Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Thor – the thunder god

Posted by Fredsvenn on December 14, 2016

Bilderesultat for sagittarius

Bilderesultat for sagittarius

Bilderesultat for sagittarius

Jupiter – Sagittarius

Bilderesultat for thor symbol

Thor – Sacred Marriage and Chaoskampf

TarhuntTarḫunnaTarḫunzTaranisTarchonThorTharapita or TaaraPerkūnasPerunPerkūnasUkko or Perkele, PerëndiZeusJupiter,  IndraNinurtaTeshubAdad, Bel, MardukBaʿal, HadadSetAstrape and BronteBrontesSummanus, Ambisagrus, LoucetiosGebeleizisZibelthiurdos, and Horagalles

Enlil is the “Bull of Heaven”

Nanna, the Moon, is also a bull, and the same is Ninurta, also known as Saturn / Cronus

Ishkur / Haddad 

Iškur (Sumerian), Haddad (Akkadian) and Haddu (Ugaritic) was the storm and rain god in the Northwest Semitic and ancient Mesopotamian religions. It was attested in Ebla as “Hadda” in c. 2500 BC. In Akkadian, Adad is also known as Ramman (“Thunderer”) cognate with Aramaic Rimmon, which was a byname of Hadad. From the Levant, Hadad was introduced to Mesopotamia by the Amorites, where it became known as the Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian) god Adad.

The form Iškur appears in the list of gods found at Shuruppak but was of far less importance, probably partly because storms and rain were scarce in Sumer and agriculture there depended on irrigation instead. The gods Enlil and Ninurta also had storm god features that decreased Iškur’s distinctiveness. He sometimes appears as the assistant or companion of one or the other of the two.

When Enki distributed the destinies, he made Iškur inspector of the cosmos. In one litany, Iškur is proclaimed again and again as “great radiant bull, your name is heaven” and also called son of Anu, lord of Karkara; twin-brother of Enki, lord of abundance, lord who rides the storm, lion of heaven. He is also occasionally son of Enlil.

In other texts Adad/Iškur is sometimes son of the moon god Sin (Akkadian) or Nanna (Sumerian) by Ningal (“Great Lady/Queen”), and brother of Utu/Shamash, the sun god, Ereshkigal, and Inanna/Ishtar. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and became identified with Semitic Sin.

The two chief seats of Nanna’s/Sin’s worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north. His consort is Ningal, a goddess of reeds in the Sumerian mythology, daughter of Enki and Ningikurga. She is chiefly recognised at Ur, and was probably first worshipped by cow-herders in the marsh lands of southern Mesopotamia.

Sin is commonly designated as En-zu, which means “lord of wisdom”. During the period (c.2600-2400 BC) that Ur exercised a large measure of supremacy over the Euphrates valley, Sin was naturally regarded as the head of the pantheon. The tendency to centralize the powers of the universe leads to the establishment of the doctrine of a triad consisting of Sin/Nanna and his children.

It is to this period that we must trace such designations of Sin as “father of the gods”, “chief of the gods”, “creator of all things”, and the like. The “wisdom” personified by the moon-god is likewise an expression of the science of astronomy or the practice of astrology, in which the observation of the moon’s phases is an important factor.

Sin had a beard made of lapis lazuli and rode on a winged bull. The bull was one of his symbols, through his father, Enlil, “Bull of Heaven”, along with the crescent and the tripod (which may be a lamp-stand).

On cylinder seals, he is represented as an old man with a flowing beard and the crescent symbol. In the astral-theological system he is represented by the number 30 and the moon. This number probably refers to the average number of days (correctly around 29.53) in a lunar month, as measured between successive new moons.

Shamash (Akkadian: Šamaš dUD) was the solar deity in ancient Semitic religion, corresponding to the Sumerian god Utu. Shamash was also the god of justice in Babylonia and Assyria. Shamash and Adad became in combination the gods of oracles and of divination in general.

Whether the will of the gods is determined through the inspection of the liver of the sacrificial animal, through observing the action of oil bubbles in a basin of water or through the observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, it is Shamash and Adad who, in the ritual connected with divination, are invariably invoked.

Similarly in the annals and votive inscriptions of the kings, when oracles are referred to, Shamash and Adad are always named as the gods addressed, and their ordinary designation in such instances is bele biri (“lords of divination”).

The Babylonian center of Adad/Iškur’s cult was Karkara in the south, his chief temple being É.Kar.kar.a; his spouse Shala his was worshipped in a temple named É.Dur.ku. In Assyria, Adad was developed along with his warrior aspect.

During the Middle Assyrian Empire, from the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BCE), Adad had a double sanctuary in Assur which he shared with Anu. Anu is often associated with Adad in invocations. The name Adad and various alternate forms and bynames (Dadu, Bir, Dadda) are often found in the names of the Assyrian kings.

Adad and Iškur are usually written with the logogram dIM. Hadad was also called “Pidar”, “Rapiu”, “Baal-Zephon”, or often simply Baʿal (Lord), but this title was also used for other gods. The bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad. He appeared bearded, often holding a club and thunderbolt while wearing a bull-horned headdress.

Hadad was equated with the Hurrian god of sky and storm, and later the Indo-European Nasite Hittite storm-god Teshub (cuneiform dIM; hieroglyphic Luwian (DEUS)TONITRUS, read as Tarhunzas); the Egyptian god Set; the Rigvedic god Indra, the Greek god Zeus; the Roman god Jupiter, as Jupiter Dolichenus.

Taru was the name of a similar Hattic Storm God, whose mythology and worship as a primary deity continued and evolved through descendant Luwian and Hittite cultures. In these two, Taru was known as Tarhun / Tarhunt- / Tarhuwant- / Tarhunta, names derived from the Anatolian root *tarh “to defeat, conquer”.

Taru/Tarhun/Tarhunt was ultimately assimilated into and identified with the Hurrian Teshub around the time of the religious reforms of Muwatalli II, ruler of the Hittite New Kingdom in the early 13th century BCE. These reforms can generally be categorized as an official incorporation of Hurrian deities into the Hittite pantheon, with a smaller number of important Hurrian gods (like Teshub) being explicitly identified with preexisting major Hittite deities (like Taru).

Teshub reappears in the post-Hurrian cultural successor kingdom of Urartu as Tesheba, one of their chief gods; in Urartian art he is depicted standing on a bull.

Virgo / Libra

Adad/Iškur’s consort (both in early Sumerian and the much later Assyrian texts) was Shala, a goddess of grain, who is also sometimes associated with the god Dagan. She was also called Gubarra in the earliest texts. The fire god Gibil (named Gerra in Akkadian) is sometimes the son of Iškur and Shala.

Virgo is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Its name is Latin for virgin. Lying between Leo to the west and Libra to the east, it is the second largest constellation in the sky (after Hydra). It can be easily found through its brightest star, Spica.

According to the Babylonian Mul.Apin, which dates from 1000–686 BCE, this constellation was known as “The Furrow”, representing the goddess Shala’s ear of grain. One star in this constellation, Spica, retains this tradition as it is Latin for “ear of grain”, one of the major products of the Mesopotamian furrow. The constellation was also known as “AB.SIN” and “absinnu”. For this reason the constellation became associated with fertility.

