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Archive for October, 2016

The consort of Mars, Nerio, in Germanic religion

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 26, 2016

The consort of Mars was Nerio or Nerine, “Valor.” She represents the vital force (vis), power (potentia) and majesty (maiestas) of Mars. Her name was regarded as Sabine in origin and is equivalent to Latin virtus, “manly virtue” (from vir, “man”).

In the early 3rd century BC, the comic playwright Plautus has a reference to Mars greeting Nerio, his wife. A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Nerine were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23. In the later Roman Empire, Nerine came to be identified with Minerva.

Nerio probably originates as a divine personification of Mars’ power, as such abstractions in Latin are generally feminine. Her name appears with that of Mars in an archaic prayer invoking a series of abstract qualities, each paired with the name of a deity. The influence of Greek mythology and its anthropomorphic gods may have caused Roman writers to treat these pairs as “marriages.”

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy. She was born with weapons from the head of Jupiter. After impregnating the titaness Metis, Jupiter recalled a prophecy that his own child would overthrow him.

Fearing that their child would grow stronger than he and rule the Heavens in his place, Jupiter swallowed Metis whole. The titaness forged weapons and armor for her child while within the father-god, and the constant pounding and ringing gave him a headache. To relieve the pain, Vulcan used a hammer to split Jupiter’s head and, from the cleft, Minerva emerged, whole, adult, and bearing her mother’s weapons and armor.

Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter. She was the virgin goddess of wisdom, war, medicine, art, music, poetry, schools, commerce, weaving, crafts, and magic. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the “owl of Minerva”, which symbolised her association with wisdom and knowledge.

She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena. From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. Like Athena, Minerva was born from the head of her father, Jupiter (Greek Zeus).

Stemming from an Italic moon goddess *Meneswā (‘She who measures’), the Etruscans adopted the inherited Old Latin name, *Menerwā, thereby calling her Menrva. It is assumed that her Roman name, Minerva, is based on this Etruscan mythology.

By a process of folk etymology, the Romans could have linked her foreign name to the root men- in Latin words such as mens meaning “mind”, perhaps because one of her aspects as goddess pertained to the intellectual. The word mens is built from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- ‘mind’ (linked with memory as in Greek Mnemosyne and mnestis: memory, remembrance, recollection, manush in Sanskrit meaning mind).

In Germanic paganism, Nerthus is a goddess associated with fertility. Nerthus is often identified with the van Njörðr who is attested in various 13th century Old Norse works and in numerous Scandinavian place names. The name Nerthus is generally held to be a Latinized form of Proto-Germanic *Nerþuz, a direct precursor to the Old Norse deity name Njörðr.

The connection between the two is due to the linguistic relationship between Njörðr and the reconstructed Proto-Germanic *Nerþuz, Nerthus being the feminine, Latinized form of what Njörðr would have looked like around the first century. This has led to theories about the relation of the two, including that Njörðr may have once been a hermaphroditic deity or that the name may indicate the otherwise forgotten sister-wife in a divine brother-sister pair like the Vanir deities Freyja and Freyr.

While scholars have noted numerous parallels between the descriptions of the two figures, Njörðr is attested as a male deity. Various scholarly theories exist regarding the goddess and her potential later traces amongst the Germanic peoples, including that the figure may be identical to the unnamed sister-wife of Njörðr mentioned in two Old Norse sources.

In Norse mythology, Njörun (Old Norse Njǫrun, sometimes modernly anglicized as Niorun) is a goddess attested in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and various kennings (including once in the Poetic Edda). Scholarly theories concerning her name and function in the pantheon include etymological connections to the Norse god Njörðr and the Roman goddess Nerio, and suggestions that she may represent the earth and/or be the unnamed sister-wife of Njörðr.

Several scholars have suggested that the stem syllable in her name, Njǫr-, may represent the element *ner- as in Tacitus’ earth-goddess Nerthus (*Ner-þuz), whose name is etymologically identical with that of the Norse god Njǫrðr, and that Njörun may therefore be a name for the earth. Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon additionally suggests a connection with the Roman goddess Nerio.

The possible etymological connection with Njǫrðr and Nerthus suggests that Njörun may be a preserved name for the sister-wife of Njörðr, who is highly unusual in the Old Norse context in being unnamed.

As was noted by Albert Morey Sturtevant, Njǫrun and Gefjon are the only female names recorded in Old Norse texts that have the suffix -un. Two other god-goddess pairs distinguished by suffix are preserved in the Old Norse corpus, Ullr and Ullin and Fjörgyn and Fjörgynn, and there is a possible third example in Old High German Phol and Volla.

Albert Murey Sturtevant notes that “the only other feminine personal name which contains the suffix -un is Njǫr-un, recorded only in the þulur […], and among the kvenna heiti ókend. Whatever the stem syllable Njǫr- represents (perhaps *ner- as in *Ner-þuz>Njǫrðr), the addition of the n- and un-suffixes seems to furnish an exact parallel to Gef-n : Gefj-un (cf. Njǫr-n : Njǫr-un).”

In Norse mythology, Gefjon or Gefjun (with the alternate spelling Gefion) is a goddess associated with ploughing, foreknowledge, and virginity. In addition, the Prose Edda describes that not only is Gefjon a virgin herself, but that all who die a virgin become her attendants.

Regarding the plough and Gefjon, Davidson concludes that “the idea behind the taking of the plough round the countryside seems to be that it brought good fortune and prosperity, gifts of a benevolent goddess. Gefjon and her plough thus fit into a large framework of the cult of a goddess associated with fertility of both land and water.”

Scholars have proposed theories about the etymology the name of the goddess, connections to fertility and ploughing practices, the implications of the references made to her as a virgin, five potential mentions of the goddess in the Old English poem Beowulf, and potential connections between Gefjon and Grendel’s Mother and/or the goddesses Freyja and Frigg, who scholars have theorized about ultimately stem from a single goddess common among the Germanic peoples.

The etymology of the name Gefjon has been a matter of dispute. In modern scholarship, the element Gef- in Gef-jon is generally theorized as related to the element Gef- in the name Gef-n. The name Gefn is one of the numerous names for the goddess Freyja, and likely means “she who gives (prosperity or happiness).” The connection between the two names has resulted in etymological results of Gefjun meaning “the giving one.”

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The history of An and the reason why Inanna descended to the underworld

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 25, 2016

Katabasis

The history of An and Antum are equated with the king and queen of the underworld (unconciousness) – Enmešara-Nergal (Dyeus/Dis Pater-Hades/Pluto-Mars-Apollo/Tyr) – Ereshkigal (Artemis-Persephone-Nerio/Hel) and the king and queen of the living world (conciousness) – Tammuz (Balder) – Inanna (Demeter/Nanna) – and the reason why Inanna descened to the underworld.

Dyēus 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”.

A mother goddess is a goddess who represents, or is a personification of nature, motherhood, fertility, creation, destruction or who embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world, such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother.

Many different goddesses have represented motherhood in one way or another, and some have been associated with the birth of humanity as a whole, along with the universe and everything in it. Others have represented the fertility of the earth.

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.

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.

