Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Three classes/levals of gods

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 17, 2014

Enlil, wind god, with his thunderbolts pursues Anzu after Anzu stole the Tablets of Destiny (from Austen Henry Layard Monuments of Nineveh, 2nd Series, 1853)

Tir/Tyr and Tork/Thor

Different gods, same meanings

Tefnut/Shu – Ptah/Geb – Nefertem (Egypt)

Nu (the abyss) – Ra/Atum –

Tefnut/Shu – Geb/Nut (Neuth)Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys and Horus (Egypt)

Anu – Enki/Enlil/Haya – Marduk (Sumerian)

Anu – Kumarbi – Teshub (Hurrian)

An/El/Dagon – Baal (Ishkur/Haddad/Adad) – (NW Semitic)

Uranus – Cronus – Zeus (Greek)

Caelus – Saturn/Janus/Portunus – Jupiter (Roman)

Brahma/ Saraswati – Marishi (Maruts/ Rudras)/Kala – Kashyap (Saptarishis)/Aditi – Indra/Agni (Ādityas)

Búri/Borr – Odin – Thor/Tyr (Nordic)

Anu – Enlil/Enki – EL – Yahweh (Christian)

Holy spirit – Yahweh – Jesus (Christian)

The trifunctional hypothesis

The trifunctional hypothesis of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society postulates a tripartite ideology (“idéologie tripartite”) reflected in the existence of three classes or castes—priests, warriors, and commoners (farmers or tradesmen) – corresponding to the three functions of the sacral, the martial and the economic, respectively.

This thesis is especially associated with the French mythographer Georges Dumézil who proposed it in 1929 in the book Flamen-Brahman, and later in Mitra-Varuna.

Dumézil postulated a split of the figure of the sovereign god in Indoeuropean religion, which is embodied by Vedic gods Varuna and Mitra. Of the two, the first one shows the aspect of the magic, uncanny, awe inspiring power of creation and destruction, while the second shows the reassuring aspect of guarantor of the legal order in organised social life.

Whereas in Jupiter these double features have coalesced, Briquel sees Saturn as showing the characters of a sovereign god of the Varunian type. His nature becomes evident in his mastership over the annual time of crisis around the winter solstice, epitomised in the power of subverting normal codified social order and its rules, which is apparent in the festival of the Saturnalia, in the mastership of annual fertility and renewal, in the power of annihilation present in his paredra Lua, in the fact that he is the god of a timeless era of plenty and bounty before time, which he reinstates at the time of the yearly crisis of the winter solstice.

Also, in Roman and Etruscan reckoning Saturn is a wielder of lightning; no other agricultural god (in the sense of specialized human activity) is one. Hence the mastership he has on agriculture and wealth cannot be that of a god of the third function, i.e. of production, wealth, and pleasure, but it stems from his magical lordship over creation and destruction.

Although these features are to be found in Greek god Cronus as well, it looks they were proper to the most ancient Roman representations of Saturn, such as his presence on the Capitol and his association with Jupiter, who in the stories of the arrival of the Pelasgians in the land of the Sicels and that of the Argei orders human sacrifices to him.

Sacrifices to Saturn were performed according to “Greek rite” (ritus graecus), with the head uncovered, in contrast to those of other major Roman deities, which were performed capite velato, “with the head covered.”

Saturn himself, however, was represented as veiled (involutus), as for example in a wall painting from Pompeii that shows him holding a sickle and covered with a white veil. This feature is in complete accord with the character of a sovereign god of the Varunian type and is common with German god Odin.

Briquel remarks Servius had already seen that the choice of the Greek rite was due to the fact that the god himself is imagined and represented as veiled, thence his sacrifice cannot be carried out by a veiled man: this is an instance of the reversal of the current order of things typical of the nature of the deity as appears in its festival. Plutarch writes his figure is veiled because he is the father of truth.

Pliny notes that the cult statue of Saturn was filled with oil; the exact meaning of this is unclear. Its feet were bound with wool, which was removed only during the Saturnalia. The fact that the statue was filled with oil and the feet were bound with wool may relate back to the myth of “The Castration of Uranus”. In this myth Rhea gives Cronus a rock to eat in Zeus’ stead thus tricking Cronus.

Although mastership of knots is a feature of Greek origin it is also typical of the Varunian sovereign figure, as apparent e.g. in Odin. Once Zeus was victorious over Cronus, he sets this stone up at Delphi and constantly it is anointed with oil and strands of unwoven wool are placed on it. It wore a red cloak, and was brought out of the temple to take part in ritual processions and lectisternia, banquets at which images of the gods were arranged as guests on couches.

All these ceremonial details identify a sovereign figure. Briquel concludes that Saturn was a sovereign god of a time that the Romans perceived as no longer actual, that of the legendary origins of the world, before civilization.

Little evidence exists in Italy for the cult of Saturn outside Rome, but his name resembles that of the Etruscan god Satres. The potential cruelty of Saturn was enhanced by his identification with Cronus, known for devouring his own children. He was thus equated with the Carthaginian god Ba’al Hammon, to whom children were sacrificed.

Later this identification gave rise to the African Saturn, a cult that enjoyed great popularity til the 4th century. It had a popular but also a mysteric character and required child sacrifices. It is also considered as inclining to monotheism.

In the ceremony of initiation the myste intrat sub iugum, ritual that Leglay compares to the Roman tigillum sororium. Even though their origin and theology are completely different the Italic and the African god are both sovereign and master over time and death, fact that has permitted their encounter. Moreover here Saturn is not the real Italic god but his Greek counterpart Cronus.

Saturn was also among the gods the Romans equated with Yahweh, whose Sabbath (on Saturday) he shared as his holy day. The phrase Saturni dies, “Saturn’s day,” first appears in Latin literature in a poem by Tibullus, who wrote during the reign of Augustus.

Theogony

Teshub (also written Teshup or Tešup) was the Hurrian god of sky and storm. 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 bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genital, 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.

In ancient myth recorded by Hesiod’s Theogony, Cronus envied the power of his father, the ruler of the universe, Uranus. Uranus drew the enmity of Cronus’ mother, Gaia, when he hid the gigantic youngest children of Gaia, the hundred-handed Hecatonchires and one-eyed Cyclopes, in the Tartarus, so that they would not see the light. Gaia created a great stone sickle and gathered together Cronus and his brothers to persuade them to castrate Uranus.

Only Cronus was willing to do the deed, so Gaia gave him the sickle and placed him in ambush. When Uranus met with Gaia, Cronus attacked him with the sickle, castrating him and casting his testicles into the sea.

From the blood that spilled out from Uranus and fell upon the earth, the Gigantes, Erinyes, and Meliae were produced. The testicles produced the white foam from which the goddess Aphrodite emerged.

For this, Uranus threatened vengeance and called his sons Titenes (according to Hesiod meaning “straining ones,” the source of the word “titan”, but this etymology is disputed) for overstepping their boundaries and daring to commit such an act.

In an alternate version of this myth, a more benevolent Cronus overthrew the wicked serpentine Titan Ophion. In doing so, he released the world from bondage and for a time ruled it justly.

After dispatching Uranus, Cronus re-imprisoned the Hecatonchires, and the Cyclopes and set the dragon Campe to guard them. He and his sister Rhea took the throne of the world as king and queen. The period in which Cronus ruled was called the Golden Age, as the people of the time had no need for laws or rules; everyone did the right thing, and immorality was absent.

Cronus learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own sons, just as he had overthrown his father. As a result, although he sired the gods Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades and Poseidon by Rhea, he devoured them all as soon as they were born to prevent the prophecy.

When the sixth child, Zeus, was born Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save them and to eventually get retribution on Cronus for his acts against his father and children. Another child Cronus is reputed to have fathered is Chiron, by Philyra.

Rhea secretly gave birth to Zeus in Crete, and handed Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, also known as the Omphalos Stone, which he promptly swallowed, thinking that it was his son.

Rhea kept Zeus hidden in a cave on Mount Ida, Crete. According to some versions of the story, he was then raised by a goat named Amalthea, while a company of Kouretes, armored male dancers, shouted and clapped their hands to make enough noise to mask the baby’s cries from Cronus.

Other versions of the myth have Zeus raised by the nymph Adamanthea, who hid Zeus by dangling him by a rope from a tree so that he was suspended between the earth, the sea, and the sky, all of which were ruled by his father, Cronus. Still other versions of the tale say that Zeus was raised by his grandmother, Gaia.

Once he had grown up, Zeus used an emetic given to him by Gaia to force Cronus to disgorge the contents of his stomach in reverse order: first the stone, which was set down at Pytho under the glens of Mount Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men, and then his two brothers and three sisters.

In other versions of the tale, Metis gave Cronus an emetic to force him to disgorge the children, or Zeus cut Cronus’ stomach open. After freeing his siblings, Zeus released the Hecatonchires, and the Cyclopes who forged for him his thunderbolts, Poseidon’s trident and Hades’ helmet of darkness.

In a vast war called the Titanomachy, Zeus and his brothers and sisters, with the help of the Hecatonchires, and Cyclopes, overthrew Cronus and the other Titans. Afterwards, many of the Titans were confined in Tartarus, however, Atlas, Epimetheus, Menoetius, Oceanus and Prometheus were not imprisoned following the Titanomachy. Gaia bore the monster Typhon to claim revenge for the imprisoned Titans.

Accounts of the fate of Cronus after the Titanomachy differ. In Homeric and other texts he is imprisoned with the other Titans in Tartarus. In Orphic poems, he is imprisoned for eternity in the cave of Nyx. Pindar describes his release from Tartarus, where he is made King of Elysium by Zeus.

In another version, the Titans released the Cyclopes from Tartarus, and Cronus was awarded the kingship among them, beginning a Golden Age. In Virgil’s Aeneid, it is Latium to which Saturn (Cronus) escapes and ascends as king and lawgiver, following his defeat by his son Jupiter (Zeus).

One other account referred by Robert Graves (who claims to be following the account of the Byzantine mythographer Tzetzes) it is said that Cronus was castrated by his son Zeus just like he had done with his father Uranus before.

However the subject of a son castrating his own father, or simply castration in general, was so repudiated by the Greek mythographers of that time that they suppressed it from their accounts until the Christian era (when Tzetzes wrote).

The one-handed god and the one-eyed sovereign

Dumezil observed that a wide range of Indo-European cultures produced myths—philologically related to one another—in which the universe was governed by one-eyed and one-handed gods acting in concert. These closely parallel two ancient Indo-European conceptions of justice represented by the one-eyed sovereign (wild, unreliable, ruling through bravado) and the one-handed sovereign (solemn, proper, ruling by the letter of the law).

These conceptions of justice and their attendant myths were originally described at length by prominent philologist Georges Dumezil (1898-1986) in his 1948 book Mitra-Varuna: An Essay on Two Indo-European Representations of Sovereignty.

The one-eyed gods tended to rule though magic, strong personalities, and mad bravado. The one-handed gods, by contrast, represented the rule of law—the ordering and arrangement of society through contracts, covenants, and statutes.

Dumezil observed that a wide range of Indo-European cultures produced myths—philologically related to one another—in which the universe was governed by one-eyed and one-handed gods acting in concert. The one-eyed gods tended to rule though magic, strong personalities, and mad bravado. The one-handed gods, by contrast, represented the rule of law—the ordering and arrangement of society through contracts, covenants, and statutes.

In many narratives, the one-handed god loses his hand or arm after breaking a contract or reneging on a deal—illustrating the idea that in times of crisis, the law must be bent or broken, though the price for doing so can be dear.

In Nordic mythology, for example, a young wolf named Fenrir is thought (by shrewd prognosticators attuned to supernatural wolf strength) to be capable of destroying the world of the gods. The one-eyed god Odhinn thus tries to get Fenrir to submit to a leash. This he does through deceit: Odhinn presents the leashing as a challenge—see how long it takes you to get out of it. The savvy wolf suspects, correctly, that the leash is magic and will subdue him for eternity. So as a gesture of goodwill, Tyr, a god representing the rule of law, offers to put his hand in Fenrir’s mouth as a pledge to the wolf that there is no hocus-pocus afoot—if Fenrir cannot get out of the leash, Tyr will lose his hand. The wolf submits, the world is saved, but at the cost of Tyr’s hand.

In Roman mytho-history (Romans liked to give their history a mythic burnish), one-eyed Horatio Cocles (“Cocles” being derived from “Cyclops”) and soon to be one-handed Mucius Scaevola team up to defeat Lars Porsenna, an invading Etruscan determined to sack Rome.

According to Dumzeil, the one-eyed Cocles “holds the enemy in check by his strangely wild behavior.” Citing the Roman historian Livy, Dumezil writes that “remaining alone at the entrance to the bridge, [Cocles] casts terrible and menacing looks at the Etruscan leaders, challenging them individually, insulting them collectively.” He also deploys “terrible grimaces.”

Cocles’ antics stop Porsenna temporarily, but the surly Etruscan soon brings war upon Rome again, and this time it’s Scaevola, whose mind ran in a more statesmanlike track than his comrade Cocles, to the rescue. He warns Porsenna that he has 300 assassins at his disposal—it’s a bluff, but Scaevola burns his hand in a fire to convince his enemy his threat is bona fide. Porsenna agrees to leave Rome.

In many narratives, the one-handed god loses his hand or arm after breaking a contract or reneging on a deal—illustrating the idea that in times of crisis, the law must be bent or broken, though the price for doing so can be dear.

Dumézil compares Varuna and Mitra with other figures like the gods Savitr (the creative initiater of movement, who is connected with night and dusk) and Bhaga (the fair distributer, who is connected with dawn and midday) of India, the Germanic deities Odin (mystical) and Tyr (prudent), the early Roman kings Romulus (unpredictable founder) and Numa (conservative legislator), and the Irish-Celtic gods Lugus (name derived from proto-Celtic for “oath”) and Nodens (the derivation of this name is uncertain).

A strange motif of unclear meaning involving eyes and hands also plays a role in this concept and extends the metaphor to other figures and stories. While there is nothing particularly significant involving the eyes and hands of Mitra and Varuna (or indeed Romulus and Numa), Odin and Lugus are both one-eyed gods and Tyr and Nodens are both one-handed.

Tyr is probably the oldest of the Germanic deities, his name being an abbreviated form of Tiwaz, which derives from the same PIE word that gave us Zeus, Dios, deus, and theos. Tyr is regarded as the father of the Germanic pantheon while Nodens was the original ruler of the Tuatha de Dannan, a legendary race of people who conquered Ireland from the Fir Bolg. Additionally, two early Roman heroes, Horatius Cocles and Mucius Scaevola, are respectively one-eyed and one-handed.

Zeus seized power from his father Cronos with the assistance of Cyclopes and strange hundred-handed creatures (it is worth noting as well that Cronos governed the world without laws while Zeus provided order; there is a legend that Romulus was killed by leading aristocrats due to his arbitrary rulership and replaced with Numa to bring stability).

In the cases of Cocles and Lugus, their eyes were lost in battle while both Scaevola and Tyr were required to sacrifice their hands to uphold oaths. These early Romans are typically regarded as being at least partially historical, but it seems clear that these ancient legends were superimposed upon the real figures for the purposes of narrative.

Gugalanna

Gu or gud means ox, bull. In Mesopotamian mythology, Gugalanna (lit. “The Great Bull of Heaven” < Sumerian gu “bull”, gal “great”, an “heaven”, -a “of”) was a Sumerian deity as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

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

Inanna, from the heights of the city walls looked down, and Enkidu took the haunches of the bull shaking them at the goddess, threatening he would do the same to her if he could catch her too. For this impiety, Enkidu later dies.

Gugalanna was the first husband of the Goddess Ereshkigal, the Goddess of the Realm of the Dead, a gloomy place devoid of light. It was to share the sorrow with her sister that Inanna later descends to the Underworld.

Taurus was a constellation of the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox from about 3,200 BCE. It marked the start of the agricultural year with the New Year Akitu festival (from á-ki-ti-še-gur-ku, = sowing of the barley), an important date in Mespotamian religion.

The death of Gugalanna, represents the obscuring disappearance of this constellation as a result of the light of the sun, with whom Gilgamesh was identified.

In the time in which this myth was composed, the Akitu festival at the Spring Equinox, due to the Precession of the Equinoxes did not occur in Aries, but in Taurus. At this time of the year, Taurus would have disappeared as it was obscured by the sun.

Joseph Campbell wrote in The masks of God: Oriental mythology (1991): “Between the period of the earliest female figurines circa 4500 B.C. … a span of a thousand years elapsed, during which the archaeological signs constantly increase of a cult of the tilled earth fertilised by that noblest and most powerful beast of the recently developed holy barnyard, the bull – who not only sired the milk yielding cows, but also drew the plow, which in that early period simultaneously broke and seeded the earth.

Moreover by analogy, the horned moon, lord of the rhythm of the womb and of the rains and dews, was equated with the bull; so that the animal became a cosmological symbol, uniting the fields and the laws of sky and earth.”

MAIN GODS

Anu

In Sumerian mythology, Anu (also An; meaning “sky, heaven”) was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. His attribute was the royal tiara. His attendant and minister of state was the god Ilabrat, the attendant and minister of state of the chief sky god Anu.

Anu existed in Sumerian cosmogony as a dome that covered the flat earth; Outside of this dome was the primordial body of water known as Tiamat (not to be confused with the subterranean Abzu).

KI or Gi is the sign for “earth”. In Akkadian orthography, it functions as a determiner for toponyms and has the syllabic values gi, ge, qi, and qe. As an earth goddess in Sumerian mythology, Ki was the chief consort of An, the sky god. In some legends Ki and An were brother and sister, being the offspring of Anshar (“Sky Pivot”) and Kishar (“Earth Pivot”), earlier personifications of heaven and earth.

By her consort Anu, Ki gave birth to the Anunnaki, the most prominent of these deities being Enlil, god of the air. According to legends, heaven and earth were once inseparable until Enlil was born; Enlil cleaved heaven and earth in two. An carried away heaven. Ki, in company with Enlil, took the earth.

