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

    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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Sagittarius – Centaurus

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on January 11, 2019

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Centaurus Constellation

Constellation Centaurus

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Centaurus is a bright constellation in the southern sky. n Greek mythology, Centaurus represents a centaur; a creature that is half human, half horse (another constellation named after a centaur is one from the zodiac: Sagittarius).

While Centaurus now has a high southern latitude, at the dawn of civilization it was an equatorial constellation. Precession has been slowly shifting it southward for millennia, and it is now close to its maximal southern declination. Thousands of years from now Centaurus will, once again, be at lower latitudes and be visible worldwide.

Bilderesultat for Centaurus mythology


In geometry, the sagitta (sometimes abbreviated as sag) of a circular arc is the distance from the center of the arc to the center of its base. Architects, engineers, and contractors use these equations to create “flattened” arcs that are used in curved walls, arched ceilings, bridges, and numerous other applications.

It is used extensively in architecture when calculating the arc necessary to span a certain height and distance and also in optics where it is used to find the depth of a spherical mirror or lens. The name comes directly from Latin sagitta, meaning an arrow.

The sagitta is the vertical line from the midpoint of the chord to the arc itself. It is a measure of the ‘height’ of the arc. The length of the chord, sagitta and radius of the arc are inter-related, and if you know any two you can calculate the third.

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According to the Talmudists, the emblem of Nergal was a cockerel and Nergal means a “dunghill cock”, although standard iconography pictured Nergal as a lion. The word “Gallus” is also the Latin word for rooster. A play upon his name—separated into three elements as Ne-uru-gal (light of the great Ûru; lord of the great dwelling)—expresses his position at the head of the nether-world pantheon.

Bilderesultat for lahmu curls


In Sumerian times Laḫmu may have meant “the muddy one”. Lahmu guarded the gates of the Abzu temple of Enki at Eridu. He and his sister Laḫamu are primordial deities in the Babylonian Epic of Creation Enuma Elis and Lahmu may be related to or identical with “Lahamu”, one of Tiamat’s creatures in that epic.

Laḫmu is depicted as a bearded man with a red sash – usually with three strands – and four to six curls on his head and they are also depicted as monsters, which each encompasses a specific constellation. He is often associated with the Kusarikku or “Bull-Man”. Lahamu is sometimes seen as a serpent, and sometimes as a woman with a red sash and six curls on her head.

An Assyrian lamassu dated 721 BC

The lamassu (Cuneiform: an.kal; Sumerian: dlammař; Akkadian: lamassu; sometimes called a lamassus) is an Assyrian protective deity, often depicted as having a human head, the body of a bull or a lion, and bird wings. Lammasu represent the zodiacs, parent-stars or constellations.

In some writings, it is portrayed to represent a female deity. A less frequently used name is shedu (Cuneiform: an.kal×bad; Sumerian: dalad; Akkadian, šēdu‬), which refers to the male counterpart of a lamassu. 

Bilderesultat for tetramorph

A composition of the Four Living Creatures into one tetramorph. Matthew the man, Mark the lion, Luke the ox, and John the eagle

Assyrian sculpture typically placed prominent pairs of lamassu at entrances in palaces, facing the street and also internal courtyards. They were represented as “double-aspect” figures on corners, in high relief. From the front they appear to stand, and from the side, walk, and in earlier versions have five legs, as is apparent when viewed obliquely.

The ancient Jewish people were influenced by the iconography of Assyrian culture. The prophet Ezekiel wrote about a fantastic being made up of aspects of a human being, a lion, an eagle and a bull. Later, in the early Christian period, the four Gospels were ascribed to each of these components. When it was depicted in art, this image was called the Tetramorph.

A 13th century Cluniac ivory carving of Christ in Majesty surrounded by the creatures of the tetramorph.

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Letter resh – The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Rho (Ρ), Etruscan Etruscan EtruscanR-01.svg, Latin R, and Cyrillic Р.

Nr: 4 – 4 seasons – 4 elements in astrology – the Tetramorph

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An excursus on the Egyptian word nTr

Life and death

According to Macrobius who cites Nigidius Figulus and Cicero, Janus and Jana (Diana) are a pair of divinities, worshipped as Apollo or the sun and moon, whence Janus received sacrifices before all the others, because through him is apparent the way of access to the desired deity.

A similar solar interpretation has been offered by A. Audin, who interprets the god as the issue of a long process of development starting with the Sumerian culture from two solar pillars located on the eastern side of temples, each of them marking the direction of the rising sun at the dates of the two solstices. The southeastern corresponding to the Winter and the northeastern to the Summer solstice.

These two pillars would be at the origin of the theology of the divine twins, one of whom is mortal (related to the NE pillar, as confining with the region where the sun does not shine) and the other is immortal (related to the SE pillar and the region where the sun always shines). Later these iconographic models evolved in the Middle East and Egypt into a single column representing two torsos and finally a single body with two heads looking at opposite directions.

Göbekli Tepe

Göbekli Tepe, Turkish for “Potbelly Hill”, is an archaeological site in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, approximately 12 km (7 mi) northeast of the city of Şanlıurfa. The tell includes two phases of use believed to be of a social or ritual nature dating back to the 10th–8th millennium BCE.

During the first phase, belonging to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), circles of massive T-shaped stone pillars were erected – the world’s oldest known megaliths. More than 200 pillars in about 20 circles are currently known through geophysical surveys. Each pillar has a height of up to 6 m (20 ft) and weighs up to 10 tons. They are fitted into sockets that were hewn out of the bedrock.

In the second phase, belonging to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB), the erected pillars are smaller and stood in rectangular rooms with floors of polished lime. The site was abandoned after the PPNB. Younger structures date to classical times.

The details of the structure’s function remain a mystery. It was excavated by a German archaeological team under the direction of Klaus Schmidt from 1996 until his death in 2014. Schmidt believed that the site was a sanctuary where people from a wide region periodically congregated, not a settlement.

Gobekli Tepe’s hilltop site was not defensive or residential and the indications are that it was a sacred area and that the two pillars outside the entrance of some of the circles represented a gateway between secular and religious ground.

