Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent
    https://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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Mary the virgin (Virgo) and Jesus the fish (Pisces)

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on February 3, 2018

Bilderesultat for zodiac

Sjur Cappelen Papazian sitt bilde.

Bilderesultat for scorpio astrology symbol

 

Bilderesultat for libra

Bilderesultat for taurus

Inanna’s cuneiform ideogram was a hook-shaped twisted knot of reeds, representing the doorpost of the storehouse, a common symbol of fertility and plenty.

Tyr (Alpha) / Hel (Omega)

The Sun god of Heaven – The Sun goddess of the Earth

Týr is a Germanic god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz.

The Latinised name is rendered as Tius or Tio and also formally as Mars Thincsus. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.

The origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion.

It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

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

This name is cognate with the Greek Zeus, Latin Jupiter, and Norse Tyr. 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.

In Luwian cuneiform of the Bronze Age, his name appears as Tiwad-. It can also be written with the Sumerogram dUTU (“God-Sun”). In Hieroglyphic Luwian of the Iron Age, the name can be written as Tiwad- of with the ideogram (DEUS) SOL (“God-Sun”).

In Bronze Age texts, Tiwaz is often referred to as “Father” (cuneiform Luwian: tatis Tiwaz) and once as “Great Tiwaz” (cuneiform Luwian: urazza- dUTU-az), and invoked along with the “Father gods” (cuneiform Luwian: tatinzi maššaninzi). His Bronze Age epithet, “Tiwaz of the Oath” (cuneiform Luwian: ḫirutalla- dUTU-az), indicates that he was an oath-god.

While the Luwians originally worshipped the old Proto-Indo-European Sun god Tiwaz the Hittites worshipped the Sun goddess of the Earth (Hittite: taknaš dUTU, Luwian: tiyamaššiš Tiwaz) and the Sun god of Heaven (Hittite: nepišaš Ištanu).

The Sun god of Heaven was the second-most worshipped solar deity of the Hittites, after the Sun goddess of Arinna. 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.

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.

The Sun goddess of the Earth was the Hittite goddess of the underworld. 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.

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. For the Luwians there is a Bronze Age source which refers to the “Sun god of the Earth”: “If he is alive, may Tiwaz release him, if he is dead, may the Sun god of the Earth release him”.

The equinox throughout history

Alpha and Omega – “I am the alpha and the omega” – “the beginning and the end”

The spring equinox:

Taurus (Anu / Alu) – Aries (Mars) – Pisces (Jesus): Alpha – Aquarius

The autumn equinox:

Scorpio (Ishara – Ninhursag) – Libra (Venus) – Virgo (Maria): Omega – Leo

Scorpio and Libra

Scorpio is the eighth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans the 210–240th degree of the zodiac, between 207.25 and 234.75 degree of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area on average from October 23 to November 22, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Scorpius from approximately November 16 to December 15.

The Babylonians called this constellation MUL.GIR.TAB – the ‘Scorpion’, the signs can be literally read as ‘the (creature with) a burning sting’. Ishara is an ancient deity of unknown origin from northern modern Syria. Her astrological embodiment is the constellation Scorpio and she is called the mother of the Sebitti (the Seven Stars).

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Inanna / Ishtar. Her main epithet was belet rame, lady of love, which was also applied to Ishtar. She was associated with the underworld.

Ishara is a pre-Hurrian and perhaps pre-Semitic deity, later incorporated into the Hurrian pantheon. From the Hurrian Pantheon, Ishara entered the Hittite pantheon and had her main shrine in Kizzuwatna. Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath.

As a goddess, Ishara could inflict severe bodily penalties to oathbreakers, in particular ascites (see Hittite military oath). In this context, she came to be seen as a “goddess of medicine” whose pity was invoked in case of illness. There was even a verb, isharis- “to be afflicted by the illness of Ishara”.

The etymology of Ishara is unknown. Variants of the name appear as Ašḫara (in a treaty of Naram-Sin of Akkad with Hita of Elam) and Ušḫara (in Ugarite texts). In Ebla, there were various logographic spellings involving the sign AMA “mother”. In Alalah, her name was written with the Akkadogram IŠTAR plus a phonetic complement -ra, as IŠTAR-ra.

