Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The architects behind the wonders of Cappadocia

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 4, 2016

Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in the Nevşehir, Kayseri, Kırşehir, Aksaray, and Niğde Provinces in Turkey. According to Herodotus, in the time of the Ionian Revolt (499 BCE) the Cappadocians were reported as occupying a region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine (Black Sea).

Cappadocia, in this sense, was bounded in the south by the chain of the Taurus Mountains that separate it from Cilicia, to the east by the upper Euphrates, to the north by Pontus, and to the west by Lycaonia and eastern Galatia.

The name, traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history, continues in use as an international tourism concept to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage.

To this day, no one is certain how it was created and what its original purpose was. Ancient Alien theorists speculate that it is thousands of years older than believed, and created by alien visitors then later abandoned the city.

The earliest record of the name of Cappadocia dates from the late 6th century BC, when it appears in the trilingual inscriptions of two early Achaemenid kings, Darius I and Xerxes, as one of the countries (Old Persian dahyu-) of the Persian Empire. In these lists of countries, the Old Persian name is Katpatuka, which possibly means “the land/country of beautiful horses”.

“Cappadocia” could also come from the Luwian language, an ancient language or group of languages of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family, meaning “Low Country”.

Herodotus tells us that the name of the Cappadocians was applied to them by the Persians, while they were termed by the Greeks “Syrians” or “White Syrians” Leucosyri.

One of the Cappadocian tribes he mentions is the Moschoi, associated by Flavius Josephus with the biblical figure Meshech, son of Japheth: “and the Mosocheni were founded by Mosoch; now they are Cappadocians”.

Mazaca, the city which served as the residence of the kings of Cappadocia, has been continuously inhabited since perhaps c. 3000 BC with the establishment of the ancient trading colony at Kultepe (Ash Mountain) which is associated with the Hittites.

Cappadocia was known as Hatti, in the late Bronze Age, and was the homeland of the Hittite power centred at Hattusa. The oldest name for central Anatolia, “Land of the Hatti”, was found on Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets from the period of Sargon the Great of Akkad c. 2350–2150 BC.

The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in central Anatolia. The group was documented at least as early as the empire of Sargon of Akkad (c. 2300 BC), until it was gradually absorbed c. 2000–1700 BC by the Indo-European Hittites, an Ancient Anatolian people who established an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC, who became identified with the “land of Hatti”.

Hattic (Hattian) was a non-Indo-European, agglutinative language spoken by the Hattians in Asia Minor between the 3rd and the 2nd millennia BC. No documents have been found in which the native Hattic speakers wrote their own language.

The conservative view is that Hattic is a language isolate that is different from neighboring Indo-European and Semitic languages, though, based on toponyms and personal names, it may have been related to the otherwise unattested Kaskian language, a non-Indo-European language of the Kaskians of northeastern Bronze Age Anatolia, in the mountains along the Black Sea coast.

The name Kaskian may be cognate with an old name for Circassia (Circassian: Adygekher), and the name of one of the tribes in the Kaskian confederation, the Abešla, may be cognate with the endonym of the Abkhaz people and some Circassian people, suggesting the Kaskians proper and Abeshla might have been the ancestors of the Circassians and other Caucasian peoples. It has also been conjectured that Kaskian might belong to the Zan family of languages, and have affinities to Megrelian or Laz.

The Circassians refer to themselves as Adyghe (also transliterated as Adyga, Adyge, Adygei, Adyghe, Attéghéi). The name is believed to derive from atté “height” to signify a mountaineer or a highlander, and ghéi “sea”, signifying “a people dwelling and inhabiting a mountainous country near the sea coast”, or “between two seas”.

Genetically, the Adyghe have shared ancestry partially with neighboring peoples of the Caucasus, with some influence from the other regions.

The Circassian language, also known as the Cherkess language, including West Adyghe, Kabardian Adyghe, and Ubykh, is a member of the ancient Northwest Caucasian language family. Archaeological findings, mainly of dolmens in Northwest Caucasus region, indicate a megalithic culture in North West caucauses.

Many Northwest Caucasian (Adygean) family names have prefixes like “Hath” or “Hatti”, and one of the well known Adyghe tribes has the name “Hattiqwai” (From “Hatti” + “male or son”); meaning “HattiSon”).

It has been conjectured that the North-West Caucasian languages may be genetically related to the Indo-European family, at a time depth of perhaps 12,000 years before the present.

This hypothesised proto-language is called Proto-Pontic, but is not widely accepted. However, there does at least appear to have been extensive contact between the two proto-languages, and the resemblances may be due to this influence.

The Maykop culture (also spelled Maikop, Majkop), ca. 3700 BC—3000 BC, was a major Bronze Age archaeological culture in the Western Caucasus region of Southern Russia. Its inhumation practices were characteristically Indo-European, typically in a pit, sometimes stone-lined, topped with a kurgan (or tumulus). Stone cairns replace kurgans in later interments.

In the south it borders the approximately contemporaneous Kura-Araxes culture (3500—2200 BC), which extends into eastern Anatolia and apparently influenced it. New data revealed the similarity of artifacts from the Maykop culture with those found recently in the course of excavations of the ancient city of Tell Khazneh in northern Syria, the construction of which dates back to 4000 BC.

The Kuban River is navigable for much of its length and provides an easy water-passage via the Sea of Azov to the territory of the Yamna culture, along the Don and Donets River systems. The Maykop culture was thus well-situated to exploit the trading possibilities with the central Ukraine area.

Certain similarities between Hattic and both Northwest (e.g., Abkhaz) and South Caucasian (Kartvelian) languages have led to assumptions by some scholars about the possibility of a linguistic block stretching from central Anatolia to the Caucasus.

Hurrian is an ergative, agglutinative language that, together with Urartian, constitutes the Hurro-Urartian family. It was the language of the Mitanni kingdom in northern Mesopotamia, and was likely spoken at least initially in Hurrian settlements in Syria.

It is generally believed that the speakers of this language originally came from the Armenian Highlands and spread over southeast Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC.

The earliest Hurrian text fragments consist of lists of names and places from the end of the third millennium BC. The first full texts date to the reign of king Tish-atal of Urkesh and were found on a stone tablet accompanying the Hurrian foundation pegs known as the “Urkish lions.”

At the start of the second milliennium BC. Archeologists have discovered the texts of numerous spells, incantations, prophecies and letters at sites including Hattusha, Mari, Tuttul, Babylon, Ugarit and others. The Hurrian religion, in different forms, influenced the entire ancient Near East.

The Hurrian culture made a great impact on the religion of the Hittites. From the Hurrian cult centre at Kummanni in Kizzuwatna Hurrian religion spread to the Hittite people. Syncretism merged the Old Hittite and Hurrian religions. Hurrian religion spread to Syria, where Baal became the counterpart of Teshub.

The Hurrians had a reputation in metallurgy. The Sumerians borrowed their copper terminology from the Hurrian vocabulary. Copper was traded south to Mesopotamia from the highlands of Anatolia.

The Khabur Valley had a central position in the metal trade, and copper, silver and even tin were accessible from the Hurrian-dominated countries Kizzuwatna and Ishuwa situated in the Anatolian highland.

Urartu, corresponding to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat or Kingdom of Van, was an Iron Age kingdom centred on Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands. The heirs of Urartu are the Armenians and their successive kingdoms.

It is clear that Armenian is an Indo-European language, but its development is opaque. In any case, Armenian has many layers of loanwords and shows traces of long language contact with Hurro-Urartian, Greek and Indo-Iranian.

In 1981, Hopper proposed to divide all Indo-European languages into Decem and Taihun groups, according to the pronunciation of the numeral ’10’, by analogy with the Centum-Satem isogloss, which is based on the pronunciation of the numeral ‘100’.

The Armenian, Germanic, Anatolian, and Tocharian subfamilies belong to the Taihun group because the numeral ’10’ begins with a voiceless t there. All other Indo-European languages belong to the Decem group because the numeral 10 begins with a voiced d in them.

The Armenian hypothesis of the Proto-Indo-European Urheimat, proposed by Georgian (T. Gamkrelidze) and Russian linguist V. V. Ivanov in 1985, suggests that the Proto-Indo-European language was spoken during the 4th millennium BC in the Armenian Highlands.

The Armenian hypothesis was proposed by Georgian (T. Gamkrelidze) and Russian linguists V. V. Ivanov in 1985, presenting it first in two articles in Vestnik drevnej istorii and then in a much larger work.

Gamkrelidze and Ivanov argue that IE spread out from Armenia into the Pontic steppe, from which it expanded, as per the Kurgan hypothesis, into Western Europe. The Hittite, Indo-Iranian, Greek and Armenian branches split from the Armenian homeland.

It is an Indo-Hittite model and does not include the Anatolian languages in its scenario. The phonological peculiarities proposed in the glottalic theory would be best preserved in the Armenian language and the Germanic languages, the former assuming the role of the dialect which remained in situ and implied to be particularly archaic in spite of its late attestation.

The Proto-Greek language would be practically equivalent to Mycenaean Greek and date to the 17th century BC and closely associate Greek migration to Greece with the Indo-Aryan migration to India at about the same time (the Indo-European expansion at the transition to the Late Bronze Age, including the possibility of Indo-European Kassites).

Strictly speaking, Urartu is the Assyrian term for a geographical region, while “kingdom of Urartu” or “Biainili lands” are terms used in modern historiography for the Urartian-speaking Iron Age state that arose in that region.

The language appears in cuneiform inscriptions. It is argued on linguistic evidence that proto-Armenian came in contact with Urartian at an early date (3rd-2nd millennium BC), before formation of Urartian kingdom.

In the early sixth century BC, Urartu was replaced by the Armenian Orontid Dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun Inscription, carved in 521 or 520 BC by the order of Darius I, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in the Elamite language.

The use of the word “Proto-Hittite” to refer to Hattians is inaccurate. Hittite (natively known as Nešili, “[in the language] of Neša”) is an Indo-European language, linguistically distinct from the Hattians. The Hittites continued to use the term Land of Hatti for their new kingdom. The Hattians eventually merged with people who spoke Indo-European languages like Hittite, Luwian, and Palaic.

Hittite (natively nešili “[in the language] of Neša”), also known as Nesite and Neshite, is the extinct language once spoken by the Hittites, Indo-European-speaking peoples who created an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia (modern-day Turkey).

Hittite lacks some features of the other Indo-European languages, such as a distinction between masculine and feminine grammatical gender, subjunctive and optative moods, and aspect. Various hypotheses have been formulated to explain these contrasts.[9]

Some linguists, most notably Edgar H. Sturtevant and Warren Cowgill, have argued that it should be classified as a sister language to Proto-Indo-European, rather than a daughter language, formulating the Indo-Hittite hypothesis. The parent, Indo-Hittite, lacked the features not present in Hittite, which Proto-Indo-European innovated.

Other linguists, however, have taken the opposite point of view, the Schwund (“loss”) Hypothesis, that Hittite (or Anatolian) came from a Proto-Indo-European possessing the full range of features, but simplified.

A third hypothesis, supported by Calvert Watkins and others, viewed the major families as all coming from Proto-Indo-European directly. They were all sister languages or language groups. Differences might be explained as dialectical.

According to Craig Melchert, the current tendency is to suppose that Proto-Indo-European evolved, and that the “prehistoric speakers” of Anatolian became isolated “from the rest of the PIE speech community, so as not to share in some common innovations.”

Hittite, as well as its Anatolian cousins, split off from Proto-Indo-European at an early stage, thereby preserving archaisms that were later lost in the other Indo-European languages.

The entry of the Hittites into the sphere of scholarship and archaeological literature dates from the late nineteenth century when the Akkadian tablets at Tel-el-Amar in Egypt were deciphered, and when A.H. Sayce set about deciphering the pictographic inscriptions on stone discovered at Hama in Syria and identified them as the work of the Hittites.

This, before the existence of Hittite remains in Anatolia was even guessed at Scholars and travelers extended their searches and discovered similar pictographic inscriptions. They made a deep impression on Cappadocia to whose ancient history knowing Hittite civilization and art is the key.

Except for the Bible the Hittite people are absent from history and until their capital, Hattusa, was discovered in central Turkey, many historians did not believe they existed. But exist they did and apparently they were diggers. Architectural similarities between arches at Hattusa and in Cappadocia’s underground cities lead archaeologists to believe that they were the first people to dig out these underground areas. Most likely they did not dig down more than the first two levels.

Cappadocia’s volcanic earth makes it ideal for digging, and the lack of fuel makes underground storage and dwelling a good idea (temperature does not change underground). Every people that has lived in this region since the Hittites has added to what the Hittites started.

First built in the soft volcanic rock of the Cappadocia region, possibly by the Phrygians in the 8th – 7th centuries B.C according to the Turkish Department of Culture, the underground city at Derinkuyu may have been enlarged in the Byzantine era. The city was connected with other underground cities through miles of tunnels.

Scholars believe Derinkuyu was the hiding place for the first Christians who were escaping from the persecution of the Roman empire. Some things discovered in these underground settlements belong to the Middle Byzantine Period, between the 5th and the 10th centuries A.D.

It is speculated that number of underground settlements, generally used for taking refuge and for religious purposes, increased during this era. The Christian communities in the region may have taken refuge, closing the millstone doors, when they were subjected to Arab raids which started in the 7th century.

In certain eras the need to develop these lairs was greater than others. During the Roman persecution of Christians in the 2nd and 3rd century AD the need to hide was great.

During this time the subterranean areas were expanded. Again, in the 8th-10th centuries when Arab raiders roamed at will, the desire to become invisible quickly was at a peek. Apparently, thousands of people could live in these rock rooms for months at a time.

Archaeologists have found a 9 kilometer tunnel connecting Kaymakli to Derinkuyu. This makes it clear how desperate these people were. They could descend into the underground city from each of their homeland close off the tunnels, and then if their oppressors did not leave, they could make the 5 mile trek and come up in another town. Pretty amazing.

The fascinating culture of the Hittites is at least as colorful as the rock churches of Cappadocia. In Hittite there are many loanwords, particularly religious vocabulary, from the non-Indo-European Hurrian and Hattic languages. The latter was the language of the Hattians, the local inhabitants of the land of Hatti before being absorbed or displaced by the Hittites. Sacred and magical texts from Hattusa were often written in Hattic, Hurrian, and Luwian, even after Hittite became the norm for other writings.

In multi-lingual texts found in Hittite locations, passages written in the Hittite language are preceded by the adverb nesili (or nasili, nisili), “in the [speech] of Neša (Kaneš)”, an important city before the rise of the Empire. In one case, the label is Kanisumnili, “in the [speech] of the people of Kaneš”.

The settlement mound here, known as Kultepe (Turkish: Ash Hill), is one of the largest in Central Anatolia, measuring 550 * 450 meters and 20 meters in height. The first excavation of Kultepe mound was carried out by the French scholar E. Chantre, using the methods of his time.

Kültepe is an archaeological site located in Kayseri Province in Turkey. The nearest modern city to Kültepe is Kayseri, about 20 km southwest. It consists of a tell, the actual Kültepe, and a lower town where an Assyrian settlement was found. Its name in Assyrian texts from the 20th century BC was Kaneš (spoken: Kah nesh), the later Hittites mostly called it Neša, occasionally Anisa.

Kaneš, inhabited continuously from the Chalcolithic period to Roman times, flourished as an important Hattic, Hittite and Hurrian city, which contained a colonised large merchant quarter (kârum) of the Old Assyrian Empire from ca. 21st to 18th centuries BC.

By the Late Bronze Age, Hittite had started losing ground to its close relative Luwian. It appears that in the 13th century BC, Luwian was the most widely-spoken language in the Hittite capital of Hattusa.

After the collapse of the Hittite Empire as a part of the more general Late Bronze Age collapse, Luwian emerged in the Early Iron Age as the main language of the so-called Syro-Hittite states in southwestern Anatolia and northern Syria.

After the fall of the Hittite Empire, with the decline of the Syro-Cappadocians (Mushki) after their defeat by the Lydian king Croesus in the 6th century, Cappadocia was ruled by a sort of feudal aristocracy, dwelling in strong castles and keeping the peasants in a servile condition, which later made them apt to foreign slavery.

It was included in the third Persian satrapy in the division established by Darius but continued to be governed by rulers of its own, none apparently supreme over the whole country and all more or less tributaries of the Great King.

In 93 BC, troops from the Kingdom of Armenia under Tigranes the Great, son-in-law of Mithridates VI, invaded Cappadocia at the behest of the Pontic king.

Tigranes dethroned Ariobarzanes I, the king of Cappadocia from 95 BC to ca. 63 BC–62 BC, who fled to Rome, and crowned Gordius as the new client-king of Cappadocia.

