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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Lady Justice (mother) and Lady Liberty (maiden)

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on September 25, 2018

Throughout the ancient world and even for us today the concepts of Justice such as democracy, freedom and equality have always been female. To this day Lady Justice (Latin: Iustitia) stands in front of courtrooms, while her sister Libertas, the Goddess of Freedom, continues to hold the torch as the famous Statue of Liberty.

Dingir (usually transliterated DIĜIR) 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” as in e.g. DInanna.

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.

The concept of “divinity” in Sumerian is closely associated with the heavens, as is evident from the fact that the cuneiform sign doubles as the ideogram for “sky”, and that its original shape is the picture of a star. The original association of “divinity” is thus with “bright” or “shining” hierophanies in the sky. A possible loan relation of Sumerian dingir with Turkic Tengri “sky, sky god” has been suggested.

In ancient Hittite religion, Anu is a former ruler of the gods, who was overthrown by his son Kumarbi, who bit off his father’s genitals and gave birth to the storm god Teshub. Teshub overthrew Kumarbi, avenged Anu’s mutilation, and became the new king of the gods. This story was the later basis for the castration of Ouranos in Hesiod’s Theogony.

Anu or An is the divine personification of the sky, supreme God, and ancestor of all the deities in ancient Mesopotamian religion. Anu was believed to be the supreme source of all authority, for the other gods and for all mortal rulers, and he is described in one text as the one “who contains the entire universe”.

He is identified with the north ecliptic pole centered in the constellation Draco and, along with his sons Enlil and Enki, constitutes the highest divine triad personifying the three bands of constellations of the vault of the sky.

By the time of the earliest written records, Anu was rarely worshipped, and veneration was instead devoted to his son Enlil, but, throughout Mesopotamian history, the highest deity in the pantheon was always said to possess the anûtu, meaning “An-power”.

Although Anu was a very important deity, his nature was often ambiguous and ill-defined; he almost never appears in Mesopotamian artwork and has no known anthropomorphic iconography. Anu’s primary role in myths is as the ancestor of the Anunnaki, the major deities of Sumerian religion.

His primary cult center was the Eanna temple in the city of Uruk, but, by the Akkadian Period (c. 2334 – 2154 BC), his authority in Uruk had largely been ceded to the goddess Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power.

Utu, later worshipped by East Semitic peoples as Shamash, is the ancient Mesopotamian god of the sun, justice, morality, and truth, and the twin brother of the goddess Inanna, 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.

Utu was believed to ride through the heavens in his sun chariot and see all things that happened in the day. According to Sumerian mythology, he helped protect Dumuzid when the galla demons tried to drag him to the Underworld and he appeared to the hero Ziusudra after the Great Flood. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, he helps Gilgamesh defeat the ogre Humbaba.

Utu is usually 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. He was the enforcer of divine justice and was thought to aid those in distress. His wife was the goddess Sherida. They were believed to have two offspring: the goddess Kittu, whose name means “Truth”, and the god Misharu, whose name means “Justice”.

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.

Sherida was later known in Akkadian as Aya, the Akkadian word for “dawn”. 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.”

During the Kassite Period (c. 1600 BC — c. 1155 BC) and Neo-Assyrian Period (911 BC — 609 BC), Anu was represented by a horned cap. The Amorite god Amurru was sometimes equated with Anu. Later, during the Seleucid Empire (213 BC — 63 BC), Anu was identified with Enmešara and Dumuzid.

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

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

Hadad, Adad, Haddad (Akkadian) or Iškur (Sumerian) was the storm and rain god in the Northwest Semitic and ancient Mesopotamian religions. Adad and Iškur are usually written with the logogram dIM – the same symbol used for the Hurrian god Teshub. The bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad.

He appeared bearded, often holding a club and thunderbolt while wearing a bull-horned headdress. Hadad was equated with the Greek god Zeus; the Roman god Jupiter, as Jupiter Dolichenus; the Indo-European Nasite Hittite storm-god Teshub; the Egyptian god Amun.

Dumuzid, later known by the alternate form Tammuz, is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with shepherds, who was also the primary consort of the goddess Inanna (later known as Ishtar). In Sumerian mythology, Dumuzid’s sister was Geshtinanna, the goddess of vegetation.

Enmesarra, or Enmešarra, 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. On the other hand, he has been described as an ancestor of Enlil, and it has been claimed that Enlil slew him.

Nergal, Nirgal, or Nirgali was a deity worshipped throughout Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia) with the main seat of his worship at Cuthah represented by the mound of Tell-Ibrahim. He 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”.

A certain confusion exists in cuneiform literature between Ninurta (slayer of Asag and wielder of Sharur, an enchanted mace) and Nergal. 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.

Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld. In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person.

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

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

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

Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. 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 known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu.

In Germanic mythology, Týr (Old Norse), Tíw (Old English), and Ziu (Old High German) is a god. Stemming from the Proto-Germanic deity *Tīwaz and ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European deity *Dyeus.

The Old Norse theonym Týr has cognates including Old English tíw and tíʒ, and Old High German Ziu. A cognate form appears in Gothic to represent the T rune (discussed in more depth below). Like Latin Jupiter and Greek Zeus, Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz ultimately stems from the Proto-Indo-European theonym *Dyeus.

Outside of its application as a theonym, the Old Norse common noun týr means ‘(a) god’ (plural tívar). In turn, the theonym Týr may be understood to mean “the god”. Týr is the namesake of the Tiwaz rune, a letter of the runic alphabet corresponding to the Latin letter T. By way of the process of interpretatio germanica, the deity is the namesake of Tuesday (‘Týr’s day’) in Germanic languages, including English.

The modern English weekday name Tuesday means ‘Tíw’s day’, referring to the Old English extension of the deity. It derives from a Proto-Germanic weekday name meaning ‘day of Tīwaz’, itself a result of interpretatio germanica of Latin dies Martis (meaning ‘day of Mars’).

Interpretatio romana, in which Romans interpret other gods as forms of their own, generally renders the god as Mars, the ancient Roman war god, and it is through that lens that most Latin references to the god occur.

For example, the god may be referenced as Mars Thingsus (Latin ‘Mars of the Thing’) on 3rd century Latin inscription, reflecting a strong association with the Germanic thing, a legislative body among the ancient Germanic peoples still in use among some of its modern descendants.

Tiwaz (Stem: Tiwad-) was the Luwian Sun-god. He 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.

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

Tiwas was superseded among the Hittites by the Hattian Sun goddess of Arinna. While Tiwaz retained a promenant role in the pantheon, the Hittite cognate deity, Šiwat was largely eclipsed by the Sun goddess of Arinna, becoming a god of the day, especially the day of death.

The Sun goddess of Arinna is the chief goddess and wife of the weather god Tarḫunna in Hittite mythology. She protected the Hittite kingdom and was called the “Queen of all lands.” Her cult centre was the sacred city of Arinna. The goddess was also perceived to be a paramount chthonic or earth goddess.

In addition to the Sun goddess of Arinna, the Hittites also worshipped the Sun goddess of the Earth and the Sun god of Heaven. 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.

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”.

Arinna becomes largely syncretised with the Hurrian goddess Hebat. Hannaḫanna (from Hittite ḫanna- “grandmother”) is a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the Sumerian goddess Inanna. Ḫannaḫanna was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat.

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.

Inara’s mother is probably Hebat and her father is the weather-god Teshub. Her brother is Sarruma. The original source and meaning of the name is unknown. In Hittite and Hurrian texts, his name was linked with the Akkadian šarri (“King”) and could be written with the Sumerogram for King, LUGAL-ma.

Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” (“The Mistress of the Animals”) of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis, one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. The Arcadians believed she was the daughter of Demeter.

Lokasenna makes reference to an otherwise unknown consort of Tyr called Zisa, perhaps also reflected in the continental Germanic record. This Zisa would be the female consort of Ziu, as Dione was of Zeus. Dione is translated as “Goddess”, and given the same etymological derivation as the names Zeus, Diana, et al.

Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon, and nature in Roman mythology, associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. Oak groves and deer were especially sacred to her.

Potnia Theron is a term often used to describe female divinities associated with animals. Many depictions use a female version of the widespread ancient motif of the male Master of Animals, showing a central figure with a human form grasping two animals, one to each side. The oldest depiction has been discovered in Çatalhöyük.

Potnia Theron, a phrase used by Homer meaning “Mistress of the Animals” is used for early Greek depictions of goddesses, usually Artemis, holding animals. The Greek god shown as “Master of Animals” is usually Apollo, the god of hunting. Shiva has the epithet Pashupati meaning the “Lord of cattle”, and these figures may derive from a Proto-Indo-European deity or archetype.

Diana was known as the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, along with Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry. Diana was born with her twin brother, Apollo, on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. She made up a triad with two other Roman deities; Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.

She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, who was described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. The deer and the cypress were sacred to her.

In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia, the Greek goddess of childbirth and midwifery, in aiding childbirth. In the cave of Amnisos (Crete) Eileithyia was related with the annual birth of the divine child, and her cult is connected with Enesidaon (the earth shaker), who was the chthonic aspect of the god Poseidon. It is possible that her cult is related with the cult of Eleusis.

Her Egyptian counterpart is Tawaret (also spelled Taurt, Tuat, Taouris, Tuart, Ta-weret, Tawaret, Twert, Thoeris and Taueret), the protective ancient Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility. The name “Taweret” means “she who is great” or simply “great one”, a common pacificatory address to dangerous deities.

The deity is typically depicted as a bipedal female hippopotamus with feline attributes, pendulous female human breasts, and the back of a Nile crocodile. She commonly bears the epithets “Lady of Heaven”, “Mistress of the Horizon”, “She Who Removes Water”, “Mistress of Pure Water”, and “Lady of the Birth House”.

The ancient Roman goddess Libertas was honored during the second Punic War by a temple erected on the Aventine Hill in Rome by the father of Tiberius Gracchus. The Greek equivalent of the goddess Libertas is Eleutheria, the personification of liberty. In Ancient Greece, Eleutheria was also an epithet for the goddess Artemis.

In 1793, during the French Revolution, the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral was turned into a “Temple of Reason” and, for a time, the Goddess of Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars. In 1793, during the French Revolution, the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral was turned into a “Temple of Reason” and, for a time, the Goddess of Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars.

Lady Justice is an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems. Her attributes are a blindfold, a balance, and a sword. She often appears as a pair with Prudentia, who holds a mirror and a snake. She originates from the personification of Justice in Ancient Roman art known as Iustitia or Justitia after Latin: Iustitia, who is equivalent to the Greek goddesses Themis and Dike.

There are three distinctive features of Lady Justice: a set of scales, a blindfold, and a sword. The personification of justice balancing the scales dates back to the goddess Maat, and later Isis, of ancient Egypt. The Hellenic deities Themis and Dike were later goddesses of justice. The depiction dates back to ancient Egypt, where the god Anubis was frequently depicted with a set of scales on which he weighed a deceased’s heart against the Feather of Truth.

Scorpio (detrimental Taurus) – Alpha

Scorpio is the eighth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Scorpius. It spans 210°–240° ecliptic longitude. Under the tropical zodiac (most commonly used in Western astrology), the Sun transits this area on average from October 23 to November 22.

Under the sidereal zodiac (most commonly used in Hindu astrology) the Sun is in Scorpio from approximately November 16 to December 15. Scorpius corresponds to the Hindu nakshatras Anuradha, Jyeshtha, and Mula.

The Western astrological sign Scorpio differs from the astronomical constellation. Much of the difference is due to the constellation Ophiuchus, which is used by few astrologers. Astronomically, the sun is in Scorpius for just six days, from November 23 to November 28.

In ancient times, Scorpio was associated with the planet Mars. After Pluto was discovered in 1930, it became associated with Scorpio instead. Scorpio is also associated with the Greek deity Artemis, who is said to have created the constellation Scorpius.

