Cradle of Civilization

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Archive for September, 2013

Inanna – the first winged goddess in antiquity

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 30, 2013

In the words of Pr. Maximillien de Lafayette “Humans or human figures with wings were known as guardians of the passage toward the next life. When Armenia was converted to Christianity, the early illustrators of the illuminated manuscripts paintings adopted this pagan iconography as a Christian symbol representing the Christian angels”.

Apparently the memory of Arattan Goddess Inanna was still strong among early Armenian Christians who transferred the concept of wings from paganism into Christianity. Armenia is the first country to officially adopt Christianity as a state religion.

We know from the Aratta-Erech epic tales that Inanna was the goddess of Aratta, as well as that of the city of Erech (Uruk) in Summer.

Aratta was under the special protection of the Sun god’s daughter, Inanna, the goddess of love and war. In “Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta”, the goddess and/or her statue were taken from Aratta to the Sumerian city of Uruk by the ruler of Uruk, Enmerkar.

The Sumerians that were of Armenic or Armenid extraction had established one of the first centers of civilization in the lower part of Mesopotamia. Many scholars agree that Sumerians initially inhabited Armenian Highland and gradually descended to first Northern Mesopotamia and eventually spread further south, establishing the cities of Ur, Uruk and Eridu [note the sacred variations — AR-UR-ER-OR prefix].

Aratta was a city, city-state, or country with which Sumerians had close trade and religious ties in the third millennium B.C.

Aratta- The Land of the Mountains Where the Gods Live of the great Epic of Gilgamesh. The Land where the Garden of Eden— the Tree of Life and the Tree of Wisdom is located…

English Egyptologist and former director of the Institute for the Study of Interdisciplinary Sciences David Rohl writes about Aratta which he places in Greater Armenia: “Despite such a long distance and very different geological and climatic features of these lands, two “Sumerian” States had close cultural and political ties. The inhabitants of these lands spoke the same language and worshiped the same gods, in the first place – the powerful goddess Inanna… In both states there was also the same administrative system and identical political titles.

Enmerkar was En of Uruk, Lord of Aratta also held the title of En(the king-priest). Assyriologist Henry Suggs suggested whether such a close cultural ties indicate the ancient ancestral land of inhabitants of Uruk, where they lived earlier and had to migrate to the plains of Sumer later on. In my view, as we shall see in later chapters of the book, Suggs is absolutely right”.

In Armenian language Aratta means ‘Ara’s house,’ ‘Ar’s
place’ or ‘the city-land of the Ars’ where AR/A (Ararich) is Creator.

In a later Armenian Pantheon Inanna was known as Anahit.

Based on the works of Pr. David Rohl, Pr. Martiros Kavoukjian, Pr. Robert Bedrossian, Pr. Maximillien de Lafayette

1. Inanna – Goddess of Aratta, later on Sumer- Mesopotamia. Inanna

2.
A. Armenian Queen Ashkhen from Maximillien de Lafayette’s book

B. Rich culture of Aratta. Belt decorations in a form of lions and stags. Aratta- Metsamor. Armenia. Second Millennium BCE.

3. An illumination (MS No. 197) from the Matenadaran Gospel.

4. The world’s first known map. Armenia is depicted on it.

5. Map of Aratta and Sumer from M. Kavoukjian’s book.

Posted in Mesopotamia, Religion, The Fertile Crescent | Leave a Comment »

Aram & Arameans

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 25, 2013

In the early stages of critical historiography in 19th century, the idea was advanced that the terms Arma or Aram, and Arime or Arme are Semitic and pertain to the Semites. I. Diakonoff, makes the supposition tha the name Armina ( Armini-Armeni) is given to Armenian and the Armenians because of their neighborhood to the Aramaeans in the southern region of Hayk.

The idea of seeing a Semitic origin in the names Arma, Aram, Arim, Arime, Arme, Armani, Armina, Armeni, and the like, had become such an obsession with some authors that it prevents them from seeing the essence of the interrelationships between the Armenian Highland and Northern Mesopotamia, and creates added difficulties for the clarification of certain obscure problems related to them.

The fact is that the very name Aram has no connection of origin with those Semites who were later called Aramaeans. A careful study of the cuneiform documents of the Near East shows that the Semitic nomadic tribes that were later called Aramaeans, were previously known by the names Sutu and Ahlame. They had come to Northern Mesopotamia and settled in the territories of Mitanni ( Naharina) which was either destroyed or about to be destroyed at that time, and they were called Aramaeans after the ancient name Arma or Aram of the land on which they settled. A similar example is the case of the Egyptians; the name Egypt did not belong to the Arabs, but they have come and settled in the land of Egypt, and by this ancient name of the land they were (and still are) called Egyptians.

J. Myers had written earlier that the Aramaeans* seem to have started to come out of Northeastern Arabia around 1350 B.C. when nomadic marauders whom the Babylonian kings called “SUTI AND ACHLAME” were spreading, looting and devastating along the entire Euphratian border.

R. O’Callaghan has the following to say about the appearance of these Semitic tribes: “The Sutu and the Akhlamu are first mentioned in Assyrian sources as appearing in the time of Arik-den-ili (1316-1305) of Assyria. The former name is connected with the Egyptian Sttyw, meaning “Asiatics”. Thus as a matter of fact they do service as Egyptian mercenaries…”

We see an indication to the recent appearance of these tribes in Northern Mesopotamia in the following statement of Adad-Nirari I (cir. 1310-1280 B.C.): “…conqueror of the lands of Turuki and Nigimhi in their totality, together with all their kings, mountains, and highlands, the territory of widespreading Kuti (v. adds, conqueror of Kutmuhi and all of its allies), the hordes of the Ahlami and Suti, the Iauri and their lands, who enlarged boundary and frontier…”

As we see, according to Adad_Nirari’s assertion, at the beginning of the 13th century these Semitic tribes were still in the process of enlarging their borders by moving forth and occupying new territories that did not belong to them.

Source:”Armenia, Summer and Subartu” by Prof. Dr.Martiros Kavoukjian

Posted in Armenia, Semitic People, The Fertile Crescent | Leave a Comment »

The Serpent (symbolism)

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 16, 2013

The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. The word is derived from Latin serpens, a crawling animal or snake. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind and represent dual expression of good and evil.

In some cultures snakes were fertility symbols. Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The ouroboros is a symbol of eternity and continual renewal of life. The snake dance is a prayer to the spirits of the clouds, the thunder and the lightning, that the rain may fall on the growing crops.

In other cultures snakes symbolized the umbilical cord, joining all humans to Mother Earth. The Great Goddess often had snakes as her familiars – sometimes twining around her sacred staff, as in ancient Crete – and they were worshiped as guardians of her mysteries of birth and regeneration. The Minoan Snake Goddess brandished a serpent in either hand, perhaps evoking her role as source of wisdom, rather than her role as Mistress of the Animals (Potnia theron), with a leopard under each arm.

In the Abrahamic religions, the serpent represents sexual desire. According to the Rabbinical tradition, in the Garden of Eden, the serpent represents sexual passion. In Hinduism, Kundalini is a coiled serpent, the residual power of pure desire.

Serpents are connected with poison and medicine. The snake’s venom is associated with the chemicals of plants and fungi that have the power to either heal, poison or provide expanded consciousness (and even the elixir of life and immortality) through divine intoxication.

Because of its herbal knowledge and entheogenic association the snake was often considered one of the wisest animals, being (close to the) divine. Its divine aspect combined with its habitat in the earth between the roots of plants made it an animal with chthonic properties connected to the afterlife and immortality. Asclepius, the God of medicine and healing, carried a staff with one serpent wrapped around it, which has become the symbol of modern medicine.

Serpents are represented as potent guardians of temples and other sacred spaces. This connection may be grounded in the observation that when threatened, some snakes (such as rattlesnakes or cobras) frequently hold and defend their ground, first resorting to threatening display and then fighting, rather than retreat. Thus, they are natural guardians of treasures or sacred sites which cannot easily be moved out of harm’s way.

Serpents are connected with vengefulness and vindictiveness. This connection depends in part on the experience that venomous snakes often deliver deadly defensive bites without giving prior notice or warning to their unwitting victims. Although a snake is defending itself from the encroachment of its victim into the snake’s immediate vicinity, the unannounced and deadly strike may seem unduly vengeful when measured against the unwitting victim’s perceived lack of blameworthiness.

Occasionally, serpents and dragons are used interchangeably, having similar symbolic functions. The venom of the serpent is thought to have a fiery quality similar to a fire spitting dragon. The Greek Ladon and the Norse Níðhöggr (Nidhogg Nagar) are sometimes described as serpents and sometimes as dragons.

In Germanic mythology, serpent (Old English: wyrm, Old High German: wurm, Old Norse: ormr) is used interchangeably with the Greek borrowing dragon (OE: draca, OHG: trahho, ON: dreki). In China and especially in Indochina, the Indian serpent nāga was equated with the lóng or Chinese dragon.

The serpent, when forming a ring with its tail in its mouth, is a clear and widespread symbol of the “All-in-All”, the totality of existence, infinity and the cyclic nature of the cosmos. The most well known version of this is the Aegypto-Greek Ourobouros. It is believed to have been inspired by the Milky Way, as some ancient texts refer to a serpent of light residing in the heavens.

The Ancient Egyptians associated it with Wadjet, one of their oldest deities as well as another aspect, Hathor. In Norse mythology the World Serpent (or Midgard serpent) known as Jörmungandr, the middle child of Loki and the giantess Angrboða, encircled the world in the ocean’s abyss biting its own tail.

According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki’s three children, Fenrisúlfr, Hel and Jörmungandr. He tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard. The serpent grew so big that he was able to surround the Earth and grasp his own tail, and as a result he earned the alternate name of the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent. Jörmungandr’s arch enemy is the god Thor.

In many myths the chthonic serpent (sometimes a pair) lives in or is coiled around a Tree of Life situated in a divine garden. In the Genesis story of the Torah and Biblical Old Testament, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is situated in the Garden of Eden together with the tree of life and the Serpent. In Greek mythology Ladon coiled around the tree in the garden of the Hesperides protecting the entheogenic golden apples. Similarly Níðhöggr (Nidhogg Nagar) the dragon of Norse mythology eats from the roots of the Yggdrasil, the World Tree.

Under yet another Tree (the Bodhi tree of Enlightenment), the Buddha sat in ecstatic meditation. When a storm arose, the mighty serpent king Mucalinda rose up from his place beneath the earth and enveloped the Buddha in seven coils for seven days, not to break his ecstatic state.

Nin Giz Zida is another name for the ancient Hindu concept of Kundalini, a Sanskrit word meaning either “coiled up” or “coiling like a snake”. Kundalini refers to the mothering intelligence behind yogic awakening and spiritual maturation leading to altered states of consciousness. There are a number of other translations of the term usually emphasizing a more serpentine nature to the word- e.g. ‘serpent power’.

It has been suggested by Joseph Campbell that the symbol of snakes coiled around a staff is an ancient representation of Kundalini physiology. The staff represents the spinal column with the snake(s) being energy channels. In the case of two coiled snakes they usually cross each other seven times, a possible reference to the seven energy centers called chakras.

