Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

On the origins and continuity of the term AN/diĝir – god

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 7, 2015


On the origins and continuity of the term AN/diĝir – god

Words used to denote God

The Christian Cross Story

Sumer was the Land of so many Firsts for us, and certainly, a civilization like that must have had very clear Philosophical concepts too. One of the most important group of terms in the human culture, are those representing the concept of God.

The God in our religious monotheistic philosophy is the heavenly, highest, all-knowing, omnipotent, limitless, omnipresent, the creator and head of the universe. The fundamental qualities of God would be: He is: 1- the Heavenly or Stellar; 2- the Creator; 3- the All-knowing.

In a primeval (or primitive if you want) language like Sumerian, the concept of God, seems to be clearly related with the first quality – heavenly or stellar because the sign for God AN, is also equated with sky, heaven, star, all of the idea be high. At first view, it doesn’t seem to reflect any meaning connected to the other two qualities, so it would be of interest a further analysis. 

The present study is an effort to analyze etymologically, how the terms for God may express such fundamental qualities, which might also reflect the high level of Sumerian civilization.

We might think that, in Sumerian, the above three qualities of God are not a concept expressed through one cuneiform sign only. But, Sumerians had fulfilled that difficult task, through assigning different phonetic values to the same sign, as we all know about. However, the Beginners, creators of the cuneiform script, did not simply add arbitrary values to the sign for god. They did it in a godly manner, by assigning such values as a coherent, integrated structure of high abstraction, just as their godly language deserved.

The three qualities may be shown through etymological analysis of the Sumerian terms for God, including AN, diĝir/dingir, dim-me-er, šar/šaru, il/ilu, where most of them are expressed by the AN sign only.

Regarding the possible presence and continuity of such terms and symbols in later cultures, there are also studied the respective terms in IE languages such as in Sanskrit Vedas, Pelasgian term for god, Greek and Latin terms for god. Traces of Sumerian symbol for God in Illyria and Epirus (even in Arber) are evident, also their mythology with the divine brothers Polidiak and Kastor shows possible parallelism in the names, their associations with zodiac signs, etc. These facts have been a further inducement and support to this study cause, in the same time, they bespeak the possible relationship with Albanian language, which has also given its help in analysing the Sumerian terms for god, and especially to understand the coherent, clearly related structure of terms behind.

Etymological division derivation, which is semantically correct. Division of agglutinated terms within Sumerian and by the help of Albanian.

AN sign value origin is an-na (a-na). It means sky, star, heaven, god, all of the idea be high (Prince,32). In lexical lists, it is equated with Akk. ŝamu, and through it, with me = divine powers (Horowitz,229; Halloran,171). The me might express the idea be high, also because its graphic etymology is “sth. upon sth.” if seen in its original position rotated for 90°. So, AN sign is clearly related to the first quality of God, heavenly or stellar, because of its adverbial meanings high, above, over, upon. Such meanings may be derived with etymological division a-na = a+na = is+high/above. The value a=is might be derived from the nominalizing function of a understood as “the noun that verbs”= “is verbing”(Halloran,1), also supported from the same meaning of a=is, and the same nominalizing function of the verb a/aš=is in Albanian. The equation a-na = me(mi) = over, upon cognate with high, above, is again corroborated through Albanian, where mi = over, upon and na/nalt/la/lart = above, high. The other value AN = il/ilu is present in Albanian with the meaning il/ilu> ill/yll = star.

The highest objects we can see are the stars, and so, il/ilu=star can better express the idea high. It is so in Albanian, where the adverb above/high = la/lat/lart (na/nalt) and the noun star, may derive from each other: il = i+l = high (adj.), we might consider the amisable -a in la as a=is and the indefinite pronoun i=ni=one/it/any as in the equation: ni+l+a > i+l+a > il. Thus, values an, ilu, me of the AN sign may express the first quality of God through adverbial meanings high, above, over, upon.