Three layers could be distinguished up to now at the site. The oldest Layer III (10th millenium BC) is characterized by monolithic T-shaped pillars weighing tons, which were positioned in circle-like structures. The pillars were interconnected by limestone walls and benches leaning at the inner side of the walls. In the centre of these enclosures there are always two bigger pillars, with a height of over 5 m. The circles measure 10-20 m.

Two huge central pillars are surrounded by a circle formed by – at current state of excavation – 11 pillars of similar T-shape. Most of these pillars are decorated with depictions of animals, foxes, birds (e.g. cranes, storks and ducks), and snakes being the most common species in this enclosure, accompanied by a wide range of figurations including the motives of boar, aurochs, gazelle, wild donkey and larger carnivores.

In particular these central pillars of Enclosure D allow demonstrating the anthropomorphic appearance of the T-shaped pillars. They might have been gods who had T-shapes instead of heads because it was forbidden to see their faces. The T-shaped stones around the circle may have been their companions.

Gobekli Tepe’s hilltop site was not defensive or residential and the indications are that it was a sacred area and that the two pillars outside the entrance of some of the circles represented a gateway between secular and religious ground.

According to Andrew Collins the central pillars of Enclosure D target Deneb, the brightest star in the constellation of Cygnus, also known as the celestial bird, or swan, and one of the brightest stars in the night sky and one corner of the Summer Triangle, as it extinguishes on the north-northwestern horizon.

Other structures at Göbekli Tepe were built perhaps with different considerations in mind. Enclosure B’s central pillars are unlikely to have targeted Deneb during the epoch in question.

The twin pillars marking the entrance to the apse in Enclosure A were orientated almost exactly northwest to southeast, while those in Enclosure F (a smaller, much later structure west of the main group) are aligned east-northeast or west-southwest, very close to the angle at which the sun rises on the summer solstice and sets on the winter solstice.


The lamassu (Cuneiform: an.kal; Sumerian: dlammař; Akkadian: lamassu; sometimes called a lamassus) is a celestial being from ancient Mesopotamian religion in art often depicted as having a human head, the body of a bull, sometimes with the horns and the ears of a bull, or a lion and bird wings. The motif of a winged animal with a human head is common to the Near East, first recorded in Ebla around 3000 BC.

In some writings, it is portrayed to represent a female deity. A less frequently used name is shedu (Cuneiform: an.kal×bad; Sumerian: dalad; Akkadian, šēdu‬), which refers to the male counterpart of a lamassu.

They represent the zodiacs, parent-stars or constellations. They were household protective spirits of the common Babylonian people, becoming associated later as royal protectors, and were placed as sentinels at entrances. They are depicted as protective deities because they encompass all life within them. To protect houses, the lamassu were engraved in clay tablets, which were then buried under the door’s threshold.

In the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, they are depicted as physical deities as well, which is where the lammasu iconography originates, these deities could be microcosms of their microcosmic zodiac, parent-star, or constellation.

They were often placed as a pair at the entrance of palaces. At the entrance of cities they were sculpted in colossal size and placed as a pair. One at each side of the door of the city, that generally had doors in the surrounding wall, each one looking towards one of the cardinal points.

Although lamassu had a different iconography and portrayal in the culture of Sumer, the terms “lamassu”, “alad”, and “shedu” evolved throughout the Assyro-Akkadian culture from the Sumerian culture to denote the Assyrian-winged-man-bull symbol and statues during the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Female lamassu were called “apsasû”.

Lumasi do not generally appear as large figures in the low-relief schemes running round palace rooms, where winged genie figures are common, but they sometimes appear within narrative reliefs, apparently protecting the Assyrians.

The colossal entranceway figures were often followed by a hero grasping a wriggling lion, also colossal in scale and in high relief. The first distinct lamassu motif appeared in Assyria during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser II as a symbol of power.

The motif of the Assyrian-winged-man-bull called Aladlammu and Lamassu interchangeably is not the lamassu or alad of Sumerian origin, which were depicted with different iconography. These monumental statues were called aladlammû or lamassu which meant “protective spirit”.

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.

The Akkadians associated the god Papsukkal with a lamassu and the god Išum with shedu. Papsukkal was syncretized with Ninshubur, the messenger of the goddess Inanna. Much like Iris or Hermes in later Greek mythology, Ninshubur served as a messenger to the other gods.

Artemis / Apollo

Potnia Theron / Lord of Animals

In Hittite, the Sumerian form dlamma is used both as a name for the so-called “tutelary deity”, identified in certain later texts with Inara, and a title given to similar protective gods. Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis.

In the classical period of Greek mythology, Artemis was often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. The national divinity of the Greeks, Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more.

Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals and chastity in the ancient Greek religion and myth. Artemis is the Moon and Apollo is the Sun.

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 (“The Mistress of the Animals”) is a term first used (once) by Homer and often used to describe female divinities associated with animals.

In ancient Roman religion, Feronia was a goddess associated with wildlife, fertility, health, and abundance. 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. Varro identified Feronia with Libertas, the goddess who personified Liberty. According to Servius, Feronia was a tutelary goddess of freedmen (dea libertorum).

Proserpina or Proserpine is an ancient Roman goddess whose cult, myths and mysteries were combined from those of Libera, an early Roman goddess of wine, and the Greek Persephone and Demeter, goddesses of grain and agriculture. The originally Roman goddess Libera was daughter of the agricultural goddess Ceres and wife to Liber, god of wine and freedom.

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 Libera and 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.

In early Roman religion, Libera was the female equivalent of Liber (freedom). She was originally an Italic goddess; at some time during Rome’s Regal or very early Republican eras, she was paired with Liber, also known as Liber Pater (The Free Father), Roman god of wine, male fertility, and a guardian of plebeian freedoms. She enters Roman history as part of a Triadic cult alongside Ceres and Liber, in a temple established on the Aventine Hill around 493 BCE.

The location and context of this early cult mark her association with Rome’s commoner-citizens, or plebs; 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 mythology.

Libera was officially identified with Proserpina in 205 BCE, when she acquired a Romanised form of the Greek mystery rites and their attendant mythology. In the late Republican era, Cicero described Liber and Libera as Ceres’ children. At around the same time, possibly in the context of popular or religious drama, Hyginus equated her with Greek Ariadne, as bride to Liber’s Greek equivalent, Dionysus.

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) observed that Libera is concerned with female fertility, as Liber is with male fertility.

