God (Yahweh, the god of Israel). Her husband was Adam, from whose rib God created her to be his companion.

Eve in the Hebrew language is Ḥawwāh, meaning: “living one” or “source of life”, and is related to ḥāyâ, “to live”. The name derives from the Semitic root ḥyw. It has been suggested that the Hebrew name Eve also bears resemblance to an Aramaic word for “snake”.

Hawwah has been compared to the Hurrian Goddess Kheba, who was shown in the Amarna Letters to be worshipped in Jerusalem during the Late Bronze Age. It has been suggested that the name Kheba may derive from Kubau, a woman who reigned as the first king of the Third Dynasty of Kish.

The Goddess Asherah, wife of El, mother of the Elohim from the first millennium BCE was given the title Chawat, from which the name Hawwah in Aramaic was derived, Eve in English.

The first woman is created to be ezer kenegdo, a term which is notably difficult to translate, to the man. Kenegdo means “alongside, opposite, a counterpart to him”, and ezer means active intervention on behalf of the other person.

God’s naming of the elements of the cosmos in Genesis 1 illustrated his authority over creation; now the man’s naming of the animals (and of Woman) illustrates his authority within creation.

The woman is called ishah, Woman, with an explanation that this is because she was taken from ish, meaning “man”; the two words are not in fact connected. Later, after the story of the Garden is complete, she will be given a name, Hawwah, Eve. This means “living” in Hebrew, from a root that can also mean “snake”.

A long-standing exegetical tradition holds that the use of a rib from man’s side emphasizes that both man and woman have equal dignity, for woman was created from the same material as man, shaped and given life by the same processes. In fact, the word traditionally translated “rib” in English can also mean side, chamber, or beam.

Ninti

Ninti, the title of Ninhursag, also means “the mother of all living”, and was a title given to the later Hurrian goddess Kheba. This is also the title given in the Bible to Eve, the Hebrew and Aramaic Ḥawwah, who was made from the rib of Adam, in a strange reflection of the Sumerian myth, in which Adam — not Enki — walks in the Garden of Paradise.

The cosmogenic myth common in Sumer was that of the hieros gamos, a sacred marriage where divine principles in the form of dualistic opposites came together as male and female to give birth to the cosmos.

In the epic Enki and Ninhursag, Enki, as lord of Ab or fresh water (also the Sumerian word for semen), is living with his wife in the paradise of Dilmun, but the place had no water and Enki heard the cries of its Goddess, Ninsikil, and orders the sun-God Utu to bring fresh water from the Earth for Dilmun. As a result it became fertile.

This mingling of waters was known in Sumerian as Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically NAMMA = ENGUR), a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat in Babylonian mythology, and was identified as the mother of Enki. Ma is a Sumerian word meaning “land” that in Sumerian mythology was also used to designate the primeval land.

Nammu was the Goddess sea (Engur) that gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) and the first gods, representing the Apsu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall. According to the Neo-Sumerian mythological text Enki and Ninmah, Enki is the son of An and Nammu.

Nammu is not well attested in Sumerian mythology. She may have been of greater importance prehistorically, before Enki took over most of her functions. Nammu is the goddess who “has given birth to the great gods”. It is she who has the idea of creating mankind, and she goes to wake up Enki, who is asleep in the Apsu, so that he may set the process going.

The Atrahasis-Epos has it that Enlil requested from Nammu the creation of humans. And Nammu told him that with the help of Enki (her son) she can create humans in the image of gods. Reay Tannahill in Sex in History (1980) singled out Nammu as the “only female prime mover” in the cosmogonic myths of antiquity.

The subsequent tale, with similarities to the Biblical story of the forbidden fruit, repeats the story of how fresh water brings life to a barren land. Enki, the Water-Lord then “caused to flow the ‘water of the heart” and having fertilised his consort Ninhursag, also known as Ki or Earth, after “Nine days being her nine months, the months of ‘womanhood’… like good butter, Nintu, the mother of the land, …like good butter, gave birth to Ninsar, (Lady Greenery)”.

When Ninhursag left him, as Water-Lord he came upon Ninsar (Lady Greenery). Not knowing her to be his daughter, and because she reminds him of his absent consort, Enki then seduces and has intercourse with her. Ninsar then gave birth to Ninkurra (Lady Fruitfulness or Lady Pasture), and leaves Enki alone again. A second time, Enki, in his loneliness finds and seduces Ninkurra, and from the union Ninkurra gave birth to Uttu (weaver or spider, the weaver of the web of life).

A third time Enki succumbs to temptation, and attempts seduction of Uttu. Upset about Enki’s reputation, Uttu consults Ninhursag, who, upset at the promiscuous wayward nature of her spouse, advises Uttu to avoid the riverbanks, the places likely to be affected by flooding, the home of Enki. In another version of this myth Ninhursag takes Enki’s semen from Uttu’s womb and plants it in the earth where eight plants rapidly germinate.

With his two-faced servant and steward Isimud, “Enki, in the swampland, in the swampland lies stretched out, ‘What is this (plant), what is this (plant). His messenger Isimud, answers him; ‘My king, this is the tree-plant’, he says to him. He cuts it off for him and he (Enki) eats it”. And so, despite warnings, Enki consumes the other seven fruit. Consuming his own semen, he falls pregnant (ill with swellings) in his jaw, his teeth, his mouth, his hip, his throat, his limbs, his side and his rib. The gods are at a loss to know what to do, chagrinned they “sit in the dust”. As Enki lacks a womb with which to give birth, he seems to be dying with swellings. The fox then asks Enlil King of the Gods, “If i bring Ninhursag before thee, what shall be my reward?” Ninhursag’s sacred fox then fetches the goddess.

Ninhursag relents and takes Enki’s Ab (water, or semen) into her body, and gives birth to gods of healing of each part of the body. Abu for the Jaw, Nintul for the Hip, Ninsutu for the tooth, Ninkasi for the mouth, Dazimua for the side, Enshagag for the Limbs. The last one, Ninti (Lady Rib), is also a pun on Lady Life, a title of Ninhursag herself.

The story thus symbolically reflects the way in which life is brought forth through the addition of water to the land, and once it grows, water is required to bring plants to fruit. It also counsels balance and responsibility, nothing to excess.

Cybele

Hebat is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubeleyan Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”), an originally Anatolian mother goddess; she has a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatal höyük (in the Konya region) where the statue of a pregnant goddess seated on a lion throne was found in a granary dated to the 6th millennium BCE.

Comana was a city of Cappadocia and later Cataonia, frequently called Comana Chryse or Aurea, i.e. “the golden”, to distinguish it from Comana in Pontus. The Hittite toponym Kummanni is considered likely to refer to Comana, but the identification is not considered proven. Its ruins are at the modern Turkish village of Şar, Tufanbeyli district, Adana Province.

According to ancient geographers, Comana was situated in Cappadocia (and later Cataonia). Another epithet for the city, found in inscriptions, is Hieropolis ‘sacred city’, owing to a famous temple of the Syrian Moon goddess Enyo or, in the local language: Ma (cf. Men, the moon goddess of Caria). Strabo and Julius Caesar visited it; the former enters into long details about its position in a deep valley on the Sarus (Seihoun) river.

The temple and its fame were in ancient times, as the place where the rites of Ma-Enyo, a variety of the great west Asian nature-goddess, celebrated with much solemnity. The service was carried on in a sumptuous temple with great magnificence by many thousands of hieroduli (temple slaves). To defray expenses, large estates had been set apart, which yielded a more than royal revenue.

The city, a mere apanage of the temple, was governed directly by the chief priest, who was always a member of the reigning Cappadocian family, and took rank next to the king. The number of persons engaged in the service of the temple, even in Strabo’s time, was upwards of 6000, and among these, to judge by the names common on local tomb-stones, were many Persians.

Kummanni was the major cult center of the Hurrian chief deity, Tešup. Its Hurrian name Kummeni simply translates as “The Shrine.” The city persisted into the Early Iron Age, and appears as Kumme in Assyrian records. It was located on the edge of Assyrian influence in the far northeastern corner of Mesopotamia, separating Assyria from Urartu and the highlands of southeastern Anatolia.

There was a tradition that Orestes, with his sister, brought from Tauric Scythia the sacred rites of this temple, which were those of Tauropolos Artemis. Here Orestes deposited the hair that he cut from his head to commemorate the end of his sufferings, and hence, according to a folk etymology of the Greeks, came the name of the place, Comana.

The corpulent, fertile Mother Goddess appears to be giving birth on her throne, which has two feline-headed hand rests. In Phrygian art of the 8th century BCE, the cult attributes of the Phrygian mother-goddess include attendant lions, a bird of prey, and a small vase for her libations or other offerings.

She was Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably its state deity. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread from there to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies from around the 6th century BCE. In Greece, Cybele is associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions.

In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. She was partially assimilated to aspects of the Earth-goddess Gaia, her Minoan equivalent Rhea, and the Harvest-Mother goddess Demeter. Some city-states, notably Athens, evoked her as a protector, but her most celebrated Greek rites and processions show her as an essentially foreign, exotic mystery-goddess who arrives in a lion-drawn chariot to the accompaniment of wild music, wine, and a disorderly, ecstatic following. Uniquely in Greek religion, she had a transgender or eunuch mendicant priesthood.

Roman mythographers reinvented her as a Trojan goddess, and thus an ancestral goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas. With Rome’s eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanised forms of Cybele’s cults spread throughout the Roman Empire. The meaning and morality of her cults and priesthoods were topics of debate and dispute in Greek and Roman literature, and remain so in modern scholarship.

Many of her Greek cults included rites to a divine Phrygian castrate shepherd-consort Attis, who is described by ancient Greek and Roman sources and cults as her youthful consort. His priests were eunuchs, the Galli, as explained by origin myths pertaining to Attis and castration. Attis was also a Phrygian god of vegetation, and in his self-mutilation, death, and resurrection he represents the fruits of the earth, which die in winter only to rise again in the spring.

In Phrygia, “Attis” was both a commonplace and priestly name, found alike in casual graffiti, the dedications of personal monuments and several of Cybele’s Phrygian shrines and monuments. His divinity may therefore have begun as a Greek invention based on what was known of Cybele’s Phrygian cult.

Hannahannah

Hannahannah (from Hittite hanna- “grandmother”), identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat, is a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna.

Puruli (EZEN Puruliyas) was a Hattian spring festival, held at Nerik, dedicated to the earth goddess Hannahanna, who is married to a new king. The central ritual of the Puruli festival is dedicated to the destruction of the dragon Illuyanka by the storm god Teshub.

The corresponding Assyrian festival is the Akitu of the Enuma Elish. Also compared are the Canaanite Poem of Baal and Psalms 93 and 29. Biblical Hannah has been suggested as a Hebrew version of Hannahanna.

Christopher Siren reports that Hannahannah is associated with the Gulses, the goddesses of fate in Hurrian mythology. They are similar to the Norns of Norse mythology or the Moirai of ancient Greece.