According to Gavin White the figure of Virgo corresponds to two Babylonian constellations: the “Furrow” in the eastern sector of Virgo and the “Frond of Erua” in the western sector. The Frond of Erua was depicted as a goddess holding a palm-frond – a motif that still occasionally appears in much later depictions of Virgo.

There is very important documentation referring to the description of the constellation Virgo, which has its origin in the ancient Assyrian-Babylonian culture. This constellation has always been female and has been especially associated with the tension between fertility and beauty. The Babylonians associated this constellation with the goddess Ishtar, also well-known under the name of Ashtoreth or Astarte.

The Greeks and Romans associated Virgo with their goddess of wheat/agriculture, Demeter-Ceres who is the mother of Persephone-Proserpina. Alternatively, she was sometimes identified as the virgin goddess Iustitia or Astraea, holding the scales of justice in her hand as the constellation Libra. Libra only became a constellation in ancient Rome, when it began to represent the scales held by Astraea, the goddess of justice, associated with Virgo.

Another myth identifies Virgo as Erigone, the daughter of Icarius of Athens. Icarius, who had been favoured by Dionysus, was killed by his shepherds while they were intoxicated and Erigone hanged herself in grief; Dionysus placed the father and daughter in the stars as Boötes and Virgo respectively. In the Middle Ages, Virgo was sometimes associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Due to the effects of precession, the First Point of Libra, (also known as the autumn equinox point) lies within the boundaries of Virgo very close to β Virginis. This is one of the two points in the sky where the celestial equator crosses the ecliptic (the other being the First Point of Aries, now in the constellation of Pisces.) This point will pass into the neighbouring constellation of Leo around the year 2440.

Mari (City and god)

Mari (modern Tell Hariri), was an ancient Semitic city in Syria. Its remains constitute a tell located 11 kilometers north-west of Abu Kamal on the Euphrates river western bank, some 120 kilometers southeast of Deir ez-Zor. It flourished as a trade center and hegemonic state between 2900 BC and 1759 BC.[note 1] As a purposely built city, the existence of Mari was related to its position in the middle of the Euphrates trade routes; this position made it an intermediary between Sumer in the south and the Levant in the west.

Mari was first abandoned in the middle of the 26th century BC but was rebuilt and became the capital of a hegemonic East-Semitic state before 2500 BC. This second Mari engaged in a long war with its rival Ebla, and is known for its strong affinity with the Sumerian culture. It was destroyed in the 23rd century BC by the Akkadians who allowed the city to be rebuilt and appointed a military governor bearing the title of Shakkanakku (military governor).

The governors later became independent with the rapid disintegration of the Akkadian empire and rebuilt the city as a regional center in the middle Euphrates valley. The Shakkanakkus ruled Mari until the second half of the 19th century BC when the dynasty collapsed for unknown reasons. A short time after the Shakkanakku collapse, Mari became the capital of the Amorite Lim dynasty. The Amorite Mari was short lived as it was annexed by Babylonia in c. 1761 BC, but the city survived as a small settlement under the rule of the Babylonians and the Assyrians before being abandoned and forgotten during the Hellenistic period.

The Mariotes worshiped both Semitic and Sumerian deities and established their city as a center of old trade. However, although the pre-Amorite periods were characterized by heavy Sumerian cultural influence, Mari was not a city of Sumerian immigrants but rather a Semitic speaking nation that used a dialect similar to Eblaite. The Amorites were West-Semites who began to settle the area before the 21st century BC; by the Lim dynasty’s era (c. 1830 BC), they became the dominant population in the Fertile Crescent.

Mari’s discovery in 1933 provided an important insight into the geopolitical map of ancient Mesopotamia and Syria, due to the discovery of more than 25,000 tablets that contained important information about the administration of state during the second millennium BC and the nature of diplomatic relations between the political entities in the region. They also revealed the wide trading networks of the 18th century BC, which connected areas as far as Afghanistan in Southern Asia and Crete in the Mediterranean region.

The first and second kingdoms were heavily influenced by the Sumerian south. The society was led by an urban oligarchy, and the citizens were well known for elaborate hair styles and dress. The calendar was based on a solar year divided into twelve months, and was the same calendar used in Ebla “the old Eblaite calendar”. Scribes wrote in Sumerian language and the art was indistinguishable from Sumerian art, so was the architectural style.

Mesopotamian influence continued to affect Mari’s culture during the Amorite period, which is evident in the Babylonian scribal style used in the city. However, it was less influential than the former periods and a distinct Syrian style prevailed, which is noticeable in the seals of kings, which reflect a clear Syrian origin. The society was a tribal one, it consisted mostly of farmers and nomads (Haneans), and in contrast to Mesopotamia, the temple had a minor role in everyday life as the power was mostly invested in the palace.

The name of the city can be traced to Mer, an ancient storm deity of northern Mesopotamia and Syria who was considered the patron deity of the city, Georges Dossin noted that the name of the city was spelled identically like the name of the storm god and concluded that Mari was named after him. The Pantheon included both Sumerian and Semitic deities, and throughout most of its history, Dagan was Mari’s head of the Pantheon, while Mer was the patron deity.

Other deities included the Semitic deities; Ishtar the goddess of fertility, Athtar, and Shamash, the Sun god who was regarded among the city most important deities, and believed to be all-knowing and all-seeing. Sumerian deities included Ninhursag, Dumuzi, Enki, Anu, and Enlil.

Amurru / Mar.tu (god) – Amorites (people)

Occasionally Adad/Iškur is identified with the god Amurru, the god of the Amorites (MAR.TU; Akkadian Tidnum or Amurrūm; Egyptian Amar; Hebrew Ĕmōrī), an ancient Semitic-speaking people from Syria who also occupied large parts of southern Mesopotamia from the 21st century BC to the end of the 17th century BC, where they established several prominent city states in existing locations, notably Babylon which was raised from a small administrative town to an independent state and major city.

The ethnic terms Mar.tu (Westerners), Amurru (likely derived from ‘aburru’, pasture) and Amar were used for them in Sumerian, Akkadian and Ancient Egyptian respectively. The term Amurru in Akkadian and Sumerian texts refers to them, as well as to their principal deity.

Amurru and Martu are names given in Akkadian and Sumerian texts to the god of the Amorite/Amurru people, often forming part of personal names. He is sometimes called Ilu Amurru (DMAR.TU). He was the patron god of the Mesopotamian city of Ninab, whose exact location is unknown.

Amurru’s wife is usually the goddess Ašratum (see Asherah) who in northwest Semitic tradition and Hittite tradition appears as wife of the god Ēl which suggests that Amurru may indeed have been a variation of that god. If Amurru was identical with Ēl, it would explain why so few Amorite names are compounded with the name Amurru, but so many are compounded with Il; that is, with Ēl.

In the earliest Sumerian sources concerning the Amorites, beginning about 2400 BC, the land of the Amorites (“the Mar.tu land”) is associated not with Mesopotamia but with the lands to the west of the Euphrates, including Canaan and what was to become Syria by the 3rd century BC, then known as The land of the Amurru, and later as Aram and Eber-Nari.

