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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From Pisces (Adapa / Neptune / Jesus) and Virgo (Inanna / Nanna / Maria) to Aquarius (Enki – Gula / Heimdal – Njord) and Leo (Enlil – Ninurta – Nergal / Odin – Tyr – Tor)

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on February 6, 2018

An / Antu (60)

Tammuz / Inanna – Nergal / Ereshkigal 

 An was also sometimes equated with Amurru, and, in Seleucid Uruk, with Enmešara (Nergal) and Dumuzi.

Enlil (50) / Ninlil – Enki (40) / Ninhursag

According to some tropical astrologers, the current astrological age is the Age of Pisces, while others maintain that it is the Age of Aquarius. Pisces is the twelfth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the Pisces constellation.

Its name is the Latin plural for fish. Under the tropical zodiac the sun transits this area on average between February 19 and March 20, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits this area between approximately March 13 and April 13.

The symbol of the fish is derived from the ichthyocentaurs, who aided Aphrodite when she was born from the sea. In late poetical Greek mythology, ichthyocentaurs were a race of centaurine sea-gods with the upper body of a human, the lower front of a horse, the tail of a fish, and lobster-claw horns on their heads.

Ichthyocentaur comes from two different words, ichthyo- and centaur. Ichthyo- comes from the Greek word ikhthis (ιχθύς), which means fish; centaur, or centaurus in Latin, from classical mythology, is a creature having the head, trunk, and arms of a man, and the body and legs of a horse. Ichthyocentaurs have both the attributes coming from the two meanings, which make them a “fish-horse-man”.

The best-known members of this race were Aphros and Bythos, two half-brothers of the wise centaur Chiron and the sons of the Titan Cronus and Nymph Philyra. These two sea-gods, though little remembered, were set in the sky as the astronomical constellation Pisces. The sea-centaurs were probably derived from the divine fish of Syrian mythology (possibly identified with Dagon) that carried Astarte ashore following her watery birth.

Adapa, the first of the Mesopotamian seven sages (apkallu[a]), was a mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. The story is first attested in the Kassite period (14th century BC), in fragmentary tablets from Tell el-Amarna, and from Assur, of the late second millennium BC.

Mesopotamian myth tells of seven antediluvian sages, who were sent by Enki to bring the arts of civilisation to humankind. The first of these, Adapa, also known as Uan, the name given as Oannes by Berossus, introduced the practice of the correct rites of religious observance as priest of the E’Apsu temple, at Eridu.

The sages are described in Mesopotamian literature as ‘pure parādu-fish, probably carp, whose bones are found associated with the earliest shrine, and still kept as a holy duty in the precincts of Near Eastern mosques and monasteries. Adapa as a fisherman was iconographically portrayed as a fish-man composite.

Adapa was a mortal man from a godly lineage, a son of Enki. He broke the wings of Ninlil the South Wind, who had overturned his fishing boat, and was called to account before Anu. Enki, his patron god, warned him to apologize humbly for his actions, but not to partake of food or drink while he was in heaven, as it would be the food of death. Anu, impressed by Adapa’s sincerity, offered instead the food of immortality, but Adapa heeded Ea’s advice, refused, and thus missed the chance for immortality that would have been his.

Vague parallels can be drawn to the story of Genesis, where Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden by Yahweh, after they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus gaining death.

Parallels are also apparent (to an even greater degree) with the story of Persephone visiting Hades, who was warned to take nothing from that kingdom. Stephanie Dalley writes “From Erra and Ishum we know that all the sages were banished … because they angered the gods, and went back to the Apsu, where Ea lived, and … the story … ended with Adapa’s banishment.”

Adapa is often identified as an adviser to the mythical first (antediluvian) king of Eridu, Alulim. In addition to his advisory duties, he served as a priest and exorcist, and upon his death took his place among the Seven Sages or Apkallū. (Apkallu “sage”, comes from Sumerian AB.GAL “great water”, a reference to Adapa the first sage’s association with water.)

Oannes was the name given by the Babylonian writer Berossus in the 3rd century BC to a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom. Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man. He is described as dwelling in the Persian Gulf, and rising out of the waters in the daytime and furnishing mankind instruction in writing, the arts and the various sciences.

Oannes and the Semitic god Dagon were considered identical, but not until long after those gods were formally worshiped – this belief was popularized by the medieval Jewish commentator Rashi and in Dante’s Inferno, but has been discarded by modern scholars.

