Kubau and Zababa
Posted by Fredsvenn on June 21, 2016
Kubaba / Ku-Bau
The Third Dynasty of Kish is unique in that it begins with a woman, previously a tavern keeper, Kubaba (in the Weidner or Esagila Chronicle; Sumerian: Kug-Bau), as “king”. She is the only queen on the Sumerian King List, which states she reigned for 100 years – roughly in the Early Dynastic III period (ca. 2500-2330 BC) of Sumerian history. Before becoming monarch, the king list says she was an alewife.
Shrines in honour of Kubaba spread throughout Mesopotamia. In the Hurrian area she may be identified with Kebat, or Hepat, one title of the Hurrian Mother goddess Hannahannah (from Hurrian hannah, “mother”).
Hebat, also transcribed, Kheba or Khepat, was the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living”. She is also a Queen of the deities. Hebat is married to Teshub and is the mother of Sarruma and Alanzu, as well mother-in-law of the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka. The mother goddess is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele.
Kubaba became the tutelary goddess who protected the ancient city of Carchemish on the upper Euphrates, in the late Hurrian – Early Hittite period. She plays a role in Luwian texts and a minor role in Hittite texts, mainly in Hurrian rituals.
Relief carvings, now at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara, show her seated, wearing a cylindrical headdress like the polos and holding probably a tympanum (hand drum) or possibly a mirror in one hand and a poppy capsule (or perhaps pomegranate) in the other.
Her cult later spread and her name was adapted for the main goddess of the Hittite successor-kingdoms in Anatolia, which later developed into the Phrygian matar (mother) or matar kubileya Cybele whose image with inscriptions appear in rock-cut sculptures.
Her Lydian name was Kuvav or Kufav which Ionian Greeks initially transcribed Kybêbê, not Kybele. The seventh-century Semonides of Amorgos calls one of her Hellene followers a kybêbos, and observes that in the following century she has been further Hellenized by Hipponax as “Kybêbê, daughter of Zeus”. The Phrygian goddess otherwise bears little resemblance to Kubaba, who was a sovereign deity at Sardis, known to Greeks as Kybebe.
According to the King list, Ur-Zababa was a son of King Puzur-Suen. His mother is unknown. His grandmother was the famous Queen Kugbau. Her son Puzur-Suen and grandson Ur-Zababa followed her on the throne in Sumer as the fourth Kish dynasty on the king list. In some copies as her direct successors, in others with the Akshak dynasty, a city of ancient Sumer, situated on the northern boundary of Akkad, sometimes identified with Babylonian Upi (Greek Opis), intervening.
Ur-Zababa is also known as the king said to be reigning in Sumer during the youth of Sargon of Akkad, also known as Sargon the Great “the Great King” (2334–2279 BC), who became the founder of the Akkadian Empire, the first ancient Semitic-speaking empire of Mesopotamia, centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region, also called Akkad in ancient Mesopotamia.
In Greek mythology, the Meliae were nymphs of the ash tree, whose name they shared. They appeared from the drops of blood spilled when Cronus castrated Uranus, according to Hesiod, Theogony. From the same blood sprang the Erinyes and the Giants. From the Meliae sprang the race of mankind of the Age of Bronze.
The Meliae belong to a class of sisterhoods whose nature is to appear collectively and who are invoked in the plural, though genealogical myths, especially in Hesiod, give them individual names, such as Melia, “but these are quite clearly secondary and carry no great weight”.
The Melia thus singled out is one of these daughters of Oceanus. By her brother the river-god Inachus, she became the mother of Io, Phoroneus, Aegialeus or Phegeus, and Philodice. In other stories, she was the mother of Amycus by Poseidon, as the Olympian representative of Oceanus.
Many species of Fraxinus, the ash trees, exude a sugary substance, which the ancient Greeks called méli, “honey”. The species of ash in the mountains of Greece is the Manna-ash (Fraxinus ornus). The Meliae were nurses of the infant Zeus in the Cretan cave of Dikte, according to Callimachus, Hymn to Zeus. They fed him honey.
