Cradle of Civilization

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Archive for May, 2015

Destruction of 1900-year-old Lion of Al-Lat statue

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 31, 2015

Lion in the garden of Palmyra Archeological Museum

Allat aka Sheba

This is Allah’s wife, her name is AL-LAT. She was worshipped at Mecca for 2000 years before Islam. The famous Muslim pilgrimage spot in Mecca was originally her shrine. Allat’s name means simply “the Goddess” just as Allah means “the God.” The T ending is feminine. Allah and Allat were depicted standing together with a star and crescent moon over them.  Allah was a moon god and she was the “star”, Venus. Islamic nations still use that star and crescent in their flags. Another obvious, but vehemently denied, symbol of the sacred marriage.

Allat is probably going to be the last wife of God to take off her veils. Islam is not really open to Allah having a partner, even though history and archaeology prove that he does…

Allāt, Manāt and al-‘Uzzá

Allāt or al-Lāt was a Pre-Islamic Arabian goddess who was one of the three chief goddesses of Mecca along with Manāt and al-‘Uzzá. Especially in older sources, Allat is an alternative name of the Mesopotamian goddess of the underworld, now usually known as Ereshkigal. She was reportedly also venerated in Carthage under the name Allatu.

Al-‘Uzzá (“the Strong” and “the Powerful”) was also worshipped by the Nabataeans, who equated her with the Greek goddess Aphrodite Ourania (Roman Venus Caelestis). Inscriptions related to al-‘Uzzá among the Nabataeans at Petra have been interpreted to associate al-‘Uzzá with the planet Venus.

The pre-Islamic Arabs believed Manāt (or Manawat, “Destiny”) to be the goddess of fate and time, and was also seen as the moon goddess. There are also strong elements to her related to Chronos (“time”, also transliterated as Khronos or Latinized as Chronus), the personification of Time in pre-Socratic philosophy and later literature, Tyche and Fortuna.

She was known by the cognate name Manawat to the Nabataeans of Petra, who equated her with the Graeco-Roman goddess Nemesis, and she was considered the wife of Hubal. According to Wellhausen, the Nabataeans believed al-Lāt was the mother of Hubal (and hence the mother-in-law of Manāt).

Chronos is a god shaped as a serpentine in form, with three heads—those of a man, a bull, and a lion. He and his consort, serpentine Ananke (Inevitability), circled the primal world egg in their coils and split it apart to form the ordered universe of earth, sea and sky.

Chronos was confused with, or perhaps consciously identified with, due to the similarity in name, the Titan Cronus already in antiquity, the identification becoming more widespread during the Renaissance, giving rise to the allegory of “Father Time” wielding the harvesting scythe.

He was depicted in Greco-Roman mosaics as a man turning the Zodiac Wheel. He might, however, also be contrasted with the deity Aion as Eternal Time. He is usually portrayed through an old, wise man with a long, grey beard, similar to Father Time. Some of the current English words whose etymological root is khronos/chronos include chronology, chronometer, chronic, anachronism, and chronicle.

Allat, Goddess of Life and Death

Baal, also rendered Baʿal, is a Northwest 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.

“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.

Bêlit is a form of the Akkadian language word beltu or beltum (meaning “lady, mistress”) as used in noun compounds; it appears in titles of goddesses, such as bêlit-ili “lady of the gods”, an Akkadian title of Ninhursag. The word bêlit appears in Greek form as Beltis (Βελτις), considered to be the name of the wife of the god Bêl.

ISIS ‘destroys’ famous lion god statue in captured Syrian city of Palmyra… just days after promising locals they would not obliterate ancient monuments. ISIS militants are understood to have won the support of much of the local population by promising not to destroy the city’s famous monuments. How stupid can they possibly be???

Depraved jihadis are said to have broken vow not to destroy the city. Just hours after telling locals Palmyra was safe, they started destroying it. 1,900-year-old Lion of Al-Lat statue was reportedly one of the first targets. The celebrated monument was a tribute to a pre-Islamic Arab goddess.

Allāt or al-Lāt was a Pre-Islamic Arabian goddess who was one of the three chief goddesses of Mecca along with Manāt and al-‘Uzzá. Especially in older sources, Allat is an alternative name of the Mesopotamian goddess of the underworld, now usually known as Ereshkigal. She was reportedly also venerated in Carthage under the name Allatu.

The goddess occurs in early Safaitic graffiti (Safaitic han-‘Ilāt “the Goddess”). The Nabataeans of Petra and the people of Hatra also worshipped her, equating her with the Greek Athena and Tyche and the Roman Minerva. She is frequently called “the Great Goddess” in Greek in multi-lingual inscriptions.

Also proposed to be Mullissu is a goddess whom Herodotus called Mylitta and identified with Aphrodite. The name Mylitta may derive from Mulliltu or Mulitta, names related to Mullissu.

The Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BC, considered her the equivalent of Aphrodite: The Assyrians call Aphrodite Mylitta and the Arabians call her Alilat.

Mullissu is a goddess who is the wife of the Assyrian god Ashur. Mullissu may be identical with the Mesopotamian goddess Ninlil, wife of the god Enlil, which would parallel the fact that Ashur himself was modeled on Enlil.

Mullissu’s name was written “NIN.LÍL” (“lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”), also called Sud, in Sumerian mythology the consort goddess of Enlil (EN = Lord + LÍL = Wind, “Lord (of the) Storm”), the God of breath, wind, loft and breadth (height and distance).

Nonetheless, Mullissu, who was identified with Ishtar of Nineveh in Neo-Assyrian Empire times, is usually identified with Ishtar, Ishara and with Isis.

According to Wellhausen, the Nabataeans believed al-Lāt was the mother of Hubal, a god worshipped in pre-Islamic Arabia, notably at the Kaaba in Mecca, and hence the mother-in-law of Manāt.

Access to the idol was controlled by the Quraysh tribe. The god’s devotees fought against followers of the Islamic prophet Muhammad during the Battle of Badr in 624 CE. After Muhammad entered Mecca in 630 CE, he removed the statue of Hubal from the Kaaba along with the idols of all the other pagan gods.

The shrine and temple dedicated to al-Lat in Taif was demolished on the orders of Muhammad, during the Expedition of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, in the same year as the Battle of Tabuk (which occurred in October 630 AD). The destruction of the idol was a demand by Muhammad before he would allow any reconciliation to take place with the tribes of Taif, who were under his siege.

The Kaaba or Ka’aba (“The Cube”), is a cuboid building at the center of Islam’s most sacred mosque, Al-Masjid al-Haram, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the most sacred site in Islam. It is considered the ‘House of God’ and has a similar role as the Tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant and Temple in Judaism and Christianity.

Wherever they are in the world, Muslims are expected to face the Kaaba—i.e. when performing salat (prayer). From any point in the world, the direction facing the Kaaba is called the qibla. The sanctuary around the Kaaba is called Al-Masjid al-Haram (Sacred Mosque).

The building is called by many names in the Quran and Hadith, such as Bait (House), Bait ul Haram (Sacred House), Bait Ullah (House of Allah), Bait al-Ateeq (Ancient House), Awal ul Bait (First House) and Kaabah. The Arabic word Bait is cognate to the Hebrew Bet as used in for example Bet HaMikdash (Holy House) and Beit El (House of God).

The Arabic word Kaaba means square or cube. The Quran also mentions Bait al-Ma’mur the House of God in Heavens which the Kaaba symbolizes, where according to Hadith the Angels perform Tawaf and Prayers.

The earliest reference we have to a goddess worshipped as a cube-shaped stone is from neolithic Anatolia. Alternatively, kubaba may mean a hollow vessel or cave – which would still be a supreme image of the goddess. The ideograms for kubaba in the Hittite alphabet are a lozenge or cube, a double-headed axe, a dove, a vase and a door or gate – all images of the goddess in neolithic Europe.

Deities of other cultures known to have been associated with black stones include Aphrodite at Paphos. Cybele at Pessinus and later Rome, Astarte at Byblos and the famous Artemis Diana of Ephesus. The latters most ancient sculpture was, it is said, carved from a black meteorite.

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

It is thought that Hebat may have had a Southern Mesopotamian origin, being the deification of Kubaba, the founder and first ruler of the Third Dynasty of Kish. The name may be transliterated in different versions – Khebat with the feminine ending -t is primarily the Syrian and Ugaritic version.

In the Hurrian language Hepa is the most likely pronunciation of the name of the goddess. In modern literature the sound /h/ in cuneiform sometimes is transliterated as kh. During Aramaean times Hebat also appears to have become identified with the goddess Hawwah, or Eve.

The Hittite sun goddess Arinniti was later assimilated with Hebat. A prayer of Queen Puduhepa makes this explicit: “To the Sun-goddess of Arinna, my lady, the mistress of the Hatti lands, the queen of Heaven and Earth.

Sun-goddess of Arinna, thou art Queen of all countries! In the Hatti country thou bearest the name of the Sun-goddess of Arinna; but in the land which thou madest the cedar land thou bearest the name Hebat.”

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

Hannahannah (from Hittite hanna- “grandmother”) is a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat. Christopher Siren reports that Hannahannah is associated with the Gulses (Gul-Shesh; Gulshesh; Gul-ashshesh) in Hittite mythology.

The Gulses is similar to the goddesses of fate called Hutena in Hurrian mythology, Norns in Norse mythology and Moirai in ancient Greece. Uttu in Sumerian mythology is the goddess of weaving and clothing. She is both the child of Enki and Ninkur, and she bears seven new child/trees from Enki, the eighth being the Ti (Tree of “Life”, associated with the “Rib”).

When Enki then ate Uttu’s children, Ninhursag cursed him with eight wounds and disappears. Uttu in Sumerian means “the woven” and she was illustrated as a spider in a web. She is a goddess in the pantheon.

Utu (Akkadian rendition of Sumerian UD “Sun”, Assyro-Babylonian Shamash “Sun”) is the Sun god in Sumerian mythology, the son of the moon god Nanna and the goddess Ningal. His brother and sisters are Ishkur and the twins Inanna and Ereshkigal. His center cult was located in the city of Larsa. Marduk is spelled AMAR.UTU in Sumerian, literally, “the calf of Utu” or “the young bull of the Sun”.

Utu is the god of the sun, justice, application of law, and the lord of truth. He is usually depicted as wearing a horned helmet and carrying a saw-edged weapon not unlike a pruning saw. He is also depicted as carrying a mace, and standing with one foot on a mountain. Its symbol is “sun rays from the shoulders, and or sun disk or a saw”.

It is thought that every day, Utu emerges from a mountain in the east, symbolizing dawn, and travels either via chariot or boat across the Earth, returning to a hole in a mountain in the west, symbolizing sunset. Every night, Utu descends into the underworld to decide the fate of the dead.

The sun god is only modestly mentioned in Sumerian mythology with one of the notable exceptions being the Epic of Gilgamesh. In the myth, Gilgamesh seeks to establish his name with the assistance of Utu, because of his connection with the cedar mountain.

Gilgamesh and his father, Lugalbanda, were kings of the first dynasty of Uruk, a lineage that Jeffrey H. Tigay suggested could be traced back to Utu himself. He further suggested that Lugalbanda’s association with the sun-god in the Old Babylonian version of the epic strengthened “the impression that at one point in the history of the tradition the sun-god was also invoked as an ancestor”.

Shamash (Akkadian: Šamaš, “Sun”) was a native Mesopotamian deity and the Sun god in the Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian pantheons. He was the god of justice in Babylonia and Assyria, corresponding to Sumerian Utu. Akkadian šamaš is cognate to Syriac šemša or šimšu Hebrew šemeš and Arabic šams.

Both in early and in late inscriptions Shamash is designated as the “offspring of Nannar”; i.e. of the Moon-god, and since, in an enumeration of the pantheon, Sin generally takes precedence of Shamash, it is in relationship, presumably, to the Moon-god that the Sun-god appears as the dependent power. Such a supposition would accord with the prominence acquired by the Moon in the calendar and in astrological calculations, as well as with the fact that the Moon-cult belongs to the nomadic and therefore earlier stage of civilization, whereas the Sun-god rises to full importance only after the agricultural stage has been reached.

The two chief centres of Sun-worship in Babylonia were Sippar, represented by the mounds at Abu Habba, and Larsa, represented by the modern Senkerah. At both places the chief sanctuary bore the name E-barra (or E-babbara) “the shining house” – a direct allusion to the brilliancy of the Sun-god. Of the two temples, that at Sippara was the more famous, but temples to Shamash were erected in all large centres – such as Babylon, Ur, Mari, Nippur, and Nineveh.

Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis. Inara’s mother is probably Hebat and her brother is Sarruma.

The mother goddess Hannahannah promises Inara land and a man during a consultation by Inara. Inara then disappears. Her father looks for her, joined by Hannahannah with a bee. The story resembles that of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, in Greek myth.

Inanna (Cuneiform: (Old Babylonian) or (Neo-Assyrian) MUŠ; Sumerian: Inanna; Akkadian: Ištar) was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre. Inanna was associated with the planet Venus, which at that time was regarded as two stars, the “morning star” and the “evening star.”

In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal (EREŠ.KI.GAL, “Queen of the Great Earth”) was the goddess of Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler, and sometimes it is given as Ninkigal (“Great Lady of the Earth” or “Lady of the Great Earth”).

Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom. The main temple dedicated to her was located in Kutha. It was said that she had been stolen away by Kur and taken to the underworld, where she was made queen unwillingly.

In some versions of the myths, she rules the underworld by herself, sometimes with a husband subordinate to her named Gugalana (Sumerian: GU.GAL.AN.NA, “the Great Bull of Heaven”), better known as the Bull of Heaven (Sumerian: GU.AN.NA), a Sumerian deity as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

The goddess Ishtar refers to Ereshkigal as her older sister in the Sumerian hymn “The Descent of Inanna” (which was also in later Babylonian myth, also called “The Descent of Ishtar”). Inanna/Ishtar’s trip and return to the underworld is the most familiar of the myths concerning Ereshkigal.

Ereshkigal is the sister and counterpart of Inanna/Ishtar, the symbol of nature during the non-productive season of the year. Ereshkigal was also a queen that many gods and goddesses looked up to in the underworld. She is known chiefly through two myths, believed to symbolize the changing of the seasons, but perhaps also intended to illustrate certain doctrines which date back to the Mesopotamia period. According to the doctrine of two kingdoms, the dominions of the two sisters are sharply differentiated, as one is of this world and one of the world of the dead.

In Sumerian religion, Ninlil (NIN.LÍL”lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”), also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mulliltu, is the consort goddess of Enlil. Her parentage is variously described. Most commonly she is called the daughter of Haia (god of stores) and Nunbarsegunu (or Ninshebargunnu [a goddess of barley] or Nisaba). Another Akkadian source says she is the daughter of Anu (aka An) and Antu (Sumerian Ki). Other sources call her a daughter of Anu and Nammu.

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).

She lived in Dilmun with her family. Raped and ravaged by her husband Enlil, who impregnated her with water, she conceived a boy, Nanna/Suen, the future moon god. As punishment Enlil was dispatched to the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, where Ninlil joined him. Enlil impregnated her disguised as the gatekeeper, where upon she gave birth to their son Nergal, god of death.

In a similar manner she conceived the underworld god Ninazu when Enlil impregnated her disguised as the man of the river of the nether world, a man-devouring river. Later Enlil disguised himself as the man of the boat, impregnating her with a fourth deity Enbilulu, god of rivers and canals. All of these act as substitutes for Nanna/Suen to ascend. In some texts Ninlil is also the mother of Ninurta, the heroic god who slew Asag the demon with his mace, Sharur.

After her death, she became the goddess of the wind, like Enlil. She may be the Goddess of the South Wind referred to in the story of Adapa, as her husband Enlil was associated with northerly winter storms. As “Lady Wind” she may be associated with the figure of the Akkadian demon “Lil-itu”, thought to have been the origin of the Hebrew Lilith legend.

In the sleeping quarters, in the flowered bed fragrant like a cedar forest, Enlil made love to his wife and took great pleasure in it. He sat her on his dais appropriate to the status of Enlil, and made the people pray to her. The lord whose statements are powerful also determined a fate for the Lady (Aruru), the woman of his favour; he gave her the name Nintur, the ‘Lady who gives birth’, the ‘Lady who spreads her knees’. (…) Proud woman, surpassing the mountains! You who always fulfil your desires—from now on, Sud, Enlil is the king and Ninlil is the queen. The goddess without name has a famous name now, ……

Hebat is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubeleyan Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”; Lydian Kuvava; Greek: Kybele, Kybebe, Kybelis), an originally Anatolian mother goddess.

She is ancient Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably the highest deity of the Phrygian State. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread from there to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies from around the 6th century BCE.

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

Many of her Greek cults included rites to a divine Phrygian castrate shepherd-consort Attis, who was probably a Greek invention. In Greece, Cybele is associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions.

In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater (“Great Mother”). The Roman State adopted and developed a particular form of her cult after the Sibylline oracle recommended her conscription as a key religious component in Rome’s second war against Carthage.

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

Cybele may have evolved from in the earliest Neolithic Çatalhöyük in the Konya region where the statue of an Anatolian Mother Goddess, a pregnant goddess seated on a lion throne, was found in a granary dated to the 6th millennium BCE.

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

The inscription Matar Kubileya at a Phrygian rock-cut shrine, dated to the first half of the 6th century BCE, is usually read as “Mother of the mountain”, a reading supported by ancient Classical sources, and consistent with Cybele as any of several similar tutelary goddesses, each known as “mother” and associated with specific Anatolian mountains or other localities: a goddess thus “born from stone”.

The earliest form of Cybele’s name may have been kubaba or kumbaba which suggests humbaba who was the guardian of the forest in the epic of gilgamesh – the world’s oldest recorded myth from Assyria of circa 2500 BGE and as scholars reveal more of the text as the source of most of the major mythological themes of later civilizations. The origin of kubaba may have been kube or kuba meaning ‘cube’.

The stone associated with Cybele’s worship was originally, probably at Pessinus but perhaps at Pergamum or on Mount Ida. What is certain is that in 204 BCE it was taken to Rome, where Cybele became ‘Mother’ to the Romans. The ecstatic rites of her worship were alien to the Roman temperament but nevertheless animated the streets of their city during the annual procession of the goddess’s statue. Alongside. Isis. Cybele retained prominence in the heart of the empire until the fifth century BCE. When the stone was then lost. Her cult prospered throughout the empire and it is said that every town or village remained true to the worship of Cybele.

The home of Aphrodite was at Paphos on Cyprus. Various classical writers describe the rituals, which went on her in her honor – in which a tapering black stone;4he object, of veneration at her temple, was used.

Kummanni (Hittite: Kummiya) was the name of the main center the Anatolian kingdom of Kizzuwatna. Its location is uncertain, but is believed to be near the classical settlement of Comana in Cappadocia. Kummanni was the major cult center of the Hurrian chief deity, Tešup. Its Hurrian name Kummeni simply translates as “The Shrine”.

The city persisted into the Early Iron Age, and appears as Kumme in Assyrian records. It was located on the edge of Assyrian influence in the far northeastern corner of Mesopotamia, separating Assyria from Urartu and the highlands of southeastern Anatolia.

Kumme was still considered a holy city in Assyrian times, both in Assyria and in Urartu. Adad-nirari II, after re-conquering the city, made sacrifices to “Adad of Kumme.” The three chief deities in the Urartian pantheon were Ḫaldi (Ḫaldi, also known as Khaldi or Hayk) of Ardini, Theispas of Kumenu, and Shivini of Tushpa.

Khaldi was one of the three chief deities of Ararat (Urartu). Of all the gods of Ararat (Urartu) pantheon, the most inscriptions are dedicated to him. His wife was the goddess Arubani, the Urartian’s goddess of fertility and art, and Bagmashtu (also known as Bagparti, Bagvarti, Bagbartu). He is portrayed as a man with or without a beard, standing on a lion.

One of the most important goddesses of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is the personification of dawn as a beautiful young woman. Her name is reconstructed as Hausōs (PIE *h₂ewsṓs- or *h₂ausōs-, an s-stem), besides numerous epithets.

Derivatives of *h₂ewsṓs in the historical mythologies of Indo-European peoples include Indian Uṣas, Greek Ἠώς (Ēōs), Latin Aurōra, and Baltic Aušra (“dawn”, c.f. Lithuanian Aušrinė). Germanic *Austrōn- is from an extended stem *h₂ews-tro-.

The name *h₂ewsṓs is derived from a root *h₂wes / *au̯es “to shine”, thus translating to “the shining one”. Both the English word east and the Latin auster “south” are from a root cognate adjective *aws-t(e)ro-. Also cognate is aurum “gold”, from *awso-. The name for “spring season”, *wes-r- is also from the same root.

The dawn goddess was also the goddess of spring, involved in the mythology of the Indo-European new year, where the dawn goddess is liberated from imprisonment by a god (reflected in the Rigveda as Indra, in Greek mythology as Dionysus and Cronus).

Besides the name most amenable to reconstruction, *h₂ewsṓs, a number of epithets of the dawn goddess may be reconstructed with some certainty. Among these is *wenos- (also an s-stem), whence Sanskrit vanas “loveliness; desire”, used of Uṣas in the Rigveda, and the Latin name Venus and the Norse Vanir. The name indicates that the goddess was imagined as a beautiful nubile woman, who also had aspects of a love goddess.

As a consequence, the love goddess aspect was separated from the personification of dawn in a number of traditions, including Roman Venus vs. Aurora, and Greek Aphrodite vs. Eos. The name of Aphrodite Άφροδίτη may still preserve her role as a dawn goddess, etymologized as “she who shines from the foam [ocean]” (from aphros “foam” and deato “to shine”).

J.P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams (1997) have also proposed an etymology based on the connection with the Indo-European dawn goddess, from *abhor- “very” and *dhei “to shine”. Other epithets include Erigone “early-born” in Greek.

The Italic goddess Mater Matuta “Mother Morning” has been connected to Aurora by Roman authors (Lucretius, Priscianus). Her festival, the Matralia, fell on 11 June, beginning at dawn.

The abduction and imprisonment of the dawn goddess, and her liberation by a heroic god slaying the dragon who imprisons her, is a central myth of Indo-European religion, reflected in numerous traditions. Most notably, it is the central myth of the Rigveda, a collection of hymns surrounding the Soma rituals dedicated to Indra in the New Year celebrations of the early Indo-Aryans.

According to ancient geographers, Comana was situated in Cappadocia (and later Cataonia). Another epithet for the city, found in inscriptions, is Hieropolis ‘sacred city’, owing to a famous temple of the Syrian Moon goddess Enyo or, in the local language: Ma (cf. Men, the moon goddess of Caria).

Strabo and Julius Caesar visited it; the former enters into long details about its position in a deep valley on the Sarus (Seihoun) river. The temple was in ancient times famous as the place where the rites of Ma-Enyo, a variety of the great west Asian nature-goddess, were celebrated with much solemnity.

The service was carried on in a sumptuous temple with great magnificence by many thousands of hieroduli (temple slaves). To defray expenses, large estates had been set apart, which yielded a more than royal revenue. The city, a mere apanage of the temple, was governed directly by the chief priest, who was always a member of the reigning Cappadocian family, and took rank next to the king. The number of persons engaged in the service of the temple, even in Strabo’s time, was upwards of 6000, and among these, to judge by the names common on local tomb-stones, were many Persians.

Under the Romans the temple was reassigned to Bellona and Lycomedes established as high priest. Emperor Caracalla made Comana a Roman colony, and the temple-city received honors from later emperors down to the official recognition of Christianity.

Dingir is a cuneiform sign, most commonly the determinative for “deity” although it has related meanings as well. As a determinative, it is not pronounced, and is conventionally transliterated as a superscript “D” as in e.g. DInanna. Generically, dingir can be translated as “god” or “goddess”.

The sign in Sumerian cuneiform (DIĜIR) by itself represents the Sumerian word an (“sky” or “heaven”), the ideogram for An or the word diĝir (“god”), the supreme deity of the Sumerian pantheon. In Assyrian cuneiform, it (AN, DIĜIR) could be either an ideogram for “deity” (ilum) or a syllabogram for an, or ìl-. In Hittite orthography, the syllabic value of the sign was again an.

The concept of “divinity” in Sumerian is closely associated with the heavens, as is evident from the fact that the cuneiform sign doubles as the ideogram for “sky”, and that its original shape is the picture of a star. The original association of “divinity” is thus with “bright” or “shining” hierophanies in the sky.

Dyēus (also *Dyēus ph2ter, alternatively spelled dyēws) is believed to have been chief deity in the religious traditions of the prehistoric Proto-Indo-European societies. Part of a larger pantheon, he was the god of the daylight sky, and his position may have mirrored the position of the patriarch or monarch in society. In his aspect as a father god, his consort would have been Pltwih2 Mh2ter, “Earth Mother”.

This deity is not directly attested; rather scholars have reconstructed this deity from the languages and cultures of later Indo-European peoples such as Greeks, Latins and Indo-Aryans. According to this scholarly reconstruction, Dyeus was addressed as Dyeu Ph2ter, literally “Sky father” or “shining father”, as reflected in Latin Iūpiter, Diēspiter, possibly Dis Pater and deus pater, Greek Zeu pater, Sanskrit Dyàuṣpítaḥ.

As the pantheons of the individual mythologies related to the Proto-Indo-European religion evolved, attributes of Dyeus seem to have been redistributed to other deities. In Greek and Roman mythology, Dyeus remained the chief god, but in Vedic mythology, the etymological continuant of Dyeus became a very abstract god, and his original attributes, and his dominance over other gods, seem to have been transferred to gods such as Agni or Indra.

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

Although some of the more iconic reflexes of Dyeus are storm deities, such as Zeus and Jupiter, this is thought to be a late development exclusive to mediterranean traditions, probably derived from syncretism with Canaanite deities and Perkwunos.

The deity’s original domain was over the daylit sky, and indeed reflexes emphasise this connection to light: Istanu (Tiyaz) is a solar deity, Helios is often referred to as the “eye of Zeus”, in Romanian paganism the Sun is similarly called “God’s eye” and in Indo-Iranian tradition Surya/Hvare-khshaeta is similarly associated with Ahura Mazda. Even in roman tradition, Jupiter often is only associated with diurnal lightning at most, while Summanus is a deity responsible for nocturnal lightning or storms as a whole.

In Mesopotamian Religion, Tiamat is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation. Depicted as a woman she represents both the beauty of the feminine, depicted as the glistening one. She is a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû (the god of fresh water) to produce younger gods. Some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon.

The Abzu (ZU.AB; Sumerian: abzu; Akkadian: apsû) also called engur, (Cuneiform: LAGAB×HAL; Sumerian: engur; Akkadian: engurru) literally, ab=’ocean’ zu=’deep’ was the name for the primeval sea below the void space of the underworld (Kur) and the earth (Ma) above. It may also refer to fresh water from underground aquifers that were given a religious fertilizing quality. Lakes, springs, rivers, wells, and other sources of fresh water were thought to draw their water from the abzu.

In the city of Eridu, Enki’s temple was known as E2-abzu (house of the cosmic waters) and was located at the edge of a swamp, an abzu. Certain tanks of holy water in Babylonian and Assyrian temple courtyards were also called abzu (apsû). Typical in religious washing, these tanks were similar to the washing pools of Islamic mosques, or the baptismal font in Christian churches.

The Sumerian god Enki (Ea in the Akkadian language) was believed to have lived in the abzu since before human beings were created. His wife Damgalnuna, his mother Nammu, his advisor Isimud and a variety of subservient creatures, such as the gatekeeper Lahmu, also lived in the abzu.

Ap (áp-) is the Vedic Sanskrit term for “water”, which in Classical Sanskrit only occurs in the plural, āpas (sometimes re-analysed as a thematic singular, āpa-), whence Hindi āp. The term is from PIE hxap “water”. The Indo-Iranian word also survives as the Persian word for water, āb, e.g. in Punjab (from panj-āb “five waters”).

A water deity is a deity in mythology associated with water or various bodies of water. Water deities are common in mythology and were usually more important among civilizations in which the sea or ocean, or a great river was more important. Another important focus of worship of water deities were springs or holy wells.

Apam Napat is an eminent figure of the Indo-Iranian pantheon. In the Rig Veda, Apām Napāt is the supreme god of creation. Apam Napat created all existential beings (Rig Veda 2.35.2)[2] . In Zoroastrianism, Apąm Napāt is a divinity of water.

Apām Napāt in Sanskrit and Apąm Napāt in Avestan mean “son of waters”. Sanskrit and Avestan napāt (“grandson”) are cognate to Latin nepōs and English nephew, but the name Apām Napāt has also been compared to Etruscan Nethuns and Celtic Nechtan and Roman Neptune.

In Yasht 19 of the Avesta Apąm Napāt appears as the Creator of mankind. Here, there is an evident link between the glory of sovereignty (Khvarenah) and Apąm Napāt who protects Khvarenah as the royal glory of Iranian kings. Apām Napāt is sometimes, for example in Rigveda book 2 hymn 35 verse 2, described as the supreme creator deity who originates in the cosmic waters.

