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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The Sun – justice: Venus and Mars

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on June 22, 2018

The Phrygian cap

The Phrygian cap or liberty cap is a soft conical cap with the top pulled forward, associated in antiquity with several peoples in Eastern Europe and Anatolia, including Phrygia, Dacia, and the Balkans.

In early modern Europe it came to signify freedom and the pursuit of liberty through a confusion with the pileus, the felt cap of manumitted (emancipated) slaves of ancient Rome. In artistic representations it signifies freedom and the pursuit of liberty.

It is used in the coat of arms of certain Republics or of republican State institutions in the place where otherwise a Crown would be used (in the heraldry of monarchies). It thus came to be identified as a symbol of the republican form of government. A number of national personifications, in particular France’s Marianne, are commonly depicted wearing the Phrygian cap.

By the 4th century BC (early Hellenistic period) the Phrygian cap was associated with Phrygian Attis, the consort of Cybele, the cult of which had by then become graecified. At around the same time, the cap appears in depictions of the legendary king Midas and other Phrygians in Greek vase-paintings and sculpture. Such images predate the earliest surviving literary references to the cap.

The Phrygian cap reappears in figures related to the first to fourth century religion Mithraism. This astrology-centric Roman mystery cult (cultus) projected itself with pseudo-Oriental trappings (known as perserie in scholarship) in order to distinguish itself from both traditional Roman religion and from the other mystery cults.

In the artwork of the cult (e.g. in the so-called “tauroctony” cult images), the figures of the god Mithras as well as those of his helpers Cautes and Cautopates are routinely depicted with a Phrygian cap. The function of the Phrygian cap in the cult are unknown, but it is conventionally identified as an accessory of its perserie.

Mitra is the reconstructed Proto-Indo-Iranian name of an Indo-Iranian divinity from which the names and some characteristics of Rigvedic Mitrá and Avestan Mithra derive. The first extant record of Indic Mitra, in the form mi-it-ra-, is in the inscribed peace treaty of c. 1400 BC between Hittites and the Hurrian kingdom of the Mitanni in the area southeast of Lake Van in Asia Minor.

Both Vedic Mitra and Avestan Mithra derive from an Indo-Iranian common noun *mitra-, generally reconstructed to have meant “covenant, treaty, agreement, promise.” This meaning is preserved in Avestan miθra “covenant.” In Sanskrit and modern Indo-Aryan languages, mitra means “friend,” one of the aspects of bonding and alliance.

Early Christian art (and continuing well into the Middle Ages) build on the same Greco-Roman perceptions of (Pseudo-)Zoroaster and his “Magi” as experts in the arts of astrology and magic, and routinely depict the “three wise men” (that follow a star) with Phrygian caps.

In late Republican Rome, a soft felt cap called the pileus served as a symbol of freemen (i.e. non-slaves), and was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, thereby granting them not only their personal liberty, but also libertas— freedom as citizens, with the right to vote (if male).

Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, Brutus and his co-conspirators instrumentalized this symbolism of the pileus to signify the end of Caesar’s dictatorship and a return to the (Roman) republican system.

These Roman associations of the pileus with liberty and republicanism were carried forward to the 18th-century, when the pileus was confused with the Phrygian cap, with the Phrygian cap then becoming a symbol of those values.

Ama-gi

Ama-gi is a Sumerian word. It has been translated as “freedom”, as well as “manumission”, “exemption from debts or obligations”, and “the restoration of persons and property to their original status” including the remission of debts. Other interpretations include a “reversion to a previous state” and release from debt, slavery, taxation or punishment.

The word originates from the noun ama “mother” (sometimes with the enclitic dative case marker ar), and the present participle gi “return, restore, put back”, thus literally meaning “returning to mother”.

The earliest known usage of the word was in the reforms of Urukagina. By the Third Dynasty of Ur, it was used as a legal term for the manumission of individuals. It is related to the Akkadian word anduraāru(m), meaning “freedom”, “exemption” and “release from (debt) slavery”.

Assyriologist Samuel Noah Kramer has identified it as the first known written reference to the concept of freedom. Referring to its literal meaning “return to the mother”, he wrote in 1963 that “we still do not know why this figure of speech came to be used for “freedom.””