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 (from Greek Ploutōn, meaning “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 ironically, 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).

Hades ͅwas the ancient Greek chthonic god of the underworld, which eventually took his name. In Greek mythology, Hades was regarded as the oldest son of Cronus and Rhea, although the last son regurgitated by his father.

He and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated their father’s generation of gods, the Titans, and claimed rulership over the cosmos. Hades received the underworld, Zeus the sky, and Poseidon the sea, with the solid earth – long the province of Gaia—available to all three concurrently. Hades was often portrayed with his three-headed guard dog Cerberus and, in later mythological authors, associated with the Helm of Darkness and the bident.

The Etruscan god Aita and Roman gods Dis Pater and Orcus were eventually taken as equivalent to the Greek Hades and merged as Pluto, a Latinization of his euphemistic Greek name Plouton. Pluto (Greek: Ploutōn) was the ruler of the underworld in classical mythology. The earlier name for the god was Hades, which became more common as the name of the underworld itself.

In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Pluto represents a more positive concept of the god who presides over the afterlife. Ploutōn was frequently conflated with Ploutos (Plutus), a god of wealth, because mineral wealth was found underground, and because as a chthonic god Pluto ruled the deep earth that contained the seeds necessary for a bountiful harvest.

The name Ploutōn came into widespread usage with the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which Pluto was venerated as a stern ruler but the loving husband of Persephone. The couple received souls in the afterlife, and are invoked together in religious inscriptions. Hades by contrast had few temples and religious practices associated with him, and is portrayed as the dark and violent abductor of Persephone.

In Mesopotamian mythology, Anu (in Akkadian; 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 and Demons”, and “Supreme Ruler of the Kingdom of Heaven”, where Anu himself wandered the highest Heavenly Regions.

Anu 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. His attendant and vizier was the god Ilabrat.

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). In Sumerian, the designation “An” was used interchangeably with “the heavens” so that in some cases it is doubtful whether, under the term, the god An or the heavens is being denoted.

The Akkadians inherited An as the god of heavens from the Sumerian as Anu-, and in Akkadian cuneiform, the DINGIR character may refer either to Anum or to the Akkadian word for god, ilu-, and consequently had two phonetic values an and il. Hittite cuneiform as adapted from the Old Assyrian kept the an value but abandoned il.

The doctrine once established remained an inherent part of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion and led to the more or less complete disassociation of the three gods constituting the triad from their original local limitations.

An intermediate step between Anu viewed as the local deity of Uruk, Enlil as the god of Nippur, and Ea as the god of Eridu is represented by the prominence which each one of the centres associated with the three deities in question must have acquired, and which led to each one absorbing the qualities of other gods so as to give them a controlling position in an organized pantheon.

For Nippur we have the direct evidence that its chief deity, En-lil, was once regarded as the head of the Sumerian pantheon. The sanctity and, therefore, the importance of Eridu remained a fixed tradition in the minds of the people to the latest days, and analogy therefore justifies the conclusion that Anu was likewise worshipped in a centre which had acquired great prominence.

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, an underworld god of the law described as a Sun god, protector of flocks and vegetation, and therefore equated with Nergal, and Tammuz (Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”), a Sumerian god of food and vegetation, also worshiped in the later Mesopotamian states

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 Inanna (“Queen of Heaven”). She was later known as Ishtar. Inanna’s name derives from Lady of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-an-ak). Inanna was associated with the planet Venus, which at that time was regarded as two stars, the “morning star” and the “evening star.”

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

In Sumerian religion, the Underworld was conceived of as a dreary, dark place; a home to deceased heroes and ordinary people alike. While everyone suffered an eternity of poor conditions, certain behavior while alive, notably creating a family to provide offerings to the deceased, could alleviate conditions somewhat.

The main temple dedicated to her was located in Kutha. Nergal was a deity worshipped throughout Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia) with the main seat of his worship at Cuthah represented by the mound of Tell-Ibrahim.

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 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. The union of Venus and Mars held greater appeal for poets and philosophers, and the couple were a frequent subject of art.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Nerio was an ancient war goddess and the personification of valor. She was the partner of Mars in ancient cult practices, and was sometimes identified with the goddess Bellona, and occasionally with the goddess Minerva. Spoils taken from enemies were sometimes dedicated to Nerio by the Romans. Nerio was later supplanted by mythologized deities appropriated and adapted from other religions.

The consort of Mars was Nerio or Nerine, “Valor.” She represents the vital force (vis), power (potentia) and majesty (maiestas) of Mars. Her name was regarded as Sabine in origin and is equivalent to Latin virtus, “manly virtue” (from vir, “man”).

In the early 3rd century BC, the comic playwright Plautus has a reference to Mars greeting Nerio, his wife. A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Nerine were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23. In the later Roman Empire, Nerine came to be identified with Minerva.

Nerio probably originates as a divine personification of Mars’ power, as such abstractions in Latin are generally feminine. Her name appears with that of Mars in an archaic prayer invoking a series of abstract qualities, each paired with the name of a deity. The influence of Greek mythology and its anthropomorphic gods may have caused Roman writers to treat these pairs as “marriages.”

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy. She was born with weapons from the head of Jupiter. After impregnating the titaness Metis, Jupiter recalled a prophecy that his own child would overthrow him.

Fearing that their child would grow stronger than he and rule the Heavens in his place, Jupiter swallowed Metis whole. The titaness forged weapons and armor for her child while within the father-god, and the constant pounding and ringing gave him a headache. To relieve the pain, Vulcan used a hammer to split Jupiter’s head and, from the cleft, Minerva emerged, whole, adult, and bearing her mother’s weapons and armor.

Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter. She was the virgin goddess of wisdom, war, medicine, art, music, poetry, schools, commerce, weaving, crafts, and magic. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the “owl of Minerva”, which symbolised her association with wisdom and knowledge.

She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena. From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. Like Athena, Minerva was born from the head of her father, Jupiter (Greek Zeus).

Stemming from an Italic moon goddess *Meneswā (‘She who measures’), the Etruscans adopted the inherited Old Latin name, *Menerwā, thereby calling her Menrva. It is assumed that her Roman name, Minerva, is based on this Etruscan mythology.

By a process of folk etymology, the Romans could have linked her foreign name to the root men- in Latin words such as mens meaning “mind”, perhaps because one of her aspects as goddess pertained to the intellectual. The word mens is built from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- ‘mind’ (linked with memory as in Greek Mnemosyne and mnestis: memory, remembrance, recollection, manush in Sanskrit meaning mind).

In Germanic paganism, Nerthus is a goddess associated with fertility. Nerthus is often identified with the van Njörðr who is attested in various 13th century Old Norse works and in numerous Scandinavian place names. The name Nerthus is generally held to be a Latinized form of Proto-Germanic *Nerþuz, a direct precursor to the Old Norse deity name Njörðr.

The connection between the two is due to the linguistic relationship between Njörðr and the reconstructed Proto-Germanic *Nerþuz, Nerthus being the feminine, Latinized form of what Njörðr would have looked like around the first century. This has led to theories about the relation of the two, including that Njörðr may have once been a hermaphroditic deity or that the name may indicate the otherwise forgotten sister-wife in a divine brother-sister pair like the Vanir deities Freyja and Freyr.

