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Archive for May 14th, 2017

Sumerian and Indo-European: a surprising connection

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 14, 2017

Proto-Euphratean was considered by some Assyriologists (for example Samuel Noah Kramer), to be the substratum language of the people that introduced farming into Southern Iraq in the Early Ubaid period (5300-4700 BC).

The 5.9 kiloyear event at the end of the Older Peron was one of the most intense aridification events during the Holocene Epoch. It occurred around 3900 BC (5900 years Before Present) and ended the Neolithic Subpluvial and probably initiating the most recent desiccation of the Sahara, as well a five century period of colder climate in more northerly latitudes.

It also triggered human migration to river valleys, such as from central North Africa to the Nile, which eventually led to the emergence of the first complex, highly organized, state-level societies in the 4th millennium BC. It is associated with the last round of the Sahara pump theory.

A model by Claussen et al. (1999) suggested rapid desertification, associated with vegetation-atmosphere interactions following a cooling event, Bond event 4.

Bond et al. (1997) identified a North Atlantic cooling episode 5900 years ago from ice-rafted debris as well as other such now called Bond events, which indicate the existence of a quasiperiodic cycle of Atlantic cooling events approximately every 1470 years ± 500 years.

For some reason, all the earlier arid events (including the 8.2 kiloyear event) were followed by recovery, as is attested by the wealth of evidence of humid conditions in the Sahara between 10,000 and 6,000 BP. However, it appears that the 5.9 kiloyear event was followed by a partial recovery at best, with accelerated desiccation in the millennium that followed.

For example, Cremaschi (1998) describes evidence of rapid aridification in Tadrart Acacus of southwestern Libya, in the form of increased aeolian erosion, sand incursions and the collapse of the roofs of rock shelters. The 5.9 kiloyear event was also recorded as a cold event in the Erhai Lake (China) sediments.

In the eastern Arabian Peninsula, the 5.9 kiloyear event may have contributed to an increase in relatively greater social complexity and have corresponded to an end of the local Ubaid period.

The archaeological record shows that Arabian Bifacial/Ubaid period came to an abrupt end in eastern Arabia and the Oman peninsula at 3800 BC, just after the phase of lake lowering and onset of dune reactivation.

At this time, increased aridity led to an end in semi-desert nomadism, and there is no evidence of human presence in the area for approximately 1,000 years, the so-called “Dark Millennium”.

Also, by causing a period of cooling in Europe, it may have contributed to the decline of Old Europe and the first Indo-European migrations into the Balkans from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, according to the book The Horse, the Wheel, and Language, by David W. Anthony.

Benno Landsberger and other Assyriologists argued that by examining the structure of Sumerian names of occupations, as well as toponyms and hydronyms, one can suggest that there was once an earlier group of people in the region who spoke an entirely different language, often referred to as Proto-Euphratean. Terms for “farmer”, “smith”, “carpenter”, and “date” (as in the fruit), also do not appear to have a Sumerian or Semitic origin.

Linguists coined a different term, “banana languages,” proposed by Igor Dyakonov and Vladislav Ardzinba, based on a characteristic feature of multiple personal names attested in Sumerian texts, namely reduplication of syllables (like in the word banana): Inanna, Zababa, Chuwawa, Bunene etc.

The same feature was attested in some other unclassified languages, including Minoan. The same feature is allegedly attested by several names of Hyksos rulers: although Hyksos tribes were Semitic, some of their names, like Bnon, Apophis, etc. were apparently non-Semitic by origin.

Dyakonov and Ardzinba identified these hypothetical languages with the Samarran culture. Rubio challenged the substratum hypothesis, arguing that there is evidence of borrowing from more than one language. This theory is now predominant in the field (Piotr Michalowski, Gerd Steiner, etc.).

A related proposal by Gordon Whittaker[3] is that the language of the proto-literary texts from the Late Uruk period (c. 3350–3100 BC) is really an early Indo-European language which he terms “Euphratic”.

If the Indo-Europeans moved from the Zagros, as I have proposed in the last post, they should reveal some affinities with other languages of the ancient Near East (by the way, the recent paper by Haak et al. has revealed a ‘Near Eastern’ genetic component in the Yamnaya people from the Russian steppe).

And these affinities are there, for instance with Semitic languages, but also with a very ancient language, that we are not used to associate with Indo-European: Sumerian.

Sumerian and Indo-European: a surprising connection

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Nergal / Dyeus / Tiwas / Tyr (the Sun god of Heaven, the consort of the Sun goddess of the Earth) – the God of Law and Heroic Glory (the Sky and Sun God) and Ninurta / Tarhunna / Thor (consort of the Sun goddess of Arinna / Hebat) – the Hero (the Weather God)

Posted by Fredsvenn on May 14, 2017

Pluto / Mars (Tyr) – Neptune / Venus – Uranus / Mercury (Odin)

The Moon or Luna is associated with Monday.