Her name is related to the Proto-Indo-European dawn goddess Hausos. Her cognates in other Indo-European pantheons include the Greek goddess Eos, the Roman goddess Aurora, the Lithuanian goddess Austrine, and the English goddess Ēostre (OE: ēastre), whose name is probably the root of the modern English word “Easter.”

While Scorpio lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east Libra lies between Virgo to the west and Scorpius to the east. Libra is the only zodiac constellation in the sky represented by an inanimate object. The other eleven signs are represented either as an animal or mythological characters throughout history.

Libra is the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans the 180–210th degree of the zodiac, between 180 and 207.25 degree of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, Sun transits this area on average between (northern autumnal equinox) September 23 and October 22, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Libra from approximately October 16 to November 17.

 

In Sumerian religion, Ninḫursaĝ was a mother goddess of the mountains. She is principally a fertility goddess. Temple hymn sources identify her as the “true and great lady of heaven” (possibly in relation to her standing on the mountain) and kings of Sumer were “nourished by Ninhursag’s milk”.

Sometimes her hair is depicted in an omega shape and at times she wears a horned head-dress and tiered skirt, often with bow cases at her shoulders. Frequently she carries a mace or baton surmounted by an omega motif or a derivation, sometimes accompanied by a lion cub on a leash. She is the tutelary deity to several Sumerian leaders.

Her symbol, resembling the Greek letter omega, has been depicted in art from approximately 3000 BC, although more generally from the early second millennium BC. It appears on some boundary stones — on the upper tier, indicating her importance.

The omega symbol is associated with the Egyptian cow goddess Hathor, and may represent a stylized womb. The symbol appears on very early imagery from Ancient Egypt. Hathor is at times depicted on a mountain, so it may be that the two goddesses are connected.

Going back to ancient Greek times, Libra the constellation between Virgo and Scorpio used to be over ruled by the constellation of Scorpio. In some old descriptions the constellation of Libra is treated as the Scorpion’s claws. Libra was known as the Claws of the Scorpion. It was also seen as the Scorpion’s Claws in ancient Greece.

Libra was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL Zibanu (the “scales” or “balance”), or alternatively as the Claws of the Scorpion. In Arabic zubānā means “scorpion’s claws”, and likely similarly in other Semitic languages: this resemblance of words may be why the Scorpion’s claws became the Scales. The scales were held sacred to the sun god Shamash, who was also the patron of truth and justice. Since these times, Libra has been associated with law, fairness and civility.

It has also been suggested that the scales are an allusion to the fact that when the sun entered this part of the ecliptic at the autumnal equinox, the days and nights are equal. Libra’s status as the location of the equinox earned the equinox the name “First Point of Libra”, though this location ceased to coincide with the constellation in 730 because of the precession of the equinoxes.

Everything was balanced under this righteous sign. The Roman writer Manilius once said that Libra was the sign “in which the seasons are balanced”. Both the hours of the day and the hours of the night match each other. Thus why the Romans put so much trust in the “balanced sign”.

It only became a constellation in ancient Rome, when it began to represent the scales held by Astraea, the goddess of justice, associated with Virgo in the Greek mythology. The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom. She became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice. The ruling planet of Libra is Venus.

Alpha (Taurus) and omega (Scorpio / Libra)

The symbol of Libra is a simplified drawing of the setting sun, as it falls at dusk. This is also related to the origin of the letter omega in the Greek alphabet. Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and a title of Christ and God in the Book of Revelation. This pair of letters are used as Christian symbols, and are often combined with the Cross, Chi-rho, or other Christian symbols.

The term Alpha and Omega comes from the phrase “I am the alpha and the omega”, an appellation of Jesus in the Book of Revelation (verses 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13). This phrase is interpreted by many Christians to mean that Jesus has existed for all eternity or that God is eternal, as in the additional phrase, “the beginning and the end”.

Taurus (Latin for “the Bull”) is the second astrological sign in the present zodiac. It spans the 30–60th degree of the zodiac. The Sun is in the sign of Taurus from about April 20 until about May 21 (Western astrology; Sidereal astrology).