While scholars have noted numerous parallels between the descriptions of the two figures, Njörðr is attested as a male deity. Various scholarly theories exist regarding the goddess and her potential later traces amongst the Germanic peoples, including that the figure may be identical to the unnamed sister-wife of Njörðr mentioned in two Old Norse sources.

In Norse mythology, Njörun (Old Norse Njǫrun, sometimes modernly anglicized as Niorun) is a goddess attested in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and various kennings (including once in the Poetic Edda). Scholarly theories concerning her name and function in the pantheon include etymological connections to the Norse god Njörðr and the Roman goddess Nerio, and suggestions that she may represent the earth and/or be the unnamed sister-wife of Njörðr.

Several scholars have suggested that the stem syllable in her name, Njǫr-, may represent the element *ner- as in Tacitus’ earth-goddess Nerthus (*Ner-þuz), whose name is etymologically identical with that of the Norse god Njǫrðr, and that Njörun may therefore be a name for the earth. Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon additionally suggests a connection with the Roman goddess Nerio.

The possible etymological connection with Njǫrðr and Nerthus suggests that Njörun may be a preserved name for the sister-wife of Njörðr, who is highly unusual in the Old Norse context in being unnamed.

As was noted by Albert Morey Sturtevant, Njǫrun and Gefjon are the only female names recorded in Old Norse texts that have the suffix -un. Two other god-goddess pairs distinguished by suffix are preserved in the Old Norse corpus, Ullr and Ullin and Fjörgyn and Fjörgynn, and there is a possible third example in Old High German Phol and Volla.

Albert Murey Sturtevant notes that “the only other feminine personal name which contains the suffix -un is Njǫr-un, recorded only in the þulur […], and among the kvenna heiti ókend. Whatever the stem syllable Njǫr- represents (perhaps *ner- as in *Ner-þuz>Njǫrðr), the addition of the n- and un-suffixes seems to furnish an exact parallel to Gef-n : Gefj-un (cf. Njǫr-n : Njǫr-un).”

In Norse mythology, Gefjon or Gefjun (with the alternate spelling Gefion) is a goddess associated with ploughing, foreknowledge, and virginity. In addition, the Prose Edda describes that not only is Gefjon a virgin herself, but that all who die a virgin become her attendants.

Regarding the plough and Gefjon, Davidson concludes that “the idea behind the taking of the plough round the countryside seems to be that it brought good fortune and prosperity, gifts of a benevolent goddess. Gefjon and her plough thus fit into a large framework of the cult of a goddess associated with fertility of both land and water.”

Scholars have proposed theories about the etymology the name of the goddess, connections to fertility and ploughing practices, the implications of the references made to her as a virgin, five potential mentions of the goddess in the Old English poem Beowulf, and potential connections between Gefjon and Grendel’s Mother and/or the goddesses Freyja and Frigg, who scholars have theorized about ultimately stem from a single goddess common among the Germanic peoples.

The etymology of the name Gefjon has been a matter of dispute. In modern scholarship, the element Gef- in Gef-jon is generally theorized as related to the element Gef- in the name Gef-n. The name Gefn is one of the numerous names for the goddess Freyja, and likely means “she who gives (prosperity or happiness).” The connection between the two names has resulted in etymological results of Gefjun meaning “the giving one.”

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 ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis, one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities.

Artemis 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. Her Roman equivalent is Diana.

The Arcadians believed she was the daughter of Demeter. 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.

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.

Ereshkigal is the sister and counterpart of Inanna/Ishtar, the symbol of nature during the non-productive season of the year. Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre.

Inanna was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Tammuz was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries (meaning “ram”), the first astrological sign in the zodiac, spanning the first 30 degrees of celestial longitude (0°≤ λ <30°).

Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this sign mostly between March 21 and April 19 each year. The symbol of the ram is based on the Chrysomallus, the flying ram that provided the Golden Fleece. Astrologically, Aries has been strongly associated with Mars, both the planet and the god. The First Point of Aries, the location of the vernal equinox, is named for the constellation. .

In cult practice, the dead Tammuz was widely mourned in the Ancient Near East. In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar. The Levantine (“lord”) Adonis, who was drawn into the Greek pantheon, was considered to be another counterpart of Tammuz, son and consort.

Beginning with the summer solstice came a time of mourning in the Ancient Near East, as in the Aegean: the Babylonians marked the decline in daylight hours and the onset of killing summer heat and drought with a six-day “funeral” for the god. Recent discoveries reconfirm him as an annual life-death-rebirth deity: tablets discovered in 1963 show that Dumuzi was in fact consigned to the Underworld himself, in order to secure Inanna’s release, though the recovered final line reveals that he is to revive for six months of each year.

Ereshkigal 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.

The other myth is the story of Nergal, the plague god. Once, 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.

Inanna/Ishtar’s trip and return to the underworld is the most familiar of the myths concerning Ereshkigal. The Sumerian hymn “The Descent of Inanna”, which was also in later Babylonian myth, also called “The Descent of Ishtar,” tells about 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.

Inanna’s reason for visiting the underworld is unclear. The reason she gives to the gatekeeper of the underworld is that she wants to attend the funeral rites of Ereshkigal’s husband, here said to be Gud-gal-ana. Gugalana was the Bull of Heaven in The Epic of Gilgamesh, which was killed by Gilgamesh and Enkidu. To further add to the confusion, Ereshkigal’s husband typically is the plague god, Nergal, who is said to have raped the goddess after the disappearance of Gugalana.

Additionally, the myth may be described as a union of Inanna with her own “dark side”, her twin sister-self, Ereshkigal, as when she ascends it is with Ereshkigal’s powers, while Inanna is in the underworld it is Ereshkigal who apparently takes on fertility powers, and the poem ends with a line in praise, not of Inanna, but of Ereshkigal.

It is in many ways a praise-poem dedicated to the more negative aspects of Inanna’s domain, symbolic of an acceptance of the necessity of death to the continuance of life. It can also be interpreted as being about the psychological power of a descent into the unconscious, realizing one’s own strength through an episode of seeming powerlessness, and/or an acceptance of one’s own negative qualities, as is discussed by Joseph Campbell.

Another recent interpretation, by Clyde Hostetter, indicates that the myth is an allegorical report of related movements of the planets Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter; and those of the waxing crescent Moon in the Second Millennium, beginning with the Spring Equinox and concluding with a meteor shower near the end of one synodic period of Venus.

The three-day disappearance of Inanna refers to the three-day planetary disappearance of Venus between its appearance as a morning or evening star. The fact that Gugalana is slain, refers to the disappearance of the constellation Taurus when the sun rises in that part of the sky, which in the Bronze Age marked the occurrence of the vernal equinox.

Joshua Mark argues that it is most likely that the moral of the Descent of Inanna was that there are always consequences for one’s actions. “The Descent of Inanna, then, about one of the gods behaving badly and other gods and mortals having to suffer for that behavior, would have given to an ancient listener the same basic understanding anyone today would take from an account of a tragic accident caused by someone’s negligence or poor judgment: that, sometimes, life is just not fair.”