In the earliest Sumerian language texts, all western lands beyond the Euphrates, including the modern Levant, were known as “the land of the mar.tu (Amorites)”. This term appears in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, which describes it in the time of Enmerkar as one of the regions inhabited by speakers of a different language. Another text known as Lugalbanda and the Anzud bird describes how, fifty years into Enmerkar’s reign, the Martu people arose in Sumer and Akkad, (southern Mesopotamia) necessitating the building of a wall to protect Uruk.

There is a wide range of views regarding the Amorite homeland. One extreme is the view that kur mar.tu/māt amurrim covered the whole area between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Peninsula included. The other extreme is the view that the “homeland” of the Amorites was a limited area in northern Syria (Jebel Bishri). Since the Amorite language is one of the Canaanite languages, a branch of the Northwestern Semitic languages, as opposed to the South Semitic languages found in the Arabian Peninsula, they are usually considered native to the region around Syria and the Transjordan.

They appear as an uncivilized and nomadic people in early Mesopotamian writings from Sumer, Akkad and Assyria, especially connected with the mountainous region now called Jebel Bishri in northern Syria called the “mountain of the Amorites”. The rise of the Amorite kingdoms in Mesopotamia brought about deep and lasting repercussions in its political, social, and economic structure, especially in southern Mesopotamia.

From the 21st century BC, possibly triggered by a long major drought starting about 2200 BC, a large-scale migration of Amorite tribes infiltrated southern Mesopotamia. They were one of the instruments of the downfall of the Third Dynasty of Ur, and Amorite dynasties both usurped native rulers of long-extant Babylonian city-states such as Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna and Kish and also established new ones, the most famous of which was to become Babylon, although it was initially a minor and insignificant state.

This era ended in northern Mesopotamia with the defeat and expulsion of the Amorites and Amorite dominated Babylonians from Assyria by Puzur-Sin and king Adasi between 1740 and 1735 BC, and in the far south by the rise of the native Sealand Dynasty c. 1730 BC. The Amorites clung on in a once more small and weak Babylon until the Hittite sack of Babylon (c. 1595 BC) which ended the Amorite presence, and brought new ethnic groups—particularly the Kassites—to the forefront in southern Mesopotamia. From the 15th century BC onward, the term Amurru is usually applied to the region extending north of Canaan as far as Kadesh on the Orontes River in northern Syria.

After their expulsion from Mesopotamia, the Amorites of Syria came under the domination of first the Hittites and, from the 14th century BC, the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365-1050). They appear to have been displaced or absorbed by a new wave of semi-nomadic West Semitic-speaking peoples known collectively as the Ahlamu during the Late Bronze Age collapse. The Arameans rose to be the prominent group amongst the Ahlamu, and from circa 1200 BC onwards the Amorites disappeared from the pages of history. From this period, the region they had inhabited became known as Aram (“Aramea”) and Eber-Nari.

Marduk

Marduk (Sumerian spelling in Akkadian: dAMAR.UTU “solar calf”) was a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon. When Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi (18th century BC), he slowly started to rise to the position of the head of the Babylonian pantheon, a position he fully acquired by the second half of the second millennium BC. In the perfected system of astrology, Jupiter was associated with Marduk by the Hammurabi period.

Marduk’s original character is obscure but he was later associated with water, vegetation, judgment, and magic.[6] His consort was the goddess Sarpanit. He was also regarded as the son of Ea[8] (Sumerian Enki) and Damkina[9] and the heir of Anu, but whatever special traits Marduk may have had were overshadowed by the political development through which the Euphrates valley passed and which led to people of the time imbuing him with traits belonging to gods who in an earlier period were recognized as the heads of the pantheon. There are particularly two gods—Ea and Enlil—whose powers and attributes pass over to Marduk.

In the city of Babylon, he resided in the temple Esagila. “Marduk” is the Babylonian form of his name. According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, the name Marduk was probably pronounced Marutuk. The etymology of the name Marduk is conjectured as derived from amar-Utu (“bull calf of the sun god Utu”). The origin of Marduk’s name may reflect an earlier genealogy, or have had cultural ties to the ancient city of Sippar (whose god was Utu, the sun god), dating back to the third millennium BC.

Ashur

Ashur (also, Assur, Aššur; written A-šur, also Aš-šùr) is an East Semitic god, and the head of the Assyrian pantheon in Mesopotamian religion, worshipped mainly in the northern half of Mesopotamia, and parts of north-east Syria and south east Asia Minor which constituted old Assyria. He may have had a solar iconography. Aššur was a deified form of the city of Assur (pronounced Ashur), which dates from the mid 3rd millennium BC and was the capital of the Old Assyrian kingdom.

As such, Ashur did not originally have a family, but as the cult came under southern Mesopotamian influence, he later came to be regarded as the Assyrian equivalent of Enlil, the chief god of Nippur, which was the most important god of the southern pantheon from the early 3rd millennium BC until Hammurabi founded an empire based in Babylon in the mid-18th century BC, after which Marduk replaced Enlil as the chief god in the south. In the north, Ashur absorbed Enlil’s wife Ninlil (as the Assyrian goddess Mullissu) and his sons Ninurta and Zababa—this process began around the 14th century BC and continued down to the 7th century.

During the various periods of Assyrian conquest, such as the Assyrian Empire of Shamshi-Adad I (1813–1750 BC), Middle Assyrian Empire (1391–1056 BC) and Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC), Assyrian imperial propaganda proclaimed the supremacy of Ashur declared that the conquered peoples had been abandoned by their gods. When Assyria conquered Babylon in the Sargonid period (8th–7th centuries BC), Assyrian scribes began to write the name of Ashur with the cuneiform signs “AN.SHAR”, literally “whole heaven” in Akkadian, the language of Assyria and Babylonia.

The intention seems to have been to put Ashur at the head of the Babylonian pantheon, where Anshar and his counterpart Kishar (“whole earth”) preceded even Enlil and Ninlil. Thus in the Sargonid version of the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian national creation myth, Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, does not appear, and instead it is Ashur, as Anshar, who slays Tiamat the chaos-monster and creates the world of humankind.

Ashur, together with a number of other Mesopotamian gods, continued to be worshipped by Assyrians long after the fall of Assyria, with temples being erected in his honour in Assyria (Athura/Assuristan) until the 3rd and 4th centuries of the Christian era, but by this time most Assyrians had adopted East Syrian Christianity. The city of Ashur, named in honour of the deity,[citation needed] was inhabited until the 14th century, when a massacre of Assyrian Christians by Tamurlane left it finally emptied. Ashur is still a common given and family name amongst Assyrians to this day.

Sacred Marriage and the killing of the dragon 

In Mesopotamian religion (Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian and Babylonian), Tiamat is a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû (the god of fresh water) to produce younger gods. She is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation, depicted as a woman, she represents the beauty of the feminine, depicted as the glistening one.

It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is a creator goddess, through a “Sacred marriage” between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second “Chaoskampf” Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos. Some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon.