With Cappadocia as a client kingdom under Armenia, Tigranes created a buffer zone between his kingdom and the expanding Roman Republic.

From early antiquity, the Armenian people developed a rich and distinctive culture on the great Armenian highland plateau, extending from Asia Minor to the Caucasus. On that crossroad, they interacted on many levels with civilizations of the Orient and Occident.

Immediately to the west of the Armenian highland and the Euphrates River lay Lesser Armenia with Sebastia at its center and Cappadocia with Mazaca, later known as Caesarea (Kesaria/Kayseri), at its center.

Interactions between Armenia and Cappadocia date to early antiquity, when Cappadocia became a contested marchland between empires of East and West.

Caesarea also played an important role in Armenian Christian history, as it was there that Gregory the Illuminator, the evangelizer of Armenia, spent his formative years and it was there that he was ordained the first prelate of Armenia in the early fourth century.

Because of the turbulent history of the Armenian kingdoms, the Armenian element in Cappadocia increased steadily in the Middle Ages. Byzantine expansionist policies and mounting Turkish pressure constrained Armenian kings and nobles to relinquish their domains in the east in exchange for expanses in Lesser Armenia and Cappadocia.

During the centuries of Ottoman rule, the Armenians of Kesaria were noted as goldsmiths and skilled craftsmen, professionals and producers of carpets, linens, textiles, leather goods, pottery, and cured beef.

Beyond the confines of the city of Kesaria with its 20,000 Armenian inhabitants were numerous villages with a combined Armenian population of some 50,000.

With their tightly-knit communities, strong religious faith, schools and churches, the Armenians of the Kesaria region managed to preserve their distinct identity down through the centuries.

Like almost all other areas of Armenian existence in the Ottoman Empire, however, they were uprooted and deported toward the Syrian deserts in 1915, with very few of the survivors ever returning.

These aspects figure among the multidisciplinary discussions in this volume—Armenian Kesaria/Kayseri and Cappadocia.

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Thracian sanctuary – the Womb Cave (aka “Cave Vulva”)

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 3, 2016

7 mysterious caves in Bulgaria

Thracian sanctuary the Womb Cave (aka “Cave Vulva”) dated XI-X century BC is located near village of Nenkovo, Kardjali region, Bulgaria. It was discovered in 2001.

The Womb Cave (Утроба, Utroba) in the Rhodope Mountains bears an uncanny resemblance to the female genitalia. This is not exactly a coincidence though. There’s evidence that the cave’s opening was shaped by the ancient Thracians around 1000 BC. The cave hosted a Thracian sanctuary to female fertility at the time.

Incredibly, the Womb Cave is designed in such a way that a ray of sunlight enters through the entrance of the cave at such an angle that it enters the rock womb and hits the middle of the altar directly, symbolically inseminating it. Feel like exploring this vulva-shaped cave? Then head for southeastern Bulgaria or specifically the isolated village of Nenkovo near Kardzhali.

Abri Castanet cave – Vulva Cave Art

Earliest wall art features female genitalia

Female genitalia features in world’s oldest cave art

A massive block of limestone in France contains what scientists believe are the earliest known engravings of wall art dating back some 37,000 years, according to a study. The 1.5 tonne ceiling piece was first discovered in 2007 at Abri Castanet, a well known archaeological site in southwestern France which holds some of the earliest forms of artwork, beads and pierced shells.

According to New York University anthropology professor Randall White, lead author of the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the art was likely meant to adorn the interior of a shelter for reindeer hunters. “They decorated the places where they were living, where they were doing all their daily activities,” says White.

“There is a whole question about how and why, and why here in this place at this particular time you begin to see people spending so much time and energy and imagination on the graphics.”

The images range from paintings of horses to “vulvar imagery” that appears to represent female sex organs, carved into the low ceiling that rose between 1.5 to two meters from the floor, within reach of the hunters.

Over the years, archaeologist Randall White of New York University and his colleagues have discovered various artistic items of southern France’s Abri Castanet, a shallow cave in the Vexere valley, including ornamental snail shells and engraved limestones. But the researchers were unable to date the art due to a lack of organic matter.

So when, in 2007, the team discovered a large block of limestone with paintings of what look like a female’s vulva that had fallen from the cave ceiling in an area with numerous animal bones, suggesting they dated to around the same time period, they sent the samples to the University of Oxford for radiocarbon dating.

The results came back dating the bones to somewhere between 36,000 and 37,000 years ago, making them as old, or older, than the paintings of lions and other animals in southern France’s Chauvet Cave, which have been noted as the oldest known cave art since their discovery in 1994.

The researchers, who published their findings yesterday (May 14) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that this date likely also applies to the other vulva-like art previously found in the cave.

“The fact that the most recognizable image on the newly discovered surface falls broadly within the range of ovoid forms traditionally interpreted as vulva leads us to suppose that the above dates apply to other such images from Castanet, many of which were located within a few meters of the engraving described here,” they wrote.

The images also differ greatly from the drawings at Chauvet, such as the fact that they are displayed in the areas of the cave used for sleeping and eating, as opposed to deeper areas beyond the prehistoric humans’ living space, suggesting regional differences in artistic traditions.

“The vulvar tradition in the Vézère Valley seems to constitute a distinct regional variant within a mosaic of graphic and plastic expression across Europe in the Early Aurignacian,” the authors wrote.

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Did Rh negative group origin as a trait of evolution or did it come with aliens or fallen angels, or as a slave race created by extraterrestrials or gods (the Sumerian Anunnaki)?

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 1, 2016

bloodtypes

ABO and Rh blood type by nation

Rh blood group system

Rh Blood Types

The Roots of Mankind

Where does Rh negative blood truly originate from?

Distribution of Blood Types

Blood Type Frequencies by Country including the Rh Factor

rhesus negative blood among Europeans

The Mystery of Human Blood Types

Neanderthals might have made good blood donors

Knowing Neanderthals

Stay Negative! – The Rh Negative Weblog

The Rh-Negative Registry

Historians and genetic researchers recently uncovered a possibility that the current human population stemmed from Homo Sapiens and another mysterious species which may have caused some people to have a Rhesus Negative or RH- blood type.

Eighty-five percent of the world’s population is RH positive. The remaining 15 percent, which are RH negative, are concentrated in Europe. This set of people generally has higher intelligent quotients and are predominantly Caucasians. Thus, there are theories that a species related to Homo Sapiens may have risen in Europe and may have mated with Homo Sapiens later. They could be the origin of Caucasians.

Alien Theory

Alien researchers claim that creatures from outer space visited the Earth in the past. They mated with humans and produced RH negative people. According to this theory, RH is directly linked to Apes. The original group of RH negative people may have evolved from something else other than apes.

Biblical Theory

A biblical tale, set in modern-day Europe, tells a story of angels falling in love with humans and having children with them. The offsprings were called Nephilims. The Nephilim, described as pale, is compared to the Caucasians.

According to this theory, RH negative people embody strange qualities. This explains why the body of an RH positive mother rejects an RH negative child. A number of infant fatalities were attributed to this phenomenon.

Scientific Theory

Science dismisses the existence of RH negative people as a natural occurrence in the evolution process. RH is defined by Science as the presence of Antigen D. Those who are RH positive possess Antigen D in their blood. RH negative people do not have Antigen D in their blood.

Antigens are produced by the body to fight bacteria. If an antigen not produced by the body is introduced to it, it will treat the antigen as its enemy. According to Science, this is the true reason why the body of an RH positive mother rejects an RH negative child.

Rh positive/negative 

For the Human Race, there are four, primary, types of blood. They are A, B, AB, and O. The classifications are derived from the antigens of a person’s blood cells – antigens being proteins that are found on the surface of the cells and which are designed to combat bacteria and viruses.

Most of the human population have such proteins on their cells. They are the Rh positive percentage of the Earth’s people. Within the United States, current estimates suggest that around 85 percent of all Caucasians, roughly 90 percent of African Americans, and approximately 98 percent of Asian Americans are Rh positive.

The small percentage of the U.S. population (and that of the rest of the world, too, it should be noted) which does not exhibit the relevant proteins falls into a very different category, that of the Rh negatives.

Why one particular group of people should have blood that is so incredibly different to that of just about everyone else, is a matter of deep controversy. It is an issue that has led to the development of an astonishing theory: that in the distant past, visiting extraterrestrials subjected early, primitive, humans to advanced gene-splicing and cell–manipulating techniques; ostensibly to create a slave race. In doing so, they gave birth to the Rh negatives.

To demonstrate how incredibly different the Rh negatives are to the rest of the world’s population, we only have to look at the matter of pregnancy. For a pregnant woman who is Rh negative, the hazards can be considerable and dangerous. If a woman who is Rh negative is made pregnant by a man who is also Rh negative, the problems are non-existent and there is no need for concern: both individuals are wholly compatible with one another, the fetus will develop in normal fashion, and the child will be born Rh negative.

If, however, the father is Rh positive and the mother is Rh negative, that’s where the problems can begin and the results may prove to be very different – and tragically so, too – as the baby will be Rh positive. It is this latter issue that gets to the crux of the problem.

As incredible as it may sound, the blood of an Rh negative pregnant woman can be completely incompatible with the blood of an Rh positive baby she is carrying. Such a situation can very often provoke the mother’s own blood to produce potentially lethal antibodies which are designed to attack the fetus’ blood, if and when the former is exposed to the latter.

In other words, the positive baby is perceived by the mother’s negative immune-system as something hostile, something not quite as it should be. For all intents and purposes, the unborn child is considered something alien and something to be gotten rid of at the earliest opportunity possible.

More disturbing is the fact that the more times a woman becomes pregnant, the more powerful and prevalent the deadly antibodies become. In short, the mother’s body finds ways to make the process of trying to kill the fetus ever more powerful, swift, and effective with each successive pregnancy.

It’s almost as if there is something deeply ancient and non-human encoded in our DNA that sees positive and negative as being acutely different to one another, and never intended for unification. That may be exactly the case.

If we today – and particularly so the Rh negatives – are the product of extraterrestrial manipulation, then who, exactly, were the beings that decided to play god with the Human Race’s earliest forms? Why were they so intent on creating new and radically different kinds of people? Where did they come from? Are they still amongst us?

They are questions that lead us to a legendary, powerful body of entities that have become known as the Anunnaki. They are also questions that take us to the heart of ancient Sumerian cultures, which can be found in what, today, is southern Iraq, and which, historians and archaeologists believe, was first settled at some point between 5,500 and 4,000 BC.

According to Sumerian lore, more than 400,000 years before a huge deluge devastated the Earth and killed untold millions, this mighty race of legendary people came to our planet from the heavens above. During their time here, they brought some form of stability, and even society, to what were, originally, extremely primitive human tribes, some of which ultimately became the Cro-Magnons. That was not, however, the original agenda of the Anunnaki.

The primary goal of the Anunnaki was to genetically alter primitive humans to create a robust and strong entity that, effectively, amounted to nothing less than a slave race, one designed to do the bidding of their extraterrestrial masters – including mining the Earth for its supply of precious and priceless gold. When the Anunnaki finally left the Earth, they left behind them an astonishing legacy: a new form of human, one radically different to the rest: the Rh negatives. And they still live today.

The RH negative strain runs through the British Royal Family, something which has provoked controversial assertions that the Royals are not all they appear to be. An entire sub- culture exists suggesting the Royals are directly descended from an ancient order of human- like extraterrestrials that are the true, secret rulers of our planet.

Is there something in the genetic make-up of the Rh negatives that makes them born leaders, powerful figures, and perhaps not unlike the legendary “heroes of old” and the “men of renown,” as described in the pages of the Bible (and almost certainly Rh negatives, too)?

Do the Rh negatives amount to an underground army of human hybrids being carefully, and secretly, nurtured for reasons that might be nothing less than downright sinister and deadly?

If, one day, it is proved that a small percentage of the Human Race is not entirely human after all, will we see a backlash against the negatives? Will there be witch-hunts? Might there be calls to have the negatives isolated from the rest of society?

Could a form of “extraterrestrial racism” – born out of a fear that some of the negatives may be part of a sinister, alien agenda – develop both wildly and widely? Will we see the construction of countless “Extraterrestrial Guantanamo Bays?”

These are the kinds of intriguing and inflammatory questions that the many and varied mysteries of the Rh negatives provoke.

UFO researchers, astronomers, and NASA have spent countless years looking towards the heavens for the proof that aliens are amongst us. The strange saga of the Rh negatives, however, suggests strongly that it’s not to the stars that we need to look for proof that extraterrestrials really exist. It’s to us, the Human Race. In a strange, fantastic, and even ironic, fashion we – or, at least some of us, the Rh negatives – are the very aliens that we have for so long sought…

Did Rh- blood come from Neanderthals?  

If the 35,000 number were right, then this wouldn’t be a bad guess.  But that number is almost certainly incorrect.  Rh- blood probably arose millions of years ago rather than tens of thousands.

Keep in mind that when I say Rh- here, I mean the form that is common in Europe.  This is just one of lots of ways of being Rh-.  This means there wasn’t some single event of outbreeding that explains all forms of Rh- blood.  Lots of individual specific events have happened over our history.

And even if we do focus just on the form common in Europe, the 35,000 number still doesn’t work.  This form predates modern humans settling down in Europe.

One of the big clues that this form of Rh- has been around for a long time is that it is the most common form in Africa as well as Europe.  Now I don’t mean it is as common in Africa as it is in Europe.  It isn’t.  What I do mean is that even though being Rh- isn’t very common in Africa, if you have the blood type, then the most common way is the same in both Africa and Europe.

And don’t just take my word for this.  Because there isn’t a lot of information out there about the evolutionary history of Rh- blood, I decided to consult one of the big names in the field, Dr. Bill Flegel of the National Institutes of Health.  Here is what he had to say in an email when I asked about the 35,000 number:

35,000 years is very likely incorrect and too recent. The RHD deletion occurred in Africa, almost certainly before anyone migrated out of Africa. Keep in mind that the common RHD deletion worldwide is also *the* prevalent D negative RH haplotype in Africans today. How should that be, if the RHD deletion somehow occurred in connection with groups migrating out of Africa?

What this all means is that it is extremely unlikely that the common form of Rh- blood originated in Neanderthals and then spread into humans through breeding.  It simply arose too long ago for this to be true.

This also means that even if we see evidence that Neanderthals had this form of being Rh-, that doesn’t mean we got it from them.  A more likely explanation in that case is that we shared common ancestors who had the same form of Rh- blood in their blood.

I should mention that so far we don’t have any evidence either way about the Rh status of Neanderthals (although we do know that some of them had O blood type).  The part of the DNA that is involved in Rh status is tricky to read and we haven’t yet been able to figure it out in Neanderthals.  But again, even if we do see evidence of this form of Rh- blood in Neanderthals, this doesn’t mean we got it from them.

OK so Rh- blood almost certainly did not come from Neanderthals.  It also did not come from aliens or anything else like that.  Rh- blood is just another genetic variation like the ones that lead to red hair or blue eyes.

In fact, the gene involved in being Rh-, the RHD gene, is arranged so that DNA differences will spring up more often than in other DNA regions.  This is why there are so many different ways to be Rh-.

So the tricky part isn’t explaining how the common Rh- form first arose.  It is inevitable that this region of the DNA will turn Rh- every now and then.  No the tricky part is explaining how something that can cause problems in pregnancy could become more common in Europe than elsewhere.

The most likely explanation is that being Rh- had some advantage in our past or maybe even today.  Another possibility is that being a silent carrier might be useful.  In either case, the advantage of being Rh- would outweigh the disadvantage of having problems with having Rh+ babies.

Rh- Spread

It is confusing that the Rh- blood type is as common as it is because it can have such profound effects.  If an Rh- mother is pregnant with an Rh+ child, the child is at risk for something called hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN).  And each child she has afterwards is at a higher risk.

Nowadays a woman can be given a couple of RhoGAM shots to prevent these problems from happening.  But even a hundred years ago this wasn’t an option.

From a biological point of view, if being Rh- had only this effect, then Rh- women should have fewer children.  This means that the DNA that leads to being Rh- should be passed down less often.  Over time, being Rh- should become less and less common and, perhaps, even disappear.

But this clearly has not happened in Europe.  Around 18% of people of European descent are Rh- compared with 1-3% of Africans (see the table at the end of the answer for a more statistics like this).  Something weird seems to be going on in Europe.

One possibility is that the Rh- people happened to settle together.  If everyone has Rh- blood, then there is no disadvantage to having it.  Two Rh- parents are at little risk for an Rh+ baby which means the baby is at little risk for HDN.