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Den nye gullalderen

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 21, 2016

Mytologien gjennomsyrer vårt samfunn, vår kultur og vår historie. Via komperativ mytologi har jeg funnet ut at alle mytologiene deler samme bakgrunn, samt at religionene bygger på disse.
 
Har videre funnet ut at mytologiene er forløperen til både astronomi og astrologi, samt til våre tall og bokstaver, inkludert både runer og de fleste av dagens alfabeter, og at det hele henger sammen med naturens gang.
 
Faktisk vil jeg gå så langt som å hevde at hele vårt samfunn, hvordan det er innredet, er basert på denne kunnskap. Og at målet i henhold til mytologien er å frigjøre demringsgudinnen (Venus), også kjent som morgenrøden, og i nordisk mytologi representert ved vanerne (Venus).
 
Vaner (norrønt vanr, vanir) er i norrøn mytologi en gudeslekt (den andre slekten er æsene). Vanene assosieres med fruktbarhet, kjærlighet og rikdom, men også med døden. De har blitt tatt som gisler av asene.
 
Demringsgudinnen, som representerer nestekjærlighet og åndelig oppvåkning, har blitt tatt til fange og befinner seg gjerne i underverden, også kjent som det underbevisste, slik som tilfellet er med den germanske gudinnen Hel.
 
En frigjøring vil føre til transformasjon som vil føre til det nye året, som i tidligere tider startet i mars måned og som ble feiret gjennom en feiring av det nye året.
 
Ēostre eller Ostara var en germansk fruktbarhetsgudinne. Hun skal ha blitt feiret ved vårjevnsdøgnet den 21. mars og måneden april skal på den tiden ha båret hennes navn.
 
Månadsnamnet “Eosturmonath”, som fra begynnelsen skal ha blitt oppkalt etter henne, har blitt overtatt av påsken på engelsk (easter) og tysk (ostern).
 
Ēostre skal ha vært forbundet med egg og kaniner, hvor av begge er fruktbarhetssymboler. Disse har senere, etter kristendommens inntog, blitt overtatt som påskesymboler.
 
Påsken er den mest sentrale av de kristne høytidene i kirkeåret. Høytiden feires til minne om Jesu Kristi siste nattverd, korsfestelse, lidelse, død og oppstandelse som ifølge evangeliene i Bibelen fant sted under den jødiske påskefeiringen pesach i Jerusalem.
 
På mange måter dreier det seg om kvinnens frigjøring og at de feminine sider må få slippe opp og fram, men kan samtidig peke på en endring av den eksisterende sosiale orden ettersom hun støtter de fattige i samfunnet.
 
Astraia (“den skinnende”; “stjernejomfruen”) er i henhold til gresk mytologi en datter av enten Zevs og Temis eller av Eos og Astraios, avhengig av den antikke tradisjonen.
 
I løpet av den mytologiske gullalderen var hun den siste av guddommene som levde sammen med menneskene, men hun flyktet fra ondskapen og lovløsheten i den senere jernalderen.
 
Hun ble plassert i stjernene som stjernebildet Virgo (Jomfruen). Rettferdighetens vektskål som hun holder i hendene ble det nærliggende stjernebildet Libra (Vekten).
 
Astraia ble i tillegg til rettferdighet, også assosiert med uskyld og renhet, og ble således delvis eller helt identifisert med Dike, rettferdighetens gudinne, og med Nemesis, gudinne for rettferdig indignasjon.
 
I henhold til legenden vil Astraia en dag komme tilbake til jorden og bringe med seg den utopiske gullalderen. Hennes håp om en dag å komme tilbake ble referert til i Vergils Eclogue IV: «iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna» som har betydningen at de gode dager vil igjen komme tilbake; bokstavelig «Jomfruen kommer tilbake, og med Saturns styre.»

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Our background

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 6, 2016

Mousterian is a name given by archaeologists to a style of predominantly flint tools (or industry) associated primarily with Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) and dating to the Middle Paleolithic, the middle part of the European Old Stone Age. Mousterian tools that have been found in Europe were made by Neanderthals and date from around 160,000 BP and 40,000 BP.

The culture was named after the type site of Le Moustier, a rock shelter in the Dordogne region of France. Similar flintwork has been found all over unglaciated Europe and also the Near East and North Africa. Handaxes, racloirs and points constitute the industry; sometimes a Levallois technique or another prepared-core technique was employed in making the flint flakes.

Some assemblages, namely those from Pech de l’Aze, include exceptionally small points prepared using the Levallois technique among other prepared core types, causing some researchers to suggest that these flakes take advantage of greater grip strength possessed by Neanderthal physiology.

In North Africa and the Near East, Mouseterian tools were also produced by anatomically modern humans. In the Levant, for example, assemblages produced by Neanderthals are indistinguishable from those made by Qafzeh type modern humans. It may be an example of acculturation of modern humans by Neanderthals because the culture after 130,000 years reached the Levant from Europe (the first Mousterian industry appears there 200,000 BP) and the modern Qafzeh type humans appear in the Levant another 100,000 years later.

Possible variants are Denticulate, Charentian (Ferrassie & Quina) named after the Charente region, Typical and the Acheulean Tradition (MTA) – Type-A and Type-B. The industry continued alongside the new Châtelperronian industry during the 45,000-40,000 BP period.

Châtelperronian was the earliest industry of the Upper Palaeolithic in central and south western France, extending also into Northern Spain. It derives its name from the site of la Grotte des Fées, in Châtelperron, Allier, France.

It arose from the earlier Mousterian industry. It lasted from between c. 45,000 and c. 40,000 BP. The industry produced denticulate stone tools and also a distinctive flint knife with a single cutting edge and a blunt, curved back. The use of ivory at Châtelperronian sites tends to be more frequent than that of the later Aurignacian, while antler tools appear to be absent.

Controversy exists as to how far archaeologically it is associated with Neanderthal people. The Châtelperronian industry may relate to the origins of the very similar Gravettian culture. French archaeologists have traditionally classified both cultures together under the name Périgordian, Early Perigordian being equivalent to Châtelperronian and all the other phases corresponding to Gravettian, though this scheme is not often used by Anglophone authors.

It was followed by the Aurignacian industry, an archaeological culture of the Upper Palaeolithic. The name originates from the type site (a site considered to be the model of a particular archaeological culture) of Aurignac, Haute-Garonne, which is a town in the south-west of France near Toulouse or Andorra.

The Aurignacian culture is the earliest modern human culture in Europe, and is associated with the immigration of anatomically modern humans from the Near East. It first appeared in Eastern Europe around 43,000 BP, and in Western Europe between 40,000 and 36,000 years BP. It was replaced by the Gravettian culture around 28,000 to 26,000 years ago.

The oldest undisputed example of human figurative art, the Venus of Hohle Fels, comes from this culture. It was discovered in September 2008 in a cave at Schelklingen in Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The Bacho Kiro site is one of the earliest known Aurignacian burials.