In lexical lists an is also equated with ŝamu=mu (=my), from which might have been derived the value for OS copula am (a+mu=am), phonetically similar to the word ama=mother in both Sumerian and Albanian. The value am (am-a) might express the second quality of God, that of creating > Creator, the mother creates new lives. A corroboration would be the homonym word an=womb in Albanian. Another corroboration might be the masculine function of initiator, beginner, in the process of creating (also present in the Creation Epic with Apsü and Tiamat): a+n= a + nis/niš, cause the n/ni can also bear in Alb. the meanings begin or one, as in equation: n = ni = ni+ is = nis/niš = begin  /one = Initiate  or number One, initiator.
So AN sign expresses the second quality, that of being Creator, in both ways, as Initiator an=a+n/nis/niš or Father = ada/ad = at in Alb., while ada/ad is very near ud = sun = Apsü, (verbal root ap=open in Alb. near initiate) and as Mother = ama or am-a in Alb., which can explain the name Tiamat through the root am=mother, Tiamat > Ki-am-ak = Earth-mother-is this (t<>k, they may have similar meanings as in Alb. root words t/ti = thou and k/ki = this). The base am for the etymology of Tiamat/Ki-am-ak would suggest the same for the Akk. šamu = sky, with the result that Kiamak, as the primeval mother, would be equated with the first sky (from 7 ones), the Akk. šupuk šamê (šamû) = vault of sky = Alb. kup e qiellit, inverted to kupuš êmaš = pick/break of mother in Alb., which might corroborate certain views about our understanding of Creation Epic. Also the Hebrew and Greek names for Tiamat/Kiamak may have good etymology in Albanian: Hebrew Tehom>ki.e.hum = earth-lost/disappeared; Greek Omorka = umur-kia = lost/disappeared Earth; Ummu-ur-ki = Ki umur = lost/disappeared Earth; Um-ma Hu-bu-ur > Ama Hubur > Ama Humbur = Lost Mother.
Regarding the etymology of the Akk. Apsü=sun it might be derived semantically from the function of sun as source of light which enables us to see, the light is needed for the eye to function, the light opens the eye. By combining the verbal root
ap = open with Alb. word for eye=sü/sy it may have been created Ap-sy = sun = ud (near ad/at). This analysis might be corroborated by the graphic etymology of the sign which seems to be a graphic representation of the verb open and of the eye. The sun over the hillock has the same graphic etymology if seen in its original position, rotated for 90°
sun = ud (father) = Apsü = ap-sy = open – eye while ud is near Alb.aorist u-di = (it is) dawned, the day is opened = daybreak also -d- might be the primeval phoneme-root for the Albanian verb di = know a corroboration for
ab=ap=open is: sea = a-ab = a-ap = water + open
The third quality, perhaps the most important, the all-knowing, may be expressed through value diĝir. Such value for the sign AN may have been derived in similarity with ES equivalents such as dim-me-er. Regarding the value diĝir, it can be proposed and analyzed an etymology based on the Albanian verb di=know.
The first syllable of ES form dim might be the verbal element of the compound, phonetically similar to the verb di, while -m function is to connect the next syllable of the word. With the possibility of -m- reading for the -ĝ- phoneme of diĝir, it may result an equal reading between the main dialect and ES forms, dimir  = dim-me-er. The second and third syllable of ES form might have the reading -mir, as can be deduced from the EK form dimir. In Albanian mir = good/well, and so might be proposed the agglutinated meaning: diĝir = dimir = know-well, which is almost the same as the All-knowing quality of God. That can be corroborated through the meaning in Albanian, for the widely accepted reading dingir of the AN sign, which is di-ngir = know-satiated, very near to the meaning All-knowing, which may also be corroborated through the possible etymology for Ki-engir and Ki-uri as the antonyms: Ki-engir = satiated/good Land and Ki-uri = hunger/hungry Land, designations that might be possible for both of them.
The meaning of the word mer/mir in Alb. may be derived from its Sumerian parts as in the ES form dim-me-er. The word -me- = over, upon, while the next syllable is formed of the connecting element -e/i and the meaning element -r = ri = lay down, resulting in the agglutinated meaning over/upon + lay (down/upon) = good = me/mi+ri = mer/mir, sth. that lays/stays over/upon is good.
The equation di = know represents the essential part of the term dingir/dimir, because most of the other ancient IE languages and beyond, have based their words for God in this Sumerian term. The Vedic Sanskrit had the term Diaus-Pitar similar to Pelasgian term DiPatur-on mentioned in a vocabulary Pelasgian-Greek of Hesych (S.Konda,53). Both terms begin with the root-verb di. The meaning of pitar = patur is that of the word patur – Alb. past participle of to have which is a homonym of wealthy/rich, near with (di-)ngir= satiated. The name of Zeus is written Dias = Di+as = Knows+is. The Latin term for God is Deus = De+us / Di+as, which is same thing. And this view can be corroborated in other later IE languages as well, in words like Dio, God, Demiurge, etc.
The accepted Sumerian word zu=know is phonetically similar with Alb. squ/zgju = wise, a cognate of word di=know, which might be argued through the equation sa = si = equal. The same cuneiform sign has the value di, and Alb. sa = equal(quantity)/ how much, and si = equal(manner)/how. The one who knows how and how much is the one who knows it all: 
= sa = si = equal, = di > [di = sa and di = si] > di = k
The AN sign for god through its values an, am, dingir, might express all three main qualities of God, with the respective etymologies:
1 – He is sky/star,
2 – He is the initiator, nr. one, father/mother 
3 – He is satiated with knowledge, knows well

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