The Telepinu Myth is an ancient Hittite myth about Telepinu, the Hittite god of farming and a son of the weather and fertility god, whose disappearances causes all fertility to fail, both plant and animal.

After Telepinu disappears, his father, the Storm-god Tarhunt (also called Teshub), complains to Hannahannah in order to stop the havoc and devastation. She then sends him out to search for his son, and when he gives up, she dispatches a bee, charging it to find Telepinu.

The bee does that, and then purifies and strengthens him by stinging his hands and feet and wiping his eyes and feet with wax, the god grew angry and began to wreak destruction on the world.

Finally, Kamrusepa, goddess of healing, medicine and magic, and mother of Aruna, a sea god in Hittite mythology, calmed Telepinu by giving his anger to the Doorkeeper of the Underworld. In other references it is a mortal priest who prays for all of Telepinu’s anger to be sent to bronze containers in the underworld, of which nothing escapes.

According to Hittite Mythology, she enlisted the help of a human to perform a ritual to remove the anger of an angry god, Telepinu. She used the following ingredients during her ritual: ceder essence, sap, chaff, grain, sesame, figs, olives, grapes, ointment, malt, honey, cream and oil. Upon completion of the ritual she sacrificed 12 rams of the sun gods and directed Telepinu’s anger into the Underworld.

Inara

Hannahannah also recommends to the Storm-god that he should pay the Sea-god the bride-price for the Sea-god’s daughter, so she can wed Telipinu. Aruna is also the Hittite word for “sea”, and like Kamrusepa may also refer to the god of the sea. Various origins of this name are proposed. It was highy possible that it has a same origin as the name of the Vedic god Varuna.

It could also be a reconstruction of the Indo-European mori or Greek words for Black Sea. A Hattic origin through the place name Arianna has also been suggested. A connection with Indo-European er-, or- (‘stir, move’), and thus the Hittite name is believed to have a same origin as Sanskrit arṇava.

After Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt, consulted with Hannahannah, she gave her a man and land. Soon after, Inara is missing and when Hannahannah is informed thereof by the Storm-god’s bee, she apparently begins a search with the help of her female attendant.

Apparently like Demeter, Hannahanna disappears for a while in a fit of anger and while she is gone, cattle and sheep are stifled and mothers, both human and animal take no account of their children.

After her anger is banished to the Dark Earth, she returns rejoicing, and mothers care once again for their kin. Another means of banishing her anger was through burning brushwood and allowing the vapor to enter her body. Either in this or another text she appears to consult with the Sun god and the War god, but much of the text is missing.

Inara corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis. In the first version, the two gods fight and Illuyanka wins. After the dragon Illuyanka wins an encounter with the storm god, the latter asks Inara to give a feast, most probably the Purulli festival.

Inara decides to use the feast to lure and defeat Illuyanka, who was her father’s archenemy, and enlists the aid of a mortal named Hupasiyas of Zigaratta by becoming his lover. The dragon and his family gorge themselves on the fare at the feast, becoming quite drunk, which allows Hupasiyas to tie a rope around them. Inara’s father can then kill Illuyanka, thereby preserving creation.

Inara built a house on a cliff and gave it to Hupasiyas. She left one day with instructions that he was not to look out the window, as he might see his family. But he looked, and the sight of his family made him beg to be allowed to return home.

It is not known what happened next, but there is speculation that Inara killed Hupasiyas for disobeying her, or for hubris, or that he was allowed to return to his family. The mother goddess Hannahannah promises Inara land and a man during a consultation by Inara. Inara then disappears. Her father looks for her, joined by Hannahannah with a bee.

Inanna

Inanna, who resides in Aratta, probably somewhere in modern Iran or Armenia, has a central role in the myth of Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, a legendary Sumerian account, of preserved, early post-Sumerian copies describing the conflicts between Enmerkar, king of Unug-Kulaba (Uruk), and the unnamed king of Aratta, composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. 21st century BC).

A major theme in the narrative is the rivalry between the rulers of Aratta and Uruk for the heart of Inanna. Ultimately, this rivalry results in natural resources coming to Uruk and the invention of writing. Inanna (Akkadian: Ištar), considered the most prominent female deity in ancient Mesopotamia, thereby becomes the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre.

As early as the Uruk period (ca. 4000–3100 BC), Inanna was associated with the city of Uruk. The famous Uruk Vase (found in a deposit of cult objects of the Uruk III period) depicts a row of naked men carrying various objects, bowls, vessels, and baskets of farm produce, and bringing sheep and goats, to a female figure facing the ruler.

This figure was ornately dressed for a divine marriage, and attended by a servant. The female figure holds the symbol of the two twisted reeds of the doorpost, signifying Inanna behind her, while the male figure holds a box and stack of bowls, the later cuneiform sign signifying En, or high priest of the temple. Especially in the Uruk period, the symbol of a ring-headed doorpost is associated with Inanna.

Seal impressions from the Jemdet Nasr period (ca. 3100–2900 BC) show a fixed sequence of city symbols including those of Ur, Larsa, Zabalam, Urum, Arina, and probably Kesh. It is likely that this list reflects the report of contributions to Inanna at Uruk from cities supporting her cult.

A large number of similar sealings were found from the slightly later Early Dynastic I phase at Ur, in a slightly different order, combined with the rosette symbol of Inanna, that were definitely used for this purpose. They had been used to lock storerooms to preserve materials set aside for her cult. Inanna’s primary temple of worship was the Eanna, located in Uruk (c.f. Worship).

The Sumerian mythological epic lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (Akkad), and the Martu land (the Amorites). Similarly, the earliest references to the “four quarters” by the kings of Akkad name the four quarters around Akkad, as Subartu, Martu, Elam, and Sumer.

Because it gives a Sumerian account of the “confusion of tongues”, and also involves Enmerkar constructing ziggurats at Eridu and Uruk, it has, since the time of Samuel Kramer, been compared with the Tower of Babel narrative in the Book of Genesis.

Inanna’s name derives from Lady of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-an-ak). The cuneiform sign of Inanna; however, is not a ligature of the signs lady (Sumerian: nin; Cuneiform: SAL.TUG) and sky (Sumerian: an; Cuneiform: AN).

These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that originally Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess, possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, accepted only latterly into the Sumerian pantheon, an idea supported by her youthfulness, and that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, at first she had no sphere of responsibilities The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not widely accepted by modern Assyriologists.

Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna. The House of Heaven (Sumerian: e2-anna; Cuneiform: E2.AN) temple in Uruk was the greatest of these, where sacred prostitution was a common practice.

In addition, according to Leick (1994) persons of asexual or hermaphroditic bodies and feminine men were particularly involved in the worship and ritual practices of Inanna’s temples. The Gala (Akkadian: kalû) were priests of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, significant numbers of the personnel of both temples and palaces, the central institutions of Mesopotamian city states, individuals with neither male nor female gender identities.

The deity of this fourth-millennium city was probably originally An. After its dedication to Inanna the temple seems to have housed priestesses of the goddess. The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos or sacred marriage, celebrated during the annual Akitu (New Year) ceremony, at the spring Equinox.

According to Samuel Noah Kramer in The Sacred Marriage Rite, in late Sumerian history (end of the third millennium) kings established their legitimacy by taking the place of Dumuzi in the temple for one night on the tenth day of the New Year festival.

A Sacred Marriage to Inanna may have conferred legitimacy on a number of rulers of Uruk. Gilgamesh is reputed to have refused marriage to Inanna, on the grounds of her misalliance with such kings as Lugalbanda and Damuzi.

Inanna’s symbol is an eight-pointed star or a rosette. She was associated with lions – even then a symbol of power – and was frequently depicted standing on the backs of two lionesses. Her cuneiform ideogram was a hook-shaped twisted knot of reeds, representing the doorpost of the storehouse (and thus fertility and plenty).

Demeter and Persephone

The story resembles that of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth, and her daughter Persephone, an old chthonic deity of the agricultural communities, who received the souls of the dead into the earth, and acquired powers over the fertility of the soil, over which she reigned, in Greek myth. Demeter and Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon.

In the second version, after the two gods fight and Teshub loses, Illuyanka takes Teshub’s eyes and heart. To avenge himself upon the dragon, the Sky God Teshub marries the goddess Hebat, daughter of a mortal, named Arm. They have a son, Sarruma, who grows up and marries the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka.

The Sky God Teshub tells his son to ask for the return of Teshub’s eyes and heart as a wedding gift, and he does so. His eyes and heart restored, Teshub goes to face the dragon Illuyanka once more. At the point of vanquishing the dragon, Sarruma finds out about the battle and realizes that he had been used for this purpose. He demands that his father take his life along with Illuyanka’s, and so Teshub kills them both with thundery rain and lightning.

The Hittite texts were introduced in 1930 by W. Porzig, who first made the comparison of Teshub’s battle with Illuyankas with the sky-god Zeus’ battle with serpent-like Typhon, told in Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke (I.6.3); the Hittite-Greek parallels found few adherents at the time, the Hittite myth of the castration of the god of heaven by Kumarbi, with its clearer parallels to Greek myth, not having yet been deciphered and edited.

In Greek mythology, Persephone, also called Kore (“the maiden”), is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest goddess Demeter, and is the queen of the underworld. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic queen of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead.

Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation. Similar myths appear in the Orient, in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.

Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon and promised to the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus, usually in orphic tradition.

Persephone was commonly worshipped along with Demeter and with the same mysteries. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion. In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed, often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the act of being carried off by Hades.

In the mystical theories of the Orphics and the Platonists, Kore is described as the all-pervading goddess of nature who both produces and destroys everything and she is therefore mentioned along or identified with other mystic divinities such as Isis, Rhea, Ge, Hestia, Pandora, Artemis, and Hecate. The Orphic Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysos, Iacchus, Zagreus, and the little-attested Melinoe.

The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities. In a Linear B (Mycenean Greek) inscription on a tablet found at Pylos dated 1400–1200 BC, John Chadwick reconstructs the name of a goddess *Preswa who could be identified with Persa, daughter of Oceanus and finds speculative the further identification with the first element of Persephone.

The existence of so many different forms shows how difficult it was for the Greeks to pronounce the word in their own language and suggests that the name has probably a pre-Greek origin.

Another mythical personage of the name of Persephione is called a daughter of Minyas and the mother of Chloris, a nymph of spring, flower and new growth. The Minyans were a group considered autochthonous, but some scholars assert that they were the first wave of Proto-Greek speakers in the 2nd millennium BC.

In Roman mythology, she is called Proserpina, an ancient Roman goddess whose cult, myths and mysteries were based on those of Greek Persephone and her mother Demeter, the Greek goddess of grain and agriculture, and her mother, Ceres, a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships.

The Romans first heard of her from the Aeolian and Dorian cities of Magna Graecia, who used the dialectal variant Proserpinē. Hence, in Roman mythology she was called Proserpina, a name erroneously derived by the Romans from proserpere, “to shoot forth” and as such became an emblematic figure of the Renaissance.