The Gravettian tool-making culture was a specific archaeological industry of the European Upper Paleolithic era prevalent before the last glacial maximum. It is named after the site of La Gravette in the Dordogne region of France where its characteristic tools were first found and studied.

The earliest signs of the culture were found at Kozarnika, Bulgaria. Authorities give slightly different dates for this culture. Brian M. Fagan suggests it lasted from around 27,000 to 16,000 BCE while Richard Klein suggests between 26,000 and 20,000 BCE. Where found, it succeeded the artifacts datable to the Aurignacian culture.

In August 2013, Romanian archaeologists found a 20,000-year-old Gravettian pendant at the Paleolithic site of Poiana Ciresului (English: ‘Cherry Glade’), near Piatra Neamț, in eastern Romania. The newly discovered objects will be included in the Paleolithic artifacts collection of the Târgoviște History Museum, in the new section of human evolution. The department will open at “Stelea” Galleries with the support of the Dâmboviţa County Council.

The diagnostic characteristic artifacts of the industry are small pointed restruck blade with a blunt but straight back, a carving tool known as a burin. Artistic achievements of the Gravettian cultural stage include hundreds of Venus figurines, which are widely distributed in Europe. The predecessor culture was linked to similar figurines and carvings.

Gravettian culture is a phase of the European Upper Paleolithic that is characterized by a stone-tool industry with small pointed blades used for big-game hunting (bison, horse, reindeer and mammoth). People in the Gravettian period used nets to hunt small game. For more information on hunting, see Animal Usage in the Gravettian.

It is divided into two regional groups: the western Gravettian, mostly known from cave sites in France, and the eastern Gravettian, with open sites of specialized mammoth hunters on the plains of central Europe and Russia such as the derivative Pavlovian culture.

Artifacts and technologies of this and the preceding Aurignacian culture figure centrally in the romanticized adaptation of the culture in the popular fictive prehistory depicted in the Earth’s Children novel series which leans heavily on archeological finds and theories from this era. In the series, the Venus figurines are central to a fertility rite and worship of “The Great Earth Mother,” a spirit from which all life flows.

The Baradostian culture was an Upper Paleolithic flint industry culture found in the Zagros region in the border-country between Iraq and Iran. It was preceded by the Middle Paleolithic Mousterian culture. According to M. Otte, the Baradostian of the Zagros clearly belongs to Aurignacian traditions.

Radiocarbon dates suggest that this was one of the earliest Upper Paleolithic complexes, beginning perhaps as early as 36,000 BC. Its relationship, however, to neighbouring cultures remains unclear. Shanidar Cave in Iraqi Kurdistan, Warwasi rock-shelter and Yafteh Cave in the western Zagros, and Eshkaft-e Gavi Cave in the southern Zagros are among the major sites to have been excavated.

Perhaps precipitated by the most recent cold phase (the Würm glaciation) of the current ice age, the Baradostian was replaced by a local Epipaleolithic industry called the Zarzian culture. The Baradostian tool tradition marks the end of the Zagros Paleolithic sequence.

Zarzian culture is an archaeological culture of late Paleolithic and Mesolithic in Southwest Asia. The period of the culture is estimated about 18,000-8,000 years BC. It was preceded by the Baradostian culture in the same region and was related to the Imereti culture of the Caucasus.

The culture was named and recognised of the cave of Zarzi in Iraqi Kurdistan. Here was found plenty of microliths (up to 20% finds). Their forms are short and asymmetric trapezoids, and triangles with hollows.

Andy Burns states “The Zarzian of the Zagros region of Iran is contemporary with the Natufian but different from it. The only dates for the entire Zarzian come from Palegawra Cave, and date to 17,300-17,000 BP, but it is clear that it is broadly contemporary with the Levantine Kebaran, with which it shares features. It seems to have evolved from the Upper Palaeolithic Baradostian.”

There are only a few Zarzian sites and the area appears to have been quite sparsely populated during the Epipalaeolithic. Faunal remains from the Zarzian indicate that the temporary form of structures indicate a hunter-gatherer subsistence strategy, focused on onager, red deer and caprines. Better known sites include Palegawra Cave, Shanidar B2 and Zarzi.” The Zarzian culture seems to have participated in the early stages of what Kent Flannery has called the broad spectrum revolution.

The Zarzian culture is found associated with remains of the domesticated dog and with the introduction of the bow and arrow. It seems to have extended north into the Gobustan (Kobystan, Qobustan) region and into Eastern Iran as a forerunner of the Hissar and related cultures.

Emireh culture was a culture that existed in the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine) between the Middle Paleolithic and the Upper Paleolithic periods. It apparently developed from the local Mousterian without rupture, keeping numerous elements of the Levalloise-Mousterian, together with the locally typical Emireh point. The Emireh point is the type tool of stage one of the Upper Paleolithic, first identified in the Emirian or Emireh culture.

Numerous stone blade tools were used, including curved knives similar to those found in the Chatelperronian culture of Western Europe. Like the Chattelperronian, Elmireh is associated with late Neanderthal people rather than with Homo sapiens. According to Dorothy Garrod, the Emireh point, known from several sites in Israel, is the hallmark of this culture.

The Emirian eventually evolved into the Antelian culture, an Upper Paleolithic phase of the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Israel), still of Levalloise tradition but with some Aurignacian influences. The most important innovation in this period is the incorporation of some typical elements of Aurignacian, like some types of burins and narrow blade points that resemble the European type of Font-Yves.

The appearance of the Kebarian culture (c. 18,000 to 12,500 BC) was the last Upper Paleolithic phase in the eastern Mediterranean area of the Levant (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel. It was named after its type site, Kebara Cave south of Haifa. The Kebaran were a highly mobile nomadic population, composed of hunters and gatherers in the Levant and Sinai areas who utilized microlithic tools.

The appearance of the Kebarian culture, of microlithic type implies a significant rupture in the cultural continuity of Levantine Upper Paleolithic. The Kebarans were characterized by small, geometric microliths, and were thought to lack the specialized grinders and pounders found in later Near Eastern cultures.

The Kebaran culture, with its use of microliths, is associated with the use of the bow and arrow and the domestication of the dog. It is also characterised by the earliest collecting of wild cereals, known due to the uncovering of grain grinding tools. It was the first step towards the Neolithic Revolution. The Kebaran people are believed to have practiced dispersal to upland environments in the summer, and aggregation in caves and rockshelters near lowland lakes in the winter. This diversity of environments may be the reason for the variety of tools found in their toolkits.

The Kebaran is preceded by the Athlitian phase of the Antelian, a specialization of Antelian with a comeback of the Chatelperronian knives of the Emiran, and followed by the proto-agrarian Natufian culture of the Epipalaeolithic. Situated in the Terminal Pleistocene, the Kebaran is classified as an Epipalaeolithic society. They are generally thought to have been ancestral to the later Natufian culture that occupied much of the same range.

The Natufian culture was an Epipaleolithic culture that existed from 12,500 to 9,500 BC in the Levant, a region in the Eastern Mediterranean. According to Christy G. Turner II, there is an archaeological and physical anthropological reason for a relationship between the modern Semitic-speaking populations of the Levant and the Natufians.