Sometimes the Tree of Life is represented (in a combination with similar concepts such as the World Tree and Axis mundi or “World Axis”) by a staff such as those used by shamans. Examples of such staffs featuring coiled snakes in mythology are the caduceus of Hermes, the Rod of Asclepius, the staff of Moses, and the papyrus reeds and deity poles entwined by a single serpent Wadjet, dating to earlier than 3000 BCE.

The oldest known representation of two snakes entwined around a rod is that of the Sumerian fertility god Ningizzida. Ningizzida was sometimes depicted as a serpent with a human head, eventually becoming a god of healing and magic. It is the companion of Dumuzi (Tammuz) with whom it stood at the gate of heaven.

In the Louvre, there is a famous green steatite vase carved for King Gudea of Lagash (dated variously 2200–2025 BCE) with an inscription dedicated to Ningizzida. Ningizzida was the ancestor of Gilgamesh, who according to the epic dived to the bottom of the waters to retrieve the plant of life. But while he rested from his labor, a serpent came and ate the plant. The snake became immortal, and Gilgamesh was destined to die.

In Ancient Egypt, where the earliest written cultural records exist, the serpent appears from the beginning to the end of their mythology. Ra and Atum (“he who completes or perfects”) became the same god, Atum, the “counter-Ra,” was associated with earth animals, including the serpent: Nehebkau (“he who harnesses the souls”) was the two headed serpent deity who guarded the entrance to the underworld. He is often seen as the son of the snake goddess Renenutet. She often was confused with (and later was absorbed by) their primal snake goddess Wadjet, the Egyptian cobra, who from the earliest of records was the patron and protector of the country, all other deities, and the pharaohs.

Hers is the first known oracle. She was depicted as the crown of Egypt, entwined around the staff of papyrus and the pole that indicated the status of all other deities, as well as having the all-seeing eye of wisdom and vengeance. She never lost her position in the Egyptian pantheon.

The image of the serpent as the embodiment of the wisdom transmitted by Sophia was an emblem used by gnosticism, especially those sects that the more orthodox characterized as “Ophites” (“Serpent People”). The chthonic serpent was one of the earth-animals associated with the cult of Mithras. The Basilisk, the venomous “king of serpents” with the glance that kills, was hatched by a serpent, Pliny the Elder and others thought, from the egg of a cock.

Naga is the Sanskrit/Pāli word for a deity or class of entity or being, taking the form of a very large snake, found in Hinduism and Buddhism. The naga primarily represents rebirth, death and mortality, due to its casting of its skin and being symbolically “reborn”.

Brahmins associated naga with Shiva and with Vishnu, who rested on a 100 headed naga coiled around Shiva’s neck. The snake represented freedom in Hindu mythology because they cannot be tamed.

 Serpent (symbolism)

Posted in Religion, The Fertile Crescent | Leave a Comment »

History of Man: The Germans, the Hindus and the Sumerians

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 15, 2013

History of Man

The Germans

The term man (from Proto-Germanic *mannaz or *manwaz “man, person”) and words derived from it can designate any or even all of the human race regardless of their sex or age. The word developed into Old English man, mann meaning primarily “adult male human” but secondarily capable of designating a person of unspecified gender, “someone, one” or humanity at large (see also German Mann, Old Norse maðr, Gothic manna “man”). More restricted English terms for an adult male were wer (cognate: Latin vir; survives as the first element in “werewolf”) and guma (cognate: Latin homo; survives as the second element in “bridegroom”).

However, Man in traditional usage refers to the species, to humanity as a whole. Equating the term for the male with the whole species is commonly occurring in other languages (e.g. French l’Homme), particularly in traditional registers, but not uniformly even within language groups.

For example, the German equivalent of “Man” is “Mensch” which is male grammatically (itself a possible expression of the tradition as this is an exception to normal morphology which would have Mensch neuter) but refers to a general person not a male one. The usage persists in all registers of English although it has an old-fashioned tone.

In Old English the words wer and wīf (and wīfmann) were used to refer to “a man” and “a woman” respectively, while mann had the primary meaning of “adult male human” but could also be used for gender neutral purposes (as is the case with modern German man, corresponding to the pronoun in the English utterance “one does what one must”).

In the late twentieth century, the generic meaning of “man” declined (but is also continued in compounds “mankind”, “everyman”, “no-man”, etc.). The same thing has happened to the Latin word homo: in most of the Romance languages, homme, uomo, om, hombre, homem have come to refer mainly to males, with a residual generic meaning.

*Mannaz or *Manwaz is also the Proto-Germanic reconstructed name of the m-rune ᛗ. It is derived from a Proto-Indo-European root *man- (see Sanskrit/Avestan manu-, Slavic mǫž “man, male”). In Hindu mythology, Manu is a title accorded the progenitor of humankind. The Slavic forms (Russian muzh “man, male” etc.) are derived from a suffixed stem *man-gyo-. *Manus in Indo-European mythology was the first man, see Mannus, Manu (Hinduism).

Mannus is a Germanic mythological figure attested by the 1st century AD Roman historian Tacitus in his work Germania. According to Tacitus, Mannus is the son of Tuisto and the progenitor of the three Germanic tribes Ingaevones, Herminones and Istvaeones.

The names of the three sons of Mannus can be extrapolated as Ingui, Irmin, and Istaev aka Iscio. In the Eddas we find the name Yngvi applied to the god FreyR, while the same source lists Jormun (the Old Norse cognate of Irmin) as a byname of Odin’s. Widukind of Corvey further identifies the deity associated with the Saxon Irminsul as Hermin, that is, Hermes, but worshipped as Mars.

Tacitus (Germania, chapter 2): “In ancient lays, their only type of historical tradition, they celebrate Tuisto, a god brought forth from the earth. They attribute to him a son, Mannus, the source and founder of their people, and to Mannus three sons, from whose names those nearest the Ocean are called Ingvaeones, those in the middle Herminones, and the rest Isvaeones. Some people, inasmuch as antiquity gives free rein to speculation, maintain that there were more sons born from the god and hence more tribal designations—Marsi, Gambrivii, Suebi, and Vandilii—and that those names are genuine and ancient.”

The name of this deity or mythological ancestor means human or man (i.e. Homo sapiens). It is thought to stem from the same root as the name of the figure Manu in Hindu tradition, who is held to be the progenitor of humanity, first holy king to rule this earth who saves mankind, the Vedas and the priesthood from the universal flood.

In the Eddas, Mannus seems to most closely resemble Heimdall (World’s Brightness). In the opening passage of the Voluspa, men are referred to as being Heimdall’s kin, while in the poem Rigsthula he is shown uniting each of the hierarchal ranks in siblinghood. Furthermore, while Mannus is remembered as being the father of both Odin and Frey, Heimdall is remembered as being one of the Aesir, but also to have qualities directly linked to the Vanir and to exist in a close paternal relationship to Freyja.

In Eddaic Creation, Mannus occupies the same stead as Borr, ie. a god (Tuisto, Buri), begets a god (Mannus, Borr), begets a trio of brother gods (Ing-Irmin-Istaev, Odin-Vili-Ve).

The Hindus

Hinduism is the dominant religion of the Indian subcontinent, particularly of India and Nepal. It includes Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Smartism among numerous other traditions. Among other practices and philosophies, Hinduism includes a wide spectrum of laws and prescriptions of “daily morality” based on karma, dharma, and societal norms. Hinduism is a categorisation of distinct intellectual or philosophical points of view, rather than a rigid, common set of beliefs.

Hinduism consists of many diverse traditions and has no single founder. Among its direct roots is the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India. As such, Hinduism is often called the “oldest living religion” or the “oldest living major religion” in the world. Since Vedic times, a process of Sanskritization has been taking place, in which “people from many strata of society throughout the subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms”.

Hindu texts are classified into Śruti (“revealed”) and Smriti (“remembered”). These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, Vedic yajna and agamic rituals and temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Manusmriti, Bhagavad Gita and Agamas.

The earliest evidence for prehistoric religion in India date back to the late Neolithic in the early Harappan period (5500–2600 BCE). The beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era (1500–500 BCE) are called the “historical Vedic religion”.

The Vedic religion is an off-shoot from the Proto-Indo-European religion. The oldest Veda is the Rigveda, dated to 1700 – 4000 BCE or older. The Vedas centre on the worship of deities such as Indra, Varuna and Agni, and on the Soma ritual. Fire-sacrifices, called yajña are performed by chanting Vedic mantras but no temples or idols are known.

Vishnu is a popular Hindu deity and is portrayed as Supreme Being in Vaishnavism and as Purushottama or Supreme Purusha in ancient sacred texts like the Bhagavad Gita. Vishnu is also known as Narayana and Hari.

The Vishnu Sahasranama declares Vishnu as Paramatman (supreme soul) and Parameshwara (supreme God). It describes Vishnu as the all-pervading essence of all beings, the master of—and beyond—the past, present and future, the creator and destroyer of all existences, one who supports, preserves, sustains and governs the universe and originates and develops all elements within.

Vishnu is also venerated as Mukunda, which means Supreme God who is the giver of mukti or moksha (liberation from the cycle of rebirths) to his devotees or the worthy ones who deserve salvation from the material world.

The Trimurti (three forms) is a concept in Hinduism “in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva the destroyer or transformer.” These three deities have also been called “the Hindu triad” or the “Great Trinity”, all having the same meaning of three in One. Of the three members of the Trimurti, the Bhagavata Purana, which espouses the Vaishnavite viewpoint, claims that the greatest benefit can be had from worshipping Vishnu.

In some Hindu traditions, Manu is a title accorded to a progenitor of humanity. The current period is ruled by the 7th Manu called the Vaivasvata Manu, the son of Vivasvân and his wife Sanjnâ. Vaivasvata Manu, who ruled as King Manu, is considered the first king to rule this earth. His wife was Sraddha. Because Manu was believed to be absolutely honest, he was initially known as Satyavrata (“One with the oath of truth”).

According to tradition, Manava Grihyasutra, Manava Sulbasutra and Manava Dharmashastra (Manusmriti or rules of Manu) texts are ascribed to Svayambhuva Manu. Manusmriti is considered by some Hindus to be the law laid down for Hindus and is seen as the most important and earliest metrical work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism.

At the same time it is a Smriti, so whenever there is a conflict between what is mentioned in it and that mentioned in sruti (Vedas and Upanishads) the latter is considered to be correct as it holds higher spiritual authority.

In Theosophy, the “Vaivasvatu Manu” is one of the most important beings at the highest levels of Initiation of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, along with Sanat Kumara, Gautama Buddha, Maitreya, the Maha Chohan, and Djwal Khul. According to Theosophy, each root race has its own Manu which physically incarnates in an advanced body of an individual of the old root race and physically progenerates with a suitable female partner the first individuals of the new root race.

The Deluge

The Deluge Myth is a common theme in mythologies all over the Mediterranean, the Near East, and Pacific Asia, and India is no exception. The story is mentioned in early Hindu scriptures such as the Satapatha Brahmana, belonging to the latest part of the Brahmana period of Vedic Sanskrit (i.e. roughly the 8th to 6th centuries BC, Iron Age India, and it has often been compared with the popular traditions of a Great Deluge from other cultures around the world, particularly that of Noah’s Ark.

Vaivasvata Manu is considered the one saved humanity from the great flood – after being warned of it by the Matsya avatar of Vishnu, who had also advised him to build a giant boat. According to the Matsya Purana, a composite work dated to c. 250–500 CE., the Matsya Avatar of Vishnu is believed to have appeared initially as a Shaphari (a small carp), to King Manu, the then King of Kumari Kandam, while he washed his hands in a river. This river was supposed to have been flowing down the Malaya Mountains in his land of Dravida.

