Cradle of Civilization

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Archive for May, 2016

The city of Troy

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 31, 2016

Troy (Ancient Greek: Troia and Ilion, or Ilios; Latin: Trōia and Īlium; Hittite: Wilusa or Truwisa; Turkish: Truva) was a city situated in what is known from Classical sources as Asia Minor, now northwest Anatolia in modern Turkey, located south of the southwest end of the Dardanelles/ Hellespont and northwest of Mount Ida at Hisarlık.

It is the setting of the Trojan War described in the Greek Epic Cycle and especially in the Iliad (Ancient Greek: Ilias, sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium), one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer. Metrical evidence from the Iliad and the Odyssey seems to show that the name Ilion formerly began with a digamma: Wilion. This was later supported by the Hittite form Wilusa.

A new capital called Ilium was founded on the site in the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus. It flourished until the establishment of Constantinople and declined gradually during the Byzantine era.

Apaliunas was the tutelary deity of the city of Wilusa (Hittite: URUWi-lu-ša), a city of the late Bronze Age Assuwa confederation of western Anatolia, a confederation of states in western Anatolia, defeated by the Hittites Tudhaliya I around 1400 BC. A number of fragmentary Hittite records imply that the anti-Hittite rebellion of the Assuwa league received a certain decree of support from Mycenaean Greece (Ahhiyawa in Hittite).

Wilusa is known from six references in 13th century BC Hittite sources. It is often identified with Troy VIIa in archaeology (destroyed in ca. 1190 BC), and with legendary Troy of the Greek Trojan War cycle (according to the chronology of Saint Jerome, dated to the 1180s BC). In terms of etymology, Ilios/Ilion, a Greek name for Troy, is identified with Wilusa.

Apaliunas is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo. Apaliunas is among the gods who guarantee a treaty drawn up about 1280 BCE between Alaksandu of Wilusa, interpreted as “Alexander of Ilios” and the great Hittite king, Muwatalli II. He is one of the three deities named on the side of the city. In Homer, Apollo is the builder of the walls of Ilium, a god on the Trojan side. A Luwian etymology suggested for Apaliunas makes Apollo “The One of Entrapment”, perhaps in the sense of “Hunter”.

Further east of the Luwian language area, a Hurrian god Aplu was a deity of the plague – bringing it, or, if propitiated, protecting from it – and resembles Apollo Smintheus, “mouse-Apollo” worshiped at Troy and Tenedos, who brought plague upon the Achaeans in answer to a Trojan prayer at the opening of Iliad. Aplu, it is suggested, comes from the Akkadian Aplu Enlil, meaning “the son of Enlil”, a title that was given to the god Nergal, who was linked to Shamash, Babylonian god of the Sun, and with the plague.

In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars)—hence the current name of the planet. In Assyro-Babylonian ecclesiastical art the great lion-headed colossi serving as guardians to the temples and palaces seem to symbolise Nergal, just as the bull-headed colossi probably typify Ninurta.

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Utu – the sun god

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 31, 2016

Utu

Utu (Akkadian rendition of Sumerian dUD “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, Ereshkigal, and his twin sister Inanna. His center cult was located in the city of Larsa.

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. 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. 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”.

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”.

Marduk

Marduk (Sumerian spelling in Akkadian: dAMAR.UTU, literally, “the calf of Utu” or “the young bull of the Sun”) was a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon. In the perfected system of astrology, Jupiter was associated with Marduk by the Hammurabi period.

When Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi (18th century BC), he slowly started to rise to the position of the head of the Babylonian pantheon, a position he fully acquired by the second half of the second millennium BC. In the city of Babylon, he resided in the temple Esagila. “Marduk” is the Babylonian form of his name.

According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, the name Marduk was probably pronounced Marutuk. The etymology of the name Marduk is conjectured as derived from amar-Utu (“bull calf of the sun god Utu”).

Sippar

The origin of Marduk’s name may reflect an earlier genealogy, or have had cultural ties to the ancient city of Sippar (Sumerian: Zimbir), an ancient Near Eastern city on the east bank of the Euphrates River, located at the site of modern Tell Abu Habbah in Iraq’s Babil Governorate, some 60 km north of Babylon and 30 km southwest of Baghdad, dating back to the third millennium BC.

Sippar was the cult site of the sun god (Sumerian Utu, Akkadian Shamash) and the home of his temple E-babbara. The Code of Hammurabi stele was probably erected at Sippar. Shamash was the god of justice, and he is depicted handing authority to the king in the image at the top of the stele.

Sippar has been suggested as the location of the Biblical Sepharvaim in the Old Testament, which alludes to the two parts of the city in its dual form. Sepharvaim was the center of the worship of the god Adramelech. They also worshipped the god Anamelech. After the deportation of the Israelite tribes, at least some of the residents of this city were brought to Samaria to repopulate it with other Gentile settlers.

Xisuthros, the “Chaldean Noah” in Sumerian mythology, is said by Berossus to have buried the records of the antediluvian world here—possibly because the name of Sippar was supposed to be connected with sipru (“writing”). And according to Abydenus, Nebuchadnezzar II excavated a great reservoir in the neighbourhood.

Arinna

Arinna was the major cult center of the Hittite sun goddess, (thought to be Arinniti) known as dUTU URUArinna “sun goddess of Arinna”. Arinna was located near Hattusa, the Hittite capital. The name was also used as a substitute name for Arinniti.

The sun goddess of Arinna is the most important one of three important solar deities of the Hittite pantheon, besides UTUnepisas – “the sun of the sky” and UTU taknas – “the sun of the earth”.

She was considered to be the chief deity in some source, in place of her husband. Her consort was the weather god,Teshub; they and their children were all derived from the former Hattic pantheon.

Arinnitti, Hattian Wurusemu, Hittite sun goddess, the principal deity and patron of the Hittite empire and monarchy. Her consort, the weather god Taru, was second to Arinnitti in importance, indicating that she probably originated in matriarchal times.

Arinnitti’s precursor seems to have been a mother-goddess of Anatolia, symbolic of earth and fertility. Arinnitti’s attributes were righteous judgment, mercy, and royal authority.

The goddess was also perceived to be a paramount chthonic or earth goddess. She becomes largely syncretised with the Hurrian goddess Hebat. In the 13th century some explicit gestures toward syncretism appear in inscriptions.

The powerful Hittite queen Puduhepa adopted Arinnitti as her protectress; the queen’s seal showed her in the goddess’ embrace. Puduhepa, queen and a priestess, worked on organizing and rationalizing her people’s religion. In an inscription she invokes:

Sun-Goddes of Arinna, my lady, you are the queen of all lands! In the land of Hatti you have assumed the name of Sun-Goddess of Arinna, but in respect to the land which you made of cedars, you have assumed the name Hebat.

The liminal figure mediating between the intimately connected worlds of gods and mankind was the king and priest; in a ritual dating from the Hittite Old Kingdom period: The gods, the Sun-God and the Storm-God, have entrusted to me, the king, the land and my household, so that I, the king, should protect my land and my household, for myself.

The city of Arinna, a day’s march from Hattusa, was perhaps the major cult center of the Hittites, and certainly of their major sun goddess, known as dUTU URU Arinna “sun goddess of Arinna”.

Tarhun, the storm god, responsible for assigning rain to the city’s croplands, was the son of the sun goddess. Tarhun has a son, Telipinu and a daughter, Inara, who is a protective deity (dLAMMA) involved with the Puruli spring festival.  Ishara is a goddess of the oath; lists of divine witnesses to treaties seem to represent the Hittite pantheon most clearly, though some well-attested gods are inexplicably missing.

Kumarbi is the chief god of the Hurrians. He is the son of Anu (the sky), and father of the storm-god Teshub, equal to Hittite Tarhun. He was identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil, and by the Ugaritians with El.

Kumarbi is the father of his role in the Song of Kumarbi is reminiscent of that of Cronus in the Theogony of Hesiod. Ullikummi is a stone monster fathered by Kumarbi, reminiscent of Hesiod’s Typhon.

In the Telipinu myth, the disappearance of Telipinu, god of agriculture and fertility causes all fertility to fail, both plant and animal. The result is devastation and despair among gods and humans alike. In order to stop the havoc and devastation, the gods seek Telipinu but fail to find him. Only a bee sent by the goddess Hannahannah finds Telipinu, and stings him in order to wake him up. However this infuriates Telipinu further and he “diverts the flow of rivers and shatters the houses”.

In the end, the goddess Kamrusepa, a Hittite goddess of healing, medicine, and magic, uses healing and magic to calm Telipinu after which he returns home and restores the vegetation and fertility. In other references it is a mortal priest who prays for all of Telipinu’s anger to be sent to bronze containers in the underworld, of which nothing escapes.

Cybele

The mother goddess is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubeleyan Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”), an Anatolian mother goddess; she has a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük, where the statue of a pregnant, seated goddess 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.

She is Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably its state deity. In Greece, as in Phrygia, she was a “Mistress of animals” (Potnia Therōn), with her mastery of the natural world expressed by the lions that flank her, sit in her lap or draw her chariot.

In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. She was partially assimilated to aspects of the Earth-goddess Gaia, and her Minoan equivalent earth-mother Rhea, “Mother of the gods”. As an exemplar of devoted motherhood, she was partly assimilated to the grain-goddess Demeter, whose torchlight procession recalled her search for her lost daughter, Persephone.

The proto-Hattic sun goddess of Asia Minor. Wurusemu also appears as an earth goddess and is then the wife of the weather god Taru and mother of Telipinu, a vegetation god. Wurusemu shows many similarities with the Hittite goddess Arinna.

Kumarbi is the father of Tarhun, his role in the Song of Kumarbi is reminiscent of that of Cronus in the Theogony of Hesiod. Ullikummi is a stone monster fathered by Kumarbi, reminiscent of Hesiod’s Typhon.

Istanu

Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known as Tiwaz or Tijaz. He was a god of judgement, and was depicted bearing a winged sun on his crown or head-dress, and a crooked staff.

In Anatolian and Mesopotamian traditions the word for ‘sun’ is syncretized with names of the Sun deity. In the case of Hittite it is the Hattian loan istanu- / astanu- ‘sun; Sun-god(dess); majesty’ < Hatt. estan / astan ‘sun; Sun-goddess’.

In other Anatolian languages we observe stems that correspond to Hitt. siwatt- ‘day’: Palaic tiyatt- (or tiyad-) ‘Sun deity’, Luwian tiwad- (C), tiwad(i)- (H) ‘Sun deity’, derived from the IE root *dyew- ‘day-lit sky, sky-god’.

The initial element here, which I have rendered as “My Majesty,” is a heterogram, dUTUŠI, pronounceable in Akkadian as /Shamshī/, but probably spoken by the Great King’s scribes as Hittite /Istanus〃mis/, literally “My Sun- god.”

The Hittite sun god who rode the sun across the heavens. Technically Istanu was considered the god who ruled “the sun of the sky” with the death goddess Lelwani being considered “the sun of the Earth”, since her domain included the fires burning inside the Earth. This deity had a huge flock of sheep and rams. Istanu was also the patron deity of judges and wore a winged sun on his head-dress. He also wielded a crooked staff.

A surviving myth about Istanu involves him granting an old but childless couple a pair of sons, one of whom turns out to be “good” and one of whom  turns out to be “evil”. There is also a surviving myth in which Istanu gets the hots for a particular cow and even has a child with it. The sun god was an ally of the storm god Tarhun and warned him about the stone giant Ullikummi.

In Mesopotamian mythology, the Hittite sun goddess, Estan, evolved into Istanu, a male sun god. In pre-Islamic Arabia, the sun goddess was known as Torch of the Gods, Atthar or Al-llat. She was honored daily by pouring libations at roof top altars. Her name was subsequently masculinized to Allah.

Her other name, Shams, along with her attributes became associated with a male sun god, Shams-On. The Babylonian sun god was Shamash, clearly related. The Hebrew word for sun, as well as the appellation of the biblical character Samson, were also derived from her name.

Istanu

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Let us reflect and radiate the warming, nurturing energy of the sun in all her shining glory

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 31, 2016

In archaic times, people perceived the sun, in its shining prime and glory, the giver of heat and light and life, to be the effulgent force of the female. A passionate aspect of the great mother, the versatile jill-of-all-trades who issues forth and supports whole life. She is the heaven Illuminating goddess, Amaterasu Omikame, in Japan, and the queen of heaven and Earth, Arinna, in Mesopotamia. She was Yhi, sun woman, to the Arunta of Australia. Sun sister was known in Anatolia, Siberia and Native America.

Tribal North Europe knew her, too. The Germans called her Sunna, as did the Norwegians. In Scandinavia, she was Glory-of-Elves or Sol. The Eddas say that on doomsday, she will bear a daughter who will be the new sun, the next creation. The luminous world to come. She was Sol, as well, to the Celts who also called her Sul or Sulis. Her celebrations took place on open plains, on hilltops, overlooking springs. A major ceremonial site was Silbury Hill (Sulisbury Hill) and the springs at Bath, once called Aquae Sulis, were the site of Roman altars sacred to Sul Minerva.

The great mother in ancient India was Aditi, the mother of the 12 spirits of the zodiac, the Adityas who would “reveal their light at doomsday.” The Mahanirvanatantra describes the sun as a golden garment of light that graces the great goddess. “The sun, the most glorious symbol in the physical world, is the vesture of Her who is ‘clothed with the sun.’”

Tantric Buddhist monks greeted the sun goddess, Marici, at dawn, chanting to her, “the glorious one, the sun of happiness… I salute you O Goddess Marici! Bless me and fulfill my desires. Protect me, O Goddess, from all the eight fears.” Marici, or Mari, was a precursor of the Christian Mary. The New Testament Book of Revelation refers to her as a “woman clothed in the sun.”

Some early Christian mystics gazed upon the sun, the shining shawl that encircles Our Lady’s shoulders, until they “became blinded by the light.” The theory being, that once having contemplated such magnificent brilliance, there was nothing left worthy of being seen. The success of this practice seems to have been a sure path to sainthood. An odd parallel is Saint Lucy, Santa Lucia, Santa Luz who plucked out her own eyes to discourage unwanted suitors and sexual advances. In the dark, with the one she truly loved, she was rewarded with the clear vision of the light of her faith.

The goddess was not always the sun herself, but often the force behind it. The grand controller of the cosmos, the sun, and the celestial cycles. According to Greek mythology, Leto laid an egg that produced two offspring, the sun and the moon, Apollo and Artemis. The Egyptian Goddess, Hathor, hatched the “golden egg of the sun” at the dawn of creation. The sun god, Osiris-Ra, died each night to return to the womb of the great mother, from whose “gate” he was reborn each morning. The same is said of the Maori sun god, who must descend into the uterine cave of the Waters of Life in order to be regenerated daily.