Scorpius contains many bright stars, including Antares (“rival of Mars”), also designated Alpha Scorpii (α Scorpii, abbreviated Alpha Sco, α Sco), so named because of its distinct reddish hue. In the Babylonian star catalogues dating from at least 1100 BCE, Antares was called GABA GIR.TAB, “the Breast of the Scorpion”.

In MUL.APIN, which dates between 1100 and 700 BC, it is one of the stars of Ea in the southern sky and marks breast of the Scorpion goddess Ishhara. Later names that translate as “the Heart of Scorpion” include Calbalakrab from the Arabic Qalb al-Άqrab. This had been directly translated from the Ancient Greek Kardia Skorpiū. Cor Scorpii translated above Greek name into Latin.

In ancient Mesopotamia, Antares may have been known by the following names: Urbat, Bilu-sha-ziri (“the Lord of the Seed”), Kak-shisa (“the Creator of Prosperity”), Dar Lugal (“The King”), Masu Sar (“the Hero and the King”), and Kakkab Bir (“the Vermilion Star”).

In ancient Egypt, Antares represented the scorpion goddess Serket, the goddess of fertility, nature, animals, medicine, magic, and healing venomous stings and bites in Egyptian mythology, originally the deification of the scorpion.

Scorpion stings lead to paralysis and Serket’s name describes this, as it means “(she who) tightens the throat”. However, Serket’s name also can be read as meaning “(she who) causes the throat to breathe”, and so, as well as being seen as stinging the unrighteous, Serket was seen as one who could cure scorpion stings and the effects of other venoms such as snakebite.

In the art of ancient Egypt, Serket was shown as a scorpion (a symbol found on the earliest artifacts of the culture such as from Naqada III) or, as a woman with a scorpion on her head. Although Serket does not appear to have had any temples, she had a sizable number of priests in many communities.

One of the most dangerous species of scorpion, the Deathstalker resides in North Africa, and its sting may kill, so Serket was considered a highly important goddess, and sometimes she was considered by pharaohs to be their patron. Her close association with the early rulers implies that she was their protector, notably Scorpion I and Scorpion II.

As the guard of one of the canopic jars and a protector, Serket gained a strong association with Neith, Isis, and Nephthys, who also performed similar functions. Eventually, later in Egyptian history Serket began to be identified with Isis, sharing imagery and parentage, until she became said to be merely an aspect of Isis, whose cult had become very dominant.

In Persia, Antares was known as Satevis, one of the four “royal stars”. In India, it with Sigma and Tau Scorpii were Jyeshthā (the eldest or biggest, probably attributing its huge size), one of the nakshatra (Hindu lunar mansions).

The ancient Chinese called Antares (Xīnxiù’èr; literally: “second star of mansion Heart”), because it was the second star of the mansion Xin. It was the national star of the Shang Dynasty, and it was sometimes referred to as (Chinese: Huǒxīng; literally: “fiery star”) because of its reddish appearance.

Scorpio is associated with three different animals: the scorpion, the snake, and the eagle (or phoenix). The snake and eagle are related to the nearby constellations of Ophiuchus and Aquila. Scorpio’s colours are deep red, maroon, brown, and black.

The Babylonians called this constellation MUL.GIR.TAB – the ‘Scorpion’, the signs can be literally read as ‘the (creature with) a burning sting’. In some old descriptions the constellation of Libra is treated as the Scorpion’s claws. Libra was known as the Claws of the Scorpion in Babylonian (zibānītu (compare Arabic zubānā)) and in Greek.

Marking the tip of the scorpion’s curved tail are λ Sco (Shaula) and υ Sco (Lesath), whose names both mean “sting.” The star once designated γ Sco (despite being well within the boundaries of Libra) is today known as σ Lib.

Moreover, the entire constellation of Libra was considered to be claws of Scorpius (Chelae Scorpionis) in Ancient Greek times, with a set of scales held aloft by Astraea (represented by adjacent Virgo) being formed from these western-most stars during later Greek times. The division into Libra was formalised during Roman times.

In Greek mythology, the myths associated with Scorpio almost invariably also contain a reference to Orion. According to one of these myths it is written that Orion boasted to goddess Artemis and her mother, Leto, that he would kill every animal on the Earth.

Although Artemis was known to be a hunter herself she offered protection to all creatures. Artemis and her mother Leto sent a scorpion to deal with Orion. The pair battled and the scorpion killed Orion.

However, the contest was apparently a lively one that caught the attention of the king of the gods Zeus, who later raised the scorpion to heaven and afterwards, at the request of Artemis, did the same for Orion to serve as a reminder for mortals to curb their excessive pride.

There is also a version that Orion was better than the goddess Artemis but said that Artemis was better than he and so Artemis took a liking to Orion. The god Apollo, Artemis’s twin brother, grew angry and sent a scorpion to attack Orion. After Orion was killed, Artemis asked Zeus to put Orion up in the sky. So every winter Orion hunts in the sky, but every summer he flees as the constellation of the scorpion comes.

Libra (detrimental Aries) – Mars

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

The ruling planet of Libra is Venus. As one of the brightest objects in the sky, Venus has been a major fixture in human culture for as long as records have existed. It has been made sacred to gods of many cultures, and has been a prime inspiration for writers and poets as the morning star and evening star.

According to the Romans in the First Century, Libra was a push over. 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.

Virgo (detrimental Pisces) – Jesus

Virgo (Greek: Parthenos) is 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 the Sun transits the constellation of Virgo from approximately September 16 to October 30.

The constellation Virgo has multiple different origins depending on which mythology is being studied. Most myths generally view Virgo as a virgin/maiden with heavy association with wheat. In the Egyptian myths, when the constellation Virgo was in the sun was when the start of the wheat harvest again thus connecting Virgo back to the wheat grain.

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. However, some tell tales of the Greek story of Parthenos, which means virgin in Greek, which explains how the actual constellation Virgo came to be.

In the Babylonian MUL.APIN (c. 10th century BC), part of this constellation was known as “The Furrow”, representing the goddess Shala, an ancient Sumerian goddess of grain and the emotion of compassion, and her ear of grain. 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. She was sometimes identified with Ninlil. 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.

Dagan is mentioned occasionally in early Sumerian texts but becomes prominent only in later Assyro-Babylonian inscriptions as a powerful and warlike protector, sometimes equated with Enlil. Dagan’s wife was in some sources the goddess Shala and In other texts, his wife is Ishara. She was called Gubarra in the earliest texts.

The name is recorded as Ugaritic Dgn (Dagnu or Daganu), Akkadian Dagana. In Ugaritic, the root dgn also means “grain”. The Phoenician author Sanchuniathon explained Dagon as a word for “grain” (siton). Sanchuniathon further explains: “And Dagon, after he discovered grain and the plough, was called Zeus Arotrios.” The word arotrios means “ploughman” or “pertaining to agriculture” (from ‘plow’).

One star in this constellation, Spica, also designated Alpha Virginis (α Virginis, abbreviated Alpha Vir, α Vir), the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo, 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.

The constellation of Virgo in Hipparchus 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.

Early Greek astronomy associated the Babylonian constellation with their goddess of wheat and agriculture, Demeter. The Romans associated it with their goddess Ceres. Alternatively, the constellation 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).

Another Greek myth from later, Classical times, identifies Virgo as Erigone, the daughter of Icarius of Athens. Icarius, who had been favored 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.

Another figure who is associated with the constellation Virgo was the spring goddess Persephone, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter who had married Hades and resided in the Underworld during summer. She also has various connections with the India goddess Kanya, and during the Middle Ages, Virgo sometimes was associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The mother goddess: Sacred marriage and Chaoskampf

Akitu or Akitum (lit. “the barley-cutting” or “barley-sowing”; Akkadian: “head of the year”) was a spring festival in Mesopotamia. The name is from the Sumerian for “barley”, originally marking two festivals celebrating the beginning of each of the two half-years of the Sumerian calendar, marking the sowing of barley in autumn and the cutting of barley in spring.

In Babylonian religion it came to be dedicated to Marduk’s victory over Tiamat (TAM.TUM, Greek: Thaláttē), a primordial goddess of the salt sea, mating with Abzû, the god of fresh water, to produce younger gods. She is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation.

The Babylonian epic Enuma Elish is named for its incipit: “When above” the heavens did not yet exist nor the earth below, Apsu the freshwater ocean was there, “the first, the begetter”, and Tiamat, the saltwater sea, “she who bore them all”; they were “mixing their waters”.

It is thought that female deities are older than male ones in Mesopotamia and Tiamat may have begun as part of the cult of Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically dNAMMA = dENGUR), a female principle of a watery creative force, with equally strong connections to the underworld, which predates the appearance of Ea-Enki.

Nammu  was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat in Babylonian mythology. She was the Goddess sea (Engur) that gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) and the first gods, representing the Apsu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall.

Ma is a Sumerian word meaning “land” that in Sumerian mythology was also used to regard Primordial Land. There seems to be some loss in records as to the transition, but the same name Ma appears again later, also tied to the Earth, in Ma being referred to as “Mother of the mountain” – in this case, Kur (“Mountain,” “Foreign Land,” or “Land”).

The underworld Kur is the void space between the primeval sea (Abzu) and the earth (Ma), which seem a likely pairing for parentage, in a fuzzy set of records. However Kur was at the same time the first dragon god, an underworld deity, and the monstrous creature that roughly corresponded to the Babylonian Tiamat and the Hebrew Leviathan.

Ma was a local goddess at Ma and a Phrygian alternative name for Cybele, who may have had a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük in Anatolia, where statues of a plump women, sometimes sitting, have been found in excavations dated to the 6th millennium BC and identified by some as a mother goddess.

Nammu is not well attested in Sumerian mythology. She may have been of greater importance prehistorically, before Enki took over most of her functions. An indication of her continued relevance may be found in the theophoric name of Ur-Nammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur.

According to the Neo-Sumerian mythological text Enki and Ninmah, Enki is the son of An and Nammu. Nammu is the goddess who “has given birth to the great gods”. It is she who has the idea of creating mankind, and she goes to wake up Enki, who is asleep in the Apsu, so that he may set the process going.

The Atrahasis-Epos has it that Enlil requested from Nammu the creation of humans. And Nammu told him that with the help of Enki (her son) she can create humans in the image of gods. Reay Tannahill in Sex in History (1980) singled out Nammu as the “only female prime mover” in the cosmogonic myths of antiquity.

It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is a creator goddess, through a sacred marriage between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations.

According to some analyses there are two parts to the Tiamat myth, the first in which Tiamat is creator goddess, through a “sacred marriage” between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second “Chaoskampf” Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos.

Hieros gamos or Hierogamy (“holy marriage”) is a sexual ritual that plays out a marriage between a god and a goddess, especially when enacted in a symbolic ritual where human participants represent the deities.

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).

In the second Chaoskampf Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos. Some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon. She is referred to as a woman, and described as the glistening one.

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

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

The deities gathered in terror, but Anu first extracting a promise that he would be revered as “king of the gods”, overcame her, armed with the arrows of the winds, a net, a club, and an invincible spear. Anu was later replaced by Enlil, and in the late version that has survived after the First Dynasty of Babylon, by Marduk, the son of Ea, who forms heavens and the earth from her divided body.

The motif of Chaoskampf (“struggle against chaos”) is ubiquitous in myth and legend, depicting a battle of a culture hero deity with a chaos monster, often in the shape of a serpent or dragon. The same term has also been extended to parallel concepts in the Middle East and North Africa.

The origins of the Chaoskampf myth most likely lie in the Proto-Indo-European religion] whose descendants almost all feature some variation of the story of a storm god fighting a sea serpent representing the clash between the forces of order and chaos.