The identification of the constellation of Taurus with a bull is very old, certainly dating to the Chalcolithic, and perhaps even to the Upper Paleolithic. Michael Rappenglück of the University of Munich believes that Taurus is represented in a cave painting at the Hall of the Bulls in the caves at Lascaux (dated to roughly 15,000 BC), which he believes is accompanied by a depiction of the Pleiades.

Taurus was the first sign of the zodiac established among the ancient Mesopotamians – who knew it as the Bull of Heaven – because it was the constellation through which the sun rose on the vernal equinox at that time. When the spring equinox entered Taurus, the constellation would become covered by the Sun in the western sky as spring began. This “sacrifice” led to the renewal of the land.

The Pleiades were closest to the Sun at vernal equinox around the 23rd century BC. Taurus marked the point of vernal (spring) equinox in the Chalcolithic and the Early Bronze Age, from about 4000 BC to 1700 BC, after which it moved into the neighboring constellation Aries. Due to the precession of the equinox, it has since passed through the constellation Aries and into the constellation Pisces (hence our current era being known as the Age of Pisces).

In the Old Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, the goddess Ishtar sends Taurus, the Bull of Heaven, to kill Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. Enkidu tears off the bull’s hind part and hurls the quarters into the sky where they become the stars we know as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Some locate Gilgamesh as the neighboring constellation of Orion, facing Taurus as if in combat, while others identify him with the sun whose rising on the equinox vanquishes the constellation. In Greek mythology, the myths associated with Scorpio almost invariably also contain a reference to Orion.

In early Mesopotamian art, the Bull of Heaven was closely associated with Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. One of the oldest depictions shows the bull standing before the goddess’ standard; since it has 3 stars depicted on its back (the cuneiform sign for “star-constellation”), there is good reason to regard this as the constellation later known as Taurus.

In Babylonian astronomy, the constellation was listed in the MUL.APIN as GU4.AN.NA, “The Bull of Heaven”. As this constellation marked the vernal equinox, it was also the first constellation in the Babylonian zodiac and they described it as “The Bull in Front”. The Akkadian name was Alu.

To the early Hebrews, Taurus was the first constellation in their zodiac and consequently it was represented by the first letter in their alphabet, Aleph. Alalu is god in Hurrian mythology. He is considered to have housed the divine family, because he was a progenitor of the gods, and possibly the father of Earth.

Alalu was a primeval deity of the Hurrian mythology. After nine years of reign, Alalu was defeated by Anu. Alaluʻs son Kumarbi also defeated Anu, biting and swallowing his genitals, hence becoming pregnant of three gods, among which Teshub who eventually defeated him. Scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus.

Alalu fled to the underworld. In Akkadian and Sumerian mythology, Alû is a vengeful spirit of the Utukku that goes down to the underworld Kur. In Akkadian and Sumerian mythology, it is associated with other demons like Gallu and Lilu.

The sequence alu (ᚨᛚᚢ) is found in numerous Elder Futhark runic inscriptions of Germanic Iron Age Scandinavia (and more rarely in early Anglo-Saxon England) between the 3rd and the 8th century. The word usually appears either alone (such as on the Elgesem runestone) or as part of an apparent formula (such as on the Lindholm “amulet” (DR 261) from Scania, Sweden). The symbols represent the runes Ansuz, Laguz, and Uruz.

The brightest member of this constellation is Aldebaran, an orange-hued, spectral class K5 III giant star. Its name derives from al-dabarān, Arabic for “the follower”, probably from the fact that it follows the Pleiades during the nightly motion of the celestial sphere across the sky.

In the northeastern quadrant of the Taurus constellation lie the Pleiades (M45), one of the best known open clusters, easily visible to the naked eye. The seven most prominent stars in this cluster are at least visual magnitude six, and so the cluster is also named the “Seven Sisters”.

The name “seven sisters” has been used for the Pleiades in the languages of many cultures, including indigenous groups of Australia, North America and Siberia. This suggests that the name may have a common ancient origin.

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

The Bull represents a strong-willed character with great perseverance and determination. In Egypt, Taurus was seen as the cow goddess Hathor. Hathor was the goddess of beauty, love, and happiness, and she represented all of the riches seen in cattle as the providers of nourishment. Roman astrologers considered Taurus ruled by Venus, the goddess of beauty, and Earth, the goddess of the earth and nature. Taurus is opposite to Scorpio.