Of “manna”, the ash-tree sugar, the standard 19th-century US pharmacopeia, The Dispensatory of the United States of America (14th edition, Philadelphia, 1878) said: It is owing to the presence of true sugar and dextrin that manna is capable of fermenting… Manna, when long kept, acquires a deeper color, softens, and ultimately deliquesces into a liquid which on the addition of yeast, undergoes the vinous fermentation. Fermented honey preceded wine as an entheogen in the Aegean world.
The Meliae were perhaps the same as the honey-nymph (meliai) nurses of the god Zeus, Ida and Adrasteia. The manna meli of the ash and the honey of bees were thought to be related and being regarded as an ambrosial food fallen from heaven.
In Hesiod’s Theogony they were born aside the Erinyes, avengers of the castration of Uranus, and the Gigantes. In Hesiod they appear to be the Kouretes-protectors of the baby Zeus. As children born of the castration, it would be proper that such brothers should play a role in the downfall of Cronus, performer of the crime. They were an overly aggressive race who incurred the wrath of Zeus and were ruined in the flood of the Great Deluge.
Semele, in Greek mythology, daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and Harmonia, was the mortal mother of Dionysus by Zeus in one of his many origin myths. Certain elements of the cult of Dionysus and Semele came from the Phrygians. These were modified, expanded and elaborated by the Ionian Greek invaders and colonists. Herodotus, who gives the account of Cadmus, estimates that Semele lived sixteen hundred years before his time, or around 2000 BCE. In Rome, the goddess Stimula was identified as Semele.
According to some linguists the name “Semele” is Thraco-Phrygian, derived from a PIE root meaning “earth”. Julius Pokorny reconstructs her name from the PIE root *dgem- meaning “earth” and relates it with Thracian Zemele, “mother earth”. However, Burkert says that while Semele is “manifestly non-Greek”, he also says that “it is no more possible to confirm that Semele is a Thraco-Phrygian word for earth than it is to prove the priority of the Lydian baki- over Bacchus as a name for Dionysos”.
In one version of the myth, Semele was a priestess of Zeus, and on one occasion was observed by Zeus as she slaughtered a bull at his altar and afterwards swam in the river Asopus to cleanse herself of the blood. Flying over the scene in the guise of an eagle, Zeus fell in love with Semele and repeatedly visited her secretly.
Zeus’ wife, Hera, a goddess jealous of usurpers, discovered his affair with Semele when she later became pregnant. Appearing as an old crone, Hera befriended Semele, who confided in her that her lover was actually Zeus. Hera pretended not to believe her, and planted seeds of doubt in Semele’s mind. Curious, Semele asked Zeus to grant her a boon.
Zeus, eager to please his beloved, promised on the River Styx to grant her anything she wanted. She then demanded that Zeus reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his divinity. Though Zeus begged her not to ask this, she persisted and he was forced by his oath to comply.
Zeus tried to spare her by showing her the smallest of his bolts and the sparsest thunderstorm clouds he could find. Mortals, however, cannot look upon the gods without incinerating, and she perished, consumed in lightning-ignited flame.
Zeus rescued the fetal Dionysus, however, by sewing him into his thigh (whence the epithet Eiraphiotes, “insewn”, of the Homeric Hymn). A few months later, Dionysus was born. This leads to his being called “the twice-born”.
When he grew up, Dionysus rescued his mother from Hades, and she became a goddess on Mount Olympus, with the new name Thyone, presiding over the frenzy inspired by her son Dionysus.
There is a story in the Fabulae 167 of Gaius Julius Hyginus, or a later author whose work has been attributed to Hyginus. In this, Dionysus (called Liber) is the son of Jupiter and Proserpina, and was killed by the Titans. Jupiter gave his torn up heart in a drink to Semele, who became pregnant this way.
In another account, Zeus swallows the heart himself, in order to beget his seed on Semele. Hera then convinces Semele to ask Zeus to come to her as a god, and on doing so she dies, and Zeus seals the unborn baby up in his thigh.
There is no suggestion in the text that Semele is a virgin, however. As a result of this Dionysus “was also called Dimetor [of two mothers]… because the two Dionysoi were born of one father, but of two mothers”.
Still another variant of the narrative is found in Callimachus and the 5th century CE Greek writer Nonnus. In this version, the first Dionysus is called Zagreus. Nonnus does not present the conception as virginal; rather, the editor’s notes say that Zeus swallowed Zagreus’ heart, and visited the mortal woman Semele, whom he seduced and made pregnant.