There do appear to be some areas of higher concentration in Europe.  For example, the Basques of the Pyrenees between Spain and France are 35% Rh-.  That is a lot but still, 65% of them Rh+ and nowhere else in Europe is the concentration so high.  This means that this is probably not the explanation.

Another possibility is that there is some advantage to having Rh- blood and/or carrying a silent version of it in your DNA.  The latter case would make it similar to sickle cell anemia.

People with sickle cell anemia used to die very young in life.  This makes it hard to understand why it is so common in certain areas of the world.

The reason it persists is that if you carried a silent version of the gene, you were resistant to malaria.  The 1 in 4 chance for the child of two carriers to end up with sickle cell anemia was not as high as the risk of the parents dying from malaria before having kids.  So, over time, this gene spread through the population.

We haven’t yet found anything so obvious for Rh- blood but a recent idea is that it may protect from a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. It doesn’t keep you from getting the parasite, but it might make the effects less severe.

Toxoplasma gondii affects people’s motor skills. For example, it seems to slow down people’s responses so they are more likely to get in car accidents.

A couple of recent studies showed that having one copy of Rh- and one copy of Rh+ protects someone from these effects. In other words, Rh+ people who carry a silent Rh negative copy of the RHD gene may do better in areas with lots of Toxoplasma gondii infections. Like in Europe, for example, where being Rh negative is much more common than other places in the world.

While we may not know the reason for the spread of the most common form of being Rh- in Europe, what we do know is that it did not suddenly appear in humans 35,000 years ago.  Most likely it arose in Africa hundreds of thousands or even millions of years ago.

And what we also know is that Rh- blood will always be around because of how the RHD gene is set up in our DNA.  Even if the most common form we have been talking about disappeared, a new Rh- form would take its place.  Someone, somewhere will always be Rh-.

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On the Armenian Question

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 27, 2016

The distribution of Armenians in the early 17th century, a few decades after its conquest by the Ottomans, within the current borders of Turkey: Red: Armenian majority; Light red: Significant Armenian presence.

Western Armenia

Turkey, Republic of, and the Armenian Genocide

The Treaty of Lausanne and the Armenian Question

Armenian Genocide reparations

Turkish people

Turkification

Battle of Manzikert

Crusades

On Saturday Turkish deputy prime minister Nurettin Canikli called Francis’ comments “greatly unfortunate” and said they bore the hallmarks of the “mentality of the Crusades.”

The thing is that the western migrating Turks in 1071 defeated the Byzantine army at the Battle of Manzikert and the rapidly-expanding Great Seljuk Empire gained nearly all of Anatolia while the empire descended into frequent civil wars.

The Armenian Highlands (also known as the Armenian Upland, Armenian plateau, Armenian tableland, or simply Armenia) is the central-most and highest of three land-locked plateaus that together form the northern sector of the Middle East.

During Antiquity, it was known as Armenia Major, a central region to the history of Armenians, and one of the four geo-political regions associated with Armenians, the other three being Armenia Minor, Cilicia and Commagene.

The region was historically mainly inhabited by Armenians, and minorities of Georgians and Assyrians. During the Middle Ages, Turkmens settled in large numbers in the Armenian Highlands.

The Christian population of the Western half of the region was exterminated during the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and to a smaller scale the Assyrian Genocide.

The decisive defeat of the Byzantine army and the capture of the Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes played an important role in undermining Byzantine authority in Anatolia and Armenia, and allowed for the gradual Turkification, the assimilation of individuals, entities, or cultures into the various historical Turkic states and cultures, such as the Ottoman Empire.

An early form of Turkification occurred in the time of the Seljuk Empire among the indigenous peoples of Anatolia, involving religious conversion, cultural and linguistic assimilation, and interethnic relationships, reflected in the indigenous Anatolian background of most modern Turkish people.

One year later the Turks wrested control of Palestine from the Fatimids. The disruption of pilgrimages by the Seljuk Turks prompted support for the Crusades in Western Europe.

In 1095 at the Council of Piacenza, Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos requested military aid from Urban II to fight the Turks, probably in the form of mercenary reinforcements.

By the 19th century the Ottoman empire began to decline when ethno-nationalist uprisings occurred across the empire. By 1913, the government of the Committee of Union and Progress started a program of forcible Turkification of non-Turkish minorities.

During World War I, the government of the Committee of Union and Progress continued with its Turkification policies, which effected non-Turkish minorities, such as the Armenians during the Armenian Genocide and the Greeks during various campaigns of ethnic cleansing and expulsion. In 1918, the Ottoman Government agreed to the Mudros Armistice with the Allies.

The Treaty of Sèvres —signed in 1920 by the government of Mehmet VI— dismantled the Ottoman Empire. The Turks, under Mustafa Kemal, rejected the treaty and fought the Turkish War of Independence, resulting in the abortion of that text, never ratified, and the abolition of the Sultanate. Thus, the 623-year-old Ottoman Empire ended.

Once Mustafa Kemal Atatürk led the Turkish War of Independence against the Allied forces that occupied the former Ottoman Empire, he united the Turkish Muslim majority and led them from 1919 to 1922 in overthrowing the occupying forces out.

The Turkish identity became the unifying force when, in 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne was signed and the newly founded Republic of Turkey was formally established.

After gaining military mastery over Turkey, the Nationalists, led by Mustafa Kemal, obtained a series of concessions from France and England which absolved Turkey of any further political or material responsibilities vis-à-vis the surviving Armenians. These concessions were formalized in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne which extended international recognition to the Turkish Republic.

The Treaty of Lausanne marked a watershed because it legitimized the Turkish Nationalist program of ethnic consolidation by expelling or repressing minorities. It provided for the transfer of populations between Greece and Turkey thus completing the exodus of the Greeks from Anatolia.

The Treaty of Lausanne reversed all terms agreed upon by the Ottoman Empire in the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres which had legally obligated the Turkish government to bring accused war criminals to justice.

The official policy of Turkey on the Armenian Genocide is the denial of its occurrence. Whereas the convening of courts-martial to try the Young Turks for war crimes by the post-World War I Ottoman government amounted to an admission of guilt on the part of the state, the Nationalist government based in Ankara rejected Turkish responsibility for the acts committed against the Armenian population.

Despite the three-thousand-year existence of the Armenians and their continuous construction of civilization in their historic homeland, no archeological site in Turkey is permitted designation as historically Armenian.

While Ottoman Turkey persecuted and sought to destroy the living Armenian population, Republican Turkey has been methodically erasing the physical record of an extinguished civilization with the goal of blotting out even the memory of its existence.

Western Armenia, also referred to as Byzantine Armenia, emerged following the division of Greater Armenia between the Byzantine Empire (Western Armenia) and Sassanid Persia (Eastern Armenia) in 387 AD.

It is used as a term used to refer to eastern parts of Turkey (formerly the Ottoman Empire) that were part of the historical homeland of Armenians.

The area was conquered by the Ottomans in the 16th century during the Ottoman–Safavid War (1532–1555) against their Iranian Safavid arch-rivals. Being passed on from the former to the latter, Ottoman rule over the region became only decisive after the Ottoman–Safavid War of 1623–1639. The area then became known as Turkish Armenia or Ottoman Armenia.

During the 19th century, the Russian Empire conquered all of Eastern Armenia from Iran, and also some parts of Turkish Armenia, such as Kars. The region’s Armenian population was affected during the widespread massacres of Armenians in the 1890s.

The Armenians living in their ancestral lands were exterminated or deported during the Armenian Genocide in 1915 and the following years. The over two thousand year Armenian presence in the area largely ended and the cultural heritage was mainly destroyed by the then Ottoman government.

Only assimilated and crypto-Armenians live in the area today, and some irredentist Armenians claim it as part of United Armenia. The most notable political party with these views is the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

Western (Ottoman) Armenia consisted of six vilayets (vilâyat-ı sitte) — the vilayets of Erzurum, Van, Bitlis, Diyarbekir, Kharput, and Sivas. The fate of Western Armenia — commonly referred to as “The Armenian Question” — is considered a key issue in the modern history of the Armenian people.

Mentality of the Crusades’: Turkey and Pope Francis in row over Armenian genocide

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Self realization and training

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 22, 2016

Awareness is a dynamic factor and appears in two guises: a realisation that arrives as a gift, often unbidden; then it evolves into a practice that the person intentionally follows. This spiritual awareness works as an engine that moves these themes from being mere ideas to be motivating forces in one’s life: awareness ignites responsibility towards life and stirs to respond to events rather than resigning. By nourishing and cultivating (our) human nature, (we are) able to reach the final goal of unification of heaven and human spirit

Friedrich Nietzsche famously suggested that an ancient, metaphysical belief in the divinity of Truth lies at the heart of and has served as the foundation for the entire subsequent Western intellectual tradition: “But you will have gathered what I am getting at, namely, that it is still a metaphysical faith on which our faith in science rests–that even we knowers of today, we godless anti-metaphysicians still take our fire too, from the flame lit by the thousand-year old faith, the Christian faith which was also Plato’s faith, that God is Truth; that Truth is ‘Divine’…”

Closure

Closure or need for closure (NFC), used interchangeably with need for cognitive closure (NFCC), are psychological terms that describe an individual’s desire for a firm answer to a question and an aversion toward ambiguity. The term “need” denotes a motivated tendency to seek out information.

The need for closure is the motivation to find an answer to an ambiguous situation. This motivation is enhanced by the perceived benefits of obtaining closure, such as the increased ability to predict the world and a stronger basis for action.

Catharsis

Catharsis (meaning “purification” or “cleansing”) is the purification and purgation of emotions—especially pity and fear—through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. It is a metaphor originally used by Aristotle in the Poetics, comparing the effects of tragedy on the mind of spectator to the effect of a cathartic on the body.

Quest 

In mythology and fiction, a quest, a journey towards a goal, serves as a plot device and (frequently) as a symbol. In literature, the objects of quests require great exertion on the part of the hero and the overcoming of many obstacles, typically including much travel.

Humanism

Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition.

Self realization

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans.

Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. He used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belongingness” and “love”, “esteem”, “self-actualization”, and “self-transcendence” to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization at the top. While the pyramid has become the de facto way to represent the hierarchy, Maslow himself never used a pyramid to describe these levels in any of his writings on the subject.

Self-actualization is a term that has been used in various psychology theories, often in slightly different ways. The term was originally introduced by the organismic theorist Kurt Goldstein for the motive to realize one’s full potential. Expressing one’s creativity, quest for spiritual enlightenment, pursuit of knowledge, and the desire to give to society are examples of self-actualization.

In Goldstein’s view, it is the organism’s master motive, the only real motive: “the tendency to actualize itself as fully as possible is the basic drive… the drive of self-actualization.” Carl Rogers similarly wrote of “the curative force in psychotherapy – man’s tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities… to express and activate all the capacities of the organism.”

The concept was brought most fully to prominence in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory as the final level of psychological development that can be achieved when all basic and mental needs are essentially fulfilled and the “actualization” of the full personal potential takes place, although he adapted this viewpoint later on in life, and saw it more flexibly.

As Abraham Maslow noted, the basic needs of humans must be met (e.g. food, shelter, warmth, security, sense of belonging) before a person can achieve self-actualization – the need to be good, to be fully alive and to find meaning in life.

Research shows that when people live lives that are different from their true nature and capabilities, they are less likely to be happy than those whose goals and lives match. For example, someone who has inherent potential to be a great artist or teacher may never realize his/her talents if their energy is focused on attaining the basic needs of humans.

In biology, an adaptation, also called an adaptive trait, is a trait with a current functional role in the life of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. Adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation. Adaptations enhance the fitness and survival of individuals.

Organisms face a succession of environmental challenges as they grow and develop and are equipped with an adaptive plasticity as the phenotype of traits develop in response to the imposed conditions. The developmental norm of reaction for any given trait is essential to the correction of adaptation as it affords a kind of biological insurance or resilience to varying environments.

 Transcend

In philosophy, the adjective transcendental and the noun transcendence convey the basic ground concept from the word’s literal meaning (from Latin), of climbing or going beyond, albeit with varying connotations in its different historical and cultural stages.

The term transcendental philosophy includes philosophies, systems, and approaches that describe the fundamental structures of being, not as an ontology (Theory of Being), but as the framework of emergence and validation of knowledge of being.

In everyday language, “transcendence” means “going beyond”, and “self-transcendence” means going beyond a prior form or state of oneself. Mystical experience is thought of as a particularly advanced state of self-transcendence, in which the sense of a separate self is abandoned.

Hermeneutics 

Hermeneutics is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts. It started out as a theory of text interpretation but has been later broadened to questions of general interpretation.

Shamanism

A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing. Shamanism is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with a spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world.

Mother and father

Dyēus (also *Dyēus phter, alternatively spelled dyēws) is believed to have been the chief deity in the religious traditions of the prehistoric Proto-Indo-European societies. Part of a larger pantheon, he was the god of the daylight sky, and his position may have mirrored the position of the patriarch or monarch in society. In his aspect as a father god, his consort would have been Pltwih Méhter, “earth mother”.

In Greek and Roman mythology, Dyeus remained the chief god; however, in Vedic mythology, the etymological continuant of Dyeus became a very abstract god, and his original attributes and dominance over other gods appear to have been transferred to gods such as Agni or Indra.

Tyr and Hel

Rooted in the related but distinct Indo-European word *deiwos is the Latin word for deity, deus. The Latin word is also continued in English divine, “deity”, and the original Germanic word remains visible in “Tuesday” (“Day of Tīwaz”) and Old Norse tívar, which may be continued in the toponym Tiveden (“Wood of the Gods”, or of Týr).

Hel is the Norse queen of the underworld, a mother goddess in her underworld guise. She rules over a fiery womb of regeneration and is especially responsible for those who die of disease or old age. She is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim.

In the same source, her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance. Her underworld, unlike the Christian hell, which received its name from her, is simply an otherworld, a place of renewal rather than a place of punishment and misery. It represents the nine different stages of the transition the soul goes through after death.

When shamans visit her realm, they put on a helkappe, a magic mask (sometimes a helmet) that renders them invisible. Hel is an embodiment of the divine mystery, a challenge to look behind the mask of appearances to see things as they really are. she is a symbol of transformation, and may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali, sometimes considered as a greater form of Kali, identified with the Ultimate reality of Brahman.

Satya

Satya is the Sanskrit word for truth. It also refers to a virtue in Indian religions, referring to being truthful in one’s thought, speech and action. In Yoga, satya is one of five yamas, the virtuous restraint from falsehood and distortion of reality in one’s expressions and actions.

In the Vedas and later sutras, the meaning of the word satya evolves into an ethical concept about truthfulness and is considered an important virtue. It means being true and consistent with reality in one’s thought, speech and action.

A related concept, sattva, also derived from “sat”, means true essence, nature, spiritual essence, character. Sattva is also a guṇa, a psychology concept particularly in the Samkhya school of philosophy, where it means goodness, purity, clean, positive, one that advances good true nature of self.

Yoga and Kundalini

Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline which originated in ancient India. There is a broad variety of Yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Among the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Rāja yoga.

Kundalini (“coiled one”), in yogic theory, is a primal energy, or shakti, located at the base of the spine. Different spiritual traditions teach methods of “awakening” kundalini for the purpose of reaching spiritual enlightenment. Kundalini is described as lying “coiled” at the base of the spine, represented as either a goddess or sleeping serpent waiting to be awakened. In modern commentaries, Kundalini has been called an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force, or “mother energy or intelligence of complete maturation”.

Kundalini awakening is said to result in deep meditation, enlightenment and bliss. This awakening involves the Kundalini physically moving up the central channel to reach within the Sahasrara Chakra at the top of the head. Many systems of yoga focus on the awakening of Kundalini through meditation, pranayama breathing, the practice of asana and chanting of mantras. In physical terms, one commonly reports the Kundalini experience to be a feeling of electric current running along the spine.

Shiva and Kali 

Shiva (Sanskrit: Śiva, meaning “The Auspicious One”), regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and arts, is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. He is the chief deity within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta Tradition, and “the Transformer”.

At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms. In fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons, while in benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya.

Kālī, also known as Kālikā, is a Hindu goddess who is the mighty aspect of the goddess Durga. The name Kali is derived from the Sanskrit “Kālá”, or time – she therefore represents time, change, power, creation, preservation, and destruction. “Kali” also mean “the black one”, the feminine noun of the Sanskrit adjective Kālá. In union with Lord Shiva, she creates and destroys worlds.

Her earliest appearance is that of a destroyer principally of evil forces. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman; devotional movements worship Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess. She is often portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her.