John Rawls used what amounted to an artificial state of nature. To develop his theory of justice, Rawls places everyone in the original position. The original position is a hypothetical state of nature used as a thought experiment development to Rawls’ theory of justice.

People in the original position have no society and are under a veil of ignorance that prevents them from knowing how they may benefit from society. They lack foreknowledge of their intelligence, wealth, or abilities.

Rawls reasons that people in the original position would want a society where they had their basic liberties protected and where they had some economic guarantees as well. If society were to be constructed from scratch through a social agreement between individuals, these principles would be the expected basis of such an agreement. Thus, these principles should form the basis of real, modern societies since everyone should consent to them if society were organized from scratch in fair agreements.

Rawls also examines the state of nature between nations. In his work the Law of Peoples, Rawls applies a modified version of his original position thought experiment to international relationships.

Rawls says that peoples, not states, form the basic unit that should be examined. States should be encouraged to follow the principles from Rawls’ earlier A Theory of Justice. Democracy seems like it would be the most logical means of accomplishing these goals, but benign non-democracies should be seen as acceptable at the international stage. Rawls develops eight principles for how a people should act on an international stage.

The dawn goddess

Hausos is the reconstructed name for the Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn. Derivatives of her found throughout various Indo-European mythologies include the Greek goddess Eos, the Roman goddess Aurōra, the Vedic goddess Uṣás, the Lithuanian goddess Aušrinė (cf. Lith. aušrà “dawn”), and possibly also the (West) Germanic goddess *Austrǭ (Old English Ēostre, Old High German *Ōstara).

The Dawn Goddess is hypothesised to have been one of the most important deities to the Proto-Indo-Europeans, due to the consistency of her characterisation. Her attributes have not only been mixed with those of solar goddesses in some later traditions, but have subsequently expanded and influenced female deities in other mythologies.

The Dawn Goddess was associated with weaving, a behaviour sometimes used as a metaphor for the generative properties of sunlight. This characteristic is normally seen in solar goddesses and it might indicate a large amount of syncretism between dawn and solar deities.

Nearly all reflexes are associated with reddish horses, perhaps due to syncretism with solar goddesses as well as the hypothesised relation with the Divine Twins. She is envisioned as the sister of the Divine Twins, with Ushas still maintaining this relation to the Ashvins.

Although the “marriage drama” myth (in which one or both of the Divine Twins compete for the hand of a woman in marriage) is usually linked to the sun goddess rather than the dawn goddess there is a possible degree of syncretism in this regard. Particularly as the Baltic Aušrinė is in a similar marriage drama situation, albeit in relation to her father and her mother.

Red cows are also sacred to Ushas, while Eos is linked with songbirds and cicadas. Spiders are also possibly illustrative of this goddess, due to their association with weaving.

The Dawn Goddess is thought to have been envisioned as the daughter of Dyeus. This is partially reflected in Vedic mythology, where Ushas is the daughter of Dyaus Pita, though in some other Indo-European derivations this is not the case.

Eos is a titan daughter of Hyperion and Theia while Aušrinė is the daughter of Saulė and Mėnulis. Ushas is sometimes considered the daughter of Surya, though nonetheless the epithet “daughter of heaven” remains in nearly all Indo-European mythologies.

The Dawn Goddess was probably the original love and lust deity in Proto-Indo-European religion, an aspect maintained in nearly all reflexes but noticeably lost in later stages of Hellenic and Indu myth.

Eos replaced by Aphrodite and Eros, Ushas replaced by Kamadeva. Notably, the Greek myth of Aphrodite cursing Eos with lust may be a representation of usurpation of the role as love goddess by the former.

Due to the dawn heralding the sun and inducing the daily routine, the Dawn Goddess is associated with instilling the cosmic order. Ushas is the arouser of Ṛta, while the role of Aušrinė as the maid of the sun renders her a moral example in Lithuanian traditions and helped her syncretism with the Virgin Mary.

In spite of the association of the dawn with life, counterintuitively the dawn was possibly also associated with aging and decay in Proto-Indo-European myth, probably under the assumption that each dawn brings human beings closer to death or alternatively that sun rays induce rot.