In Dionysiaca he classifies Zeus’s affair with Semele as one in a set of twelve, the other eleven women on whom he begot children being Io, Europa, the nymph Pluto, Danaë, Aigina, Antiope, Leda, Dia, Alcmene, Laodameia, mother of Sarpedon, and Olympias.
The most usual setting for the story of Semele is the palace that occupied the acropolis of Thebes, called the Cadmeia. When Pausanias visited Thebes in the 2nd century CE, he was shown the very bridal chamber where Zeus visited her and begat Dionysus.
Since an Oriental inscribed cylindrical seal found at the palace can be dated 1400-1300 centuries BCE, the myth of Semele must be Mycenaean or earlier in origin. At the Alcyonian Lake near the prehistoric site of Lerna, Dionysus, guided by Prosymnus or Polymnus, descended to Tartarus to free his once-mortal mother. Annual rites took place there in classical times; Pausanias refuses to describe them.
Though the Greek myth of Semele was localized in Thebes, the fragmentary Homeric Hymn to Dionysus makes the place where Zeus gave a second birth to the god a distant one, and mythically vague: “For some say, at Dracanum; and some, on windy Icarus; and some, in Naxos, O Heaven-born, Insewn; and others by the deep-eddying river Alpheus that pregnant Semele bare you to Zeus the thunder-lover. And others yet, lord, say you were born in Thebes; but all these lie. The Father of men and gods gave you birth remote from men and secretly from white-armed Hera. There is a certain Nysa, a mountain most high and richly grown with woods, far off in Phoenice, near the streams of Aegyptus…”
Semele was worshipped at Athens at the Lenaia, when a yearling bull, emblematic of Dionysus, was sacrificed to her. One-ninth was burnt on the altar in the Hellenic way; the rest was torn and eaten raw by the votaries.
Semla is the Etruscan equivalent for the Greek goddess Semele, daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and mother of the Greek god of wine Dionysus by Zeus. Her name also is sometimes spelled Semia. The Greek cult of Dionysus had flourished among the Etruscans in the archaic period, and had been made compatible with Etruscan religious beliefs.
In ancient Rome, a grove (lucus) near Ostia, situated between the Aventine Hill and the mouth of the Tiber River, was dedicated to a goddess named Stimula. Augustine notes that the goddess is named after stimulae, “goads, whips,” by means of which a person is driven to excessive actions.
Religious beliefs and myths associated with Dionysus were successfully adapted and remained pervasive in Roman culture, as evidenced for instance by the Dionysian scenes of Roman wall painting and on sarcophagi from the 1st to the 4th centuries CE.
One of the main principles of the Dionysian mysteries that spread to Latium and Rome was the concept of rebirth, to which the complex myths surrounding the god’s own birth were central. Birth and childhood deities were important to Roman religion; Ovid identifies Semele’s sister Ino as the nurturing goddess Mater Matuta. This goddess had a major cult center at Satricum that was built 500–490 BCE.
The female consort who appears with Bacchus in the acroterial statues there may be either Semele or Ariadne. The pair were part of the Aventine Triad in Rome as Liber and Libera, along with Ceres. The temple of the triad is located near the Grove of Stimula, and the grove and its shrine (sacrarium) were located outside Rome’s sacred boundary (pomerium), perhaps as the “dark side” of the Aventine Triad.
Mat Zemlya, also Matka Ziemia, and Mati Syra Zemlya (literally Damp Mother Earth), is the oldest deity in Slavic mythology, her identity later blended into that of Mokosh. She shares characteristics with Indo-Iranian Ardvi Sura Anahita, the Avestan language name of an Indo-Iranian cosmological figure venerated as the divinity of ‘the Waters’ (Aban) and hence associated with fertility, healing and wisdom, “Humid Mother of the Earth”.
Anahit was the goddess of fertility and healing, wisdom and water in Armenian mythology. In early periods she was the goddess of war. By the 5th century BC she was the main deity in Armenia along with Aramazd. The Armenian goddess Anahit is related to the similar Old Persian goddess Anahita.