Sadhaka

The figure of Kāli conveys death, destruction, and the consuming aspects of reality. As such, she is also a “forbidden thing”, or even death itself. In the Pancatattva ritual, the sadhaka boldly seeks to confront Kali, and thereby assimilates and transforms her into a vehicle of salvation.

In Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism, a sādhaka is someone who follows a particular sādhanā, or a way of life designed to realize the goal of one’s ultimate ideal, whether it is merging with brahman or realization of one’s personal deity. The word is related to the Sanskrit sādhu, which is derived from the verb root sādh-, ‘to accomplish’. As long as one has yet to reach the goal, they are a sādhaka, while one who has reached the goal is called a siddha.

In modern usage, sadhaka is often applied as a generic term for any religious practitioner. In medieval times it was more narrowly used as a technical term for one who had gone through a specific initiation.

Tantra

Tantra, also called Tantrism and Tantric religion, is an ancient Indian tradition of beliefs and meditation and ritual practices that seeks to channel the divine energy of the macrocosm or godhead into the human microcosm, to attain siddhis and moksha. It arose no later than the 5th century CE, and it had a strong influence on both Hinduism and Buddhism.

Goddesses play an important role in the study and practice of Tantra Yoga, and are affirmed to be as central to discerning the nature of reality as are the male deities. Although Parvati is often said to be the recipient and student of Shiva’s wisdom in the form of Tantras, it is Kali who seems to dominate much of the Tantric iconography, texts, and rituals.

In many sources Kāli is praised as the highest reality or greatest of all deities. The Nirvana-tantra says the gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva all arise from her like bubbles in the sea, ceaselessly arising and passing away, leaving their original source unchanged.

The Niruttara-tantra and the Picchila-tantra declare all of Kāli’s mantras to be the greatest and the Yogini-tantra, Kamakhya-tantra and the Niruttara-tantra all proclaim Kāli vidyas (manifestations of Mahadevi, or “divinity itself”). They declare her to be an essence of her own form (svarupa) of the Mahadevi.

Lingam and yoni

The lingam (also linga, ling, Shiva linga, Shiv ling, meaning sign, or symbol) is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu deity, Shiva, used for worship in temples, smaller shrines, or as self-manifested natural objects. In traditional Indian society, the lingam is seen as a symbol of the energy and potential of Shiva himself.

The lingam is often represented alongside the yoni (Sanskrit word, literally “origin” or “source” or “womb”), a symbol of the goddess or of Shakti, female creative energy. The union of lingam and yoni represents the “indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates”.

Usha and Indra

Ushas, Sanskrit for “dawn”, is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well. She is portrayed as warding off evil spirits of the night, and as a beautifully adorned young woman riding in a golden chariot on her path across the sky. Due to her color she is often identified with the reddish cows, and both are released by Indra from the Vala cave at the beginning of time. The Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra.

In one recent Hindu interpretation, Sri Aurobindo in his Secret of the Veda, described Ushas as “the medium of the awakening, the activity and the growth of the other gods; she is the first condition of the Vedic realisation. By her increasing illumination the whole nature of man is clarified; through her [mankind] arrives at the Truth, through her he enjoys [Truth’s] beatitude.”

Tao

Tao or Dao is a Chinese complex word which cannot specifically be fully explained except it signifies “way”, “path”, “route”, “channel”, or sometimes known as a “principle” laid down by Heaven to assist mankind back onto the righteous path.

Tao in the Tao Te Ching, Laozi explains that Tao is not a name for a thing but the underlying natural order of the Universe whose ultimate essence is difficult to circumscribe due to it being non conceptual yet evident’ in one’s being of aliveness. Cosmologically, Tao signifies the primordial essence or fundamental nature of the Universe.

Within the context of traditional Chinese philosophy and religion, Tao is the intuitive knowing of “life” that of which cannot be grasped full-heartedly as just a concept but known nonetheless through actual living experience of one’s everyday being.

Duality is found in many belief systems but Yin and Yang are parts of a Oneness that is also equated with the Dao. The yin yang (i.e. taijitu symbol) shows a balance between two opposites with a portion of the opposite element in each section.

Qigong (literally: “Life Energy Cultivation”) is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for health, spirituality, and martial arts training. With roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy, and martial arts, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance qi (chi), translated as “life energy”.

According to Daoist, Buddhist, and Confucian philosophy, qigong allows access to higher realms of awareness, awakens one’s “true nature”, and helps develop human potential.

Qigong practice typically involves moving meditation, coordinating slow flowing movement, deep rhythmic breathing, and calm meditative state of mind. Qigong is now practiced throughout China and worldwide for recreation, exercise and relaxation, preventive medicine and self-healing, alternative medicine, meditation and self-cultivation, and training for martial arts.

T’ai chi ch’uan (Taijiquan) is a widely practiced Chinese internal martial style based on the theory of taiji (“grand ultimate”), closely associated with qigong, and typically involving more complex choreographed movement coordinated with breath, done slowly for health and training, or quickly for self-defense. Many scholars consider t’ai chi ch’uan to be a type of qigong, traced back to an origin in the 17th century.

In modern practice, qigong typically focuses more on health and meditation rather than martial applications, and plays an important role in training for t’ai chi ch’uan, in particular used to build strength, develop breath control, and increase vitality (“life energy”).

The concept of the taiji (“supreme ultimate”), in contrast with wuji (“without ultimate”), appears in both Taoist and Confucian Chinese philosophy, where it represents the fusion or mother of yin and yang into a single ultimate, represented by the taijitu symbol Taijitu.

T’ai chi ch’uan training involves five elements, taolu (solo hand and weapons routines/forms), neigong & qigong (breathing, movement and awareness exercises and meditation), tuishou (response drills) and sanshou (self defence techniques).

Wuji is a state of emptiness or simply a single point in space. There is no discrimination and there are no polarities (or poles). One possible example is the state of the universe before the big bang, a point of singularity. According to Yi Jing (i.e., Book of Change), originally the universe was in a Wuji state. Later, due to the pivotal action of Taiji, Two Polarities (Liang Yi) (i.e., Yin and Yang) were discriminated.

However, we should understand that Yin and Yang are not definite (or absolute) but relative according to specifically defined rules. From these rules, Four Phases (Si Xiang) are again derived. From different perspectives, the Yin-Yang two polarities can again be divided into Yin and Yang. For example, if you use your right hand to follow the Yin and Yang pattern, the clockwise cycling belongs to Yang while the counterclockwise cycling belongs to Yin.

Generally speaking, your right hand action is classified as Yang and your left hand action is classified as Yin. From this rule, the Yin-Yang cycling will be completely reversed if you use your left hand. These general rules are applied in Taijiquan and also in other internal styles such as Baguazhang.

There are some specific rules that apply when you manifest the Yin-Yang polarities into two dimensions. However, we exist in a universe of at least three dimensions. Therefore, the concept of two polarities should be adapted to three dimensions so we can comprehend the natural Dao thoroughly.

When this Yin-Yang derivation is manifested in three dimensions, then right spiral to advance forward is classified as Yang while left spiral to withdraw is classified as Yin. Similarly, the manifestation of the left hand is reversed. Once you add the third dimension to the Yin and Yang symbols, you can see that the energy patterns and derivation are spiral actions.

If we are able to comprehend the theory of great nature’s Yin-Yang spiral derivation, then we will be able to comprehend the function of the Dao and use this Dao to understand the theory of ceaseless recycling of millions of lives in nature, furthermore, to trace back the origin of our human and physical life.

The purpose of learning Taijiquan is to aim for the comprehension of Taiji and Yin-Yang so we are able to reach the Dao, therefore, allows us to protect our body, strengthen our body, and enjoy longevity.

When the nature loses its balance, the energy manifests in spirals and millions of lives are influenced, or even are created. All of these manifestations can be seen from galaxies in space, to tornados and other storms, to the formation of sea shells, and even the tiny, twisted strands of our DNA.

When Yin-Yang is manifested in two dimensions in Taijiquan, it is an action of coiling, and when it is acting in three dimensions, it is a spiraling maneuver. If you use your right hand to generate this spiral motion, then the clockwise and forward motion is classified as Yang while the counterclockwise and backward motion is classified as Yin. If you use your left hand, since the left is classified as Yin, all directions are reversed.

This is a method to practice the basic skills in Taijiquan for changing from insubstantial to substantial and back again. All action in Taijiquan originates from the Real Dan Tian (a point, center of gravity), where the Wuji is located. From this Wuji center, through Taiji (i.e., mind) the Qi is led, Yin and Yang spiraling actions are initiated, and Taijiquan movements are derived.

Rta – Asha / Arta

In the Vedic religion, Ṛta (Sanskrit ṛtaṃ “that which is properly, excellently joined; order, rule; truth”) is derived from the Sanskrit verb root ṛ- “to go, move, rise, tend upwards”, and the derivative noun ṛtam is defined as “fixed or settled order, rule, divine law or truth”.

The term can just as easily be translated literally as “that which has moved in a fitting manner”, abstractly as “universal law” or “cosmic order”, or simply as “truth”. The latter meaning dominates in the Avestan cognate to Ṛta, aša. It is the principle of natural order which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it.

In the hymns of the Vedas, Ṛta is described as that which is ultimately responsible for the proper functioning of the natural, moral and sacrificial orders. It is closely allied to the injunctions and ordinances thought to uphold it, collectively referred to as Dharma, and the action of the individual in relation to those ordinances, referred to as Karma – two terms which eventually eclipsed Ṛta in importance as signifying natural, religious and moral order in later Hinduism.

Asha or Arta is the Avestan language term corresponding to Vedic language ṛta for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called “the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism.”

The significance of the term is complex, with a highly nuanced range of meaning. It is commonly summarized in accord with its contextual implications of ‘truth’ and ‘right(eousness)’, ‘order’ and ‘right working’. The opposite of Avestan aša is druj, “lie.

Maat

Maat or Ma’at was the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation.

Her ideological counterpart was Isfet (meaning “injustice”, “chaos”, or “violence”; as a verb, “to do evil”), an ancient Egyptian term from Egyptian mythology used in philosophy, which was built on a religious, social and political affected dualism.

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Libra – the Scales of Justice

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 22, 2016

Libra is a constellation and the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans the 180–210th degree of the zodiac. The ruling planet of Libra is Venus. Libra is the only constellation in the sky represented by an inanimate object. The other eleven signs are represented either as an animal or mythological characters throughout history.

Under the tropical zodiac, Sun transits this area on average between (northern autumnal equinox) September 23 and October 22, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Libra from approximately October 16 to November 17.

Libra’s status as the location of the equinox earned the equinox the name “First Point of Libra”, though this location ceased to coincide with the constellation in 730 because of the precession of the equinoxes.

Based on the modern constellation boundaries, the northward equinox passed from Taurus into Aries in the year −1865 (1866 BC), passed into Pisces in the year −67 (68 BC), and will pass into Aquarius in the year 2597.

The March equinox or Northward equinox is the equinox on the Earth when the Sun appears to leave the southern hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, heading northward as seen from earth. In the Northern Hemisphere the March equinox is known as the vernal equinox, and in the Southern Hemisphere as the autumnal equinox.

The point where the sun crosses the celestial equator northwards is called the First Point of Aries. However, due to the precession of the equinoxes, this point is no longer in the constellation Aries, but rather in Pisces. By the year 2600 it will be in Aquarius.

The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by the ancient Greek Titaness Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom. She is described as “of good counsel”, and is the personification of divine order, law, natural law and custom. Themis means “divine law” rather than human ordinance, literally “that which is put in place”, from the Greek verb títhēmi, meaning “to put”.

To the ancient Greeks she was originally the organizer of the “communal affairs of humans, particularly assemblies”. Moses Finley remarked of themis, as the word was used by Homer in the 8th century BCE, to evoke the social order of the 10th- and 9th-century Greek Dark Ages:

Themis is untranslatable. A gift of the gods and a mark of civilized existence, sometimes it means right custom, proper procedure, social order, and sometimes merely the will of the gods (as revealed by an omen, for example) with little of the idea of right.

Finley adds, “There was themis—custom, tradition, folk-ways, mores, whatever we may call it, the enormous power of ‘it is (or is not) done’. The world of Odysseus had a highly developed sense of what was fitting and proper.”

Themis occurred in Hesiod’s Theogony as the first recorded appearance of Justice as a divine personage. Drawing not only on the socio-religious consciousness of his time but also on many of the earlier cult-religions, Hesiod described the forces of the universe as cosmic divinities.

Hesiod portrayed temporal justice, Dike, as the daughter of Zeus and Themis. Dike executed the law of judgments and sentencing and, together with her mother Themis, carried out the final decisions of Moirai. For Hesiod, Justice is at the center of religious and moral life, who, independently of Zeus, is the embodiment of divine will. This personification of Dike will stand in contrast to justice viewed as custom or law, and as retribution or sentence.

Themis became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice (Latin: Iustitia, the Roman goddess of Justice), an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems. Her attributes are a blindfold, a balance and a sword. She often appears as a pair with Prudentia (Latin: prudentia, contracted from providentia meaning “seeing ahead, sagacity”), a personification of the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason, who holds a mirror and a snake.

Libra was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL Zibanu (the “scales” or “balance”), or alternatively as the Claws of the Scorpion. The scales were held sacred to the Assyro-Babylonian sun god Shamash (“Sun”), who was also the lord of truth, justice and law. He is depicted as wearing a horned helmet and carrying a saw-edged weapon not unlike a pruning saw. The symbol of Shamash was the solar disk, with a four-pointed star inside it.

Shamash was the god of justice, corresponding to the Sumerian god Utu (Akkadian rendition of Sumerian UD “Sun”). Just as the Sun disperses darkness, so Shamash brings wrong and injustice to light. As a powerful solar deity, Shamash, whose consort was the goddess Aya, exercised the power of light over darkness and evil. In this capacity he became known as the god of justice and equity and was the judge of both gods and men. At night, Shamash became judge of the underworld.

The personification of justice balancing the scales dates back to the Goddess Maat, the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation.

After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in Egyptian mythology dealt with the weighing of souls (also called the weighing of the heart) that took place in the underworld, Duat. Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully.

Her ideological counterpart was Isfet or Asfet (meaning “injustice”, “chaos”, or “violence”; as a verb, “to do evil”), an ancient Egyptian term from Egyptian mythology used in philosophy, which was built on a religious, social and political affected dualism.

Libra was also seen as the Scorpion’s Claws in ancient Greece. Since these times, Libra has been associated with law, fairness and civility. In Arabic zubānā means “scorpion’s claws”, and likely similarly in other Semitic languages. This resemblance of words may be why the Scorpion’s claws became the Scales. However, it has also been suggested that the scales are an allusion to the fact that when the sun entered this part of the ecliptic at the autumnal equinox, the days and nights are equal.

Libra only became a constellation in ancient Rome, when it began to represent the scales held by Astraea, the goddess of justice, associated with Virgo. According to the Babylonian Mul.Apin, which dates from 1000–686 BCE, this constellation was known as “The Furrow”, representing the goddess Shala’s ear of grain.

Shala was an ancient Sumerian goddess of grain and the emotion of compassion. The symbols of grain and compassion combine to reflect the importance of agriculture in the mythology of Sumer, and the belief that an abundant harvest was an act of compassion from the Gods.

Traditions identify Shala as wife of the fertility god Dagon, originally an East Semitic fertility god who evolved into a major Northwest Semitic god, reportedly of grain (as symbol of fertility) and fish and/or fishing (as symbol of multiplying), or consort of the storm god Hadad (Amoritic), Adad (Akkadian) or Iškur (Sumerian), the storm god in ancient Mesopotamian religion. In ancient depictions, she carries a double-headed mace-scimitar embellished with lion heads.

One star in this constellation, Spica (α Vir, α Virginis, Alpha Virginis), the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, retains this tradition as it is Latin for “ear of grain”, one of the major products of the Mesopotamian furrow.

The name Spica derives from Latin spīca virginis “the virgin’s ear of [wheat] grain”. It was also anglicized as Virgin’s Spike. Spica, along with Denebola or Regulus depending on the source and Arcturus, is part of the Spring Triangle asterism, and by extension, also of the Great Diamond together with Cor Caroli.

The constellation was also known as “AB.SIN” and “absinnu”. For this reasons the constellation became associated with fertility. According to Gavin White the figure of Virgo corresponds to two Babylonian constellations: the “Furrow” in the eastern sector of Virgo and the “Frond of Erua” in the western sector. The Frond of Erua was depicted as a goddess holding a palm-frond – a motif that still occasionally appears in much later depictions of Virgo.