With the advent of the patriarchy, the sun underwent a sex change. Profound, this gender shift was a portrayal of the left brain revolution, the ascendance of ration over passion. Female divinity was overthrown, overthrone, overgrown. Her domain plundered, her authority usurped, her worship polluted. The sun, with the strength of it’s brilliance, it’s sheer presence and potency, came to stand for the masculine principle, the power of rational thinking. The moon, reflective, more subtle and seemingly erratic, came to be associated with the feminine in most cultures. Although the traits of the sun are thought to be male, it retains its female designation in the languages of Northern Europe, Arabia and Japan.

In Mesopotamian mythology, the Hittite sun goddess, Estan, evolved into Istanu, a male sun god. In pre-Islamic Arabia, the sun goddess was known as Torch of the Gods, Atthar or Al-llat. She was honored daily by pouring libations at roof top altars. Her name was subsequently masculinized to Allah. Her other name, Shams, along with her attributes became associated with a male sun god, Shams-On. The Babylonian sun god was Shamash, clearly related. The Hebrew word for sun, as well as the appellation of the biblical character Samson, were also derived from her name.

Shamelessly

orange like a
parrot’s beak,
arousing with a lover’s
touch the clustered
lotus buds,
I praise this
great wheel the sun —
rising it is an
earring for
the Lady of the East.

— Vidya Kara
11th Century Sanskrit Poetess

Al-Lat

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Hittite Mythology: The Top Deities

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 31, 2016

The Hittite Empire spread throughout Anatolia, covering a large part of what is now Turkey and Syria as well as some parts far eastward and southward of there (accounts vary). The scarce remains of the texts regarding the deities worshipped by the Hittites are tantalizingly fragmentary but reflect and/or influenced myths from Mesopotamia across the west to ancient Greece and south to Canaanite territory.

ARANZAH – The god of the body of water that bore his name – the Aranzah River. The Aranzah is better known as the Tigris, which begins its journey southward from the Taurus Mountains in what is now eastern Turkey. This deity was a brother of the storm god Tarhun (Teshub to the Hurrians) and like him was born in the belly of the god Kumarbi.

ISTUSTAYA and PAPAYA – The Hittite goddesses of destiny. The two deities sat by the shores of the Black Sea where they would spin the threads that are each mortal’s destiny, taking special care with the fates of kings. The two left their seaside location only for special occassions like conferences of all the gods. Collectively the two were called the Gulses by the Hittites and the Hutena by the Hurrians. The ancient Greeks added a third to their number and called them the Morae (Fates).   

JARRI – The god of disease and infestations of insects and rodents. Jarri was armed with a bow that shot arrows which each contained a specific disease.

SHARRUMA – The god who rules over the mountain which bears his name. He was the son of the storm god Tarhun (called Teshub by the Hurrians)

HAHHIMA – The evil god of winter and cold weather. His weapons were frost, snow, sleet and hail. When the other gods are searching for Istanu the missing sun god Hahhima impedes their efforts to the best of his ability.

SANDAN – The Hittite lion god. He gained his lordship over lions by defeating so many of them in combat and wore the fur of his first leonine victim ( a horned lion) as a cloak. Originally a demigod Sandan became a full deity after he died and was burned on a pyre. Representations of Sandan were often used to decorate funeral pyres, especially for those deemed to have died heroically. Ceremonial depictions of the deity presented him at the center of small pyres which were then set on fire. Elements of the Greek Herakles seem based on Sandan, especially his slaying of the Nemean lion, cloak of lion fur and ascension to full godhood after being burned on a pyre.

ISHARA – The goddess of contracts, treaties, vows and oaths. Etymologically her name came from words referring to binding. Ishara’s children were the Sebitti, the seven stars known to us as the Pleiades. The Sebitti were battle-deities to the Hittites and accompanied their father Zababa the god of war into combat.

A’AS – The Hittite equivalent of the earlier Akkadian deity Ea (called Enki by the Sumerians). A’as was the god of wisdom and is an important figure in the cycle of myths involving the succession to the kingship of the gods in Hittite mythology. A’as often advises the deities who seek to overthrow the reigning king of the heavens and assume the throne themselves. Deities who took the crown but then disrespected A’as would be brought down themselves by the wise god’s schemes. A’as was also the deity who calculated how the storm god Tarhun could defeat the stone giant Ullikummi.

HAPANTALI – The shepherd goddess. Hapantali looked after the sheep of the sun god Istanu. In another famous myth she aided the fallen moon god Kaskuh when he toppled from the sky.

UBELLURIS – Often called “the Hittite Atlas”. The Hurrians called him Upelluri. Ubelluris carried the Earth and the sky above it on one shoulder while contemplating the universe and dreaming. The primordial gods built the Netherworld, the Earth and the sky on his muscular shoulders, trusting to his massive strength and his sedate, meditative nature to make for a steady foundation.

Ubelluris was also regarded as the god of dreams and ancient artwork depicting him with one hand on his chin while supporting the Earth on his shoulder are sometimes said to have inspired Rodin’s The Thinker. This line of argument goes that Rodin wanted it to represent the pagan god Ubelluris in Dante’s version of Hell.  On the deity’s other shoulder the subterranean gods loyal to the fallen Kumarbi hid Kumarbi’s son Ullikummi, furtively raising him until the day he was an adult and could challenge Tarhun for the throne of the gods.

HASAMELI – The Hittite god of forges and metal-working. He once advised King Mursili II to use smoke generated by a forge or smithery as camouflage in an attack by his army on the forces of King Uhhaziti of Arzawa.

KHIPA – Possibly a forerunner of the goddess Cybele. Khipa – also known as Khebe – was the tutelary goddess referred to so enigmatically in the surviving fragments of the Hittite myths. Her association with lions has fueled speculation that she was the mate of the lion god Sandan and may have foreshadowed Hebe in Greek myths.

HATEPUNA – This daughter of the sea god was also the patron goddess of the Hittite city of Maliluha. Hatepuna was believed to be the goddess of one of the lakes in Anatolia but accounts vary as to which one and the records are too fragmentary to be conclusive. She married the vegetation and agriculture god Telipinu, son of the storm god Tarhun (Teshub to the Hurrians).

ARUNA – The Hittite god of the sea. Elements of his myths may have been influenced (or vice versa) by the Hindu god of the waters named Varuna. Aruna was the son of Kamrusepa, the goddess of medicine and magic. His daughter married the vegetation god Telipinu.

HANWASUIT – The goddess of the throne and other implements of Hittite kingship. Mortal kings derived their divine right to rule specifically from this goddess.

LELWANI – The goddess who ruled over the subterranean land of the dead and was thus answerable to Kumarbi, the deity who ruled over all of the undergound realms. Charnel houses and mausoleums were sacred to her. Like the death goddess Milu in Hawaiian mythology Lelwani was originally considered a god but over time became referred to as a goddess. The Hurrian name for Lelwani was Allani. A fragment of one tablet recounts a myth about Lelwani hosting a lavish banquet in the Netherworld for the visiting storm god Tarhun. Not enough of the story survives to see if it paralleled the myth of the Canaanite storm god Baal’s journey to and subsequent captivity after eating a meal in the Netherworld.

ALALU – The oldest- mentioned king of the gods in Hittite myths. He was the father of the god Kumarbi. After nine years of ruling the deities Alalu was overthrown by the god Anu, derived from the Sumerian deity of the same name. Anu was a sky god who also influenced the name and mythology surrounding the god Uranus (ur- anu – s), father of the Titans in Greek myths. After his defeat Alalu retreated to the land beneaath the Earth. Anu was castrated and overthrown by Kumarbi, the son of Alalu.

HANNAHANNAH – The wise mother goddess of Hittite mythology, related to Anat from Canaanite myths. She frequently comforts and/or advises the other gods on what course of action they should pursue. Hannahannah is especially significant in the multiple Hittite myths involving searches for various deities when they go missing for a time. She also negotiated a bride price between the fathers when the son of the storm god married the daughter of the sea god.

TAWARA – The group name for the Hittite goddesses who are the patron deities of midwives. These goddesses helped create the initial king of the heavens Alalu. Called the Hutellura by the Hurrians the Tawara are similar to the Twelve Heavenly Midwives from Vietnamese myths and other such figures from pantheons around the world. In some versions the Tawara hid Ullikummi on the shoulder of Ubelluri for safekeeping after delivering him.

ARINNITI – The Hittite goddess of the hearth fires and temple flames, often called “the sun of the nation”. Arinna was the city that was the center of her worship and was located near the Hittite capital of Hattusa. Arinniti was the wife of the storm god Tarhun (Teshub to the Hurrians). In the distant matriarchal past Arinniti may well have been the supreme deity herself with Tarhun as her prince consort. Arinniti’s association with fires led to her later identification with the fires inside the Earth and she gained chthonic aspects as well.

HATTU – The god of the precious metal silver. Hattu was the son of Kumarbi, the king of the underworld gods. Like Kumarbi’s other sons Hattu attempted to avenge his father’s defeat at the hands of the storm god Tarhun, who dragged Kumarbi from the throne of the heavenly gods, causing his exile in the Netherworld.

PERUWA – The horse goddess who famously coupled with the god Kumarbi. Her name is a frequent source of disagreement and is tied to ancient words meaning “cliff” as well as “horse”. The resolution to the puzzle has not survived in the fragmentary remains of Hittite myths. Attempts at reconciling the odd differences have produced theories ranging from a cliffside temple dedicated to the horse-goddess to a mountain formation that may have resembled a horse.

ISTANU – The Hittite sun god who rode the sun across the heavens. Technically Istanu was considered the god who ruled “the sun of the sky” with the death goddess Lelwani being considered “the sun of the Earth”, since her domain included the fires burning inside the Earth. This deity had a huge flock of sheep and rams. Istanu was also the patron deity of judges and wore a winged sun on his head-dress. He also wielded a crooked staff. (No, not like Obama’s crooked staff, this refers to a long rod)

A surviving myth about Istanu involves him granting an old but childless couple a pair of sons, one of whom turns out to be “good” and one of whom  turns out to be “evil”. There is also a surviving myth in which Istanu gets the hots for a particular cow and even has a child with it. The sun god was an ally of the storm god Tarhun and warned him about the stone giant Ullikummi.

KAMRUSEPA – The goddess of medicine and magic. She was the mother of the sea god Aruna. Kamrusepa used an elaborate ritual to cleanse the vegetation god Telipinu of all his anger and other negative emotions. She then encased those negative emotions in vats hidden in the Netherworld.

SHAUSHKA – The Hittite equivalent of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. Shaushka was a goddess of beauty, love and fertility but could be quick to anger and was dangerous when thus enraged. She had wings and traditionally rode a large lion. Shaushka successfully seduced Hedammu to defeat him through treachery but the stone giant Ullikummi proved immune to her charms.

KURUNTA – Also called Runda. Kurunta was the god of hunting and of good luck. In some versions he has deer antlers on his head. Kurunta rode a giant, double-headed eagle which was often depicted with rabbits or deer or some other prey in each claw. Kurunta was known for temporarily dethroning the supreme deity Tarhun but was eventually defeated and Tarhun the storm god was returned to the throne. Unusual for such myths Kurunta was forgiven and was permitted to vow renewed allegience to Tarhun’s rule.

ZABABA – The Hittite god of war, called Astabis by the Hurrians. He carried an eagle-headed staff and had many of the same attributes as the Akkadian god Ninurta. Zababa was a staunch ally of the storm god Tarhun and aided him in his battle with the basalt giant Ullikummi.

TELIPINU – The god of vegetation and agriculture who was a son of the storm god. Like many other deities in the Hittite pantheon he goes missing for an extended period, prompting a search by the other gods. Since so many deities temporarily vanish in Hittite myths it is difficult to tell if Telipinu’s myth is related to the familar pattern of “dead and resurrected” seasonal gods and goddesses from European and Middle Eastern belief systems.

INARA – The goddess of the wild animals of the steppes. Inara helped her father the storm god Tarhun defeat the giant serpent Illuyankas by inviting Illuyankas to a feast and getting the creature (and its family in some versions) drunk. Tarhun was finally able to slay the creature while it was intoxicated, having lost battles to Illuyankas when it was sober. This slightly parallels the Shinto myth of the storm god Susanowo getting the eight-tailed dragon drunk on saki in order to slay it.

The feast at which Inara fooled Illuyankas was her wedding feast when she married the mortal Hupasiyas, with whom she later had a falling out. His ultimate fate has not survived in the fragments.

ULLIKUMMI – The stone giant made of basalt. Ullikummi was the son of the fallen god Kumarbi and a female rock that Kumarbi mated with. (You know mythology!) The infant Ullikummi was delivered by the midwife goddesses called the Tawara (Hutellura to the Hurrians) while the goddesses of destiny called the Gulses sat in attendance, weaving the young godling’s fate. As always the Gulses were sworn to never reveal the details of any god or mortal’s destiny so they kept their own counsel. After he was born Ullikummi was ritually handed to his father Kumarbi to be held on his knee while a name was given to him.

Kumarbi intended for Ullikummi to dethrone the storm god Tarhun the way that god had dethroned him, so the rapidly- growing child had to be hidden from the sight of Tarhun and all the gods faithful to him. Ullikummi was placed on the free shoulder of Ubelluri, the dreaming god whose right shoulder supported the Netherworld, the Earth and the sky. Thus hidden Ullikummi continued to grow at the rate of a cubit per day.

Eventually, after growing up from Ubelluri’s shoulder and through the Netherworld Ullikummi grew so large that he finally burst up through the ground under the sea and then even outgrew the sea. Soon he grew so tall that the sun god Istanu caught sight of him and flew to the heavenly home of Tarhun to give warning. At length Ullikummi grew large enough to threaten the heavens themselves and so Tarhun aided by the war god Zababa and others attacked the basalt stone giant. After an epic battle Ullikummi forced Tarhun and his allies to retreat.

Tarhun’s wife Shaushka perfumed, primped and preened herself and went forth hoping to seduce Ullikummi and subdue him through treachery since force had failed. Unfortunately Ullikummi was as personally hard as the stone he was the god of and proved immune to the goddess’ impressive charms.

The heavenly deities sought out the advice the A’as, the god of wisdom, who told Tarhun and Zababa that Ullikummi was invincible as long as he maintained contact with the nurturing shoulder of Ubelluri. To prevent the stone giant from growing any larger and to provide a chance of defeating him Tarhun and Zababa needed to find the giant copper knife used in the distant past to separate the Earth and the sky. Locating the copper knife the storm god and the god of war cut off Ullikummi’s legs at the ankles, severing his connection with Ubelluri’s shoulder and stopping his growth. Tarhun and his allies then succeeded in destroying Ullikummi in a battle that is not recorded among the surviving tablets.

