Birth of our civilization
Posted by Fredsvenn on September 2, 2015
The March equinox or Northward equinox is the equinox on the earth when the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading northward. The March equinox is the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and the autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere. The equinox can be as early as March 19 or as late as March 21.
The point where the horizon crosses the sun’s disk at the celestial equator northwards is called the first point of Aries (♈) (meaning “ram”). Aries is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, spanning the first 30 degrees of celestial longitude (0°≤ λ <30º).
Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this sign between March 21 and April 19 each year. Under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits Aries from 15 April to 15 May (approximately). However, due to the precession of the equinoxes, this point is no longer in the constellation Aries, but rather in Pisces (♓), the twelfth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the Pisces constellation.
Pisces spans the 330° to 360° of the zodiac, between 332.75° and 360° of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac the sun transits this area on average between February 19 and March 20, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits this area between approximately March 13 and April 13.
By the year 2600 the first point of Aries will be in Aquarius (some Archeoastronomers and Astrologers believe that will be the start of the approximate 2,150 years of “the Age of Aquarius”, while others think it may have already started, and varying calculations in between).
Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac established among the ancient Mesopotamians—who knew it as the Bull of Heaven—because it was the sign through which the sun rose on the vernal equinox, was the constellation of the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring Equinox from about 3,200 BC. Due to the procession of the equinox, it now follows Aries.
The equinox was considered the Sumerian New Year, Akitu, an important event in their religion. Taurus marked the point of vernal (spring) equinox in the Chalcolithic and the Early Bronze Age, from about 4000 BC to 1700 BC, after which it moved into the neighboring constellation Aries. The Pleiades were closest to the Sun at vernal equinox around the 23rd century BC.
In Babylonian astronomy, the constellation was listed in the MUL.APIN as Gugalanna (Sumerian: GU.GAL.AN.NA, “the Great Bull of Heaven”), better known as the Bull of Heaven (Sumerian: GU.AN.NA), “The Bull of Heaven”. As this constellation marked the vernal equinox, it was also the first constellation in the Babylonian zodiac and they described it as “The Bull in Front”. The Akkadian name was Alu.
Gugalanna was the first husband of the Goddess Ereshkigal, the Goddess of the Realm of the Dead, a gloomy place devoid of light. It was to share the sorrow with her sister that Inanna later descends to the Underworld. In the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest works of literature, the goddess Ishtar sends Taurus, the Bull of Heaven, to kill Gilgamesh for spurning her advances.
Some locate Gilgamesh as the neighboring constellation of Orion, facing Taurus as if in combat, while others identify him with the sun whose rising on the equinox vanquishes the constellation. The story of the death of Gugalanna has been considered to represent the sun’s obscuring of the constellation as it rose on the morning of the equinox.
In early Mesopotamian art, the Bull of Heaven was closely associated with Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. One of the oldest depictions shows the bull standing before the goddess’ standard; since it has 3 stars depicted on its back (the cuneiform sign for “star-constellation”), there is good reason to regard this as the constellation later known as Taurus.
“Between the period of the earliest female figurines circa 4500 B.C. … a span of a thousand years elapsed, during which the archaeological signs constantly increase of a cult of the tilled earth fertilised by that noblest and most powerful beast of the recently developed holy barnyard, the bull – who not only sired the milk yielding cows, but also drew the plow, which in that early period simultaneously broke and seeded the earth. Moreover by analogy, the horned moon, lord of the rhythm of the womb and of the rains and dews, was equated with the bull; so that the animal became a cosmological symbol, uniting the fields and the laws of sky and earth.”
The seven most prominent stars in this cluster are at least visual magnitude six, and so the cluster is also named the “Seven Sisters”. The name of the Pleiades comes from Ancient Greek. It probably derives from plein (‘to sail’) because of the cluster’s importance in delimiting the sailing season in the Mediterranean Sea: ‘the season of navigation began with their heliacal rising’. However, the name was later mythologised as the name of seven divine sisters, whose name was imagined to derive from that of their mother Pleione, effectively meaning ‘daughters of Pleione’. However, in reality the name of the star-cluster almost certainly came first, and Pleione was invented to explain it.