Some authorities question whether Ki was regarded as a deity since there is no evidence of a cult and the name appears only in a limited number of Sumerian creation texts. Samuel Noah Kramer identifies Ki with the Sumerian mother goddess Ninhursag and claims that they were originally the same figure. She later developed into the Akkadian goddess Antu (also known as “Keffen Anu”, “Kef”, and “Keffenk Anum”), consort of the god Anu (from Sumerian An).

In Sumerian, the designation “An” was used interchangeably with “the heavens” so that in some cases it is doubtful whether, under the term, the god An or the heavens is being denoted. The Akkadians inherited An as the god of heavens from the Sumerian as Anu-, and in Akkadian cuneiform, the DINGIR character may refer either to Anum or to the Akkadian word for god, ilu-, and consequently had two phonetic values an and il. Hittite cuneiform as adapted from the Old Assyrian kept the an value but abandoned il.

The purely theoretical character of Anu is thus still further emphasized, and in the annals and votive inscriptions as well as in the incantations and hymns, he is rarely introduced as an active force to whom a personal appeal can be made. His name becomes little more than a synonym for the heavens in general and even his title as king or father of the gods has little of the personal element in it.

Anu was one of the oldest gods in the Sumerian pantheon and part of a triad including Enlil (god of the air) and Enki (god of water). He was called Anu by the later Akkadians in Babylonian culture. By virtue of being the first figure in a triad consisting of Anu, Enlil, and Enki (also known as Ea), Anu came to be regarded as the father and at first, king of the gods.

The doctrine once established remained an inherent part of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion and led to the more or less complete disassociation of the three gods constituting the triad from their original local limitations. An intermediate step between Anu viewed as the local deity of Uruk, Enlil as the god of Nippur, and Ea as the god of Eridu is represented by the prominence which each one of the centres associated with the three deities in question must have acquired, and which led to each one absorbing the qualities of other gods so as to give them a controlling position in an organized pantheon.

For Nippur we have the direct evidence that its chief deity, En-lil, was once regarded as the head of the Sumerian pantheon. The sanctity and, therefore, the importance of Eridu remained a fixed tradition in the minds of the people to the latest days, and analogy therefore justifies the conclusion that Anu was likewise worshipped in a centre which had acquired great prominence.

In the astral theology of Babylonia and Assyria, Anu, Enlil, and Ea became the three zones of the ecliptic, the northern, middle and southern zone respectively. The summing-up of divine powers manifested in the universe in a threefold division represents an outcome of speculation in the schools attached to the temples of Babylonia, but the selection of Anu, Enlil (and later Marduk), and Ea for the three representatives of the three spheres recognized, is due to the importance which, for one reason or the other, the centres in which Anu, Enlil, and Ea were worshipped had acquired in the popular mind.

Each of the three must have been regarded in his centre as the most important member in a larger or smaller group, so that their union in a triad marks also the combination of the three distinctive pantheons into a harmonious whole.

Antum

A consort Antum (or as some scholars prefer to read, Anatum) is assigned to him, on the theory that every deity must have a female associate, but Anu spent so much time on the ground protecting the Sumerians he left her in Heaven and then met Innin, whom he renamed Innan, or, “Queen of Heaven”. She was later known as Inanna/Ishtar. Anu resided in her temple the most, and rarely went back up to Heaven. He is also included in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and is a major character in the clay tablets.

In Akkadian mythology, Antu or Antum (add the name in cuneiform please an= shar=?) is a Babylonian goddess. She was the first consort of Anu, and the pair was the parents of the Anunnaki and the Utukki, a type of spirit or demon that could be either benevolent or evil.

In Akkadian mythology, the Utukku were seven evil demons who were the offspring of Anu and Antu. The evil utukku were called Edimmu or Ekimmu; the good utukku were called shedu. Two of the best known of the evil Utukku were Asag (slain by Ninurta) and Alû.

Anu is so prominently associated with the E-anna temple in the city of Uruk (biblical Erech) in southern Babylonia that there are good reasons for believing this place to be the original seat of the Anu cult. If this is correct, then the goddess Inanna (or Ishtar) of Uruk may at one time have been his consort.

Antu was replaced as consort by Inanna/Ishtar, who may also be a daughter of Anu and Antu. She is similar to Anat, a major northwest Semitic goddess. Antu was a dominant feature of the Babylonian akit festival until as recently as 200 BC, her later pre-eminence possibly attributable to identification with the Greek goddess Hera.

In Akkadian, the form one would expect Anat to take would be Antu, earlier Antum. This would also be the normal feminine form that would be taken by Anu, the Akkadian form of An ‘Sky’, the Sumerian god of heaven.

Antu appears in Akkadian texts mostly as a rather colorless consort of Anu, the mother of Ishtar in the Gilgamesh story, but is also identified with the northwest Semitic goddess ‘Anat of essentially the same name.

It is unknown whether this is an equation of two originally separate goddesses whose names happened to fall together or whether Anat’s cult spread to Mesopotamia, where she came to be worshipped as Anu’s spouse because the Mesopotamian form of her name suggested she was a counterpart to Anu.

It has also been suggested that the parallelism between the names of the Sumerian goddess, Inanna, and her West Semitic counterpart, Ishtar, continued in Canaanite tradition as Anath and Astarte, particularly in the poetry of Ugarit.

The two goddesses were invariably linked in Ugaritic scripture and are also known to have formed a triad (known from sculpture) with a third goddess who was given the name/title of Qadesh (meaning “the holy one”).

In the Ugaritic Ba‘al/Hadad cycle ‘Anat is a violent war-goddess, a virgin (btlt ‘nt) who is the sister and, according to a much disputed theory, the lover of the great god Ba‘al Hadad. Ba‘al is usually called the son of Dagan and sometimes the son of El, who addresses ‘Anat as “daughter”. Either relationship is probably figurative.

‘Anat’s titles used again and again are “virgin ‘Anat” and “sister-in-law of the peoples” (or “progenitress of the peoples” or “sister-in-law, widow of the Li’mites”).

In a fragmentary passage from Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), Syria ‘Anat appears as a fierce, wild and furious warrior in a battle, wading knee-deep in blood, striking off heads, cutting off hands, binding the heads to her torso and the hands in her sash, driving out the old men and townsfolk with her arrows, her heart filled with joy. “Her character in this passage anticipates her subsequent warlike role against the enemies of Baal”.

’Anat boasts that she has put an end to Yam the darling of El, to the seven-headed serpent, to Arsh the darling of the gods, to Atik ‘Quarrelsome’ the calf of El, to Ishat ‘Fire’ the bitch of the gods, and to Zabib ‘flame?’ the daughter of El.

Later, when Ba‘al is believed to be dead, she seeks after Ba‘al “like a cow for its calf” and finds his body (or supposed body) and buries it with great sacrifices and weeping. ‘Anat then finds Mot, Ba‘al Hadad’s supposed slayer and she seizes Mot, splits him with a sword, winnows him with a sieve, burns him with fire, grinds him with millstones and scatters the remnants to the birds.

Anat first appears in Egypt in the 16th dynasty (the Hyksos period) along with other northwest Semitic deities. She was especially worshiped in her aspect of a war goddess, often paired with the goddess `Ashtart. In the Contest Between Horus and Set, these two goddesses appear as daughters of Re and are given in marriage to the god Set, who had been identified with the Semitic god Hadad.

Khumban

Khumban is the Elamite, an ancient Pre-Iranic civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan (Luristan o Bakhtiari Lurs) and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq, god of the sky. His sumerian equivalent is Anu. Several Elamite kings, mostly from the Neo-Elamite period, were named in honour of Khumban.

The modern name Elam is a transcription from Biblical Hebrew, corresponding to the Sumerian elam(a), the Akkadian elamtu, and the Elamite haltamti. Elamite states were among the leading political forces of the Ancient Near East. In classical literature, Elam was more often referred to as Susiana a name derived from its capital, Susa. However, Susiana is not synonymous with Elam and, in its early history, was a distinctly separate cultural and political entity.

Situated just to the east of Mesopotamia, Elam was part of the early urbanization during the Chalcolithic period (Copper Age). The emergence of written records from around 3000 BC also parallels Mesopotamian history, where slightly earlier records have been found.

In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role during the Persian Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded Elam, when the Elamite language remained among those in official use. Elamite is generally accepted to be a language isolate.

The Elamites called their country Haltamti, Sumerian ELAM, Akkadian Elamû, female Elamītu “resident of Susiana, Elamite”. Additionally, it is known as Elam in the Hebrew Bible, where they are called the offspring of Elam, eldest son of Shem (Genesis 10:22, Ezra 4:9).

The high country of Elam was increasingly identified by its low-lying later capital, Susa. Geographers after Ptolemy called it Susiana. The Elamite civilization was primarily centered in the province of what is modern-day Khuzestān and Ilam in prehistoric times.

The modern provincial name Khuzestān is derived from the Persian name for Susa: Old Persian Hūjiya “Elam”, in Middle Persian Huź “Susiana”, which gave modern Persian Xuz, compounded with -stan “place” (cf. Sistan “Saka-land”).

SECOND LEVEL

Enlil

Enlil (nlin) (EN = Lord + LÍL = Wind, “Lord (of the) Storm”) is the God of breath, wind, loft and breadth (height and distance). It was 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.

The name is perhaps pronounced and sometimes rendered in translations as “Ellil” in later Akkadian, Hittite, and Canaanite literature. In later Akkadian, Enlil is the son of Anshar and Kishar. Enlil was known as the inventor of the mattock (a key agricultural pick, hoe, ax or digging tool of the Sumerians) and helped plants to grow.

The myth of Enlil and Ninlil discusses when Enlil was a young god, he was banished from Ekur in Nippur, home of the gods, to Kur, the underworld for seducing a goddess named Ninlil. Ninlil followed him to the underworld where she bore his first child, the moon god Sin (Sumerian Nanna/Suen). After fathering three more underworld-deities (substitutes for Sin), Enlil was allowed to return to the Ekur.

By his wife Ninlil or Sud, Enlil was father of the moon god Nanna/Suen (in Akkadian, Sin) and of Ninurta (also called Ningirsu). Enlil is the father of Nisaba the goddess of grain, of Pabilsag who is sometimes equated with Ninurta, and sometimes of Enbilulu. By Ereshkigal Enlil was father of Namtar.

In one myth, Enlil gives advice to his son, the god Ninurta, advising him on a strategy to slay the demon Asag. This advice is relayed to Ninurta by way of Sharur, his enchanted talking mace, which had been sent by Ninurta to the realm of the gods to seek counsel from Enlil directly.

Enlil is associated with the ancient city of Nippur, sometimes referred to as the cult city of Enlil. His temple was named Ekur, “House of the Mountain.” Such was the sanctity acquired by this edifice that Babylonian and Assyrian rulers, down to the latest days, vied with one another to embellish and restore Enlil’s seat of worship. Eventually, the name Ekur became the designation of a temple in general.

Grouped around the main sanctuary, there arose temples and chapels to the gods and goddesses who formed his court, so that Ekur became the name for an entire sacred precinct in the city of Nippur. The name “mountain house” suggests a lofty structure and was perhaps the designation originally of the staged tower at Nippur, built in imitation of a mountain, with the sacred shrine of the god on the top.

Enlil was also known as the god of weather. According to the Sumerians, Enlil helped create the humans, but then got tired of their noise and tried to kill them by sending a flood. A mortal known as Utnapishtim survived the flood through the help of another god, Ea, and he was made immortal by Enlil after Enlil’s initial fury had subsided.

As Enlil was the only god who could reach An, the god of heaven, he held sway over the other gods who were assigned tasks by his agent and would travel to Nippur to draw in his power. He is thus seen as the model for kingship. Enlil was assimilated to the north “Pole of the Ecliptic”. His sacred number name was 50.

At a very early period prior to 3000 BC, Nippur had become the centre of a political district of considerable extent. Inscriptions found at Nippur, where extensive excavations were carried on during 1888–1900 by John P. Peters and John Henry Haynes, under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, show that Enlil was the head of an extensive pantheon. Among the titles accorded to him are “king of lands”, “king of heaven and earth”, and “father of the gods”.

Anzû

Anzû (before misread as Zû), also known as Imdugud (meaning heavy rain, slingstone, ball of clay, thunderbird, hail storm), in Sumerian, (from An “heaven” and Zu “to know”, in the Sumerian language) is a lesser divinity or monster of Akkadian mythology, and the son of the bird goddess Siris, the patron of beer who is conceived of as a demon, which is not necessarily evil. Siris is considered the mother of Zu. Both Anzû and Siris are seen as massive birds who can breathe fire and water, although Anzû is alternately seen as a lion-headed eagle (like a reverse griffin).

Im-gíri means lightning storm (‘storm’ + ‘lightning flash’), im…mir means to be windy (‘wind’ + ‘storm wind’), im-ri-ha-mun means storm, whirlwind (‘weather’ + ‘to blow’ + ‘mutually opposing’), im…šèg means to rain (‘storm’ + ‘to rain’), and im-u-lu means southwind (‘wind’ + ‘storm’).

In Sumerian Tu, and  damu, means weak, young or child. The Sumerian word /tur/ is also an allusion to the word for uterus/womb (šà-tùr). Some scholars follow the traditional interpretation that the element /tu/ is the same as the Sumerian verb /tudr/ “to give birth,” but this has been contested on phonological grounds.

Anzu was conceived by the pure waters of the Apsu and the wide Earth. He was a servant of the chief sky god Enlil, guard of the throne in Enlil’s sanctuary, (possibly previously a symbol of Anu), from whom Anzu stole the Tablet of Destinies, so hoping to determine the fate of all things. In one version of the legend the gods sent Lugalbanda to retrieve the tablets, who kills Anzu.

In another, Ea and Belet-Ili conceived Ninurta for the purpose of retrieving the tablets. In a third legend, found in The Hymn of Ashurbanipal, Marduk is said to have killed Anzu.

In Sumerian and Akkadian mythology, Anzû is a divine storm-bird and the personification of the southern wind and the thunder clouds. This demon—half man and half bird—stole the “Tablets of Destiny” from Enlil and hid them on a mountaintop.

Anu ordered the other gods to retrieve the tablets, even though they all feared the demon. According to one text, Marduk killed the bird; in another, it died through the arrows of the god Ninurta. The bird is also referred to as Imdugud.

In Babylonian myth, Anzû is a deity associated with cosmogony, the theory concerning the coming into existence (or origin) of either the cosmos (or universe), or the so-called reality of sentient beings.

Anzû is represented as stripping the father of the gods of umsimi (which is usually translated “crown” but in this case, as it was on the seat of Bel, it refers to the “ideal creative organ.”) “Ham is the Chaldean Anzu, and both are cursed for the same allegorically described crime,” which parallels the mutilation of Uranos by Kronos and of Set by Horus.

Haya/Nidaba

Haya’s functions are two-fold: he appears to have served as a door-keeper but was also associated with the scribal arts, and may have had an association with grain. In the god-list AN = dA-nu-um preserved on manuscripts of the first millennium he is mentioned together with dlugal-[ki-sá-a], a divinity associated with door-keepers. Already in the Ur III period Haya had received offerings together with offerings to the “gate”. This was presumably because of the location of one of his shrines.

At least from the Old Babylonian period on he is known as the spouse of the grain-goddess Nidaba/Nissaba (Ops), the Sumerian goddess of grain and writing, patron deity of the city Ereš (Uruk), who is also the patroness of the scribal art.

The intricate connection between agriculture and accounting/writing implied that it was not long before Nidaba became the goddess of writing. From then on her main role was to be the patron of scribes. She was eventually replaced in that function by the god Nabu.

In a debate between Nidaba and Grain, Nidaba is syncretised with Ereškigal (Lua), whose name translates as “Lady of the Great Earth”, “Mistress of the Underworld”. Unlike her consort Nergal, Ereškigal has a distinctly dual association with death. This is reminiscent of the contradictive nature of her sister Inanna/Ištar, who simultaneously represents opposing aspects such as male and female; love and war. In Ereškigal’s case, she is the goddess of death but also associated with birth; regarded both as mother(-earth) and a virgin.

Ereškigal is the sister of Ištar and mother of the goddess Nungal. Namtar, Ereškigal’s minister, is also her son by Enlil; and Ninazu, her son by Gugal-ana. The latter is the first husband of Ereškigal, who in later tradition has Nergal as consort. Bēlet-ṣēri appears as the official scribe for Ereškigal in the Epic of Gilgameš.

With few exceptions Ereškigal had no cult in Mesopotamia and as a result, rarely encountered outside literature. Inscriptions, however, attest to temples of Ereškigal in Kutha, Assur and Umma.

Nidaba is also identified with the goddess of grain Ašnan, and with Nanibgal/Nidaba-ursag/Geme-Dukuga, the throne bearer of Ninlil and wife of Ennugi, throne bearer of Enlil. The Sumerian tale of the Curse of Agade lists Nidaba as belonging to the elite of the great gods.

Nidaba’s spouse is Haya and together they have a daughter, Sud/Ninlil. Traditions vary regarding the genealogy of Nidaba. She appears on separate occasions as the daughter of Enlil, of Uraš, of Ea, and of Anu. Two myths describe the marriage of Sud/Ninlil with Enlil. This implies that Nidaba could be at once the daughter and the mother-in-law of Enlil.

Nidaba is also the sister of Ninsumun, the mother of Gilgameš. Nidaba is frequently mentioned together with the goddess Nanibgal who also appears as an epithet of Nidaba, although most god lists treat her as a distinct goddess.

From the same period we have a Sumerian hymn composed in his honour, which celebrates him in these capacities. The hymn is preserved exclusively at Ur, leading Charpin to suggest that it was composed to celebrate a visit by king Rim-Sin of Larsa (r. 1822-1763 BCE) to his cella in the Ekišnugal, Nanna’s main temple at Ur.