Puruli (EZEN Puruliyas) was a Hattian spring festival, held at Nerik, dedicated to the earth goddess Hannahanna, who is married to a new king. The central ritual of the Puruli festival is dedicated to the destruction of the dragon Illuyanka by the storm god Teshub. The corresponding Assyrian festival is the Akitu of the Enuma Elish. Also compared are the Canaanite Poem of Baal and Psalms 93 and 29.

Ninurta and Gula

Ninurta was a Sumerian and the Akkadian god of hunting and war. He was worshipped in Babylonia and Assyria and in Lagash he was identified with the city god Ningirsu. In the inscriptions found at Lagash he appears under his name Ningirsu, “the lord of Girsu”, Girsu being the name of a city where he was considered the patron deity.

In older transliteration the name is rendered Ninib and Ninip, and in early commentary he was sometimes portrayed as a solar deity. The cult of Ninurta can be traced back to the oldest period of Sumerian history. In Nippur, Ninurta was worshiped as part of a triad of deities including his father, Enlil and his mother, Ninlil. In variant mythology, his mother is said to be the harvest goddess Ninhursag.

Ninurta often appears holding a bow and arrow, a sickle sword, or a mace named Sharur: Sharur is capable of speech in the Sumerian legend “Deeds and Exploits of Ninurta” and can take the form of a winged lion and may represent an archetype for the later Shedu.

In another legend, Ninurta battles a birdlike monster called Imdugud (Akkadian: Anzû); a Babylonian version relates how the monster Anzû steals the Tablets of Destiny from Enlil. The Tablets of Destiny were believed to contain the details of fate and the future. Ninurta slays each of the monsters later known as the “Slain Heroes”.

Eventually, Anzû is killed by Ninurta who delivers the Tablet of Destiny to his father, Enlil. There are many parallels with both and the story of Marduk (son of Enki) who slew Tiamat and delivered the Tablets of Destiny from Kingu to his father, Enki.

In the Enûma Elish, the Babylonian epic of creation, she gives birth to the first generation of deities; her husband, Apsu, correctly assuming they are planning to kill him and usurp his throne, later makes war upon them and is killed.

Enraged, she, too, wars upon her husband’s murderers, taking on the form of a massive sea dragon, she is then slain by Enki’s son, the storm-god Marduk, but not before she had brought forth the monsters of the Mesopotamian pantheon, including the first dragons, whose bodies she filled with “poison instead of blood”. Marduk then forms heavens and the earth from her divided body.

Ninurta appears in a double capacity in the epithets bestowed on him, and in the hymns and incantations addressed to him. On the one hand he is a farmer and a healing god who releases humans from sickness and the power of demons; on the other he is the god of the South Wind as the son of Enlil, displacing his mother Ninlil who was earlier held to be the goddess of the South Wind. Enlil’s brother, Enki, was portrayed as Ninurta’s mentor from whom Ninurta was entrusted several powerful Mes, including the Deluge.

In the late neo-Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused Ninurta’s character with that of Nergal. The two gods were often invoked together, and spoken of as if they were one divinity. In the astral-theological system Ninurta was associated with the planet Saturn, or perhaps as offspring or an aspect of Saturn. In his capacity as a farmer-god, there are similarities between Ninurta and the Greek Titan Kronos, whom the Romans in turn identified with their Titan Saturn.

The consort of Ninurta was Ugallu in Nippur and Bau or Baba when he was called Ningirsu. She was a Babylonian goddess of healing, the consort of Ninurta. 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 specially 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 Shirgulla 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.

She appears in a prominent position on the designs accompanying the Kudurrus boundary-stone monuments of Babylonia, being represented by a portrait, when other gods and goddesses are merely pictured by their shrines, by sacred animals or by weapons. In neo-Babylonian days her cult continues to occupy a prominent position, and Nebuchadrezzar II speaks of no less than three chapels or shrines within the sacred precincts of E-Zida in the city of Borsippa, besides a temple in her honour at Babylon.

Thor and Sif

In Norse mythology, Sif is a goddess associated with earth. Sif is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and in the poetry of skalds. In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, Sif is the wife of the thunder god Thor and is known for her golden hair.

In the Prose Edda, Sif is named as the mother of the goddess Þrúðr by Thor and of Ullr with a father whose name is not recorded. The Prose Edda also recounts that Sif once had her hair shorn by Loki, and that Thor forced Loki to have a golden headpiece made for Sif, resulting in not only Sif’s golden tresses but also five other objects for other gods.

Scholars have proposed that Sif’s hair may represent fields of golden wheat, that she may be associated with fertility, family, wedlock and/or that she is connected to rowan, and that there may be an allusion to her role or possibly her name in the Old English poem Beowulf.

The name Sif is the singular form of the plural Old Norse word sifjar. Sifjar only appears in singular form when referring to the goddess as a proper noun. Sifjar is cognate to the Old English sib (meaning “affinity, connection, by marriage”) and in other Germanic languages: Gothic language sibja, Old High German sibba, and German Sippe.

Sifjar appears not only in ancient poetry and records of law, but also in compounds (byggja sifjar means “to marry”). Using this etymology, scholar John Lindow gives the meanings “in-law-relationship”, scholar Andy Orchard provides “relation”, and scholar Rudolf Simek gives “relation by marriage”.

Chaoskampf

Ninurta was a Sumerian and the Akkadian god of hunting and war. He was worshipped in Babylonia and Assyria and in Lagash he was identified with the city god Ningirsu. In older transliteration the name is rendered Ninib and Ninip, and in early commentary he was sometimes portrayed as a solar deity.

In Nippur, Ninurta was worshiped as part of a triad of deities including his father, Enlil and his mother, Ninlil. In variant mythology, his mother is said to be the harvest goddess Ninhursag. Ninurta often appears holding a bow and arrow, a sickle sword, or a mace named Sharur: Sharur is capable of speech in the Sumerian legend “Deeds and Exploits of Ninurta” and can take the form of a winged lion and may represent an archetype for the later Shedu.

In another legend, Ninurta battles a birdlike monster called Imdugud (Akkadian: Anzû), a lesser divinity or monster in several Mesopotamian religions. Anzû was seen as a massive bird who can breathe fire and water, although Anzû is alternately seen as a lion-headed eagle (like a reverse griffin). He was conceived by the pure waters of the Apsu and the wide Earth, or as son of Siris, the patron of beer who is conceived of as a demon, which is not necessarily evil.

A Babylonian version relates how the monster Anzû steals the Tablets of Destiny from Enlil. The Tablets of Destiny were believed to contain the details of fate and the future. Ninurta slays each of the monsters later known as the “Slain Heroes”. Eventually, Anzû is killed by Ninurta who delivers the Tablet of Destiny to his father, Enlil.

In Mesopotamian religion (Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian and Babylonian), Tiamat is a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû (the god of fresh water) to produce younger gods. She is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation, depicted as a woman, she represents the beauty of the feminine, depicted as the glistening one. Some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon.

It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is a creator goddess, through a “Sacred marriage” between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second “Chaoskampf” Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos.

In the Enûma Elish, the Babylonian epic of creation, she gives birth to the first generation of deities; her husband, Apsu, correctly assuming they are planning to kill him and usurp his throne, later makes war upon them and is killed.