Ishara

Ishara is an ancient deity of unknown origin from northern modern Syria. In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar. Her main epithet was belet rame, lady of love, which was also applied to Ishtar. In the Epic of Gilgamesh it says: “For Ishara the bed is made” and in Atra-hasis “she is called upon to bless the couple on the honeymoon”.

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. Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath.

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 Alalah, her name was written with the Akkadogram IŠTAR plus a phonetic complement -ra, as IŠTAR-ra.

In Ebla, there were various logographic spellings involving the sign AMA “mother”. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the sign is also used for the sumerogram AMA, for Akkadian language “ummu”, for “mother”.

Sherida / Aya

Sherida was a goddess of beauty, fertility, and sexual love, possibly because light was seen as inherently beautiful, or because of the sun’s role in promoting agricultural fertility. By the time of the Old Babylonian Period (c. 1830 – c. 1531 BC), Sherida, and consequently Utu, was associated with nadītu, an order of cloistered women who devoted their lives to the gods.

They were believed to have two offspring: the goddess Kittu, whose name means “Truth”, and the god Misharu, whose name means “Justice”. Utu’s charioteer Bunene is sometimes described as his son. Bunene was worshipped independently from Utu as a god of justice in Sippar and Uruk during the Old Babylonian Period.

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.

Aya (or Aja) in Akkadian mythology was a mother goddess, consort of the sun god Shamash. 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. Shamash and Aya were associated with a practice known as Hasadu, which is loosely translated as a “sacred marriage.”

Inanna / Ishtar

Inanna was the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, combat, justice, and political power. She was later worshipped by the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians under the name Ishtar. She was known as the “Queen of Heaven” and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult center.

She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star. Her husband was the god Dumuzid the Shepherd (later known as Tammuz). Inanna-Ishtar is alluded to in the Hebrew Bible and she greatly influenced the Phoenician goddess Astarte, who later influenced the development of the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

Sacred prostitution was common in the Ancient Near East as a form of “Sacred Marriage” or hieros gamos between the king of a Sumerian city-state and the High Priestess of Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility and warfare.

Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers there were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna. The temple of Eanna, meaning “house of heaven” in Uruk was the greatest of these.

The temple housed Nadītu, priestesses of the goddess. The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos celebrated during the annual Duku ceremony, just before Invisible Moon, with the autumn Equinox (Autumnal Zag-mu Festival).

The cult of Inanna-Ishtar continued by the East Semitic-speaking people, who succeeded the Sumerians in the region. It may have been associated with a variety of sexual rites, including homosexual transvestite priests and sacred prostitution.

The cult of Inanna and Dumuzid may have been introduced to the Kingdom of Judah during the reign of King Manasseh. Ezekiel 8:14 mentions Adonis under his earlier East Semitic name Tammuz and describes a group of women mourning Tammuz’s death while sitting near the north gate of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Inanna-Ishtar’s most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from Kur, the ancient Sumerian Underworld, a myth in which she attempts to conquer the domain of her older sister Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld, but is instead deemed guilty of hubris by the seven judges of the Underworld and struck dead.

Three days later, Ninshubur pleads with all the gods to bring Inanna back, but all of them refuse her except Enki, who sends two sexless beings to rescue Inanna. They escort Inanna out of the Underworld, but the galla, the guardians of the Underworld, drag her husband Dumuzid down to the Underworld as her replacement.

Dumuzid is eventually permitted to return to heaven for half the year while his sister Geshtinanna remains in the Underworld for the other half, resulting in the cycle of the seasons.

Attis – Adonis

Attis was the consort of Cybele in Phrygian and Greek mythology. Attis was a Phrygian god of vegetation. In his self-mutilation, death and resurrection he represents the fruits of the earth which die in winter only to rise again in the spring.

Adonis was the mortal lover of the goddess Aphrodite in Greek mythology. Adonis’s name comes from a Canaanite word meaning “lord” and modern scholars consider the story of Aphrodite and Adonis to be derived from the earlier Mesopotamian myth of Inanna (Ishtar) and Dumuzid (Tammuz).