The myth of the abduction of the vegetation goddess is Pre-Greek as evident in the Syro-Mesopotamian mythology of the abduction of the goddess of fertility and harvest, Ishtar (also Ashtar, Astarte and Inanna). The place of the abduction is different in each local cult.

The Homeric Hymn to Demeter mentions the “plain of Nysa”. The locations of this probably mythical place may simply be conventions to show that a magically distant chthonic land of myth was intended in the remote past. Demeter found and met her daughter in Eleusis, and this is the mythical disguise of what happened in the mysteries.

In the Near eastern myth of the primitive agricultural societies, every year the fertility goddess bore the “god of the new year”, who then became her lover, and died immediately in order to be reborn and face the same destiny.

Some findings from Catal Huyuk since the Neolithic age, indicate the worship of the Great Goddess accompanied by a boyish consort, who symbolizes the annual decay and return of vegetation. Similar cults of resurrected gods appear in the Orient in the cults of Attis, Adonis and Osiris,

In Minoan Crete, the “divine child” was related to the female vegetation divinity Ariadne who died every year. The Minoan religion had its own characteristics. The cult was aniconic, the principal deities were female, and they appeared in epiphany called chiefly by ecstatic sacral dances, by tree–shaking and by baetylic rites.

In ancient Greek religion and myth, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death.

Her cult titles include Sito, “she of the Grain”, as the giver of food or grain and Thesmophoros (thesmos: divine order, unwritten law; “phoros”: bringer, bearer), “Law-Bringer,” as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.

In the Linear B Mycenean Greek tablets of circa 1400–1200 BC found at Pylos, the “two mistresses and the king” may be related with Demeter, Persephone and Poseidon.

Demeter’s virgin daughter Persephone was abducted to the underworld by Hades. Demeter searched for her ceaselessly, preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die.

Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back. Hades agreed to release her, but gave her a pomegranate. When she ate the pomegranate seeds, she was bound to him for one third of the year, either the dry Mediterranean summer, when plant life is threatened by drought, or the autumn and winter.

There are several variations on the basic myth. In the Homeric hymn to Demeter, Hecate assists in the search and later becomes Persephone’s underworld attendant. In another, Persephone willingly and secretly eats the pomegranate seeds, thinking to deceive Hades, but is discovered and made to stay.

In all versions, Persephone’s time in the underworld corresponds with the unfruitful seasons of the ancient Greek calendar, and her return to the upper world with springtime. Demeter’s descent to retrieve Persephone from the underworld is connected to the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Demeter and her daughter Persephone were usually called the goddesses (often distinguished as “the older” and “the younger” in Eleusis), Demeters (in Rhodes and Sparta), the thesmophoroi, “the legislators” (in the Thesmophoria), the Great Goddesses (in Arcadia) and the mistresses (in Arcadia). In Mycenaean Pylos, Demeter and Persephone were probably called “queens” (wa-na-ssoi).

In the Greek version Ploutos (wealth) represents the wealth of the corn that was stored in underground silos or ceramic jars (pithoi). Similar subterranean pithoi were used in ancient times for funerary practices is fused with Persephone, the Queen of the underworld.

At the beginning of the autumn, when the corn of the old crop is laid on the fields she ascends and is reunited with her mother Demeter, for at this time the old crop and the new meet each other.

According to the personal mythology of Robert Graves, Persephone is not only the younger self of Demeter, she is in turn also one of three guises of the Triple Goddess — Kore (the youngest, the maiden, signifying green young grain), Persephone (in the middle, the nymph, signifying the ripe grain waiting to be harvested), and Hecate (the eldest of the three, the crone, the harvested grain), which to a certain extent reduces the name and role of Demeter to that of group name. Before her abduction, she is called Kore; and once taken she becomes Persephone (‘she who brings destruction’).

A triple deity (sometimes referred to as threefold, tripled, triplicate, tripartite, triune or triadic, or as a trinity) is a deity associated with the number three. Various female deities and mythological figures in Europe show the influence of pre-Indo-European goddess-worship, and triple female fate divinities, typically “spinners” of destiny, are attested all over Europe and in Bronze Age Anatolia.

Demeter’s search for her daughter Persephone took her to the palace of Celeus, the King of Eleusis in Attica. She assumed the form of an old woman, and asked him for shelter. He took her in, to nurse Demophon and Triptolemus (also known as Indra in Hinduism), his sons by Metanira.

To reward his kindness, she planned to make Demophon immortal; she secretly anointed the boy with ambrosia and laid him in the flames of the hearth, to gradually burn away his mortal self. But Metanira walked in, saw her son in the fire and screamed in fright.

Demeter abandoned the attempt. Instead, she taught Triptolemus the secrets of agriculture, and he in turn taught them to any who wished to learn them. Thus, humanity learned how to plant, grow and harvest grain. The myth has several versions; some are linked to figures such as Eleusis, Rarus and Trochilus. The Demophon element may be based on an earlier folk tale.

Teshub

Sarruma

Hawwah

Arinniti

Triple deity

Hannahannah

Hebat

Cybele

Inara

Me

Inanna

Persephone

Demeter

Illuyanka

Galli

Gala

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The song of Ullikummi

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 22, 2014

Ullikummi Picture

Teshub (also written Teshup or Tešup) was the Hurrian god of sky and storm. He was equated from the Hattian Taru. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun (with variant stem forms Tarhunt, Tarhuwant, Tarhunta), although this name is from the Hittite root *tarh- “to defeat, conquer”.

Teshub is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt and a weapon, usually an axe (often double-headed) or mace. The sacred bull common throughout Anatolia was his signature animal, represented by his horned crown or by his steeds Seri and Hurri, who drew his chariot or carried him on their backs.

In the Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin he was conceived when the god Kumarbi bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genitals, as such it most likely shares a Proto-Indo-European cognate with the Greek story of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus, which is recounted in Hesiod’s Theogony.

Teshub’s brothers are Aranzah (personification of the river Tigris), Tashmishu and Ullikummi, a giant stone monster, son of Kumarbi and the sea god’s daughter [Ullikummi's older brother, Hedammu, is a sea monster and appropriately the son of the sea god's daughter, Sertapsuruhi; Ullikummi himself is Kumarbi's son by a female cliff].

The narrative of Ullikummi is one episode, the best preserved and most complete, in an epic cycle of related “songs” about the god Kumarbi, who aimed to replace the weather god Teshub and destroy the city of Kummiya, or Kummanni, the name of the main center the Anatolian kingdom of Kizzuwatna. Its location is uncertain, but is believed to be near the classical settlement of Comana in Cappadocia.

To destroy the city of Kummiya Kumarbi fathered upon a rock cliff a genderless, deaf, blind, yet sentient pillar of volcanic rock, Ullikummi, which he hid in the netherworld and placed on the shoulder of Upelluri, the “dreaming god”.

The gods placed the stone giant Ullikummi on Upelluri’s shoulders to form the world. In his slumber, Upelluri was unaware of his burden. He has been compared to Atlas from Greek mythology. The Hittite counterpart was Ubelluris, a mountain god who carried the western edge of the sky on his shoulders.

Upelluri, absorbed in his meditations, did not feel Ullikummi on his shoulder [Upelluri stands in the netherworld, holding the earth and sky on his shoulder like the Greek Atlas; a mere giant such as Ullikummi is barely noticeable, although Upelluri does feel a bit of pain in his shoulder once Ullikummi has grown up].

Ullikummi grew quickly until he reached the heavens. Ullikummi’s brother Teshub thundered and rained on Ullikummi, but it did not harm him. Teshub fled and abdicated the throne [the weather god and his vizier and brother, Tasmisu, are defeated in their first battle with Ullikummi, as Tasmisu relates to Teshub's wife, Hebat; as a result Teshub is banished to a "little place," probably meaning a grave].

Teshub asked Ea for help [Ea, who lives in the Apsu, underground source of earth's waters, obtains the toothed cutting tool with which heaven and earth were cut apart shortly after creation; this tool will disable Ullikummi].

Ea visited Upelluri and cut off the feet of Ullikummi, toppling him [that is, Ea cuts Ullikummi loose from Upelluri's shoulder and then urges the weather god to fight again; the end of the story is broken away and scholars simply assume Ullikummi is finally defeated].

The “song of Ullikummi” was recognized from its first rediscovery as a predecessor of Greek myths in Hesiod. Parallels to the Greek myth of Typhoeus, the ancient antagonist of the thunder-god Zeus, have been elucidated by Walter Burkert, Oriental and Greek Mythology, pp. 19–24, and Caucasian parallels in his “Von Ullikummi zum Kaukasus: Die Felsgeburt des Unholds”, Würzburger Jahrbücher N. F., 5 (1979) pp. 253–61.

Kummanni

Kummanni was the major cult center of the Hurrian chief deity, Tešup. Its Hurrian name Kummeni simply translates as “The Shrine.” The city persisted into the Early Iron Age, and appears as Kumme in Assyrian records. It was located on the edge of Assyrian influence in the far northeastern corner of Mesopotamia, separating Assyria from Urartu and the highlands of southeastern Anatolia.

Kizzuwatna (or Kizzuwadna; in Ancient Egyptian Kode), is the name of an ancient Anatolian kingdom in the 2nd millennium BC. It was situated in the highlands of southeastern Anatolia, near the Gulf of İskenderun in modern-day Turkey. It encircled the Taurus Mountains and the Ceyhan river. The center of the kingdom was the city of Kummanni, situated in the highlands. In a later era, the same region was known as Cilicia.

Several ethnic groups coexisted in the Kingdom of Kizzuwatna. The Hurrians inhabited this area at least since the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. The Hittite expansion in the early Old Kingdom period (under Hattusili I and Mursili I) was likely to bring the Hittites and the Luwians to southeastern Anatolia. The Luwian language was part of the Indo-European language group, with close ties to the Hittite language.

Both the local Hittites and the Luwians were likely to contribute to the formation of independent Kizzuwatna after the weakening of the Hittite Old Kingdom. he earliest Hittite records seem to refer to Kizzuwatna and Arzawa (Western Anatolia) collectively as Luwia.

The toponym Kizzuwatna is possibly a Luwian adaptation of Hittite *kez-udne ‘country on this side (of the mountains)’, while the name Isputahsu is definitely Hittite and not Luwian (Yakubovich 2010, pp. 273–4). Hurrian culture became more prominent in Kizzuwatna once it entered the sphere of influence of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni.

Their pantheon was also integrated into the Hittite one, and the goddess Hebat of Kizzuwatna became very important in Hittite religion towards the end of the 13th century BC. A corpus of religious texts called the Kizzuwatna rituals was discovered at Hattusa.

In the power struggle that arose between the Hittites and the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni, Kizzuwatna became a strategic partner due to its location. Later, Kizzuwatna shifted its allegiance. The city state of Alalakh to the south expanded under its new vigorous leader Idrimi, himself a subject of the Mitannian king Barattarna.

King Pilliya of Kizzuwatna had to sign a treaty with Idrimi, and Kizzuwatna became an ally of Mitanni, until the Hittite king Arnuwanda I overran the country and made it a vassal kingdom. Kizzuwatna rebelled during the reign of Suppiluliuma I, but remained within the Hittite empire for two hundred years. In the famous Battle of Kadesh (c. 1274 BC), Kizzuwadna supplied troops to the Hittite king.

