Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

  • Fredsvenn:


    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent
    https://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent
    ---
    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

    All the texts are published under Creative Common-license [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.no Navngivelse-DelPåSammeVilkår 3.0]

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    Sjur C. Papazian

    Sjur C. Papazian

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  • Transformasjon

  • Sumerian statues

  • Pendant from Mari (modern Tell Hariri, Syria)

  • Sørvest Asia – før og nå

    Den fruktbare halvmåne er en betegnelse på et gammelt fruktbart område nord, øst og vest for den arabiske ørken i Sørvest-Asia. Mesopotamia-dalen og Nil-dalen kommer inn under dette begrepet selv om det i fjellsonen rundt Mesopotamia en naturlig avgrensning i jordbrukshistorisk forstand.

    Som resultat av en rekke unike geografiske faktorer har Den fruktbare halvmåne en imponerende historie av tidlig menneskelig jordbruksaktivitet og kulturdanning. Foruten mange arkeologiske funnsteder med rester av skjeletter og kulturelle levninger så er området først og fremst kjent for dets funnsteder knyttet til jordbrukets opprinnelse og utvikling i den neolittiske tidsalder.

    Det var her, i de skogkledde fjellskråningene i randsonen av dette området, at jordbruket oppsto i et økologisk avgrenset miljø. Den vestlige sonen og områdene rundt øvre Eufrat ga vekst til de første kjente neolittiske jordbruks-samfunnene med små, runde hus, også referert til som førkeramisk neolittisk A, som dateres til like etter 10.000 f.vt. og omfatter steder som Jeriko, som er verdens eldste by.

    Under den påfølgende PPNB fra 9 000 f.vt. utviklet disse samfunnene seg til større landsbyer med dyrking og husdyrhold som viktigste levevei, med tett bebyggelse i to-etasjers, rektangulære hus. Mennesket inngikk nå i symbiose med korn- og husdyrartene, uten mulighet til å vende tilbake til jeger- og sankersamfunnet.

    Området vest og nord for slettelandet ved Eufrat og Tigris så også framveksten av tidlige komplekse samfunn i den langt senere bronsealderen (fra ca 4 000 f.vt.). Det er også tidlige bevis for skriftkultur og tidlige statsdannelser fra samme tid i dette nordlige steppeområdet, selv om de skriftlige statsdannelsene relativt raskt flyttet sitt tyngdepunkt ned i Mesopotamia-dalen og utviklet seg der. Området har derfor hos svært mange forfattere fått betegnelsen «sivilisasjonens vugge».

    Området har opplevd en rekke omveltninger, og nye stasdannelser. Nå sist da staten Tyrkia ble dannet i etterkant av ungtyrkernes folkemord på blant annet de pontiske grekere, armenere og assyrere under den første verdenskrig. Det antas at to tredeler til tre firedeler av alle armenere i regionen døde.

    Det er nå på tide at folkemordet mot de pontiske grekere, assyrere og armenere anerkjennes, at Israels okkupasjon, bosetting og vold palestinerne opphører, samt at de ulike minoritetene i området får leve sine livi fred - uten vold og trusler fra majoritetsbefolkninger eller fra Vesten, og da spesifikt USA.

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The history of the Greeks

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 27, 2015

Greece

The Bronze Age in mainland Greece is generally termed as the “Helladic period” by modern archaeologists, after Hellas, the Greek name for Greece. This period is divided into three subperiods: The Early Helladic (EH) period (c. 2900–2000 BC) was a time of prosperity with the use of metals and a growth in technology, economy and social organization. The Middle Helladic (MH) period (ca. 2000–1650 BC) faced a slower pace of development, as well as the evolution of megaron-type cist graves. Finally, the Late Helladic (LH) period (c. 1650–1050 BC) roughly coincides with Mycenaean Greece.

The Late Helladic period is further divided into LHI, LHII, both of which coincide with the early period of Mycenaean Greece (c. 1650–1425 BC), and LHIII (c. 1425–1050 BC), the period of expansion, decline and collapse of the Mycenaean civilization. The transition period from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age in Greece is known as Sub-Mycenaean (c. 1050–1000 BC).

The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Anatolia, Southern Italy, and other regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world.

The Greeks speak the Greek language, which forms its own unique branch within the Indo-European family of languages, the Hellenic. They are part of a group of pre-modern ethnicities, described by Anthony D. Smith as an “archetypal diaspora people”.

Greek colonies and communities have been historically established on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, but the Greek people have always been centered around the Aegean and Ionian seas, where the Greek language has been spoken since the Bronze Age.

There were four major tribes that the Greeks considered themselves divided into, during the ancient period; alongside Ionians, Dorians, Aeolians and Achaeans. There were three major linguistic divisions of the Hellenic world; Ionic, Dorian and Aeolian.

The Dorian invasion was followed by a poorly attested period of migrations, appropriately called the Greek Dark Ages, but by 800 BC the landscape of Archaic and Classical Greece was discernible.

In the Homeric epics, the Greeks of prehistory are viewed as the ancestors of the early classical civilization of Homer’s own time, while the Mycenaean pantheon included many of the divinities (e.g. Zeus, Poseidon and Hades) attested in later Greek religion.

The ethnogenesis of the Greek nation is marked, according to some scholars, by the first Olympic Games in 776 BC, when the idea of a common Hellenism among the Greek-speaking tribes was first translated into a shared cultural experience and Hellenism was primarily a matter of common culture.

The classical period of Greek civilization covers a time spanning from the early 5th century BC to the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 BC (some authors prefer to split this period into ‘Classical’, from the end of the Persian wars to the end of the Peloponnesian War, and ‘Fourth Century’, up to the death of Alexander). It is so named because it set the standards by which Greek civilization would be judged in later eras.

While the Greeks of the classical era understood themselves to belong to a common Greek genos their first loyalty was to their city and they saw nothing incongruous about warring, often brutally, with other Greek city-states. The Peloponnesian War, the large scale Greek civil war between Athens and Sparta and their allies, is a case in point.

Most of the feuding Greek city-states were, in some scholars’ opinions, united under the banner of Philip’s and Alexander the Great’s pan-Hellenic ideals, though others might generally opt, rather, for an explanation of “Macedonian conquest for the sake of conquest” or at least conquest for the sake of riches, glory and power and view the “ideal” as useful propaganda directed towards the city-states.

Origin

The Proto-Greeks probably arrived at the area now called Greece, in the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, at the end of the 3rd millennium BC, though a later migration by sea from Anatolia has also been suggested. The sequence of migrations into the Greek mainland during the 2nd millennium BC has to be reconstructed on the basis of the ancient Greek dialects, as they presented themselves centuries later and are therefore subject to some uncertainties.

There were at least two migrations, the first being the Ionians and Aeolians, which resulted in Mycenaean Greece by the 16th century BC, and the second, the Dorian invasion, around the 11th century BC, displacing the Arcadocypriot dialects, which descended from the Mycenaean period. Both migrations occur at incisive periods, the Mycenaean at the transition to the Late Bronze Age and the Doric at the Bronze Age collapse.

The Aeolic dialect (also Aeolian, Lesbian or Lesbic dialect), the set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia (a region in Central Greece); Thessaly, in the Aegean island of Lesbos; and the Greek colonies of Asia Minor (Aeolis), shows many archaisms in comparison to the other Ancient Greek dialects (Attic/Ionic, Doric, Northwestern and Arcadocypriot), as well as many innovations.

Aeolis or Aeolia was an area that comprised the west and northwestern region of Asia Minor, mostly along the coast, and also several offshore islands (particularly Lesbos), where the Aeolian Greek city-states were located.

There were some suggestions of three waves of migration indicating a Proto-Ionian one, either contemporary or even earlier than the Mycenaean. This possibility appears to have been first suggested by Ernst Curtius in the 1880s. In current scholarship, the standard assumption is to group the Ionic together with the Arcadocypriot group as the successors of a single Middle Bronze Age migration in dual opposition to the “western” group of Doric.

Eric P. Hamp, in his 2012 Indo-European linguistic family tree, groups the Greek language and Ancient Macedonian (“Helleno-Macedonian”) along with Armenian in the Pontic Indo-European (also called Helleno-Armenian) subgroup.

In Hamp’s view, the homeland of this subgroup is the northeast coast of the Black Sea and its hinterlands. From there, they migrated southeast into the Caucasus with the Armenians remaining near Batumi, while the pre-Greeks proceeded westwards along the southern coast of the Black Sea to enter the Aegean and Peloponnesus from Asia Minor and Cyprus via Pamphylia.

In this migration, Troy was a barrier to further migration directly west or to the northwest, so first the pre-Cypriots and then other groups of pre-Hellenics turned south with the pre-Cypriots continuing south to Pamphyllia and ultimately Cyprus, while the other groups crossed the Aegean. The Mycenean Greeks arrived in Thebes and Thessaly before the Aeolians and were the first Greeks on Crete.

The Mycenaeans were ultimately the first Greek-speaking people attested through historical sources, written records in the Linear B script, and through their literary echoes in the works of Homer, a few centuries later.

Mycenaean Greece

Mycenaean Greece refers to the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece (c. 1600–1100 BC). It represents the first advanced civilization in mainland Greece, with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art and writing system. The most prominent site was Mycenae, in Argolid, to which the culture of this era owes its name. Mycenaean and Mycenaean influenced settlements also appeared in Epirus, Macedonia, on islands in the Aegean Sea, on the coast of Asia Minor, the Levant, Cyprus and Italy.

Excavations at Miletus, southwest Asia Minor, suggest that Mycenaeans settled there already from c. 1450 BC, replacing the previous Minoan installations. This site became a sizable and prosperous Mycenaean centre for most of the Late Bronze Age until the 12th century BC.

Apart from the archaeological evidence, this is also attested in Hittite records, which indicate that Miletos (Milawata in Hittite) was the most important base for Mycenaean activity in Asia Minor. Mycenaean presence also reached the adjacent sites of Iasus and Ephesus.

Meanwhile, imposing palaces were built in the main Mycenaean centres of the mainland. The earliest palace structures were megaron-type buildings, such as the Menelaion in Sparta, Lakonia. Palaces proper are datable from c. 1400 BC, when Cyclopean fortifications were erected at Mycenae and nearby Tiryns.

Additional palaces were built in Midea and Pylos in Peloponnese, Athens, Eleusis, Thebes and Orchomenos in Central Greece and Iolcos, in Thessaly, the latter being the northernmost Mycenaean center.

Knossos in Crete became also a Mycenaean center, where the former Minoan complex intervened a number of adjustments, including the addition of a throne room. These centres were based on a rigid network of bureaucracy while administrative competences, were classified in various sections and offices, according to specialization of work and trades.

At the head of this society was the king, known as wanax (Linear B: wa-na-ka) in Mycenaean Greek terms. All powers were centred on him, who was the main landlord, the spiritual and military leader. At the same time he was an entrepreneur and trader and was aided by a network of high officials. The activities of the wanax covered virtually all aspects of palatial life, as the Linear B records indicate.

The usual form of burial during this period was inhumation. The earliest Mycenaean burials were mostly in individual graves in the form of a pit or a stone lined cist and offerings were limited to pottery and occasional items of jewellery. Groups of pit or cist graves containing elite members of the community were sometimes covered by a tumulus (mound) in the manner established since the Middle Helladic.

These Bronze Age people were equipped with horses, surrounded themselves with luxury goods, and constructed elaborate shaft graves. The Shaft Graves found in Mycenae signified the elevation of a new Greek-speaking royal dynasty whose economic power depended on long-distance sea trade.

Beginning also in the Late Helladic period are to be seen communal tombs of rectangular form. Nevertheless, it is difficult to establish whether the different forms of burial represent a social hierarchization, as was formerly thought, with the “tholos” being the tombs of the elite rulers, the individual tombs those of the leisure class, and the communal tombs those of the people.

Cremations increased in number over the course of the period, becoming quite numerous in last phase of the Mycenaean era. The tholos was introduced during the early 15th century as the new and more imposing form of elite.

The most impressive tombs of the Mycenaean era are the monumental royal tombs of Mycenae, undoubtedly intended for the royal family of the city. The most famous is the Treasury of Atreus, a tholos.

A total of nine of such tholos tombs are found in the vicinity of Mycenae, while six of them belong to a single period (Late Helladic IIa, c. 1400-1300 BC). It has been argued that different dynasties or factions may have competed through conspicuous burial.

Mycenaean Greece perished with the collapse of Bronze-Age culture in the eastern Mediterranean. Various theories have been proposed for the end of this civilization, among them the Dorian invasion or activities connected to the “Sea People”. Additional theories such as natural disasters and climatic changes have been also suggested. The Mycenaean period became the historical setting of much ancient Greek literature and mythology, including the Trojan Epic Cycle.

The Mycenaeans quickly penetrated the Aegean Sea and, by the 15th century BC, had reached Rhodes, Crete, Cyprus, where Teucer is said to have founded the first colony, and the shores of Asia Minor. Around 1200 BC the Dorians, another Greek-speaking people, followed from Epirus.

Mycenaean civilization originated and evolved from the society and culture of the Early and Middle Helladic period in mainland Greece under influences from Minoan Crete. Towards the end of the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1600 BC) a significant increase in the population and the number of settlements occurred.

A number of centres of power emerged in southern mainland Greece dominated by a warrior elite society, while the typical dwellings of that era were an early type of megaron buildings. Some more complex structures are classified as forerunners of the later palaces. In a number of sites, defensive walls were also erected.

Meanwhile, new types of burials and more imposing ones have been unearthed, which display a great variety of luxurious objects. Among the various burials types, the shaft grave became the most common form of elite burial, a feature that gave the name to the early period of Mycenaean Greece. Among the Mycenaean elite, deceased males were usually laid in gold masks and funerary armor, while females in gold crowns and clothes gleaming with gold ornaments.

The royal shaft graves next to the acropolis of Mycenae, in particular the Grave Circles A and B signified the elevation of a native Greek-speaking royal dynasty whose economic power depended on long-distance sea trade.

During this period, the Mycenaean centers witnessed increased contacts with the outside world and especially with the Cyclades and the Minoan centers in the island of Crete.

Mycenaean presence appears to be also depicted in a fresco at Akrotiri, on Thera island, which possibly displays many warriors in Boar’s tusk helmets, a feature typical of Mycenaean warfare.

In the early 15th century, commerce intensified with Mycenaean pottery reaching the western coast of Asia Minor, including Miletus and Troy, Cyprus, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt.

At the end of the Shaft Grave era, a new and more imposing type of elite burial emerged, the Tholos: large circular burial chambers with high vaulted roofs and a straight entry passage lined with stone.

The eruption of Thera, which according to archaeological data occurred in c. 1500 BC, resulted in the decline of the Minoan civilization of Crete. This turn of events gave the opportunity to the Mycenaeans to spread their influence throughout the Aegean. Around c. 1450 BC, they were in control of Crete itself, including Knossos, and colonized several other Aegean islands, reaching as far as Rhodes.

Thus the Mycenaeans became the dominant power of the region, marking the beginning of the Mycenaean ‘Koine’ era (from Greek: Κοινή, common), a highly uniform culture that spread in mainland Greece and the Aegean.

From the early 14th century BC, Mycenaean trade began to take advantage of the new trading opportunities in the Mediterranean after the Minoan collapse. The trade routes were expanded further reaching Cyprus, Amman in the Near East, Apulia in Italy and Spain. At that time (c. 1400 BC), the palace of Knossos yielded the earliest records of the Greek Linear B script, based on the previous Linear A of the Minoans.

The use of the new script spread in mainland Greece and offers valuable insight of the administrative network of the palatial centres. However, the unearthed records are of limited value for the reconstruction of the political landscape in Bronze Age Greece.

Grave Circle A

Grave Circle A in Mycenae is a 16th-century BC royal cemetery situated to the south of the Lion Gate, the main entrance of the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae, southern Greece. This burial complex was initially constructed outside the fortification walls of Mycenae, but was ultimately enclosed in the acropolis when the fortifications were extended during the 13th century BC.

Grave Circle A and Grave Circle B, the latter found outside the walls of Mycenae, represent one of the major characteristics of the early phase of the Mycenaean civilization. The circle has a diameter of 27.5 m (90 ft) and contains six shaft graves, where a total of nineteen bodies were buried. It has been suggested that a mound was constructed over each grave, and funeral stelae were erected.

Among the objects found were a series of gold death masks, additionally beside the deceased were full sets of weapons, ornate staffs as well as gold and silver cups. The site was excavated by the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1876, following the descriptions of Homer and Pausanias.

One of the gold masks he unearthed became known as the “The Death Mask of Agamemnon”, ruler of Mycenae according to Greek mythology. However, it has been proved that the burials date circa three centuries earlier, before Agamemnon is supposed to have lived.

The shaft graves at Mycenae within Grave Circles A and B belong to the same period represent an alternative manner of grouping elite burials. Next to the deceased were found full sets of weapons, ornate staffs as well as gold and silver cups and other valuable objects which point to their social rank.

Linear B

Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the written Greek language, used on the Greek mainland, Crete and Cyprus in the 16th to 12th centuries BC, before the hypothesised Dorian invasion which was often cited as the terminus post quem for the coming of the Greek language to Greece. The language is preserved in inscriptions in Linear B, a script first attested on Crete before the 14th century BC.

Most instances of these inscriptions are on clay tablets found in Knossos in central Crete, and in Pylos in the southwest of the Peloponnese. Other tablets have been found at Mycenae itself, Tiryns and Thebes and at Chania in Western Crete. The language is named after Mycenae, one of the major centres of Mycenaean Greece.

The tablets remained long undeciphered, and every conceivable language was suggested for them, until Michael Ventris deciphered the script in 1952 and by a preponderance of evidence demonstrated the language to be an early form of Greek.

The texts on the tablets are mostly lists and inventories. No prose narrative survives, much less myth or poetry. Still, much may be glimpsed from these records about the people who produced them and about Mycenaean Greece, the period before the so-called Greek Dark Ages.

The Mycenaean language is preserved in Linear B writing, which consists of about 200 syllabic signs and logograms. Since Linear B was derived from Linear A, the script of an undeciphered Minoan language probably unrelated to Greek, it does not reflect fully the phonetics of Mycenaean.

Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested language form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet by several centuries. The oldest Mycenaean writing dates to about 1450 BC. It is descended from the older Linear A, an undeciphered earlier script used for writing the Minoan language, as is the later Cypriot syllabary, which also recorded Greek.

Linear B, found mainly in the palace archives at Knossos, Cydonia, Pylos, Thebes and Mycenae, disappeared with the fall of Mycenaean civilization during the Bronze Age Collapse. The succeeding period, known as the Greek Dark Ages, provides no evidence of the use of writing.

It is also the only one of the three “Linears” (the third being Linear C, aka Cypro-Minoan 1) to be deciphered, by English architect and self-taught linguist, Michael Ventris.

The decipherment of the Mycenaean Linear B script, a writing system adapted for the use of the Greek language of the Late Bronze Age, demonstrated the continuity of Greek speech from the 2nd millennium BC into the 8th century BC when a new script emerged. Moreover, it pointed out that the bearers of Mycenaean culture were ethnically connected with the populations that resided in the Greek peninsula after the end of this cultural period.

Kurgan culture

The acropolis of Mycenae, one of the main centers of Mycenaean culture, located in Argolis, northeast Peloponnese, was built on a defensive hill at an elevation of 128 m (420 ft) and covers an area of 30,000 m2 (320,000 sq ft). It has been argued that this form dates back to the Kurgan culture. Pit and cist graves remained in use for single burials throughout the Mycenaean period alongside more elaborate family graves.

The Catacomb culture (ca. 2800–2200 BC) refers to a group of related cultures in the early Bronze Age occupying essentially what is present-day Ukraine. It was preceded by the Yamna culture and was succeeded by the Srubna culture (18th–12th centuries BC) in the Pontic steppe from ca. the 17th century BC.

The Srubna culture, in English known as Timber-grave culture, was a successor to the Yamna culture (Pit Grave culture) and the Poltavka culture. The historical Cimmerians have been suggested as descended from this culture.

It occupied the area along and above the north shore of the Black Sea from the Dnieper eastwards along the northern base of the Caucasus to the area abutting the north shore of the Caspian Sea, west of the Ural Mountains to come up against the domain of the approximately contemporaneous and somewhat related Andronovo culture.

The name Catacomb culture comes from its burial practices. These are similar to those of the Yamna culture, but with a hollowed-out space off the main shaft, creating the “catacomb”. Animal remains were incorporated into a small minority of graves.

In certain graves there was the distinctive practice of what amounts to modelling a clay mask over the deceased’s face, creating an obvious if not necessarily correct association to the famous gold funeral mask of Agamemnon.

The economy was essentially stock-breeding, although traces of grain have been found. There seem to have been skilled specialists, particularly metal-workers.

The origin of the Catacomb culture is disputed. Jan Lichardus enumerates three possibilities: a local development departing from the previous Yamna Culture only, a migration from Central Europe, or an oriental origin.

The culture was the first to introduce corded pottery decorations into the steppes and shows a profuse use of the polished battle axe, providing a link to the West. Parallels with the Afanasevo culture, including provoked cranial deformations, provide a link to the East.

The linguistic composition of the Catacomb culture is unclear. Within the context of the Kurgan hypothesis expounded by Marija Gimbutas, an Indo-European component is hard to deny, particularly in the later stages. Placing the ancestors of the Greek, Armenian and Paleo-Balkan dialects here is tempting, as it would neatly explain certain shared features.

More recently, the Ukrainian archaeologist V. Kulbaka has argued that the Late Yamna cultures of ca. 3200–2800 BC, esp. the Budzhak, Starosilsk, and Novotitarovka groups, might represent the Greek-Armenian-“Aryan”(=Indo-Iranian) ancestors (Graeco-Aryan, Graeco-Armenian), and the Catacomb culture that of the “unified” (to ca. 2500 BC) and then “differentiated” Indo-Iranians.

The Yamna culture was preceded by the Sredny Stog culture, Khvalynsk culture and Dnieper-Donets culture, while succeeded by the Catacomb culture and the Srubna culture. Significantly, animal grave offerings were made (cattle, sheep, goats and horse), a feature associated with Proto-Indo-Europeans.

The earliest remains in Eastern Europe of a wheeled cart were found in the “Storozhova mohyla” kurgan (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, excavated by Trenozhkin A.I.) associated with the Yamna culture.

The Yamna culture is identified with the late Proto-Indo-Europeans (PIE) in the Kurgan hypothesis of Marija Gimbutas. It is the strongest candidate for the Urheimat (homeland) of the Proto-Indo-European language, along with the preceding Sredny Stog culture, now that archaeological evidence of the culture and its migrations has been closely tied to the evidence from linguistics and genetics.

DNA from the remains of nine individuals associated with the Yamna culture from the border between Samara Oblast and Orenburg Oblast has been analyzed. The remains have been dated to 3339-2700 BCE. Y-chromosome sequencing revealed that one of the individuals belonged to haplogroup R1b1-P25 (the subclade could not be determined), one individual belonged to haplogroup R1b1a2a-L23 (and to neither the Z2103 nor the L51 subclades), and five individuals belonged to R1b1a2a2-Z2103. The individuals belonged to mtDNA haplogroups U4a1, W6, H13a1a1a, T2c1a2, U5a1a1, H2b, W3a1a and H6a1b.

A 2015 genome wide study of 94 ancient skeletons from Europe and Russia concluded that Yamnaya autosomal characteristics are very close to the Corded Ware culture people with an estimated a 73% ancestral contribution from the Yamnaya DNA in the DNA of Corded Ware skeletons from Germany. The same study estimated a 40–54% ancestral contribution of the Yamnaya in the DNA of modern Central & Northern Europeans, and a 20–32% contribution in modern Southern Europeans, excluding Sardinians (7.1% or less) and to a lesser extent Sicilians (11.6% or less).

Pavel Dolukhanov argues that the emergence of the Pit-Grave culture represents a social development of various local Bronze Age cultures, representing “an expression of social stratification and the emergence of chiefdom-type nomadic social structures”, which in turn intensified inter-group contacts between essentially heterogeneous social groups.

The Bronze Age Indo-European invasion of Europe

Last summer, I was eagerly awaiting the publication of the genome of the Tyrolean Iceman. It is quite remarkable that only a year later, there is now autosomal DNA from half a dozen prehistoric Europeans. By comparing their DNA to that of modern populations, we are beginning to understand how the current mosaic of European peoples was formed.

The ancient samples vary greatly in the number of SNPs tested, and we cannot be sure how well they map to the restricted range of modern populations. Nonetheless, a crystal clear general pattern seems to emerge, at least in its broadest outlines.

We can plainly see that European hunter-gatherers best map to the modern Atlantic Baltic population component. This is well represented in the remotest areas of Europe, the ones most distant from the Near Eastern womb of nations.

It can be reasonably supposed that the modern Atlantic Baltic component partially captures alleles present in the ancient European hunter-gatherers, the mtDNA haplogroup U population that seems to stretch from Iberia to Siberia. However, this does not mean that the Atlantic Baltic component represents hunter-gatherer ancestry only.

Conversely, ancient European farmers also possess a large chunk of the Southern component which is absent in the hunter-gatherers. This occurs at high frequencies today around the Mediterranean and reaches its maximum in the Near East. It is clear that there is direct evidence that farming came to Europe not as an idea, but as a people, just as archaeology and physical anthropology had always indicated — until the rather modern distaste for migration set in.

But there is another component present in modern Europe, the West Asian which is conspicuous in its absence in all the ancient samples so far. This component reaches its highest occurrence in the highlands of West Asia, from Anatolia and the Caucasus all the way to the Indian subcontinent. It is well represented in modern Europeans, reaching its minima in the Iberian peninsula, Sardinia, and Finland. A sampling of populations, including those closest geographically to the ancient samples:

The West Asian component has a pan-European distribution: it must have been involved in a pan-European process rather than a more localized historical phenomenon. Its absence from prehistoric individuals down to ~5ky ago suggests that it may have been added to the European population at a later date, although it may already have been present in currently unsampled areas (e.g., the Balkans) prior to 5kya. It reaches its lowest occurrence in areas where non-Indo-European languages have been spoken (Basques and Iberia in general, Sardinia, and Finland)

The post-5kya timeframe is also conventionally accepted by linguists for either the dispersal of Indo-European languages, or at least of a significant subset thereof. In that respect, it is important to note the correspondence between the West Asian autosomal component and the k5 component of Metspalu et al. (2011): the latter is the major West Eurasian element in the Indian subcontinent. If a major episode of West Eurasian admixture took place in India 1,200-4,000 years ago, and keeping in mind uncertainties about dating, it may very well be that this corresponds, at least in part, to the eastern manifestation of the same phenomenon.

The Bronze Age is an important transitional phase in European archaeology: distinctive archaeological cultures with distinctive physical types make their appearance across the continent. There appears to be substantial innovation in metallurgy, weapons and transportation, increase in raiding, abandonment of settlements, and formation of broad-range confederacies with distinctive archaeological markers.

A quantum leap in social complexity occurred during this period. Remarkably, after ~4,000YBP, there are no longer farmers and hunter-gatherers as distinct cultures anywhere in Europe, and their mtDNA gene pools begin to expand in synch with each other. It may very well be that climatic upheavals framing this period may have triggered population movements, both Indo-European and Semitic.

Perhaps, through a combination of better technology and social organization, the Indo-European speaking nucleus, originally one among many linguistic groups of the prehistoric Near East were able to transmit their language, culture, and ideology to much larger populations, by alternatively subjugating or incorporating them. We can thus view the Indo-European bearers as “creative destructors”, upsetting the balance of established societies and re-creating them in their own image.

Both the wide differences in genetic composition among present-day Indo-European speakers, and their early-attested physical contrasts testify to the fact that the original IE nucleus did not maintain itself apart –at least not for long!– from the populations they encountered; in this they appear different from the earlier farmers who apparently kept their Mediterranean affinity even in the northernmost edge of their expansion, thousands of years after their entry into Europe.

Nonetheless, some of the legacy of the earliest Indo-European speakers does appear to persist down to the present day in the genomes of their linguistic descendants, and I predict that when we sample later (post 5-4kya) individuals we will finally find the West Asian piece that is missing from the European puzzle.

India has one of the genetical most diverse populations in the world. The history of this genetic diversity is the topic of continued research and debate. A recent series of research papers, by Reich et al. (2009), Metspalu et al. (2011), and Moorjani et al. (2013), make clear that India was peopled by two distinct groups ca. 50,000 years ago, which form the basis for the present population of India. These two groups mixed between 4,200 to 1,900 years ago (2200 BCE-100 CE), whereafter a shift to endogamy took place.

Several studies show significant differences between northern and southern India, and higher and lower castes, with northern India and the higher castes showing stronger relatedness to West Eurasian DNA. Several studies rule out the possibility of a large-scale “invasion” by Indo-Aryans, but do show traces of later influxes of genetic material, while others have argued for the possibility of genetic influx by Aryan migrations. Genetic studies also show that language shift is possible without a change in genetics.

One group is more common in the south, and amongst lower castes, and the other more common amongst upper caste Indians, Indians speaking Indo-European languages, and also Indians living in the northwest. This northwest component is shared with populations from the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia, and is thought to represent at least one ancient influx of people from the northwest. Research by Reich et al. indicates that there has been a low influx of female genetic material since 50,000 years ago, but a “male gene flow from groups with more ANI relatedness into ones with less.”

According to Saraswathy et al. (2010), there is “a major genetic contribution from Eurasia to North Indian upper castes” and a “greater genetic inflow among North Indian caste populations than is observed among South Indian caste and tribal populations.” According to Basu et al. (2003) and Saraswathy et al. (2010) certain sample populations of upper caste North Indians show a stronger affinity to Central Asian caucasians, whereas southern Indian Brahmins show a less stronger affinity.

Metspalu et al. (2011) concluded that the Indian populations are characterized by two major ancestry components, one of which is spread at comparable frequency and haplotype diversity in populations of South and West Asia and the Caucasus. The second component is more restricted to South Asia and accounts for more than 50% of the ancestry in Indian populations. Haplotype diversity associated with these South Asian ancestry components is significantly higher than that of the components dominating the West Eurasian ancestry palette.

According to Moorjani et al. (2013), the two groups mixed between 1,900 to 4,200 years ago (2200 BCE-100 CE), where-after “mixture even between closely related groups became rare because of a shift to endogamy.”

To the east

The Tashtyk culture was an archaeological culture that flourished in the Yenisei valley in Siberia from the first to the fourth century CE. Located in the Minusinsk Depression, environs of modern Krasnoyarsk, eastern part of Kemerovo Oblast, it was preceded by the Tagar culture, one of the largest centres of bronze-smelting in ancient Eurasia.

The Tagar culture was a Bronze Age archeological culture which flourished between the 8th and 2nd centuries BC in South Siberia (Republic of Khakassia, southern part of Krasnoyarsk Territory, eastern part of Kemerovo Province). The culture was named after an island in the Yenisey River opposite Minusinsk.

The Tagars have been described by archaeologists as exhibiting pronounced Europoid features. They are believed to have belonged to the Scythian circle. Perhaps the most striking feature of the culture are huge royal kurgans fenced by stone plaques, with four vertical stelae marking the corners. The Tagar culture was preceded by the Karasuk culture.

The Karasuk culture describes a group of Bronze Age societies who ranged from the Aral Sea to the upper Yenisei in the east and south to the Altai Mountains and the Tian Shan, a large system of mountain ranges located in Central Asia, in ca. 1500–800 BC.

The distribution of the Karasuk culture covers the eastern parts of the Andronovo culture, a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 2000–900 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe, which it appears to replace. Vital trade contact is traced from northern China and the Baikal region to the Black Sea and the Urals, influencing the uniformity of the culture.

The Karasuk were farmes who practiced metallurgy on a large scale. Arsenical bronze artefacts are present. Industrially, they were skilled metalworkers, the diagnostic artifacts of the culture being a bronze knife with curving profiles and a decorated handle and horse bridles.

The pottery has been compared to that discovered in Inner Mongolia and the interior of China, with burials bronze knives similar to those from northeastern China. Their realitic animal art probably contributed to the development of the Scytho-Siberian animal art style. Their settlements were of pit houses and they buried their dead in stone cists covered by kurgans and surrounded by square stone enclosures.

The origins of the Karasuk culture are complex, but it is generally accepted that its origins lie both with the Andronovo culture and local cultures of the Yenisei. The ethnic identity of the Karasuk is problematic, as the Andronovo culture has been associated with the Indo-Iranians while the local cultures have been considered as unconnected to the steppe.

Nevertheless, a specifically Proto-Iranian identity has been proposed for the Karasuk culture. George van Driem has suggested a connection with the Yeniseian and Burushaski people, proposing a Karasuk languages group, a language family proposed by George van Driem of the University of Leiden that links the Yeniseian languages of central Siberia with the Burushaski language of northern Pakistan.

Van Driem postulates the Burusho people took part in the Indo-Aryan migration out of Central Asia that resulted in the Indo-European conquest of the Indian sub-continent, while other Karasuk peoples migrated northwards to become the Yeniseians. These claims have recently been picked up by anthropologist and linguist Roger Blench.

The evidence for Karasuk is mostly in the verbal and nominal morphology. For example, the second-person singular prefixes on intransitive verbs are [ɡu-, ɡó-] in Burushaski and [ku-, ɡu-] in Ket.

Ket has two verbal declensions, one prefixed with d- and one with b-, and Bushaski likewise has two, one prefixed with d- and one without such a marker. However, neither the Bushushaski nor the Yeniseian verbal morphology has been rigorously analysed, and reviewers have found the evidence to be weak.

While Yeniseian has been proposed to be related to the Na-Dene languages of North America, as part of a newly named Dene–Yeniseian family, the relevant morphological correspondences between Na-Dene and Yeniseian have not been found in Burushaski.

Today, Burushaski, a language isolate spoken in northern Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan, contains numerous loanwords from Urdu (including English and Persian words received via Urdu), and from the neighbouring Dardic languages such as Shina and Khowar, as well as a few from Turkic languages, from the neighboring Sino-Tibetan language Balti, and from the neighboring Eastern Iranian Wakhi and Pashto. However, the original vocabulary remains largely intact. The Dardic languages also contain large numbers of loanwords from Burushaski.

The Hunzakuts or Hunza people, are an ethnically Burusho people indigenous to the Hunza Valley, in the Karakorum Mountains of northern Pakistan. They are descended from inhabitants of the former principality of Hunza.

DNA research groups the people of Hunza with Sinti Romani (Gypsies) and the speakers of Bartangi or Pamir language, an areal group of the Eastern Iranian languages, spoken by numerous people in the Pamir Mountains, primarily along the Panj River and its tributaries, due primarily to the M124 marker (defining Y-DNA haplogroup R2a), which is present at high frequency in all three populations. However, they have also an East Asian genetic contribution, suggesting that at least some of their ancestry originates north of the Himalayas.

A variety of NRY haplogroups are seen among the Burusho. Most frequent among these are R1a1 – a lineage associated with Indoeuropean and likely related to the Bronze Age migration into South Asia c. 3000 BCE; and R2a, probably originating in South/Central Asia during the Upper Paleolithic. The subcontinental lineages of haplogroup H1 and haplogroup L3 are also present, although haplogroup L, defined by SNP mutation M20, reaches a maximum of diversity in Pakistan.

Other Y-DNA haplogroups reaching considerable frequency are haplogroup J2, associated with the spread of agriculture in, and from, the neolithic Near East, and haplogroup C3, of Siberian origin and possibly representing the patrilineage of Alexander the Great. Also present at lower frequency are haplogroups O3, an East Eurasian lineage, and Q, P, F, and G.

Indo-Iranian

The older Sintashta culture, also known as the Sintashta-Petrovka culture or Sintashta-Arkaim culture (2100–1800), is a Bronze Age archaeological culture of the northern Eurasian steppe on the borders of Eastern Europe and Central Asia formerly included within the Andronovo culture, but which is now considered separately, but regarded as its predecessor, and accepted as part of the wider Andronovo horizon.

Most researchers associate the Andronovo horizon with early Indo-Iranian languages, though it may have overlapped the early Uralic-speaking area at its northern fringe.

The earliest known chariots have been found in Sintashta burials, and the culture is considered a strong candidate for the origin of the technology, which spread throughout the Old World and played an important role in ancient warfare. Sintashta settlements are also remarkable for the intensity of copper mining and bronze metallurgy carried out there, which is unusual for a steppe culture.

The people of the Sintashta culture are thought to have spoken Proto-Indo-Iranian, the ancestor of the Indo-Iranian language family. This identification is based primarily on similarities between sections of the Rig Veda, an Indian religious text which includes ancient Indo-Iranian hymns recorded in Vedic Sanskrit, with the funerary rituals of the Sintashta culture as revealed by archaeology.

There is however linguistic evidence of a list of common vocabulary between Finno-Ugric and Indo-Iranian languages. While its origin as a creole of different tribes in the Ural region may make it inaccurate to ascribe the Sintashta culture exclusively to Indo-Iranian ethnicity, interpreting this culture as a blend of two cultures with two distinct languages is a reasonable hypothesis based on the evidence.

The Sintashta culture emerged from the interaction of two antecedent cultures. Its immediate predecessor in the Ural-Tobol steppe was the Poltavka culture (2700—2100 BC), an offshoot of the cattle-herding Yamnaya horizon (3600–2300 BC), in English known as Pit Grave Culture or Ochre Grave Culture, that moved east into the region between 2800 and 2600 BCE.

Several Sintashta towns were built over older Poltovka settlements or close to Poltovka cemeteries, and Poltovka motifs are common on Sintashta pottery. Sintashta material culture also shows the influence of the late Abashevo culture, a collection of settlements in the forest steppe zone north of the Sintashta region that were also predominantly pastoralist.

The first Sintashta settlements appeared around 2100 BCE, during a period of climatic change that saw the already arid Kazakh steppe region become even more cold and dry. The marshy lowlands around the Ural and upper Tobol rivers, previously favoured as winter refuges, became increasingly important for survival. Under these pressures both Poltovka and Abashevo herders settled permanently in river valley strongholds, eschewing more defensible hill-top locations.

The Abashevo culture was already marked by endemic intertribal warfare; intensified by ecological stress and competition for resources in the Sintashta period, this drove the construction of fortifications on an unprecedented scale and innovations in military technique such as the invention of the war chariot.

Increased competition between tribal groups may also explain the extravagant sacrifices seen in Sintashta burials, as rivals sought to outdo one another in acts of conspicuous consumption analogous to the North American potlatch tradition.

The Sintashta economy came to revolve around copper metallurgy. Copper ores from nearby mines (such as Vorovskaya Yama) were taken to Sintashta settlements to be processed into copper and arsenical bronze. This occurred on an industrial scale: all the excavated buildings at the Sintashta sites of Sintashta, Arkaim and Ust’e contained the remains of smelting ovens and slag. Much of this metal was destined for export to the cities of the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC) in Central Asia.

BMAC

The metal trade between Sintashta and the BMAC for the first time connected the steppe region to the ancient urban civilisations of the Near East: the empires and city-states of Iran and Mesopotamia provided an almost bottomless market for metals. These trade routes later became the vehicle through which horses, chariots and ultimately Indo-Iranian-speaking people entered the Near East from the steppe.

There is archaeological evidence of settlement in the well-watered northern foothills of the Kopet Dag during the Neolithic period. This region is dotted with the multi-period hallmarks characteristic of the ancient Near East, similar to those southwest of the Kopet Dag in the Gorgan Plain in Iran. At Jeitun (or Djeitun), mud brick houses were first occupied c. 6000 BCE. The inhabitants were farmers who kept herds of goats and sheep and grew wheat and barley, with origins in southwest Asia.

Jeitun has given its name to the whole Neolithic period in the northern foothills of the Kopet Dag. At the late Neolithic site of Chagylly Depe, farmers increasingly grew the kinds of crops that are typically associated with irrigation in an arid environment, such as hexaploid bread wheat, which became predominant during the Chalcolithic period.

In the Early Bronze Age the culture of the Kopet Dag oases and Altyn-Depe developed a proto-urban society. This corresponds to level IV at Namazga-Depe. Altyn-Depe was a major centre even then. Pottery was wheel-turned. Grapes were grown. The height of this urban development was reached in the Middle Bronze Age c. 2300 BCE, corresponding to level V at Namazga-Depe. It is this Bronze Age culture which has been given the BMAC name.

The Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (or BMAC, also known as the Oxus civilization) is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age civilisation of Central Asia, dated to ca. 2300–1700 BCE, located in present day northern Afghanistan, eastern Turkmenistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centered on the upper Amu Darya (Oxus River).

BMAC materials have been found in the Indus civilisation, on the Iranian plateau, and in the Persian Gulf. Finds within BMAC sites provide further evidence of trade and cultural contacts. They include an Elamite-type cylinder seal and a Harappan seal stamped with an elephant and Indus script found at Gonur-depe.

The relationship between Altyn-Depe and the Indus Valley seems to have been particularly strong. Among the finds there were two Harappan seals and ivory objects. The Harappan settlement of Shortugai in Northern Afghanistan on the banks of the Amu Darya probably served as a trading station.

There is evidence of sustained contact between the BMAC and the Eurasian steppes to the north, intensifying c. 2000 BCE. In the delta of the Amu Darya where it reaches the Aral Sea, its waters were channeled for irrigation agriculture by people whose remains resemble those of the nomads of the Andronovo Culture. This is interpreted as nomads settling down to agriculture, after contact with the BMAC. The culture they created is known as Tazabag’yab.

About 1800 BCE, the walled BMAC centres decreased sharply in size. Each oasis developed its own types of pottery and other objects. Also pottery of the Andronovo-Tazabag’yab culture to the north appeared widely in the Bactrian and Margian countryside.

Many BMAC strongholds continued to be occupied and Andronovo-Tazabagyab coarse incised pottery occurs within them (along with the previous BMAC pottery) as well as in pastoral camps outside the mudbrick walls. In the highlands above the Bactrian oases in Tajikistan, kurgan cemeteries of the Vaksh and Bishkent type appeared with pottery that mixed elements of the late BMAC and Andronovo-Tazabagyab traditions.

As argued by Michael Witzel and Alexander Lubotsky, there is a proposed substratum in Proto-Indo-Iranian which can be plausibly identified with the original language of the BMAC.

Moreover, Lubotsky points out a larger number of words apparently borrowed from the same language, which are only attested in Indo-Aryan and therefore evidence of a substratum in Vedic Sanskrit. Some BMAC words have now also been found in Tocharian.

Michael Witzel points out that the borrowed vocabulary includes words from agriculture, village and town life, flora and fauna, ritual and religion, so providing evidence for the acculturation of Indo-Iranian speakers into the world of urban civilization.

Archaeological cultures associated with Indo-Iranian migrations (after EIEC). The Andronovo, BMAC and Yaz cultures have often been associated with Indo-Iranian migrations. The GGC, Cemetery H, Copper Hoard and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryan migrations.

The Bactria-Margiana complex has attracted attention as a candidate for those looking for the material counterparts to the Indo-Iranians (Aryans), a major linguistic branch that split off from the Proto-Indo-Europeans.

Bactria–Margiana material has been found at Susa, Shahdad, and Tepe Yahya in Iran, but Lamberg-Karlovsky does not see this as evidence that the complex originated in southeastern Iran. “The limited materials of this complex are intrusive in each of the sites on the Iranian Plateau as they are in sites of the Arabian peninsula.”

A significant section of the archaeologists are more inclined to see the culture as begun by farmers in the Near Eastern Neolithic tradition, but infiltrated by Indo-Iranian speakers from the Andronovo culture in its late phase, creating a hybrid. In this perspective, Proto-Indo-Aryan developed within the composite culture before moving south into the Indian subcontinent. As James P. Mallory phrased it

It has become increasingly clear that if one wishes to argue for Indo-Iranian migrations from the steppe lands south into the historical seats of the Iranians and Indo-Aryans that these steppe cultures were transformed as they passed through a membrane of Central Asian urbanism. The fact that typical steppe wares are found on BMAC sites and that intrusive BMAC material is subsequently found further to the south in Iran, Afghanistan, Nepal, India and Pakistan, may suggest then the subsequent movement of Indo-Iranian-speakers after they had adopted the culture of the BMAC.

The Indian archaeologist B. B. Lal has seriously questioned the BMAC and Indo-Iranian connection, and disputed the proclaimed relations. Others maintain there is insufficient evidence for any ethnic or linguistic identification of the BMAC solely based on material remains, in the absence of written records.

Models of two-wheeled carts from c. 3000 BCE found at Altyn-Depe are the earliest complete evidence of wheeled transport in Central Asia, though model wheels have come from contexts possibly somewhat earlier. Judging by the type of harness, carts were initially pulled by oxen, or a bull. However camels were domesticated within the BMAC. A model of a cart drawn by a camel of c. 2200 BCE was found at Altyn-Depe.

Eastern Iranian

Eastern Iranian is thought to have separated from Western Iranian in the course of the later 2nd millennium BC, and was possibly located at the Yaz culture, an early Iron Age culture of Bactria and Margiana (ca. 1500-1100 BC).

It has been regarded as a likely archaeological reflection of early East Iranian culture as described in the Avesta. So far, no burials related to the culture have been found, and this was taken as evidence of the Zoroastrian practice of exposure or so-called sky burial.

The Scythians migrated from Central Asia toward Eastern Europe in the 8th and 7th century BC, occupying today’s Southern Russia and Ukraine and the Carpathian Basin and parts of Moldova and Dobruja. They disappeared from history after the Hunnish invasion of Europe in the 5th century AD, and Turkic (Avar, Batsange, etc.) and Slavic peoples probably assimilated most people speaking Scythian.

However, in the Caucasus, the Ossetian language belonging to the Scythian linguistic continuum remains in use today, while in Central Asia, some languages belonging to Eastern Iranian group are still spoken, namely Pashto, Pamir languages and Yaghnobi.

The Scythian languages are a group of Eastern Iranian languages of the classical and late antiquity (Middle Iranian) period, spoken in a vast region of Eurasia named Scythia. Except for modern Ossetian, which descends from the Alanian variety, these languages are all considered to be extinct.

Modern Eastern Iranian languages such as Wakhi, however, are related to the eastern Scytho-Khotanese dialects attested from the kingdoms of Khotan and Tumshuq in the ancient Tarim Basin, in present-day southern Xinjiang, China.

The location and extent of Scythia varied by time, but generally it encompassed the part of Eastern Europe east of the Vistula river and much of Central Asia up to the Tarim Basin. The dominant ethnic groups among the Scythians were nomadic pastoralists of Central Asia and the Pontic-Caspian steppe. Fragments of their speech known from inscriptions and words quoted in ancient authors as well as analysis of their names indicate that it was an Indo-European language, more specifically from the Iranian group of Indo-Iranian languages.

The vast majority of Scythological scholars agree in considering the Scythian languages (and Ossetian) as a part of the Eastern Iranian group of languages. This Iranian hypothesis relies principally on the fact that the Greek inscriptions of the Northern Black Sea Coast contain several hundreds of Sarmatian names showing a close affinity to the Ossetian language.

The classification of the Iranian languages is in general not however fully resolved, and the Eastern Iranian languages are not shown to form an actual genetic subgroup. Scythian may instead by classified as part of a Northern Iranian group, together with Ossetian, but separate from Eastern Iranian.

Some scholars detect a division of Scythian into two dialects: a western, more conservative dialect, and an eastern, more innovative one. The Scythian languages may have formed a dialect continuum with Alanian languages or Scytho-Sarmatian in the west and Saka languages or Scytho-Khotanese in the east.

The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages emerging in Middle Iranian times (from c. the 4th century BC). The Avestan language is often classified as early Eastern Iranian. The largest living Eastern Iranian language is Pashto, with some 50 million speakers between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan. As opposed to the Middle Western Iranian dialects, the Middle Eastern Iranian preserves word-final syllables.

The living Eastern Iranian languages are spoken in a contiguous area, in eastern Afghanistan as well as the adjacent parts of western Pakistan, Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province of eastern Tajikistan, and the far west of Xinjiang region of China, while it also has two other living members in widely separated areas, the Yaghnobi language of northwestern Tajikistan (descended from Sogdian) and the Ossetic language of the Caucasus (descended from Scytho-Sarmatian). These are remnants of a vast ethno-linguistic continuum that stretched over most of Central Asia in the 1st millennium BC.

With Greek presence in Central Asia, some of the easternmost of these languages were recorded in their Middle Iranian stage (hence the “Eastern” classification), while almost no records of the Scytho-Sarmatian continuum stretching from Kazakhstan west across the Pontic steppe to Ukraine have survived.

Eastern Iranian remains a single dialect continuum subject to common innovation. Traditional branches, such as “Northeastern”, as well as Eastern Iranian itself, are better considered language areas rather than genetic groups.

The Tashtyk culture was first surveyed by the Russian archaeologist Sergei Teploukhov, who suggested that it had been initially Indo-European dominated, only to become overcome by the Yenisei Kirghiz around the 3rd century AD. The Yenisei Kirghiz are often associted with the Tashtyk culture.

Tashtyk settlements and hill-forts have been unearthed throughout the Yenisei region, particularly the Sayan canyon area. Their most imposing monuments were immense barrows-crypt structures; these have yielded large quantities of clay and metal vessels and ornaments. In addition, numerous petrographic carvings have been found. Some of the graves contained leather models of human bodies with their heads wrapped in tissue and brightly painted.

Inside the models there were small leather bags probably symbolising the stomach and containing burned human bones. Scaled-down replicas of swords, arrows and quivers were placed nearby. The animal motis of the Tashtyk belonged to the Scytho-Altaic style, while they were also under significant Chinese influence.

During his excavations of the Oglahty cemetery south of Minusinsk, Leonid Kyzlasov discovered a number of mummies with richly decorated plaster funerary masks showing Western Eurasian features, though this would not rule out some East Asian admixture, as revealed by ancient DNA (see below). There were also intact fur hats, silk clothes, and footwear (now in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg).

In 2009, a genetic study of ancient Siberian cultures, the Andronovo culture, tha Karasuk culture, the Tagar culture and the Tashtyk culture, was published in Human Genetics. Six Tashtyk remains of 100–400 AD from Bogratsky region, Abakano-Pérévoz I, Khakassia were surveyed. Extractions of mtDNA from four individuals was determined to belong to the Western Eurasian HV, H, N9a, and T1, while the other carried the East Asian haplogroup C.

Extractions of Y-DNA from the remains of one individual were determined to be of Y-chromosome haplogroup Western Eurasian R1a1, which is thought to mark the eastward migration of the early Indo-Europeans. All individuals surveyed were determined to be Europoid, and were except from one individual exclusively light-eyed and light-haired.

Armenian hypothesis

Grigoryev’s (1998) version of the Armenian hypothesis connects Catacomb culture with Indo-Aryans, because catacomb burial ritual had roots in South-Western Turkmenistan from the early 4th millennium (Parkhai cemetery). The same opinion is supported by Leo Klejn in his various publications.

The Armenian hypothesis of the Proto-Indo-European Urheimat, based on the Glottalic theory, suggests that the Proto-Indo-European language was spoken during the 4th millennium BC in the Armenian Highland.

It is an Indo-Hittite model and does not include the Anatolian languages in its scenario. The phonological peculiarities proposed in the Glottalic theory would be best preserved in the Armenian language and the Germanic languages, the former assuming the role of the dialect which remained in situ, implied to be particularly archaic in spite of its late attestation.

The Proto-Greek language would be practically equivalent to Mycenaean Greek and date to the 17th century BC, closely associating Greek migration to Greece with the Indo-Aryan migration to India at about the same time (viz., Indo-European expansion at the transition to the Late Bronze Age, including the possibility of Indo-European Kassites).

The Armenian hypothesis was proposed by Russian linguists T. V. Gamkrelidze and V. V. Ivanov in 1985, presenting it first in two articles in Vestnik drevnej istorii and then in a much larger work. Gamkrelidze and Ivanov argue that IE spread out from Armenia into the Pontic steppe, from which it expanded – as per the Kurgan hypothesis – into Western Europe. The Hittite, Indo-Iranian, Greek and Armenian branches split from the Armenian homeland.

The Armenian hypothesis argues for the latest possible date of Proto-Indo-European (sans Anatolian), roughly a millennium later than the mainstream Kurgan hypothesis. In this, it figures as an opposite to the Anatolian hypothesis, in spite of the geographical proximity of the respective suggested Urheimaten, diverging from the timeframe suggested there by as much as three millennia.

Robert Drews, commenting on the hypothesis, says that “most of the chronological and historical arguments seem fragile at best, and of those that I am able to judge, some are evidently wrong”. However, he argues that it is far more powerful as a linguistic model, providing insights into the relationship between Indo-European and the Semitic and Kartvelian languages.

He continues to say “It is certain that the inhabitants of the forested areas of Armenia very early became accomplished woodworkers, and it now appears that in the second millennium they produced spoked-wheel vehicles that served as models as far away as China. And we have long known that from the second millennium onward, Armenia was important for the breeding of horses. It is thus not surprising to find that what clues we have suggest that chariot warfare was pioneered in eastern Anatolia. Finally, our picture of what the PIE speakers did, and when, owes much to the recently proposed hypothesis that the homeland of the PIE speakers was Armenia.”

I. Grepin, reviewing Gamkrelidze and Ivanov’s book, wrote that their model of linguistic relationships is “the most complex, far reaching and fully supported of this century.”

Graeco-Aryan

Graeco-Aryan (or Graeco-Armeno-Aryan) is a hypothetical clade within the Indo-European family, ancestral to the Greek language, the Armenian language, and the Indo-Iranian languages. Graeco-Aryan unity would have become divided into Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian by the mid 3rd millennium BC.

Conceivably, Proto-Armenian would have been located between Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian, consistent with the fact that Armenian shares certain features only with Indo-Iranian (the satem change) but others only with Greek (s > h).

Graeco-Aryan has comparatively wide support among Indo-Europeanists for the Indo-European Homeland to be located in the Armenian Highland. Early and strong evidence was given by Euler’s 1979 examination on shared features in Greek and Sanskrit nominal flection.

Used in tandem with the Graeco-Armenian hypothesis, the Armenian language would also be included under the label Aryano-Greco-Armenic, splitting into proto-Greek/Phrygian and “Armeno-Aryan” (ancestor of Armenian and Indo-Iranian).

In the context of the Kurgan hypothesis, Greco-Aryan is also known as “Late PIE” or “Late Indo-European” (LIE), suggesting that Greco-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. By 2500 BC, Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian had separated, moving westward and eastward from the Pontic Steppe, respectively.

If Graeco-Aryan is a valid group, Grassmann’s law may have a common origin in Greek and Sanskrit. Note, however, that Grassmann’s law in Greek postdates certain sound changes that happened only in Greek and not Sanskrit, which suggests that it cannot strictly be an inheritance from a common Graeco-Aryan stage.

Rather, it is more likely an areal feature that spread across a then-contiguous Graeco-Aryan-speaking area after early Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian had developed into separate dialects but before they ceased being in geographic contact.

The fall of the Mycanean civilization

In. c. 1250 BC, the first wave of destruction has been witnessed in various centers of mainland Greece for reasons that cannot be identified by archaeologists. In Boeotia, Thebes was burnt to the ground, around that year or slightly later. Nearby Orchomenos shared the same fate, while the Boeotian fortifications of Gla were deserted. In the Peloponnese, a number of buildings surrounding the citadel of Mycenae were attacked and burnt.

These incidents appear to have prompted the massive strengthening and expansion of the fortifications in various sites. In some cases, arrangements were also made for the creation of subterranean passages which lead to underground cisterns. Tiryns, Midea and Athens expanded their defences with new cyclopean style walls.

The extension program in Mycenae almost doubled the fortified area of the citadel. To this phase of extension belongs the impressive Lion Gate, the main entrance into the Mycenaean acropolis.

It appears that after this first wave of destruction a short lived revival of Mycenaean culture followed. Mycenaean Greece continues to be mentioned in international affairs, particularly in Hittite records. In c. 1220 BC, the king of Ahhiyawa is again reported of being involved in an anti-Hittite uprising in western Anatolia.

Another contemporary Hittite text reveals that Ahhiyawan ships need to be prohibited from reaching Assyrian-controlled harbors, as part of a trade embargo imposed on Assyria. In general, in the second half of 13th century BC, trade was in decline in the Eastern Mediterranean, most probably due to the unstable political environment there.

None of the defence measures appear to have prevented the final destruction and collapse of the Mycenaean states. A second destruction struck Mycenae in ca. 1190 BC or shortly thereafter. This event marked the end of Mycenae as a major power. The site was then reoccupied, but on a smaller scale.

The palace of Pylos, in southwestern Peloponesse, faced destruction in c. 1180 BC. The Linear B archives found there, preserved by the heat of the fire that destroyed the palace, mention hastily defence preparations due to an imminent attack without giving any detail about the attacking force.

As a result of this turmoil, specific regions in mainland Greece witnessed dramatic population decreases, especially Boetia, Argolis and Messenia. Mycenaean refugees migrated to Cyprus and the Levantine coast.

Nevertheless, other regions on the edge of the Mycenaean world prospered, such as the Ionian islands, northwestern Peloponnese, parts of Attica and a number of Aegean islands. The acropolis of Athens paradoxically appears to have avoided destruction.

The reasons that lead to the collapse of the Mycenaean culture have been hotly debated among scholars. At present, there is no satisfactory explanation for the collapse of the Mycenaean palace systems. The two most common theories are population movement and internal conflict. The first attributes the destruction of Mycenaean sites to invaders.

The hypothesis of a Dorian invasion, known as such in Ancient Greek tradition, that led to the end of Mycenaean Greece, is supported by sporadic archaeological evidence such as new types of burials, in particular cist graves, and the use of a new dialect of Greek, the Doric one.

It appears that the Dorians moved southward gradually over a number of years and devastated the territory, until they managed to establish themselves in the Mycenaean centres. A new type of ceramic also appeared, called “Barbarian Ware” because it was attributed to invaders from the north.

On the other hand, the collapse of Mycenaean Greece coincides with the activity of the Sea Peoples in the Eastern Mediterranean. They caused widespread destruction in Anatolia and the Levant and were finally defeated by Pharaoh Ramesses III in c. 1175 BC. One of the ethnic groups that consisted these people were the Eqwesh, a name that appears to be linked with the Ahhiyawa of the Hittite inscriptions.

Alternative scenarios propose that the fall of the Mycenaean Greece was a result of internal disturbances which lead to internecine warfare among the Mycenaean states or civil unrest in a number of states, as a result of the strict hierarchical social system and the ideology of the wanax.

In general, due to the obscure archaeological picture in 12th-11th century BC Greece, there is a continuing controversy among scholars over whether the impoverished societies that succeeded the Mycenaean palatial states were newcomers or populations that already resided in Mycenaean Greece. Recent archaeological findings tend to favor the latter scenario.

Additional theories, concerning natural factors, such as climate change, droughts or earthquakes have been also proposed. The period following the end of Mycenaean Greece, c. 1100-800 BC, is generally termed the “Greek Dark Ages”.

Traditionally, historians have believed that the Dorian invasion caused the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization, but it is likely the main attack was made by seafaring raiders (sea peoples) who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean around 1180 BC.

Achaeans

Various collective terms for the inhabitants of Mycenaean Greece were used by Homer in his 8th century BC epic, the Iliad, in reference to the Trojan War. The latter was supposed to happen in the late 13th–early 12th century BC, where a coalition of small Greek states under the king of Mycenae, besieged the walled city of Troy.

Homer used the ethnonyms: Achaeans, Danaans and Argives, to refer to the besiegers. These names appear to have passed down from the time they were in use to the time when Homer applied them as collective terms in his Iliad. There is an isolated reference to a-ka-wi-ja-de in the Linear B records in Knossos, Crete dated to c. 1400 BC, which most probably refers to a Mycenaean (Achaean) state on the Greek mainland.

Egyptian records mention a T(D)-n-j or Danaya (Tanaju) land for the first time in ca. 1437 BC, during the reign Pharaoh Thutmoses III. This land is geographically defined in an inscription from the reign of Amenhotep III (c. 1388–1351 BC), where a number of Danaya cities are mentioned, which cover the largest part of southern mainland Greece.

Among them, cities such as Mycenae, Nauplion and Thebes, have been identified with certainty. Danaya has been equated with the ethnonym Danaoi, the name of the mythical dynasty that ruled in the region of Argos, also used as an ethnonym for the Greek people by Homer.

In the official records of another Bronze Age empire, that of the Hittites in Anatolia various references, from c. 1400 BC to 1220 BC, mention a country named Ahhiyawa.

Recent scholarship, based on textual evidence, new interpretations of the Hittite inscriptions, as well as on recent surveys about the archaeological evidence about Mycenaean-Anatolian contacts during this period, concludes that the term Ahhiyawa must have been used in reference to the Mycenaean world (land of the Achaeans), or at least to a part of it.

This term may have also had broader connotations in some texts, possibly referring to all regions settled by Mycenaeans or regions under direct Mycenaean political control.

Another similar ethnonym Ekwesh in 12th century BC Egyptian inscriptions, has been commonly identified with the Ahhiyawans. These Ekwesh were mentioned as a group of the Sea People.

The Assuwa league was a confederation of states in western Anatolia, defeated by the Hittites under an earlier Tudhaliya I around 1400 BC. Assuwa has been suggested as the origin for the name of the continent Asia.

Contemporary Hittite texts indicate the presence of Ahhiyawa which strengthens its position in western Anatolia from c. 1400 to c. 1220 BC. Ahhiyawa is generally accepted as a Hittite translation of Mycenaean Greece (Achaeans in Homeric Greek), but a precise geographical definition of the term cannot be drawn from the texts. During this period, the kings of Ahhiyawa were clearly able to deal with the Hittite kings both in a military and diplomatic way.

Moreover, Ahhiyawan activity was to interfere in Anatolian affairs, with the support of anti-Hittite uprisings or through local vassal rulers, which the Ahhiyawan king used as agents for the extension of his influence. The Ahhiyawan presence in western Anatolia inevitably caused tensions and in some cases conflicts with the Hittites, whose sphere of influence extended in the same region.

In c. 1400 BC, Hittite records mention the military activities of an Ahhiyawan warlord, Attarsiya, a possible Hittite way of writing the Greek name Atreus, who attacked Hittite vassals in western Anatolia. Later, in c. 1315 BC, Hittite interests in the region were again threatened by an anti-Hittite rebellion headed by Arzawa, a Hittite vassal state, with the support of the king of Ahhiyawa. Around the same time, Ahhiyawa is reported to have seized various islands, presumably in the Aegean, an impression also supported by archaeological evidence.

During the reign of the Hittite king Hattusili III (c. 1267–1237 BC), the king of Ahhiyawa is recognized as a “Great King” and of equal status with the other contemporary great Bronze Age rulers: the kings of Egypt, Babylonia and Assyria. At that time, another anti-Hittite movement, led by Piyama-Radu, broke out and was supported by the king of Ahhiyawa. Piyama-Radu had been ravaging the land of Wilusa and latter led the armed takeover of the island of Lesbos, which was subsequently handed over to Ahhiyawa.

The Hittite-Ahhiyawan confrontation in Wilusa, the Hittite name for Troy, may provide the historical foundation for the Trojan War tradition. As a result of this instability, the Hittite king initiated correspondence in order to convince his Ahhiyawan counterpart to restore peace in the region. The Hittite record mentions a certain Tawagalawa, a possible Hittite translation for Greek Eteocles, as brother of the king of Ahhiyawa.

The list of the members of the league formed to oppose the Hittite empire contains 22 names, including […]uqqa, Warsiya, Taruisa, Wilusiya and Karkija (Caria). Some of the identifications of these names are disputed. Wilusiya is commonly identified with Ilion (Troy), and Taruisa with the surrounding Troad, and Warsiya may be associated with Lukka (Lycia).

However, identification of [..]uqqa with later-attested Lukka (Lycia) is problematic, because that would put the Assuwa league both north and south of Arzawa, roughly from late 15th century BCE until the beginning of the 12th century BCE the name of a region and a political entity in southwestern Anatolia. Assuwa appears to lie north of Arzawa, covering the northwestern corner of Anatolia.

Homer in the Iliad seems to refer to two Lycias; in 2.876-77, 5.479 Sarpedon is a leader of “distant Lycia” while in 2.824ff. 5.105 Pandarus is another leader of Lycians from around Mount Ida near Troy, so that Lukka vs. […]uqqa may find its explanation in these terms.

However, the Assuwa League included Karkija (Caria), in southwest Anatolia, south of even the proposed Lukka (Lycia). So, since also Assuwa was only a confederate league, it could easily have included a wide-ranging array of anti-Hittite minor powers, across the region.

This confederacy is mentioned only in the fragmentary tablets making up Laroche’s CTH 142/85. Since the later Tudhaliya IV was known to have had frontier trouble between 1250 and 1200 BC, and since the text lists rebel nations in much the way Ramesses II does, the first consensus dated this text – and so Assuwa – to Tudhaliyas IV.

This dating appears in all older literature on the fall of the Hatti, and crops up every now and then to this day. However the consensus has since then come around to dating Assuwa to an earlier Tudhaliyas, which means prior to Suppiluliumas and so prior to 1350 BC.

Arzawa was the successor state of the Assuwa league, which also included parts of western Anatolia, but was conquered by the Hittites in c. 1400. It was the western neighbour and rival of the Middle and New Hittite Kingdoms.

On the other hand it was in close contact with the Ahhiyawa of the Hittite texts, which corresponds to the Achaeans of Mycenaean Greece. Moreover, Achaeans and Arzawa formed a coalition against the Hittites, in various periods.

Ahhiya(wa) has been identified with the Achaeans of the Trojan War and the city of Wilusa with the legendary city of Troy (note the similarity with early Greek Wilion, later Ilion, the name of the acropolis of Troy).

The exact relationship of the term Ahhiyawa to the Achaeans, one of the collective names for the Greeks in Homer’s Iliad (used 598 times) and Odyssey, beyond a similarity in pronunciation was hotly debated by scholars, even following the discovery that Mycenaean Linear B is an early form of Greek.

More recent research based on new readings and interpretations of the Hittite texts, as well as of the material evidence for Mycenaean contacts with the Anatolian mainland, came to the conclusion that Ahhiyawa referred to the Mycenaean world, or at least to a part of it.

The other common names are Danaans (used 138 times in the Iliad) and Argives (used 182 times in the Iliad) while Panhellenes and Hellenes both appear only once; all of the aforementioned terms were used synonymously to denote a common Greek civilizational identity.

In the historical period, the Achaeans were the inhabitants of the region of Achaea, a region in the north-central part of the Peloponnese. The city-states of this region later formed a confederation known as the Achaean League, which was influential during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.

The Homeric “long-haired Achaeans” would have been a part of the Mycenaean civilization that dominated Greece from circa 1600 BC until 1100 BC. However, by the Archaic and Classical periods, the term “Achaeans” referred to inhabitants of the much smaller region of Achaea.

Herodotus identified the Achaeans of the northern Peloponnese as descendants of the earlier, Homeric Achaeans. According to Pausanias, writing in the 2nd century CE, the term “Achaean” was originally given to those Greeks inhabiting the Argolis and Laconia. However, this clearly is not the manner in which Homer uses the term.

Cyclopes

According to Homer’s description, Odysseus, after his stay with the Cyclopes, a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the middle of his forehead, reached the island of Aeolia, who provided him with the west wind Zephyr.

Various ancient Greek and Roman authors wrote about cyclopes. Hesiod described them as three brothers who were primordial giants. All the other sources of literature about the cyclopes describe the cyclops Polyphemus, who lived upon an island (often identified by ancient authors with Sicily) populated by the creatures.

According to a hymn of Callimachus, they were Hephaestus’ helpers at the forge. The Cyclopes were said to have built the “cyclopean” fortifications at Tiryns and Mycenae in the Peloponnese. The noises proceeding from the heart of volcanoes were attributed to their operations.

Uranus, fearing their strength, locked them in Tartarus. Cronus, another son of Uranus and Gaia, later freed the Cyclopes, along with the Hecatonchires, after he had overthrown Uranus. Cronus then placed them back in Tartarus, where they remained, guarded by the female monster Campe, until freed by Zeus. They fashioned thunderbolts for Zeus to use as weapons, and helped him overthrow Cronus and the other Titans.

The lightning bolts, which became Zeus’ main weapons, were forged by all three Cyclopes, in that Arges added brightness, Brontes added thunder, and Steropes added lightning.

These Cyclopes also created Poseidon’s trident, Artemis’ bow and arrows of moonlight, Apollo’s bow and arrows of sun rays, and Hades’ helmet of darkness that was given to Perseus on his quest to kill Medusa.

Hesiod described three one-eyed Cyclopes, Brontes, Steropes and Arges the sons of Uranus and Gaia, brothers of the Titans, builders and craftsmen, while the epic poet Homer described another group of mortal herdsmen Cyclopes the sons of Poseidon.

In Hesiod’s Theogony, Zeus releases three Cyclopes from the dark pit of Tartarus. They provide Zeus’ thunderbolt, Hades’ helmet of invisibility, and Poseidon’s trident, and the gods use these weapons to defeat the Titans.

In the Theogony by Hesiod, the Cyclopes – Brontes (“thunderer”), Steropes (“lightning”) and the Arges (“bright”) – were the primordial sons of Uranus (Sky) and Gaia (Earth) and brothers of the Hekatonkheires and the Titans. As such, they were blood-related to the Titan and Olympian gods and goddesses.

According to Hesiod, they were strong and stubborn. Collectively they eventually became synonyms for brute strength and power, and their name was invoked in connection with massive masonry. They were often pictured at their forge.

According to Euripides’ play Alcestis, Apollo killed the Cyclopes, in retaliation for Asclepius’ murder at the hands of Zeus. For this crime, Apollo was then forced into the servitude of Admetus for one year. Other stories after Euripides tell that Zeus later revived Asclepius and the Cyclopes. This was after the year of Apollo’s servitude had passed.

Zeus pardoned the Cyclopes and Asclepius from the underworld, despite them being dead, even though Hades is lord of the dead and they are his prisoners. Hades as well does not ever allow any of his souls to leave the Underworld.

Zeus could not bear the loss of the cyclopes, for they were the biggest reason the Olympians assumed power. Also, Zeus resurrected Asclepius at the request of Apollo so that their feud would end. Some versions of this myth have it that after Apollo killed the Cyclopes, their ghosts dwelt in the caverns of the volcano Aetna.

Virgil, the Roman epic poet, wrote, in book three of The Aeneid, of how Aeneas and his crew landed on the island of the cyclops after escaping from Troy at the end of the Trojan War. Aeneas and his crew land on the island, when they are approached by a desperate Greek man from Ithaca, Achaemenides, who was stranded on the island a few years previously with Odysseus’ expedition (as depicted in The Odyssey).

Virgil’s account acts as a sequel to Homer’s, with the fate of Polyphemus as a blind cyclops after the escape of Odysseus and his crew where some cases have Polyphemus regaining his eyesight.

After the “Dark Age”, when Hellenes looked with awe at the vast dressed blocks, known as Cyclopean structures, which had been used in Mycenaean masonry (at sites such as Mycenae and Tiryns or on Cyprus), they concluded that only the Cyclopes had the combination of skill and strength to build in such a monumental manner.

Ionians

When referring to populations, “Ionian” defines several groups in Classical Greece. In the narrowest sense, it referred to the region of Ionia in Asia Minor. In a broader sense, it could be used to describe all speakers of the Ionic dialect, which in addition to those in Ionia proper also included the populations of Euboea, the Cyclades and many colonies founded by Ionian colonists. Finally, in the broadest sense, it could be used to describe all those who spoke languages of the East Greek group, which included Attic.

Unlike the austere and militaristic Dorians, the Ionians are renowned for their love of philosophy, art, democracy, and pleasure – Ionian traits that were most famously expressed by the Athenians. Unlike “Aeolians” and “Dorians”, “Ionians” appears in the languages of different civilizations around the eastern Mediterranean and as far east as the Indian subcontinent.

The Ionians are not the earliest Greeks to appear in the records; that distinction belongs to the Danaans and the Achaeans. The trail of the Ionians begins in the Mycenaean Greek records of Crete. A fragmentary Linear B tablet from Knossos (tablet Xd 146) bears the name i-ja-wo-ne, interpreted by Ventris and Chadwick as possibly the dative or nominative plural case of *Iāwones, an ethnic name. The Knossos tablets are dated to 1400 or 1200 BC. and thus pre-date the Dorian dominance in Crete, if the name refers to Cretans.

The name first appears in Greek literature in Homer as iāones, used on a single occasion of some long-robed Greeks attacked by Hector and apparently identified with Athenians, and this Homeric form appears to be identical with the Mycenaean form but without the *-w-. This name also appears in a fragment of the other early poet, Hesiod, in the singular iāōn.

Some letters of the Assyrian Empire in the 8th century BC record attacks by what appear to be Ionians on the cities of Phoenicia: For example, a raid by the Ionians (ia-u-na-a-a) on the Phoenician coast is reported to Tiglath-Pileser III in a letter of the 730’s find at Nimrud.

The Assyrian word, which is preceded by the country determinative, has been reconstructed as *Iaunaia. More common is ia-a-ma-nu, ia-ma-nu and ia-am-na-a-a with the country determinative, reconstructed as Iamānu. Sargon II related that he took the latter from the sea like fish and that they were from “the sea of the setting sun.”

If the identification of Assyrian names is correct, at least some of the Ionian marauders came from Cyprus: Sargon’s Annals for 709, claiming that tribute was sent to him by ‘seven kings of Ya (ya-a’), a district of Yadnana whose distant abodes are situated a seven-days’ journey in the sea of the setting sun’, is confirmed by a stele set up at Citium in Cyprus ‘at the base of a mountain ravine … of Yadnana.’

Ionians appear in Indic literature and documents as Yavana and Yona. In documents, these names refer to the Indo-Greek Kingdoms; that is, the states formed by the Macedonians, either Alexander the Great or his successors on the Indian subcontinent. The earliest such documentation is the Edicts of Ashoka, dated to 250 BC, within 10 or 20 years.

Before then, the Yavanas appear in the Vedas with reference to the Vedic period, which could be as early as the 2nd millennium BC. The Vedas are to be distinguished from the much earlier Vedic period.

In the Vedas, the Yavanas are a kingdom of Mlechhas, or barbarians, to the far west, out of the line of descent of Indic culture, in the same category as the Sakas, or Skythians (who spoke Iranian), and thus probably were already Greek. The Ionians of the Aegean are the identity customarily assigned to them.

Ionians appear in a number of Old Persian inscriptions of the Achaemenid Empire as Yaunā, a nominative plural masculine, singular Yauna; for example, an inscription of Darius on the south wall of the palace at Persepolis includes in the provinces of the empire “Ionians who are of the mainland and (those) who are by the sea, and countries which are across the sea; ….” At that time the empire probably extended around the Aegean to northern Greece.

Most modern Middle Eastern languages use the terms “Ionia” and “Ionian” to refer to Greece and Greeks. This is true of Hebrew (Yavan ‘Greece’ / Yevani fem. Yevania ‘a Greek’), Armenian (Hunastan ‘Greece’ / Huyn ‘a Greek’), while the classical Arabic words (al-Yūnān ‘Greece’ / Yūnānī fem. Yūnāniyya pl. Yūnān ‘a Greek’, probably from Aramaic Yawnānā) are used in most modern Arabic dialects including Egyptian and Palestinian as well as being used in modern Persian (Yūnānestān ‘Greece’ / Yūnānī pl. Yūnānīhā/Yūnānīyān ‘Greek’) and Turkish too via Persian (Yunanistan ‘Greece’ / Yunan pl. Yunanlar ‘Greek’).

The etymology of the word is uncertain. Both Frisk and Beekes isolate an unknown root, *Ia-, pronounced *ya-. There are, however, according to some theories it is from an unknown early name of an eastern Mediterranean island population represented by Ha-nebu, an ancient Egyptian name for the people living there.

From ancient Egyptian ‘iwn “pillar, tree trunk” extended into iwnt “bow” (of wood?) and ‘Iwntyw “bowmen, archers.” This derivation is analogous on the one hand to the possible derivation of Dorians and on the other fits the Egyptian concept of “nine bows” with reference to the Sea Peoples.

The Proto-Indo-European onomatopoeic root *wi- or *woi- express a shout uttered by persons running to the assistance of others; according to Pokorny, *Iawones would mean “devotees of Apollo”, based on the cry iē paiōn uttered in his worship. It is from a Proto-Indo-European root *uiH-, meaning “power.”

In a landmark article of 1964 Vladimir Georgiev summarized the relationship of the three main historical dialects and gave an estimate of their chronology as follows. Prior to the 20th century BC, three dialects of Greek existed: Iawonic, Iawolic and Doric (Georgiev’s names). Iawonic was spoken in Attica, Euboea, East Boeotia and the Peloponnesus.

In the 16th century BC, a new koinē was formed from Iawonic and Iawolic: the Mycenaean Greek language. It persisted until about 1200, when it became the major source of Arcado-Cyprian, with some Doric influence. The Ionians taking up the tradition of epic poetry created Homeric Greek. Ionian descends from Iawonic.

The literary evidence of the Ionians leads back to mainland Greece in Mycenaean times before there was an Ionia. The classical sources seem determined that they were to be called Ionians along with other names even then. This cannot be documented with inscriptional evidence, and yet the literary evidence, which is manifestly at least partially legendary, seems to reflect a general verbal tradition.

Foundation myth

The Foundation myth which was current in the Classical period suggested that the Ionians were named after Ion, son of Xuthus, who lived in the north Peloponnesian region of Aegilaus. When the Dorians invaded the Peloponnese and expelled the Achaeans from the Argolid and Lacedaemonia, the Achaeans moved into Aegilaus (henceforth known as Achaea) and the Ionians were in turn expelled. The Ionians moved to Attica and mingled with the local population. Later, many people emigrated to the coast of Asia Minor founding the historical region of Ionia.

Herodotus of Halicarnassus asserts: all are Ionians who are of Athenian descent and keep the feast Apaturia. He further explains: The whole Hellenic stock was then small, and the last of all its branches and the least regarded was the Ionian; for it had no considerable city except Athens.

The Ionians spread from Athens to other places in the Aegean Sea: Sifnos and Serifos, Naxos, Kea and Samos. But they were not just from Athens: These Ionians, as long as they were in the Peloponnesus, dwelt in what is now called Achaea, and before Danaus and Xuthus came to the Peloponnesus, as the Greeks say, they were called Aegialian Pelasgians. They were named Ionians after Ion the son of Xuthus.

Achaea was divided into 12 communities originally Ionian: Pellene, Aegira, Aegae, Bura, Helice, Aegion, Rhype, Patrae, Phareae, Olenus, Dyme and Tritaeae. The most aboriginal Ionians were of Cynuria: The Cynurians are aboriginal and seem to be the only Ionians, but they have been Dorianized by time and by Argive rule.

In Strabo’s account of the origin of the Ionians Hellen, the son of Deucalion, ancestor of the Hellenes, king of Phthia, arranged a marriage between his son Xuthus and the daughter of king Erechtheus of Athens.

Xuthus then founded the Tetrapolis (“Four Cities”) of Attica, a rural district. His son, Achaeus, went into exile in a land subsequently called Achaea after him. Another son of Xuthus, Ion, conquered Thrace, after which the Athenians made him king of Athens.

Attica was called Ionia after his death. Those Ionians colonized Aigialia changing its name to Ionia also. When the Heracleidae returned the Achaeans drove the Ionians back to Athens. Under the Codridae they set forth for Anatolia and founded 12 cities in Caria and Lydia following the model of the 12 cities of Achaea, formerly Ionian.

Japetus and Javan

In the Book of Genesis of the English Bible, Javan is a son of Japheth. Javan is believed nearly universally by Bible scholars to represent the Ionians; that is, Javan is Ion. The Hebrew is Yāwān, plural Yəwānīm.

Additionally, but less surely, Japheth may be related linguistically to the Greek mythological figure Iapetus (“the Piercer”) or Japetus, a Titan, the son of Uranus and Gaia, and father (by an Oceanid named Clymene or Asia) of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus and Menoetius.

Iapetus has (for example, by Robert Graves) been equated with Japheth, the son of Noah, based on the similarity of their names and on old Jewish traditions, that held Japheth as the ancestor of the Greeks, the Slavs, the Italics, the Teutons, the Dravidians etc.

Iapetus (“the Piercer”) is the one Titan mentioned by Homer in the Iliad (8.478–81) as being in Tartarus with Cronus. He is a brother of Cronus, who ruled the world during the Golden Age.

His name derives from the word iapto (“wound, pierce”) and usually refers to a spear, implying that Iapetus may have been regarded as a god of craftsmanship, though scholars mostly describe him as the god of mortality. Iapetus’s wife is normally a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys named Clymene or Asia.

In Hesiod’s Works and Days Prometheus is addressed as “son of Iapetus”, and no mother is named. However, in Hesiod’s Theogony, Clymene is listed as Iapetus’ wife and the mother of Prometheus.

In Aeschylus’s play Prometheus Bound, Prometheus is son of the goddess Themis with no father named (but still with at least Atlas as a brother). However, in Horace’s Odes, in Ode 1.3 Horace describes how “audax Iapeti genus/ Ignem fraude mala gentibus intulit”; “The bold offspring of Iapetus [i.e. Prometheus]/ brought fire to peoples by wicked deceit”.

The sons of Iapetus were sometimes regarded as mankind’s ancestors, and as such some of humanity’s worst qualities were said to have been inherited from these four gods, each of whom were described with a particular moral fault that often led to their own downfall. For instance, sly and clever Prometheus could perhaps represent crafty scheming; the inept and guileless Epimetheus, foolish stupidity; enduring Atlas, excessive daring; and arrogant Menoetius, rash violence.

Jericho

Jericho’s name in Hebrew, Yeriẖo, is thought to derive from Canaanite word Reaẖ (“fragrant”), though an alternative theory holds that it is derived from the word meaning “moon” (Yareaẖ) in Canaanite, or the name of the lunar deity Yarikh (also written as Jerah, Jarah, or Jorah, Hebrew spelling), a moon god in Canaanite religion whose epithets are “illuminator of the heavens”‘, “illuminator of the myriads of stars” and “lord of the sickle” for whom since the city was an early centre of worship.

The latter epithet may come from the appearance of the crescent moon. Yarikh was recognized as the provider of nightly dew, and married to the goddess Nikkal (nkl, full name Nikkal-wa-Ib), a goddess of Ugarit/Canaan and later of Phoenicia, his moisture causing her orchards to bloom in the desert.

She is a goddess of orchards, whose name means “Great Lady and Fruitful” and derives from Akkadian/West Semitic “´Ilat ´Inbi” meaning “Goddess of Fruit”. De Moor translates Ugaritic “ib” as “blossom” which survives in biblical Hebrew and cites Canticles 6:11 as a survival of this usage.

She is daughter of Khirkhibi, the Summer’s King, and is married to the moon god Yarikh, who gave her necklaces of lapis-lazuli. Their marriage is lyrically described in the Ugaritic text “Nikkal and the Kathirat”. She may have been feted in late summer when tree fruits had been finally harvested. Her Sumerian equivalent is the goddess Ningal, the mother of Inanna and Ereshkigal.

Yarhibol is an Aramean god who was worshiped mainly in ancient Palmyra, a city in central Syria. He was depicted with a solar nimbus and styled “lord of the spring”. He normally appears alongside Bel, who was a co-supreme god of Palmyra, and Aglibol, one of the other top Palmyrene gods.

Hellen

Hellen was the mythological progenitor of the Hellenes, the son of Deucalion (or sometimes Zeus) and Pyrrha, brother of Amphictyon and father of Aeolus, Xuthus, and Dorus. His name is also another name for Greek, meaning a person of Greek descent or pertaining to Greek culture, and the source of the adjective “Hellenic”.

Pandora

In Greek mythology, Pandora (derived from pān, i.e. “all” and dōron, i.e. “gift”, thus “the all-endowed”, “the all-gifted” or “the all-giving”) was the first human woman created by the gods, specifically by Hephaestus and Athena on the instructions of Zeus. Her other name—inscribed against her figure on a white-ground kylix in the British Museum—is Anesidora, “she who sends up gifts” (up implying “from below” within the earth).

As Hesiod related it, each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to mold her out of earth as part of the punishment of humanity for Prometheus’ theft of the secret of fire, and all the gods joined in offering her “seductive gifts”.

According to the myth, Pandora opened a jar (pithos), in modern accounts sometimes mistranslated as “Pandora’s box”, releasing all the evils of humanity—although the particular evils, aside from plagues and diseases, are not specified in detail by Hesiod—leaving only Hope inside once she had closed it again. She opened the jar out of simple curiosity and not as a malicious act.

Hesiod, both in his Theogony (briefly, without naming Pandora outright, line 570) and in Works and Days, gives the earliest version of the Pandora story. The Pandora myth is a kind of theodicy, addressing the question of why there is evil in the world.

Deucalion and Pyrrha

Pyrrha is the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora and wife of Deucalion. When Zeus decided to end the Bronze Age with the great deluge, Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, were the only survivors. Even though he was imprisoned, Prometheus who could see the future and had foreseen the coming of this flood told his son, Deucalion, to build an ark and, thus, they survived. During the flood, they landed on Mount Parnassus, the only place spared by the flood.

Deucalion, with the aid of his father Prometheus, was saved from this deluge by building a chest. Like the Biblical Noah and the Mesopotamian counterpart Utnapishtim, he uses his device to survive the deluge with his wife, Pyrrha.

According to folk etymology, Deucalion’s name comes from deukos, a variant of gleucos, i.e. “sweet new wine, must, sweetness” and haliéus, i.e. “sailor, seaman, fisher”. His wife Pyrrha’s name is derived from the adjective pyrrhós, -á, -ón, i.e. “flame-colored, orange”. Deucalion is parallel to Utnapishtim, the survivor of the Sumerian flood that is told in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and to the Biblical Noah.

Once the deluge was over and the couple was on land again, Deucalion consulted an oracle of Themis about how to repopulate the earth. He was told to throw the bones of his mother behind his shoulder. Deucalion and Pyrrha understood the “mother” to be Gaia, the mother of all living things, and the “bones” to be rocks.

They threw the rocks behind their shoulders, which soon began to lose their hardness and change form. Their mass grew greater, and the beginnings of human form emerged. The parts that were soft and moist became skin, the veins of the rock became people’s veins, and the hardest parts of the rocks became bones.

The stones thrown by Pyrrha became women; those thrown by Deucalion became men. Deucalion and Pyrrha had three sons, Hellen, Amphictyon, Orestheus and three daughters Protogeneia, Pandora II and Thyia.

The story of Deucalion and Pyrrha is also retold in the Roman poet Ovid’s famous collection Metamorphoses. In this retelling, Jove (the Roman equivalent of Zeus) takes pity on the couple, recognizing them to be devout worshipers. He parts the clouds and ends the deluge specifically to save Deucalion and Pyrrha, who are floating aimlessly on a raft.

When the storm has cleared and the waters have subsided, Deucalion and Pyrrha are taken aback by the desolate wreckage of the land, and understand that they are now responsible for repopulating the earth. Confused on how to carry out their destiny, they go to see the goddess Themis.

Themis tells Pyrrha that she must cast the bones of her mother to successfully reproduce. Pyrrha is distraught at the idea of desecrating her mother’s honor by digging up her bones, but Deucalion correctly reasons that Themis is referring to great mother earth, as Themis would never advise someone to commit a crime. Both Pyrrha and Deucalion throw a stone over their shoulder – Pyrrha’s turning into a woman, Deucalion’s turning into a man.

Once the land has been repopulated with humans, mother earth follows suit and begins to produce all other forms of life. Ovid uses this opportunity to inform his audience that heat and water are the sources of all life – “because when heat and moisture blend in due balance, they conceive: these two, these are the origin of everything. Though fire and water fight, humidity and warmth create all things; that harmony” (Ovid – pg 15).

In Latin the word pyrrhus means red from the Greek adjective purrhos, i.e. “flame coloured”, “the colour of fire” or simply “red” or “reddish”. Pyrrha was evidently named after her red hair. Horace (Ode, i. 5) and Ovid describe her as red haired.

According to the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, their sons were themselves progenitors of primary tribes of Greece: Aeolus the Aeolians, Dorus the Dorians, and Xuthus the Achaeans and Ionians through his sons Achaeus and Ion.

According to Thucydides, they conquered the Greek area of Phthia and subsequently spread their rule to other Greek cities. The people of those areas came to be called Hellenes, after the name of their ancestor. The ethnonym Hellenes dates back to the time of Homer. In the Iliad, “Hellas” and “Hellenes” were names of the tribe (also called “Myrmidones”) settled in Phthia, led by Achilles.

Prometheus

In Greek mythology, Deucalion was the son of Prometheus (“forethought”); a Titan in Greek mythology, best known as the deity in Greek mythology who was the creator of mankind and its greatest benefactor, who gifted mankind with fire stolen from Mount Olympus.

Prometheus sided with Zeus and the ascending Olympian gods in the vast cosmological struggle against Cronus (Kronos) and the other Titans. Prometheus was therefore on the conquering side of the cataclysmic war of the Greek gods, the Titanomachy, where Zeus and the Olympian gods ultimately defeated Cronus and the other Titans.

Ancient myths and legends relate at least four versions of the narratives describing Prometheus, his exploits with Zeus, and his eternal punishment as also inflicted by Zeus. There is a single somewhat comprehensive version of the birth of Prometheus and several variant versions of his subjection to eternal suffering at the will of Zeus.

The most significant narratives of his origin appear in the Theogony of Hesiod which relates Prometheus as being the son of the Titan Iapetus by Clymene, one of the Oceanids. Hesiod then presents Prometheus as subsequently being a lowly challenger to Zeus’s omnipotence.

In the trick at Mecone, Prometheus tricks Zeus into eternally claiming the inedible parts of cows and bulls for the sacrificial ceremonies of the gods, while conceding the nourishing parts to humans for the eternal benefit of humankind.

The two remaining central episodes regarding Prometheus as written by Hesiod include his theft of fir from Olympus for the benefit of humanity against the will of Zeus, and the eternal punishment which Prometheus would endure for these acts as inflicted upon him by the judgment of Zeus.

For the greater part, the pre-Athenian ancient sources are selective in which of these narrative elements they chose by their own preferences to honor and support, and which ones they chose to exclude.

The specific combinations of these relatively independent narrative elements by individual ancient authors (Hesiod, Homer, Pindar, Pythagoras), and specific exclusions among them, are often influenced by the particular needs and purposes of the larger myths and legends which they are depicting. Each individual ancient author selectively preferred certain crucial stories depicting Prometheus over others.

The etymology of the theonym prometheus is debated. The classical view is that it signifies “forethought,” as that of his brother Epimetheus denotes “afterthought”. It has been theorized that it derives from the Proto-Indo-European root that also produces the Vedic pra math, “to steal,” hence pramathyu-s, “thief”, cognate with “Prometheus”, the thief of fire. The Vedic myth of fire’s theft by Mātariśvan is an analog to the Greek account. Pramantha was the tool used to create fire.

Ancient sources name his mother as Clymene, Hesione, or Pronoia. Clymene, an Oceanid (sometimes described as a Titaness), wife of the Titan Iapetus, and mother of Atlas, Epimetheus, Prometheus, and Menoetius; other authors relate the same of her sister Asia. A less common genealogy makes Clymene the mother of Deucalion by Prometheus.

Hesiod gives the name of another Oceanid, Clymene, in his Theogony but the Bibliotheca gives instead the name Asia as does Lycophron. It is possible that the name Asia became preferred over Hesiod’s Clymene to avoid confusion with the Clymene who was mother of Phaethon by Helios in some accounts and must have been perceived as a distinct figure.

Herodotus records the tradition that the continent Asia was named after Asia whom he calls wife of Prometheus rather than mother of Prometheus, perhaps here a simple error rather than genuine variant tradition. Both Acusilaus and Aeschylus in his Prometheus Bound call Prometheus’ wife Hesione.

Herodotus relates also the Lydian tradition: “yet the Lydians claim a share in the latter name, saying that Asia was not named after Prometheus’ wife Asia, but after Asies, the son of Cotys, who was the son of Manes, and that from him the Asiad clan at Sardis also takes its name”.

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 Oceanid Clymene

The Oceanid Clymene is also given as the wife to King Merops of Ethiopia and, by Helios, mother of Phaëton and the Heliades (“children of the sun”), the daughters of Helios and Clymene the Oceanid.

Phaethon was the son of the Oceanid Clymene and the solar deity Apollo or Helios. In the prevailing account, Phaethon, challenged by his playmates, sought assurance from his mother that his father was the sun god. She gave him the requested assurance and told him to turn to his father for confirmation. He asked his father for some proof that would demonstrate his relationship with the sun.

When the god promised to grant him whatever he wanted, he insisted on being allowed to drive the sun chariot for a day. Placed in charge of the chariot, he was unable to control the horses. The earth was in danger of being burnt up and, to prevent this disaster, Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt.

The name “Phaethon”, which means “Shining One”, was given also to Phaethon (son of Eos), to one of the horses of Eos (the Dawn), the Sun, the constellation Auriga, and the planet Jupiter, while as an adjective it was used to describe the sun and the moon. In some accounts the planet referred to by this name is not Jupiter but Saturn.

The Heliades grieved for four months and the gods turned them into poplar trees and their tears into amber. According to some sources, their tears (amber) fell into the river Eridanos, in which Phaethon had fallen. According to Hyginus, the Heliades were turned to poplar trees because they yoked the chariot for their brother without their father Helios’ permission.

Pelasgians

The name Pelasgians was used by some ancient Greek writers to refer to populations that either were the ancestors of the Greeks or preceded the Greeks in Greece, “a hold-all term for any ancient, primitive and presumably indigenous people in the Greek world”.

In general, “Pelasgian” has come to mean more broadly all the indigenous inhabitants of the Aegean Sea region and their cultures before the advent of the Greek language.

During the classical period, enclaves under that name survived in several locations of mainland Greece, Crete, and other regions of the Aegean. Populations identified as “Pelasgian” spoke a language or languages that at the time Greeks identified as “barbaric”, even though some ancient writers described the Pelasgians as Greeks.

A tradition also survived that large parts of Greece had once been Pelasgian before being Hellenized. These parts generally fell within the ethnic domain that by the 5th century BC was attributed to those speakers of ancient Greek who were identified as Ionians.

The ancient Greek word for “sea”, pelagos, comes from the same root, *plāk-, as the Doric word plagos, “side” (which is flat), appearing in *pelag-skoi. Ernest Klein therefore simply interprets the same reconstructed form as “the sea men”, where the sea is the flat.

Klein’s interpretation does not require the Indo-Europeans to have had a word for “sea”, which living on the inland plains (if they did) they are likely to have lacked. On encountering the sea they simply used the word for plain, “the flat”. The flatlanders also could acquire what must have been to the Hellenes a homonym, “the sea men”. Best of all, if the Egyptians of the Late Bronze Age encountered maritime marauders under this name they would have translated as Sea People.

The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, so he decided to put an end to the Bronze Age. Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering. Zeus unleashed a deluge, so that the rivers ran in torrents and the sea flooded the coastal plain, engulfed the foothills with spray, and washed everything clean.

Parian Chronicle

For some time during the Middle Ages, many European Christian scholars continued to accept Greek mythical history at face value, thus asserting that Deucalion’s flood was a regional flood, that occurred a few centuries later than the global one survived by Noah’s family.

On the basis of the archaeological stele known as the Parian Chronicle, a Greek chronology, covering the years from 1582 BC to 299 BC, inscribed on a stele found on the island of Paros in two sections, and sold in Smyrna in the early 17th century to an agent for Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, Deucalion’s Flood was usually fixed as occurring sometime around c. 1528 BC. Deucalion’s flood may be dated in the chronology of Saint Jerome to c. 1460 BC.

The Parian Chronicle or Parian Marble combines dates for events we would consider mythic, such as the Flood of Deucalion (equivalent to 1529/28 BC) with dates we would categorize as historic. For the Greeks, the events of their distant past, such as the Trojan War (dated from 1217 to 1208 BC in the Parian inscription) and the Voyage of the Argonauts were historic: their myths were understood as legends to the Greeks.

In fact the Parian inscriptions spend more detail on the Heroic Age than on certifiably historic events closer to the date the stele was inscribed and erected, apparently during 264/263 BC.

According to Augustine of Hippo (City of God XVIII,8,10,&11), Deucalion and his father Prometheus were contemporaries of Moses. According to Clement of Alexandria in his Stromata, “…in the time of Crotopus occurred the burning of Phaethon, and the deluges of Deucalion.”

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Confusion of tongues

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 27, 2015

Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta is a legendary Sumerian account, of preserved, early post-Sumerian copies, composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. 21st century BC). It is one of a series of accounts describing the conflicts between Enmerkar, king of Unug-Kulaba (Uruk), and the unnamed king of Aratta (probably somewhere in modern Iran or Armenia).

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. God dispersed them by confusing their language, and hence the name Babel, meaning “confusion.”

The ziggurat had an important role in the civilizations of southern Mesopotamia from the earliest development of urbanized life to the high political reaches of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. It is common for the ziggurat to be of central importance in city planning. The structure at Eridu, the earliest structure that some designate a ziggurat, is dated in its earliest level to the Ubaid period (4300-3500). 

Nearly 30 ziggurats in the area of Mesopotamia have been discovered by archaeologists. In location, they stretch from Mari and Tell-Brak in the northwest and Dur-Sharrukin in the north, to Ur and Eridu in the south, and to Susa and Choga Zambil in the east. In time, the span begins perhaps as early as the Ubaid temples at Eridu (end of the 5th millennium BC) and extends through the restorations and additions made even in Seleucid times (third century BC).

The confusion of tongues (confusio linguarum) is the initial fragmentation of human languages described in the Book of Genesis 11:1–9, as a result of the construction of the Tower of Babel. This event sent by God was the ultimate cause of the early separation of mankind, their dispersal throughout the Earth, and their division into races and nations.

After the Flood, as the human population quickly grew, some descendants of Noah built a tower to prevent their dispersion; but God “confounded their language” (Gen. 11:1-8), and they were scattered over the whole Earth. Up until this time “the whole Earth was of one language and of one speech.” 

In the Sumerian epic entitled Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, in a speech of Enmerkar, an incantation is pronounced that has a mythical introduction.

Kramer’s translation is as follows:

Once upon a time there was no snake, there was no scorpion,

There was no hyena, there was no lion,
There was no wild dog, no wolf,
There was no fear, no terror,
Man had no rival.

In those days, the lands of Subur (and) Hamazi,
Harmony-tongued Sumer, the great land of the decrees of princeship,
Uri, the land having all that is appropriate,
The land Martu, resting in security,
The whole universe, the people in unison
To Enlil in one tongue [spoke].

(Then) Enki, the lord of abundance (whose) commands are trustworthy,
The lord of wisdom, who understands the land,
The leader of the gods,
Endowed with wisdom, the lord of Eridu
Changed the speech in their mouths, [brought] contention into it,
Into the speech of man that (until then) had been one.

Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta

Confusion of tongues

Confusion of Tongues

The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki, and the Martu land. Similarly, the earliest references to the “four quarters” by the kings of Akkad name Subartu as one of these quarters around Akkad, along with Martu, Elam, and Sumer. Subartu in the earliest texts seem to have been farming mountain dwellers, frequently raided for slaves.

Babylon

Eridu (Cuneiform: NUN.KI; Sumerian: eridu; Akkadian: irîtu modern Arabic: Tell Abu Shahrain) is an archaeological site in southern Mesopotamia (modern Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq). It is considered the earliest city in southern Mesopotamia.

In Sumerian mythology, Eridu was originally the home of Enki, later known by the Akkadians as Ea, who was considered to have founded the city. The urban nucleus of Eridu was Enki’s temple, The name refers to Enki’s realm. His consort Ninhursaga had a nearby temple at Ubaid.

His temple was called E-Abzu or House of the Aquifer (Cuneiform: E.ZU.AB; Sumerian: e-abzu; Akkadian: bītu apsû), which in later history was called House of the Waters (Cuneiform: E.LAGAB×HAL; Sumerian: e-engur; Akkadian: bītu engurru), as Enki was believed to live in Abzu, an aquifer from which all life was believed to stem.

Aside from Enmerkar of Uruk (as mentioned in the Aratta epics), several later historical Sumerian kings are said in inscriptions found here to have worked on or renewed the e-abzu temple.

The Egyptologist David Rohl has conjectured that Eridu, to the south of Ur, was the original Babel and site of the Tower of Babel, rather than the later city of Babylon, because the ziggurat ruins of Eridu are far larger and older than any others, and seem to best match the Biblical description of the unfinished Tower of Babel. One name of Eridu in cuneiform logograms was pronounced “NUN.KI” (“the Mighty Place”) in Sumerian, but much later the same “NUN.KI” was understood to mean the city of Babylon.

The much later Greek version of the King-list by Berossus (c. 200 BC) reads “Babylon” in place of “Eridu” in the earlier versions, as the name of the oldest city where “the kingship was lowered from Heaven”.

Rohl further equate Biblical Nimrod, said to have built Erech (Uruk) and Babel, with the name Enmerkar (-KAR meaning “hunter”) of the king-list and other legends, who is said to have built temples both in his capital of Uruk and in Eridu.

Other scholars have discussed at length a number of additional correspondences between the names of “Babylon” and “Eridu”. Historical tablets state that Sargon of Akkad (ca. 2300 BC) dug up the original “Babylon” and rebuilt it near Akkad, though some scholars suspect this may in fact refer to the much later Assyrian king Sargon II.

Subartu

The land of Subartu (Akkadian Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri, Assyrian mât Šubarri) or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir/Subar/Šubur) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature. The name also appears as Subari in the Amarna letters, and, in the form Šbr, in Ugarit.

Subartu was apparently a polity in Northern Mesopotamia, at the upper Tigris. Some scholars suggest that Subartu is an early name for Assyria proper on the Tigris and westward, although there are various other theories placing it sometimes a little farther to the east and/or north.

Its precise location has not been identified. From the point of view of the Akkadian Empire, Subartu marked the northern geographical horizon, just as Martu, Elam and Sumer marked “west”, “east” and “south”, respectively.

Eannatum of Lagash was said to have smitten Subartu or Shubur, and it was listed as a province of the empire of Lugal-Anne-Mundu; in a later era Sargon of Akkad campaigned against Subar, and his grandson Naram-Sin listed Subar along with Armani, an ancient kingdom mentioned by Sargon of Akkad and his grandson Naram-Sin of Akkad as stretching from Ibla to Bit-Nanib, and is continued to be mentioned in the later Assyrian inscriptions, which has been identified with Aleppo, among the lands under his control. Ishbi-Erra of Isin and Hammurabi also claimed victories over Subar.

Subartu may have been in the general sphere of influence of the Hurrians. There are various alternate theories associating the ancient Subartu with one or more modern cultures found in the region, including Armenian or Kurdish tribes.

Shupria (Shubria) or Arme-Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) was a Proto-Armenian Hurrian-speaking kingdom, known from Assyrian sources beginning in the 13th century BC, located in the Armenian Highland, to the southwest of Lake Van, bordering on Ararat proper. Scholars have linked the district in the area called Arme or Armani, to the name Armenia.

Weidner interpreted textual evidence to indicate that after the Hurrian king Shattuara of Mitanni was defeated by Adad-nirari I of the Middle Assyrian Empire in the early 13th century BC, he then became ruler of a reduced vassal state known as Shubria or Subartu.

Together with Armani-Subartu (Hurri-Mitanni), Hayasa-Azzi and other populations of the region such as the Nairi fell under Urartian (Kingdom of Ararat) rule in the 9th century BC, and their descendants, according to most scholars, later contributed to the ethnogenesis of the Armenians.

Urartu

Urartu corresponding to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat or Kingdom of Van (Urartian: Biai, Biainili) was an Iron Age kingdom centered on Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands. Indeed, Mount Ararat is located in ancient Urartian territory, approximately 120 km north of its former capital.

Strictly speaking, Urartu is the Assyrian term for a geographical region, while “kingdom of Urartu” or “Biainili lands” are terms used in modern historiography for the Urartian-speaking Iron Age state that arose in that region.

This language appears in inscriptions. Though there is no written evidence of any other language being spoken in this kingdom, it is argued on linguistic evidence that Proto-Armenian came in contact with Urartian at an early date.

The landscape corresponds to the mountainous plateau between Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, the Iranian Plateau, and the Caucasus mountains, later known as the Armenian Highlands. The kingdom rose to power in the mid-9th century BC, but was conquered by Media in the early 6th century BC. The heirs of Urartu are the Armenians and their successive kingdoms.

Nairi

In the Assyrian annals the term Uruatri (Urartu) as a name for this league was superseded during a considerable period of years by the term “land of Nairi”. The word is also used to describe the tribes who lived there, whose ethnic identity is uncertain. Nairi has sometimes been equated with Nihriya, known from Mesopotamian, Hittite, and Urartean sources.

The Battle of Nihriya, the culminating point of the hostilities between Hittites and Assyrians for control over the remnants of the former empire of Mitanni, took place there, circa 1230. Nairi was incorporated into Urartu during the 10th century BC.

Mitanni

Mitanni (Hittite cuneiform Mi-ta-an-ni; Mittani Mi-it-ta-ni), also called the Maryannu, Hanigalbat (Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat cuneiform Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) in Assyrian or Naharin in Egyptian texts was a Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and southeast Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC.

The Mitanni kingdom was referred to as “nhrn”, which is usually pronounced as Naharin/Naharina from the Assyro-Akkadian word for “river”, cf. Aram-Naharaim or Mitanni by the Egyptians, the Hurri by the Hittites, and the Hanigalbat by the Assyrians. The different names seem to have referred to the same kingdom and were used interchangeably, according to Michael C. Astour.

Another mention by pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) as the people of Ermenen, and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”.

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.

A Hurrian passage in the Amarna letters – usually composed in Akkadian, the lingua franca of the day – indicates that the royal family of Mitanni was by then speaking Hurrian as well.

Maryannu

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.

The term is attested in the Amarna letters written by Haapi. Robert Drews writes that the name ‘maryannu’ although plural takes the singular ‘marya’, which in Sanskrit means young warrior, and attaches a Hurrian suffix.

He suggests 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.

Armani

Armani was mentioned alongside Ibla in the geographical treaties of Sargon, this led some historians to identify Ibla with Syrian Ebla and Armani with Syrian Armi. Prof Michael C. Astour refuse to identify Armani with Armi as Naram-Sin makes it clear that the Ibla he sacked (in c.2240 BC) was a border town of the land of Armani, while the Armi in the Eblaite tablets is a vassal to Ebla.

Armani was attested in the treaties of Sargon in a section that mentions regions located in Assyria and Babylonia or territories adjacent to the East in contrast to the Syrian Ebla location in the west. The later King Adad-Nirari I of Assyria also mentions Arman as being located east of the Tigris and on the border between Assyria and Babylon, historians who disagree with the identification of Akkadian Armani with Syrian Armi, place it (along with Akkadian Ibla) north of the Hamrin Mountains in northern Iraq.

It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Armani is the earliest form of the name Armenia, and that Old Persian Armina and the Greek Armenoi are continuations of an Assyrian toponym Armânum or Armanî.

The earliest attestations of the exonym Armenia date around the 6th century BC. In his trilingual Behistun Inscription, Darius I the Great of Persia refers to Urashtu (in Babylonian) as Armina (in Old Persian) and Harminuya (in Elamite).

Aratta

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. It 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. It is remote and difficult to reach. It is home to the goddess Inanna, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk. It is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk, according to the Sumerian king list the builder of Uruk in Sumer.

Inanna

Inanna (Neo-Assyrian MUŠ; Sumerian: Inanna; Akkadian: Ištar) was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre. Inanna’s name derives from Lady of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-an-ak). The cuneiform sign of Inanna; however, is not a ligature of the signs lady (Sumerian: nin; Cuneiform: SAL.TUG) and sky (Sumerian: an; Cuneiform: AN). The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not widely accepted by modern Assyriologists.

These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that originally Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess, possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, accepted only latterly into the Sumerian pantheon, an idea supported by her youthfulness, and that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, at first she had no sphere of responsibilities.

Inara

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

Hannahannah (from Hittite hanna- “grandmother”) is a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat. Christopher Siren reports that Hannahannah is associated with the Gulses.

Hebat, also transcribed, Kheba or Khepat, was the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living”. She is also a Queen of the deities. During Aramaean times Hebat also appears to have become identified with the goddess Hawwah, or Eve.

The Hittite sun goddess Arinniti was later assimilated with Hebat. A prayer of Queen Puduhepa makes this explicit: “To the Sun-goddess of Arinna, my lady, the mistress of the Hatti lands, the queen of Heaven and Earth. Sun-goddess of Arinna, thou art Queen of all countries! In the Hatti country thou bearest the name of the Sun-goddess of Arinna; but in the land which thou madest the cedar land thou bearest the name Hebat.”

Hebat is married to Teshub and is the mother of Sarruma and Alanzu, as well mother-in-law of the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka. The mother goddess is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele.

Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubeleyan Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”; Lydian Kuvava; Greek: Kybele, Kybebe, Kybelis) was an originally Anatolian mother goddess; she has a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük (in the Konya region) where the statue of a pregnant goddess seated on a lion throne was found in a granary dated to the 6th millennium BCE.

This corpulent, fertile Mother Goddess appears to be giving birth on her throne, which has two feline-headed hand rests. In Phrygian art of the 8th century BCE, the cult attributes of the Phrygian mother-goddess include attendant lions, a bird of prey, and a small vase for her libations or other offerings.

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

Ardini

Ardini (likely from Armenian Artin meaning “sun rising” or to “awake”, and it persists in Armenian names to this day) was an ancient city of Urartu, attested in Assyrian sources of the 9th and 8th centuries BC. In Assyrian it was called Muṣaṣir, meaning in Akkadian Exit of the Serpent/Snake.

The mušḫuššu is the sacred animal of Marduk and his son Nabu during the Neo-Babylonian Empire. It was taken over by Marduk from Tishpak, the local god of Eshnunna. MUŠ is the Sumerian term for “serpent”. The mušḫuššu (formerly also read as sirrušu, sirrush) is a creature depicted on the reconstructed Ishtar Gate of the city of Babylon, dating to the 6th century BC.The Babylonian protective spirit, featured prominently on the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, whose name translates as `furious snake’.

At the Babylonian New Year’s festival, the priest was to commission from a woodworker, a metalworker and a goldsmith two images one of which “shall hold in its left hand a snake of cedar, raising its right [hand] to the god Nabu”. In sixth-century Babylon a pair of bronze serpents flanked each of the four doorways of the temple of Esagila. At the Babylonian New Year’s festival, the priest was to commission from a woodworker, a metalworker, and a goldsmith two images, one of which “shall hold in its left hand a snake of cedar, raising its right [hand] to the god Nabu”.

The constellation Hydra was known in Babylonian astronomical texts as MUŠ, “the serpent (with divine and star determinatives)”. It was depicted as a snake drawn out long with the forepaws of a lion, no hind-legs, with wings, and with a head comparable to the mušḫuššu dragon. This monstrous serpent may have inspired the Lernaean Hydra of Greek mythology and ultimately the modern Hydra constellation.

The Mushhushshu was a creature shaped like a slender dog with a scaly body and tail, bird’s talons, a long neck, forked tongue and a protruding horn. The god who controlled the Mushhushshu was considered the supreme god and so many early gods were associated with this creature until, finally, it became linked with Marduk.

Khaldi

The city’s tutelary deity was Ḫaldi, also known as Khaldi or Hayk, one of the three chief deities of Ararat (Urartu). Hayk or Hayg, also known as Haik Nahapet (Hayk the Tribal Chief), is the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation.

Hayasa-Azzi or Azzi-Hayasa was a Late Bronze Age confederation formed between two kingdoms of Armenian Highlands, Hayasa located South of Trabzon and Azzi, located north of the Euphrates and to the south of Hayasa.

The similarity of the name Hayasa to the endonym of the Armenians, Hayk or Hay and the Armenian name for Armenia, Hayastan has prompted the suggestion that the Hayasa-Azzi confereration was involved in the Armenian ethnogenesis.

The term Hayastan bears resemblance to the ancient Mesopotamian god Haya (ha-ià) and another western deity called Ebla Hayya, related to the god Ea (Enki or Enkil in Sumerian, Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian).

Thus, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia of 1962 posited that the Armenians derive from a migration of Hayasa into Shupria in the 12th century BC. This is open to objection due to the possibility of a mere coincidental similarity between the two names and the lack of geographic overlap, although Hayasa (the region) became known as Lesser Armenia (Pokr Hayastan in modern Armenian) in coming centuries.

Scholars such as Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt (1910) believed that the people of Urartu called themselves Khaldini after their god Khaldi. Boris Piotrovsky wrote that “the Urartians first appear in history as a league of tribes or countries which did not yet constitute a unitary state in the 13th century BC.

Ishara

Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath. Ishara is an ancient deity of unknown origin from northern modern Syria. She first appeared in Ebla and was incorporated to the Hurrian pantheon from which she found her way to the Hittite pantheon.

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar. Her cult was of considerable importance in Ebla from the mid 3rd millennium, and by the end of the 3rd millennium, she had temples in Nippur, Sippar, Kish, Harbidum, Larsa, and Urum.

Ishara became a great goddess of the Hurrian population. She was associated with the underworld. Her astrological embodiment is the constellation Scorpio and she is called the mother of the Sebitti (the Seven Stars).

The etymology of Ishara is unknown. The goddess appears from as early as the mid 3rd millennium as one of the chief goddesses of Ebla, and her name appears as an element in theophoric names in Mesopotamia in the later 3rd millennium (Akkad period), and into the first (Assyria), as in Tukulti-apil-esharra (i.e., Tiglath-Pileser).

Variants of the name appear as Ašḫara (in a treaty of Naram-Sin of Akkad with Hita of Elam) and Ušḫara (in Ugarite texts). In Ebla, there were various logographic spellings involving the sign AMA “mother”. In Alalah, her name was written with the Akkadogram IŠTAR plus a phonetic complement -ra, as IŠTAR-ra.

One of the most important goddesses of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is the personification of dawn as a beautiful young woman. Her name is reconstructed as Hausōs (PIE *h₂ewsṓs- or *h₂ausōs-, an s-stem), besides numerous epithets.

Derivatives of *h₂ewsṓs in the historical mythologies of Indo-European peoples include Indian Uṣas, Greek Eōs, Latin Aurōra, and Baltic Aušra (“dawn”, c.f. Lithuanian Aušrinė). Germanic *Austrōn- is from an extended stem *h₂ews-tro-.

The name *h₂ewsṓs is derived from a root *h₂wes / *au̯es “to shine”, thus translating to “the shining one”. Both the English word east and the Latin auster “south” are from a root cognate adjective *aws-t(e)ro-. Also cognate is aurum “gold”, from *awso-. The name for “spring season”, *wes-r- is also from the same root. The dawn goddess was also the goddess of spring, involved in the mythology of the Indo-European new year, where the dawn goddess is liberated from imprisonment by a god (reflected in the Rigveda as Indra, in Greek mythology as Dionysus and Cronus).

Besides the name most amenable to reconstruction, *h₂ewsṓs, a number of epithets of the dawn goddess may be reconstructed with some certainty. Among these is *wenos- (also an s-stem), whence Sanskrit vanas “loveliness; desire”, used of Uṣas in the Rigveda, and the Latin name Venus and the Norse Vanir. The name indicates that the goddess was imagined as a beautiful nubile woman, who also had aspects of a love goddess.

The abduction and imprisonment of the dawn goddess, and her liberation by a heroic god slaying the dragon who imprisons her, is a central myth of Indo-European religion, reflected in numerous traditions. Most notably, it is the central myth of the Rigveda, a collection of hymns surrounding the Soma rituals dedicated to Indra in the New Year celebrations of the early Indo-Aryans.

Shivini

Shivini or Artinis (the present form of the name is Artin, meaning “sun rising” or to “awake”, and it persists in Armenian names to this day) was a solar god in the mythology of the Urartu. He is the third god in a triad with Khaldi and Theispas and is cognate with the triad in Hinduism called Shivam.

He was depicted as a man on his knees, holding up a solar disc. His wife was most likely a goddess called Tushpuea. The Assyrian god Shamash is a counterpart to Shivini. Shivini is generally considered a good god, like the Egyptian solar god, Aten, and unlike the solar god of the Assyrians, Ashur to whom sometimes human sacrifices were made.

Shiva

Shiva (“The Auspicious One”), also known as Mahadeva (“Great God”), is one of the main deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme god within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism.

He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta tradition, and “the Destroyer” or “the Transformer” among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine.

At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya, and in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts.

The main iconographical attributes of Shiva are the third eye on his forehead, the snake Vasuki around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his musical instrument. Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam.

According to Wendy Doniger, the Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra. She gives several reasons for her hypothesis. Both are associated with mountains, rivers, male fertility, fierceness, fearlessness, warfare, transgression of established mores, the Aum sound, the Supreme Self.

The figure of Shiva as we know him today was built up over time, with the ideas of many regional sects being amalgamated into a single figure. Shiva became identified with countless local cults by the sheer suffixing of Isa or Isvara to the name of the local deity, e.g., Bhutesvara, Hatakesvara, Chandesvara.”

An example of assimilation took place in Maharashtra, where a regional deity named Khandoba is a patron deity of farming and herding castes. The foremost center of worship of Khandoba in Maharashtra is in Jejuri.

Khandoba has been assimilated as a form of Shiva himself, in which case he is worshipped in the form of a lingam. Khandoba’s varied associations also include an identification with Surya (“the Supreme Light”), also known as Aditya, Bhanu or Ravi Vivasvana in Sanskrit, and in Avestan Vivanhant, the chief solar deity in Hinduism and generally refers to the Sun, and Karttikeya, also known as Skanda, Kumaran, Kumara Swami and Subramaniyan, the Hindu god of war.

Kartikeya (Sanskrit Kārtikēya “son of Kṛttikā” Tamil: Kārttikēyaṉ), is the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the devas and the son of Shiva and Parvati. Murugan (Tamil Murukaṉ) is often referred to as Tamiḻ kaṭavuḷ’ (“god of the Tamils”).

The first elaborate account of Kartikeya’s origin occurs in the Mahabharata. In a complicated story, he is said to have been born from Agni and Svaha, after the latter impersonated the six of the seven wives of the Saptarishi (Seven Sages). The actual wives then become the Pleiades.

Surya

Surya (“the Supreme Light”), also known as Aditya, Bhanu or Ravi Vivasvana in Sanskrit, and in Avestan Vivanhant, is the chief solar deity in Hinduism and generally refers to the Sun. “Arka” form is worshiped mostly in North India and Eastern parts of India.

Surya is the chief of the Navagraha, the nine Indian Classical planets and important elements of Hindu astrology. He is often depicted riding a chariot harnessed by seven horses which might represent the seven colors of the rainbow or the seven chakras in the body. He is also the presiding deity of Sunday.

Surya is regarded as the Supreme Deity by Saura sect and Smartas worship him as one of the five primary forms of God. The sun god, Zun, worshipped by the Afghan Zunbil dynasty, is thought to be synonymous with Surya.

Surya had three wives: Saranyu, Ragyi and Prabha. Saranyu was the mother of Vaivasvata Manu (the seventh, i.e., present Manu) and the twins Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yami. She also bore him the twins known as the Ashvins, divine horsemen and physicians to the Devas.

Saranyu, being unable to bear the extreme radiance of Surya, created a superficial entity from her shadow called Chhaya and instructed her to act as Surya’s wife in her absence. Chhaya mothered two sons Savarni Manu (the eighth, i.e., next Manu) and Shani (the planet Saturn), and two daughters, Tapti and Vishti.

He has two more sons, Revanta with Ragy, and Prabhata with Prabha. Surya is the father of the famous tragic hero Karna, described in the Indian epic Mahabharata, by a human princess named Kunti.

Surya’s sons, Shani and Yama, are responsible for the judgment of human life. Shani provides the results of one’s deeds during one’s life through appropriate punishments and rewards while Yama grants the results of one’s deeds after death.