Freyr (Old Norse: Lord), sometimes anglicized as Frey, is a widely attested god associated with sacral kingship, virility and prosperity, with sunshine and fair weather, and pictured as a phallic fertility god in Norse mythology. Freyr is said to “bestow peace and pleasure on mortals”.

In the Icelandic books the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, Freyr is presented as one of the Vanir, the son of the sea god Njörðr, as well as the twin brother of the goddess Freyja (Old Norse for “(the) Lady”), a goddess associated with love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death.

Numerous theories have been proposed for the etymology of Vanir. It is tempting to link the word with “Old Norse vinr, ‘friend’, and Latin Venus, ‘goddess of physical love.'” Hausos (Proto-Indo-European: *h₂éwsōs) is the reconstructed name for the Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn.

The name *h₂ewsṓs is derived from a root *h₂wes / *au̯es “to shine”, thus translating to “the shining one”. Both the English word east and the Latin auster “south” are from a root cognate adjective *aws-t(e)ro-. Also cognate is aurum “gold”, from *awso-.

The name for “spring season”, *wes-r- is also from the same root. The dawn goddess was also the goddess of spring, involved in the mythology of the Indo-European new year, where the dawn goddess is liberated from imprisonment by a god (reflected in the Rigveda as Indra, in Greek mythology as Dionysus and Cronus).

Besides the name most amenable to reconstruction, *h₂ewsṓs, a number of epithets of the dawn goddess may be reconstructed with some certainty. Among these is *wenos- (also an s-stem), whence Sanskrit vanas “loveliness; desire”, used of Uṣas in the Rigveda, and the Latin name Venus and the Norse Vanir.

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

The Dawn Goddess was probably the original love and lust deity in Proto-Indo-European religion, an aspect maintained in nearly all reflexes but noticeably lost in later stages of Hellenic and Indu myth (Eos replaced by Aphrodite and Eros, Ushas replaced by Kamadeva). Notably, the Greek myth of Aphrodite cursing Eos with lust may be a representation of usurpation of the role as love goddess by the former.

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

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

Nearly all reflexes are associated with reddish horses, perhaps due to syncretism with solar goddesses as well as the hypothesised relation with the Divine Twins. 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.

The Dawn Goddess is thought to have been envisioned as the daughter of Dyeus. This is partially reflected in Vedic mythology, where Ushas is the daughter of Dyaus Pita, though in some other Indo-European derivations this is not the case. However, though nonetheless the epithet “daughter of heaven” remains in nearly all Indo-European mythologies.

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

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

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.


Laḫmu (also called Lakhmu, Lache, Lumasi or Assyro-Akkadian Lammasu) is a deity from Akkadian mythology that represents the zodiac, parent stars, or constellations. It is the name of a protective and beneficent deity.

Lahmu guarded the gates of the Abzu temple of Enki at Eridu. He and his sister Laḫamu (also Lakhamu, Lachos, Lumasi, or Assyro-Akkadian Lammasu) are primordial deities in the Babylonian Epic of Creation Enuma Elis and Lahmu may be related to or identical with “Lahamu”, one of Tiamat’s creatures in that epic. Lahamu is sometimes seen as a serpent, and sometimes as a woman with a red sash and six curls on her head.

They are the first-born children of Tiamat and Abzu in Akkadian mythology. They are the parents of Anshar, which means “whole heaven”, and Kishar, which means “Whole Earth”, the sky father and earth mother, who were in turn parents of the first gods of the Mesopotamian Pantheon. Among them, Anu, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons.

Laḫmu is depicted as a bearded man with a red sash – usually with three strands – and four to six curls on his head and they are also depicted as monsters, which each encompasses a specific constellation. He is often associated with the Kusarikku or “Bull-Man”.

Some scholars, such as William F. Albright, have speculated that the name of Bethlehem (“house of lehem”) originally referred to a Canaanite fertility deity cognate with Laḫmu and Laḫamu, rather than to the Canaanite word lehem, “bread”.

In Sumerian times Laḫmu may have meant “the muddy one”. It is suggested that the pair were represented by the silt of the sea-bed, but more accurately are known to be the representations of the zodiac, parent-stars, or constellations.

In Mesopotamian tradition, Nammu, the goddess of the primeval creative matter and the mother-goddess portrayed as having “given birth to the great gods,” was the mother of Enki, and as the watery creative force, was said to preexist Ea-Enki.

Benito states “With Enki it is an interesting change of gender symbolism, the fertilising agent is also water, Sumerian “a” or “Ab” which also means “semen”. In one evocative passage in a Sumerian hymn, Enki stands at the empty riverbeds and fills them with his ‘water'”.

Considered the master shaper of the world, god of wisdom and of all magic, Enki was characterized as the lord of the Abzu (Apsu in Akkadian), the freshwater sea or groundwater located within the earth. In the later Babylonian epic Enûma Eliš, Abzu, the “begetter of the gods”, is inert and sleepy but finds his peace disturbed by the younger gods, so sets out to destroy them.

His grandson Enki, chosen to represent the younger gods, puts a spell on Abzu “casting him into a deep sleep”, thereby confining him deep underground. Enki subsequently sets up his home “in the depths of the Abzu.” Enki thus takes on all of the functions of the Abzu, including his fertilising powers as lord of the waters and lord of semen.

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

Pabilsag – Nininsinna

Pabilsag in Mesopotamian tradition was a tutelary god of the city of Isin. The consort of the goddess Nininsinna (Sumerian: Nin-sumun(ak) “lady of the wild cows”), he was identified with the lost city of Larak. He is represented in the constellation Sagittarius, commonly represented as a centaur pulling back a bow.

Pabilsag is reminiscent of modern depictions of the constellation Sagittarius, the half human and half horse, the learned healer whose higher intelligence forms a bridge between Earth and Heaven.

The Babylonians identified Sagittarius as the god Nergal, a strange centaur-like creature firing an arrow from a bow. It is generally depicted with wings, with two heads, one panther head and one human head, as well as a scorpion’s stinger raised above its more conventional horse’s tail.

In Greek mythology, Sagittarius is usually identified as a centaur: half human, half horse. However, perhaps due to the Greeks’ adoption of the Sumerian constellation, some confusion surrounds the identity of the archer.