The name “Oannes” was once conjectured to be derived from that of the ancient Babylonian god Ea, but it is now known that the name is the Greek form of the Babylonian Uanna (or Uan), a name used for Adapa in texts from the Library of Ashurbanipal. The Assyrian texts attempt to connect the word to the Akkadian for a craftsman, ummanu, but this is merely a pun.

Neptune is the ruling planet of Pisces and is exalted in Cancer. In Roman mythology, Neptune is the god of the sea, and the deep, ocean blue color of the planet Neptune reflects this. Its glyph is taken directly from Neptune’s trident, symbolizing the curve of spirit being pierced by the cross of matter. Jupiter is co-ruler of Pisces.

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 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.

Pisces 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 sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac. In an updated revision, Virgo is ruled by Chiron.

Virgo is the second-largest constellation. 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.

Venus is the ruling planet of Taurus and Libra and is exalted in Pisces. In old opinion, Ceres is the ruling planet of Virgo but as more knowledge about the planet’s character has been revealed, majority of modern astrologers opinion, denote Ceres being the ruler for Taurus.

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. The Babylonians associated this constellation with the goddess Ishtar, also known under the name of Ashtoreth or Astarte.

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. Shala was an ancient Sumerian goddess of grain and the emotion of compassion. The symbols of grain and compassion combine to reflect the importance of agriculture in the mythology of Sumer, and the belief that an abundant harvest was an act of compassion from the deities.

Traditions identify Shala as wife of the fertility god Dagon, or consort of the storm god Hadad’ also called Ishkur. In ancient depictions, she carries a double-headed mace or scimitar embellished with lion heads.

Sometimes she is depicted as being borne atop one or two lionesses. From very early times, she is associated with the constellation Virgo and vestiges of symbolism associated with her have persisted in representations of the constellation to current times, such as the ear of grain, even as the deity name changed from culture to culture.

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.

Another Greek myth from later, Classical times, identifies Virgo as Erigone, the daughter of Icarius of Athens. Icarius, who had been favoured by Dionysus and was killed by his shepherds while they were intoxicated after which Erigone hanged herself in grief; in versions of this myth, Dionysus is said to have placed the father and daughter in the stars as Boötes and Virgo respectively.

The Romans associated it with their goddess Ceres. Although a mother, Ceres is also the archetype of a virgin goddess. Ceres epitomizes independent women who are often unmarried (since, according to myth, Ceres is an unmarried goddess who chose to become a mother without a husband or partner.) While the moon represents our ideal of “motherhood”, Ceres would represent how our real and nature motherhood should be.

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). 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. She also has various connections with the India goddess Kanya, and even the Virgin Mary.

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 eleventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation Aquarius.

The point where the Sun crosses the celestial equator northwards is called the First Point of Aries. However, due to the precession of the equinoxes, this point is no longer in the constellation Aries, but rather in Pisces. By the year 2600 it will be in Aquarius.

Based on the modern constellation boundaries, the northward equinox passed from Taurus into Aries in the year −1865 (1866 BC), passed into Pisces in the year −67 (68 BC), will pass into Aquarius in the year 2597, and will pass into Capricornus in the year 4312.

The point where the Sun crosses the celestial equator southwards is called the first point of Libra. However, due to the precession of the equinoxes, this point is no longer in the constellation Libra, but rather in Virgo. The September equinox passed from Libra into Virgo in year −729, will pass into Leo in year 2439.

Aquarius is situated between Capricornus and Pisces. In tropical astrology, the Sun is considered to be in the sign Aquarius from 20 January to 19 February, and in sidereal astrology, from 15 February to 14 March.

While the astrological sign Pisces per definition runs from ecliptical longitude 330° to 0, this position is now mostly covered by the constellation of Aquarius, due to the precession from when the constellation and the sign coincided.

Aquarius is also associated with the Age of Aquarius. Despite this prominence, the Age of Aquarius will not dawn until the year 2597, as an astrological age does not begin until the Sun is in a particular constellation on the vernal equinox.

Its name is Latin for “water-carrier” or “cup-carrier”, and its symbol is a representation of water. Uranus is the ruling planet of Aquarius and is exalted in Scorpio. In Greek mythology, Uranus is the personification of the sky.

Before the discovery of Uranus, Saturn was regarded as the ruling planet of Aquarius alongside Capricorn of course, which is the preceding sign. Many traditional types of astrologers refer Saturn as the planetary ruler for both Capricorn and Aquarius.

It contained the winter solstice in the Early Bronze Age. In Old Babylonian astronomy, Enki was the ruler of the southernmost quarter of the Sun’s path, the “Way of Ea”, corresponding to the period of 45 days on either side of winter solstice.