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

Demeter and Persephone

In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the grain, agriculture, harvest, growth, and nourishment, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. She was the daughter of the deities Cronus and Rhea, sister and consort of Zeus (the king of the gods), and goddess of agriculture. Her name indicates that she is a mother. Her Roman equivalent is Ceres.

Demeter appeared most commonly as a grain goddess. The name Ioulo (from ioulos, “grain sheaf”) has been regarded as identifying her with the sheaf and as proving that the cult of Demeter originated in the worship of the grain mother.

Her cult titles include Sito, “she of the Grain”, as the giver of food or grain, and Thesmophoros (thesmos: divine order, unwritten law, phoros: bringer, bearer), “Law-Bringer”, as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.

Demeter is rarely mentioned by Homer, nor is she included among the Olympian gods, but the roots of her legend are probably ancient. The legend centred on the story of her daughter Persephone, who was carried off by Hades, the god of the underworld. Demeter went in search of Persephone and, during her journey, revealed her secret rites to the people of Eleusis, who had hospitably received her.

Demeter’s descent to retrieve Persephone from the underworld is connected to the Eleusinian Mysteries. Her distress at her daughter’s disappearance was said to have diverted her attention from the harvest and caused a famine.

Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone, also called Kore (“the maiden”), were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon.

Another important aspect of Demeter was that of a divinity of the underworld; she was worshiped as such at Sparta, and especially at the festival of Chthonia at Hermione in Argolis, where a cow was sacrificed by four old women. The epithets Erinys (“Avenger”) and Melaina (“the Black One”) as applied to Demeter were localized in Arcadia and stress the darker side of her character.

Demeter also appeared as a goddess of health, birth, and marriage. A certain number of political and ethnic titles were assigned to her, the most important being Amphiktyonis, as patron goddess of the Amphictyonic League, subsequently well known in connection with the temple at Delphi.

Her attributes were connected chiefly with her character as goddess of agriculture and vegetation—ears of grain, the mystic basket filled with flowers, grain, and fruit of all kinds. The pig was her favourite animal, and as a chthonian (underworld) deity she was accompanied by a snake.

In Greek art Demeter resembled Hera, but she was more matronly and of milder expression; her form was broader and fuller. She was sometimes riding in a chariot drawn by horses or dragons, sometimes walking, or sometimes seated upon a throne, alone or with her daughter.

Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone, also called Kore (“the maiden”), were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon.

The influence of Demeter, however, was not limited to grain but extended to vegetation generally and to all the fruits of the earth, except the bean (the latter being the province of the hero Cyamites). In that wider sense Demeter was akin to Gaea (Earth), with whom she had several epithets in common, and was sometimes identified with the Great Mother of the Gods (Cybele, also identified with Rhea).

In Greek mythology, Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter and is the queen of the underworld. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic princess of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead.

In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed, often carrying a sheaf of grain. A sheaf is a bunch of cereal-crop stems bound together after reaping, traditionally by sickle, later by scythe. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the process of being carried off by Hades.

After being abducted to the underworld by Hades, Demeter searched for her ceaselessly, preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die.

Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back. Hades agreed to release her if she had eaten nothing while in his realm; but Persephone had eaten a small number of pomegranate seeds. This bound her to Hades and the underworld for certain months of every year, either the dry Mediterranean summer, when plant life is threatened by drought, or the autumn and winter.

There are several variations on the basic myth. In the Homeric hymn to Demeter, Hecate assists in the search and later becomes Persephone’s underworld attendant. In another, Persephone willingly and secretly eats the pomegranate seeds, thinking to deceive Hades, but is discovered and made to stay.

Contrary to popular perception, Persephone’s time in the underworld does not correspond with the unfruitful seasons of the ancient Greek calendar, nor her return to the upper world with springtime. Demeter’s descent to retrieve Persephone from the underworld is connected to the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Persephone was married to Hades, the god of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation. Similar myths appear in the Orient, in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis, and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.

Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries, which promised the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. In some versions, Persephone is the mother of Zeus’s sons Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus. The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities.

Persephone was commonly worshipped along with Demeter and with the same mysteries. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion in February/March. At the beginning of the autumn, when the corn of the old crop is laid on the fields, she ascends and is reunited with her mother Demeter, for at this time the old crop and the new meet each other.

However, Persephone is not only the younger self of Demeter, she is in turn also one of three guises of the Triple Goddess: Kore (the youngest, the maiden, signifying green young grain), Persephone (in the middle, the nymph, signifying the ripe grain waiting to be harvested), and Hecate (the eldest of the three, the crone, the harvested grain).

This to a certain extent reduces the name and role of Demeter to that of a group name. Before her abduction, she is called Kore; and once taken she becomes Persephone (‘she who brings destruction’).

Demeter’s search for her daughter Persephone took her to the palace of Celeus, the King of Eleusis in Attica. She assumed the form of an old woman, and asked him for shelter. He took her in, to nurse Demophon and Triptolemus, his sons by Metanira.

To reward his kindness, she planned to make Demophon immortal; she secretly anointed the boy with ambrosia and laid him in the flames of the hearth, to gradually burn away his mortal self. But Metanira walked in, saw her son in the fire and screamed in fright.

Demeter abandoned the attempt. Instead, she taught Triptolemus the secrets of agriculture, and he in turn taught them to any who wished to learn them. Thus, humanity learned how to plant, grow and harvest grain.

The myth of the capture of Persephone seems to be pre-Greek. In the Greek version, Ploutos (wealth) represents the wealth of the corn that was stored in underground silos or ceramic jars (pithoi). Similar subterranean pithoi were used in ancient times for funerary practices.

Demeter and Poseidon

In Mycenaean Pylos, Demeter and Persephone were probably called “queens” (wa-na-ssoi). In the Linear B Mycenean Greek tablets of c. 1400–1200 BC found at Pylos record sacrificial goods destined for “the Two Queens and Poseidon” (“to the Two Queens and the King” :wa-na-ssoi, wa-na-ka-te).

The “Two Queens” may be related with Demeter and Persephone, or their precursors, goddesses who were not associated with Poseidon in later periods. An exception is the myth of isolated Arcadia in southern Greece.

Demeter was related with the annual birth of the divine child. During the Bronze Age, a goddess of nature, dominated both in Minoan and Mycenean cult, and Wanax (wa-na-ka) was her male companion (paredros) in Mycenean cult.

She and her paredros survived in the Eleusinian cult, where the following words were uttered: ” Mighty Potnia bore a strong son” However, there is no evidence that originally the name of Potnia was Demeter.

Despoina is the daughter of Demeter and Poseidon Hippios, Horse-Poseidon. These myths seem to be connected with the first Greek-speaking people who came from the north during the Bronze age.

Poseidon represents the river spirit of the underworld and he appears as a horse as it often happens in northern-European folklore. He pursues the mare-Demeter and she bears one daughter who obviously originally had the form or the shape of a mare too.

Demeter and Despoina were closely connected with springs and animals, related to Poseidon as a God of waters and especially with Artemis, the mistress of the animals and the goddess of, among others, the Hunt.

Demeter as mare-goddess was pursued by Poseidon, and hid from him among the horses of King Onkios, but could not conceal her divinity. In the form of a stallion, Poseidon caught and covered her. Demeter was furious (erinys) at Poseidon’s assault; in this furious form, she is known as Demeter Erinys. But she washed away her anger in the River Ladon, becoming Demeter Lousia (“bathed Demeter”).

In her alliance with Poseidon she was the Earth who bears plants and beasts, and could therefore assume the shape of an ear of grain or a mare. She bore a daughter Despoina (“Mistress”), whose name should not be uttered outside the Arcadian Mysteries, and a horse named Arion, with a black mane and tail.

In Arcadia, Demeter’s mare-form was worshiped into historical times. Her xoanon of Phigaleia shows how the local cult interpreted her: a Medusa type with a horse’s head with snaky hair, holding a dove and a dolphin, probably representing her power over air and water.

Wanax (wa-na-ka) was her male companion (Paredros) in Mycenaean cult. The Arcadian cult links her to the god Poseidon, who probably substituted the male companion of the Great Goddess; Demeter may therefore be related to a Minoan Great Goddess (Cybele).

The Arcadian cult links her to the god Poseidon, who probably substituted the male companion of the Great Goddess ; Demeter may therefore be related to a Minoan Great Goddess or Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubileya/Kubeleya Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”), an Anatolian mother goddess.

Demeter and Poseidon’s names appear in the earliest scratched notes in Linear B found at Mycenae and Mycenaean Pylos; e-ne-si-da-o-ne (earth-shaker) for Poseidon, and si-to-po-ti-ni-ja, who is probably related with Demeter.

Poseidon carries frequently the title wa-na-ka (wanax) in Linear B inscriptions, as king of the underworld, and his title E-ne-si-da-o-ne indicates his chthonic nature. In the cave of Amnisos (Crete) Enesidaon is related with the cult of Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth.

Ceres and Prosperina

Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. She was originally the central deity in Rome’s so-called plebeian or Aventine Triad, then was paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as “the Greek rites of Ceres”.

Her seven-day April festival of Cerealia included the popular Ludi Ceriales (Ceres’ games). She was also honoured in the May lustratio of the fields at the Ambarvalia festival, at harvest-time, and during Roman marriages and funeral rites.

Ceres was patron and protector of plebeian laws, rights and Tribunes. Her Aventine Temple served the plebeians as cult centre, legal archive, treasury and possibly law-court; its foundation was contemporaneous with the passage of the Lex Sacrata, which established the office and person of plebeian aediles and tribunes as inviolate representatives of the Roman people.

A year after the import of the ritus cereris, patrician senators imported cult to the Greek goddess Cybele and established her as Magna Mater (The Great Mother) within Rome’s sacred boundary, facing the Aventine Hill.

Like Ceres, Cybele was a form of Graeco-Roman earth goddess. Unlike her, she had mythological ties to Troy, and thus to the Trojan prince Aeneas, mythological ancestor of Rome’s founding father and first patrician Romulus.

The establishment of official Roman cult to Magna Mater coincided with the start of a new saeculum (cycle of years). It was followed by Hannibal’s defeat, the end of the Punic War and an exceptionally good harvest.

Roman victory and recovery could therefore be credited to Magna Mater and patrician piety: so the patricians dined her and each other at her festival banquets. In similar fashion, the plebeian nobility underlined their claims to Ceres.

Up to a point, the two cults reflected a social and political divide, but when certain prodigies were interpreted as evidence of Ceres’ displeasure, the senate appeased her with a new festival, the ieiunium Cereris (“fast of Ceres”).

Ceres is the only one of Rome’s many agricultural deities to be listed among the Dii Consentes, Rome’s equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.

Proserpina or Proserpine is an ancient Roman goddess whose cult, myths and mysteries were based on those of Greek Persephone and her mother Demeter. The Romans identified Proserpina with their native fertility goddess Libera, daughter of the grain and agriculture goddess Ceres and wife to Liber.

In 204 BC, a new “greek-style” cult to Ceres and Proserpina as “Mother and Maiden” was imported from southern Italy, along with Greek priestesses to serve it, and was installed in Ceres’ Temple on Rome’s Aventine Hill.

The new cult and its priesthood were actively promoted by Rome’s religious authorities as morally desirable for respectable Roman women, and may have partly subsumed the temple’s older, native cult to Ceres, Liber and Libera; but the new rites seem to have functioned alongside the old, rather than replaced them.

Just as Persephone was thought to be a daughter of Demeter, Romans made Proserpina a daughter of Demeter’s Roman equivalent, Ceres. Her name is a Latinisation of “Persephone”, perhaps influenced by the Latin proserpere (“to emerge, to creep forth”), with respect to the growing of grain.

Like Persephone, Proserpina is associated with the underworld realm and its ruler; and along with her mother Ceres, with the springtime growth of crops and the cycle of life, death and rebirth or renewal.