As there are two centaurs in the sky, some identify Chiron with the other constellation, known as Centaurus. Or, as an alternative tradition holds, that Chiron devised the constellations Sagittarius and Centaurus to help guide the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece.

A competing mythological tradition, as espoused by Eratosthenes, identified the Archer not as a centaur but as the satyr Crotus, son of Pan, who Greeks credited with the invention of archery. According to myth, Crotus often went hunting on horseback and lived among the Muses, who requested that Zeus place him in the sky, where he is seen demonstrating archery.

The text Pabilsag’s Journey to Nibru describes Pabilsag as journeying to Nippur and presenting the god Enlil with gifts. He was given the epithet of “the wild bull with multicoloured legs”.

The Sumerian name Pabilsag is composed of two elements – Pabil, meaning ‘elder paternal kinsman’ and Sag, meaning ‘chief, head’. The name may thus be translated as the ‘Forefather’ or ‘Chief Ancestor’.

According to the ancient Babylonian text, Pabilsag wedded Nininsina, who was the tutelary goddess of Gudea of Lagash, near a riverbank and gave birth to Damu as a result of the union.

In Sumerian mythology, Ninsun was originally called Gula until her name was later changed to Ninisina. Later, Gula became a Babylonian goddess. Other names include Rimat-Ninsun (from Akkadian rimātu “cattle”), the “August Cow”, the “Wild Cow of the Enclosure”, and “The Great Queen”.


Sagittarius is the ninth astrological sign, which is associated with the constellation Sagittarius and spans 240–270th degrees of the zodiac. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this sign between approximately November 23 and December 21. Its name is Latin for the archer, and its symbol is a stylized arrow.

Sagittarius lies between Scorpius and Ophiuchus to the west and Capricornus and Microscopium to the east. As of 2002, the Sun appears in the constellation Sagittarius from 18 December to 18 January. In tropical astrology, the Sun is considered to be in the sign Sagittarius from 22 November to 21 December, and in sidereal astrology, from 16 December to 14 January.

Along with Aries and Leo, Sagittarius is a part of the Fire Trigon as well as the last of the reproductive trinity. It also follows Gemini and Virgo as third of the mutable signs, which are the signs that feature changeable quality.

Also known as the Archer, Sagittarius is represented by the symbol of a bow and arrow. Sagittarius famously points its arrow at the heart of Scorpius, represented by the reddish star Antares, as the two constellations race around the sky.

The arrow of this constellation points towards the star Antares, the “heart of the scorpion”, and Sagittarius stands poised to attack should Scorpius ever attack the nearby Hercules, or to avenge Scorpius’s slaying of Orion.

The symbol of the zodiac sign is a Centaur armed with arrows following an old tradition coming from Ancient Greece and from other cultures of the past. As an archer, Sagittarius is said to never fail in hitting the mark and this depiction alludes to the power of prophecy, hence, the claim that seers and prophets are born in this sign.

The image of the sign says a lot about his features: He’s able to be extremely violent or wise, brave or mild. When Sagittarius is depicted as an archer, then he is classified as human, but when represented as a centaur, he is nonhuman (bestial). However, the classification of the astrological sign as a human or bestial does not carry practical consequences for interpretation.

The Milky Way

The Milky Way is at its densest near Sagittarius, as this is where the galactic center lies. As a result, Sagittarius contains many star clusters and nebulae. The center of the Milky Way lies in the westernmost part of Sagittarius.

Sagittarius A

Sagittarius A or Sgr A is a complex radio source at the center of the Milky Way. It is located in the constellation Sagittarius, and is hidden from view at optical wavelengths by large clouds of cosmic dust in the spiral arms of the Milky Way.

It consists of three components, the supernova remnant Sagittarius A East, the spiral structure Sagittarius A West, and a very bright compact radio source at the center of the spiral, Sagittarius A* (“Sagittarius A-star”). These three overlap: Sagittarius A East is the largest, West appears off-center within East, and A* is at the center of West.


Sagitta is a dim but distinctive constellation in the northern sky. Its name is Latin for “arrow”, and it should not be confused with the significantly larger constellation Sagittarius, the archer. Located to the north of the equator, Sagitta can be seen from every location on Earth except within the Antarctic circle.

The Greeks who may have originally identified this constellation called it Oistos. The Romans named it Sagitta. Sagitta’s shape is reminiscent of an arrow, and many cultures have interpreted it thus, among them the Persians, Hebrews, Greeks and Romans. The Arabs called it as-Sahm, a name that was transferred Sham and now refers to Alpha Sagittae only.

In ancient Greece, Sagitta was regarded as the weapon that Hercules used to kill the eagle (Aquila) of Jove that perpetually gnawed Prometheus’ liver. The Arrow is located beyond the north border of Aquila, the Eagle.

According to R.H. Allen, the Arrow could be the one shot by Hercules towards the adjacent Stymphalian birds (6th labor) who had claws, beaks and wings of iron, and who lived on human flesh in the marshes of Arcadia – Aquila the Eagle, Cygnus the Swan, and Lyra (the Vulture) – and still lying between them, whence the title Herculea (although Allen cites no reference to support this assertion). Eratosthenes claimed it as the arrow with which Apollo exterminated the Cyclopes.


Some identify Sagittarius as the centaur Chiron (also Cheiron or Kheiron; Greek: “hand”), the son of Philyra and Cronus, who mentored Achilles, a Greek hero of the Trojan War, in archery and who was said to have changed himself into a horse to escape his jealous wife, Rhea, and tutor to Jason.

Chiron’s lineage was different from other centaurs, who were born from Ixion (“strong native”), the king of the Lapiths, the most ancient tribe of Thessaly, and a son of Ares, or Leonteus, or Antion and Perimele, or the notorious evildoer Phlegyas, whose name connotes “fiery”, and Nephele (“cloud”), which in the Olympian telling Zeus invented to look like Hera.

Ixion married Dia, a daughter of Deioneus (or Eioneus) and promised his father-in-law a valuable present. However, he did not pay the bride price, so Deioneus stole some of Ixion’s horses in retaliation. Ixion concealed his resentment and invited his father-in-law to a feast at Larissa. When Deioneus arrived, Ixion pushed him into a bed of burning coals and wood.