After the fall of the Hittite empire, several minor Neo-Hittite kingdoms emerged in the area, such as Quwe, a “Neo-Hittite” Assyrian vassal state or province at various times from the 9th century BCE to shortly after the death of Ashurbanipal around 627 BCE in the lowlands of eastern Cilicia, Tabal (also known as Tubal, Jabal and Jubal), a Luwian speaking Neo-Hittite kingdom of South Central Anatolia, and Kammanu, also a Luwian speaking Neo-Hittite state in Armenian Highlands in the late 2nd millennium BC, formed from part of Kizzuwatna after the collapse of the Hittite Empire.

Isuwa (transcribed Išuwa and sometimes rendered Ishuwa), situated in the upper Euphrates river region, was the ancient Hittite name for one of its neighboring Anatolian kingdoms to the east, in an area which later became the Luwian Neo-Hittite state of Kammanu.

The Isuwans left no written record of their own, and it is not clear which of the Anatolian peoples inhabited the land of Isuwa prior to the Luwians. They could have been Indo-Europeans like the Luwians, related to the Hittites to the west, Hattians, Hurrians from the south, or Urartians who lived east of Isuwa in the first millennium BC.

Kumme was still considered a holy city in Assyrian times, both in Assyria and in Urartu]. Adad-nirari II, after re-conquering the city, made sacrifices to “Adad of Kumme.” The name of the capital city in Quwê is tentatively identified with Adana, in modern Turkey.

The three chief deities in the Urartian pantheon were Ḫaldi (Ḫaldi, also known as Khaldi or Hayk), the god of Ardini, Theispas, the god of Kumenu, and Shivini, the god of Tushpa.

Khaldi was a warrior god whom the kings of Urartu would pray to for victories in battle. The temples dedicated to Khaldi were adorned with weapons, such as swords, spears, bow and arrows, and shields hung off the walls and were sometimes known as ‘the house of weapons’.

Shivini or Artinis (the present form of the name is Artin, meaning “sun rising” or to “awake”, and it persists in Armenian names to this day) was a solar god in the mythology of the Urartu. He is cognate with the triad in Hinduism called Shiva.

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The origin of Indra

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 19, 2014

Vahagn – the God of Fires: March 21

Indra

Indra, also known as Śakra in the Vedas and in Buddhism, is the leader of the Devas or demi gods and the lord of Svargaloka or heaven in the Hindu religion. The name of Indra (Indara) is also mentioned among the gods of the Mitanni in northern Syria from ca.1500-1300 BC.

Indra is the god of rain and thunderstorms. Aspects of Indra as a deity are cognate to other Indo-European gods; they are either thunder gods such as Thor, Perun, and Zeus, or gods of intoxicating drinks such as Dionysus.

He wields a lightning thunderbolt known as vajra and rides on a white elephant known as Airavata. Indra is the supreme deity and is the twin brother of Agni and is also mentioned as an Āditya, son of Aditi. His home is situated on Mount Meru in the heaven.

Indra is celebrated as a demiurge who pushes up the sky, releases Ushas (dawn) from the Vala cave, and slays Vṛtra; both latter actions are central to the Soma sacrifice. He is associated with Vajrapani – the Chief Dharmapala or Defender and Protector of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha who embodies the power of the Five Dhyani Buddhas.

On the other hand, he also commits many kinds of mischief (kilbiṣa) for which he is sometimes punished. In Puranic mythology, Indra is bestowed with a heroic and almost brash and amorous character at times, even as his reputation and role diminished in later Hinduism with the rise of the Trimurti.

Indra has many epithets, notably vṛṣan the bull, and vṛtrahan, slayer of Vṛtra, Meghavahana “the one who rides the clouds” and Devapati “the lord of gods or devas”. Indra appears as the name of a daeva in Zoroastrianism (but the word Indra can be used in general sense as a leader, either of devatas or asuras), while his epithet, Verethragna, appears as a god of victory.

Indra descends from an Indo-Iranian god known as *vrtra-g’han- (virtually PIE *wltro-gwhen-) “slayer of the blocker”. The word vrtra-/verethra- means “obstacle”. Thus, vrtrahan-/verethragna- is the “smiter of resistance”. Vritra as such does not appear in either the Avesta or books of Zoroastrian tradition. Since the name ‘Indra’ appears in Zoroastrian texts as that of a demon opposing truth Zoroastrian tradition has separated both aspects of Indra.

Vedic Indra corresponds to Verethragna of the Zoroastrian Avesta as the noun verethragna- corresponds to Vedic vrtrahan-, which is predominantly an epithet of Indra. According to Anthony, the Old Indic religion probably emerged among Indo-European immigrants in the contact zone between the Zeravshan River (present-day Uzbekistan) and (present-day) Iran.

It was “a syncretic mixture of old Central Asian and new Indo-European elements”, which borrowed “distinctive religious beliefs and practices” from the Bactria–Margiana Culture. At least 383 non-Indo-European words were borrowed from this culture, including the god Indra and the ritual drink Soma.

Many of the qualities of Indo-Iranian god of might/victory, Verethraghna, were transferred to the adopted god Indra, who became the central deity of the developing Old Indic culture. Indra was the subject of 250 hymns, a quarter of the Rig Veda. He was associated more than any other deity with Soma, a stimulant drug (perhaps derived from Ephedra) probably borrowed from the BMAC religion. His rise to prominence was a peculiar trait of the Old Indic speakers.

Janda (1998:221) suggests that the Proto-Indo-European (or Graeco-Aryan) predecessor of Indra had the epithet *trigw-welumos [or rather *trigw-t-welumos] “smasher of the enclosure” (of Vritra, Vala) and diye-snūtyos “impeller of streams” (the liberated rivers, corresponding to Vedic apam ajas “agitator of the waters”), which resulted in the Greek gods Triptolemus (lit. “threefold warrior”; also known as Buzyges) and Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and religious ecstasy in Greek mythology.

Triptolemus is analysed by Janda (1998) as a Greek continuation of a variant of the epithet, *trigw-t-welumos, a “terpsimbrotos” compound “cracker of the enclosure”, Greek (w)elumos referring to the casings of grain in Greek being descended from the same root *wel-.

On such grounds, a rock or mountain *welos or *welumos split by a heroic deity, liberating Dawn or the Sun is reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European mythology (the “Sun in the rock” myth, sometime also speculated to be connected with the making of fire from flintstone).

Vala, Vritra and the Panis

Vala (valá-), meaning “enclosure” in Vedic Sanskrit, is an Asura of the Rigveda and the Atharvaveda, the brother of Vrtra. Historically, it has the same origin as the Vrtra myth, being derived from the same root, and from the same root also as Varuna, *val-/var- (PIE *wel-) “to cover, to enclose” (perhaps cognate to veil).

In the early Vedic religion, Vritra (Vṛtra वृत्र “the enveloper”), is an Asura and also a serpent or dragon, the personification of drought and adversary of Indra. Vritra was also known in the Vedas as Ahi (“snake”). He appears as a dragon blocking the course of the rivers and is heroically slain by Indra.

Parallel to Vrtra “the blocker”, a stone serpent slain by Indra to liberate the rivers, Vala is a stone cave, split by Indra (intoxicated and strengthened by Soma, identified with Brhaspati in 4.50 and 10.68 or Trita in 1.52, aided by the Angirasas in 2.11), to liberate the cows and Ushas, hidden there by the Panis.

The Panis are a class of demons in the Rigveda, from paṇi-, a term for “bargainer, miser,” especially applied to one who is sparing of sacrificial oblations. The word pani is also applied in the Rig Veda to human beings, even respected members of the community, who are unwilling to share their wealth. In one hymn Indra himself is addressed as “pani”.

The Panis appear in RV 10.108 as watchers over stolen cows. They are located behind the stream Rasā, and sought out by Sarama. They boast to Sarama that they are well-armed and will not yield the cows without battle, and that the cows are furthermore well hidden in a rocky chamber. Sarama threatens them with the might of Indra and the Angirasas who will recover the cows.

The “rocky treasure-chest” of the Panis is identical to Vala, the stone split by Indra to liberate Dawn. The myth is a variant of that of Indra slaying Vrtra, imagined as a stone serpent, liberating the blocked rivers.

Already in 2.24, the myth is given a mystical interpretation, with warlike Indra replaced by Brahmanaspati, the lord of prayer, who split Vala with prayer (brahman) rather than with the thunderbolt.

Varuna

Varuna, or Waruna, is a god of the water and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law of the underwater world. A Makara is his mount. In Hindu mythology, Varuna continued to be considered the god of all forms of the water element, particularly the oceans.

As chief of the Adityas, meaning “of Aditi” (Sanskrit: अदिति “limitless”), in the Vedas the mother of the gods (devamatar) and all twelve zodiacal spirits from whose cosmic matrix the heavenly bodies were born, Varuna has aspects of a solar deity though, when opposed to Mitra (Vedic term for Surya), he is rather associated with the night, and Mitra with the daylight.

As the most prominent Deva, however, he is mostly concerned with moral and societal affairs than being a deification of nature. Together with Mitra–originally ‘agreement’ (between tribes) personified—being master of ṛtá, he is the supreme keeper of order and god of the law. The word ṛtá, order, is also translated as “season”.

Varuna and Mitra are the gods of the societal affairs including the oath, and are often twinned Mitra-Varuna (a dvandva compound). Varuna is also twinned with Indra in the Rigveda, as Indra-Varuna (when both cooperate at New Year in re-establishing order).

The Rigveda and Atharvaveda portray Varuna as omniscient, catching liars in his snares. The stars are his thousand-eyed spies, watching every movement of men.

In the Rigveda, Indra, chief of the Devas, is about six times more prominent than Varuna, who is mentioned 341 times. This may misrepresent the actual importance of Varuna in early Vedic society due to the focus of the Rigveda on fire and Soma ritual, Soma being closely associated with Indra.

Varuna with his omniscience and omnipotence in the affairs of men has many aspects of a supreme deity. The daily Sandhyavandanam ritual of a dvija addresses Varuna in this aspect in its evening routine, asking him to forgive all sins, while Indra receives no mention.

Both Mitra and Varuna are classified as Asuras in the Rigveda (e.g. RV 5.63.3), although they are also addressed as Devas as well (e.g. RV 7.60.12), possibly indicating the beginning of the negative connotations carried by Asura in later times.

In post-Vedic texts Varuna became the god of oceans and rivers and keeper of the souls of the drowned. As such, Varuna is also a god of the dead, and can grant immortality. He is attended by the nagas. He is also one of the Guardians of the directions, representing the west. Later art depicts Varuna as a lunar deity, as a yellow man wearing golden armor and holding a noose or lasso made from a snake.