The Greek Adōnis was a borrowing from the Canaanite word ʼadōn, meaning “lord”, which is related to Adonai, one of the titles used to refer to the God of the Hebrew Bible and still used in Judaism to the present day. Syrian Adonis is Gaus. or Aos, akin to Egyptian Osiris, the Semitic Tammuz and Baal Hadad, the Etruscan Atunis and the Phrygian Attis, all of whom are associated with vegetation.

The Greeks considered Adonis’s cult to be of Oriental origin. The myth of Aphrodite and Adonis is probably derived from the ancient Sumerian legend of Inanna, the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, combat, justice, and political power, and her husband Dumuzid the Shepherd later known as Tammuz.

Ereshkigal

In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal (DEREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. “Queen of the Great Earth”) was the goddess of Kur, the land of the dead or underworld in Sumerian mythology. In later East Semitic myths she was said to rule Irkalla alongside her husband Nergal. 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”.

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.

Parvati – Kali / Ostara – Hel

Parvati or Uma is the Hindu goddess of fertility, love and devotion; as well as of divine strength and power. Parvati is also the goddess of love and devotion, or Kamakshi; the goddess of fertility, abundance and food/nourishment, or Annapurna.

Two of Parvati’s most famous epithets are Uma and Aparna. The name Uma is used for Sati (Shiva’s first wife, who is reborn as Parvati) in earlier texts, but in the Ramayana, it is used as a synonym for Parvati.

She is also Ambika (‘dear mother’), Shakti (power), Mataji (‘revered mother’), Maheshwari (‘great goddess’), Durga (invincible), Bhairavi (‘ferocious’), Bhavani (‘fertility and birthing’), Shivaradni (‘Queen of Shiva’), Urvi or Renu, and many hundreds of others.

The apparent contradiction that Parvati is addressed as the fair one, Gauri, as well as the dark one, Kali or Shyama, as a calm and placid wife Parvati mentioned as Gauri and as a goddess who destroys evil she is Kali.

Kali’s earliest appearance is that of a destroyer of evil forces. She is the goddess of one of the four subcategories of the Kulamārga, a category of tantric Saivism. Over time, she has been worshipped by devotional movements and tantric sects variously as the Divine Mother, Mother of the Universe, Adi Shakti, or Adi Parashakti.

Shakta Hindu and Tantric sects additionally worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also seen as divine protector and the one who bestows moksha, or liberation. Kali is often portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her.

In Norse mythology, Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. It has been proposed that Hel may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali.

Inara

Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis.

Inara’s mother is probably Hebat and her brother is Sarruma. Ḫannaḫanna (from Hittite ḫanna- “grandmother”) is a Hurrian Mother Goddess. Ḫannaḫanna was identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat. Christopher Siren reports that Ḫannaḫanna is associated with the Gulses.

The mother goddess Hannahanna promises Inara land and a man during a consultation by Inara. Inara then disappears. Her father looks for her, joined by Hannahanna with a bee. The story resembles that of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, in Greek myth.

Isis

Isis was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was believed to help the dead enter the afterlife as she had helped Osiris, and she was considered the divine mother of the pharaoh, who was likened to Horus.

Isis’s reputed magical power was greater than that of all other gods, and she was said to protect the kingdom from its enemies, to govern the skies and the natural world, and to have power over fate itself. Her maternal aid was invoked in healing spells to benefit ordinary people.

During the New Kingdom (c. 1550–1070 BCE), as she took on traits that originally belonged to Hathor, the preeminent goddess of earlier times, Isis came to be portrayed wearing Hathor’s headdress: a sun disk between the horns of a cow.

In the Hellenistic period (323–30 BCE), when Egypt was ruled and settled by Greeks, Isis came to be worshipped by Greeks and Egyptians, along with a new god, Serapis. Some of her devotees said she encompassed all feminine divine powers in the world.

Their worship diffused into the wider Mediterranean world. As Hellenistic culture was absorbed by Rome in the first century BCE, the cult of Isis became a part of Roman religion.

The worship of Isis was ended by the rise of Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries CE. Her worship may have influenced some Christian beliefs and practices, such as the veneration of Mary.