Apam Napat has a golden splendour and is said to be kindled by the cosmic waters. The reference to fire may have originally referred to flames from natural gas or oil seepages surfacing through water, as in a fire temple at Surakhany near Baku in Azerbaijan. There is a conjecture that the word “naphtha” came (via Greek, where it meant any sort of petroleum) from the name “Apam Napat”.

Ma is a Sumerian word meaning “land” that in Sumerian mythology was also used to regard Primordial Land. There seems to be some loss in records as to the transition, but the same name Ma appears again later, also tied to the Earth, in Ma being referred to as “Mother of the mountain” – in this case, Kur (Mountain) the first dragon god. Ma was a local goddess at Ma and a Phrygian alternative name for Cybele.

Comana was a city of Cappadocia and later Cataonia. The Hittite toponym Kummanni is considered likely to refer to Comana. Another epithet for the city, found in inscriptions, is Hieropolis ‘sacred city’, owing to a famous temple of the Syrian Moon goddess Enyo or, in the local language: Ma (cf. Men, the moon goddess of Caria).

The underworld Kur is the void space between the primeval sea (Abzu) and the earth (Ma), which seem to be a likely pairing for parentage. In Sumerian mythology, Kur is considered the first ever dragon, and usually referred to the Zagros Mountains to the east of Sumer. The cuneiform for “kur” was written ideographically with the cuneiform sign that had a pictograph of a mountain. It can also mean “foreign land”.

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

The mes were originally collected by Enlil and then handed over to the guardianship of Enki who was to broker them out to the various Sumerian centers beginning with his own city of Eridu and continuing with Ur, Meluhha, and Dilmun.

This is described in the poem, “Enki and the World Order” which also details how he parcels out responsibility for various crafts and natural phenomena to the lesser gods. Here the mes of various places are extolled but are not them selves clearly specified, and they seem to be distinct from the individual responsibilities of each divinity as they are mentioned in conjunction with specific places rather than gods.

After a considerable amount of self-glorification on the part of Enki, his daughter Inanna comes before him with a complaint that she has been given short shrift on her divine spheres of influence. Enki does his best to placate her by pointing out those she does in fact possess.

There is no direct connection implied in the mythological cycle between this poem and that which is our main source of information on the mes, “Inanna and Enki: The Transfer of the Arts of Civilization from Eridu to Uruk”, but once again Inanna’s discontent is a theme. She is the tutelary deity of Uruk and desires to increase its influence and glory by bringing the mes to it from Eridu.

She travels to Enki’s Eridu shrine, the E-abzu, in her “boat of heaven”, and asks the mes from him after he is well into his cups (which is to say, drunk) whereupon he complies. After she departs with them, he comes to his senses and notices they are missing from their usual place, and on being informed what he did with them attempts to retrieve them. The attempt fails and Inanna triumphantly delivers them to Uruk.

We never learn what any of the mes look like, yet they are represented as physical objects of some sort. Not only are they stored in a prominent location in the E-abzu, but Inanna is able to display them to the people of Uruk after she arrives with them in her boat. Some of them are indeed physical objects such as musical instruments, but many are technologies like “basket weaving” or abstractions like “victory”. It is not made clear in the poem how such things can be stored, handled, or displayed.

Not all the mes are admirable or desirable traits. Alongside functions like “heroship” and “victory” we also find “the destruction of cities”, “falsehood”, and “enmity”. The Sumerians apparently considered such evils and sins an inevitable part of humanity’s lot in life, divinely and inscrutably decreed, and not to be questioned.

It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is a creator goddess, through a “Sacred marriage” between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second “Chaoskampf” Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos.

The Tiamat myth is one of the earliest recorded versions of the Chaoskampf, the battle between a culture hero and a chthonic or aquatic monster, serpent or dragon. Chaoskampf motifs in other mythologies linked directly or indirectly to the Tiamat myth include the Hittite Illuyanka myth, and in Greek tradition Apollo’s killing of the Python as a necessary action to take over the Delphic Oracle.

In Hittite mythology, Illuyanka was a serpentine dragon slain by Tarhunt (IM), the Hittite incarnation of the Hurrian god of sky and storm. It is known from Hittite cuneiform tablets found at Çorum-Boğazköy, the former Hittite capital Hattusa. The context is a ritual of the Hattian spring festival of Puruli.

The abduction and imprisonment of the dawn goddess, and her liberation by a heroic god slaying the dragon who imprisons her, is a central myth of Indo-European religion, reflected in numerous traditions. Most notably, it is the central myth of the Rigveda, a collection of hymns surrounding the Soma rituals dedicated to Indra in the New Year celebrations of the early Indo-Aryans.

One of the most important goddesses of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is the personification of dawn as a beautiful young woman. Her name is reconstructed as Hausōs (PIE *h₂ewsṓs- or *h₂ausōs-, an s-stem), besides numerous epithets. The name *h₂ewsṓs is derived from a root *h₂wes / *au̯es “to shine”, thus translating to “the shining one”.

Both the English word east and the Latin auster “south” are from a root cognate adjective *aws-t(e)ro-. Also cognate is aurum “gold”, from *awso-. The name for “spring season”, *wes-r- is also from the same root.

The dawn goddess was also the goddess of spring, involved in the mythology of the Indo-European New Year, where the dawn goddess is liberated from imprisonment by a god reflected in the Rigveda as Indra, in Greek mythology as Dionysus and Cronus.

Besides the name most amenable to reconstruction, *h₂ewsṓs, a number of epithets of the dawn goddess may be reconstructed with some certainty. Among these is *wenos- (also an s-stem), whence Sanskrit vanas “loveliness; desire”, used of Uṣas in the Rigveda, and the Latin name Venus and the Norse Vanir. The name indicates that the goddess was imagined as a beautiful nubile woman, who also had aspects of a love goddess.

Robert Graves considered Tiamat’s death by Marduk as evidence of his hypothesis that a shift in power from a matriarchy controlling society to a patriarchy happened in the ancient past. Grave’s ideas were later developed into the Great Goddess theory by Marija Gimbutas, Merlin Stone and others. The theory suggests Tiamat and other ancient monster figures were presented as former supreme deities of peaceful, woman-centered religions that were turned into monsters when violent. Their defeat at the hands of a male hero corresponded to the manner in which male-dominated religions overthrew ancient society. This theory is rejected by academia and modern authors such as Lotte Motz, Cynthia Eller and others.

In the Enûma Elish, the Babylonian epic of creation, she gives birth to the first generation of deities; her husband, Apsu, later makes war upon them and is killed. When she, too, wars upon her husband’s murderers, she is then slain by Enki’s son, the storm-god Marduk. The heavens and the earth are formed from her divided body.

The Babylonian epic Enuma Elish is named for its incipit: “When above” the heavens did not yet exist nor the earth below, Apsu the freshwater ocean was there, “the first, the begetter”, and Tiamat, the saltwater sea, “she who bore them all”; they were “mixing their waters”.

It is thought that female deities are older than male ones in Mesopotamia and Tiamat may have begun as part of the cult of Nammu, a female principle of a watery creative force, with equally strong connections to the underworld, which predates the appearance of Ea-Enki.

Tiamat was the “shining” personification of salt water who roared and smote in the chaos of original creation. She and Apsu filled the cosmic abyss with the primeval waters. She is “Ummu-Hubur who formed all things”.

In the myth recorded on cuneiform tablets, the deity Enki (later Ea) believed correctly that Apsu, upset with the chaos they created, was planning to murder the younger deities; and so captured him, holding him prisoner beneath his temple the E-Abzu. This angered Kingu, their son, who reported the event to Tiamat, whereupon she fashioned eleven monsters to battle the deities in order to avenge Apsu’s death.

Tiamat possessed the Tablets of Destiny and in the primordial battle she gave them to Kingu, the deity she had chosen as her lover and the leader of her host, and who was also one of her children. The deities gathered in terror, but Anu, (replaced later, first by Enlil and, in the late version that has survived after the First Dynasty of Babylon, by Marduk, the son of Ea), first extracting a promise that he would be revered as “king of the gods”, overcame her, armed with the arrows of the winds, a net, a club, and an invincible spear.

Slicing Tiamat in half, he made from her ribs the vault of heaven and earth. Her weeping eyes became the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates, her tail became the Milky Way. With the approval of the elder deities, he took from Kingu the Tablets of Destiny, installing himself as the head of the Babylonian pantheon. Kingu was captured and later was slain: his red blood mixed with the red clay of the Earth would make the body of humankind, created to act as the servant of the younger Igigi deities.

The principal theme of the epic is the justified elevation of Marduk to command over all the deities. “It has long been realized that the Marduk epic, for all its local coloring and probable elaboration by the Babylonian theologians, reflects in substance older Sumerian material,” American Assyriologist E. A. Speiser remarked in 1942 adding “The exact Sumerian prototype, however, has not turned up so far.”

Without corroboration in surviving texts, this surmise that the Babylonian version of the story is based upon a modified version of an older epic, in which Enlil, not Marduk, was the god who slew Tiamat, is more recently dismissed as “distinctly improbable”, in fact, Marduk has no precise Sumerian prototype.

It is generally accepted amongst modern Assyriologists that the Enûma Elish – the Babylonian creation epic to which this mythological strand is attributed – has been written as political and religious propaganda rather than reflecting a Sumerian tradition; the dating of the epic is not completely clear, but judging from the mythological topics covered and the cuneiform versions discovered thus far, it is likely to date it to the 15th century BCE.

In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically NAMMA = ENGUR) was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat in Babylonian mythology.

Nammu was the Goddess Sea (Engur) that gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) and the first gods, representing the Apsu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall.

Nammu is not well attested in Sumerian mythology. She may have been of greater importance prehistorically, before Enki took over most of her functions. An indication of her continued relevance may be found in the theophoric name of Ur-Nammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur.

According to the Neo-Sumerian mythological text Enki and Ninmah, Enki is the son of An and Nammu. Nammu is the goddess who “has given birth to the great gods”. It is she who has the idea of creating mankind, and she goes to wake up Enki, who is asleep in the Apsu, so that he may set the process going.

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

Kingu, also spelled Qingu, meaning “unskilled laborer,” was a god in Babylonian mythology, and — after the murder of his father Abzu — the consort of the goddess Tiamat, his mother, who wanted to establish him as ruler and leader of all gods before she was slain by Marduk.

Tiamat gave Kingu the 3 Tablets of Destiny, which he wore as a breastplate and which gave him great power. She placed him as the general of her army. However, like Tiamat, Kingu was eventually slain by Marduk.

Marduk mixed Kingu’s blood with earth and used the clay to mold the first human beings, while Tiamat’s body created the earth and the skies. Kingu then went to live in the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, along with the other deities who had sided with Tiamat.

Purusha is a complex concept whose meaning evolved in Vedic and Upanishadic times. Depending on source and historical timeline, it means the cosmic man or it means Self, Consciousness, and Universal principle.

In early Vedas, Purusa meant a cosmic man whose sacrifice by the gods created all life. This was one of many creation theories discussed in the Vedas. The idea parallels Norse Ymir, with the myth’s origin in Proto-Indo-European religion.

In the Upanishads, the Purusa concept no longer meant a being or cosmic man. The meaning evolved to an abstract essence of Self, Spirit and the Universal Principle that is eternal, indestructible, without form and all pervasive. The Purusa concept is explained with the concept of Prakrti in the Upanishads. The universe is envisioned, in these ancient Sanskrit texts, as a combination of perceivable material reality and non-perceivable, non-material laws and principles of nature.

Material reality, or Prakrti, is everything that has changed, can change and is subject to cause and effect. Purusa is the Universal principle that is unchanging, uncaused but is present everywhere and the reason why Prakrti changes, evolves all the time and why there is cause and effect. Purusa is what connects everything and everyone, according to various schools of Hinduism.

Abzu (or Apsû) fathered upon Tiamat the elder deities Lahmu and Lahamu (masc. the “hairy”), a title given to the gatekeepers at Enki’s Abzu/E’engurra-temple in Eridu. Lahmu and Lahamu, in turn, were the parents of the ‘ends’ of the heavens (Anshar, from an = heaven, shár = horizon, end) and the earth (Kishar); Anshar and Kishar were considered to meet at the horizon, becoming, thereby, the parents of Anu (Heaven) and Ki (Earth).

Laḫmu, Lakhmu, Lache, Lumasi, or Assyro-Akkadian Lammasu, meaning parent star or constellation, is a deity from Akkadian mythology that represents the zodiac, parent stars, or constellations. It is the name of a protective and beneficent deity, the first-born son of Abzu and Tiamat.

Laḫmu is depicted as a bearded man with a red sash-usually with three strands- and four to six curls on his head and they are also depicted as monsters, which each encompasses a specific constellation. He is often associated with the Kusarikku or “Bull-Man”, corresponding to a part of Centaurus. In Sumerian times Laḫmu may have meant “the muddy one”.

The figure of Centaurus can be traced back to a Babylonian constellation known as the Bison-man (MUL.GUD.ALIM). This being was depicted in two major forms: firstly, as a 4-legged bison with a human head, and secondly, as a being with a man’s head and torso attached to the rear legs and tail of a bull or bison. It has been closely associated with the Sun god Utu-Shamash from very early times.

According to the Roman poet Ovid (Fasti v.379), the constellation honors the centaur Chiron, who was tutor to many of the earlier Greek heroes including Heracles (Hercules), Theseus, and Jason, the leader of the Argonauts.

However, most authorities consider Sagittarius to be the civilized Chiron, while Centaurus represents a more uncouth member of the species. The legend associated with Chiron says that he was accidentally poisoned with an arrow shot by Hercules, and was subsequently placed in the heavens.

Lahamu is sometimes seen as a serpent, and sometimes as a woman with a red sash and six curls on her head. It is suggested that the pair were represented by the silt of the sea-bed, but more accurately are known to be the representations of the zodiac, parent-stars, or constellations.

Lahmu guarded the gates of the Abzu temple of Enki at Eridu. He and his sister Laḫamu are primordial deities in the Babylonian Epic of Creation Enuma Elis and Lahmu may be related to or identical with “Lahamu”, one of Tiamat’s creatures in that epic.

Some scholars, such as William F. Albright, have speculated that the name of Bethlehem (“house of lehem”) originally referred to a Canaanite fertility deity cognate with Laḫmu and Laḫamu, rather than to the Canaanite word lehem, “bread”.

A lamassu (Cuneiform: AN.KAL; Sumerian: lamma; Akkadian: lamassu; sometimes called a lamassus) is an Assyrian protective deity, often depicted with a bull or lion’s body, eagle’s wings, and human’s head. In some writings it is portrayed to represent a female deity. A less frequently used name is shedu (AN.KAL×BAD; Sumerian: alad; Akkadian, šēdu) which refers to the male counterpart of a lamassu. The Lammasu or Lumasi represent the zodiacs, parent-stars, or constellations.

The Lammasu or Lumasi represent the zodiacs, parent-stars, or constellations. They are depicted as protective deities because they encompass all life within them. In the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh they are depicted as physical deities as well, which is where the Lammasu iconography originates, these deities could be microcosms of their microcosmic zodiac, parent-star, or constellation.

Although “lamassu” had a different iconography and portrayal in Sumerian culture, the terms lamassu, alad, and shedu evolved throughout the Assyro-Akkadian culture from the Sumerian culture to denote the Assyrian-winged-man-bull symbol and statues during the Neo-Assyrian empire. Female lamassus were called “apsasû”.

The motif of the Assyrian-winged-man-bull called Aladlammu and Lamassu interchangeably is not the lamassu or alad of Sumerian origin which were depicted with different iconography. These monumental statues were called aladlammû or lamassu which meant “protective spirit”.

In Hittite the Sumerian form LAMMA is used both a name for the so-called “Tutelary deity” identified in certain later texts with Inara and a title given to various other tutelary or similar protective gods. In the Enûma Eliš they are both symbolized as the zodiacs, parent-stars, or constellations and as physical deities as well as was in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

The Akkadians associated the god Papsukkal with lamassu and the god Išum with shedu. Papsukkal is the messenger god in the Akkadian pantheon. He is identified in late Akkadian texts and is known chiefly from the Hellenistic period. His consort is Amasagnul, and he acts as both messenger and gatekeeper for the rest of the pantheon. A sanctuary, the E-akkil is identified from the Mesopotamian site of Mkish. He becomes syncretised from Ninshubur.

Ninshubur (also known as Ninshubar, Nincubura or Ninšubur) was the sukkal or second-in-command of the goddess Inanna in Sumerian mythology. A goddess in her own right, her name can be translated as ‘Queen of the East’, and she was said to be a messenger and traveller for the other gods. As Inanna was associated with the planet Venus, Ninshubur was said to be associated with Mercury, as Venus and Mercury appear together in the sky.

Ninshubur accompanied Inanna as a vassal and friend throughout Inanna’s many exploits. She helped Inanna fight Enki’s demons after Inanna’s theft of the sacred me. Later, when Inanna became trapped in the Underworld, it was Ninshubur who pleaded with Enki for her mistress’s release. Though described as an unmarried virgin, in a few accounts Ninshubur is said to be one of Inanna’s lovers. In later Akkadian mythology, Ninshubur was male. In “A hymn to Nergal” Ninshubur appeared as the minister of the underworld.

Due to similarities between the two, some believe the later Hermes, a god of transitions and boundaries, to have been based in part on Ninshubur. He is quick and cunning, and moves freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine, as emissary and messenger of the gods, intercessor between mortals and the divine, and conductor of souls into the afterlife. He is protector and patron of travelers, herdsmen, thieves, orators and wit, literature and poets, athletics and sports, invention and trade.

In some myths he is a trickster, and outwits other gods for his own satisfaction or the sake of humankind. His attributes and symbols include the herma, the rooster and the tortoise, purse or pouch, winged sandals, winged cap, and his main symbol is the herald’s staff, the Greek kerykeion or Latin caduceus which consisted of two snakes wrapped around a winged staff.

In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon (see interpretatio romana), Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury, who, though inherited from the Etruscans, developed many similar characteristics, such as being the patron of commerce.

In the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish, Anshar (also spelled Anshur), which means “whole heaven”, while his consort Kishar, which means “Whole Earth”, are primordial deities. She is the female principle, sister and wife of Anshar, the male principle. Kishar may represent the earth, and can be seen as an earth mother goddess, while Anshar, may represent the sky, and can be seen as a sky father.

They were the children of Lahamu and Lahmu and the grandchildren of Tiamat and Apsû. They, in turn, are the parents of Anu, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons.

An and Ki were, in some texts, identified as brother and sister being the children of Anshar and Kishar. In Sumerian mythology, Anu (also An; from Sumerian An, “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.

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.[

In Akkadian mythology, Antu or Antum is a Babylonian goddess. She was the first consort of Anu, and the pair was the parents of the Anunnaki and the Utukki. 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. Antu was replaced as consort by Ishtar or Inanna, who may also be a daughter of Anu and Antu.

She is similar to Anat or Anath, a major northwest Semitic goddess. 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.

Anu had several consorts, the foremost being Ki (earth), Nammu, and Uras. By Ki he was the father of, among others, the Anunnaki gods. By Uras he was the father of Nin’insinna. According to legends, heaven and earth were once inseparable until An and Ki bore Enlil, god of the air, who cleaved heaven and earth in two. Ki later developed into the Akkadian goddess Antu (also known as “Keffen Anu”, “Kef”, and “Keffenk Anum”).

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).

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

Enki (Sumerian: EN.KI(G)) is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times, identified with Enki.

Enki was considered a god of life and replenishment, and was often depicted with two streams of water flowing into his shoulders, one the Tigris, the other the Euphrates. Alongside him were trees symbolising the female and male aspects of nature, each holding the female and male aspects of the ‘Life Essence’, which he, as apparent alchemist of the gods, would masterfully mix to create several beings that would live upon the face of 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.

Considered the master shaper of the world, god of wisdom and of all magic, Enki was characterized as the lord of the Abzu (Apsu in Akkadian), the freshwater sea or groundwater located within the earth.

In the later Babylonian epic Enûma Eliš, Abzu, the “begetter of the gods”, is inert and sleepy but finds his peace disturbed by the younger gods, so sets out to destroy them. His grandson Enki, chosen to represent the younger gods, puts a spell on Abzu “casting him into a deep sleep”, thereby confining him deep underground. Enki subsequently sets up his home “in the depths of the Abzu.” Enki thus takes on all of the functions of the Abzu, including his fertilising powers as lord of the waters and lord of semen.

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 accompanied by an attendant Isimud. He was also associated with the planet Mercury in the Sumerian astrological system.

The cosmogenic myth common in Sumer was that of the hieros gamos, a sacred marriage where divine principles in the form of dualistic opposites came together as male and female to give birth to the cosmos. In the epic Enki and Ninhursag, Enki, as lord of Ab or fresh water (also the Sumerian word for semen), is living with his wife in the paradise of Dilmun.

Despite being a place where “the raven uttered no cries” and “the lion killed not, the wolf snatched not the lamb, unknown was the kid-killing dog, unknown was the grain devouring boar”, Dilmun had no water and Enki heard the cries of its Goddess, Ninsikil, and orders the sun-God Utu to bring fresh water from the Earth for Dilmun.

Dilmun was identified with Bahrein, whose name in Arabic means “two seas”, where the fresh waters of the Arabian aquifer mingle with the salt waters of the Persian Gulf. This mingling of waters was known in Sumerian as Nammu, and was identified as the mother of Enki.

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

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

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

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

Ninhursag relents and takes Enki’s Ab (water, or semen) into her body, and gives birth to gods of healing of each part of the body. Abu for the Jaw, Nintul for the Hip, Ninsutu for the tooth, Ninkasi for the mouth, Dazimua for the side, Enshagag for the Limbs.

The last one, Ninti (Lady Rib), is also a pun on Lady Life, a title of Ninhursag herself. The story thus symbolically reflects the way in which life is brought forth through the addition of water to the land, and once it grows, water is required to bring plants to fruit. It also counsels balance and responsibility, nothing to excess.

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

After six generations of gods, in the Babylonian “Enuma Elish”, in the seventh generation, (Akkadian “shapattu” or sabath), the younger Igigi gods, the sons and daughters of Enlil and Ninlil, go on strike and refuse their duties of keeping the creation working.

Abzu God of fresh water, co-creator of the cosmos, threatens to destroy the world with his waters, and the Gods gather in terror. Enki promises to help and puts Abzu to sleep, confining him in irrigation canals and places him in the Kur, beneath his city of Eridu.

But the universe is still threatened, as Tiamat, angry at the imprisonment of Abzu and at the prompting of her son and vizier Kingu, decides to take back the creation herself. The gods gather again in terror and turn to Enki for help, but Enki who harnessed Abzu, Tiamat’s consort, for irrigation refuses to get involved.

The gods then seek help elsewhere, and the patriarchal Enlil, their father, God of Nippur, promises to solve the problem if they make him King of the Gods. In the Babylonian tale, Enlil’s role is taken by Marduk, Enki’s son, and in the Assyrian version it is Asshur.

After dispatching Tiamat with the “arrows of his winds” down her throat and constructing the heavens with the arch of her ribs, Enlil places her tail in the sky as the Milky Way, and her crying eyes become the source of the Tigris and Euphrates. But there is still the problem of “who will keep the cosmos working”. Enki, who might have otherwise come to their aid, is lying in a deep sleep and fails to hear their cries. His mother Nammu (creatrix also of Abzu and Tiamat) “brings the tears of the gods” before Enki.

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

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

Samuel Noah Kramer, believes that behind this myth of Enki’s confinement of Abzu lies an older one of the struggle between Enki and the Dragon Kur (the underworld).

The Atrahasis-Epos has it that Enlil requested from Nammu the creation of humans. And Nammu told him that with the help of Enki (her son) she can create humans in the image of gods.

In Sumerian mythology, Ninhursag or Ninkharsag, meaning “lady of the sacred mountain” (from Sumerian NIN “lady” and ḪAR.SAG “sacred mountain, foothill”), was a mother goddess of the mountains, and one of the seven great deities of Sumer. She is principally a fertility goddess.

As the wife and consort of Enki she was also referred to as Damgulanna (great wife of heaven) or Damkina (faithful wife). She had many epithets including shassuru or ‘womb goddess’, tabsut ili ‘midwife of the gods’, ‘mother of all children’ and ‘mother of the gods’. In this role she is identified with Ki in the Enuma Elish. She had shrines in both Eridu and Kish.

In the legend of Enki and Ninhursag, Ninhursag bore a daughter to Enki called Ninsar (“Lady Greenery”). Through Enki, Ninsar bore a daughter Ninkurra. Ninkurra, in turn, bore Enki a daughter named Uttu. Enki then pursued Uttu, who was upset because he didn’t care for her.

Uttu, on her ancestress Ninhursag’s advice buried Enki’s seed in the earth, whereupon eight plants (the very first) sprung up. Enki, seeing the plants, ate them, and became ill in eight organs of his body. Ninhursag cured him, taking the plants into her body and giving birth to eight deities: Abu, Nintulla (Nintul), Ninsutu, Ninkasi, Nanshe (Nazi), Azimua, Ninti, and Enshag (Enshagag).

In the text ‘Creator of the Hoe’, she completed the birth of mankind after the heads had been uncovered by Enki’s hoe. In creation texts, Ninmah (another name for Ninhursag) acts as a midwife whilst the mother goddess Nammu makes different kinds of human individuals from lumps of clay at a feast given by Enki to celebrate the creation of humankind.

Enlil (nlin) (EN = Lord + LÍL = Wind, “Lord (of the) Storm”) is the God of breath, wind, loft and breadth (height and distance). Ninlil (NIN.LÍL”lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”), also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mulliltu, is the consort goddess of Enlil.

In Sumerian religion, Ninlil (NIN.LÍL”lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”), also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mulliltu, is the consort goddess of Enlil. Her parentage is variously described.

Most commonly she is called the daughter of Haia (god of stores) and Nunbarsegunu (or Ninshebargunnu [a goddess of barley] or Nisaba). Another Akkadian source says she is the daughter of Anu (aka An) and Antu (Sumerian Ki). Other sources call her a daughter of Anu and Nammu.

She lived in Dilmun with her family. Raped and ravaged by her husband Enlil, who impregnated her with water, she conceived a boy, Nanna/Suen, the future moon god. As punishment Enlil was dispatched to the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, where Ninlil joined him.

Enlil impregnated her disguised as the gatekeeper, where upon she gave birth to their son Nergal, god of death. In a similar manner she conceived the underworld god Ninazu when Enlil impregnated her disguised as the man of the river of the nether world, a man-devouring river. Later Enlil disguised himself as the man of the boat, impregnating her with a fourth deity Enbilulu, god of rivers and canals. All of these act as substitutes for Nanna/Suen to ascend. In some texts Ninlil is also the mother of Ninurta, the heroic god who slew Asag the demon with his mace, Sharur.

After her death, she became the goddess of the wind, like Enlil. She may be the Goddess of the South Wind referred to in the story of Adapa, as her husband Enlil was associated with northerly winter storms. As “Lady Wind” she may be associated with the figure of the Akkadian demon “Lil-itu”, thought to have been the origin of the Hebrew Lilith legend.

Haya, known both as a “door-keeper” and associated with the scribal arts, is the spouse of Nidaba/Nissaba, goddess of grain and scribes. Haya is also characterised, beyond being the spouse of Nidaba/Nissaba, the Sumerian goddess of grain and writing, patron deity of the city Ereš, as an “agrig”-official of the god Enlil. He is designated as “the Nissaba of wealth”, as opposed to his wife, who is the “Nissaba of Wisdom”. Nidaba’s glory attracted her fall: her scribal functions were usurped by the god Nabu as he rose to power in the Old Babylonian period.

Nidaba reflects fundamental developments in the creation of Mesopotamian culture, those which take us from agriculture to accounting, to a very fine literary tradition. Nidaba was originally an agricultural deity, more specifically a goddess of grain. 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.

Traditions vary regarding the genealogy of Nidaba. She appears on separate occasions as the daughter of Enlil, of Uraš, of Ea, and of Anu. Nidaba’s spouse is Haya and together they have a daughter, Sud/Ninlil.

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.

In a debate between Nidaba and Grain, Nidaba is syncretised with Ereškigal as “Mistress of the Underworld”. 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.

Unlike her consort Nergal, Ereškigal has a distinctly dual association with death. This is reminiscent of the contradictive nature of her sister 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.

Ashur (also, Assur, Aššur; written A-šur, also Aš-šùr) is an East Semitic god, and the head of the Assyrian pantheon in Mesopotamian religion, worshipped mainly in the northern half of Mesopotamia, and parts of north-east Syria and south east Asia Minor which constituted old Assyria. He may have had a solar iconography.