The Greeks and Romans associated Virgo with their goddess of wheat/agriculture, Demeter-Ceres who is the mother of Persephone-Proserpina. Alternatively, she was sometimes identified as the virgin goddess Iustitia or Astraea, holding the scales of justice in her hand as the constellation Libra.

Another myth identifies Virgo as Erigone, the daughter of Icarius of Athens. Icarius, who had been favoured by Dionysus, was killed by his shepherds while they were intoxicated and Erigone hanged herself in grief; Dionysus placed the father and daughter in the stars as Boötes and Virgo respectively. In the Middle Ages, Virgo was sometimes associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Due to the effects of precession, the First Point of Libra, (also known asthe autumn equinox point) lies within the boundaries of Virgo very close to β Virginis. This is one of the two points in the sky where the celestial equator crosses the ecliptic (the other being the First Point of Aries, now in the constellation of Pisces.) This point will pass into the neighbouring constellation of Leo around the year 2440.

Týr (Old Norse: Týr) is a Germanic god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. He is the Norse god of law and justice, who governs proceedings at the thing (the Germanic general assembly).

The word tiwaz, tyr in Old Norse, is the exact cognate to Sanskrit dayus, Greek Zeus and Latin Jupiter. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is in fact “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.

The aspect of the world column expressed by the T-rune is that of the separator of heaven. This separation creates a phenomenological quality and is therefore necessary to multiversal manifestation as we know it. The column maintains world order, and protects humanity and the gods from the destruction that would come should the heavens (energy) and earth (matter) collapse into one another.

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Sargon the great

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 21, 2016

The Legend of Sargon of Akkad

Ur-Zababa and Sargon

According to the King list, Ur-Zababa was a son of King Puzur-Suen. His mother is unknown. His grandmother was the famous Queen Kugbau. Her son Puzur-Suen and grandson Ur-Zababa followed her on the throne in Sumer as the fourth Kish dynasty on the king list. In some copies as her direct successors, in others with the Akshak dynasty, a city of ancient Sumer, situated on the northern boundary of Akkad, sometimes identified with Babylonian Upi (Greek Opis), intervening.

Ur-Zababa is also known as the king said to be reigning in Sumer during the youth of Sargon of Akkad, also known as Sargon the Great “the Great King” (2334–2279 BC), who became the founder of the Akkadian Empire, the first ancient Semitic-speaking empire of Mesopotamia, centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region, also called Akkad in ancient Mesopotamia.

While Sargon, known for his conquests of the Sumerian city-states in the 24th and 23rd centuries BC, is often credited with the first true empire, Lugal-Zage-Si preceded him; after coming to power in Umma he had conquered or otherwise come into possession of Ur, Uruk, Nippur, and Lagash. Lugal-Zage-Si claimed rulership over lands as far away as the Mediterranean.

The Akkadian Empire united all the indigenous Akkadian and Sumerian speakers for the first time under one rule. It controlled Mesopotamia (modern Iraq, Kuwait, Northeast Syria and Southeast Turkey), the Levant (modern Syria and Lebanon), and eastern and southern parts of Anatolia (modern Turkey) and Iran, sending military expeditions as far south as Dilmun and Meluhha (modern Bahrain and Oman) in the Arabian Peninsula.

The empire came from the area of Kish and who’s militarily brought much of the Near East under his regime shortly afterward. It is known that Lugal-zaggesi of Uruk and Umma destroyed Kish toward the end of his reign, before himself being deposed by Sargon.

It is often assumed that Sargon also played a role in Ur-Zababa’s downfall, but the relevant texts are too fragmentary to be explicit. Ur-Zababa’s successors in Kish as named on the king-list, beginning with Zimudar, seem to have been vassals of Sargon, and there is no evidence that they ever really exercised hegemony in Sumer.

The exact date of Sargon’s birth or even death are unknown. According to the short chronology, he reigned from 2270 to 2215 BC (the Middle Chronology lists his reign as 2334 to 2279 BC). These dates are based on the Sumerian king list. In creating this legend, Sargon carefully distanced himself from the kings of the past (who claimed divine right) and aligned himself with the common people of the region rather than the ruling elite.

There is discussion among Assyriologists over whether or not the name Sargon (Akkadian Šarru-kīnu, meaning “the true king” or “the king is legitimate”) was given at birth or a regnal name adopted later in life, given its directly relevant meaning.

Sargon legend

Sargon legend is a Sumerian text purporting to be Sargon’s biography. In the text Ur-Zababa is mentioned, who awakens after a dream. For unknown reasons, Ur-Zababa appoints Sargon as a cupbearer. Soon after this, Ur-Zababa invites Sargon to his chambers to discuss a dream of Sargon’s, involving the favor of the goddess Inanna.

The story of Sargon’s birth and childhood is given in the Sargon legend, a Sumerian text purporting to be Sargon’s biography. The extant versions are incomplete, but the surviving fragments name Sargon’s father as La’ibum. After alacuna, the text skips to Ur-Zababa, king of Kish, who awakens after a dream, the contents of which are not revealed on the surviving portion of the tablet.

For unknown reasons, Ur-Zababa appoints Sargon as his cup-bearer. Soon after this, Ur-Zababa invites Sargon to his chambers to discuss a dream of Sargon’s, involving the favor of the goddess Inanna and the drowning of Ur-Zababa by the goddess.

When Sargon returns to Ur-Zababa, the king becomes frightened again, and decides to send Sargon to King Lugal-zage-si of Uruk with a message on a clay tablet asking him to slay Sargon. Deeply frightened, Ur-Zababa orders Sargon murdered by the hands of Beliš-tikal, the chief smith, but Inanna prevents it, demanding that Sargon stop at the gates because of his being “polluted with blood.”

When Sargon returns to Ur-Zababa, the king becomes frightened again, and decides to send Sargon to king Lugal-zage-si of Uruk with a message on a clay tablet asking him to slay Sargon. The legend breaks off at this point; presumably, the missing sections described how Sargon becomes king.

After coming to power in Kish, Sargon killed the king of Kish. After having the army of Kish follow him, Sargon soon attacked Uruk, which was ruled by Lugal-Zage-Si of Umma. He captured Uruk and dismantled its walls. The defenders seem to have fled the city, joining an army led by fifty ensis from the provinces.

This Sumerian force fought two pitched battles against the Akkadians, as a result of which the remaining forces of Lugal-Zage-Si were routed. Lugal-Zage-Si himself was captured and brought to Nippur; Sargon inscribed on the pedestal of a statue (preserved in a later tablet) that he brought Lugal-Zage-Si “in a dog collar to the gate of Enlil.”

Sargon pursued his enemies to Ur before moving eastwards to Lagash, to the Persian Gulf, and thence to Umma. He made a symbolic gesture of washing his weapons in the “lower sea” (Persian Gulf) to show that he had conquered Sumer in its entirety.

Another victory Sargon celebrated was over Kashtubila, king of Kazalla. According to one ancient source, Sargon laid the city of Kazalla to waste so effectively “that the birds could not find a place to perch away from the ground.”

To help limit the chance of revolt in Sumer he appointed a court of 5,400 men who he knew would stay loyal to “share his table” (i.e., to administer his empire). These 5,400 men may have constituted Sargon’s army.

The governors chosen by Sargon to administer the main city-states of Sumer were Akkadians, not Sumerians. The Semitic Akkadian language became the Lingua Franca, the official language of inscriptions in all Mesopotamia, and of great influence far beyond.

During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian on Akkadian (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a sprachbund.

Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language somewhere around the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate), but Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific language in Mesopotamia until the 1st century AD. Under Sargon and his successors, the Akkadian language was briefly imposed on neighboring conquered states such as Elam and Gutium.

Sumerian literature continued in rich development during the Akkadian period. Enheduanna, the “wife (Sumerian dam = high priestess) of Nanna [the Sumerian moon god] and daughter of Sargon” of the temple of Sin at Ur, who lived ca. 2285–2250 BC, is the first poet in history whose name is known. As poetess, princess, and priestess, she was a personality who, according to William W Hallo, “set standards in all three of her roles for many succeeding centuries”

Her known works include hymns to the goddess Inanna, the Exaltation of Inanna and In-nin sa-gur-ra. A third work, the Temple Hymns, a collection of specific hymns, addresses the sacred temples and their occupants, the deity to whom they were consecrated.

The works of this poetess are significant, because although they start out using the third person, they shift to the first person voice of the poet herself, and they mark a significant development in the use of cuneiform.

Sargon’s empire maintained trade and diplomatic contacts with kingdoms around the Arabian Sea and elsewhere in the Near East. Sargon’s inscriptions report that ships from Magan, Meluhha, and Dilmun, among other places, rode at anchor in his capital of Agade. Sargon also knocked down every wall and destroyed all depictions of the previous kings.

The former religious institutions of Sumer, already well-known and emulated by the Semites, were respected. Sumerian remained, in large part, the language of religion and Sargon and his successors were patrons of the Sumerian cults.

Sargon, throughout his long life, showed special deference to the Sumerian deities, particularly Inanna (Ishtar), his patroness, and Zababa, the warrior god of Kish. He called himself “The anointed priest of Anu” and “the great ensi of Enlil” and his daughter, Enheduanna, was installed as priestess to Nanna at the temple in Ur.

The Akkadian government formed a “classical standard” with which all future Mesopotamian states compared themselves. Traditionally, the ensi was the highest functionary of the Sumerian city-states. In later traditions, one became an ensi by marrying the goddess Inanna, legitimising the rulership through divine consent.

Initially, the monarchical lugal (lu = man, gal = great) was subordinate to the priestly ensi, and was appointed at times of troubles, but by later dynastic times, it was the lugal who had emerged as the preeminent role, having his own “é” (= house) or “palace”, independent from the temple establishment.

By the time of Mesalim, whichever dynasty controlled the city of Kish was recognised as šar kiššati (= king of Kish), and was considered preeminent in Sumer, possibly because this was where the two rivers approached, and whoever controlled Kish ultimately controlled the irrigation systems of the other cities downstream.

While various copies of the Sumerian king list credit Sargon with a 56, 55, or 54-year reign, dated documents have been found for only four different year-names of his actual reign. The names of these four years describe his campaigns against Elam, Mari, Simurrum (a Hurrian region), and Uru’a (an Elamite city-state). His Akkadian dynasty continued another century after his reign.

The Sumerian king list relates: “In Agade [Akkad], Sargon, whose father was a gardener, the cup-bearer of Ur-Zababa, became king, the king of Agade, who built Agade; he ruled for 56 years.”

There are several problems with this entry in the king list. Thorkild Jacobsen marked the clause about Sargon claimed to be the son of La’ibum or Itti-Bel, a humble gardener, and possibly a hierodule, or priestess to Ishtar or Inanna, as a lacuna, indicating his uncertainty about its meaning.

Ur-Zababa and Lugal-zage-si are both listed as kings, but separated by several additional named rulers of Kish, who seem to have been merely governors or vassals under the Akkadian Empire.

Akkad is sometimes regarded as the first empire in history, though there are earlier Sumerian claimants. The claim that Sargon was the original founder of Akkad has come into question in recent years, with the discovery of an inscription mentioning the place and dated to the first year of Enshakushanna, who almost certainly preceded him.

The Weidner Chronicle (ABC 19) agrees with both the SKL and the Sargon Legend in making Sargon the cupbearer to Ur-Zababa, mentioning him in a single line as ruling in between Kubaba (Kugbau) and Sargon.

The Weidner Chronicle states that it was Sargon who built Babylon “in front of Akkad.” The Chronicle of Early Kings (ABC 20:18–19) likewise states that late in his reign, Sargon “dug up the soil of the pit of Babylon, and made a counterpart of Babylon next to Agade.” Van de Mieroop suggested that those two chronicles may in fact refer to the much later Assyrian king, Sargon II of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, rather than to Sargon of Akkad.

Sargon survives as a legendary figure into the Neo-Assyrian literature of the Early Iron Age. Tablets with fragments of a Sargon Birth Legend were found in the Library of Ashurbanipal from the 7th century BC.

According to this legend, Sargon was the illegitimate son of a priestess (older translations describe his mother as lowly). She brought him forth in secret and placed him in a basket of reeds on the river. He was found by Akki the irrigator who raised him as his own son.

Later claims made on behalf of Sargon were that his mother was an “entu“ priestess (high priestess). The claims might have been made to ensure a descendancy of nobility, considering only a high placed family can be made such a position.

One legend related of Sargon in Assyrian times says that: “My mother was a changeling my father I knew not. The brothers of my father loved the hills. My city is Azurpiranu (the wilderness herb fields), which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My changeling mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose not over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener. While I was gardener Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and (fifty?) … years I exercised kingship”.

Originally a cupbearer (Rabshakeh) to a king of Kish with a Semitic name, Ur-Zababa, Sargon thus became a gardener, responsible for the task of clearing out irrigation canals. This gave him access to a disciplined corps of workers, who also may have served as his first soldiers.

Similarities between the Neo-Assyrian Sargon Birth Legend and other infant birth exposures in ancient literature, including Moses, Karna, and Oedipus, were noted by Otto Rank in 1909.

The legend was also studied in detail by Brian Lewis, and compared with a number of different examples of the infant birth exposure motif found in European and Asian folk tales. He discusses a possible archetype form, giving particular attention to the Sargon legend and the account of the birth of Moses. Joseph Campbell has also made such comparisons.

Nimrod

The Bible refers to the Akkadians in Genesis 10:10, which states that Nimrod is the founder of Akkad, although in terms of Historicity, Nimrod is not attested anywhere in the far older and more numerous annals of the Mesopotamians themselves.

Sargon is also one of the many suggestions for the identity or inspiration for the biblical Nimrod. Ewing William (1910) suggested Sargon based on his unification of the Babylonians and the Neo-Assyrian birth legend. Yigal Levin (2002) suggested that Nimrod was a recollection of Sargon and of his grandson Naram-Sin, with the name “Nimrod” derived from the latter.

The collapse

Later material described how the fall of Akkad was due to Naram-Sin’s attack upon the city of Nippur. When prompted by a pair of inauspicious oracles, the king sacked the E-kur temple, supposedly protected by the god Enlil, head of the pantheon. As a result of this, eight chief deities of the Anunnaki pantheon were supposed to have come together and withdrawn their support from Akkad.

“For the first time since cities were built and founded, The great agricultural tracts produced no grain, The inundated tracts produced no ostriches, The irrigated orchards produced neither wine nor syrup, The gathered clouds did not rain, the masgurum did not grow. At that time, one shekel’s worth of oil was only one-half quart, One shekel’s worth of grain was only one-half quart… These sold at such prices in the markets of all the cities! He who slept on the roof, died on the roof, He who slept in the house, had no burial, People were flailing at themselves from hunger.”

For many years, the events described in “The Curse of Akkad” were thought, like the details of Sargon’s birth, to be purely fictional. But now the evidence of Tell Leilan, and recent findings of elevated dust deposits in sea-cores collected off Oman, that date to the period of Akkad’s collapse suggest that this climate changemay have played a role.

The Akkadian Empire reached its political peak between the 24th and 22nd centuries BC, following the conquests by its founder Sargon of Akkad. After the fall of the Akkadian Empire, the Akkadian people of Mesopotamia eventually coalesced into two major Akkadian-speaking nations: Assyria in the north, and, a few centuries later, Babylonia in the south.

The excavators at nearby Tell Leilan (ancient Shekhna / Shubat-Enlil) have used the results from their investigations to argue that the Akkadian Empire came to an end due to abrupt climate change, the so-called 4.2 kiloyear event, one of the most severe climatic events of the Holocene period in terms of impact on cultural upheaval. The impact of this climate event on Mesopotamia in general, and on the Akkadian Empire in particular, continues to be hotly debated.

Starting in about 2200 BC, it probably lasted the entire century. A phase of intense aridity is recorded across North Africa, the Middle East, the Red Sea, the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent, and midcontinental North America.

Glaciers throughout the mountain ranges of western Canada advanced at about this time. Evidence has also been found in an Italian cave flowstone, the Kilimanjaro Ice sheet, and in Andean glacier ice.

The onset of the aridification in Mesopotamia also coincided with a cooling event in the North Atlantic, known as Bond event 3. Despite this, evidence for the 4.2 kyr event in northern Europe is ambiguous, suggesting the origin and impact of this event is spatially complex.

It is very likely to have caused the collapse of the Old Kingdom in Egypt as well as the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia. The drought may have also initiated southeastward habitat tracking within the Indus Valley Civilization.

In c. 2150 BC the Old Kingdom was hit by a series of exceptionally low Nile floods, which was instrumental in the sudden collapse of centralized government in ancient Egypt. Famines, social disorder, and fragmentation during a period of approximately 40 years were followed by a phase of rehabilitation and restoration of order in various provinces.