Her core myths – her forcible abduction by the god of the Underworld usually described as the Rape of Proserpina, or of Persephone, her mother’s search for her and her eventual but temporary restoration to the world above, are the subject of works in Roman and later art and literature.

Cybele

Cybele is Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably its state deity. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies around the 6th century BC. In Greece, Cybele is associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions.

In Ancient Mesopotamian religion, Humbaba, also spelled Huwawa and surnamed the Terrible, was a monstrous giant of immemorial age raised by Utu, the Sun. Humbaba was the guardian of the Cedar Forest, which was sometimes called the Cedar Forest of the Amanus, where the gods lived, by the will of the god Enlil, who “assigned [Humbaba] as a terror to human beings. Gilgamesh defeated this great enemy.”

Khumban (or Humban) is the Elamite god of the sky. His Sumerian equivalent is Anu. Several Elamite kings, mostly from the Neo-Elamite period, were named in honour of Khumban. In the Mesopotamian mythology, Humban was perceived as Huwawa/Humbaba, the guardian of the Cedar Forest in the Epic of Gilgamesh. This development, however, is to be considered separately from the Elamian god Humban.

AMA´NUS is described by Strabo as a detached part (᾿απόσπασμα) of Taurus, and as forming the southern boundary of the plain of Cataonia. He supposes this range to branch off from the Taurus in Cilicia, at the same place where the Antitaurus branches off and takes a more northerly direction, farming the northern boundary of Cataonia. He considers the Amanus to extend eastward to the Euphrates and Melitene, where Commagene borders on Cappadocia.

In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. She was partially assimilated to aspects of the Earth-goddess Gaia, her Minoan equivalent Rhea, and the harvest–mother goddess Demeter. Some city-states, notably Athens, evoked her as a protector, but her most celebrated Greek rites and processions show her as an essentially foreign, exotic mystery-goddess who arrives in a lion-drawn chariot to the accompaniment of wild music, wine, and a disorderly, ecstatic following.

Uniquely in Greek religion, she had a eunuch mendicant priesthood. Many of her Greek cults included rites to a divine Phrygian castrate shepherd-consort Attis. The meaning and morality of her cults and priesthoods were topics of debate and dispute in Greek and Roman literature, and remain so in modern scholarship.

The myth of Aphrodite and Adonis is probably derived from the ancient Sumerian legend of Inanna and Dumuzid. Inanna is portrayed as a wife and mother, and the more masculine elements of her associations with warfare and violence. She was associated with the planet Venus.

Inanna in her aspect as Anunītu was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Dumuzi was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries.

Lady Justice

Lady Justice (Latin:Iustitia) is all and everything, and her law, that of nature, cannot be broken and must be obeyed by every living creature. She is the restorer and maintainer of order and harmony. She is wisdom. She is karma.

She originates from the personification of Justice in Ancient Roman art known as Iustitia or Justitia, the goddess of Justice within Roman mythology, who is equivalent to the Greek goddesses Themis and Dike, the Greek personification of divine law and custom.

Iustitia was introduced by emperor Augustus, and was thus not a very old deity in the Roman pantheon. Iustitia became a symbol for the virtue of justice that every emperor wished to associate his regime with, and many emperors used the image of the goddess to proclaim themselves protectors of justice.

Lady Justice became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice, an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems. Her attributes are a blindfold, a set of scales, and a sword. She often appears as a pair with Prudentia, who holds a mirror and a snake.

Since the 16th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. The blindfold represents impartiality, the ideal that justice should be applied without regard to wealth, power, or other status. The sword represented authority in ancient times, and conveys the idea that justice can be swift and final.

She is most often depicted with a set of scales typically suspended from one hand, upon which she measures the strengths of a case’s support and opposition. Different depictions show different hands holding the scales. The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by Themis.

The personification of justice balancing the scales dates back to the goddess Maat, and later Isis, of ancient Egypt. The Egyptian god Anubis was frequently depicted with a set of scales on which he weighed a deceased’s heart against the Feather of Truth. Most statues have the scales free-hanging, rather than carved as part of the statue, showing that evidence may strengthen or weaken over the course of a trial.

Themis and Dike

Themis is an ancient Greek Titaness. Hesiod mentions Themis among the six sons and six daughters of Gaia and Uranus (Earth and Sky). Among these Titans of primordial myth, few were venerated at specific sanctuaries in classical times. The only consort mentioned for Themis is Zeus.

Drawing not only on the socio-religious consciousness of his time but also on many of the earlier cult-religions, Hesiod described the forces of the universe as cosmic divinities.

Themis occurred in Hesiod’s Theogony as the first recorded appearance of Justice as a divine personage. She was the embodiment of divine order, law, and custom, in her aspect as the personification of the divine rightness of law.

She is described as “[the Lady] of good counsel”, and is the personification of divine order, fairness, law, natural law, and custom. Her symbols are the Scales of Justice, tools used to remain balanced and pragmatic. Themis means “divine law” rather than human ordinance, literally “that which is put in place”, from the Greek verb títhēmi, meaning “to put”.

To the ancient Greeks she was originally the organizer of the “communal affairs of humans, particularly assemblies”. The word was used by Homer in the 8th century BCE, to evoke the social order of the 10th- and 9th-century Greek Dark Ages:

Themis is untranslatable. A gift of the gods and a mark of civilized existence, sometimes it means right custom, proper procedure, social order, and sometimes merely the will of the gods (as revealed by an omen, for example) with little of the idea of right.

There was themis—custom, tradition, folk-ways, mores, whatever we may call it, the enormous power of ‘it is (or is not) done’. The world of Odysseus had a highly developed sense of what was fitting and proper.

The personification of abstract concepts is characteristic of the Greeks. The ability of the goddess Themis to foresee the future enabled her to become one of the Oracles of Delphi, which in turn led to her establishment as the goddess of divine justice.

Some classical representations of Themis showed her holding a sword, believed to represent her ability to cut fact from fiction; to her there was no middle ground. Themis built the Oracle at Delphi and was herself oracular. According to another legend, Themis received the Oracle at Delphi from Gaia and later gave it to Phoebe.

When Themis is disregarded, Nemesis brings just and wrathful retribution; thus Themis shared the Nemesion temple at Rhamnous. Themis is not wrathful: she, “of the lovely cheeks”, was the first to offer Hera a cup when she returned to Olympus distraught over threats from Zeus.

Themis presided over the proper relation between man and woman, the basis of the rightly ordered family (the family was seen as the pillar of the deme), and judges were often referred to as “themistopóloi” (the servants of Themis). Such was also the basis for order upon Olympus. Even Hera addressed her as “Lady Themis”.

The name of Themis might be substituted for Adrasteia (“inescapable”), a nymph who was charged by Rhea with nurturing the infant Zeus in secret in the Dictaean cave, to protect him from his father Cronus, in telling of the birth of Zeus on Crete.

Adrasteia is known to have been worshipped in hellenised Phrygia (north-western Turkey), probably derived from a local Anatolian mountain deity. She is known from inscriptions in Greece from around 400 BCE as a deity who defends the righteous. She may be interchangeable with Cybele, a goddess also associated with childbirth.

Adrasteia was also an epithet of Nemesis, a primordial goddess of the archaic period, and was an epithet applied to Rhea herself, to Cybele, and to Ananke, as her daughter. As with Adrasteia, these four were especially associated with the dispensation of rewards and punishments.

Themis was present at Delos to witness the birth of Apollo. According to Ovid, it was Themis rather than Zeus who told Deucalion to throw the bones of “his Mother” over his shoulder to create a new race of humankind after the deluge.

Hesiod portrayed temporal justice, Dike, as the daughter of Zeus and Themis. The sculptures of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia have as their unifying iconographical conception the dikē of Zeus, and in poetry she is often the attendant (paredros) of Zeus.

Dike and her mother were both personifications of justice. She ruled over human justice, while her mother Themis ruled over divine justice. Dike executed the law of judgments and sentencing and, together with her mother Themis, she carried out the final decisions of Moirai.

For Hesiod, Justice is at the center of religious and moral life who, independently of Zeus, is the embodiment of divine will. This personification of Dike stands in contrast to justice viewed as custom or law and as retribution or sentence.

In the play Prometheus Bound, traditionally attributed to Aeschylus Themis is the mother of Prometheus, and gave him foreknowledge of what was to come.  It is said by Prometheus that she is called many names, including Gaéa (“land” or “earth”), also spelled Gaia, the personification of the Earth and one of the Greek primordial deities.

One of her few children was called Natura, the Greek goddess of the forest. With Zeus she more certainly bore the Horae, those embodiments of the right moment – the rightness of order unfolding in time, the goddesses of the seasons and the natural portions of time. The word “Horae” comes from the Proto-Indo-European stem *Hioh1-r- “year.”

They were originally the personifications of nature in its different seasonal aspects, but in later times they were regarded as goddesses of order in general and natural justice. They bring and bestow ripeness, they come and go in accordance with the firm law of the periodicities of nature and of life.

The number of Horae varied according to different sources, but was most commonly three: either the trio of Thallo, Auxo and Carpo (goddesses of the order of nature) or Eunomia (goddess of good order and lawful conduct) and her sisters Dike (goddess of Justice) and Eirene (goddess of Peace).

Of the first, more familiar, triad associated with Aphrodite and Zeus is their origins as emblems of times of life, growth (and the classical three seasons of year). Of the second triad associated to Themis and Zeus for law and order.

Followers of Zeus claimed that it was with him that Themis produced the Moirai, three Fates. A fragment of Pindar, however, tells that the Moirai were already present at the nuptials of Zeus and Themis; that in fact the Moirai rose with Themis from the springs of Okeanos the encircling world-ocean and accompanied her up the bright sun-path to meet Zeus at Mount Olympus.

Diké or Dice (“Justice”; Iustitia for Romans) ruled over human justice, as her mother Themis ruled over divine justice. She was the goddess of justice and the spirit of moral order and fair judgement based on immemorial custom, in the sense of socially enforced norms and conventional rules.

The anthropomorphisation of Diké as an ever-young woman dwelling in the cities of men was so ancient and strong that in the 3rd century BCE Aratus in Phaenomena 96 asserted that she was born a mortal. Zeus placed her on earth to keep mankind just, however, he quickly learned this was impossible and placed her next to him on Olympus, as the Greek astronomical/ astrological constellation The Maiden.

One of her epithets was Astraea (“star-maiden” or “starry night”), a daughter of Astraeus and Eos. Astraea, who is referred to as the constellation Virgo, was the virgin goddess of innocence and purity and is always associated with the Greek goddess of justice, Dike.

According to Aratus’ account of the constellation’s origin, Dike lived upon Earth during the Golden and Silver ages, when there were no wars or diseases, men raised fine crops and did not yet know how to sail They grew greedy, however, and Dike was sickened.

She proclaimed: Behold what manner of race the fathers of the Golden Age left behind them! Far meaner than themselves! but you will breed a viler progeny! Verily wars and cruel bloodshed shall be unto men and grievous woe shall be laid upon them.

Dike left Earth for the sky, from which, as the constellation, she watched the despicable human race. After her departure, the human race declined into the Bronze Age, when diseases arose and they learned how to sail.

Dike is depicted as a young, slender woman carrying a physical balance scale and wearing a laurel wreath while her Roman counterpart (Justitia) appears in a similar fashion but blind-folded. She is represented in the constellation Libra which is named for the Latin name of her symbol (Scales).

She is often associated with Astraea, the goddess of innocence and purity. Astraea is also one of her epithets referring to her appearance in the nearby constellation Virgo which is said to represent Astraea. This reflects her symbolic association with Astraea, who too has a similar iconography.