It was unusual in that it was sedentary, or semi-sedentary, before the introduction of agriculture. The Natufian communities may be the ancestors of the builders of the first Neolithic settlements of the region, which may have been the earliest in the world. Some evidence suggests deliberate cultivation of cereals, specifically rye, by the Natufian culture, at Tell Abu Hureyra, the site of earliest evidence of agriculture in the world. Generally, though, Natufians exploited wild cereals. Animals hunted included gazelles.

The term “Natufian” was coined by Dorothy Garrod who studied the Shuqba cave in Wadi an-Natuf, in the western Judean Mountains, about halfway between Tel Aviv and Ramallah.

The Natufian developed in the same region as the earlier Kebaran complex, and is generally seen as a successor which developed from at least elements within that earlier culture. There were also other cultures in the region, such as the Mushabian culture of the Negev and Sinai, which are sometimes distinguished from the Kebaran, and sometimes also seen as having played a role in the development of the Natufian.

More generally there has been discussion of the similarities of these cultures with those found in coastal North Africa. Graeme Barker notes there are: “similarities in the respective archaeological records of the Natufian culture of the Levant and of contemporary foragers in coastal North Africa across the late Pleistocene and early Holocene boundary”.

Ofer Bar-Yosef has argued that there are signs of influences coming from North Africa to the Levant, citing the microburin technique and “microlithic forms such as arched backed bladelets and La Mouillah points.” But recent research has shown that the presence of arched backed bladelets, La Mouillah points, and the use of the microburin technique was already apparent in the Nebekian industry of the Eastern Levant. And Maher et al. state that, “Many technological nuances that have often been always highlighted as significant during the Natufian were already present during the Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic and do not, in most cases, represent a radical departure in knowledge, tradition, or behavior.”

Authors such as Christopher Ehret have built upon the little evidence available to develop scenarios of intensive usage of plants having built up first in North Africa, as a precursor to the development of true farming in the Fertile Crescent, but such suggestions are considered highly speculative until more North African archaeological evidence can be gathered. In fact, Weiss et al. have shown that the earliest known intensive usage of plants was in the Levant 23,000 years ago at the Ohalo II site.

Anthropologist C. Loring Brace in a recent study on cranial metric traits however, was also able to identify a “clear link” to Sub-Saharan African populations for early Natufians based on his observation of gross anatomical similarity with extant populations found mostly in the Sahara. Brace believes that these populations later became assimilated into the broader continuum of Southwest Asian populations.

According to Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen, “It seems that certain preadaptive traits, developed already by the Kebaran and Geometric Kebaran populations within the Mediterranean park forest, played an important role in the emergence of the new socioeconomic system known as the Natufian culture.”

Haplogroup R

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

The Mal’ta-Buret’ culture is an archaeological culture of the Upper Paleolithic (c. 24,000 to 15,000 BP) on the upper Angara River in the area west of Lake Baikal in the Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia, Russian Federation.

According to research published in 2013 and 2016 the Mal’ta people belonged to an extinct population closely related to a population who contributed substantially to the genetic ancestry of Siberians, Native Americans and Bronze Age Yamnaya people.

Research published in 2014 suggests that a Mal’ta like people were important genetic contributors to the American Indians, Europeans, Central and South Asians but did not contribute to and was not related to East Eurasians. Mal’ta had a type of R* y-dna that diverged before the hg R1 and R2 split and an unresolved clade of haplogroup U mtdna.

Between 14 and 38 percent of American Indian ancestry may originate from gene flow from the Mal’ta Buret people, while the other geneflow in the Native Americans appears to have an Eastern Eurasian origin.

Sequencing of another south-central Siberian (Afontova Gora-2) dating to approximately 17,000 years ago, revealed similar autosomal genetic signatures as Mal’ta boy-1, suggesting that the region was continuously occupied by humans throughout the Last Glacial Maximum.

The term “Ancient North Eurasian” (ANE) is the name given in genetic literature to an ancestral component that represents descent from the people of the Mal’ta-Buret’ culture or a population closely related to them.

Genomic study also indicates that the Yamnaya invasion from steppes introduced “Ancient North Eurasian” admixture into Europe. “Ancient North Eurasian” genetic component is visible in tests of the Yamnaya people, which makes up 50% of their ancestry. as well as modern-day Europeans (5%-18% ANE admixture), but not of Europeans predating the Bronze Age.

According to 2016 genomic study, it was found that global maximum of ANE ancestry occurs in modern-day Native Americans, Kets, Nganasans and Yukaghirs. The Mal’ta-Buret’ population were also found to be genetically close to modern-day Native Americans, Kets, Nganasans and Yukaghirs.

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

Discussing this easternmost outpost of paleolithic culture, Joseph Campbell finishes by commenting on the symbolic forms of the artifacts found there: We are clearly in a paleolithic province where the serpent, labyrinth, and rebirth themes already constitute a symbolic constellation, joined with the imagery of the sunbird and shaman flight, with the goddess in her classic role of protectress of the hearth, mother of man’s second birth, and lady of wild things and of the food supply.

Perhaps the best example of Paleolithic portable art is something referred to as “Venus figurines”. Until they were discovered in Mal’ta, “Venus figurines” were previously found only in Europe. The only widely known Upper Paleolithic art from Asia are these figurines from Mal’ta.

A Venus figurine is any Upper Paleolithic statuette portraying a woman, although the fewer images depicting men or figures of uncertain gender, and those in relief or engraved on rock or stones are often discussed together. Most have been unearthed in Europe, but others have been found as far away as Siberia, extending their distribution across much of Eurasia, although with many gaps, such as the Mediterranean outside Italy.

Most of them date from the Gravettian period (26,000–21,000 years ago), but examples exist as early as the Venus of Hohle Fels, which dates back at least 35,000 years to the Aurignacian, and as late as the Venus of Monruz, from about 11,000 years ago in the Magdalenian.

There are many interpretations of the figurines, often based on little argument or fact. Like many prehistoric artifacts, the cultural meaning of these figures may never be known. Archaeologists speculate, however, that they may be emblems of security and success, fertility icons, or direct representations of a mother goddess.

The female figures, as part of Upper Palaeolithic portable art, appear to have no practical use in the context of subsistence. They are mostly discovered in settlement contexts, both in open-air sites and caves; burial contexts are much rarer.

At Gagarino in Russia, seven Venus figurines were found in a hut of 5 m diameter; they have been interpreted as apotropaic amulets, connected with the occupants of the dwelling. At Mal’ta, near Lake Baikal in Siberia, figurines are only known from the left sides of huts. The figurines were probably not hidden or secret amulets, but rather were displayed to be seen by all (a factor that may explain their wide geographic spread). An image of excess weight may have symbolized a yearning for plenty and security.

Helen Benigni argues in The Emergence of the Goddess that the consistency in design of these featureless, large-breasted, often pregnant figures throughout a wide region and over a long period of time suggests they represent an archetype of a female Supreme Creator. Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age people likely connected the female as a creator innately tied to the cycles of nature: women gave birth and their menstrual cycles aligned with lunar cycles and tides.