These circumstances are secondary to the fact of Ixion’s primordial act of murder; it could be accounted for quite differently: in the Greek Anthology (iii.12), among a collection of inscriptions from a temple in Cyzicus is an epigrammatic description of Ixion slaying Phorbas (“giving pasture”) and Polymelos, who had slain his mother, Megara, the “great one”.

Ixion went mad, defiled by his act; the neighboring princes were so offended by this act of treachery and violation of xenia that they refused to perform the rituals that would cleanse Ixion of his guilt. Thereafter, Ixion lived as an outlaw and was shunned. By killing his father-in-law, Ixion was reckoned the first man guilty of kin-slaying in Greek mythology. That alone would warrant him a terrible punishment.

However, Zeus had pity on Ixion and brought him to Olympus and introduced him at the table of the gods. Instead of being grateful, Ixion grew lustful for Hera, Zeus’s wife, a further violation of guest-host relations. Zeus found out about his intentions and made a cloud in the shape of Hera, which became known as Nephele (from nephos “cloud”) and tricked Ixion into coupling with it.

From the union of Ixion and the false-Hera cloud came Imbros or Centauros, the father of the race of mythological beasts known as the centaurs or Ixionidae, who mated with the Magnesian mares on Mount Pelion, Pindar told, engendering the race of Centaurs, who are called the Ixion from their descent.

Centaurus was a deformed child who hunched over and found no peace amongst other humans. The only place where Centaurus felt like he belonged was on the mountain of Pelion. Here, he roamed, lived, and mated with the Magnesian mares who resided there. This resulted in the birth of the centaur race. The centaurs are half-man, half horse; having the torso of a man extending where the neck of a horse should be. They were said to be wild, savage, and lustful.

Centaurus was the first person to group stars into constellations and taught others how to read them. One explanation of the constellation is that Centaurus put a picture of himself in the sky to guide his sailor friends the Argonauts.

Ixion was expelled from Olympus and blasted with a thunderbolt. Zeus ordered Hermes to bind Ixion to a winged fiery wheel that was always spinning. Therefore, Ixion is bound to a burning solar wheel for all eternity, at first spinning across the heavens, but in later myth transferred to Tartarus. Only when Orpheus played his lyre during his trip to the Underworld to rescue Eurydice did it stop for a while.

In Greek mythology, Chiron was held to be the superlative centaur amongst his brethren, as he was called as the “wisest and justest of all the centaurs” and notable throughout Greek mythology for his youth-nurturing nature. Throughout Greek mythology, there were many heroes who were trained by Chiron.

Chiron was known for his knowledge and skill with medicine, and thus was credited with the discovery of botany and pharmacy, the science of herbs and medicine. He was the son of the Titan Cronus and the Oceanid Philyra, and thus possible brother to Dolops and Aphrus, the ancestor and eponym of the Aphroi, i.e. the native Africans.

According to an archaic myth, Chiron was sired by the Titan Cronus when he had taken the form of a horse and impregnated the nymph Philyra, hence the half-human, half-equine shape of their offspring. In Greek mythology, Philyra or Phillyra (“linden-tree”) was one of the Oceanids, daughters of Oceanus and Tethys.

This was said to have taken place on Mount Pelion. When she gave birth to her son, she was so disgusted by how he looked that she abandoned him out of shame and disgust at birth, and implored the gods to transform her into anything other than anthropomorphic as she could not bear the shame of having had such a monstrous child; the gods changed her into a linden tree.

Yet in some versions Philyra and Chariclo, the wife of Chiron, nursed the young Achilles; Chiron’s dwelling on Pelion where his disciples were reared was known as “Philyra’s cave”. Chiron was often referred to by the matronymic Philyrides or the like. Two other sons of Cronus and Philyra may have been Dolops and Aphrus, the ancestor and eponym of the Aphroi, i.e. the native Africans.

Chiron, effectively orphaned, was later found by the god Apollo, who decided to take him in as his son. Apollo taught to him the art of music, lyre, archery, medicine and prophecy. Apollo’s twin sister, Artemis, later approved of his decision and taught him more about archery and hunting. Chiron’s uniquely peaceful character, kindness and intelligence is attributed to Apollo and also to Artemis.

His personal skills tend to match those of his foster father Apollo, who taught the young centaur the art of medicine, herbs, music, archery, hunting, gymnastics and prophecy, and made him rise above his beastly nature.

Like satyrs, centaurs were notorious for being wild, lusty, overly indulgent drinkers and carousers, violent when intoxicated, and generally uncultured delinquents. Chiron, by contrast, was intelligent, civilized and kind, because he was not related directly to the other centaurs due to his parentage.

His nobility is further reflected in the story of his death, as Prometheus sacrificed his life, allowing mankind to obtain the use of fire. Chiron was the king of the centaurs and unlike his race he was intelligent and wise. So wise, in fact, that he tutored Heracles who became one of his great friends.

As the son of Cronus he was immortal, so it was left to Heracles to arrange a bargain with Zeus to exchange Chiron’s immortality for the life of Prometheus, who had been chained to a rock and left to die for his transgressions.

Chiron was pierced with an arrow belonging to Heracles that had been treated with the blood of the Hydra, or, in other versions, poison that Chiron had given to the hero when he had been under the honorable centaur’s tutelage.

This had taken place during the visit of Heracles to the cave of his dear friend Pholus on Mount Pelion in Thessaly during his fourth labour, defeating the Erymanthian Boar.

Pholus was a centaur and was having dinner with Heracles. While they were at supper, Heracles asked for some wine to accompany his meal. Pholus, who ate his food raw, was taken aback. He had been given a vessel of sacred wine by Dionysus sometime earlier, to be kept in trust by the centaurs until the right time for its opening.

At Heracles’ prompting, Pholus was forced to produce the vessel of sacred wine. The hero, gasping for wine, grabbed it from him and forced it open. Thereupon the vapors of the sacred wine wafted out of the cave and intoxicated the wild centaurs led by Nessus who had gathered outside.

The wine was the sacred wine of the centaurs. It was meant to only be drunk by the centaurs and only on special occasions. Pholus saw this and could not muster up the courage to tell his strong friend that he was not allowed to drink that wine. It was not long before the sacred scent reached the other centaurs.

The infuriated centaurs grabbed weapons and charged at Pholus’ house. They attacked with stones and fir trees the cave which was located in the neighbourhood of Malea. Heracles was forced to shoot many arrows (poisoned with the blood of the Hydra) to drive them back.