In the philosophical climate of late 5th century Athens, dikē could be anthropomorphised as a goddess of moral justice. She was one of the three second-generation Horae, along with Eunomia (“order”) and Eirene (“peace”).

Her opposite was adikia (“injustice”), the goddess and personification of injustice and wrong-doing. She was usually represented on the chest of Cypselus as a hideous, barbaric woman covered in tattoos being dragged by her opposite, Dike, the goddess of justice with one hand, while in the other she held a staff which she beat her with or she is depicted being throttled by Dike.

Maat and Anubis

Maat or Ma’at refers to the ancient Egyptian concepts of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice. Pharaohs are often depicted with the emblems of Maat to emphasise their role in upholding the laws and righteousness.

Maat was also the goddess who personified these concepts, and regulated the stars, seasons, and the actions of mortals and the deities who had brought order from chaos at the moment of creation. Her ideological opposite was Isfet, meaning injustice, chaos, violence or to do evil.

To the Egyptian mind, Maat bound all things together in an indestructible unity: the universe, the natural world, the state, and the individual were all seen as parts of the wider order generated by Maat. Maat had an invaluable role in the ceremony of the Weighing of the Heart.

After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in ancient Egyptian religion dealt with the Weighing of the Heart that took place in the Duat. Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of the afterlife successfully.

In the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were said to be weighed against her single “Feather of Ma’at”, symbolically representing the concept of Maat, in the Hall of Two Truths. This is why hearts were left in Egyptian mummies while their other organs were removed, as the heart (called “ib”) was seen as part of the Egyptian soul.

If the heart was found to be lighter or equal in weight to the feather of Maat, the deceased had led a virtuous life and would go on to Aaru. Osiris came to be seen as the guardian of the gates of Aaru after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition.

A heart which was unworthy was devoured by the goddess Ammit and its owner condemned to remain in the Duat. Once Ammit swallowed the heart, the soul was believed to become restless forever; this was called “to die a second time”.

The weighing of the heart, pictured on papyrus in the Book of the Dead typically, or in tomb scenes, shows Anubis overseeing the weighing and Ammit seated awaiting the results so she could consume those who failed.

The image would be the vertical heart on one flat surface of the balance scale and the vertical Shu-feather standing on the other balance scale surface. Other traditions hold that Anubis brought the soul before the posthumous Osiris who performed the weighing.

The ancient Egyptians had a deep conviction of an underlying holiness and unity within the universe. Cosmic harmony was achieved by correct public and ritual life. Any disturbance in cosmic harmony could have consequences for the individual as well as the state.

Maat represents the ethical and moral principle that every Egyptian citizen was expected to follow throughout their daily lives. They were expected to act with honor and truth in manners that involve family, the community, the nation, the environment, and the gods.

The significance of Maat developed to the point that it embraced all aspects of existence, including the basic equilibrium of the universe, the relationship between constituent parts, the cycle of the seasons, heavenly movements, religious observations and fair dealings, honesty and truthfulness in social interactions.

The earliest surviving records indicating that Maat is the norm for nature and society, in this world and the next, were recorded during the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the earliest substantial surviving examples being found in the Pyramid Texts of Unas (ca. 2375 BCE and 2345 BCE).

Later, when most goddesses were paired with a male aspect, her masculine counterpart was Thoth (Ancient Egyptian: ḏḥwtj “[He] is like the Ibis”), as their attributes are similar. In other accounts, Thoth was paired off with Seshat, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, writing and measure. His feminine counterpart was Seshat, and his wife was Ma’at.

Thoth has played a prominent role in many of the Egyptian myths. Displaying his role as arbitrator, he had overseen the three epic battles between good and evil. All three battles are fundamentally the same and belong to different periods.

The first battle took place between Ra and Apep, the second between Heru-Bekhutet and Set, and the third between Horus and Set. In each instance, the former god represented order while the latter represented chaos. If one god was seriously injured, Thoth would heal them to prevent either from overtaking the other.

Thoth was also prominent in the Osirian myth, being of great aid to Isis. After Isis gathered together the pieces of Osiris’ dismembered body, he gave her the words to resurrect him so she could be impregnated and bring forth Horus.

After a battle between Horus and Set in which the latter plucked out Horus’ eye, Thoth’s counsel provided him the wisdom he needed to recover it. Thoth was the god who always speaks the words that fulfill the wishes of Ra.

Thoth’s chief temple was located in the city of Khemenu (Coptic: Shmun), which was known as Hermoû pólis “The City of Hermes”, or in Latin as Hermopolis Magna, during the Hellenistic period through the interpretatio graeca that Thoth was Hermes.

Thoth played many vital and prominent roles in Egyptian mythology, such as maintaining the universe, and being one of the two deities (the other being Maat) who stood on either side of Ra’s solar barge. He was thus said to be the secretary and counselor of the sun god Ra, and with Ma’at (truth/order) stood next to Ra on the nightly voyage across the sky.

Thoth was originally a moon god. The moon not only provides light at night, allowing time to still be measured without the sun, but its phases and prominence gave it a significant importance in early astrology/astronomy. The cycles of the moon also organized much of Egyptian society’s rituals and events, both civil and religious.

Consequently, Thoth gradually became seen as a god of wisdom, magic, and the measurement and regulation of events and of time. In the later history of ancient Egypt, Thoth became heavily associated with the arbitration of godly disputes, the arts of magic, the system of writing, the development of science, and the judgment of the dead.

Thoth became credited by the ancient Egyptians as the inventor of writing (hieroglyphs), and was also considered to have been the scribe of the underworld; and the Moon became occasionally considered a separate entity, now that Thoth had less association with it and more with wisdom. For this reason Thoth was universally worshipped by ancient Egyptian scribes.

Seshat was seen as a scribe and record keeper, and her name means she who scrivens (i.e. she who is the scribe), and is credited with inventing writing. She also became identified as the goddess of accounting, architecture, astronomy, astrology, building, mathematics, and surveying. These are all professions that relied upon expertise in her skills.

Mistress of the House of Books is another title for Seshat. In art, she was depicted as a woman with a seven-pointed emblem above her head. It is unclear what this emblem represents. Pharaoh Tuthmosis III (1479-1425 BCE) called her Sefket-Abwy (She of seven points).

Thoth, the reckoner of time and god of writing who was also venerated as a god of wisdom was closely identified with Seshat, with whom he shared some overlapping functions. At times she was identified as his daughter, and at other times as his wife.

The god Anubis, a god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion, usually depicted as a canine or a man with a canine head, was frequently depicted with a set of scales on which he weighed a deceased’s heart against the Feather of Truth.

He attended the weighing scale during the “Weighing of the Heart,” in which it was determined whether a soul would be allowed to enter the realm of the dead. By the Middle Kingdom (2055 – 1650 BC) Anubis was replaced by Osiris in his role as lord of the underworld.

Lady Liberty

The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City in the United States representing the Roman goddess Libertas, the goddess of freedom widely worshipped in ancient Rome, especially among emancipated slaves.

She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet as she walks forward.

The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States, and was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad.

The symbolic characters Columbia who represents the United States and Marianne, who represents France, the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor and many other characters and concepts of the modern age were created, and are seen, as embodiments of Libertas.

In 1793, during the French Revolution, the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral was turned into a “Temple of Reason” and, for a time, the Goddess of Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars. In the United States, “Liberty” often is depicted with five-pointed stars, as appear on the American flag, usually held in a raised hand. Another hand may hold a sword pointing downward.

Libertas

Libertas (Latin for Liberty) is the Roman goddess and embodiment of liberty. Libertas was associated with the pileus, commonly worn by the freed slave. The Roman Republic was established simultaneously with the creation of Libertas and is associated with the overthrow of the Tarquin kings.

Libertas was honored during the second Punic War by a temple erected on the Aventine Hill in Rome by the father of Tiberius Gracchus. A statue in her honor also was raised by Clodius on the site of Marcus Tullius Cicero’s house after it had been razed.

The figure bears certain resemblances to Sol Invictus, the late Roman Republic sun deity and the crown often associated with that deity often appears in modern depictions of Liberty.

Libertas was worshiped by the Junii, the family of Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. In 238 BC, before the Second Punic War, Tiberius Gracchus built a temple to Libertas on the Aventine Hill. Census tables were stored inside the temple’s atrium.

A statue in her honor also was raised by Clodius on the site of Marcus Tullius Cicero’s house after it had been razed. The figure bears certain resemblances to Sol Invictus, the late Roman Republic sun deity and the crown often associated with that deity often appears in modern depictions of Liberty.

The Greek equivalent of the goddess Libertas is Eleutheria, the personification of liberty. The Greek word eleutheria, is an Ancient Greek term for, and personification of, liberty. Cretan dialect ‘Eleuthia’ would connect Eileithyia (or perhaps the goddess “Eleutheria”) to Eleusis.

Eileithyia or Ilithyia in Crete, also Eleuthia or Elysia in Laconia and Messene, and Eleuthō in literature was the Greek goddess of childbirth and midwifery. In the cave of Amnisos (Crete) she was related with the annual birth of the divine child, and her cult is connected with Enesidaon (the earth shaker), who was the chthonic aspect of the god Poseidon. It is possible that her cult is related with the cult of Eleusis.

The Eleusinian Mysteries were initiations held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. They are the “most famous of the secret religious rites of ancient Greece.” Their basis was an old agrarian cult, and there is some evidence that they were derived from the religious practices of the Mycenean period.

The mysteries represented the myth of the abduction of Persephone from her mother Demeter by the king of the underworld Hades, in a cycle with three phases; the descent (loss), the search, and the ascent, with the main theme being the ascent of Persephone and the reunion with her mother.

It was a major festival during the Hellenic era, and later spread to Rome. Similar religious rites appear in the agricultural societies of Near East and in Minoan Crete. The rites, ceremonies, and beliefs were kept secret and consistently preserved from antiquity.

For the initiated, the rebirth of Persephone symbolized the eternity of life which flows from generation to generation, and they believed that they would have a reward in the afterlife.

Walter Burkert believes that Eileithyia is the Greek goddess of birth and that her name is pure-Greek. However the relation with the Greek prefix is uncertain, because the prefix appears in some Pre-Greek toponyms like Eleutherna.

In Ancient Greece, Eleutheria was also an epithet for the goddess Artemis, and as such she was worshipped in Myra of Lycia. In Roman mythology, Demeter (Ceres) has a daughter named Libera (“Liberty/Freedom”).

Liber and Libera

In Roman mythology, Liber (“the free one”), also known as Liber Pater (“the free Father”), was a god of viticulture and wine, male fertility and a guardian of plebeian freedoms. Liber’s associations with wine, inebriation, uninhibited freedom and the subversion of the powerful made him a close equivalent to the Greek god Dionysus, who was Romanised as Bacchus.

Liber entered Rome’s historical tradition soon after the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, the establishment of the Republic and the first of many threatened or actual plebeian secessions from Rome’s patrician authority.

He was a patron deity of Rome’s plebeians and was part of their Aventine Triad. His festival of Liberalia (March 17) became associated with free speech and the rights attached to coming of age. His cult and functions were increasingly associated with Romanised forms of the Greek Dionysus/Bacchus, whose mythology he came to share.

Liber’s patronage of Rome’s largest, least powerful class of citizens (the plebs, or plebeian commoners) associates him with particular forms of plebeian disobedience to the civil and religious authority claimed by Rome’s Republican patrician elite.

The Aventine Triad has been described as parallel to the Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus on the Capitoline Hill, within the city’s sacred boundary (pomerium): and as its “copy and antithesis”.

The Aventine Triad was apparently installed at the behest of the Sibylline Books but Liber’s position within it seems equivocal from the outset. He was a god of the grape and of wine; his early ludi scaenici virtually defined their genre thereafter as satirical, subversive theatre in a lawful religious context.