At some point prior to the 4th century BCE, this yazata was conflated with (an analogue of) Semitic Ištar, likewise a divinity of “maiden” fertility and from whom Aredvi Sura Anahita then inherited additional features of a divinity of war and of the planet Venus or “Zohreh” in Arabic. It was moreover the association with the planet Venus, “it seems, which led Herodotus to record that the [Persis] learnt ‘to sacrifice to “the heavenly goddess”‘ from the Assyrians and Arabians.”
In the early Middle Ages, Mati Syra Zemlya was one of the most important deities in the Slavic world. Oaths were made binding by touching the Earth and sins were confessed into a hole in the Earth before death. She was worshipped in her natural form and was not given a human personage or likeness. Since the adoption of Christianity in all Slavic lands, she has been identified with Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Mokoš is a Slavic goddess mentioned in the Primary Chronicle, protector of women’s work and women’s destiny. She watches over spinning and weaving, shearing of sheep, and protects women in child birth. She is a wanderer and a spinner. She is the Great Mother, Mat Zemlya.
Mokosh probably means moisture. According to Max Vasmer, her name is derived from the same root as Slavic wordsmokry ‘wet’ and moknut(i) ‘get wet’. She was one of the most popular Slavic deities and the great Mother Goddess of East Slavs and Eastern Polans.
Archeological evidence of Mokosh dates back to the 7th century BC. As late as the 19th century, she was worshipped as a force of fertility and the ruler of death. Worshipers prayed to Mokosh-stones or breast-shaped boulders that held power over the land and its people.
In Eastern Europe Mokosh is still popular as a powerful life giving force and protector of women. Villages are named after her. She shows up in embroidery, represented as a woman with uplifted hands and flanked by two plow horses. Sometimes she is shown with male sexual organs, as the deity in charge of male potency.
Her consorts are probably both, the god of thunder Perun and his opponent Veles. Mokosh is also the mother of the twin siblings Jarilo and Morana. A key myth in Slavic mythology, is the divine battle between the thunder god Perun and his opponent the god Veles. Some authors and the original researchers Ivanov and Toporov believe, the abduction of Mokosh causes the struggle.
During Christianization of Kievan Rus’ there were warnings issued against worshipping Mokoš. She was replaced by the cult of the Virgin Mary and St. Paraskevia.
In Sumerian mythology, Ninsun or Ninsuna (“lady wild cow”) is a goddess, best known as the mother of the legendary hero Gilgamesh, and as the tutelary goddess of Gudea of Lagash. Ninsun was called Gula in Sumerian Mythology until the name was later changed to Ninisina. Gula in the latter became a Babylonian goddess. Her parents are the deities Anu and Uras.
Ninsun is called “Rimat-Ninsun”, the “August cow”, the “Wild Cow of the Enclosure”, and “The Great Queen”. In the Tello relief (the ancient Lagash, 2150 BC) her name is written with the cuneiform glyphs as: DINGIR.NIN.GUL where the glyph for GUL is the same for SUN. The meaning of SUN is attested as “cow”.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ninsun is depicted as a human queen who lives in Uruk with her son as king. Since the father of Gilgamesh was former king Lugalbanda, it stands to reason that Ninsun procreated with Lugalbanda to give birth.
Nintinugga was a Babylonian goddess of healing, the consort of Ninurta. She is identical with the goddess of Akkadian mythology, known as Bau or Baba, though it would seem that the two were originally independent. She was the daughter of An and Ninurta’s wife. She had seven daughters, including Hegir-Nuna (Gangir). She was known as a patron deity of Lagash, where Gudea built her a temple.
The name Bau is more common in the oldest period and gives way to Gula after the First Babylonian Dynasty. Since it is probable that Ninib has absorbed the cults of minor sun-deities, the two names may represent consorts of different gods. However, this may be, the qualities of both are alike, and the two occur as synonymous designations of Ninib’s female consort.
Other names borne by this goddess are Nin-Karrak, Nin Ezen, Ga-tum-dug and Nm-din-dug, the latter signifying “the lady who restores to life”, or the Goddess of Healing. After the Great Flood, she helped “breathe life” back into mankind.
The designation well emphasizes the chief trait of Bau-Gula which is that of healer. She is often spoken of as “the great physician,” and accordingly plays a prominent role in incantations and incantation rituals intended to relieve those suffering from disease.