The coward Pholus fled almost immediately and left Heracles to fend for himself. Heracles killed several of the centaurs and soon enough of them were dead that the rest became afraid and tried to flee.

Upon shooting at the fleeing beasts, Heracles’ poison arrow grazed the knee of Chiron. Chiron was not involved in the fight but came out to try to stop it. During the assault, Chiron was hit in the thigh by one of the poisoned arrows.

After the centaurs had fled, Pholus emerged from the cave to observe the destruction. Being of a philosophical frame of mind, he pulled one of the arrows from the body of a dead centaur and wondered how such a little thing as an arrow could have caused so much death and destruction.

In that instant, he let slip the arrow from his hand and it dropped and hit him in the hoof, killing him instantly. This, however, is open to controversy, because Pholus shared the “civilized centaur” form with Chiron in some art images, and thus would have been immortal.

Ironically, Chiron, the master of the healing arts, could not heal himself and willingly gave up his immortality. For this reason, his half-brother Zeus took pity of him thus placed him among the stars in the sky to be honored. The Greeks identified him as the constellation Centaurus.

The immortal Chiron could not die from his wound and thus would be doomed to live in great pain forever. He cried to Zeus to give him relief and end his life. Zeus took pity on the centaur and let him die. To honor him, Zeus gave Chiron a place amongst the stars.


Constellation Centaurus the Centaur, sits south of constellation Virgo, between Argo Navis and constellation Lupus. Centaurus contains 10 named fixed stars. Centaurus is one of the largest constellations, spanning more than 60 degrees in length in the zodiac signs Libra and Scorpio.

Centaurus is a bright constellation in the southern sky. It is the ninth largest constellation, visible in the far southern sky in the months around March. While Centaurus now has a high southern latitude, at the dawn of civilization it was an equatorial constellation.

Precession has been slowly shifting it southward for millennia, and it is now close to its maximal southern declination. Thousands of years from now Centaurus will, once again, be at lower latitudes and be visible worldwide.

Visually, it is dominated by the bright stars α-Cen andβ-Cen, which form a pair of pointers to the Southern Cross, Crux, and may be used to distinguish it from the False Cross asterism in Carina and Vela. The brighter of these, α-Cen is not only the third brightest star in the sky but also the closest of all the stars visible to the unaided eye, lying at a distance of around 4.37 lightyears.

Although it appears as a single object to the unaided eye, it is actually a triple-star system. Through a telescope, it is easy to resolve into a pair of stars, of which HR 5459 is the brighter and HR 5460 the fainter. A third component of this system, Proxima Centauri, is the nearest known star to the Earth, but at 11th magnitude, it is very faint.

The Milky Way passes through the southern half of Centaurus, and so it is home to many bright open clusters. Its best known deep sky object is ω–Centauri (NGC 5139) which is the largest and brightest globular cluster in the sky, visible to the naked eye at mag 3.7.

The most popular meaning of the constellation is that it represents the form of Chiron. According to the Roman poet Ovid (Fasti v.379), the constellation honors the centaur Chiron, who was tutor to many of the earlier Greek heroes including Heracles (Hercules), Theseus, and Jason, the leader of the Argonauts.

In classical mythology, the centaurs were a race of beings who were half human and half horse. Centaurus is identified as one particularly wise centaur, Chiron, the son of Cronus, king of the Titans. He is commonly depicted holding an animal, the neighboring constellation Lupus, which he is about to sacrifice on the altar depicted in Ara.

In Greek mythology, Centaurus represents a centaur; a creature that is half human, half horse (another constellation named after a centaur is one from the zodiac: Sagittarius). The figure of Centaurus can be traced back to a Babylonian constellation known as the Bison-man (MUL.GUD.ALIM).

This being was depicted in two major forms: firstly, as a 4-legged bison with a human head, and secondly, as a being with a man’s head and torso attached to the rear legs and tail of a bull or bison. It has been closely associated with the Sun god Utu-Shamash from very early times.

The stars that make up this constellation were originally a part of the constellation Centaurus. They represented an animal that had been killed by the centaur. No particular animal was associated with it. The ancient Greeks knew it as Therium, a wild animal. The Romans called it Bestia, the beast. A later Latin translation of Ptolemy’s work finally identified it as a wolf.

The Greeks depicted the constellation as a centaur and gave it its current name. It was mentioned by Eudoxus in the 4th century BC and Aratus in the 3rd century BC. In the 2nd century AD, Claudius Ptolemy catalogued 37 stars in Centaurus, including Alpha Centauri.

Large as it is now, in earlier times it was even larger, as the constellation Lupus was treated as an asterism within Centaurus, portrayed in illustrations as an unspecified animal either in the centaur’s grasp or impaled on its spear.

The Southern Cross, which is now regarded as a separate constellation, was treated by the ancients as a mere asterism formed of the stars composing the centaur’s legs. Additionally, what is now the minor constellation Circinus was treated as undefined stars under the centaur’s front hooves.

According to the Roman poet Ovid (Fasti v.379), the constellation honors the centaur Chiron, who was tutor to many of the earlier Greek heroes including Heracles (Hercules), Theseus, and Jason, the leader of the Argonauts.

It is not to be confused with the more warlike centaur represented by the zodiacal constellation Sagittarius. The legend associated with Chiron says that he was accidentally poisoned with an arrow shot by Hercules, and was subsequently placed in the heavens.

The Scorpius–Centaurus Association

The Scorpius–Centaurus Association (sometimes called Sco–Cen or Sco OB2) is the nearest OB association to the Sun. This stellar association is composed of three subgroups (Upper Scorpius, Upper Centaurus–Lupus, and Lower Centaurus–Crux).

Many of the bright stars in the constellations Scorpius, Lupus, Centaurus, and Crux are members of the Sco–Cen association, including Antares (the most massive member of Upper Scorpius), and most of the stars in the Southern Cross.

Alpha Lupi (α Lupi, α Lup) is the brightest star in the southern constellation of Lupus. This star is a proper motion member of the Upper-Centaurus Lupus sub-group in the Scorpius-Centaurus OB association, the nearest such co-moving association of massive stars to the Sun.