Egypt was eventually reunified within a new paradigm of kingship. The process of recovery depended on capable provincial administrators, the deployment of the idea of justice, irrigation projects, and an administrative reform.

In the Persian Gulf region, there is a sudden change in settlement pattern, style of pottery and tombs at this time. The 22nd century BC drought marks the end of the Umm an-Nar Culture (Arabic for “Mother of fire”), the name given to a bronze age culture that existed from 2600-2000 BC in modern-day United Arab Emirates and Northern Oman, and the change to the Wadi Suq period.

The Akkadian Empire was brought low by a wide-ranging, centuries-long drought. Archaeological evidence documents widespread abandonment of the agricultural plains of northern Mesopotamia and dramatic influxes of refugees into southern Mesopotamia around 2170 BC.

Evidence from Tell Leilan in Northern Mesopotamia shows what may have happened. The site was abandoned soon after the city’s massive walls were constructed, its temple rebuilt and its grain production reorganised. The debris, dust and sand that followed show no trace of human activity. Soil samples show fine wind-blown sand, no trace of earthworm activity, reduced rainfall and indications of a drier and windier climate.

Evidence shows that skeleton-thin sheep and cattle died of drought, and up to 28,000 people abandoned the site, seeking wetter areas elsewhere. Tell Brak shrank in size by 75%. Trade collapsed. Nomadic herders such as the Amorites moved herds closer to reliable water suppliers, bringing them into conflict with Akkadian populations.

This collapse of rain-fed agriculture in the Upper Country meant the loss to southern Mesopotamia of the agrarian subsidies which had kept the Akkadian Empire solvent. Water levels within the Tigris and Euphrates fell 1.5 metres beneath the level of 2600 BC, and although they stabilised for a time during the following Ur III period (ca. 2112 BC and 2004 BC), also known as the Sumerian renaissance, rivalries between pastoralists and farmers increased.

Attempts were undertaken to prevent the former from herding their flocks in agricultural lands, such as the building of a 180 km (112 mi) wall known as the “Repeller of the Amorites” between the Tigris and Euphrates across central Mesopotamia under the Ur III ruler Shu-Sin to stem nomadic incursions to the south Such attempts led to increased political instability; meanwhile, severe depression occurred to re-establish demographic equilibrium with the less favorable climatic conditions.

Widespread agricultural change in the Near East is visible at the end of the third millennium BC. Resettlement of the northern plains by smaller sedentary populations occurred near 1900 BC, three centuries after the collapse. The Gutian people, who originally inhabited the Zagros Mountains, defeated the demoralized Akkadian army, took Akkad, and destroyed it around 2115 BC.

Akkad

Akkad (also spelled Akkade or Agade) was the capital of the Akkadian Empire, which was the dominant political force in Mesopotamia at the end of the third millennium BC. The existence of Akkad is known only from textual sources; its location has not yet been identified, although scholars have proposed a number of different sites. Most recent proposals point to a location east of the Tigris.

Before Akkad was identified in Mesopotamian cuneiform texts, the city was known only from a single reference in Genesis 10:10 where it is written Accad. The city of Akkad is mentioned more than 160 times in cuneiform sources ranging in date from the Akkadian period itself (2350–2170 or 2230–2050 BCE, according to respectively the Middle or Short Chronology,) to the 6th century BCE. The name of the city is spelled as a-ga-dè, which is variously transcribed into English as Akkad, Akkade or Agade.

The meaning of the name is unknown. The etymology of a-ga-dè is also unclear but not of Akkadian origin. Sumerian, Hurrian and Lullubean etymologies have been proposed instead.

The non-Akkadian origin of the city’s name suggests that the site may have already been occupied in pre-Sargonic times, as also suggested by the mentioning of the city in one pre-Sargonic year-name. The inscription on the Bassetki Statue records that the inhabitants of Akkad built a temple for Naram-Sin after he had crushed a revolt against his rule.

The main goddess of Akkad was Ishtar, who was called ‘Aštar-annunîtum or ‘Warlike Ishtar’ and who was identified with the Sumerian goddess Inanna. Her husband Ilaba was also revered in Akkad. Ishtar and Ilaba were later worshipped at Sippar in the Old Babylonian period, possibly because Akkad itself had been destroyed by that time. The city was certainly in ruins by the mid-first millennium BCE.

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Capricorn and Aquarius – January and February

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 21, 2016

Aquarius is a constellation of the zodiac, situated between Capricornus and Pisces. Its name is Latin for “water-carrier” or “cup-carrier”, and its symbol is a representation of water. It is found in a region often called the Sea due to its profusion of constellations with watery associations such as Cetus the whale, Pisces the fish, and Eridanus the river.

Across the desert in ancient Sumer the origins of Aquarius lie with the Goddess Gula, the Great One. She is described as a Goddess of Healing, but on closer inspection it becomes obvious that the healing that Gula gifts upon the Earth is that of the nourishing rain and fresh water floods that turn the dry land green again.

Gula is also said to have a violent side which She exhibits in the form of rain and thunderstorms: “Queen Whose Temper, Like a Raging Storm, Makes Heaven Tremble and the Earth Quake”. Gula was linked to the Great Flood and is often depicted with dogs by Her side.

Later accounts describe Gula in the form of Mul Gula as being a male Water Pourer who is immortalised in the constellation of  Aquarius. However, essentially the male Mul Gula is the same image as Enki, the Sumerian Lord of Fresh Water, who is often depicted pouring water from two jugs.

Aquarius is identified as GU.LA “The Great One” in the Babylonian star catalogues and represents the god Ea himself, who is commonly depicted holding an overflowing vase. The Babylonian star-figure appears on entitlement stones and cylinder seals from the second millennium. It contained the winter solstice in the Early Bronze Age. In Old Babylonian astronomy, Ea was the ruler of the southernmost quarter of the Sun’s path, the “Way of Ea”, corresponding to the period of 45 days on either side of winter solstice.

Considered the master shaper of the world, god of wisdom and of all magic, Enki was characterized as the lord of the Abzu, the freshwater sea or groundwater located within the earth. He is often shown with the horned crown of divinity dressed in the skin of a carp. He was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization.

His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the goat Capricorn, recognised as the zodiacal constellation Capricornus. He was accompanied by an attendant Isimud, a minor god, the messenger of the god Enki in Sumerian mythology, readily identifiable by his possessing two faces looking in opposite directions. He was also associated with the planet Mercury in the Sumerian astrological system.

Later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology, Enki was the god of intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”), creation, crafts; magic; water, seawater and lakewater (a, aba, ab). Mercury is the ruling planet of Gemini and Virgo and is exalted in Virgo or Aquarius.

Aquarius was also associated with the destructive floods that the Babylonians regularly experienced, and thus was negatively connoted. In Ancient Egypt, Aquarius was associated with the annual flood of the Nile; the banks were said to flood when Aquarius put his jar into the river, beginning spring.

In the Greek tradition, the constellation became represented as simply a single vase from which a stream poured down to Piscis Austrinus. The name in the Hindu zodiac is likewise kumbha “water-pitcher”, showing that the zodiac reached India via Greek intermediaries.

In Greek mythology, Aquarius is sometimes associated with Deucalion, the son of Prometheus who built a ship with his wife Pyrrha to survive an imminent flood. They sailed for nine days before washing ashore on Mount Parnassus. Aquarius is also sometimes identified with beautiful Ganymede, a youth in Greek mythology and the son of Trojan king Tros, who was taken to Mount Olympus by Zeus to act as cup-carrier to the gods.

Uranus is the ruling planet of Aquarius and is exalted in Scorpio. In Greek mythology, Uranus is the personification of the heavens and the night sky. The planet Uranus is very unusual among the planets in that it rotates on its side, so that it presents each of its poles to the Sun in turn during its orbit; causing both hemispheres to alternate between being bathed in light and lying in total darkness over the course of the orbit.

Before the discovery of Uranus, Saturn was regarded as the ruling planet of Aquarius alongside Capricorn of course, which is the preceding sign. Many traditional types of astrologers prefer Saturn as the planetary ruler for both Capricorn and Aquarius. In modern astrology, it is the primary native ruler of the tenth house. Traditionally however, Saturn ruled both the first and eighth houses.

Under the tropical zodiac, the sun is in Aquarius typically between January 20 and February 18, while under the Sidereal Zodiac, the sun is in Aquarius from approximately February 15 to March 14, depending on leap year.

The Roman month Februarius was named after the Latin term februum, which means purification, via the purification ritual Februa held on February 15 (full moon) in the old lunar Roman calendar. Its zodiac signs are Aquarius (until February 19) and Pisces (February 20 onwards).

January and February were the last two months to be added to the Roman calendar, since the Romans originally considered winter a monthless period. They were added by Numa Pompilius about 713 BC.

February remained the last month of the calendar year until the time of the decemvirs (c. 450 BC), when it became the second month. At certain intervals February was truncated to 23 or 24 days, and a 27-day intercalary month, Intercalaris, was inserted immediately after February to realign the year with the seasons.

January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after the Latin word for door (ianua) since January is the door to the year. The month is conventionally thought of as being named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology, but according to ancient Roman farmers’ almanacs Juno was the tutelary deity of the month. The zodiac signs for the month of January are Capricorn (until January 20) and Aquarius (January 21 onwards).

In Roman mythology, Saturn is the god of agriculture, leader of the titans, founder of civilizations, social order, and conformity. The day Saturday is, like the planet Saturn, named after the Roman god of agriculture, Saturn (linked to the Greek god Cronus).

The glyph is shaped like a scythe, but it is known as the “crescent below the cross”, whereas Jupiter’s glyph is the “crescent above the cross”. The famous rings of the planet Saturn that enclose and surround it, reflect the idea of human limitations. Saturn takes 29.5 years to orbit the Sun, spending about 2.46 years in each sign of the zodiac.

Saturn in astrology is the ruling planet of Capricorn, the tenth astrological sign in the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Capricornus, and, traditionally, Aquarius.

Capricorn spans the 270–300th degree of the zodiac. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area from December 21 to January 20 each year, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits the constellation of Capricorn from approximately January 16 to February 16.

In astrology, Capricorn is considered an earth sign, introvert sign, a power sign and one of the four cardinal signs. Capricorn is said to be ruled by the planet Saturn. Its symbol is based on the Sumerians primordial god of wisdom and waters, Enki, with the head and upper body of a mountain goat, and the lower body and tail of a fish.

In Chinese astrology, Saturn is ruled by the element earth, which is warm, generous, and co-operative. In Indian astrology, Saturn is called Shani or “Sani”, representing a noteworthy career and longevity. He is also the bringer of obstacles and hardship.

In Scandinavian countries, Saturday is called lördag, “lørdag,” or laurdag, the name being derived from the old word laugr/laug, meaning bath, thus Lördag equates to bath-day. This is due to the Viking practice of bathing on Saturdays. The roots lör, laugar and so forth are cognate to the English word lye, in the sense of detergent.

*Laguz or *Laukaz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the l-rune, *laguz meaning “water” or “lake” and *laukaz meaning “leek”. The “leek” hypothesis is based not on the rune poems, but rather on early inscriptions where the rune has been hypothesized to abbreviate *laukaz, a symbol of fertility.

In the Anglo-Saxon rune poem, it is called lagu “ocean”. In the Younger Futhark, the rune is called lögr “waterfall” in Icelandic and logr “water” in Norse. The corresponding Gothic letter is l, named lagus. The rune is identical in shape to the letter lin the Raetic alphabet.

In India, Saturday is Shanivar, based on Shani, the Vedic god manifested in the planet Saturn. Shani dev is one of the Navagraha (the nine primary celestial beings in Hindu astrology) of Jyotiṣa. Shani dev is embodied in the planet Saturn and is the Lord of Saturday. Shani dev is also known as Śanaiścara. The word shani comes from Śanayē Kramati Saḥ, the one who moves slowly, because Saturn takes about 30 years to revolve around the Sun.

In Hindu astrology, the kumbha stands for the zodiac sign Aquarius and is also associated with the Kumbh Mela, a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river, which happens when the planet Brihaspati moves into Aquarius. The Kumbh Mela of Haridwar appears to be the original Kumbh Mela, since it is held according to the astrological sign “Kumbha” (Aquarius), and because there are several references to a 12-year cycle for it.

In Hindu epic Ramayana, Ravana’s brother Kumbhakarna had a son named Kumbha. In Hindu mythology and scriptures, several references are found of human beings born from kumbha. A legend states that rishi Agastya was born out of a womb.

A kumbha is a type of pottery in India. Traditionally, it is made by Kumbhars, also known as Prajapatis. In the context of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist mythology, the kumbha symbolises the womb. It represents fertility, life, generative power of human beings and sustenance and is generally associated with devis, particularly Ganga.

According to Hindu mythology, the first kumbha was created by Prajapati (“lord of people”), a group of Hindu deities presiding over procreation and protection of life, and thereby a King of Kings (Rajanya or Rajan), on the occasion of the marriage of Shiva, so he was first kumbhara “potter”.

Prajapati is a Vedic deity presiding over procreation, and the protection of life. He was mentioned as Daksha in Hiranyagharbhasuktham as the creator deity emerging from supreme god vishvakarman above the other Vedic deities in RV 10 and in Brahmana literature. Vedic commentators also identify him with the creator referred to in the Nasadiya Sukta. In later times, he is identified with the personifications of Time, Fire, the Sun, etc.

A possible connection between Prajapati (and related figures in Indian tradition) and the Prōtogonos (“First-born”) or Phanes, the mystic primeval deity of procreation and the generation of new life, who was introduced into Greek mythology by the Orphic tradition, has been made by several scholars. Other names for this Classical Greek Orphic concept included Ericapaeus (“power”) and Metis (“thought”).

Another myth says that the first pot was created by Vishvakarman (Sanskrit for “all-accomplishing, maker of all, all-doer”) is personification of creation and the abstract form of the creator God according to the Rigveda, on the occasion of the churning of the ocean for the first Amrit Sanchar.

Viśwákarma is personification of creation and the abstract form of the creator God according to the Rigveda. He is the presiding deity of all Vishwakarma (caste), engineers, artisans and architects. He is believed to be the “Principal Architect of the Universe “, and the root concept of the later Upanishadic figures of Brahman and Purusha.

In several religious ceremonies and rituals, kumbhas or kalashas filled with water and leaves and decorated with intricate motifs, sometimes with ornaments, play an important role in ancient India. These rituals still survive in India.

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The sister-wife of Njörðr

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 21, 2016

Njörðr

In Norse mythology, Njörðr is a god among the Vanir. Njörðr, the father of the deities Freyr and Freyja by his unnamed sister, was in an ill-fated marriage with the goddess Skaði, lives in Nóatún and is associated with sea, seafaring, wind, fishing, wealth, and crop fertility. Veneration of Njörðr survived into 18th or 19th century Norwegian folk practice, where the god is recorded as Njor and thanked for a bountiful catch of fish.

Njörðr has been the subject of an amount of scholarly discourse and theory, often connecting him with the figure of the much earlier attested Germanic goddess Nerthus, the hero Hadingus, and theorizing on his formerly more prominent place in Norse paganism due to the appearance of his name in numerous place names. Additionally, in Old Icelandic translations of Classical mythology the Roman god Saturn’s name is glossed as “Njörðr.”

Nerthus

Njörðr is often identified with the older Germanic fertility goddess Nerthus, whose reverence by various Germanic tribes is described by Roman historian Tacitus in his 1st CE century work Germania goddess Nerthus. The original meaning of the name is contested, but it may be related to the Irish word nert which means “force” and “power”.

Nerthus is a goddess associated with fertility attested by Tacitus, the first century AD Roman historian, in his ethnographic work Germania. Tacitus records that the remote Suebi tribes were united by their veneration of the goddess at his time of writing and maintained a sacred grove on an (unspecified) island and that a holy cart rests there draped with cloth, which only a priest may touch.

The priests feel her presence by the cart, and, with deep reverence, attend her cart, which is drawn by heifers. Everywhere the goddess then deigns to visit, she is met with celebration, hospitality, and peace. All iron objects are locked away, and no one will leave for war. When the goddess has had her fill she is returned to her temple by the priests. Tacitus adds that the goddess, the cart, and the cloth are then washed by slaves in a secluded lake. The slaves are then drowned.

A number of theories have been proposed regarding the figure of Nerthus and her potential later traces amongst the Germanic peoples, including the location of the events described, relations to other known deities and her role amongst the Germanic tribes. Various scholarly theories exist regarding that the figure may be identical to the unnamed sister-wife of Njörðr with whom he had Freyja and Freyr.