Makara

Varuna rides the sea creature Makara, a sea-creature in Hindu mythology. It is a Sanskrit word which means “sea dragon” or “water-monster” and in Tibetan language it is called the “chu-srin”, and also denotes a hybrid creature. It is generally depicted as half terrestrial animal in the frontal part, in animal forms of an elephant, crocodile, stag, or deer, and in the hind part as an aquatic animal, in the form of a fish or seal tail. Sometimes, even a peacock tail is depicted.

Makara is the vahana (vehicle) of the Ganga – the goddess of river Ganges (Ganga) and the sea god Varuna. It is also the insignia of the love god Kamadeva. Kamadeva is also known as Makaradhvaja (one whose flag a makara is depicted). Makara is the astrological sign of Capricorn, one of the twelve symbols of the Zodiac. It is often portrayed protecting entryways to Hindu and Buddhist temples.

Makara symbolized in ornaments are also in popular use as wedding gifts for bridal decoration. The Hindu Preserver-god Vishnu is also shown wearing makara-shaped earrings called Makarakundalas. The Sun god Surya and the Mother Goddess Chandi are also sometimes described as being adorned with Makarakundalas.

Verethragna

Verethragna is an Avestan language neuter noun literally meaning “smiting of resistance”. Representing this concept is the divinity Verethragna, who is the hypostasis of “victory”, and “as a giver of victory” Verethragna plainly enjoyed the greatest popularity.

Verethragna descends from an Indo-Iranian god known as *vrtra-g’han- (virtually PIE *wltro-gwhen-) “slayer of the blocker”. The neuter noun verethragna is related to Avestan verethra, ‘obstacle’ and verethragnan, ‘victorious’.

In Zoroastrian Middle Persian, Verethragna became Warahran, from which Vahram, Vehram, Bahram, Behram and other variants derive. The name and, to some extent, the deity has correspondences in Armenian Vahagn and Vram, Sogdian Wshn, Parthian Wryhrm, and Kushan Orlagno.

While the figure of Verethragna is highly complex, parallels have also been drawn between it and (variously) Vedic Indra, Puranic Vishnu, Manichean Adamas, Chaldean/Babylonian Nergal, Egyptian Horus, Hellenic Ares and Heracles.

The interpretation of Verethragna was once one of the more widely debated fields in Zoroastrian scholarship since the theories of origin reflected a radical revolution in ethical, moral and religious values.

Primarily because the Avestan adjective verethragnan (victorious) had a corresponding Vedic term vrtrahan where it appeared “preponderantly [as] a qualification of Indra”, one theory proposed that in Indo-Iranian times there existed a dragon-slaying warrior god *Indra and that Avestan Verethragna derived from that divine figure.

The arguments against this theory are manifold: For one, there is no hint of Verethragna (or any other Zoroastrian divinity) having dragon-slaying functions. In the Avesta, it is the hero warrior-priest Thraetaona (Fereydun) who battles the serpent Aži Dahāka (which, for the virtue of ‘Azi’ being cognate with Sanskrit ‘Ahi’, snake, is – by proponents of the theory – associated with Vedic Vritra).

Moreover, in the Vedas, the epithet ‘hero’ (sura) is itself almost exclusively reserved for Indra, while in the Avesta it is applied to Thraetaona and other non-divine figures.

The term “victorious” too is not restricted to Verethragna, but is also a property of a number of other figures, both divine and mortal, including Thraetaona. Then, while in the Vedas it is Indra who discovers Soma, in the Avesta it is humans who first press Haoma and Thraetaona is attributed with being the “inventor of medicine”.

In the Vedas, Indra strikes with vajra, but in the Avesta vazra is Mithra’s weapon. Finally, and from a point of basic doctrine far more important than any of the other arguments, Indra is a daeva, precisely that class of divinity that Zoroaster exhorts his followers to reject. Indeed, Indra is explicitly named as one of the six evil demons in Vendidad 10.9 – directly opposing the Amesha Spenta Asha Vahishta, with whom Verethragna is associated.

Attempts to resolve these objections led to the development of another theory, in which, in addition to the pre-historical divinity of victory, there was also a dragon-slaying hero *Indra. Then, while the Iranians retained the figures independently of one another, the Indians conflated the two (leaving an echo in the character of Trita Aptya).

This theory too had its problems, in particular the fact that Indra was already evidently a divine figure, and not a man, in the Mittani treaties, where he appears in the company of Mitra and Varuna. That again raises more questions since the treaties echo the Rig Veda’s invocation of all three as protectors of contract, again, not a property associated with Verethragna.

However, as Benveniste and Renou demonstrated, many of the objections to the first theory could be negated if the evidence were reviewed in light of the fact that the principal feature of Verethragna was not to slay noxious creatures but to overcome obstacles (verethra), in particular to unblock the flow of apas, the waters, the holiest of the elements.

Paul Thieme agreed with this principal feature, but clarified that while the wealth of archaic elements in the Bahram Yasht clearly point to the pre-Zoroastrian era, the interpretation of proper names is “highly conjectural”, and “in no case do we get a decisive argument against their Indo-Aryan or old Indic character”.

Adopting “the exact linguistic and exegetic analysis” of Benveniste and Renou, Thieme concludes “Proto-Aryan *Indra has assumed the functions of a Proto-Aryan god *Vrtraghna.” Noting that Vrtrahan is the name of Indra only in the later Sanskrit texts (but not in the Rig Veda), Thieme adds “there is no valid justification for supposing that the Proto-Aryan adjective *vrtraghan was specifically connected with *Indra or any other particular god.”

Vāhana

Vāhana (Sanskrit: that which carries, that which pulls) denotes the being, typically an animal or mythical entity, a particular deva (approximately translatable from Sanskrit as ‘deity’) is said to use as a vehicle. In this capacity, the vāhana is often called the deity’s mount. Upon the partnership between the deva and his vāhana is woven much iconography and mythology.

Often, the deva is iconographically depicted riding (or simply mounted upon) the vāhana. Other times, the vāhana is depicted at the deity’s side or symbolically represented as a divine attribute.

The vāhana may be considered an accoutrement of the deity: though the vāhana may act independently, they are still functionally emblematic or even syntagmatic of their “rider”. The deva (or devī, who will have her own, unique vāhana) may be seen sitting or on, or standing on, the vāhana. They may be sitting on a small platform called a howdah, or riding on a saddle or bareback. Vah in Sanskrit means to carry or to transport.

Vahagn

Vahagn or Vahagn Vishapakagh (Vahagn the Dragon Reaper). Vahagn was the god of thunder and lightning, and a herculean hero noted for slaying dragons. Vahagn fought and conquered dragons, hence his title Vishabakagh, “dragon reaper”, where dragons in Armenian lore are identified as “Vishaps”.

Vahagn was also a god of fire and war to whom Armenian kings and warlords would pray before engaging in battle. He was linked to Verethragna, whose name in Avestan means “smiting of resistance”, the hypostasis of victory in the texts of the Avesta; the name turned into Vahagn (the Avestan “th” becoming “h” in Arsacid Middle Persian), later on to take the form of Vahagn.

He was also worshiped as a sun-god, a sun-god, rival of Baal-shamin and Mihr, and a god of courage, later identified with the Greek Herakles. Vahagn’s main sanctuary was located in the Ashtishat city of Taron “world” (a region in ancient Armenia).  The priests of Vahévahian temple, who claimed Vahagn as their own ancestor, placed a statue of the Greek hero in their sanctuary. In the Armenian translation of the Bible, “Heracles, worshipped at Tyr” is renamed “Vahagn”.

All the gods, according to the Euhemerist belief, had been living men; Vahagn likewise, was introduced within the ranks of the Armenian kings, as the son of Yervand (6th century BC.), together with his brothers — Bab and Tiran.

The Armenian princely house of Vahevunis believed to derive from Vahagn. The Vahevunis were ranked high in the Royal Registrar of Armenia, recorded by King Valarshak. In the pre-Christian Armenia, the Vahevunis hereditarily possessed the temple town of Ashtishat on the left bank of the Aratzani river and most likelly also held the post of the Sparapet, i.e.t he Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Armenian Army.

Historian Khorenatsi’s report of an ancient song gives a clue to his nature and origin: Ancient Armenian origin of Vahagn’s birth song. In this the god Vahagn rises from the fire. The stalk or reed, key to the situation, is an important word in Indo-European mythology, in connection with fire in its three forms.

Fereydūn – Trita

Fereydūn is the name of an Iranian mythical king and hero who is an emblem of victory, justice and generosity in the Persian literature. All of the forms of the name shown above derive, by regular sound laws, from Proto-Iranian *Θraitaunah and Proto-Indo-Iranian *Traitaunas.

*Traitaunas is a derivative (with augmentative suffix -una/-auna) of *Tritas, the name of a deity or hero reflected in the Vedic Trita and the Avestan Θrita. Both names are identical to the adjective meaning “the third”, a term used of a minor deity associated with two other deities to form a triad.

In the Indian Vedas, Trita is associated with gods of thunder and wind. Trita is also called Āptya, a name that is probably cognate with Āθβiya, the name of Θraētaona’s father in the Avesta. *Traitaunas may therefore be interpreted as “the great son of the deity Tritas”. The name was borrowed from Parthian into Armenian as Hrudēn.

Trita (“the Third”) is a minor deity of the Rigveda, mentioned 41 times. He is associated with the Maruts, with Vayu and with Indra, like Indra, or as Indra’s assistant, fighting Tvastar, Vrtra and Vala. He is called Āptya, the deity of the Apas (waters).

In RV 1. 105, Trita fallen into a well begs aid from the gods. Sayana on 1.105 comments that this relates to three rishis, Ekata, Dvita and Trita who found a well, and Trita, drawing water, was pushed down by the other two and imprisoned, where he composed a hymn to the gods, and managed miraculously to prepare the sacrificial Soma; this is alluded to in RV 9.34.4 and described in Mahabharata 9.2095.

In the Avesta, Θraētaona is the son of Āθβiya, and so is called Āθβiyāni “from the family of Āθβiya”. Originally he may have been recorded as the killer of the dragon Aži Dahāka, but in Middle Persian texts Dahāka/Dahāg is instead imprisoned on Mount Damāvand, Amol.

According to Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāmeh, Fereydun was the son of Ābtīn, one of descendants of Jamshid. Fereydun, together with Kaveh, revolted against the tyrannical king “Zahhāk”, defeated and arrested him in the Alborz Mountains. Afterwards Fereydun became the king and, according to the myth, ruled the country for about 500 years. At the end of his life he allocated his kingdom to his three sons; Salm, Tur, and Īraj.

Iraj was Fereydun’s youngest and favored son and inherited the best part of the kingdom, namely Iran. Salm inherited Asia Minor (“Rūm”, more generally meaning the Roman Empire, the Greco-Roman world, or just “the West”) and Tur inherited Central Asia (“Tūrān”, all the lands north and east of the Oxus, as far as China), respectively.

This aroused Iraj’s brothers’ envy and encouraged them to murder him. After Iraj’s murder, Fereydun enthroned Iraj’s grandson, Manūchehr. Manūchehr’s attempt to avenge his grandfather’s murder initiated the Iranian-Turanian wars.