The little Fish approached him and swam into his hands. Its name was Matsya, and though Manu didn’t realize this, it was an avatar of Vishnu. The fish asks Manu to protect him from the larger fish that want to eat him, and promises to save his protector from a predicted flood. Out of compassion, Manu put it in a water jar, and once it’s large enough to survive on its own, he releases back into the ocean.

It kept growing bigger and bigger, until King Manu first put Him in a bigger pitcher, and then deposited Him in a well. When the well also proved insufficient for the ever-growing Fish, the King placed Him in a tank (reservoir), that was two yojanas (16 miles) in height above the surface and on land, as much in length, and a yojana (8 miles) in breadth. As it grew further King Manu had to put the fish in a river, and when even the river proved insufficient he placed it in the ocean, after which it nearly filled the vast expanse of the great ocean.

It was then that He (Lord Matsya), revealing Himself, informed the King of an all-destructive deluge which would be coming very soon. Manu built a huge boat which housed his family, 9 types of seeds, and animals to repopulate the earth, after the deluge would end and the oceans and seas would recede. At the time of deluge, Vishnu appeared as a horned fish and Shesha appeared as a rope, with which Manu fastened the boat to horn of the fish for protection against the rising waters and waves. The fish took Manu to a mountaintop, where he chilled out until the flood ended, when he strolled back down to earth to begin the task of repopulating humanity.

According to the Matsya Purana, his boat was perched after the deluge on the top of the Malaya Mountains This narrative is to an extent similar to other deluge stories, like those of Utnapishtim from ancient Sumerian Mythology, and the story of Noah’s ark from the Bible and the Qur’an.

The southern bank of river Gundar, 12 kms off Aruppukkottai, a town and a municipality in Virudhunagar district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, hides history which dates back to the microlithic age, roughly 4,000 years ago. In the village Thiruchuli by the river bank there is a 7 century A.D Shiva temple. It is one among the 14 sanctified Shaiva temples in the Pandya country boasting of a garbhagriha, arthamandapam, mahamandapam and a sabha mandapam.

Thirumeninathaswamy alias Boominatha Swamy with his consort Thunai Malai Amman was enshrined in this well patronized temple of the past. According to a legend, a deluge occurred at the end of Dwapara Yuga. The king prayed to the Almighty to save his country. Answering his prayers, the God made a hole with his trident that sucked away the flood, hence the name Thiruchuli.

As a record, on the north of Thirumeninathar temple is another Shiva shrine known as Pralaya Vindangar. Vanamaiyan Kuthiraikarai Kattiya Thumbichi Nayak (1562-1573 AD) had constructed the shrine for Lord Pralaya Vindangar. A big tank named ‘Kavvai kadal’ is situated in front of the temple. It had the privilege of being mentioned by Sundaramoorthy Nayanar in his Thevaram hymns as ‘Oli punari.’

Namma Madurai: The birth place of a modern saint and a 7th century temple make Thiruchuli famous

The Sumerians

Mesopotamian religion was polytheistic, thereby accepting the existence of many different deities, both male and female, though it was also henotheistic, with certain gods being viewed as superior to others by their specific devotees. These devotees were often from a particular city or city-state that held that deity as its patron deity, for instance the god Enki was often associated with the city of Eridu, and the god Marduk was associated with Babylon.

Eridu, which in Sumerian mythology, is said to be one of the five cities built before the Deluge occurred, appears to be the earliest settlement in the region, founded ca. 5400 BC, close to the Persian Gulf near the mouth of the Euphrates River. Because of accumulation of silt at the shoreline over the millennia, the remains of Eridu are now some distance from the gulf at Abu Shahrain in Iraq.

Enki is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians. He was the deity of crafts (gašam); mischief; water, seawater, lakewater (a, aba, ab), intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”) and creation (Nudimmud: nu, likeness, dim mud, make beer).

It is, however, as the third figure in the triad (the two other members of which were Anu, a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions, and Enlil,the name of a chief deity listed and written about in Sumerian religion, and later in Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian), Hittite, Canaanite and other Mesopotamian clay and stone tablets ) that Enki acquires his permanent place in the pantheon. To him was assigned the control of the watery element, and in this capacity he becomes the shar apsi; i.e. king of the Apsu or “the deep”.

Enki and later Ea were apparently depicted, sometimes, like Adam, as a man covered with the skin of a fish, and this representation, as likewise the name of his main temple E-apsu, “house of the watery deep” (also E-en-gur-a, meaning “house of the subterranean waters””), a ziggurat temple surrounded by Euphratean marshlands near the ancient Persian Gulf coastline at Eridu, points decidedly to his original character as a god of the waters (see Oannes). Around the excavation of the 18 shrines found on the spot, thousands of carp bones were found, consumed possibly in feasts to the god.

Enki was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization. His image is a double-helix snake, or the Caduceus, very similar to the Rod of Asclepius used to symbolize medicine. He is often shown with the horned crown of divinity dressed in the skin of a carp. 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. He was also associated with the planet Mercury in the Sumerian astrological system.

Considered the master shaper of the world, god of wisdom and of all magic, Enki was characterized as the lord of the Abzu (Apsu in Akkadian), the freshwater sea or groundwater located within the earth. In the later Babylonian epic Enûma Eliš, Abzu, the “begetter of the gods”, is inert and sleepy but finds his peace disturbed by the younger gods, so sets out to destroy them. His grandson Enki, chosen to represent the younger gods, puts a spell on Abzu “casting him into a deep sleep”, thereby confining him deep underground. Enki subsequently sets up his home “in the depths of the Abzu.” Enki thus takes on all of the functions of the Abzu, including his fertilising powers as lord of the waters and lord of semen.

Of his cult at Eridu, which goes back to the oldest period of Mesopotamian history, nothing definite is known except that his temple was also associated with Ninhursag’s temple which was called Esaggila, “the lofty head house” (E, house, sag, head, ila, high; or Akkadian goddess = Ila), a name shared with Marduk’s temple in Babylon, pointing to a staged tower or ziggurat (as with the temple of Enlil at Nippur, which was known as E-kur (kur, hill)), and that incantations, involving ceremonial rites in which water as a sacred element played a prominent part, formed a feature of his worship.

This seems also implicated in the epic of the hieros gamos or sacred marriage of Enki and Ninhursag, which seems an etiological myth of the fertilisation of the dry ground by the coming of irrigation water (from Sumerian a, ab, water or semen).

The pool of the Abzu at the front of his temple was adopted also at the temple to Nanna (Akkadian Sin) the Moon, at Ur, and spread from there throughout the Middle East. It is believed to remain today as the sacred pool at Mosques, or as the holy water font in Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches.

A large number of myths about Enki have been collected from many sites, stretching from Southern Iraq to the Levantine coast. He figures in the earliest extant cuneiform inscriptions throughout the region and was prominent from the third millennium down to Hellenistic times.

Myths in which Ea figures prominently have been found in Assurbanipal’s library, and in the Hattusas archive in Hittite Anatolia. As Ea, Enki had a wide influence outside of Sumer, being equated with El (at Ugarit) and possibly Yah (at Ebla) in the Canaanite ‘ilhm pantheon, he is also found in Hurrian and Hittite mythology, as a god of contracts, and is particularly favourable to humankind.

The exact meaning of his name is uncertain: the common translation is “Lord of the Earth”: the Sumerian en is translated as a title equivalent to “lord”; it was originally a title given to the High Priest; ki means “earth”; but there are theories that ki in this name has another origin, possibly kig of unknown meaning, or kur meaning “mound”.

The name Ea is allegedly Hurrian in origin while others claim that his name ‘Ea’ is possibly of Semitic origin and may be a derivation from the West-Semitic root *hyy meaning “life” in this case used for “spring”, “running water.” In Sumerian E-A means “the house of water”, and it has been suggested that this was originally the name for the shrine to the god at Eridu.

Enki and later Ea were apparently depicted, sometimes, like Adam, as a man covered with the skin of a fish, and this representation, as likewise the name of his temple E-apsu, “house of the watery deep”, points decidedly to his original character as a god of the waters (see Oannes). Around the excavation of the 18 shrines found on the spot, thousands of carp bones were found, consumed possibly in feasts to the god.

In Sumerian mythology, a me (Sumerian, conventionally pronounced [mɛ]) or ñe [ŋɛ] or parşu (Akkadian, [parsˤu]) is one of the decrees of the gods foundational to those social institutions, religious practices, technologies, behaviors, mores, and human conditions that make civilization, as the Sumerians understood it, possible. They are fundamental to the Sumerian understanding of the relationship between humanity and the gods.

The mes were originally collected by Enlil and then handed over to the guardianship of Enki who was to broker them out to the various Sumerian centers beginning with his own city of Eridu and continuing with Ur, an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, Meluhha, identified with the Harappan Civilization on the basis of the extensive evidence of trading contacts between Sumer and this region, and Dilmun, a Persian Gulf civilization which traded with Mesopotamian civilizations, the current scholarly consensus is that Dilmun encompassed Bahrain, Failaka, Kuwait and the adjacent eastern Arabia coast in the Persian Gulf. This is described in the poem, “Enki and the World Order” which also details how he parcels out responsibility for various crafts and natural phenomena to the lesser gods.

After six generations of Gods, in the Babylonian “Enuma Elish”, in the seventh generation, (Akkadian “shapattu” or sabath), the younger Igigi Gods, the sons and daughters of Enlil and Ninlil, go on strike and refuse their duties of keeping the creation working. Abzu God of fresh water, co-creator of the cosmos, threatens to destroy the world with his waters, and the Gods gather in terror.

Enki promises to help and puts Abzu to sleep, confining him in irrigation canals and places him in the Kur, beneath his city of Eridu. But then, with the universe still threatened, Tiamat, with the imprisonment of her husband and consort Abzu and at the prompting of her son and vizier Kingu, decides to take back the creation herself.

The Gods gather again in terror and turn to Enki for help, but Enki who harnessed Abzu, Tiamat’s consort, for irrigation refuses to get involved. The gods then seek help elsewhere, and the patriarchal Enlil, their father, God of Nippur, promises to solve the problem if they make him King of the Gods. In the Babylonian tale, Enlil’s role is taken by Marduk, Enki’s son, and in the Assyrian version it is Asshur.

After dispatching Tiamat with the “arrows of his winds” down her throat (similar in some respects to how Elohim moves his breath (ruach) over the “face of the deep” or “Tehom”, in Genesis 1:2) and reconstructing the heavens with the arch of her ribs (i.e. her “life”), Enlil places her tail in the sky as the Milky Way, and her crying eyes become the source of the Tigris and Euphrates.

But there is still the problem of “who will keep the cosmos working”. Enki, who might have otherwise come to their aid, is lying in a deep sleep and fails to hear their cries. His mother Nammu (creatrix also of Abzu and Tiamat) “brings the tears of the gods” before Enki and says: Oh my son, arise from thy bed, from thy (slumber), work what is wise, Fashion servants for the Gods, may they produce their (bread?).

Enki then advises that they create a servant of the Gods, humankind, out of clay and blood. Against Enki’s wish the Gods decide to slay Kingu, and Enki finally consents to use Kingu’s blood to make the first human, with whom Enki always later has a close relationship, the first of the seven sages, seven wise men or “Abgallu” (Ab = water, Gal = great, Lu = Man), also known as Adapa. Enki assembles a team of divinities to help him, creating a host of “good and princely fashioners”.