At Mal’ta, near Lake Baikal in Siberia, figurines are only known from the left sides of huts. The figurines were probably not hidden or secret amulets, but rather were displayed to be seen by all (a factor that may explain their wide geographic spread). An image of excess weight may have symbolized a yearning for plenty and security.

In addition to the female statuettes there are bird sculptures depicting swans, geese, and ducks. Through ethnographic analogy comparing the ivory objects and burials at Mal’ta with objects used by 19th and 20th century Siberian shamans, it has been suggested that they are evidence of a fully developed shamanism.

The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) was the last period in the Earth’s climate history during the last glacial period when ice sheets were at their greatest extension. Growth of the ice sheets reached their maximum positions 24,500 BCE. Deglaciation commenced in the Northern Hemisphere gradually between approximately 18,000 to 17,000 BCE, and in Antarctica approximately 12,500 BCE which is consistent with evidence that this was the primary source for an abrupt rise in the sea level 12,500 BCE.

During the LGM, vast ice sheets covered much of North America, northern Europe and Asia. These ice sheets profoundly affected Earth’s climate, causing drought, desertification and a dramatic drop in sea levels. It was followed by the Late Glacial Maximum.

The Late Glacial Maximum (c. 13,000–10,000 years ago), or Tardiglacial (“Late Glacial”), is defined primarily by the beginning of the modern warm period, in which climates in the Northern Hemisphere warmed substantially, causing a process of accelerated deglaciation following the Last Glacial Maximum (c. 25,000–13,000 years ago).

At this time, human populations, previously forced into refuge areas as a result of Last Glacial Maximum climatic conditions, gradually begin to repopulate the Northern Hemisphere’s Eurasian landmass and eventually populate North America via Beringia for the first time.

The European distribution of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a has been suggested to have occurred as a result of receding glacial activity, allowing males bearing the lineage from the present day territory of Ukraine to migrate and gradually populate central, northern, and western Europe.

Alternatively, it has been proposed that males from haplogroup Hg P*(xR1a1) or R1b (Y-DNA) repopulated most of Europe shortly after the Last Glacial Maximum, related to population expansions out of the Franco-Cantabrian region. The European distribution of Y-chromosome haplogroup I and various associated subclades has also been explained as resulting from male postglacial recolonization of Europe from refuge in the Balkans, Iberia, and the Ukraine/Central Russian Plain.

Males possessing haplogroup Q are postulated as representing a significant portion of the population who crossed Beringia and populated North America for the first time.

The distribution of mtDNA haplogroup H has been postulated as representing the major female repopulating of Europe after the Last Glacial Maximum from the Franco-Cantabrian region. mtDNA haplogroups A, B, C, D, and X are interpreted according to some as supporting a single pre-Clovis populating of the Americas via a coastal route.

Periglacial loess-steppe environments prevailed across the East European Plain, but climates improved slightly during several brief interstadials and began to warm significantly after the beginning of the Late Glacial Maximum. Epigravettian archaeological sites, similar to Eastern Gravettian sites, are common in the southwest, central, and southern regions of the East European Plain about 17,000 to 10,000 years BP and are also present in the Crimea and Northern Caucasus.

The Gravettian tool-making culture was a specific archaeological industry of the European Upper Paleolithic era prevalent before the last glacial maximum. It is named after the site of La Gravette in the Dordogne region of France where its characteristic tools were first found and studied. The earliest signs of the culture were found at Kozarnika, Bulgaria. Authorities give slightly different dates for this culture. Brian M. Fagan suggests it lasted from around 27,000 to 16,000 BCE while Richard Klein suggests between 26,000 and 20,000 BCE.

Where found, it succeeded the artifacts datable to the Aurignacian culture. Artistic achievements of the Gravettian cultural stage include hundreds of Venus figurines, which are widely distributed in Europe. The predecessor culture was linked to similar figurines and carvings.

Artifacts and technologies of this and the preceding Aurignacian culture figure centrally in the romanticized adaptation of the culture in the popular fictive prehistory depicted in the Earth’s Children novel series which leans heavily on archeological finds and theories from this era. In the series, the Venus figurines are central to a fertility rite and worship of “The Great Earth Mother,” a spirit from which all life flows.

The oldest forms of R1b (M343, P25, L389) are found dispersed at very low frequencies from Western Europe to India. The three main branches of R1b1 (R1b1a, R1b1b, R1b1c) all seem to have stemmed from the Middle East.

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

It has been hypothetised that R1b people (perhaps alongside neighbouring J2 tribes) were the first to domesticate cattle in northern Mesopotamia some 10,500 years ago. R1b tribes descended from mammoth hunters, and when mammoths went extinct, they started hunting other large game such as bisons and aurochs. With the increase of the human population in the Fertile Crescent from the beginning of the Neolithic (starting 12,000 years ago), selective hunting and culling of herds started replacing indiscriminate killing of wild animals.

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

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

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

The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others. Haplogroup R1a probably branched off from R1* during or soon after the Last Glacial Maxium. Little is know for certain about its place of origin. Some think it might have originated in the Balkans or around Pakistan and Northwest India, due to the greater genetic diversity found in these regions. The diversity can be explained by other factors though.

The Balkans have been subject to 5000 years of migrations from the Eurasian Steppes, each bringing new varieties of R1a. South Asia has had a much bigger population than any other parts of the world (occasionally equalled by China) for at least 10,000 years, and larger population bring about more genetic diversity. The most likely place of origin of R1a is Central Asia or southern Russia/Siberia.

Indo-Europeans

Aratta is a land that appears in Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list. It is described in Sumerian literature as a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them.

Aratta is remote and difficult to reach. It is home to the goddess Inanna, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk. It is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk. The name is connected to the Indo-European root Ar- meaning “assemble/create” which is vastly used in names of or regarding the Sun, light, or fire, found in Ararat, Aryan, Arta etc.

It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Old Persian Armina and the Greek Armenoi are continuations of an Assyrian toponym Armânum or Armanî. There are certain Bronze Age records identified with the toponym in both Mesopotamian and Egyptian sources. The earliest is from an inscription which mentions Armânum together with Ibla (Ebla) as territories conquered by Naram-Sin of Akkad in c. 2250 BC.

The Armenian hypothesis of the Proto-Indo-European Urheimat, proposed by Georgian (T. Gamkrelidze) and Russian linguist V. V. Ivanov in 1985, suggests that the Proto-Indo-European language was spoken during the 4th millennium BC in the Armenian Highlands.

The Armenian hypothesis was proposed by Georgian (T. Gamkrelidze) and Russian linguists V. V. Ivanov in 1985, presenting it first in two articles in Vestnik drevnej istorii and then in a much larger work. J. Grepin, reviewing Gamkrelidze and Ivanov’s book, wrote that their model of linguistic relationships is “the most complex, far reaching and fully supported of this century”.

It is argueed that IE spread out from Armenia into the Pontic steppe, from which it expanded, as per the Kurgan hypothesis, into Western Europe. The Hittite, Indo-Iranian, Greek and Armenian branches split from the Armenian homeland. It is an Indo-Hittite model and does not include the Anatolian languages in its scenario, which are identified with the Kura-Araxes culture.