While there is plenty of evidence to connect Haya with scribes, the evidence connecting him with grain is mainly restricted to etymological considerations, which are unreliable and suspect. There is also a divine name Haia(-)amma in a bilingual Hattic-Hittite text from Anatolia which is used as an equivalent for the Hattic grain-goddess Kait in an invocation to the Hittite grain-god Halki, although it is unclear whether this appellation can be related to dha-ià.

Haya is also characterised, beyond being the spouse of Nidaba/Nissaba, as an “agrig”-official of the god Enlil. The god-list AN = Anu ša amēli (lines 97-98) designates him as “the Nissaba of wealth”, as opposed to his wife, who is the “Nissaba of Wisdom”.

Attempts have also been made to connect the remote origins of dha-ià with those of the god Ea (Ebla Ḥayya), although there remain serious doubts concerning this hypothesis. How or whether both are related to a further western deity called Ḥayya is also unclear.

Armenians

Beliefs of the ancient Armenians were associated with the worship of many cults, mainly the cult of ancestors, the worship of heavenly bodies (the cult of the Sun, the Moon cult, the cult of Heaven) and the worship of certain creatures (lions, eagles, bulls).

The main cult, however, was the worship of gods of the Armenian pantheon. The supreme god was the common Indo-European god Ar (as the starting point) followed by Vanatur. Later, due to the influence of Armenian-Persian relations, God the Creator was identified as Aramazd, and during the era of Hellenistic influence, he was identified with Zeus.

The similarity of the name Hayasa to the endonym of the Armenians, Hayk or Hay and the Armenian name for Armenia, Hayastan has prompted the suggestion that the Hayasa-Azzi confereration was involved in the Armenian ethnogenesis.

The term Hayastan bears resemblance to the ancient Mesopotamian god Haya (ha-ià) and another western deity called Ebla Hayya, related to the god Ea (Enki or Enkil in Sumerian, Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian). Thus, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia of 1962 posited that the Armenians derive from a migration of Hayasa into Shupria in the 12th century BC.

This is open to objection due to the possibility of a mere coincidental similarity between the two names and the lack of geographic overlap, although Hayasa (the region) became known as Lesser Armenia (Pokr Hayastan in modern Armenian) in coming centuries.

Armeno-Phrygian is a term for a minority supported claim of hypothetical people who are thought to have lived in the Armenian Highland as a group and then have separated to form the Phrygians and the Mushki of Cappadocia. It is also used for the language they are assumed to have spoken.

It can also be used for a language branch including these languages, a branch of the Indo-European family or a sub-branch of the proposed Graeco-Armeno-Aryan or Armeno-Aryan branch.

Classification is difficult because little is known of Phrygian and virtually nothing of Mushki, while Proto-Armenian forms a subgroup with Hurro-Urartian, Greek, and Indo-Iranian. These subgroups are all Indo-European, with the exception of Hurro-Urartian.

Note that the name Mushki is applied to different peoples by different sources and at different times. It can mean the Phrygians (in Assyrian sources) or Proto-Armenians as well as the Mushki of Cappadocia, or all three, in which case it is synonymous with Armeno-Phrygian.

Ḫaldi (Ḫaldi, also known as Khaldi or Hayk) was one of the three chief deities of Ararat (Urartu). His shrine was at Ardini. The other two chief deities were Theispas of Kumenu, and Shivini of Tushpa. He seem to be the same as the god Haya/Janus.

Of all the gods of Ararat (Urartu) pantheon, the most inscriptions are dedicated to him. His wife was the goddess Arubani. He is portrayed as a man with or without a beard, standing on a lion.

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

Hayk is the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation. In Moses of Chorene’s account, after the arrogant Titanid Bel asserts himself as king, Hayk left Babylon to emigrate with his extended household of at least 300 to settle in the Ararat region, founding a village he names Haykashen.

The figure slain by Hayk’s arrow is variously given as Bel or Nimrod. Hayk is also the name of the Orion constellation in the Armenian translation of the Bible. Hayk’s flight from Babylon and his eventual defeat of Bel, was historically compared to Zeus’s escape to the Caucasus and eventual defeat of the titans.

Theispas (also known as Teisheba or Teišeba) of Kumenu was the Araratian (Urartian) weather-god, notably the god of storms and thunder. He was also sometimes the god of war. He formed part of a triad along with Khaldi and Shivini.

He is a counterpart to the Assyrian god Adad, and the Hurrian god, Teshub. He was often depicted as a man standing on a bull, holding a handful of thunderbolts. His wife was the goddess Huba, who was the counterpart of the Hurrian goddess Hebat.

Tir or Tiur is the Armenian god of wisdom, culture, science and studies. He also was an interpreter of dreams. He was the messenger of the gods and was associated with Apollo. Tir’s temple was located near Artashat.

Enki

Capricorn is the tenth astrological sign in the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Capricornus. It spans the 270–300th degree of the zodiac, corresponding to celestial longitude. Capricorn is ruled by the planet Saturn. In astrology, Capricorn is considered an earth sign, introvert sign, and one of the four cardinal signs.

Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area from December 22 to January 19 each year, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Capricorn from approximately January 15 to February 14.

In Sumerian and Akkadian mythology Hanbi or Hanpa (more commonly known in western text) was the father of Enki, Pazuzu, the king of the demons of the wind, the bearer of storms and drought, and Humbaba, also Humbaba the Terrible, a monstrous giant of immemorial age raised by Utu, the Sun.

Although Pazuzu is, himself, an evil spirit, he drives away other evil spirits, therefore protecting humans against plagues and misfortunes. Humbaba was the guardian of the Cedar Forest, where the gods lived, by the will of the god Enlil.

The Encyclopedia Britannica states that the figure of Capricorn derives from the half-goat, half-fish representation of the Sumerian god Enki (Sumerian: EN.KI(G)), later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology.

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”.

Enki was the deity of crafts (gašam); mischief; water, seawater, lakewater (a, aba, ab), intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”) and creation. 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.

The main temple to Enki is called E-abzu, meaning “abzu temple” (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. He was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization.

His image is a double-helix snake, or the Caduceus, sometimes confused with 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.

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.

Early royal inscriptions from the third millennium BCE mention “the reeds of Enki”. Reeds were an important local building material, used for baskets and containers, and collected outside the city walls, where the dead or sick were often carried. This links Enki to the Kur or underworld of Sumerian mythology.

In another even older tradition, Nammu, the goddess of the primeval creative matter and the mother-goddess portrayed as having “given birth to the great gods,” was the mother of Enki, and as the watery creative force, was said to preexist Ea-Enki.

Benito states “With Enki it is an interesting change of gender symbolism, the fertilising agent is also water, Sumerian “a” or “Ab” which also means “semen”. In one evocative passage in a Sumerian hymn, Enki stands at the empty riverbeds and fills them with his ‘water’”. This may be a reference to Enki’s hieros gamos or sacred marriage with Ki/Ninhursag (the Earth).

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 associated with the southern band of constellations called stars of Ea, but also with the constellation AŠ-IKU, the Field (Square of Pegasus). The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times, identified with Enki.

In 1964, a team of Italian archaeologists under the direction of Paolo Matthiae of the University of Rome La Sapienza performed a series of excavations of material from the third-millennium BCE city of Ebla. Much of the written material found in these digs was later translated by Giovanni Pettinato.

Among other conclusions, he found a tendency among the inhabitants of Ebla to replace the name of El, king of the gods of the Canaanite pantheon (found in names such as Mikael), with Ia.

Jean Bottero (1952) and others suggested that Ia in this case is a West Semitic (Canaanite) way of saying Ea, Enki’s Akkadian name, associating the Canaanite theonym Yahu, and ultimately Hebrew YHWH.

This hypothesis is dismissed by some scholars as erroneous, based on a mistaken cuneiform reading, but academic debate continues. Ia has also been compared by William Hallo with the Ugaritic Yamm (sea), (also called Judge Nahar, or Judge River) whose earlier name in at least one ancient source was Yaw, or Ya’a.

Isimud

Enki was accompanied by an attendant Isimud, who is readily identifiable by the fact that he possesses two faces looking in opposite directions. Isimud (also Isinu; Usmû; Usumu (Akkadian) is a minor god, the messenger of the god Enki in Sumerian mythology.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, and thereby of gates, doors, doorways, passages and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. The Romans named the month of January (Ianuarius) in his honor.

Dagon

Dagon was originally an East Semitic Mesopotamian (Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian) fertility god who evolved into a major Northwest Semitic god, reportedly of grain (as symbol of fertility) and fish and/or fishing (as symbol of multiplying).

He was worshipped by the early Amorites and by the inhabitants of the cities of Ebla (modern Tell Mardikh, Syria) and Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra, Syria). He was also a major member, or perhaps head, of the pantheon of the Philistines.

His name is perhaps related to the Middle Hebrew and Jewish Aramaic word dgnʾ ‘be cut open’ or to Arabic dagn (دجن) ‘rain-(cloud)’. In Ugaritic, the root dgn also means grain: in Hebrew dāgān, Samaritan dīgan, is an archaic word for grain. The Phoenician author Sanchuniathon also says Dagon means siton, that being the Greek word for grain.

Sanchuniathon further explains: “And Dagon, after he discovered grain and the plough, was called Zeus Arotrios.” The word arotrios means “ploughman”, “pertaining to agriculture” (confer ἄροτρον “plow”).

The theory relating the name to Hebrew dāg/dâg, ‘fish’, is based solely upon a reading of 1 Samuel 5:2–7. According to this etymology: Middle English Dagon < Late Latin (Ec.) Dagon < Late Greek (Ec.) Δάγων < Heb דגן dāgān, “grain (hence the god of agriculture), corn.”

The god Dagon first appears in extant records about 2500 BC in the Mari texts and in personal Amorite names in which the Mesopotamian gods Ilu (Ēl), Dagan, and Adad are especially common.

At Ebla (Tell Mardikh), from at least 2300 BC, Dagan was the head of the city pantheon comprising some 200 deities and bore the titles BE-DINGIR-DINGIR, “Lord of the gods” and Bekalam, “Lord of the land”.

His consort was known only as Belatu, “Lady”. Both were worshipped in a large temple complex called E-Mul, “House of the Star”. One entire quarter of Ebla and one of its gates were named after Dagan. Dagan is called ti-lu ma-tim, “dew of the land” and Be-ka-na-na, possibly “Lord of Canaan”. He was called lord of many cities: of Tuttul, Irim, Ma-Ne, Zarad, Uguash, Siwad, and Sipishu.

An interesting early reference to Dagan occurs in a letter to King Zimri-Lim of Mari, 18th century BC, written by Itur-Asduu an official in the court of Mari and governor of Nahur (the Biblical city of Nahor) (ANET, p. 623).

It relates a dream of a “man from Shaka” in which Dagan appeared. In the dream, Dagan blamed Zimri-Lim’s failure to subdue the King of the Yaminites upon Zimri-Lim’s failure to bring a report of his deeds to Dagan in Terqa. Dagan promises that when Zimri-Lim has done so: “I will have the kings of the Yaminites [coo]ked on a fisherman’s spit, and I will lay them before you.”

In Ugarit around 1300 BC, Dagon had a large temple and was listed third in the pantheon following a father-god and Ēl, and preceding Baīl Ṣapān (that is the god Haddu or Hadad/Adad).

Joseph Fontenrose first demonstrated that, whatever their deep origins, at Ugarit Dagon was identified with El, explaining why Dagan, who had an important temple at Ugarit is so neglected in the Ras Shamra mythological texts, where Dagon is mentioned solely in passing as the father of the god Hadad, but Anat, El’s daughter, is Baal’s sister, and why no temple of El has appeared at Ugarit.

There are differences between the Ugaritic pantheon and that of Phoenicia centuries later: according to the third-hand Greek and Christian reports of Sanchuniathon, the Phoenician mythographer would have Dagon the brother of Ēl/Cronus and like him son of Sky/Uranus and Earth, but not truly Hadad’s father.

Hadad was begotten by “Sky” on a concubine before Sky was castrated by his son Ēl, whereupon the pregnant concubine was given to Dagon. Accordingly, Dagon in this version is Hadad’s half-brother and stepfather. The Byzantine Etymologicon Magnum says that Dagon was Cronus in Phoenicia. Otherwise, with the disappearance of Phoenician literary texts, Dagon has practically no surviving mythology.

Dagan is mentioned occasionally in early Sumerian texts, but becomes prominent only in later Assyro-Babylonian inscriptions as a powerful and warlike protector, sometimes equated with Enlil.

Dagan’s wife was in some sources the goddess Shala (also named as wife of Adad and sometimes identified with Ninlil). In other texts, his wife is Ishara. In the preface to his famous law code, King Hammurabi, the founder of the Babylonian empire, calls himself “the subduer of the settlements along the Euphrates with the help of Dagan, his creator”.

An inscription about an expedition of Naram-Sin to the Cedar Mountain relates (ANET, p. 268): “Naram-Sin slew Arman and Ibla with the ‘weapon’ of the god Dagan who aggrandizes his kingdom.”

The stele of the 9th century BC Assyrian emperor Ashurnasirpal II (ANET, p. 558) refers to Ashurnasirpal as the favorite of Anu and of Dagan. In an Assyrian poem, Dagan appears beside Nergal and Misharu as a judge of the dead. A late Babylonian text makes him the underworld prison warder of the seven children of the god Emmesharra.

The Phoenician inscription on the sarcophagus of King Eshmunʿazar of Sidon (5th century BC) relates (ANET, p. 662): “Furthermore, the Lord of Kings gave us Dor and Joppa, the mighty lands of Dagon, which are in the Plain of Sharon, in accordance with the important deeds which I did.”

Fish god tradition

In the 11th century, Jewish bible commentator Rashi writes of a Biblical tradition that the name Dāgôn is related to Hebrew dāg/dâg ‘fish’ and that Dagon was imagined in the shape of a fish: compare the Babylonian fish-god Oannes.

In the 13th century David Kimhi interpreted the odd sentence in 1 Samuel 5.2–7 that “only Dagon was left to him” to mean “only the form of a fish was left”, adding: “It is said that Dagon, from his navel down, had the form of a fish (whence his name, Dagon), and from his navel up, the form of a man, as it is said, his two hands were cut off.” The Septuagint text of 1 Samuel 5.2–7 says that both the hands and the head of the image of Dagon were broken off.

Schmökel asserted in 1928 that Dagon was never originally a fish-god, but once he became an important god of those maritime Canaanites, the Phoenicians, the folk-etymological connection with dâg would have ineluctably affected his iconography.

The fish form may be considered as a phallic symbol as seen in the story of the Egyptian grain god Osiris, whose penis was eaten by (conflated with) fish in the Nile after he was attacked by the Typhonic beast Set.

Likewise, in the tale depicting the origin of the constellation Capricornus, the Greek god of nature Pan became a fish from the waist down when he jumped into the same river after being attacked by Typhon. Enki’s symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the goat Capricorn, recognised as the Zodiacal constellation Capricornus.

Various 19th century scholars, such as Julius Wellhausen and William Robertson Smith, believed the tradition to have been validated from the occasional occurrence of a merman motif found in Assyrian and Phoenician art, including coins from Ashdod and Arvad.

El

El was identified by the Ugaritians with Sumerian Enlil, also known as Ellil. Ēl (cognate to Akkadian: ilu, or with Sumerian an, as in Elil instead of Enlil) is a Northwest Semitic word meaning “deity”. Cognate forms are found throughout the Semitic languages. They include Ugaritic ʾil, pl. ʾlm; Phoenician ʾl pl. ʾlm; Hebrew ʾēl, pl. ʾēlîm; Aramaic ʾl; Akkadian ilu, pl. ilānu.

Elohim and Eloah ultimately derive from the root El, ‘strong’, possibly genericized from El (deity), as in the Ugaritic ’lhm (consonants only), meaning “children of El” (the ancient Near Eastern creator god in pre-Abrahamic tradition).

In the Canaanite religion, or Levantine religion as a whole, El or Il was a god also known as the Father of humanity and all creatures, and the husband of the goddess Asherah as recorded in the clay tablets of Ugarit (modern Ra′s Shamrā‎, Syria).

In northwest Semitic use, El was both a generic word for any god and the special name or title of a particular god who was distinguished from other gods as being “the god”. El is listed at the head of many pantheons. El is the Father God among the Canaanites.

However, because the word sometimes refers to a god other than the great god Ēl, it is frequently ambiguous as to whether Ēl followed by another name means the great god Ēl with a particular epithet applied or refers to another god entirely. For example, in the Ugaritic texts, ʾil mlk is understood to mean “Ēl the King” but ʾil hd as “the god Hadad”.

The bull was symbolic to El 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. El had fathered many gods, but most important were Hadad, Yam, and Mot.

Baal-hamon

The worship of Baal-hamon flourished in the Phoenician colony of Carthage. Baal-hamon was the supreme god of the Carthaginians, and is believed that this supremacy dates back to the 5th century BC, apparently after a breaking off of relationships between Carthage and Tyre at the time of the Punic defeat in Himera.

He is generally identified by modern scholars either with the Northwest Semitic god El or with Dagon, and generally identified by the Greeks, by interpretatio Graeca with Greek Cronus and similarly by the Romans with Saturn.

The meaning of Hammon or Hamon is unclear. In the 19th century when Ernest Renan excavated the ruins of Hammon (Ḥammon), the modern Umm al-‘Awamid between Tyre and Acre, he found two Phoenician inscriptions dedicated to El-Hammon. Since El was normally identified with Cronus and Ba‘al Hammon was also identified with Cronus, it seemed possible they could be equated.

More often a connection with Hebrew/Phoenician ḥammān ‘brazier’ has been proposed, in the sense of “Baal (lord) of the brazier”. He has been therefore identified with a solar deity. Frank Moore Cross argued for a connection to Khamōn, the Ugaritic and Akkadian name for Mount Amanus, the great mountain separating Syria from Cilicia based on the occurrence of an Ugaritic description of El as the one of the Mountain Haman.