Aššur was a deified form of the city of Assur (pronounced Ashur), which dates from the mid 3rd millennium BC and was the capital of the Old Assyrian kingdom. As such, Ashur did not originally have a family, but as the cult came under southern Mesopotamian influence, he later came to be regarded as the Assyrian equivalent of Enlil, the chief god of Nippur, which was the most important god of the southern pantheon from the early 3rd millennium BC until Hammurabi founded an empire based in Babylon in the mid-18th century BC, after which Marduk replaced Enlil as the chief god in the south.

In the north, Ashur absorbed Enlil’s wife Ninlil (as the Assyrian goddess Mullissu) and his sons Ninurta and Zababa—this process began around the 14th century BC and continued down to the 7th century.

Aššur is the name of the city, of the land ruled by the city, and of its tutelary deity. At a late date it appears in Assyrian literature in the forms An-sar, An-sar (ki), which form was presumably read Assur. The name of the deity is written A-šur or Aš-sùr, and in Neo-assyrian often shortened to Aš.

In the Creation tablet, the heavens personified collectively were indicated by this term An-sar, “host of heaven,” in contradistinction to the earth, Ki-sar, “host of earth.”

In view of this fact, it seems highly probable that the late writing An-sar for Assur was a more or less conscious attempt on the part of the Assyrian scribes to identify the peculiarly Assyrian deity Asur with the Creation deity An-sar. On the other hand, there is an epithet Asir or Ashir (“overseer”) applied to several gods and particularly to the deity Asur, a fact which introduced a third element of confusion into the discussion of the name Assur. It is probable then that there is a triple popular etymology in the various forms of writing the name Assur; viz. A-usar, An-sar and the stem asdru.

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 in Hittite as Asherdu(s) or Ashertu(s) or Aserdu(s) or Asertu(s). Asherah is generally considered identical with the Ugaritic goddess ʼAṯirat.

Asherah 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 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.

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Site of earliest known urban warfare

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 30, 2015

As they say: There has never been such a thing as a good war

– even with the us of bow and arrow people get killed

Ethnic Identity in the Earliest Mesopotamian States?

The Chalcolithic Period Mesopotamia

Rise of Mesopotamia

In prehistorical post-Paleolithic societies, war likely consisted of small-scale raiding. One half of the people found in a Nubian cemetery dating to as early as 12,000 years ago had died of violence. Since the rise of the state some 5,000 years ago, military activity has occurred over much of the globe.

The advent of gunpowder and the acceleration of technological advances led to modern warfare. According to Conway W. Henderson, “One source claims that 14,500 wars have taken place between 3500 BC and the late 20th century, costing 3.5 billion lives, leaving only 300 years of peace (Beer 1981: 20).”

The sling is an ancient weapon known to Neolithic peoples around the Mediterranean, but is likely much older. It is possible that the sling was invented during the Upper Paleolithic at a time when new technologies such as the spear-thrower and the bow and arrow were emerging.

With the exception of Australia, where spear throwing technology such as the woomera predominated, the sling became common all over the world, although it is not clear whether this occurred because of cultural diffusion or independent invention.

Representations of slingers can be found on artifacts from all over the ancient world, including Assyrian and Egyptian reliefs, the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, on coins and on the Bayeux Tapestry.

The oldest representation of a slinger in art may be from Çatalhöyük, from approximately 7,000 BC, though it is the only such depiction at the site, despite numerous depictions of archers.

The documentation of military history begins with the confrontation between Sumer (current Iraq) and Elam (current Iran) c. 2700 BC near the modern Basra, and includes such enduring records as the Hebrew Bible.

Other prominent records in military history are the Trojan War in Homer’s Iliad (though its historicity has been challenged), The Histories by Herodotus (484 BC – 425 BC) who is often called the “father of history”.

The Ubaid period (ca. 6500 to 3800 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The name derives from Tell al-`Ubaid where the earliest large excavation of Ubaid period material was conducted initially by Henry Hall and later by Leonard Woolley.

In South Mesopotamia the period is the earliest known period on the alluvium although it is likely earlier periods exist obscured under the alluvium. In the south it has a very long duration between about 6500 and 3800 BC when it is replaced by the Uruk period.

Ubaid 1, sometimes called Eridu (5300–4700 BC), a phase limited to the extreme south of Iraq, on what was then the shores of the Persian Gulf. This phase, showing clear connection to the Samarra culture to the north, saw the establishment of the first permanent settlement south of the 5 inch rainfall isohyet. These people pioneered the growing of grains in the extreme conditions of aridity, thanks to the high water tables of Southern Iraq.

In the Ubaid we see the clear emergence of the multi-generational “manor” with great houses headed by influential landowners, containing their extended families and retainers. The origins of this pattern may well lie in the Samarran T-shaped houses of Tell-es Sawaan. These Ubaid/Uruk private domains co-existed with the emerging temple systems as central appurtenances of political authority in Sumerian society with both of them probably dominating, then replacing the “Council of elders” of an earlier pre-urban time (as noted in later Sumerian writings).

Arising in temples of the Uruk era, the T-shaped plan is much like the tripartite plan except that the central rectangular hallway is T-shaped, sometimes with additional rooms along the head of the T. This plan is well attested in Ubaid houses before it came into use for temple architecture; this gives continuity, and the use of house plans for temples reflects the Sumerian notion that temples were houses/dwellings for the gods.

In North Mesopotamia the period runs only between about 5300 and 4300 BC. It is preceded by the Halaf period and the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period and succeeded by the Late Chalcolithic period.

In the period from 4500–4000 BC saw a period of intense and rapid urbanisation with the Ubaid culture spread into northern Mesopotamia and was adopted by the Halaf culture. Ubaid artifacts spread also all along the Arabian littoral, showing the growth of a trading system that stretched from the Mediterranean coast through to Oman.

The Ubaid period as a whole, based upon the analysis of grave goods, was one of increasingly polarised social stratification and decreasing egalitarianism. Bogucki describes this as a phase of “Trans-egalitarian” competitive households, in which some fall behind as a result of downward social mobility.

Morton Fried and Elman Service have hypothesised that Ubaid culture saw the rise of an elite class of hereditary chieftains, perhaps heads of kin groups linked in some way to the administration of the temple shrines and their granaries, responsible for mediating intra-group conflict and maintaining social order.

It would seem that various collective methods, perhaps instances of what Thorkild Jacobsen called primitive democracy, in which disputes were previously resolved through a council of one’s peers, were no longer sufficient for the needs of the local community.

Ubaid culture originated in the south, but still has clear connections to earlier cultures in the region of middle Iraq. The appearance of the Ubaid folk has sometimes been linked to the so-called Sumerian problem, related to the origins of Sumerian civilisation.

Whatever the ethnic origins of this group, this culture saw for the first time a clear tripartite social division between intensive subsistence peasant farmers, with crops and animals coming from the north, tent-dwelling nomadic pastoralists dependent upon their herds, and hunter-fisher folk of the Arabian littoral, living in reed huts.

“A contextual analysis comparing different regions shows that the Ubaid expansion took place largely through the peaceful spread of an ideology, leading to the formation of numerous new indigenous identities that appropriated and transformed superficial elements of Ubaid material culture into locally distinct expressions”.

During the Ubaid Period [5000 B.C.– 4000 B.C.], the movement towards urbanization began. “Agriculture and animal husbandry [domestication] were widely practiced in sedentary communities”.

The archaeological record shows that the Ubaid period came to an abrupt end in eastern Arabia and the Oman peninsula at 3800 BC, just after the phase of lake lowering and onset of dune reactivation.

At this time, increased aridity led to an end in semi-desert nomadism, and there is no evidence of human presence in the area for approximately 1000 years, the so-called “Dark Millennium”. This might be due to the 5.9 kiloyear event at the end of the Older Peron.

Stein and Özbal describe the Near East oikumene that resulted from Ubaid expansion, contrasting it to the colonial expansionism of the later Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BC).

The Uruk period existed from the protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia, following the Ubaid period and succeeded by the Jemdet Nasr period.

According to the Sumerian king list, Uruk was founded by the king Enmerkar. Though the king-list mentions a king of Eanna before him, the epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta relates that Enmerkar constructed the House of Heaven (Sumerian: e-anna; Cuneiform: E.AN) for the goddess Inanna in the Eanna District of Uruk. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh builds the city wall around Uruk and is king of the city.

Uruk went through several phases of growth, from the Early Uruk period (4000–3500 BC) to the Late Uruk period (3500–3100 BC). The city was formed when two smaller Ubaid settlements merged. The temple complexes at their cores became the Eanna District and the Anu District dedicated to Inanna and Anu, respectively.

Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre. Inanna was the most prominent female deity in ancient Mesopotamia. As early as the Uruk period (ca. 4000–3100 BC), Inanna was associated with the city of Uruk.

Inanna’s name derives from Lady of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-an-ak). The cuneiform sign of Inanna; however, is not a ligature of the signs lady (Sumerian: nin; Cuneiform: SAL.TUG2) and sky (Sumerian: an; Cuneiform: AN). These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that originally Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess, possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, accepted only latterly into the Sumerian pantheon, an idea supported by her youthfulness, and that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, at first she had no sphere of responsibilities. The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not widely accepted by modern Assyriologists.

Aratta is a land that appears in Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list. Aratta is described in Sumerian literature as a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them. It is remote and difficult to reach. It is home to the goddess Inana, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk. It is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk.

Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis. Inara’s mother is probably Hebat, the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living” and the “Queen of the deities”, and her brother is Sarruma.

Hannahannah (from Hittite hanna- “grandmother”) is a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat. Christopher Siren reports that Hannahannah is associated with the Gulses, also known as the Hutena, the goddesses of fate, in Hurrian mythology. They are similar to the Norns of Norse mythology or the Moirai of ancient Greece.

Uttu in Sumerian mythology is the goddess of weaving and clothing. She is both the child of Enki and Ninkur, and she bears seven new child/trees from Enki, the eighth being the Ti (Tree of “Life”, associated with the “Rib”). When Enki then ate Uttu’s children, Ninhursag cursed him with eight wounds and disappears. Uttu in Sumerian means “the woven” and she was illustrated as a spider in a web. She is a goddess in the pantheon.

The mother goddess Hannahannah promises Inara land and a man during a consultation by Inara. Inara then disappears. Her father looks for her, joined by Hannahannah with a bee. The story resembles that of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, in Greek myth.

The Leyla-Tepe culture is a culture of archaeological interest from the Chalcolithic era. Its population was distributed on the southern slopes of the Central Caucasus (modern Azerbaijan, Agdam District), from 4350 until 4000 B.C.

The Leyla-Tepe culture includes a settlement in the lower layer of the settlements Poilu I, Poilu II, Boyuk-Kesik I and Boyuk-Kesik II. They apparently buried their dead in ceramic vessels. Similar amphora burials in the South Caucasus are found in the Western Georgian Jar-Burial Culture.

The culture has also been linked to the north Ubaid period monuments, in particular, with the settlements in the Eastern Anatolia Region (Arslan-tepe, Coruchu-tepe, Tepechik, etc.). The settlement is of a typical Western-Asian variety, with the dwellings packed closely together and made of mud bricks with smoke outlets.

It has been suggested that the Leyla-Tepe were the founders of the Maykop culture (ca. 3700 BC—3000 BC), extending along the area from the Taman Peninsula at the Kerch Strait to near the modern border of Dagestan and southwards to the Kura River. The culture takes its name from a royal burial found in Maykop kurgan in the Kuban River valley.

In the south it borders the approximately contemporaneous Kura-Araxes culture (3500—2200 BC), which extends into eastern Anatolia and apparently influenced it. To the north is the Yamna culture, including the Novotitorovka culture (3300—2700), which it overlaps in territorial extent. It is contemporaneous with the late Uruk period in Mesopotamia.

An expedition to Syria by the Russian Academy of Sciences revealed the similarity of the Maykop and Leyla-Tepe artifacts with those found recently while excavating the ancient city of Tel Khazneh I, from the 4th millennium BC.

The Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture was a civilization that existed from 3400 BC until about 2000 BC, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end, but it may have disappeared as early as 2600 or 2700 BC. The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain.

There is evidence of trade with Mesopotamia, as well as Asia Minor. It is, however, considered above all to be indigenous to the Caucasus, and its major variants characterized (according to Caucasus historian Amjad Jaimoukha) later major cultures in the region.

Their metal goods were widely distributed, from the Volga, Dnieper and Don-Donets river systems in the north to Syria and Palestine in the south and Anatolia in the west. Jaimoukha believes that its southern expanse is attributable primarily to Mitanni and the Hurrians.

Inhumation practices are mixed. Flat graves are found, but so are substantial kurgan burials, the latter of which may be surrounded by cromlechs. This points to a heterogeneous ethno-linguistic population. Their practice of storing relatively great wealth in burial kurgans was probably a cultural influence from the more ancient civilizations of the Fertile Crescent to the south.

In the late 3rd millennium BC, settlements of the Kura-Araxes culture began to be replaced by early Trialeti culture sites. The Trialeti culture was the second culture to appear in Georgia, after the Shulaveri-Shomu culture, a Late Neolithic/Eneolithic culture that existed on the territory of present-day Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Armenian Highlands from 6000 to 4000 BC. The culture is thought to be one of the earliest known Neolithic cultures.

Shulaveri culture predates the Kura-Araxes culture and surrounding areas, which is assigned to the period of ca. 4000 – 2200 BC, and had close relation with the middle Bronze Age culture called Trialeti culture (ca. 3000 – 1500 BC).[2] Sioni culture of Eastern Georgia possibly represents a transition from the Shulaveri to the Kura-Arax cultural complex.

In around ca. 6000–4200 BC the Shulaveri-Shomu and other Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures of the Southern Caucasus use local obsidian for tools, raise animals such as cattle and pigs, and grow crops, including grapes. Many of the characteristic traits of the Shulaverian material culture (circular mudbrick architecture, pottery decorated by plastic design, anthropomorphic female figurines, obsidian industry with an emphasis on production of long prismatic blades) are believed to have their origin in the Near Eastern Neolithic (Hassuna, Halaf).

The Trialeti culture shows close ties with the highly developed cultures of the ancient world, particularly with the Aegean, but also with cultures to the south, such as probably the Sumerians and their Akkadian conquerors. The Trialeti culture was known for its particular form of burial. The elite were interred in large, very rich burials under earth and stone mounds, which sometimes contained four-wheeled carts. Also there were many gold objects found in the graves. These gold objects were similar to those found in Iran and Iraq. They also worked tin and arsenic.

This form of burial in a tumulus or “kurgan”, along with wheeled vehicles, is the same as that of the Kurgan culture which has been associated with the speakers of Proto-Indo-European. In fact, the black burnished pottery of especially early Trialeti kurgans is similar to Kura-Araxes pottery.

In a historical context, their impressive accumulation of wealth in burial kurgans, like that of other associated and nearby cultures with similar burial practices, is particularly noteworthy. This practice was probably a result of influence from the older civilizations to the south in the Fertile Crescent.

The Uruk period in the Middle East lasted a thousand years from 4000 to 3000 BC.This was a period of innovations, urbanization, economic and social transformations. A phenomenon within this period termed the ‘Uruk expansion’ lasted from 3700 to 3100 BC. South Mesopotamian pottery, architecture, art and administration technology such as the cylinderseal, spread to other regions where it replaced or accompanied local material traditions.

Uruk material appeared in the surrounding regions about 3700 BC, and became abundant about 3350 BC, before it disappeared about 3100 BC when local material cultures re-emerged. The dominating view of the expansion is that it happened as a result of processes in south Mesopotamia such as: economic expansion, urbanization, centralization, war and emigration.

The importance of ideology in this period has been recognized by scientists, but has not been thoroughly researched. Paul Collins (2000) argued that the Uruk expansion was conditioned by a unique ideology that had developed in south Mesopotamian communities and that the expansion of this ideology created the Uruk expansion.

Stein and Özbal (2007) have maintained that the Uruk expansion was foremost a southern colonization, while an ideological system followedthe spread of material culture during the Ubaid period 5800–4200 BC.

Most archaeologists and historians of the ancient Near East have focused on the internal transformations that led to the emergence of early cities and states. In The Uruk World System, Guillermo Algaze concentrates on the unprecedented and wide-ranging process of external expansion that coincided with the rapid initial crystallization of Mesopotamian civilization.

In this extensive study, he contends that the rise of early Sumerian polities cannot be understood without also taking into account the developments in surrounding peripheral areas. Excavation work undertaken in 2005 and 2006 has shown that the city of Hamoukar was destroyed by warfare by around 3500 BC -— probably the earliest urban warfare, or “earliest evidence for large scale organized warfare in the Mesopotamian world”, attested so far in the archaeological record of the Near East.

Using slings and clay bullets a – likely Uruk – army took over the city of Hamoukar, a large archaeological site located in the Jazira region of northeastern Syria (Al Hasakah Governorate), near the Iraqi and Turkish borders, burning it down in the process.

Most importantly, archaeologists believe that Hamoukar was thriving as far back since at least 4000 BC and independently from Sumer. They traded in obsidian and in later times copper working became increasingly important to the city’s economy. Thousands of clay sealings – once used to lock doors or containers and impressed with stamp seals – were found at the ancient site. They tell of a bureaucratic system that was almost as complex as our own.

The Mesopotamian landscape was shaped by urbanization, population growth and trade during the 4th millennium bc. The Uruk expansion, an expansion of south Mesopotamian material culture to nearby and far-off regions started about 3700 bc. North Mesopotamian and Anatolian settlements formed a network with south Mesopotamia, which collapsed about 500 years later.

This period has puzzled archaeologists for a century with different explanations being given for what this expansion was, how it happened and for what reasons. In this article I will focus on the interconnection between the two regions and how this may have created the expansion.

The north Mesopotamian settlements functioned as middlemen in a trading network where they connected the resource-rich areas in Anatolia with the alluvial plains. The north Mesopotamian settlements exploited their position between the two regions where they could control the trading routes. This led to a lot of changes in the northern regions that do not necessarily mean that this was an occupied region or a region where decisions were dictated by leaders in south Mesopotamia.

The late fourth millennium BC in Mesopotamia may be understood in terms of a complex economy that expanded across western Asia. Some suggest that this trading network may be described as an Uruk-dominated world system in which the southern Mesopotamian core expanded to incorporate the peripheral regions of Syro-Mesopotamia, the Iranian highlands, and southeastern Anatolia.

Alternatively, others suggest that the Late Uruk expansion was a catalyst for the development of the Mesopotamian hinterlands, resulting in socio-economically complex regional centres. Such centres may have competed for resources to satisfy both a local elite class as well as a newly established exchange system with southern Mesopotmia.

Up to now the experts believed the Southern part of the land between the two rivers – where the city of Uruk rose – to be the cradle of civilisation and that Northern peoples were subsequently colonised. But the Hamoukar excavation demonstrates that at the time some civilisations developed independently from the South and that only later they fell into the sphere of influence of Uruk after a war fought around 3500 BC.

The origins of urban settlements has generally been attributed to the riverine societies of southern Mesopotamia (in what is now southern Iraq). This is the area of ancient Sumer, where around 4000 BC the Mesopotamian cities such of Ur and Uruk emerged.

In 2007, following the discoveries at Hamoukar, some archiologists have argued that the Cradle of Civilization could have extended further up the Tigris River and included the part of northern Syria where Hamoukar is located. The evidence at Hamoukar indicates that some of the fundamental ideas behind cities—including specialization of labor, a system of laws and government, and artistic development—may have begun earlier than was previously believed.

Located off the main mound, the obsidian workshops predate the destroyed city by several hundred years and could explain, Reichel says, urban society’s emergence so far north of other early cities. Ex–porting manufactured tools to southern cities would have brought significant revenue and wealth to Hamoukar.

“This could have been the incentive that pulled people off their fields,” he says. Instead of plowing their own subsistence farms, they specialized in other work and imported food from surrounding villages. “And once people started to accumulate a fortune, they wanted a walled enclosure to protect it—your first city.”

Uruk was a massive city, located to the south in modern day Iraq. Unlike Hamoukar it was lacking in natural resources such as timber and metal. Yet, despite this lack of resources, its people were on the move. “This Uruk culture from the south started expanding all over the Middle East,” said Professor Clemens Reichel, of the University of Toronto and Royal Ontario Museum, who is leading the excavation at Hamoukar. His team’s work is being supported by the Department of Antiquities in Syria and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

One of these colonies was located just outside Hamoukar. It’s a small site, probably occupied by no more than a few hundred people. Its pottery remains were scattered over a hectare. When researchers analysed the pottery they found that much of it consisted of Uruk pottery. “It’s the same stuff that you would find in Southern Mesopotamia, almost 700 km to the south,” said Reichel.

Researchers believe that this colony was there to facilitate trade, but was probably not controlled by Uruk’s rulers. “I’m tending more to them being sub-state entities,” said Reichel, private entrepreneurs, perhaps like the British East India Company of more recent colonial times.“The picture is unquestionable – Reichel explains – if Uruk inhabitants did not throw those projectiles, surely they took advantage of them”.

In 3500 BC Hamoukar was destroyed by a violent attack. Slings and clay bullets were the force’s primary weapons. While incredibly crude, by today’s standards, these weapons could do a lot of damage. The archaeologists tested the slings’ effectiveness by creating their own bullets and attacking their own dig house.

“The impact is quite remarkable,” said Reichel. At one point he was accidentally hit in the head by a colleague who was practising. “He wasn’t very good at that point, but by god I felt it,” he said. “Once he got really good, the speed, the velocity, that those guys get, is amazing… I’m virtually certain it can be fatal.”

While Professor Reichel survived his encounter, many people at Hamoukar did not. The attackers broke inside the city’s three meter thick city wall, the fighting continued and buildings were set on fire. Archaeologists discovered remains of brick walls that collapsed after heavy fires and bombing. Around barriers 1200 oval projectiles and about 120 larger clay balls have been found. On the site also crockery and various objects coming from Southern cities have been discovered, but only in higher – and therefore later – levels than those containing the battle remains.

Hamoukar’s defenders resisted the attack, employing everything they had to produce weapons. In a shallow pit ordinarily used to soak and recycle discarded clay seals, the sealing clay was turned instead into sling bullets. Excavators found two dozen of them neatly lined along the pit’s edge. “It looks as if they were—quite literally—throwing everything they could find against the aggressors,” Reichel says. In the debris of the buldings the team also found 12 graves, likely dug for war casualties.

Clemens Reichel explains that the Tel Hamoukar site is also interesting because it appears that the battle caught the inhabitants off guard and this is apparent from the fact that in many points the rubble buried populated areas conserving them much like it happened with the ruins of Pompei.

This discovery revolutionizes in some sense the expansion history of civilisations in Mesopotamia, and is confirmed by findings in another archaeological site in Northern Syria, the Tel Brak (Nagar, Nawar). English archaeologists recently studied it and claim that also in Tel Brak a developed civilisation existed in 4000 BC., but disappeared 500 years later, in the same period of the Tel Hamoukar battle. Four mass graves dating to c. 3800–3600 BC were discovered in the surroundings of the tell, and they suggest that the process of urbanization was accompanied by internal social stress, and an increase in the organization of warfare.

Tell Brak remains constitute a tell located in the Upper Khabur region, near the modern village of Tell Brak, 50 kilometers north-east of Al-Hasaka city, Al-Hasakah Governorate. Tell Brak is the modern name of the tell, while the city’s most ancient name is unknown. During the second half of the third millennium BC, the city was known as Nagar and later on, Nawar.

Starting as a small settlement in the seventh millennium BC, dated to the proto Halaf culture c. 6500 BC. Many objects dated to that period were discovered including the Halaf pottery. By 5000 BC, Halaf culture transformed into Northern Ubaid, and many Ubaid materials were found in Tell Brak. Excavations and surface survey of the site and its surroundings have unearthed a large platform of patzen bricks that dates to late Ubaid, which reveal that Tell Brak developed as an urban center slightly earlier than better known cities of southern Mesopotamia, such as Uruk.

Northern Mesopotamia evolved independently from the south during the Late Chalcolithic / early and middle Northern Uruk (4000-3500 BC). This period was characterized by a strong emphasis on holy sites, among which, the “Eye Temple” was the most important in Tell Brak.

Tell Brak evolved during the fourth millennium BC into one of the biggest cities in Northern Mesopotamia, and interacted with the cultures of southern Mesopotamia. Interactions with the Mesopotamian south grew c. 3600 BC, and an Urukean colony was established in the city. With the end of Uruk culture c 3000 BC, Tell Brak’s Urukean colony was abandoned and deliberately leveled by its occupants.

By late Northern Uruk and especially after 3200 BC, northern Mesopotamia came under the full cultural dominance of the southern Uruk culture, which affected Tell Brak’s architecture and administration. The southern influence is most obvious in the level named the “Latest Jemdet Nasr” of the “Eye Temple”, which had southern elements such as cone mosaics. The Uruk infiltration was peaceful, and it is first noted in the context of feasting, as commercial deals during that period were ratified through feasting.

Tell Brak contracted during the following phases, and became limited to the mound. Evidence exists for an interaction with the Mesopotamian south represented by the existence of materials similar to the ones produced during the southern Jemdet Nasr period, an archaeological culture in southern Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) that is generally dated to 3100–2900 BCE.

The Jemdet Nasr period is named after the type-site Jemdet Nasr, where the assemblage typical for this period was first recognized. Its geographical distribution is limited to south–central Iraq. The culture of the proto-historical Jemdet Nasr period is a local development out of the preceding Uruk period and continues into the Early Dynastic I period.

Although in older literature 3200–3000 BCE can be found as the beginning and end dates of the Jemdet Nasr period, it is nowadays dated to 3100–2900 BCE based on radiocarbon dating. The Jemdet Nasr period in south–central Iraq is contemporary with the early Ninevite V period in Upper Mesopotamia and the Proto-Elamite stage in western Iran and shares with these periods characteristics such as an emerging bureaucracy and inequality.

The hallmark of the Jemdet Nasr period is its distinctive painted monochrome and polychrome pottery. Designs are both geometric and figurative; the latter displaying trees and animals such as birds, fish, goats, scorpions and snakes. Apart from the distinctive pottery, the period is known as one of the formative stages in the development of the cuneiform script.

The oldest clay tablets come from Uruk and date to the late fourth millennium BCE, slightly earlier than the Jemdet Nasr period. By the time of the Jemdet Nasr period, the script had already undergone a number of significant changes. The script originally consisted of pictographs but by the time of the Jemdet Nasr period it was already adopting simpler and more abstract designs. It is also during this period that the script acquired its iconic wedge-shaped appearance.

The Jemdet Nasr tablets are written in proto-cuneiform script. Proto-cuneiform is thought to have arisen in the second half of the 4th millennium BC. While at first it was characterized by a small set of symbols that were predominantly pictographs, by the time of the Jemdet Nasr period, there was already a trend toward more abstract and simpler designs. It is also during this period that the script acquired its iconic wedge-shaped appearance.

While the language in which these tablets were written cannot be identified with certainty, it is thought to have been Sumerian. Contemporary archives have been found at Uruk, Tell Uqair and Khafajah. The tablets from Jemdet Nasr are primarily administrative accounts; long lists of various objects, foodstuffs and animals that were probably distributed among the population from a centralized authority.

Thus, these texts document, among other things, the cultivation, processing and redistribution of grain, the counting of herds of cattle, the distribution of secondary products like beer, fish, fruit and textiles, as well as various objects of undefinable nature. Six tablets deal with the calculation of agricultural field areas from surface measurements, which is the earliest attested occurrence of such calculations.

The centralized buildings, administrative cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals from sites like Jemdet Nasr suggest that settlements of this period were very organized, with a central administration regulating all aspects of the economy, from crafts to agriculture to the rationing of foodstuffs.

The economy seems to have been primarily concerned with subsistence based on agriculture and sheep-and-goat pastoralism and small-scale trade. Very few precious stones or exotic trade goods have been found at sites of this period. However, the homogeneity of the pottery across the southern Mesopotamian plain suggests intensive contacts and trade between settlements. This is strengthened by the find of a sealing at Jemdet Nasr that lists a number of cities that can be identified, including Ur, Uruk and Larsa.

Before expanding again around c. 2600 BC, when it became known as Nagar, and was the capital of a regional kingdom that controlled the Khabur river valley, Tell Brak remained a small settlement during the Ninevite 5 period, with a small temple and associated sealing activities.

Around c. 2600 BC, a large administrative building was built and the city expanded out of the tell again. The revival is connected with the Kish civilization, and the city was named “Nagar”, which might be of Simitic origin and mean a “cultivated place”. At its height, Nagar encompassed most of the southwestern half of the Khabur Basin, and was an equal of the Eblaite and Mariote states.

Nagar was involved in the wide diplomatic network of Ebla, and the relations between the two kingdoms involved both confrontations and alliances. A text from Ebla mentions a victory of Ebla’s king (perhaps Irkab-Damu) over Nagar. However, a few years later, a treaty was concluded, and the relations progressed toward a dynastic marriage between princess Tagrish-Damu of Ebla, and prince Ultum-Huhu, Nagar’s monarch’s son.