KUMARBI – The god who rules over the deities of the Netherworld. As part of that role he is the god of mining and of all the precious metals and minerals found underground. (Similar to Kubera from Hindu myths) Kumarbi’s father Alalu was the first king of the heavenly gods but was dethroned after a nine year reign by the sky god Anu. Alalu fled to the Netherworld but his son Kumarbi overthrew Anu after Anu had ruled for nine years. To try to prevent a son of Anu from overthrowing him in turn Kumarbi bit off and swallowed the testicles of Anu who, thus castrated, nevermore had sexual relations with his wife the Earth goddess Daganzipa and retreated into inactivity for the rest of the Hittite myths.

Meanwhile, while Kumarbi ruled the heavens for nine years the godly children of Anu formed within his belly because of the testicles and semen he had swallowed. (All of this is, of course, reasonably similar to the Greek myths of Kronos the Titan castrating his father – the sky god Uranus – then swallowing his own children by the Titaness Rhea to try to prevent one of his own sons from overthrowing him as he had overthrown Uranus) Among those children were Tarhun the storm god, Aranzah the god of the Tigris River, Tasmisu the god who was the vizier for Tarhun plus many others.

At the end of that nine years A’as advised the ailing Kumarbi that his stomach was aching from the deities forming inside him. He advised Kumarbi to spit them out, which freed Tarhun and his siblings. Tarhun overthrew Kumarbi, who then settled for ruling the chthonic (underworld) gods and goddesses while plotting for a son of his to one day overthrow Tarhun. An entire cycle of Hittite myths involve this war between the Netherworld deities and the heavenly deities. That cycle influenced and is reflected to this day in various Middle Eastern religions like Christianity and Islam which picture heavenly forces forever battling against infernal forces from within the Earth.

Kumarbi’s sons Illukummi, Hattu (silver), Lamma and Hedammu each tried to replace Tarhun the storm god as king of the heavenly deities but were either defeated while rebelling or were dethroned after briefly overthrowing the rule of Tarhun.

TARHUN – The Hittite storm god and the king of the heavenly deities. The Hurrians knew him as Teshub. Tarhun led his siblings in a revolt against the rule of Kumarbi and overthrew him as king of the heavens. Over and over again Tarhun had to withstand attempts by Kumarbi’s offspring to take back the heavenly throne and this battle between Tarhun and his heavenly hosts against Kumarbi and the legions of the Netherworld takes up a large amount of Hittite mythology.

Tarhun often wielded a three- pronged thunderbolt in one hand and a battle-axe in the other. He also wore a sword in a scabbard. Tarhun’s chariot was pulled by his bulls (Named Seri and Hurri) and his wives included Shaushka, Arinniti and Hatepuna. Various versions of the storm god’s battle with the serpent deity Illuyanka conflict with each other regarding the means by which Tarhun ultimately proved triumphant after an initial loss to the creature. Both versions are tied in with the Purulli festival.

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Ninhursag – Enki (Mercury) and Hathor – Ra (Mars)

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 30, 2016

The Mother

Mercury and Venus are visible only in twilight hours because their orbits are interior to that of Earth. Venus is the third-brightest object in the sky and the most prominent planet. Mercury is more difficult to see due to its proximity to the Sun. Lengthy twilight and an extremely low angle at maximum elongations make optical filters necessary to see Mercury from extreme polar locations.

Mars is at its brightest when it is in opposition, which occurs approximately every twenty-five months. Jupiter and Saturn are the largest of the five planets, but are farther from the Sun, and therefore receive less sunlight. Nonetheless, Jupiter is often the next brightest object in the sky after Venus.

Ninshubur 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 to have been based in part on Ninshubur.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

Ninhursag was a mother goddess of the mountains. 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.

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 includingshassuru 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.

The omega symbol is associated with the Egyptian cow goddess Hathor (meaning “mansion of Horus”), and may represent a stylized womb. Hathor is at times depicted on a mountain, so it may be that the two goddesses are connected.

The cult of Hathor predates the historic period, and the roots of devotion to her are therefore difficult to trace, though it may be a development of predynastic cults which venerated fertility, and nature in general, represented by cows.

Hathor, who personified the principles of joy, feminine love, and motherhood, was worshiped by royalty and common people alike in whose tombs she is depicted as “Mistress of the West” welcoming the dead into the next life. In other roles she was a goddess of music, dance, foreign lands and fertility who helped women in childbirth, as well as the patron goddess of miners.

The cult of Osiris promised eternal life to those deemed morally worthy. Originally the justified dead, male or female, became an Osiris but by early Roman times females became identified with Hathor and men with Osiris.

Hathor is commonly depicted as a cow goddess with horns in which is set a sun disk with Uraeus. Twin feathers are also sometimes shown in later periods as well as a menat necklace. Hathor may be the cow goddess who is depicted from an early date on the Narmer Palette and on a stone urn dating from the 1st dynasty that suggests a role as sky-goddess and a relationship to Horus who, as a sun god, is “housed” in her.

In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was merged with the god Horus, as Ra-Horakhty (“Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons”). He was believed to rule in all parts of the created world: the sky, the earth, and the underworld. He was associated with the falcon or hawk. When in the New Kingdom the god Amun rose to prominence he was fused with Ra as Amun-Ra.

During the Amarna Period, Akhenaten suppressed the cult of Ra in favor of another solar deity, the Aten, the deified solar disc, but after the death of Akhenaten the cult of Ra was restored.

The cult of the Mnevis bull, an embodiment of Ra, had its center in Heliopolis and there was a formal burial ground for the sacrificed bulls north of the city.

All forms of life were believed to have been created by Ra, who called each of them into existence by speaking their secret names. Alternatively man was created from Ra’s tears and sweat, hence the Egyptians call themselves the “Cattle of Ra.”

In the myth of the Celestial Cow it is recounted how mankind plotted against Ra and how he sent his eye as the goddess Sekhmet to punish them. When she became bloodthirsty she was pacified by drinking beer mixed with red dye.

In a complicated relationship Hathor is at times the mother, daughter and wife of Ra, identified primarily with the noon sun, and, like Isis, is at times described as the mother of Horus, and associated with Bast. The Ancient Greeks sometimes identified Hathor with the goddess Aphrodite, while in Roman mythology she corresponds to Venus.

The most commonly encountered family relationship describes Horus as the son of Isis and Osiris, and he plays a key role in the Osiris myth as Osiris’s heir and the rival to Set, the murderer of Osiris. In another tradition Hathor is regarded as his mother and sometimes as his wife. Horus served many functions in the Egyptian pantheon, most notably being a god of the sky, war and hunting.

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The mixed reception of Cybele in Greece

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 30, 2016

Cybele (“Kubeleyan Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”) is an Anatolian mother goddess; she has a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük, where the statue of a pregnant, seated goddess 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.

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”.

She is Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably its state deity. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies 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.

Many of her Greek cults included rites to a divine Phrygian castrate shepherd-consort Attis. She is associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions. Uniquely in Greek religion, she had a transgender or eunuch mendicant priesthood.

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.

In Greek mythology, Gaia (“land” or “earth”) also spelled Gaea, was the personification of the Earth and one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia was the great mother of all: the primal Greek Mother Goddess; creator and giver of birth to the Earth and all the Universe; the heavenly gods, the Titans, and the Giants were born to her. The gods reigning over their classical pantheon were born from her union with Uranus (the sky), while the sea-gods were born from her union with Pontus (the sea). Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Terra.

Rhea is the Titaness daughter of the earth goddess Gaia and the sky god Uranus, in Greek mythology and sister and wife to Cronus. In early traditions, she is known as “the mother of gods” and therefore is strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, who have similar functions. The classical Greeks saw her as the mother of the Olympian goddesses and gods, but not as an Olympian goddess in her own right. The Romans identified her with Magna Mater (their form of Cybele), and the Goddess Ops.

Cronus sired six children by Rhea: Hestia, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hera, and Zeus in that order. He swallowed them all except Zeus as soon as they were born, because he had learned from Gaia and Uranus that, as he had overthrown his own father, he was destined to be overcome by his own child.

When Zeus was about to be born, however, Rhea sought Uranus and Gaia to devise a plan to save him, so that Cronus would get his retribution for his acts against Uranus and his own children. Rhea gave birth to Zeus in Crete, handing Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he promptly swallowed. Then she hid Zeus in a cave on Mount Ida in Crete.

Zeus forced Cronus to disgorge the other children in the reverse order in which they had been swallowed, the oldest becoming the last, and youngest: first the stone, which was set down at Pytho under the glens of Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men, then the rest. In some versions, Metis gave Cronus an emetic to force him to disgorge the babies, or Zeus cut Cronus’ stomach open.

Then Zeus released the brothers of Cronus, the Gigantes, the Hecatonkheires, and the Cyclopes, who gave him thunder and lightning, which had previously been hidden by Gaia. Zeus and his siblings, together with the Gigantes, Hecatonkheires, and Cyclopes, overthrew Cronus and the other Titans.

Similarly, in later myths, Zeus would swallow Metis when she was pregnant with Athena, because of a prophecy that said she would later give birth to one who would be more glorious than the father. Athena was born unharmed, bursting out of his head in full armor.

In Hesiod’s Theogony, Demeter is the daughter of Cronus and Rhea. At the marriage of Cadmus and Harmonia, Demeter lured Iasion away from the other revelers. They had intercourse in a ploughed furrow in Crete, and she gave birth to a son, Ploutos. Her daughter by Zeus was Persephone, Queen of the Underworld.

Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and agriculture, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her cult titles include Sito, “she of the Grain”, as the giver of food or grain and Thesmophoros (thesmos: divine order, unwritten law; phoros: bringer, bearer), “Law-Bringer,” as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.

Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon.

In the Linear B Mycenean Greek tablets of circa 1400–1200 BC found at Pylos, the “two mistresses and the king” may be related with Demeter, Persephone and Poseidon. Her Roman equivalent is Ceres.

It is possible that Demeter appears in Linear A as da-ma-te. It is unlikely that Demeter appears as da-ma-te in a Linear B (Mycenean Greek) inscription; the word da-ma-te, probably refers to “households”. On the other hand, si-to-po-ti-ni-ja (“Potnia of the Grain”) is regarded as referring to her Bronze Age predecessor or to one of herepithets.

Demeter’s character as mother-goddess is identified in the second element of her name meter derived from Proto-Indo-European *méhtēr(mother). It is possible that Da, a word which became Ge in Attic, is the Doric form of De, “earth”, the old name of the chthonic earth-goddess, and that Demeter is “Mother-Earth”. This root also appears in the Linear B inscription E-ne-si-da-o-ne, “earth-shaker”, as an aspect of the god Poseidon.

The element De- may be connected with Deo, a surname of Demeter probably derived from the Cretan word dea, Ionic zeia – variously identified with emmer, spelt, rye, or other grains by modern scholars – so that she is the Mother and the giver of food generally.

The Arcadian cult to Demeter links her to a male deity (Paredros), who accompanied the Great Goddess and has been interpreted as a possible substitution for Poseidon; Demeter may therefore be related to a Minoan Great Goddess (Cybele).

An alternative Proto-Indo-European etymology comes through Potnia and Despoina, where Des- represents a derivative of PIE *dem (house, dome), and Demeter is “mother of the house” (from PIE *dems-méhtēr).

Demeter is assigned the zodiac constellation Virgo the Virgin by Marcus Manilius in his 1st century Roman work Astronomicon. In art, constellation Virgo holds Spica, a sheaf of wheat in her hand and sits beside constellation Leo the Lion.

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The love / war goddess

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 30, 2016

Hausōs

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 *hewsṓs- or *hausōs-, an s-stem), besides numerous epithets.

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

Besides the name most amenable to reconstruction, *hewsṓs, 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 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”). It have also been 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 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).

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.

Ishara

Ishara (išḫara) is an ancient deity of unknown origin from northern modern Syria. She first appeared in Ebla from the mid 3rd millennium, and was incorporated to the Hurrian pantheon from which she found her way to the Hittite pantheon.

Ishara is a pre-Hurrian and perhaps pre-Semitic deities, later incorporated into the Hurrian pantheon. The etymology of Ishara is unknown. Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath.

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions she is is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar. Variants of the name appear as Ašḫara and Ušḫara. In Ebla, there were various logographic spellings involving the sign AMA “mother”. In Alalah, her name was written with the Akkadogram IŠTAR plus a phonetic complement -ra, as IŠTAR-ra.

“Ishara first appears in the pre-Sargonic texts from Ebla and then as a goddess of love in Old Akkadian potency-incantations. Her main epithet was belet rame, lady of love, which was also applied to Ishtar. In the Epic of Gilgamesh it says: “For Ishara the bed is made” and in Atra-hasis she is called upon to bless the couple on the honeymoon.

She was associated with the underworld. Her astrological embodiment is the constellation Scorpio and she is called the mother of the Sebitti (the Seven Stars). The Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, is an open star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus.

While she was considered to belong to the entourage of Ishtar, she was invoked to heal the sick. As a goddess, Ishara could inflict severe bodily penalties to oathbreakers, in particular ascites. In this context, she came to be seen as a “goddess of medicine” whose pity was invoked in case of illness. There was even a verb, isharis- “to be afflicted by the illness of Ishara”.

Usha

Ushas, Sanskrit for “dawn”, is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well. She is often spoken of in the plural, “the Dawns.” Sanskrit uṣas is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is uṣásas. It is from PIE *hausos-, cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora. In the “family books” of the Rig Veda, Ushas is the divine daughter—a divó duhitâ —of Dyaus Pita (“Sky Father”).

She is portrayed as warding off evil spirits of the night, and as a beautifully adorned young woman riding in a golden chariot on her path across the sky. Due to her color she is often identified with the reddish cows, and both are released by Indra from the Vala cave at the beginning of time.

In one recent Hindu interpretation, Sri Aurobindo in his Secret of the Veda, described Ushas as “the medium of the awakening, the activity and the growth of the other gods; she is the first condition of the Vedic realisation. By her increasing illumination the whole nature of man is clarified; through her [mankind] arrives at the Truth, through her he enjoys [Truth’s] beatitude.”

Aurora

Aurora is the Latin word for dawn, and the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology and Latin poetry. Like Greek Eos and Rigvedic Ushas (and possibly Germanic Ostara), Aurora continues the name of an earlier Indo-European dawn goddess, Hausos.

In Roman mythology, Aurora renews herself every morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun. Her parentage was flexible: for Ovid, she could equally be Pallantis, signifying the daughter of Pallas, or the daughter of Hyperion. She has two siblings, a brother (Sol, the sun) and a sister (Luna, the moon). Rarely Roman writers imitated Hesiod and later Greek poets and named Aurora as the mother of the Anemoi (the Winds), who were the offspring of Astraeus, the father of the stars.