Taurus (Latin for “the Bull”) is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It is one of the oldest constellations, dating back to at least the Early Bronze Age when it marked the location of the Sun during the spring equinox. Its importance to the agricultural calendar influenced various bull figures in the mythologies of Ancient Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

Virgo – Pisces

Pisces (Jesus) has been called the “dying god,” where its sign opposite in the night sky is Virgo, or, the Virgin Mary.

Jesus / Mary (Tammuz / Inanna – Balder / Nanna)

Nergal / Ereshkigal (Mars / Nerio – Tyr / Hel)

Libra – Virgo

Virgo is one of the constellations and the sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans the 150-180th degree of the zodiac. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between August 23 and September 22, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits the constellation of Virgo from September 17 to October 17.

Its name is Latin for virgin. It is lying between Leo to the west and Libra to the east. The symbol of the maiden is based on Astraea. In Greek mythology, she was the last immortal to abandon Earth at the end of the Silver Age, when the gods fled to Olympus – hence the sign’s association with Earth.

The constellation Virgo has multiple different origins depending on which mythology is being studied. This constellation has always been depicted as a woman and, although assigned many different roles, has been associated especially with the tension between fertility and beauty.

Most myths generally view Virgo as a virgin maiden with heavy association with wheat. According to the Babylonian Mul.Apin, which dates from 1000–686 BC, this constellation was known as “The Furrow”, representing the goddess Shala and her 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. 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.

The Babylonians associated this constellation with the goddess Ishtar, also known under the name of Ashtoreth or Astarte. The Archaic Greeks associated Virgo with their goddess of wheat and agriculture, Demeter, who is the mother of Persephone or Proserpina, and the association persisted through the Classical period.

The Romans associated it with their goddess Ceres (Roman mythology). Alternatively, she was sometimes identified as the virgin goddess Iustitia or Astraea, holding the scales of justice in her hand (that now are separated as the constellation Libra). During the Middle Ages, Virgo sometimes was 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.

Libra

Libra is the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans the 180–210th degree of the zodiac, between 180 and 207.25 degree of celestial longitude. Libra is one of the three zodiac air signs, the others being Gemini and Aquarius.

Under the tropical zodiac, Sun transits this area on average between (northern autumnal equinox) September 23 and October 22, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Libra from approximately October 16 to November 17.

The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom. She became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice. The ruling planet of Libra is Venus.

The sign of Libra is symbolized by the scales. Libra is the only zodiac constellation in the sky represented by an inanimate object. The other eleven signs are represented either as an animal or mythological characters throughout history.

According to the Romans in the First Century, Libra was a constellation they idolized. The moon was said to be in Libra when Rome was founded. Everything was balanced under this righteous sign. The Roman writer Manilius once said that Libra was the sign “in which the seasons are balanced”. Both the hours of the day and the hours of the night match each other. Thus why the Romans put so much trust in the “balanced sign”.

Going back to ancient Greek times, Libra the constellation between Virgo and Scorpio used to be over ruled by the constellation of Scorpio. They called the area the Latin word “chelae”, which translated to “the claws” which can help identify the individual stars that make up the full constellation of Libra, since it was so closely identified with the Scorpion constellation in the sky.

According to the Tropical system of astrology, the Sun enters the sign of Libra when it reaches the southern vernal equinox, which occurs around September 22.

Aries – Pisces

Pisces is a constellation of the zodiac. Its name is the Latin plural for fish. It lies between Aquarius to the west and Aries to the east. The ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect within this constellation and in Virgo.

The First Point of Aries, or the vernal equinox, is currently located in Pisces, due south of ω Psc, and, due to precession, slowly drifting below the western fish towards Aquarius. The story of the birth of Christ is said to be a result of the spring equinox entering into the Pisces, as the Savior of the World appeared as the Fisher of Men.

The age of Pisces began c. 1 AD and will end c. 2150 AD. With the story of the birth of Christ coinciding with this date, many Christian symbols for Christ use the astrological symbol for Pisces, the fishes. The figure Christ himself bears many of the temperaments and personality traits of a Pisces, and is thus considered an archetype of the Piscean.