Adapa, the first man fashioned, later goes and acts as the advisor to the King of Eridu, when in the Sumerian Kinglist, the “Me” of “kingship descends on Eridu”.

Adapa, the first of the Mesopotamian seven sages, was a mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. The story is first attested in the Kassite period (14th century BC), in fragmentary tablets from Tell el-Amarna, and from Assur, of the late second millennium BC.

Mesopotamian myth tells of seven antediluvian sages, who were sent by Ea, the wise god of Eridu, to bring the arts of civilisation to humankind. The first of these, Adapa, also known as Uan, the name given as Oannes by Berossus, introduced the practice of the correct rites of religious observance as priest of the E’Apsu temple, at Eridu.

The sages are described in Mesopotamian literature as ‘pure parādu-fish, probably carp, whose bones are found associated with the earliest shrine, and still kept as a holy duty in the precincts of Near Eastern mosques and monasteries.

The word Abgallu, sage (Ab = water, Gal = great, Lu = man, Sumerian) survived into Nabatean times, around the time of Christ, as apkallum, used to describe the profession of a certain kind of priest.

Adapa as a fisherman was iconographically portrayed as a fish-man composite. He was a mortal man from a godly lineage, a son of Ea (Enki in Sumerian), the god of wisdom and of the ancient city of Eridu, who brought the arts of civilization to that city (from Dilmun, according to some versions).

Adapa broke the wings of Ninlil the South Wind, who had overturned his fishing boat, and was called to account before Anu. Ea, his patron god, warned him to apologize humbly for his actions, but not to partake of food or drink while he was in heaven, as it would be the food of death. Anu, impressed by Adapa’s sincerity, offered instead the food of immortality, but Adapa heeded Ea’s advice, refused, and thus missed the chance for immortality that would have been his.

Vague parallels can be drawn to the story of Genesis, where Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden by Yahweh, after they ate from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus gaining death. Parallels are also apparent (to an even greater degree) with the story of Persephone visiting Hades, who was warned to take nothing from that kingdom. Stephanie Galley writes “From Erra and Ishum” we know that all the sages were banished … because they angered the gods, and went back to the Apsu, where Ea lived, and … the story … ended with Adapa’s banishment” p. 182.

Adapa is often identified as advisor to the mythical first (antediluvian) king of Eridu, Alulim. In addition to his advisory duties, he served as a priest and exorcist, and upon his death took his place among the Seven Sages or Apkallū. (Apkallu, “sage”, comes from Sumerian AB.GAL.LU (Ab=water, Gal=Great Lu=Man) a reference to Adapa, the first sage’s association with water.)

Oannes was the name given by the Babylonian writer Berossus in the 3rd century BCE to a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom. Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man. He is described as dwelling in the Persian Gulf, and rising out of the waters in the daytime and furnishing mankind instruction in writing, the arts and the various sciences.

The name “Oannes” was once conjectured to be derived from that of the ancient Babylonian god Ea, but it is now known that the name is the Greek form of the Babylonian Uanna (or Uan) a name used for Adapa in texts from the Library of Ashurbanipal. The Assyrian texts attempt to connect the word to the Akkadian for a craftsman ummanu but this is merely a pun.

Iosif Shklovsky and Carl Sagan cited tales of Oannes as deserving closer scrutiny as a possible instance of paleocontact due to its consistency and detail.

The Deluge

According to Sumerian mythology, Enki also assisted humanity to survive the Deluge designed to kill them. In the later Legend of Atrahasis, Enlil, the king of the gods, sets out to eliminate humanity, whose noise is disturbing his rest. He successively sends drought, famine and plague to eliminate humanity, but Enki thwarts his half-brother’s plans by teaching Atrahasis how to counter these threats. Each time, Atrahasis asks the population to abandon worship of all gods, except the one responsible for the calamity, and this seems to shame them into relenting.

Humans, however, proliferate a fourth time. Enraged, Enlil convenes a Council of Deities and gets them to promise not to tell humankind that he plans their total annihilation. Enki does not tell Atrahasis directly, but speaks to him in secret via a reed wall. He instructs Atrahasis to build a boat in order to rescue his family and other living creatures from the coming deluge.

After the seven-day Deluge, the flood hero frees a swallow, a raven and a dove in an effort to find if the flood waters have receded. Upon landing, a sacrifice is made to the gods. Enlil is angry his will has been thwarted yet again, and Enki is named as the culprit. Enki explains that Enlil is unfair to punish the guiltless, and the gods institute measures to ensure that humanity does not become too populous in the future. This is one of the oldest of the surviving Middle Eastern Deluge myths.

The earliest record of the Sumerian creation and flood is found on a single fragmentary tablet excavated in Nippur, sometimes called the Eridu Genesis. It is written in the Sumerian language and dated to around 1600 BC during the first Babylonian dynasty, where the language of writing and administration was still Sumerian. Other Sumerian creation myths from around this date are called the Barton Cylinder, the Debate between sheep and grain and the Debate between Winter and Summer, also found at Nippur.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from Mesopotamia, is amongst the earliest surviving works of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five independent Sumerian poems about ‘Bilgamesh’ (Sumerian for Gilgamesh), king of Uruk. Four of these were used as source material for a combined epic in Akkadian. This first combined epic, known as the “Old Babylonian” version, dates to the 18th century BC and is titled after its incipit, Shūtur eli sharrī (“Surpassing All Other Kings”).

Atra-Hasis (“exceedingly wise”) is the protagonist of an 18th century BC Akkadian epic recorded in various versions on clay tablets. The Atra-Hasis tablets include both a creation myth and a flood account, which is one of three surviving Babylonian deluge stories. The name “Atra-Hasis” also appears on one of the Sumerian king lists as king of Shuruppak in the times before a flood.

Two flood myths with many similarities to the Sumerian story are the Utnapishtim episode in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Genesis flood narrative found in the Bible. The ancient Greeks have two very similar floods legends they are the Deucalion and The great Flood in Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid.

In the WB-62 Sumerian king list recension, Ziusudra, or Zin-Suddu of Shuruppak is recorded as having reigned as both king and gudug priest for 10 sars, or periods of 3,600. In this version, Ziusudra inherited rulership from his father Šuruppak (written SU.KUR.LAM) who ruled for 10 sars. The line following Ziusudra in WB-62 reads: Then the flood swept over. The next line reads: After the flood swept over, kingship descended from heaven; the kingship was in Kish.

The city of Kish flourished in the Early Dynastic period soon after an archaeologically attested river flood in Shuruppak (modern Tell Fara, Iraq) and various other Sumerian cities. This flood has been radiocarbon dated to ca. 2900 BCE. Polychrome pottery from the Jemdet Nasr period (ca. 3000–2900 BCE) was discovered immediately below the Shuruppak flood stratum, and the Jemdet Nasr period immediately preceded the Early Dynastic I period.

The significance of Ziusudra’s name appearing on the WB-62 king list is that it links the flood mentioned in the three surviving Babylonian deluge epics of Ziusudra (Eridu Genesis), Utnapishtim (Epic of Gilgamesh), and Atrahasis (Epic of Atrahasis) to river flood sediments in Shuruppak, Uruk, Kish et al. that have been radiocarbon dated to ca. 2900 BC. This has led some scholars to conclude that the flood hero was king of Shuruppak at the end of the Jemdet Nasr period (ca. 3000–2900) which ended with the river flood of 2900 BC.

Ziusudra being a king from Shuruppak is supported by the Gilgamesh XI tablet (see below) making reference to Utnapishtim (Akkadian translation of the Sumerian name Ziusudra) with the epithet “man of Shuruppak” at line 23.

A Sumerian document known as The Instructions of Shuruppak dated by Kramer to about 2500 BC, refers in a later version to Ziusudra. Kramer concluded that “Ziusudra had become a venerable figure in literary tradition by the middle of the third millennium BC.”

The Deluge – In Greece

Greek mythology describes three floods, the flood of Ogyges, the flood of Deucalion, and the flood of Dardanus. Two of the Greek Ages of Man concluded with a flood: The Ogygian Deluge ended the Silver Age, and the flood of Deucalion ended the First Bronze Age (Heroic age). In addition to these floods, Greek mythology says the world was also periodically destroyed by fire.

In Greek mythology, Deucalion was a son of Prometheus; ancient sources name his mother as Clymene, Hesione, or Pronoia. The Deucalion legend as told by the Bibliotheca has some similarity to other deluge myths such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the story of Noah’s Ark.

According to the Theogony of the Bibliotheca, Prometheus moulded men out of water and earth and gave them fire which, unknown to Zeus, he had hidden in a stalk of fennel. When Zeus learned of it, he ordered Hephaestus to nail Prometheus to Mount Caucasus, a Scythian mountain.

Prometheus was nailed to the mountain and kept bound for many years. Every day an eagle swooped on him and devoured the lobes of his liver, which grew by night. That was the penalty that Prometheus paid for the theft of fire until Hercules afterwards released him.

Prometheus had a son Deucalion. He, reigning in the regions about Phthia, married Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora, the first woman fashioned by the gods.

The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, so he decided to put an end to the Bronze Age. Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering. Zeus unleashed a deluge, so that the rivers ran in torrents and the sea flooded the coastal plain, engulfed the foothills with spray, and washed everything clean.

Deucalion, with the aid of his father, the titan Prometheus, who advised his son Deucalion to build a chest, was saved from this deluge by building a chest (that is, a “box”). Like the Biblical Noah and the Mesopotamian counterpart Utnapishtim, he uses his device to survive the deluge with his wife, Pyrrha. Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha, after floating in the chest for nine days and nights, landed on Parnassus.

All other men perished except for a few who escaped to high mountains. The mountains in Thessaly were parted, and all the world beyond the Isthmus and Peloponnese was overwhelmed. An older version of the story told by Hellanicus has Deucalion’s “ark” landing on Mount Othrys in Thessaly. Another account has him landing on a peak, probably Phouka, in Argolis, later called Nemea.

When the rains ceased, he sacrificed to Zeus. Then, at the bidding of Zeus, he threw stones behind him, and they became men, and the stones Pyrrha threw became women.

The Bibliotheca gives this as an etymology for Greek Laos “people” as derived from laas “stone”. The Megarians told that Megarus, son of Zeus and a Sithnid nymph, escaped Deucalion’s flood by swimming to the top of Mount Gerania, guided by the cries of cranes.

For some time during the Middle Ages, many European Christian scholars continued to accept Greek mythical history at face value, thus asserting that Deucalion’s flood was a regional flood, that occurred a few centuries later than the global one survived by Noah’s family.

On the basis of the archaeological stele known as the Parian Chronicle, Deucalion’s Flood was usually fixed as occurring sometime around c. 1528 BC. Deucalion’s flood may be dated in the chronology of Saint Jerome to c. 1460 BC. According to Augustine of Hippo (City of God XVIII,8,10,&11), Deucalion and his father Prometheus were contemporaries of Moses. According to Clement of Alexandria in his Stromata, “…in the time of Crotopus occurred the burning of Phaethon, and the deluges of Deucalion.”

The flood of Dardanus has the same basic story line. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Dardanus left Pheneus in Arcadia to colonize a land in the North-East Aegean Sea. When the Dardanus’ deluge occurred, the land was flooded and the mountain where he and his family survived formed the island of Samothrace.