Nagar was defeated by Mari in year seven of the Eblaite vizier Ibrium’s term, causing the blockage of trade routes between Ebla and southern Mesopotamia via upper Mesopotamia. Later, Ebla’s king Isar-Damu concluded an alliance with Nagar and Kish against Mari, and the campaign was headed by the Eblaite vizier Ibbi-Sipish, who led the combined armies to victory in a battle near Terqa.

Afterwards, the alliance attacked the rebellious Eblaite vassal city of Armi. Ebla was destroyed approximately three years after Terqa’s battle, and soon after, Nagar followed in c. 2300 BC. Large parts of the city were burned, an act attributed either to Mari, or Sargon of Akkad.

Nagar was destroyed around c. 2300 BC, and came under the rule of the Akkadian Empire. Following its destruction, Nagar was rebuilt by the Akkadian empire, to form a center of the provincial administration. The early Akkadian monarchs were occupied with internal conflicts, and Tell Brak was temporarily abandoned by Akkad at some point preceding the reign of Naram-Sin. The abandonment might be connected with an environmental event that caused the desertification of the region.

The destruction of Nagar’s kingdom created a power vacuum in the Upper Khabur. The Hurrians, formerly concentrated in Urkesh, which at that point was an ally of the Akkadian Empire through what is believed to have been a dynastic marriage tradition (Tar’am-Agade the daughter of the Akkadian king, Naram-Sin, is believed to have been married to the king of Urkesh), indicating they had a firm hold on the area by the reign of Naram-Sin of Akkad (ca. 2254–2218 BCE), took advantage of the situation to control the region as early as Sargon’s latter years.

The Khabur River valley, the largest perennial tributary to the Euphrates in Syrian territory, was the heart of the Hurrian lands. From north to south, annual rainfall in the Khabur basin decreases from over 400 mm to less than 200 mm, making the river a vital water source for agriculture throughout history.

The course of the Khabur can be divided in two distinct zones: the Upper Khabur area or Khabur Triangle north of Al-Hasakah, and the Middle and Lower Khabur between Al-Hasakah and Busayrah.

Since the 1930s, numerous archaeological excavations and surveys have been carried out in the Khabur Valley, indicating that the region has been occupied since the Lower Palaeolithic period. Important sites that have been excavated include Tell Halaf, Tell Brak, Tell Leilan, Tell Mashnaqa, Tell Mozan and Tell Barri.

The region has given its name to a distinctive painted ware found in northern Mesopotamia and Syria in the early 2nd millennium BCE, called Khabur ware, a specific type of pottery named after the Khabur River region, in northeastern Syria, where large quantities of it were found by the archaeologist Max Mallowan at the site of Chagar Bazar.

The pottery’s distribution is not confined to the Khabur region, but spreads across northern Iraq and is also found at a few sites in Turkey and Iran. The region of the Khabur River is also associated with the rise of the Kingdom of the Mitanni that flourished c.1500-1300 BC.

Tell Brak was known as “Nawar” for the Hurrians, and kings of Urkesh took the title “King of Urkesh and Nawar”, first attested in the seal of Urkesh’s king Atal-Shen. The city experienced a period of independence as a Hurrian city-state, before contracting at the beginning of the second millennium BC.

Nagar prospered again by the 19th century BC, and came under the rule of different regional powers. In ca. 1500 BC, Tell Brak was a center of Mitanni before being destroyed by Assyria c. 1300 BC. The city never regained its former importance, remaining as a small settlement, and abandoned at some points of its history, until disappearing from records during the early Abbasid era.

The city-state of Urkesh had some powerful neighbors. At some point in the early second millennium BCE, the Northwest Semitic speaking Amorite kingdom of Mari to the south subdued Urkesh and made it a vassal state. In the continuous power struggles over Mesopotamia, another Amorite dynasty had usurped the throne of the Old Assyrian Empire, which had controlled colonies in Hurrian, Hattian and Hittite regions of eastern Anatolia since the 21st century BC.

The Assyrians then made themselves masters over Mari and much of north east Amurru (Syria) in the late 19th and early 18th centuries BC. Shubat-Enlil (modern Tell Leilan), was made the capital of this Old Assyrian empire by Shamshi Adad I at the expense of the earlier capital of Assur.

Different peoples inhabited the city, including the Halafians, Semites and the Hurrians. The Halafians were the indigenous people of Neolithic northern Syria, who later adopted the southern Ubaidian culture. Contact with the Mesopotamian south increased during the early and middle Northern Uruk period, and southern people moved to Tell Brak in the late Uruk period, forming a colony, which produced a mixed society.

The Urukean colony was abandoned by the colonist toward the end of the fourth millennium BC, leaving the indigenous Tell Brak a much contracted city. The pre-Akkadian kingdom’s population was Semitic, and spoke its own East Semitic dialect of the Eblaite language used in Ebla and Mari. The Nagarite dialect is closer to the dialect of Mari rather than that of Ebla.

During the Akkadian period, both Semitic and Hurrian names were recorded, as the Hurrians appears to have taken advantage of the power vacuum caused by the destruction of the pre-Akkadian kingdom, in order to migrate and expand in the region.

The post-Akkadian period Tell Brak had a strong Hurrian element, and Hurrian named rulers, although the region was also inhabited by Amorite tribes. Tell Brak was a center of the Hurrian-Mitannian empire, which had Hurrian as its official language. However, Akkadian was the region’s international language, evidenced by the post-Akkadian and Mitannian eras tablets, discovered at Tell Brak and written in Akkadian.

Tell Brak was a religious center from its earliest periods, its famous “Eye Temple”, which was named for the thousands of small alabaster “Eye idols” figurines discovered in it, is unique in the Fertile Crescent, and its main deity, Belet-Nagar, was revered in the entire Khabur region, making the city a pilgrimage site.

The findings in the “Eye Temple” indicate that Tell Brak is among the earliest sites of organized religion in northern Mesopotamia. It is unknown to which deity the “Eye Temple” was dedicated, and the “Eyes” figurines appears to be votive offerings to that unknown deity. Michel Meslin hypothesized that the temple was the center of the Sumerian Innana or the Semitic Ishtar, and that the “Eyes” figurines were a representation of an all-seeing female deity.

The culture of Tell Brak was defined by the different civilizations that inhabited it, and it was famous for its glyptic style, equids and glass. When independent, the city was ruled by a local assembly or by a monarch. Tell Brak was a trade center due to its location between Anatolia, the Levant and southern Mesopotamia. It was excavated by Max Mallowan in 1937, then regularly by different teams between 1979 and 2011, when the work stopped due to the Syrian Civil War.

Khirbet Kerak (Arabic: Khirbet al-Karak, “the ruins of the castle”) or Beth Yerah (“House of the Moon (god)”) is a tell (archaeological mound) located on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee in modern day Israel, which spans an area of over 50 acres—one of the largest in the Levant—and contains remains dating from the Early Bronze Age (c. 3000 BC – 2000 BC) and from the Persian period (c. 450 BC) through to the early Islamic period (c. 1000 AD).

A form of Early Bronze Age pottery first discovered at the tell but also seen in other parts of the Levant (including Jericho, Beth Shan, Tell Judeideh, and Ugarit) is known as “Khirbet Kerak ware.” Khirbet Kerak culture appears to have been a Levantine version of the Early Transcaucasian Culture. The 2009 discovery at the tell of a stone palette with Egyptian motifs, including an ankh, points to trade/political relations with the First dynasty of Egypt, at approximately 3000 BCE. Around 2000 BC, the city was destroyed or abandoned.

Artefacts from Hamoukar which postdate the battle, are similar in style as items created at Uruk. This makes an Uruk army the likeliest attackers. “If the Uruk people weren’t the ones firing the sling bullets, they certainly benefited from it. They took over this place right after its destruction,” Reichel told the New York Times back in 2005.

A few commentators have associated the end of the Uruk period with the climate changes linked to the Piora Oscillation, an abrupt cold and wet period in the climate history of the Holocene Epoch, other explanation is the arrival of the East Semitic tribes represented by the Kish civilization.

War

Military history

Sling (weapon)

5500-Year-Old Fratricide at Hamoukar Syria

New discoveries hint at 5,500 year old fratricide at Hamoukar, Syria

Site of Earliest Known Urban Warfare Threatened by Syrian War

Syrian team finds first evidence of warfare in ancient Mesopotamia

Archaeologists Unearth a War Zone 5,500 Years Old

Ruins in Northern Syria Bear the Scars of a City’s Final Battle

Archaeology of Warfare Today

Hamoukar at war

Amid civil war, a battle to preserve Syria’s historical heritage

Archaeologists dig up ancient “war zone” near Iraq border

First war since human origin

A Cradle of Civilization Rocked by War

Archaeology of Warfare Today

Hamoukar – Wikipedia

The Uruk period

Uruk Period – 3800-3200 BC

The Uruk Expansion

Uruk – Wikipedia

Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: Uruk migrants in the Caucasus

Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization

The Uruk Expansion: Culture Contact, Ideology and Middlemen

Origins of the Indo-Europeans: the Uruk expansion and Cucuteni-Trypillian culture

The Emergence of Urbanism

Monumental Sumerian Architecture

Temple and Palace

Re-assessment of Objects Referred to as Sling Missiles

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Fra eventyrenes verden

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 29, 2015

Så her har vi heksa (Hel) og den vakre prinsessa (Nanna, Venus), samt det halve kongeriket – våren, livet og alt som gror og vokser.

Men historien fortsetter:

Balder (norrønt Balder, Baldr, Baldur, usikker betydning, muligens «herren») er en gud i norrøn mytologi som er assosiert med lys, skjønnhet, kjærlighet og lykke. I henhold til Gylfaginning er Balder sønn av Odin og Frigg og gift med Nanna (Nepsdatter), som han har sønnen Forsete sammen med. De bor i Breidablik, «stedet med vid utsikt».

Han har også det flottest skip av alle, Ringhorne, som han også ble brent på. Nanna var den mest trofaste av alle kvinner og døde av sorg da Balder døde. Hjertet brister av sorg når hun ser Balder blir lagt på båten i bålferden sin. Da ble hun lagt på båten sammen Balder. Selv om Hermod rir til Hel for å forsøke å få Balder tilbake til livet, lykkes han ikke, og Nanna og Balder må forbli i dødsriket.

Nedstigningen til underverdenen er en mytheme innen komparativ mytologi funnet i en mangfoldig rekke religioner fra hele verden, inkludert kristendommen. Helten eller guddommen reiser til underverden eller til de dødes land og vender tilbake eller gjenoppstår- ofte med en gjenstand, en kjær eller med økt kunnskap.

Muligheten å gå inn i dødsriket i levende live, og så komme tilbake, er et bevis på den klassiske heltens eksepsjonelle status som mer enn dødelig. En guddom som kommer tilbake fra underverdenen demonstrerer eskatologiske temaer som den sykliske naturen, eller nederlag, død og muligheten for udødelighet.

Dumuzi eller Tammuz (Akkadisk Duʾzu, Dūzu; sumerisk Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D)) i betydningen «den trofaste» eller «den sanne sønn») var navnet på en gud i sumerisk mytologi og senere hos akkadere. Han var en gud for fruktbarhet og for gjenfødelse, og sammenlignes derfor med egypternes Osiris og grekernes Dionysos. Han ble forbundet med gudinnen Inanna i Sumer, og Ishtar i Akkad. Han er den samme som armenernes gud Ara, Balder og Jesus.

Inanna (kileskrift DINGIRINANNA) var en sumerisk gudinne for fysisk kjærlighet, fruktbarhet og krig. Alternative navn var Innin, Ennin, Ninnin, Ninni, Ninanna, Ninnar, Innina, Ennina, Irnina, Innini, Nana og Nin, antagelig avledet fra tidligere Nin-ana, «Himmelens frue». Hennes akkadiske motpart er Ishtar.

I mytene ble det fortalt om hans kjærlighetsforhold til gudinnen. Ifølge én myte ble Tammuz drept og steg ned til dødsriket hvor han en tid oppholdt seg. Siden ble det bestemt at han skulle være der i seks måneder hvert år, mens hans søster Geshtinana skulle være der den andre halvparten av året. Fortellingene gjenspeiler vegetasjonens død i tørketiden og oppblomstring under vårregnet.

Ereshkigal (EREŠ.KI.GAL, “Queen of the Great Earth “) var gudinne i Irkalla, landet hvor de døde holdt til i underverden. Det ble sagt at hun hadde blitt stjålet bort fra Kur og tatt med til underverdenen hvor hun ble gjort dronning motvillig. Mange guder og gudinner så opp til henne. Hun var også kjent som Irkalla, de dødes rike, på samme måte som navnet Hades ble brukt i gresk mytologi for både underverdenen og dens hersker, samt Hel og helvete.

Gudinnen Inanna / Ishtar refererer til Ereshkigal, symbolet på naturen under den ikke-produktive årstiden, som hennes eldre søster. De er hverandres motstykker. Hun er blant annet kjent gjennom myter som antas å symbolisere endringen av årstidene, men kanskje også ment å illustrere visse doktriner. Ifølge doktrinen om de to kongedømmene blir de to rikene til de to søstrene kraftig differensiert ettersom det ene er av denne verden, mens det andre er de dødes rike.

En av mytene forteller om Inannas nedstigning til underverdenen og hennes mottagning av hennes søster som hersker der; Ereshkigal lurer sin søster til å ankomme hennes rike og Inanna er bare i stand til å forlate det ved å ofre en i bytte for seg selv. Dette på grunn av en regel om “conservation of souls” krevde at hun fant en erstatter.

Inanna går fra den ene guden til den andre, men alle ber for seg og hun har ikke hjerte til å gjennomføre det frem til hun finner sin mann Dumuzid/Tammuz på sin trone. Hun setter sine demoner på ham, men hans søster Ngeshtin-ana (“Heavenly grape-vine”), som også er konen til Ningisida, tar av seg sine juveler og sørger og hevder at både Tammuz og døden vil komme tilbake. Geshtinanna blir etter sin død vinens og den kalde sesongens guddinne. Hun er poet og drømmetyder.

I den sumeriske versjonen opptrer Belili ikke som Dumuzids søster, slik som i den akkadiske versjonen, men som en gammel kvinne, som også er kjent som Bilulu. De sumeriske tekstene forteller om hvordan Dumuzid flyktet til sin søster Geshtinana som forsøkte å skjule ham, men som til slutt tapte overfor demonene. Dumuzid blir drept av Bilulu. Inanna angrer deretter sin avgjørelse og hevner seg på Bilulu, samt gjenetablerer sin mann Dumuzi; Geshtinana vil ta Dumuzids plass i dødsriket 6 måneder i året, mens Tammuz vil ta de andre 6 månedene.

Ereshkigal var den eneste som kunne utstede lover i sitt rike. I noen versjoner av mytene styrer hun underverden selv, mens andre ganger med en mann underordnet seg som heter Gugalana (GU.GAL.AN.NA, “the Great Bull of Heaven” ), en sumerisk guddom, samt stjernebildet i dag kjent som Taurus, en av de tolv tegnene i dyrekretsen.

Uras eller Urash i sumerisk mytologi er en gudinne for jorden, og en av de konene til himmelguden Anu. Hun er mor til gudinnen Ninsun og bestemor til helten Gilgamesh. Urash kan ha vært et annet navn for Antum, Anu kone. Navnet ble til og med gitt til Anu selv, og fikk dermed betydningen “Heaven”. Ninurta kom også til å bli kjent som Uras i senere tid.

Haya, kjent som både “Door-keeper” og assosiert med skiftkunst, samt korn, er mannen til Nidaba/Nisaba, korn- og skriftgudinnen, som blant annet blir synkretisert med Ereshkigal. Hennes tempel befant seg i Eresh og Umma. Hennes ry førte til hennes fall ettersom hennes skriftfunksjoner ble overført til guden Nabu da hans makt økte i den gammel-babylonske perioden.

Nidaba opptrer som datter av Enlil, Uraš, Ea og Anu. Sammen med Haia får de datteren Sud/Ninlil. To myter beskriver hennes ekteskap mellom Niblil og Enlil, noe som betyr at Nidaba både kunne være datter og svigermor til Enlil. hun blir identifisert med kornguddinnen Ašnan, samt med Nanibgal/Nidaba-ursag/Geme-Dukuga, tronbæreren til Ninlil og konen til Ennugi, tronbæreren til Enlil. Nidaba er også søster til Ninsun, mor til Gilgameh.

Ninlil (NIN.LÍL, “Lady of the Wind»), også kalt Sud, i assyrisk kalt Mulliltu, er konen til Enlil. Hun er datter av Haia og Nunbarsegunu eller Nisaba. En annen akkadisk kilde sier hun er datter av Anu (aka An) og Antu (sumerisk Ki). Andre kilder kaller henne en datter av Anu og Nammu.

Ninlil bodde i Dilmun med familien sin. Voldtatt og herjet av hennes mann Enlil, som impregnerte henne med vann, unnfanget hun en gutt, Nanna / Suen, måneguden. Som straff ble Enlil sendt til underverdenen hvor Ereshkigal hersket, og Ninlil sluttet seg til ham. Han impregnerte henne forkledd som “Door-keeper”, og hun fødte deres sønn Nergal, dødsguden.

På lignende måte unnfanget hun guden Ninazu, en gud i underverden, samt helbredelse, etter at Enlil hadde impregnerte henne forkledd som mannen ved underverdens elv. Senere forkledde Enlil seg som mannen med båten, og impregnerte henne med en fjerde guddom, Enbilulu, guden for elver og kanaler. I noen tekster Ninlil er også mor til Ninurta, den heroiske guden som drepte Asag demonen med sitt septer, Sharur.

Etter sin død ble Ninlil, som med Enlil, identifisert med vinden. Hun kan være søndavinden mens Enlil ble assosiert med de nordlige vinterstormene. Som “Lady Wind” kan hun ha vært forbundet med figuren “Lil-itu”, som anses å ha vært opprinnelsen til den hebraiske legenden om Lilith, som var forløperen til Eva.

Mullissu er konen til den assyriske guden Ashur. Hun er trolig identisk med Ninlil, konen til Enlil, noe som gir en parallel til det faktum at Ashur er modellert på Enlil. Mullissus navn ble skrevet “NIN.LÍL”, men hun blir ofte identifisert med Ishtar, Inanna, også kjent som Isis, mens Ashur blir sett på som identisk med Osiris.

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The origin of the Zodiac

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 24, 2015

Astronomical map inscribed on the Sevsar Mountain, with the 12 houses of the Zodiac, 3rd-2nd millennium BC.

William Tyler Olcott, the founder of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, in the Star Lore of All Ages, noted that the Zodiac in all probability was created in Armenia around 3,000 BC. He noted that the astronomer and mathematician Edward Walter Maunder pointed out that the Zodiac was created in the area between the 36° and 42° north latitude, the territory between the Black, Mediterranean and Caspian seas, and that all of the animals that are present in the Zodiac are only to be found in Armenia.

Methodologies For Investigating Constellation Origins

The roots of the Zodiac

Astrotheology

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Word Map

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 22, 2015

Word Map

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Lucifer and Jesus – representations of two different types of nature

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 21, 2015

Dawn (from an Old English verb dagian “to become day”) is the time that marks the beginning of the twilight before sunrise. It is recognized by the presence of weak sunlight, while the Sun itself is still below the horizon. Dawn should not be confused with sunrise, which is the moment when the leading edge of the Sun itself appears above the horizon.

Venus is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and desire. In Roman mythology, she was the mother of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals, and was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles.

The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the later classical tradition of the West, Venus becomes one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality.

Venus, Dawn, The old hag, Lucifer

Lucifer

Venus

The Sun, Jesus

Jesus

Sun

Urash – Erashkigal – Urartu

Venus is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and desire. In Roman mythology, she was the mother of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals, and was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles.

The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the later classical tradition of the West, Venus becomes one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality.

Morning star is a name for the planet Venus when it appears in the east before sunrise, a name for the star Sirius, which appears in the sky just before sunrise during the Dog Days, and a (less common) name for the planet Mercury when it appears in the east before sunrise.

Venus “overtakes” Earth every 584 days as it orbits the Sun. As it does so, it changes from the “Evening Star”, visible after sunset, to the “Morning Star”, visible before sunrise.

Although Mercury, the other inferior planet, reaches a maximum elongation of only 28° and is often difficult to discern in twilight, Venus is hard to miss when it is at its brightest. Its greater maximum elongation means it is visible in dark skies long after sunset

But Morning Star is also the Latin name of the Morning Star has been given to Lucifer in Christian tradition. While many people believe today Lucifer and Satan are different names for the same being, not all scholars subscribe to this view.

Lucifer is the King James Version rendering of the Hebrew word הֵילֵל in Isaiah 14:12. This word, transliterated hêlêl or heylel, occurs only once in the Hebrew Bible and according to the KJV-influenced Strong’s Concordance means “shining one, morning star”.

The word Lucifer is taken from the Latin Vulgate, which translates הֵילֵל as lucifer,[Isa 14:12] meaning “the morning star, the planet Venus”, or, as an adjective, “light-bringing”. The Septuagint renders הֵילֵל in Greek as ἑωσφόρος (heōsphoros), a name, literally “bringer of dawn”, for the morning star.

Later Christian tradition came to use the Latin word for “morning star”, lucifer, as a proper name (“Lucifer”) for the Devil; as he was before his fall. As a result “‘Lucifer’ has become a by-word for Satan/the Devil in the Church and in popular literature”, as in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno and John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

However, the Latin word never came to be used almost exclusively, as in English, in this way, and was applied to others also, including Christ. The image of a morning star fallen from the sky is generally believed among scholars to have a parallel in Canaanite mythology.

However, according to both Christian and Jewish exegesis, in the Book of Isaiah, chapter 14, the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar II, conqueror of Jerusalem, is condemned in a prophetic vision by the prophet Isaiah and is called the “Morning Ha” (planet Venus).

In this chapter the Hebrew text says הֵילֵל בֶּן-שָׁחַר (Helel ben Shaḥar, “shining one, son of the morning”). “Helel ben Shaḥar” may refer to the Morning Star, but the text in Isaiah 14 gives no indication that Helel was a star or planet.

Use of the name “Lucifer” for the devil stems from a particular interpretation of Isaiah 14:3–20, a passage which does not speak of any fallen angel but of the defeat of a particular Babylonian King, to whom it gives a title which refers to what in English is called the Day Star or Morning Star (in Latin, lucifer, meaning “light-bearer”, from the words lucem ferre).

In 2 Peter 1:19 and elsewhere, the same Latin word lucifer is used to refer to the Morning Star, with no relation to the devil. It is only in post-New Testament times when the Latin word Lucifer was used as a name for the devil, both in religious writing and in fiction, especially when referring to him prior to his fall from Heaven.

As an adjective, the Latin word lucifer meant “light-bringing” and was applied to the moon. As a noun, it meant “morning star”, or, in Roman mythology, its divine personification as “the fabled son of Aurora and Cephalus, and father of Ceyx”, or (in poetry) “day”.

The second of the meanings attached to the word when used as a noun corresponds to the image in Greek mythology of Eos, the goddess of dawn, giving birth to the morning star Phosphorus.

Isaiah 14:12 is not the only place where the Vulgate uses the word lucifer. It uses the same word four more times, in contexts where it clearly has no reference to a fallen angel: 2 Peter 1:19 (meaning “morning star”), Job 11:17 (“the light of the morning”), Job 38:32 (“the signs of the zodiac”) and Psalms 110:3 (“the dawn”).

To speak of the morning star, lucifer is not the only expression that the Vulgate uses: three times it uses stella matutina: Sirach 50:6 (referring to the actual morning star), and Revelation 2:28 (of uncertain reference) and 22:16 (referring to Jesus).

Indications that in Christian tradition the Latin word Lucifer, unlike the English word, did not necessarily call a fallen angel to mind exist also outside the text of the Vulgate. Two bishops bore that name: Saint Lucifer of Cagliari, and Lucifer of Siena.

In Latin, the word is applied to John the Baptist and is used as a title of Christ himself in several early Christian hymns. The morning hymn Lucis largitor splendide of Hilary contains the line: “Tu verus mundi lucifer” (you are the true light bringer of the world).

Some interpreted the mention of the morning star (lucifer) in Ambrose’s hymn Aeterne rerum conditor as referring allegorically to Christ and the mention of the cock, the herald of the day (praeco) in the same hymn as referring to John the Baptist. Likewise, in the medieval hymn Christe qui lux es et dies, some manuscripts have the line “Lucifer lucem proferens”.

The Latin word lucifer is also used of Christ in the Easter Proclamation prayer to God regarding the paschal candle: Flammas eius lucifer matutinus inveniat: ille, inquam, lucifer, qui nescit occasum. Christus Filius tuus, qui, regressus ab inferis, humano generi serenus illuxit, et vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum (May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who, coming back from death’s domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns forever and ever). In the works of Latin grammarians, Lucifer, like Daniel, was discussed as an example of a personal name.

Translation of הֵילֵל as “Lucifer”, as in the King James Version, has been abandoned in modern English translations of Isaiah 14:12. Present-day translations have “morning star”, “daystar”, “Day Star”, “shining one” or “shining star” (New Living Translation).

The term appears in the context of an oracle against a dead king of Babylon, who is addressed as הילל בן שחר (hêlêl ben šāḥar), rendered by the King James Version as “O Lucifer, son of the morning!” and by others as “morning star, son of the dawn”.

In ancient Canaanite mythology, the morning star is pictured as a god, Attar, who attempted to occupy the throne of Ba’al and, finding he was unable to do so, descended and ruled the underworld.

Attar (Aramaic); Athtar (South Arabia); Astar (Abyssinia); Ashtar (Moab); Ashtar(t) (Canaan); Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian) is the god of the morning star in western Semitic mythology. In more southerly regions he is probably known as Dhu-Samani.

In Canaanite legend, he attempts to usurp the throne of the dead god Baal Hadad but proves inadequate. In semi-arid regions of western Asia he was sometimes worshipped as a rain god. His female counterpart is the Phoenician Astarte, the Greek name of the Mesopotamian (i.e. Assyrian, Akkadian, Babylonian) Semitic goddess Ishtar.

Astarte was connected with fertility, sexuality, and war. Her symbols were the lion, the horse, the sphinx, the dove, and a star within a circle indicating the planet Venus. Pictorial representations often show her naked. She has been known as the deified evening star.

Astarte was worshipped in Syria and Canaan beginning in the first millennium BC and was first mentioned in texts from Ugarit. She came from the same Semitic origins as the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar, and an Ugaritic text specifically equates her with Ishtar.

Astarte appears in Ugaritic texts under the name ʻAthtart’, but is little mentioned in those texts. ʻAthtart and ʻAnat together hold back Baʻal from attacking the other deities. Astarte also asks Baʻal to “scatter” Yamm “Sea” after Baʻal’s victory. ʻAthtart is called the “Face of Baʻal”.

Astarte arrived in Ancient Egypt during the 18th dynasty along with other deities who were worshipped by northwest Semitic people. She was especially worshipped in her aspect as a warrior goddess, often paired with the goddess Anat.

Some ancient sources assert that in the territory of Sidon the temple of Astarte was sacred to Europa. According to an old Cretan story, Europa was a Phoenician princess whom Zeus, having transformed himself into a white bull, abducted, and carried to Crete.

Some scholars claim that the cult of the Minoan snake goddess who is identified with Ariadne (the “utterly pure”) was similar to the cult of Astarte. Her cult as Aphrodite was transmitted to Cythera and then to Greece.

Herodotus wrote that the religious community of Aphrodite originated in Phoenicia and came to Greeks from there. He also wrote about the world’s largest temple of Aphrodite, in one of the Phoenician cities. Her name is the second name in an energy chant sometimes used in Wicca: “Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna.”

Tanit, also called Tinnit, Tannou or Tangou, was a Punic and Phoenician goddess, the chief deity of Carthage alongside her consort Ba`al Hammon. She was also adopted by the Punic Berber people.

The name appears to have originated in Carthage (modern day Tunisia), though it does not appear in local theophorous names. She was equivalent to the moon-goddess Astarte, and later worshipped in Roman Carthage in her Romanized form as Dea Caelestis, Juno Caelestis or simply Caelestis.

In modern-day Tunisian Arabic, it is customary to invoke “Omek Tannou” or “Oumouk Tangou” (Mother Tannou or Tangou depending on the region), the years of drought to bring rain; just as we speak of “Ba`li” farming, for non-irrigated farming, to say that it only depends on god Ba`al Hammon.

Long after the fall of Carthage, Tanit was still venerated in North Africa under the Latin name of Juno Caelestis, for her identification with the Roman goddess Juno. The ancient Berber people of North Africa also adopted the Punic cult of Tanit. In Egyptian, her name means Land of Neith, Neith being a war goddess.

Attar was worshipped in Southern Arabia in pre-Islamic times. A god of war, he was often referred to as “He who is Bold in Battle”. One of his symbols was the spear-point and the antelope was his sacred animal. He had power over Venus, the morning star, and was believed to provide humankind with water.

