Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The mighty hunter

Posted by Fredsvenn on February 27, 2015

Haik – Armenia

Nemrut

Nimrud is the later Arab name for the ancient Assyrian city of Kalhu located south of Mosul on the river Tigris in northern Mesopotamia. Archeologists called the city Nimrud after the Biblical Nimrod, a legendary hunting hero (cf. Genesis 10:11-12, Micah 5:5, and 1Chronicles 1:10). The city was known as Calah (Kalakh) in the Bible.

The city covered an area of 360 hectares (890 acres). The ruins of the city are found within one kilometer of the modern-day Assyrian village of Noomanea in Nineveh Province, Iraq. This is some 30 kilometres (19 mi) southeast of Mosul.

The Assyrian king Shalmaneser I (1274 BC – 1245 BC) built Kalhu (Calah/Nimrud) during the Middle Assyrian Empire. However, the ancient city of Ashur remained the capital of Assyria, as it had been since circa 3500 BC.

A number of historians, such as Julian Jaynes, believe that the Biblical figure Nimrod (of whom the far later Arab name for the city was derived) was inspired by the deeds of the real king of Assyria Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244-1207 BC), the son of Shalmaneser I, and a powerful conqueror. Others believe the name derived from the Assyrian god Ninurta, who had a major cultic centre at Kalhu /Nimrud.

The city gained fame when king Ashurnasirpal II of the Neo Assyrian Empire (883 BC – 859 BC) made it his capital at the expense of Ashur. He built a large palace and temples in the city that had fallen into a degree of disrepair during the Dark Ages of the mid 11th to mid 10th centuries BC.

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.

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’.

Nimrod, king of Shinar, was, according to the Book of Genesis and Books of Chronicles, the son of Cush and great-grandson of Noah. He is depicted in the Bible as a mighty in the earth and a mighty hunter. Extra-biblical traditions associating him with the Tower of Babel led to his reputation as a king who was rebellious against God.

Since Accad (Babylonian Akkad), was destroyed and lost with the destruction of its Empire in the period 2200–2154 BCE (long chronology), the stories mentioning Nimrod seem to recall the late Early Bronze Age.

The association with Erech (Babylonian Uruk), a city that lost its prime importance around 2,000 BCE as a result of struggles between Isin, Larsa and Elam, also attests the early provenance of the stories of Nimrod.

Several Mesopotamian ruins were given Nimrod’s name by 8th-century Arabs, including the ruins of the Assyrian city of Kalhu (the biblical Calah), built by Shalmaneser I (1274–1244 BC). A number of attempts to connect him with historical figures have been made.

The first mention of Nimrod is in the Table of Nations. He is described as the son of Cush, grandson of Ham, and great-grandson of Noah; and as “mighty in the earth” and “a mighty hunter before the Lord”. This is repeated in the First Book of Chronicles 1:10, and the “Land of Nimrod” used as a synonym for Assyria or Mesopotamia, is mentioned in the Book of Micah 5:6:

And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.

Genesis says that the “beginning of his kingdom” (reshit memelketo) was the towns of “Babel, Erech, Akkad and Calneh in the land of Shinar” (Mesopotamia)—understood variously to imply that he either founded these cities, ruled over them, or both.

Owing to an ambiguity in the original Hebrew text, it is unclear whether it is he or Asshur who additionally built Nineveh, Resen, Rehoboth-Ir and Calah (both interpretations are reflected in various English versions). (Genesis 10:8–12; 1 Chronicles 1:10, Micah 5:6).

Sir Walter Raleigh devoted several pages in his History of the World (c. 1616) to reciting past scholarship regarding the question of whether it had been Nimrod or Ashur who built the cities in Assyria. In Armenian legend, the ancestor of the Armenian people, Hayk, defeated Nimrod (sometimes equated with Bel) in a battle near Lake Van.

Nemrut or Nemrud is a 2,134 m (7,001 ft) high mountain in southeastern Turkey, notable for the summit where a number of large statues are erected around what is assumed to be a royal tomb from the 1st century BC. It is referred as the pantheon of the Armenian gods.

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