Classical sources relate how the Carthaginians burned their children as offerings to Baal-hamon. From the attributes of his Roman form, African Saturn, it is possible to conclude that Hammon was a fertility god.

Scholars tend to see Baal-hamon as more or less identical with the god El, who was also generally identified with Cronus and Saturn. However, Yigael Yadin thought him to be a moon god. Edward Lipinski identifies him with the god Dagon. Inscriptions about Punic deities tend to be rather uninformative.

In Carthage and North Africa Baal-hamon was especially associated with the ram and was worshiped also as Baal Karnaim (“Lord of Two Horns”) in an open-air sanctuary at Jebel Bu Kornein (“the two-horned hill”) across the bay from Carthage.

Baal-hamon’s female cult partner was Tanit (also called Tinnit and Tannou), a Punic and Phoenician goddess, the chief deity of Carthage alongside her consort Ba`al Hammon. The name appears to have originated in Carthage, though it does not appear in local theophorous names. She was also adopted by the Berber people.

She was equivalent to the moon-goddess Astarte, the Greek name of the Mesopotamian (i.e. Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian) Semitic goddess Ishtar known throughout the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean from the early Bronze Age to Classical times, and later worshipped in Roman Carthage in her Romanized form as Dea Caelestis, Juno Caelestis or simply Caelestis.

Ba`alat Gebal (“Lady of Byblos”), the goddess of the city of Byblos, Phoenicia, in ancient times, sometimes known to the Greeks as Baaltis or Atargatis, appears to have been generally identified with ‘Ashtart, although Sanchuniathon distinguishes the two.

In today’s Tunisia it is customary to invoke “Oumek Tannou” (Mother Tannou) the years of drought to bring rain; just as we speak of “Baali” farming, for non-irrigated farming, to say that it only depends on god Ba`al Hammon.

Asherah

Asherah in Semitic mythology is a mother goddess who appears in a number of ancient sources. She appears in Akkadian writings by the name of Ashratum/Ashratu, and among the Hittites this goddess appears as Asherdu(s) or Asertu(s), the consort of Elkunirsa (“El the Creator of Earth”) and mother of either 77 or 88 sons. Among the Amarna letters a King of the Amorites is named Abdi-Ashirta, “Servant of Asherah”.

Asherah is generally considered identical with the Ugaritic goddess ʼAṯirat. In the Ugaritic texts (before 1200 BCE) Athirat is almost always given her full title rbt ʼaṯrt ym, rabat ʼAṯirat yammi, ‘Lady Athirat of the Sea’ or as more fully translated ‘she who treads on the sea’. This occurs 12 times in the Baʿal Epic alone.

The name is understood by various translators and commentators to be from the Ugaritic root ʼaṯr ‘stride’, cognate with the Hebrew root ʼšr, of the same meaning. Her other main divine epithet was “qaniyatu ʾilhm”, which may be translated as “the creatrix of the Gods (Elohim)”. In those texts, Athirat is the consort of the god El; there is one reference to the 70 sons of Athirat, presumably the same as the 70 sons of El.

Athirat in Akkadian texts appears as Ashratum (Antu), the wife of Anu, the God of Heaven. Asherah is also called Elat (Ugaritic: ilt) (“Goddess”, the feminine form of El; compare Allat) and Qodesh, ‘holiness’ (Ugaritic: qdš). She is identified as the consort of the Sumerian god Anu and Ugaritic El, the oldest deities of their respective pantheons. This role gave her a similarly high rank in the Ugaritic pantheon.

The Canaanite goddess Asherah appears to be the earliest female deity that the ancient Israelites adapted to worship. This early period, in which Asherah was first worshipped, is following the arrival of the Israelite tribes in Canaan. The Hebrews worshipped her for about six centuries, until about 586 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem.

Despite the bible’s anti-polytheistic attitude, there’s a hesitation by the writers to reveal any ritual detail of worship of deities other than Yahweh in Israel’s religious transgressions. However, it is from the bible that we know of three goddesses the Hebrews worshipped during the days of Babylonian exile. One of them being the Queen of Heaven; Asherah.

Starting from before Hebrew adaptation, its clear that Asherah is the chief Canaanite goddess by rich archeological evidence discovered in Ugarit. (Modern Ras Shamra) Here Asherah was the prominent wife of El, the chief god. Her name in its entirity was “Lady Asherah of the Sea”. As her husband’s domain was heaven, hers was the ocean. She was also referred to Elath or “Goddess”.

Her devotion to her husband was not unlike a Oriental queen to her master. When Baal wanted to have permission to build his house, he’d have his mother: Asherah, to intercede with El. When Baal dies, it is El that asks her to name one of sons to succeed him as king.

She was labeled as “the Progenitress of the Gods”, that is all other gods, numbering 70, were her children. This included Baal, Anath, and Mot. Asherah is a mother goddess whose maternal instinct goes so far as to be a wet-nurse to the gods. She suckled deserving humans as well, such as Yassib, the son of King Keret.

Not much is known about Asherah before the Urgaritic myths. A Sumerian inscription from ca. 1750 B.C. in honor of the Hammurabi, labels Asherah as Ashtratum and the bride of Anu. The Akkadian and Sumerian deity Anu bears a resemblance to the Canaanite El in being the god of heaven, so then it appears that Asherah may have been worshipped and held a chief or mother goddess position at least for three centuries prior to the Ugaritic period.

She was known in Southern Arabia from Ugarit tablets as “Atharath” and in letters from Canaanite chieftains to the pharaoh of Egypt the names “Astarte” and “Asherah” interchange. The same confusion between Astarte and Asherah is found in the Hebrew bible and has still persisted in the modern era among scholars.

Among the Hebrews we find biblical references to “Asherahs”. This seems to indicate the carved wooden images, which were set up by implanting their base into the ground. Thus the word “Asherah” in the bible can refer to the goddess herself or her images.

Because of the climate of Palestine, unfortunately none of these wooden objects survive. However, evidence of Asherah as a important household goddess does survive, which consists of small clay nude images of the goddess. They were discovered across Palestine and are dated from all ages of the Israelite period. They may have been clay counterparts to the Asherah poles.

The frequent occurrence of these figures that are independent of male deities gives us the idea of just how widely popular Asherah was in all segments of Hebrew society. This may have to do with belief that the goddess helped in childbirth and promoted fertility. A Hebrew incantation from Arslan Tarsh and dated 7th B.C. seeks the help of Asherah for a woman in childbirth.

In the biblical story of Elijah’s challenge to the Baal prophets of Mt. Carmel that ended in the defeat of a Canaanite deity and the victory of Yahweh, that Elijah did not accuse the people of abandoning Yahweh for outside gods, but rather for dividing attention among both.

It is in this contest between Elijah and Baal priests that it seems the priests of Asherah attended, but were never challenged. It would appear that Baal was considered a threatening rival to Yahweh, while Asherah was considered a inevitable, tolerable, female counterpart.

Shocking archeological evidence of Asherah’s consort role with the Hebrew Yahweh has been discovered. Two large pithoi (storage jars) were discovered, one of them had a inscription that read: “Amaryau said to my lord… may you be blessed by Yahweh and by his Asherah” Another inscription from the same site says ” I may have blessed you by Yahweh shmrn and his Asherah.”

The word “shmrn” has an unknown meaning, but it may refer to Shomon, that is Samaria. Nine miles west of Hebron, has a inscription that says: “Uriah the rich has caused it to be written: Blessed be uriah by Yahweh and by his Asherah; from his enemies he has saved them.”

These inscriptions would lead us to assume that the very popular Asherah was associated with Yahweh, probaly as his consort, and that they were the most popular divine couple.

These finds have helped piece together a emendation of a difficult passage in Hosea, in which God is speaking. Pieced together the passage of 14:9 would be: “Ephraim, what have I to do any more with idols? I [Yahweh] am his Anath and Asherah, I am like a leafy cypress tree From me is thy fruit found”

Summarized from this passage in Hosea, coupled with the historical evidence, we have a picture of Asherah as the consort of Yahweh and who was a integral part of religious life until the reforms introduced by King Josiah in 621 B.C.

The Israelites took over the cult of the Canaanite mother goddess Asherah from the days of their first settlements. Wooden carvings of the goddess implanted into the ground and set next to a altar of Baal, and located on hilltops or under leafy trees were used in public worship of Asherah while popular private religious use consisted of clay figurines of Asherah, where she is depicted with emphasis on her fertility by making the gesture of holding her breasts.

During Ahab’s reign, his Sidonian wife, Jezebel convinced him to make a elaborate public statue of Asherah and it was made and set up in the city Samaria, making Ahab’s capital the center of the Asherah cult.

Asherah’s cult avoids the anti-Baal and Pro-Yahweh up surging led by Elijah, that took place under Ahab. Number of years later, the Asherah of Samaria escapes harm when Jehu destroys Baal’s temple and massacres Baalists, and her worship continued until the end of Israel monarchy when the Assyrians put a end to the kingdom.

Asherah/Yahweh

Between the 10th century BC and the beginning of their exile in 586 BC, polytheism was normal throughout Israel; it was only after the exile that worship of Yahweh alone became established, and possibly only as late as the time of the Maccabees (2nd century BC) that monotheism became universal among Jews.

The Book of Jeremiah, written circa 628 BC, possibly refers to Asherah when it uses the title “Queen of Heaven”, stating: “pray thou not for this people…the children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke me to anger”, in Jer 7:18 and Jer 44:17–19, 25.

Some biblical scholars believe that Asherah at one time was worshiped as the consort of Yahweh, the national God of Israel. There are references to the worship of numerous gods throughout Kings, Solomon builds temples to many gods and Josiah is reported as cutting down the statues of Asherah in the temple Solomon built for Yahweh.

Josiah’s grandfather Manasseh had erected this statue. (2 Kings 21:7) Further evidence includes, for example, an 8th-century combination of iconography and inscriptions discovered at Kuntillet Ajrud in the northern Sinai desert where a storage jar shows three anthropomorphic figures and an inscription that refers to “Yahweh … and his Asherah”.

The inscriptions found invoke not only Yahweh but El and Baal, and two include the phrases “Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah” and “Yahweh of Teman and his Asherah.” There is general agreement that Yahweh is being invoked in connection with Samaria (capital of the kingdom of Israel) and Teman (in Edom); this suggests that Yahweh had a temple in Samaria, and raises a question over the relationship between Yahweh and Kaus, the national god of Edom.

The “Asherah” is most likely a cultic object, although the relationship of this object (a stylised tree perhaps) to Yahweh and to the goddess Asherah, consort of El, is unclear. It has been suggested that the Israelites might consider Asherah as a consort of Baal due to the anti-Asherah ideology which was influenced by the Deuteronomistic History at the later period of Monarchy.

In another inscription called “Yahweh and his Asherah”, there appears a cow feeding it’s calf. If Asherah is to be associated with Hathor/Qudshu, it can then be assumed that the cow is what’s being referred to as Asherah. Further evidence includes the many female figurines unearthed in ancient Israel, supporting the view that Asherah functioned as a goddess and consort of Yahweh and was worshiped as the Queen of Heaven. Asherah poles, which were sacred trees or poles, are mentioned many times in the Bible.

A stele, now at the Louvre, discovered by Charles Huber in 1883 in the ancient oasis of Tema (modern Tayma), northwestern Arabia, and believed to date to the time of Nabonidus’s retirement there in 549 BC, bears an inscription in Aramaic which mentions Ṣalm of Maḥram and Shingala and Ashira as the gods of Tema.

This Ashira might be Athirat/Asherah. Since Aramaic has no way to indicate Arabic th, corresponding to the Ugaritic th (phonetically written as ṯ), if this is the same deity, it is not clear whether the name would be an Arabian reflex of the Ugaritic Athirat or a later borrowing of the Hebrew/Canaanite Asherah.

The Arabic root ʼṯr is similar in meaning to the Hebrew indicating “to tread” used as a basis to explain the name of Ashira as “lady of the sea”, specially that the Arabic root ymm also means “sea”.

It has also been recently suggested that the goddess name Athirat might be derived from the passive participle form, referring to ‘one followed by (the gods),’ that is, ‘pro-genitress or originatress’, corresponding with Asherah’s image as ‘the mother of the gods’ in Ugaritic literature.

Ashtart

Asherah/Aṯirat is clearly distinguished from ʿAshtart (better known in English as Astarte or Ashtoreth in the Bible) in the Ugaritic documents although in non-Ugaritic sources from later periods the distinction between the two goddesses can be blurred; either as a result of scribal error or through possible syncretism.

In any case, the two names begin with different consonants in the Semitic languages; Athirat/Asherah (Ugaritic: aṯrt) with an aleph or glottal stop consonant א and `Ashtart/`Ashtoreth (Ugaritic:ʿṯtrt) with an `ayin or voiced pharyngeal consonant ע), indicating the lack of any plausible etymological connection between the names.

While Ashtart is believed to be linked to the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar who is sometimes portrayed as the daughter of Anu while in Ugaritic myth, Ashtart is one of the daughters of El, the West Semitic counterpart of Anu.

Kotharat

The Kotharat, or Kotharot, or Kathirat (various suggested pronunciations of Ugaritic ktrt), ‘the skilful ones’ were a group of northwest Semitic goddesses appearing in the Ugartic texts as divine midwives. They are the only Canaanite deities that only appear in a group, and are associated with the swallow.

In Nikkal (Ugaritic: nkl, full name Nikkal-wa-Ib), a goddess of Ugarit/Canaan and later of Phoenicia, and the Kotharat the Kotharat are first summoned to oversee the birth of a son to Yarikh the moon-god and the goddess Nikkal, and then summoned a second time to bless the human girl Prbkht for her forthcoming marriage.

Yarikh (also written as Jerah, Jarah, or Jorah, Hebrew spelling ירח) is a moon god in Canaanite religion whose epithets are “illuminator of the heavens”‘, “illuminator of the myriads of stars” and “lord of the sickle”.

The latter epithet may come from the appearance of the crescent moon. Yarikh was recognized as the provider of nightly dew, and married to the goddess Nikkal, his moisture causing her orchards to bloom in the desert. The city of Jericho bears his name.

Nikkal is a goddess of orchards, whose name means “Great Lady and Fruitful” and derives from Akkadian/West Semitic “´Ilat ´Inbi” meaning “Goddess of Fruit”. De Moor translates Ugaritic “ib” as “blossom” which survives in biblical Hebrew as and cites Canticles 6:11 as a survival of this usage.

She is daughter of Khirkhibi, the Summer’s King, and is married to the moon god Yarikh, who gave her necklaces of lapis-lazuli. Their marriage is lyrically described in the Ugaritic text “Nikkal and the Kathirat”. She may have been feted in late summer when tree fruits had been finally harvested. Her Sumerian equivalent is the goddess Ningal, the mother of Inanna and Ereshkigal.

The oldest incomplete annotated piece of ancient music is a Hurrian song, a hymn in Ugaritic cuneiform syllabic writing which was dedicated to Nikkal. This was published upon its discovery in Ugarit by Emmanuel Laroche, first in 1955 and then more fully in 1968, and has been the focus of many subsequent studies in palaeomusicology by, amongst others, Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, who gave it the title of “The Hymn to Nikkal” l.

Sanchuniathon refers to a group of seven daughters of El by ‘Ashtart whose Phoenician name is not given but who are called the Titanides or Artemides in Greek. That the Greek goddess Artemis was often worshipped as a birth goddess suggests these seven Artemides are so called because they were also birth goddesses. If so, they are probably identical to the Ugaritic Kotharat.

Qudshu

In Egypt, beginning in the 18th dynasty, a Semitic goddess named Qudshu (‘Holiness’) begins to appear prominently, equated with the native Egyptian goddess Hathor. Some think this is Athirat/Ashratu under her Ugaritic name, but Qudshu seems not to be either ʿAshtart or ʿAnat as both those goddesses appear under their own names and with quite different iconography and appear in at least one pictorial representation along with qudshu.

But in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman periods in Egypt there was a strong tendency towards syncretism of goddesses and Athirat/Ashrtum then seems to have disappeared, at least as a prominent Goddess under a recognizable name.

Dione

The name Dione, which like ‘Elat means “Goddess”, is clearly associated with Asherah in the Phoenician History of Sanchuniathon, because the same common epithet (‘Elat) of “the Goddess par excellence” was used to describe her at Ugarit.

Dione is the name of four women in ancient Greek mythology, and one in the Phoenician mythology of Sanchuniathon. Dione is translated as “Goddess”, and given the same etymological derivation as the names Zeus, Diana, et al. Very little information exists about these women or goddesses.

Dione is one of the Titanides or Titanesses. She is called a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, hence an Oceanid, and otherwise a daughter of Gaia and either Uranus or Aether. She and Zeus are called the parents of Aphrodite by some ancient sources.

In the Phoenician History, a literary work attributed to Sanchuniathon, a daughter of Ouranos/Heaven and Ge/Earth is called Dione and also Baaltis. She is a sister of Kronos/Elus whom the latter made his wife after their father sent her, and her sisters, to kill Kronos/Elus. The latter gave the city Byblos to Dione.

The identity of this Dione is uncertain. From her name Baaltis she is taken to be Ba`alat Gebal. However, some scholars identify her with Asherah, proposing that Sanchuniathon merely uses Dione as a translation of Asherah’s epithet Elat. Other scholars propose that by Dione Sanchuniathon was identifying her with Dione the Titaness.

Dione is one of the Titanides or Titanesses. She is called a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, hence an Oceanid, and otherwise a daughter of Gaia and either Uranus or Aether. She and Zeus are called the parents of Aphrodite by some ancient sources.

Allah/YHWH

The Semitic root ʾlh (Arabic ʾilāh, Aramaic ʾAlāh, ʾElāh, Hebrew ʾelōah) may be ʾl with a parasitic h, and ʾl may be an abbreviated form of ʾlh. In Ugaritic the plural form meaning “gods” is ʾilhm, equivalent to Hebrew ʾelōhîm “powers”. But in Hebrew this word is also regularly used for semantically singular “god”.