Aurora appears most often in sexual poetry with one of her mortal lovers. A myth taken from the Greek by Roman poets tells that one of her lovers was the prince of Troy, Tithonus. Tithonus was a mortal, and would therefore age and die. Wanting to be with her lover for all eternity, Aurora asked Jupiter to grant immortality to Tithonus. Jupiter granted her wish, but she failed to ask for eternal youth to accompany his immortality, and he became forever old. Aurora turned him into a cicada.

Ostara

Ēostre or Ostara (Old English: Ēastre, Northumbrian dialect Ēostre; Old High German: *Ôstara (reconstructed form)) is a Germanic goddess who, by way of the Germanic month bearing her name (Northumbrian: Ēosturmōnaþ; West Saxon: Ēastermōnaþ; Old High German: Ôstarmânoth), is the namesake of the festival of Easter in some languages. Theories connecting Ēostre with records of Germanic Easter customs, including hares and eggs, have been proposed.

Ēostre is attested solely by Bede in his 8th-century work The Reckoning of Time, where Bede states that during Ēosturmōnaþ (the equivalent of April), pagan Anglo-Saxons had held feasts in Eostre’s honor, but that this tradition had died out by his time, replaced by the Christian Paschal month, a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.

By way of linguistic reconstruction, the matter of a goddess called *Austrō in the Proto-Germanic language has been examined in detail since the foundation of Germanic philology in the 19th century by scholar Jacob Grimm and others.

As the Germanic languages descend from Proto-Indo-European (PIE), historical linguists have traced the name to a Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn *Hewsṓs (→ *Ausṓs), from which descends the Common Germanic divinity from whom Ēostre and Ostara are held to descend.

Istanu

Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known as Tiwaz or Tijaz. He was a god of judgement, and was depicted bearing a winged sun on his crown or head-dress, and a crooked staff.

In Anatolian and Mesopotamian traditions the word for ‘sun’ is syncretized with names of the Sun deity. In the case of Hittite it is the Hattian loan istanu- / astanu- ‘sun; Sun-god(dess); majesty’ < Hatt. estan / astan ‘sun; Sun-goddess’.

In other Anatolian languages we observe stems that correspond to Hitt. siwatt- ‘day’: Palaic tiyatt- (or tiyad-) ‘Sun deity’, Luwian tiwad- (C), tiwad(i)- (H) ‘Sun deity’, derived from the IE root *dyew- ‘day-lit sky, sky-god’.

The initial element here, which I have rendered as “My Majesty,” is a heterogram, dUTUŠI, pronounceable in Akkadian as /Shamshī/, but probably spoken by the Great King’s scribes as Hittite /Istanus〃mis/, literally “My Sun- god.”

The Hittite sun god who rode the sun across the heavens. Technically Istanu was considered the god who ruled “the sun of the sky” with the death goddess Lelwani being considered “the sun of the Earth”, since her domain included the fires burning inside the Earth. This deity had a huge flock of sheep and rams. Istanu was also the patron deity of judges and wore a winged sun on his head-dress. He also wielded a crooked staff.

A surviving myth about Istanu involves him granting an old but childless couple a pair of sons, one of whom turns out to be “good” and one of whom  turns out to be “evil”. There is also a surviving myth in which Istanu gets the hots for a particular cow and even has a child with it. The sun god was an ally of the storm god Tarhun and warned him about the stone giant Ullikummi.

In Mesopotamian mythology, the Hittite sun goddess, Estan, evolved into Istanu, a male sun god. In pre-Islamic Arabia, the sun goddess was known as Torch of the Gods, Atthar or Al-llat. She was honored daily by pouring libations at roof top altars. Her name was subsequently masculinized to Allah.

Her other name, Shams, along with her attributes became associated with a male sun god, Shams-On. The Babylonian sun god was Shamash, clearly related. The Hebrew word for sun, as well as the appellation of the biblical character Samson, were also derived from her name.

Istanu

Hel – Tyr

Shiva – Kali

Shiva (Sanskrit: Śiva, meaning “The Auspicious One”) is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. He is the chief deity within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta Tradition, and “the Transformer”. At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless.

Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya, and in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts.

Shiva forms a Tantric couple with Shakti, the embodiment of energy, dynamism, and the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe. Shakti is his transcendent feminine aspect, providing the divine ground of all being. Shakti manifests in several female deities. Sati and Parvati are the main consorts of Shiva. She is also referred to as Uma, Durga (Parvati), Kali and Chandika.

Kali is the manifestation of Shakti in her dreadful aspect. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kāla, the eternal time, Kālī, his consort, also means “Time” or “Death” (as in “time has come”). Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally “redeemer of the universe”).

Kālī is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing or dancing. Shiva is the masculine force, the power of peace, while Shakti translates to power, and is considered as the feminine force. In the Vaishnava tradition, these realities are portrayed as Vishnu and Laxmi, or Radha and Krishna. These are differences in formulation rather than a fundamental difference in the principles.

Both Shiva and Shakti have various forms. Shiva has forms like Yogi Raj (the common image of Himself meditating in the Himalayas), Rudra (a wrathful form) and Nataraj (Shiva’s dance are the Lasya – the gentle form of dance, associated with the creation of the world, and the Tandava – the violent and dangerous dance, associated with the destruction of weary world views – weary perspectives and lifestyles).

Venus – Mars

Venus is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity, victory, 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.

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

Inanna – Tammuz

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. Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna. The House of Heaven (Sumerian: e-anna) temple in Uruk was the greatest of these, where sacred prostitution was a common practice.

Persons of asexual or hermaphroditic bodies and feminine men were particularly involved in the worship and ritual practices of Inanna’s temples. The deity of this fourth-millennium city was probably originally An. After its dedication to Inanna the temple seems to have housed priestesses of the goddess.

The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos or sacred marriage, celebrated during the annual Akitu (New Year) ceremony, at the spring Equinox.

According to Samuel Noah Kramer in The Sacred Marriage Rite, in late Sumerian history (end of the third millennium) kings established their legitimacy by taking the place of Dumuzi in the temple for one night on the tenth day of the New Year festival. A Sacred Marriage to Inanna may have conferred legitimacy on a number of rulers of Uruk.

She was associated with the planet Venus. Her symbol is an eight-pointed star or a rosette. She was associated with lions – even then a symbol of power – and was frequently depicted standing on the backs of two lionesses. Her cuneiform ideogram was a hook-shaped twisted knot of reeds, representing the doorpost of the storehouse (and thus fertility and plenty).

Nanna – Balder

Baldr (“lord, prince, king”) is a god in Norse mythology, who is given a central role in the mythology. Despite this his precise function is rather disputed. He is often interpreted as the god of love, peace, forgiveness, justice, light or purity, but was not directly attested as a god of such.

He is the second son of Odin and the goddess Frigg. His twin brother is the blind god, Höðr. According to Gylfaginning, a book of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, Baldr’s wife is Nanna and their son is Forseti  (Old Norse “the presiding one,” actually “president” in Modern Icelandic and Faroese) is an Æsir god of justice and reconciliation.

In Norse mythology, Nanna Nepsdóttir or simply Nanna is a goddess associated with the god Baldr. Accounts of Nanna vary greatly by source. In the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, Nanna is the wife of Baldr and the couple produced a son, the god Forseti. After Baldr’s death, Nanna dies of grief. Nanna is placed on Baldr’s ship with his corpse and the two are set aflame and pushed out to sea. In Hel, Baldr and Nanna are united again.

In an attempt to bring back Baldr from the dead, the god Hermóðr rides to Hel and, upon receiving the hope of resurrection from the being Hel, Nanna gives Hermóðr gifts to give to the goddess Frigg (a robe of linen), the goddess Fulla (a finger-ring), and others (unspecified).

Ereshkigal – Gugalanna/Nergal

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 (“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. It was said that she had been stolen away by Kur and taken to the underworld, where she was made queen unwillingly.

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.

One of these myths is Inanna’s descent to the netherworld and her reception by her sister who presides over it; Ereshkigal traps her sister in her kingdom and Inanna is only able to leave it by sacrificing her husband Dumuzi in exchange for herself.

Gugalanna

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 deity in ancient Mesopotamian religion originating in Sumer as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

Nergal

In one myth the gods held a banquet that Ereshkigal, as queen of the Netherworld, could not come up to attend. They invited her to send a messenger, and she sent her vizier Namtar in her place. He was treated well by all, but for the exception of being disrespected by Nergal. As a result of this, Nergal was banished to the kingdom controlled by the goddess. Versions vary at this point, but all of them result in him becoming her husband. In later tradition, Nergal is said to have been the victor, taking her as wife and ruling the land himself.

It is theorized that the story is intended to reconcile the existence of two rulers of the netherworld: a goddess and a god. The addition of Nergal represents the harmonizing tendency to unite Ereshkigal as the queen of the netherworld with the god who, as god of war and of pestilence, brings death to the living and thus becomes the one who presides over the dead.

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

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

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

Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.

Nergal’s chief temple at Cuthah bore the name Meslam, from which the god receives the designation of Meslamtaedaor Meslamtaea, “the one that rises up from Meslam”.

In Babylonian astronomy, the stars Castor and Pollux were known as the Great Twins (MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL). The Twins were regarded as minor gods and were called Meshlamtaea and Lugalirra, meaning respectively ‘The One who has arisen from the Underworld’ and the ‘Mighty King’. Both names can be understood as titles of Nergal, the major Babylonian god of plague and pestilence, who was king of the Underworld.

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Garegin Nzhdeh – An Armenian hero

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 27, 2016

Garegin Nzhdeh is a vivid example of serving the motherland for the sake of many generations of Armenian people.

“The motherland must be loved regardless of her political regime and our political convictions!” – Garegin Nzhdeh.

Quotes

Armenian is an Indo-European language. It has two mutually intelligible and written forms: Eastern Armenian, today spoken mainly in Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Iran and the former Soviet republics, and Western Armenian, used in the historical Western Armenia and, after the Armenian Genocide, primarily in the Armenian diaspora communities. The unique Armenian alphabet was invented in 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots.

The Armenian Highlands is the central-most and highest of three land-locked plateaus that together form the northern sector of the Middle East. During Antiquity, it was known as Armenia Major, a central region to the history of Armenians, and one of the four geo-political regions associated with Armenians, the other three being Armenia Minor, Cilicia and Commagene.

To its west is the Anatolian plateau which rises slowly from the lowland coast of the Aegean Sea and converges with the Armenian Highlands to the east of Cappadocia. To its southeast is the Iranian plateau, where the elevation drops rapidly by about 600 metres (2,000 ft) to 1,500 metres (5,000 ft) above sea level. The Caucasus extends to the northeast of the Armenian Highlands. To the southwest of the Armenian Highlands is Upper Mesopotamia.

During the Middle Ages, Turkmens settled in large numbers in the Armenian Highlands. Armenia had come largely under Ottoman rule during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. According to the latter, there were almost three million Armenians living in the empire in 1878 (400,000 in Constantinople and the Balkans, 600,000 in Asia Minor and Cilicia, 670,000 in Lesser Armenia and the area near Kayseri, and 1,300,000 in Western Armenia itself).

In the eastern provinces, the Armenians were subject to the whims of their Turkish and Kurdish neighbors, who would regularly overtax them, subject them to brigandage and kidnapping, force them to convert to Islam, and otherwise exploit them without interference from central or local authorities. They were in essence treated as second-class citizens in the empire and referred to in Turkish as gavours, a pejorative word meaning “infidel” or “unbeliever”.

Writing in the late 1890s after a visit to the Ottoman Empire, the British ethnographer William Ramsay described the conditions of Armenian life as follows:

“We must, however, go back to an older time, if we want to appreciate what uncontrolled Turkish rule meant, alike to Armenians and to Greeks. It did not mean religious persecution; it meant unutterable contempt … They were dogs and pigs; and their nature was to be Christians, to be spat upon, if their shadow darkened a Turk, to be outraged, to be the mats on which he wiped the mud from his feet. Conceive the inevitable result of centuries of slavery, of subjection to insult and scorn, centuries in which nothing that belonged to the Armenian, neither his property, his house, his life, his person, nor his family was sacred or safe from violence – capricious, unprovoked violence – to resist which by violence meant death!”

In addition to other legal limitations, Christians were not considered equals to Muslims and several prohibitions were placed on them. Their testimony against Muslims by Christians and Jews was inadmissible in courts of law wherein a Muslim could be punished; this meant that their testimony could only be considered in commercial cases. They were forbidden to carry weapons or ride atop horses and camels. Their houses could not overlook those of Muslims; and their religious practices were severely circumscribed (e.g., the ringing of church bells was strictly forbidden).

The ethnic cleansing of Armenians during the final years of the Ottoman Empire is widely considered a genocide, an estimated 1.5 million victims, with one wave of persecution in the years 1894 to 1896 culminating in the events of the Armenian Genocide in 1915 and 1916. With World War I in progress, the Ottoman Empire accused the (Christian) Armenians as liable to ally with Imperial Russia, and used it as a pretext to deal with the entire Armenian population as an enemy within their empire. The Christian population of the Western half of the region was exterminated.

Garegin Nzhdeh

Garegin Ter-Harutyunyan, better known by his nome de guerre Garegin Nzhdeh (1 January 1886 – 21 December 1955), was an Armenian statesman and military strategist. The word nzhdeh in Armenian means pilgrim or emigrant.

As a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, he was involved in national liberation struggle and revolutionary activities during the First Balkan War and World War I. He was one of the key political and military leaders of the First Republic of Armenia (1918–1921), and is widely admired as a charismatic national hero by Armenians.

In 1921, he instrumented the establishment of the Republic of Mountainous Armenia, an anti-Bolshevik state that became a key factor that led to the inclusion of the province of Syunik into Soviet Armenia.

During World War II, he assisted the Armenian Legion of the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of the Nazi Germany, he hoped that if Germany succeeded in conquering the USSR, they would be able to grant Armenia independence.

The Armenian military unit, which was supposed to be used against Turkey was sent to the Eastern front, to the Crimean peninsula, in 1943. Nzhdeh requested the detachment’s return, and terminated his connections with Nazi Germany.

On 9 September 1944 Nzhdeh wrote a letter to Stalin offering his support were the Soviet leadership to attack Turkey. A Soviet plan to invade Turkey in order to punish Ankara for collaboration with the Nazis and also for returning the occupied Western Armenia territories was intensely discussed by the Soviet leadership in 1945–1947.

The Soviet military commanders told Nzhdeh that the idea of collaboration was interesting but in order to be able to discuss it in more details, Nzhdeh would have needed to travel to Moscow. He was transferred to Bucharest and later to Moscow, where he was arrested and held in the Lubyanka prison. His wife and son were sent to exile from Sofia to Pavlikeni.