Pluto is associated with Tuesday, alongside Mars. (Tyr)

Uranus is associated with Wednesday, alongside Mercury. (Odin)

Jupiter is associated with Thursday. (Thor)

Neptune is assiciated with Friday, alongside Venus. (Frigg / Freyja)

Saturn is associated with Saturday. (Njord)

The Sun is associated with Sunday.

The outer modern planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are often called the collective or transcendental planets.

One of the principal components of the Theogony is the presentation of the “Succession Myth”. It tells how Cronus overthrew Uranus, and how in turn Zeus overthrew Cronus and his fellow Titans, and how Zeus was eventually established as the final and permanent ruler of the cosmos.

In comparative mythology, sky father is a term for a recurring concept of a sky god who is addressed as a “father”, often the father of a pantheon. The concept of “sky father” may also be taken to include Sun gods with similar characteristics. The concept is complementary to an “earth mother”.

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 daylit 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”.

Rooted in the related but distinct Indo-European word *deiwos is the Latin word for deity, deus. The Latin word is also continued in English divine, “deity”, and the original Germanic word remains visible in “Tuesday” (“Day of Tīwaz”).

Although some of the more iconic reflexes of Dyeus are storm deities, such as Zeus and Jupiter, this is thought to be a late development exclusive to mediterranean traditions, probably derived from syncretism with canaanite deities and Perkwunos.

The deity’s original domain was over the daylight sky, and indeed reflexes emphasise this connection to light: Istanu (Tiyaz) is a solar deity (though this name may actually refer to a female sun goddess), Helios is often referred to as the “eye of Zeus”, in Romanian paganism the Sun is similarly called “God’s eye” and in Indo-Iranian tradition Surya/Hvare-khshaeta is similarly associated with Ahura Mazda.

Even in Roman tradition, Jupiter often is only associated with diurnal lightning at most, while Summanus is a deity responsible for nocturnal lightning or storms as a whole.

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.

The name of Dīs Pater derives from dives, suggesting a meaning of “father of riches”, directly corresponding to the name Pluto (from Greek Ploutōn, meaning “wealthy”). Alternatively, he may be a secondary reflex of the same god as Jupiter (Proto-Indo-European Dyeus Ph₂ter or “Zeus-Pater”)).

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

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

In Hittite mythology, the Sun goddess of Arinna is the chief goddess and wife of the weather god Tarḫunna. She protected the Hittite kingdom and was called the “Queen of all lands.” Her cult centre was the sacred city of Arinna. Tarḫunna was referred to as the “Weather god of Heaven” or the “Lord of the Land of Hatti”.

As weather god, Tarḫunna was responsible for the various manifestations of the weather, especially thunder, lightening, rain, clouds, and storms. He ruled over the heavens and the mountains. Thus it was Tarḫunna who decided whether there would be fertile fields and good harvests, or drought and famine and he was treated by the Hittites as the ruler of the gods.

Teshub (also written Teshup or Tešup; cuneiform dIM; hieroglyphic Luwian (DEUS)TONITRUS, read as Tarhunzas) was the Hurrian god of sky and storm. 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.

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”.

In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing and fertility. In Mesopotamian religion, Ninurta (Sumerian: NIN.URTA, lord of barley) was a god of law, scribes, farming, and hunting.

Akitu or Akitum (Sumerian: ezen á.ki.tum, akiti-šekinku, á.ki.ti.še.gur.ku, 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 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, who possessed the Tablet of Destinies. In the primordial battle she gave them to Kingu, the deity she had chosen as her lover and the leader of her host, and who was also one of her children.

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.

Slicing Tiamat in half, he made from her ribs the vault of heaven and earth. Her weeping eyes became the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates, her tail became the Milky Way.

With the approval of the elder deities, he took from Kingu the Tablet of Destinies, installing himself as the head of the Babylonian pantheon. Kingu was captured and later was slain: his red blood mixed with the red clay of the Earth would make the body of humankind, created to act as the servant of the younger Igigi deities.

From the Hittite Old Kingdom, the Sun goddess of Arinna legitimised the authority of the king, in conjunction with the weather god Tarḫunna. The land belonged to the two deities and the established the king, who would refer to the Sun goddess as “Mother”

The Sun goddess of Arinna was originally of Hattian origin and was worshipped by the Hattians at Eštan. The name Ištanu is the Hittite form of the Hattian name Eštan. The Hattian name of the goddess was transcribed by the Hittites as Ištanu and Urunzimu. One of her Hattian epithets was Wurunšemu (“Mother of the land”)

Earlier scholarship understood Ištanu as the name of the male Sun god of the Heavens, but more recent scholarship has held that the name is only used to refer to the Sun goddess of Arinna.