She is, however, also invoked to curse those who trample upon the rights of rulers or those who do wrong with poisonous potions. As in the case of Ninib, the cult of Bau-Gula is prominent in Lagash and in Nippur. While generally in close association with her consort, she is also invoked alone, giving her more dominance than most of the goddesses of Babylonia and Assyria.
Chaabou and Dushara
According to the early Christian bishop Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 315–403), Chaabou or Kaabu was a goddess in the Nabataean pantheon – a virgin who gave birth to the god Dusares. However, Epiphanus likely mistook the word ka’abu (“cube”, etymologically related to the name of the Kaaba), referring to the stone blocks used by the Nabateans to represent Dusares and possibly other deities, for the proper name of a goddess.
His report that Chaabou was a virgin was likely influenced by his desire to find a parallel to the Christian belief in the virgin birth of Jesus, and by the similarity of the words ka’bah and ka’ibah (“virgin”) in Arabic, a language closely related to that spoken by the Nabateans.
Dushara (“Lord of the Mountain”), also transliterated as Dusares, a deity in the ancient Middle East worshipped by the Nabataeans at Petra and Madain Saleh (of which city he was the patron). He may have been named after deity of Tushar, a famous god of Tushar kingdom in Vedic India situated in Himalayan ranges and known for its horses in ancient world.
In Greek times, he was associated with Zeus because he was the chief of the Nabataean pantheon as well as with Dionysus. His sanctuary at Petra contained a great temple in which a large cubical stone was the centrepiece.
In ancient Mesopotamia, Zababa was the tutelary god of the city of Kish, whose sanctuary was the E-meteursag. In Akkadian times the city’s patron deity was Zababa (or Zamama), along with his wife, the goddess Inanna.
Several ancient Mesopotamian kings were named in honor of Zababa, including Ur-Zababa of Kish (early patron of Sargon of Akkad) and Zababa-shuma-iddin (a 12th-century BC Kassite king of Babylon).
Zababa (also Zamama) was the Hittite way of writing the name of a war god, using Akkadian writing conventions. Most likely, this spelling represents the native Anatolian Hattian god [Wurunkatte], their god of war. His Hurrian name was Astabis. He is connected with the Akkadian god Ninurta. The symbol of Zababa – the eagle-headed staff was often depicted next to Ninurta’s symbol.
Sabazios is the nomadic horseman and sky father god of the Phrygians and Thracians. In Indo-European languages, such as Phrygian, the -zios element in his name derives from dyeus, the common precursor of Latin deus (‘god’) and Greek Zeus.
Though the Greeks interpreted Phrygian Sabazios as both Zeus and Dionysus, representations of him, even into Roman times, show him always on horseback, as a nomadic horseman god, wielding his characteristic staff of power.
It seems likely that the migrating Phrygians brought Sabazios with them when they settled in Anatolia in the early first millennium BCE, and that the god’s origins are to be looked for in Macedonia and Thrace.
The recently discovered ancient sanctuary of Perperikon in modern-day Bulgaria is believed to be that of Sabazios. The Macedonians were also noted horsemen, horse-breeders and horse-worshippers up to the time of Philip II, whose name signifies “lover of horses”.
Possible early conflict between Sabazios and his followers and the indigenous mother goddess of Phrygia (Cybele) may be reflected in Homer’s brief reference to the youthful feats of Priam, who aided the Phrygians in their battles with Amazons.
An aspect of the compromise religious settlement, similar to the other such mythic adjustments throughout Aegean culture, can be read in the later Phrygian King Gordias’ adoption “with Cybele” of Midas.
One of the native religion’s creatures was the Lunar Bull. Sabazios’ relations with the goddess may be surmised in the way that his horse places a hoof on the head of the bull, in a Roman marble relief at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Though Roman in date, the iconic image appears to be much earlier.
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.
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.
Sabazios, the Thracian reflex of Indo-European Dyeus, was identified with Heros Karabazmos, the “Thracian horseman”. He gained a widespread importance especially after the Roman conquest. This could be akin to Sleipnir, the horse ridden by Odin, in Norse mythology.