The phonological peculiarities proposed in the glottalic theory would be best preserved in the Armenian language and the Germanic languages, the former assuming the role of the dialect which remained in situ and implied to be particularly archaic in spite of its late attestation.

The Proto-Greek language would be practically equivalent to Mycenaean Greek and date to the 17th century BC and closely associate Greek migration to Greece with the Indo-Aryan migration to India at about the same time (the Indo-European expansion at the transition to the Late Bronze Age, including the possibility of Indo-European Kassites).

The Armenian hypothesis argues for the latest possible date of Proto-Indo-European (without Anatolian), roughly a millennium later than the mainstream Kurgan hypothesis. It figures as an opposite to the Anatolian hypothesis in spite of the geographical proximity of the respective suggested Urheimaten, diverging from the timeframe suggested there by as much as three millennia.

In 1981, Paul Hopper proposed to divide all Indo-European languages into Decem and Taihun groups, according to the pronunciation of the numeral ’10’, by analogy with the Centum-Satem isogloss, which is based on the pronunciation of the numeral ‘100’.

The Armenian, Germanic, Anatolian, and Tocharian subfamilies belong to the Taihun group because the numeral ’10’ begins with a voiceless t there. All other Indo-European languages belong to the Decem group because the numeral 10 begins with a voiced d in them.

Some linguists, most notably Edgar H. Sturtevant and Warren Cowgill, have argued that it should be classified as a sister language to Proto-Indo-European, rather than a daughter language, formulating the Indo-Hittite hypothesis. The parent, Indo-Hittite, lacked the features not present in Hittite, which Proto-Indo-European innovated.

Other linguists, however, have taken the opposite point of view, the Schwund (“loss”) Hypothesis, that Hittite (or Anatolian) came from a Proto-Indo-European possessing the full range of features, but simplified. A third hypothesis, supported by Calvert Watkins and others, viewed the major families as all coming from Proto-Indo-European directly. They were all sister languages or language groups. Differences might be explained as dialectical.

The Catacomb culture (ca. 2800–2200 BC) is a group of related cultures in the early Bronze Age occupying essentially what is present-day Ukraine. It was preceded by the Yamna culture.

The culture was the first to introduce corded pottery decorations into the steppes and shows a profuse use of the polished battle axe, providing a link to the West. Parallels with the Afanasevo culture, including provoked cranial deformations, provide a link to the East. The Catacomb culture in the Pontic steppe was succeeded by the Srubna culture from ca. the 17th century BC.

Because of its numerous traits attributed to the early Indo-Europeans, like metal-use, horses and wheeled vehicles, and cultural relations with Kurgan steppe cultures, the Afanasevans are believed to have been Indo-European-speaking. The Afanasevo people were genetically indistinguishable from Yamnaya people.

Because of its eastern geographical location and early existence, the Afanasevans have been connected to the Tocharian languages. Yet, Tarim mummies are genetically closer to Andronovo culture than to Yamnaya culture or Afanasevo culture. Numerous scholars have suggested that the Afanasevo were responsible for the introduction of metallurgy to China.

The Globular Amphora Culture (GAC), German Kugelamphoren-Kultur (KAK), ca. 3400–2800 BC, is an archaeological culture, thought to be of Indo-European origin, preceding the central area occupied by the Corded Ware culture. Somewhat to the south and west, it was bordered by the Baden culture. To the northeast was the Narva culture. It occupied much of the same area as the earlier Funnelbeaker culture. The name was coined by Gustaf Kossinna because of the characteristic pottery, globular-shaped pots with two to four handles.

The inclusion of animals in the grave is seen as an intrusive cultural element by Marija Gimbutas. The practice of suttee, hypothesized by Gimbutas is also seen as a highly intrusive cultural element. The supporters of the Kurgan hypothesis point to these distinctive burial practices and state this may represent one of the earliest migrations of Indo-Europeans into Central Europe. In this context and given its area of occupation, this culture has been claimed as the underlying culture of a Germanic-Baltic-Slavic continuum.

The Corded Ware culture (German: Schnurkeramik; French: ceramique cordée; Dutch: touwbekercultuur) comprises a broad Indo-European archaeological horizon of Europe between c. 2900 BCE — circa 2350 BCE, thus from the late Neolithic, through the Copper Age, and ending in the early Bronze Age.

Corded Ware culture encompassed a vast area, from the Rhine on the west to the Volga in the east, occupying parts of Northern Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe.

The origins and dispersal of Corded Ware culture was for a long time one of the pivotal unresolved issues of the Indo-European Urheimat problem, but a genetic study conducted by Haak et al. (2015) found that a large proportion (about 75%) of the Corded Ware culture’s ancestry came from the Yamnaya culture, tracing the Corded Ware culture’s origins to migrations from the Yamnaya population of the steppes.

Their study confirms with paleogenomics the pivotal role Corded Ware culture played in disseminating many forms of the Indo-European language ancestral to at least Northern European Indo-European languages (Germanic and Balto-Slavic), and suggests a role in the spread of other Indo-European languages of Southern Europe (Italo-Celtic and probably Greek languages).

Furthermore, Allentoft et al. (2015) presents surprising genetic evidence of genetic affinity of the Corded Ware Culture with the later Sintashta culture, suggesting that the “Western” or European Neolithic component of Sintashta and its daughter cultures may have come from the Corded Ware culture.

The Yamna or Yamnaya culture, also called Pit Grave Culture and Ochre Grave Culture, was a late Copper Age/early Bronze Age culture of the Southern Bug/Dniester/Ural region (the Pontic steppe), dating to 3,500 – 2,300 BCE. The Yamna culture is identified with the late Proto-Indo-Europeans, and is the strongest candidate for the Urheimat (homeland) of the Proto-Indo-European language.

The people of the Yamnaya culture were the likely result of admixture between eastern European hunter-gatherers (via whom they also descend from the Mal’ta-Buret’ culture or other, closely related people) and Near eastern people, namely hunter-gatherers from the Caucasus c.q. Iran Chalcolithic related people which were related to Caucasian hunter-gatherers.

According to Jones et al. (2015) and Haak et al. (2015), autosomic tests indicate that the Yamnaya-people were the result of admixture between two different hunter-gatherer populations: distinctive “Eastern European hunter-gatherers” with high affinity to the Mal’ta-Buret’ culture or other, closely related people from Siberia and a population of “Caucasus hunter-gatherers” who probably arrived from somewhere in the Near East, probably the Caucasus. Each of those two populations contributed about half the Yamnaya DNA.

Their culture is materially very similar to that of the people of the Afanasevo culture, their contemporaries in the Altai Mountains; furthermore, genetic tests have confirmed that the two groups are genetically indistinguishable.

They are also closely connected to later, Bronze Age cultures which spread throughout Europe and Central Asia, especially the Corded Ware people, but also the Bell Beakers as well as the peoples of the Andronovo, Sintashta, and Srubna cultures. In these groups, there are present several aspects of the Yamna culture (e.g., horse-riding, burial styles, and to some extent the pastoralist economy). Studies have also established that these populations derived large parts of their ancestry from the steppes.

Armenia, Homeland of the Germans?

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