Volker Haas, however, still distinguishes between a male Ištanu representing the day-star and a female Wurunšemu who is the Sun goddess of Arinna and spends her nights in the underworld.

In addition to the Sun goddess of Arinna, the Hittites also worshipped the Sun goddess of the Earth (Hittite: taknaš dUTU, Luwian: tiyamaššiš Tiwaz) and the Sun god of Heaven (Hittite: nepišaš Ištanu).

In the Hittite and Hurrian religions the Sun goddess of the Earth played an important role in the death cult and was understood to be the ruler of the world of the dead. Her Hurrian equivalent was Allani (de) and her Sumerian/Akkadian equivalent was Ereshkigal, both of which had a marked influence on the Hittite goddess from an early date.

As a personification of the chthonic aspects of the Sun, she had the task of opening the doors to the Underworld. She was also the source of all evil, impurity, and sickness on Earth.

The Sun god of Heaven (Hittite: nepišaš Ištanu) was a Hittite solar deity. He was the second-most worshipped solar deity of the Hittites, after the Sun goddess of Arinna.

From the time of Tudḫaliya III, the Sun god of Heaven was the protector of the Hittite king, indicated by a winged solar disc on the royal seals, and was the god of the kingdom par excellence. From the time of Suppiluliuma I (and probably earlier), the Sun god of Heaven played an important role as the foremost oath god in interstate treaties.

As a result of the influence of the Mesopotamian Sun god Šamaš, the Sun god of Heaven also gained an important role as the god of law, legality, and truth.

The Luwians originally worshipped the old Proto-Indo-European Sun god Tiwaz (Stem: Tiwad-), the descendant of the male Sun god of the Indo-European religion, Dyeus.

Tiwaz was the descendant of the male Sun god of the Indo-European religion, Dyeus, who was superseded among the Hittites by the Hattian Sun goddess of Arinna.

The name of the Proto-Anatolian Sun god can be reconstructed as *Diuod-, which derives from the Proto-Indo-European word *dei- (“shine”, “glow”).

In Bronze Age texts, Tiwaz is often referred to as “Father” and once as “Great Tiwaz”, and invoked along with the “Father gods”. His Bronze Age epithet, “Tiwaz of the Oath”, indicates that he was an oath-god.

While Tiwaz (and the related Palaic god Tiyaz) retained a promenant role in the pantheon, the Hittite cognate deity, Šiwat (de) was largely eclipsed by the Sun goddess of Arinna, becoming a god of the day, especially the day of death.

It is assumed that Tyr was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon. Mannus, according to the Roman writer Tacitus, was a figure in the creation myths of the Germanic tribes. The names Mannus and Tuisto/Tuisco seem to have some relation to Proto-Germanic Mannaz, “man” and Tiwaz, “Tyr, the god”.

Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis. In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome.

Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming.

An (from an “sky, heaven”) is the earliest attested sky-father deity. 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.

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. He was believed to have the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and to have created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. His attribute was the Royal Tiara.

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

In the astral theology of Babylonia and Assyria, Anu, Enlil, and Ea became the three zones of the ecliptic, the northern, middle and southern zone respectively.

When Enlil rose to equal or surpass An in authority, the functions of the two deities came to some extent to overlap. An was also sometimes equated with Amurru, and, in Seleucid Uruk, with Enmešara, an underworld god of the law, and Dumuzi (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”), a Sumerian god of food and vegetation.

Described as a Sun god, protector of flocks and vegetation, Enmessara has been equated with Nergal, who along with Nanna and Ninurta is a son of Enlil and Ninlil. Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld.

In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person. In some texts the god Ninazu is the son of Nergal and Allatu/Ereshkigal.

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

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

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

In Hellenistic times, especially during the 3rd century BCE, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios, Titan god of the sun, and his sister Artemis similarly equated with Selene, Titan goddess of the moon.

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

In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, Dumuzid or Dumuzi, 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 by Joseph Campbell among others 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. In cult practice, the dead Tammuz was widely mourned in the Ancient Near East.

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is built over a cave that was originally a shrine to Adonis-Tammuz. The church was originally commissioned in 327 by Constantine the Great and his mother Helena over the site that was traditionally considered to be located over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus.

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 Bible celebrates the mighty power and infinite understanding of God who “counts the number of the stars” and “calls them all by name” (Ps. 147:4). Yet the Creator of the universe is not a remote, uncaring force, but a loving heavenly Father who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (v.3). “The Lord lifts up the humble” (v.6) and “takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy” (v.11).

He loves us so much that “He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). British author J. B. Phillips called Earth “the visited planet,” where the Prince of Glory is still working out His plan. Our hope for today and forever lies in the loving mercy of God who calls each star by name.

The God who made the firmament, Who made the deepest sea, The God who put the stars in place Is the God who cares for me. —Berg

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