Some aspects of his cults remained potentially un-Roman and offered a focus for civil disobedience. Liber asserted plebeian rights to ecstatic release, self-expression and free speech; he was, after all, Liber Pater, the Free Father – a divine personification of liberty, father of plebeian wisdoms and plebeian augury.

Pliny the Elder describes the Aventine Triad’s temple as designed by Greek architects, and typically Greek in style; no trace remains of it, and the historical and epigraphical record offers only sparse details to suggest its exact location, but Pliny’s description may be further evidence of time-honoured and persistent plebeian cultural connections with Magna Graecia, well into the Imperial era.

Before his official adoption as a Roman deity, Liber was companion to two different goddesses in two separate, archaic Italian fertility cults; Ceres (Demeter), an agricultural and fertility goddess of Rome’s Hellenised neighbours, and her daughter named Libera (“Liberty/ Freedom”), a goddess of wine, fertility and freedom, who was Liber’s female equivalent.

The formal, official development of the Aventine Triad may have encouraged the assimilation of its individual deities to Greek equivalents: Ceres to Demeter, Liber to Dionysus and Libera to Persephone or Kore.

Libera, aho at some time during Rome’s Regal or very early Republican eras was paired with Liber, enters Roman history as Triadic cult companion to Ceres and Liber, in a temple established on the Aventine Hill ca. 493 BC. The location and context of this early cult mark her association with Rome’s commoner-citizens, or plebs.

With the institution of the ritus graecia cereris (Greek rites of Ceres) c.205 BC, Libera was officially identified with Ceres’ daughter Proserpina and acquired with her a Romanised form of Greek mystery rite and attendant mythology, based on Greek cults to Demeter and Persephone.

She might have been offered cult on March 17 as part of Liber’s festival, Liberalia, or at some time during the seven days of Cerealia (mid to late April); in the latter festival she would have been subordinate to Ceres. Otherwise, her relationship to her Aventine cult partners is uncertain; she has no known native mythography.

With the institution of the ritus graecia cereris (Greek rites of Ceres) c.205 BC, Libera was officially identified with Ceres’ daughter Proserpina and acquired with her a Romanised form of Greek mystery rite and attendant mythology, based on Greek cults to Demeter and Persephone.

In the late Republican era, Cicero describes Liber and Libera as Ceres’ children. At around the same time, possibly in the context of popular or religious drama, Hyginus equates her with Greek Ariadne, as bride to Liber’s Greek equivalent, Dionysus: therefore her mythographic associations and identity seem far from straightforward.

The older and newer forms of her cult and rites, and their diverse associations, persisted well into the late Imperial era. St. Augustine (AD 354 – 430) observes that Libera is concerned with female fertility, as Liber is with male fertility.

Amagi

Ama-gi is a Sumerian word written ama-gi or ama-ar-gi. 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. It is related to the Akkadian word anduraāru(m), meaning “freedom”, “exemption” and “release from (debt) slavery”.

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.

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.””

Ishara

Ishara (išḫara) is an ancient deity of unknown origin from northern modern Syria. She is a pre-Hurrian and perhaps pre-Semitic deity, later incorporated into the Hurrian pantheon from which she found her way to the Hittite pantheon. The etymology of Ishara is unknown. Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath.

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar. In Alalah, her name was written with the Akkadogram IŠTAR plus a phonetic complement -ra, as IŠTAR-ra.

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”.

Ishara first appears in the pre-Sargonic texts from Ebla and then as a goddess of love in Old Akkadian potency-incantations (Biggs). In Mari she seems to have been very popular and many women were called after her. Her main epithet was belet rame, lady of love, which was also applied to Ishtar.

She was worshipped with Teshub and Simegi, who was identified with the hittie sun god the Sun god of Heaven, and also at Ugarit, Emar and Chagar Bazar. In the Epic of Gilgamesh Ishara is called upon to bless the couple on the honeymoon.

Within the Hurrian pantheon she was associated with the underworld. Her astrological embodiment is the constellation Scorpio and she is called the mother of the Sebitti (the Seven Stars). The Babylonians called this constellation MUL.GIR.TAB – the ‘Scorpion’, the signs can be literally read as ‘the (creature with) a burning sting’.

In some old descriptions the constellation of Libra is treated as the Scorpion’s claws. Libra was known as the Claws of the Scorpion in Babylonian. Scorpio is also associated with the Greek deity Artemis, who is said to have created the constellation Scorpius.

While she was considered to belong to the entourage of Ishtar, she was invoked to heal the sick. As a goddess, Ishara could inflict severe bodily penalties to oathbreakers, in particular ascites. 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”.

Sherida – Aya

Sherida is one of the oldest Mesopotamian gods, attested in inscriptions from pre-Sargonic times. As the Sumerian pantheon formalized, Utu became the primary sun god, and Sherida was syncretized into a subordinate role as an aspect of the sun alongside other less powerful solar deities (c.f. Ninurta) and took on the role of Utu’s consort.

When the Semitic Akkadians moved into Mesopotamia, their pantheon became syncretized to the Sumerian. Inanna to Ishtar, Nanna to Sin, Utu to Shamash, etc. The Mesopotamian sun goddess Aya became syncretized into Sherida during this process.

Aya in this aspect appears to have had wide currency among Semitic peoples, as she is mentioned in god-lists in Ugarit and shows up in personal names in the Bible. 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.

Aya (or Aja) in Akkadian mythology was a mother goddess, consort of the sun god Shamash. She developed from the Sumerian goddess Sherida, consort of Utu. When the Semitic Akkadians moved into Mesopotamia, their pantheon became syncretized to the Sumerian. Inanna to Ishtar, Nanna to Sin, Utu to Shamash, etc.

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. In fact, she was worshiped as part of a separate-but-attached cult in Shamash’s e-babbar temples in Larsa and Sippar.

As Ishtar became more prominent, several lesser or regional deities were assimilated into her, including Aya (the wife of Utu). 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. This ceremony was also practiced by the cults of Marduk with Sarpanitum, Nabu with Tashmetum, and Anu with Antu.

Ushas and Ratri

Ushas is a Vedic goddess of dawn in Hinduism. She is identified with dawn, revealing herself with the daily coming of light to the world, driving away oppressive darkness, chasing away evil demons, rousing all life, setting all things in motion, sending everyone off to do their duties. She is the life of all living creatures, the impeller of action and breath, the foe of chaos and confusion, the auspicious arouser of cosmic and moral order called the Ṛta in Hinduism.

Vedic uṣás is derived from the word uṣá which means “dawn”. Uṣás is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is uṣásas, whereby it connotes “dawn goddess” in Indo-European languages. This word comes from Proto-Indo-Iranian *Hušā́s (“ušā” in Avestan), which in turn is from Proto-Indo-European *h₂éusōs (“dawn”), and is related to “héōs” in Greek and “aušrà” in Lithuanian.

She is portrayed as a beautifully adorned young woman riding in a golden chariot or a hundred chariots, drawn by golden red horses or cows, on her path across the sky, making way for the Vedic sun god Surya. Her sister is Ratri, or the night, the wife of Surya. In medieval Hinduism, Surya is also an epithet for the major Hindu gods Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. In some ancient texts and arts, Surya is presented syncretically with Indra, Ganesha or others.

In latter times, Ratridevi (Goddess Ratri’ or ‘Goddess of the Night) came to be identified with a variety of goddesses – for example in the Atharva Veda, where Ratridevi is called Durga. Black references primal darkness before creation and also darkness of ignorance. Hence this form of goddess is considered as one who destroys the darkness of ignorance.

Invoking Goddess Kaalratri therefore empowers the devotee with the devouring quality of kala (time) and the all-consuming nature of ratri (night) – allowing all obstacles to be overcome and guaranteeing success in all undertakings. In summary, Kaalratri is the personification of the night of all-destroying time. This form primarily depicts that life also has a dark side – the violence of Mother Nature that encompasses death and destruction.

Inanna – Ereshkigal

Ereshkigal is the older sister of the goddess, Inanna. Inanna and Ereshkigal represent polar opposites. Inanna is the Queen of Heaven, but Ereshkigal is the queen of Irkalla.

Inanna may have originally been a Proto-Euphratean goddess, possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, who was only later accepted into the Sumerian pantheon. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat, the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living”. Hebat is married to Teshub, and is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele.

Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt. Her mother is probably Hebat. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis. She is also a Queen of the deities, and her brother is Sarruma.

The Greek name 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.

The cult of Inanna and Dumuzid may have been introduced to the Kingdom of Judah during the reign of King Manasseh. 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.

In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater (“Great Mother”). The Roman state adopted and developed a particular form of her cult after the Sibylline oracle recommended her conscription as a key religious ally in Rome’s second war against Carthage.

Roman mythographers reinvented her as a Trojan goddess, and thus an ancestral goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas (“praised”), a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (Venus). With Rome’s eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanized forms of Cybele’s cults spread throughout the Roman Empire.

In the late Republican era, Cicero describes Liber and Libera as Ceres’ children. At around the same time, possibly in the context of popular or religious drama, Hyginus equates her with Greek Ariadne, as bride to Liber’s Greek equivalent, Dionysus: therefore her mythographic associations and identity seem far from straightforward.

Geshtinanna

Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. Her most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from Kur, the ancient Sumerian Underworld.

In this myth 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 flees and hides. The galla demons brutally torture Geshtinanna in an attempt to force her to tell them where Dumuzid is hiding. Geshtinanna, however, refuses to tell them where her brother has gone.

Geshtinanna, also known as Azimua, is the daughter of Enki and Ninhursag. She was viewed as a mother goddess and was closely associated with the interpretation of dreams. Like her brother Dumuzid, she was also a rural deity, associated with the countryside and open fields.

She is the consort of Ningisida, a Mesopotamian deity of vegetation and the underworld. In Sumerian mythology, he appears in Adapa’s myth as one of the two guardians of Anu’s celestial palace, alongside Dumuzi. He was sometimes depicted as a serpent with a human head. The death of vegetation is associated with the travel to the underworld of Ningishzida.

The galla go to Dumuzid’s unnamed “friend,” who betrays Dumuzid, telling the galla exactly where Dumuzid is hiding. The galla capture Dumuzid, but Utu, the god of the Sun, who also happens to be Inanna’s brother, rescues Dumuzid by transforming him into a gazelle. Eventually, the galla recapture Dumuzid and drag him down into the Underworld.

Dumuzid’s sister Geshtinanna (also known as Geštinanna or Ngeshtin-ana), the ancient Sumerian goddess of agriculture, fertility, and dream interpretation, the so-called “heavenly grape-vine”, shelters her brother when he is being pursued by galla demons and mourns his death after the demons drag him to Kur.

She laments continually for days and nights over Dumuzid’s death, joined by Inanna, who has apparently experienced a change of heart, and Sirtur, Dumuzid’s mother. The three goddesses mourn continually until a fly reveals to Inanna the location of her husband. Together, Inanna and Geshtinanna go to the place where the fly has told them they will find Dumuzid.

They find him there and Inanna decrees that, from that point onwards, Dumuzid will spend half of the year with her sister Ereshkigal in the Underworld and the other half of the year be permitted to return to heaven with her, while his sister Geshtinanna takes his place in the Underworld, resulting in the cycle of the seasons.

She eventually agrees to take his place in Kur for half the year, allowing him to return to Heaven to be with Inanna. The Sumerians believed that, while Geshtinanna was in Heaven and Dumuzid in Kur, the earth became dry and barren, thus causing the season of summer.

Anu – Nergal / Dumuzid

Although Anu, the divine personification of the sky, supreme God, was a very important deity, his nature was often ambiguous and ill-defined. During the Kassite Period (c. 1600 BC — c. 1155 BC) and Neo-Assyrian Period (911 BC — 609 BC), Anu was represented by a horned cap. The Amorite god Amurru was sometimes equated with Anu. Later, during the Seleucid Empire (213 BC — 63 BC), Anu was identified with Enmešara and Dumuzid.