Dionysus

Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and religious ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name, thought to be a theonym in Linear B tablets as di-wo-nu-so (KH Gq 5 inscription), shows that he may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks; other traces of the Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete.

His origins are uncertain, and his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek. In some cults, he arrives from the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from Ethiopia in the South.

He is a god of epiphany, “the god that comes”, and his “foreignness” as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, and is included in some lists of the twelve Olympians.

Dionysus was the last god to be accepted into Mt. Olympus. He was the youngest and the only one to have a mortal mother. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre. He is an example of a dying god.

He was also known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans and the frenzy he induces, bakkheia. His thyrsus is sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey. It is a beneficent wand but also a weapon, and can be used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents.

He is also called Eleutherios (“the liberator”), whose wine, music and ecstatic dance frees his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subverts the oppressive restraints of the powerful. Those who partake of his mysteries are possessed and empowered by the god himself.

His cult is also a “cult of the souls”; his maenads feed the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant between the living and the dead.

In Greek mythology, he is presented as a son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, thus semi-divine or heroic: and as son of Zeus and Persephone or Demeter, thus both fully divine, part-chthonic and possibly identical with Iacchus of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Some scholars believe that Dionysus is a syncretism of a local Greek nature deity and a more powerful god from Thrace or Phrygia such as Sabazios or Zalmoxis.

Triptolemos

According to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (anonymous text of the 7th century BCE) Triptolemos was one of the men who had great power and honor in Eleusis and was one of the chiefs among the people, protecting the city by their wisdom and true judgements. The Hymn also gives us the information that Triptolemos together with Diocles, Eumolpos, Keleus and Polyxeinus learned the mysteries and rites of the goddess Demeter.

The later tradition, spread out by the Athenians, connected Triptolemos with the first civilization in Eleusis, cultivating the grain, a gift of Demeter. Triptolemos is described as a son of Keleus, the Eleusinian king and his wife Metaneira, who welcomed in their palace the goddess Demeter, when she was mourning for her daughter Kore.

Demeter equited for their kindness, so she gave to Triptolemos the ears of a corn and she taught him to cultivate the fields. Triptolemos became a teacher of agriculture over the whole world. He was bringing this knowledge on his winged chariot from one place to the other, while Demeter and Persephone took care of him during this mission. In the later myths Triptolemos became after his death the judge in the underworld.

The representation of Triptolemos became very popular and he was depicted on many Greek vases and inside reliefs, mainly during the Classical period. The oldest image of Triptolemos (dated from the 6th century BCE) exists on the black-figured amphora from Les Musées Royaux in Brussels. Triptolemos is sitting on his wheeled throne, keeping the ears of a corn, while one of his companions is following him and an other man is thanking him for his mission.

The story about Triptolemos was favorite mainly during the 5th century BCE. The myth about Triptolemos was evoluting between the 7th and 5th century BCE. From the Classical period the story and its form get stabilized.

At this time he was pictured on many red-figured vases, which are exhibited in the collections of the British Museum in London, in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, in the University Library of Haifa and in many other places. Triptolemos appears as a young man, usually with a branch or diadem in his hair, often seating on a winged chariot, decorated with snakes.

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Axis mundi

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 19, 2014

The axis mundi (also cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, columna cerului, center of the world, world tree), in religion or mythology, is the world center or the connection between Heaven and Earth.

As the celestial pole and geographic pole, it expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet. At this point travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms. Communication from lower realms may ascend to higher ones and blessings from higher realms may descend to lower ones and be disseminated to all. The spot functions as the omphalos (navel), the world’s point of beginning.

Axis mundi

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The relation between Egypt and Mitanni – in the time of Akhenaten

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 19, 2014

In the 33rd year of his reign, while he was in the Armenian Highlands in 1446 BC, Thutmose III of Egypt, referred to the people of Ermenen (Armenians), and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”. Under the reign of Tuthmosis IV, friendly relations were established between the Egyptians and the Mitanni. The daughter of King Artatama was married to Tuthmosis IV.

Thus, Artatama may have been the father of Queen Mutemwiya and the maternal grandfather of Amenhotep III (Hellenized as Amenophis III; Egyptian Amāna-Ḥātpa; meaning Amun is Satisfied), also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent, the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty.

According to different authors, he ruled Egypt from June 1386 to 1349 BC or June 1388 BC to December 1351 BC/1350 BC after his father Thutmose IV died. Amenhotep III was the son of Thutmose by a minor wife Mutemwiya.

His reign was a period of unprecedented prosperity and artistic splendour, when Egypt reached the peak of her artistic and international power. When he died (probably in the 39th year of his reign), his son initially ruled as Amenhotep IV, but later changed his own royal name to Akhenaten.

It was also suggested that Yuya was the brother of queen Mutemwiya, who was the mother of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and may have had Mitannian royal origins.

Cyril Aldred has suggested Mutemwiya may have been a sister of Yuya, based solely upon the assumption that since Mutemwiya was present during the early years of her son’s reign that she somehow engineered the marriage between Tiye and the young king, thus solidifying a family connect to the royal house.

Yuya (sometimes Iouiya, also known as Yaa, Ya, Yiya, Yayi, Yu, Yuyu, Yaya, Yiay, Yia, and Yuy) was a powerful Egyptian courtier during the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt (circa 1390 BC).

Yuya came from the Upper Egyptian town of Akhmim, where he probably owned an estate and was a wealthy member of the town’s local nobility. He was a non-royal, wealthy landowner from the Upper Egyptian town of Akhmin, where he served as a priest and superintendent of oxen or commander of the chariotry.

His origins remain unclear. The study of his mummy showed that Yuya had been a man of taller than average stature and the anatomist Grafton Elliot Smith considered that his appearance was not typically Egyptian.

Taking the features of his mummy, his unusual name and the many different spellings of his name, which might imply it was a non-Egyptian name in origin, into account it is sometimes suggested that Yuya was of Asiatic or Nubian descent.

The name Yuya may be spelled in a number of different ways as Gaston Maspero noted in Theodore Davis’s 1907 book—The Tomb of Iouiya and Touiyou. These include “iAy”, ywiA”, yw [reed-leaf with walking feet]A, ywiw” and, in orthography—normally a sign of something foreign—”y[man with hand to mouth]iA”.

It was not typical for an Egyptian person to have so many different ways to write his name; this may suggest that Yuya’s ancestors had a foreign origin. In “The Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt” one solution is that Yuya had some Mitannian ancestry; this argument is based on the fact that the knowledge of horses and chariotry was introduced into Egypt from Asia and Yuya was the king’s “Master of the Horse.”

However, this hypothesis can not be substantiated, since nothing is known of Mutemwiya’s background. While Yuya lived in Upper Egypt, an area that was predominantly native Egyptian, he could have been an assimilated descendant of Asiatic immigrants or slaves who rose to become a member of the local nobility at Akhmin. If he was not a foreigner, however, then Yuya would have been the native Egyptian whose daughter was married to Amenhotep III. Yuya is believed to have died around 1374BC in his mid 50s.

Yuya was married to Tjuyu (sometimes transliterated as Thuya or Thuyu), an Egyptian noblewoman associated with the royal family, who held high offices in the governmental and religious hierarchies. She is believed to be a descendant of Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, and she held many official roles in the interwoven religion and government of Ancient Egypt. They are the grandparents of Akhenaten, and great grandparents of Tutankhamun.

Their daughter, Tiye (c. 1398 BC – 1338 BC, also spelled Taia, Tiy and Tiyi), became the Great Royal Wife of Amenhotep III. She was the mother of Akhenaten and grandmother of Tutankhamun. Her mummy was identified as The Elder Lady found in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV35) in 2010.

Yuya was an influential nobleman at the royal court of Amenhoteb III who was given the rare privilege of having a tomb built for his use in the royal Valley of the Kings presumably because he was the father of Tiye, Amenhotep’s chief Queen. There are also noted similarities in the physical likenesses of monuments attributed to Ay and those of the mummy of Yuya, and both held similar names and titles.

Some Egyptologists, believe that Tiye is of Mitanni (Armenian) origin, and she brought the Aten religion to Egypt from her native land, and taught her son, Akhenaten. Some suggest that the queen’s strong political and unconventional religious views might have been due not just to a strong character, but to foreign descent.

Tiye was married to Amenhotep III by the second year of his reign. He had been born of a secondary wife of his father and needed a stronger tie to the royal lineage. He appears to have been crowned while still a child, perhaps between the ages of six to twelve. They had at least seven, possibly more children:

Tiye wielded a great deal of power during both her husband’s and son’s reigns. Amenhotep III became a fine sportsman, a lover of outdoor life, and a great statesman. He often had to consider claims for Egypt’s gold and requests for his royal daughters in marriage from foreign kings such as Tushratta of Mitanni and Kadashman-Enlil I of Babylon.

The royal lineage was carried by the women of Ancient Egypt and marriage to one would have been a path to the throne for their progeny. Tiye became her husband’s trusted adviser and confidant. Being wise, intelligent, strong, and fierce, she was able to gain the respect of foreign dignitaries. Foreign leaders were willing to deal directly through her. She continued to play an active role in foreign relations and was the first Egyptian queen to have her name recorded on official acts.

Tiye may have continued to advise her son, Akhenaten, when he took the throne. Her son’s correspondence with Tushratta, the king of Mitanni, speaks highly of the political influence she wielded at court. In Amarna letter EA 26, Tushratta, king to Mitanni, corresponded directly with Tiye to reminisce about the good relations he enjoyed with her then deceased husband and extended his wish to continue on friendly terms with her son, Akhenaten.

Yuya and Tjuyu also may have been the parents of Ay, an Egyptian courtier active during the reign of pharaoh Akhenaten, who eventually became a successor of Tutankhamen as pharaoh after the latter’s death, as Kheperkheprure Ay. There is no conclusive evidence, however, regarding the kinship of Yuya and Ay, although certainly, both men came from the town of Akhmim.

All that is known for certain was that by the time he was permitted to build a tomb for himself (Southern Tomb 25) at Amarna during the reign of Akhenaten, he had achieved the title of “Overseer of All the Horses of His Majesty”, the highest rank in the elite charioteering division of the army, which was just below the rank of General.

Prior to this promotion he appears to have been first a Troop Commander and then a “regular” Overseer of Horses, titles which were found on a box thought to have been part of the original furnishings for his tomb.

Other titles listed in this tomb include Fan-bearer on the Right Side of the King, Acting Scribe of the King, beloved by him, and God’s Father. The ‘Fan-bearer on the Right Side of the King’ was a very important position, and is viewed as showing that the bearer had the ‘ear’ of the ruler. The final God’s Father title is the one most associated with Ay, and was later incorporated into his royal name when he became pharaoh.

This title could mean that he was the father-in-law of the pharaoh, suggesting that he was the son of Yuya and Tjuyu, thus being a brother or half-brother of Tiye, brother-in-law to Amenhotep III and the maternal uncle of Akhenaten.