In November 1946, Nzhdeh was sent to Yerevan, Armenia, awaiting trial. In 1947 he proposed an initiative to the Soviet government. It would call for the foundation of a pan-Armenian military and political organization in the Armenian diaspora for the liberation of Western Armenia from Turkish control and its unification to Soviet Armenia.

Despite the reputed great interest shown by the communist leaders to this initiative, the proposal was eventually refused. At the end of his trial, on 24 April 1948, Nzhdeh was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment (to begin in 1944).

Between 1948 and 1952 Nzhdeh was kept in Vladimir prison, then until the summer of 1953 in a secret prison in Yerevan. According to his prison fellow Hovhannes Devedjian, Nzhdeh’s transfer to Yerevan prison was related to an attempt to mediate between the Dashnaks and the Soviet leaders to create a collaborative atmosphere between the two sides.

After long negotiations with the state security service of Soviet Armenia, Nzhdeh and Devejian prepared a letter in Yerevan prison (1953) addressed to the ARF leader Simon Vratsian, calling him for co-operation with the Soviets regarding the issue of the Armenian struggle against Turkey. However, the communist leaders in Moscow refused to send the letter and it only remained a latent document.

After receiving a telegram from the Soviet authorities, announcing his death, Nzhdeh’s brother Levon left Yerevan for Vladimir to take care of his burial service. He received Nzhdeh’s watch and clothing but was not allowed to take his personal writings, which would be published in Yerevan several years later.

The authorities also did not allow the transfer of his body to Armenia. Levon Ter-Harutiunian conducted Nzhdeh’s burial in Vladimir and wrote on his tombstone in Russian “Ter-Harutiunian Garegin Eghishevich (1886–1955)”.

On 31 August 1983, Nzhdeh’s remains were secretly transferred from Vladimir to rest in Soviet Armenia. The process was fulfilled through the efforts of Pavel Ananyan, the husband of Nzhdeh’s granddaughter, with the help of linguistics professor Varag Arakelyan and others, including Gurgen Armaghanyan, Garegin Mkhitaryan, Artsakh Buniatyan, and Zhora Barseghyan.

On 7 October 1983, the right hand of Nzhdeh’s body was placed on the slopes of Mount Khustup near Kozni fountain, as Nzhdeh had once expressed the wish “when you find me killed, bury my body at the top of Khustup to let me clearly view Kapan, Gndevaz, Goghtan and Geghvadzor…”.

According to the participants at the funeral, the rest of Nzhdeh’s body was kept in the cellar of Varag Arakelyan’s house in the village of Kotayk until 9 May 1987, when it was secretly transferred to Vayots Dzor and buried in the churchyard of the 14th-century Spitakavor Surb Astvatsatsin Church near Yeghegnadzor.

Nzhdeh’s gravestone was erected through the efforts of Paruyr Hayrikyan and Movses Gorgisyan on 17 June 1989, a day that later turned into an annual pilgrimage day to the monastery’s graveyard. Decades after his death, on 30 March 1992, Nzhdeh was rehabilitated by the supreme court of the newly independentRepublic of Armenia.

On 26 April 2005 during the celebration of the 84th anniversary of the Republic of Mountainous Armenia, parts of Nzhdeh’s body were taken from Spitakavor church to Khustup. Thus, Nzhdeh was reburied for the third time, finally to rest on the slopes of Mount Khustup near Nzhdeh’s memorial in Kapan.

In March 2010, Nzhdeh was selected as the “National pride and the most outstanding figure” of Armenians throughout the history by the voters of “We are Armenians” TV project launched by “Hay TV” and broadcast as well by thePublic Television of Armenia (H1).

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Technology Through Time: Ancient Astronomical Alignments

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 26, 2016

“The sun casts a shadow.” No one knows when this revelation occurred to ancient humans, but it is clear from carvings on animal bones from 30,000 ago that some awareness of the sun and moon were thought to be important enough to encode for convenient reference by Shamans.

By Dr. Sten Odenwald (Catholic University of America)

The fact that the shadow of an object changes its position on the ground in a regular way is also one of those key astronomical facts that also seems older than the written historical record. The oldest ‘shadow stick’ called a gnomen was built as part of a sundial by ancient Egyptians about 1000 BC. Temple and monument architecture also shows that many civilizations knew how to use the changing solar shadow as a local clock to measure the daily passage of time.

Once you have a sense that the position of the sun’s shadow can be measured in a practical way to mark the passage of time, it is not such a major leap to recognize that from day to day, the length of this shadow, and the sun’s rising and setting each day, also change but more slowly. The passage of the seasons is easily seen in the changing circumstances of the rising and setting location of the sun along the southern horizon, and in its maximum noon-time height in the southern sky. Astronomers call this the Meridian Transit.

Almost universally, civilizations have eventually discovered the importance of the Spring Equinox as the start of the planting season. In very arid locations, such as the Southwest Desert of the United States, the growing season is short due to rainfall patterns, so it was important to know within days when to plant. Spring also had important religious connotations as the ‘rebirth’ of the world from the grip of winter – a time for both joyous festivities and solemn ceremony. Astronomically, this happens when the sun rises on the eastern horizon, half-way between its extreme winter position and its extreme summer position. By carefully noting these three locations on the horizon, you can anticipate when winter has ended and the seasons are moving towards spring. It was common for this equinoctial position to be encoded into important buildings through sightlines in the monument architecture, such as windows that let the light from the sun reach an interior wall only at the appointed day during the year (Hovenweep, Abu Simbel, Newgrange). For other civilizations, marking the time of the summer and winter solstices was equally important (Machu Pichu). Although the equinox position of the sun is identical for spring and fall, the solstice positions are easily distinguished by their extreme southern (winter: Newgrange) and northern (summer: Angkor Wat) locations along the horizon.

Other civilizations also may have paid attention to the location of certain stars such as Sirius, which was used by the Egyptians to predict the all-important flooding of the Nile around July, which began their planting season.

Once a building or temple is aligned with the rising and setting of the sun for either religious or practical reasons, it automatically will have architectural elements, such as hallways, colonnades, etc, that fall along a north-south and east-west axis. An example is the Hypostile Hall of the Temple at Karnak. The role of the North Star as a unique geographic direction did not play nearly as much of a role in ancient alignments as the intentional alignments with the rising and setting sun. Since buildings are often rectangular in shape, once one axis is set along the East-West orientation, the other axis will automatically follow the north-south axis as a ‘freebie’.

Here is a brief tour of some of the most well-known examples of simple solar alignments:

Abu Simbel: It was built by Ramses II between 1279 and 1213 B.C As you walk to the rear of the temple you come to the Holiest of Holies located at the back wall, where you will find four statues of: Ra-Harakhte, Ptah, Amun-Ra and King Ramses II. The sun shines directly on the Holiest of Holies two days a year: February 21, the king’s birthday, and October 22, the date of his coronation.

Great Pyramids at Gizeh: The Great Pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu is accurately aligned with the cardinal points of the earth, and some people have suggested that one of the shafts in the pyramid is aligned with the star Sirius.

Newgrange: The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3200 BC. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn from the 19th to the 23rd of December.

Angkor Wat: Standing near the south-western corner in Angkor Thom the rising sun at summer equinox will visible through or over the eastern gate. 6 months later the alignment has shifted till its northern point of sunrise at winter solstice. The sun itself was so important to the builders of the temple that solar movement regulates the position of the bas-reliefs.

Medicine Wheel: The wheel was built between 1200 and 1700 AD. A line drawn between the central cairn and an outlying cairn at the Bighorn Medicine Wheel pointed to within 1/3 of a degree of the rising point of the sun at the summer solstice. The actual astronomical purpose of the design of these wheels remains controversial.

Chichen Itza: This is a square-based, stepped pyramid approximately 75 feet tall, constructed by the Mayans ca 1000-1200 AD, directly upon the multiple foundations of previous temples. The axes that run through the northwest and southwest corners of the pyramid are oriented toward the rising point of the sun at the summer solstice and its setting point at the winter solstice.

Easter Island: Over 880 statues called moai can be found on this isolated island, located 2,300 miles from the coast of Chile. The seven moai at Ahu Akivi were built around 1460 C.E. and face the point at which the sun sets during the equinox.

Gaocheng Observatory: Established in 1279 AD by the famous astronomer Guo Shoujing, it is the oldest of 27 ancient observatories in China. Linking the entry and exit to the platform are stairs and pathways. Between the two pathways is the 93 foot long stone Chinese sundial, which was paved by 36 slates. It was designed originally for use in predicting the time of the solstice each year.

Gotland Groves: There are about 3600 known grooves on stones scattered throughout the island of Gotland. The most important feature of the grooves appears to be in their grand alignment when looked at over the entire island. A recent study of 1256 grooves showed that they are aligned with certain positions of the celestial bodies, apparently the sun or the moon.

Hovenweep: Tree-ring dating of timbers used in the construction of the ‘Sun Room’ suggest that it was added in 1277 AD about 100 years after the main structure, called the Castle, was completed. Two ports, or windows, in the large tower admit the rays from the sun into the interior room, and it has been proposed that this arrangement was used as a solar calendar. The equinox port points to the sunrise azimuth four days after the vernal equinox.

Jantar Mantar: The great Indian astronomer-king Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur built these five astronomical observatories between AD 1724 and 1730 during the period generally known as the dark age of Indian history. The Jantar Mantar consists of a number of masonry instruments for predicting time, measuring the position of a celestial body and determining the latitude. The two pillars on the southwest of Mishra Yantra were designed to determine the shortest and longest days of the year. In December one pillar completely covers the other with its shadow while in June it does not cast any such shadow at all.

Karnak: Built by the Ancient Egyptians in several episodes of construction and enlargement from 2055 B.C to 395 A.D. The earliest axis included the famous Great Hypostyle Hall built by Ramses II on an east to west alignment. Sir Norman Lockyer (1836-1920) proposed a midsummer sunset alignment of the Main Axis of the Great Temple of Amon-Re Karnak was By some accounts, the temple at Luxor may have no less than four well-defined alignment changes involving stars. Unlike solar alignments which can generally last for thousands of years intact, stellar alignments are much more critical because of the precession of the equinoxes, and last only a few hundred years. Lockyer’s measurements showed several Karnak temples had been altered over the centuries to match the precessional changes in their aligned stars.

Machu Pichu: A number of features distributed throughout the site are aligned with the June solstice azimuth of 65-245 degrees. The Temple of the Three Windows forming the easterly side of the plaza, opens to the plaza and faces the solstice sunset. The solstice alignment, and the importance of solstice ritual to the Inca, suggest that this was a primary ceremonial consideration of this shrine. The Torreon is popularly called the Temple of the Sun. A stone enclosed within the Torreon is reported to receive a ray of sun light through the east facing window during the June solstice.

Casa Rinconada: This is one of five great kivas in Chaco Canyon – 60 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep. Casa Rinconada was probab;y built between 1070 and 1110 AD. The symmetry axis defined by the two T-shaped doors is aligned with the North-South line to within 20 arcminutes. Shortly after sunrise on the summer solstice, as the Sun rises a beam of light shines through a lone window on the N-NE side of the kiva and moves downward and northward until it illuminates, on the interior West wall, one of the five larger, irregularly spaced niches in the kiva.

Basilica San Petronio: Gian Domenico Cassini constructed the meridiana del tiempo to find a better value for the length of the year by counting the days and hours between the sun’s successive returns to the same solstice or equinox. An exact value of the year is needed to calculate the date of Easter. Surprisingly, many catholic churches have now been re-discovered’ to have such features dating from the 17th century. The ‘heliometer’ consists of two separate pieces. One piece lies on the floor; it is a perfectly horizontal rod running due north for some 191 feet from a spot under one of the side chapels to the front door of the church. The other part is a small hole one-inch in diameter set in a horizontal metal plate fixed in the roof of a chapel. The hole is permanently open so as to give free access to the sun’s rays around noon throughout the year.

Sun Dagger: At the top of Fajada Butte, along a narrrow ledge is a sacred Native American site given the name Sun Dagger. On the day of the summer solstice, a slender beam of sunlight passes between two rock monoliths, and bisect the center of a spiral-shaped petroglyph. Two parallel daggers bracket the larger spiral at the spring and fall equinoxes. The Sun Dagger formation is estimated to be a thousand years old, and was constructed by the Anasazi. Chaco Canyon was abandoned during the late 13th Century for unknown reasons, and the sun dagger remained hidden until 1977 when it was rediscovered by archeologists studying the pertoglyphs.

Great Zimbabwe: The construction includes a ‘Great Enclosure’ consisting of a ring of stone walls and platforms about 250 meters in circumference, last used about 800 years ago. Several of the stone monoliths line up with certain bright stars in the constellation Orion as they rise on the morning of the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.

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Dyeus or Dīs Pater – Tyr / Taurus – Aldebaran – Eye of Revelation – the Eastern Royal Star

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 26, 2016

Ensi

 Ensí (spelled pa.te.si in cuneiform script hence occasionally transliterated “patesi”; possibly derived from en si-k, “lord of the plowland”; borrowed into Akkadian as iššakkum) is a Sumerian language title designating the ruler or prince of a city-state.

Originally it may have designated an independent ruler, but in later periods the title presupposed subordinance to a lugal (King/Emperor). In the city state of Ashur, the hereditary ruler bore the Akkadian language version of the title énsi, while the patron deity was regarded as šarrum (“King”).

EN is the Sumerian cuneiform for “lord” or “priest”. Originally, it seems to have been used to designate a high priest or priestess of a Sumerian city-state’s patron-deity – a position that entailed political power as well. It may also have been the original title of the ruler of Uruk.

The 1350 BC Amarna letters uses EN for bêlu, though not exclusively. The more common spelling is mostly ‘be’ + ‘li’, to make “bêlí”, or its equivalent. Some example letters using cuneiform ‘EN’ are letters EA (for ‘El Amarna’) titled: “A demand for recognition”, by Abimilku; “Neither rebel or delinquent (2)”, by Labayu; and “Alone”, by Shuwardata.

Patriarch

Originally, a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is termed patriarchy.

The word is derived from Greek patriarchēs, meaning “chief or father of a family”, a compound of patria, meaning “family”, and archein, meaning “to rule”.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are referred to as the three patriarchs of the people of Israel, and the period during which they lived is termed the Patriarchal Age. The word patriarch originally acquired its religious meaning in the Septuagint version of the Bible.

Today, the word has acquired specific ecclesiastical meanings. In particular, the highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church (above major archbishop and primate), and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs (and in certain cases also popes).

The office and the ecclesiastical circumscription of such a patriarch is termed a patriarchate. Historically, a patriarch has often been the logical choice to act as ethnarch of the community identified with his religious confession within a state or empire of a different creed.