Dardanus left Samothrace on an inflated skin to the opposite shores of Asia Minor and settled on Mount Ida. Due to the fear of another flood, they refrained from building a city and lived in the open for fifty years. His grandson Tros eventually moved from the highlands down to a large plain, on a hill that had many rivers flowing down from Ida above. There he built a city, which was named Troy after him.

Posted in Christianity, Indo-Europeans, Religion, The Fertile Crescent, The Story of Man | Leave a Comment »

Armanism and Ariosophy

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2013

Armanism and Ariosophy are the names of ideological systems of an esoteric nature, pioneered by Guido von List and Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels respectively, in Austria between 1890 and 1930.

The term ‘Ariosophy’, meaning wisdom concerning the Aryans, was first coined by Lanz von Liebenfels in 1915 and became the label for his doctrine in the 1920s.

In historic research on the topic, such as Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s book The Occult Roots of Nazism, the term ‘Ariosophy’ is used generically to describe the Aryan-esoteric theories of a subset of the ‘Völkische Bewegung’.

This broader use of the word is retrospective and was not generally current among the esotericists themselves.” List actually called his doctrine ‘Armanism’, while Lanz used the terms ‘Theozoology’ and ‘Ario-Christianity’ before the First World War.

The ideas of Von List and Lanz von Liebenfels were part of a general occult revival in Austria and Germany of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, loosely inspired by historical Germanic paganism and holistic philosophy as well as esoteric concepts influenced by German romanticism and Theosophy.

The connection of this Germanic mysticism with historical Germanic culture, though tenuous, is evident in the mystics’ fascination with runes, in the form of Guido von List’s Armanen runes.

Ariosophy in its narrow sense was a Liturgic-free newthought-influenced movement without clearly delineated dogmatics, centered around the publications of Herbert Reichstein Verlag.

Arman

Arman is a variant and a derivative of the name Herman. Although originally a Germanic and an English given name, it can have different meanings and pronunciations depending on the location.

Its original meaning was “army man” and derives from the Germanic elements “Heri” meaning “army” combined with “Man” meaning “man” (compare archaic Dutch “heer”, meaning “army” and “man”). It is cognate with German “Hermann”.

In Persian, Arman (pronounced Armaan) is a boy’s name which can have different meaninig depending on the text or era of the language. Some of the meaningc can be : “nobel”, “trustworthy”, “honorable”, “ideal”, “wish”, “zeal”, “destination” or “aspiration”.

According to Armenians, it is derived from the Armenian words “ari” -“brave, aryan, noble” and Proto-Indo-European “man” – “man, human”. However, there are other interpretations known among Armenians as well. For example, it means Armenian man (Ar + man). Another interpretation is that Arman means “astonishment, surprise”.

In Kurdish, it is derived from Ar (meaning fire, Agir) and Man (meaning continuity/ lasting existence) giving the name Arman meaning of a Lasting Fire.

In the Kazakh language it means “dream”. In Turkish, its meaning differs according to sex. If the person is male it means “honorable person, trustable man”. However, the person is female it means “sacred dream”.

MANNAZ – The Rune of Humanity

Mannaz is the conventional name of the m-rune ᛗ of the Elder Futhark. It is derived from the reconstructed Common Germanic word for “man”, *mannaz. Younger Futhark ᛘ is maðr (“man”). It took up the shape of the algiz rune ᛉ, replacing Elder Futhark ᛗ. As its sound value and form in the Elder Futhark indicate, it is derived from the letter M (?) in the Old Italic alphabets, ultimately from the Greek letter Mu (μ). M as in man, humanity, and mankind. The self, inner being, soul. Manhood, or womanhood.

Ariosophy

Armanen runes

Place and Tribe Names Composed With ‘Ar’

Posted in Armenia, Religion | Leave a Comment »

Similarities between Thor (Nordic) and Tar (Armenian)

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2013

Thor

The Ancestor of the Germans – Herman/Armen

The origin of the Germans

Teshub / Tar

The Hurrians were an ancient people, who spoke a Hurro-Urartian language of the Ancient Near East, living in Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia. The name Hurri is also spelled Harri, the root word for Aryan.

The Resurrection

Resurrection (anglicized from Latin resurrectio) is the concept of a living being coming back to life after death. It is a religious concept, where it is used in two distinct respects: a belief in the resurrection of individual souls that is current and ongoing (Christian idealism, realized eschatology), or else a belief in a singular “Resurrection of the Dead” event at the end of the world.

In comparative mythology, the related motifs of a dying god and of a dying-and-rising god (also known as a death-rebirth-deity) have appeared in diverse cultures. In the more commonly accepted motif of a dying god, the deity goes away and does not return. The less than widely accepted motif of a dying-and-rising god refers to a deity which returns, is resurrected or is reborn, in either a literal or symbolic sense.

Beginning in the 19th century, a number of gods who would fit these motifs were proposed. Male examples include the ancient Near Eastern, Greek, and Norse deities Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Tammuz, Ra the Sun god with its fusion with Osiris/Orion, Jesus, and Dionysus. Female examples include Inanna/Ishtar, Persephone, and Bari.

The methods of death can be diverse. Some gods who die are also seen as either returning or bringing about life in some other form, in many cases associated with a vegetation deity related to a staple.

The Thunder God

Polytheistic peoples of many cultures have postulated a Thunder God, the personification or source of the forces of thunder and lightning; a lightning god does not have a typical depiction, and will vary based on the culture. In Indo-European cultures, the Thunder God is frequently known as the chief or king of the gods, e.g. Indra in Hinduism, Zeus in Greek mythology, and Perun in ancient Slavic religion; or a close relation thereof, e.g. Thor, son of Odin, in Norse mythology.

In Greek mythology, The Elysian Fields, or the Elysian Plains, the final resting places of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous, evolved from a designation of a place or person struck by lightning, enelysion, enelysios. This could be a reference to Zeus, the god of lightning/Jupiter, so “lightning-struck” could be saying that the person was blessed (struck) by Zeus (/lightning/fortune).

The Labrys

Labrys is the term for a symmetric doubleheaded axe originally from Crete in Greece, one of the oldest symbols of Greek civilization; to the Romans, it was known as a bipennis.

The double-bitted axe remains a forestry tool to this day, and the labrys certainly functioned as a tool and hewing axe before it was invested with symbolic function. Labrys symbolism is found in Minoan, Thracian, and Greek religion, mythology, and art, dating from the Middle Bronze Age onwards, and surviving in the Byzantine Empire.

The Thunderbolt

A thunderbolt or lightning bolt is a symbolic representation of a lightning when accompanied by a loud thunderclap. In ancient Hellenic and Roman religious traditions, the thunderbolt represents Jupiter (etymologically “Right Father”), thence the origin and ordaining pattern of the universe, as expressed in Heraclitus’ fragment describing “the Thunderbolt that steers the course of all things”. It is the same in other Indo-European traditions, for example the Vedic Vajra.

In its original usage the word may also have been a description of the consequences of a close approach between two planetary cosmic bodies.

As a divine manifestation the thunderbolt has been a powerful symbol throughout history, and has appeared in many mythologies. Drawing from this powerful association, the thunderbolt is often found in military symbolism and semiotic representations of electricity.

The bull

The bull is somewhat unique in the world of symbolism in that he is both a solar and a lunar creature. His male fertility, his fiery temperament, and his role as father of the herd make him the masculine sun-god in many cults. Just as the lion is the king and terror of the beasts of the forest, the bull is the king of the farm and the personification of brute strength and power. The lion, the bull, and the sun are popular symbols of life and resurrection. The bull’s crescent shaped horns link him to moon worship and symbolism although, in some areas, the sun is a bull while the moon is a cow. Sin, the moon-god of ancient Ur, was often pictured as a bull.

Its association with the sun makes this animal a god of the heavens, resurrection, and fire, while its association with the moon makes it a god of earth, water, night, and death. This animal’s masculinity is not diminished by its feminine lunar connections. However, when ridden by moon-goddesses such as Astarte, its masculine powers are said to be tamed or domesticated.

The roar of the bull, his windy breath, the sound of his hooves, and his wild nature were likened to thunder, wind, the crash of the ocean, and mighty tempests. Because of these associations, bulls were sacrificed to sea gods such as Poseidon. Along with the thunderbolt, bulls are symbols of thunder, sky, and storm gods such as Adad, Thor, and Ishkur. These gods may also be pictured riding bulls.

The serpent

The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. The word is derived from Latin serpens, a crawling animal or snake. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind and represent dual expression of good and evil.

Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The ouroboros is a symbol of eternity and continual renewal of life.

In the Abrahamic religions, the serpent represents sexual desire. According to the Rabbinical tradition, in the Garden of Eden, the serpent represents sexual passion. In Hinduism, Kundalini is a coiled serpent, the residual power of pure desire.

Occasionally, serpents and dragons are used interchangeably, having similar symbolic functions. The venom of the serpent is thought to have a fiery quality similar to a fire spitting dragon. The Greek Ladon and the Norse Níðhöggr (Nidhogg Nagar) are sometimes described as serpents and sometimes as dragons. In Germanic mythology, serpent (Old English: wyrm, Old High German: wurm, Old Norse: ormr) is used interchangeably with the Greek borrowing dragon (OE: draca, OHG: trahho, ON: dreki).

Bellerophon or Bellerophontes is a hero of Greek mythology. The name of Bellerophon is translated to “the slayer of the serpent” (ahihán), “snake”, directly comparable to Hittite ellu-essar- “snake pit”. He was “the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, alongside Cadmus and Perseus, before the days of Heracles”, whose greatest feat was killing the Chimera, a monster that Homer depicted with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail: “her breath came out in terrible blasts of burning flame.”

This myth likely came to Greece via Anatolia, and in the Hittite version, the dragon is called Illuyanka, the illuy- part being cognate to the illa word, and the -anka part being cognate to the angu word for “snake”. As designations for “snake” (and similarly shaped animals) are often liable to taboo in many Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages, no unambiguous Proto-Indo-European form for the eel word can thus be reconstructed, it could have been *ēl(l)-u-, *ēl(l)-o-, or similar.

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

Teshub in the Hurrian Mythology

In Hurrian mythology Teshub (Hittite: Taru) was the god of sky and storm. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun (with variant stem forms Tarhunt, Tarhuwant, Tarhunta), although this name is from the Hittite root *tarh- “to defeat, conquer”.

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

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

Teshub’s brothers are Tigris (personification of the river), Ullikummi (stone giant) and Tashmishu.

In the Hurrian schema, Teshub was paired with Hebat the mother goddess; in the Hittite, with the sun goddess Arinniti of Arinna – a cultus of great antiquity which has similarities with the venerated bulls and mothers at Çatalhöyük in the Neolithic era. His son was called Sarruma, the mountain god.

According to Hittite myths, one of Teshub’s (Tarhunt’s) greatest acts was the slaying of the serpentine dragon Illuyanka. Myths also exist of his conflict with the sea creature (possibly a snake or serpent) Hedammu (CTH 348). It is known from Hittite cuneiform tablets found at Çorum-Boğazköy, the former Hittite capital Hattusa.

The context is a ritual of the Hattian spring festival of Puruli, held at Nerik, a Bronze Age city to the north of the Hittite capitals Hattusa and Sapinuwa, dedicated to the earth goddess Hannahanna, a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat.