Moreover, the twelve apostles were called the “fishers of men,” early Christians called themselves “little fishes,” and a code word for Jesus was the Greek word for fish, “Ikhthus.” With this, the start of the age, or the “Great Month of Pisces” is regarded as the beginning of the Christian religion. Saint Peter is recognized as the apostle of the Piscean sign.

According to one Greek myth, Pisces represents the fish, sometimes represented by koi fish, into which Aphrodite (also considered Venus) and her son Eros (also considered Cupid) transformed in order to escape the monster Typhon.

Typhon, the “father of all monsters” had been sent by Gaia to attack the gods, which led Pan to warn the others before himself changing into a goat-fish and jumping into the Euphrates.

A similar myth, one which the fish “Pisces” carry Aphrodite and her son out of danger, is resounded in Manilius’ five volume poetic work Astronomica: “Venus ow’d her safety to their Shape.”

Another myth is that an egg fell into the Euphrates river. It was then rolled to the shore by fish. Doves sat on the egg until it hatched, out from which came Aphrodite. As a sign of gratitude towards the fish, Aphrodite put the fish into the night sky.

Because of these myths, the Pisces constellation was also known as “Venus et Cupido,” “Venus Syria cum Cupidine,” “Venus cum Adone,” “Dione,” and “Veneris Mater,” the latter being the formal Latin term for mother.

An / Ki

An (Sumerian: 𒀭 AN, from 𒀭 an “sky, heaven”) or Anu (Akkadian: 𒀭𒀭 DAN, Anu‹m›) was the ancient Mesopotamian god of the sky. An was believed to be the supreme source of all authority, for the other gods and for all mortal rulers.

An’s primary role in the Sumerian pantheon was as an ancestor figure; the most powerful and important deities in the Sumerian pantheon were believed to be the offspring of An and his consort Ki. These deities were known as the Anunnaki, which means “offspring of An”.

An appears to have been the original chief deity of the Sumerian pantheon, but, by the time of the earliest written records, he had already been largely supplanted by his son Enlil, the god of wind, air, earth, and storms.

Dingir (𒀭, usually transliterated DIĜIR Sumerian pronunciation: [tiŋiɾ]) is a Sumerian word for “god.” Its cuneiform sign is most commonly employed as the determinative for religious names and related concepts, in which case it is not pronounced and is conventionally transliterated as a superscript “D”.

The cuneiform sign by itself was originally an ideogram for the Sumerian word an (“sky” or “heaven”); its use was then extended to a logogram for the word diĝir (“god” or goddess) and the supreme deity of the Sumerian pantheon An, and a phonogram for the syllable /an/.

Akkadian took over all these uses and added to them a logographic reading for the native ilum and from that a syllabic reading of /il/. In Hittite orthography, the syllabic value of the sign was again only an.

An was sometimes equated with Amurru, who bears the epithet ramān ‘thunderer’, and he is even called bāriqu ‘hurler of the thunderbolt’, and, in Seleucid Uruk, with Enmešara (Nergal) and Dumuzi (Tammuz).

Tammuz / Inanna

Tammuz (Sumerian: Dumuzid (DUMU.ZI(D), “faithful or true son”) is a Sumerian god of food and vegetation. Tammuz 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. The Aramaic name “Tammuz” seems to have been derived from the Akkadian form Tammuzi, based on early Sumerian Damu-zid.

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.

According to some scholars 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 on the site that was traditionally considered to be located over the cave marking the birthplace of Jesus.

Balder / Nanna

Baldr (“lord, prince, king”) is a Æsir god of light, joy, purity, and the summer sun in Norse mythology. In addition to being loved by all gods and more physical beings, he was so handsome, generous, and good that he gave off light simply by the purity of his character. According to Rudolf Simek, the original name for Baldr must be understood as ‘shining day’.

In Gylfaginning, Snorri relates that Baldr had the greatest ship ever built, Hringhorni, and that there is no place more beautiful than his hall, Breidablik. The Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda contain numerous references to the death of Baldr as both a great tragedy to the Æsir and a harbinger of Ragnarök.