The stem ʾl is found prominently in the earliest strata of east Semitic, northwest Semitic, and south Semitic groups. Personal names including the stem ʾl are found with similar patterns in both Amorite and South Arabic which indicates that probably already in Proto-Semitic ʾl was both a generic term for “god” and the common name or title of a single particular god.

As Hebrew and Arabic are closely related Semitic languages, it is commonly accepted that Allah (root, ilāh) and the Biblical Elohim are cognate derivations of same origin, as is Eloah, a Hebrew word which is used (e.g. in the Book of Job) to mean ‘(the) God’ and also ‘god or gods’ as is the case of Elohim.

Allah is the Arabic word for God (al ilāh, iliterally “the God”). The word has cognates in other Semitic languages, including Alah in Aramaic, ʾĒl in Canaanite and Elohim in Hebrew.

It is used mainly by Muslims to refer to God in Islam, but it has also been used by Arab Christians since pre-Islamic times. It is also often, albeit not exclusively, used by Bábists, Bahá’ís, Indonesian and Maltese Christians, and Mizrahi Jews.

Christians and Sikhs in West Malaysia also use and have used the word to refer to God. This has caused political and legal controversies there as the law in West Malaysia prohibited them from using it.

The term Allāh is derived from a contraction of the Arabic definite article al- “the” and ilāh “deity, god” to al-lāh meaning “the [sole] deity, God”. Cognates of the name “Allāh” exist in other Semitic languages, including Hebrew and Aramaic.

The corresponding Aramaic form is Alah, but its emphatic state is Alaha/Ĕlāhā in Biblical Aramaic and Alâhâ in Syriac as used by the Assyrian Church, both meaning simply “God”.

Biblical Hebrew mostly uses the plural (but functional singular) form Elohim, but more rarely it also uses the singular form Eloah. In the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, the term Allah is used 37 times.

The name was previously used by pagan Meccans as a reference to a creator deity, possibly the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia. The concepts associated with the term Allah (as a deity) differ among religious traditions.

In pre-Islamic Arabia amongst pagan Arabs, Allah was not considered the sole divinity, having associates and companions, sons and daughters–a concept that was deleted under the process of Islamization.

In Islam, the name Allah is the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name, and all other divine names are believed to refer back to Allah. Allah is unique, the only Deity, creator of the universe and omnipotent. Arab Christians today use terms such as Allāh al-Ab ‘God the Father’) to distinguish their usage from Muslim usage.

There are both similarities and differences between the concept of God as portrayed in the Quran and the Hebrew Bible. It has also been applied to certain living human beings as personifications of the term and concept.

The name Allah or Alla was found in the Epic of Atrahasis engraved on several tablets dating back to around 1700 BC in Babylon, which showed that he was being worshipped as a high deity among other gods who were considered to be his brothers but taking orders from him.

Many inscriptions containing the name Allah have been discovered in Northern and Southern Arabia as early as the 5th century B.C., including Lihyanitic, Thamudic and South Arabian inscriptions.

Dumuzid the Shepherd, a king of the 1st Dynasty of Uruk named on the Sumerian King List, was later over-venerated so that people started associating him with “Alla” and the Babylonian god Tammuz.

The name Allah was used by Nabataeans in compound names, such as “Abd Allah” (The Servant/Slave of Allah), “Aush Allah” (The Faith of Allah), “Amat Allah” (The She-Servant of Allah), “Hab Allah” (Beloved of Allah), “Han Allah” (Allah is gracious), “Shalm Allah” (Peace of Allah), while the name “Wahab Allah” (The Gift of Allah) was found throughout the entire region of the Nabataean kingdom.

From Nabataean inscriptions, Allah seems to have been regarded as a “High and Main God”, while other deities were considered to be mediators before Allah and of a second status, which was the same case of the worshipers at the Kaaba temple at Mecca.

Meccans worshipped him and Al-lāt, Al-‘Uzzá, Manāt as his daughters. Some Jews might considered Uzair to be his son. Christians and Hanifs used the term ‘Bismillah’, ‘in the name of Allah’ and the name Allah to refer to the supreme Deity in Arabic stone inscriptions centuries before Islam.

According to Islamic belief, Allah is the proper name of God, and humble submission to his will, divine ordinances and commandments is the pivot of the Muslim faith. “He is the only God, creator of the universe, and the judge of humankind.” “He is unique (wāḥid) and inherently one (aḥad), all-merciful and omnipotent.” The Qur’an declares “the reality of Allah, His inaccessible mystery, His various names, and His actions on behalf of His creatures.”

In Jewish scripture Elohim is used as a descriptive title for the God of the scriptures, whose personal name is YHWH, Elohim is also used for plural pagan gods. Yahweh was the national god of the Iron Age kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

The name may have originated as an epithet of the god El, head of the Bronze Age Canaanite pantheon (“El who is present, who makes himself manifest”), and appears to have been unique to Israel and Judah, although Yahweh may have been worshiped south of the Dead Sea at least three centuries before the emergence of Israel according to the Kenite hypothesis.

Origin of YAWHE

Early worship of Yahweh likely originated in southern Canaan during the Late Bronze Age. It is probable that Yahu or Yahweh was worshipped in southern Canaan (Edom, Moab, Midian) from the 14th century BC, and that this cult was transmitted northwards due to the Kenites.

The “Kenite hypothesis” supposes that the Hebrews adopted the cult of Yahweh from the Midianites via the “Kenites.” This hypothesis was originally suggested by Cornelius Tiele in 1872 and remains the standard view among modern scholars.

In its classical form suggested by Tiele, the “Kenite hypothesis” assumes that Moses was a historical Midianite who brought the cult of Yahweh north to Israel. This idea is based on an old tradition (recorded in Judges 1:16, 4:11) that Moses’ father-in-law was a Midianite priest of Yahweh, as it were preserving a memory of the Midianite origin of the god.

According to Exodus 2, however, Moses was not a Midianite himself, but a Hebrew from the tribe of Levi. While the role of the Kenites in the transmission of the cult is widely accepted, the historical role of Moses finds less support in modern scholarship.

The “Kenite hypothesis” supposes that the Hebrews adopted the cult of Yahweh from the Midianites via the Kenites. This view, first proposed by F. W. Ghillany, afterward independently by Cornelis Petrus Tiele (1872), and more fully by Stade, has been more completely worked out by Karl Budde; it is accepted by H. Guthe, Gerrit Wildeboer, H. P. Smith, and G. A. Barton.

Scholars agree that the archaeological evidence suggests that the Israelites arose peacefully and internally in the highlands of Canaan. In the words of archaeologist William Dever, “most of those who came to call themselves Israelites … were or had been indigenous Canaanites.”

What distinguished Israel from other emerging Iron Age Canaanite societies was the belief in Yahweh as the national god, rather than, for example, Chemosh, the god of Moab, or Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. This would require that the Transjordanian Yahweh worshipers not be identified with Israelites, but perhaps with Edomite tribes who introduced Yahweh to Israel.

One longstanding hypothesis is that Yahweh originated as a warrior-god in the region of Edom and Midian, south of Judah, and was introduced into the northern and central highlands by southern tribes such as the Kenites; Karel van der Toorn has suggested that his rise to prominence in Israel was due to the influence of Saul, Israel’s first king, who was of Edomite background.

Yahweh was eventually hypostatized with El. Several pieces of evidence have led scholars to the conclusion that El was the original “God of Israel”—for example, the word “Israel” is based on the name of El rather than on that of Yahweh. Names of the oldest characters in the Torah further show reverence towards El without similar displays towards Yahweh. Most importantly, Yahweh reveals to Moses that though he was not known previously as El, he has, in fact, been El all along.

El was the head of the Canaanite pantheon, with Asherah as his consort and Baal and other deities making up the pantheon. With his rise, Asherah became Yahweh’s consort, and Yahweh and Baal at first co-existed and later competed within the popular religion.

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Kenites or Cinites were a nomadic clan in the ancient Levant, sent under Jethro a priest in the land of Midian. They played an important role in the history of ancient Israel.

The Kenites were coppersmiths and metalworkers. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, was a shepherd and a priest in the land of Midian. Judges 1:16 says that Moses had a father-in-law who was a Kenite, but it is not clear from the passage if this refers to Jethro.

Certain groups of Kenites settled among the Israelite population, including the descendants of Moses’ brother-in-law, though the Kenites descended from Rechab, maintained a distinct, nomadic lifestyle for some time. Moses apparently identified Jethro’s concept of God, El Shaddai, with Yahweh, the Israelites’ God.

According to the Kenite hypothesis, Yahweh was historically a Midian deity, and the association of Moses’ father-in-law being associated with Midian reflects the historical adoption of the Midianite cult by the Hebrews.

“Kenite” is a rendition of Hebrew Qeyniy. According to Gesenius, the name is derived from the name Cain. According to A. H. Sayce, the name `Kenite’, Qéní, is identical an Aramaic word meaning `a smith’, which in its turn is a cognate of Hebrew Qayin, with the meaning `a lance’.

Midian/Madian is a geographical place and a people mentioned in the Bible and in the Qur’an. Scholars generally consider it to have been located in the “northwest Arabian Peninsula, on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea”, and have long associated it with the region of Modiana reported in that same area by Ptolemy.

Hadad the Edomite is specifically stated in 1 Kg 11:17-18 to have passed through Midian and Paran while fleeing from Edom to Egypt. Even so, some scholars have claimed Midian was not a geographical area but a league of tribes.

The Midianites were the descendants of Midian, who was a son of Abraham through his wife Keturah: “. . . again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.” (Genesis 25:1-2, King James Version).

The Midianites are also thought to be related to the Qenites (or Kenites), since they are used interchangeably in the Hebrew Bible. Moses brother-in-law or father-in-law are Qenites.

The Midianites through their apparent religio-political connection with the Moabites are thought to have worshipped a multitude of gods, including Baal-peor and the Queen of Heaven, Ashteroth. The Midianites may have worshiped Yahweh, the god Moses encountered at the burning bush at the far end of Midian’s wilderness. It is uncertain, however, which deities the Midianites worshiped. Michael Homan points out that the Midianite tent-shrine at Timna is one of the closest parallels to the biblical Tabernacle.

Midianite pottery, also called Qurayyah Painted Ware (QPW), is found at numerous sites stretching from the southern Levant to NW Saudi Arabia, the Hejaz; Qurayyah in NW Saudi Arabia is thought to be its original location of manufacture.

The pottery is bichrome / polychrome style and it dates as early as the 13th century B.C.E; its many geometric, human, and animal motifs are painted in browns and dark reds on a pinkish-tan slip. “Midianite” pottery is found in its largest quantities at metallurgical sites in the southern Levant, especially Timna.

Because of the Mycenaean motifs on Midianite pottery, some scholars including George Mendenhall, Peter Parr, and Beno Rothenberg have suggested that the Midianites were originally Sea Peoples who migrated from the Aegean region and imposed themselves on a pre-existing Semitic stratum. The question of the origin of the Midianites still remains open.

The earliest reference to a deity called “Yahweh” appears in Egyptian texts of the 13th century BC that place him among the Shasu-Bedu of southern Transjordan.

In the oldest biblical literature (12th–11th centuries BC), Yahweh is a typical ancient Near Eastern “divine warrior” who leads the heavenly army against Israel’s enemies; he and Israel are bound by a covenant under which Yahweh will protect Israel and, in turn, Israel will not worship other gods.

At a later period, Yahweh functioned as the dynastic cult (the god of the royal house) with the royal courts promoting him as the supreme god over all others in the pantheon (notably Baal, El, and Asherah (who is thought by some scholars to have been his consort).

Over time, Yahwism became increasingly intolerant of rivals, and the royal court and temple promoted Yahweh as the god of the entire cosmos, possessing all the positive qualities previously attributed to the other gods and goddesses.

With the work of Second Isaiah (the theoretical author of the second part of the Book of Isaiah) towards the end of the Babylonian exile (6th century BC), the very existence of foreign gods was denied, and Yahweh was proclaimed as the creator of the cosmos and the true god of all the world.

By early post-biblical times, the name of Yahweh had ceased to be pronounced. In modern Judaism, it is replaced with the word Adonai, meaning Lord, and is understood to be God’s proper name and to denote his mercy. Many Christian Bibles follow the Jewish custom and replace it with “the LORD”.

The Greek Adōnis, an annually-renewed, ever-youthful vegetation god, a life-death-rebirth deity whose nature is tied to the calendar, was a borrowing from the Canaanite / Phoenician language word ʼadōn, meaning “lord”, which is related to Adonai, one of the names used to refer to the god of the Hebrew Bible and still used in Judaism to the present day.

Syrian Adonis is Gauas or Aos, akin to Egyptian Osiris, the Semitic Tammuz and Baal Hadad, the Etruscan Atunis and the Phrygian Attis, all of whom are deities of rebirth and vegetation.

Jehovah is a Latinization of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה, a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH), the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible, which has also been transcribed as “Yehowah” or “Yahweh”.

יְהֹוָה appears 6,518 times in the traditional Masoretic Text, in addition to 305 instances of יֱהֹוִה (Jehovih). The earliest available Latin text to use a vocalization similar to Jehovah dates from the 13th century.

Most scholars believe “Jehovah” to be a late (c. 1100 CE) hybrid form derived by combining the Latin letters JHVH with the vowels of Adonai, but there is some evidence that it may already have been in use in Late Antiquity (5th century).

The consensus among scholars is that the historical vocalization of the Tetragrammaton at the time of the redaction of the Torah (6th century BCE) is most likely Yahweh, however there is disagreement.

The historical vocalization was lost because in Second Temple Judaism, during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE, the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton came to be avoided, being substituted with Adonai (“my Lord”).

Kumarbi

The Sumerian Enlil was identified by the Hurrians with Kumarbi, the chief god of the Hurrians. He is the son of Anu (the sky), and father of the storm-god Teshub. The Song of Kumarbi or 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, considered to have housed “the Hosts of Sky”, the divine family, because he was a progenitor of the gods, and possibly the father of Earth, was overthrown by Anu who was in turn overthrown by Kumarbi.

The word “Alalu” borrowed from Semitic mythology and is a compound word made up of the Semitic definite article “Al” and the Semitic supreme deity “Alu.” The “u” at the end of the word is a termination to denote a grammatical inflection. Thus, “Alalu” may also occur as “Alali” or “Alala” depending on the position of the word in the sentence. He was identified by the Greeks as Hypsistos. He was also called Alalus.

Alalu was a primeval deity of the Hurrian mythology. After nine years of reign, Alalu was defeated by his son Anu. Anuʻs son Kumarbi also defeated his father, and his son Teshub defeated him, too. Alalu fled to the underworld.

Scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian creation myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus.

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.

Cronus

The Romans identified Saturn with the Greek Cronus, whose myths were adapted for Latin literature and Roman art. In particular, Cronus’s role in the genealogy of the Greek gods was transferred to Saturn. As early as Livius Andronicus (3rd century BC), Jupiter (Zeus) was called the son of Saturn. Cronus was also identified in classical antiquity with the Roman deity Saturn.

Cronus, or both Cronos and Kronos, was in Greek mythology the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans, the divine descendants of Uranus, the sky and Gaia, the earth. He overthrew his father and ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he was overthrown by his own son Zeus and imprisoned in Tartarus.

Cronus was usually depicted with a Harpe, Scythe or a Sickle, which was the instrument he used to castrate and depose Uranus, his father. In Athens, on the twelfth day of the Attic month of Hekatombaion, a festival called Kronia was held in honour of Cronus to celebrate the harvest, suggesting that, as a result of his association with the virtuous Golden Age, Cronus continued to preside as a patron of harvest.

A theory debated in the 19th century, and sometimes still offered somewhat apologetically, holds that Kronos is related to “horned”, assuming a Semitic derivation from qrn. Andrew Lang’s objection, that Cronus was never represented horned in Hellenic art, was addressed by Robert Brown, arguing that in Semitic usage, as in the Hebrew Bible qeren was a signifier of “power”. When Greek writers encountered the Levantine deity El, they rendered his name as Kronos.

Robert Graves proposed that cronos meant “crow”, related to the Ancient Greek word corōnē (κορώνη) “crow”, noting that Cronus was depicted with a crow, as were the deities Apollo, Asclepius, Saturn and Bran.

The beginning of time

When Hellenes encountered Phoenicians and, later, Hebrews, they identified the Semitic El, by interpretatio graeca, with Cronus. The association was recorded c. AD 100 by Philo of Byblos’ Phoenician history, as reported in Eusebius’ Præparatio Evangelica I.10.16.

Philo’s account, ascribed by Eusebius to the semi-legendary pre-Trojan War Phoenician historian Sanchuniathon, indicates that Cronus was originally a Canaanite ruler who founded Byblos and was subsequently deified.

This version gives his alternate name as Elus or Ilus, and states that in the 32nd year of his reign, he emasculated, slew and deified his father Epigeius or Autochthon “whom they afterwards called Uranus”. It further states that after ships were invented, Cronus, visiting the ‘inhabitable world’, bequeathed Attica to his own daughter Athena and Egypt to Taautus the son of Misor and inventor of writing.

While the Greeks considered Cronus a cruel and tempestuous force of chaos and disorder, believing the Olympian gods had brought an era of peace and order by seizing power from the crude and malicious Titans, the Romans took a more positive and innocuous view of the deity, by conflating their indigenous deity Saturn with Cronus.

Consequently, while the Greeks considered Cronus merely an intermediary stage between Uranus and Zeus, he was a larger aspect of Roman religion. The Saturnalia was a festival dedicated in his honour, and at least one temple to Saturn already existed in the archaic Roman Kingdom.