Nerik was founded by Hattic language speakers as Narak; in the Hattusa archive, tablet CTH 737 records a Hattic incantion for a festival there. Under Hattusili I, the Nesian-speaking Hittites took over Nerik. They maintained a spring festival called “Puruli” in honor of its storm god. In it, the celebrants recited the myth of the slaying of Illuyanka. Nerik disappeared from record when the Hittite kingdom fell, ca. 1200 BC.

The central ritual of the Puruli festival is dedicated to the destruction of the dragon Illuyanka by the storm god Teshub. The corresponding Assyrian festival is the Akitu, a spring festival in ancient Mesopotamia, of the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation mythos (named after its opening words). Also compared are the Canaanite Poem of Baal and Psalms 93 and 29.

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

The English name “eel” descends from Old English ǽl, Common Germanic *ǣlaz. Also from the common Germanic are German Aal, Middle Dutch ael, Old High German âl, and Old Norse áll.

Eels are an order of fish which consists of four suborders, 20 families, 111 genera and approximately 800 species. Most eels are predators. The term “eel” is also used for some other similarly shaped fish, such as electric eels and spiny eels, but these are not members of the Anguilliformes order.

The daylight passage in the spring of elvers upstream along the Thames was called “eel fare”, and the word ‘elver’ is thought to be a corruption thereof.

The myth of Illuyanka is found in Catalogue des Textes Hittites 321, which gives two consecutive versions. In the first version, the two gods fight and Illuyanka wins. Teshub then goes to the Hattian goddess Inaras for advice. Having promised her love to a mortal named Hupasiyas in return for his help, she devises a trap for the dragon. She goes to him with large quantities of food and drink, and entices him to drink his fill. Once drunk, the dragon is bound by Hupasiyas with a rope. Then the Sky God Teshub appears with the other gods and kills the dragon.

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

The Sky God Teshub tells his son to ask for the return of Teshub’s eyes and heart as a wedding gift, and he does so. His eyes and heart restored, Teshub goes to face the dragon Illuyanka once more.

At the point of vanquishing the dragon, Sarruma finds out about the battle and realizes that he had been used for this purpose. He demands that his father take his life along with Illuyanka’s, and so Teshub kills them both with thundery rain and lightning.

This version is illustrated on a relief which was discovered at Malatya (dating from 1050-850 BC) and is on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, Turkey.

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

Thor in the Norse Mythology

In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing and fertility. The cognate deity in wider Germanic mythology and paganism was known in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar, stemming from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning “thunder”).

Tanngrisnir (Old Norse “teeth-barer, snarler”) and Tanngnjóstr (Old Norse “teeth grinder”) are the goats who pull the god Thor’s chariot in Norse mythology.

In Norse mythology, Mjölnir is the hammer of Thor. Mjölnir is depicted as one of the most fearsome weapons, capable of leveling mountains. In his account of Norse mythology Snorri Sturluson relates how the hammer was made by the dwarven brothers Sindri and Brokkr, and how its characteristically short handle was due to a mishap during its manufacture.

Jörmungandr, alternately referred to as the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent, is a sea serpent of the Norse mythology, the middle child of Loki and the giantess Angrboða.

According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki’s three children by Angrboða, Fenrisúlfr, Hel and Jörmungandr. He tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard. The serpent grew so big that he was able to surround the Earth and grasp his own tail, and as a result he earned the alternate name of the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent. When he lets go, the world will end. Jörmungandr’s arch-enemy is the god Thor.

In the poem Völuspá, a dead völva recounts the history of the universe and foretells the future to the disguised god Odin, including the death of Thor. Thor, she foretells, will do battle with the great serpent during the immense mythical war waged at Ragnarök, and there he will slay the monstrous snake, yet after he will only be able to take nine steps before succumbing to the venom of the beast.

Afterwards, says the völva, the sky will turn black before fire engulfs the world, the stars will disappear, flames will dance before the sky, steam will rise, the world will be covered in water, and then it will be raised again; green and fertile. Thor’s sons will survive, and return after these events with Thor’s hammer.

In the poem Grímnismál, the god Odin, in disguise as Grímnir, and tortured, starved and thirsty, imparts in the young Agnar cosmological lore, including that Thor resides in Þrúðheimr, and that, every day, Thor wades through the rivers Körmt and Örmt, and the two Kerlaugar. There, Grímnir says, Thor sits as judge at the immense cosmological world tree, Yggdrasil.

Anatolia

In the prologue to his Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson euhemerises Thor as a prince of Troy, and the son of king Memnon by Troana, a daughter of Priam. Thor, also known as Tror, is said to have married the prophetess Sibyl (identified with Sif). Thor is further said here to have been raised in Thrace by a chieftain named Lorikus, whom he later slew to assume the title of “King of Thrace”, to have had hair “fairer than gold”, and to have been strong enough to lift ten bearskins.

The name of the aesir is explained as “men from Asia,” Asgard being the “Asian city” (i.e., Troy). Odin is a remote descendant of Thor, removed by twelve generations, who led an expedition across Germany, Denmark and Sweden to Norway.

Tyr and Tir

Týr is a god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tîwaz (*Tē₂waz). The Latinised name is Tius or Tio.

In the late Icelandic Eddas, Tyr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while the origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon, since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion. It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

Tir is the Armenian god of literature, science and art, god of wisdom, culture, science and studies, he also was an interpreter of dreams. Tir was a messenger of the gods. He was a fortune-teller and a guide of dead persons soul.

In 21 of September is celebrated a Holiday in honor of Tir. The first day was dedicated in memory of ancestors. In this day people were glorifying ancestors. In other day people were show theatre, told about their voyages over the world. Tir’s holiday is celebrated at the beginning of September as a day of knowledge.

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The Baal Cycle

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2013

Baal Cycle

The Baal Cycle

In the Canaanite religion, or Levantine religion as a whole, Ēl or Il was the supreme God, the Father of humankind and all creatures and the husband of the Goddess Asherah as recorded in the clay tablets of Ugarit (modern Ra′s Shamrā, Syria).

The noun ʾEl was found at the top of a list of Gods as the “Ancient of Gods” or the “Father of all Gods”, in the ruins of the royal archive of the Ebla civilization, in the archaeological site of Tell Mardikh in Syria dated to 2300 BC.

The bull was symbolic to Ēl and his son Baʻal Hadad, and they both wore bull horns on their headdress. He may have been a desert god at some point, as the myths say that he had two wives and built a sanctuary with them and his new children in the desert. Ēl had fathered many gods, but most important were Hadad, a Northwest Semitic storm and rain god, cognate in name and origin with the earlier attested East Semitic Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian) god Adad, Yam, the god of the sea, and Mot, personified as a god of death, each share similar attributes to the Greco-Roman Gods: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades respectively.

The Baal Cycle is a Ugaritic cycle of stories about the Canaanite god Baal, also known as Hadad the god of rain, storm and fertility. They are written in Ugaritic, a language written in a cuneiform alphabet, on a series of clay tablets found in the 1920s in the Tell of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), situated on the Mediterranean coast of northern Syria, a few kilometers north of the modern city of Latakia, far ahead of the now known coast.

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The Hurrians: The Kumarbi Cycle

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2013

SUCCESSIONS Kumarbi Cycle v. Hesiods Theogany Kumarbi Both

Baal Cycle

In Hurrian mythology Teshub (Taru) was the god of sky and storm. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun (with variant stem forms Tarhunt, Tarhuwant, Tarhunta), although this name is from the Hittite root *tarh- “to defeat, conquer”.

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

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

Kumarbi is the son of Anu (the sky), and father of the storm-god Teshub. He was identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil, and by the Ugaritians with El.

Kumarbi is known from a number of mythological Hittite texts, sometimes summarized under the term “Kumarbi Cycle”. The Song of Kumarbi or The Kingship in Heaven is the title given to a Hittite version of the Hurrian Kumarbi myth, dating to the 14th or 13th century BC. It is preserved in three tablets, but only a small fraction of the text is legible.

The song relates that Alalu was overthrown by Anu who was in turn overthrown by Kumarbi. When Anu tried to escape, Kumarbi bit off his genitals and spat out three new gods. In the text Anu tells his son that he is now pregnant with the Teshub, Tigris, and Tašmišu. Upon hearing this Kumarbi spit the semen upon the ground and it became impregnated with two children. Kumarbi is cut open to deliver Tešub. Together, Anu and Teshub depose Kumarbi.

In another version of the Kingship in Heaven, the three gods, Alalu, Anu, and Kumarbi, rule heaven, each serving the one who precedes him in the nine-year reign. It is Kumarbi’s son Tešub, the Weather-God, who begins to conspire to overthrow his father.

From the first publication of the Kingship in Heaven tablets scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian creation myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus.

 

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Soma among the Armenians

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2013

Soma was a god, a plant, and an intoxicating beverage. It is referenced in some 120 of 1028 verses of the Indian Rig Veda (mid second millenium B.C.). Haoma was its Iranian counterpart.

Although the Iranian Avesta mentions haoma less frequently, there is little doubt that the substances were similar or identical. In both India and Iran, at some point the true identity of soma/haoma was forgotten, and substitutes for it were adopted.

It has been suggested that abandonment of the divine entheogen and its replacement by surrogates occurred because the original substance was no longer available or was difficult to obtain once the proto Indo-Iranians left their “original homeland” and emigrated.

During the past two hundred years, scholars have tried with varying degrees of success to identify this mysterious plant which was at the base of early Indo-Iranian worship. As early as 1794, Sir William Jones suggested that haoma was “a species of mountain rue”, or Peganum harmala L. (Arm. spand). Other soma candidates in the 19th and early 20th centuries have included cannabis (Arm. kanep’) and henbane (Arm. aghueshbank).

All of these plants are native to the Armenian highlands, and all of them were used by the Armenians and their predecessors for medicinal and magico-religious purposes.

If the divine elixir really was a single substance rather than a mixture, then, in our view, none of the above-mentioned nominees alone qualifies. The pharmacological effects of Peganum harmala, cannabis, or henbane, taken alone, simply do not match the Vedic and Iranian descriptions of the effects of soma/haoma.

In the 1960s, R. Gordon Wasson proposed a new candidate, whose effects are more consistent with those mentioned in the Vedas. The present study will examine Wasson’s thesis and look for supporting evidence in ancient Armenian legends and customs.

Soma among the Armenians

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Labrys – The Symmetric Doubleheaded Axe

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2013

The axe (or ax) is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood; to harvest timber; as a weapon; and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The axe has many forms and specialised uses but generally consists of an axe head with a handle, or helve.

Before the modern axe, the stone-age hand axe was used from 1.5 million years BP without a handle. It was later fastened to a wooden handle. The earliest examples of handled axes have heads of stone with some form of wooden handle attached (hafted) in a method to suit the available materials and use. Axes made of copper, bronze, iron, steel appeared as these technologies developed.

Initially axes were probably not hafted (see hand axe). The first true hafted axes are known from the Mesolithic period (ca. 6000 BC). Axes made from ground stone are known since the Neolithic. Few wooden hafts have been found from this period, but it seems that the axe was normally hafted by wedging. Birch-tar and raw-hide lashings were used to fix the blade.