Enraged, she, too, wars upon her husband’s murderers, taking on the form of a massive sea dragon, she is then slain by Enki’s son, the storm-god Marduk, but not before she had brought forth the monsters of the Mesopotamian pantheon, including the first dragons, whose bodies she filled with “poison instead of blood”. Marduk then forms heavens and the earth from her divided body.

Tiamat possessed the Tablet of Destinies and in the primordial battle she gave them to Kingu, meaning “unskilled laborer,” the deity she — after the murder of his father Abzu — had chosen as her lover and the leader of her host, and who was also one of her children.

Tiamat gave Kingu the 3 Tablets of Destiny, which he wore as a breastplate and which gave him great power. She placed him as the general of her army. The deities gathered in terror, but Anu, (replaced later, first by Enlil and, in the late version that has survived after the First Dynasty of Babylon, by Marduk, the son of Ea), first extracting a promise that he would be revered as “king of the gods”, overcame her, armed with the arrows of the winds, a net, a club, and an invincible spear.

Like Tiamat, Kingu was eventually killed, and his blood was mixed with earth and used the clay to mold the first human beings that would act as the servant of the younger Igigi deities, while Tiamat’s body created the earth and the skies. Kingu then went to live in the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, along with the other deities who had sided with Tiamat.

The principal theme of the epic is the justified elevation of ove god to command over all the deities. The Tiamat myth is one of the earliest recorded versions of the Chaoskampf, the battle between a culture hero and a chthonic or aquatic monster, serpent or dragon.

Robert Graves considered Tiamat’s death by Marduk as evidence for his hypothesis of an ancient shift in power from a matriarchal society to a patriarchy. Grave’s ideas were later developed into the Great Goddess theory by Marija Gimbutas, Merlin Stone and others.

The theory suggests Tiamat and other ancient monster figures were presented as former supreme deities of peaceful, woman-centered religions that were turned into monsters when violent. Their defeat at the hands of a male hero corresponded to the manner in which male-dominated religions overthrew ancient society.

Akitu or Akitum (Sumerian: ezen á.ki.tum, akiti-šekinku, á.ki.ti.še.gur₁₀.ku₅, lit. “the barley-cutting”, akiti-šununum, lit. “barley-sowing”; Akkadian: akitu or rêš-šattim, “head of the year”) was a spring festival in ancient Mesopotamia.The Babylonian Akitu festival has played a pivotal role in the development of theories of religion, myth and ritual, yet the purpose of the festival remains a point of contention among both historians of religion and Assyriologists.

The name is from the Sumerian for “barley”, originally marking two festivals celebrating the beginning of each of the two half-years of the Sumerian calendar, marking the sowing of barley in autumn and the cutting of barley in spring. In Babylonian religion it came to be dedicated to Marduk’s victory over Tiamat.

A corresponding festival is the Hattian spring festival Puruli (EZEN Puruliyas), held at Nerik, dedicated to the earth goddess Hannahanna, who is married to a new king. The central ritual of the Puruli festival is dedicated to the destruction of the dragon Illuyanka by the storm god Teshub. Also compared are the Canaanite Poem of Baal and Psalms 93 and 29.

Heracles – Hera – Hercules

Hera (Greek Hērā, equivalently Hērē in Ionic and Homer) is the goddess of women and marriage in Greek mythology and religion. She is the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Hera is married to her brother Zeus and is titled as the Queen of Heaven. Some of her characteristics include her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus’s other lovers and offspring and against the mortals who cross her. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno.

The name of Hera may have several of mutually exclusive etymologies; one possibility is to connect it with Greek hōra (“season”), and to interpret it as ripe for marriage and according to Plato eratē (“beloved”) as Zeus is said to have married her for love. “Mistress” as a feminine to Heros, “Master” and beconnected with hērōs (“‘hero” and “heroine”). It can also stem from young cow, heifer, which is consonant with Hera’s common epithet boōpis (“cow-eyed”). According to Plutarch, Hera was an allegorical name and an anagram of aēr (“air”). However, it can also have a Pre-Greek origin. Her name is attested in Mycenaean Greek written in the Linear B syllabic script as e-ra.

– Perkele

Heracles (Ancient Greek: Hēraklēs, from Hēra, “Hera”), born Alcaeus (Alkaios) or Alcides (Alkeidēs), was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson and half-brother (as they are both sired by the god Zeus) of Perseus.

He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters. In Rome and the modern West, Heracles was honored as Hercules, with whom the later Roman emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. He had a number of distinctively Roman myths and practices associated with him under that name.

Hera is the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. She is one of six children and along with her siblings, became the Gods and Goddesses of Greek mythology and religion. She is married to her brother Zeus and is known as the Queen of Heaven.

Hera is known as the goddess of women and marriage and some of her characteristics include her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus’s other lovers and offspring and against the mortals who cross her. She is also commonly seen with the animals she considers sacred including the cow, lion and the peacock. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno.

Hercules had a number of myths that were distinctly Roman. One of these is Hercules’ defeat of Cacus, who was terrorizing the countryside of Rome. The hero was associated with the Aventine Hill through his son Aventinus. Mark Antony considered him a personal patron god, as did the emperor Commodus.

A major factor in the well-known tragedies surrounding Heracles is the hatred that the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus, had for him. A full account of Heracles must render it clear why Heracles was so tormented by Hera, when there were many illegitimate offspring sired by Zeus.

Heracles was the son of the affair Zeus had with the mortal woman Alcmene. Zeus made love to her after disguising himself as her husband, Amphitryon, home early from war. However, Amphitryon did return later the same night, and Alcmene became pregnant with his son at the same time, a case of heteropaternal superfecundation, where a woman carries twins sired by different fathers.

Thus, Heracles’ very existence proved at least one of Zeus’ many illicit affairs, and Hera often conspired against Zeus’ mortal offspring as revenge for her husband’s infidelities. His twin mortal brother, son of Amphitryon, was Iphicles, father of Heracles’ charioteer Iolaus. On the night the twins Heracles and Iphicles were to be born, Hera, knowing of her husband Zeus’ adultery, persuaded Zeus to swear an oath that the child born that night to a member of the House of Perseus would become High King. Hera did this knowing that while Heracles was to be born a descendant of Perseus, so too was Eurystheus.

Once the oath was sworn, Hera hurried to Alcmene’s dwelling and slowed the birth of the twins Heracles and Iphicles by forcing Ilithyia, goddess of childbirth, to sit crosslegged with her clothing tied in knots, thereby causing the twins to be trapped in the womb.

Meanwhile, Hera caused Eurystheus to be born prematurely, making him High King in place of Heracles. She would have permanently delayed Heracles’ birth had she not been fooled by Galanthis, Alcmene’s servant, who lied to Ilithyia, saying that Alcmene had already delivered the baby. Upon hearing this, she jumped in surprise, loosing the knots and inadvertently allowing Alcmene to give birth to Heracles and Iphicles.

Fear of Hera’s revenge led Alcmene to expose the infant Heracles, but he was taken up and brought to Hera by his half-sister Athena, who played an important role as protectress of heroes. Hera did not recognize Heracles and nursed him out of pity. Heracles suckled so strongly that he caused Hera pain, and she pushed him away. Her milk sprayed across the heavens and there formed the Milky Way.