Enmesarra, or Enmešarra, 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. On the other hand, he has been described as an ancestor of Enlil, and it has been claimed that Enlil slew him.

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

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

Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. In Hellenistic times, especially during the 3rd century BCE, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios, Titan god of the sun, and his sister Artemis similarly equated with Selene, Titan goddess of the moon.

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. In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld, 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.

Utu – Shamash

Utu later worshipped by East Semitic peoples as Shamash, is the ancient Mesopotamian god of the sun, justice, morality, and truth. Alongside his sister Inanna, Utu was the enforcer of divine justice. He was the enforcer of divine justice and was thought to take an active role in human affairs, and 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. 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 Hymn 31 states that Utu serves as a judge of the dead in the Underworld alongside the malku, kusu, and the Anunnaki.

Utu was worshipped in Sumer from the very earliest times. The oldest documents mentioning him date to around 3500 BC, during the first stages of Sumerian writing. Utu’s main personality characteristics are his kindness and generosity, but, like all other Mesopotamian deities, he was not above refusing a request which inconvenienced him.

Utu is usually 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. He was believed to emerge from the doors of Heaven every day at dawn and ride across the sky in his chariot before returning to the “interior of heaven” through a set of doors in the far west every evening.

In the Hurro-Akkadian bilingual Weidner god list, Utu is equated with the Hurrian sun-god Šimigi. In the Ugaritic trilingual version of the Weidner god list, Šimigi and Utu are both equated with Lugalbanda.

He is 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.

His wife was the goddess Sherida, later known in Akkadian as 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.

They were believed to have two offspring: the goddess Kittu, whose name means “Truth”, and the god Misharu, whose name means “Justice”. By the time of the Old Babylonian Period (1830–1531 BC), Sherida, and consequently Utu, was associated with nadītu, an order of cloistered women who devoted their lives to the gods.

Utu’s charioteer was named Bunene. Cylinder seals often show two gods holding the doors open for him as he wields his weapon, the pruning-saw, a double-edged arch-shaped saw with large, jagged teeth, representing his role as the god of justice.

Utu’s main symbol was the solar disc, a circle with four points in each of the cardinal directions and four wavy, diagonal lines emanating from the circle between each point. This symbol represented the light, warmth, and power of the sun.

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 and, in later times, he was also worshipped at Assur.

In one of his earliest appearances in literature, in the Myth of Etana, written before the conquest of Sargon of Akkad (c. 2334–2284 BC), the hero Etana invokes Utu to help his wife conceive a child. In the Sumerian poem The Dream of Dumuzid, Utu intervenes to rescue Inanna’s husband Dumuzid from the galla demons who tried to drag him to the Underworld.

In the Sumerian flood myth, Utu emerges after the flood waters begin to subside, causing Ziusudra, the hero of the story, to throw open a window on his boat and fall down prostrate before him. Ziusudra sacrifices a sheep and an ox to Utu for delivering him to salvation.

In royal hymns of the Ur III period, Ur-Nammu of Ur and his son Shulgi describe Lugalbanda and Ninsun or Ninsumun (Nin-sumun(ak) “lady of the wild cows”), a goddess, best known as the mother of the legendary hero Gilgamesh, as their holy parents, and in the same context call themselves the brother of Gilgamesh.

In Sumerian mythology, Ninsun was originally called Gula, a Babylonian goddess of healing, the consort of Ninurta, until her name was later changed to Ninisina. Later, Gula became a Babylonian goddess. The name Bau is more common in the oldest period and gives way to Gula after the First Babylonian Dynasty.

Since it is probable that Ninurta has absorbed the cults of minor sun-deities, the two names may represent consorts of different gods. However this may be, the qualities of both are alike, and the two occur as synonymous designations of Ninurta’s female consort.

Her epithets are “great healer of the land” and “great healer of the black-headed ones”, a “herb grower”, “the lady who makes the broken up whole again”, and “creates life in the land”, making her a vegetation/fertility goddess endowed with regenerative power.

Sin-Kashid of Uruk also refers to Lugalbanda and Ninsun as his divine parents, and names Lugalbanda as his god. In the Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh and in earlier Sumerian stories about the hero, the king of Uruk, Gilgamesh, calls himself the son of Lugalbanda and Ninsun.

The authors of the Hebrew Bible generally attempt to portray the sun in a non-anthropomorphic manner, sometimes using it as a symbol of Yahweh’s power. The Hebrew word for “sun”, šapaš or šemeš, is often substituted for euphemisms, such as the word or, meaning “light”. These authors appear to have made a conscious effort to avoid implications of sun worship, even of a Yahwistic variety, at all costs.

Dyeus

Dyēus (Proto-Indo-European: *dyḗws, also *Dyḗus Phtḗr, alternatively spelled dyēws) is believed to have been the chief deity in the religious traditions of the prehistoric Proto-Indo-European societies. Part of a larger pantheon, he was the god of the daylit sky, and his position may have mirrored the position of the patriarch or monarch in society.

According to this scholarly reconstruction, Dyeus was known as Dyḗus Ph2tḗr, literally “sky father” or “shining father”, as reflected in Latin Iūpiter, Diēspiter, possibly Dis Pater and deus pater, Greek Zeu pater, Vedic Dyáuṣ Pitṛ́.

As the pantheons of the individual mythologies related to the Proto-Indo-European religion evolved, attributes of Dyeus seem to have been redistributed to other deities. In Greek and Roman mythology, Dyeus remained the chief god; however, in Vedic mythology, the etymological continuant of Dyeus became a very abstract god, and his original attributes and dominance over other gods appear to have been transferred to gods such as Agni or Indra, who is known as an aspect (avatar) of Shiva.

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

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

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

Dīs Pater was a Roman god of the underworld, later subsumed by Pluto or Hades (Hades was Greek). Originally a chthonic god of riches, fertile agricultural land, and underground mineral wealth, he was later commonly equated with the Roman deities Pluto and Orcus, becoming an underworld deity.

In De Natura Deorum, Cicero derives the name of Dīs Pater from dives, suggesting a meaning of “father of riches”, directly corresponding to the name Pluto (from Greek Ploutōn, meaning “wealthy”). Alternatively, he may be a secondary reflex of Dyeus Ph₂ter or “Zeus-Pater”.

 Tiwas

The name of the Proto-Anatolian Sun god can be reconstructed as *Diuod-, which derives from the Proto-Indo-European word *dei- (“shine”, “glow”). Tiwaz (Stem: Tiwad-) was the Luwian Sun-god. 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, who was superseded among the Hittites by the Hattian Sun goddess of Arinna. 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.

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

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

He was identified with the Hurrian solar deity, Šimige. 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. He played an important role as the foremost oath god in interstate treaties.

The Sun goddess of the Earth (Hittite: taknaš dUTU, Luwian: tiyamaššiš Tiwaz) was the Hittite and Hurrian goddess of the underworld. She played an important role in the death cult and was understood to be the ruler of the world of the dead. In Hittite texts she is referred to as the “Queen of the Underworld” and possesses a palace with a vizier and servants.

For the Luwians there is a Bronze Age source which refers to the “Sun god of the Earth” (cuneiform Luwian: tiyamašši- dU-za): “If he is alive, may Tiwaz release him, if he is dead, may the Sun god of the Earth release him”.

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 Neo-Hittite period, the Hattian underworld god, Lelwani was also syncretised with her.

In ancient Sumerian mythology, Ereshkigal is the queen of the Underworld. She is the older sister of the goddess, Inanna, associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. Inanna and Ereshkigal represent polar opposites. Inanna is the Queen of Heaven, but Ereshkigal is the queen of Irkalla.

Pluto

In addition to Zeus, Demeter had a lover, Iasion (a Cretan), to whom she bore Plutus (Wealth; i.e., abundant produce of the soil). Pluto (Greek: Ploutōn), the ruler of the underworld in classical mythology, is the Latinized form of the Greek Plouton.

The borrowed Greek name Pluto is sometimes used for the ruler of the dead in Latin literature, leading some mythology handbooks to assert misleadingly that Pluto was the Roman counterpart of Hades.

Pluto (Pluton in French and German, Plutone in Italian) becomes the most common name for the classical ruler of the underworld in subsequent Western literature and other art forms.

The name Ploutōn came into widespread usage with the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which Pluto was venerated as a stern ruler but the loving husband of Persephone. The couple received souls in the afterlife, and are invoked together in religious inscriptions. Hades, by contrast, had few temples and religious practices associated with him, and he is portrayed as the dark and violent abductor of Persephone.

The earlier name for the god was Hades, which became more common as the name of the underworld itself. In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Pluto represents a more positive concept of the god who presides over the afterlife.

Ploutōn was frequently conflated with Ploutos (Plutus), a god of wealth, because mineral wealth was found underground, and because as a chthonic god Pluto ruled the deep earth that contained the seeds necessary for a bountiful harvest.

Pluto and Hades differ in character, but they are not distinct figures and share two dominant myths. In Greek cosmogony, the god received the rule of the underworld in a three-way division of sovereignty over the world, with his brother Zeus ruling the Sky and his other brother Poseidon sovereign over the Sea.

His central narrative is the abduction of Persephone to be his wife and the queen of his realm. Plouton as the name of the ruler of the underworld first appears in Greek literature of the Classical period, in the works of the Athenian playwrights and of the philosopher Plato, who is the major Greek source on its significance.

Under the name Pluto, the god appears in other myths in a secondary role, mostly as the possessor of a quest-object, and especially in the descent of Orpheus or other heroes to the underworld.

Dis father

Pluto’s Roman equivalent is Dis Pater, whose name is most often taken to mean “Rich Father” and is perhaps a direct translation of Plouton. Dīs Pater was a chthonic Roman god of riches, fertile agricultural land, and underground mineral wealth, later commonly equated with the Roman deities Pluto and Orcus, becoming an underworld deity.

Pluto was also identified with the obscure Roman Orcus, like Hades the name of both a god of the underworld and the underworld as a place. The borrowed Greek name Pluto is sometimes used for the ruler of the dead in Latin literature, leading some mythology handbooks to assert misleadingly that Pluto was the Roman counterpart of Hades.

In De Natura Deorum, Cicero derives the name of Dīs Pater from dives, suggesting a meaning of “father of riches”, directly corresponding to the name Pluto. It has even been suggested that Dīs Pater is a direct loan translation of Ploutōn. Alternatively, he may be a secondary reflex of the same god as Jupiter (Proto-Indo-European Dyeus Ph₂ter or “Zeus-Pater”)).

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

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

In addition to being considered the ancestor of the Gauls, Dīs Pater was sometimes identified with the Sabine god Soranus, who got adopted into ancient Roman religion. He was worshipped on Mt. Soracte in Etruria. The area was sacred to underworld gods, such as Dis Pater.

The worshippers of Apollo Soranus, after his cult had been subsumed by Apollo, were called Hirpi Sorani (“wolves of Soranus”, from Sabine hirpus “wolf”). They were firewalkers and carried about the entrails of sacrifices during ceremonies.

Soranus was identified with Dis, the Roman god of the underworld, or with Apollo, a Greek god adopted by the Romans, and had a female partner, Feronia, a goddess associated with wildlife, fertility, health, and abundance whose sanctuary was located next to his.

In ancient Roman religion, Feronia was known as the goddess who granted freedom to slaves or civil rights to the most humble part of society, she was especially honored among plebeians and freedmen. Her festival, the Feroniae, was November 13 (the ides of November) during the Ludi Plebeii (“Plebeian Games”), in conjunction with Fortuna Primigenia; both were goddesses of Praeneste.