Transference of Sabazios to the Roman world appears to have been mediated in large part through Pergamum. The naturally syncretic approach of Greek religion blurred distinctions. Later Greek writers, like Strabo in the first century CE, linked Sabazios with Zagreus, a god, usually but not always identified with Dionysus, among Phrygian ministers and attendants of the sacred rites of Rhea and Dionysos.
Strabo’s Sicilian contemporary, Diodorus Siculus, conflated Sabazios with the secret ‘second’ Dionysus, born of Zeus and Persephone, a connection that is not borne out by surviving inscriptions, which are entirely to Zeus Sabazios.
The Christian Clement of Alexandria had been informed that the secret mysteries of Sabazius, as practiced among the Romans, involved a serpent, a chthonic creature unconnected with the mounted sky god of Phrygia: “‘God in the bosom’ is a countersign of the mysteries of Sabazius to the adepts”. Clement reports: “This is a snake, passed through the bosom of the initiates”.
Much later, the Byzantine Greek encyclopedia, Suda (10th century?), flatly states: “Sabazios … is the same as Dionysos. He acquired this form of address from the rite pertaining to him; for the barbarians call the bacchic cry ‘sabazein’. Hence some of the Greeks too follow suit and call the cry ‘sabasmos’; thereby Dionysos [becomes] Sabazios.
They also used to call ‘saboi’ those places that had been dedicated to him and his Bacchantes … Demosthenes [in the speech] ‘On Behalf of Ktesiphon’ [mentions them]. Some say that Saboi is the term for those who are dedicated to Sabazios, that is to Dionysos, just as those [dedicated] to Bakkhos [are] Bakkhoi. They say that Sabazios and Dionysos are the same. Thus some also say that the Greeks call the Bakkhoi Saboi.”
In Roman sites, though an inscription built into the wall of the abbey church of San Venanzio at Ceperana suggested to a Renaissance humanist it had been built upon the foundations of a temple to Jupiter Sabazius, according to modern scholars not a single temple consecrated to Sabazius, the rider god of the open air, has been located.
Small votive hands, typically made of copper or bronze, are often associated with the cult of Sabazios. Many of these hands have a small perforation at the base which suggests they may have been attached to wooden poles and carried in processions. The symbolism of these objects is not well known.
The first Jews who settled in Rome were expelled in 139 BCE, along with Chaldaean astrologers by Cornelius Hispalus under a law which proscribed the propagation of the “corrupting” cult of “Jupiter Sabazius,” according to the epitome of a lost book of Valerius Maximus. It is conjectured that the Romans identified the Jewish YHVH Tzevaot (“sa-ba-oth,” “of the Hosts”) as Jove Sabazius.
This mistaken connection of Sabazios and Sabaos has often been repeated. In a similar vein, Plutarch maintained that the Jews worshipped Dionysus, and that the day of Sabbath was a festival of Sabazius. Plutarch also discusses the identification of the Jewish God with the “Egyptian” Typhon, an identification which he later rejects, however. The monotheistic Hypsistarians worshipped the Most High under this name, which may have been a form of the Jewish God.
The Thracian horseman is the name given to a recurring motif of a deity in the form of a horseman, in Paleo-Balkan mythology, that includes the religious practices of the Dacians, Thracians, and Illyrians. The motif typically features a caped horseman astride a steed, with a spear poised in his right hand.
He is often depicted as slaying a beast with a spear, though this features is sometimes absent. The tradition is best illustrated in surviving artifacts from Thrace, Macedonia, Moesia, and Scythia Minor dating to the Roman era, and is often found depicted on funerary statues.
After Christianity was adopted, the motif of the Thracian horseman is believed to have continued in representations of Saint George slaying the dragon. In the 4th century, the reliefs were considered to be representations of St. George.
Sabazios gained widespread importance after the Roman conquest. The rider is a syncretism of a Romanized people; the rider is a representation of the Cult of Apollo. After Christianity was adopted, the symbolism of Heros continued as representations of Saint George slaying the dragon (compare Uastyrdzhi/Tetri Giorgi in the Caucasus).
The iconic image of the god or hero on horseback battling the chthonic serpent, on which his horse tramples, appears on Celtic votive columns, and with the coming of Christianity it was easily transformed into the image of Saint George and the Dragon, whose earliest known depictions are from tenth- and eleventh-century Cappadocia and eleventh-century Georgia and Armenia.