Æsir

 In Old Norse, ǫ́ss (or áss, ás, plural æsir; feminine ásynja, plural ásynjur) is the term denoting a member of the principal pantheon in the indigenous Germanic religion known as Norse religion. This pantheon includes Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Týr.

The second pantheon comprises the Vanir. All sources describe the deities Njörðr, Freyr and Freyja as members of the Vanir. Numerous theories have been proposed for the etymology of Vanir. Scholar R. I. Page says that, while there are no shortages of etymologies for the word, it is tempting to link the word with “Old Norse vinr, ‘friend’, and Latin Venus, ‘goddess of physical love.’”

In Norse mythology, the two pantheons wage the Æsir-Vanir War, which results in a unified pantheon.  The war is an important event in Norse mythology, and the implications for the potential historicity surrounding accounts of the war are a matter of scholarly debate and discourse.

The cognate term in Old English is ōs (plural ēse) denoting a deity in Anglo-Saxon paganism. Unlike the Old English word god (and Old Norse goð), the term ōs (áss) was never adopted into Christian use.

The Old High German is ans, plural ensî. The Gothic language had ans- (based only on Jordanes who glossed anses with uncertain meaning, possibly demi-god and presumably a Latinized form of actual plural *anseis). The reconstructed Proto-Germanic form is *ansuz (plural *ansiwiz).

The a-rune was named after the æsir. Ansuz is the conventional name given to the a-rune of the Elder Futhark. The name is based on Common Germanic *ansuz a god, one of the main deities in Germanic paganism.

The shape of the rune is likely from Neo-Etruscan a, like Latin A ultimately from Phoenician aleph, the first letter of the Semitic abjads. The name aleph is derived from the West Semitic word for “ox”, and the shape of the letter derives from a Proto-Sinaitic glyph that may have been based on an Egyptian hieroglyph which depicts an ox’s head.

The Phoenician letter is derived from an Egyptian hieroglyph depicting an ox’s head and gave rise to the Greek Alpha (Α), being re-interpreted to express not the glottal consonant but the accompanying vowel, and hence the Latin A and Cyrillic А.

In Modern Standard Arabic, the word /ʔaliːf/ literally means ‘tamed’ or ‘familiar’, derived from the root |ʔ-l-f|, from which the verb /ʔalifa/ means ‘to be acquainted with; to be on intimate terms with’.

In modern Hebrew, the same root |ʔ-l-f| (alef-lamed-peh) gives me’ulaf, the passive participle of the verb le’alef, meaning ‘trained’ (when referring to pets) or ‘tamed’ (when referring to wild animals); the IDF rank of Aluf, taken from an Edomite title of nobility, is also cognate.

The Aramaic reflex of the letter is conventionally represented with the Hebrew א in typography for convenience, but the actual graphic form varied significantly over the long history and wide geographic extent of the language.

Maraqten identifies three different aleph traditions in East Arabian coins, a lapidary Aramaic form that realizes it as a combination of a V-shape and a straight stroke attached to the apex, much like a Latin K; a cursive Aramaic form he calls the “elaborated X-form,” essentially the same tradition as the Hebrew reflex; and an extremely cursive form with of two crossed oblique lines, much like a simple Latin X.

In the Norwegian rune poem, óss is given a meaning of “estuary” while in the Anglo-Saxon one, ōs, takes the Latin meaning of “mouth”. Since the name of a is attested in the Gothic alphabet as ahsa or aza, the common Germanic name of the rune may thus either have been *ansuz “god”, or*ahsam “ear (of wheat)”.

The Anglo-Saxon futhorc split the Elder Futhark a rune into three independent runes due to the development of the vowel system in Anglo-Frisian. These three runes are ōs (transliterated o), æsc “ash” (transliterated æ) and ac “oak” (transliterated a).

The Younger Futhark rune is transliterated as ą to distinguish it from the new ár rune, which continues the jēran rune after loss of prevocalic *j- in Proto-Norse *jár (Old Saxon jār).

Jera (also Jeran, Jeraz) is the conventional name of the j-rune of the Elder Futhark, from a reconstructed Common Germanic stem *jēra- meaning “harvest, (good) year”. The corresponding letter of the Gothic alphabet is Gothic named jēr, also expressing /j/. The Elder Futhark rune gives rise to the Anglo-Frisian runes /j/, named gēr /jeːr/, and /io/, namedior, and to the Younger Futhark ár rune, which stood for /a/ as the /j/ phoneme had disappeared in Old Norse.

The reconstructed Common Germanic name *jēran is the origin of English year (Old English ġēar). In contrast to the modern word, it had a meaning of “season” and specifically “harvest”, and hence “plenty, prosperity”.

The Germanic word is cognate with Greek horos (“year”) and hora (“season”), whence hour, Slavonic jarŭ (“spring”) and with the -or- in Latin hornus “of this year” (from *ho-jōrinus), as well as Avestan yāre “year”, all from a PIE stem*yer-o-.

The derivation of the rune is uncertain; some scholars see it as a modification of Latin G (“C with stroke”) while others consider it a Germanic innovation. The letter in any case appears from the very earliest runic inscriptions, figuring on the Vimose comb inscription, harja.

As the only rune of the Elder Futhark which was not connected, its evolution was the most thorough transformation of all runes, and it was to have numerous graphical variants. In the later period of the Elder Futhark, during the 5th to 6th centuries, connected variants appear, and these are the ones that give rise to the derivations in Anglo-Saxon (as ger and ior) and Scadinavian (as ár) traditions.

The corresponding Gothic letter is j, named jer, which is also based on the shape of the Elder Futhark rune. This is an exception, shared with urus, due to the fact that neither the Latin nor the Greek alphabets at the time of the introduction of the Gothic one had graphemes corresponding to the distinction of j and w from i and u.

The rune in the Anglo-Saxon futhorc is continued as Gēr and Ior, the latter a bind rune of Gyfu and Is (compare also Ear). Gēr is consistently written epigraphically and on artifacts, while the form for [j] appears only rarely in later manuscripts (as does a separate symbol for Ior).

During the 7th and 8th centuries, the initial j in *jara was lost in Old Norse, which also changed the sound value of the rune from /j/ to an /a/ phoneme. The rune was then written as a vertical staff with a horizontal stroke in the centre, and scholars transliterate this form of the rune as A, with majuscule, to distinguish it from the ansuz rune, a.

During the last phase of the Elder Futhark, the jēra-rune came to be written as a vertical staff with two slanting strokes in the form of an X in its centre. As the form of the rune had changed considerably, an older 7th century form of the rune () was assumed by the s-rune.

When the n-rune had stabilized in its form during the 6th and 7th centuries, its vertical stroke slanted towards the right, which made it possible to simplify the jēra-rune by having only one vertical stroke that slanted towards the left, giving the ár-rune of the Younger Futhark. Since a simpler form of the rune was available for the /a/ phoneme, the older cross form of the rune now came to be used for the /h/ phoneme.

Taurus

The identification of the constellation of Taurus with a bull is very old, certainly dating to the Chalcolithic, and perhaps even to the Upper Paleolithic. 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, one of the best known open clusters, easily visible to the naked eye, lie in the northeastern quadrant of the Taurus constellation. They were closest to the Sun at vernal equinox around the 23rd century BC. The seven most prominent stars in this cluster are at least visual magnitude six, and so the cluster is also named the “Seven Sisters”.

In Babylonian astronomy, the constellation was listed in the MUL.APIN asGU.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.

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.

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.

To the Egyptians, the constellation Taurus was a sacred bull that was associated with the renewal of life in spring. When the spring equinox entered Taurus, the constellation would become covered by the Sun in the western sky as spring began. This “sacrifice” led to the renewal of the land. To the early Hebrews, Taurus was the first constellation in their zodiac and consequently it was represented by the first letter in their alphabet, Aleph.

ʾĒl (or ‘Il, written aleph-lamed, cognate to Akkadian: ilu) is a Northwest Semitic word meaning “god” or “deity”, or referring (as a proper name) to any one of multiple major Ancient Near East deities. A rarer spelling, “‘ila”, represents the predicate form in Old Akkadian and inAmorite. The word is derived from the Proto-Semitic archaic biliteral ʔ‑L, meaning “god”.

In Greek mythology, Taurus was identified with Zeus, who assumed the form of a magnificent white bull to abduct Europa, a legendary Phoenician princess. Taurus became an important object of worship among the Druids. Their Tauric religious festival was held while the Sun passed through the constellation.

Taurus is often associated with royalty and divine power. Throughout the ages Aldebaran has been spiritually recognized for its alignment with divinity. “… there is a symbolic relation between Aldebaran, the “eye” in the head of the Bull; the third eye, or the light in the head, and the diamond. The consciousness of the Buddha has been called the ‘diamond-eye.’”

In Buddhism, legends hold that Gautama Buddha was born when the Full Moon was in Vaisakha, or Taurus. Buddha’s birthday is celebrated with the Wesak Festival, or Vesākha, which occurs on the first or second Full Moon when the Sun is in Taurus.

The Hindus referred to Aldebaran and Taurus as Rohini (the Red Deer), the name of the river in Nepal where the Buddha was born at the time of the May full moon, around 563 BCE. In Hindu astrology, Aldebaran corresponds to the Rohini Nakshatra (“the red one”), also known as brāhmī, and the Pleiades; personified as the nurses of Kārttikeya, a son of Shiva, is called Krittika.

Aldebaran

The brightest member of Taurus is Aldebaran. Its name derives from al-dabarān, Arabic for “the follower”, probably from the fact that it follows the Pleiades during the nightly motion of the celestial sphere across the sky. Astrologically, Aldebaran is a fortunate star, portending riches and honor.

This star, named “Tascheter” by the Persians, is one of the four “royal stars” of the Persians from around 3000 BC. It is referred to by astronomers and cosmologists as the Eastern Royal Star, one of the four Royal Stars considered the sentinels watching over other stars.

In addition to the star Aldebaran, there are two other very beautiful and famous star clusters in the constellation of Taurus; the Hyades at the head of the bull forming the profile of a Bull’s face is a V or A-shaped asterism of stars, and the Pleiades in the shoulder.

This outline is created by prominent members of the Hyades, the nearest distinct open star cluster after the Ursa Major Moving Group. In this profile, Aldebaran forms the bull’s bloodshot eye, which has been described as “glaring menacingly at the hunter Orion”, a constellation that lies just to the southwest.

As the Eye of the Bull, Aldebaran is called the Eye of Revelation. It is also known as the Buddha’s star, the Star of Illumination, and God’s Eye. Another Hindu name for Aldebaran is Sataves, which translates to the “leader of the western stars.”

This magnificent star has been used for centuries in navigation, and is known by many civilizations to be connected with the spirits of rain and the fertility of the earth. Approximately 5,000 years ago, the rising of Aldebaran marked the vernal equinox and marked the beginning of the Babylonian New Year.

Tyr

Týr is a Germanic god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Tiw is the Old English form of the Proto-Germanic god *Tîwaz, or Týr in Norse. *Tîwaz derives from the Proto-Indo-European base *dei-, *deyā-, *dīdyā-, meaning ‘to shine’, whence comes also such words as “deity”. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is Tius or Tio.

He will take mead, meat and blood for sacrifice. If a warrior carved the rune Tîwaz on his weapon he would be dedicating it to Týr and strengthen the outcome of a battle to be in his favor. After a warrior has dedicated his weapon to Týr he should not lose it or break it.

In the Old English Rune Poem, the rune that is otherwise named for Tiw in the other rune poems (Abecedarium Nordmanicum, Old Norwegian Rune Rhyme, Old Icelandic Rune Poem), is called tir, meaning “glory”. This rune was inscribed on more Anglo-Saxon cremation urns than any other symbol.

Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is in fact “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis. The name Tuesday derives from the Old English “Tiwesdæg” and literally means “Tiw’s Day”. The Latin name dies Martis (“day of Mars”) is equivalent to the Greek. In most languages with Latin origins, the day is named after Mars, the Ancient Greek Ares.

In the late Icelandic Eddas, Týr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while the origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion. It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

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

Istanu/Tiwas

Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known asTiwaz or Tijaz. He was a god of judgement, and was depicted bearing a winged sun on his crown or head-dress, and a crooked staff.

Tuisto

According to Tacitus’s Germania (98 CE), “In their ancient songs, their only form of recorded history, the Germans celebrate the earth-born god, Tuisto. They assign to him a son, Mannus, the author of their race, and to Mannus three sons,..”.

The Germania manuscript corpus contains two primary variant readings of the name. The most frequently occurring, Tuisto, is commonly connected to the Proto-Germanic root tvai (“two”) and its derivative tvis (“twice”; “doubled”).

The second variant of the name, occurring originally in manuscript E, is Tuisco (sometimes rendered Tuiscon). One proposed etymology for this variant reconstructs a Proto-Germanic tiwisko, and connects this with Proto-Germanic Tiwaz, yielded the meaning “son of Tiu”. This interpretation implies that Tuisco is the son of the sky god (Proto-Indo-European Dyeus) and the earth-goddess.

Tvastar

In the larger Indo-European pantheon, Tuisto is equated to the Vedic Tvastar, the first-born creator of the universe according to the historical Vedic religion. The term Tvaṣṭṛ is mentioned in the Mitanni treaty, which establishes him as a proto-Indo-Iranian divinity.

The Purusha Sukta refers to the Purusha as Tvastr, who is the visible form of creativity emerged from the navel of the invisible Vishvakarman (Sanskrit for “all-accomplishing, maker of all, all-doer”), the personification of creation and the abstract form of the creator God according to the Rigveda.

Vishvakarman is the presiding deity of all Vishwakarma (caste), engineers, artisans and architects. He is believed to be the “Principal Architect of the Universe “, and the root concept of the later Upanishadic figures of Brahman and Purusha.

In the Yajurveda, Purusha Sukta and the tenth mandala of the Rigveda, the character and attributes of Tvastar are merged with the concept of Hiranyagharbha/Prajapathy or Brahma. The term, also transliterated as Tvaṣṭr, nominative Tvaṣṭā, is the heavenly builder, the maker of divine implements, especially Indra’s Vajra and the guardian of Soma.

He is sometimes associated or identified with similar deities, such as Savitṛ, Prajāpatī, Vishvakarman and Puṣan. He is a solar deity in the Mahābhārata and the Harivaṃśa. He is the former of the bodies of men and animals,’ and invoked when desiring offspring, called garbha-pati or the lord of the womb.

He is the father of Saranyu, who twice bears twins to Surya, Yama and Yami. He is also the father of Viśvarūpa or Triśiras who was killed by Indra, and in revenge Tvaṣṭṛ created Vrtra a fearsome dragon. Surprisingly he is also referred to as Indra’s father.