The Apkallu (Akkadian) or Abgal (Sumerian), are seven Sumerian sages, demigods who are said to have been created by the god Enki (Akkadian: Ea) to establish culture and give civilization to mankind. They served as priests of Enki and as advisors or sages to the earliest kings of Sumer before the flood. They are credited with giving mankind the Me (moral code), the crafts, and the arts. They were seen as fish-like men who emerged from the sweet water Abzu. They are commonly represented as having the lower torso of a fish, or dressed as a fish.
Apkallu reliefs also appear in Assyrian palaces as guardians against evil spirits. They are one of the more prominent supernatural creatures that appear in the art of Ashurnasirpal II of the 9th century BC. They appear in one of three forms, bird-headed, human-headed or dressed in fish-skin cloaks. In the court of Assyria, special physicians trained in the ancient lore of Eridu, far to the south, foretold the course of sickness from signs and portents on the patient’s body, and offered the appropriate incantations and magical resources as cures.
Eridu (Cuneiform: NUN.KI; modern Arabic: Tell Abu Shahrain), also transliterated as Eridug, could mean “mighty place” or “guidance place”, is considered the earliest city in southern Mesopotamia. In the Sumerian king list, Eridu is named as the city of the first kings. The king list continues: “”After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridug (Eridu). In Eridu, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28800 years. Alalngar ruled for 36000 years. 2 kings; they ruled for 64800 years. Then Eridu fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira.”
The king list gave particularly long rules to the kings who ruled before a great flood occurred, and shows how the center of power progressively moved from the south to the north of the country. Adapa, a man of Eridu, is depicted as an early culture hero. Identified with U-an, a half-human creature from the sea (Abgallu from ab = water, gal = big, lu = man), he was considered to have brought civilization to the city during the time of King Alulim.
In a chart of antediluvian generations in Babylonian and Biblical traditions, Professor William Wolfgang Hallo associates Alulim with the composite half-man, half-fish counselor or culture hero (Apkallu) Uanna-Adapa (Oannes), and suggests an equivalence between Alulim and Enosh in the Sethite genealogy given in Genesis chapter 5. Hallo notes that Alulim’s name means “Stag”.
Oannes was the name given by the Babylonian writer Berossus in the 3rd century BC to a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom. Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man. He is described as dwelling in the Persian Gulf, and rising out of the waters in the daytime and furnishing mankind instruction in writing, the arts and the various sciences. Oannes and the Semitic god Dagon were considered identical.
The name “Oannes” was once conjectured to be derived from that of the ancient Babylonian god Ea, but it is now known that the name is the Greek form of the Babylonian Uanna (or Uan) a name used for Adapa in texts from the Library of Ashurbanipal. The Assyrian texts attempt to connect the word to the Akkadian for a craftsman ummanu but this is merely a pun.
Jonah or Jonas is the name given in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh/Old Testament) to a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel in about the 8th century BC. He is the eponymous central character in the Book of Jonah, famous for being swallowed by a fish or a whale, depending on translation. The biblical story of Jonah is repeated, with a few notable differences, in the Qur’an.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus makes a reference to Jonah when he is asked for a miraculous sign by the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Jesus says that the sign will be the sign of Jonah. Jesus implies that Jonah’s restoration after three days inside the great whale prefigures His own resurrection.
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure in Christianity, Islam, the Bahá’í Faith, and Mandaeism. He is described as having the unique practice of baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Most scholars agree that John baptized Jesus. Scholars generally believe Jesus was a follower or disciple of John and several New Testament accounts report that some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John. John the Baptist is also mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus.
According to the New Testament, John anticipated a messianic figure greater than himself, and Jesus was the one whose coming John foretold. Christians commonly refer to John as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, since John announces Jesus’ coming. John is also identified with the prophet Elijah.