In ancient times, Arabia shared the gods of Mesopotamia, being so close to Babylon, except the genders and symbols of these deities were later swapped around. For instance, the sun god Shamash became the sun goddess Shams, and in southern Arabia Ishtar became the male storm god Athtar.

The Sabaeans and other southern Arabians worshipped stars and planets, chief among whom were the sun (Shams), moon (Almaqah), and Athtar, the planet Venus. As head of the Southern Arabian pantheon, Athtar was a god of the thunderstorm, dispensing natural irrigation in the form of rain.

Athtar also represented fertility and water as essential to fertility. When representing water he stood not just for the act of raining itself, but rather for the useful flow of the water after the rain, in the wadi, the Arabian watercourse which is dry except in the rainy season.

Tammuz (Akkadian: Duʾzu, Dūzu; Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”) was the name of a Sumerian god of food and vegetation, also worshiped in the later Mesopotamian states of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia.

The Aramaic name “Tammuz” seems to have been derived from the Akkadian form Tammuzi, based on early Sumerian Damu-zid. The later standard Sumerian form, Dumu-zid, in turn became Dumuzi in Akkadian. Tamuzi also is Dumuzid or Dumuzi.

In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, Dumuzid or Dumuzi, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar. The Levantine Adonis (“lord”), who was drawn into the Greek pantheon, was considered by Joseph Campbell among others to be another counterpart of Tammuz, son and consort.

Beginning with the summer solstice came a time of mourning in the Ancient Near East, as in the Aegean: the Babylonians marked the decline in daylight hours and the onset of killing summer heat and drought with a six-day “funeral” for the god. Recent discoveries reconfirm him as an annual life-death-rebirth deit.

A dying-and-rising death-rebirth, or resurrection deity is a related motif where the god dies and is also resurrected. “Death or departure of the gods” is motif A192 in Stith Thompson’s Motif-Index of Folk-Literature, while “resurrection of gods” is motif A193.

Examples of gods who die and later return to life are most often cited from the religions of the Ancient Near East, and traditions influenced by them including Biblical and Greco-Roman mythology and by extension Christianity.

The concept of dying-and-rising god was first proposed in comparative mythology by James Frazer’s seminal The Golden Bough. Frazer associated the motif with fertility rites surrounding the yearly cycle of vegetation. Frazer cited the examples of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis and Attis, Dionysus and Jesus Christ.

Frazer’s interpretation of the category has been critically discussed in 20th-century scholarship to the conclusion that many examples from the world’s mythologies included under “dying and rising” should only be considered “dying” but not “rising”, and that the genuine dying-and-rising god is a characteristic feature of Ancient Near Eastern mythologies and the derived mystery cults of Late Antiquity.

The motif of a dying deity appears within the mythology of diverse cultures – perhaps because attributes of deities were derived from everyday experiences, and the ensuing conflicts often included death. These examples range from Baldr in Norse mythology to the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl in Aztec mythology to the Japanese Izanami.

Some gods who die are also seen as either returning or bring about life in some other form, often associated with the vegetation cycle, or a staple food, in effect taking the form of a vegetation deity. Examples include Ishtar and Persephone, who die every year.

The yearly death of Ishtar when she goes underground represents the lack of growth, while her return the rebirth of the farming cycle. Most scholars hold that although the gods suggested in this motif die, they do not generally return in terms of rising as the same deity, although scholars such as Mettinger contend that in some cases they do.

Attis was the consort of Cybele in Phrygian and Greek mythology. His priests were eunuchs, the Galli, as explained by origin myths pertaining to Attis and castration. Attis was also a Phrygian god of vegetation, and in his self-mutilation, death, and resurrection he represents the fruits of the earth, which die in winter only to rise again in the spring.

The original myth may have been about a lesser god Helel trying to dethrone the Canaanite high god El, a Northwest Semitic word meaning “god” or “deity”, or referring (as a proper name) to any one of multiple major Ancient Near East deities, who lived on a mountain to the north.

Specific deities known as El or Il include the supreme god of the Canaanite religion, the supreme god of the Mesopotamian Semites in the pre-Sargonic period, and the God of the Hebrew Bible.

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.

In the Ugaritic Ba‘al cycle, Ēl is introduced dwelling on (or in) Mount Lel (Lel possibly meaning “Night”) at the fountains of the two rivers at the spring of the two deeps. He dwells in a tent according to some interpretations of the text which may explain why he had no temple in Ugarit. As to the rivers and the spring of the two deeps, these might refer to real streams, or to the mythological sources of the salt water ocean and the fresh water sources under the earth, or to the waters above the heavens and the waters beneath the earth.

Enki was considered a god of life and replenishment, and was often depicted with two streams of water flowing into his shoulders, one the Tigris, the other the Euphrates. Alongside him were trees symbolising the female and male aspects of nature, each holding the female and male aspects of the ‘Life Essence’, which he, as apparent alchemist of the gods, would masterfully mix to create several beings that would live upon the face of the earth.

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. Some scholars remain skeptical of the theory while explaining how it might have been misinterpreted. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Enlil was also known as the god of weather. According to the Sumerians, Enlil requested the creation of a slave race, 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”.

ʾIlāh (plural: ʾālihah) is an Arabic term meaning “deity” or “god”. The feminine is ʾilāhah, meaning “goddess”); with the article, it appears as al-ʾilāhah. It appears in the name of the monotheistic god of Islam as al-Lāh, translated, that is, “the god”.

In some cases, it is used by Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews, although not as frequently as other titles, such as Rabb, or “Lord” – a title also used by Muslims for Allah – similar to the Hebrew use of Adonai, which is the most frequently used by Jews of all languages, along with HaShem or “the Name”.

Amongst Christians, Yasu – an Arabic transliteration of the name of the Christian Jesus – Yahweh or Shaddai, translated, that is, “Almighty”, are common, with some other names and titles generally borrowed as transliterations from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. In Malaysia, it is illegal for Christians, Jews, or any other non-Muslim to refer to their God as “Allah”.

ʾIlāh is cognate to Northwest Semitic ʾēl and Akkadian ilum. The word is from a Proto-Semitic archaic biliteral ʔ-L meaning “god” (possibly with a wider meaning of “strong”), which was extended to a regular triliteral by the addition of a h (as in Hebrew ʾelōah, ʾelōhim). The word is spelled either with an optional diacritic alif to mark the ā only in Qur’anic texts or (more rarely) with a full alif.

The term is used throughout the Quran in passages detailing the existence of God and of the beliefs of non-Muslims in other divinities. Notably, the first statement of the šahādah (the Muslim confession of faith) is, “there is no ʾilāh but al-Lāh”, that is, translated, “there is no deity except for Allah” or “there is no god except for the [one] god”.

The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible defines “elohim” as a plural of eloah, an expanded form of the common Semitic noun “‘il” (ʾēl). It contains an added heh as third radical to the biconsonantal root. “El” (the basis for the extended root ʾlh) is usually derived from a root meaning “to be strong” and/or “to be in front”.

Discussions of the etymology of elohim essentially concern this expansion. An exact cognate outside of Hebrew is found in Ugaritic ʾlhm, the family of El, the creator god and chief deity of the Canaanite pantheon, in Biblical Aramaic ʼĔlāhā and later Syriac Alaha “God”, and in Arabic ʾilāh “god, deity” (or Allah as ” The [single] God”).

In Sumerian mythology, Anu (also An; from Sumerian An, “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.

He 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). 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 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.

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 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.

Hermann Gunkel’s reconstruction of the myth told of a mighty warrior called Hêlal, whose ambition it was to ascend higher than all the other stellar divinities, but who had to descend to the depths; it thus portrayed as a battle the process by which the bright morning star fails to reach the highest point in the sky before being faded out by the rising sun.

Similarities have been noted with the East Semitic story of Ishtar’s or Inanna’s descent into the underworld, Ishtar and Inanna being associated with the planet Venus. A connection has been seen also with the Babylonian myth of Etana.

The Jewish Encyclopedia comments: “The brilliancy of the morning star, which eclipses all other stars, but is not seen during the night, may easily have given rise to a myth such as was told of Ethana and Zu: he was led by his pride to strive for the highest seat among the star-gods on the northern mountain of the gods … but was hurled down by the supreme ruler of the Babylonian Olympus.” The Greek myth of Phaethon, whose name, like that of הֵילֵל, means “Shining One”, has also been seen as similar.

The Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible points out that no evidence has been found of any Canaanite myth of a god being thrown from heaven, as in Isaiah 14:12. It concludes that the closest parallels with Isaiah’s description of the king of Babylon as a fallen morning star cast down from heaven are to be found not in any lost Canaanite and other myths but in traditional ideas of the Jewish people themselves, echoed in the Biblical account of the fall of Adam and Eve, cast out of God’s presence for wishing to be as God, and the picture in Psalm 82 of the “gods” and “sons of the Most High” destined to die and fall. This Jewish tradition has echoes also in Jewish pseudepigrapha such as 2 Enoch and the Life of Adam and Eve.

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Posted by Fredsvenn on May 18, 2015

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Ha-ka-tu: The old hag

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 18, 2015

Hausos

Hecate

Khaldi

Kali

Inanna (Inara) / Ereshkigal (Ares)

Gugalanna

Caelus

Uranus

http://i2.wp.com/www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/all_symbols.jpg

The symbol for Saturn is often referred to as an ancient scythe or sickle. Since Saturn was the Roman god of seed-sowing, it makes sense that the planetary symbol would be a tool used for cutting down grains. Below are a few fun and interesting facts about Saturn.

The Ka was the Egyptian concept of vital essence, that which distinguishes the difference between a living and a dead person, with death occurring when the ka left the body. The Egyptians believed that Khnum created the bodies of children on a potter’s wheel and inserted them into their mothers’ bodies.

Depending on the region, Egyptians believed that Heket or Meskhenet was the creator of each person’s Ka, breathing it into them at the instant of their birth as the part of their soul that made them be alive. This resembles the concept of spirit in other religions.

The Egyptians also believed that the ka was sustained through food and drink. For this reason food and drink offerings were presented to the dead, although it was the kau within the offerings that was consumed, not the physical aspect. The ka was often represented in Egyptian iconography as a second image of the king, leading earlier works to attempt to translate ka as double.

To the Egyptians, the frog was a symbol of life and fertility, since millions of them were born after the annual inundation of the Nile, which brought fertility to the otherwise barren lands. Consequently, in Egyptian mythology, there began to be a frog-goddess, who represented fertility, referred to by Egyptologists as Heqet (also Heqat, Hekit, Heket etc., more rarely Hegit, Heget etc.), written with the determinative frog.

Her name was probably pronounced more like *Ḥaqā́tat in Middle Egyptian, hence her later Greek counterpart Ἑκάτη (see Hecate). Heqet was usually depicted as a frog, or a woman with a frog’s head, or more rarely as a frog on the end of a phallus to explicitly indicate her association with fertility. She was often referred to as the wife of Khnum.

The beginning of her cult dates to the early dynastic period at least. Her name was part of the names of some high-born Second Dynasty individuals buried at Helwan and was mentioned on a stela of Wepemnofret and in the Pyramid Texts. Early frog statuettes are often thought to be depictions of her.

Later, as a fertility goddess, associated explicitly with the last stages of the flooding of the Nile, and so with the germination of corn, she became associated with the final stages of childbirth. This association, which appears to have arisen during the Middle Kingdom, gained her the title She who hastens the birth.

Some claim that—even though no ancient Egyptian term for “midwife” is known for certain—midwives often called themselves the Servants of Heqet, and that her priestesses were trained in midwifery. Women often wore amulets of her during childbirth, which depicted Heqet as a frog, sitting in a lotus.

Heqet was considered the wife of Khnum, who formed the bodies of new children on his potter’s wheel. In the myth of Osiris developed, it was said that it was Heqet who breathed life into the new body of Horus at birth, as she was the goddess of the last moments of birth.

As the birth of Horus became more intimately associated with the resurrection of Osiris, so Heqet’s role became one more closely associated with resurrection. Eventually, this association led to her amulets gaining the phrase I am the resurrection in the Christian era along with cross and lamb symbolism.

Khnum was one of the earliest Egyptian deities, originally the god of the source of the Nile River. Since the annual flooding of the Nile brought with it silt and clay, and its water brought life to its surroundings, he was thought to be the creator of the bodies of human children, which he made at a potter’s wheel, from clay, and placed in their mothers’ wombs. He later was described as having moulded the other deities, and he had the titles Divine Potter and Lord of created things from himself.

Khnum is the third aspect of Ra. He is the god of rebirth, creation and the evening sun, although this is usually the function of Atum. He was sometimes regarded as the consort of Heket, or of Meskhenet, whose responsibility was breathing life into children at the moment of birth, as the Ka.

In art, he was usually depicted as a ram-headed man at a potter’s wheel, with recently created children’s bodies standing on the wheel, although he also appeared in his earlier guise as a water-god, holding a jar from which flowed a stream of water.

However, he occasionally appeared in a compound image, depicting the elements, in which he, representing water, was shown as one of four heads of a man, with the others being, – Geb representing earth, Shu representing the air, and Osiris representing death.

Heka was the deification of magic in ancient Egypt, his name being the Egyptian word for “magic”. According to Egyptian writing (Coffin text, spell 261), Heka existed “before duality had yet come into being.” The term “Heka” was also used for the practice of magical ritual. The Coptic word “hik” is derived from the Ancient Egyptian.

Heka literally means activating the Ka, the aspect of the soul which embodied personality. Egyptians thought activating the power of the soul was how magic worked. “Heka” also implied great power and influence, particularly in the case of drawing upon the Ka of the gods. Heka acted together with Hu, the principle of divine utterance, and Sia, the concept of divine omniscience, to create the basis of creative power both in the mortal world and the world of the gods.

As the one who activates Ka, Heka was also said to be the son of Atum, the creator of things in general, or occasionally the son of Khnum, who created specific individual Ba (another aspect of the soul). As the son of Khnum, his mother was said to be Menhit.

The hieroglyph for his name featured a twist of flax within a pair of raised arms; however, it also vaguely resembles a pair of entwined snakes within someone’s arms. Consequently, Heka was said to have battled and conquered two serpents, and was usually depicted as a man choking two giant entwined serpents. Medicine and doctors were thought to be a form of magic, and so Heka’s priesthood performed these activities.

Egyptians believed that with Heka, the activation of the Ka, an aspect of the soul of both gods and humans, (and divine personification of magic), they could influence the gods and gain protection, healing and transformation. Health and wholeness of being were sacred to Heka.

Hecate or Hekate is a goddess in Greek religion and mythology, most often shown holding two torches or a key and in later periods depicted in triple form. She was variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, dogs, light, the moon, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, ghosts, necromancy, and sorcery.

In the post-Christian writings of the Chaldean Oracles (2nd-3rd century CE) she was regarded with (some) rulership over earth, sea and sky, as well as a more universal role as Saviour (Soteira), Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul. She was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family.

Hecate may have originated among the Carians of Anatolia, where variants of her name are found as names given to children. William Berg observes, “Since children are not called after spooks, it is safe to assume that Carian theophoric names involving hekat- refer to a major deity free from the dark and unsavoury ties to the underworld and to witchcraft associated with the Hecate of classical Athens.” She also closely parallels the Roman goddess Trivia, with whom she was identified in Rome.

Hecate is now firmly established as a figure in Neopaganism, which draws heavily on folkloric traditions associating Hecate with ‘The Wild Hunt’, witches, hedges and ‘hedge-riding’, and other themes that parallel, but are not explicitly attested in, Classical sources.

Strmiska notes that Hecate, conflated with the figure of Diana, appears in late antiquity and in the early medieval period as part of an “emerging legend complex” associated with gatherings of women, the moon, and witchcraft that eventually became established “in the area of Northern Italy, southern Germany, and the western Balkans.”

This theory of the Roman origins of many European folk traditions related to Diana or Hecate was explicitly advanced at least as early as 1807 and is reflected in numerous etymological claims by lexicographers from the 17th to the 19th century, deriving “hag” and/or “hex” from Hecate by way of haegtesse (Anglo-Saxon) and hagazussa (Old High German).

Such derivations are today proposed only by a minority since being refuted by Grimm, who was skeptical of theories proposing non-Germanic origins for German folklore traditions.

Modern etymology reconstructs Proto-Germanic *hagatusjon- from haegtesse and hagazussa; the first element is probably cognate with hedge, which derives from PIE *kagh- “hedge, enclosure”, and the second perhaps from *dhewes- “fly about, be smoke, vanish.”

The figure of Hecate can often be associated with the figure of Isis in Egyptian myth. In the syncretism during Late Antiquity of Hellenistic and late Babylonian (“Chaldean”) elements, Hecate was identified with Ereshkigal, the underworld counterpart of Inanna in the Babylonian cosmography. Before she became associated with Greek mythology, she had many similarities with Artemis (wilderness, and watching over wedding ceremonies).

Gugalanna (Sumerian: GU.GAL.AN.NA, “the Great Bull of Heaven”), better known as the Bull of Heaven (Sumerian: GU.AN.NA), was the first husband of the Goddess Ereshkigal, as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

In Roman mythology, Diana (lt. “heavenly” or “divine”) was the goddess of the hunt, the moon and childbirth, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals.

Oak groves were especially sacred to her. According to mythology (in common with the Greek religion and their deity Artemis), Diana was born with her twin brother Apollo on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. Diana made up a triad with two other Roman deities: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.

She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, though she had an independent origin in Italy. Diana was worshipped in ancient Roman religion and is revered in Roman Neopaganism and Stregheria. Dianic Wicca, a largely feminist form of the practice, is named for her.

Diana was known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, Diana, Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry.

Vesta is the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family in Roman religion. Vesta’s presence is symbolized by the sacred fire that burned at her hearth and temples. Her closest Greek equivalent is Hestia.

The importance of Vesta to Roman religion is indicated by the prominence of the priesthood devoted to her, the Vestal Virgins, Rome’s only college of full-time priests.

Georges Dumézil (1898–1986), a French comparative philologist, 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 heuein, Latin urit, ustio and Vedic osathi all conveying ‘burning’ and the second is found in Vesta. (Greek goddess-name Ἑστία Hestia is probably unrelated).

Diana (pronounced with long ‘ī’ and ‘ā’) is an adjectival form developed from an ancient *divios, corresponding to later ‘divus’, ‘dius’, as in Dius Fidius, Dea Dia and in the neuter form dium meaning the sky. It is rooted in Indoeuropean *d(e)y(e)w, meaning bright sky or daylight, from which also derived the name of Vedic god Dyaus and the Latin deus, (god), dies, (day, daylight), and ” diurnal”, (daytime).

On the Tablets of Pylos a theonym diwia is supposed as referring to a deity precursor of Artemis. Modern scholars mostly accept the identification. The ancient Latin writers Varro and Cicero considered the etymology of Dīāna as allied to that of dies and connected to the shine of the Moon.

The persona of Diana is complex and contains a number of archaic features. According to Georges Dumézil it falls into a particular subset of celestial gods, referred to in histories of religion as frame gods. Such gods, while keeping the original features of celestial divinities, i.e. transcendent heavenly power and abstention from direct rule in worldly matters, did not share the fate of other celestial gods in Indoeuropean religions—that of becoming dei otiosi or gods without practical purpose, since they did retain a particular sort of influence over the world and mankind.

The celestial character of Diana is reflected in her connection with light, inaccessibility, virginity, and her preference for dwelling on high mountains and in sacred woods. Diana therefore reflects the heavenly world (diuum means sky or open air) in its sovereignty, supremacy, impassibility, and indifference towards such secular matters as the fates of mortals and states. At the same time, however, she is seen as active in ensuring the succession of kings and in the preservation of humankind through the protection of childbirth.

According to Dumezil the forerunner of all frame gods is an Indian epic hero who was the image (avatar) of the Vedic god Dyaus. Having renounced the world, in his roles of father and king, he attained the status of an immortal being while retaining the duty of ensuring that his dynasty is preserved and that there is always a new king for each generation.

The Scandinavian god Heimdallr performs an analogous function: he is born first and will die last. He too gives origin to kingship and the first king, bestowing on him regal prerogatives. Diana, although a female deity, has exactly the same functions, preserving mankind through childbirth and royal succession.

I. H. Pairault in her essay on Diana qualifies Dumézil’s theory as “impossible to verify”. Dumezil’s interpretation appears deliberately to ignore that of James G. Frazer, who links Diana with the male god Janus as a divine couple. This looks odd as Dumézil’s definition of the concept of frame god would fit well the figure of Janus.

Frazer identifies the two with the supreme heavenly couple Jupiter-Juno and additionally ties in these figures to the overarching Indoeuropean religious complex. This regality is also linked to the cult of trees, particularly oaks. In this interpretative schema, the institution of the Rex Nemorensis and related ritual should be seen as related to the theme of the dying god and the kings of May, a figure in the mythology of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as a folk custom.

As a goddess of hunting, Diana often wears a short tunic and hunting boots. She is often portrayed holding a bow, and carrying a quiver on her shoulder, accompanied by a deer or hunting dogs. Like Venus, she was portrayed as beautiful and youthful. The crescent moon, sometimes worn as a diadem, is a major attribute of the goddess.

Diana’s cult has been related in Early Modern Europe to the cult of Nicevenn (a.k.a. Dame Habond, Perchta, Herodiana, etc.). She was related to myths of a female Wild Hunt. Today there is a branch of Wicca named for her, which is characterized by an exclusive focus on the feminine aspect of the Divine. Diana’s name is also used as the third divine name in a Wiccan energy chant- “Isis Astarte Diana Hecate Demeter Kali Inanna”.

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. It is conventionally thought that the month of January is named for Janus (Ianuarius), but according to ancient Roman farmers’ almanacs Juno was the tutelary deity of the month.

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 ancient Greeks had no equivalent to Janus, whom the Romans claimed as distinctively their own. Modern scholars, however, have identified analogous figures in the pantheons of the Near East. His name in Greek is Ianós.

The relationship between Janus and Juno 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. The reader is referred to the above sections Cult epithets and Tigillum Sororium of this article and the corresponding section of article Juno.

Quirinus is a god that incarnates the quirites, i.e. the Romans in their civil capacity of producers and fathers. He is surnamed Mars tranquillus peaceful Mars, Mars qui praeest paci Mars who presides on peace. His function of custos guardian is highlighted by the location of his temple inside the pomerium but not far from the gate of Porta Collina or Quirinalis, near the shrines of Sancus and Salus.

As a protector of peace he is nevertheless armed, in the same way as the quirites are, as they are potentially milites soldiers: his staue represents him is holding a spear. For this reason Janus, god of gates, is concerned with his function of protector of the civil community.

For the same reason the flamen Portunalis oiled the arms of Quirinus, implying that they were to be kept in good order and ready even though they were not to be used immediately. Dumézil and Schilling remark that as a god of the third function Quirinus is peaceful and represents the ideal of the pax romana i. e. a peace resting on victory.

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.

In fact it is debated whether his original function was only that of god of gates and the function of god of harbours was a later addition: Paul the Deacon writes: “… he is depicted holding a key in his hand and was thought to be the god of gates”. Varro would have stated that he was the god of harbours and patron of gates.

His festival day named Portunalia fell on August 17, and he was venerated on that day in a temple ad pontem Aemilium and ad pontem Sublicium that had been dedicated on that date.

Portunus, unlike Janus, had his own flamen, named Portunalis. It is noteworthy that the temple of Janus in the Forum Holitorium had been consecrated on the day of the Portunalia and that the flamen Portunalis was in charge of oiling the arms of the statue of Quirinus.

The relationship between Janus and Vesta 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).

The last place implies a direct connexion with the situation of the worshipper, in space and in time. Vesta is thence the goddess of the hearth of homes as well as of the city. Her inextinguishable fire is a means for men (as individuals and as a community) to keep in touch with the realm of gods.

Thus there is a reciprocal link between the god of beginnings and unending motion, who bestows life to the beings of this world (Cerus Manus) as well as presiding over its end, and the goddess of the hearth of man, which symbolises through fire the presence of life.

Vesta is a virgin goddess but at the same time she is considered the mother of Rome: she is thought to be indispensable to the existence and survival of the community.

From other archaeological documents though it has become clear that the Etruscans had another god iconographically corresponding to Janus: Culśanś, of which there is a bronze statuette from Cortona (now at Cortona Museum).

While Janus is a bearded adult Culśans may be an unbearded youth, making his identification with Hermes look possible. His name too is connected with the Etruscan word for doors and gates.

According to Capdeville he may also be found on the outer rim of the Piacenza Liver on case 14 in the compound form CULALP, i.e., “of Culśanś and of Alpan(u)” on the authority of Pfiffig, but perhaps here it is the female goddess Culśu, the guardian of the door of the Underworld.

Although the location is not strictly identical there is some approximation in his situations on the Liver and in Martianus’ system. A. Audin connects the figure of Janus to Culśanś and Turms (Etruscan rendering of Hermes, the Greek god mediator between the different worlds, brought by the Etruscan from the Aegean Sea), considering these last two Etruscan deities as one.

This interpretation would then identify Janus with Greek god Hermes. Etruscan medals from Volterra to show the double headed god and the Janus Quadrifrons from Falerii may have an Etruscan origin.

According to Johannes Lydus with the testimony ascribed to Varro Janus was named caelum among the Etruscans. Caelus or Coelus was a primal god of the sky in Roman myth and theology, iconography, and literature (compare caelum, the Latin word for “sky” or “the heavens”, hence English “celestial”).

The deity’s name usually appears in masculine grammatical form when he is conceived of as a male generative force, but the neuter form Caelum is also found as a divine personification.

The name of Caelus indicates that he was the Roman counterpart of the Greek god Uranus, who was of major importance in the theogonies of the Greeks. Varro couples him with Terra (Earth) as pater and mater (father and mother), and says that they are “great deities” (dei magni) in the theology of the mysteries at Samothrace.

Although Caelus is not known to have had a cult at Rome, not all scholars consider him a Greek import given a Latin name; he has been associated with Summanus, the god of nocturnal thunder, as “purely Roman.”

Caelus begins to appear regularly in Augustan art and in connection with the cult of Mithras during the Imperial era. Vitruvius includes him among celestial gods whose temple-buildings (aedes) should be built open to the sky. As a sky god, he became identified with Jupiter, as indicated by an inscription that reads Optimus Maximus Caelus Aeternus Iupter.

According to Cicero and Hyginus, Caelus was the son of Aether and Dies (“Day” or “Daylight”). Caelus and Dies were in this tradition the parents of Mercury. With Trivia, Caelus was the father of the distinctively Roman god Janus, as well as of Saturn and Ops.

Caelus was also the father of one of the three forms of Jupiter, the other two fathers being Aether and Saturn. In one tradition, Caelus was the father with Tellus of the Muses, though was this probably a mere translation of Ouranos from a Greek source.

Uranus (meaning “sky” or “heaven”) was the primal Greek god personifying the sky. His equivalent in Roman mythology was Caelus. In Ancient Greek literature, Uranus or Father Sky was the son and husband of Gaia (Earth), Mother Earth.

Uranus has two astronomical symbols. The first to be proposed was suggested by Lalande in 1784. In a letter to Herschel, Lalande described it as “un globe surmonté par la première lettre de votre nom” (“a globe surmounted by the first letter of your surname”).

A later proposal is a hybrid of the symbols for Mars and the Sun because Uranus was the Sky in Greek mythology, which was thought to be dominated by the combined powers of the Sun and Mars. In Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese, its name is literally translated as the “sky king star” (天王星).

According to Hesiod’s Theogony, Uranus was conceived by Gaia alone, but other sources cite Aether as his father. Uranus and Gaia were the parents of the first generation of Titans, and the ancestors of most of the Greek gods, but no cult addressed directly to Uranus survived into Classical times, and Uranus does not appear among the usual themes of Greek painted pottery. Elemental Earth, Sky and Styx might be joined, however, in a solemn invocation in Homeric epic.

The most probable etymology traces the name to a Proto-Greek form *worsanós enlarged from *ṷorsó- (also found in Greek ouréō ‘to urinate’, Sanskrit varṣá ‘rain’, Hittite ṷarša- ‘fog, mist’). The basic Indo-European root is *ṷérs- ‘to rain, moisten’ (also found in Greek eérsē ‘dew’, Sanskrit várṣati ‘to rain’, Avestan ‘it rained on’), making Ouranos the ‘rainmaker’.

A less likely etymology is a derivative with meaning ‘the one standing on high’ from PIE *ṷérso- (cf. Sanskrit várṣman ‘height, top’, Lithuanian viršùs ‘upper, highest seat’, Russian verx ‘height, top’). Georges Dumézil’s equation of Ouranos with the Vedic deity Váruṇa (Mitanni Aruna), god of the sky and waters, is etymologically untenable.

Uranus is connected with the night sky, and Váruṇa is the god of the sky and the celestial ocean, which is connected with the Milky Way. His daughter Lakshmi is said to have arisen from an ocean of milk, a myth similar to the myth of Aphrodite.