His association with the “Saturnian” Golden Age eventually caused him to become the god of “time”, i.e., calendars, seasons, and harvests—not now confused with Chronos, the unrelated embodiment of time in general; nevertheless, among Hellenistic scholars in Alexandria and during the Renaissance, Cronus was conflated with the name of Chronos, the personification of “Father Time”, wielding the harvesting scythe.

As a result of Cronus’ importance to the Romans, his Roman variant, Saturn, has had a large influence on Western culture. The seventh day of the Judaeo-Christian week is called in Latin Dies Saturni (“Day of Saturn”), which in turn was adapted and became the source of the English word Saturday. In astronomy, the planet Saturn is named after the Roman deity. It is the outermost of the Classical planets (those that are visible with the naked eye).

The myth of Cronus castrating Uranus parallels the Song of Kumarbi, where Anu (the heavens) is castrated by Kumarbi. In the Song of Ullikummi, Teshub uses the “sickle with which heaven and earth had once been separated” to defeat the monster Ullikummi, establishing that the “castration” of the heavens by means of a sickle was part of a creation myth, in origin a cut creating an opening or gap between heaven (imagined as a dome of stone) and earth enabling the beginning of time (Chronos) and human history.

Recently, Janda (2010) offers a genuinely Indo-European etymology of “the cutter”, from the root *(s)ker- “to cut” (Greek keirō), c.f. English shear), motivated by Cronus’ characteristic act of “cutting the sky” (or the genitals of anthropomorphic Uranus).

The Indo-Iranian reflex of the root is kar, generally meaning “to make, create” (whence karma), but Janda argues that the original meaning “to cut” in a cosmogonic sense is still preserved in some verses of the Rigveda pertaining to Indra’s heroic “cutting”, like that of Cronus resulting in creation:

In RV 10.104.10: ārdayad vṛtram akṛṇod ulokaṃ – “he hit Vrtra fatally, cutting [> creating] a free path” and in RV 6.47.4: varṣmāṇaṃ divo akṛṇod – “he cut [> created] the loftiness of the sky.”

This may point to an older Indo-European mytheme reconstructed as *(s)kert wersmn diwos “by means of a cut he created the loftiness of the sky”.

During antiquity, Cronus was occasionally interpreted as Chronos, the personification of time; according to Plutarch the Greeks believed that Cronus was an allegorical name for Chronos.

In addition to the name, the story of Cronus eating his children was also interpreted as an allegory to a specific aspect of time held within Cronus’ sphere of influence. As the theory went, Cronus represented the destructive ravages of time which consumed all things, a concept that was definitely illustrated when the Titan king devoured the Olympian gods — the past consuming the future, the older generation suppressing the next generation. During the Renaissance, the identification of Cronus and Chronos gave rise to “Father Time” wielding the harvesting scythe.

Saturn

Saturn the planet is named after the god Saturn (Latin: Saturnus), a god in ancient Roman religion, and a character in myth. Saturn is a complex figure because of his multiple associations and long history.

According to Varro, Saturn’s name was derived from satu, “sowing.” Even though this etymology looks implausible on linguistic grounds (for the long quantity of the a in Sāturnus and also because of the epigraphically attested form Saeturnus) nevertheless it does reflect an original feature of the god.

A more probable etymology connects the name with Etruscan god Satre and placenames such as Satria, an ancient town of Latium, and Saturae palus, a marsh also in Latium. This root may be related to Latin phytonym satureia.

Another epithet of his that referred to his agricultural functions was Sterculius or Stercutus, Sterces from stercus, “manure.” Agriculture was important to Roman identity, and Saturn was a part of archaic Roman religion and ethnic identity. His name appears in the ancient hymn of the Salian priests, and his temple was the oldest known to have been recorded by the pontiffs.

The exact meaning of Enki’s 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”.

He was the first god of the Capitol, known since the most ancient times as Saturnius Mons, and was seen as a god of generation, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewal and liberation. Under Saturn’s rule, humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in the “Golden Age” described by Hesiod and Ovid.

In later developments he came to be also a god of time. His reign was depicted as a Golden Age of plenty and peace. Macrobius states explicitly that the Roman legend of Janus and Saturn is an affabulation, as the true meaning of religious beliefs cannot be openly expressed.

In the myth Saturn was the original and autochthonous ruler of the Capitolium, which had thus been called the Mons Saturnius in older times and on which once stood the town of Saturnia. He was sometimes regarded as the first king of Latium or even the whole of Italy.

At the same time, there was a tradition that Saturn had been an immigrant god, received by Janus after he was usurped by his son Jupiter and expelled from Greece. In Versnel’s view his contradictions – a foreigner with one of Rome’s oldest sanctuaries, and a god of liberation who is kept in fetters most of the year – indicate Saturn’s capacity for obliterating social distinctions.

The Golden Age of Saturn’s reign in Roman mythology differed from the Greek tradition. He arrived in Italy “dethroned and fugitive,” but brought agriculture and civilization for which things was rewarded by Janus with a share of the kingdom, becoming he himself king.

Saturn is associated with a major religious festival in the Roman calendar, Saturnalia. Saturnalia celebrated the harvest and sowing, and ran from December 17–23. Macrobius (5th century AD) presents an interpretation of the Saturnalia as a festival of light leading to the winter solstice.

The renewal of light and the coming of the New Year is celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun,” on December 25.

The Winter solstice was thought to occur on December 25. January 1 was New Year day: the day was consecrated to Janus since it was the first of the New Year and of the month (kalends) of Janus: the feria had an augural character as Romans believed the beginning of anything was an omen for the whole.

Thus on that day it was customary to exchange cheerful words of good wishes. For the same reason everybody devoted a short time to his usual business, exchanged dates, figs and honey as a token of well wishing and made gifts of coins called strenae. Cakes made of spelt (far) and salt were offered to the god and burnt on the altar.

Ovid states that in most ancient times there were no animal sacrifices and gods were propitiated with offerings of spelt and pure salt. This libum was named ianual and it was probably correspondent to the summanal offered the day before the Summer solstice to god Summanus, which however was sweet being made with flour, honey and milk. Shortly afterwards, on January 9, on the feria of the Agonium of January the rex sacrorum offered the sacrifice of a ram to Janus.

Saturn had two consorts who represented different aspects of the god. The name of his wife Ops, the Roman equivalent of Greek Rhea, means “wealth, abundance, resources.” The association with Ops though is considered a later development, as this goddess was originally paired with Consus. Earlier was Saturn’s association with Lua (“destruction, dissolution, loosening”), a goddess who received the bloodied weapons of enemies destroyed in war.

Janus

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus (Latin: Ianus) is the god of beginnings and transitions, and thereby of gates, doors, doorways, passages and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. The Romans named the month of January (Ianuarius) in his honor.

Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace. The doors of his temple were open in time of war, and closed to mark the peace. As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar harbor and gateway god, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping.

Janus had no flamen or specialized priest (sacerdos) assigned to him, but the King of the Sacred Rites (rex sacrorum) himself carried out his ceremonies. Janus had a ubiquitous presence in religious ceremonies throughout the year, and was ritually invoked at the beginning of each one, regardless of the main deity honored on any particular occasion.

The interpretation of Janus as the god of beginnings and transitions is based on a third etymology indicated by Cicero, Ovid and Macrobius, which explains the name as Latin, deriving it from the verb ire (“to go”). From Ianus derived ianua (“door”), and hence the English word “janitor” (Latin, ianitor).

Janus and Juno

The relationship between Janus and Juno, the protector and special counselor of the state, is defined by the closeness of the notions of beginning and transition and the functions of conception and delivery, result of youth and vital force. Ancient etymologies associated Juno’s name with iuvare, “to aid, benefit”, and iuvenescendo, “rejuvenate”.

Juno is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife) of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. Juno also looked after the women of Rome. Her Greek equivalent was Hera, the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus, the goddess of women and marriage. Hera’s mother is Rhea and her father Cronus.

The cow, lion and the peacock were considered sacred to her. In Greco-Roman mythology the Peacock is identified with Hera (Juno) who created the Peacock from Argus whose hundred eyes (seen on the tail feathers of the Peacock) symbolize the vault of heaven and the “eyes” of the stars.

Juno’s own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire. She often appeared sitting pictured with a peacock armed and wearing a goatskin cloak. The traditional depiction of this warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Hera, whose goatskin was called the ‘aegis’.

Her Etruscan counterpart was Uni, the supreme goddess of the Etruscan pantheon and the patron goddess of Perugia. In the Etruscan tradition, it is Uni who grants access to immortality to the demigod Hercle (Greek Heracles, Latin Hercules) by offering her breast milk to him.

Uni appears in the Etruscan text on the Pyrgi Tablets as the translation of the Phoenician goddess Astarte. Livy states (Book V, Ab Urbe Condita) that Juno was an Etruscan goddess of the Veientes, who was ceremonially adopted into the Roman pantheon when Veii was sacked in 396BC. This seems to refer to Uni. She also appears on the Liver of Piacenza.

As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, Juno was called Regina (“Queen”) and, together with Jupiter and Minerva, was worshipped as a triad on the Capitol (Juno Capitolina) in Rome.

Janus/Portunes

Portunes (alternatively spelled Portumnes or Portunus) may be defined as a sort of duplication inside the scope of the powers and attributes of Janus. His original definition shows he was the god of gates and doors and of harbours, a god of keys, doors and livestock. He protected the warehouses where grain was stored. Probably because of folk associations between porta “gate, door” and portus “harbor”, the “gateway” to the sea, Portunus later became conflated with Palaemon and evolved into a god primarily of ports and harbors.

In the Latin adjective importunus his name was applied to untimely waves and weather and contrary winds, and the Latin echoes in English opportune and its old-fashioned antonym importune, meaning “well timed’ and “badly timed”. Hence Portunus is behind both an opportunity and importunate or badly timed solicitations.

Portunus appears to be closely related to the god Janus, with whom he shares many characters, functions and the symbol of the key. He too was represented as a two headed being, with each head facing opposite directions, on coins and as figurehead of ships. He was considered to be “deus portuum portarumque praeses” (lit. God presiding over ports and gates.)

The relationship between the two gods is underlined by the fact that the date chosen for the dedication of the rebuilt temple of Janus in the Forum Holitorium by emperor Tiberius is the day of the Portunalia, August 17.

Linguist Giuliano Bonfante has speculated, on the grounds of his cult and of the meaning of his name, that he should be a very archaic deity and might date back to an era when Latins lived in dwellings built on pilings. He argues that in Latin the words porta (door, gate) and portus (harbour, port) share their etymology from the same IE root meaning ford, wading point.

Janus and Vesta

The relationship between Janus and Vesta, the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family in Roman religion, touches on the question of the nature and function of the gods of beginning and ending in Indo-European religion. While Janus has the first place Vesta has the last, both in theology and in ritual (Ianus primus, Vesta extrema).

Vesta is the goddess of the hearth of the city of Rome. Vesta’s presence is symbolized by the sacred fire that burned at her hearth and temples. Her closest Greek equivalent is Hestia (Ancient Greek: Ἑστία, “hearth” or “fireside”), a virgin goddess of the hearth, ancient Greek architecture, and the right ordering of domesticity, the family, and the state. In Greek mythology she is a daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

Hestia received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household. In the public domain, the hearth of the prytaneum functioned as her official sanctuary. With the establishment of a new colony, flame from Hestia’s public hearth in the mother city would be carried to the new settlement. She sat on a plain wooden throne with a white woolen cushion and did not trouble to choose an emblem for herself. Her Roman equivalent is Vesta.

Dumézil surmised that the name of the goddess derives from Indoeuropean root *h₁eu-, via the derivative form *h₁eu-s- which alternates with *h₁w-es-. The former is found in Greek εὕειν heuein, Latin urit, ustio and Vedic osathi all conveying ‘burning’ and the second is found in Vesta, Greek Ἑστία Hestia. See also Gallic Celtic visc “fire.”

Dumézil hints to the significance of fire as the origin and bearer of life in connection to Vesta. Its talismanic value was the reason that caused the accumulation of signa fatalia or pignora harboured in the innermost part of the penus. Servius gives a list of seven, three of which from Troy. The earliest collection was limited and kept secret, though according to Pliny the function of fertility was represented by the image of a male sex organ.

Ancient Romans as well as other Indoeuropean peoples believed the Earth is a sphere. Every temple though had to have two fires of which one was a hearth (Latin focus), representing the fire (Latin foculus) of Vesta as the Hearth of the city, and the main was the sacrificial ara.

He draws a comparison between Roman religious conceptions and rituals and the relevant aspects of Vedic religion. The correspondence of Vesta with Vedic god Agni, the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices, was noted long ago. In the Indian epic poem Mahabharata the episodes of Karttikeya, god of war and son of Agni and of Agni and the daughters of Nila bear the same theme of the flames as the sex organ of the god.

The fecundating power of sacred fire is testified in Latin mythology in one version of the birth of Romulus, that of the birth of king Servius Tullius (in which his mother Ocresia becomes pregnant after sitting upon a phallus that appeared among the ashes of the ara of god Vulcanus, by order of Tanaquil wife of king Tarquinius Priscus) and that of the birth of Caeculus, the founder of Praeneste.

All these mythical or semilegendary characters show a mystical mastership of fire. E.g. Servius’s hair was kindled by his father without hurting him, his statue in the temple of Fortuna Primigenia was unharmed by fire after his assassination. Caeculus kindled and extinguished fires at will.

In Vedic India the same complex appears as a quality of the divine twins, the Nasatya: they allowed a hero to survive in a basin of fire into which he had been thrown and enjoy the bathing as pleasant.

A much later episode of Roman history has been detected as a revised replication of the same early mythologem. In the fire of the temple of Vesta of the year 241 BC Lucius Caecilius Metellus, and at the time Pontifex Maximus, saved the palladium, to which men were not allowed, and according to tradition was blinded in the incident.

Modern scholars have speculated that it would be impossible to cover offices as pontifex and consul for a blind man for more than twenty years. It has been suggested that this episode should be interpreted in the light of the connexion of the gens Caecilia with Caeculus, the founder of Praeneste.

The use of the story of this incident is paradigmatic of how archaic mythologems common to Indo European heritage were reused over time grafted onto history.

Odin

(Buri/Burri/Odin)

Búri (or Buri) was the first god in Norse mythology. He is the father of Borr and grandfather of Odin, Vili and Ve. He was formed by the cow Auðumbla licking the salty ice of Ginnungagap. The only extant source of this myth is Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda. Old Norse Vili means “will”. Old Norse Vé refers to a type of Germanic shrine; a vé.

The length of the u in the name is not explicitly marked in the manuscripts but it is traditionally assumed to be long because of its metrical position in Þórvaldr’s stanza. However, the metrical structure of fornyrðislag is hardly strict enough for definite conclusions to be reached from a single occurrence – especially when the imperfect oral and manuscript traditions are taken into account. It is thus entirely possible that the original form was Buri.

The meaning of either Búri or Buri is not known. The first could be related to búr meaning “storage room” and the second could be related to burr meaning “son”. “Buri” may mean “producer”. In any case the form Buri is often used in an ASCII context or as an anglicization of Búri. In the mainland Scandinavian languages Bure is used as a familiar form.

Borr or Burr (Old Norse: ‘son’; sometimes anglicized Bor, Bör or Bur) was the son of Búri, the husband of Bestla, and the father of Odin and his brothers in Norse mythology.

In Norse mythology, Bestla is the daughter or, depending on source, granddaughter of the jötunn Bölþorn, the mother of the gods Odin, Vili and Vé by way of Borr, and the sister of an unnamed being who assisted Odin.

On the basis of the Hávamál stanza handled above (wherein Odin learns nine magic songs from the unnamed brother of Bestla), some scholars have theorized that Bestla’s brother may in fact be the wise being Mímir, whose severed head the god Odin gains wisdom from.

Vili and Vé, together with Óðinn, are the three brothers who slew Ymir — ending the primeval rule of the race of giants — and are the first of the Æsir. They are comparable to the three brothers Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, of Greek mythology, who defeat the Titans.

Of the three, Óðin is the eldest, Vili the middle, and Ve the youngest. To the first human couple, Ask and Embla, Óðinn gave soul and life; Vili gave wit (intelligence) and sense of touch; and Vé gave countenance (appearance, facial expression), speech, hearing, and sight.

In Proto-Norse, the three brothers’ names were alliterating, *Wódin, Wili, Wé (Proto-Germanic *Wōdinaz, Wiljon, Wǣhaz), so that they can be taken as forming a triad of *wódz, wiljon, wǣhaz, approximately “inspiration (transcendent, mantic or prophetic knowledge), cognition (will, desire, internal thought that leads to action) and numen (spiritual power residing in the external world, in sacred objects)”.

Compare to this the alliteration in a verse found in the Exeter Book, Wôden worhte weos “Woden wrought the sanctuaries” – where compared to the “triad” above, just the middle will etymon has been replaced by the work etymon. The name of such sanctuaries to Woden Wôdenes weohas (Saxon Wôdanes wih, Norse Óðins vé) survives in toponymy as Odinsvi, Wodeneswegs.

While Vili and Vé are of little prominence in Norse mythology as attested, their brother Óðinn has a more celebrated role as the chief of the Norse pantheon. Óðinn remains at the head of a triad of the mightiest gods: Óðinn, Thórr, and Freyr. Óðinn is also styled Thriði “the third”, in which case he appears by the side of Hárr and Jafnhárr (the “high” and the “even-high” or co-equal), as the “Third High”. At other times, he is Tveggi “the second”. In relation to the Óðinn-Vili-Vé triad, Grimm compares Old High German willa, which not only expressed voluntas, but also votum, impetus, spiritus, and the personification of Will, to Wela in Old English sources.

Keyser interprets the triad as “Spirit, Will and Holiness”, postulating a kind of Germanic Trinity in Vili and Vé to be “blended together again in the all-embracing World-spirit – in Odin. […] he alone is Al-father, from whom all the other superior, world-directing beings, the Æsir, are descended.”