But with divine milk, Heracles had acquired supernatural powers. Athena brought the infant back to his mother, and he was subsequently raised by his parents. The child was originally given the name Alcides by his parents; it was only later that he became known as Heracles. He was renamed Heracles in an unsuccessful attempt to mollify Hera.

He and his twin were just eight months old when Hera sent two giant snakes into the children’s chamber. Iphicles cried from fear, but his brother grabbed a snake in each hand and strangled them. He was found by his nurse playing with them on his cot as if they were toys. Astonished, Amphitryon sent for the seer Tiresias, who prophesied an unusual future for the boy, saying he would vanquish numerous monsters.

In Christian circles a Euhemerist reading of the widespread Heracles cult was attributed to a historical figure who had been offered cult status after his death.

Thus Eusebius, Preparation of the Gospel (10.12), reported that Clement could offer historical dates for Hercules as a king in Argos: “from the reign of Hercules in Argos to the deification of Hercules himself and of Asclepius there are comprised thirty-eight years, according to Apollodorus the chronicler: and from that point to the deification of Castor and Pollux fifty-three years: and somewhere about this time was the capture of Troy.”

Readers with a literalist bent, following Clement’s reasoning, have asserted from this remark that, since Heracles ruled over Tiryns in Argos at the same time that Eurystheus ruled over Mycenae, and since at about this time Linus was Heracles’ teacher, one can conclude, based on Jerome’s date—in his universal history, his Chronicon—given to Linus’ notoriety in teaching Heracles in 1264 BCE, that Heracles’ death and deification occurred 38 years later, in approximately 1226 BCE.

Heracles / Hercules – Thor

Heracles (Ancient Greek: Hēraklēs, from Hēra, “Hera”), born Alcaeus (Alkaios) or Alcides (Alkeidēs), was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson and half-brother (as they are both sired by the god Zeus) of Perseus.

Heracles was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters. In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves.

The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean. Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well.

Tacitus records a special affinity of the Germanic peoples for Hercules. Some have taken this as Tacitus equating the Germanic Þunraz with Hercules by way of interpretatio romana. In the Roman era Hercules’ Club amulets appear from the 2nd to 3rd century, distributed over the empire (including Roman Britain, c.f. Cool 1986), mostly made of gold, shaped like wooden clubs. A specimen found in Köln-Nippes bears the inscription “DEO HER[culi]”, confirming the association with Hercules.

In the 5th to 7th centuries, during the Migration Period, the amulet is theorized to have rapidly spread from the Elbe Germanic area across Europe. These Germanic “Donar’s Clubs” were made from deer antler, bone or wood, more rarely also from bronze or precious metals.They are found exclusively in female graves, apparently worn either as a belt pendant, or as an ear pendant. The amulet type is replaced by the Viking Age Thor’s hammer pendants in the course of the Christianization of Scandinavia from the 8th to 9th century.

Hercules is the Roman name for the Greek divine hero Heracles, who was the son of Zeus (Roman equivalent Jupiter) and the mortal Alcmene. In classical mythology, Hercules is famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures. The Romans adapted the Greek hero’s iconography and myths for their literature and art under the name Hercules. The Latin name Hercules was borrowed through Etruscan, where it is represented variously as Heracle, Hercle, and other forms.

The hero was associated with the Aventine Hill through his son Aventinus. Mark Antony considered him a personal patron god, as did the emperor Commodus. Hercules received various forms of religious veneration, including as a deity concerned with children and childbirth, in part because of myths about his precocious infancy, and in part because he fathered countless children. Roman brides wore a special belt tied with the “knot of Hercules”, which was supposed to be hard to untie.

Hercules is known for his many adventures, which took him to the far reaches of the Greco-Roman world. One cycle of these adventures became canonical as the “Twelve Labours,” but the list has variations.

After the Roman Empire became Christianized, mythological narratives were often reinterpreted as allegory, influenced by the philosophy of late antiquity. In the 4th century, Servius had described Hercules’ return from the underworld as representing his ability to overcome earthly desires and vices, or the earth itself as a consumer of bodies.

In medieval mythography, Hercules was one of the heroes seen as a strong role model who demonstrated both valor and wisdom, with the monsters he battles as moral obstacles. One glossator noted that when Hercules became a constellation, he showed that strength was necessary to gain entrance to Heaven.

The earliest records of the Germanic peoples were recorded by the Romans, and in these works Thor is frequently referred to—via a process known as interpretatio romana (where characteristics perceived to be similar by Romans result in identification of a non-Roman god as a Roman deity)—as either the Roman god Jupiter (also known as Jove) or the Greco-Roman god Hercules.

The first clear example of this occurs in the Roman historian Tacitus’s late first-century work Germania, where, writing about the religion of the Suebi (a confederation of Germanic peoples), he comments that “among the gods Mercury is the one they principally worship. They regard it as a religious duty to offer to him, on fixed days, human as well as other sacrificial victims. Hercules and Mars they appease by animal offerings of the permitted kind” and adds that a portion of the Suebi also venerate “Isis”.

In this instance, Tacitus refers to the god Odin as “Mercury”, Thor as “Hercules”, and the god Týr as “Mars”, and the identity of the Isis of the Suebi has been debated. In Thor’s case, the identification with the god Hercules is likely at least in part due to similarities between Thor’s hammer and Hercules’ club. In his Annals, Tacitus again refers to the veneration of “Hercules” by the Germanic peoples; he records a wood beyond the river Weser (in what is now northwestern Germany) as dedicated to him.

In Germanic areas occupied by the Roman Empire, coins and votive objects dating from the 2nd and 3rd century AD have been found with Latin inscriptions referring to “Hercules”, and so in reality, with varying levels of likelihood, refer to Thor by way of interpretatio romana.

Germanic *Þunraz (Þórr) is from a stem *(s)tene- “thunder”, but the name *perkwunos is continued in Fjörgyn, mother of Þórr. In Norse mythology, the feminine Fjörgyn (Old Norse “earth”) is described as the mother of the thunder god Thor, son of Odin, and the masculine Fjörgynn is described as the father of the goddess Frigg, wife of Odin.

Theories have been proposed that Fjörgyn may represent an extension of an earlier Proto-Indo-European thunder or rain god or goddess due to Indo-European linguistic connections between Norse Fjörgyn, the Hindu rain god Parjanya, the Lithuanian god Perkūnas, and the Slavic god Perun.

The thunder god

Polytheistic peoples of many cultures have postulated a thunder god, the personification or source of the forces of thunder and lightning; a lightning god does not have a typical depiction, and will vary based on the culture. In Indo-European cultures, the thunder god is frequently known as the chief or king of the gods, e.g. Indra in Hinduism, Zeus in Greek mythology, and Perun in ancient Slavic religion; or a close relation thereof, e.g. Thor, son of Odin, in Norse mythology.

The name of an Indo-European god of thunder or the oak may be reconstructed as *perkwunos or *perkunos. Another name for the thunder god contains an onomatopoeic root *tar-, continued in Gaulish Taranis and Hittite Tarhunt.