The Babylonian star-figure appears on entitlement stones and cylinder seals from the second millennium. Aquarius is identified as GU.LA “The Great One” in the Babylonian star catalogues and represents the god Enki himself, who is commonly depicted holding an overflowing vase.

Aquarius was also associated with the destructive floods that the Babylonians regularly experienced, and thus was negatively connoted. In Ancient Egypt astronomy, Aquarius was associated with the annual flood of the Nile; the banks were said to flood when Aquarius put his jar into the river, beginning spring.

Enki was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization. He is often shown with the horned crown of divinity. Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was sometimes referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for “40”, occasionally referred to as his “sacred number”. The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times, identified with Enki.

Considered the master shaper of the world, god of wisdom and of all magic, Enki was characterized as the lord of the Abzu (Apsu in Akkadian), the freshwater sea or groundwater located within the earth.

In the later Babylonian epic Enûma Eliš, Abzu, the “begetter of the gods”, is inert and sleepy but finds his peace disturbed by the younger gods, so sets out to destroy them. His grandson Enki, chosen to represent the younger gods, puts a spell on Abzu “casting him into a deep sleep”, thereby confining him deep underground. Enki subsequently sets up his home “in the depths of the Abzu.” Enki thus takes on all of the functions of the Abzu, including his fertilising powers as lord of the waters and lord of semen.

In another even older tradition, Nammu is the goddess of the primeval creative matter and the mother-goddess portrayed as having “given birth to the great gods”. She was the mother of Enki, and as the watery creative force, was said to preexist Ea-Enki. However, with Enki it is an change of gender symbolism, the fertilising agent is also water, Sumerian “a” or “Ab” which also means “semen”.

The main source of information about the Sumerian creation myth is the prologue to the epic poem Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld, which briefly describes the process of creation: originally, there was only Nammu, the primeval sea. Then, Nammu gave birth to An, the sky, and Ki, the earth. An and Ki mated with each other, causing Ki to give birth to Enlil (Sumerian: dEN.LÍL, “Lord Storm”). Enlil separated An from Ki and carried off the earth as his domain, while An carried off the sky.

Enlil was the ancient Mesopotamian god of wind, air, earth, and storms. Enlil was regarded as the inventor of the mattock, a key agricultural pick, hoe, ax, or digging tool of the Sumerians, and the patron of agriculture.

In the poem, Enlil conjures the mattock into existence and decrees its fate. The mattock is described as gloriously beautiful; it is made of pure gold and has a head carved from lapis lazuli. Enlil gives the tool over to the humans, who use it to build cities, subjugate their people, and pull up weeds. Enlil was believed to aid in the growth of plants.

Enlil’s name comes from ancient Sumerian EN, meaning “lord” and LÍL meaning “storm” or “wind”. His name therefore literally translates as “Lord Storm”. Enlil’s name is not a genitive construction, indicating that Enlil was seen as the personification of the storm itself rather than merely the cause of storms.

Enlil’s epithets include titles such as “the Great Mountain” and “King of the Foreign Lands”. Enlil is also sometimes described as a “raging storm”, a “wild bull”, and a “merchant” The Mesopotamians envisioned him as a creator, a father, a king, and the supreme lord of the universe. He was also known as “Nunamnir” and is referred to in at least one text as the “East Wind and North Wind”. Enlil was associated with the number fifty, which was considered sacred to him.

The Sumerians envisioned Enlil as a benevolent, fatherly deity, who watches over humanity and cares for their well-being. He was regarded as so glorious that even the other gods could not look upon him. It was thought that, without Enlil, civilization could not exist.

Enlil’s primary center of worship was the Ekur temple in the city of Nippur, which was believed to have been built by Enlil himself and was regarded as the “mooring-rope” of heaven and earth. He himself was believed to be so holy that not even the other gods could look upon him.

Enlil plays a vital role in the Sumerian creation myth; he separates An (heaven) from Ki (earth), thus making the world habitable for humans. In the Sumerian Flood myth, Enlil rewards Ziusudra with immortality for having survived the flood and, in the Babylonian flood myth, Enlil is the cause of the flood himself, having sent the flood to exterminate the human race, who made too much noise and prevented him from sleeping.

Unlike other major Mesopotamian deities, Enlil was never identified with any particular planet because he, An, and Enki were believed to be the embodiments of the sky itself. Enlil was particularly associated with the constellation Boötes.