If Ay was the son of Yuya, who was a senior military officer during the reign of Amenhotep III, then he likely followed in his father’s footsteps, finally inheriting his father’s military functions upon his death.

Alternatively, it could also mean that he may have had a daughter that married the pharaoh Akhenaten, possibly being the father of Akhenaten’s chief wife Nefertiti.

Ultimately there is no evidence to definitively prove either hypothesis. The two theories are not mutually exclusive, but either relationship would explain the exalted status to which Ay rose during Akhenaten’s Amarna interlude, when the royal family turned their backs on Egypt’s traditional gods and experimented, for a dozen years or so, with monotheism; an experiment that, whether out of conviction or convenience, Ay appears to have followed under the reign of Akhenaten.

Other Egyptologists speculated that Ay also might have been descended from Tiye. No clear date or monument can confirm the link between the two, but these Egyptologists presumed this by Ay’s origins, also from Akhmin, and because he inherited most of the titles that Tiye’s father, Yuya, held during his lifetime, at the court of Amenhotep III.

Another theory that gained some support identified Nefertiti with the Mitanni princess Tadukhipa, in the Hurrian language Tadu-Hepa, the daughter of Tushratta, king of Mitanni (reigned ca. 1382 BC–1342 BC) and his queen, Juni and niece of Artashumara, a Hurrian pretender to the throne of Mitanni in the fourteenth century BC.

The reign of Artashumara was very short, or non-existent, before he was murdered. He was the brother of Tushratta, who succeeded him. Tadukhipa’s aunt Gilukhipa (sister of Tushratta) had married Pharaoh Amenhotep III in his 10th regnal year. Tadukhipa was to marry Amenhotep III more than two decades later.

Relatively little is known about this princess of Mitanni. She is believed to have been born around Year 21 of the reign of Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III, (c. 1366 BC). Fifteen years later, Tushratta married his daughter to his ally Amenhotep III to cement their two states alliances in Year 36 of Amenhotep III’s reign (1352 BC). Amenhotep III died shortly after Tadukhipa arrived in Egypt and she eventually married his son and heir Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten).

Tadukhipa is referenced in seven of Tushratta’s thirteen Amarna letters, of about 1350-1340 BC. Tushratta requested that his daughter would become a queen consort, even though that position was held by Queen Tiye.

The gifts sent to Egypt by Tushratta include a pair of horses and a chariot, plated with gold and inlaid with precious stones, a litter for a camel adorned with gold and precious stones, cloth and garments, jewelry such as bracelets, armlets and other ornaments, a saddle for a horse adorned with gold eagles, more dresses colored purple, green and crimson and a large chest to hold the items.

In return Amenhotep III never sent the golden statues he offered and after his death Tushratta sent some missives complaining about the lack of reciprocity.

Some scholars tentatively identify Tadukhipa with Kiya, a queen of Akhenaten. It has been suggested that the story of Kiya may be the source for the New Kingdom story called the Tale of Two Brothers.

This fable tells the story of how the pharaoh fell in love with a beautiful foreign woman after smelling her hair. If Tadukhipa was later known as Kiya, then she would have lived at Amarna where she had her own sunshade and was depicted with the pharaoh and at least one daughter.

Kiya was one of the wives of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. Little is known about her, and her actions and roles are poorly documented in the historical record, in contrast to those of Akhenaten’s first (and chief) royal wife, Nefertiti. Her unusual name suggests that she may originally have been a Mitanni princess.

Surviving evidence demonstrates that Kiya was an important figure at Akhenaten’s court during the middle years of his reign, when she bore him a daughter. She disappears from history a few years before her royal husband’s death. In previous years, she was thought to be mother of Tutankhamun, but recent DNA evidence suggests this is unlikely.

The name Kiya itself is cause for debate. It has been suggested that it is a “pet” form, rather than a full name, and as such could be a contraction of a foreign name, such as the Mitanni name “Tadukhipa,” referring to the daughter of King Tushratta. Thus some Egyptologists have proposed that Tadukhipa and Kiya might be the same person.

However there is no confirming evidence that Kiya was anything but a native Egyptian. In fact, Cyril Aldred proposed that her unusual name is actually a variant of the Ancient Egyptian word for “monkey,” making it unnecessary to assume a foreign origin for her.

Others such as Petrie, Drioton and Vandier have suggested that Tadukhipa was given a new name after becoming the consort of Akhenaten and is to be identified the famous queen Nefertiti, or Neferneferuaten Nefertiti (ca. 1370 BC – ca. 1330 BC), the Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of Akhenaten.

This theory suggests that Nefertiti’s name Nfr.t-jy.tj, original pronunciation approximately Nafteta, for (“the beautyful one has come”) refers to Nefertiti’s foreign origin as Tadukhipa. Seele, Meyer and others have pointed out that Tey, wife of Ay, held the title of nurse to Nefertiti, and that this argues against this identification. A mature princess arriving in Egypt would not need a nurse.

Nefertiti and her husband were responsible for the creation of a whole new religion which changed the ways of religion within Egypt and known for a religious revolution, in which they worshiped one god only, Aten, or the sun disc.

Akhenaten and Nefertiti reigned at what was arguably the wealthiest period of Ancient Egyptian history. Some scholars believe that Nefertiti ruled briefly as Neferneferuaten after her husband’s death and before the accession of Tutankhamun, although this identification is a matter of ongoing debate.

Nefertiti’s parentage is not known with certainty, but one often cited theory is that she was the daughter of Ay, later to be pharaoh. Scenes in the tombs of the nobles in Amarna mention the queen’s sister who is named Mutbenret (previously read as Mutnodjemet).

Yuya and Tjuyu also are known to have had a son named Anen, who carried the titles Chancellor of Lower Egypt, Second Prophet of Amun, sm-priest of Heliopolis, and Divine Father.

The tomb of Yuya and Tjuyu was, until the discovery of Tutankhamun’s, one of the most spectacular ever found in the Valley of the Kings despite Yuya not even being a pharaoh. Although the burial site was robbed in antiquity, many objects not considered worth plundering by the robbers remained. Both the mummies were largely intact and were in an amazing state of preservation. Their faces in particular were relatively undistorted by the process of mummification, and provide an extraordinary insight into the actual appearance of the deceased while alive.

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Armenian mythology

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 19, 2014

Vahagn – the God of Fires: March 21

The Vishap stones (Vishapakar), also known as Serpent-stones and Dragon stones

Armenian mythology

Ara the Beautiful

Religion in ancient Armenia was historically associated with the worship of many cults, mainly the cult of ancestors, the worship of heavenly bodies (the cult of the Sun, the Moon cult, the cult of Heaven) and the worship of certain creatures (lions, eagles, bulls). The country used the solar Hayk Armenian calendar, which consisted of 12 months.

The pantheon of Armenian gods (ditsov) formed during the nucleation of the Proto-Armenian tribes that, at the initial stage of their existence, inherited the essential elements of paganism from the Proto-Indo-European tribes that inhabited the Armenian Plateau. Beliefs of the ancient Armenians were related to a set of beliefs which in Persia led to the emergence of Zoroastrianism.

Historians distinguish a significant body of Indo-European language used by Armenian pagans as sacred. Among the most ancient types of worship of Indo-European roots are the cults of eagles and lions, and the worship of heaven.

In addition to the main worship of the eagle and the lion, there were other sacred animals: the bull (Ervand and Ervaz were born to a relationship of a woman and a bull), deer (from the Bronze Age, there are numerous pictures, statues and bas-reliefs associated with the cult of the mother goddess and, later, with the Christian Mother of God), bear, cat and dog (e.g. Aralez).

According to De Morgan there are signs which indicate that the Armenians were initially nature worshipers and that this faith in time was transformed to the worship of national gods, of which many were the equivalents of the gods in the Roman, Greek and Persian cultures.

Sun worship – Ara the Beautiful 

Since ancient times the cult of sun worship occupied a special place in Armenian mythology. The original cult worship in Armenia was a kind of unfathomable higher power or intelligence called Ara, called the physical embodiment of the sun (Arev) worshiped by the ancient Armenians, who called themselves “the children of the sun”.

Ara the Beautiful (also Ara the Handsome or Ara the Fair) was a legendary Armenian hero. He is notable in Armenian literature for the popular legend in which he was so handsome that the Assyrian queen Semiramis waged war against Armenia just to get him. He is the god of spring, flora, agriculture, sowing and water. He is associated with Osiris, Vishnu and Dionysus, as the symbol of new life.

Aragil or Stork – Aralez, the spirit-dogs 

Aragil or Stork – considered as the messenger of Ara the Beautiful, as well as the defender of fields. According to ancient mythological conceptions, two stork symbolize the sun. Aralez, spirit-dogs that were licking the bounds of fallen or such an injured warriors of armenian troops, was an Armenian mythology creature-kinocefal (dog-heads).

A new phantom

Over time, the Armenian pantheon was updated, and new deities of Armenian and not Aryan origins appeared. During the fifth century BC. the Armenians adopted the Iranian forms of the Indo-European divinities and domesticated them. It particularly focused on the worship of Mihr (Avestan Mithra) and also included a pantheon of native Aryan gods, such as Aramazd, Vahagn, Anahit, and Astghik. The Armenian “triad” included Aramazd, Anahit and Vahagn.

The supreme god of the Armenian pantheon, Vanatur, was later replaced by Aramazd. Ahura-Mazda, who assumed the status of the father of the gods, was worshiped as Aramazd.  The latter, though, has appeared under the influence of Zoroastrianism, but with partially preserved traditional Armenian features.

Similarly, Anahita became Anahit. The traditional Armenian goddess of fertility, Nar, or Tsovinar, the goddess of rain, sea and water, though she was actually a fiery being who forced rain to fall, was replaced by Anahit, goddess of fertility and mother of all wisdom and the favorite goddess of the Armenians.

Mithra, god of light and justice, was known as Mihr. Verethrangna, the god of war, was worshiped as Vahagn. Astghik was the goddess of love. Tir, the scribe of Aramazd, was the god of science and the recorder of human deeds of good and evil. Barshamin and Nane, probably of Syrian origin, also took their places in the Armenian pantheon.

Aramazd

Aramazd (Zeus), the Master of all Armenian gods, the father of all gods and goddess, the creator of heaven and earth, was the principal deity in Armenia’s pre-Christian pantheon. He was the source of earth’s fertility, making it fruitful and bountiful. The celebration in his honor was called Am’nor, or New Year, which was celebrated on March 21 in the old Armenian calendar (also the Spring equinox). He was called “the great and couragous Aramazd”.

Aramazd was a syncretic deity, a combination of the autochthonous Armenian legendary figure Ara and the Iranian Ahura Mazda, the Avestan name for a higher divinity of the Old Iranian religion who was proclaimed as the uncreated God by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism. In the Hellinistic period Aramazd in Armenia was compared with Greek Zeus.

Aramazd displaced Vanatur at the top of the pantheon after interaction with the Persians led to the Armenians’ identifying the Zoroastrians’ Ahura Mazda as their prime deity. Amanor and Vanatur (probably it was the same god with various names) was the god of Armenians new year and lord of the new yield. The celebration in his honor occurred in the end of Junly and was called Navasard (new year). His main worship was located in Bagavan city. If Amanor was the god of new year and new yield, Vanatur was the god of hospitality and bountiful hosts.