Teshub (also written Teshup or Tešup; cuneiform dIM; hieroglyphic Luwian (DEUS)TONITRUS, read as Tarhunzas) was the Hurrian god of sky and storm. Taru was the name of a similar Hattic Storm God, whose mythology and worship as a primary deity continued and evolved through descendant Luwian and Hittite cultures. In these two, Taru was known as Tarhun / Tarhunt- / Tarhuwant- / Tarhunta, names derived from the Anatolian root *tarh “to defeat, conquer”.

Taru/Tarhun/Tarhunt was ultimately assimilated into and identified with the Hurrian Teshub around the time of the religious reforms of Muwatalli II, ruler of the Hittite New Kingdom in the early 13th century BCE.

These reforms can generally be categorized as an official incorporation of Hurrian deities into the Hittite pantheon, with a smaller number of important Hurrian gods (like Teshub) being explicitly identified with preexisting major Hittite deities (like Taru). Teshub reappears in the post-Hurrian cultural successor kingdom of Urartu as Tesheba, one of their chief gods; in Urartian art he is depicted standing on a bull.

Teshub is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt and a weapon, usually an axe (often double-headed) or mace. The sacred bull common throughout Anatolia was his signature animal, represented by his horned crown or by his steeds Seri and Hurri, who drew his chariot or carried him on their backs.

The Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin—he was conceived when the god Kumarbi bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genitals, similarly to the Greek story of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus, which is recounted in Hesiod’s Theogony.

In the Hurrian schema, Teshub was paired with Hebat the mother goddess; in the Hittite, with the sun goddess Arinniti of Arinna—a cultus of great antiquity which has similarities with the venerated bulls and mothers at Çatalhöyük in the Neolithic era. Teshub’s brothers are Aranzah (personification of the river Tigris), Ullikummi (stone giant) and Tashmishu. His son was called Sarruma, the mountain god.

According to Hittite myths, one of Teshub’s greatest acts was the slaying of the dragon Illuyanka. Myths also exist of his conflict with the sea creature (possibly a snake or serpent) Hedammu.

Perkele means devil in modern Finnish and is used as a rude profanity. Some researchers consider Perkele an original name of Ukko, the chief god of the Finnish pagan pantheon, but this view is not shared by all researchers. There are related words in other Balto-Finnic languages: in Estonian, põrgu means hell, in Karelian perkeleh means an evil spirit.

The name is of Indo-European origin. Related gods from other areas are Perkūnas (Lithuania), Pērkons (Latvia), Percunis (Prussia), Piarun (Belarus), Peko or Pekolasõ (Estonia), Parjanya (India) and Perun or Piorun (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia).

In Slavic mythology, Perun is the highest god of the pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning. His other attributes were fire, mountains, wind, the oak, iris, eagle, firmament (in Indo-European languages, this was joined with the notion of the sky of stone), horses and carts, weapons (the hammer, axe (Axe of Perun), and arrow), and war. He was first associated with weapons made of stone and later with those of metal.

Hadad (Ugaritic Haddu), Adad, Haddad (Akkadian) or Iškur (Sumerian) was the storm and rain god in the Northwest Semitic and ancient Mesopotamian religions. It was attested in Ebla as “Hadda” in c. 2500 BC. From the Levant, Hadad was introduced to Mesopotamia by the Amorites, where it became known as the Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian) god Adad.

Adad and Iškur are usually written with the logogram dIM. Hadad was also called “Pidar”, “Rapiu”, “Baal-Zephon”, or often simply Baʿal (Lord), but this title was also used for other gods. The bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad. He appeared bearded, often holding a club and thunderbolt while wearing a bull-horned headdress. Hadad was equated with the Indo-European Nasite Hittite storm-god Teshub; the Egyptian god Set; the Rigvedic god Indra; the Greek god Zeus; the Roman god Jupiter, as Jupiter Dolichenus.

In Sanchuniathon’s account Hadad is once called Adodos, but is mostly named Demarûs. This is a puzzling form, probably from Ugaritic dmrn, which appears in parallelism with Hadad, or possibly a Greek corruption of Hadad Ramān. Sanchuniathon’s Hadad is son of Sky by a concubine who is then given to the god Dagon while she is pregnant by Sky.

This appears to be an attempt to combine two accounts of Hadad’s parentage, one of which is the Ugaritic tradition that Hadad was son of Dagon. The cognate Akkadian god Adad is also often called the son of Anu (“Sky”). The corresponding Hittite god Teshub is likewise son of Anu (after a fashion).

In Sanchuniathon’s account, it is Sky who first fights against Pontus (“Sea”). Then Sky allies himself with Hadad. Hadad takes over the conflict but is defeated, at which point unfortunately no more is said of this matter. Sanchuniathion agrees with Ugaritic tradition in making Muth, the Ugaritic Mot, whom he also calls “Death”, the son of El.

In Akkadian, Adad is also known as Ramman (“Thunderer”) cognate with Aramaic Rimmon, which was a byname of Hadad. Ramman was formerly incorrectly taken by many scholars to be an independent Assyrian-Babylonian god later identified with the Hadad.

The form Iškur appears in the list of gods found at Shuruppak but was of far less importance, probably partly because storms and rain were scarce in Sumer and agriculture there depended on irrigation instead. The gods Enlil and Ninurta also had storm god features that decreased Iškur’s distinctiveness. He sometimes appears as the assistant or companion of one or the other of the two.

When Enki distributed the destinies, he made Iškur inspector of the cosmos. In one litany, Iškur is proclaimed again and again as “great radiant bull, your name is heaven” and also called son of Anu, lord of Karkara; twin-brother of Enki, lord of abundance, lord who rides the storm, lion of heaven.

In other texts Adad/Iškur is sometimes son of the moon god Nanna/Sin by Ningal and brother of Utu/Shamash and Inanna/Ishtar. He is also occasionally son of Enlil.

Adad/Iškur’s consort (both in early Sumerian and the much later Assyrian texts) was Shala, a goddess of grain, who is also sometimes associated with the god Dagan. She was also called Gubarra in the earliest texts. The fire god Gibil (named Gerra in Akkadian) is sometimes the son of Iškur and Shala.

Adad/Iškur’s special animal is the bull. He is naturally identified with the Anatolian storm-god Teshub. Occasionally Adad/Iškur is identified with the god Amurru, the god of the Amorites.

Amurru and Martu are names given in Akkadian and Sumerian texts to the god of the Amorite/Amurru people, often forming part of personal names. He is sometimes called Ilu Amurru (DMAR.TU). He was the patron god of the Mesopotamian city of Ninab, whose exact location is unknown.

Amurru/Martu was probably a western Semitic god originally. He is sometimes described as a ‘shepherd’ or as a storm god, and as a son of the sky-god Anu. He is sometimes called bêlu šadī or bêl šadê, ‘lord of the mountain’; dúr-hur-sag-gá sikil-a-ke, ‘He who dwells on the pure mountain’; and kur-za-gan ti-[la], ‘who inhabits the shining mountain’. In Cappadocian Zinčirli inscriptions he is called ì-li a-bi-a, ‘the god of my father’.