According to Loki, in Lokasenna, Vili and Vé had an affair with Óðinn’s wife, Frigg. This is taken by Grimm as reflecting the fundamental identity of the three brothers, so that Frigg might be considered the wife of either. According to this story Óðinn was abroad for a long time, and in his absence his brothers acted for him.

It is worthy of note that Saxo Grammaticus also makes Óðinn (Latin: Othinus) travel to foreign lands and Mitoðinn (Latin: Mithothyn) fill his place, and therefore Mitoðinn’s position throws light on that of Vili and Vé. But Saxo represents Óðinn as once more an exile, and puts Ullr (Latin: Ollerus) in his place.

Odin (from Old Norse Óðinn, “The Furious One”) is a major god in Germanic mythology, especially in Norse mythology. In many Norse sources he is the Allfather of the gods and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Old English “Wōden”, the Old Saxon “Wôdan” and the Old High German “Wôtan”, the name is descended from Proto-Germanic “Wōdanaz” or “*Wōđanaz”.

“Odin” is generally accepted as the modern English form of the name, although, in some cases, older forms may be used or preferred. His name is related to ōðr, meaning “fury, excitation”, besides “mind” or “poetry”. His role, like that of many of the Norse gods, is complex.

Odin is a principal member of the Æsir (the major group of the Norse pantheon) and is associated with war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom, Shamanism, magic, poetry, prophecy, and the hunt. Odin has many sons, the most famous of whom is the thunder god Thor.

THIRD LEVEL

Ninurta

Ninurta (Nin Ur: God of War) in Sumerian and the Akkadian mythology of Assyria and Babylonia, was the god of Lagash, identified with Ningirsu with whom he may always have been identified.

In older transliteration the name is rendered Ninib and Ninip, and in early commentary he was sometimes portrayed as a solar deity. A number of scholars have suggested that either the god Ninurta or the Assyrian king bearing his name (Tukulti-Ninurta I) was the inspiration for the Biblical character Nimrod.

In Nippur, Ninurta was worshiped as part of a triad of deities including his father, Enlil and his mother, Ninlil. In variant mythology, his mother is said to be the harvest goddess Ninhursag. The consort of Ninurta was Ugallu in Nippur and Bau when he was called Ningirsu.

Ninurta often appears holding a bow and arrow, a sickle sword, or a mace named Sharur: Sharur is capable of speech in the Sumerian legend “Deeds and Exploits of Ninurta” and can take the form of a winged lion and may represent an archetype for the later Shedu.

In another legend, Ninurta battles a birdlike monster called Imdugud (Akkadian: Anzû); a Babylonian version relates how the monster Anzû steals the Tablets of Destiny from Enlil. The Tablets of Destiny were believed to contain the details of fate and the future.

Ninurta slays each of the monsters later known as the “Slain Heroes” (the Warrior Dragon, the Palm Tree King, Lord Saman-ana, the Bison-beast, the Mermaid, the Seven-headed Snake, the Six-headed Wild Ram), and despoils them of valuable items such as Gypsum, Strong Copper, and the Magilum boat). Eventually, Anzû is killed by Ninurta who delivers the Tablet of Destiny to his father, Enlil.

The cult of Ninurta can be traced back to the oldest period of Sumerian history. In the inscriptions found at Lagash he appears under his name Ningirsu, “the lord of Girsu”, Girsu being the name of a city where he was considered the patron deity.

Ninurta appears in a double capacity in the epithets bestowed on him, and in the hymns and incantations addressed to him. On the one hand he is a farmer and a healing god who releases humans from sickness and the power of demons; on the other he is the god of the South Wind as the son of Enlil, displacing his mother Ninlil who was earlier held to be the goddess of the South Wind. Enlil’s brother, Enki, was portrayed as Ninurta’s mentor from whom Ninurta was entrusted several powerful Mes, including the Deluge.

He remained popular under the Assyrians: two kings of Assyria bore the name Tukulti-Ninurta. Ashurnasirpal II (883—859 BCE) built him a temple in the then capital city of Kalhu (the Biblical Calah, now Nimrud). In Assyria, Ninurta was worshipped alongside the gods Aššur and Mulissu.

In the astral-theological system Ninurta was associated with the planet Saturn, or perhaps as offspring or an aspect of Saturn. In his capacity as a farmer-god, there are similarities between Ninurta and the Greek Titan Kronos, whom the Romans in turn identified with their Titan Saturn.

In the late neo-Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused Ninurta’s character with that of Nergal. The two gods were often invoked together, and spoken of as if they were one divinity.

Nergal

A certain confusion exists in cuneiform literature between Ninurta (slayer of Asag and wielder of Sharur, an enchanted mace) and Nergal. Nergal has epithets such as the “raging king,” the “furious one,” and the like. A play upon his name—separated into three elements as Ne-uru-gal (lord of the great dwelling) — expresses his position at the head of the nether-world pantheon.

Nergal was a deity worshipped throughout throughout Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia) with the main seat of his worship at Cuthah represented by the mound of Tell-Ibrahim.

Nergal’s chief temple at Cuthah bore the name Meslam, from which the god receives the designation of Meslamtaeda or Meslamtaea, “the one that rises up from Meslam”. The name Meslamtaeda/Meslamtaea indeed is found as early as the list of gods from Fara while the name Nergal only begins to appear in the Akkadian period.

Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu (Apollo), a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. As God of the plague, he was invoked during the “plague years” during the reign of the Hittite king Suppiluliuma, when this disease spread from Egypt.

Nergal is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the deity of the city of Cuth (Cuthah): “And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal” (2 Kings, 17:30). According to the rabbins, his emblem was a cock and Nergal means a “dunghill cock”, although standard iconography pictured Nergal as a lion. He is the son of Enlil and Ninlil.

Nergal’s fiery aspect appears in names or epithets such as Lugalgira, Lugal-banda (Nergal as the fighting-cock), Sharrapu (“the burner,” a reference to his manner of dealing with outdated teachings), Erra, Gibil (though this name more properly belongs to Nusku), and Sibitti or Seven.

Nergal actually seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only a representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle.

Nergal was also the deity who presides over the netherworld, and who stands at the head of the special pantheon assigned to the government of the dead (supposed to be gathered in a large subterranean cave known as Aralu or Irkalla).

In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person. In some texts the god Ninazu is the son of Nergal and Allatu/Ereshkigal.

In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks either to the combative demigod Heracles (Latin Hercules) or to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars) – hence the current name of the planet.

Ordinarily Nergal pairs with his consort Laz. Standard iconography pictured Nergal as a lion, and boundary-stone monuments symbolise him with a mace surmounted by the head of a lion.

In Assyro-Babylonian ecclesiastical art the great lion-headed colossi serving as guardians to the temples and palaces seem to symbolise Nergal, just as the bull-headed colossi probably typify Ninurta.

The worship of Nergal does not appear to have spread as widely as that of Ninurta, but in the late Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused the two divinities, which were invoked together as if they were identical. Hymns and votive and other inscriptions of Babylonian and Assyrian rulers frequently invoke him, but we do not learn of many temples to him outside of Cuthah.

The Assyrian king Sennacherib speaks of one at Tarbisu to the north of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, but significantly, although Nebuchadnezzar II (606 BC – 586 BC), the great temple-builder of the neo-Babylonian monarchy, alludes to his operations at Meslam in Cuthah, he makes no mention of a sanctuary to Nergal in Babylon. Local associations with his original seat—Kutha—and the conception formed of him as a god of the dead acted in making him feared rather than actively worshipped.

Being a deity of the desert, god of fire, which is one of negative aspects of the sun, god of the underworld, and also being a god of one of the religions which rivaled Christianity and Judaism, Nergal was sometimes called a demon and even identified with Satan. According to Collin de Plancy and Johann Weyer, Nergal was depicted as the chief of Hell’s “secret police”, and worked as an “an honorary spy in the service of Beelzebub”.

Baal – Bael (Bull god – Thunder god)

Baal, also rendered Baʿal, is a North-West Semitic title and honorific meaning “master” or “lord” that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant and Asia Minor, cognate to Akkadian Bēlu. A Baalist or Baalite means a worshipper of Baal.

“Baal” may refer to any god and even to human officials. In some texts it is used for Hadad, a god of thunderstorms, fertility and agriculture, and the lord of Heaven. Since only priests were allowed to utter his divine name, Hadad, Ba‛al was commonly used. . El and Baal are often associated with the bull in Ugaritic texts, as a symbol both of strength and fertility.

The worship of Ba’al in Canaan was bound to the economy of the land which depends on the regularity and adequacy of the rains, unlike Egypt and Mesopotamia, which depend on irrigation. Anxiety about the rainfall was a continuing concern of the inhabitants which gave rise to rites to ensure the coming of the rains. Thus the basis of the Ba’al cult was the utter dependence of life on the rains which were regarded as Baal’s bounty. In that respect, Ba’al can be considered a rain god.

Baal Melqart

Baal Melqart (Phoenician, lit. Milk-qart, “King of the City”, Akkadian: Milqartu) was the son of El in the Phoenician triad of worship. Melqart was the tutelary god of the Phoenician city of Tyre, although one finds this equation in older scholarship. He was often called the Baal of Tyre.

Melqart was often titled Ba‘l Ṣūr, “Lord of Tyre”, and considered to be the ancestor of the Tyrian royal family. In Greek, by interpretatio graeca he was identified with Heracles and referred to as the Tyrian Herakles. He is the son of El in the Phoenician triad of worship. He was the god of Tyre and was often called the Baal of Tyre.

As Tyrian trade and colonization expanded, Melqart became venerated in Phoenician and Punic cultures from Syria to Spain. The first occurrence of the name is in a 9th-century BCE stela inscription found in 1939 north of Aleppo in northern Syria, the “Ben-Hadad” inscription, erected by the son of the king of Arma, “for his lord Melqart, which he vowed to him and he heard his voice”.

1Kings 16:31 relates that Ahab, king of Israel, married Jezebel, daughter of Eth-baal, king of the Sidonians, and then “went and served Baal, and worshipped him”. Josephus (Antiquities 8.13.1) states clearly that Jezebel “built a temple to the god of the Tyrians, which they call Belus” which certainly refers to the Baal of Tyre, or Melqart.

The cult of this god was prominent in Israel until the reign of Jehu (841–814 BC), the tenth king of Israel since Jeroboam I, who – according to the biblical account in 2 Kings – put an end to it: “And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. And they broke down the image of Baal, and broke down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.” (2Kings 10:26-28)

Ishkur/ Adad/Hadad

Adad in Akkadian and Ishkur in Sumerian and Hadad in Aramaic are the names of the storm-god in the Babylonian-Assyrian pantheon. The Akkadian god Adad is cognate in name and functions with northwest Semitic god Hadad.

Adad/Ishkur’s special animal is the bull. He is naturally identified with the Anatolian storm-god Teshub. Occasionally Adad/Ishkur is identified with the god Amurru, the god of the Amorites.

When Enki distributed the destinies, he made Ishkur inspector of the cosmos. Shamash and Adad became in combination the gods of oracles and of divination in general.

The Babylonian center of Adad/Ishkur’s cult was Karkara in the south, his chief temple being E. Karkara. He was worshipped in a temple named E. Durku.

In one litany Ishkur is proclaimed again and again as “great radiant bull, your name is heaven” and also called son of An, lord of Karkara; twin-brother of Enki, lord of abundance, lord who rides the storm, lion of heaven.

Adad/Ishkur’s consort (both in early Sumerian and later Assyrian texts) was Shala, a goddess of grain, who is also sometimes associated with the god Dagan. She was also called Gubarra in the earliest texts. The fire god Gibil (named Gerra in Akkadian) is sometimes the son of Ishkur and Shala.

In other texts Adad/Ishkur is sometimes son of the moon god Nanna/Sin by Ningal and brother of Utu/Shamash and Inanna/Ishtar. He is also occasionally son of Enlil.

Hadad (Ugaritic Haddu) is a Northwest Semitic storm and rain god, cognate in name and origin with the earlier attested East Semitic Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian) god Adad. Hadad was also called “Pidar”, “Rapiu”, “Baal-Zephon”, or often simply Baʿal (Lord), but this title was also used for other gods.

The bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad. He appeared bearded, often holding a club and thunderbolt while wearing a bull-horned headdress. Hadad was equated with the Indo-European Nasite Hittite storm-god Teshub; the Egyptian god Set; the Greek god Zeus; and the Roman god Jupiter, as Jupiter Dolichenus.

In Akkadian, Adad is also known as Ramman (“Thunderer”) cognate with Aramaic Rimmon which was a byname of the Aramaic Hadad. Ramman was formerly incorrectly taken by many scholars to be an independent Babylonian god later identified with the Amorite god Hadad.

The Sumerian Ishkur appears in the list of gods found at Fara, but was of far less importance than the Akkadian Adad later became, probably partly because storms and rain are scarce in southern Babylonia and agriculture there depends on irrigation instead.

Also, the gods Enlil and Ninurta also had storm god features which decreased Ishkur’s distinctiveness. He sometimes appears as the assistant or companion of one or the other of the two.

Aamong the Assyrians his cult was especially developed along with his warrior aspect. From the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BCE), Adad had a double sanctuary in Assur which he shared with Anu. Anu is often associated with Adad in invocations. The name Adad and various alternate forms and bynames (Dadu, Bir, Dadda) are often found in the names of the Assyrian kings.

Adad/Ishkur presents two aspects in the hymns, incantations, and votive inscriptions. On the one hand he is the god who, through bringing on the rain in due season, causes the land to become fertile, and, on the other hand, the storms that he sends out bring havoc and destruction.

He is pictured on monuments and cylinder seals (sometimes with a horned helmet) with the lightning and the thunderbolt (sometimes in the form of a spear), and in the hymns the sombre aspects of the god on the whole predominate. His association with the sun-god, Shamash, due to the natural combination of the two deities who alternate in the control of nature, leads to imbuing him with some of the traits belonging to a solar deity.

In religious texts, Ba‘al/Hadad is the lord of the sky who governs the rain and thus the germination of plants with the power of his desire that they be fertile. He is the protector of life and growth to the agricultural people of the region. The absence of Ba‘al causes dry spells, starvation, death, and chaos. Also refers to the mountain of the west wind.

The Biblical reference occurs at a time when Yahweh has provided a strong east wind (cf. Exodus 14:21,22) to push back the waters of the Red or Erythrian Sea, so that the sons of Israel might cross over.

In the Ugaritic texts El, the supreme god of the pantheon, resides on Mount Lel (perhaps meaning “Night”) and it is there that the assembly of the gods meet. That is perhaps the mythical cosmic mountain.

The Ba‘al cycle is fragmentary and leaves much unexplained that would have been obvious to a contemporary. In the earliest extant sections there appears to be some sort of feud between El and Ba‘al.

El makes one of his sons who is called both prince Yamm (“Sea”) and judge Nahar (“River”) king over the gods and changes Yamm’s name from yw (so spelled at that point in the text) to mdd ’il, meaning “Darling of El”. El informs Yamm that in order to secure his power, Yamm will have to drive Ba‘al from his throne.

In this battle Ba‘al is somehow weakened, but the divine craftsman Kothar-wa-Khasis strikes Yamm with two magic clubs, Yamm collapses, and Ba’al finishes the fight. ‘Athtart proclaims Ba‘al’s victory and salutes Ba‘al/Hadad as lrkb ‘rpt (“Rider on the Clouds”), a phrase applied by editors of modern English Bibles to Yahweh in Psalm 68.4. At ‘Athtart’s urging Ba‘al “scatters” Yamm and proclaims that Yamm is dead and heat is assured.

A later passage refers to Ba‘al’s victory over Lotan, the many-headed sea-dragon. Due to gaps in the text it is not known whether Lotan is another name for Yamm or a reference to another similar story. In the Mediterranean area, crops were often threatened by winds, storms, and floods from the sea, indicating why the ancients feared the fury of this cosmic being.

A palace is built for Ba‘al/Hadad with cedars from Mount Lebanon and Sirion and also from silver and from gold. In his new palace Ba‘al hosts a great feast for the other gods. When urged by Kothar-wa-Khasis, Ba’al, somewhat reluctantly, opens a window in his palace and sends forth thunder and lightning. He then invites Mot ‘Death’ (god of drought and underworld), another son of El, to the feast.

But Mot is insulted. The eater of human flesh and blood will not be satisfied with bread and wine. Mot threatens to break Ba‘al into pieces and swallow Ba‘al. Even Ba‘al cannot stand against Death. Gaps here make interpretation dubious.

It seems that by the advice of the goddess Shapsh ‘Sun’, Ba‘al has intercourse with a heifer and dresses the resultant calf in his own clothes as a gift to Mot and then himself prepares to go down to the underworld in the guise of a helpless shade. News of Ba‘al’s apparent death leads even El to mourn.

‘Anat, Ba‘al’s sister, finds Ba‘al’s corpse, presumably really the dead body of the calf, and she buries the body with a funeral feast. The god ‘Athtar is appointed to take Ba‘al’s place, but he is a poor substitute. Meanwhile ‘Anat finds Mot, cleaves him with a sword, burns him with fire, and throws his remains on the field for the birds to eat. But the earth is still cracked with drought until Shapsh fetches Ba‘al back.

Seven years later Mot returns and attacks Ba‘al in a battle which ceases only when Shapsh tells Mot that El now supports Ba’al. Thereupon Mot at once surrenders to Ba‘al/Hadad and recognizes Ba‘al as king.

In Sanchuniathon’s account Hadad is once called Adodos, but is mostly named Demarûs. This is a puzzling form, probably from Ugaritic dmrn, which appears in parallelism with Hadad, or possibly a Greek corruption of Hadad Ramān. Sanchuniathon’s Hadad is son of Sky by a concubine who is then given to the god Dagon while she is pregnant by Sky.

This appears to be an attempt to combine two accounts of Hadad’s parentage, one of which is the Ugaritic tradition that Hadad was son of Dagon. The cognate Akkadian god Adad is also often called the son of Anu (“Sky”). The corresponding Hittite god Teshub is likewise son of Anu (after a fashion).

In Sanchuniathon’s account, it is Sky who first fights against Pontus (“Sea”). Then Sky allies himself with Hadad. Hadad takes over the conflict but is defeated, at which point unfortunately no more is said of this matter. Sanchuniathion agrees with Ugaritic tradition in making Muth, the Ugaritic Mot, whom he also calls “Death”, the son of El.

Zeus

Zeus is the “Father of Gods and men” who rules the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father rules the family according to the ancient Greek religion. He is the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. Zeus is etymologically cognate with and, under Hellenic influence, became particularly closely identified with Roman Jupiter.

Zeus is the Greek continuation of *Di̯ēus, the name of the Proto-Indo-European god of the daytime sky, also called *Dyeus ph2tēr (“Sky Father”). The god is known under this name in the Rigveda (Vedic Sanskrit Dyaus/Dyaus Pita), Latin (compare Jupiter, from Iuppiter, deriving from the Proto-Indo-European vocative *dyeu-ph2tēr), deriving from the root *dyeu- (“to shine”, and in its many derivatives, “sky, heaven, god”).

Zeus is the only deity in the Olympic pantheon whose name has such a transparent Indo-European etymology. The earliest attested forms of the name are the Mycenaean Greek di-we and di-wo, written in the Linear B syllabic script.

Zeus is the child of Cronus and Rhea, and the youngest of his siblings. In most traditions he is married to Hera, although, at the oracle of Dodona, his consort is Dione: according to the Iliad, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione.

He is known for his erotic escapades. These resulted in many godly and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone (by Demeter), Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Minos, and the Muses (by Mnemosyne); by Hera, he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.

As Walter Burkert points out in his book, Greek Religion, “Even the gods who are not his natural children address him as Father, and all the gods rise in his presence.” For the Greeks, he was the King of the Gods, who oversaw the universe.

As Pausanias observed, “That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men”. In Hesiod’s Theogony Zeus assigns the various gods their roles. In the Homeric Hymns he is referred to as the chieftain of the gods.

His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical “cloud-gatherer” (Greek: Nephelēgereta) also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the Ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward, with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.

Brahma/ Saraswati – Marishi (Maruts/ Rudras)/Kala –

Kashyap (Saptarishis)/Aditi – Indra/Agni (Ādityas)

Brahmā is the Hindu god (deva) of creation and one of the Trimūrti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. According to the Brahmā Purāņa, he is the father of Manu, and from Manu all human beings are descended. In the Rāmāyaņa and the Mahābhārata, he is often referred to as the progenitor or great grandsire of all human beings.

Brahmā’s wife is Saraswati. Saraswati is also known by names such as Sāvitri and Gāyatri, and has taken different forms throughout history. Brahmā is often identified with Prajāpati, a Vedic deity. Being the husband of Saraswati or Vaac Devi (the Goddess of Speech), Brahma is also known as “Vaagish,” meaning “Lord of Speech and Sound.”

Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and nature. She is a part of the trinity of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in the creation, maintenance and destruction of the Universe. The Goddess is also revered by believers of the Jain religion of west and central India.

Rishi Marichi or Mareechi or Marishi, meaning a ray of light of the sun or moon, is the son of Brahma, the cosmic creator, and also one of the Saptarshi (Seven Great Sages Rishi), in the First Manvantara, with others being Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya, and Vashishtha.

He is the chief of the Maruts (“shining ones”), the war-like storm gods. He’s one of the seven (sometimes 10 or 12) seers (rishis) or lords of creation (prajapatis), who intuitively “see” and declare the divine law of the universe (dharma).

Before the creation started, Lord Brahma needed a few people who can be held responsible for the creation of the remaining Universe. Therefore he created 10 Prajapatis (Ruler of the people) from his Manas (Mind) and 9 from his body. Marichi is one of the manasaputras of Lord brahma. The 10 Prajapatis are as follows: Marichi, Atri, Angirasa, Pulaha, Pulasthya, Krathu, Vasishta, Prachethasa, Bhrigu, and Narada.

Devout Hindus revere Marichi as one of the “Seven Seers,” the semidivine poet-sages who, at the creation of the world, first “heard” the eternal word of Brahman. In its purest form, this word of divine sound is inaudible to the human ear, so Marichi and his cohorts translated it into human language: Sanskrit. These thousand-some mantras were collected in Hinduism’s holiest book, the Rig Veda.

Marichi is married to Kala and gave birth to Kashyap (Kashyap is also sometimes acknowledged as a Prajapati, who has inherited the right of creation from his father). Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita says, “Of the Ādityas I am Vishnu, of lights I am the radiant sun, of the Maruts I am Marici, and among the stars I am the moon.”

Legend has it that the mighty Vajrayudha of Indra is gotten from Marichi. Vajra is a Sanskrit word meaning both thunderbolt and diamond. As a material device, the vajra is a ritual object, a short metal weapon – originally a kind of fist-iron that has the symbolic nature of a diamond (it can cut any substance but not be cut itself) and that of the thunderbolt (irresistible force).

His son, Kashypapa, was known as the ‘Lord of Creatures’, and is the ancestor of gods, demons, humans, and animals. Marichi’s grandson was the sun god Surya, the giver of life, and his great-grandson was Manu, the father of humanity. The first three letters of Manu are man which is a Sanskrit root meaning ‘to think’, and it is this same Sanskrit root that gave birth to the English word man.

Kashyapa was an ancient sage (rishi), who is one of the Saptarishis in the present Manvantara: others being Atri, Vashistha, Vishvamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja, Gautama. According to the Vedic knowledge, he is the son of Marichi, one of the ten sons (Manasaputras) of the Creator Brahma.

The Saptarishi (from saptarṣi, a Sanskrit dvigu meaning “seven sages”) are the seven rishis who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and Hindu literature. The Vedic Samhitas never enumerate these rishis by name, though later Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas and Upanisads do so. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic religion.

In some parts of India, people believe these are seven stars of the Big Dipper named “Vashista”, “Marichi”, “Pulastya”, “Pulaha”, “Atri”, “Angiras” and “Kratu”. There is another star slightly visible within it, known as “Arundhati”. Arundhati is the wife of vasistha.

In the Vedas, Aditi (Sanskrit: “limitless”) is mother of the gods (devamatar) and all twelve zodiacal spirits from whose cosmic matrix the heavenly bodies were born. As celestial mother of every existing form and being, the synthesis of all things, she is associated with space (akasa) and with mystic speech (Vāc). She may be seen as a feminized form of Brahma and associated with the primal substance (mulaprakriti) in Vedanta.

She is mentioned nearly 80 times in the Rigveda: the verse “Daksha sprang from Aditi and Aditi from Daksha” is seen by Theosophists as a reference to “the eternal cyclic re-birth of the same divine Essence” and divine wisdom. In contrast, the Puranas, such as the Shiva Purana and the Bhagavata Purana, suggest that Aditi is wife of sage Kashyap and gave birth to the Adityas such as Indra, Surya, and also Vamana.

In Hinduism, Ādityas, meaning “of Aditi”, refers to the offspring of Aditi. In Hinduism, Aditya is used in the singular to mean the Sun God, Surya. Bhagavata Purana lists total 12 Adityas as twelve Sun-gods. In each month of the year, it is a different Aditya (Sun God) who shines. All these 12 Adityas are the opulent expansions of Lord Vishnu in the form of Sun-God.

Aditi is said to be the mother of the great god Indra, the mother of kings (Mandala 2.27) and the mother of gods (Mandala 1.113.19). In the Vedas, Aditi is Devmatar (mother of the celestial gods) as from and in her cosmic matrix all the heavenly bodies were born.

She is preeminently the mother of 12 Adityas whose names include Vivasvān, Aryamā, Pūṣā, Tvaṣṭā, Savitā, Bhaga, Dhātā, Vidhātā, Varuṇa, Mitra, Śatru, and Urukrama (Vishnu was born as Urukrama, the son of Nabhi and Meru.)

She is also is the mother of the Vamana avatar of Vishnu. Accordingly, Vishnu was born as the son of Aditi in the month of Shravana (fifth month of the Hindu Calendar, also called Avani) under the star Shravana. Many auspicious signs appeared in the heavens, foretelling the good fortune of this child.

In the Rigveda, Adhithe is one of most important figures of all. As a mothering presence, Aditi is often asked to guard the one who petitions her (Mandala 1.106.7; Mandala 8.18.6) or to provide him or her with wealth, safety, and abundance (Mandala 10.100; 1.94.15).

Indra

Indra, also known as Śakra in the Vedas, is the leader of the Devas or demi gods and the lord of Svargaloka or heaven in Hinduism. He is the god of rain and thunderstorms. He wields a lightning thunderbolt known as vajra and rides on a white elephant known as Airavata.

Indra is the supreme deity and is the twin brother of Agni and is also mentioned as an Āditya, son of Aditi. His home is situated on Mount Meru in the heaven. He has many epithets, notably vṛṣan the bull, and vṛtrahan, slayer of Vṛtra, Meghavahana “the one who rides the clouds” and Devapati “the lord of gods or devas”.

Indra appears as the name of a daeva in Zoroastrianism (but please note that word Indra can be used in general sense as a leader, either of devatas or asuras), while his epithet, Verethragna, appears as a god of victory. Indra is also called Śakra frequently in the Vedas and in Buddhism (Pali: Sakka).

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

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

Jupiter

Jupiter (Latin: Iuppiter; genitive case: Iovis) or Jove is the king of the gods and the god of sky and thunder in myth. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as sacrifice.

Jupiter is usually thought to have originated as a sky god. His identifying implement is the thunderbolt, and his primary sacred animal is the eagle, which held precedence over other birds in the taking of auspices and became one of the most common symbols of the Roman army. The two emblems were often combined to represent the god in the form of an eagle holding in its claws a thunderbolt, frequently seen on Greek and Roman coins.

As the sky-god, he was a divine witness to oaths, the sacred trust on which justice and good government depend. Many of his functions were focused on the Capitoline (“Capitol Hill”), where the citadel was located. He was the chief deity of the early Capitoline Triad with Mars and Quirinus. In the later Capitoline Triad, he was the central guardian of the state with Juno and Minerva. His sacred tree was the oak.

The Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, and in Latin literature and Roman art, the myths and iconography of Zeus are adapted under the name Iuppiter. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto. Each presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, the waters, and the underworld. The Italic Diespiter was also a sky god who manifested himself in the daylight, usually but not always identified with Jupiter.

Tinia, the god of the sky and the highest god in Etruscan mythology, is usually regarded as his Etruscan counterpart. He was the husband of Thalna, a divine figure usually regarded as a goddess of childbirth, or Uni, the supreme goddess of the Etruscan pantheon and the patron goddess of Perugia, identified by the Etruscans as their equivalent of Juno in Roman mythology and Hera in Greek mythology, and the father of Hercle (Greek Heracles, Latin Hercules). In the Etruscan tradition, it is Uni who grants access to immortality to the demigod Hercle by offering her breast milk to him.

Teshub/Taru

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

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

The Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin—he was conceived when the god Kumarbi bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genitals, as such it most likely shares a Proto-Indo-European cognate with the Greek story of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus, which is recounted in Hesiod’s Theogony. Teshub’s brothers are Aranzah (personification of the river Tigris), Ullikummi (stone giant) and Tashmishu.

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 greatest acts was the slaying of the dragon Illuyanka. Myths also exist of his conflict with the sea creature (possibly a snake or serpent) Hedammu.

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

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

Tork Angegh

In Armenian Tor has two meanings 1. grandson, q is the plural form, so torq is grandsons or heirs, 2. rain. In Armenian Artsax Dialect Tor means rain, tora kyalis (galis) means it rains.

Tork Angegh (Armenian: Տորք Անգեղ) was an ancient Armenian masculine deity of strength, courage, of manufacturing and the arts, also called Torq and Durq/Turq. A creature of unnatural strength and power, Tork was considered one of Hayk’s great-grandsons and reportedly represented as an unattractive male figure.

He is mentioned by Armenian 4th Century historian Movses Khorenatsi and considered one of the significant deities of the Armenian pantheon prior to the time when it came under influence by Iranian and Hellenic religion and mythology.

According to the Armenian legend,  Torq (Turq) Angegh was a deity, the son of Angegh and the Grandson of Hayk. Moreover, in historical Armenia there is a place (region) known as Ang'(e)gh, probably named after the father of Torq. Their symbol was ang'(e)gh (a vulture) and they were called – Ang'(e)gh tohmi jarangnere, the heirs of the house of vultures. To(u)rq Angegh has a lot to do with rain and storm,  but at the same time he was described as a man living in ancient Armenia, Armenian deity. 

Only after christianity Torq Angegh got negative meaning and became ugly.  Everything predating 301 AD is ugly,  this way they made the Armenians be ashamed of thier heritage but anyway, the historical memory never forgets the  past, the Armenians call Torq Angeg to the ones who are bigger, who may have had exaggerated features.

Torq was worshipped in historical Armenian territory known as Tegarama or Togorma. The word angel derives from angegh, which is the same as the Sumerian gal, meaning great.

Angels came to the people as birds,  angels are with wings. The angels are the derivation of the bird angegh which means vulture. This bird was worshipped among Armenians and considered to be sacred.

Torq was a deity of storm, rain and thunder.  They believe, he threw a huge stone in the sea and the ships of the enemies of his people got drowned. The Armenians have an expression փոթորիկ անել  “potorik anel” which means to make storms.

Taken in the context of Proto-Indo-European religions, it is conceivable that an etymological connection with Norse god Thor/Tyr is more than a simple coincidence. An analogy is frequently made with the Middle-Eastern god Nergal, also represented as an unattractive male.

Tyr

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 *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is Tius or Tio.

Old Norse Týr, literally “god”, plural tívar “gods”, comes from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz (cf. Old English Tīw, Old High German Zīo), which continues Proto-Indo-European *deiwós “celestial being, god” (cf. Welsh duw, Latin deus, Lithuanian diẽvas, Sanskrit dēvá, Avestan daēvō “demon”). And *deiwós is based in *dei-, *deyā-, *dīdyā-, meaning ‘to shine’.

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.

Mars/Ares

Tiw was equated with Mars (Latin: Mārs, Martis), in ancient Roman religion and myth the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome, in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is in fact “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis. He was second in importance only to Jupiter and Neptune and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army.

Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming.

Under the influence of Greek culture, Mars was identified with the Greek god Ares, whose myths were reinterpreted in Roman literature and art under the name of Mars. But the character and dignity of Mars differed in fundamental ways from that of his Greek counterpart, who is often treated with contempt and revulsion in Greek literature.

Ares is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent and untamed aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship.

Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people.

In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome’s founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who “founded” Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.

The importance of Mars in establishing religious and cultural identity within the Roman Empire is indicated by the vast number of inscriptions identifying him with a local deity, particularly in the Western provinces.

During the Hellenization of Latin literature, the myths of Ares were reinterpreted by Roman writers under the name of Mars. Greek writers under Roman rule also recorded cult practices and beliefs pertaining to Mars under the name of Ares. Thus in the classical tradition of later Western art and literature, the mythology of the two figures becomes virtually indistinguishable.

Not much is known about Pelasgian mythology. It appears the solar deity was originally Ares, in contrast the Titan Helios and the Olympian Apollo, better known in later Greece as sun gods. Traces of his worship are visible in Zeus Areios, who was honoured at Elis, and in the name of Areios Pagos (“Rock of Ares”) in Athens.

In The Greek Myths, Robert Graves describes the Pelasgian creation myth, which involves a singular creatrix goddess who dominates man and predates other deities. The goddess gives birth to all things, fertilised not by any male opposite but by symbolic seeds in the form of the wind, beans, or insects.

Gaius Mucius Scaevola

Gaius Mucius Scaevola was a Roman youth, famous for his bravery. In 508 BC, during the war between Rome and Clusium, the Clusian king Lars Porsena laid siege to Rome. Mucius, with the approval of the Roman Senate sneaked into the Etruscan camp and attempted to murder Porsena. It was the soldiers’ pay day. There were two similarly dressed people on a raised platform talking to the troops. He misidentified Porsena and killed Porsena’s scribe instead.

Mucius was captured, and famously declared to Porsena: “I am Gaius Mucius, a citizen of Rome. I came here as an enemy to kill my enemy, and I am as ready to die as I am to kill. We Romans act bravely and, when adversity strikes, we suffer bravely.” He also declared that he was the first of three hundred Roman youths who volunteered to assassinate Porsena at the risk of their own lives.

“Watch this,” he declared. “so that you know how cheap the body is to men who have their eye on great glory.” Mucius thrust his right hand into a fire which was lit for sacrifice and held it there without giving any indication of pain, thereby earning for himself and his descendants the cognomen Scaevola, meaning ‘left-handed’.

Porsena, shocked at the youth’s bravery, dismissed him from the Etruscan camp, free to return to Rome saying “Go back, since you do more harm to yourself than me”. At the same time, the king also sent ambassadors to Rome to offer peace.

Mucius was granted farming land on the right-hand bank of the Tiber, which later became known as the Mucia Prata (Mucian Meadows). It is not clear whether the story of Mucius is historical or mythical.

Sumerian

Sumerian language

Anzû

Nintud/r

Sacred bull

Gugalanna

Nergal

Ninurta

Northwest Semitic

Hadad

Adad

Baal

El (deity)

Allah

Yahweh

Life-death-rebirth deity

Tammuz

Adonis

 

Attis

Thunder gods

Kumarbi

Teshub

Taranis

Tarchon

Thor

Ninurta

Stone gigant

Ullikummi

Ymir

Snake

Illuyanka

Typhon

Lotan

Vritra

Decayed Gods

Trifunctional hypothesis

Decayed Gods: Origin and Development of Georges Dumézil’s “Idéologie Tripartie”

 

 

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