From the late Neolithic/Chalcolithic onwards, axes were made of copper or copper mixed with arsenic. These axes were flat and hafted much like their stone predecessors. Axes continued to be made in this manner with the introduction of Bronze metallurgy. Eventually the hafting method changed and the flat axe developed into the ‘flanged axe,’ then palstaves, and later winged and socketed axes.

The Proto-Indo-European word for “axe” may have been pelek’u- (Greek pelekus πέλεκυς, Sanskrit parashu, see also Parashurama), but the word was probably a loan, or a Neolithic wanderwort, ultimately related to Sumerian balag, Akkadian pilaku- .

At least since the late Neolithic, elaborate axes (battle-axes, T-axes, etc.) had a religious significance and probably indicated the exalted status of their owner. Certain types almost never show traces of wear; deposits of unshafted axe blades from the middle Neolithic (such as at the Somerset Levels in Britain) may have been gifts to the deities.

A common weapon was the shaft-hole copper battle-ax, of a type also found in central and northern Europe. There is evidence that the distribution of this weapon resulted from a migration of horse-riding folk, the so-called Battle-Ax people, who spread Indo-European speech. Their place of origin is not certain, but it was more probably in the east than in the west of their area of spread.

The roots of Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, a Neolithic–Eneolithic archaeological culture which existed from approximately 4800 to 3000 BC, from the Carpathian Mountains to the Dniester and Dnieper regions in modern-day Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine, encompassing an area of more than 35,000 km2 (14,000 sq mi), can be found in the Starčevo-Körös-Criș and Vinča cultures of the 6th to 5th millennia, with additional influence from the Bug-Dniester culture (6500-5000 BC).

During the early period of its existence (in the 5th millennium BC), the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture was also influenced by the Linear Pottery culture from the north, and by the Boian-Giulesti culture from the south. Through colonization and acculturation from these other cultures, the formative Precucuteni/Trypillia A culture was established.

Over the course of the fifth millennium, the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture expanded from its ‘homeland’ in the Prut-Siret region along the eastern foothills of the Carpathian Mountains into the basins and plains of the Dnieper and Southern Bug rivers of central Ukraine. Settlements also developed in the southeastern stretches of the Carpathian Mountains, with the materials known locally as the Ariuşd culture.

Most of the settlements were located close to rivers, with fewer settlements located on the plateaus. Most early dwellings took the form of pit houses, though they were accompanied by an ever-increasing incidence of above-ground clay houses. The floors and hearths of these structures were made of clay, and the walls of clay-plastered wood or reeds. Roofing was made of thatched straw or reeds. As with the Sredny Stog culture the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture had Axes, including double-headed axes, hammer axes and possible battle axes.

The Sredny Stog culture, which had contact with the agricultural Cucuteni-Trypillian culture in the west and was a contemporary of the Khvalynsk culture, was a pre-kurgan archaeological culture, named after the Dnieper river islet of Seredny Stih where it was first located, dating from the 5th millennium BC. It was situated across the Dnieper river on both its shores, with sporadic settlements to the west and east.

In its three largest cemeteries, Alexandria (39 individuals), Igren (17) and Dereivka (14), evidence of inhumation in flat graves (ground level pits) has been found. This parallels the practise of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, and is in contrast with the later Yamna culture, which practiced tumuli burials, according to the Kurgan hypothesis.

In Sredny Stog culture, the deceased were laid to rest on their backs with the legs flexed. The use of ochre in the burial was practiced, as with the kurgan cultures. For this and other reasons, Yuri Rassamakin suggests that the Sredny Stog culture should be considered as an areal term, with at least four distinct cultural elements co-existing inside the same geographical area.

The expert Dmytro Telegin has divided the chronology of Sredny Stog into two distinct phases. Phase II (ca. 4000–3500 BC) used corded ware pottery which may have originated there, and stone battle-axes of the type later associated with expanding Indo-European cultures to the West. Most notably, it has perhaps the earliest evidence of horse domestication (in phase II), with finds suggestive of cheek-pieces (psalia).

In the context of the modified Kurgan hypothesis of Marija Gimbutas, this pre-kurgan archaeological culture could represent the Urheimat (homeland) of the Proto-Indo-European language. The culture ended at around 3500 BC, when Yamna culture expanded westward replacing Sredny Stog, and coming into direct contact with the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture in the western Ukraine.

The Funnel(-neck-)beaker culture, short TRB or TBK from (German) Trichter(-rand-)becherkultur (ca 4300 BC–ca 2800 BC) was an archaeological culture in north-central Europe. The culture used Battle Axes which were stone versions of Central Europe’s copper axes. The culture imported copper from Central Europe, especially daggers and axes. The early versions were multi-angled, and the later are called double-edged, although one of the edges is more rounded.

TRB developed as a technological merger of local neolithic and mesolithic techno-complexes between the lower Elbe and middle Vistula rivers, introducing farming and husbandry as a major source of food to the pottery-using hunter-gatherers north of this line.

Preceded by Lengyel-influenced STK groups/Late Lengyel and Baden-Boleraz in the southeast, Rössen groups in the southwest and the Ertebølle-Ellerbek groups in the north, the TRB techno-complex is divided into a northern group including modern northern eastalbingian Germany and southern Scandinavia (TRB-N, roughly the area that previously belonged to the Ertebølle-Ellerbek complex), a western group between Zuiderzee and lower Elbe, an eastern group centered around the Vistula catchment, roughly ranging from Oder to Bug, and south-central groups (TRB-MES, Altmark) around the middle and upper Elbe and Saale.

Especially in the southern and eastern groups, local sequences of variants emerged. In the late 4th millennium BC, the Globular Amphora culture (KAK) replaced most of the eastern and subsequently also the southern TRB groups, reducing the TRB area to modern northern Germany and southern Scandinavia. The younger TRB in these areas was superseded by the Single Grave culture (EGK) at about 2800 BC. The north-central European megaliths were built primarily during the TRB era.

In the context of the Kurgan hypothesis, the culture is seen as non-Indo-European, representing the culture of what Marija Gimbutas termed Old Europe, the peoples of which were later to be governed by the Indo-European-language-speaking peoples (see Yamna culture) intruding from the east. The political relation between the aboriginal and intrusive cultures resulted in quick and smooth cultural morphosis into Corded Ware culture.

Heterodoxically, Dutch publications mention mixed burials and propose a quick and smooth internal change to Corded Ware within two generations occurring about 2900 BC in Dutch and Danish TRB territory, probably precluded by economic, cultural and religious changes in East Germany, and call the migrationist view of steppe intrusions introducing Indo-European languages obsolete (at least in this part of the world). It is more likely that Indo-European languages were adopted by local populations because they represented a new way of life, bringing with them horses and cattle and the status they represented.

It has been suggested that the Funnelbeaker culture was the origin of the gene allowing adults of Northern European descent to digest lactose. It was claimed that in the area formerly inhabited by this culture, prevalence of the gene is virtually universal.

A paper published in 2007 by Burger et al. indicated that the genetic variant that causes lactase persistence in most Europeans (-13,910*T) was rare or absent in early farmers from central Europe. A study published by Yuval Itan and colleagues in 2010 clearly shows this. A study published in 2009, also by Itan et al., suggests that the Linear Pottery culture (also known as Linearbandkeramik or LBK), which preceded the TRB culture by some 1,500 years, was the culture in which this trait started to co-evolve with the culture of dairying.

Ancient DNA extracted from three individuals ascribed to a TRB horizon in Gökhem, Sweden, were found to possess mtDNA haplogroups H, J, and T.

The culture is named for its characteristic ceramics, beakers and amphorae with funnel-shaped tops, which were probably used for drinking. One find assigned to the Funnelbeaker culture is the Bronocice pot, which shows the oldest known depiction of a wheeled vehicle (here, a 2-axled, 4-wheeled wagon). The pot dates to approximately 3500 BC.

The houses were centered around a monumental grave, a symbol of social cohesion. Burial practices were varied, depending on region and changed over time. Inhumation seems to have been the rule.

The oldest graves consisted of wooden chambered cairns inside long barrows, but were later made in the form of passage graves and dolmens. Originally, the structures were probably covered with a heap of dirt and the entrance was blocked by a stone.

The Funnelbeaker culture marks the appearance of megalithic tombs at the coasts of the Baltic and of the North sea, an example of which are the Sieben Steinhäuser in northern Germany. The megalithic structures of Ireland, France and Portugal are somewhat older and have been connected to earlier archeological cultures of those areas.

The graves were probably not intended for every member of the settlement, but for only an elite. At graves, the people sacrificed ceramic vessels that probably contained food, and axes and other flint objects.

Axes and vessels were also deposed in streams and lakes near the farmlands, and virtually all Sweden’s 10,000 flint axes that have been found from this culture were probably sacrificed in water.

They also constructed large cult centres surrounded by pales, earthworks and moats. The largest one is found at Sarup on Fyn. Another cult centre at Stävie near Lund.

The Labrys is the doubleheaded axe, known to the Classical Greeks as pelekus) but which predated the arrival of the Hellenes in the Aegean world. Representations of the labrys are on Neolithic finds of “Old Europe”, and the labrys is continued in Minoan Thracian, Greek (and Byzantine) art and mythology. It also appears in African mythology. Today, it is sometimes used as a symbol associated with female and matristic power.

The Labrys or Double Axe, is an over-determined, many layered symbol that Carl Jung believed was an archetype, an indelible marker of the Great Mother myth, in the Psyche of every human being, male and female. The Labrys is not a weapon, and it is of equal psychological importance to men and women. The “battle-axes” were primarily a status object.

Labrys is the term for a symmetric doubleheaded axe. The double-bitted axe remains a forestry tool to this day, and the labrys certainly functioned as a tool and hewing axe before it was invested with symbolic function.

The Labrys is a double-sided hatchet or axe, which, in accordance with archaeological data, was widely used in ancient Europe, Africa and Asia as both a battle weapon and harvesting tool. It can be said with some certainty that “the Labrys peoples” had a large ethnic, social, and cultural inheritance from the hunters-fishers of the forest cultures.

The motives of the Labrys are found in ceramic ornaments of the Bronze Age agricultural societies of different geographical locations. This symbol is Typical for the art of Neolithic “Old Europe”, for Minoan, Thracian, Greek (and Byzantine) art and mythology. It played a significant ritual role in the ancient Mediterranean region and was closely connected with the cult of the Mother Goddess.

Plutarch relates the word labrys with a Lydian word for axe. This was a cult-word that was introduced from Anatolia, where such symbols have been found in Catal Huyuk from the neolithic age. Similar symbols have been found on plates of Linear pottery culture in Romania. Clay miniature axes (axes, hammers or double axes) belonging to this period have been found.

In 1998 a labrys, complete with an elaborately embellished haft, was found at Cham-Eslen, Canton of Zug, Switzerland. The haft was 120 cm long and wrapped in ornamented birch-bark. The axe blade is 17.4 cm long and made of antigorite, mined in the Gotthard-area. The haft goes through a biconical drilled hole and is fastened by wedges of antler and by birch-tar. It belongs to the early Cortaillod culture.

The Cortaillod culture is one of several archaeologically defined cultures belonging to the Neolithic period of Switzerland. The Cortaillod Culture in the west of the region is contemporary with the Pfyn Culture in the east and dates from between 3900-3500 BC. The Classic Cortaillod Culture of the western Alpine foreland and the Early Cortaillod Culture of central Switzerland pre-date this at 4300-3900 BC.