Accordingly, it has been suggested by L. R. Bailey (1968) and Jean Ouelette (1969), that this Bêl Šadê might be the same as the Biblical ’Ēl Šaddāi who is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the “Priestly source” of narrative, according to the documentary hypothesis. Bêl Šadê could have been the fertility-god ‘Ba’al’, possibly adopted by the Canaanites, a rival and enemy of the Hebrew God YHWH, and famously combatted by the Hebrew prophet Elijah.

Amurru also has storm-god features. Like Adad, Amurru bears the epithet ramān ‘thunderer’, and he is even called bāriqu ‘hurler of the thunderbolt’ and Adad ša a-bu-be ‘Adad of the deluge’. Yet his iconography is distinct from that of Adad, and he sometimes appears alongside Adad with a baton of power or throwstick, while Adad bears a conventional thunderbolt.

Amurru’s wife is usually the goddess Ašratum (see Asherah) who in northwest Semitic tradition and Hittite tradition appears as wife of the god Ēl which suggests that Amurru may indeed have been a variation of that god. If Amurru was identical with Ēl, it would explain why so few Amorite names are compounded with the name Amurru, but so many are compounded with Il; that is, with Ēl.

Another tradition about Amurru’s wife (or one of Amurru’s wives) gives her name as Belit-Sheri, ‘Lady of the Desert’. A third tradition appears in a Sumerian poem in pastoral style, which relates how the god Martu came to marry Adg̃ar-kidug the daughter of the god Numushda of the city of Inab. It contains a speech expressing urbanite Sumerian disgust at uncivilized, nomadic Amurru life which Adg̃ar-kidug ignores, responding only: “I will marry Martu!”.

Perchta

Perchta or Berchta (English: Bertha), also commonly known as Percht and other variations, was once known as a goddess in Alpine paganism in the Upper German regions of the Alps. Her name may mean “the bright one” (Old High German beraht, bereht, from Proto-Germanic *brehtaz) and is probably related to the name Berchtentag, meaning the feast of the Epiphany. Eugen Mogk provides an alternative etymology, attributing the origin of the name Perchta to the Old High German verb pergan, meaning “hidden” or “covered”.

The word Perchten is plural for Perchta, and this has become the name of her entourage, as well as the name of animal masks worn in parades and festivals in the mountainous regions of Austria. In the 16th century, the Perchten took two forms: Some are beautiful and bright, known as the Schönperchten (“beautiful Perchten”).

These come during the Twelve Nights and festivals to “bring luck and wealth to the people.” The other form is the Schiachperchten (“ugly Perchten”) who have fangs, tusks and horse tails which are used to drive out demons and ghosts. Men dressed as the ugly Perchten during the 16th century and went from house to house driving out bad spirits.

Sometimes, der Teufel is viewed as the most schiach (“ugly”) Percht and Frau Perchta as the most schön (“beautiful”) Percht. In Italy, Perchta is roughly equivalent with La Befana, who visits all the children of Italy on the night before 6 January to fill their socks with candy if they are good or a lump of coal if they are bad.

Berchtold (also Berthold, Bertold, Bertolt) is a Germanic name, from the Old High German beruht “bright” or “brightly” and waltan “rule over”. The name comes into fashion in the German High Middle Ages, from about the 11th century. The cognate Old English name is Beorhtwald, attested as the name of an archbishop in the 8th century. Berchtold appears also as the name of the leader of the Wild Hunt in German folklore of the 16th century. The name is here replacing the female Perchta.

Perchta is often identified as stemming from the same Germanic goddess as Holda and other female figures of German folklore. In Germanic legends, Frau Holda (or Frau Holle) was the protectress of agriculture and women’s crafts. In contemporary culture, Perchta is portrayed as a “rewarder of the generous, and the punisher of the bad, particularly lying children”. In some descriptions, Perchta has two forms; she may appear either as beautiful and white as snow like her name, or as elderly and haggard.

Grimm says Perchta or Berchta was known “precisely in those Upper German regions where Holda leaves off, in Swabia, in Alsace, in Switzerland, in Bavaria and Austria.” Perkūnas’ wife was named Perkūnija, Perkūnė, Perperuna, or Przeginia.

According to Jacob Grimm and Lotte Motz, Perchta is Holda’s southern cousin or equivalent, as they both share the role of “guardian of the beasts” and appear during the Twelve Days of Christmas, when they oversee spinning. Holda, Holle, Huld, and Hulda may be cognate of the Scandinavian creature known as the huldra.

Frau Holda’s festival is in the middle of winter, the time when humans retreat indoors from the cold. It may be of significance that the Twelve Days of Christmas were originally the Zwölften (“the Twelve”), which like the same period in the Celtic calendar were an intercalary period during which the dead were thought to roam abroad.

Holda’s connection to the spirit world through the magic of spinning and weaving has associated her with witchcraft in Catholic German folklore. She was considered to ride with witches on distaffs, which closely resemble the brooms that witches are thought to ride. Likewise, Holda was often identified with Diana in old church documents.

As early as the beginning of the eleventh century she appears to have been known as the leader of women and female nocturnal spirits, which “in common parlance are called Hulden from Holda”. These women would leave their houses in spirit, going “out through closed doors in the silence of the night, leaving their sleeping husbands behind”. They would travel vast distances through the sky, to great feasts, or to battles amongst the clouds.

Holda figures in some pre-Christian Alpine traditions that have survived to modern times. During the Christmas period in the alpine regions of Germany, Austria and northern Switzerland, wild masked processions are still held in a number of towns, impersonating Holda, Perchta or related beings, and the wild hunt.

Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt is a European folk myth involving a ghostly or supernatural group of huntsmen passing in wild pursuit. The hunters may be either elves or fairies or the dead, and the leader of the hunt is often a named figure associated with Woden (or other reflections of the same god, such as Alemannic Wuodan in Wuotis Heer (“Wuodan’s Army”) of Central Switzerland, Swabia etc.).

However, it may variously be a historical or legendary figure like Theodoric the Great, the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag, the Welsh psychopomp Gwyn ap Nudd, biblical figures such as Herod, Cain, Gabriel or the Devil, or an unidentified lost soul or spirit either male or female.

Seeing the Wild Hunt was thought to presage some catastrophe such as war or plague, or at best the death of the one who witnessed it. People encountering the Hunt might also be abducted to the underworld or the fairy kingdom. In some instances, it was also believed that people’s spirits could be pulled away during their sleep to join the cavalcade.

The concept was developed based on comparative mythology by Jacob Grimm in Deutsche Mythologie (1835) as a folkloristic survival of Germanic pagan tradition, but comparable folk myths are found throughout Northern, Western and Central Europe. Grimm popularised the term Wilde Jagd (“Wild Hunt”) for the phenomenon.

Scholarly theories have been proposed etymologically connecting the einherjar to the Harii (a Germanic tribe attested in the 1st century AD), the eternal battle of Hjaðningavíg, and the Wild Hunt. The einherjar have been the subject of works of art and poetry. Valhalla is the place of Odin. It is told in Norse mythology that einherjar are those with golden auras only seen by Valkyries. The einherjar are the Warriors trained by Asgardians.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: