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The Bull of Heaven

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 24, 2018

The Moon

Nanna (Sumerian: ŠEŠ.KI, NANNA) was the Sumerian god of the moon. He became identified with the Semitic Sīn or Suen (Akkadian: Su’en, Sîn). The two chief seats of Nanna’s/Sīn’s worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north. A moon god by the same name was also worshipped in South Arabia.

Sīn was also a protector of shepherds. During the period in which Ur exercised supremacy over the Euphrates valley (between 2600 and 2400 BC), Sīn was considered the supreme god and regarded as the head of the pantheon. It is to this period that we must trace such designations of Sin as “father of the gods”, “chief of the gods”, “creator of all things”, and the like.

He is commonly designated as En-zu, which means “lord of wisdom”. The “wisdom” personified by the moon-god is likewise an expression of the science of astronomy or the practice of astrology, in which the observation of the moon’s phases is an important factor. He was also called “He whose heart can not be read” and was told that “he could see farther than all the gods”.

It is said that every new moon, the gods gather together from him to make predictions about the future. On cylinder seals, he is represented as an old man with a flowing beard and the crescent symbol. In the astral-theological system he is represented by the number 30 and the moon. This number probably refers to the average number of days (correctly around 29.53) in a lunar month, as measured between successive new moons.

He was the son of Enlil and Ninlil. His wife was Ningal (“Great Lady”), who bore him Utu/Shamash (“Sun”) and Inanna/Ishtar (the goddess of the planet Venus). The tendency to centralize the powers of the universe leads to the establishment of the doctrine of a triad consisting of Sin/Nanna and his children. He was also the father of Ishkur.

Sin had a beard made of lapis lazuli and rode on a winged bull. The bull was one of his symbols, through his father, Enlil, the “Bull of Heaven”, along with the crescent and the tripod (which may be a lamp-stand). An important Sumerian text (“Enlil and Ninlil”) tells of the descent of Enlil and Ninlil, pregnant with Nanna/Sin, into the underworld. There, three “substitutions” are given to allow the ascent of Nanna/Sin. The story shows some similarities to the text known as “The Descent of Inanna”.

Enlil – The “Bull of Heaven”

Enlil, later known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with wind, air, earth, and storms. The Mesopotamians envisioned him as a creator, a father, a king, and the supreme lord of the universe. According to one Sumerian hymn, Enlil himself was so holy that not even the other gods could look upon him.

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

The myth of Enlil and Ninlil is about Enlil’s serial seduction of the goddess Ninlil in various guises, resulting in the conception of the moon-god Nanna and the Underworld deities Nergal, Ninazu, and Enbilulu. Enlil also features prominently in several myths involving his son Ninurta, including Anzû and the Tablet of Destinies and Lugale.

Enlil was regarded as the inventor of the mattock and the patron of agriculture. The Sumerians envisioned Enlil as a benevolent, fatherly deity, who watches over humanity and cares for their well-being. One Sumerian hymn describes Enlil as so glorious that even the other gods could not look upon him. The same hymn also states that, without Enlil, civilization could not exist.

He is also sometimes referred to in Sumerian texts as Nunamnir. His epithets include titles such as “the Great Mountain” and “King of the Foreign Lands”. Enlil is also sometimes described as a “raging storm”, a “wild bull”, and a “merchant”. He is referred to in at least one text as the “East Wind and North Wind”.

Enlil rose to prominence during the twenty-fourth century BC with the rise of Nippur. His cult fell into decline after Nippur was sacked by the Elamites in 1230 BC and he was eventually supplanted as the chief god of the Mesopotamian pantheon by the Babylonian national god Marduk. The Babylonian god Bel was a syncretic deity of Enlil, Marduk, and the dying god Dumuzid.

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

The myth of Enlil and Ninlil is about Enlil’s serial seduction of the goddess Ninlil in various guises, resulting in the conception of the moon-god Nanna and the Underworld deities Nergal, Ninazu, and Enbilulu. Enlil was regarded as the inventor of the mattock and the patron of agriculture. Enlil also features prominently in several myths involving his son Ninurta, including Anzû and the Tablet of Destinies and Lugale.

The story of Enlil’s courtship with Ninlil is primarily a genealogical myth invented to explain the origins of the moon-god Nanna, as well as the various gods of the Underworld, but it is also, to some a extent, a coming-of-age story describing Enlil and Ninlil’s emergence from adolescence into adulthood. The story also explains Ninlil’s role as Enlil’s consort; in the poem, Ninlil declares, “As Enlil is your master, so am I also your mistress!”

Enlil’s primary center of worship was the Ekur temple in the city of Nippur, which was believed to have been built by Enlil himself and was regarded as the “mooring-rope” of heaven and earth, meaning that it was seen as “a channel of communication between earth and heaven.

The fall of Ekur is described in the Lament for Ur composed around the time of the fall of Ur to the Elamites and the end of the city’s third dynasty (c. 2000 BC). It contains one of five known Mesopotamian “city laments” – dirges for ruined cities in the voice of the city’s tutelary goddess.

The Book of Lamentations of the Old Testament, which bewails the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon in the sixth century B.C., is similar in style and theme to these earlier Mesopotamian laments. Similar laments can be found in the Book of Jeremiah, the Book of Ezekiel and the Book of Psalms, Psalm 137 (Psalms 137:1-9).

Boötes

The Sumerians had a complex numerological system, in which certain numbers were believed to hold special ritual significance. Within this system, Enlil was associated with the number fifty, which was considered sacred to him.

Enlil was part of a triad of deities, which also included An and Enki. These three deities together were the embodiment of all the fixed stars in the night sky. An was identified with all the stars of the equatorial sky, Enlil with those of the northern sky, and Enki with those of the southern sky.

The path of Enlil’s celestial orbit was a continuous, symmetrical circle around the north celestial pole, but those of An and Enki were believed to intersect at various points. Enlil was associated with the constellation Boötes.

The path of Enlil’s celestial orbit was a continuous, symmetrical circle around the north celestial pole, but those of An and Enki were believed to intersect at various points. Enlil was associated with the constellation Boötes, a constellation in the northern sky, located between 0° and +60° declination, and 13 and 16 hours of right ascension on the celestial sphere.

Boötes is a constellation in the northern sky, located between 0° and +60° declination, and 13 and 16 hours of right ascension on the celestial sphere. The name comes from the Greek Boōtēs, meaning “herdsman” or “plowman” (literally, “ox-driver”; from bous “cow”). The name Boötes was first used by Homer in his Odyssey as a celestial reference point for navigation, described as “late-setting” or “slow to set”, translated as the “Plowman”.

In ancient Mesopotamia, the stars of Boötes were linked to the god Enlil, and also known as Shudun, “yoke”, or SHU-PA of unknown derivation in the Three Stars Each Babylonian star catalogues and later MUL.APIN around 1100 BC.

According to this interpretation, the constellation depicts the shape of an animal foreleg. They were apparently depicted as the god Enlil, who was the leader of the Babylonian pantheon and special patron of farmers.

Exactly whom Boötes is supposed to represent in Greek mythology is not clear. According to one version, he was a son of Demeter, Philomenus, twin brother of Plutus, a plowman who drove the oxen in the constellation Ursa Major. This is corroborated by the constellation’s name, which itself means “ox-driver” or “herdsman.”

The ancient Greeks saw the asterism now called the “Big Dipper” or “Plough” as a cart with oxen. This influenced the name’s etymology, derived from the Greek for “noisy” or “ox-driver”. Another myth associated with Boötes relates that he invented the plow and was memorialized for his ingenuity as a constellation.

Another myth associated with Boötes by Hyginus is that of Icarius, who was schooled as a grape farmer and winemaker by Dionysus. Icarius made wine so strong that those who drank it appeared poisoned, which caused shepherds to avenge their supposedly poisoned friends by killing Icarius.

Maera, Icarius’ dog, brought his daughter Erigone to her father’s body, whereupon both she and the dog committed suicide. Zeus then chose to honor all three by placing them in the sky as constellations: Icarius as Boötes, Erigone as Virgo, and Maera as Canis Major or Canis Minor.

Following another reading, the constellation is identified with Arcas and also referred to as Arcas and Arcturus, son of Zeus and Callisto. Arcas was brought up by his maternal grandfather Lycaon, to whom one day Zeus went and had a meal.

To verify that the guest was really the king of the gods, Lycaon killed his grandson and prepared a meal made from his flesh. Zeus noticed and became very angry, transforming Lycaon into a wolf and giving life back to his son.

In the meantime Callisto had been transformed into a she-bear by Zeus’s wife Hera, who was angry at Zeus’s infidelity. This is corroborated by the Greek name for Boötes, Arctophylax, which means “Bear Watcher”. Callisto, in the form of a bear was almost killed by her son, who was out hunting. Zeus rescued her, taking her into the sky where she became Ursa Major, “the Great Bear”.

Arcturus

The traditional name Arcturus, the name of the constellation’s brightest star, comes from the Greek word Arktouros, meaning “guardian of the bear”, ultimately from ἄρκτος (arktos), “bear” and ouros, “watcher, guardian”.

It has been known by this name since at least the time of Hesiod. Sometimes Arcturus is depicted as leading the hunting dogs of nearby Canes Venatici and driving the bears of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

In the Hebrew scriptures Arcturus is referred to in Job 38:32. In the Middle Ages, Arcturus was considered a Behenian fixed star. Cornelius Agrippa listed its kabbalistic sign under the alternate name Alchameth.

In Arabic, Arcturus is one of two stars called al-simāk “the uplifted ones” (the other is Spica). Arcturus is specified as as-simāk ar-rāmiħ “the uplifted one of the lancer”. The term Al Simak Al Ramih has appeared in Al Achsasi Al Mouakket catalogue (translated into Latin as Al Simak Lanceator).

This has been variously romanized in the past, leading to obsolete variants such as Aramec and Azimech. For example, the name Alramih is used in Geoffrey Chaucer’s A Treatise on the Astrolabe.

Another Arabic name is Haris-el-sema, from ħāris al-samā’ “the keeper of heaven” or ħāris al-shamāl’ “the keeper of north”. Arcturus was once again called by its classical name from the Renaissance onwards.

In Chinese astronomy, Arcturus is called Da Jiao (“great horn”), because it is the brightest star in the Chinese constellation called Jiao Xiu (“horn star”). Later it become a part of another constellation Kang Xiu (“The Neck mansion”), one of the eastern mansions of the Azure Dragon.

In Indian Astrology or Vedic Astrology or Sidereal Astrology, Arcturus is called Swati which is a word meaning “very beneficent” derived from the language Sanskrit. It is the eponymous star of one of the nakshatras (lunar mansions) of Hindu astrology.

Dendera Zodiac Disc

The sculptured Dendera zodiac (or Denderah zodiac) is a widely known Egyptian bas-relief from the ceiling of the pronaos (or portico) of a chapel dedicated to Osiris in the Hathor temple at Dendera, containing images of Taurus (the bull) and the Libra (the scales).

The zodiac is a planisphere or map of the stars on a plane projection, showing the 12 constellations of the zodiacal band forming 36 decans of ten days each, and the planets. These decans are groups of first-magnitude stars. These were used in the ancient Egyptian calendar, which was based on lunar cycles of around 30 days and on the heliacal rising of the star Sothis (Sirius).

Its representation of the zodiac in circular form is unique in ancient Egyptian art. More typical are the rectangular zodiacs which decorate the same temple’s pronaos. The celestial arch is represented by a disc held up by four pillars of the sky in the form of women, between which are inserted falcon-headed spirits. On the first ring 36 spirits symbolize the 360 days of the Egyptian year.

On an inner circle, one finds constellations, showing the signs of the zodiac. Some of these are represented in the same Greco-Roman iconographic forms as their familiar counterparts (e.g. the Ram, Taurus, Scorpio, and Capricorn, albeit most in odd orientations in comparison to the conventions of ancient Greece and later Arabic-Western developments. Others are shown in a more Egyptian form. Aquarius is represented as the flood god Hapy, holding two vases which gush water.

Rogers noted the similarities of unfamiliar iconology with the three surviving tablets of a “Seleucid zodiac” and both relating to kudurru, “boundary-stone” representations: in short, Rogers sees the Dendera zodiac as “a complete copy of the Mesopotamian zodiac”.

The centre of the Dendera Zodiac Disc is seen as the most important detail on the disc itself, as it carries what some refer to as the ‘Genesis Symbols’ however as I proposed in 2003 the three stars (with the red glow ) and the Bull’s leg are what appear to be three Sun-like stars of the Egyptian ‘gods’ and the Bull’s leg.

The bull’s leg symbol is connected to Taweret the hippo deity which has been claimed to highlight the ‘northern circumpolar stars’. The leg symbol represents a cluster of seven stars. They represent the Plough constellation also known as the Big Dipper or Ursa Major.

Boötes may have been represented by the foreleg constellation in ancient Egypt. The foreleg of ox (a foreleg with the thigh) hieroglyph of Ancient Egypt is an old hieroglyph; it even represented a nighttime constellation (the Big Dipper, Maskheti). It came to have many uses in Ancient Egypt over three millennia.

In the New Kingdom Taweret’s image was frequently used to represent a northern constellation in zodiacs in Egyptian astronomy. She was thought to keep the northern sky – a place of darkness, cold, mist, and rain to the Egyptians – free of evil. She was believed to be a guardian of the north, stopping all who were unworthy before they could pass her by.

In all of the ancient Egyptian astronomical diagrams there is one figure which is always larger than all the rest, and most frequently found at the center of what appears to be a horizontal parade of figures. This figure is Taweret “The Great One”, a goddess depicted as a pregnant hippopotamus standing upright.

This figure represents a northern constellation associated, at least in part, with our modern constellation of Draco the dragon. She was shown to represent the never-setting circumpolar stars of Ursa Minor and Draco. The seven stars lined down her back are the stars of the Little Dipper.

In this role she was known as Nebetakhet, the Mistress of the Horizon – the ceiling painting of the constellations in the tomb of Seti I showed her in this capacity. The image of this astral Taweret appears almost exclusively next to the Setian foreleg of a bull. The latter image represents the Big Dipper and is associated with the Egyptian god of chaos, Seth.

The relationship between the two images is discussed in the Book of Day and Night (a cosmically focused mythological text from the Twentieth Dynasty, c. 1186–1069 BCE) as follows: “As to this foreleg of Seth, it is in the northern sky, tied down to two mooring posts of flint by a chain of gold. It is entrusted to Isis as a hippopotamus guarding it.”

Although the hippopotamus goddess is identified in this text as Isis, not Taweret, this phenomenon is not uncommon in later periods of Egyptian history. When assuming a protective role, powerful goddesses like Isis, Hathor, and Mut assumed the form of Taweret, effectively becoming a manifestation of this goddess.

Taweret the hippo deity is said to be the goddess of childbirth and some even suggest is a Genesis symbol of Egypt. Taweret literally means “the great female”, “she who is great” or simply “great one” , a common pacificatory address to dangerous deities, but she was also known as “Ipet” (“harem”) and “Reret” (“the sow”). At one point in history there may have been three variants of the goddess, but soon all were merged as Taweret.

Her family relationships were typically confusing. She was ocassionally (usually in older texts) described as the demon-wife of Apep who also lived in the northern sky, thought to be cold, dark and potentially dangerous and associated with both Apep or Apophis and Set (Egyptian: stẖ; also transliterated Setesh, Sutekh, Setekh, or Suty), a god of the desert, storms, disorder, violence, and foreigners.

Apep was a giant serpent who embodied chaos (ı͗zft in Egyptian) and was thus the opponent of light and Ma’at (order/truth). Ra was the solar deity, bringer of light, and thus the upholder of Ma’at. Apep was viewed as the greatest enemy of Ra, and thus was given the title Enemy of Ra, and also “the Lord of Chaos”.

According to one ancient myth, her husband Apep could only come out during the night and so she represented all that was evil during the day. As Apep was thought to live in the underworld, he was sometimes thought of as an Eater of Souls. Thus the dead also needed protection, so they were sometimes buried with spells that could destroy Apep. While in most texts Apep is described as a giant snake, he is sometimes depicted as a crocodile.

However, by the Old Kingdom she was seen as a protective, rather than an aggressive force (just as female hippos came to be seen as aggressive largely in defence of their young). As a result, Taweret became a mother goddess and a patron of childbirth who was often described as the mother or wet nurse of the pharaoh. As time passed she soon became a household deity, helping rich and poor alike.

One myth (reported by Plutarch) claimed that Taweret was the concubine of Set but that she was loyal to Horus. Apparently, she helped Isis after the death of her husband Osiris by detaining Set in the northern sky and preventing him from attacking Isis and her new baby.

Set had a positive role where he accompanies Ra on his solar boat to repel Apep, the serpent of Chaos. Set had a vital role as a reconciled combatant. He was lord of the red (desert) land where he was the balance to Horus’ role as lord of the black (soil) land.

In Egyptian mythology, Set is portrayed as the usurper who killed and mutilated his own brother Osiris. Osiris’ wife Isis reassembled (remembered) Osiris’ corpse and resurrected her dead husband long enough to conceive his son and heir Horus. Horus sought revenge upon Set, and the myths describe their conflicts.

Set’s siblings are Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys. He married Nephthys and fathered Anubis; and in some accounts he had relationships with the foreign goddesses Anat, and Astarte. The link to Set probably came about because he sometimes took the form of a Hippo and because the animal was recognised to be potentially dangerous and destructive.

Taurus

Taurus (Latin: Bull) is the second astrological sign in the present zodiac. It spans from 30° to 60° of the zodiac. The bull is its zodiac symbol. This sign belongs to the Earth triplicty. It has a Fixed modality with a feminine polarity. It is ruled by Venus and it is the sign where the Moon is exalted. The Sun transits in the sign of Taurus from approximately April 21 until May 20 in Western astrology.

Taurus marked the point of vernal (spring) equinox in the Chalcolithic and the Early Bronze Age, from about 4000 BC to 1700 BC, after which it moved into the neighboring constellation Aries. The Pleiades were closest to the Sun at vernal equinox around the 23rd century BC.

Taurus was the first sign of the zodiac established among the ancient Mesopotamians, who called it as the Bull of Heaven, as it was the constellation through which the sun rose on the vernal equinox at that time. In Babylonian astronomy, the constellation was listed in the MUL.APIN as GU.AN.NA, “The Bull of Heaven”.

As this constellation marked the vernal equinox, it was also the first constellation in the Babylonian zodiac and they described it as “The Bull in Front”. The Akkadian name was Alu. To the early Hebrews, Taurus was the first constellation in their zodiac and consequently it was represented by the first letter in their alphabet, Aleph.

Due to the precession of the equinox, it has since passed through the constellation Aries and into the constellation Pisces (hence our current era being known as The Age of Pisces). Cults centered around Sacred bulls began to form in Assyria, Egypt, and Crete during the Age of Taurus, known as “The Age of Earth, Agriculture, and the Bull”.

The same iconic representation of the Heavenly Bull was depicted in the Dendera zodiac, an Egyptian bas-relief carving in a ceiling that depicted the celestial hemisphere using a planisphere. In these ancient cultures, the orientation of the horns was portrayed as upward or backward. This differed from the later Greek depiction where the horns pointed forward.

To the Egyptians, the constellation Taurus was a sacred bull that was associated with the renewal of life in spring. When the spring equinox entered Taurus, the constellation would become covered by the Sun in the western sky as spring began. This “sacrifice” led to the renewal of the land.

In Greek mythology, Taurus was identified with Zeus, who assumed the form of a magnificent white bull to abduct Europa, a legendary Phoenician princess. In illustrations of Greek mythology, only the front portion of this constellation is depicted; this was sometimes explained as Taurus being partly submerged as he carried Europa out to sea.

A second Greek myth portrays Taurus as Io, a mistress of Zeus. To hide his lover from his wife Hera, Zeus changed Io into the form of a heifer. Greek mythographer Acusilaus marks the bull Taurus as the same that formed the myth of the Cretan Bull, one of The Twelve Labors of Heracles.

Taurus became an important object of worship among the Druids. Their Tauric religious festival was held while the Sun passed through the constellation. Among the arctic people known as the Inuit, the constellation is called Sakiattiat and the Hyades is Nanurjuk, with the latter representing the spirit of the polar bear. Aldebaran represents the bear, with the remainder of the stars in the Hyades being dogs that are holding the beast at bay.

In Buddhism, legends hold that Gautama Buddha was born when the Full Moon was in Vaisakha, or Taurus. Buddha’s birthday is celebrated with the Wesak Festival, or Vesākha, which occurs on the first or second Full Moon when the Sun is in Taurus.

Bull of Heaven

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

In the Old Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, the goddess Ishtar sends Taurus, the Bull of Heaven, to kill Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. In Tablet VI of the standard Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh, the goddess Ishtar demands the Bull of Heaven from her father Anu after Gilgamesh repudiates her sexual advances.

Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay the Bull together and Enkidu hurls the Bull’s right thigh at Ishtar, taunting her. Enkidu tears off the bull’s hind part and hurls the quarters into the sky where they become the stars we know as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

The Bull was identified with the constellation Taurus and the myth of its slaying may have held astronomical significance to the ancient Mesopotamians. Some locate Gilgamesh as the neighboring constellation of Orion, facing Taurus as if in combat, while others identify him with the sun whose rising on the equinox vanquishes the constellation.

This act of impiety results in the gods condemning Enkidu to death, an event which catalyzes Gilgamesh’s fear for his own death, which drives the remaining portion of the epic. Aspects of the story have been compared to later tales from the ancient Near East, including legends from Ugarit, the tale of Joseph in the Book of Genesis, and parts of the ancient Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey.

In Sumerian religion, Gugalanna is the first husband of Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld. Some scholars consider Gugalanna to be the same figure as the Bull of Heaven, slain by Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

His name probably originally meant “canal inspector of An” and he may be merely an alternative name for Ennugi, in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology the attendant and throne-bearer of Enlil.

The son of Ereshkigal and Gugalanna is Ninazu, a god of the underworld, and of healing. He was the son of Enlil and Ninlil or, in alternative traditions, of Ereshkigal and Gugalana, and was the father of Ningiszida.

Ninazu was the patron deity of the city of Eshnunna until he was superseded by Tispak. His sanctuaries were the E-sikul and E-kurma. Unlike his close relative Nergal, he was generally benevolent. In the text Enki and Ninhursag he was described as the consort of Ninsutu, one of the deities born to relieve the illness of Enki.

In Inanna’s Descent into the Underworld, Inanna, the goddess of love, beauty, sex, and war, tells the gatekeeper Neti that she is descending to the Underworld to attend the funeral of “Gugalanna, the husband of my elder sister Ereshkigal”.

Pan

Capricornus is also sometimes identified as Pan, the god with a goat’s head, who saved himself from the monster Typhon by giving himself a fish’s tail and diving into a river. Aegocerus “goat-horned” was an epithet of Pan descriptive of his figure with the horns of a goat.

In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Pan is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds, rustic music and impromptus, and companion of the nymphs. The ancient Greeks also considered Pan to be the god of theatrical criticism. The word panic ultimately derives from the god’s name.

A myth reported as Egyptian in Hyginus’ Poetic Astronomy that would seem to be invented to justify a connection of Pan with Capricorn says that when Aegipan was attacked by the monster Typhon he dove into the Nile; the parts above the water remained a goat, but those under the water transformed into a fish.

The goat-god Aegipan was nurtured by Amalthea with the infant Zeus in Crete. In Zeus’ battle with Typhon, Aegipan and Hermes stole back Zeus’ “sinews” that Typhon had hidden away in the Corycian Cave. Pan aided his foster-brother in the battle with the Titans by letting out a horrible screech and scattering them in terror. According to some traditions, Aegipan was the son of Pan, rather than his father.

Pan has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun, a mythological half human–half goat creature appearing in Ancient Rome, or satyr, who were wild and orgiastic drunken followers of Dionysus, with a distinct origin.

The Fauns borrowed their appearance from the god Pan of the Greek pantheon. They were a symbol of fertility, and their chieftain was Silenus, a minor deity of Greek mythology. They inspired fear in men traveling in lonely, remote or wild places. They were also capable of guiding humans in need.

The goat man, more commonly affiliated with the Satyrs of Greek mythology or Fauns of Roman, is a bipedal creature with the legs and tail of a goat and the head and torso of a man and is often depicted with goat’s horns and pointed ears.

Fauns and satyrs were originally quite different creatures: whereas fauns are half-man and half-goat, satyrs originally were depicted as stocky, hairy, ugly dwarves or woodwoses with the ears and tails of horses or asses. Satyrs also were more woman-loving than fauns, and fauns were rather foolish where satyrs had more knowledge.

With his homeland in rustic Arcadia, he is also recognized as the god of fields, groves, wooded glens and often affiliated with sex; because of this, Pan is connected to fertility and the season of spring. Many modern scholars consider Pan to be derived from the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European god *Péhusōn, whom these scholars believe to have been an important pastoral deity (*Péhusōn shares an origin with the modern English word “pasture”).

In his earliest appearance Pan is associated with a mother goddess, perhaps Rhea or Cybele; Pindar refers to maidens worshipping Cybele and Pan near the poet’s house in Boeotia.

In Roman religion and myth, Pan’s counterpart was the nature god Faunus, the horned god of the forest, plains and fields. A goddess of like attributes, called Fauna and Fatua, was associated in his worship. She was regarded as his daughter, wife, or sister.

The female deity Bona Dea (“Good Goddess”) was often equated with Fauna. Most often, she was identified as the wife, sister, or daughter of the god Faunus, thus an equivalent or aspect of the nature-goddess Fauna, who could prophesy the fates of women.

Bona Dea was associated with chastity and fertility in Roman women, healing, and the protection of the state and people of Rome. According to Roman literary sources, she was brought from Magna Graecia at some time during the early or middle Republic, and was given her own state cult on the Aventine Hill.

Her rites allowed women the use of strong wine and blood-sacrifice, things otherwise forbidden them by Roman tradition. Men were barred from her mysteries and the possession of her true name. In Cato’s De Agricultura it is stated that Mars Silvanus’ connection with agriculture referred to only the labour performed by men, and that females were excluded from his worship.

Given that male authors had limited knowledge of her rites and attributes, ancient speculations about her identity abound, among them that she was an aspect of Terra, Ops, Cybele, or Ceres, or a Latin form of the Greek goddess “Damia” (Demeter).

While several etymologists in antiquity derived the names Fauna and Faunus from fari, “to speak,” Macrobius said Fauna’s name derived from faveo, favere, “to favor, nurture,” “because she nurtures all that is useful to living creatures.” Dumézil regarded her as “the Favorable.”

There are a number of theories on the origin of the name Faunus. Most scholars of historical linguistics connect Faunus with the notion of divine favour (Latin ‘favere’ – to be favourable, inclined). Faunus thus means favourable or propitious.

Faunus was closely associated with Sylvanus (meaning “of the woods” in Latin), a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields, due to their similar relationships with woodlands. As protector of the forest (sylvestris deus), he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild.

He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields. The similarly named Etruscan deity Selvans may be a borrowing of Silvanus, or not even related in origin.

Silvanus is described as the divinity protecting the flocks of cattle, warding off wolves, and promoting their fertility. Dolabella, a rural engineer of whom only a few pages are known, states that Silvanus was the first to set up stones to mark the limits of fields.

Like other gods of woods and flocks, Silvanus is described as fond of music; the syrinx was sacred to him, and he is mentioned along with the Pans and Nymphs. Later speculators even identified Silvanus with Pan, Faunus, Inuus and Aegipan. He must have been associated with the Italian Mars, for Cato refers to him as Mars Silvanus.

In ancient Roman religion, Inuus was a god, or aspect of a god, who embodied sexual intercourse. The evidence for him as a distinct entity is scant.

Maurus Servius Honoratus wrote that Inuus is an epithet of Faunus (Greek Pan), named from his habit of intercourse with animals, based on the etymology of ineundum, “a going in, penetration,” from inire, “to enter” in the sexual sense. Other names for the god were Fatuus and Fatulcus.

The Rigvedic god Pushan, a Vedic solar deity and one of the Adityas, is believed to be a cognate of Pan. He is the god of meeting. Pushan was responsible for marriages, journeys, roads, and the feeding of cattle. He was a psychopomp (soul guide), conducting souls to the other world.

He protected travelers from bandits and wild beasts, and protected men from being exploited by other men. He was a supportive guide, a “good” god, leading his adherents towards rich pastures and wealth. He carried a golden lance, a symbol of activity.

Maia

According to Macrobius, the Books of the Pontiffs treated Bona Dea, Fauna, Ops, and Fatua as names for the same goddess, Maia. Her name is related to maia, an honorific term for older women related to mētēr (“mother”). Maia also means “midwife” in Greek.

In an archaic Roman prayer, Maia appears as an attribute of Vulcan, in an invocational list of male deities paired with female abstractions representing some aspect of their functionality. She was explicitly identified with Earth (Terra, the Roman counterpart of Gaia) and the Good Goddess (Bona Dea) in at least one tradition.

Her identity became theologically intertwined also with the goddesses Fauna, Ops, Juno, Carna, and the Magna Mater (“Great Goddess”, referring to the Roman form of Cybele but also a cult title for Maia), as discussed at some length by the late antiquarian writer Macrobius.

This treatment was probably influenced by the 1st-century BC scholar Varro, who tended to resolve a great number of goddesses into one original “Terra”. The association with Juno, whose Etruscan counterpart was Uni, is suggested again by the inscription Uni Mae on the Piacenza Liver.

Maia is the daughter of Atlas and Pleione the Oceanid, water nymphs who were the three thousand daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys, and is the oldest of the seven Pleiades, also known as the “Seven Sisters”. She is the mother of Hermes.

According to the Homeric Hymn to Hermes, Zeus in the dead of night secretly begot Hermes upon Maia, who avoided the company of the gods, in a cave of Cyllene. After giving birth to the baby, Maia wrapped him in blankets and went to sleep.

The rapidly maturing infant Hermes crawled away to Thessaly, where by nightfall of his first day he stole some of his half-brother Apollo’s cattle and invented the lyre from a tortoise shell. Maia refused to believe Apollo when he claimed that Hermes was the thief, and Zeus then sided with Apollo. Finally, Apollo exchanged the cattle for the lyre, which became one of his identifying attributes.

Maia also raised the infant Arcas, the child of Callisto with Zeus. Wronged by the love affair, Zeus’ wife Hera in a jealous rage had transformed Callisto into a bear. Arcas is the eponym of Arcadia, where Maia was born. The story of Callisto and Arcas, like that of the Pleiades, is an aition for a stellar formation, the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the Great and Little Bear.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Maia embodied the concept of growth, as her name was thought to be related to the comparative adjective maius, maior “larger, greater”. Originally, she may have been a homonym independent of the Greek Maia, whose myths she absorbed through the Hellenization of Latin literature and culture.

The month of May (Latin Maius) was supposedly named for Maia, though ancient etymologists also connected it to the maiores “ancestors”, again from the adjective maius, maior, meaning those who are “greater” in terms of generational precedence.

On the first day of May, the Lares Praestites were honored as protectors of the city, and the flamen of Vulcan sacrificed a pregnant sow to Maia, a customary offering to an earth goddess that reiterates the link between Vulcan and Maia in the archaic prayer formula.

In Roman myth, Mercury (Hermes), the son of Maia, was the father of the twin Lares, a genealogy that sheds light on the collocation of ceremonies on the Kalends of May. On May 15, the Ides, Mercury was honored as a patron of merchants and increaser of profit (through an etymological connection with merx, merces, “goods, merchandise”), another possible connection with Maia his mother as a goddess who promoted growth.

Pleiades

Taurus hosts two of the nearest open clusters to Earth, the Pleiades and the Hyades, both of which are visible to the naked eye. The brightest member of this constellation is Aldebaran.

Its name derives from al-dabarān, Arabic for “the follower”, probably from the fact that it follows the Pleiades during the nightly motion of the celestial sphere across the sky. Forming the profile of a Bull’s face is a V or K-shaped asterism of stars.

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

The Pleiades, companions of Artemis, were the seven daughters of the titan Atlas and the sea-nymph Pleione born on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia, and are sometimes called mountain nymphs. They were the sisters of Calypso, Hyas, the Hyades, and the Hesperides.

The Pleiades were nymphs in the train of Artemis, and together with the seven Hyades were called the Atlantides, Dodonides, or Nysiades, nursemaids and teachers to the infant Dionysus. They were thought to have been translated to the night sky as a cluster of stars, the Pleiades, and were associated with rain.

Classicists debate the origin of the name Pleiades. It ostensibly derives from the name of their mother, Pleione, effectively meaning “daughters of Pleione”. However, the name of the star-cluster likely came first, and Pleione was invented to explain it.

According to another suggestion Pleiades derives from (plein , “to sail”) because of the cluster’s importance in delimiting the sailing season in the Mediterranean Sea: “the season of navigation began with their heliacal rising”.

After Atlas was forced to carry the heavens on his shoulders, Orion began to pursue all of the Pleiades, and Zeus transformed them first into doves, and then into stars to comfort their father. The constellation of Orion is said to still pursue them across the night sky.

The Pleiades would “flee mighty Orion and plunge into the misty deep” as they set in the West, which they would begin to do just before dawn during October–November, a good time of the year to lay up your ship after the fine summer weather and “remember to work the land”. In Mediterranean agriculture autumn is the time to plough and sow.

The Bull of Heaven’ (Babylonian Star Lore of Taurus)

The Bull of Heaven I and 

 

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The sun god and the thunder god

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 21, 2018

Tyr

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.

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.

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”. The god is the namesake of the Tiwaz rune, a letter of the runic alphabete, the indigenous alphabets of the ancient Germanic peoples prior to their adaptation of the Latin 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. Germanic weekday names for ‘Tuesday’ that do not transparently extend from the above lineage may also ultimately refer to the deity, including modern German Dienstag, Middle Dutch dinxendach and dingsdag.

These forms may refer to the god’s associate with the thing, a traditional legal assembly common among the ancient Germanic peoples with which the god is associated. This may be either due to another form of the god’s name (Proto-Germanic *Þingsaz, meaning ‘god of the thing’) or may simply be due to the god’s strong association with the assembly.

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.

Tinia (also Tin, Tinh, Tins or Tina) was the god of the sky and the highest god in Etruscan mythology, equivalent to the Roman Jupiter and the Greek Zeus. He was the husband of Thalna or Uni, a divine figure usually regarded as a goddess of childbirth, friendship and prophecy, and the father of Hercle.

Uni was identified by the Etruscans as their equivalent of Juno in Roman mythology and Hera in Greek mythology. She  appears in the Etruscan text on the Pyrgi Tablets as the translation of the Phoenician goddess Astarte, who is recorded in Akkadian as As-dar-tu, the masculine form of Ishtar.

Tiwaz (Stem: Tiwad-) was the Luwian Sun-god. He was among the most important gods of the Luwians. The name of the Proto-Anatolian Sun god can be reconstructed as *Diuod-, which derives from the Proto-Indo-European word *dei- (“shine”, “glow”). This name is cognate with the Greek Zeus, Latin Jupiter, and Norse Tyr.

In 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” indicates that he was an oath-god. The Luwian verb tiwadani- (“to curse”) is derived from Tiwaz’s name.

While Tiwaz (and the related Palaic god Tiyaz) 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.

Šivat (“day”) was a Hittite god who embodied the day. He was also written with the Sumerogram dUD “Deity day” or more frequently “Deity auspicious day”, the latter was obviously a euphemism for the day of death. Šivat or the “auspicious day” was invoked during burial rites together with the “soul of the deceased”, the ancestors (Hittite ḫuḫḫeš ḫanneš, ie “grandfathers grandmothers”).

The Luwians worshipped the old Proto-Indo-European Sun god Tiwaz while the Hittites worshipped the Sun goddess of Arinna, who became the chief goddess and wife of the weather god Tarḫunna in Hittite mythology.

The Sun goddess of Arinna and the weather god Tarḫunna formed a pair and together they occupied the highest position in the Hittite state’s pantheon. She protected the Hittite kingdom and was called the “Queen of all lands.” Her cult centre was the sacred city of Arinna.

In addition to the Sun goddess of Arinna, the Hittites also worshipped the Sun goddess of the Earth and the Sun god of Heaven. The Sun god of Heaven was a Hittite solar deity. He was the second-most worshipped solar deity of the Hittites, after the Sun goddess of Arinna. The Sun god of Heaven 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.

From the time of Suppiluliuma I (and probably earlier), the Sun god of Heaven played an important role as the foremost oath god in interstate treaties. 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.

The Sun goddess of the Earth was the Hittite goddess of the underworld. Her Hurrian equivalent was Allani 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 Hittite texts she is referred to as the “Queen of the Underworld” and possesses a palace with a vizier and servants. The Sun goddess of the Earth, as a personification of the chthonic aspects of the Sun, had the task of opening the doors to the Underworld. She was also the source of all evil, impurity, and sickness on Earth. She is mostly attested in curses, oaths, and purification rituals.

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”.

Ḫannaḫanna (from Hittite ḫanna- “grandmother”) is a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the Sumerian goddess Inanna. She was identified with the Hurrian mother goddess Hebat, known as “Mother of all living” and “Queen of the deities”.

The Hittite sun goddess Arinniti, the Sun-goddess of Arinna, was assimilated with Hebat. She 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.

Inara corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis, while her brother Sarruma is similar to Apollo. Inara’s mother is probably Hebat and her father is the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt.

Ḫannaḫanna is associated with the Hutena, the goddesses of fate in Hurrian mythology. They are similar to the Norns of Norse mythology or the Moirai of ancient Greece. They are called the Gulses in Hittite mythology.

In the cult of the goddess Ḫuwaššanna he is called together with the fate goddesses Gulšeš and Ḫarištašši. The latter belongs to the family and family deities, so that there is a cultic connection between birth, fate and death.

In the city of Tauriša, the “auspicious day” is called together with the “little place”, probably an expression for the grave, and the “time of separation”, the hour of death. In hattic environment it corresponds to Izzištanu, a word formation from hattisch izzu (“auspicious, kind”) and eštan (“sun, day”).

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, the Queen of Heaven.

He was believed to ride through the heavens in his sun chariot and see all things that happened in the day. He was the enforcer of divine justice and was thought to aid those in distress. In the Hurro-Akkadian bilingual Weidner god list, Utu is equated with the Hurrian sun-god Šimigi.

The Sumerians believed that, as he rode through heaven, Utu saw everything that happened in the world. Alongside his sister Inanna, Utu was the enforcer of divine justice. 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. On his way through the Underworld, Utu was believed to pass through the garden of the sun-god, which contained trees that bore precious gems as fruit.

Utu’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.

In the Sumerian King List, one of the early kings of Uruk is described as “the son of Utu” and Utu seems to have served as a special protector to several of that city’s later kings. 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.

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. However, the Woman of the Apocalypse in the Book of Revelation, may directly allude to ancient Near Eastern sun goddesses.

His wife was the goddess Sherida, later known in Akkadian as Aya, a mother goddess, consort of the sun god Shamash. 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.

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 and took on the role of Utu’s consort.

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.

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 minor Mesopotamian sun goddess Aya became syncretized into Sherida during this process.

Aya is Akkadian for “dawn”, and by the Akkadian period she was firmly associated with the rising sun and with sexual love and youth. The Babylonians sometimes referred to her as kallatu (the bride), and as such she was known as the wife of Shamash.

By the Neo-Babylonian period at the latest (and possibly much earlier), Shamash and Aya were associated with a practice known as Hasadu, which is loosely translated as a “sacred marriage.” This ceremony was also practiced by the cults of Marduk with Sarpanitum, Nabu with Tashmetum, and Anu with Antu.

Nergal, Nirgal, or Nirgali (Sumerian: dGÌR-UNUG-GAL) 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. Other names for him are Erra and Irra. He is a son of Enlil and Ninlil, along with Nanna and Ninurta.

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, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person.

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.

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.

His name is most often taken to mean “Rich Father” and is perhaps a direct translation of Plouton (“wealthy”). Alternatively, he may be a secondary reflex of the same god as Jupiter, the Proto-Indo-European Dyeus Ph₂ter or “Zeus-Pater”.

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 (Greek: Persephone). In literature, Dīs Pater was commonly used as a symbolic and poetic way of referring to death itself.

The thunder god

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 the god of thunder or the oak. The deity’s original domain was over the daylight sky, and indeed reflexes emphasise this connection to light.

Hadad (Ugaritic: Haddu), Adad, Haddad (Akkadian) or Iškur (Sumerian) was the storm and rain god in the Northwest Semitic and ancient Mesopotamian religions. From the Levant Hadad got introduced to Mesopotamia by the Amorites, who identified him with their god Amurru or Martu, and became known as the Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian) god Adad.

Though originating in northern Mesopotamia, Adad was identified by the same Sumerogram IM that designated Iškur in the south – the same symbol used for the Hurrian god Teshub. His worship became widespread in Mesopotamia after the First Babylonian dynasty.

The form Iškur appears in the list of gods found at Shuruppak but was of far less importance, probably partly because storms and rain were scarce in Sumer and agriculture there depended on irrigation instead. The gods Enlil and Ninurta also had storm god features that decreased Iškur’s distinctiveness. He sometimes appears as the assistant or companion of one or the other of the two.

A text dating from the reign of Ur-Ninurta characterizes Adad/Iškur as both threatening in his stormy rage and generally life-giving and benevolent. In the region of Mari his destructive, stormy character and his role as a fearsome warrior deity was emphasized in contrast to Iškur’s more peaceful and pastoral character.

When Enki distributed the destinies, he made Iškur inspector of the cosmos. In one litany, Iškur is proclaimed again and again as “great radiant bull, your name is heaven” and also called son of Anu, lord of Karkara; twin-brother of Enki, lord of abundance, lord who rides the storm, lion of heaven.

He is sometimes described as the son of the moon god Nanna and his consort Ningal (NIN.GAL, “Great Lady/Queen”), a goddess of reeds in the Sumerian mythology, and the daughter of Enki and Ningikurga. He is the brother of the sun god Utu/Shamash and Inanna/Ishtar, who is associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power.

Iškur is also sometimes described as the son of Enlil. The myth of Enlil and Ninlil is about Enlil’s serial seduction of the goddess Ninlil in various guises, resulting in the conception of the moon-god Nanna and the Underworld deities Nergal, Ninazu, and Enbilulu. Ninurta was regarded as the son of the chief god Enlil and Ninhursag, but sometimes Enlil and Ninlil.

Adad/Iškur’s consort (both in early Sumerian and the much later Assyrian texts) was Shala, a goddess of grain and the emotion of compassion, who is also sometimes associated with the fertility god Dagān. 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.

She was also called Gubarra in the earliest texts. The fire god Gibil, who later developed into the Akkadian god Gerra, is variously described as the son of An and Ki or An and Shala, and sometimes as the son of Iškur and Shala.

In some versions of the Enûma Eliš Gibil is said to maintain the sharp point of weapons, have broad wisdom, and that his mind is “so vast that all the gods, all of them, cannot fathom it”. Some versions state Gibil, as lord of the fire and the forge, also possesses wisdom of metallurgy.

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. She is associated with the constellation Virgo and vestiges of symbolism associated with her have persisted in representations of the constellation to current times, such as the ear of grain, even as the deity name changed from culture to culture.

Adad’s/Ishkur’s association with the sun-god, Shamash, due to the natural combination of the two deities who alternate in the control of nature, leads to imbuing him with some of the traits belonging to a solar deity. Shamash and Adad became in combination the gods of oracles and of divination in general.

Whether the will of the gods is determined through the inspection of the liver of the sacrificial animal through observing the action of oil bubbles in a basin of water or through the observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies it is Shamash and Adad who, in the ritual connected with divination, are invariably invoked.

Similarly in the annals and votive inscriptions of the kings, when oracles are referred to, Shamash and Adad are always named as the gods addressed, and their ordinary designation in such instances is bele biri (“lords of divination”).

Adad/Ishkur was often simply called Baʿal (Lord), but this title was also used for other gods. The bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad. He was equated with the Greek god Zeus, the Roman god Jupiter, and the Egyptian god Amun.

Hurrian / Armenian mythology

Teshub (also written Teshup or Tešup; cuneiform IM; hieroglyphic Luwian (DEUS) TONITRUS, read as Tarhunzas) was the Hurrian god of sky and storm. Taru was the name of a similar Hattic Storm God, whose mythology and worship as a primary deity continued and evolved through descendant Luwian and Hittite cultures.

In these two, Taru was known as Tarhun / Tarhunt- / Tarhuwant- / Tarhunta, names derived from the Anatolian root *tarh” to defeat, conquer”. Taru/ Tarhun/ Tarhunt was ultimately assimilated into and identified with the Hurrian Teshub around the time of the religious reforms of Muwatalli II, the ruler of the Hittite New Kingdom in the early 13th century BC.

These reforms can generally be categorized as an official incorporation of Hurrian deities into the Hittite pantheon, with a smaller number of important Hurrian gods (like Teshub) being explicitly identified with preexisting major Hittite deities (like Taru).

Teshub is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt and a weapon, usually an axe (often double-headed) or mace. The sacred bull common throughout Anatolia was his signature animal, represented by his horned crown or by his steeds Seri and Hurri, who drew his chariot or carried him on their backs.

He was often depicted as a man standing on a bull, holding a handful of thunderbolts. His wife was the goddess Huba, who was the counterpart of the Hurrian goddess Hebat. In Urartian art he is depicted standing on a bull.

In the Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin he was conceived when the god Kumarbi bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genitals, similarly to the Greek story of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus, which is recounted in Hesiod’s Theogony. Teshub’s brothers are Aranzah (personification of the river Tigris), Ullikummi (stone giant) and Tashmishu.

In the Hurrian schema, Teshub was paired with Hebat the mother goddess; in the Hittite, with the sun goddess Arinniti of Arinna – a cultus of great antiquity which has similarities with the venerated bulls and mothers at Çatalhöyük in the Neolithic era. His son was called Sarruma, the mountain god.

According to Hittite myths, one of Teshub’s greatest acts was the slaying of the dragon Illuyanka. Myths also exist of his conflict with the sea creature (possibly a snake or serpent) Hedammu. Puruli was a Hattian spring festival 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.

Teshub reappears in the post-Hurrian cultural successor kingdom of Ararat (Urartu) as the weather-god Theispas (also known as Teisheba or Teišeba) of Kumenu, one of their chief gods, notably the god of storms and thunder. He was also sometimes the god of war.

Kummanni was the name of the main center the Anatolian kingdom of Kizzuwatna. It was the major cult center of the Hurrian chief deity, Tešup. Its Hurrian name Kummeni simply translates as “The Shrine.”

Its location is uncertain, but is believed to be near the classical settlement of Comana in Cappadocia. Recent research make a location in Plain Cilicia more likely, presumably at Sirkeli Höyük. The city persisted into the Early Iron Age. It appears as Kisuatni in Assyrian records. It was located in the east of Que, the successor of Kizzuwatna.

The ancient Araratian cities of Teyseba and Teishebaini were named after Theispas. He is a counterpart to the Assyrian god Adad, the Vedic God Indra, and the Hurrian god, Teshub. He formed part of a triad along with Khaldi of Ardini (Muṣaṣir).and Shivini of Tushpa, the 9th-century BC capital of Urartu, later becoming known as Van which is derived from Biainili the native name of Urartu.

Shivini, which is Utu in Sumeria, Shamash in Assyria, Shiva in Hinduism, Mithra in Mithraism, Ra in Egypt and called Artinis by the Armenians, was a solar god in the mythology of the Armenian kingdom of Urartu. He was depicted as a man on his knees, holding up a solar disc. His wife was most likely a goddess called Tushpuea who is listed as the third goddess on the Mheri-Dur inscription.

Ḫaldi was a warrior god to whom the kings of Urartu would pray for victories in battle. Of all the gods of the Urartian pantheon, the most inscriptions are dedicated to him. His wife was the goddess Arubani, the Urartian’s goddess of fertility and art. He was portrayed as a man with or without wings, standing on a lion. Some sources claim that the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation, Hayk, is derived from Ḫaldi.

The oak

Another name of the Indo-European god of thunder or the oak may be reconstructed as *perkwunos or *perkunos. The labiovelar is reconstructed due to a Centum word for “oak”, “coniferous tree”, or “mountain”, “coniferous mountain forest”, *perkwus.

Here also, the labiovelar is non-trivial, and indeed singular in the sequence *-kwu-, its justification being in Latin quercus “oak”, the result of an assimilatory Italo-Celtic sound law changing *p…kw to *kw…kw (compare quinque, Irish cóic vs. Sanskrit pañca “five”; coquo vs. Sanskrit pacati “to cook”). Celtic *Ercunia, if cognate, did not partake in the assimilation, advising towards a cautious reconstruction of *perk(w)us.

*perk(w)unos, then, is the god of the *perk(w)us, comparable to Germanic *Wodanaz being the god of the *wōþuz, by virtue of the same suffix *-no-. The original meaning of this u-stem *perkwu- appears to be concept of an oak, a coniferous forest, a mountain forest, or a wooded mountain: “oak”: Latin quercus, Old High German fereheih “oak”, Celtic Hercynia silva.

The oak is quite a common motif in myths about Perkūnas. Cognates include Sanskrit parkaṭī “fig tree”, the Venetic and Celtiberian ethnonyms Quarquēni and Querquerni, the Ligurian Nymphis Percernibus, Old Norse fjörr “tree”, Anglo-Saxon furh (Modern English fir), Old Norse fura, Old High German forha (Modern German Föhre) “pine tree”, Old Norse fyri, Old High German forh-ist (Modern German Forst) “pine forest”, Old High German Fergunna (the Erzgebirge), Langobardic Fairkuna, Anglo-Saxon firgen “wooded height” and Gothic fairguni “mountain”.

A possibly related word *peru-r/n- for “rock” or “mountain” is reconstructed from Hittite peruna, “rock”, Sanskrit parvata, “mountain” (Parvati, daughter of Himavant), Thracian per(u), “rock”.

The association with oaks can be explained by the frequency with which tall trees are struck by lightning. This is reflected in two beliefs, one being that the Norse god Thor could strike enemies hiding under an oak tree, but not under the smaller beech; the other that oak trees contained a fire within them that lightning could release (or vice versa, that the lightning transferred fire into the tree that explained why wood was effective fuel).

Fittingly, there was a sanctuary to Perun (now a monastery) located on a height called Perynь near Novgorod, on the northern shore of Lake Ilmen, the source of the Volkhov River. There is a Pirin mountain range is in south-western Bulgaria.

In Slavic mythology, Perun is the highest god of the pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning. His other attributes were fire, mountains, wind, the oak, iris, eagle, firmament (in Indo-European languages, this was joined with the notion of the sky of stone), horses and carts, weapons (hammer, axe (Axe of Perun), and arrow), and war. He was first associated with weapons made of stone and later with those of metal.

As seen from the cognates above, the name of the thunder god is only attested in Baltic, Slavic, and Germanic languages, but mythological connections of the thunderer with oaks or wooded mountains may link to the Proto-Indo-European word.

Further etymological connections were hypothesized with a verbal root *per- “to strike”, in reference to the thunderbolt and the violent nature of a thunder god. The name Parjanya itself could also be derived from *per-, though it cannot be strictly cognate with *perk(w)unos, since Old Indic j does not reflect PIE *kʷ.

A closer relationship of the verbal root to the theonym is not demonstrable, because the *-kwu- extension is not otherwise attested as an Indo-European suffix, and because of the semantic distance between “slaying” and “tree” or “mountain”.

According to Julius Pokorny, Russian Perunъ “thunder god” and perun “thunderbolt” which likewise lack the velar element are indeed influenced by the root discussed, the activity of “striking down” being associated with the Balto-Slavic theonym by popular etymology.

In Greek mythology, the oak is the tree sacred to Zeus, king of the gods. In Zeus’s oracle in Dodona, Epirus, the sacred oak was the centerpiece of the precinct, and the priests would divine the pronouncements of the god by interpreting the rustling of the oak’s leaves.

In Baltic and Slavic mythology, the oak is the sacred tree of Latvian Pērkons, Lithuanian Perkūnas, Prussian Perkūns and Slavic Perun, the god of thunder and one of the most important deities in the Baltic and Slavic pantheons.

In Celtic polytheism, the name of the oak tree was part of the Proto-Celtic word for ‘druid’: *derwo-weyd- > *druwid- ; however, Proto-Celtic *derwo- (and *dru-) can also be adjectives for ‘strong’ and ‘firm’, so Ranko Matasovic interprets that *druwid- may mean ‘strong knowledge’.

As in other Indo-European faiths, Taranis, being a thunder god, was associated with the oak tree. The Indo-Europeans worshiped the oak and connected it with a thunder or lightning god; “tree” and drus may also be cognate with “Druid,” the Celtic priest to whom the oak was sacred.

There has even been a study that shows that oaks are more likely to be struck by lightning than any other tree of the same height. In Norse mythology, the oak was sacred to the thunder god, Thor. Thor’s Oak was a sacred tree of the Germanic Chatti tribe.

In the Bible, the oak tree at Shechem is the site where Jacob buries the foreign gods of his people (Gen. 35:4) . In addition, Joshua erects a stone under an oak tree as the first covenant of the Lord (Josh. 24.25–7). In Isaiah 61, the prophet refers to the Israelites as “Oaks of Righteousness.” Absalom’s long hair (2 Samuel 18:9) gets caught in an oak tree, and allows Joab to kill him.

The badnjak is central tradition in Serbian Orthodox Church Christmas celebration where young and straight oak is ceremonially felled early on the morning of Christmas Eve.

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On the letter T/D(eus) – S(un)

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 7, 2018

Bilderesultat for egypt letter tau

Bilderesultat for egypt letter tau

Relatert bilde

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Bilderesultat for egypt letter tau

Bilderesultat for egypt letter taw phallus lingam

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Bilderesultat for egypt letter taw phallus lingam

Ankh

Egyptian Ka Bull Alphabet Ankh Symbolism

An excursus on the Egyptian word nTr

Bilderesultat for egypt letter taw nut

Bilderesultat for uranus  symbol of a point within a circle

The word death comes from Old English dēaþ, which in turn comes from Proto-Germanic *dauþuz (reconstructed by etymological analysis). This comes from the Proto-Indo-European stem *dheu- meaning the “process, act, condition of dying”.  

Die: mid-12c., dien, deighen, of sentient beings, “to cease to live,” possibly from Old Danish døja or Old Norse deyja “to die, pass away,” both from Proto-Germanic *dawjan (source also of Old Frisian deja“to kill,” Old Saxon doian, Old High German touwen, Gothic diwans “mortal”), from PIE root *dheu- “to pass away, die, become senseless” (source also of Old Irish dith “end, death,” Old Church Slavonic daviti, Russian davit’ “to choke, suffer”).

Dead: Middle English ded, from Old English dead “having ceased to live,” also “torpid, dull;” of water, “still, standing,” from Proto-Germanic *daudaz (source also of Old Saxon dod, Danish død, Swedish död, Old Frisian dad, Middle Dutch doot, Dutch dood, Old High German tot, German tot, Old Norse dauðr, Gothic dauþs “dead”), a past-participle adjective based on *dau-, which is perhaps from PIE *dheu- “to die”.

The Egyptian hieroglyph for the t phoneme represents a “bread bun”. The word-final -t in Egyptian usually represents the feminine gender. It is one of the most frequently used sign in hieroglyphic writing. Besides alphabetic-t, the bread bun is used for words that are feminine, as an end qualifying determinant, often shown before other qualifying ideograms or determinants in the hieroglyphic word block-(quadrat hieroglyphic block).

Egyptian hieroglyph: Bread bun, loaf of bread: phonogram t; logogram bread; abbreviation of father; Thoth (Djhwty). The Sanskrit based glyph is tu-ng rqUx, which means ‘Vaulted, high, elevated, tall, lofty, prominent, long, chief, strong, passionate, a mountain’.

The Sky hieroglyph

The ancient Egyptian Sky hieroglyph, (also translated as heaven in some texts, or iconography), is used like an Egyptian language biliteral-(but is not listed there) and an ideogram in pt, “sky”; it is a determinative in other synonyms of sky. For the language value hrt, it has the phonetic value hry. It is often written with the complement of its component values of “p”, and “t”, in a hieroglyph composition block meaning “pt”, or commonly ‘pet’.

The Sky hieroglyph can be found in iconography with the gods, especially Ra as referencing the Lord of P(e)t, (Lord of Heaven), and the God’s ownership of Pet. The Pharaoh is often equally named as the Lord of Pet. Some ancient Egyptian names using the sky hieroglyph are Petosiris, the high priest of Thoth at Hermopolis, and the god Petbe, the god of revenge.

The simple ‘vault’ of the sky hieroglyph has variants that are ligatured with it. Though the sky hieroglyph is used as pt, in the Coptic alphabet, for the Coptic language, (the follow-on to the Egyptian hieroglyphs), the spelling of the “sky” is “pe” in Coptic. Consequently, Budge’s 2-volume dictionary lists the sky hieroglyph under “pe-t”

In the short P word section in the Egyptian dictionaries, the end of the P’s has the pd, and pdj. In the languages the d’s and t’s are listed together; they are the unaspirated and the aspirated. (See d, and dj, the hieroglyphs for “hand” and “cobra”.)

The pd is represented by ‘feet’, and parts of them, and ‘running’, and the hieroglyph for ‘extend’, -(similar to a bow). Many of the entries also refer to items about the bow, i.e. “stringing a bow”, etc. The pdj then refers to bowmen, etc., and especially the Nine bows. The archers of the 1350 BC Amarna letters, the archers (Egyptian pitati) get their name of ‘pitati’ from these related pd words.

Nut

Nut (Ancient Egyptian: Nwt), also known by various other transcriptions, is the goddess of the sky in the Ennead of ancient Egyptian religion. She was seen as a star-covered nude woman arching over the earth, or as a cow.

The pronunciation of ancient Egyptian is uncertain because vowels were long omitted from its writing, although her name often includes the unpronounced determinative hieroglyph for “sky”. Her name Nwt, itself also meaning “Sky”, is usually transcribed as “Nut” but also sometimes appears in older sources as Nunut, Nenet, Naunet, Nuit.

Nut was the goddess of the sky and all heavenly bodies, a symbol of protecting the dead when they enter the afterlife. According to the Egyptians, during the day, the heavenly bodies—such as the sun and moon—would make their way across her body. Then, at dusk, they would be swallowed, pass through her belly during the night, and be reborn at dawn.

Nut is also the barrier separating the forces of chaos from the ordered cosmos in the world. She was pictured as a woman arched on her toes and fingertips over the earth; her body portrayed as a star-filled sky. Nut’s fingers and toes were believed to touch the four cardinal points or directions of north, south, east, and west.

Nut appears in the creation myth of Heliopolis which involves several goddesses who play important roles: Tefnut (Tefenet) is a personification of moisture, who mated with Shu (Air) and then gave birth to Sky as the goddess Nut, who mated with her brother Earth, as Geb.

Nut and her brother, Geb, may be considered enigmas in the world of mythology. In direct contrast to most other mythologies which usually develop a sky father associated with an Earth mother (or Mother Nature), she personified the sky and he the Earth.

From the union of Geb and Nut came, among others, the most popular of Egyptian goddesses, Isis, the mother of Horus, whose story is central to that of her brother-husband, the resurrection god Osiris.

Osiris is killed by his brother Set and scattered over the Earth in 14 pieces which Isis gathers up and puts back together. Osiris then climbs a ladder into his mother Nut for safety and eventually becomes king of the dead. A sacred symbol of Nut was the ladder used by Osiris to enter her heavenly skies. This ladder-symbol was called maqet and was placed in tombs to protect the deceased, and to invoke the aid of the deity of the dead.

A huge cult developed about Osiris that lasted well into Roman times. Isis was her husband’s queen in the underworld and the theological basis for the role of the queen on earth. It can be said that she was a version of the great goddess Hathor. Like Hathor she not only had death and rebirth associations, but was the protector of children and the goddess of childbirth.

Because of her role in saving Osiris, Nut was seen as a friend and protector of the dead, who appealed to her as a child appeals to its mother: “O my Mother Nut, stretch Yourself over me, that I may be placed among the imperishable stars which are in You, and that I may not die.” Nut was thought to draw the dead into her star-filled sky, and refresh them with food and wine: “I am Nut, and I have come so that I may enfold and protect you from all things evil.”

Khenti (“foremost”)

The ancient Egyptian Water-jugs-in-stand hieroglyph is used as an ideogram in (kh)nt-(ḫnt). It is also used phonetically for (ḫnt). The water-jugs-in-stand hieroglyph is often written with the complement of three other hieroglyphs, the water ripple, bread bun, and two strokes, to make the Egyptian language word foremost, khenti.

As Egyptian “khenti”, foremost is used extensively to refer to gods, often in charge of a region, or position, as foremost of xxxx. Anubis, or Osiris are often referred to as “Foremost”, or “Chief” of the ‘western cemetery’, (where the sun sets).

Khenti-Amentiu, also Khentiamentiu, Khenti-Amenti, Kenti-Amentiu and many other spellings, was depicted as a jackal-headed deity at Abydos in Upper Egypt, who stood guard over the city of the dead.

Khenti-Amentiu is an ancient Egyptian deity whose name was also used as a title for Osiris and Anubis. The name means “Foremost of the Westerners” or “Chief of the Westerners”, where “Westerners” refers to the dead.

Osiris was associated with the epithet Khenti-Amentiu, meaning “Foremost of the Westerners”, a reference to his kingship in the land of the dead. As ruler of the dead, Osiris was also sometimes called “king of the living”: ancient Egyptians considered the blessed dead “the living ones”.

Thoth / Maat

Thoth (the reflex of Ancient Egyptian: ḏḥwtj “[He] is like the Ibis”) is one of the ancient Egyptian deities. Other forms of the name ḏḥwty using older transcriptions include Jehuti, Jehuty, Tahuti, Tehuti, Zehuti, Techu, or Tetu. Multiple titles for Thoth, similar to the pharaonic titulary, are also known, including A, Sheps, Lord of Khemennu, Asten, Khenti, Mehi, Hab, and A’an.

In art, he was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or a baboon, animals sacred to him. His feminine counterpart was Seshat, and his wife was Ma’at, the ancient Egyptian concepts of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice.

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 (Egyptian jzft), meaning injustice, chaos, violence or to do evil. Pharaohs are often depicted with the emblems of Maat to emphasise their role in upholding the laws and righteousness.

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.

Thoth’s chief temple was located in the city of Ancient Egyptian: ḫmnw χaˈmaːnaw, Egyptological pronunciation: “Khemenu”, Coptic: Ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ 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. Later known el-Ashmunein in Egyptian Arabic, it was partially destroyed in 1826.

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. 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.

He was the master of both physical and moral (i.e. divine) law, making proper use of Ma’at. He is credited with making the calculations for the establishment of the heavens, stars, Earth, and everything in them. He is said to direct the motions of the heavenly bodies. Without his words, the Egyptians believed, the gods would not exist.

In the underworld, Duat, he appeared as an ape, Aani, the god of equilibrium, who reported when the scales weighing the deceased’s heart against the feather, representing the principle of Maat, was exactly even. His power was unlimited in the Underworld and rivalled that of Ra and Osiris.

Duat

Duat (Ancient Egyptian: dwꜣt, Egyptological pronunciation “do-aht”, Coptic: ⲧⲏ, also appearing as Tuat, Tuaut or Akert, Amenthes, Amenti, or Neter-khertet) was the realm of the dead in ancient Egyptian mythology. It has been represented in hieroglyphs as a star-in-circle. The god Osiris was believed to be the lord of the underworld since he personified rebirth and life after death, being the first mummy as depicted in the Osiris myth.

The underworld was also the residence of various other gods along with Osiris. The Duat was the region through which the sun god Ra traveled from west to east each night, and it was where he battled Apophis, who embodied the primordial chaos which the sun had to defeat in order to rise each morning and bring order back to the earth.

It was also the place where people’s souls went after death for judgement, though that was not the full extent of the afterlife. Burial chambers formed touching-points between the mundane world and the Duat, and the ꜣḫ (Egyptological pronunciation: “akh”) “the effectiveness of the dead”, could use tombs to travel back and forth from the Duat.

Each night through the Duat the sun god Ra travelled, signifying revivification as the main goal of the dead. Ra travelled under the world upon his Atet barge from west to east, and was transformed from its aged Atum form into Khepri, the new dawning sun.

The dead king, worshiped as a god, was also central to the mythology surrounding the concept of Duat, often depicted as being one with Ra. Along with the sun god the dead king had to travel through the Kingdom of Osiris, the Duat, using the special knowledge he was supposed to possess, which was recorded in the Coffin Texts, that served as a guide to the hereafter not just for the king but for all deceased.

According to the Amduat, the underworld consists of twelve regions signifying the twelve hours of the sun god’s journey through it, battling Apep in order to bring order back to the earth in the morning; as his rays illuminated the Duat throughout the journey, they revived the dead who occupied the underworld and let them enjoy life after death in that hour of the night when they were in the presence of the sun god, after which they went back to their sleep waiting for the god’s return the following night.

Just like the dead king, the rest of the dead journeyed through the various parts of the Duat, not to be unified with the sun god but to be judged. If the deceased was successfully able to pass various demons and challenges, then he or she would reach the weighing of the heart. In this ritual, the heart of the deceased was weighed by Anubis against the feather of Maat, which represents truth and justice.

Any heart that is heavier than the feather was rejected and eaten by Ammit, the devourer of souls, as these people were denied existence after death in the Duat. The souls that were lighter than the feather would pass this most important test, and would be allowed to travel toward Aaru, the “Field of Rushes”, an ideal version of the world they knew of, in which they would plough, sow, and harvest abundant crops.

Netjer

Netjer” (net-CHUR, net-JAIR) is the Kemetic term for God. It is normally used in reference to the Self-Created One — the source of godhead from which the Names (the Many gods and goddesses) spring forth. You may see Netjer referred to as both Netjer and God in Kemetic Orthodoxy. “God,” unless the context is clearly stated to be about another religion, is to be understood to be the same as “Netjer.”

Phonetically, Netjer is spelled “nTr” (the capitalized “T” standing for a “tj” sound — in a fully realized transliteration font, this would be lowercased and underlined). Because not everyone is aware that the “t” with a line under it, or capitalized T in the Manual De Codage system of hieroglyphic transliteration, stands for the “tj” sound and not just a “t” sound, you may see other spellings for Netjer including “neter,” “ntr” and even “necher.”

The Kemetic Orthodox preferred spelling, as provided for us by Nisut (AUS), is Netjer. Further explanation can be found here. When referring to various aspects of Netjer, the “ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses,” we call Them “Names”, implying that, while a Name is a distinct personality and an individualized god Being, It is also still an aspect of the One Godhead of the Self-Created (e.g., “I worship Ra; He is a Name of Netjer.”).

It is transliterated as nTr, where the “T” represents a prepalatal stop usually rendered in Western speech as a “ch” sound. In their hieroglyphic, hieratic, and demotic scripts the Egyptians did not employ symbols representing vowels, so the most we can reconstruct from this ancient word are the consonants transliterated nTr. That is, as with so many words from the ancient Egyptian vocabulary, absent the vowels we cannot know for sure how nTr sounded as spoken in pharaonic times; hence “netjer.”

The Egyptian nTr seems also to have been intimately associated with the dead. Some have argued that nTr may have originally referred to the dead. The etymology and origin of the word nTr remains unknown, despite decades of attempts by linguists to try to identify cognates and other connections to Afro-Semitic languages, but its meaning is not a mystery. The Egyptians themselves left us an ample record of the word to examine.

Flagpoles

There are numerous ways the word was written in hieroglyphs when pertaining to gods, goddesses, or other divine concepts, and a number of different semantic determinatives developed through pharaonic history to help to clarify meanings; the most common determinative was, however, the pole and banner, which resembles a flag, the hieroglyph sign for “god”. Until recent times flagpoles were commonly set up outside tombs in North Africa and Sudan, reflecting a tradition seen in pharaonic Egypt going back into prehistory.

Wadjet

Wadjet (“Green One”), known to the Greek world as Uto or Buto among other names including Wedjat, Uadjet, and Udjo, was originally the ancient local goddess of the city of Dep. Wadjet was said to be the patron and protector of Lower Egypt, and upon unification with Upper Egypt, the joint protector and patron of all of Egypt “goddess” of Upper Egypt.

The image of Wadjet with the sun disk is called the uraeus (plural Uraei or Uraeuses; from the Greek ouraîos, “on its tail”; from Egyptian jʿr.t (iaret), “rearing cobra”), and it was the emblem on the crown of the rulers of Lower Egypt. The Uraeus is the stylized, upright form of an Egyptian cobra (asp, serpent, or snake), used as a symbol of sovereignty, royalty, deity and divine authority in ancient Egypt.

Wadjet was closely associated in ancient Egyptian religion with the Eye of Ra, a powerful protective deity. Much later, Wadjet became associated with Isis as well as with many other deities. Her image also rears up from the staff of the “flagpoles” that are used to indicate deities, as seen in the hieroglyph for “uraeus” and for “goddess” in other places.

Wadjet was depicted as a cobra. As patron and protector, later Wadjet often was shown coiled upon the head of Ra; in order to act as his protection, this image of her became the uraeus symbol used on the royal crowns as well. The uraeus originally had been her body alone, which wrapped around or was coiled upon the head of the pharaoh or another deity.

She was also the protector of kings and of women in childbirth. Wadjet was said to be the nurse of the infant god Horus, the child of the sun deity who would be interpreted to represent the pharaoh. With the help of his mother Isis, they protected Horus from his treacherous uncle, Set, when they took refuge in the swamps of the Nile Delta.

The “Going Forth of Wadjet” was celebrated on December 25 with chants and songs. An annual festival held in the city celebrated Wadjet on April 21. Other important dates for special worship of her were June 21, the summer solstice, and March 14. She also was assigned the fifth hour of the fifth day of the moon.

Obelisk

An obelisk (from Ancient Greek: obeliskos; diminutive of obelos, “spit, nail, pointed pillar”) is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape or pyramidion at the top. These were originally called tekhenu by their builders, the Ancient Egyptians. The term stele is generally used for other monumental, upright, inscribed and sculpted stones.

Obelisks were prominent in the architecture of the ancient Egyptians, who placed them in pairs at the entrance of temples. The Greeks who saw them used the Greek term ‘obeliskos’ to describe them, and this word passed into Latin and ultimately English. Ancient obelisks are monolithic; that is, they consist of a single stone. Most modern obelisks are made of several stones; some, like the Washington Monument, are buildings.

The word “obelisk” as used in English today is of Greek rather than Egyptian origin because Herodotus, the Greek traveller, was one of the first classical writers to describe the objects. A number of ancient Egyptian obelisks are known to have survived, plus the “Unfinished Obelisk” found partly hewn from its quarry at Aswan. These obelisks are now dispersed around the world, and fewer than half of them remain in Egypt.

The obelisk symbolized the sun god Ra, and during the brief religious reformation of Akhenaten was said to be a petrified ray of the Aten, the sundisk. It was also thought that the god existed within the structure.

Benben was the mound that arose from the primordial waters Nu upon which the creator god Atum settled in the creation story of the Heliopolitan creation myth form of Ancient Egyptian religion. The Benben stone (also known as a pyramidion) is the top stone of the Egyptian pyramid. It is also related to the Obelisk.

It is hypothesized by New York University Egyptologist Patricia Blackwell Gary and Astronomy senior editor Richard Talcott that the shapes of the ancient Egyptian pyramid and obelisk were derived from natural phenomena associated with the sun (the sun-god Ra being the Egyptians’ greatest deity).

The pyramid and obelisk might have been inspired by previously overlooked astronomical phenomena connected with sunrise and sunset: the zodiacal light and sun pillars respectively.

The Ancient Romans were strongly influenced by the obelisk form, to the extent that there are now more than twice as many obelisks standing in Rome as remain in Egypt. All fell after the Roman period except for the Vatican obelisk and were re-erected in different locations.

Dingir / An (“sky”)

Dingir (usually transliterated DIĜIR) is a Sumerian word for “god.” Its cuneiform sign originated as a star-shaped ideogram indicating a god in general, or the Sumerian god An, the supreme father of the gods. It also meant sky or heaven in contrast with ki which meant earth.

Its emesal pronunciation, possibly to be interpreted as “fine tongue” or “high-pitched voice” was dimer. The Sumerian 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.

Tian

Tiān is one of the oldest Chinese terms for heaven and a key concept in Chinese mythology, philosophy, and religion. During the Shang Dynasty (17–11th centuries BCE), the Chinese referred to their supreme god as Shàngdì (“Lord on High”) or Dì (“Lord”). During the following Zhou Dynasty, Tiān became synonymous with this figure. Heaven worship was, before the 20th century, an orthodox state religion of China.

In Taoism and Confucianism, Tiān (the celestial aspect of the cosmos, often translated as “Heaven”) is mentioned in relationship to its complementary aspect of Dì ( often translated as “Earth”). These two aspects of Daoist cosmology are representative of the dualistic nature of Taoism.

Taweret

In Ancient Egyptian religion, Taweret (also spelled Taurt, Tuat, Taouris, Tuart, Ta-weret, Tawaret, Twert, Thoeris and Taueret, and in Greek, Θουέρις – Thouéris and Toeris) is the protective ancient Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility. The name “Taweret” (Tȝ-wrt) means “she who is great” or simply “great one”, a common pacificatory address to dangerous deities.

Shamash / Tiwas 

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, the Queen of Heaven. His main temples were in the cities of Sippar and Larsa. He was believed to ride through the heavens in his sun chariot and see all things that happened in the day. He was the enforcer of divine justice and was thought to aid those in distress.

Tiwaz (Stem: Tiwad-) was the Luwian Sun-god. He was among the most important gods of the Luwians. The name of the Proto-Anatolian Sun god can be reconstructed as *Diuod-, which derives from the Proto-Indo-European word *dei- (“shine”, “glow”). This name is cognate with the Greek Zeus, Latin Jupiter, and Norse Tyr (Old Norse), Tíw (Old English), and Ziu (Old High German) is a god.

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”.

The t-rune ᛏ is named after Týr, and was identified with this god. The reconstructed Proto-Germanic name is *Tîwaz or *Teiwaz, 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.

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 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.

In Bronze Age texts, Tiwaz is often referred to as “Father” (cuneiform Luwian: tatis Tiwaz, lithuanian tėvas, ‘father’) and once as “Great Tiwaz” (cuneiform Luwian: urazza- dUTU-az), and invoked along with the “Father gods” (cuneiform Luwian: tatinzi maššaninzi).

His Bronze Age epithet, “Tiwaz of the Oath” (cuneiform Luwian: ḫirutalla- dUTU-az), indicates that he was an oath-god. In this role he received sacrifices of sheep, red meat and bread. The Luwian verb tiwadani- (“to curse”) is derived from Tiwaz’s name.

While Tiwaz (and the related Palaic god Tiyaz) 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.

During the Hittite New Kingdom, she was identified with the Hurrian-Syrian goddess Ḫepat, the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living” and a “Queen of the deities”. The mother goddess is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele.

Ḫannaḫanna (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.

Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis. Inara’s mother is probably Hebat (Artimes) and her brother is Sarruma (Dionysus / Apollo).

In addition to the Sun goddess of Arinna, the Hittites also worshipped the Sun goddess of the Earth and the Sun god of Heaven, while the Luwians originally worshipped the old Proto-Indo-European Sun god Tiwaz.

In the Hittite and Hurrian religions the Sun goddess of the Earth played an important role in the death cult and was understood to be the ruler of the world of the dead. For the Luwians there is a Bronze Age source which refers to the “Sun god of the Earth”: “If he is alive, may Tiwaz release him, if he is dead, may the Sun god of the Earth release him”.

The 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. The Sun god of Heaven 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. From the time of Suppiluliuma I (and probably earlier), the Sun god of Heaven played an important role as the foremost oath god in interstate treaties. 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.

The Sun goddess of the Earth was the Hittite goddess of the underworld. Her Hurrian equivalent was Allani 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 Hittite texts she is referred to as the “Queen of the Underworld” and possesses a palace with a vizier and servants. As a personification of the chthonic aspects of the Sun she had the task of opening the doors to the Underworld. She was also the source of all evil, impurity, and sickness on Earth. Otherwise she is mostly attested in curses, oaths, and purification rituals.

Taw

Taw, tav, or taf is the twenty-second and last letter of the Semitic abjads. Its original sound value is /t/. It represents either /t/ (voiceless alveolar plosive) or between a /t/ and /d/ sound. It gave rise to the Greek tau (Τ), Latin T, and Cyrillic Т.

The early pictograph evolved into in the Middle Semitic script and continued to evolve into in the Late Semitic Script. From the middle Semitic script is derived the Modern Hebrew ת) . The Early Semitic script is the origin of the Greek and the Latin T.

The mark

The Ancient picture is a type of “mark,” probably of two sticks crossed to mark a place, similar to the Egyptian hieroglyph, a picture of two crossed sticks. This letter has the meanings of “mark,” “sign” and “signature.” The Modern Hebrew, Arabic and Greek names for this letter is tav (or taw), a Hebrew word meaning, “mark.” Hebrew, Greek and Arabic agree that the sound for this letter is “t.

Taw is believed to be derived from the Egyptian hieroglyph meaning “mark”. In Biblical times, the taw was put on men to distinguish those who lamented sin, although newer versions of the Bible have replaced the ancient term taw with mark (Ezekiel 9:4) or signature (Job 31:35).

Ezekiel 9:4 depicts a vision in which the tav plays a Passover role similar to the blood on the lintel and doorposts of a Hebrew home in Egypt. In Ezekiel’s vision, the Lord has his angels separate the demographic wheat from the chaff by going through Jerusalem, the capital city of ancient Israel, and inscribing a mark, a tav, “upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.”

In Ezekiel’s vision, then, the Lord is counting tav-marked Israelites as worthwhile to spare, but counts the people worthy of annihilation who lack the tav and the critical attitude it signifies. In other words, looking askance at a culture marked by dire moral decline is a kind of shibboleth for loyalty and zeal for God.

From aleph to tav / omega

Sayings with taf “From aleph to taf” describes something from beginning to end, the Hebrew equivalent of the English “From A to Z.” Omega is the 24th and last letter of the Greek alphabet. As the last letter of the Greek alphabet, Omega is often used to denote the last, the end, or the ultimate limit of a set, in contrast to alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet.

In the Greek numeric system/Isopsephy(Gematria) omega has a value of 800. The word literally means “great O” (ō mega, mega meaning “great”), as opposed to omicron, which means “little O” (o mikron, micron meaning “little”).

Omega / Odal rune

In addition to the Greek alphabet, Omega was also adopted into the early Cyrillic alphabet. A Raetic variant is conjectured to be at the origin or parallel evolution of the Elder Futhark ᛟ, the Odal rune, also known as the Othala rune, which represents the o sound. The corresponding Gothic letter is 𐍉 (derived from Greek Ω), which had the name oþal.

The reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the Odal rune is *ōþalan, meaning “heritage; inheritance, inherited estate”. The Common Germanic stem ōþala- or ōþila- “inherited estate” is an ablaut variant of the stem aþal-. It consists of a root aþ- and a suffix -ila- or -ala-. The suffix variant accounts for the umlauted form ēþel.

Germanic aþal‑ had a meaning of (approximately) “nobility”, and the derivation aþala‑ could express “lineage, (noble) race, descent, kind”, and thus “nobleman, prince” (whence Old English atheling), but also “inheritance, inherited estate, property, possession”. Its etymology is not clear, but it is usually compared to atta “father” (cf. the name Attila, ultimately baby talk for “father”).

There is an apparent, but debated, etymological connection of Odal to Adel (Old High German adal or edil), meaning nobility, noble family line, or exclusive group of superior social status; aristocracy, typically associated with major land holdings and fortifications.

Tav / Truth

Tav is the last letter of the Hebrew word emet, which means ‘truth’. The midrash explains that emet is made up of the first, middle, and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph, mem, and tav: אמת). Sheqer (falsehood), on the other hand, is made up of the 19th, 20th, and 21st (and penultimate) letters.

Thus, truth is all-encompassing, while falsehood is narrow and deceiving. In Jewish mythology it was the word emet that was carved into the head of the golem which ultimately gave it life. But when the letter aleph was erased from the golem’s forehead, what was left was “met”—dead. And so the golem died.

In gematria, tav represents the number 400, the largest single number that can be represented without using the sophit (final) forms (see kaph, mem, nun, pe, and tzade).

Sade

Ṣade (also spelled Ṣādē, Tsade, Ṣaddi, Ṣad, Tzadi, Sadhe, Tzaddik) is the eighteenth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Ṣādē. Its oldest sound value is probably /sˤ/, although there is a variety of pronunciation in different modern Semitic languages and their dialects.

In gematria, Ṣadi represents the number 90. Its final form represents 900, but this is rarely used, Taw, Taw, and Qof (400+400+100) being used instead. As an abbreviation, it stands for ṣafon, North.

It represents the coalescence of three Proto-Semitic “emphatic consonants” in Canaanite. Arabic, which kept the phonemes separate, introduced variants of ṣād and ṭāʾ to express the three (see ḍād, ẓāʾ). In Aramaic, these emphatic consonants coalesced instead with ʿayin and ṭēt, respectively, thus Hebrew ereṣ (earth) is araʿ in Aramaic.

The Phoenician letter is continued in the Greek San (Ϻ) and possibly Sampi, and in Etruscan 𐌑 Ś. It may have inspired the form of the letter Tse in the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabet. The corresponding letter of the Ugaritic alphabet is ṣade.

The letter is named “tsadek” in Yiddish, and Hebrew speakers often give it that name as well. This name for the letter probably originated from a fast recitation of the alphabet (i.e., “tsadi, qoph” → “tsadiq, qoph”), influenced by the Hebrew word tzadik, meaning “righteous person”.

The origin of ṣade is unclear. It may have come from a Proto-Sinaitic script based on a pictogram of a plant, perhaps a papyrus plant, or a fish hook (in Modern Hebrew tsad means “[he] hunt[ed]” and in Arabic ṣād means “[he] hunted”).

The root of the word ṣadiq, is ṣ-d-q (tsedek), which means “justice” or “righteousness”. Tzadik is also the root of the word tzedakah (‘charity’, literally ‘righteousness’).

Tzadik ((Hebrew: “righteous [one]”, also zadik, ṣaddîq or sadiq) is a title in Judaism given to people considered righteous, such as Biblical figures and later spiritual masters. Ṣedeq in ancient Canaanite religion may have been an epithet of a god of the Jebusites. The Hebrew word appears in the biblical names Melchizedek, Adonizedek, and Zadok, the high priest of David.

In representing names from foreign languages, a geresh or chupchik can also be placed after the tav, making it represent /θ/, the voiceless dental non-sibilant fricative, a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages familiar to English speakers as the ‘th’ in thing.

The voiceless dental non-sibilant fricative is encountered in some of the most widespread and influential languages. The symbol that represents this sound is ⟨θ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is T. The IPA symbol is the Greek letter theta, which is used for this sound in post-classical Greek, and the sound is thus often referred to as “theta”.

Theth – Theta

Teth, also written as Ṭēth or Tet, is the ninth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Ṭēt. It is 16th in modern Arabic order. The Persian ṭa is pronounced as a hard “t” sound and is the 19th letter in the modern Persian alphabet.

The Phoenician letter name ṭēth means “wheel”, but the letter possibly (according to Brian Colless) continues a Middle Bronze Age glyph named ṭab “good” based on the nfr “good” hieroglyph.

Jewish scripture books about the “holy letters” from the 10th century and on discuss the connection or origin of the letter Teth with the word Tov, and the Bible uses the word ‘Tov’ in alphabetic chapters to depict the letter.

In gematria, Tet represents the number nine. When followed by an apostrophe, it means 9,000. As well, in gematria, the number 15 is written with Tet and Vav, (9+6) to avoid the normal construction Yud and Hei (10+5) which spells a name of God. Similarly, 16 is written with Tet and Zayin (9+7) instead of Yud and Vav (10+6) to avoid spelling part of the Tetragrammaton.

The Phoenician letter also gave rise to the Greek theta (uppercase Θ or ϴ, lowercase θ which resembles digit 0 with horizontal line), the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, originally an aspirated voiceless alveolar stop but now used for the voiceless dental fricative. In the system of Greek numerals it has the value 9.

In the Latin script used for the Gaulish language, theta developed into the tau gallicum, conventionally transliterated as Ð (eth), although the bar extends across the centre of the letter. The phonetic value of the tau gallicum is thought to have been [t͡s].

In ancient times, tau was used as a symbol for life or resurrection, whereas the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, theta, was considered the symbol of death. According to Porphyry of Tyros, the Egyptians used an X within a circle as a symbol of the soul; having a value of nine, it was used as a symbol for Ennead.

Johannes Lydus says that the Egyptians used a symbol for Kosmos in the form of theta, with a fiery circle representing the world, and a snake spanning the middle representing Agathos Daimon (literally: good spirit).

Thanatos

In classical Athens Theta was used as an abbreviation for the Greek thanatos (“death”) and as it vaguely resembles a human skull, theta was used as a warning symbol of death, in the same way that skull and crossbones are used in modern times. It survives on potsherds used by Athenians when voting for the death penalty.

Petrus de Dacia in a document from 1291 relates the idea that theta was used to brand criminals as empty ciphers, and the branding rod was affixed to the crossbar spanning the circle. For this reason, use of the number theta was sometimes avoided where the connotation was felt to be unlucky—the mint marks of some Late Imperial Roman coins famously have the sum ΔΕ or ΕΔ (delta and epsilon, that is 4 and 5) substituted as a euphemism where a Θ (9) would otherwise be expected.

In Greek mythology, Thanatos (“Death” from “to die, be dying”) was the personification of death. He was a minor figure in Greek mythology, often referred to but rarely appearing in person. The Greek poet Hesiod established in his Theogony that Thánatos is a son of Nyx (Night) and Erebos (Darkness) and twin of Hypnos (Sleep).

His name is transliterated in Latin as Thanatus, but his equivalent in Roman mythology is Mors or Letum. Mors is sometimes erroneously identified with Orcus, whose Greek equivalent was Horkos, God of the Oath.

In Greek mythology, the figure of Horkos (“oath”) personifies the curse that will be inflicted on any person who swears a false oath. Oath-taking and the penalties for perjuring oneself played an important part in the Ancient Greek concept of justice.

Hesiod’s Theogony identifies Horkos as the son of Eris (“strife”) and brother of various tribulations: Ponos (“Hardship”), Lethe (“Forgetfulness”), Limos (“Starvation”), Algae (“Pains”), Hysminai (“Battles”), Makhai (“Wars”), Phonoi (“Murders”), Androktasiai (Manslaughters”), Neikea (“Quarrels”), Pseudea (“Lies”), Logoi (“Stories”), Amphillogiai (“Disputes”), Dysnomia (“Anarchy”), and Ate (“Ruin”).

Point / Cross within the circle

In its archaic form theta was written as a cross within a circle (as in the Etruscan A symbol of a cross within a circle or another symbol of a cross within a circle), and later, as a line or point in circle (The symbol of a line within a circle or The symbol of a point within a circle).

Egyptian hieroglyphs have a large inventory of solar symbolism because of the central position of solar deities (Ra, Horus, Aten etc.) in Ancient Egyptian religion. The main ideogram for “Sun” was a representation of the solar disk, with a variant including the Uraeus.

The Egyptians used the symbol of a point within a circle (The symbol of a point within a circle, the sun disc) to represent the sun, which might be a possible origin of its use as the Sun’s astrological glyph. It is worthwhile to note that theta has the same numerical value in isopsephy as Helios.

The emblem is a very old one, a solar-phallic symbol used in ancient Egypt to represent the eternal nature of the sun god Ra. The lines which enclose the circle call to mind the akhet, the ancient ‘gate’ of the sun, a symol of rebirth and resurrection. It is associated with St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, whose feast days fall on the summer and winter solstices.

To the Pythagoreans, the point and circle represented eternity, whose “centre is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.” The point and the circle can be expressed as the same substance as potential (the point or monad) and as fully manifest (the circle.)

The “Sun” ideogram in early Chinese writing, beginning with the oracle bone script (c. 12th century BC) also shows the solar disk with a central dot (whence the modern character 日), analogous to the Egyptian heroglyph.

A sun cross, solar cross, or wheel cross is a solar symbol consisting of an equilateral cross inside a circle. The “sun cross” or “solar wheel” (🜨) is often considered to represent the four seasons and the tropical year, and therefore the Sun. The same symbol is in use as a modern astronomical symbol representing the Earth rather than the Sun.

The design is frequently found in the symbolism of prehistoric cultures, particularly during the Neolithic to Bronze Age periods of European prehistory. The symbol’s ubiquity and apparent importance in prehistoric religion have given rise to its interpretation as a solar symbol, whence the modern English term “sun cross” (a calque of German: Sonnenkreuz).

The Bronze Age symbol has also been connected with the spoked chariot wheel, which at the time was four-spoked (compare the Linear B ideogram “wheel”). In the context of a culture that celebrated the Sun chariot, it may thus have had a “solar” connotation (c.f. the Trundholm sun chariot).

In the prehistoric religion of Bronze Age Europe, crosses in circles appear frequently on artifacts identified as cult items, for example the “miniature standard” with an amber inlay that shows a cross shape when held against the light, dating to the Nordic Bronze Age, held at the National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen.

The interpretation of the simple equilateral cross as a solar symbol in Bronze Age religion was widespread in 19th-century scholarship. The cross-in-a-circle was interpreted as a solar symbol derived from the interpretation of the disc of the Sun as the wheel of the chariot of the Sun god.

It has been postulated that the Gothic rune hvel (“wheel”) represents the solar deity by the “wheel” symbol of a cross-in-a-circle, reflected by the Gothic letter hwair (𐍈) (also ƕair, huuair, hvair), the name of the Gothic letter expressing the [hʷ] or [ʍ] sound (reflected in English by the inverted wh-spelling for [ʍ]).

Popular legend in Ireland says that the Celtic Christian cross was introduced by Saint Patrick or possibly Saint Declan, though there are no examples from this early period.

It has often been claimed that Patrick combined the symbol of Christianity with the sun cross to give pagan followers an idea of the importance of the cross. By linking it with the idea of the life-giving properties of the sun, these two ideas were linked to appeal to pagans. Other interpretations claim that placing the cross on top of the circle represents Christ’s supremacy over the pagan sun.

The vertical bar represents North and South while the horizontal bar is East and West. There is a 31 degree saltire that is also associated with this symbol. When laid over the cross it represents the solstices and equinoxes with precision.

This configuration is an ideogram reflected through many cultures and extends far back into antiquity. Henges are a testament that there was an ancient understanding of the Sun’s behavior in the sky and that it was measurable, predictable and center to their continued existence on Earth. The original Coptic cross often includes a circle that is derived from the ankh, as the circles represent the sun god, Ra. Early Gnostic sects also used a circle cross.

In the prehistoric religion of Bronze Age Europe, crosses in circles appear frequently on artifacts identified as cult items, for example the “miniature standard” with an amber inlay that shows a cross shape when held against the light, dating to the Nordic Bronze Age, held at the National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen.

The Bronze Age symbol has also been connected with the spoked chariot wheel, which at the time was four-spoked (compare the Linear B ideogram “wheel”). In the context of a culture that celebrated the sun chariot, it may thus have had a “solar” connotation (compare the Trundholm sun chariot).

Tau cross

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 300. The symbolism of the cross was connected not only to the letter chi but also to tau. The tau cross is a T-shaped cross all three ends of which are sometimes expanded. It is so called because shaped like the Greek letter tau, which in its upper-case form has the same appearance as Latin and English T.

Another name for the same object is Saint Anthony’s cross or Saint Anthony cross, a name given to it because of its association with Saint Anthony of Egypt. It is also called a crux commissa, one of the four basic types of iconographic representations of the cross.

The Epistle of Barnabas (late first century or early second) gives an allegorical interpretation of the number 318 (in Greek numerals τιη’) in the text of Book of Genesis 14:14 as intimating the crucifixion of Jesus by viewing the numerals ιη’ (18) as the initial letters of Iēsus, and the numeral τ’ (300) as a prefiguration of the cross:

“What, then, was the knowledge given to him in this? Learn the eighteen first, and then the three hundred. The ten and the eight are thus denoted—Ten by Ι, and Eight by Η. You have [the initials of the name of] Jesus. And because the cross was to express the grace [of our redemption] by the letter Τ, he says also, ‘Three Hundred’. He signifies, therefore, Jesus by two letters, and the cross by one.”

Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215) gives the same interpretation of the number τιη’ (318), referring to the cross of Christ with the expression “the Lord’s sign”: “They say, then, that the character representing 300 is, as to shape, the type of the Lord’s sign, and that the Iota and the Eta indicate the Saviour’s name.”

Tertullian (c. 155 – c. 240) remarks that the Greek letter τ and the Latin letter T have the same shape as the execution cross: “Ipsa est enim littera Graecorum Tau, nostra autem T, species crucis”.

In the Trial of the Court of the Vowels of non-Christian Lucian (125 – after 180), the Greek letter Sigma (Σ) accuses the letter Tau (Τ) of having provided tyrants with the model for the wooden instrument with which to crucify people and demands that Tau be executed on his own shape:

“It was his body that tyrants took for a model, his shape that they imitated, when they set up the erections on which men are crucified. Σταυρός the vile engine is called, and it derives its vile name from him. Now, with all these crimes upon him, does he not deserve death, nay, many deaths? For my part I know none bad enough but that supplied by his own shape—that shape which he gave to the gibbet named σταυρός after him by men”.

Stauros

Stauros (σταυρός) is a Greek word, which in the oldest forms (Homeric and classical) of that language (until the fourth century B.C.) is found used in the plural number in the sense of an upright stake or pole; in Koine Greek, in use during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, within which the New Testament was written, it was used in the singular number with reference to an instrument of capital punishment; in modern Greek it is used to refer only to a cross, real or metaphorical.

The word stauros comes from the verb meaning to “straighten up”, “stand”), which in turn comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *steh-u- “pole”, related to the root *steh- “to stand, to set” (the same root is found in German Stern, or Stamm, the English “stand”, the Spanish word estaca, the Portuguese word estaca, the Polish stać, the Italian stare, of similar meanings).

In Homeric and classical Greek, until the early 4th century BC, stauros meant an upright stake, pole, or piece of paling, “on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground.” In the literature of that time, it never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always one piece alone, and is always used in the plural number, never in the singular.

In Koine Greek, the form of Greek in use between about 300 BC and AD 300, the word was used to denote a wooden object on which Romans executed criminals. When the word is thus employed in the writings of the Diodorus Siculus (1st century BC), Plutarch and Lucian – non-Christian writers, of whom only Lucian makes clear the shape of the device – the authoritative A Greek–English Lexicon translates it as “cross”.

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, this form of capital punishment involved binding the victim with outstretched arms to a crossbeam, or nailing him firmly to it through the wrists; the crossbeam was then raised against an upright shaft and made fast to it about 3 metres from the ground, and the feet were tightly bound or nailed to the upright shaft.

Speaking specifically about the σταυρός of Jesus, early Christian writers unanimously suppose it to have had a crossbeam. Thus Justin Martyr said it was prefigured in the Jewish Passover lamb: “That lamb which was commanded to be wholly roasted was a symbol of the suffering of the cross (σταυρός) which Christ would undergo.

For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of the cross (σταυρός). For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb.”

In A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to The English and Greek New Testament (1877), hyperdispensationalist E. W. Bullinger, in contrast to other authorities, stated: “The σταυρός was simply an upright pale or stake to which Romans nailed those who were thus said to be crucified, σταυρόω, merely means to drive stakes. It never means two pieces of wood joining at any angle. Even the Latin word crux means a mere stake.

The initial letter Χ, (chi) of Χριστός, (Christ) was anciently used for His name, until it was displaced by the T, the initial letter of the pagan god Tammuz, about the end of cent. iv.” A similar view was put forward by John Denham Parsons in 1896.

Bullinger’s 1877 statement and that of Parsons in 1896, written before the discovery of thousands of manuscripts in Koine Greek at Oxyrhyncus in Egypt revolutionised understanding of the language of the New Testament, conflict with the documented fact that, long before the end of the fourth century, the Epistle of Barnabas, which was certainly earlier than 135, and may have been of the 1st century AD, the time when the gospel accounts of the death of Jesus were written, likened the σταυρός to the letter T (the Greek letter tau, which had the numeric value of 300), and to the position assumed by Moses in Exodus 17:11-12.

The shape of the σταυρός is likened to that of the letter T also in the final words of Trial in the Court of Vowels among the works of 2nd-century Lucian, and other 2nd-century witnesses to the fact that at that time the σταυρός was envisaged as being cross-shaped and not in the form of a simple pole are given in early Christian descriptions of the execution cross.

The Greek word σταυρός, which in the New Testament refers to the structure on which Jesus died, appears as early as AD 200 in two papyri, Papyrus 66 and Papyrus 75 in a form that includes the use of a cross-like combination of the letters tau and rho. This tau-rho symbol, the staurogram, appears also in Papyrus 45 (dated 250), again in relation to the crucifixion of Jesus.

The Early Christians probably saw in the staurogram a depiction of Jesus on the cross, with the cross represented (as elsewhere) by the tau and the head by the loop of the rho. The staurogram constitutes a Christian artistic emphasis on the cross within the earliest textual tradition.

Sigma

Sigma (uppercase Σ, lowercase σ) is the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals, it has a value of 200. The shape and alphabetic position of sigma is derived from Phoenician shin 𐤔.

The name of sigma, according to one hypothesis, may continue that of Phoenician Samekh. To express an etymological /ś/, a number of dialects chose either sin or samek exclusively, where other dialects switch freely between them (often ‘leaning’ more often towards one or the other).

Samekh or Simketh is the fifteenth letter of many Semitic abjads, representing /s/. The Arabic alphabet, however, uses a letter based on Phoenician Šīn to represent /s/; however, that glyph takes Samekh’s place in the traditional Abjadi order of the Arabic alphabet.

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Xi (Ξ, ξ), the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet. However, its name gave rise to Sigma. In the system of Greek numerals the letter Xi has a value of 60. It is not to be confused with the letter chi, which gave its form to the Latin letter X.

Samekh in gematria has the value 60. Samekh and Mem can be combined to form the abbreviation ס”ם, known as samekh-mem, a euphemism used for the name of the angel Samael to avoid speaking his name aloud and thereby attracting his attention.

In Judaism, Samael (Hebrew: “Venom of God,” “Poison of God,” or “Blindness of God”) is an important archangel in Talmudic and post-Talmudic lore, a figure who is the accuser (Ha-Satan), seducer, and destroyer (Mashhit), and has been regarded as both good and evil.

He is said to be the angel of death, and the title “Satan” is accorded to him. While Satan describes his function as an accuser, Samael is considered to be his proper name. While Michael defends Israel’s actions, Samael tempts people to sin.

He is also depicted as the angel of death and one of the seven archangels, the ruler over the Fifth Heaven and commander of two million angels such as the chief of other Satans. Yalkut Shimoni (I, 110) presents Samael as Esau’s guardian angel.

In some legends, samekh is said to have been a miracle of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 32:15 records that the tablets “were written on both their sides.”

The Jerusalem Talmud interprets this as meaning that the inscription went through the full thickness of the tablets. The stone in the center parts of the letters ayin and teth should have fallen out, as it was not connected to the rest of the tablet, but it miraculously remained in place.

The Babylonian Talmud on the other hand attributes this instead to samekh, but samekh did not have such a hollow form in the sacred Paleo-Hebrew alphabet that would presumably have been used for the tablets. However, this would be appropriate for the Rabbis who maintained that the Torah or the Ten Commandments were given in the later Hebrew “Assyrian” script.

The djed

The origin of Samekh is unclear. The Phoenician letter may continue a glyph from the Middle Bronze Age alphabets, either based on a hieroglyph for a tent peg / some kind of prop (s’mikhah or t’mikhah in modern Hebrew it means to support), and thus may be derived from the Egyptian hieroglyph djed.

The djed (Ancient Egyptian: ḏd, Coptic jōt “pillar”) is one of the more ancient and commonly found symbols in ancient Egyptian religion. It is a pillar-like symbol in Egyptian hieroglyphs representing stability. It is associated with the creator god Ptah and Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife, the underworld, and the dead. It is commonly understood to represent his spine.

The djed may originally have been a fertility cult related pillar made from reeds or sheaves or a totem from which sheaves of grain were suspended or grain was piled around.

It has been speculated that the ankh, djed, and was symbols have a biological basis derived from ancient cattle culture (linked to the Egyptian belief that semen was created in the spine), thus the ankh symbolized life, thoracic vertebra of a bull (seen in cross section), the djed symbolized stability, base on sacrum of a bull’s spine, and the was-sceptre symbolized power and dominion, a staff featuring the head and tail of the god Set, “great of strength”.

The ankh, a symbole of life through sexual union, is like a yoni on top of a lingam, or vesica piscis on top of a tau if you will. The Hindu Ardhanari is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvati (the latter being known as Devi, Shakti and Uma in this icon): half male and half female, split down the middle.

Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half-male and half-female, equally split down the middle. The right half is usually the male Shiva, illustrating his traditional attributes. The Ankh is here used here as a depiction of both male and female genitalia.

The ancient Greek considered Tau to be symbolic oflife and resurrection, while ‘theta’, the 8th letter of the alphabet was used to denote death. In ancient Egypt, the Tau symbol was thought to represent a phallus and was also regarded as the marker for holy waters. Ancient mythology associates the symbol with the Greek deity Attis and the Roman god Mithra or Mithras. Several Western religious traditions and European cultures associate Tau with the crucifix.

We find this image in primitive/native man glyphs as a representation of the meeting place between earth and sky (horizon).  Consider the deeper meaning here – that which is above the horizon (or at the table top of the T) is known to our conscious minds.   That which is below the point of contact (the stem of the T) holds the mystery of the unknown.

The was (Egyptian wꜣs “power, dominion”) sceptre is a symbol that appeared often in relics, art, and hieroglyphics associated with the ancient Egyptian religion. It appears as a stylized animal head at the top of a long, straight staff with a forked end.

Was sceptres were used as symbols of power or dominion, and were associated with ancient Egyptian deities such as Set or Anubis as well as with the pharaoh. Was sceptres also represent the Set animal. In later use, it was a symbol of control over the force of chaos that Set represented.

In a funerary context the was sceptre was responsible for the well-being of the deceased, and was thus sometimes included in the tomb equipment or in the decoration of the tomb or coffin. The sceptre is also considered an amulet. The Egyptians perceived the sky as being supported on four pillars, which could have the shape of the was. This sceptre was also the symbol of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome, the nome of Thebes (called wꜣst in Egyptian).

Was sceptres were depicted as being carried by gods, pharaohs, and priests. They commonly occur in paintings, drawings, and carvings of gods, and often parallel with emblems such as the ankhand the djed-pillar. Remnants of real was sceptres have been found. They are constructed of faience or wood, where the head and forked tail of the Set-animal are visible. The earliest examples date to the First Dynasty. The Was (wꜣs) is the Egyptian hieroglyph character representing power.

Anyway, the djed came to be associated with Seker, the falcon god of the Memphite Necropolis, then with Ptah, the Memphite patron god of craftsmen. Ptah was often referred to as “the noble djed”, and carried a scepter that was a combination of the djed symbol and the ankh, the symbol of life. Ptah gradually came to be assimilated into Osiris. By the time of the New Kingdom, the djed was firmly associated with Osiris.

The djed hieroglyph was a pillar-like symbol that represented stability. It was also sometimes used to represent Osiris himself, often combined “with a pair of eyes between the crossbars and holding the crook and flail.” It is often found together with the tyet hieroglyph, sometimes called the knot of Isis or girdle of Isis, an ancient Egyptian symbol that came to be connected with the goddess Isis.

The tyet resembles a knot of cloth and may have originally been a bandage used to absorb menstrual blood. In many respects the tyet resembles an ankh, except that its arms curve down. Its meaning is also reminiscent of the ankh, as it is often translated to mean “welfare” or “life”. The djed and the tiet used together may depict the duality of life. The tyet hieroglyph may have become associated with Isis because of its frequent pairing with the djed.

Shin

Shin (also spelled Šin (šīn) or Sheen) is the name of the twenty-first letter of the Semitic abjads, In the Arabic alphabet, šīn is at the original (21st) position in Abjadi order. A letter variant sīn takes the place of Samekh at 15th position.

The Proto-Sinaitic glyph may have been based on a pictogram of a tooth (in modern Hebrew shen) and with the phonemic value š “corresponds etymologically (in part, at least) to original Semitic ṯ (th), which was pronounced s in South Canaanite”. The Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1972, records that it originally represented a composite bow.

The Arabic letter šīn was an acronym for “something”, meaning the unknown in algebraic equations. In the transcription into Spanish, the Greek letter chi (χ) was used which was later transcribed into Latin x. Chi is the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet, pronounced /kaɪ/ or /kiː/ in English.

In Plato’s Timaeus, it is explained that the two bands that form the soul of the world cross each other like the letter Χ. Chi or X is often used to abbreviate the name Christ, as in the holiday Christmas (Xmas). When fused within a single typespace with the Greek letter Rho, it is called the labarum and used to represent the person of Jesus Christ.

According to some sources, this is the origin of x used for the unknown in the equations. However, according to other sources, there is no historical evidence for this. In Modern Arabic mathematical notation, sīn, i.e. šīn without its dots, often corresponds to Latin x.

In gematria, Shin represents the number 300. Shin, as a prefix, bears the same meaning as the relative pronouns “that”, “which” and “who” in English. In colloquial Hebrew, Kaph and Shin together have the meaning of “when”. This is a contraction of ka’asher (as, when).

According to Judges 12:6, the tribe of Ephraim could not differentiate between Shin and Samekh; when the Gileadites were at war with the Ephraimites, they would ask suspected Ephraimites to say the word shibolet; an Ephraimite would say sibolet and thus be exposed.

From this episode we get the English word shibboleth, signifying any custom or tradition, particularly a speech pattern, that distinguishes one group of people (an ingroup) from others (outgroups). Shibboleths have been used throughout history in many societies as passwords, simple ways of self-identification, signaling loyalty and affinity, maintaining traditional segregation or keeping out perceived threats.

Shin also stands for the word Shaddai, a name for God. Because of this, a kohen (priest) forms the letter Shin with his hands as he recites the Priestly Blessing. It is often inscribed on the case containing a mezuzah, a scroll of parchment with Biblical text written on it.

The text contained in the mezuzah is the Shema Yisrael prayer, which calls the Israelites to love their God with all their heart, soul and strength. The mezuzah is situated upon all the doorframes in a home or establishment. Sometimes the whole word Shaddai will be written.

The Shema Yisrael prayer also commands the Israelites to write God’s commandments on their hearts (Deut. 6:6); the shape of the letter Shin mimics the structure of the human heart: the lower, larger left ventricle (which supplies the full body) and the smaller right ventricle (which supplies the lungs) are positioned like the lines of the letter Shin.

A religious significance has been applied to the fact that there are three valleys that comprise the city of Jerusalem’s geography: the Valley of Ben Hinnom, Tyropoeon Valley, and Kidron Valley, and that these valleys converge to also form the shape of the letter shin, and that the Temple in Jerusalem is located where the dagesh (horizontal line) is.

This is seen as a fulfillment of passages such as Deuteronomy 16:2 that instructs Jews to celebrate the Pasach at “the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name” (NIV).

In the Sefer Yetzirah the letter Shin is King over Fire, Formed Heaven in the Universe, Hot in the Year, and the Head in the Soul. Sh’at haShin (the Shin hour) is the last possible moment for any action, usually military. Corresponds to the English expression the eleventh hour.

The 13th-century Kabbalistic text Sefer HaTemunah, holds that a single letter of unknown pronunciation, held by some to be the four-pronged shin on one side of the teffilin box, is missing from the current alphabet. The world’s flaws, the book teaches, are related to the absence of this letter, the eventual revelation of which will repair the universe.

Rune sowilo / sun

The Phoenician letter šin from which the Old Italic s letter ancestral to the rune *Sowilō or *sæwelō, the reconstructed Proto-Germanic language name of the s-rune, meaning “sun”, was derived was itself named after the Sun, shamash, based on the Egyptian uraeus hieroglyph. The name is attested for the same rune in all three Rune Poems. It appears as Old Norse sól, Old English sigel, and Gothic sugil.

This continues a Proto-Indo-European alternation *suwen- vs. *sewol- (Avestan xweng vs. Latin sōl, Greek helios, Sanskrit surya, Welsh haul, Breton heol, Old Irish suil “eye”), a remnant of an archaic, so-called “heteroclitic”, declension pattern that remained productive only in the Anatolian languages.

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The Sky God of the Night

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 6, 2018

The sky often has important religious significance. Many religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic, have deities associated with the sky. The daylit sky deities are typically distinct from the night-time sky (or “heaven of the stars”) deities. Stith Thompson’s Motif-Index of Folk-Literature reflects this by separating the category of “Sky-god” from that of “Star-god”.

Daytime-gods and Nighttime-gods may also be deities of an “upper world” (or “celestial world”), opposed to a “netherworld” (or “chthonic realm”) ruled by other gods (for example, Sky-gods Zeus and Hera rule the celestial realm in ancient Greece, while the chthonic realm is ruled by Hades and Persephone), or of an upper world and netherworld respectively.

Any masculine sky god is often also king of the gods, taking the position of patriarch within a pantheon. Such king gods are collectively categorised as “Sky father” deities, with a polarity between sky and earth often being expressed by pairing a “Sky father” god with an “Earth mother” goddess (pairings of a Sky mother with an Earth father are less frequent). A main sky goddess is often the “queen” (“of heaven”, for example).

Gods may rule the sky as a pair (for example, ancient Semitic [supreme] god El and the sky goddess Asherah whom he was most likely paired with). In comparative mythology, sky father is a term for a recurring concept of a sky god who is addressed as a “father”, often the father of a pantheon. The concept of “sky father” may also be taken to include Sun gods with similar characteristics. The concept is complementary to an “earth mother”.

“Sky Father” is a direct translation of the Vedic Dyaus Pita, etymologically descended from the same Proto-Indo-European deity name as the Greek Zeus Pater and Roman Jupiter, all of which are reflexes of the same Proto-Indo-European deity’s name, *Dyēus Ph₂tḗr. While there are numerous parallels adduced from outside of Indo-European mythology, there are exceptions (e.g. In Egyptian mythology, Nut is the sky mother and Geb is the earth father).

Caelus or Coelus was a primal god of the sky in Roman myth and theology, iconography, and literature (compare caelum, the Latin word for “sky” or “the heavens”, hence English “celestial”). The deity’s name usually appears in masculine grammatical form when he is conceived of as a male generative force, but the neuter form Caelum is also found as a divine personification.

The name of Caelus indicates that he was the Roman counterpart of the Greek god Uranus, who was of major importance in the theogonies of the Greeks. Caelus substituted for Uranus in Latin versions of the myth of Saturn (Cronus) castrating his heavenly father, from whose severed genitals, cast upon the sea, the goddess Venus (Aphrodite) was born.

As a sky god, he became identified with Jupiter, as indicated by an inscription that reads Optimus Maximus Caelus Aeternus Iuppiter. However, according to Cicero and Hyginus, Caelus was also the father of one of the three forms of Jupiter, the other two fathers being Aether and Saturn.

According to Cicero and Hyginus he was the son of Aether and Dies (“Day” or “Daylight”). Caelus and Dies were in this tradition the parents of Mercury. With Trivia, Caelus was the father of the distinctively Roman god Janus, as well as of Saturn and Ops. In one tradition, Caelus was the father with Tellus of the Muses, though was this probably a mere translation of Ouranos from a Greek source.

Uranus (“sky” or “heaven”) was the primal Greek god personifying the sky and one of the Greek primordial deities. Uranus is associated with the Roman god Caelus. In Ancient Greek literature, Uranus or Father Sky was the son and husband of Gaia, Mother Earth.

According to Hesiod’s Theogony, Uranus was conceived by Gaia alone, but other sources cite Aether as his father. According to the Orphic Hymns, Uranus was the son of Nyx, the personification of night. Uranus was the brother of Pontus, the God of the sea. In the Olympian creation myth, as Hesiod tells it in the Theogony, Uranus came every night to cover the earth and mate with Gaia. After his castration, the Sky came no more to cover the Earth at night, but held to its place, and “the original begetting came to an end”.

Uranus is connected with the night sky, and Váruṇa is the god of the sky and the celestial ocean, which is connected with the Milky Way. Uranus was scarcely regarded as anthropomorphic, aside from the genitalia in the castration myth. He was simply the sky, which was conceived by the ancients as an overarching dome or roof of bronze, held in place (or turned on an axis) by the Titan Atlas.

In formulaic expressions in the Homeric poems ouranos is sometimes an alternative to Olympus as the collective home of the gods; an obvious occurrence would be the moment in Iliad 1.495, when Thetis rises from the sea to plead with Zeus: “and early in the morning she rose up to greet Ouranos-and-Olympus and she found the son of Kronos …”

William Sale remarks that “… ‘Olympus’ is almost always used of [the home of the Olympian gods], but ouranos often refers to the natural sky above us without any suggestion that the gods, collectively live there”.

Sale concluded that the earlier seat of the gods was the actual Mount Olympus, from which the epic tradition by the time of Homer had transported them to the sky, ouranos. By the sixth century, when a “heavenly Aphrodite” (Aphrodite Urania) was to be distinguished from the “common Aphrodite of the people”, ouranos signifies purely the celestial sphere itself.

Uranus and Gaia were the parents of the first generation of Titans, and the ancestors of most of the Greek gods, but no cult addressed directly to Uranus survived into Classical times, and Uranus does not appear among the usual themes of Greek painted pottery. Elemental Earth, Sky, and Styx might be joined, however, in a solemn invocation in Homeric epic.

Varro couples Caelus with Terra (Earth) as pater and mater (father and mother), and says that they are “great deities” (dei magni) in the theology of the mysteries at Samothrace. Although Caelus is not known to have had a cult at Rome, not all scholars consider him a Greek import given a Latin name; he has been associated with Summanus, the god of nocturnal thunder, as counterposed to Jupiter, the god of diurnal (daylight) thunder, and thus “purely Roman.”

Every June 20, the day before the summer solstice, round cakes called summanalia, made of flour, milk and honey and shaped as wheels, were offered to him as a token of propitiation: the wheel might be a solar symbol. Summanus also received a sacrifice of two black oxen or wethers. Dark animals were typically offered to chthonic deities.

Georges Dumézil has argued that Summanus would represent the uncanny, violent and awe-inspiring element of the gods of the first function, connected to heavenly sovereignty. The double aspect of heavenly sovereign power would be reflected in the dichotomy Varuna-Mitra in Vedic religion and in Rome in the dichotomy Summanus-Dius Fidius. The first gods of these pairs would incarnate the violent, nocturnal, mysterious aspect of sovereignty while the second ones would reflect its reassuring, daylight and legalistic aspect.

The name Summanus is thought to be from Summus Manium “the greatest of the Manes”, or sub-, “under” + manus, “hand”. According to Martianus Capella, Summanus is another name for Pluto as the “highest” (summus) of the Manes. Manes may be derived from “an archaic adjective manus —good— which was the opposite of immanis (monstrous)”.

Pluto (Underworld) and Neptune (Earth) are described as the brothers of Jove (Heaven) in noting their three-way division of sovereignty over the earth and with Proserpina as Pluto’s spouse. As a lord of abundance or riches, Pluto expresses the aspect of the underworld god that was positive, symbolized in art by the “horn of plenty” (cornucopia), by means of which Plouton is distinguished from the gloomier Hades.

The Roman poet Ennius (ca. 239–169 BC), the leading figure in the Hellenization of Latin literature, considered Pluto a Greek god to be explained in terms of the Roman equivalents Dis Pater and Orcus. It is unclear whether Pluto had a literary presence in Rome before Ennius. Some scholars think that rituals and beliefs pertaining to Pluto entered Roman culture with the establishment of the Saecular Games in 249 BC, and that Dis pater was only a translation of Plouton.

In the mid-1st century BC, Cicero identifies Pluto with Dis, explaining that “The earth in all its power and plenty is sacred to Father Dis, a name which is the same as Dives, ‘The Wealthy One,’ as is the Greek Plouton. This is because everything is born of the earth and returns to it again.

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.

Demeter and Kore were usually referred to as “the goddesses” or “the mistresses” (Arcadia) in the mysteries. In the Mycenean Greek tablets dated 1400–1200 BC, the “two queens and the king” are mentioned. It is believed that these were the precursor divinities of Demeter, Persephone and Poseidon, one of the Twelve Olympians in ancient Greek religion and myth.

In the cave of Amnisos at Crete, Eileithyia is related with the annual birth of the divine child and she is connected with Enesidaon (The earth shaker), who is the chthonic aspect of the god Poseidon. Persephone was conflated with Despoina, “the mistress”, a chthonic divinity in West-Arcadia.

The megaron of Eleusis is quite similar with the “megaron” of Despoina at Lycosura. Demeter is united with the god Poseidon, and she bears a daughter, the unnameable Despoina. Poseidon appears as a horse, as it usually happens in Northern European folklore. The goddess of nature and her companion survived in the Eleusinian cult, where the following words were uttered “Mighty Potnia bore a great sun”.

Poseidon was god of the Sea and other waters; of earthquakes; and of horses. His Roman equivalent is Neptune. He carries frequently the title wa-na-ka (wanax) in Linear B inscriptions, as king of the underworld. Anax (from earlier wánax) is an ancient Greek word for “tribal chief, lord, (military) leader”.

Anax is one of the two Greek titles traditionally translated as “king”, the other being basileus, and is inherited from Mycenaean Greece, and is notably used in Homeric Greek, e.g. of Agamemnon. The feminine form is anassa, “queen” (from wánassa, itself from *wánakt-ja). The archaic plural Ánakes (“Kings”) was a common reference to the Dioskouroi, whose temple was usually called the Anakeion and their yearly religious festival the Anákeia.

Gemini (“twins”) is the third astrological sign in the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Gemini. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this sign between May 21 and June 21. Gemini is represented by the twins Castor and Pollux. The symbol of the twins is based on the Dioscuri, granted shared half-immortality after the death of their mortal brother Castor.

In ancient Roman religion, the Manes or Di Manes are chthonic deities sometimes thought to represent souls of deceased loved ones. They were associated with the Lares, Lemures, Genii, and Di Penates as deities (di) that pertained to domestic, local, and personal cult. They belonged broadly to the category of di inferi, “those who dwell below,” the undifferentiated collective of divine dead. The Manes were honored during the Parentalia and Feralia in February.

In his work On the Nature of the Gods, Cicero presents a Stoic allegory of the myth in which the castration signifies “that the highest heavenly aether, that seed-fire which generates all things, did not require the equivalent of human genitals to proceed in its generative work.”

For Macrobius, the severing marks off Chaos from fixed and measured Time (Saturn) as determined by the revolving Heavens (Caelum). The semina rerum (“seeds” of things that exist physically) come from Caelum and are the elements which create the world.

The divine spatial abstraction Caelum is a synonym for Olympus as a metaphorical heavenly abode of the divine, both identified with and distinguished from the mountain in ancient Greece named as the home of the gods. Varro says that the Greeks call Caelum (or Caelus) “Olympus.”

As a representation of space, Caelum is one of the components of the mundus, the “world” or cosmos, along with terra (earth), mare (sea), and aer (air). In his work on the cosmological systems of antiquity, the Dutch Renaissance humanist Gerardus Vossius deals extensively with Caelus and his duality as both a god and a place that the other gods inhabit.

The ante-Nicene Christian writer Lactantius routinely uses the Latin theonyms Caelus, Saturn, and Jupiter to refer to the three divine hypostases of the Neoplatonic school of Plotinus: the First God (Caelus), Intellect (Saturn), and Soul, son of the Intelligible (Jupiter).

It is generally though not universally agreed that Caelus is depicted on the cuirass of the Augustus of Prima Porta, at the very top above the four horses of the Sun god’s quadriga. He is a mature, bearded man who holds a cloak over his head so that it billows in the form of an arch, a conventional sign of deity (velificatio) that “recalls the vault of the firmament.”

He is balanced and paired with the personification of Earth at the bottom of the cuirass. (These two figures have also been identified as Saturn and the Magna Mater, to represent the new Saturnian “Golden Age” of Augustan ideology.) On an altar of the Lares now held by the Vatican, Caelus in his chariot appears along with Apollo-Sol above the figure of Augustus.

The name Caelus occurs in dedicatory inscriptions in connection to the cult of Mithras. The Mithraic deity Caelus is sometimes depicted allegorically as an eagle bending over the sphere of heaven marked with symbols of the planets or the zodiac. In a Mithraic context he is associated with Cautes and can appear as Caelus Aeternus (“Eternal Sky”).

M. J. Vermasaren shows Mithras, the unconquerable sun, and his two torch-bearers, Cautes, sunrise, and Cautopates, sunset, equally sized in a 3-branch pine tree, visible at Dieburg, Germany. Vermasaren suggests they form a Mithraic “Trinity”.

Cautes and Cautopates are torch-bearers depicted attending the god Mithras in the icons of the ancient Roman cult of Mithraism, known as Tauroctony. Cautes holds his torch raised up, and Cautopates holds his torch pointed downward. Both are depicted as smaller than Mithras to emphasize his significance.

In Mithraic images, Mithras either represents the sun, or is a close friend of the sun god Helios or Sol Invictus (Latin: the invincible sun) with whom Mithras dines. The two torch-bearers are often interpreted as symbols of light, one for the rising, the other for the setting sun.

Cautes and Cautopates are supposed to represent the stations of sunrise and sunset respectively, or perhaps the spring and autumn equinoxes, or equivalently the ascending (spring) and descending (autumnal) nodes of the Sun’s apparent path on the celestial sphere.

An alternate interpretation advanced by David Ulansey is that Cautes represents the spring equinox and Cautopates the autumn equinox. Thus, represented on the left and right of the Tauroctony, they become a realistic cadre of the celestial equator and the constellations included between the two equinoxes during the Age of Taurus.

If eclipses of the sun and moon formed part of Mithraic symbolism, they could also represent the ascending and descending nodes where the Moon crosses the ecliptic. Cautopates could also represent death, while Cautes might represent new life.

As Caelus Nocturnus, he was the god of the night-time, starry sky. In a passage from Plautus, Nocturnus is regarded as the opposite of Sol, the Sun god. Nocturnus appears in several inscriptions found in Dalmatia and Italy, in the company of other deities who are found also in the cosmological schema of Martianus Capella, based on the Etruscan tradition.

In the Etruscan discipline of divination, Caelus Nocturnus was placed in the sunless north opposite Sol to represent the polar extremities of the axis. This alignment was fundamental to the drawing of a templum (sacred space) for the practice of augury.

A form of Ahura-Mazda is invoked in Latin as Caelus Aeternus Iupiter. The walls of some mithrea feature allegorical depictions of the cosmos with Oceanus and Caelus. The mithraeum of Dieburg represents the tripartite world with Caelus, Oceanus, and Tellus below Phaeton-Heliodromus.

Some Roman writers used Caelus or Caelum as a way to express the monotheistic God of Judaism. Juvenal identifies the God of the Jews with Caelus as the highest heaven (summum caelum), saying that Jews worship the numen of Caelus; Petronius uses similar language.

Florus has a rather odd passage describing the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem as housing a “sky” (caelum) under a golden vine, which has been taken as an uncomprehending attempt to grasp the presence of the God of the Jews. A golden vine, perhaps the one mentioned, was sent by the Hasmonean king Aristobulus to Pompeius Magnus after his defeat of Jerusalem, and was later displayed in the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus.

A lunar node is either of the two orbital nodes of the Moon, that is, the two points at which the orbit of the Moon intersects the ecliptic. The ascending (or north) node is where the Moon moves into the northern ecliptic hemisphere, while the descending (or south) node is where the Moon enters the southern ecliptic hemisphere.

In ancient European texts, the ascending node is referred to as the dragon’s head (Caput Draconis, or Anabibazon). Its symbol is the astronomical and astrological symbol for the dragon’s head. By the same analogy, the descending node is also known as the dragon’s tail (Cauda Draconis, or Catabibazon), and its symbol is the inversion of that of the ascending node.

In Hindu astronomy, the ascending lunar node is called Rahu (i.e ‘north’) and the descending lunar node (i.e ‘south’) is called Ketu. In Tibetan Astrology (partially based on the Kalachakra Tantra) the descending node is named Kalagni.

Ancient astronomers felt that the mighty Rahu and Ketu have the strength to obscure the sun, thus causing a solar eclipse. According to some accounts in Hindu mythology, Ketu belongs to Jaimini Gotra, whereas Rahu is from Paiteenasa gotra and hence both are totally different entities with distinct characteristics but are two parts of a common body.

Rāhu is one of the nine major astronomical bodies (navagraha) in Indian texts. Unlike the other eight, Rāhu is not a real astronomical body but a shadow entity, one that causes eclipses and is the king of meteors. Rahu represents the ascend of the moon in its precessional orbit around the earth.

The planets according to Indian astronomers are the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu. Even though Rahu and Ketu are not physical bodies, they are sensitive points called lunar nodes on the intersection of the ecliptic (the apparent path of motion of the Sun) by the Moon’s orbit.

Ketu is generally referred to as a “shadow” planet. It is believed to have a tremendous impact on human lives and also the whole creation. In some special circumstances it helps someone achieve the zenith of fame. Ketu is often depicted with a gem or star on his head signifying a mystery light.

As per Vedic astrology Rahu and Ketu have an orbital cycle of 18 years and are always 180 degrees from each other orbitally (as well as in the birth charts). This coincides with the precessional orbit of moon or the ~18 year rotational cycle of the lunar ascending and descending nodes on the earth’s ecliptic plane.

This also corresponds to a saros, a period of approximately 223 synodic months (approximately 6585.3211 days, or 18 years, 11 days, 8 hours), that can be used to predict eclipses of the Sun and Moon.

Astronomically, Rahu and Ketu denote the points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move on the celestial sphere. Therefore, Rahu and Ketu are respectively called the north and the south lunar nodes. The fact that eclipses occur when the Sun and the Moon are at one of these points gives rise to the understanding of swallowing of the Sun and the Moon by the snake.

Often Ketu is misunderstood as Uranus during Sanskrit to English translation, however, Uranus isn’t visible to the naked eye and its discovery is attributed to the use of high resolution telescopes in modern astronomy.

Often Ketu is misunderstood as Neptune during Sanskrit to English translation, however, Neptune isn’t visible to the naked eye and its discovery is attributed to the use of high resolution telescopes in modern astronomy.

The antisolar point is the abstract point on the celestial sphere directly opposite of the Sun from an observer’s perspective. This means that the antisolar point lies above the horizon when the Sun is below it, and vice versa.

On a sunny day, the antisolar point can be easily found; it is located within the shadow of the observer’s head. Like the zenith and nadir, the antisolar point is not fixed in three-dimensional space, but is defined relative to the observer. Each observer has their own antisolar point, which moves along with them as they change position.

The antisolar point forms the geometric center of several optical phenomena, including subhorizon haloes, rainbows, glories, and heiligenschein. Occasionally, around sunset or sunrise, anticrepuscular rays appear to converge toward the antisolar point near the horizon. However, this is an optical illusion caused by perspective; in reality, the “rays” (i.e. bands of shadow) run near-parallel to each other.

Also around the antisolar point, the gegenschein is often visible in a moonless night sky away from city lights, arising from the backscatter of sunlight by interplanetary dust. In astronomy, the full Moon or a planet in opposition lies around the antisolar point. During a total lunar eclipse, the full Moon enters the umbra of Earth’s shadow, which the planet has been casting onto its atmosphere, into space, and toward the antisolar point.

The anthelic point is often used as a synonym for the antisolar point, but the two should be differentiated. While the antisolar point is directly opposite the sun, always below the horizon when the sun is up, the anthelic point is opposite but at the same elevation as the sun, and is therefore located on the parhelic circle.

Halo or aureola is an optical phenomenon in which a bright spot appears around the shadow of the viewer’s head. In photogrammetry and remote sensing, it is more commonly known as the hotspot. There are several halo phenomena that are centered on or converge on the anthelic point, such as the anthelion, Wegener arcs, Tricker arcs and the parhelic circle itself.

An anthelion (plural anthelia; “opposite the sun”) is a rare optical phenomenon of the halo family. It appears on the parhelic circle opposite to the sun as a faint white spot, not unlike a sundog, and may be crossed by an X-shaped pair of diffuse arcs.

How anthelia are formed is disputed. Walter Tape, among others, has argued they are not separate haloes, but simply where various haloes caused by horizontally oriented column-shaped ice crystals coincide on the parhelic circle to create a bright spot. If this theory is correct, anthelia should only appear together with these other haloes.

However, anthelia occur unaccompanied by other plate crystal haloes, thus scientists have produced alternative explanations. The Dutch professor S.W. Visser proposed they form by two exterior light reflections in quadrangular prisms, while Robert Greenler has suggested two interior reflections in column-shaped crystals produces the phenomenon.

While the anthelion area is usually sparse on haloes, in a complex display it features various rare optic phenomena: Flanking the anthelion on the parhelic circle are two 120° parhelia (and two Liljequist parhelia) caused by plate crystals. The Tricker and diffuse arcs are produced in singly oriented column crystals and form an Ankh-like shape passing through the anthelion. Wegener arcs occasionally cross the sky to converge in the anthelion.

Crepuscular rays (more commonly known as sunbeams, sun rays, splintered light, or god rays), in atmospheric optics, are rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from the point in the sky where the sun is located. These rays, which stream through openings in clouds (particularly stratocumulus) or between other objects, are columns of sunlit air particles separated by darker cloud-shadowed volumes.

Despite seeming to converge toward the light source, the rays are in fact near-parallel shafts of sunlight. Their apparent convergence is a perspective effect. This phenomena mimics the way parallel railway lines or long hallways seem to seek convergence at a distant vanishing point. The sun rays do converge toward the sun, but the sun is much farther away than the rays might suggest.

The name comes from their frequent occurrences during twilight hours (those around dawn and dusk), when the contrasts between light and dark are the most obvious. Crepuscular comes from the Latin word “crepusculum”, meaning twilight.

The rays in some cases may extend across the sky and appear to converge at the antisolar point, the point on the sky sphere directly opposite the sun. In this case they are called anticrepuscular or antisolar rays.

These are not as easily spotted as crepuscular rays. This apparent dual convergence (to both the solar and antisolar points) is a perspective effect analogous to railway tracks appearing to converge to opposite points in opposite directions.

Anticrepuscular rays, or antisolar rays, are atmospheric optical phenomena similar to crepuscular rays, but appear opposite of the Sun in the sky. Anticrepuscular rays are nearly parallel, but appear to converge toward the antisolar point due to linear perspective. Anticrepuscular rays are most frequently visible around sunrise or sunset.

Appearing to radiate from the Sun, crepuscular rays usually look much brighter than anticrepuscular rays. This is because the atmospheric light scattering making the crepuscular rays visible occurs at low angles to the horizon.

Although anticrepuscular rays appear to converge toward the antisolar point, the convergence is actually an optical illusion. The rays are in fact almost parallel, and their apparent convergence is toward a vanishing point, which is an infinite distance away from the viewer.

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Posted by Fredsvenn on October 4, 2018

Index of known Goddesses

Glossary for Her Cycle of Transformations & related documents

Origins of the ancient constellations: The Mesopotamian traditions

The Celestial Pole in the Apocalypse

Damgalnuna, Damkina, Davcina, Ninhursaga: Mistress of the Earth

Sumerian Goddesses – Goddess-Guide.com

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Sacred marriage and chaoskampf

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 3, 2018

Akitu or Akitum (“the barley-cutting”, “barley-sowing”, “head of the year”) was a spring festival in ancient 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.

The cosmogenic myth common in Sumer was that of the hieros gamos, a sacred marriage where divine principles in the form of dualistic opposites came together as male and female to give birth to the cosmos. Ma is a Sumerian word meaning “land” that in Sumerian mythology was also used to regard Primordial 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.

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) the first dragon god. Ma was a local goddess at Ma and a Phrygian alternative name for Cybele.

In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically dNAMMA = dENGUR) was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat (Akkadian: DTI.AMAT or DTAM.TUM, Greek: Thaláttē) 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.

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, 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 Enki.

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.

She is singled out Nammu as the “only female prime mover” in the cosmogonic myths of antiquity. 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’.

Tiamat is 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. Tiamat was the “shining” personification of salt water who roared and smote in the chaos of original creation. She and Apsu filled the cosmic abyss with the primeval waters. She is “Ummu-Hubur who formed all things”.

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.

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 (later known as Ishtar), 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 ancient Mesopotamian god Dumuzid, later known by the alternate form Tammuz, the 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). Dumuzid, was associated with shepherds, and the primary consort of the goddess Inanna.

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. This angered Kingu, their son, who reported the event to Tiamat.

Enraged, she, too, wars upon her husband’s murderers, taking on the form of a massive sea dragon. The deities gathered in terror, but Anu, (replaced later, first by Enlil and, in the late version that has survived after the First Dynasty of Babylon, by Marduk, the son of Enki), 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.

She is slain 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” to battle the deities in order to avenge Apsu’s death. Marduk then forms heavens and the earth from her divided body.

These were her own offspring: Bašmu (“Venomous Snake”), Ušumgallu (“Great Dragon”), Mušmaḫḫū (“Exalted Serpent”), Mušḫuššu (“Furious Snake”), Laḫmu (the “Hairy One”), Ugallu (the “Big Weather-Beast”), Uridimmu (“Mad Lion”), Girtablullû (“Scorpion-Man”), Umū dabrūtu (“Violent Storms”), Kulullû (“Fish-Man”) and Kusarikku (“Bull-Man”).

Tiamat possessed the Tablet of Destinies and in the primordial battle she gave them to Kingu, the deity she had chosen as her lover and the leader of her host, and who was also one of her children. Kingu was captured and later was slain: his red blood mixed with the red clay of the Earth would make the body of humankind, created to act as the servant of the younger Igigi deities.

Kingu then went to live in the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, along with the other deities who had sided with Tiamat. In ancient Sumerian mythology, Ereshkigal is the queen of the Underworld. She 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 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 goddess of vegetation, 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.

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Astral Worship

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 3, 2018

Astral Worship

BY

J. H. Hill, M. D.

 

“Now, what I want is—facts.”—Boz.

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The origin of the Chinese theology

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 2, 2018

Relatert bilde

When the medieval Icelanders were copying out Greek myths, they explained the god Saturn/Kronos to their readers as “Njord”. In Norse mythology, Njörðr is a god among the Vanir. Njörðr, father of the deities Freyr and Freyja by his unnamed sister, was in an ill-fated marriage with the goddess Skaði, lives in Nóatún and is associated with the sea, seafaring, wind, fishing, wealth, and crop fertility.

Odin is associated with wisdom, healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, battle, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and is the husband of the goddess Frigg. Odin was known in Old English as Wōden, in Old Saxon as Wōdan, and in Old High German as Wuotan or Wōtan, all stemming from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz (raging”, “anger, “fury”).

Odin is a frequent subject of study in Germanic studies, and numerous theories have been put forward regarding his development. Some of these focus on Odin’s particular relation to other figures; for example, the fact that Freyja’s husband Óðr appears to be something of an etymological doublet of the god, whereas Odin’s wife Frigg is in many ways similar to Freyja, and that Odin has a particular relation to the figure of Loki.

When they described the gods of Celtic and Germanic tribes, rather than considering them separate deities, the Romans interpreted them as local manifestations or aspects of their own gods, a cultural trait called the interpretatio Romana. Tacitus refers to the god Odin as “Mercury”, Thor as “Hercules” (“Jupiter”), and Týr as “Mars”.

Mercury, in particular, was reported as becoming extremely popular among the nations the Roman Empire conquered. Romans associated Mercury with the Germanic god Wotan, by interpretatio Romana; 1st-century Roman writer Tacitus identifies him as the chief god of the Germanic peoples.

Julius Caesar wrote of Mercury being the most popular god in Britain and Gaul, regarded as the inventor of all the arts. This is probably because, in the Roman syncretism, Mercury was equated with the Celtic god Lugus, and in this aspect was commonly accompanied by the Celtic goddess Rosmerta.

Although Lugus may originally have been a deity of light or the sun (though this is disputed), similar to the Roman Apollo, his importance as a god of trade made him more comparable to Mercury, and Apollo was instead equated with the Celtic deity Belenus.

Under the trifunctional hypothesis of Georges Dumézil, Odin is assigned one of the core functions in the Indo-European pantheon as a representative of the first function (sovereignty) corresponding to the Hindu Varuṇa (fury and magic) as opposed to Týr, who corresponds to the Hindu Mitrá (law and justice); while the Vanir represent the third function (fertility).

Four gods, Thor (with Jörð) , Baldr (with Frigg), Víðarr (the jötunn Gríðr) and Váli (the giantess Rindr), are explicitly identified as sons of Odin in the Eddic poems, in the skaldic poems, in Saxo Grammaticus’ Gesta Danorum, and in the Gylfaginning section of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda. But silence on the matter does not indicate that other gods whose parentage is not mentioned in these works might not also be sons of Odin.

In various kennings Snorri also describes Heimdallr, Bragi, Týr and Höðr as sons of Odin, information that appears nowhere else in the Edda. For Heimdall there is no variant account of his father. The same may not be true for Bragi if Bragi is taken to be the skaldic poet Bragi Boddason made into a god. But Týr, according to the Eddic poem Hymiskvida, was son of the giant Hymir rather than a son of Odin.

As to Höd, outside of the single statement in the kennings, Snorri makes no mention that Höd is Baldr’s brother or Odin’s son, though one might expect that to be emphasized. In Saxo’s version of the death of Baldr, Höd, whom Saxo calls Høtherus, is a mortal and in no way related to Saxo’s demi-god Baldur.

Hermód appears in Snorri’s Gylfaginning as the messenger sent by Odin to Hel to seek to bargain for Baldr’s release. He is called “son” of Odin in most manuscripts, but in the Codex Regius version—the Codex Regius is normally considered the best manuscript—Hermód is called sveinn Óðins ‘Odin’s boy’, which might mean Odin’s son but in the context is as likely to mean Odin’s servant. However, when Hermód arrives in Hel’s hall, Snorri calls Baldur his brother. To confuse matters other texts know of a mortal hero named Hermód or Heremod.

The Golden Age: Njord and Saturn

Chinese theology

Caucasus, Western Asia and the Near East (often called one of “the cradles of civilization”) was the first region to enter the Bronze Age, which began with the rise of the Mesopotamian civilization in the mid 4th millennium BC.

The origins of urban settlements has generally been attributed to the riverine societies of southern Mesopotamia (in what is now southern Iraq). This is the area of ancient Sumer, where around 4000 BC the Mesopotamian cities such of Ur and Uruk emerged.

In 2007, following the discoveries at Hamoukar, a large archaeological site located in the Jazira region of northeastern Syria (Al Hasakah Governorate), near the Iraqi and Turkish borders, some archaeologists have argued that the Cradle of Civilization could have extended further up the Tigris River and included the part of northern Syria where Hamoukar is located.

The early settlement dates back to the 5th millennium BCE, and it existed simultaneously with the Ubaid and the early Uruk cultures. It was a big centre of obsidian production. In the 3rd millennium, this was one of the largest cities of Northern Mesopotamia. Other contemporary early sites in this area are Chagar Bazar, Tell Arbid, and the multi-period site of Tell Brak.

Cultures in the ancient Near East practiced intensive year-round agriculture, developed a writing system, invented the potter’s wheel, created a centralized government, written law codes, city and nation states and empires, embarked on advanced architectural projects, introduced social stratification, economic and civil administration, slavery, and practiced organized warfare, medicine and religion.

Societies in the region laid the foundations for astronomy, mathematics and astrology. 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/. Anu was also identified with the Semitic god Ilu or El from early on. In Hittite orthography, the syllabic value of the sign was again only an.

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”. Anu’s primary role in myths is as the ancestor of the Anunnaki, the major deities of Sumerian religion.

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”. 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.

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.

Dyēus (Proto-Indo-European: *dyḗws, also *Dyḗus Ph2tḗr, 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.

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”, and the original Germanic word remains visible in “Tuesday” (“Day of Tīwaz”) and Old Norse tívar, which may be continued in the toponym Tiveden (“Wood of the Gods”, or of Týr).

In Ancient Egyptian religion, Taweret (also spelled Taurt, Tuat, Taouris, Tuart, Ta-weret, Tawaret, Twert, Thoeris and Taueret, and in Greek – Thouéris and Toeris) is 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”.

She was thought to keep the northern sky – a place of darkness, cold, mist, and rain to the Egyptians – free of evil. She was shown to represent the never-setting circumpolar stars of Ursa Minor and Draco. The seven stars lined down her back are the stars of the Little Dipper. She was believed to be a guardian of the north, stopping all who were unworthy before they could pass her by.

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) the first dragon god.

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. Ma was a local goddess at Ma and a Phrygian alternative name for Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubileya/Kubeleya Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”).

Cybele is an Anatolian mother goddess; she may have a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük, where statues of plump women, sometimes sitting, have been found in excavations dated to the 6th millennium BC and identified by some as a mother goddess.

The archeological period in which bronze was the hardest metal in widespread use is known as the Bronze Age. The beginning of the Bronze Age in Caucasus and the Near East is conventionally dated to the mid-4th millennium BC, and to the early 2nd millennium BC in China; everywhere it gradually spread across regions.

Bronze weapons were an integral part of Shang society. Shang infantry were armed with a variety of stone and bronze weaponry, including máo spears, yuè pole-axes, gē pole-based dagger-axes, composite bows, and bronze or leather helmets.

Recent archaeological finds have shown that the late Shang used horses, chariots, bows and practiced horse burials that are similar to the steppe peoples to the west. There is little doubt that the chariot entered China through the Central Asia and the Northern Steppe, possibly indicating some form of contact with the Indo-Europeans.

Oracle bone inscriptions suggest that the Shang used chariots in royal hunts and in battle only as mobile command vehicles. In contrast, the western enemies of the Shang, such as the Zhou, began to use limited numbers of chariots in battle towards the end of the Shang period.

During the Shang dynasty, China became one of the most skilled bronze-working civilizations in the ancient world, as people heated, melted, and cast metal to making cooking utensils, tools, weapons, and other household items.

The Shang dynasty or Yin dynasty, according to traditional historiography, is the earliest dynasty of traditional Chinese history supported by archaeological evidence. It ruled in the Yellow River valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the Xia dynasty and followed by the Zhou dynasty.

The classic account of the Shang comes from texts such as the Book of Documents (Shujing, earlier Shu-king) or Classic of History, also known as the Shangshu (“Esteemed Documents”), which is is one of the Five Classics of ancient Chinese literature, Bamboo Annals and Records of the Grand Historian.

Records of the Grand Historian, also known by its Chinese name Shiji, is a monumental history of ancient China and the world finished around 94 BC by the Han dynasty official Sima Qian after having been started by his father, Sima Tan, Grand Astrologer to the imperial court.

The work covers the world as it was then known to the Chinese and a 2500-year period from the age of the legendary Yellow Emperor to the reign of Emperor Wu of Han in the author’s own time.

The Records has been called a “foundational text in Chinese civilization”. After Confucius and the First Emperor of Qin, “Sima Qian was one of the creators of Imperial China, not least because by providing definitive biographies, he virtually created the two earlier figures.”

The Records set the model for the 24 subsequent dynastic histories of China. In contrast to Western historical works, the Records do not treat history as “a continuous, sweeping narrative”, but rather break it up into smaller, overlapping units dealing with famous leaders, individuals, and major topics of significance.

The Bamboo Annals, also known as the Ji Tomb Annals, is a chronicle of ancient China. It begins at the earliest legendary times (the Yellow Emperor) and extends to 299 BC, with the later centuries focusing on the history of the State of Wei in the Warring States period. It thus covers a similar period to Sima Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian (91 BC).

According to the traditional chronology based on calculations made approximately 2,000 years ago by Liu Xin, the Shang ruled from 1766 to 1122 BC, but according to the chronology based upon the “current text” of Bamboo Annals, they ruled from 1556 to 1046 BC. The Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project dated them from c. 1600 to 1046 BC.

Excavation at the Ruins of Yin (near modern-day Anyang), which has been identified as the last Shang capital, uncovered eleven major royal tombs and the foundations of palaces and ritual sites, containing weapons of war and remains from both animal and human sacrifices. Tens of thousands of bronze, jade, stone, bone, and ceramic artifacts have been found.

The Anyang site has yielded the earliest known body of Chinese writing, mostly divinations inscribed on oracle bones – turtle shells, ox scapulae, or other bones. The inscriptions provide critical insight into many topics from the politics, economy, and religious practices to the art and medicine of this early stage of Chinese civilization.

Chinese theology, which comes in different interpretations according to the classic texts and the common religion, and specifically Confucian, Taoist and other philosophical formulations, is fundamentally monistic, that is to say it sees the world and the gods of its phenomena as an organic whole, or cosmos, which continuously emerges from a simple principle.

This is expressed by the concept that “all things have one and the same principle” (wànwù yīlǐ). This principle is commonly referred to as Tiān, a concept generally translated as “Heaven”, referring to the northern culmen and starry vault of the skies and its natural laws which regulate earthly phenomena and generate beings as their progenitors.

Ancestors are therefore regarded as the equivalent of Heaven within human society, and therefore as the means connecting back to Heaven which is the “utmost ancestral father” (zēngzǔfù). Chinese theology may be also called Tiānxué (“study of Heaven”), a term already in use in the 17th and 18th century.

Since the Shang (1600–1046 BCE) and Zhou dynasty 81046–256 BCE), the radical Chinese terms for the supreme God are Tiān and Shàngdì (the “Highest Deity”) or simply Dì (“Deity”). Another concept is Tàidì (the “Great Deity”). These names are combined in different ways in Chinese theological literature, often interchanged in the same paragraph if not in the same sentence.

One of the combinations is the name of God used at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, which is the “Highest Deity the Heavenly King” (Huángtiān Shàngdì); others are “Great Deity the Heavenly King” (Tiānhuáng Dàdì) and “Supreme Deity of the Vast Heaven” (Hàotiān Shàngdì).

God is considered manifest in this world as the northern culmen and starry vault of the skies which regulate nature. As its see, the circumpolar stars (the Little and Big Dipper, or broader Ursa Minor and Ursa Major) are known, among various names, as Tiānmén (“Gate of Heaven”) and Tiānshū (“Pivot of Heaven”), or the “celestial clock” regulating the four seasons of time.

The Chinese supreme God is compared to the conception of the supreme God identified as the north celestial pole in other cultures, including the Mesopotamian An (“Heaven” itself), and Enlil and Enki/Marduk, the Vedic Indra and Mitra–Varuna, the Zoroastrian Ahura Mazda, as well as the Dyeus of common Proto-Indo-European religion.

Throughout the Chinese theological literary tradition, the Dipper constellations, and especially the Big Dipper (Běidǒuxīng, “Northern Dipper”), also known as Great Chariot, within Ursa Major, are portrayed as the potent symbol of spirit, divinity, or of the activity of the supreme God regulating nature.

The Dipper is the Deity’s carriage. It revolves about the centre, visiting and regulating each of the four regions. It divides yin from yang, establishes the four seasons, equalises the five elemental phases, deploys the seasonal junctures and angular measures, and determines the various periodicities: all these are tied to the Dipper.

When the handle of the Dipper points to the east at dawn, it is spring to all the world. When the handle of the Dipper points to the south it is summer to all the world. When the handle of the Dipper points to the west, it is autumn to all the world. When the handle of the Dipper points to the north, it is winter to all the world. As the handle of the Dipper rotates above, so affairs are set below.

Dì is literally a title expressing dominance over the all-under-Heaven, that is all created things. It is etymologically and figuratively analogous to the concept of di as the base of a fruit, which falls and produces other fruits. This analogy is attested in the Shuowen Jiezi explaining “deity” as “what faces the base of a melon fruit”.

Tiān is usually translated as “Heaven”, but by graphical etymology it means “Great One” and scholars relate it to the same Dì through phonetic etymology and trace their common root, through their archaic forms respectively *Teeŋ and *Tees, to the symbols of the celestial pole and its spinning stars.

Other words, such as dǐng (“on top”, “apex”) would share the same etymology, all connected to a conceptualisation—according to the scholar John C. Didier—of the north celestial pole godhead as cosmic square (Dīng).

Zhou (2005) even connects Dì, through Old Chinese *Tees and by phonetic etymology, to the Proto-Indo-European Dyeus. Medhurst (1847) also shows affinities in the usage of “deity”, Chinese di, Greek theos and Latin deus, for incarnate powers resembling the supreme godhead.

There is distinguished two layers in the development of early Chinese theology, traditions derived respectively from the Shang and subsequent Zhou dynasties. The religion of the Shang was based on the worship of ancestors and god-kings, who survived as unseen divine forces after death. They were not transcendent entities, since the cosmos was “by itself so”, not created by a force outside of it but generated by internal rhythms and cosmic powers.

The royal ancestors were called dì, “deities”, and the utmost progenitor was Shangdi, identified as the dragon. Already in Shang theology, the multiplicity of gods of nature and ancestors were viewed as parts of Shangdi, and the four fāng (“directions” or “sides”) and their fēng (“winds”) as his cosmic will.

The Zhou dynasty, which overthrew the Shang, emphasised a more universal idea of Tian (“Heaven”). The Shang dynasty’s identification of Shangdi as their ancestor-god had asserted their claim to power by divine right; the Zhou transformed this claim into a legitimacy based on moral power, the Mandate of Heaven.

In Zhou theology, Tian had no singular earthly progeny, but bestowed divine favour on virtuous rulers. Zhou kings declared that their victory over the Shang was because they were virtuous and loved their people, while the Shang were tyrants and thus were deprived of power by Tian.

In traditional Chinese astronomy, which continues to be used throughout East Asia (e.g., in astrology), these stars are generally considered to compose the Right Wall of the Purple Forbidden Enclosure which surrounds the Northern Celestial Pole, although numerous other groupings and names have been made over the centuries.

Similarly, each star has a distinct name, which likewise has varied over time and depending upon the asterism being constructed. The Western asterism is now known as the “Northern Dipper” or the “Seven Stars of the Northern Dipper”.

The dragon, associated to the constellation Draco winding the north ecliptic pole and slithering between the Little and Big Dipper (or Great Chariot), represents the “protean” primordial power, which embodies both yin and yang in unity, and therefore the awesome unlimited power (qi) of divinity. In Han-dynasty traditions, Draco is described as the spear of the supreme God.

The personification of the Big Dipper itself is also known as “Doumu” (“Mother of the Great Chariot / Big Dipper”), also known as Dǒumǔ Yuánjūn (“Lady Mother of the Chariot”), Dòulǎo Yuánjūn (“Lady Ancestress of the Chariot”) and Tàiyī Yuánjūn (“Lady of the Great One”) in Chinese folk religion and Taoism, and Marici in Buddhism.

Doumu is also named through the honorific Tiānhòu (“Queen of Heaven”), shared with other Chinese goddesses, especially Mazu or Ma-tsu, meaning “Maternal Ancestor” “Mother”, “Granny”, or “Grandmother”, who are perhaps conceived as her aspects. Other names of her are Dàomǔ (“Mother of the Way”) and Tiānmǔ (“Mother of Heaven”).

Dǒumǔ is the feminine aspect of the cosmic God of Heaven. The seven stars of the Big Dipper, in addition to two not visible to the naked eye, are conceived as her sons, the Jiǔhuángshén (“Nine God-Kings”), themselves regarded as the ninefold manifestation of Jiǔhuángdàdì (“Great Deity of the Nine Kings”) or Dòufù (“Father of the Great Chariot”), another name of the God of Heaven. She is therefore both wife and mother of the God of Heaven.

In Vajrayana traditions of Chinese Buddhism (Tangmi), Doumu was conflated with Bodhisattva Marici at least by the Tang dynasty. Marici too is described as the mother of the Way and the Dipper, at the centre of Brahma’s Heaven of primal energy. Marici’s chariot is dragged by seven pigs.

In certain Taoist accounts she is identified as the same as Jiutian Xuannü (“Mysterious Lady of the Nine Heavens”) and the ambiguous goddess of life and death Xiwangmu (“Queen Mother of the West”), representing the mother of the immortal “red infant” (chìzǐ) Dao enshrined at the centre of the human body.

This links her directly to the myths about the birth and initiation of Laozi[5] and the Yellow Emperor (whose mother Fubao became pregnant of him after she was aroused after she saw a lightning from, or turning around, the Big Dipper), as attested, among others, by Ge Hong (283-343).

The first historical information on Xiwangmu, known by various local names, a goddess in Chinese religion and mythology, also worshipped in neighbouring Asian countries, and attested from ancient times, can be traced back to oracle bone inscriptions of the fifteenth century BC that record sacrifices to a “Western Mother”.

Even though these inscriptions illustrate that she predates organized Taoism, she is most often associated with Taoism. Commoners and poets of the era referred to her more simply as the “Queen Mother”, the “Divine Mother”, or simply “Nanny” (Amah).

She has numerous titles, one of the most popular being the Golden Mother of the Nacre Lake (also translated as “Mother-of-Pearl Lake” or “Jade Lake”). She is also known in contemporary sources as the Lady Queen Mother. In the Maternist current of Chinese salvationist religions she is the main deity and is called upon as the Eternal Venerable Mother.

Tang writers called her “Golden Mother the First Ruler”, the “Golden Mother of Tortoise Mountain”, “She of the Nine Numina and the Grand Marvel”, and the “Perfected Marvel of the Western Florescence and Ultimate Worthy of the Cavernous Darkness”.

From her name alone some of her most important characteristics are revealed: she is royal, female, and is associated with the west. The growing popularity of the Queen Mother of the West, as well as the beliefs that she was the dispenser of prosperity, longevity, and eternal bliss took place during the second century BC when the northern and western parts of China were able to be better known because of the opening of the Silk Road.

The first mentions of the Queen Mother date back to the oracle bone inscriptions of the Shang dynasty (1766 – 1122 BC). Originally, from the earliest known depictions of her in the Guideways of Mountains and Seas during the Zhou dynasty, she was a ferocious goddess with the teeth of a tiger, who sent pestilence down upon the world. After she was adopted into the Taoist pantheon, she was transformed into the goddess of life and immortality.

 

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Posted by Fredsvenn on October 1, 2018

Noravank Monastery (literally “new monastery”) is a 13th-century Armenian monastery, located 122 km from Yerevan in a narrow gorge known for its tall, sheer, brick-red cliffs, directly across from the monastery made by the Amaghu River, near the town of Yeghegnadzor, Armenia.

The monastery is best known for its two-storey Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) church, which grants access to the second floor by way of a narrow stone-made staircase jutting out from the face of building.

Sevanavank Monastery located on a peninsula at the northwestern shore of Lake Sevan in the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia, not far from the town of Sevan, built at a height of more than 1,925 metres (6,316 feet) above sea level, 65 km (40 mi) northeast of the capital Yerevan.

Initially the monastery was built at the southern shore of a small island. After the artificial draining of Lake Sevan, which started in the era of Joseph Stalin, the water level fell about 20 metres, and the island transformed into a peninsula.

According to an inscription in one of the churches, the monastery of Sevanavank was founded in 874 by Princess Mariam, the daughter of Ashot I, who became an Armenian a decade later and oversaw the beginning of Armenia’s second golden age (862 – 977).

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On the origin of the Greeks – The Graeco-Armeno-Aryan family and the origin of the Indo-European languages

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 1, 2018

“Minoans, Mycenaeans, and modern Greeks also had some ancestry related to the ancient people of the Caucasus, Armenia, and Iran,” said co-lead author Dr. Iosif Lazaridis, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School.

The Minoan civilization was an Aegean Bronze Age civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands which flourished from about 2600 to 1600 BC, before a late period of decline, finally ending around 1100. It preceded the Mycenaean civilization of ancient Greece.

The civilization was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Arthur Evans. It has been described as the earliest of its kind in Europe, with historian Will Durant calling the Minoans “the first link in the European chain”.

The term “Minoan”, which refers to the mythical King Minos, originally described in the pottery of the period. Minos was associated in Greek mythology with the labyrinth and the Minotaur, which Evans identified with the site at Knossos (the largest Minoan site). According to Homer, Crete once had 90 cities.

The Minoan period saw trade between Crete, Aegean and Mediterranean settlements, particularly the Near East. Through their traders and artists, the Minoan cultural influence reached beyond Crete to the Cyclades, the Old Kingdom of Egypt, copper-bearing Cyprus, Canaan and the Levantine coast and Anatolia.

The reasons for the slow decline of the Minoan civilization, beginning around 1550 BC, are unclear; theories include Mycenaean invasions from mainland Greece and the major volcanic eruption of Santorini. Some of its best art is preserved in the city of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini, which was destroyed by the Minoan eruption.

The Minoan language is the language (or languages) of the ancient Minoan civilization of Crete written in the Cretan hieroglyphs and later in the Linear A syllabary. Though meager, the inscriptions show a language that bears no obvious kinship to Indo-European or Semitic languages; the language appears to be unrelated to Etruscan or any other known ancient language of the Aegean or Asia Minor.

Raymond A. Brown, after listing a number of words of pre-Greek origin from Crete suggests a relation between Eteocretan, Lemnian (Pelasgian), Minoan, and Tyrrhenian, coining the name “Aegeo-Asianic” for the proposed language family.

While Eteocretan is possibly descended from the Minoan language of Linear A inscriptions of a millennium earlier, until there is an accepted decipherment of Linear A, that language must also remain unclassified and the question of a relationship between the two remains speculative, especially as there seem to have been other non-Greek languages spoken in Crete.

As the Cretan hieroglyphs are undeciphered and Linear A only partly deciphered, the Minoan language is unknown and unclassified. Indeed, with the existing evidence, it seems impossible to be certain that the two scripts record the same language, or even that a single language is recorded in each.

The Eteocretan language, attested in a few alphabetic inscriptions from Crete 1,000 years later, is possibly a descendant of Minoan, but it is itself unclassified.

Tyrsenian (also Tyrrhenian), named after the Tyrrhenians, is a hypothetical extinct family of closely related ancient languages proposed by Helmut Rix (1998), that consists of the Etruscan language of central Italy, the Raetic language of the Alps, and the Lemnian language of the Aegean Sea.

A larger Aegean family including Eteocretan, Minoan and Eteocypriot has been proposed by G. M. Facchetti, and is supported by S. Yatsemirsky, referring to some alleged similarities between on the one hand Etruscan and Lemnian (a language attested in the Aegean, widely thought to be related to Etruscan), and on the other hand some languages such as Minoan and Eteocretan.

If these languages could be shown to be related to Etruscan and Rhaetic, they would constitute a pre-Indo-European family stretching from (at the very least) the Aegean islands and Crete across mainland Greece and the Italian peninsula to the Alps. Facchetti proposes a hypothetical language family derived from Minoan in two branches.

From Minoan he proposes a Proto-Tyrrhenian from which would have come the Etruscan, Lemnian and Rhaetic languages. James Mellaart has proposed that this language family is related to the pre-Indo-European Anatolian languages, based upon place name analysis. From another Minoan branch would have come the Eteocretan language.

A relation with the Anatolian languages within Indo-European has been proposed, but is not generally accepted (although Leonard R. Palmer did show that some Linear A inscriptions were sensible as a variant of Luwian).

If these languages are an early Indo-European stratum rather than pre-Indo-European, they would be associated with Krahe’s Old European hydronymy and would date back to a Kurganization during the early Bronze Age.

A number of mainly Soviet or post-Soviet linguists, including Sergei Starostin, suggested a link between the Tyrrhenian languages and the Northeast Caucasian languages, based on claimed sound correspondences between Etruscan, Hurrian and Northeast Caucasian languages, numerals, grammatical structures and phonologies. This claim was renewed by Ed Robertson (2006).

The language group would have died out around the 3rd century BC in the Aegean (by assimilation of the speakers to Greek), and as regards Etruscan around the 1st century AD in Italy (by assimilation to Latin). Finally, Raetic died out in the 3rd century AD, by assimilation to Vulgar Latin, and later to Germanic in the north.

A new study that aims to investigate the biological origins of the Etruscans has revealed a migration event from the Armenian Highlands into Tuscany (Central Italy) at around 850 BCE. The analysis revealed that people of Tuscany poses a sizable amount of genetic traces from Middle East in particular the Armenian Highlands.

Of all the Mid-East populations tested in the study, Armenians appear to show the least amount of difference with people of Tuscany and the greatest amount of genetic affinity. The data indicate that the admixture event between local Tuscans and Middle Easterners could have occurred in Central Italy about 2,600–3,100 years ago (y.a.). This coincides with the advent of the Etruscan civilization.

Interestingly, these results appears to coincide with the accounts of some ancient historians like Herodotus who theorized that Etruscans emigrated from Asia Minor around 1,200 BCE as the result of a famine. Norwegian scholar Dr. Bugge, also suggested that the Etruscan language was of Armenian extraction.

Other scholars like Vahan M. Kurkjian have identified Urartean art, architecture, language and general cultural traces of kinship to the Etruscans of the Italian peninsula. Armenian genetic traces among the populations of Tuscany therefore corroborate with the Etruscan-Armenian theory.

The technique of casting bronze ornaments spread from Urartu to the neighboring countries, in particular to Phrygia, and then to Europe. Urartian cauldron ornaments have been found in Rhodes, Athens, Boeotia, Delphi, Olympia and in Etruscan tombs.

Urartu, which corresponds to the biblical mountains of Ararat, is the name of a geographical region commonly used as the exonym for the Iron Age kingdom also known by the modern rendition of its endonym, the Kingdom of Van, centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands.

The written language that the kingdom’s political elite used is referred to as Urartian, which appears in cuneiform inscriptions in Armenia and eastern Turkey. Other names used to refer to the language are “Khaldian” (also “Haldian”), or “neo-Hurrian”. The Hurro-Urartian languages are an extinct language family of the Ancient Near East, comprising only two known languages: Hurrian and Urartian, both of which were spoken in the Taurus mountains area.

It is unknown what language was spoken by the peoples of Urartu at the time of the existence of the kingdom, but there is linguistic evidence of contact between the proto-Armenian language and the Urartian language at an early date (sometime between the 3rd—2nd millennium BC), occurring prior to the formation of Urartu as a kingdom.

The kingdom rose to power in the mid-9th century BC, but went into gradual decline and was eventually conquered by the Iranian Medes in the early 6th century BC. The geopolitical region would re-emerge as Armenia shortly after. Being heirs to the Urartian realm, the earliest identifiable ancestors of the Armenians are the peoples of Urartu.

Although the Minoan language and writing systems (Linear A) remain undeciphered, and are the subject of academic dispute, they apparently conveyed a language entirely different from the later Greek. It is related to the Linear B script, which succeeded the Linear A and was used by the Mycenaean civilization.

Mycenaean Greece (or Mycenaean civilization) was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, spanning the period from approximately 1600–1100 BC. It represents the first advanced civilization in mainland Greece, with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art and writing system. Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language, .

Ancient DNA analysis reveals Minoan and Mycenaean origins. An analysis of ancient DNA has revealed that Ancient Minoans and Mycenaens were genetically similar with both peoples descending from early Neolithic farmers. They likely migrated from Anatolia to Greece and Crete thousands of years prior to the Bronze Age. Modern Greeks, in turn, are largely descendants of the Mycenaeans, the study found.

Minoans, Mycenaeans, and modern Greeks also had some ancestry related to the ancient people of the Caucasus, Armenia, and Iran. This finding suggests that some migration occurred in the Aegean and southwestern Anatolia from further east after the time of the earliest farmers.

While both Minoans and Mycenaeans had both “first farmer” and “eastern” genetic origins, Mycenaeans traced an additional minor component of their ancestry to ancient inhabitants of Eastern Europe and northern Eurasia.

The difference between the two groups is that the Mycenaeans had 4-16% of DNA of ancestors from Eastern Europe or Siberia. This suggests that a second wave of people from the Eurasian steppe came to mainland Greece by way of Eastern Europe or Armenia,

This type of so-called Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) ancestry is one of the three ancestral populations of present-day Europeans, and is also found in modern Greeks. Modern Greeks share similar proportions of DNA from the same ancestral sources as Mycenaeans, although they have inherited a little less DNA from ancient Anatolian farmers and a bit more DNA from later migrations to Greece.

Genomic studies also indicate that ANE was introduced to Europe by way of the Yamna culture, long after the Paleolithic. The ANE genetic component is visible in tests of the Yamnaya people, and seems to make up 50% of their ancestry indirectly. It is also reported in modern-day Europeans (5%–18% ANE admixture), but not of Europeans predating the Bronze Age.

Pre-Kura-Araxes/Late Chalcolithic materials from the settlement of Boyuk Kesik and the kurgan necropolis of Soyuq Bulaq in northwestern Azerbaijan, and a pre-Kura-Araxes kurgan, Kavtiskhevi, in central Georgia, can be related to remains from the metal-working Late Chalcolithic site of Leilatepe on the Karabakh steppe near Agdam (Narimanov et al. 2007) and from the earliest level at the multi-period site of Berikldeebi in Kvemo Kartli.

They reveal the presence of early 4th millennium raised burial mounds or kurgans in the southern Caucasus. Similarly, on the basis of her survey work in eastern Anatolia north of the Oriental Taurus mountains, C. Marro (2007)likens chafffaced wares collected at Hanago in the Sürmeli Plain and Astepe and Colpan in the eastern Lake Van district in northeastern Turkey with those found at the sites mentioned above and relates these to similar wares (Amuq E/F) found south of the Taurus Mountains in northern Mesopotamia

The dating of the Maikop culture essentially signifies that there is no chronological hiatus separating the collapse of the Chalcolithic Balkan centre of metallurgical production and the appearance of Maikop and the sudden explosion of Caucasian metallurgical production and use of arsenical copper/bronzes.

More than forty calibrated radiocarbon dates on Maikop and related materials now support this high chronology; and the revised dating for the Maikop culture means that the earliest kurgans occur in the northwestern and southern Caucasus and precede by several centuries those of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) cultures of the western Eurasian steppes.

The calibrated radiocarbon dates suggest that the Maikop ‘culture’ seems to have had a formative influence on steppe kurgan burial rituals and what now appears to be the later development of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) culture on the Eurasian steppes.

In other words, sometime around the middle of the 4th millennium BCE or slightly subsequent to the initial appearance of the Maikop culture of the NW Caucasus, settlements containing proto-Kura-Araxes or early Kura-Araxes materials first appear across a broad area that stretches from the Caspian littoral of the northeastern Caucasus in the north to the Erzurum region of the Anatolian Plateau in the west.

For simplicity’s sake these roughly simultaneous developments across this broad area will be considered as representing the beginnings of the Early Bronze Age or the initial stages of development of the KuraAraxes/Early Transcaucasian culture.

The ‘homeland’ (itself a very problematic concept) of the Kura-Araxes culture-historical community is difficult to pinpoint precisely, a fact that may suggest that there is no single well-demarcated area of origin, but multiple interacting areas including northeastern Anatolia as far as the Erzurum area, the catchment area drained by the Upper Middle Kura and Araxes Rivers in Transcaucasia and the Caspian corridor and adjacent mountainous regions of northeastern Azerbaijan and southeastern Daghestan.

While broadly (and somewhat imprecisely) defined, these regions constitute on present evidence the original core area out of which the Kura-Araxes ‘culture-historical community’ emerged. Kura-Araxes materials found in other areas are primarily intrusive in the local sequences.

Indeed, many, but not all, sites in the Malatya area along the Upper Euphrates drainage of eastern Anatolia (e.g., Norsun-tepe, Arslantepe) and western Iran (e.g., Yanik Tepe, Godin Tepe) exhibit— albeit with some overlap—a relatively sharp break in material remains, including new forms of architecture and domestic dwellings, and such changes support the interpretation of a subsequent spread or dispersal from this broadly defined core area in the north to the southwest and southeast.

The archaeological record seems to document a movement of peoples north to south across a very extensive part of the Ancient Near East from the end of the 4th to the first half of the 3rd millennium BCE. Although migrations are notoriously difficult to document on archaeological evidence, these materials constitute one of the best examples of prehistoric movements of peoples available for the Early Bronze Age.

The Yamna period is the most important one in the creation of Indo-European culture and society. The Yamna culture is identified with the late Proto-Indo-Europeans, and is the strongest candidate for the Urheimat (homeland) of the Proto-Indo-European language along with the preceding Sredny Stog culture.

The Yamna people were the likely result of admixture between eastern European hunter-gatherers with high affinity to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture or other closely related people and hunter-gatherers from the Caucasus (CHG), who probably arrived from somewhere in the Near East, and is identified as related to a Chalcolithic people from the Armenian Highland.

A 2015 genetic study by Haak et al. (2015) argues that their findings of gene flow of a population that shares traits with modern-day Armenians into the Yamna pastoralist culture lends support to the Armenian hypothesis since the Yamna partly descended from a Near Eastern population, which resembles present-day Armenians.

David Reich, in his 2018 publication Who We Are and How We Got Here, states that the most likely location of the population that first spoke an Indo-European language was south of the Caucasus Mountains, perhaps in present-day Iran or Armenia.

This because ancient DNA from people who lived there matches what we would expect for a source population both for the Yamna and for ancient Anatolians. Nevertheless, Reich also states that some, if not most of the Indo-European languages were spread by the Yamna people.

The Catacomb culture (c. 2800–2200 BC) is a group of related cultures in the early Bronze Age in the Pontic steppe occupying essentially what is present-day eastern Ukraine and southern Russia. It was preceded by the Yamna culture.

Within the context of the Kurgan hypothesis an Indo-European component is speculated about, particularly in the later stages. Placing the ancestors of the Greek, Albanian and Armenian (perhaps Paleo-Balkan) dialects here is tempting, as it would neatly explain certain shared features.

Grigoryev’s (1998) version of the Armenian hypothesis connects Catacomb culture with Indo-Aryans, because catacomb burial ritual had roots in the southwestern Turkmenistan as can be seen at the Parkhai cemetery in the Sumbar Valley Region, which researchers have concluded is from 3000-2250 BC.

The Graeco-Armenian hypothesis originated in 1924 with Holger Pedersen, who noted that agreements between Armenian and Greek lexical cognates are more common than between Armenian and any other Indo-European language.

During the mid-to-late 1920s, Antoine Meillet further investigated morphological and phonological agreements and postulated that the parent languages of Greek and Armenian were dialects in immediate geographical proximity to their patent language, Proto-Indo-European.

Meillet’s hypothesis became popular in the wake of his Esquisse d’une grammaire comparée de l’arménien classique. G. R. Solta does not go as far as postulating a Proto-Graeco-Armenian stage but concludes that the lexicon and the morphology clearly make Greek the language that is the most closely related to Armenian.

Eric Hamp supports the Graeco-Armenian thesis and even anticipates a time that we should speak of Helleno-Armenian (the postulate of a Graeco-Armenian proto-language). James Clackson is more reserved, considers the evidence of a Graeco-Armenian subgroup to be inconclusive and believes Armenian to be in a larger Graeco-Armeno-Aryan family.

Evaluation of the hypothesis is tied up with the analysis of the poorly attested Phrygian language. While Greek is attested from very early times, allowing a secure reconstruction of a Proto-Greek language dating to about the 3rd millennium BC, the history of Armenian is opaque.

Graeco-Armenian (or Helleno-Armenian) is the hypothetical common ancestor of Greek and Armenian that postdates Proto-Indo-European. Graeco-Aryan has comparatively wide support among Indo-Europeanists for the Armenian hypothesis that the homeland of Indo-European was in the Armenian Highlands.

Graeco-Aryan is also known as Late Proto-Indo-European or Late Indo-European to suggest that Graeco-Aryan forms a dialect group, which corresponds to the latest stage of linguistic unity in the Indo-European homeland in the early part of the 3rd millennium BC.

Proto-Armenian, would have been between Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian, which would be consistent with the fact that Armenian shares some features only with Indo-Iranian (the satem change) but others only with Greek.

The hypothetical Proto-Graeco-Armenian stage would need to date to the 3rd millennium BC and would be only barely different from either late Proto-Indo-European or Graeco-Armeno-Aryan.

The arrival of the Indo-Europeans coincides with the Mycenaean civilization. The Mycenaean Greeks were the first to introduce Linear B, an Indo-European language, into Greece. Mycenaean culture was distinctly unique from its predecessors in Greece, and is recognized by historians to have been introduced from the east.

By 2500 BC, Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian had separated, moving westward and eastward from the Pontic Steppe, respectively. Proto-Greek would be practically equivalent to Mycenaean Greek from the 17th century BC and closely associate Greek migration to Greece with the Indo-Aryan migration to India at about the same time.

The Indo-European expansion at the transition to the Late Bronze Age, including the possibility of Indo-European Kassites, a people of the ancient Near East, who controlled Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire c. 1531 BC and until c. 1155 BC.

The first extant record of Indic Mitra, in the form mi-it-ra-, is in the inscribed peace treaty of c. 1400 BC between Hittites and the Hurrian kingdom of the Mitanni in the area southeast of Lake Van in Asia Minor. Mitra appears there together with four other Indic divinities as witnesses and keepers of the pact.

The ethnicity of the people of Mitanni is difficult to ascertain. A treatise on the training of chariot horses by Kikkuli contains a number of Indo-Aryan glosses. Kammenhuber (1968) suggested that this vocabulary was derived from the still undivided Indo-Iranian language, but Mayrhofer (1974) has shown that specifically Indo-Aryan features are present.

Maryannu is an ancient word for the caste of chariot-mounted hereditary warrior nobility which existed in many of the societies of the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Although the name ‘maryannu’ is plural it takes the singular ‘marya’, which in Sanskrit means young warrior, and attaches a Hurrian suffix.

It is suggested that at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age most would have spoken either Hurrian or Aryan but by the end of the 14th century most of the Levant maryannu had Semitic names.

Tutmoses III of Egypt (1500 BC) mentions the people of ‘Ermenen’ paying tribute when he held his court at Ninevah, and says that in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars.” (note: Tutmose III was the first Pharaoh to cross the Euphrates to reach the Armenian Highlands).

Armani, (also given as Armanum) was an ancient kingdom mentioned by Sargon of Akkad and his grandson Naram-Sin of Akkad. It was suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Armani is one of the earliest form of the name Armenia.

However, Aratta is a land that appears in Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list.

Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta is a legendary Sumerian account composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. 21st century BC). It is one of a series of accounts describing the conflicts between Enmerkar and the unnamed king of Aratta.

Aratta is described in Sumerian literature as a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them. Aratta is remote and difficult to reach. It is home to the goddess Inanna, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk.

Because it gives a Sumerian account of the confusion of tongues, and also involves Enmerkar constructing temples at Eridu and Uruk, it has, since the time of Samuel Kramer, been compared with the Tower of Babel narrative in the Book of Genesis.

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