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

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

Tvastar is also said to have made the three worlds with pieces of the Sun god, Surya, also known as  Aditya, Bhanu or Ravi Vivasvana in Sanskrit, and in Avestan Vivanhant, the chief solar deity in Hinduism.

Surya is the chief of the Navagraha, the nine Classical planets and important elements of Hindu astrology. He is often depicted riding a chariot harnessed by seven horses which might represent the seven colors of the rainbow or the seven chakras in the body. He is also the presiding deity of Sunday. Surya is regarded as the Supreme Deity by Saura sect and Smartas worship him as one of the five primary forms of God.

Bhrigus

As per the Ṛgveda, Tvaṣṭr belongs to clan of the Bhṛgus, one of the seven great sages, the Saptarshis, one of the many Prajapatis (the facilitators of Creation) created by Brahma (The God of Creation), the first compiler of predictive astrology, and also the author of Bhrigu Samhita, the astrological (Jyotish) classic.

Bhrigu is considered as a Manasa Putra (mind-born-son) of Brahma. The adjectival form of the name, Bhargava, is used to refer to the descendants and the school of Bhrigu.

According to Manusmriti, Bhrigu was a compatriot of and lived during the time of Manu, the Hindu progenitor of humanity. Along with Manu, Bhrigu had made important contributions to ‘Manusmriti’, which was constituted out of a sermon to a congregation of saints in the state of Brahmavarta, after the great floods in this area. As per Skanda Purana Bhrigu migrated, leaving his son, the sage Chyavana, through Puloma.

He was married to Khyati, the daughter of Daksha. He had two sons by her, named Dhata and Vidhata. His daughterBhargavi, married Vishnu (Narayana). He has one more son through Kavyamata (Usana), who is better known than Bhrigu himself – Shukra, learned sage and guru of the asuras. One of his descendants was sage Jamadagni, who in turn was the father of sage Parshurama, considered an avatar of Vishnu.

Shukra

Similarly, as mentioned in the epic Mahābhārata, Tvaṣṭr is Śukra’s son. In Indian mythology, Shukra (Śukra), the Sanskrit for “brightness, clearness”, is the name of the son of Bhrigu, and preceptor of the Daityas, and the guru of the Asuras, identified with the planet Venus, one of the Navagrahas. He presides over Friday.

He is of white complexion, middle-aged and of agreeable countenance. he is described variously as mounted on a camel, horse or crocodile. he holds a stick, beads and a lotus and sometimes a bow and arrow.

Ushanas is the name of a Vedic rishi with the patronymic Kāvya (descendant of Kavi, who was later identified as Ushanas Shukra. He is venerated as a seer in the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna tells Arjun that among Kavis he is Ushanas.

Ymir

Jacob (2005) attempts to establish a genealogical relationship between Tuisto and Ymir based on etymology and a comparison with (post-)Vedic Indian mythology.

As Tvastr, through his daughter Saranyū and her husband Vivaswān, is said to have been the grandfather of the twins Yama and Yami, so Jacob argues that the Germanic Tuisto (assuming a connection with Tvastr) must originally have been the grandfather of Ymir (cognate to Yama).

Incidentally, Indian mythology also places Manu (cognate to Germanic Mannus), the Vedic progenitor of mankind, as a son of Vivaswān, thus making him the brother of Yama/Ymir.

Connections have been proposed between the 1st century figure of Tuisto and the hermaphroditic primeval being Ymir in later Norse mythology, attested in 13th century sources, based upon etymological and functional similarity. Meyer (1907) sees the connection as so strong, that he considers the two to be identical.

Lindow (2001), while mindful of the possible semantic connection between Tuisto and Ymir, notes an essential functional difference: while Ymir is portrayed as an “essentially … negative figure” – Tuisto is described as being “celebrated” (celebrant) by the early Germanic peoples in song, with Tacitus reporting nothing negative about Tuisto.

Twins

The Ashvins or Ashwini Kumaras, in Hindu mythology, are two Vedic gods, divine twin horsemen in the Rigveda, sons of Saranyu, a goddess of the clouds and wife of Surya in his form as Vivasvant. They symbolise the shining of sunrise and sunset, appearing in the sky before the dawn in a golden chariot, bringing treasures to men and averting misfortune and sickness. They are the doctors of gods and are devas of Ayurvedic medicine. They are represented as humans with head of a horse.

The Nasatya twins are invoked in a treaty between Suppiluliuma and Shattiwaza, kings of the Hittites and the Mitanni respectively. They are also called Nasatya (dual nāsatyau “kind, helpful”) in the Rigveda; later, Nasatya is the name of one twin, while the other is called Dasra (“enlightened giving”). By popular etymology, the name nāsatya is often incorrectly analysed as na+asatya “not untrue”=”true”.

The Ashvins can be compared with the Dioscuri (the twins Castor and Pollux, two mortals that were granted shared godhood after death) of Greek and Roman mythology, and especially to the divine twins Ašvieniai of the ancient Baltic religion.

Gemini is the third astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Gemini. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this sign between May 21 and June 21. Gemini is represented by the twins Castor and Pollux. The symbol of the twins is based on the Dioscuri.

Twins can also be shown as having special powers and deep bonds. In Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux share a bond so strong that when Castor dies, Pollux gives up half of his immortality to be with his brother. This etiologically explains why their constellation, the Dioskouroi or Gemini, is only seen half the year, as the twins split their time between the underworld and Mount Olympus.

Nergal

In Babylonian astronomy, the stars Castor and Pollux were known as the Great Twins (MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL). The Twins were regarded as minor gods and were called Meshlamtaea and Lugalirra, meaning respectively ‘The One who has arisen from the Underworld’ and the ‘Mighty King’. Both names can be understood as titles of Nergal, the major Babylonian god of plague and pestilence, who was king of the Underworld.

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

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

Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.

Nergal’s fiery aspect appears in names or epithets such as Lugalgira, Lugal-banda (Nergal as the fighting-cock), Sharrapu (“the burner,” a reference to his manner of dealing with outdated teachings), Erra, Gibil (though this name more properly belongs to Nusku), and Sibitti or Seven (the Seven Stars). In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, is an open star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus.

Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld. In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person.

In some 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 deity in ancient Mesopotamian religion originating in Sumer as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac. It was said that she had been stolen away by Kur and taken to the underworld, where she was made queen unwillingly.

Shiva/Mangala

Shiva (Sanskrit: Śiva, meaning “The Auspicious One”) is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. He is the chief deity within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta Tradition, and “the Transformer”.

Shiva as we know him today shares many features with the Vedic god Rudra, and both Shiva and Rudra are viewed as the same personality in Hindu scriptures. The two names are used synonymously. Rudra, the god of the roaring storm, is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity.

According to Wendy Doniger, the Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra. Both are associated with mountains, rivers, male fertility, fierceness, fearlessness, warfare, transgression of established mores, the Aum sound, the Supreme Self. In the Rig Veda the term śiva is used to refer to Indra. Indra, like Shiva, is likened to a bull.

In Jyotish (or Hindu) astrology, Mangala is the name for Mars, the red planet. He is the god of war and is celibate. He is considered the son of Bhumi, the Earth Goddess. He is the owner of the Aries and Scorpio signs, and a teacher of the occult sciences (Ruchaka Mahapurusha Yoga).

He is painted red or flame colour, four-armed, carrying a trident (Sanskrit: trishūla), mace (Sanskrit: gadā), lotus (Sanskrit: Padma) and a spear (Sanskrit: shūla). Mars (Mangala) is also called as Angāraka (“one who is red in colour“), Raktavarna (“whose color is like blood”), Bhauma (“son of Bhumi”), Lohitānga (”red bodied”), Kuja (“he who is born from Earth”), and Bha (“shining”). His mount (Sanskrit: vahana) is a ram. He presides over Tuesday.

Once when Lord Shiva was engrossed in deep meditation (Sansrit: samādhi) upon his abode, Mount Kailash, three drops of perspiration originated from his forehead and fell down on the earth. From those drops manifested a very beautiful infant, who was of reddish complexion and who had four arms.

The child was handed over to the earth goddess, Bhumi for upbringing by Lord Shiva. The child was named Bhauma as he was nurtured and brought up by Bhumi, Earth. When Bhauma grew up, he went to Kashi and did a tremendous penance to please lord Shiva. Lord Shiva blessed him by granting him ‘Mangala loka’ (the Abode of Mangala), which was superior even to the ‘Shukra loka’ (the Abode of the god of Venus – Shukra). The same Bhauma is established in the solar system by the name of Mangala (planet Mars).

In Vedic astrology Mangala is considered a malefic of the first order. He rules over the signs Mesha (Aries) and Vrishchika (Scorpio), is exalted in Makara (Capricorn) and has his fall in Karka (Cancer). The Sun, Moon and Jupiter are all considered friendly to him, while he is hostile to Mercury. Venus and Saturn are neutral. Mangala represents drive and physical energy, self-confidence and ego, strength, anger, impulsiveness, heroism and adventurous nature. Mangala rules over blood, muscles and bone marrow. He is associated with battle, war and soldiers.

Mangala is the lord of three nakshatras or lunar mansions: Mrigashīrsha, Chitra and Shravishtha or Dhanista. Mangala has the following associations: the color red, the metal brass and gemstone red coral. His element is fire, direction is south, season is summer.

Þjazi’s eyes

In Norse mythology, Gemini is strongly associated with the god Loki. A constellation called Þjazi’s eyes (augu Þjaza) is one of the few known Norse constellation. It’s not certain which stars in the sky made up this constellation. One idea put forth is that they are the stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini.

In Norse mythology, Þjazi is a giant who kidnapped Idun. When he didn’t return home after chasing Idun and her rescuer Loki, Þjazi’s daughter Skadi realized he must be dead and took up arms, swearing vengeance for her father’s death.

As she marched upon Ásgarð, Heimdall sounded the alarm and several of the gods went out to meet her. As they had no desire to continue the feud, the gods asked Skadi if she would accept wergild, basically gold as payment for her father’s death.

Skadi said she would only accept or settle instead for a husband of her choosing from among the gods. They agreed, saying in turn that she must choose her husband by looking only at his feet.

She agreed and Odin arranged for all the gods to gather. With her eyes shield so that she could only see their feet, Skadi made her choice of the most good looking feet, believing that they belonged to Baldur. To her surprise and horror, the feet belong to the god Njord an elderly god of the sea as well as fertility.

The next part to this bargain was for the gods to make Skadi laugh, something she thought that they would be unable to do. Odin called for Loki to come make her laugh. He came and told a story of taking a goat to market and how he had tied one end of rope to the goat’s beard and the other to his own testicles. The description of the tug-of-war that followed between Loki and the goat caused Skadi to laugh in spite of her self.

In an effort to try and please Skadi further, Odin brought out two liquid orbs that Skadi immediately recognized as her father’s eyes. Odin threw them up into the sky where they became two stars, presumably the stars Castor and Pollux that form part of Gemini.

The two gods Njord and Skadi decided to live for half of the year in Skadi’s frozen hall in the mountains of Þrymheim and the other half in Njord’s hall in the sea at Nóatún. Neither liked the other’s hall, Njord didn’t enjoy the cold or the howling wolves and Skadi couldn’t tolerate the motion of the sea and the noise of crashing waves. They eventually agreed that they would live apart.

Diana/ Artemis/ Persephone/ Prosperina

There is sketchy evidence of a consort, in German named Zisa: Tacitus mentions one Germanic tribe who worshipped “Isis”, and Jacob Grimm pointed to Cisa/Zisa, the patroness of Augsburg, in this connection. The name Zisa could be derived from Ziu etymologically.

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 διϝια (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.

In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon and nature being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. Diana was known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses – along with Minerva and Vesta – who swore never to marry.

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.

Diana was eventually equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. In the classical period of Greek mythology, Artemis was often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: “Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals”. The Arcadians believed she was the daughter of Demeter.

She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.

In ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and agriculture, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her cult titles include Sito, “she of the Grain”, as the giver of food or grain and Thesmophoros (thesmos: divine order, unwritten law; phoros: bringer, bearer), “Law-Bringer,” as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.

Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon. In the Linear B Mycenean Greek tablets of circa 1400–1200 BC found at Pylos, the “two mistresses and the king” may be related with Demeter, Persephone and Poseidon. Her Roman equivalent is Ceres.

Inara

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 (“king of the mountains”).

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.

Hel

Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. In theProse Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions with many servants in her underworld realm and plays a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.

Scholarly theories have been proposed about Hel’s potential connections to figures appearing in the 11th century Old English Gospel of Nicodemus and Old Norse Bartholomeus saga postola, that she may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali or that Hel may have become a being only as a late personification of the location of the same name.

Gugalanna/ Nergal – Ereshkigal

Alalu/ Allata

Aries (Tammuz) – Taurus (Gugalanna/ Nergal)

Gugalanna (Sumerian gu.gal.an.na, “the Great Bull of Heaven”), better known as the Bull of Heaven (Sumerian: gu.an.na), was a deity in ancient Mesopotamian religion originating in Sumer as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

Taurus was the constellation of the Northern Hemisphere’s March equinox from about 3200 bc. The equinox was considered the Sumerian New Year, Akitu, an important event in their religion. 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. 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 sent by the gods to take retribution upon Gilgamesh for rejecting the sexual advances of the goddess Inanna. Gugalanna, whose feet made the earth shake, was slain and dismembered by Gilgamesh and his companion Enkidu. Inanna looked down from the city walls and Enkidu shook the haunches of the bull at her, threatening to do the same if he ever caught her. He is later killed for this impiety.

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

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

Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld. In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person.

Alalu is god in 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.

The name “Alalu” was borrowed from Semitic mythology and is a compound word made up of the Semitic definite article al and the Semitic supreme deity Alu. The -u at the end of the word is an inflectional ending; thus, Alalu may also occur as Alali or Alala depending on the position of the word in the sentence. He was identified by the Greeks as Hypsistos. He was also called Alalus.

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

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

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.

Although likely compiled in the 12th or 11th century BC, the MUL.APIN reflects a tradition which marks the Pleiades as the vernal equinox, which was the case with some precision at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age.

Aries is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It is located in the northern celestial hemisphere between Pisces to the west and Taurus to the east. The name Aries is Latin for ram, and its symbol is representing a ram’s horns.

In the description of the Babylonian zodiac given in the clay tablets known as the MUL.APIN, a comprehensive table of the risings and settings of stars, which likely served as an agricultural calendar, the constellation now known as Aries was the final station along the ecliptic.

Modern-day Aries was known as LÚ.ḪUN.GÁ, “The Agrarian Worker” or “The Hired Man”. 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 killed 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 killed 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.