Georges Dumézil made a cautious case for the identity of Uranus and Vedic Váruṇa at the earliest Indo-European cultural level. Dumézil’s identification of mythic elements shared by the two figures, relying to a great extent on linguistic interpretation, but not positing a common origin, was taken up by Robert Graves and others.

The identification of the name Ouranos with the Hindu Váruṇa, based in part on a posited PIE root *-ŭer with a sense of “binding”—ancient king god Váruṇa binds the wicked, ancient king god Uranus binds the Cyclopes, whom had tormented him. The most probable etymology is from Proto-Greek *(F)orsanόj (worsanos) from a PIE root *ers “to moisten, to drip” (referring to the rain).

The Greek creation myth is similar to the Hurrian creation myth. In Hurrian religion Anu is the sky god. His son Kumarbi bit off his genitals and spat out three deities, one of whom Teshub, later deposed Kumarbi. In Sumerian mythology and later for Assyrians and Babylonians, Anu is the sky god and represented law and order.

It is possible that Uranus was originally an Indo-European god, to be identified with the Vedic Váruṇa, the supreme keeper of order who later became the god of oceans and rivers, as suggested by Georges Dumézil, following hints in Émile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912).

Another of Dumézil’s theories is that the Iranian supreme God Ahura Mazda is a development of the Indo-Iranian *vouruna-*mitra. Therefore this divinity has also the qualities of Mitra, which is the god of the falling rain.

In Hesiod’s Theogony, Uranus is the offspring of Gaia, the earth goddess. Alcman and Callimachus elaborate that Uranus was fathered by Aether, the god of heavenly light and the upper air.

Under the influence of the philosophers, Cicero, in De Natura Deorum (“Concerning the Nature of the Gods”), claims that he was the offspring of the ancient gods Aether and Hemera, Air and Day. According to the Orphic Hymns, Uranus was the son of Nyx, the personification of night.

Nyx (“Night”) – Roman (in Latin): Nox – is the Greek goddess (or personification) of the night. A shadowy figure, Nyx stood at or near the beginning of creation, and was the mother of other personified deities such as Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death).

Her appearances are sparse in surviving mythology, but reveal her as a figure of such exceptional power and beauty, that she is feared by Zeus himself. She is found in the shadows of the world and only ever seen in glimpses.

In Hesiod’s Theogony, Nyx is born of Chaos. With Erebus (Darkness), Nyx gives birth to Aether (Brightness) and Hemera (Day). Later, on her own, Nyx gives birth to Moros (Doom, Destiny), Ker (Fate, Destruction, Death), Thanatos (Death), Hypnos (Sleep), the Oneiroi (Dreams), Momus (Blame), Oizys (Woe, Pain, Distress), the Hesperides (Evening, Sunset), the Moirai (Fates), the Keres, Nemesis (Indignation, Retribution), Apate (Deceit), Philotes (Friendship, Love), Geras (Old Age), and Eris (Strife).

In his description of Tartarus, Hesiod locates there the home of Nyx, and the homes of her children Hypnos and Thanatos. Hesiod says further that Hemera (Day), who is Nyx’s daughter, left Tartarus just as Nyx entered it; continuing cyclicly, when Hemera returned, Nyx left. This mirrors the portrayal of Ratri (night) in the Rigveda, where she works in close cooperation but also tension with her sister Ushas (dawn).

The ancient Greeks and Romans knew of only five ‘wandering stars’: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Following the discovery of a sixth planet in the 18th century, the name Uranus was chosen as the logical addition to the series: for Mars (Ares in Greek) was the son of Jupiter, Jupiter (Zeus in Greek) the son of Saturn, and Saturn (Cronus in Greek) the son of Uranus. What is anomalous is that, while the others take Roman names, Uranus is a name derived from Greek in contrast to the Roman Caelus.

In the Olympian creation myth, as Hesiod tells it in the Theogony, Uranus came every night to cover the earth and mate with Gaia, but he hated the children she bore him. Hesiod named their first six sons and six daughters the Titans, the three one-hundred-handed giants the Hekatonkheires, and the one-eyed giants the Cyclopes. The Hekatonkheires were thus part of the very beginning of things in the submerged prehistory of Greek myth, though they played no known part in cult.

The Hekatonkheires or Hecatonchires (singular: “Hekatonkheir” or “Hecatonchir” (“hundred-handed ones”), also called the Centimanes (Latin: Centimani) or Hundred-handers, were figures in an archaic stage of Greek mythology, three giants of incredible strength and ferocity that surpassed all of the Titans, whom they helped overthrow. Their name derives from the Greek hekaton (“hundred”) and kheir (“hand”), “each of them having a hundred hands and fifty heads” (Bibliotheca). Hesiod’s Theogony reports that the three Hekatonkheires became the guards of the gates of Tartarus.

In Virgil’s Aeneid (10.566–67), in which Aeneas is likened to one of them (Briareos, known here as Aegaeon), they fought on the side of the Titans rather than the Olympians; in this, Virgil was following the lost Corinthian epic Titanomachy rather than the more familiar account in Hesiod.

Other accounts make Briareos (or Aegaeon) one of the assailants of Olympus. After his defeat, he was buried under Mount Aetna (Callimachus, Hymn to Delos, 141).

Soon after they were born, their father Uranus threw them into the depths of Tartarus because he saw them as hideous monsters. In some versions, Uranus saw how ugly the Hekatonkheires were at their birth and pushed them back into Gaia’s womb, upsetting Gaia greatly, causing her great pain and setting into motion the overthrow of Uranus by Cronus, who later imprisoned them in Tartarus.

The Hekatonkheires remained there, guarded by the dragon Campe, until Zeus rescued them, advised by Gaia that they would serve as good allies against Cronus and the Titans. During the War of the Titans, the Hekatonkheires threw rocks as big as mountains, one hundred at a time, at the Titans, overwhelming them. After the War of the Titans, the Hekatonkheires became the guards of Tartarus.

Uranus imprisoned Gaia’s youngest children in Tartarus, deep within Earth, where they caused pain to Gaia. She shaped a great flint-bladed sickle and asked her sons to castrate Uranus. Only Cronus, youngest and most ambitious of the Titans, was willing: he ambushed his father and castrated him, casting the severed testicles into the sea.

For this fearful deed, Uranus called his sons Titanes Theoi, or “Straining Gods.” From the blood that spilled from Uranus onto the Earth came forth the Giants, the Erinyes (the avenging Furies), the Meliae (the ash-tree nymphs), and, according to some, the Telchines. From the genitals in the sea came forth Aphrodite.

After Uranus was deposed, Cronus re-imprisoned the Hekatonkheires and Cyclopes in Tartarus. Uranus and Gaia then prophesied that Cronus in turn was destined to be overthrown by his own son, and so the Titan attempted to avoid this fate by devouring his young. Zeus, through deception by his mother Rhea, avoided this fate.

These ancient myths of distant origins were not expressed in cults among the Hellenes. The function of Uranus was as the vanquished god of an elder time, before real time began.

In Greek mythology, Hyperion (“The High-One”), a Titan and god of the sun, was one of the twelve Titan children of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Sky or Heaven) who, led by Cronus, overthrew Uranus and were themselves later overthrown by the Olympians.

With his sister, the Titaness Theia (sometimes rendered Thea or Thia), also called Euryphaessa “wide-shining”, a Titaness and a goddess of the moon, Hyperion fathered Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn). The name Theia alone means simply “goddess” or “divine”; Theia Euryphaessa brings overtones of extent (eurys, “wide”) and brightness (phaos, “light”).

In Greek mythology, Ēōs (“dawn”) is a Titaness and the goddess of the dawn, who rose each morning from her home at the edge of the Oceanus. She is the daughter of Hyperion and Theia and sister of Helios, god of the sun, and Selene, goddess of the moon, “who shine upon all that are on earth and upon the deathless gods who live in the wide heaven.”

Eos is cognate to Vedic Sanskrit Ushas and Latin Aurora, both goddesses of dawn, and all three considered derivatives of a PIE stem *h₂ewsṓs (later *Ausṓs), “dawn”, a stem that also gave rise to Proto-Germanic *Austrō, Old Germanic *Ōstara and Old English Ēostre/Ēastre. This agreement leads to the reconstruction of a Proto-Indo-European dawn goddess.

The dawn goddess Eos was almost always described with rosy fingers or rosy forearms as she opened the gates of heaven for the Sun to rise. In Homer, her saffron-coloured robe is embroidered or woven with flowers; rosy-fingered and with golden arms, she is pictured on Attic vases as a beautiful woman, crowned with a tiara or diadem and with the large white-feathered wings of a bird.

Haya, known both as a “door-keeper” and associated with the scribal arts, is mainly known as spouse of the goddess Nidaba/Nissaba, the Sumerian goddess of writing, learning, and the harvest. 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.

As with many Sumerian deities, Nisaba’s exact place in the pantheon and her heritage appears somewhat ambiguous. She is the daughter of An and Urash. From Sumerian texts, the language used to describe Urash is very similar to the language used to describe Ninhursag. Therefore, the two goddesses may be one and the same.

Nisaba is the sister of Ninsun, the mother of Gilgamesh. If Urash and Ninhursag are the same goddess, then Nisaba is also the half sister of Nanshe and (in some versions) Ninurta. In some other tales, she is considered the mother of Ninlil, and by extension, the mother-in-law of Enlil.

On a depiction found in Lagash, she appears with flowing hair, crowned with horned tiara bearing supporting ears of grain and a crescent moon. Her dense hair is evoked in comparison in the description of similarly hairy Enkidu in the Gilgamesh epic.

In some cases Haya was identified as father of the goddess Ninlil, (NIN.LÍL”lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”), also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mulliltu, the consort goddess of Enlil. Another Akkadian source says she is the daughter of Anu (aka An) and Antu (Sumerian Ki). Other sources call her a daughter of Anu and Nammu.

She lived in Dilmun with her family. Raped and ravaged by her husband Enlil, who impregnated her with water, she conceived a boy, Nanna/Suen, the future moon god. As punishment Enlil was dispatched to the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, where Ninlil joined him. Enlil impregnated her disguised as the gatekeeper, where upon she gave birth to their son Nergal, god of death.

In a similar manner she conceived the underworld god Ninazu when Enlil impregnated her disguised as the man of the river of the nether world, a man-devouring river. Later Enlil disguised himself as the man of the boat, impregnating her with a fourth deity Enbilulu, god of rivers and canals. All of these act as substitutes for Nanna/Suen to ascend. In some texts Ninlil is also the mother of Ninurta, the heroic god who slew Asag the demon with his mace, Sharur.

After her death, she became the goddess of the wind, like Enlil. She may be the Goddess of the South Wind referred to in the story of Adapa, as her husband Enlil was associated with northerly winter storms. As “Lady Wind” she may be associated with the figure of the Akkadian demon “Lil-itu”, thought to have been the origin of the Hebrew Lilith legend.

In the sleeping quarters, in the flowered bed fragrant like a cedar forest, Enlil made love to his wife and took great pleasure in it. He sat her on his dais appropriate to the status of Enlil, and made the people pray to her. The lord whose statements are powerful also determined a fate for the Lady (Aruru), the woman of his favour; he gave her the name Nintur, the ‘Lady who gives birth’, the ‘Lady who spreads her knees’. (…) Proud woman, surpassing the mountains! You who always fulfil your desires—from now on, Sud, Enlil is the king and Ninlil is the queen. The goddess without name has a famous name now …

After her death, she became the goddess of the wind, like Enlil. She may be the Goddess of the South Wind referred to in the story of Adapa, as her husband Enlil was associated with northerly winter storms. As “Lady Wind” she may be associated with the figure of the Akkadian demon “Lil-itu”, thought to have been the origin of the Hebrew Lilith legend.

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. He is designated 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 ha-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.

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Aratta – Urartu – Armenia/Hayastan

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 17, 2015

Aratta – Uratri – Urartu/Urashtu – Armenia

In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521 or 520 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite.

The name is connected to the Indo-European root Ar- meaning “assemble/create” which is vastly used in names of or regarding the Sun, light, or fire, found in Ararat, Aryan, Arta etc.

Aratta is a land that appears in Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list. It is described in Sumerian literature as a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them. It is remote and difficult to reach, and home to the goddess Inanna, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk, but is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk.

Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre. Inanna was the most prominent female deity in ancient Mesopotamia. As early as the Uruk period (ca. 4000–3100 BC), Inanna was associated with the city of Uruk.

Inanna’s name derives from Lady of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-an-ak). The cuneiform sign of Inanna, however, is not a ligature of the signs lady (Sumerian: nin) and sky (Sumerian: an). These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that originally Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess, possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, accepted only latterly into the Sumerian pantheon, an idea supported by her youthfulness, and that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, at first she had no sphere of responsibilities. The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not widely accepted by modern Assyriologists.

Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis. Inara’s mother is probably Hebat and her brother is Sarruma.

Hannahannah (from Hittite hanna- “grandmother”) is a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat. Christopher Siren reports that Hannahannah is associated with the Gulses, similar to the Hutena, the goddesses of fate in Hurrian mythology, the Norns of Norse mythology or the Moirai of ancient Greece.

Asha is the Avestan language term (corresponding to Vedic language ṛta) for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. Its Old Persian equivalent is arta-.[c] In Middle Iranian languages the term appears as ard-.[a]

In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called “the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism.” The significance of the term is complex, with a highly nuanced range of meaning. It is commonly summarized in accord with its contextual implications of ‘truth’ and ‘right(eousness)’, ‘order’ and ‘right working’. The word is also the proper name of the divinity Asha, the Amesha Spenta that is the hypostasis or “genius” of “Truth” or “Righteousness”. The opposite of Avestan aša is druj, “lie.”

Ardini (likely from Armenian Artin, meaning “sun rising” or to “awake”, was an ancient city of Urartu, attested in Assyrian sources of the 9th and 8th centuries BC. In Akkadian it was known as Muṣaṣir, meaning Exit of the Serpent/Snake.

The city’s tutelary deity was Ḫaldi, also known as Khaldi or Hayk, the patriarch of the Armenians. 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.

One of the most important goddesses of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is the personification of dawn as a beautiful young woman. Her name is reconstructed as Hausōs (PIE *h₂ewsṓs- or *h₂ausōs-, an s-stem), besides numerous epithets.

Kālī, also known as Kālikā, is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, or shakti. She is the fierce aspect of the goddess Durga (Parvati). The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death: Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kāla— the eternal time — the name of Kālī, his consort, also means “Time” or “Death” (as in “time has come”). Hence, Kāli is the Goddess of Time, Change, Power and Destruction.

Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation of evil forces still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess. She is often portrayed standing or dancing on her husband, the god Shiva, who lies prostrate beneath her.

Hel was the Goddess of death and the Underworld in Norse mythology. She is often a misunderstood Goddess as many Goddesses of the Underworld are. She is said to be the daughter of Loki, a trickster God of the Norse, and a Giantess. Her body was seen as half dead and half alive. Some say that part of of her body was beautiful while the other was horrid like death. It symbolizes the light and dark aspects within all of us.

In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal (EREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. “Queen of the Great Earth”) was the goddess of Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler, and sometimes it is given as Ninkigal, lit. “Great Lady of the Earth” or “Lady of the Great Earth”. Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom. The main temple dedicated to her was located in Kutha.

The goddess Ishtar refers to Ereshkigal as her older sister in the Sumerian hymn “The Descent of Inanna” (which was also in later Babylonian myth, also called “The Descent of Ishtar”). Inanna/Ishtar’s trip and return to the underworld is the most familiar of the myths concerning Ereshkigal.

Ishara (išḫara) is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath. The word is attested as a loanword in the Assyrian Kültepe texts from the 19th century BC, and is as such the earliest attestation of a word of any Indo-European language.

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar. She is identified as Ishwara in Sanskrit. Her cult was of considerable importance in Ebla from the mid 3rd millennium, and by the end of the 3rd millennium, she had temples in Nippur, Sippar, Kish, Harbidum, Larsa, and Urum.

Mitanni Mi-ta-an-ni; Mittani Mi-it-ta-ni), also called Hanigalbat (Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat cuneiform Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) in Assyrian or Naharin in Egyptian texts was a Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and southeast Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC. Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt mentions in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) the people of Ermenen, and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”.

The ethnicity of the people of Mitanni is difficult to ascertain. A treatise on the training of chariot horses by Kikkuli contains a number of Indo-Aryan glosses. Kammenhuber (1968) suggested that this vocabulary was derived from the still undivided Indo-Iranian language, but Mayrhofer (1974) has shown that specifically Indo-Aryan features are present.

The names of the Mitanni aristocracy frequently are of Indo-Aryan origin, but it is specifically their deities which show Indo-Aryan roots (Mitra, Varuna, Indra, Nasatya), though some think that they are more immediately related to the Kassites. A Hurrian passage in the Amarna letters – usually composed in Akkadian, the lingua franca of the day – indicates that the royal family of Mitanni was by then speaking Hurrian as well.

The first extant record of Indo-Aryan Mitra, in the form mi-it-ra-, is in the inscribed peace treaty of c. 1400 BC between Hittites and the Hurrian kingdom of the Mitanni in the area southeast of Lake Van in Asia Minor. There Mitra appears together with four other Indo-Aryan divinities as witnesses and keepers of the pact. R. D. Barnett has argued that the royal seal of King Saussatar of Mitanni from c. 1450 BC. depicts a tauroctonous Mithras

Mitra is the reconstructed Proto-Indo-Iranian name of an Indo-Iranian divinity from which the names and some characteristics of Rigvedic Mitrá and Avestan Mithra derive. Middle Iranian myhr (Parthian, also in living Armenian usage) and mihr (Middle Persian), derive from Avestan Mithra.

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

Vedic Mitra is a prominent deity of the Rigveda distinguished by a relationship to Varuna, the protector of rta. Together with Varuna, he counted among the Adityas, a group of solar deities, also in later Vedic texts.

There is a deity Mithra mentioned on monuments in the Armenian state of Commagene. In the colossal statuary erected by King Antiochus I (69–34 BC) at Mount Nemrut, Mithras is shown beardless, wearing a Phrygian cap, and was originally seated on a throne alongside other deities and the king himself. Many Mithraeums, or Mithraic temples, were built in Armenia, which remained both one of the last strongholds of Mithraism and the first officially Christian kingdom.

The mitre (“headband” or “turban”), also spelled miter, is a type of headgear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Orthodox churches, Eastern Catholic Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Enki (Sumerian: EN.KI(G)) is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians.

He was the deity of crafts (gašam); mischief; water, seawater, lakewater (a, aba, ab), intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”) and creation (Nudimmud: nu, likeness, dim mud, make beer). 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). Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was sometimes referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for “40,” occasionally referred to as his “sacred number.” The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times, identified with Enki.

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.

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

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

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

The word Abgallu, sage (Ab = water, Gal = great, Lu = man, Sumerian) survived into Nabatean times, around the 1st century, as apkallum, used to describe the profession of a certain kind of priest.

Adapa, the first of the Mesopotamian seven sages, was a mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. Parallels can be drawn to the story of Genesis, where Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden by Yahweh, after they ate from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus gaining death. Parallels are also apparent (to an even greater degree) with the story of Persephone visiting Hades, who was warned to take nothing from that kingdom.

Adapa is often identified as advisor to the mythical first (antediluvian) king of Eridu, Alulim, the first king of Eridu, and the first king of Sumer, according to the mythological antediluvian section of the Sumerian King List. Enki, the god of Eridu, is said to have brought civilization to Sumer at this point, or just shortly before. William H. Shea suggests that Alulim was a contemporary of the biblical figure Adam, who may have been derived from Adapa of ancient Mesopotamian religion.

Alalu was a primeval deity of the Hurrian mythology. He is 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. 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. Scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian creation myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus. Alalu fled to the underworld.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Alû is the celestial Bull. In Akkadian and Sumerian mythology, Alû is a vengeful spirit of the Utukku that goes down to the underworld Kur. The demon has no mouth, lips or ears. It roams at night and terrifies people while they sleep, and possession by Alû results in unconsciousness and coma; in this manner it resembles creatures such as the mara, and incubus, which are invoked to explain sleep paralysis. In Akkadian and Sumerian mythology, it is associated with other demons like Gallu and Lilu.

Lilith is a Hebrew name for a figure in Jewish mythology, developed earliest in the Babylonian Talmud, who is generally thought to be in part derived from a historically far earlier class of female demons Līlīṯu in Mesopotamian Religion, found in Cuneiform texts of Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia.

In Jewish folklore, from Alphabet of Ben Sira onwards, Lilith becomes Adam’s first wife, who was created at the same time (Rosh Hashanah) and from the same earth as Adam. This contrasts with Eve, who was created from one of Adam’s ribs.

The legend was greatly developed during the Middle Ages, in the tradition of Aggadic midrashim, the Zohar, and Jewish mysticism. For example, in the 13th century writings of Rabbi Isaac ben Jacob ha-Cohen, Lilith left Adam after she refused to become subservient to him and then would not return to the Garden of Eden after she coupled with the archangel Samael. The resulting Lilith legend is still commonly used as source material in modern Western culture, literature, occultism, fantasy, and horror.

Archibald Sayce (1882) considered that Hebrew lilit (or lilith) Hebrew: לילית‎; and the earlier Akkadian: līlītu are from proto-Semitic. Charles Fossey (1902) has this literally translating to “female night being/demon,” although cuneiform inscriptions from Mesopotamia exist where Līlīt and Līlītu refers to disease-bearing wind spirits.[citation needed] Another possibility is association not with “night,” but with “wind,” thus identifying the Akkadian Lil-itu as a loan from the Sumerian lil, “air” — specifically from Ninlil, “lady air,” goddess of the south wind (and wife of Enlil) — and itud, “moon”.

In Sumerian religion, Ninlil (NIN.LÍL”lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”), also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mulliltu, is the consort goddess of Enlil. Her parentage is variously described. Most commonly she is called the daughter of Haia (god of stores) and Nunbarsegunu or Nisaba. Another Akkadian source says she is the daughter of Anu (aka An) and Antu (Sumerian Ki). Other sources call her a daughter of Anu and Nammu.

Nidaba (NÍDABA, NIDABA), also Nanibgal (NANIBGAL, NÁNIBGAL) or Nisaba, was the Sumerian goddess of writing, learning, and the harvest. Her sanctuaries were E-zagin at Eresh and at Umma. As with many Sumerian deities, Nisaba’s exact place in the pantheon and her heritage appears somewhat ambiguous. She is the daughter of An and Urash. From Sumerian texts, the language used to describe Urash is very similar to the language used to describe Ninhursag. Therefore, the two goddesses may be one and the same.

Nisaba is the sister of Ninsun, the mother of Gilgamesh. If Urash and Ninhursag are the same goddess, then Nisaba is also the half sister of Nanshe and (in some versions) Ninurta. In some other tales, she is considered the mother of Ninlil, and by extension, the mother-in-law of Enlil.

The god of wisdom, Enki, organized the world after creation and gave each deity a role in the world order. Nisaba was named the scribe of the gods, and Enki then built her a school of learning so that she could better serve those in need. She keeps records, chronicles events, and performs various other bookwork-related duties for the gods. She is also in charge of marking regional borders.

She is the chief scribe of Nanshe. On the first day of the new year, she and Nanshe work together to settle disputes between mortals and give aid to those in need. Nisaba keeps a record of the visitors seeking aid and then arranges them into a line to stand before Nanshe, who will then judge them. Nisaba is also seen as a caretaker for Ninhursag’s temple at Kesh, where she gives commands and keeps temple records.

As the goddess of writing and teaching, she was often praised by Sumerian scribes. In the Babylonian period, she was replaced by the god Nabu, who took over her functions. In some instances, Nisaba was his instructor or wife before he replaced her.

As the goddess of knowledge, she is related to many other facets of intellectual study and other gods may turn to her for advice or aid. Some of these traits are shared with her sister Ninsina. She is also associated with grain, reflecting her association with an earth goddess mother.

On a depiction found in Lagash, she appears with flowing hair, crowned with horned tiara bearing supporting ears of grain and a crescent moon. Her dense hair is evoked in comparison in the description of similarly hairy Enkidu in the Gilgamesh epic.

Ninlil lived in Dilmun with her family. Raped and ravaged by her husband Enlil, who impregnated her with water, she conceived a boy, Nanna/Suen, the future moon god. As punishment Enlil was dispatched to the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, where Ninlil joined him.

Enlil impregnated her disguised as the gatekeeper, where upon she gave birth to their son Nergal, god of death. In a similar manner she conceived the underworld god Ninazu when Enlil impregnated her disguised as the man of the river of the nether world, a man-devouring river.

Later Enlil disguised himself as the man of the boat, impregnating her with a fourth deity Enbilulu, god of rivers and canals. All of these act as substitutes for Nanna/Suen to ascend. In some texts Ninlil is also the mother of Ninurta, the heroic god who slew Asag the demon with his mace, Sharur.

After her death, she became the goddess of the wind, like Enlil. She may be the Goddess of the South Wind referred to in the story of Adapa, as her husband Enlil was associated with northerly winter storms. As “Lady Wind” she may be associated with the figure of the Akkadian demon “Lil-itu”, thought to have been the origin of the Hebrew Lilith legend.

In the sleeping quarters, in the flowered bed fragrant like a cedar forest, Enlil made love to his wife and took great pleasure in it. He sat her on his dais appropriate to the status of Enlil, and made the people pray to her. The lord whose statements are powerful also determined a fate for the Lady (Aruru), the woman of his favour; he gave her the name Nintur, the ‘Lady who gives birth’, the ‘Lady who spreads her knees’. (…) Proud woman, surpassing the mountains! You who always fulfil your desires—from now on, Sud, Enlil is the king and Ninlil is the queen. The goddess without name has a famous name now…

The cosmogenic myth common in Sumer was that of the hieros gamos, a sacred marriage where divine principles in the form of dualistic opposites came together as male and female to give birth to the cosmos.The subsequent tale, with similarities to the Biblical story of the forbidden fruit, repeats the story of how fresh water brings life to a barren land.

Enki, the Water-Lord then “caused to flow the ‘water of the heart” and having fertilised his consort Ninhursag, also known as Ki or Earth, after “Nine days being her nine months, the months of ‘womanhood’… like good butter, Nintu, the mother of the land, …like good butter, gave birth to Ninsar, (Lady Greenery)”.

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

Uttu in Sumerian mythology is the goddess of weaving and clothing. She is both the child of Enki and Ninkur, and she bears seven new child/trees from Enki, the eighth being the Ti (Tree of “Life”, associated with the “Rib”). When Enki then ate Uttu’s children, Ninhursag cursed him with eight wounds and disappears. Uttu in Sumerian means “the woven” and she was illustrated as a spider in a web. She is a goddess in the pantheon.

A third time Enki succumbs to temptation, and attempts seduction of Uttu. Upset about Enki’s reputation, Uttu consults Ninhursag, who, upset at the promiscuous wayward nature of her spouse, advises Uttu to avoid the riverbanks, the places likely to be affected by flooding, the home of Enki.

In another version of this myth Ninhursag takes Enki’s semen from Uttu’s womb and plants it in the earth where eight plants rapidly germinate. With his two-faced servant and steward Isimud, “Enki, in the swampland, in the swampland lies stretched out, ‘What is this (plant), what is this (plant). His messenger Isimud, answers him; ‘My king, this is the tree-plant’, he says to him. He cuts it off for him and he (Enki) eats it”.

And so, despite warnings, Enki consumes the other seven fruit. Consuming his own semen, he falls pregnant (ill with swellings) in his jaw, his teeth, his mouth, his hip, his throat, his limbs, his side and his rib. The gods are at a loss to know what to do, chagrinned they “sit in the dust”. As Enki lacks a womb with which to give birth, he seems to be dying with swellings. The fox then asks Enlil King of the Gods, “If i bring Ninhursag before thee, what shall be my reward?” Ninhursag’s sacred fox then fetches the goddess.

Ninhursag relents and takes Enki’s Ab (water, or semen) into her body, and gives birth to gods of healing of each part of the body. Abu for the Jaw, Nintul for the Hip, Ninsutu for the tooth, Ninkasi for the mouth, Dazimua for the side, Enshagag for the Limbs.

The last one, Ninti (Lady Rib), is also a pun on Lady Life, a title of Ninhursag herself. The story thus symbolically reflects the way in which life is brought forth through the addition of water to the land, and once it grows, water is required to bring plants to fruit. It also counsels balance and responsibility, nothing to excess.

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

Ninti is also one of the eight goddesses of healing who was created by Ninhursag to heal Enki’s body. Her specific healing area was the rib. Enki had eaten forbidden flowers and was then cursed by Ninhursaga, who was later persuaded by the other gods to heal him. Some scholars suggest that this served as the basis for the story of Eve created from Adam’s rib in the Book of Genesis.