Varro identified Feronia with Libertas, the goddess who personified Liberty. According to Servius, Feronia was a tutelary goddess of freedmen (dea libertorum). A stone at the Terracina shrine was inscribed “let deserving slaves sit down so that they may stand up free.” Livy notes that in 217 BCE freed women collected money as a gift for Feronia. Some sources state that slaves were set free at her temple near Terracina.

Georges Dumézil considers Feronia to be a goddess of wilderness, of untamed nature, and nature’s vital forces – but honoured because she offers man the opportunity to put those forces to good use in acquiring nurture, health and fertility.

She fecundates and heals, therefore despite her being worshipped only in the wild she receive the first-fruits of the harvest, because she permits men to domesticate the wild forces of vegetation, favouring the transformation of that which is uncouth into that which is cultivated.

Dumézil compares her to Vedic god Rudra: He is similar to Feronia in that he represents that which has not yet been transformed by civilization – he is the god of the rude, of the jungle, at one time dangerous and uniquely useful, healer thanks to the herbs within his domain, protector of the freed slaves and of the outcast. Feronia, though, has only the positive or useful function of putting the forces of wild nature at the service of man.

Rudra is a Rigvedic deity, associated with wind or storm and the hunt. One translation of the name is “the roarer”. In the Rigveda, Rudra has been praised as the “mightiest of the mighty”. Rudra is the personification of ‘terror’.

Depending up on the poetic situation, Rudra can be meant as the most severe roarer/ howler (could be a hurricane or tempest) or the most frightening one. The Shri Rudram hymn from the Yajurveda is dedicated to Rudra, and is important in the Saivism sect. In it Rudra is referred as God of Gods.

The Hindu god Shiva shares several features with the Rudra: the theonym Shiva originated as an epithet of Rudra, the adjective shiva (“kind”) being used euphemistically of Rudra, who also carries the epithet Aghora, Abhayankar (“extremely calm non terrifying”).

Usage of the epithet came to exceed the original theonym by the post-Vedic period (in the Sanskrit Epics), and the name Rudra has been taken as a synonym for the god Shiva and the two names are used interchangeably.

Iron is a chemical element with symbol Fe (from Latin: ferrum). Astronomical and astrological symbol of the planet Mars, alchemical symbol of iron, gender symbol for male, and symbol of the Greek god Ares and the Roman god Mars.

Feronia’s name is derived from a Sabine adjective corresponding to Latin fĕrus. Feronia comes from Etruscan, but with a long vowel, i.e. Fērōnǐa. The root fer has cognate words in every Indo-European language and is also the root of the Vedic god Rudrá’s name.

Latin fĕrus means “not cultivated, untamed” (Thesaurus Linguae Latinae), “of the field, wood”, “untamed”, “not mitigated by any cultivation” (Forcellini Totius Latinatis Lexicon) which fits the environment of the sanctuaries of Feronia and is very close to rudis (rude).

Feronia is one of the Roman and Italic goddesses whose name is formed by a root ending with the suffix -ona or -onia. This form of a noun denotes a difficult or dangerous state or condition: The deity is a sovereign of that danger, only to help man to best avoid damage or get the greatest advantage, such as Angerona, sometimes identified with the goddess Feronia, for the angusti dies near the winter solstice.

According to ancient authorities, she was a goddess who relieved men from pain and sorrow, or delivered the Romans and their flocks from angina (quinsy). Also she was a protecting goddess of Rome and the keeper of the sacred name of the city, which might not be pronounced lest it should be revealed to her enemies. It was even thought that Angerona itself was this name; a late antique source suggests it was Amor, i.e. Roma inverted.

Sorania and Hirpa have also been put forward as candidates for the secret name. Modern scholars regard her as a goddess akin to Ops, Acca Larentia, and Dea Dia; or as the goddess of the new year and the returning sun (according to Mommsen, ab angerendo). Her festival, called Divalia or Angeronalia, was celebrated on 21 December.

Angerona’s feriae named Angeronalia or Divalia took place on December 21, the same day as the winter solstice. Georges Dumézil considers Angerona as the goddess who helps nature and men to sustain successfully the yearly crisis of the winter days. These culminate in the winter solstice, the shortest day, which in Latin is known as bruma, from brevissima (dies), the shortest day.

The embarrassment, pain and anguish caused by the lack of light and the cold are expressed by the word angor. In Latin the cognate word angustiae designates a space of time considered as disgracefully and painfully too short. Angerona and the connected cult guaranteed the overcoming of the unpleasant angusti dies narrow, short days.

Dumézil considered the Roman goddesses whose name ends with the suffix -ona or -onia to discharge the function of helping worshippers to overcome a particular time or condition of crisis.

Instances include Bellona who allows the Roman to wade across war in the best way possible, Orbona who cares for parents who lost a child, Pellonia who pushes the enemies away, Fessonia who permits travellers to subdue fatigue.

Among the Scandinavians god Viðarr is considered the second strongest after Thor. His only known act is placed at the time of the “Dusk of the gods”, the great crisis in which the old world disappears, as the wolf Fenrir swallows Oðinn and the sun. Then Viðarr defeats Fenrir permitting the rebirth of the world with a female sun, the daughter of the disappeared one.

The eschatological crisis in which Fenrir devours the sun is seen as the “Great Winter” Fimbulvetr and the god who kills Fenrir, Viðarr, is defined the “silent Ase”: silence must be associated with his exceptional force and his feat as saviour of the world. Angerona too discharges the function of saving the sun in danger thanks to her silence and the concentration of mystical force it brings.

In southern Germany and the Balkans, Dīs Pater had a Celtic goddess, Erecura or Aerecura (also found as Herecura or Eracura), a goddess worshipped in ancient times, often thought to be Celtic in origin, mostly represented with the attributes of Proserpina, as a consort.

She is a “land-goddess” sharing both underworld and fertility aspects with Dis Pater. A male deity called Arecurius or Aericurus is named on an altar-stone in Northumberland, England, although Beck cautions that “this inscription is quite uncertain, and it might be a misreading of Mercurio”.

Geographically, the areas in which Erecura and Dis Pater were worshipped appear to be in complementary distribution with those where the cult of Sucellus and Nantosuelta is attested, and Beck suggests that these cults were functionally similar although iconographically distinct.

Tyr and Hel

In Germanic mythology, Týr (Old Norse), Tíw (Old English), and Ziu (Old High German) is a god. Stemming from the Proto-Germanic deity *Tīwaz and ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European deity *Dyeus, little information about the god survives beyond Old Norse sources.

Outside of its application as a theonym, the Old Norse common noun týr means ‘(a) god’ (plural tívar). In turn, the theonym Týr may be understood to mean “the god”. Rooted in the related but distinct Indo-European word *deiwos is the Latin word for deity, deus. The Latin word is also continued in English divine, “deity”.

Due to the etymology of the god’s name and the shadowy presence of the god in the extant Germanic corpus, some scholars propose that Týr may have once held a more central place among the deities of early Germanic mythology.

Týr is the namesake of the Tiwaz rune, a letter of the runic alphabet corresponding to the Latin letter T. The names Mannus and Tuisto/Tuisco seem to have some relation to Proto-Germanic Mannaz, “man” and Tiwaz, “Tyr, the god”.

Several authors consider the name Mannus in Tacitus’ work to stem from an Indo-European root. *Mannaz is the conventional name of the m-rune ᛗ of the Elder Futhark. Younger Futhark ᛘ is maðr (“man”). It took up the shape of the algiz rune ᛉ, replacing Elder Futhark ᛗ.

It is derived from the reconstructed Common Germanic word for “man”, *mannaz. As its sound value and form in the Elder Futhark indicate, it is derived from the letter M (𐌌) in the Old Italic alphabets, ultimately from the Greek letter Mu (Μ).

By way of the process of interpretatio germanica, the deity is the namesake of Tuesday (‘Týr’s day’) in Germanic languages, including English. Interpretatio romana, in which Romans interpret other gods as forms of their own, generally renders the god as Mars, the ancient Roman war god, and it is through that lens that most Latin references to the god occur.

For example, the god may be referenced as Mars Thingsus (Latin ‘Mars of the Thing’) on 3rd century Latin inscription, reflecting a strong association with the Germanic thing, a legislative body among the ancient Germanic peoples still in use among some of its modern descendants.

In Norse mythology, from which most narratives about gods among the Germanic peoples stem, Týr sacrifices his arm to the monstrous wolf Fenrir, who bites off his limb while the gods bind the animal. Týr is foretold to be consumed by the similarly monstrous dog Garmr during the events of Ragnarök.

In Norse mythology, Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. In the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and Heimskringla, Hel is referred to as a daughter of Loki. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim.

In the same source, her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance. The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions with many servants in her underworld realm and plays a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.

Scholarly theories have been proposed about Hel’s potential connections to figures appearing in the 11th-century Old English Gospel of Nicodemus and Old Norse Bartholomeus saga postola, that she may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali.

Nisaba

Nidaba or Nisaba (Sumerian: NAGA; later ŠE.NAGA), also known by the epithet Nanibgal (Sumerian: AN.NAGA; later AN.ŠE.NAGA) was the Sumerian goddess of writing, learning, and the harvest. She is the daughter of An and Urash. From Sumerian texts, the language used to describe Urash is very similar to the language used to describe Ninhursag. Therefore, the two goddess may be one and the same.

Enki organized the world after creation and gave each deity a role in the world order. Nisaba was named the scribe of the gods, and Enki then built her a school of learning so that she could better serve those in need.

She keeps records, chronicles events, and performs various other bookwork-related duties for the gods. She is also in charge of marking regional borders. She is also associated with grain, reflecting her association with an earth goddess mother. She is seen as a caretaker for Ninhursag’s temple at Kesh, where she gives commands and keeps temple records.

As the goddess of writing and teaching, she was often praised by Sumerian scribes. She is considered the teacher of both mortal scribes and other divine deities. As the goddess of knowledge, she is related to many other facets of intellectual study and other gods may turn to her for advice or aid.

She is the chief scribe of Nanshe, a goddess of social justice, prophecy, fertility and fishing. On the first day of the new year, she and Nanshe work together to settle disputes between mortals and give aid to those in need.

Nisaba keeps a record of the visitors seeking aid and then arranges them into a line to stand before Nanshe, who will then judge them. In the Babylonian period, she was replaced by the god Nabu, the ancient Mesopotamian patron god of literacy, the rational arts, scribes and wisdom.

Haya, was the spouse of Nidaba/Nissaba, and was known both as a “door-keeper” and associated with the scribal arts, and may have had an association with grain. He is an “agrig”-official of the god Enlil, and designated as “the Nissaba of wealth”, as opposed to his wife, who is the “Nissaba of Wisdom”.

Attempts have also been made to connect the remote origins of ha-ià with those of the god Enki or Ea (Ebla Ḥayya), although there remain serious doubts concerning this hypothesis. However, Isimud, who is characteristically shown with two faces, 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, 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.

As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar god of keys, doors, livestock, ports and gateways, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping.

He may have originally protected the warehouses where grain was stored, but later became associated with ports, perhaps because of folk associations between porta “gate, door” and portus “harbor”, the “gateway” to the sea, or because of an expansion in the meaning of portus.

Nabu, who was worshipped by the Babylonians and the Assyrians, took over her functions. In some instances, Nisaba was his instructor or wife before he replaced her. Due to his role as an oracle, Nabu was associated with the Mesopotamian moon god Sin.

In Babylonian astrology, Nabu was identified with the planet Mercury. Nabu wore a horned cap, and stood with his hands clasped in the ancient gesture of priesthood. He rode on a winged dragon known as Sirrush that originally belonged to his father Marduk.

In Hellenistic times, Nabu was identified, and sometimes syncretized, with the Greek god Apollo. As the god of literacy and wisdom, Nabu was linked by the Romans with Mercury, and by the Egyptians with Thoth.

 

 

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