The earliest identifiable reference to Aries as a distinct constellation comes from the boundary stones that date from 1350 to 1000 BC. On several boundary stones, a zodiacal ram figure is distinct from the other characters present.

The shift in identification from the constellation as the Agrarian Worker to the Ram likely occurred in later Babylonian tradition because of its growing association with Dumuzi the Shepherd.

By the time the MUL.APIN was created—by 1000 BC—modern Aries was identified with both Dumuzi’s ram and a hired laborer. The exact timing of this shift is difficult to determine due to the lack of images of Aries or other ram figures.

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

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

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

Gemini is the third astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Gemini. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this sign between May 21 and June 21. Gemini is represented by the twins Castor and Pollux. The symbol of the twins is based on the Dioscuri, two mortals that were granted shared godhood after death. When Castor died, because he was mortal, Pollux begged his father Zeus to give Castor immortality, and he did, by uniting them together in the heavens.

In Babylonian astronomy, the stars Castor and Pollux were known as the Great Twins (MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL). The Twins were regarded as minor gods and were called Meshlamtaea and Lugalirra, meaning respectively ‘The One who has arisen from the Underworld’ and the ‘Mighty King’. Both names can be understood as titles of Nergal, the major Babylonian god of plague and pestilence, who was king of the Underworld.

Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.

The worship of Nergal does not appear to have spread as widely as that of Ninurta, but in the late Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused the two divinities, which were invoked together as if they were identical.

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

Being a deity of the desert, god of fire, which is one of negative aspects of the sun, god of the underworld, and also being a god of one of the religions which rivaled Christianity and Judaism, Nergal was sometimes called a demon and even identified with Satan.

According to Collin de Plancy and Johann Weyer, Nergal was depicted as the chief of Hell’s “secret police”, and worked as “an honorary spy in the service of Beelzebub”.

Shiva – Kali

Shiva (Sanskrit: Śiva, meaning “The Auspicious One”) is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. He is the chief deity within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is one ofthe five primary forms of God in the Smarta Tradition, and “the Transformer”.

At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya, and in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts.

The main iconographical attributes of Shiva are the third eye on his forehead, the snake Vasuki around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his musical instrument. Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam.

Shiva forms a Tantric couple with Shakti, the embodiment of energy, dynamism, and the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe. Shakti is his transcendent feminine aspect, providing the divine ground of all being. Shakti manifests in several female deities. Sati and Parvati are the main consorts of Shiva. She is also referred to as Uma, Durga (Parvati), Kali and Chandika.

Kali is the manifestation of Shakti in her dreadful aspect. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kāla, the eternal time, Kālī, his consort, also means “Time” or “Death” (as in “time has come”).

Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally “redeemer of the universe”).

Kālī is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing or dancing. Shiva is the masculine force, the power of peace, while Shakti translates to power, and is considered as the feminine force. In the Vaishnava tradition, these realities are portrayed as Vishnu and Laxmi, or Radha and Krishna. These are differences in formulation rather than a fundamental difference in the principles.

Both Shiva and Shakti have various forms. Shiva has forms like Yogi Raj (the common image of Himself meditating in the Himalayas), Rudra (a wrathful form) and Nataraj (Shiva’s dance are the Lasya – the gentle form of dance, associated with the creation of the world, and the Tandava – the violent and dangerous dance, associated with the destruction of weary world views – weary perspectives and lifestyles).

Shiva as we know him today shares many features with the Vedic god Rudra, and both Shiva and Rudra are viewed as the same personality in Hindu scriptures. The two names are used synonymously. Rudra, the god of the roaring storm, is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity.

The Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra. Both are associated with mountains, rivers, male fertility, fierceness, fearlessness, warfare, transgression of established mores, the Aum sound, the Supreme Self. In the Rig Veda the term śiva is used to refer to Indra. Indra, like Shiva, is likened to a bull. In the Rig Veda, Rudra is the father of the Maruts, but he is never associated with their warlike exploits as is Indra.

Dyēus

Dyēus (also *Dyēus phter, alternatively spelled dyēws) is believed to have been the 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 Pltwih Méhter, “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 the Greeks, Latins, and Indo-Aryans. According to this scholarly reconstruction, Dyeus was addressed as Dyeu Phter, 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; however, in Vedic mythology, the etymological continuant of Dyeus became a very abstract god, and his original attributes and dominance over other gods appear to have been transferred to gods such as Agni or Indra.

Later figures etymologically connected with Dyeus is Zeus in Greek mythology Jupiter, from Iou-pater, pronounced Iuppiter, and Dis Pater in Roman mythology Dyauṣ Pitār in Historical Vedic religion, and Dionysus, especially with the Thracians and Sabines.

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).

Germanic Tīwaz (known as Týr in Old Norse), Latin Deus (originally used to address Jupiter, but later adopted as the name of the Christian god), Indo-Aryan deva: Vedic/Puranic deva, Buddhist deva, Iranic daeva, daiva, diw, etc. Baltic Dievas, Celtic e.g. Gaulish Dēuos, Scottish Gaelic dia, Welsh duw, and Slavic div(-ese) (miracle) derive from the related *deiwos. Estonian Tharapita bears similarity to Dyaus Pita in name, although it has been interpreted as being related to the god Thor.

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 traditionSurya/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.

Dyēus’s name also likely means “the daytime sky”: In Sanskrit as div- (nominative singular dyāus with vrddhi), its singular means “the sky” and its plural means “days”. Its accusative form *dyēm became Latin diem “day”, which later gave rise to a new nominative diēs. The original nominative survives as diūs in a few fixed expressions.

Finnish taivas Estonian taevas, Livonian tōvaz etc. (from Proto-Finnic *taivas), meaning “heaven” or “sky,” are likely rooted in the Indo-European word. The neighboring Baltic Dievas or Germanic Tiwaz are possible sources, but the Indo-Iranian *daivas accords better in both form and meaning. Similar origin has been proposed for the word family represented by Finnish toivoa “to hope” (originally “to pray from gods”).

Dyauṣ Pitā

Dyauṣ Pitā (“Sky Father”) is the ancient sky god of Vedic pantheon, consort of Prithvi Mata “Earth Mother” and father of the chief deities of the Rigveda, Agni (Fire), Indra, and Ushas (Dawn). In the Rigveda, Dyaus Pita appears only in verses 1.89.4, 1.90.7, 1.164.33, 1.191.6 and 4.1.10, and only in RV 1.89.4 does Pitar Dyaus “Father Sky” appear alongside Mata Prithvi “Mother Earth”.

He is thus a very marginal deity in Rigvedic mythology, but his intrinsic importance is visible from his being the father of the chief deities. That Dyaus was seen as the father of Indra is known only from one verse, RV 4.17.4: “Thy Father Dyaus esteemed himself a hero: most noble was the work of Indra’s Maker / His who begat the strong bolt’s Lord who roareth, immovable like earth from her foundation.”

He is mainly considered in comparative philology as a last remnant of the chief god of Proto-Indo-European religion. The name Dyauṣ Pitā is exactly parallel to the Greek Zeus Pater etymologically, and closely related to Latin Jupiter. Both Dyauṣ and Zeus reflect a Proto-Indo-European *Dyeus.

Based on this reconstruction, the widespread opinion in scholarship since the 19th century has been that Indra had replaced Dyaus as the chief god of the early Indo-Aryans. While Prthivi survives as a Hindu goddess after the end of the Vedic period, Dyaus Pita became almost unknown already in antiquity.

The noun dyaús (when used without the pitā “father”) means “sky, heaven” and occurs frequently in the Rigveda, as a mythological entity, but not as a male deity: the sky in Vedic mythology was imagined as rising in three tiers, avama , madhyama, and uttama or tṛtīya (RV 5.60.6).

In the Purusha Suktam (10.90.14), the sky is described to have been created from the head of the primaeval being, the Purusha, a complex concept whose meaning evolved in Vedic and Upanishadic times. Depending on source and historical timeline, it means the cosmic man or 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. However, there is a diversity of views within various schools of Hinduism about the definition, scope and nature of Purusa.

Dīs Pater

Dīs Pater was a Roman god of the underworld, later subsumed by Pluto or Hades (Hades was Greek). Originally a chthonic god of riches, fertile agricultural land, and underground mineral wealth, he was later commonly equated with the Roman deities Pluto and Orcus, becoming an underworld deity.

Dīs Pater was commonly shortened to simply Dīs. This name has since become an alternative name for the underworld or a part of the underworld, such as the City of Dis of The Divine Comedy.

It is often thought that Dīs Pater was also a Celtic god. This confusion arises from the second-hand citation of one of Julius Caesar’s comments in his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars VI:18, where he says that the Gauls all claimed descent from Dīs Pater.

However, Caesar’s remark is a clear example of interpretatio Romana: what Caesar meant was that the Gauls all claimed descent from a Gaulish god that reminded him of the Roman Dīs Pater, that is, a chthonic deity associated with prosperity and fertility. Different possible candidates exist for this role in Celtic religion, such as Gaulish Sucellus, Irish Donn and Welsh Beli Mawr, among others.

Cicero in his De Natura Deorum derives the name of Dīs Pater from dives, suggesting a meaning of “father of riches”, directly corresponding to the name Pluto (“wealthy”). According to some 19th century authors many of Cicero’s etymological derivations are not to be taken seriously, and may indeed have been intended ironicall, however, this particular derivation of Cicero’s has been accepted by some contemporary authors, some even suggesting that Dīs Pater is a direct loan translation of Ploutōn. Alternatively, he may be a secondary reflex of the same god as Jupiter (Proto-Indo-European Dyeus Phter).

Like Pluto, Dīs Pater eventually became associated with death and the underworld because the wealth of the earth – gems and precious metals – was considered in the domain of the Greco-Roman underworld. As a result, Dīs Pater was over time conflated with the Greek god Hades.

In being conflated with Pluto, Dīs Pater took on some of the Greek mythological attributes of Pluto/Hades, being one of the three sons of Saturn (Greek: Cronus) and Ops (Greek: Rhea), along with Jupiter and Neptune. He ruled the underworld and the dead beside his wife, Proserpina (Greek: Persephone). In literature, Dīs Pater was commonly used as a symbolic and poetic way of referring to death itself.

In 249 BC and 207 BC, the Roman Senate under Senator Lucius Catelli ordained special festivals to appease Dīs Pater and Proserpina. Every hundred years, a festival was celebrated in his name. According to legend, a round marble altar, Altar of Dīs Pater and Proserpina (Latin: Ara Ditis Patris et Proserpinae), was miraculously discovered by the servants of a Sabine called Valesius, the ancestor of the first consul.

The servants were digging in the Tarentum on the edge of the Campus Martius to lay foundations following instructions given to Valesius’s children in dreams, when they found the altar 20 feet (6 m) underground. Valesius reburied the altar after three days of games. Sacrifices were offered to this altar during the Ludi Saeculares or Ludi Tarentini. It may have been uncovered for each occasion of the games, to be reburied afterwards, a clearly chthonic tradition of worship. It was rediscovered in 1886–87 beneath the Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Rome.

In addition to being considered the ancestor of the Gauls, Dīs Pater was sometimes identified with the Sabine god Soranus. In southern Germany and the Balkans, Dīs Pater had a Celtic goddess, Aericura, as a consort. Dīs Pater was rarely associated with foreign deities in the shortened form of his name, Dis.

Dingir

Dingir (usually transliterated diĝir, pronounced /diŋir/) is a Sumerian word for “god.” Its cuneiform sign is most commonly employed as 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.

The Sumerian sign DIĜIR originated as a star-shaped ideogram indicating a god in general, or the Sumerian god An, the supreme father of the gods. Dingir also meant sky or heaven in contrast with ki which meant earth. Its emesal pronunciation was dimer.

The Assyrian sign DIĜIR could mean the Akkadian nominal stem il- meaning “god” or “goddess”, derived acrophonically from the Semitic ʾil-, the god Anum, the Akkadian word šamû meaning “sky”, the syllables an and il, a preposition meaning “at” or “to”, or be a determinative indicating that the following word is the name of a god

According to one interpretation, DINGIR could also refer to a priest or priestess although there are other Akkadian words ēnu and ēntu that are also translated priest and priestess. For example, nin-dingir (lady divine) meant a priestess who received foodstuffs at the temple of Enki in the city of Eridu.

Anu

Anu (Sumerian: An, from An “sky, heaven”) is the earliest attested Sky Father deity. In Sumerian religion, he was also “King of the Gods”, “Lord of the Constellations, Spirits, Angels and Demons”, and “Supreme Ruler of the Kingdom of Heaven”, where Anu himself wandered the highest Heavenly Regions.

He was believed to have the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and to have created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. His attribute was the Royal Tiara. Ti means life in Sumerian. Ninti (Lady Rib) is the Sumerian goddess of life.

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 Nammu (not to be confused with the subterranean Abzu). The earliest texts make no reference to An’s origins. Later he is regarded as the son of Anšar and Kišar, as in the first millennium creation epic Enūma eliš.

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.

This myth, also fragmentary, begins with a conversation between Inanna and her brother Utu. She laments the fact that the Eanna temple is not of their domain, and resolves to reach or secure it. The text becomes increasingly fragmentary at this point in the narrative, but appears to describe her difficult passage through a marshland to reach it, while being advised by a fisherman as to the best route.

Ultimately she reaches her father, Anu. While he is shocked by her arrogance in attempting to capture the Eanna temple for herself, he nevertheless concedes that she has succeeded and it is now her domain. The text ends with an exaltation of her qualities and powers. This myth may represent an eclipse in the authority of the priests of Anu in Uruk, and a transfer of power to the priests of Inanna.

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.

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.

In Sumerian texts of the third millennium the goddess Uraš is his consort; later this position was taken by Ki, the personification of earth, and in Akkadian texts by Antu, whose name is probably derived from his own.

An/Anu frequently receives the epithet “father of the gods,” and many deities are described as his children in one context or another. Inscriptions from third-millennium Lagaš name An as the father of Gatumdug, Baba and Ningirsu.

In later literary texts, Adad, Enki/Ea, Enlil, Girra, Nanna/Sin, Nergal and Šara also appear as his sons, while goddesses referred to as his daughters include Inana/Ištar, Nanaya, Nidaba, Ninisinna, Ninkarrak, Ninmug, Ninnibru, Ninsumun, Nungal and Nusku.

An/Anu is also the head of the Annunaki, and created the demons Lamaštu, Asag and the Sebettu. In the epic Erra and Išum, Anu gives the Sebettu to Erra as weapons with which to massacre humans when their noise becomes irritating to him (Tablet I, 38ff).

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. When Enlil rose to equal or surpass An in authority, the functions of the two deities came to some extent to overlap. An was also sometimes equated with Amurru, and, in Seleucid Uruk, with Enmešara and Dumuzi.

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