The principal temple of Aramazd was in Ani (Kamakh in modern Turkey), a cultural and administrative center of ancient Armenia. The temple had been ruined at the end of the 3rd century AD, after the adoption of Christianity in Armenia as the state religion. The treasures and tribal mausoleums of Armenian Arshaguni (Arshakuni) kings were there, too.

Aramazd, considered the father of all gods and goddesses, the creator of heaven and earth, is the principal deity in Armenia’s pre-Christian pantheon. He displaced Vanatur at the top of the pantheon after interaction with the Persians led to the Armenians’ identifying the Zoroastrians’ Ahura Mazda as their prime deity.

Aramazd was the source of earth’s fertility, making it fruitful and bountiful. The first two letters in his name – AR – are the Indo-European root for sun, light, and life. The celebration in his honor was called Amanor, or New Year, which was celebrated on March 21 in the old Armenian calendar (also the Spring equinox).

Aramazd was a syncretic deity, a combination of the autochthonous Armenian legendary figure Ara and the Iranian Ahura Mazda. In the Hellinistic period Aramazd in Armenia was compared with Greek Zeus.

Nane

Nane was an Armenian pagan mother goddess. She was the goddess of war, wisdom, and motherhood, and the daughter of the supreme god Aramazd. In Armenia and other countries, the name Nane continues to be used as a personal name.

She looked like a young beautiful woman in the clothing of a warrior, with spear and shield in hand, like the Greek Athena, with whom she identified in the Hellenic period. Her followers were some of the ex-Paulician Armenians who were mostly Islamicised and later known as Pomaks in Europe. Her cult was closely associated with the cult of the goddess Anahit.

The temple of the goddess Nane was in the town of Thil. Her temple was destroyed during the Christianization of Armenia: “Then they crossed the Lycus River and demolished the temple of Nane, Aramazd’s daughter, in the town of Thil.”

“Gregory then asked the king for permission to overthrow and destroy the pagan shrines and temples. Drtad readily issued an edict entrusting Gregory with this task, and himself set out from the city to destroy shrines along the highways.”

According to some authors, Nane was adopted from the Sumerian-Akkadian goddess Nanaya (also transcribed as Nanâ, Nanãy or Nanãya), the canonical name for a goddess who personified “voluptuousness and sensuality”.

Anahit

Anahit (Artemis), the mother-goddess and the most loved and honored Armenian goddess, was the goddess of fertility and healing, wisdom and water in Armenian mythology. In early periods she was the goddess of war. By the 5th century BC she was the main deity in Armenia along with Aramazd. She was the daughter or wife of Aramazd.

Anahit was sculptured with the child on her hands` with specific hair style of Armenians mothers or women and was called “Great Lady Anahit”. Ancient Armenians believed that Armenian world was existing by Anahit’s will. Anahit was the cult of maternity and fertility.

Anahit-worships were established in Eriza avan (region) and in Armavir, Artashat and Ashtishat cities. A mountain in Sophene district was known as Anahit’s throne (Athor Anahta).

Vahagn

Vahagn or Vahagn Vishapakagh (Vahagn the Dragon Reaper). Vahagn was the god of thunder and lightning, and a herculean hero noted for slaying dragons. Vahagn fought and conquered dragons, hence his title Vishabakagh, “dragon reaper”, where dragons in Armenian lore are identified as “Vishaps”.

Vahagn was also a god of fire and war to whom Armenian kings and warlords would pray before engaging in battle. He was linked to Verethragna, whose name in Avestan means “smiting of resistance”, the hypostasis of victory in the texts of the Avesta; the name turned into Vahagn (the Avestan “th” becoming “h” in Arsacid Middle Persian), later on to take the form of Vahagn.

He was also worshiped as a sun-god, a sun-god, rival of Baal-shamin and Mihr, and a god of courage, later identified with the Greek Herakles. Vahagn’s main sanctuary was located in the Ashtishat city of Taron “world” (a region in ancient Armenia).  The priests of Vahévahian temple, who claimed Vahagn as their own ancestor, placed a statue of the Greek hero in their sanctuary. In the Armenian translation of the Bible, “Heracles, worshipped at Tyr” is renamed “Vahagn”.

All the gods, according to the Euhemerist belief, had been living men; Vahagn likewise, was introduced within the ranks of the Armenian kings, as the son of Yervand (6th century BC.), together with his brothers — Bab and Tiran.

The Armenian princely house of Vahevunis believed to derive from Vahagn. The Vahevunis were ranked high in the Royal Registrar of Armenia, recorded by King Valarshak. In the pre-Christian Armenia, the Vahevunis hereditarily possessed the temple town of Ashtishat on the left bank of the Aratzani river and most likelly also held the post of the Sparapet, i.e.t he Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Armenian Army.

Historian Khorenatsi’s report of an ancient song gives a clue to his nature and origin: Ancient Armenian origin of Vahagn’s birth song. The stalk or reed, key to the situation, is an important word in Indo-European mythology, in connection with fire in its three forms.

In travail were heaven and earth,

In travail, too, the purple sea!

The travail held in the sea the small red reed.

Through the hollow of the stalk came forth smoke,

Through the hollow of the stalk came forth flame,

And out of the flame a youth ran!

Fiery hair had he,

Ay, too, he had flaming beard,

And his eyes, they were as suns!

Vāhana

Vāhana (skt. that which carries, that which pulls) denotes the being, typically an animal or mythical entity, a particular deva (approximately translatable from Sanskrit as ‘deity’) is said to use as a vehicle. In this capacity, the vāhana is often called the deity’s mount. Upon the partnership between the deva and his vāhana is woven much iconography and mythology.

Often, the deva is iconographically depicted riding (or simply mounted upon) the vāhana. Other times, the vāhana is depicted at the deity’s side or symbolically represented as a divine attribute.

The vāhana may be considered an accoutrement of the deity: though the vāhana may act independently, they are still functionally emblematic or even syntagmatic of their “rider”. The deva (or devī, who will have her own, unique vāhana) may be seen sitting or on, or standing on, the vāhana. They may be sitting on a small platform called a howdah, or riding on a saddle or bareback. Vah in Sanskrit means to carry or to transport.

Astghik

Astghik (Greek – Aphrodite, Mesopotamian – Inanna/Ishtar), commonly referred to as Asya, Astghik, or Astlik, was the wife or lover of Vahagn, the god of fire and war, thunder and lightning.

In the earliest prehistoric period Astghig had been worshipped as the Armenian pagan deity of fertility and love, later the skylight had been considered her personification. In the later heathen period she became the goddess of love, maidenly beauty, and water sources and springs.

The Vartavar festival devoted to Astghik that had once been celebrated in mid July was transformed into the Christian holiday of the Transfiguration of Christ, and is still celebrated by the Armenians. As in pre-Christian times, on the day of this fest the people release doves and sprinkle water on each other with wishes of health and good luck.

With Aramazd, the father of all deities, the creator of heaven and earth, (the sun being worshiped as his personification) and Anahit that had been worshiped as Great Lady and Mother Deity (the moon being worshiped as her personification), she forms an astral trinity.

Her name is the diminutive of Armenian աստղ astġ, meaning “star”, which through Proto-Indo-European *h₂stḗr is cognate to Sanskrit stṛ, Avestan star, Pahlavi star, Persian sitara´, Pashto storai, Latin and Italian stella and astro, French astre, Spanish astro, German stern, English star, etc.

Her principal seat was in Ashtishat (Taron), located to the North from Mush, where her chamber was dedicated to the name of Vahagn, the personification of a sun-god, her lover or husband according to popular tales, and had been named “Vahagn’s bedroom”.

Other temples and places of worship of Astghik had been located in various towns and villages, such as the mountain of Palaty (to the South-West from Lake Van), in Artamet (12 km from Van), etc.

The unique monuments of prehistoric Armenia, “višap” vishaps (Arm. višap ‘serpent, dragon’) or “dragon stones”, spread in many provinces of historical Armenia – Gegharkunik, Aragatsotn, Javakhk, Tayk, etc., and are another manifastation of her worship.

Mihr

Mihr was the god of sun and heaven light. He was the son of Aramazd, the brother of Anahit and Nane, while Tir (Apollo) was the god of wisdom, science and studies, also an interpreter of dreams. Tir was secretary of Aramazd. Tir’s temple was located near Artashat and  was called “Aramazds grchi divan” or “Mehyan for studying sciences”.

Both Vedic Mitra and Avestan Mithra derive from an Indo-Iranian common noun *mitra-, generally reconstructed to have meant “covenant, treaty, agreement, promise.” This meaning is preserved in Avestan mithra “covenant.” In Sanskrit and modern Indo-Aryan languages, mitra means “friend,” one of the aspects of binding and alliance.

The Hellenistic age

In the Hellenistic age (3rd to 1st centuries BC), ancient Armenian deities identified with the ancient Greek deities: Aramazd with Zeus, Anahit with Artemis, Vahagn with Hercules, Astghik with Aphrodite, Nane with Athena, Mihr with Hephaestus, Tir with Apollo.

Christianity

After the formal adoption of Christianity in Armenia, new mythological images and stories were born as ancient myths and beliefs transformed. Biblical characters took over the functions of the archaic gods and spirits. For example, John the Baptist inherited certain features of Vahagn and Tyre, and the archangel Gabriel that of Vahagn.

Basic information about Armenian pagan traditions were preserved in the works of ancient Greek authors such as Plato, Herodotus, Xenophon and Strabo, Byzantine scholar Procopius of Caesarea, as well as medieval Armenian writers such as Moses of Chorene, Agathangelos, Yeznik of Kolb, Sebeos and Anania Shirakatsi, not to mention oral folk traditions.

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Christians of the Holy Land

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 18, 2014

http://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/pope-francis-wall.jpg

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Christians of the Holy Land

The last Christian village in the Holy Land

The lives of Palestinian Christians

Israel denies thousands of Palestinian Christians entry to Holy sites on Palm Sunday

Pushing for a boycott of Israel

War is not the answer, never was, never will

The exodus from the Holy Land of Palestinian Christians could eventually leave holy cities like Jerusalem and Bethlehem without a local Christian population. Bob Simon reports.

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People have the power!

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 18, 2014

http://thenewcomer.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/pink-floyd-wall.jpg

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Bad Boy Bubby

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There has been a coordinated, deliberate and sustained action carried out by a number of associated individuals to introduce an intolerant and aggressive ethos into schools. This has been gained by achieving influence on governing bodies, installing sympathetic headteachers or senior members of staff, appointing like-minded people to key positions and seeking to remove headteachers they do not feel to be sufficiently compliant with their agenda. Whether the motivation reflects a political agenda, a deeply held religious conviction, personal gain or achieving influence within the communities, the effect has been to limit the life chances of the young people in their care and to render them vulnerable to more pernicious influences in the future.

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