According to Gylfaginning, a book of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, Baldr’s wife is Nanna Nepsdóttir or simply Nanna and their son is Forseti (Old Norse “the presiding one,” actually “president” in modern Icelandic and Faroese), the god of justice and reconciliation.

Balder is mostly remembered for his tragic death. After Baldr’s death, Nanna dies of grief. Nanna is placed on Baldr’s ship with his corpse and the two are set aflame and pushed out to sea. In Hel, Baldr and Nanna are united again. Another son of Odin, Hermod, volunteered to ride Sleipner to the underworld and beg Hel, the goddess who ruled that domain, to return him.

Utu / Sherida

Utu was the ancient Sumerian god of the sun, justice, morality, and truth. He was believed to ride through the heavens in his sun chariot and see all things that happened in the day. He was the enforcer of divine justice and was thought to aid those in distress.

Utu was the twin brother of the goddess Inanna, the Queen of Heaven. In Sumerian texts, Inanna and Utu are shown as extremely close; in fact, their relationship frequently borders on incestuous.

Sherida is one of the oldest Mesopotamian gods, attested in inscriptions from pre-Sargonic times, her name (as “Aya”) was a popular personal name during the Ur III period (21st-20th century BCE), making her among the oldest Semitic deities known in the region.

As the Sumerian pantheon formalized, Utu became the primary sun god, and his wife the goddess Sherida was syncretized into a subordinate role as an aspect of the sun alongside other less powerful solar deities and took on the role of Utu’s consort.

Shamash / Aya

Aya (or Aja) in Akkadian mythology was a mother goddess, consort of the sun god Shamash. She developed from the Sumerian goddess Sherida. Aya is Akkadian for “dawn”, and by the Akkadian period she was firmly associated with the rising sun and with sexual love and youth. The Babylonians sometimes referred to her as kallatu (the bride), and as such she was known as the wife of Shamash.

By the Neo-Babylonian period at the latest (and possibly much earlier), Shamash and Aya were associated with a practice known as Hasadu, which is loosely translated as a “sacred marriage.” A room would be set aside with a bed, and on certain occasions the temple statues of Shamash and Aya would be brought together and laid on the bed to ceremonially renew their vows.

According to the 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica the Shamash cults at Sippar and Larsa so overshadowed local Sun deities elsewhere as to lead to an absorption of the minor deities by the predominating one, in the systematized pantheon these minor Sun gods become attendants that do his service. In the wake of such syncretism Shamash was usually viewed as the Sun god in general.

Such are Bunene, spoken of as his chariot driver and whose consort is Atgi-makh, Kettu (“justice”) and Mesharu (“right”), who were then introduced as attendants of Shamash. Other Sun deities such as Ninurta and Nergal, the patron deities of other important centers, retained their independent existences as certain phases of the Sun, with Ninurta becoming the Sun god of the morning and spring time and Nergal the Sun god of the noon and the summer solstice.

Nergal / Ereshkigal

Enmesarra in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology is an underworld god of the law. Described as a Sun god, protector of flocks and vegetation, and therefore he has been equated with Nergal.

Nergal seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, the solar deity in ancient Semitic religion, corresponding to the Sumerian god Utu (Akkadian rendition of Sumerian dUD “Sun”, Assyro-Babylonian Shamash “Sun”).

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

Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld. Nergal was also the deity who presides over the netherworld, and who stands at the head of the special pantheon assigned to the government of the dead (supposed to be gathered in a large subterranean cave known as Aralu or Irkalla).

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.

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

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

In Babylonian astronomy, the stars Castor and Pollux were known as the Great Twins (MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL). Gemini is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Its name is Latin for “twins,” and it is associated with the twins Castor and Pollux in Greek mythology.

The Twins were regarded as minor gods and were called Meshlamtaea and Lugalirra, meaning respectively ‘The One who has arisen from the Underworld’ and the ‘Mighty King’. Both names can be understood as titles of Nergal.

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.

Because he was a god of fire, the desert, and the Underworld and also a god from ancient paganism, later Christian writers sometimes identified Nergal as a demon and even identified him with Satan. According to Collin de Plancy and Johann Weyer, Nergal was depicted as the chief of Hell’s “secret police”, and worked as “an honorary spy in the service of Beelzebub”.