While developments in historical linguistics ultimately allowed for the identification of Nerthus with Njörðr, various other readings of the name were in currency prior to the acceptance of this identification, most commonly the form Hertha. This form was proposed as an attempt to mirror the Old Norse goddess name Jörð ‘earth’.

Writing on this topic in 1912, Raymond Wilson Chambers says “strange has been the history of this goddess Nerthus in modern times. Sixteenth century scholars found irresistible the temptation to emend the name of ‘Mother Earth’ into Herthum, which nineteenth century scholars further improved into Hertham, Ertham. For many years this false goddess drove out the rightful deity from the fortieth chapter of the Germania”.

The name Nerthus is generally held to be a Latinized form of Proto-Germanic *Nerþuz, a direct precursor to the Old Norse deity name Njörðr. While scholars have noted numerous parallels between the descriptions of the two figures, Njörðr is attested as a male deity.

The connection between the two is due to the linguistic relationship between Njörðr and the reconstructed *Nerþuz, “Nerthus” being the feminine, Latinized form of what Njörðr would have looked like around 1 CE, and both derive from the Proto-Germanic *Nerþuz.

It has been suggested that the change of sex from the female Nerthus to the male Njörðr is due to the fact that feminine nouns with u-stems disappeared early in Germanic language while the masculine nouns with u-stems prevailed.

However, other scholars hold the change to be based not on grammatical gender but on the evolution of religious beliefs; that *Nerþuz and Njörðr appear as different genders because they are to be considered separate beings.

This has led to theories about the relation of the two, including that Njörðr may have once been a hermaphroditic god or, generally considered more likely, that the name may indicate an otherwise unattested divine brother and sister pair such as Freyr and Freyja.

Njörun

The name Njörðr may be related to the name of the Norse goddess Njörun (Old Norse Njǫrun, sometimes modernly anglicized as Niorun). Scholarly theories concerning her name and function in the pantheon include etymological connections to the Norse god Njörðr and the Roman goddess Nerio, and suggestions that she may represent the earth and/or be the unnamed sister-wife of Njörðr.

Njörun is a “mysterious … figure” of whom nothing else is known; Andy Orchard suggests that she may be fictitious. Several scholars have suggested that the stem syllable in her name, Njǫr-, may represent the element *ner- as in Tacitus’ earth-goddess Nerthus (*Ner-þuz), whose name is etymologically identical with that of the Norse god Njǫrðr, and that Njörun may therefore be a name for the earth. Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon additionally suggests a connection with the Roman goddess Nerio.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Nerio was an ancient war goddess and the personification of valor. She was the partner of Mars in ancient cult practices, and was sometimes identified with the goddess Bellona, and occasionally with the goddess Minerva. Spoils taken from enemies were sometimes dedicated to Nerio by the Romans. Nerio was later supplanted by mythologized deities appropriated and adapted from other religions.

The possible etymological connection with Njǫrðr and Nerthus suggests that Njörun may be a preserved name for the sister-wife of Njörðr, who is highly unusual in the Old Norse context in being unnamed.

As was noted by Albert Morey Sturtevant, Njǫrun and Gefjon are the only female names recorded in Old Norse texts that have the suffix -un. Two other god-goddess pairs distinguished by suffix are preserved in the Old Norse corpus, Ullr and Ullin and Fjörgyn and Fjörgynn, and there is a possible third example in Old High German Phol and Volla.

Gefjon

Gefjon or Gefjun (with the alternate spelling Gefion) is a goddess associated with ploughing, the Danish island of Zealand, the legendary Swedish king Gylfi, the legendary Danish king Skjöldr, foreknowledge, and virginity. Gefjon is attested in different sources, and appears as a gloss for various Greco-Roman goddesses in some Old Norse translations of Latin works.

Regarding the plough and Gefjon, Davidson concludes that “the idea behind the taking of the plough round the countryside seems to be that it brought good fortune and prosperity, gifts of a benevolent goddess. Gefjon and her plough thus fit into a large framework of the cult of a goddess associated with fertility of both land and water.”

Scholars have proposed theories about the etymology the name of the goddess, connections to fertility and ploughing practices, the implications of the references made to her as a virgin, five potential mentions of the goddess in the Old English poem Beowulf, and potential connections between Gefjon and Grendel’s Mother and/or the goddesses Freyja and Frigg. Due to perceived similarities it has been proposed a connection between Gefjun and the goddesses Frigg and Freyja.

The etymology of the name Gefjon has been a matter of dispute. In modern scholarship, the element Gef- in Gef-jon is generally theorized as related to the element Gef- in the name Gef-n. The name Gefn is one of the numerous names for the goddess Freyja, and likely means “she who gives (prosperity or happiness).” The connection between the two names has resulted in etymological results of Gefjun meaning “the giving one.”

Albert Murey Sturtevant notes that “the only other feminine personal name which contains the suffix -un is Njǫr-un. Whatever the stem syllable Njǫr- represents (perhaps *ner- as in *Ner-þuz>Njǫrðr), the addition of the n- and un-suffixes seems to furnish an exact parallel to Gef-n : Gefj-un (cf. Njǫr-n : Njǫr-un).” A Finnish word for “bride’s outfit, trousseau” may derive from Gefjon’s name.

Skadi

Skaði (sometimes anglicized as Skadi, Skade, or Skathi) is a jötunn and goddess associated with bowhunting, skiing, winter, and mountains. In all sources she is the daughter of the deceased Þjazi, and Skaði married the god Njörðr as part of the compensation provided by the gods for killing her father Þjazi.

In Heimskringla, Skaði is described as having split up with Njörðr and as later having married the god Odin, and that the two produced many children together. In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, Skaði is responsible for placing the serpent that drips venom onto the bound Loki. Skaði is alternately referred to as Öndurguð (Old Norse “ski god”) and Öndurdís (Old Norse “ski dís”, often translated as “lady”).

Sister-wife of Njörðr

In Norse mythology, the sister-wife of Njörðr is the unnamed wife and sister of the god Njörðr, with whom he is described as having had the (likewise incestuous) twin children Freyr and Freyja.

The situation is complicated in that narratives describing the birth of Freyr and Freyja contradictorily cite the birth of the siblings occurring either after or before Njörðr left Vanaheimr to live among the Æsir. In addition, Freyr is referred to as the “son” of Njörðr and the goddess Skaði in the Poetic Edda poem Skírnismál.

In a euhemerized account of the gods in Ynglinga saga chapter 4, Snorri Sturluson characterizes Freyr and Freyja as the offspring of Njörðr by his unnamed sister, to whom he was married by Vanic custom. However, in the Eddic poem Lokasenna, Loki also states that Njörðr had Freyr by his sister.

In contrast, in the Gylfaginning section of his Prose Edda, after telling the story of Njörðr’s unhappy marriage to Skaði that occurred after he came to live among the Æsir, Snorri states that Freyr and Freyja were born after that; Freyr is also presented as the son of Njörðr and Skaði in the Eddic poem Skírnismál.

However, in Ynglinga saga Freyr, and presumably Freyja, accompanies Njörðr when he comes to live with the Æsir as a hostage after the Æsir–Vanir War; and Lokasennaalludes to Freyja having been “surprised” in Vanic incest with her brother.

Scholars since Jacob Grimm have regarded the chronology in Ynglinga saga as more likely to be original and taken Freyr and Freyja as having been therefore born to Njörðr by an unmentioned Vanic wife.

Jan de Vries suggested a remnant of ancient Indo-European custom. Since Nerthus in Tacitus’ late-1st century Germania is an earth goddess, terra mater (mother earth), but her name is etymologically identical to his, the suggestion is that there was originally a hermaphroditic deity, or more likely that they were a married twin pair, parallel to Freyr and Freyja.

Georges Dumézil pointed out that in Saxo Grammaticus ‘Gesta Danorum, the hero Hadingus’ life closely parallels Njörðr’s, including a relationship with his foster-sister Harthgrepa followed by marriage to a princess who chooses him by his feet, as Skaði does in Gylfaginning.

Grimm suggested that Freyja was thought of as the daughter of the female Nerthus and Freyr as the son of the male Njörðr. It is possible that the goddess’ name survives in the uncharacterized Njörun; other divine pairs with similarly differentiated names in the Old Norse corpus are Ullr and Ullin and Fjörgyn and Fjörgynn, and the Old High German Phol and Volla may also be a pair.

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Kubau and Zababa

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 21, 2016

Kubaba / Ku-Bau

The Third Dynasty of Kish is unique in that it begins with a woman, previously a tavern keeper, Kubaba (in the Weidner or Esagila Chronicle; Sumerian: Kug-Bau), as “king”. She is the only queen on the Sumerian King List, which states she reigned for 100 years – roughly in the Early Dynastic III period (ca. 2500-2330 BC) of Sumerian history. Before becoming monarch, the king list says she was an alewife.

Shrines in honour of Kubaba spread throughout Mesopotamia. In the Hurrian area she may be identified with Kebat, or Hepat, one title of the Hurrian Mother goddess Hannahannah (from Hurrian hannah, “mother”).

Hebat, also transcribed, Kheba or Khepat, was the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living”. She is also a Queen of the deities. Hebat is married to Teshub and is the mother of Sarruma and Alanzu, as well mother-in-law of the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka. The mother goddess is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele.

Kubaba became the tutelary goddess who protected the ancient city of Carchemish on the upper Euphrates, in the late Hurrian – Early Hittite period. She plays a role in Luwian texts and a minor role in Hittite texts, mainly in Hurrian rituals.

Relief carvings, now at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara, show her seated, wearing a cylindrical headdress like the polos and holding probably a tympanum (hand drum) or possibly a mirror in one hand and a poppy capsule (or perhaps pomegranate) in the other.

Her cult later spread and her name was adapted for the main goddess of the Hittite successor-kingdoms in Anatolia, which later developed into the Phrygian matar (mother) or matar kubileya Cybele whose image with inscriptions appear in rock-cut sculptures.

Her Lydian name was Kuvav or Kufav which Ionian Greeks initially transcribed Kybêbê, not Kybele. The seventh-century Semonides of Amorgos calls one of her Hellene followers a kybêbos, and observes that in the following century she has been further Hellenized by Hipponax as “Kybêbê, daughter of Zeus”. The Phrygian goddess otherwise bears little resemblance to Kubaba, who was a sovereign deity at Sardis, known to Greeks as Kybebe.

Ur Zababa

According to the King list, Ur-Zababa was a son of King Puzur-Suen. His mother is unknown. His grandmother was the famous Queen Kugbau. Her son Puzur-Suen and grandson Ur-Zababa followed her on the throne in Sumer as the fourth Kish dynasty on the king list. In some copies as her direct successors, in others with the Akshak dynasty, a city of ancient Sumer, situated on the northern boundary of Akkad, sometimes identified with Babylonian Upi (Greek Opis), intervening.

Ur-Zababa is also known as the king said to be reigning in Sumer during the youth of Sargon of Akkad, also known as Sargon the Great “the Great King” (2334–2279 BC), who became the founder of the Akkadian Empire, the first ancient Semitic-speaking empire of Mesopotamia, centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region, also called Akkad in ancient Mesopotamia.

Meliae

In Greek mythology, the Meliae were nymphs of the ash tree, whose name they shared. They appeared from the drops of blood spilled when Cronus castrated Uranus, according to Hesiod, Theogony. From the same blood sprang the Erinyes and the Giants. From the Meliae sprang the race of mankind of the Age of Bronze.

The Meliae belong to a class of sisterhoods whose nature is to appear collectively and who are invoked in the plural, though genealogical myths, especially in Hesiod, give them individual names, such as Melia, “but these are quite clearly secondary and carry no great weight”.

The Melia thus singled out is one of these daughters of Oceanus. By her brother the river-god Inachus, she became the mother of Io, Phoroneus, Aegialeus or Phegeus, and Philodice. In other stories, she was the mother of Amycus by Poseidon, as the Olympian representative of Oceanus.

Many species of Fraxinus, the ash trees, exude a sugary substance, which the ancient Greeks called méli, “honey”. The species of ash in the mountains of Greece is the Manna-ash (Fraxinus ornus). The Meliae were nurses of the infant Zeus in the Cretan cave of Dikte, according to Callimachus, Hymn to Zeus. They fed him honey.

Of “manna”, the ash-tree sugar, the standard 19th-century US pharmacopeia, The Dispensatory of the United States of America (14th edition, Philadelphia, 1878) said: It is owing to the presence of true sugar and dextrin that manna is capable of fermenting… Manna, when long kept, acquires a deeper color, softens, and ultimately deliquesces into a liquid which on the addition of yeast, undergoes the vinous fermentation. Fermented honey preceded wine as an entheogen in the Aegean world.

The Meliae were perhaps the same as the honey-nymph (meliai) nurses of the god Zeus, Ida and Adrasteia. The manna meli of the ash and the honey of bees were thought to be related and being regarded as an ambrosial food fallen from heaven.

In Hesiod’s Theogony they were born aside the Erinyes, avengers of the castration of Uranus, and the Gigantes. In Hesiod they appear to be the Kouretes-protectors of the baby Zeus. As children born of the castration, it would be proper that such brothers should play a role in the downfall of Cronus, performer of the crime. They were an overly aggressive race who incurred the wrath of Zeus and were ruined in the flood of the Great Deluge.

Semele

Semele, in Greek mythology, daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and Harmonia, was the mortal mother of Dionysus by Zeus in one of his many origin myths. Certain elements of the cult of Dionysus and Semele came from the Phrygians. These were modified, expanded and elaborated by the Ionian Greek invaders and colonists. Herodotus, who gives the account of Cadmus, estimates that Semele lived sixteen hundred years before his time, or around 2000 BCE. In Rome, the goddess Stimula was identified as Semele.

According to some linguists the name “Semele” is Thraco-Phrygian, derived from a PIE root meaning “earth”. Julius Pokorny reconstructs her name from the PIE root *dgem- meaning “earth” and relates it with Thracian Zemele, “mother earth”. However, Burkert says that while Semele is “manifestly non-Greek”, he also says that “it is no more possible to confirm that Semele is a Thraco-Phrygian word for earth than it is to prove the priority of the Lydian baki- over Bacchus as a name for Dionysos”.

In one version of the myth, Semele was a priestess of Zeus, and on one occasion was observed by Zeus as she slaughtered a bull at his altar and afterwards swam in the river Asopus to cleanse herself of the blood. Flying over the scene in the guise of an eagle, Zeus fell in love with Semele and repeatedly visited her secretly.

Zeus’ wife, Hera, a goddess jealous of usurpers, discovered his affair with Semele when she later became pregnant. Appearing as an old crone, Hera befriended Semele, who confided in her that her lover was actually Zeus. Hera pretended not to believe her, and planted seeds of doubt in Semele’s mind. Curious, Semele asked Zeus to grant her a boon.

Zeus, eager to please his beloved, promised on the River Styx to grant her anything she wanted. She then demanded that Zeus reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his divinity. Though Zeus begged her not to ask this, she persisted and he was forced by his oath to comply.

Zeus tried to spare her by showing her the smallest of his bolts and the sparsest thunderstorm clouds he could find. Mortals, however, cannot look upon the gods without incinerating, and she perished, consumed in lightning-ignited flame.

Zeus rescued the fetal Dionysus, however, by sewing him into his thigh (whence the epithet Eiraphiotes, “insewn”, of the Homeric Hymn). A few months later, Dionysus was born. This leads to his being called “the twice-born”.

When he grew up, Dionysus rescued his mother from Hades, and she became a goddess on Mount Olympus, with the new name Thyone, presiding over the frenzy inspired by her son Dionysus.

There is a story in the Fabulae 167 of Gaius Julius Hyginus, or a later author whose work has been attributed to Hyginus. In this, Dionysus (called Liber) is the son of Jupiter and Proserpina, and was killed by the Titans. Jupiter gave his torn up heart in a drink to Semele, who became pregnant this way.

In another account, Zeus swallows the heart himself, in order to beget his seed on Semele. Hera then convinces Semele to ask Zeus to come to her as a god, and on doing so she dies, and Zeus seals the unborn baby up in his thigh.

There is no suggestion in the text that Semele is a virgin, however. As a result of this Dionysus “was also called Dimetor [of two mothers]… because the two Dionysoi were born of one father, but of two mothers”.

Still another variant of the narrative is found in Callimachus and the 5th century CE Greek writer Nonnus. In this version, the first Dionysus is called Zagreus. Nonnus does not present the conception as virginal; rather, the editor’s notes say that Zeus swallowed Zagreus’ heart, and visited the mortal woman Semele, whom he seduced and made pregnant.