The Crux 

Centaurus contains several very bright stars. Its alpha and beta stars are used as “pointer stars” to help observers find the constellation Crux, a constellation located in the southern sky in a bright portion of the Milky Way.

The two stars of Alpha and Beta Centauri are often referred to as the “Southern Pointers” or just “The Pointers”, allowing people to easily find the asterism of the Southern Cross or the constellation of Crux.

The Crux is among the most easily distinguished constellations, as all of its four main stars have an apparent visual magnitude brighter than +2.8, even though it is the smallest of all 88 modern constellations. Its name is Latin for cross, and it is dominated by a cross-shaped or kite-like asterism that is commonly known as the Southern Cross.

Predominating is the first-magnitude blue-white star of Alpha Crucis or Acrux, being the constellation’s brightest and most southerly member. Many of these brighter stars are members of the Scorpius–Centaurus Association, a large but loose group of hot blue-white stars that appear to share common origins and motion across the southern Milky Way.

Crux is bordered by the constellations Centaurus (which surrounds it on three sides) on the east, north and west, and Musca to the south. Crux is easily visible from the southern hemisphere at practically any time of year. It is also visible near the horizon from tropical latitudes of the northern hemisphere for a few hours every night during the northern winter and spring.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the Southern Cross is frequently used for navigation in much the same way that Polaris is used in the Northern Hemisphere. Alpha and Gamma (known as Acrux and Gacrux, respectively) are commonly used to mark south.

Tracing a line from Gacrux to Acrux leads to a point close to the Southern Celestial Pole. Alternatively, if a line is constructed perpendicularly between Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri, the point where the above-mentioned line and this line intersect marks the Southern Celestial Pole. Another way to find south, strike line through Gacrux and Acrux, 4 1/2 times the distance between Gacrux and Acrux, directly below that point is south.

Very few bright stars of importance lie between Crux and the pole itself, although the constellation Musca is fairly easily recognised immediately beneath Crux. The stars within Crux were known to the Ancient Greeks, where Ptolemy regarded them as part of the constellation Centaurus. They were entirely visible as far north as Britain in the fourth millennium BC.

However, the precession of the equinoxes gradually lowered the stars below the European horizon, and they were eventually forgotten by the inhabitants of northern latitudes. By 400 AD, most of the stars in the constellation we now call Crux never rose above the horizon of Athens.


The constellation of Kusarikku (“Bull-Man”), sometimes inscribed GUD.DUMU.dUTU, GUD.DUMU.AN.NA and sometimes phonetically ku-sa-rik-ku(m), synonymous with the Sumerian GU4/gud-alim and perhaps also alim, corresponds to part of Centaurus.

was an ancient Mesopotamian mythological demon shown in artistic representation from the earliest (late Uruk) times with the arms, torso and head of a human and the ears, horns and hindquarters bovine.

He is portrayed as walking upright and characterized as a door keeper to protect the inhabitants from malevolent intruders. He is one of the demons which represented mountains. He is pictured in late iconography holding a banduddû, “bucket”. On a stela of Meli-Šipak, the land grant to Ḫasardu kudurru, he is pictured carrying a spade.

In the Sumerian myth, Angim or “Ninurta’s return to Nippur”, the god “brought forth the Bison (gud-alim) from his battle dust” and “hung the Bison on the beam”. He is one of Tiāmat’s offspring vanquished by Marduk in the Epic of Creation, Enûma Eliš.

In the prologue of the Anzû Myth, Ninurta defeats the kusarikku “in the midst of the sea”. In an incantation against the evil eye of the Lamaštu, an incantation meant to soothe a crying child, kusarikku is portrayed as being negeltû, “roused”, and gullutu, “frightened”.

Along with Ugallu, Girtablullû, and others, he is one of the seven mythological apkallu or “sages” shown on neo-Assyrian palace reliefs, and with figurines – to guard against the influence of evil spirits. The constellation of kusarikku, or gud-alim, corresponds to part of Centaurus. He was associated with the god of justice, Šamaš, along with Girtablullû, the “Scorpion-Man”, and alim, the “Bison”.

There were three species of ungulates in Mesopotamia: the Aurochs, the Bison, and the Water buffalo, and it is not always certain as to which of these was represented in some of the earlier text references. There seems to have been a distinction between the Sumerian terms gud-alim, “bison-man”, and alim, “human-faced bison”.


Ugallu, the “Big Weather-Beast”, inscribed U4/UD.GAL-˹la˺, Akkadian: ūmu rabû, meaning “big day”, was a lion-headed storm-demon and has the feet of a bird who is featured on protective amulets and apotropaic yellow clay or tamarisk figurines of the first millennium BC but had its origins in the early second millennium.

The iconography changed over time, with the human feet morphing into an eagle’s talons and dressing him in a short skirt. He was one of the class of ud-demons (day-demons), personifying moments of divine intervention in human life.

Ugallu was one of the eleven mythical monsters created by Tiāmat in her conflict with the younger gods, on the reverse of the first tablet of the Epic of Creation, Enûma Eliš. The tale describes how Marduk captured and bound the creatures, rehabilitating them with work reconstructing the world from the corpses of his vanquished adversaries.

This transformed them into protective charms which would be used to adorn the doors of palaces, for example that of Ashurbanipal’s southwest palace at Nineveh, temples, such as the Esagil of the Marduk temple as described in the Agum-Kakrime Inscription, and private dwellings (the bedrooms of the vulnerable) to ward off evil and disease.

Sometimes in pairs of ugallū, the beneficial protective demon finds special purpose in adorning the outer gates of buildings. Ugallu first appears figuratively in the Old Babylonian period as a porter of the underworld, a servant of Nergal. In later times he is represented on amulets as frequently paired with the Sumerian demon Lulal, who was in many respects fairly similar in appearance.

He is portrayed clasping a dagger, and described thus: “a lion’s head and lion’s ears, it holds a … in its right hand and carries a mace (gišTUKUL) in its left, it is girded with a dagger, its name is ugallu.”


Kusarikku appears in later iconography paired with Ur(i)dimmu, the reading is uncertain, meaning “Mad/howling Dog” or Langdon’s “Gruesome Hound”, Sumerian UR.IDIM and giš = ur-gu-lu-ú = ur-idim-[mu] in the lexical series ḪAR.gud = imrû = ballu.