Mars

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. 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.

Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people. In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia.

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

 Like Ares who was the son of Zeus and Hera, Mars is usually considered to be the son of Jupiter and Juno. However, in a version of his birth given by Ovid, he was the son of Juno alone. Jupiter had usurped the mother’s function when he gave birth to Minerva directly from his forehead (or mind); to restore the balance, Juno sought the advice of the goddess Flora on how to do the same.

Flora obtained a magic flower (Latin flos, plural flores, a masculine word) and tested it on a heifer who became fecund at once. She then plucked a flower ritually using her thumb, touched Juno’s belly, and impregnated her. Juno withdrew to Thrace and the shore of Marmara for the birth.

Ovid tells this story in the Fasti, his long-form poetic work on the Roman calendar. It may explain why the Matronalia, a festival celebrated by married women in honor of Juno as a goddess of childbirth, occurred on the first day of Mars’ month, which is also marked on a calendar from late antiquity as the birthday of Mars. In the earliest Roman calendar, March was the first month, and the god would have been born with the new year.

Ovid is the only source for the story. He may be presenting a literary myth of his own invention, or an otherwise unknown archaic Italic tradition; either way, in choosing to include the story, he emphasizes that Mars was connected to plant life and was not alienated from female nurture.

Nerio / Minerva

The consort of Mars was Nerio or Neriene, meaning “Valor.” A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Neriene were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23. In the later Roman Empire, Neriene came to be identified with Minerva.

Nerio was an ancient war goddess and the personification of valor. She 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 probably originates as a divine personification of Mars’ power, as such abstractions in Latin are generally feminine. 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”).

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.”

In Roman mythology, Virtus was the deity of bravery and military strength, the personification of the Roman virtue of virtus. The Greek equivalent deity was Arete. The deity was identified with the Roman god Honos (personification of honour) and was often honoured together with him, such as in the Temple of Virtus and Honos at the Porta Capena in Rome itself.

The deity was represented in a variety of ways, for example, on the coins of Tetricus, they could appear as a matron, an old man, or a young man, with a javelin or only clothed in a cape. Within the realm of funerary reliefs Virtus is never shown without a male companion. Often their presence within this realm of art is to compliment and provide assistance to the protagonist of the relief during a scene of intense masculinity or bravery.

Bellona was an Ancient Roman goddess of war. Originally named Duellona in the Italic languages, Bellona was an ancient Sabine goddess of war, identified with Nerio, and later with her Greek equivalent Enyo. In the military cult of Bellona, she was associated with Virtus, the personification of valour.

Her main attribute is the military helmet worn on her head; she often holds a sword, spear, or shield, and brandishes a torch or whip as she rides into battle in a four-horse chariot. Her iconography was extended further by painters and sculptors following the Renaissance.

Her first temple in Rome was dedicated in 296 BCE, where her festival was celebrated on 3rd June. Her priests were known as Bellonarii and used to wound their own arms or legs as a blood sacrifice to her. These rites took place on 24th March, called the day of blood (dies sanguinis), after the ceremony.

In consequence of this practice, which approximated to the rites dedicated to Cybele in Asia Minor, both Enyo and Bellona became identified with her Cappadocian aspect, Ma.

Minerva (Etruscan: Menrva) was the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare, though it is noted that the Romans did not stress her relation to battle and warfare as the Greeks would come to, and the sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy. The Romans celebrated her festival from March 19 to March 23.

From the second century BC onward, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. Following the Greek myths around Athena, she was born of Metis, who had been swallowed by Jupiter, and burst from her father’s head, fully armed and clad in armor.

After impregnating the titaness Metis notably forcefully which resulted in her attempting to change shape or shapeshift to escape him, Jupiter recalled the prophecy that his own child would overthrow him as he had Cronus and in turn, Cronus had Uranus.

Fearing that their child would be male, and would grow stronger than he was and rule the Heavens in his place, Jupiter swallowed Metis whole after tricking her into turning herself into a fly. The titaness gave birth to Minerva and forged weapons and armor for her child while within Jupiter’s body nevertheless.