Utu – Shamash

Utu, later worshipped by East Semitic peoples as Shamash, was the ancient Mesopotamian god of the sun, justice, morality, and truth. He is usually seen as the son of Nanna, the god of the moon, and his wife, Ningal, but is sometimes also described as the son of An or Enlil. His wife was the goddess Sherida, later known in Akkadian as Aya.

Utu was the twin brother of the goddess Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, whose domain encompassed a broad variety of different powers. In Sumerian texts, Inanna and Utu are shown as extremely close; in fact, their relationship frequently borders on incestuous.

Alongside his sister Inanna, Utu was the enforcer of divine justice. He was the enforcer of divine justice and was thought to aid those in distress. He was believed to ride through the heavens in his sun chariot and see all things that happened in the day.

The Sumerians believed that, as he rode through heaven, Utu saw everything that happened in the world. At night, Utu was believed to travel through the Underworld as he journeyed to the east in preparation for the sunrise.

One Sumerian literary work refers to Utu illuminating the Underworld and dispensing judgement there and Shamash states that Utu serves as a judge of the dead in the Underworld alongside the malku, kusu, and the Anunnaki.

On his way through the Underworld, Utu was believed to pass through the garden of the sun-god, which contained trees that bore precious gems as fruit. Utu was believed to take an active role in human affairs, and was thought to aid those in distress.

Nergal

Mars / Apollo

Nergal was a deity worshipped throughout Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia) with the main seat of his worship at Cuthah. Local associations with his original seat—Kutha—and the conception formed of him as a god of the dead acted in making him feared rather than actively worshipped. Kutha is also the name of the capital of the Sumerian underworld, Irkalla.

 

According to the Tanakh, Cuthah was one of the five Syrian and Mesopotamian cities from which Sargon II, King of Assyria, brought settlers to take the places of the exiled Israelites (2 Kings 17:24-30).

II Kings relates that these settlers were attacked by lions, and interpreting this to mean that their worship was not acceptable to the deity of the land, they asked Sargon to send someone to teach them, which he did. The result was a mixture of religions and peoples, the latter being known as “Cuthim” in Hebrew and as “Samaritans” to the Greeks.

Standard iconography pictured Nergal as a lion, and boundary-stone monuments symbolise him with a mace surmounted by the head of a lion. 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.

He is a son of Enlil and Ninlil, along with Nanna and Ninurta. The worship of Nergal does not appear to have spread as widely as that of Ninurta, but in the late Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused the two divinities, which were invoked together as if they were identical.

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”. 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.

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.

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).

Nergal’s fiery aspect appears in names or epithets such as Lugalgira, Lugal-banda, Sharrapu (“the burner,” a reference to his manner of dealing with outdated teachings), Erra, Gibil (though this name more properly belongs to Nusku), and Sibitti or Seven.

A certain confusion exists in cuneiform literature between Ninurta (slayer of Asag and wielder of Sharur, an enchanted mace) and Nergal. Nergal has epithets such as the “raging king,” the “furious one,” and the like. A play upon his name separated into three elements as Ne-uru-gal (light of the great Ûru; lord of the great dwelling) expresses his position at the head of the nether-world pantheon.

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

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army.

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. 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.

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

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

Horus

The planet Mars was known by the ancient Egyptians as “Horus of the Horizon”, then later Her Deshur (“Ḥr Dšr”), or “Horus the Red”. In the Skanda Purana, a Hindu religious text, Mars is known as the deity Mangala and was born from the sweat of Shiva.

Dyeus – Dis Pater

Tiwas / Tyr 

Týr is a Germanic god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.

Tiwaz was the Luwian Sun-god. He was among the most important gods of the Luwians. 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.

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”).

Tiwaz was the descendant of the male Sun god of the Indo-European religion, Dyeus (also *Dyḗus Phtḗr), 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.

Dyeus was known as Dyeus Phter, literally “sky father” or “shining father”, as reflected in Greek Zeu pater, Sanskrit Dyàuṣpítaḥ, and in Latin Jupiter (from Latin: Iūpiter or Iuppiter *djous “day, sky” + *patēr “father,” deus pater, thus “heavenly father”) and Diēspiter (Dis Pater).

Dis pater was a Roman god of the underworld, later subsumed by Pluto or Hades (Hades was Greek). He was 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.

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