On the Adda Seal, Enki is depicted with two streams of water flowing into each of his shoulders: one the Tigris, the other the Euphrates. Alongside him are two trees, symbolizing the male and female aspects of nature. He is shown wearing a flounced skirt and a cone-shaped hat. An eagle descends from above to land upon his outstretched right arm. This portrayal reflects Enki’s role as the god of water, life, and replenishment.

Despite its faintness, Capricornus has one of the oldest mythological associations, having been consistently represented as a hybrid of a goat and a fish since the Middle Bronze Age. First attested in depictions on a cylinder-seal from around the 21st century BC,[6] it was explicitly recorded in the Babylonian star catalogues as MULSUḪUR.MAŠ “The Goat-Fish” before 1000 BC. The constellation was a symbol of the god Ea and in the Early Bronze Age marked the winter solstice.

In Greek mythology, the constellation is sometimes identified as Amalthea, the goat that suckled the infant Zeus after his mother, Rhea, saved him from being devoured by his father, Cronos. The goat’s broken horn was transformed into the cornucopia or horn of plenty. Capricornus is also sometimes identified as Pan, the god with a goat’s head, who saved himself from the monster Typhon by giving himself a fish’s tail and diving into a river.

Due to the precession of the equinoxes the December solstice no longer takes place while the sun is in the constellation Capricornus, as it did until 130 BCE, but the astrological sign called Capricorn begins with the solstice.

The solstice now takes place when the Sun is in the constellation (not the sign) of Sagittarius. The sun’s most southerly position, which is attained at the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice, is now called the Tropic of Capricorn, a term which also applies to the line on the Earth at which the sun is directly overhead at noon on that solstice. The Sun is now in Capricorn from late January through mid-February.

Isimud is a minor god, the messenger of the god Enki, in Sumerian mythology. In ancient Sumerian artwork, Isimud is easily identifiable because he is always depicted with two faces facing in opposite directions in a way that is similar to the ancient Roman god Janus.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.It is conventionally thought that the month of January is named for Janus (Ianuarius), but according to ancient Roman farmers’ almanacs Juno was the tutelary deity of the month.

Nintinugga was a Babylonian goddess of healing, the consort of Ninurta. Later as Gula and in medical incantations, Bēlet or Balāti, also as the Azugallatu the “great healer”.  After the Great Flood, she helped “breathe life” back into mankind. She is, however, also invoked to curse those who trample upon the rights of rulers or those who do wrong with poisonous potions.

In Mesopotamian religion, Ninurta (Sumerian: DNIN.URTA, “lord of barley”) was a god of law, scribes, farming, and hunting. Ninurta often appears holding a bow and arrow, a sickle sword, or a mace; the mace, named Sharur, is capable of speech and can take the form of a winged lion.

In the early days of Assyriology, the name was often transliterated Ninib or Ninip and he was sometimes analyzed as a solar deity. In Nippur, Ninurta was worshiped as part of a triad of deities including his father, Enlil and his mother, Ninlil.

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.

Enlil plays a vital role in the Sumerian creation myth; he separates An (heaven) from Ki (earth), thus making the world habitable for humans. In the Sumerian Flood myth, Enlil rewards Ziusudra with immortality for having survived the flood and, in the Babylonian flood myth, Enlil is the cause of the flood himself, having sent the flood to exterminate the human race, who made too much noise and prevented him from sleeping.

In the Sumerian version of the flood myth, the causes of the flood and the reasons for the hero’s survival are unknown due to the fact that the beginning of the tablet describing the story has been destroyed. Nonetheless, it can probably be reasonably inferred that the hero Ziusudra survives due to Enki’s aid because that is what happens in the later Akkadian and Babylonian versions of the story.

In the later Legend of Atrahasis, Enlil, the king of the gods, sets out to eliminate humanity, whose noise is disturbing his rest. He successively sends drought, famine and plague to eliminate humanity, but Enki thwarts his half-brother’s plans by teaching Atrahasis how to counter these threats.

The Sun is supposedly in detriment in Aquarius, since Leo is ruled by the Sun and is Aquarius’ opposite. Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Leo. It lies between Cancer the crab to the west and Virgo the maiden to the east.

In tropical astrology, the Sun is considered to be in the sign Leo from July 23 to August 22, and in sidereal astrology, from August 16 to September 17. The sign spans the 120th to 150th degree of celestial longitude.

In Babylonian astronomy, the constellation was called UR.GU.LA, the “Great Lion”; the bright star Regulus was known as “the star that stands at the Lion’s breast.” Regulus also had distinctly regal associations, as it was known as the King Star.

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