It is said in some versions that Metis continued to live inside of Jupiter’s mind and that she is the source of his wisdom though others say she was simply a vessel for the birth of Minerva.

Nevertheless, the constant pounding and ringing left Jupiter with agonizing pain and to relieve the pain, Vulcan used a hammer to split Jupiter’s head and, from the cleft, Minerva emerged, whole, adult, and in full battle armor.

She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, and the crafts. 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 as well as less frequently, the snake and the olive tree.

Minerva was worshipped at several locations in Rome, including most prominently as part of the Capitoline Triad, and also at the Temple of Minerva Medica, and at the “Delubrum Minervae”, a temple founded around 50 BC by Pompey on the site now occupied by the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

As Minerva Medica, she was the goddess of medicine and physicians. The temple of Minerva Medica (akin to the temple of Apollo Medicus) was a temple in ancient Rome, built on the Esquiline Hill in the Republican era, though no remains of it have been found.

Inanna and Ereshkigal

The Queen of the Night (also known as the `Burney Relief’) is a high relief terracotta plaque of baked clay depicting a naked winged woman flanked by owls and standing on the backs of two lions. Who the winged woman is, however, has not been agreed upon though scholars generally believe her to be either Inanna or Ereshkigal.

The woman depicted in the relief is acknowledged to be a goddess as she wears the horned headdress of a deity and holds the sacred rod-and-ring symbol in her raised hands. Not only is the woman winged but her legs taper to bird talons (which seem to grip the lion’s backs) and she is shown with a dew claw on her calves. Along the base of the plaque runs a motif which represents mountains, indicating high ground.

Inanna was the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, combat, justice, and political power. Her husband was the god Dumuzid the Shepherd (later called Tammuz) and her sukkal, or personal attendant, was the goddess Ninshubur (who later became the male deity Papsukkal).

Ereshkigal (D.EREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. “Queen of the Great Earth”) was the goddess of Kur, the land of the dead or underworld. In Sumerian myths, Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom.

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”.

The two main myths involving Ereshkigal are the story of Inanna’s descent into the Underworld and the story of Ereshkigal’s marriage to the god Nergal. In later East Semitic myths she was said to rule Irkalla alongside her husband Nergal.

In the ancient Sumerian poem Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld Ereshkigal is described as Inanna’s older sister. Inanna and Ereshkigal represent polar opposites. Inanna is the Queen of Heaven, but Ereshkigal is the queen of Irkalla.

The Queen of the Night

Tyr / Hel

Týr is a Germanic god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz.

The Latinised name is rendered as Tius or Tio and also formally as Mars Thincsus. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.

The origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion.

It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

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

This name is cognate with the Greek Zeus, Latin Jupiter, and Norse Tyr. 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.

In Luwian cuneiform of the Bronze Age, his name appears as Tiwad-. It can also be written with the Sumerogram dUTU (“God-Sun”). In Hieroglyphic Luwian of the Iron Age, the name can be written as Tiwad- of with the ideogram (DEUS) SOL (“God-Sun”).

In Bronze Age texts, Tiwaz is often referred to as “Father” (cuneiform Luwian: tatis Tiwaz) and once as “Great Tiwaz” (cuneiform Luwian: urazza- dUTU-az), and invoked along with the “Father gods” (cuneiform Luwian: tatinzi maššaninzi). His Bronze Age epithet, “Tiwaz of the Oath” (cuneiform Luwian: ḫirutalla- dUTU-az), indicates that he was an oath-god.

While the Luwians originally worshipped the old Proto-Indo-European Sun god Tiwaz the Hittites worshipped the Sun goddess of the Earth (Hittite: taknaš dUTU, Luwian: tiyamaššiš Tiwaz) and the Sun god of Heaven (Hittite: nepišaš Ištanu).

The Sun god of Heaven was the second-most worshipped solar deity of the Hittites, after the Sun goddess of Arinna. 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.

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.

The Sun goddess of the Earth was the Hittite goddess of the underworld. 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.

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. For the Luwians there is a Bronze Age source which refers to the “Sun god of the Earth”: “If he is alive, may Tiwaz release him, if he is dead, may the Sun god of the Earth release him”.

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