V. Danilenko, analyzing in his work “Kosmogony of Prehistorical Societies” spiral ornaments, which were widely used to decorate ceramic pots of the Early Bronze Age agricultural European societies, describes a basic ornamental motive of the double-edged axe.

The Labrys is used in the ornaments in close connection with the sun disk, “earthy” motives of an ox, and such symbols of the sky as a bird and dragon. In many patterns, the Labrys seems to untite all those symbolic elements together. In some pots, the Labrys also has a additional element of “eyes”, painted on its edges, which is interpreted by V. Danilenko as one more association with the sky and the solar cult. The motives of the ceramic ornaments of the Tripol culture seem to be tightly related to those of ancient Crete, where the similar symbolism is observed.

In Minoan Crete, the double axe (labrys) had a special significance, used by women priests in religious ceremonies. And the symbol refers to deification ceremonies; part of the leaping over the bull symbol also found at Crete; whereby aspirant becomes able to speak as a God to create any reality; the symbol being really a sky map.

The Minoan civilization features a flying anthropomorfal Labrys with its head in a form of a shining solar disk: Thus, the Labrys, as a cosmic and, in some cases, solar symbol, which connects together opposite elements of earth and sky, is a typical motive of art on the ceramic ornaments of Crete, Tripol, and other cultures. The Labrys seems to compose a core of their symbolic plot, being a basic character directly connected with the sun, which reflects some important functions between the sun and the sky.

In the Near East and other parts of the region, eventually axes of this sort are often wielded by male divinities and appear to become symbols of the thunderbolt. Labrys may be associated with an archaic symbol of the thunder deity whom as storm gods wield their thunder weapons and are found in some motifs of Indo-European mythology.

Teshub was the Hurrian god of sky and storm. He was derived from the Hattian Taru. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun, although this name is from the Hittite root *tarh- “to defeat, conquer”.

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

In the Hurrian schema, Teshub was paired with Hebat the mother goddess; in the Hittite, with the sun goddess Arinniti of Arinna—a cultus of great antiquity which has similarities with the venerated bulls and mothers at Çatalhöyük in the Neolithic era. His son was called Sarruma, the mountain god.

The double-axe accompanies the Hurrian god of sky and storm Teshub. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun. Both are depicted holding a triple thunderbolt, and a double axe on the other hand. Similarly, Zeus throws his Keravnos to bring storm. The labrys, or pelekys, is the double axe Zeus uses to invoke storm, and the relative modern Greek word for lightning is star-axe.

In feminist interpretations however, it is interpreted as a symbol of the Mother Goddess, and especially as the symbol of matriarchy, or of a butterfly.

Labrys symbolism is found in Minoan, Thracian, and Greek religion, mythology, and art, dating from the Middle Bronze Age onwards, and surviving in the Byzantine Empire.

It seems natural to interpret names of Carian sanctuaries like Labranda in the most literal sense as the place of the sacred labrys, which was the Lydian (or Carian) name for the Greek, or double-edged axe. In Labraunda of Caria the double-axe accompanies the storm-god Zeus Labraundos.

On Greek coins of the classical period (e.g. Pixodauros, etc.) a type of Zeus venerated at Labraunda in Caria that numismatists call Zeus Labraundeus (Ζεὺς Λαβρανδεύς) stands with a tall lotus-tipped sceptre upright in his left hand and the double-headed axe over his right shoulder.

In the context of the Classical Greek myth of Theseus, the labyrinth of Greek mythology is frequently associated with the Minoan palace of Knossos and has a long tradition of use that extends before any written records explain the traditions.

The word labyrinthos (Mycenaean daburintos) is probably connected with the word labrys. In the context of the myth of Theseus, the labyrinth of Greek mythology is frequently associated with the Minoan palace of Knossos.

In historical times, the priests of Delphi were called Labryaden, “the double-axe men”, which indicates Minoan origin. The double-axe, labrys, was the holy symbol of the Cretan labyrinth.

Britomartis, also known as Diktynna (“hunting nets”), was the Minoan goddess of mountains and hunting. The oldest aspect of the Cretan goddess was as Mother of Mountains, who appears on Minoan seals with the demonic features of a Gorgon, accompanied by the double-axes of power and gripping divine snakes. Her terror-inspiring aspect was softened by calling her Britomartis, the “good virgin”, a euphemism to allay her dangerous aspect.

She is among the Minoan goddess figures that passed through the Mycenaeans’ culture into classical Greek mythology, with transformations that are unclear in both transferrals. The goddess addressed as “Britomartis” was worshipped in Crete as an aspect of Potnia, the “Mistress”. For the Greeks, Britomartis was a mountain nymph (an oread) whom Greeks recognized also in Artemis and in Aphaea, the “invisible” patroness of Aegina.

Herakles, having slain Hippolyte and taken her axe with the rest of her arms, gave it to Omphale. The kings of Lydia who succeeded her carried this as one of their sacred insignia of office, and passed it down from father to son until Candaules. Candaules, however, disdained it and gave it to one of his companions to carry.

When Gyges rebelled and was making war upon Candaules, Arselis came with a force from Mylasa to the assistance of Gyges, slew Candaules and his companion, and took the axe to Caria with the other spoils of war. And having set up a statue of Zeus, he put the axe in his hand and called the god, “Labrandeus,” labrys being the Lydian word for ‘axe’.

Archeology suggests that the veneration of Zeus Labraundeos at Labraunda was far older than Plutarch imagined. Like its apparent cognate “labyrinth”, the word entered the Greek language as a loanword, so that its etymology, and even its original language, is not positively known. The loanword labyrinth was used in Greek, but the designation “The house of the Double Axe” for the palace at Knossos is an imaginative modern innovation.

The labrys symbol has been found widely in the Bronze Age archaeological recovery at the Palace of Knossos on Crete. The word labyrinth, which the Greeks used for the palace of Knossos is derived from “labrys”. However the designation “The house of the Double Axe” cannot be limited to the palace of Knossos, because the same symbols were discovered in other palaces of Crete.

In Crete the symbol always accompanies female divinities and it was probably the symbol of the arche of the creation (Mater-arche:matriarchy). In Crete, the symbol of the double-axe always accompanies goddesses, and it seems that it was the symbol of the beginning (arche) of the creation.

Sometimes the double-axe is combined with the sacral-knot which seems that was a symbol of holiness. Such symbols have been found in Crete, and also on some goldrings from Mycenae.

In the Mycenaean context, the labrys has a wide range of sizes, from miniature forms to giant forms that measure 1.20 meters. However, the labrys site is frequently associated with the moon and can be a symbol of a goddess of vegetation, the forerunner of Demeter, who, on Mycenaean seals, is found under a tree. The goddess has an ax in her hand and receives as gifts poppies and fruits.

Of all the Minoan religious symbols, the axe was the holiest. The term, and the symbol, is most closely associated in historical records with the Minoan civilization, which reached its peak in the 2nd millennium BC, and specifically with the worship of a Goddess.

Some Minoan labrys have been found which are taller than a man and which might have been used during sacrifices. The sacrifices would likely have been of bulls. In feminist interpretations (particularly by Marija Gimbutas), it is also interpreted as a symbol of the Mother Goddess and compared to the shape of a butterfly rather than an axe.

According to archaeological finds on Crete this double-axe was used specifically by Minoan priestesses for ceremonial uses. It seems that the goddess of the double-axe presided over the Minoan palaces, and especially over the palace of Knossos.

A Linear B inscription on tablet Gg702 found in Knossos, was interpreted “da-pu-ri-to-jo po-ti-ni-ja= labynthoio potnoiai” ( to the Mistress of the labyrinth), and she was undoubtedly the goddess of the palace.

The word labyrinthos (Mycenaean daburinthos) is probably connected with the word labrys. In the Linear B (Mycenean Greek) script a symbol similar to a double-axe represents the phonetic sign a .

Several double axes were found at the Arkalochori cave in Crete, with inscriptions in the Linear A script. A golden axe assumed to be from Alkalochori is now exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Among the double axes, the second-millennium bronze Arkalochori Axe with an inscription was excavated by Marinatos in 1934. It has been suggested that these might be Linear A but it seems that “the characters on the axe are no more than a ‘pseudo-inscription* engraved by an illiterate in uncomprehending imitation of authentic Linear A characters on other similar axes.”

On Greek vase paintings, a labrys sometimes appears in scenes of animal sacrifice, particularly as a weapon for the slaying of bulls. Some Minoan labrys have been found which are taller than a human and which might have been used during sacrifices. The sacrifices would likely have been of bulls.

The labrys is one of the oldest symbols of Greek civilization; to the Romans, it was known as a bipennis. It should be noted that the priests at Delphi in classical Greece were called Labryades (the men of the double axe).

On the “Perseus Vase” in Berlin (F1704; ca 570–560 BC), Hephaestus ritually flees his act of slicing open the head of Zeus to free Athena whose pregnant mother Zeus swallowed to prevent her offspring from dethroning him. Over the shoulder of Hephaestus is the instrument he has used, the double-headed axe. The more usual double-headed instrument of Hephaestus is the double-headed smith’s hammer so the symbolism is important.

Zeus swallowing the goddess symbolized the progressive suppression of the earlier traditional religious beliefs, symbolically dethroning the goddess, Metis, but allowing Athene (her daughter) to be “born” of Zeus because her worship was so pervasive and widespread that it could not be suppressed. That is likely the reason the labrys was depicted as the instrument used by Hephaestus (who much earlier had been a consort of the Earth goddess) to release Athene.

The double-axe also appears in Thracian art. On the Aleksandrovo kurgan fresco, a Thracian burial mound and tomb excavated near Aleksandrovo, Haskovo Province, South-Eastern Bulgaria, dated to c. 4th century BC., it is probably wielded by Zalmoxis.

The fresco in the main chamber depicts a hunting scene where a boar is attacked by a mounted hunter and a naked man wielding a double-axe. The double-axe is interpreted as representing royal power, the naked man as representing Zalmoxis, the Thracian solar god corresponding to Zeus.

A battle axe (also battle-axe or battle-ax) is an axe specifically designed for combat. Battle axes were specialized versions of utility axes. Many were suitable for use in one hand, while others were larger and were deployed two-handed.

The Corded Ware culture (in Middle Europe c. 2900 – 2450/2350 cal. BC), alternatively characterized as the Battle Axe culture or Single Grave culture, is an enormous European archaeological horizon that begins in the late Neolithic (Stone Age), flourishes through the Copper Age and culminates in the early Bronze Age.

Corded Ware culture is associated with some of the Indo-European family of languages by many scholars and believed to be related to the Catacomb culture.

Around 2400 BC the people of the Corded Ware replaced their predecessors and expanded to Danubian and Nordic areas of western Germany. One related branch invaded Denmark and southern Sweden, while the mid-Danubian basin, though showing more continuity, shows also clear traits of new Indo-European elites (Vučedol culture).

It receives its name Corded Ware from the ornamentation of its characteristic pottery, Single Grave from its burial custom, and Battle Axe from its characteristic grave offering to males, a stone battle axe (which was by this time an inefficient weapon but a traditional status symbol).

The culture was the first to introduce corded pottery decorations into the steppes and shows a profuse use of the polished battle axe, providing a link to the West.

The Labrys – Semiotic Analysis

Iron Labrys found at ancient Thracian residence

Kiss My Axe – The History of the Ancient Labrys

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