Ur(i)dimmu was an ancient Mesopotamian mythical creature in the form of a human headed dog-man or lion-man whose first appearance might be during the Kassite period, if the Agum-Kakrime Inscription proves to be a copy of a genuine period piece. He is pictured standing upright, wearing a horned tiara and holding a staff with an uskaru, or lunar crescent, at the tip.

The lexical series ḪAR-ra=ḫubullu describes him as a kalbu šegû, “rabid dog”, but due to the propensity for Sumerian culture to group canines and felines together (ur.maḫ, big dog = lion) and Akkadian to separate them (nēšu, labbu = lion), the issue remains unresolved although the prominent genitalia on the few extant representations argues for a canine interpretation.

His appearance was essentially the opposite, or complement of that of Ugallu, with a human head replacing that of an animal and an animal’s body replacing that of a human. He appears in later iconography paired with Kusarikku, “Bull-Man”, a similar anthropomorphic character, as attendants to the god Šamaš. He is carved as a guardian figure on a doorway in Aššur-bāni-apli’s north palace at Nineveh.

He appears as an intercessor with Marduk and Zarpanītu for the sick in rituals. He was especially revered in the Eanna in Uruk during the neo-Babylonian period where he seems to have taken on a cultic role, where the latest attestation was in the 29th year of Darius I.

As one of the eleven spawn of Tiamat in the Enûma Eliš vanquished by Marduk, he was displayed as a trophy on doorways to ward off evil and later became an apotropaic figurine buried in buildings for a similar purpose. He became identified as MUL- or dUR.IDIM with the constellation known by the Greeks as Wolf (Lupus), a constellation located in the deep Southern Sky.


Lupus is a constellation located in the deep Southern Sky. Its name is Latin for wolf. It is often found in association with the sun god and another mythical being called the Bison-man, which is supposedly related to the Greek constellation of Centaurus, a bright constellation in the southern sky.

In ancient times, the constellation was considered an asterism within the neighboring constellation Centaurus, and was considered to have been an arbitrary animal, killed, or about to be killed, on behalf of, or for, Centaurus. An alternative visualization, attested by Eratosthenes, saw this constellation as a wineskin held by Centaurus.

It was not separated from Centaurus until Hipparchus of Bithynia named it Therion (meaning beast) in the 2nd century BC. No particular animal was associated with it until the Latin translation of Ptolemy’s work identified it with the wolf.

Most of the brightest stars in Lupus are massive members of the nearest OB association, Scorpius-Centaurus, which is the nearest OB association to the Sun. This stellar association is composed of three subgroups (Upper Scorpius, Upper Centaurus–Lupus, and Lower Centaurus–Crux).

The elements

Assyrian sculpture typically placed prominent pairs of lamassu at entrances in palaces, facing the street and also internal courtyards. They were represented as “double-aspect” figures on corners, in high relief. From the front they appear to stand, and from the side, walk, and in earlier versions have five legs, as is apparent when viewed obliquely.

The ancient Jewish people were influenced by the iconography of Assyrian culture. The prophet Ezekiel wrote about a fantastic being made up of aspects of a human being, a lion, an eagle and a bull. Later, in the early Christian period, the four Gospels were ascribed to each of these components. When it was depicted in art, this image was called the Tetramorph.

Classical elements typically refer to the concepts in ancient Greece of earth, water, air, fire, and aether, which were proposed to explain the nature and complexity of all matter in terms of simpler substances.

Ancient cultures in Babylonia, Japan, Tibet, and India had similar lists, sometimes referring in local languages to “air” as “wind” and the fifth element as “void”. The Chinese Wu Xing system lists Wood (mù), Fire (huǒ), Earth (tǔ), Metal (jīn), and Water (shuǐ), though these are described more as energies or transitions rather than as types of material.

These different cultures and even individual philosophers had widely varying explanations concerning their attributes and how they related to observable phenomena as well as cosmology. Sometimes these theories overlapped with mythology and were personified in deities.

Some of these interpretations included atomism (the idea of very small, indivisible portions of matter) but other interpretations considered the elements to be divisible into infinitely small pieces without changing their nature.

While the classification of the material world in ancient Indian, Hellenistic Egypt, and ancient Greece into Air, Earth, Fire and Water was more philosophical, during the Islamic Golden Age medieval middle eastern scientists used practical, experimental observation to classify materials.

In Europe, the Ancient Greek system of Aristotle evolved slightly into the medieval system, which for the first time in Europe became subject to experimental verification in the 1600s, during the Scientific Revolution.

Modern science does not support the classical elements as the material basis of the physical world. Atomic theory classifies atoms into more than a hundred chemical elements such as oxygen, iron, and mercury. These elements form chemical compounds and mixtures, and under different temperatures and pressures, these substances can adopt different states of matter.

The most commonly observed states of solid, liquid, gas, and plasma share many attributes with the classical elements of earth, water, air, and fire, respectively, but these states are due to similar behavior of different types of atoms at similar energy levels, and not due to containing a certain type of atom or a certain type of substance.

The Wu Xing, also known as the Five Elements, Five Phases, the Five Agents, the Five Movements, Five Processes, the Five Steps/Stages and the Five Planets of significant gravity: Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Venus, Mars is the short form of “Wǔ zhǒng liúxíng zhī qì” or “the five types of chi dominating at different times”.

It is a fivefold conceptual scheme that many traditional Chinese fields used to explain a wide array of phenomena, from cosmic cycles to the interaction between internal organs, and from the succession of political regimes to the properties of medicinal drugs.

The “Five Phases” are Wood (mù), Fire (huǒ), Earth (tǔ), Metal (jīn), and Water (shuǐ). This order of presentation is known as the “mutual generation” (xiāngshēng) sequence. In the order of “mutual overcoming” (xiāngkè), they are Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal.

The system of five phases was used for describing interactions and relationships between phenomena. After it came to maturity in the second or first century BCE during the Han dynasty, this device was employed in many fields of early Chinese thought.

It was included in seemingly disparate fields such as geomancy or Feng shui, astrology, traditional Chinese medicine, music, military strategy, and martial arts. The system is still used as a reference in some forms of complementary and alternative medicine and martial arts.

Classical Elements

Astrology and the Classical Elements

Five elements

Wu Xing

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