In Dionysiaca he classifies Zeus’s affair with Semele as one in a set of twelve, the other eleven women on whom he begot children being Io, Europa, the nymph Pluto, Danaë, Aigina, Antiope, Leda, Dia, Alcmene, Laodameia, mother of Sarpedon, and Olympias.

The most usual setting for the story of Semele is the palace that occupied the acropolis of Thebes, called the Cadmeia. When Pausanias visited Thebes in the 2nd century CE, he was shown the very bridal chamber where Zeus visited her and begat Dionysus.

Since an Oriental inscribed cylindrical seal found at the palace can be dated 1400-1300 centuries BCE, the myth of Semele must be Mycenaean or earlier in origin. At the Alcyonian Lake near the prehistoric site of Lerna, Dionysus, guided by Prosymnus or Polymnus, descended to Tartarus to free his once-mortal mother. Annual rites took place there in classical times; Pausanias refuses to describe them.

Though the Greek myth of Semele was localized in Thebes, the fragmentary Homeric Hymn to Dionysus makes the place where Zeus gave a second birth to the god a distant one, and mythically vague: “For some say, at Dracanum; and some, on windy Icarus; and some, in Naxos, O Heaven-born, Insewn; and others by the deep-eddying river Alpheus that pregnant Semele bare you to Zeus the thunder-lover. And others yet, lord, say you were born in Thebes; but all these lie. The Father of men and gods gave you birth remote from men and secretly from white-armed Hera. There is a certain Nysa, a mountain most high and richly grown with woods, far off in Phoenice, near the streams of Aegyptus…”

Semele was worshipped at Athens at the Lenaia, when a yearling bull, emblematic of Dionysus, was sacrificed to her. One-ninth was burnt on the altar in the Hellenic way; the rest was torn and eaten raw by the votaries.

Semla is the Etruscan equivalent for the Greek goddess Semele, daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and mother of the Greek god of wine Dionysus by Zeus. Her name also is sometimes spelled Semia. The Greek cult of Dionysus had flourished among the Etruscans in the archaic period, and had been made compatible with Etruscan religious beliefs.

In ancient Rome, a grove (lucus) near Ostia, situated between the Aventine Hill and the mouth of the Tiber River, was dedicated to a goddess named Stimula. Augustine notes that the goddess is named after stimulae, “goads, whips,” by means of which a person is driven to excessive actions.

Religious beliefs and myths associated with Dionysus were successfully adapted and remained pervasive in Roman culture, as evidenced for instance by the Dionysian scenes of Roman wall painting and on sarcophagi from the 1st to the 4th centuries CE.

One of the main principles of the Dionysian mysteries that spread to Latium and Rome was the concept of rebirth, to which the complex myths surrounding the god’s own birth were central. Birth and childhood deities were important to Roman religion; Ovid identifies Semele’s sister Ino as the nurturing goddess Mater Matuta. This goddess had a major cult center at Satricum that was built 500–490 BCE.

The female consort who appears with Bacchus in the acroterial statues there may be either Semele or Ariadne. The pair were part of the Aventine Triad in Rome as Liber and Libera, along with Ceres. The temple of the triad is located near the Grove of Stimula, and the grove and its shrine (sacrarium) were located outside Rome’s sacred boundary (pomerium), perhaps as the “dark side” of the Aventine Triad.

Zemlya

Mat Zemlya, also Matka Ziemia, and Mati Syra Zemlya (literally Damp Mother Earth), is the oldest deity in Slavic mythology, her identity later blended into that of Mokosh. She shares characteristics with Indo-Iranian Ardvi Sura Anahita, the Avestan language name of an Indo-Iranian cosmological figure venerated as the divinity of ‘the Waters’ (Aban) and hence associated with fertility, healing and wisdom, “Humid Mother of the Earth”.

Anahit 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. The Armenian goddess Anahit is related to the similar Old Persian goddess Anahita.

At some point prior to the 4th century BCE, this yazata was conflated with (an analogue of) Semitic Ištar, likewise a divinity of “maiden” fertility and from whom Aredvi Sura Anahita then inherited additional features of a divinity of war and of the planet Venus or “Zohreh” in Arabic. It was moreover the association with the planet Venus, “it seems, which led Herodotus to record that the [Persis] learnt ‘to sacrifice to “the heavenly goddess”‘ from the Assyrians and Arabians.”

In the early Middle Ages, Mati Syra Zemlya was one of the most important deities in the Slavic world. Oaths were made binding by touching the Earth and sins were confessed into a hole in the Earth before death. She was worshipped in her natural form and was not given a human personage or likeness. Since the adoption of Christianity in all Slavic lands, she has been identified with Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Mokosh

Mokoš is a Slavic goddess mentioned in the Primary Chronicle, protector of women’s work and women’s destiny. She watches over spinning and weaving, shearing of sheep, and protects women in child birth. She is a wanderer and a spinner. She is the Great Mother, Mat Zemlya.

Mokosh probably means moisture. According to Max Vasmer, her name is derived from the same root as Slavic wordsmokry ‘wet’ and moknut(i) ‘get wet’. She was one of the most popular Slavic deities and the great Mother Goddess of East Slavs and Eastern Polans.

Archeological evidence of Mokosh dates back to the 7th century BC. As late as the 19th century, she was worshipped as a force of fertility and the ruler of death. Worshipers prayed to Mokosh-stones or breast-shaped boulders that held power over the land and its people.

In Eastern Europe Mokosh is still popular as a powerful life giving force and protector of women. Villages are named after her. She shows up in embroidery, represented as a woman with uplifted hands and flanked by two plow horses. Sometimes she is shown with male sexual organs, as the deity in charge of male potency.

Her consorts are probably both, the god of thunder Perun and his opponent Veles. Mokosh is also the mother of the twin siblings Jarilo and Morana. A key myth in Slavic mythology, is the divine battle between the thunder god Perun and his opponent the god Veles. Some authors and the original researchers Ivanov and Toporov believe, the abduction of Mokosh causes the struggle.

During Christianization of Kievan Rus’ there were warnings issued against worshipping Mokoš. She was replaced by the cult of the Virgin Mary and St. Paraskevia.

Ninsun

In Sumerian mythology, Ninsun or Ninsuna (“lady wild cow”) is a goddess, best known as the mother of the legendary hero Gilgamesh, and as the tutelary goddess of Gudea of Lagash. Ninsun was called Gula in Sumerian Mythology until the name was later changed to Ninisina. Gula in the latter became a Babylonian goddess. Her parents are the deities Anu and Uras.

Ninsun is called “Rimat-Ninsun”, the “August cow”, the “Wild Cow of the Enclosure”, and “The Great Queen”. In the Tello relief (the ancient Lagash, 2150 BC) her name is written with the cuneiform glyphs as: DINGIR.NIN.GUL where the glyph for GUL is the same for SUN. The meaning of SUN is attested as “cow”.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ninsun is depicted as a human queen who lives in Uruk with her son as king. Since the father of Gilgamesh was former king Lugalbanda, it stands to reason that Ninsun procreated with Lugalbanda to give birth.

Nintinugga was a Babylonian goddess of healing, the consort of Ninurta. She is identical with the goddess of Akkadian mythology, known as Bau or Baba, though it would seem that the two were originally independent. She was the daughter of An and Ninurta’s wife. She had seven daughters, including Hegir-Nuna (Gangir). She was known as a patron deity of Lagash, where Gudea built her a temple.

The name Bau is more common in the oldest period and gives way to Gula after the First Babylonian Dynasty. Since it is probable that Ninib has absorbed the cults of minor sun-deities, the two names may represent consorts of different gods. However, this may be, the qualities of both are alike, and the two occur as synonymous designations of Ninib’s female consort.

Other names borne by this goddess are Nin-Karrak, Nin Ezen, Ga-tum-dug and Nm-din-dug, the latter signifying “the lady who restores to life”, or the Goddess of Healing. After the Great Flood, she helped “breathe life” back into mankind.

The designation well emphasizes the chief trait of Bau-Gula which is that of healer. She is often spoken of as “the great physician,” and accordingly plays a prominent role in incantations and incantation rituals intended to relieve those suffering from disease.

She is, however, also invoked to curse those who trample upon the rights of rulers or those who do wrong with poisonous potions. As in the case of Ninib, the cult of Bau-Gula is prominent in Lagash and in Nippur. While generally in close association with her consort, she is also invoked alone, giving her more dominance than most of the goddesses of Babylonia and Assyria.

Chaabou and Dushara

According to the early Christian bishop Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 315–403), Chaabou or Kaabu was a goddess in the Nabataean pantheon – a virgin who gave birth to the god Dusares. However, Epiphanus likely mistook the word ka’abu (“cube”, etymologically related to the name of the Kaaba), referring to the stone blocks used by the Nabateans to represent Dusares and possibly other deities, for the proper name of a goddess.

His report that Chaabou was a virgin was likely influenced by his desire to find a parallel to the Christian belief in the virgin birth of Jesus, and by the similarity of the words ka’bah and ka’ibah (“virgin”) in Arabic, a language closely related to that spoken by the Nabateans.

Dushara (“Lord of the Mountain”), also transliterated as Dusares, a deity in the ancient Middle East worshipped by the Nabataeans at Petra and Madain Saleh (of which city he was the patron). He may have been named after deity of Tushar, a famous god of Tushar kingdom in Vedic India situated in Himalayan ranges and known for its horses in ancient world.

In Greek times, he was associated with Zeus because he was the chief of the Nabataean pantheon as well as with Dionysus. His sanctuary at Petra contained a great temple in which a large cubical stone was the centrepiece.

Zababa

In ancient Mesopotamia, Zababa was the tutelary god of the city of Kish, whose sanctuary was the E-meteursag. In Akkadian times the city’s patron deity was Zababa (or Zamama), along with his wife, the goddess Inanna.

Several ancient Mesopotamian kings were named in honor of Zababa, including Ur-Zababa of Kish (early patron of Sargon of Akkad) and Zababa-shuma-iddin (a 12th-century BC Kassite king of Babylon).

Zababa (also Zamama) was the Hittite way of writing the name of a war god, using Akkadian writing conventions. Most likely, this spelling represents the native Anatolian Hattian god [Wurunkatte], their god of war. His Hurrian name was Astabis. He is connected with the Akkadian god Ninurta. The symbol of Zababa – the eagle-headed staff was often depicted next to Ninurta’s symbol.

Sabazios

Sabazios is the nomadic horseman and sky father god of the Phrygians and Thracians. In Indo-European languages, such as Phrygian, the -zios element in his name derives from dyeus, the common precursor of Latin deus (‘god’) and Greek Zeus.

Though the Greeks interpreted Phrygian Sabazios as both Zeus and Dionysus, representations of him, even into Roman times, show him always on horseback, as a nomadic horseman god, wielding his characteristic staff of power.

It seems likely that the migrating Phrygians brought Sabazios with them when they settled in Anatolia in the early first millennium BCE, and that the god’s origins are to be looked for in Macedonia and Thrace.

The recently discovered ancient sanctuary of Perperikon in modern-day Bulgaria is believed to be that of Sabazios. The Macedonians were also noted horsemen, horse-breeders and horse-worshippers up to the time of Philip II, whose name signifies “lover of horses”.

Possible early conflict between Sabazios and his followers and the indigenous mother goddess of Phrygia (Cybele) may be reflected in Homer’s brief reference to the youthful feats of Priam, who aided the Phrygians in their battles with Amazons.

An aspect of the compromise religious settlement, similar to the other such mythic adjustments throughout Aegean culture, can be read in the later Phrygian King Gordias’ adoption “with Cybele” of Midas.

One of the native religion’s creatures was the Lunar Bull. Sabazios’ relations with the goddess may be surmised in the way that his horse places a hoof on the head of the bull, in a Roman marble relief at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Though Roman in date, the iconic image appears to be much earlier.

Gugalanna (Sumerian gu.gal.an.na, “the Great Bull of Heaven”), better known as the Bull of Heaven (Sumerian: gu.an.na), was a deity in ancient Mesopotamian religion originating in Sumer as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

Gugalanna was sent by the gods to take retribution upon Gilgamesh for rejecting the sexual advances of the goddess Inanna. Gugalanna, whose feet made the earth shake, was slain and dismembered by Gilgamesh and his companion Enkidu.

Sabazios, the Thracian reflex of Indo-European Dyeus, was identified with Heros Karabazmos, the “Thracian horseman”. He gained a widespread importance especially after the Roman conquest. This could be akin to Sleipnir, the horse ridden by Odin, in Norse mythology.

Transference of Sabazios to the Roman world appears to have been mediated in large part through Pergamum. The naturally syncretic approach of Greek religion blurred distinctions. Later Greek writers, like Strabo in the first century CE, linked Sabazios with Zagreus, a god, usually but not always identified with Dionysus, among Phrygian ministers and attendants of the sacred rites of Rhea and Dionysos.

Strabo’s Sicilian contemporary, Diodorus Siculus, conflated Sabazios with the secret ‘second’ Dionysus, born of Zeus and Persephone, a connection that is not borne out by surviving inscriptions, which are entirely to Zeus Sabazios.

The Christian Clement of Alexandria had been informed that the secret mysteries of Sabazius, as practiced among the Romans, involved a serpent, a chthonic creature unconnected with the mounted sky god of Phrygia: “‘God in the bosom’ is a countersign of the mysteries of Sabazius to the adepts”. Clement reports: “This is a snake, passed through the bosom of the initiates”.

Much later, the Byzantine Greek encyclopedia, Suda (10th century?), flatly states: “Sabazios … is the same as Dionysos. He acquired this form of address from the rite pertaining to him; for the barbarians call the bacchic cry ‘sabazein’. Hence some of the Greeks too follow suit and call the cry ‘sabasmos’; thereby Dionysos [becomes] Sabazios.

They also used to call ‘saboi’ those places that had been dedicated to him and his Bacchantes … Demosthenes [in the speech] ‘On Behalf of Ktesiphon’ [mentions them]. Some say that Saboi is the term for those who are dedicated to Sabazios, that is to Dionysos, just as those [dedicated] to Bakkhos [are] Bakkhoi. They say that Sabazios and Dionysos are the same. Thus some also say that the Greeks call the Bakkhoi Saboi.”

In Roman sites, though an inscription built into the wall of the abbey church of San Venanzio at Ceperana suggested to a Renaissance humanist it had been built upon the foundations of a temple to Jupiter Sabazius, according to modern scholars not a single temple consecrated to Sabazius, the rider god of the open air, has been located.

Small votive hands, typically made of copper or bronze, are often associated with the cult of Sabazios. Many of these hands have a small perforation at the base which suggests they may have been attached to wooden poles and carried in processions. The symbolism of these objects is not well known.

The first Jews who settled in Rome were expelled in 139 BCE, along with Chaldaean astrologers by Cornelius Hispalus under a law which proscribed the propagation of the “corrupting” cult of “Jupiter Sabazius,” according to the epitome of a lost book of Valerius Maximus. It is conjectured that the Romans identified the Jewish YHVH Tzevaot (“sa-ba-oth,” “of the Hosts”) as Jove Sabazius.

This mistaken connection of Sabazios and Sabaos has often been repeated. In a similar vein, Plutarch maintained that the Jews worshipped Dionysus, and that the day of Sabbath was a festival of Sabazius. Plutarch also discusses the identification of the Jewish God with the “Egyptian” Typhon, an identification which he later rejects, however. The monotheistic Hypsistarians worshipped the Most High under this name, which may have been a form of the Jewish God.

Chaoskampf

The Thracian horseman is the name given to a recurring motif of a deity in the form of a horseman, in Paleo-Balkan mythology, that includes the religious practices of the Dacians, Thracians, and Illyrians. The motif typically features a caped horseman astride a steed, with a spear poised in his right hand.

He is often depicted as slaying a beast with a spear, though this features is sometimes absent. The tradition is best illustrated in surviving artifacts from Thrace, Macedonia, Moesia, and Scythia Minor dating to the Roman era, and is often found depicted on funerary statues.

After Christianity was adopted, the motif of the Thracian horseman is believed to have continued in representations of Saint George slaying the dragon. In the 4th century, the reliefs were considered to be representations of St. George.

Sabazios gained widespread importance after the Roman conquest. The rider is a syncretism of a Romanized people; the rider is a representation of the Cult of Apollo. After Christianity was adopted, the symbolism of Heros continued as representations of Saint George slaying the dragon (compare Uastyrdzhi/Tetri Giorgi in the Caucasus).

The iconic image of the god or hero on horseback battling the chthonic serpent, on which his horse tramples, appears on Celtic votive columns, and with the coming of Christianity it was easily transformed into the image of Saint George and the Dragon, whose earliest known depictions are from tenth- and eleventh-century Cappadocia and eleventh-century Georgia and Armenia.

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