In Sumerian mythology, Ninhursag or Ninkharsag was a mother goddess of the mountains, and one of the seven great deities of Sumer. She is principally a fertility goddess. Temple hymn sources identify her as the ‘true and great lady of heaven’ (possibly in relation to her standing on the mountain) and kings of Sumer were ‘nourished by Ninhursag’s milk’.

Her hair is sometimes depicted in an omega shape, and she at times wears a horned head-dress and tiered skirt, often with bow cases at her shoulders, and not infrequently carries a mace or baton surmounted by an omega motif or a derivation, sometimes accompanied by a lion cub on a leash. She is the tutelary deity to several Sumerian leaders.

Her symbol, resembling the Greek letter omega Ω, has been depicted in art from around 3000 BC, though more generally from the early second millennium. It appears on some boundary stones — on the upper tier, indicating her importance. The omega symbol is associated with the Egyptian cow goddess Hathor/Isis, and may represent a stylized womb. Hathor is at times depicted on a mountain, so it may be that the two goddesses are connected.

Omega (Ω) is the 24th and last letter of the Greek alphabet. In the Greek numeric system, it has a value of 800. The word literally means “great O” (ō mega, mega meaning ‘great’), as opposed to omicron, which means “little O” (o mikron, micron meaning “little”).

Nin-hursag means “lady of the sacred mountain” (from Sumerian NIN “lady” and ḪAR.SAG “sacred mountain, foothill”, possibly a reference to the site of her temple, the E-Kur (House of mountain deeps) at Eridu. She had many names including Ninmah (“Great Queen”); Nintu (“Lady of Birth”); Mamma or Mami (mother); Aruru, Belet-Ili (lady of the gods, Akkadian).

Arura or aroura, is a Homeric Greek word with original meaning “arable land”, derived from the verb aroō, “plough”. The word was also used generally for earth, land and father-land and in plural to describe corn-lands and fields. The term arura was also used to describe a measure of land in ancient Egypt (similar in manner to the acre). The oldest attested form of the word is the Mycenaean Greek a-ro-u-ra, written in Linear B syllabic script, originally meant “plough”.

According to legend her name was changed from Ninmah to Ninhursag by her son Ninurta in order to commemorate his creation of the mountains. As Ninmenna, according to a Babylonian investiture ritual, she placed the golden crown on the king in the Eanna temple.

Some of the names above were once associated with independent goddesses (such as Ninmah and Ninmenna), who later became identified and merged with Ninhursag, and myths exist in which the name Ninhursag is not mentioned.

As the wife and consort of Enki she was also referred to as Damgulanna (great wife of heaven) or Damkina (faithful wife). She had many epithets including shassuru or ‘womb goddess’, tabsut ili ‘midwife of the gods’, ‘mother of all children’ and ‘mother of the gods’. In this role she is identified with Ki in the Enuma Elish. She had shrines in both Eridu and Kish.

In the legend of Enki and Ninhursag, Ninhursag bore a daughter to Enki called Ninsar (“Lady Greenery”). Through Enki, Ninsar bore a daughter Ninkurra. Ninkurra, in turn, bore Enki a daughter named Uttu. Enki then pursued Uttu, who was upset because he didn’t care for her.

Uttu, on her ancestress Ninhursag’s advice buried Enki’s seed in the earth, whereupon eight plants (the very first) sprung up. Enki, seeing the plants, ate them, and became ill in eight organs of his body. Ninhursag cured him, taking the plants into her body and giving birth to eight deities: Abu, Nintulla (Nintul), Ninsutu, Ninkasi, Nanshe (Nazi), Azimua, Ninti, and Enshag (Enshagag).

In the text ‘Creator of the Hoe’, she completed the birth of mankind after the heads had been uncovered by Enki’s hoe. In creation texts, Ninmah (another name for Ninhursag) acts as a midwife whilst the mother goddess Nammu makes different kinds of human individuals from lumps of clay at a feast given by Enki to celebrate the creation of humankind.

Her temple, the Esagila (from Sumerian E (temple) + SAG (head) + ILA (lofty)) was located on the KUR of Eridu, although she also had a temple at Kish.

Mami, also known as Belet-ili, Nintu, Mama and Mammitum, is a goddess in the Babylonian epic Atra-Hasis and in other creation legends. She was probably synonymous with Ninhursag.

She was involved in the creation of humankind from clay and blood. As Nintu legends states she pinched off fourteen pieces of primordial clay which she formed into womb deities, seven on the left and seven on the right with a brick between them, who produced the first seven pairs of human embryos.

She may have become Belet Ili (“Mistress of the Gods”) when, at Enki’s suggestion, the gods slew one amongst themselves and used that god’s blood and flesh, mixed with clay, to create humankind.

Eve (Classical Hebrew: Ḥawwāh, Modern Israeli Hebrew: Khavah) is a figure in the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. According to the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions, she was the first woman. In Islamic tradition, Eve is known as Adam’s wife although she is not specifically named in the Qur’an.

In the Genesis creation narratives, she was created by Yahweh-Elohim (“Yahweh-God”, the god of Israel) by taking her from the side of Adam, the first human. According to Genesis 1 and 2, Eve is the first woman created by God (Yahweh, the God of Israel).

God created her to be Adam’s companion. She succumbs to the serpent’s temptation via the suggestion that to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would improve on the way God had made her, and that she would not die.

She, believing the lie of the serpent rather than the earlier instruction from God, shares the fruit with Adam. As a result, the first humans are expelled from the Garden of Eden. Though traditionally Adam and Eve are said to have been cursed by God, there is no indication of that in the Genesis account. A close look at the Genesis 2 passage reveals that God cursed the serpent”.

God told both Adam and Eve what would be some of the consequences to them and their forebears from sin entering the human race. To the woman God prophetically said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you”. God also told Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you”.

Christian churches differ on how they view both Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God (often called the Fall of man), and to the consequences that those actions had on the rest of humanity. Christian and Jewish teachings sometimes hold Adam (the first man) and Eve to a different level of responsibility for the Fall, though Islamic teaching holds both equally responsible.

Though Eve is not a saint’s name, the traditional name day of Adam and Eve has been celebrated on December 24 since the Middle Ages in many European countries such as Germany, Hungary, Scandinavia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

Eve in Hebrew is Ḥawwāh, meaning “living one” or “source of life”, and is related to ḥāyâ, “to live”. The name derives from the Semitic root ḥyw.

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

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

It has been suggested that the Hebrew name Eve (חַוָּה) also bears resemblance to an Aramaic word for “snake”. In the Hebrew Bible of Book of Genesis, the first human female is called isha, Eng: woman, by the first human man, Adam. She is created by Yahweh from the man’s rib so as to be his wife. Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden until they were expelled.

The origin of this motif is compared to the Sumerian myth in which the goddess Ninhursag created a beautiful garden full of lush vegetation and fruit trees, called Edinu, in Dilmun, the Sumerian earthly Paradise, a place which the Sumerians believed to exist to the east of their own land, beyond the sea.

Ninhursag charged Enki, her lover and half brother, with controlling the wild animals and tending the garden, but Enki became curious about the garden, and his assistant, Adapa, selected seven plants (eight in some version) and offered them to Enki, who ate them.

This enraged Ninhursag, and she caused Enki to fall ill. Enki felt pain in his rib, which is a pun in Sumerian, as the word “ti” means both “rib” and “life”. The other deities persuaded Ninhursag to relent.

Ninhursag then created a new goddess (seven or eight to heal his seven or eight ailing organs, including his rib), who was named Ninti, (a name composed of “Nin“, or “lady”, and “ti“, and which may be translated both as “Lady of Living” and “Lady of the Rib”), to cure Enki.

Neither Ninhursag nor Ninti are exact parallels of Eve, since both differ from the character, however, given that the pun with rib is present only in Sumerian, linguistic criticism places the Sumerian account as the more ancient and therefore, a possible narrative influence on the Judeo-Christian story of creation.

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

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

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

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

Armin is a given name or surname, and is an ancient Zoroastrian given name, meaning the Guardian of Aryan land, and an ancient Persian given name, meaning a dweller of the Garden of Eden. It is the Son of Kavadh, the legendary character in Shahnameh (the book of The Kings). The character belong to mythical Kianian dynasty, a dynasty Zoroastrians believe existed in ancient times. In Ancient Greek it means “exalting the Aryans”.

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Posted by Fredsvenn on May 16, 2015

Eastern Anatolia has played a major role in the development of the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age. It is also one of the most complex regions for population geneticists to disentangle due to its high level of genetic diversity.

Armenia has sometimes been claimed as the urheimat of the Proto-Indo-European speakers. This could be regarded as partially correct if R1b-M269 originates there before migrating to the North Caucasus and the Pontic Steppe.

No researches takes the Out of India theory serious any longer – there are two theories that hold ground, and that is the the Indo-Europeans have their origin south or north of Caucasus.

From both a genetical (haplogroup R1b) and culturally (kugan culture) standpoint they are comming from southern Caucasus, or the Armenian Highland, where significant cultures as Halaf, Hassuna, Shulaveri Shomu, Samarra and Ubaid culture developed in the years prior to 6000 BC.

R1b is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe, reaching over 80% of the population in Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, western Wales, the Atlantic fringe of France, the Basque country and Catalonia. It is also common in Anatolia and around the Caucasus, in parts of Russia and in Central and South Asia.

Haplogroup R* originated in North Asia just before the Last Glacial Maximum (26,500-19,000 years ago). This haplogroup has been identified in the remains of a 24,000 year-old boy from the Altai region, in south-central Siberia (Raghavan et al. 2013). This individual belonged to a tribe of mammoth hunters that may have roamed across Siberia and parts of Europe during the Paleolithic.

Autosomally this Paleolithic population appears to have contributed mostly to the ancestry of modern Europeans and South Asians, the two regions where haplogroup R also happens to be the most common nowadays (R1b in Western Europe, R1a in Eastern Europe, Central and South Asia, and R2 in South Asia).

The oldest forms of R1b (M343, P25, L389) are found dispersed at very low frequencies from Western Europe to India, a vast region where could have roamed the nomadic R1b hunter-gatherers during the Ice Age.

The three main branches of R1b1 (R1b1a, R1b1b, R1b1c) all seem to have stemmed from the Middle East. The southern branch, R1b1c (V88), is found mostly in the Levant and Africa. The northern branch, R1b1a (P297), seems to have originated around the Caucasus, eastern Anatolia or northern Mesopotamia, then to have crossed over the Caucasus, from where they would have invaded Europe and Central Asia. R1b1b (M335) has only been found in Anatolia.

It has been hypothetised that R1b people (perhaps alongside neighbouring J2 tribes) were the first to domesticate cattle in northern Mesopotamia some 10,500 years ago. The genetic diversity of R1b being greater around eastern Anatolia, it is hard to deny that R1b evolved there before entering the steppe world.

R1b tribes descended from mammoth hunters, and when mammoths went extinct, they started hunting other large game such as bisons and aurochs. With the increase of the human population in the Fertile Crescent from the beginning of the Neolithic (starting 12,000 years ago), selective hunting and culling of herds started replacing indiscriminate killing of wild animals.

The increased involvement of humans in the life of aurochs, wild boars and goats led to their progressive taming. Cattle herders probably maintained a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence, while other people in the Fertile Crescent (presumably represented by haplogroups E1b1b, G and T) settled down to cultivate the land or keep smaller domesticates.

The analysis of bovine DNA has revealed that all the taurine cattle (Bos taurus) alive today descend from a population of only 80 aurochs. The earliest evidence of cattle domestication dates from circa 8,500 BCE in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures in the Taurus Mountains.

The two oldest archaeological sites showing signs of cattle domestication are the villages of Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja’de el-Mughara in northern Iraq, two sites only 250 km away from each others. This is presumably the area from which R1b lineages started expanding – or in other words the “original homeland” of R1b.

The early R1b cattle herders would have split in at least three groups. One branch (M335) remained in Anatolia, but judging from its extreme rarity today wasn’t very successful, perhaps due to the heavy competition with other Neolithic populations in Anatolia, or to the scarcity of pastures in this mountainous environment.

A second branch migrated south to the Levant, where it became the V88 branch. Some of them searched for new lands south in Africa, first in Egypt, then colonising most of northern Africa, from the Mediterranean coast to the Sahel.

Like its northern counterpart (R1b-M269), R1b-V88 is associated with the domestication of cattle in northern Mesopotamia. Both branches of R1b probably split soon after cattle were domesticated, approximately 10,500 years ago (8,500 BCE). R1b-V88 migrated south towards the Levant and Egypt.

The migration of R1b people can be followed archeologically through the presence of domesticated cattle, which appear in central Syria around 8,000-7,500 BCE (late Mureybet period), then in the Southern Levant and Egypt around 7,000-6,500 BCE (e.g. at Nabta Playa and Bir Kiseiba).

Cattle herders subsequently spread across most of northern and eastern Africa. The Sahara desert would have been more humid during the Neolithic Subpluvial period (c. 7250-3250 BCE), and would have been a vast savannah full of grass, an ideal environment for cattle herding.

Evidence of cow herding during the Neolithic has shown up at Uan Muhuggiag in central Libya around 5500 BCE, at the Capeletti Cave in northern Algeria around 4500 BCE. But the most compelling evidence that R1b people related to modern Europeans once roamed the Sahara is to be found at Tassili n’Ajjer in southern Algeria, a site famous pyroglyphs (rock art) dating from the Neolithic era. Some painting dating from around 3000 BCE depict fair-skinned and blond or auburn haired women riding on cows.

After reaching the Maghreb, R1b-V88 cattle herders could have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Iberia, probably accompanied by G2 farmers, J1 and T1a goat herders and native Maghreban E-M81 lineages. These Maghreban Neolithic farmers/herders could have been the ones who established the Almagra Pottery culture in Andalusia in the 6th millennium BCE.

The third branch (P297), crossed the Caucasus into the vast Pontic-Caspian Steppe, which provided ideal grazing grounds for cattle. They split into two factions: R1b1a1 (M73), which went east along the Caspian Sea to Central Asia, and R1b1a2 (M269), which at first remained in the North Caucasus and the Pontic Steppe between the Dnieper and the Volga.

It is not yet entirely clear when R1b crossed over from eastern Anatolia to the Pontic-Caspian steppe. This might have happened with the appearance of the Dnieper-Donets culture (c. 5100-4300 BCE). This was the first truly Neolithic society in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe.

However, many elements indicate a continuity in the Dnieper-Donets culture with the previous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, and at the same time an influence from the Balkans and Carpathians, with regular imports of pottery and copper objects. It is therefore more likely that Dnieper-Donets marked the transition of indigenous R1a and/or I2a1b people to early agriculture, perhaps with an influx of Near Eastern farmers from ‘Old Europe’. Mitochondrial DNA sequences from Dnieper-Donets culture showed clear similarities with those of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture in the Carpathians (haplogroups H, T and U3).

The first clearly Proto-Indo-European culture was Sredny Stog (4600-3900 BCE), when small kurgan burials begin to appear, with the distinctive posturing of the dead on the back with knees raised and oriented toward the northeast, which would be found in later steppe cultures as well. There is evidence of population blending from the variety of skull shapes. Towards the end of the 5th millennium, an elite starts to develop with cattle, horses and copper used as status symbols.

Another migration across the Caucasus happened shortly before 3700 BCE, when the Maykop culture materialized in the north-west Caucasus. The origins of Maykop are still uncertain, but archeologists have linked it to contemporary Chalcolithic cultures in Assyria and western Iran.

The Neolithic, Eneolithic and early Bronze Age cultures in Pontic-Caspian steppe has been called the Kurgan culture (4200-2200 BCE) by Marija Gimbutas, due to the lasting practice of burying the deads under mounds (“kurgan”) among the succession of cultures in that region. It is now known that kurgan-type burials only date from the 4th millenium BCE and almost certainly originated south of the Caucasus.

Archeology also shows a clear diffusion of bronze working and kurgan-type burials from the Maykop culture to the Pontic Steppe, where the Yamna culture (3500-2500 BCE) developed soon afterwards. Kurgan (a.k.a. tumulus) burials would become a dominant feature of ancient Indo-European societies and were widely used by the Celts, Romans, Germanic tribes, and Scythians, among others.

Modern linguists have placed the Proto-Indo-European homeland in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, a distinct geographic and archeological region extending from the Danube estuary to the Ural mountains to the east and North Caucasus to the south.The Yamna period is seen as the most important one in the creation of Indo-European culture and society.

Middle Eastern R1b people had been living and blending to some extent with the local R1a foragers and herders for over a millennium, perhaps even two or three. The close cultural contact and interactions between R1a and R1b people all over the Pontic-Caspian Steppe resulted in the creation of a common vernacular, a new lingua franca, which linguists have called Proto-Indo-European (PIE).

Linguistic similarities exist between PIE and Caucasian and Hurrian languages in the Middle East on the one hand, and Uralic languages in the Volga-Ural region on the other hand, which makes the Pontic Steppe the perfect intermediary region.

During the Yamna period cattle and sheep herders adopted wagons to transport their food and tents, which allowed them to move deeper into the steppe, giving rise to a new mobile lifestyle that would eventually lead to the great Indo-European migrations. This type of mass migration in which whole tribes moved with the help of wagons was still common in Gaul at the time of Julius Caesar, and among Germanic peoples in the late Antiquity.

It is not yet clear whether M73 actually migrated across the Caucasus and reached Central Asia via Kazakhstan, or if it went south through Iran and Turkmenistan. In the latter case, M73 might not be an Indo-European branch of R1b, just like V88 and M335.

R1b-M269 (the most common form in Europe) is closely associated with the diffusion of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others.

Besides the Atlantic and North Sea coast of Europe, hotspots include the Po valley in north-central Italy (over 70%), Armenia (35%), the Bashkirs of the Urals region of Russia (50%), Turkmenistan (over 35%), the Hazara people of Afghanistan (35%), the Uyghurs of North-West China (20%) and the Newars of Nepal (11%). R1b-V88, a subclade specific to sub-Saharan Africa, is found in 60 to 95% of men in northern Cameroon, and is connected with the Chadic languages.

Haplogroup J2 is thought to have appeared somewhere in the Middle East towards the end of the last glaciation, between 15,000 and 22,000 years ago. Its present geographic distribution argue in favour of a Neolithic expansion from the Fertile Crescent.

This expansion probably correlated with the diffusion of domesticated of cattle and goats (starting c. 8000-9000 BCE) from the Zagros mountains and northern Mesopotamia, rather than with the development of cereal agriculture in the Levant (which appears to be linked rather to haplogroups G2 and E1b1b).

A second expansion of J2 could have occured with the advent of metallurgy, notably copper working (from the Lower Danube valley, central Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia), and the rise of some of the oldest civilisations.

Quite a few ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilisations flourished in territories where J2 lineages were preponderant. It is very likely that J2a, J1 and G2a were the three dominant male lineages the Early Bronze Age Kura-Araxes culture, which expanded from the South Caucasus to eastern Anatolia, northern Mesopotamia and the western Iran.

The J2 men would definitely have represented a sizeable portion of the population of Bronze and Iron Age civilizations such as the Hurrians, the Hattians, the Hittites, the Assyrians, the Etruscans, the Minoans, the Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Israelites, and to a lower extent also the Romans and the Persians. All the great seafaring civilisations from the middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age were dominated by J2 men.

There is a distinct association of ancient J2 civilisations with bull worship. The oldest evidence of a cult of the bull can be traced back to Neolithic central Anatolia, notably at the sites of Çatalhöyük and Alaca Höyük. Bull depictions are omnipresent in Minoan frescos and ceramics in Crete.

Bull-masked terracotta figurines and bull-horned stone altars have been found in Cyprus (dating back as far as the Neolithic, the first presumed expansion of J2 from West Asia). The Hattians, Sumerians, Babylonians, Canaaites, and Carthaginians all had bull deities (in contrast with Indo-European or East Asian religions).

The sacred bull of Hinduism, Nandi, present in all temples dedicated to Shiva or Parvati, does not have an Indo-European origin, but can be traced back to Indus Valley civilisation. Minoan Crete, Hittite Anatolia, the Levant, Bactria and the Indus Valley also shared a tradition of bull leaping, the ritual of dodging the charge of a bull. It survives today in the traditional bullfighting of Andalusia in Spain and Provence in France, two regions with a high percentage of J2 lineages.

The world’s highest frequency of J2 is found among the Ingush (88% of the male lineages) and Chechen (56%) people in the Northeast Caucasus. Both belong to the Nakh ethnic group, who have inhabited that territory since at least 3000 BCE. Their language is distantly related to Dagestanian languages, but not to any other linguistic group.

However, Dagestani peoples (Dargins, Lezgins, Avars) belong predominantly to haplogroup J1 (84% among the Dargins) and almost completely lack J2 lineages. Other high incidence of haplogroup J2 are found in many other Caucasian populations, including the Azeri (30%), the Georgians (27%), the Kumyks (25%), and the Armenians (22%).

Nevertheless, it is very unlikely that haplogroups J2 originated in the Caucasus because of the low genetic diversity in the region. Most Caucasian people belong to the same J2a4b (M67) subclade. The high local frequencies observed would rather be the result of founder effects, for instance the proliferation of chieftains and kings’s lineages through a long tradition of polygamy, a practice that the Russians have tried to suppress since their conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century.

Portasar (“The Navel”), in Turkish known as Göbekli Tepe (“Potbelly Hill”) is an archaeological site at the top of a mountain ridge in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, approximately 12 km (7 mi) northeast of the city of Şanlıurfa.

The tell includes two phases of ritual use dating back to the 10th-8th millennium BCE. During the first phase, Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), circles of massive T-shaped stone pillars were erected. It is the first Megalithic complex in the world, and said to represent the beginning of religion. Radiocarbon dating as well as comparative, stylistic analysis indicate that it is the oldest religious site yet discovered anywhere

The imposing stratigraphy attests to many centuries of activity, beginning at least as early as the epipaleolithic period. Structures identified with the succeeding period, Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), have been dated to the 10th millennium BCE. Remains of smaller buildings identified as Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) and dating from the 9th millennium BCE have also been unearthed.

It is one of several sites in the vicinity of Karaca Dağ, an area which geneticists suspect may have been the original source of at least some of our cultivated grains. Recent DNA analysis of modern domesticated wheat compared with wild wheat has shown that its DNA is closest in sequence to wild wheat found on Mount Karaca Dağ 20 miles (32 km) away from the site, suggesting that this is where modern wheat was first domesticated. Such scholars suggest that the Neolithic revolution, i.e., the beginnings of grain cultivation, took place here.

It is believed that mobile groups in the area were compelled to cooperate with each other to protect early concentrations of wild cereals from wild animals (herds of gazelles and wild donkeys). Wild cereals may have been used for sustenance more intensively than before and were perhaps deliberately cultivated. This would have led to early social organization of various groups in the area. Thus, the Neolithic did not begin on a small scale in the form of individual instances of garden cultivation, but developed rapidly in the form of “a large-scale social organization”.

Portasar is regarded as an archaeological discovery of the greatest importance since it could profoundly change the understanding of a crucial stage in the development of human society. Ian Hodder of Stanford University said, “Göbekli Tepe changes everything”. It shows that the erection of monumental complexes was within the capacities of hunter-gatherers and not only of sedentary farming communities as had been previously assumed. As excavator Klaus Schmidt put it, “First came the temple, then the city.”

Excavator Klaus Schmidt think that Portasar is a stone-age mountain sanctuary. He believes that what he called this “cathedral on a hill” was a pilgrimage destination attracting worshippers up to 100 miles (160 km) distant. Schmidt engaged in some speculation regarding the belief systems of the groups that created Portasar, based on comparisons with other shrines and settlements. He assumed shamanic practices and suggested that the T-shaped pillars represent human forms, perhaps ancestors, whereas he saw a fully articulated belief in gods only developing later in Mesopotamia, associated with extensive temples and palaces.

This corresponds well with an ancient Sumerian belief that agriculture, animal husbandry, and weaving were brought to mankind from the sacred mountain Ekur, which was inhabited by Annuna deities, very ancient gods without individual names. Schmidt identified this story as a primeval oriental myth that preserves a partial memory of the emerging Neolithic.

It is also apparent that the animal and other images give no indication of organized violence, i.e. there are no depictions of hunting raids or wounded animals, and the pillar carvings ignore game on which the society mainly subsisted, like deer, mainly in favor of formidable creatures like lions, snakes, spiders, and scorpions.

The Khabur or Khaboor River is the largest perennial tributary to the Euphrates in Syrian territory. Since the 1930s, numerous archaeological excavations and surveys have been carried out in the Khabur Valley, indicating that the region has been occupied since the Lower Palaeolithic period.

Important sites that have been excavated include Tell Halaf, Tell Brak, Tell Leilan, Tell Mashnaqa, Tell Mozan and Tell Barri. The region has given its name to a distinctive painted ware found in northern Mesopotamia and Syria in the early 2nd millennium BCE, called Khabur ware. The region of the Khabur River is also associated with the rise of the Kingdom of the Mitanni that flourished c.1500-1300 BC.

Shulaveri-Shomu culture is a Late Neolithic/Eneolithic culture that existed on the territory of present-day Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Armenian Highlands. The culture is dated to mid-6th or early-5th millennia BC and is thought to be one of the earliest known Neolithic cultures. The Shulaveri-Shomu culture begins after the 8.2 kiloyear event which was a sudden decrease in global temperatures starting ca. 6200 BC and which lasted for about two to four centuries.

Shulaveri culture predates the Kura-Araxes culture and surrounding areas, which is assigned to the period of ca. 4000 – 2200 BC, and had close relation with the middle Bronze Age culture called Trialeti culture (ca. 3000 – 1500 BC). Sioni culture of Eastern Georgia possibly represents a transition from the Shulaveri to the Kura-Arax cultural complex.

In around ca. 6000–4200 B.C the Shulaveri-Shomu and other Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures of the Southern Caucasus use local obsidian for tools, raise animals such as cattle and pigs, and grow crops, including grapes. Many of the characteristic traits of the Shulaverian material culture (circular mudbrick architecture, pottery decorated by plastic design, anthropomorphic female figurines, obsidian industry with an emphasis on production of long prismatic blades) are believed to have their origin in the Near Eastern Neolithic (Hassuna, Halaf).

The Ubaid period (ca. 6500 to 3800 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. Ubaid culture originated in the south, but still has clear connections to earlier cultures in the region of middle Iraq. The appearance of the Ubaid folk has sometimes been linked to the so-called Sumerian problem, related to the origins of Sumerian civilisation.

Whatever the ethnic origins of this group, this culture saw for the first time a clear tripartite social division between intensive subsistence peasant farmers, with crops and animals coming from the north, tent-dwelling nomadic pastoralists dependent upon their herds, and hunter-fisher folk of the Arabian littoral, living in reed huts.

Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic culture, dating around 8000 to 7000 BC. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent. PPNA succeeds the Natufian culture of the Epipaleolithic (Mesolithic).

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is a division of the Neolithic developed by Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the West Bank. The period is dated to between ca. 10,700 and ca. 8,000 BP or 7000 – 6000 BCE. Like the earlier PPNA people, the PPNB culture developed from the Earlier Natufian, but shows evidence of a northerly origin, possibly indicating an influx from the region of north eastern Anatolia.

Cultural tendencies of this period differ from that of the earlier Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) period in that people living during this period began to depend more heavily upon domesticated animals to supplement their earlier mixed agrarian and hunter-gatherer diet.

This is the first period in which architectural styles of the southern Levant became primarily rectilinear; earlier typical dwellings were circular, elliptical and occasionally even octagonal. It is believed that the use of clay plaster for floor and wall coverings during PPNB led to the discovery of pottery. The earliest proto-pottery was White Ware vessels, made from lime and gray ash, built up around baskets before firing, for several centuries around 7000 BC at sites such as Tell Neba’a Faour (Beqaa Valley).

The culture disappeared during the 8.2 kiloyear event, a term that climatologists have adopted for a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8,200 years before the present, or c. 6200 BCE, and which lasted for the next two to four centuries.

In the following Munhatta and Yarmukian post-pottery Neolithic cultures that succeeded it, rapid cultural development continues, although PPNB culture continued in the Amuq valley, where it influenced the later development of Ghassulian culture.

Work at the site of ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan has indicated a later Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period which existed between 8,200 and 7,900 BP. Juris Zarins has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6200 BCE, partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon animal domesticates, and a fusion with Harifian hunter gatherers in Southern Palestine, with affiliate connections with the cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the Red Sea shoreline and moved east from Syria into southern Iraq.

Stein and Özbal describe the Near East oikumene that resulted from Ubaid expansion, contrasting it to the colonial expansionism of the later Uruk period. The earliest evidence for sailing has been found in Kuwait indicating that sailing was known by the Ubaid 3 period (4500–4000 BC).

“A contextual analysis comparing different regions shows that the Ubaid expansion took place largely through the peaceful spread of an ideology, leading to the formation of numerous new indigenous identities that appropriated and transformed superficial elements of Ubaid material culture into locally distinct expressions”.

The Ubaid period as a whole, based upon the analysis of grave goods, was one of increasingly polarised social stratification and decreasing egalitarianism. Bogucki describes this as a phase of “Trans-egalitarian” competitive households, in which some fall behind as a result of downward social mobility.

Morton Fried and Elman Service have hypothesised that Ubaid culture saw the rise of an elite class of hereditary chieftains, perhaps heads of kin groups linked in some way to the administration of the temple shrines and their granaries, responsible for mediating intra-group conflict and maintaining social order.

It would seem that various collective methods, perhaps instances of what Thorkild Jacobsen called primitive democracy, in which disputes were previously resolved through a council of one’s peers, were no longer sufficient for the needs of the local community.

In South Mesopotamia the period is the earliest known period on the alluvium although it is likely earlier periods exist obscured under the alluvium. In the south it has a very long duration between about 6500 and 3800 BC when it is replaced by the Uruk period.

In North Mesopotamia the period runs only between about 5300 and 4300 BC. It is preceded by the Halaf period and the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period and succeeded by the Late Chalcolithic period. In the period from 4500–4000 BC saw a period of intense and rapid urbanisation with the Ubaid culture spread into northern Mesopotamia and was adopted by the Halaf culture. Ubaid artifacts spread also all along the Arabian littoral, showing the growth of a trading system that stretched from the Mediterranean coast through to Oman.

The archaeological record shows that Arabian Bifacial/Ubaid period came to an abrupt end in eastern Arabia and the Oman peninsula at 3800 BC, just after the phase of lake lowering and onset of dune reactivation. At this time, increased aridity led to an end in semi-desert nomadism, and there is no evidence of human presence in the area for approximately 1000 years, the so-called “Dark Millennium”. This might be due to the 5.9 kiloyear event at the end of the Older Peron.

The Leyla-Tepe culture is a culture of archaeological interest from the Chalcolithic era. Its population was distributed on the southern slopes of the Central Caucasus (modern Azerbaijan, Agdam District), from 4350 until 4000 BC. They apparently buried their dead in ceramic vessels. Similar amphora burials in the South Caucasus are found in the Western Georgian Jar-Burial Culture.

The culture has also been linked to the north Ubaid period monuments, in particular, with the settlements in the Eastern Anatolia Region (Arslan-tepe, Coruchu-tepe, Tepechik, etc.). The settlement is of a typical Western-Asian variety, with the dwellings packed closely together and made of mud bricks with smoke outlets.

It has been suggested that the Leyla-Tepe were the founders of the Maykop culture. An expedition to Syria by the Russian Academy of Sciences revealed the similarity of the Maykop and Leyla-Tepe artifacts with those found recently while excavating the ancient city of Tel Khazneh I, from the 4th millennium BC.

The Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture was a civilization that existed from 3400 BC until about 2000 BC, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end, but it may have disappeared as early as 2600 or 2700 BC.

There is evidence of trade with Mesopotamia, as well as Asia Minor. It is, however, considered above all to be indigenous to the Caucasus, and its major variants characterized (according to Caucasus historian Amjad Jaimoukha) later major cultures in the region. The Kura Araxes (Shengavitian) cultures and societies are a unique mountain phenomenon, evolved parallel to but not the same as Mesopotamian cultures.

The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain; thence it spread northward in Caucasus by 3000 BC (but never reaching Colchis), and during the next millennium it proceeded westward to the Erzurum plain, southwest to Cilicia, and to the southeast into an area below the Urmia basin and Lake Van, and finally down to the borders of present day Syria. Altogether, the early Trans-Caucasian culture, at its greatest spread, enveloped a vast area approximately 1,000 km by 500 km.

The Shengavit Settlement is an archaeological site in present day Yerevan, Armenia located on a hill south-east of Lake Yerevan. Its pottery makes it a type site of the Kura-Araxes or Early Transcaucasian Period and the Shengavitian culture area.

The town occupied an area of six hectares. It appears that Shengavit was a societal center for the areas surrounding the town due to its unusual size, evidence of surplus production of grains, and metallurgy, as well as its monumental 4 meter wide stone wall. Four smaller village sites of Moukhannat, Tepe, Khorumbulagh, and Tairov have been identified and were located outside the walls of Shengavit.

Archaeologists so far have uncovered large cyclopean walls with towers that surrounded the settlement. Within these walls were circular and square multi-dwelling buildings constructed of stone and mud-brick. Inside some of the residential structures were ritual hearths and household pits, while large silos located nearby stored wheat and barley for the residents of the town.

Amongst the finds during archaeological excavations at Shengavit were chert and obsidian stone tools, mace heads, hoes, hammers, grinders, spindle whorls, spearheads, flakers, needles, pottery, and crucibles (which could hold 10 kg of smelted metal).

Storage containers for smelted metal were found as well that held far greater amounts than the town should have required. Large quantities of debris from flint and obsidian knapping, pottery making, metallurgy, and weapons manufacture indicate that the town had organized guilds which performed such tasks.

Pottery found at the town typically has a characteristic black burnished exterior and reddish interior with either incised or raised designs. This style defines the period, and is found across the mountainous Early Transcaucasian territories. One of the larger styles of pottery has been identified as a wine vat but residue tests will confirm this notion.

A large stone obelisk was discovered in one of the structures during earlier excavations. A similar obelisk was uncovered at the site of Mokhrablur four km south of Ejmiatsin. It is thought that this, and the numerous statuettes made of clay that have been found are part of a central ritualistic practice in Shengavit.

Similarities between some features and objects of the Maikop and Kura-Araxes cultures, such as large square graves, the bold-relief curvilinear ornamentation of pottery, ochre-coloured ceramics, earthen hearth props with horn projections, flint arrowheads, stone axes and copper pitchforks are indicative of a cultural unity that pervaded the Caucasus in the Neolithic Age.

In the earliest phase of the Kura-Araxes culture, metal was scarce, but the culture would later display “a precocious metallurgical development, which strongly influenced surrounding regions”. They worked copper, arsenic, silver, gold, tin, and bronze.

Their metal goods were widely distributed, from the Volga, Dnieper and Don-Donets river systems in the north to Syria and Palestine in the south and Anatolia in the west. The economy was based on farming and livestock-raising (especially of cattle and sheep). They grew grain and various orchard crops, and are known to have used implements to make flour. They raised cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, and in its later phases, horses.

They are also remarkable for the production of wheeled vehicles (wagons and carts), which were sometimes included in burial kurgans. Inhumation practices are mixed. Flat graves are found, but so are substantial kurgan burials, the latter of which may be surrounded by cromlechs. This points to a heterogeneous ethno-linguistic population.

Hurrian and Urartian elements are quite probable, as are Northeast Caucasian ones. Some authors subsume Hurrians and Urartians under Northeast Caucasian as well as part of the Alarodian theory. The presence of Kartvelian languages was also highly probable. Influences of Semitic languages and Indo-European languages are also highly possible, though the presence of the languages on the lands of the Kura–Araxes culture is more controversial.

In the late 3rd millennium BC, settlements of the Kura-Araxes culture began to be replaced by early Trialeti culture sites. The Trialeti culture was the second culture to appear in Georgia, after the Shulaveri-Shomu culture which existed from 6000 to 4000 BC.

The Trialeti culture shows close ties with the highly developed cultures of the ancient world, particularly with the Aegean, but also with cultures to the south, such as probably the Sumerians and their Akkadian conquerors. It was known for its particular form of burial. The elite were interred in large, very rich burials under earth and stone mounds, which sometimes contained four-wheeled carts. Also there were many gold objects found in the graves. These gold objects were similar to those found in Iran and Iraq. They also worked tin and arsenic.

This form of burial in a tumulus or “kurgan”, along with wheeled vehicles, is the same as that of the Kurgan culture which has been associated with the speakers of Proto-Indo-European. In fact, the black burnished pottery of especially early Trialeti kurgans is similar to Kura-Araxes pottery.

In a historical context, their impressive accumulation of wealth in burial kurgans, like that of other associated and nearby cultures with similar burial practices, is particularly noteworthy. This practice was probably a result of influence from the older civilizations to the south in the Fertile Crescent.

Armenian, who is seen as a language existing between Sanskrit and Greek, seems to be one of the oldest IE language, while the Anatolian languages, which is close to IE, is seen as a sister language. Inbetween these two languages there are Tocharian, which either went a cross Caucasus or went southeast of the Caspian Ocean.

Graeco-Armenian (also Helleno-Armenian) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Greek and Armenian languages that postdates the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE). The hypothetical Proto-Graeco-Armenian stage would need to date to the 3rd millennium BC, only barely differentiated from either late PIE or Graeco-Armeno-Aryan. In any case, Armenian has many layers of loanwords and shows traces of long language contact with Greek and Indo-Iranian.

It is clear that Armenian is an Indo-European language, but while Greek is attested from very early times, allowing a secure reconstruction of a Proto-Greek language dating to the late 3rd millennium, the history of Armenian is opaque. It is strongly linked with Indo-Iranian languages; in particular, it is a Satem language, but the status of Armenian as a Satem language as opposed to a Centum language with secondary assibilation rests on the evidence of a very few words.

The centum–satem division is one of many isoglosses of the Indo-European language family, related to the different evolution of the three dorsal consonant rows of the mainstream reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European (PIE).

The terms Centum versus Satem are derived from the words for the number “one hundred” in a traditional representative language of each group: Latin centum and Avestan satəm. The centum group includes Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic and Tocharian. The satem languages (which have the sibilant where centum equivalents have the velar) include Baltic, Slavic, Armenian and Indo-Iranian.

The presence of three dorsal rows in the proto-language is the mainstream hypothesis. Recent evidence from Luwian indicates that all three dorsal consonant rows were maintained separately in Proto-Anatolian, and the Centumization observed in Hittite occurred only after the breakup of Common Anatolian.

The isogloss only applies to the parent language with the full inventory of dorsals. Later sound changes within a specific branch of Indo-European that are analogous to one of the centum or satem changes, such as the palatalization of Latin /k/ to /s/ in some Romance languages, or the merger of *kʷ with *k in the Goidelic languages, are excluded.

The Centum–Satem isogloss is now understood to be a chronological development of Proto-Indo-European; Centumization removed the palatovelars from the language, leaving none to satemize. In addition there is residual evidence of various sorts in Satem languages of a former distinction between velar and labiovelar consonants, indicating the earlier centum state. It is therefore clear that centumization was followed by satemization. However the evidence of Anatolian indicates that centum was not the original state of Proto-Indo-European.

Armenian belongs to the Satem branch associated with the R1a people. The problem is that Armenia has about 30 % of R1b and only 5% of R1a. Furthermore, according to the Armenian DNA Project, Armenian R1a is split in half between East European Z282 and Indo-Iranian Z93. That presupposes that two separate migrations brought R1a to Armenia, one probably from Russia across the Caucasus, and the other via Iran (perhaps the Mitanni branch).

Behind the 30% of R1b hides an even greater diversity of subclades. Unsurprisingly Armenia has very old subclades like R1b1* (P25) and R1b1a2* (M269), which would confirm it as a possible source of the steppe M269. However the bulk of R1b lineages (about 90% of them) belong to the Balkanic and Greco-Anatolian L23, including a few L584+ and L11+. From a linguistic point of view the IE language closest to Proto-Armenian appears to be Greek, although wit clear Indo-Iranian influences.

If the PIE language only truly came into existence in the steppes, as a hybrid of the languages of R1b and R1a people, the most likely scenario is that the ancient Armenians originated in the southern Balkans in the Bronze Age, as a L32 offshoot of R1b, then migrated across Anatolia. The language was later Satemised due to the long influence of Indo-Iranian languages, for example during the Mitanni period (c. 1500-1200 BCE) and during the Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BCE) when the region was part of the Satrapy of Armenia (the first historical state to be called ‘Armenia’), when R1a-Z93 was introduced to Armenia.

The East European R1a-Z282 was probably brought by the Cimmerians, an ancient Indo-European people living north of the Caucasus and the Sea of Azov as early as 1300 BC until they were driven southward by the Scythians into Anatolia during the 8th century BC. Linguistically they are usually regarded as Iranian, or possibly Thracian with an Iranian ruling class.

Based on ancient Greek historical sources, a Thracian or a Celtic association is sometimes assumed. According to Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt, the language of the Cimmerians could have been a “missing link” between Thracian and Iranian.

Gyumri is the second largest city in Armenia and the capital of the Shirak Province in the northwestern part of the country. It is around 126 km north of the capital Yerevan. Its name has been changed several times.

The region of Gyumri is mentioned as Kumayri in the historic Urartian inscriptions dating back to the 8th century BC. It is suggested that the city was founded by the Cimmerians, based on the fact that Cimmerians conquered the region in 720 BC and that the original name of the city was Kumayri, which bears phonetic resemblance to the word used by ancient Armenian in reference to Cimmerians.

The origin of the Cimmerians is unclear. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia. The archeologist Renate Rolle and others have argued that no one has demonstrated with archeological evidence the presence of Cimmerians in the southern parts of Russia.

But although the 2006 Encyclopædia Britannica reflects Herodotus, stating, “They [the Cimmerians] probably did live in the area north of the Black Sea, but attempts to define their original homeland more precisely by archaeological means, or even to fix the date of their expulsion from their country by the Scythians, have not so far been completely successful”, in recent research academic scholars have made use of documents dating to centuries earlier than Herodotus, such as intelligence reports to Sargon, and note that these identify the Cimmerians as living south rather than north of the Black Sea.

Scholars in the 19th and 20th centuries had relied upon Herodotus’s account, but Sir Henry Layard’s discoveries in the royal archives at Nineveh and Calah have enabled the study of new source material that is several centuries earlier than Herodotus’s history.

The Assyrian archeological record shows that the Cimmerians, and the land of Gamir, were located not far from Urartu, (an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland), south of the Caucasus. Military intelligence reports to Sargon in the 8th century BC describe the Cimmerians as occupying territory south of the Black Sea.

The first historical record of the Cimmerians appears in Assyrian annals in the year 714 BC. These describe how a people termed the Gimirri helped the forces of Sargon II to defeat the kingdom of Urartu. Their original homeland, called Gamir or Uishdish, seems to have been located within the buffer state of Mannae. The later geographer Ptolemy placed the Cimmerian city of Gomara in this region.

After their conquests of Colchis and Iberia in the First Millennium BC, the Cimmerians also came to be known as Gimirri in Georgian. According to Georgian historians, the Cimmerians played an influential role in the development of both the Colchian and Iberian cultures. The modern-day Georgian word for hero, gmiri, is derived from the word Gimirri. This refers to the Cimmerians who settled in the area after the initial conquests.

Some modern authors assert that the Cimmerians included mercenaries, whom the Assyrians knew as Khumri, who had been resettled there by Sargon. Later Greek accounts describe the Cimmerians as having previously lived on the steppes, between the Tyras (Dniester) and Tanais (Don) rivers. Greek and Mesopotamian sources note several Cimmerian kings including Tugdamme (Lygdamis in Greek; mid-7th century BC), and Sandakhshatra (late-7th century).

The Cimmerians probably assaulted Urartu about 714 BC, but in 705, after being repulsed by Sargon II of Assyria, they turned towards Anatolia and in 696–695 conquered Phrygia. They are recorded to have settled around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland in the 8th century BCE.

In 652, after taking Sardis, the capital of Lydia, they reached the height of their power. Their decline was rapid: Alyattes of Lydia finally defeated them over the period between 637 and 626. There are no further mentions of them in historical sources, but it is likely they settled in Cappadocia.

The Assyrians recorded the migrations of the Cimmerians, as the former people’s king Sargon II was killed in battle against them in 705 BC. The Cimmerians were subsequently recorded as having conquered Phrygia in 696–695 BC, prompting the Phrygian king Midas to take poison rather than face capture. In 679 BC, during the reign of Esarhaddon of Assyria, they attacked Cilicia and Tabal under their new ruler Teushpa. Esarhaddon defeated them near Hubushna.

In 654 BC or 652 BC – the exact date is unclear – the Cimmerians attacked the kingdom of Lydia, killing the Lydian king Gyges and causing great destruction to the Lydian capital of Sardis. They returned ten years later during the reign of Gyges’ son Ardys II; this time they captured the city, with the exception of the citadel.

The fall of Sardis was a major shock to the powers of the region; the Greek poets Callinus and Archilochus recorded the fear that it inspired in the Greek colonies of Ionia, some of which were attacked by Cimmerian and Treres raiders.

The Cimmerian occupation of Lydia was brief, however, possibly due to an outbreak of plague. Between 637 and 626 BC, they were beaten back by Alyattes II of Lydia. This defeat marked the effective end of Cimmerian power.

The term Gimirri was used about a century later in the Behistun inscription (c. 515 BC) as a Babylonian equivalent of Persian Saka (Scythians). Otherwise Cimmerians disappeared from western Asian historical accounts, and their fate was unknown. It has been speculated that they settled in Cappadocia, known in Armenian as Gamir-kʿ (the same name as the original Cimmerian homeland in Mannae).

Herodotus thought the Cimmerians and the Thracians closely related, writing that both peoples originally inhabited the northern shore of the Black Sea, and both were displaced about 700 BC, by invaders from the east.

Whereas the Cimmerians would have departed this ancestral homeland by heading east and south across the Caucasus, the Thracians migrated southwest into the Balkans, where they established a successful and long-lived culture. The Tauri, the original inhabitants of Crimea, are sometimes identified as a people related to the Cimmerians and later the Taurisci.

Premodern historians asserted Cimmerian descent for the Celts or the Germans, arguing from the similarity of Cimmerii to Cimbri or Cymry. It is unlikely that either Proto-Celtic or Proto-Germanic entered Western Europe as late as the 7th century BC; their formation was commonly associated with the Bronze Age Urnfield and Nordic Bronze Age cultures, respectively.

It is, however, conceivable that a small-scale (in terms of population) 8th-century “Thraco-Cimmerian” migration triggered cultural changes that contributed to the transformation of the Urnfield culture into the Hallstatt C culture, ushering in the European Iron Age.

Later Cimmerian remnant groups may have spread as far as to the Nordic Countries and the Rhine River. An example is the Cimbri tribe, considered to be a Germanic tribe hailing from the Himmerland (Old Danish Himber sysæl) region in northern Denmark.

The Cambridge Ancient History classifies the Maeotians as either of a people of Cimmerian ancestry or as Caucasian aboriginals under Iranian overlorship. The etymology of Cymro “Welshman” (plural: Cymry), connected to the Cimmerians by 17th-century Celticists, is now accepted by Celtic linguists as being derived from a Brythonic word *kom-brogos, meaning “compatriots”, (i.e. fellow-Brythons as opposed to the Anglo-Saxons).

In sources beginning with the Royal Frankish Annals, the Merovingian kings of the Franks traditionally traced their lineage through a pre-Frankish tribe called the Sicambri (or Sugambri), mythologized as a group of “Cimmerians” from the mouth of the Danube river, but who instead came from Gelderland in modern Netherlands and are named for the Sieg river or which could derive from that of the Cimbri as their chieftain names have the same suffix -rix.

Another possible link between the Cimmerians from rivers Tyras and Tanais and the Nordic countries and possibly the Sicambri of the lower Rhine is the fact that the eastern amber road was a trade link between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea over which there was a diffusion of cultures.

The main eastern amber road was fully operational already BCE 1800 and went over rivers Dnepr, Pripyat, Western Bug and Vistula. There are also archaeological evidence in southern Scandinavia that there was an invasive culture arriving on the shores of the Baltic Sea around BCE 1200, which is about the same time that heralded the younger Nordic Bronze Age.

It seems that this invasive culture stretched from the Vistula estuary over Scania, Zealand, Fyn and Himmerland in Northern Jutland and Helgoland, which largely encompasses an arch of the richest deposits of amber in Europe.

It is known from the Greek cartographer Pytheas from Massilia, BCE 330, that this arch corresponded to the location of a people Pytheas called Gotones. Pytheas also mentions that the Gotones were neighbors of the Teutones that lived in south Jutland and Holstein.

We also know that from Pliny the Elder, AD 79, that the stretch of lands between the Vistula Estuary to the Black Sea was called ‘Scythia’. Thus it is possible that there was a top-stratum of Cimmerians knights taking hold of the Baltic amber deposits as early as BCE 1200 – 1000 and that they later gave rise to the Gotones, Teutones and Cimbrii and in consequence to the Sicambri as well.

Looking for other indications it seems that ‘Cim’ is cognate with an IEP ‘khim’ from which is derived ‘home’ in English and ‘heim’ in Old Norse. The second part ‘mer’ would either mean ‘sea’ probably pointing to a homeland near the Black Sea, or potentially meaning ‘great’ (cc: Gothic ‘Waldamar’).

Also, the Biblical name “Gomer”, the eldest son of Japheth (and of the Japhetic line), and father of Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah, according to the “Table of Nations” in the Hebrew Bible, (Genesis 10), has been linked in some sources to the Cimmerians.

Thraco-Cimmerian is a historiographical and archaeological term, composed of the names of the Thracians and the Cimmerians. It refers to 8th to 7th century BC cultures that are linked in Eastern Central Europe and in the area west of the Black Sea.

Paul Reinecke in 1925 postulated a North-Thracian-Cimmerian cultural sphere (nordthrakisch-kimmerischer Kulturkreis) overlapping with the younger Hallstatt culture of the Eastern Alps.

The term Thraco-Cimmerian (thrako-kimmerisch) was first introduced by I. Nestor in the 1930s. It reflects a “migrationist” tendency in the archaeology of the first half of the 20th century to equate material archaeology with historical ethnicities.

Nestor did intend to suggest that there was a historical migration of Cimmerians into Eastern Europe from the area of the former Srubna culture, perhaps triggered by the Scythian expansion, at the beginning of the European Iron Age.

This “migrationist” or “invasionist” view, assuming that the development of the mature Hallstatt culture (Hallstatt C) was triggered by a Cimmerian invasion, was the scholarly mainstream until the 1980s.

In the 1980s and 1990s, more systematic studies of the artefacts revealed a more gradual development over the period covering the 9th to 7th centuries, so that today the “invasionist” scenario is considered untenable, and the term “Thraco-Cimmerian” is used by convention and does not necessarily imply a direct connection with either the Thracians or the Cimmerians.

Archaeologically, Thraco-Cimmerian artifacts consist of grave goods and hoards. The artifacts labelled Thraco-Cimmerian all belong to a category of upper class, luxury objects, like weapons, horse tacks and jewelry, and they are recovered only from a small percentage of graves of the period.

They are metal (usually bronze) items, particularly parts of horse tacks, found in a late Urnfield context, but without local Urnfield predecessors for their type. They appear rather to spread from the Koban culture of the Caucasus and northern Georgia, which together with the Srubna culture, blends into the 9th to 7th centuries pre-Scythian Chernogorovka and Novocherkassk cultures.

By the 7th century, Thraco-Cimmerian objects are spread further west over most of Eastern and Central Europe, locations of finds reaching to Denmark and eastern Prussia in the north and to Lake Zürich in the west. Together with these bronze artifacts, earliest Iron items appear, ushering in the European Iron Age, corresponding to the Proto-Celtic expansion from the Hallstatt culture.

The Catacomb culture (ca. 2800–2200 BC) refers to a group of related cultures in the early Bronze Age occupying essentially what is present-day Ukraine. It was the first to introduce corded pottery decorations into the steppes and shows a profuse use of the polished battle axe, providing a link to the West. Parallels with the Afanasevo culture, including provoked cranial deformations, provide a link to the East. It was succeeded by the Srubna culture (“Timber-grave culture”) from ca. the 17th century BC. The historical Cimmerians have been suggested as descended from this culture.

The origin of the Catacomb culture is disputed. Jan Lichardus enumerates three possibilities: a local development departing from the previous Yamna Culture only, a migration from Central Europe, or an oriental origin. The name Catacomb culture comes from its burial practices. These are similar to those of the Yamna culture, but with a hollowed-out space off the main shaft, creating the “catacomb”.

The linguistic composition of the Catacomb culture is unclear. An Indo-European component is hard to deny, particularly in the later stages. Placing the ancestors of the Greek, Armenian and Paleo-Balkan dialects here is tempting, as it would neatly explain certain shared features.

More recently, the Ukrainian archaeologist V. Kulbaka has argued that the Late Yamna cultures of ca. 3200–2800 BC, esp. the Budzhak, Starosilsk, and Novotitarovka groups, might represent the Greek-Armenian-“Aryan”(=Indo-Iranian) ancestors (Graeco-Aryan, Graeco-Armenian), and the Catacomb culture that of the “unified” (to ca. 2500 BC) and then “differentiated” Indo-Iranians.

Grigoryev’s (1998) version of the Armenian hypothesis connects Catacomb culture with Indo-Aryans, because catacomb burial ritual had roots in South-Western Turkmenistan from the early 4th millennium (Parkhai cemetery). The same opinion is supported by Leo Klejn in his various publications.

The Armenian hypothesis of the Proto-Indo-European Urheimat, based on the Glottalic theory suggests that the Proto-Indo-European language was spoken during the 4th millennium BC in the Armenian Highland.

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

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

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

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

Robert Drews, commenting on the hypothesis, says that “most of the chronological and historical arguments seem fragile at best, and of those that I am able to judge, some are evidently wrong”. However, he argues that it is far more powerful as a linguistic model, providing insights into the relationship between Indo-European and the Semitic and Kartvelian languages.

He continues to say “It is certain that the inhabitants of the forested areas of Armenia very early became accomplished woodworkers, and it now appears that in the second millennium they produced spoked-wheel vehicles that served as models as far away as China. And we have long known that from the second millennium onward, Armenia was important for the breeding of horses. It is thus not surprising to find that what clues we have suggest that chariot warfare was pioneered in eastern Anatolia. Finally, our picture of what the PIE speakers did, and when, owes much to the recently proposed hypothesis that the homeland of the PIE speakers was Armenia.”

I. Grepin, reviewing Gamkrelidze and Ivanov’s book, wrote that their model of linguistic relationships is “the most complex, far reaching and fully supported of this century.”

According to W. M. Austin (1942) there was an early contact between Armenian and Anatolian languages, based on what he considered common archaisms, such as the lack of a feminine and the absence of inherited long vowels.

However, unlike shared innovations (or synapomorphies), the common retention of archaisms (or symplesiomorphy) is not necessarily considered evidence of a period of common isolated development.

Soviet linguist Igor Diakonov (1985) noted the presence in Old Armenian of what he calls a Caucasian substratum, identified by earlier scholars, consisting of loans from the Kartvelian and Northeast Caucasian languages.

Noting that the Hurro-Urartian peoples inhabited the Armenian homeland in the second millennium b.c., Diakonov identifies in Armenian a Hurro-Urartian substratum of social, cultural, and animal and plant terms. Some of the terms he gives admittedly have an Akkadian or Sumerian provenance, but he suggests they were borrowed through Hurrian or Urartian.

Given that these borrowings do not undergo sound changes characteristic of the development of Armenian from Proto-Indo-European, he dates their borrowing to a time before the written record, but after the Proto-Armenian language stage.

Graeco-Aryan (or Graeco-Armeno-Aryan) is a hypothetical clade within the Indo-European family, ancestral to the Greek language, the Armenian language, and the Indo-Iranian languages.

Graeco-Aryan unity would have become divided into Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian by the mid 3rd millennium BC. Conceivably, Proto-Armenian would have been located between Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian, consistent with the fact that Armenian shares certain features only with Indo-Iranian (the satem change) but others only with Greek (s > h).

Graeco-Aryan has comparatively wide support among Indo-Europeanists for the Indo-European Homeland to be located in the Armenian Highland. Early and strong evidence was given by Euler’s 1979 examination on shared features in Greek and Sanskrit nominal flection.

Used in tandem with the Graeco-Armenian hypothesis, the Armenian language would also be included under the label Aryano-Greco-Armenic, splitting into proto-Greek/Phrygian and “Armeno-Aryan” (ancestor of Armenian and Indo-Iranian).

In the context of the Kurgan hypothesis, Greco-Aryan is also known as “Late PIE” or “Late Indo-European” (LIE), suggesting that Greco-Aryan forms a dialect group which corresponds to the latest stage of linguistic unity in the Indo-European homeland in the early part of the 3rd millennium BC. By 2500 BC, Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian had separated, moving westward and eastward from the Pontic Steppe, respectively.

If Graeco-Aryan is a valid group, Grassmann’s law may have a common origin in Greek and Sanskrit. Note, however, that Grassmann’s law in Greek postdates certain sound changes that happened only in Greek and not Sanskrit, which suggests that it cannot strictly be an inheritance from a common Graeco-Aryan stage.

Rather, it is more likely an areal feature that spread across a then-contiguous Graeco-Aryan-speaking area after early Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian had developed into separate dialects but before they ceased being in geographic contact.

Graeco-Aryan is invoked in particular in studies of comparative mythology, e.g. by West (1999) and Watkins (2001).

Leylatepe Culture

On the Importance of the Caucasian Chronology

Is there a Post-Ubaid culture?

Uruk Migrants in the Caucasus

Proto-Indo-Europeans

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