Rudras and Marutas

In the Rig Veda the term śiva is used to refer to Indra. Indra, like Shiva, is likened to a bull. In the Rig Veda, Rudra is the father of the Maruts, but he is never associated with their warlike exploits as is Indra, an ancient Vedic deity who later came to be identified with Shiva.

Rudras are forms and followers of the god Rudra-Shiva and make eleven of the Thirty-three gods in the Hindu pantheon. They are at times identified with the Maruts – sons of Rudra; while at other times, considered distinct from them.

The number of Marutas varies from 27 to sixty (three times sixty in RV 8.96.8). They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e. lightning and thunderbolts, as having iron teeth and roaring like lions, as residing in the north, as riding in golden chariots drawn by ruddy horses.

In the Vedic mythology, the Marutas, a troop of young warriors, are Indra’s companions. According to French comparative mythologist Georges Dumézil, they are cognate to the Einherjar and the Wild hunt.

According to the Rig Veda, the ancient collection of sacred hymns, they wore golden helmets and breastplates, and used their axes to split the clouds so that rain could fall. They were widely regarded as clouds, capable to shaking mountains and destroying forests.

According to later tradition, such as Puranas, the Marutas were born from the broken womb of the goddess Diti, after Indra hurled a thunderbolt at her to prevent her from giving birth to too powerful a son. The goddess had intended to remain pregnant for a century before giving birth to a son who would threaten Indra.

Vahana

Vah in Sanskrit means to carry or to transport. Vahana (literally “that which carries, that which pulls”) denotes the being, typically an animal or mythical entity, a particular Hindu deity is said to use as a vehicle. In this capacity, the vahana is often called the deity’s “mount”.

Upon the partnership between the deity and his vahana it is woven much iconography and mythology. Often, the deity is iconographically depicted riding (or simply mounted upon) the vahana. Other times, the vahana is depicted at the deity’s side or symbolically represented as a divine attribute.

The vahana may be considered an accoutrement of the deity: though the vahana may act independently, they are still functionally emblematic or even syntagmatic of their “rider”. The deity may be seen sitting or on, or standing on, the vahana. They may be sitting on a small platform called a howdah, or riding on a saddle or bareback.

In Hindu iconography, positive aspects of the vehicle are often emblematic of the deity that it carries. Nandi the bull, vehicle of Shiva, represents strength and virility. Parvani the peacock, vehicle of Skanda, represents splendor and majesty. However, the vehicle animal also symbolizes the evil forces over which the deity dominates.

The vahana and deity to which they support are in a reciprocal relationship. Vahana serve and are served in turn by those who engage them. Many vahana may also have divine powers or a divine history of their own.

Ashvah

Aśvaḥ is the Sanskrit word for a horse, one of the significant animals finding references in the Vedas as well as later Hindu scriptures. The corresponding Avestan term is aspa. The word is cognate to Latin equus, Greek hippos, Germanic *ehwaz and Baltic *ašvā all from PIE *hek’wos.

There are repeated references to the horse the Vedas (c. 1500 – 500 BC). In particular the Rigveda has many equestrian scenes, often associated with chariots. The Ashvins are divine twins named for their horsemanship. The earliest undisputed finds of horse remains in South Asia are from the Swat culture (c. 1500 – 500 BC).

The legend states that the first horse emerged from the depth of the ocean during the churning of the oceans. It was a horse with white color and had two wings. It was known by the name of Uchchaihshravas.

The legend continues that Indra, king of the devas, took away the mythical horse to his celestial abode, the svarga (heaven). Subsequently, Indra severed the wings of the horse and presented the same to the mankind. The wings were severed to ensure that the horse would remain on the earth (prithvi) and not fly back to Indra’s svarga.

In Hinduism, Svarga, also known as Swarga Loka, is any of the seven loka or planes in Hindu cosmology. It is a set of heavenly worlds located on and above Mt. Meru. It is a heaven where the righteous live in a paradise before their next incarnation.

During each pralaya, the great dissolution, the first three realms, Bhu loka (Earth), Bhuvar loka, and Swarga loka, are destroyed. Below the seven upper realms lie seven lower realms, of Patala, the underworld and netherworld.

Svarga is seen as a transitory place for righteous souls who have performed good deeds in their lives but are not yet ready to attain moksha, or elevation to Vaikunta, the abode of Lord Vishnu, considered to be the Supreme Abode. The capital of Svarga is Amaravati and its entrance is guarded by Airavata. Svarga is presided over by Indra, the chief deva.

Ashvins

The Ashvins or Ashwini Kumaras (Sanskrit: aśvin-, dual aśvinau), in Hindu mythology, are two Vedic gods, divine twin horsemen in the Rigveda, sons of Saranyu (daughter of Vishwakarma), a goddess of the clouds and wife of Surya in his form as Vivasvant.

They symbolise the shining of sunrise and sunset, appearing in the sky before the dawn in a golden chariot, bringing treasures to men and averting misfortune and sickness. They are the doctors of gods and are devas of Ayurvedic medicine.

They are represented as humans with head of a horse. In the epic Mahabharata, King Pandu’s wife Madri is granted a son by each Ashvin and bears the twins Nakula and Sahadeva who, along with the sons of Kunti, are known as the Pandavas.

They are also called Nasatya (dual nāsatyau “kind, helpful”) in the Rigveda; later, Nasatya is the name of one twin, while the other is called Dasra (“enlightened giving”). By popular etymology, the name nāsatya is often incorrectly analysed as na+asatya “not untrue”=”true”.

Various Indian holy books like Mahabharat, Puranas etc., relate that Ashwini Kumar brothers, the twins, who were RajVaidhya (Royal Physicians) to Devas during Vedic times, first prepared Chyawanprash formulation for Chyawan Rishi at his Ashram on Dhosi Hill near Narnaul, Haryana, India, hence the name Chyawanprash.

The Ashvins can be compared with the Dioscuri (the twins Castor and Pollux) of Greek and Roman mythology, and especially to the divine twins Ašvieniai of the ancient Baltic religion.

The Ashvins are mentioned 376 times in the Rigveda. The Nasatya twins are invoked in a treaty between Suppiluliuma and Shattiwaza, kings of the Hittites and the Mitanni respectively.

Ashvini is the first nakshatra (lunar mansion) in Hindu astrology having a spread from 0°-0′-0″ to 13°-20′, corresponding to the head of Aries, including the stars β and γ Arietis.

The name aśvinī is used by Varahamihira (6th century). The older name of the asterism, found in the Atharvaveda (AVS 19.7; in the dual) and in Panini (4.3.36), was aśvayúj “harnessing horses”.

Ashvini is ruled by Ketu, the descending lunar node. In electional astrology, Asvini is classified as a Small constellation, meaning that it is believed to be advantageous to begin works of a precise or delicate nature while the moon is in Ashvini.

Asvini is ruled by the Ashvins, the heavenly twins who served as physicians to the gods. Personified, Asvini is considered to be the wife of the Asvini Kumaras. Ashvini is represented either by the head of a horse, or by honey and the bee hive.

Ashvamedha

The Ashvamedha was one of the most important royal rituals of the Hindu Vedic religion, described in detail in the Yajurveda and the pertaining commentary in the Shatapatha Brahmana. The Rigveda does have descriptions of horse sacrifice, but does not allude to the full ritual according to the Yajurveda. As per Brahma Vaivarta Purana, the Ashvamedha is one of five rites forbidden in the Kali Yuga, the present age.

The Ashvamedha could only be conducted by a king (rājā). Its object was the acquisition of power and glory, the sovereignty over neighbouring provinces, seeking progeny and general prosperity of the kingdom.

Raja

Raja is a term for a monarch or princely rulers in South and Southeast Asia. Rana is practically equivalent, and the female form rani (sometimes spelled ranee) applies equally to the wife of a raja or rana. Maharaja, or “great king” is in theory a title for more significant rulers in India, but after some inflation of titles over time, there is no clear difference between the terms. The title has a long history in the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia, being attested from the Rigveda, where a rājan- is a ruler.

Sanskrit rājan- is cognate to Latin rēx (genitive rēgis), Gaulish rīx, Gaelic rí (genitive ríg), etc., originally denoting heads of petty kingdoms and city states. It is believed to be ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European *h3rēǵs, a vrddhi formation to the root *h3reǵ- “to straighten, to order, to rule”.

The Sanskrit n-stem is secondary in the male title, apparently adapted from the female counterpart rājñī which also has an -n- suffix in related languages, compare Old Irish rígain and Latin regina. Cognates of the word Raja in other Indo-European languages include English reign and German reich.

Asuras

Asuras are mythological lord beings in Indian texts who compete for power with the more benevolent devas (also known as suras). Asuras are described in Indian texts as powerful superhuman creatures with good or bad qualities, the good ones are called Adityas and led by Varuna, while the bad malevolent ones are called Danavas and led by Vrtra.

In the earliest layer of Vedic texts, Agni, Indra and other gods are also called Asura, in the sense of they being “lords” of their domain, knowledge and abilities. In later Vedic and post-Vedic texts, the benevolent gods are called Devas, while malevolent Asuras compete against these Devas and are considered “enemy of the gods” or demons.

Asura, some scholars such as Asko Parpola suggest may be related to proto-Uralic and proto-Norse history. The Aesir-Asura correspondence is the relation between Asura of Vedic Sanskrit to Æsir, an Old Norse that is – old German and Scandinavian – word, and *asera or *asira of proto-Uralic languages all of which mean “lord, powerful spirit, god”.

Parpola states that the correspondence extends beyond Asera-Asura, and extends to a host of parallels such as Inmar-Indra, Sampas-Stambha and many other elements of respective mythologies.

Indra

The Bactria-Margiana Culture, also called “Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex”, was a non-Indo-European culture which influenced the Indo-European groups of the second stage of the Indo-European migrations. It was centered in what is nowadays northwestern Afghanistan and southern Turkmenistan. Proto-Indo-Iranian arose due to this influence.

The Vedic beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era were closely related to the hypothesised Proto-Indo-European religion, and the Indo-Iranian religion. The Indo-Iranians also borrowed their distinctive religious beliefs and practices from this culture. According to Anthony, the Old Indic religion probably emerged among Indo-European immigrants in the contact zone between the Zeravshan River (present-day Uzbekistan) and (present-day) Iran.

It was “a syncretic mixture of old Central Asian and new Indo-European elements”, which borrowed “distinctive religious beliefs and practices” from the Bactria–Margiana Culture. At least 383 non-Indo-European words were borrowed from this culture, including the god Indra and the ritual drink Soma.

Many of the qualities of Indo-Iranian god of might/victory, Verethraghna, were transferred to the adopted god Indra, who became the central deity of the developing Old Indic culture. Indra was the subject of 250 hymns, a quarter of the Rig Veda. He was associated more than any other deity with Soma, a stimulant drug (perhaps derived from Ephedra) probably borrowed from the BMAC religion. His rise to prominence was a peculiar trait of the Old Indic speakers.

Ishvara

Ishvara is a concept in Hinduism, with a wide range of meanings that depend on the era and the school of Hinduism. In ancient texts of Indian philosophy, Ishvara means supreme soul, Brahman (Highest Reality), ruler, king or husband depending on the context.

In medieval era texts, Ishvara means God, Supreme Being, personal god, or special Self depending on the school of Hinduism. In Shaivism, Ishvara is synonymous with “Shiva”, as the “Supreme lord over other Gods” in the pluralistic sense, or as an Ishta-deva in pluralistic thought. In Vaishnavism, it is synonymous with Vishnu.

In traditional Bhakti movements, Ishvara is one or more deities of an individual’s preference from Hinduism’s polytheistic canon of deities. In modern sectarian movements such as Arya Samaj and Brahmoism, Ishvara takes the form of a monotheistic God.

In Yoga school of Hinduism, it is any “personal deity” or “spiritual inspiration”. In Advaita Vedanta school Ishvara is a monistic Universal Absolute that connects and is the Oneness in everyone and everything.

The root of the word Ishvara comes from īś- (ईश, Ish) which means “capable of” and “owner, ruler, chief of”, ultimately cognate with English own (Germanic *aigana-, PIE *aik-).

The second part of the word Ishvara is vara which means depending on context, “best, excellent, beautiful”, “choice, wish, blessing, boon, gift”, and “suitor, lover, one who solicits a girl in marriage”. The composite word, Ishvara literally means “owner of best, beautiful”, “ruler of choices, blessings, boons”, or “chief of suitor, lover”.

As a concept, Ishvara in ancient and medieval Sanskrit texts, variously means God, Supreme Being, Supreme Soul, lord, king or ruler, rich or wealthy man, god of love, deity Shiva, one of the Rudras, prince, husband and the number eleven.

The word Īśvara never appears in Rigveda. However, the verb īś- does appear in Rig veda, where the context suggests that the meaning of it is “capable of, able to”. It is absent in Samaveda, is rare is Atharvaveda, appears in Samhitas of Yajurveda. The contextual meaning, however as the ancient Indian grammarian Pāṇini explains, is neither god nor supreme being.

The word Īśvara appears in numerous ancient Dharmasutras. However, Patrick Olivelle states that there Ishvara does not mean God, but means Vedas. Deshpande states that Ishvara in Dharmasutras could alternatively mean king, with the context literally asserting that “the Dharmasutras are as important as Ishvara (the king) on matters of public importance”.

In Saivite traditions of Hinduism, the term is used as part of the compound “Maheshvara” (“great lord”) as a name for Shiva. In Mahayana Buddhism it is used as part of the compound “Avalokiteśvara” (“lord who hears the cries of the world”), the name of a bodhisattva revered for her compassion. When referring to divine as female, particularly in Shaktism, the feminine Īśvarī is sometimes used.

Isuwa

Isuwa (transcribed Išuwa and sometimes rendered Ishuwa) was the ancient Hittite name for one of its neighboring Anatolian kingdoms to the east, in an area which later became the Luwian Neo-Hittite state of Kammanu.

The land of Isuwa was situated in the upper Euphrates river region. The river valley was here surrounded by the Anti-Taurus Mountains. To the northeast of the river lay a vast plain stretching up to the Black Sea mountain range.

The plain had favourable climatic conditions due to the abundance of water from springs and rainfall. Irrigation of fields was possible without the need to build complex canals. The river valley was well suited for intensive agriculture, while livestock could be kept at the higher altitudes. The mountains possessed rich deposits of copper which were mined in antiquity.

The Isuwans left no written record of their own, and it is not clear which of the Anatolian peoples inhabited the land of Isuwa prior to the Luwians. They could have been Indo-Europeans like the Luwians, related to the Hittites to the west, Hattians, Hurrians from the south, or Urartians who lived east of Isuwa in the first millennium BC.

The area was one of the places where agriculture developed very early in the Neolithic period. Urban centres emerged in the upper Euphrates river valley around 3000 BC. The first states may have followed in the third millennium BC. The name Isuwa is not known until the literate Hittite period of the second millennium BC. Few literate sources from within Isuwa have been discovered and the primary source material comes from Hittite texts.

The earliest settlements in Isuwa show cultural contacts with Tell Brak to the south, though not being the same culture. Agriculture began early due to favorable climatic conditions. Isuwa was at the outer fringe of the early Mesopotamian Uruk period culture.

The people of Isuwa were also skilled in metallurgy and they reached the Bronze Age in the fourth millennium BC. Copper were first mixed with arsenic, later with tin. The Early Bronze Age culture was linked with Caucasus in the northeast.

In the Hittite period the culture of Isuwa shows great parallels to the Central Anatolian and the Hurrian culture to the south. The monumental architecture was of Hittite influence. The Neo-Hittite state show influences both from the Phrygia, Assyria and the eastern kingdom of Urartu. After the Scythian people movement there appear some Scythian burials in the area.

Aššur

Aššur, also known as Ashur, Qal’at Sherqat and Kalah Shergat, is a remnant city of the last Ashurite Kingdom. Aššur is also the name of the chief deity of the city. He was considered the highest god in the Assyrian pantheon and the protector of the Assyrian state.

The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of the river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern-day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District (a small panhandle of the Salah al-Din Governorate).

The city was occupied from the mid-3rd millennium BC (Circa 2600–2500 BC) to the 14th Century AD, when Tamurlane conducted a massacre of its population.

Archaeology reveals the site of the city was occupied by the middle of the third millennium BC. This was still the Sumerian period, before the Assyrian kingdom emerged in the 23rd to 21st century BC.

The oldest remains of the city were discovered in the foundations of the Ishtar temple, as well as at the Old Palace. In the following Old Akkadian period, the city was ruled by kings from Akkad. During the “Sumerian Renaissance”, the city was ruled by a Sumerian governor.

Aššur is the name of the city, of the land ruled by the city, and of its tutelary deity. At a late date it appears in Assyrian literature in the forms An-sar, An-sar (ki), which form was presumably read Assur. The name of the deity is written A-šur or Aš-sùr, and in Neo-assyrian often shortened to Aš.

In the Creation tablet, the heavens personified collectively were indicated by this term An-sar, “host of heaven,” in contradistinction to the earth, Ki-sar, “host of earth.”

In view of this fact, it seems highly probable that the late writing An-sar for Assur was a more or less conscious attempt on the part of the Assyrian scribes to identify the peculiarly Assyrian deity Asur with the Creation deity An-sar.

On the other hand, there is an epithet Asir or Ashir (“overseer”) applied to several gods and particularly to the deity Asur, a fact which introduced a third element of confusion into the discussion of the name Assur. It is probable then that there is a triple popular etymology in the various forms of writing the name Assur; viz. A-usar, An-sar and the stem asdru.

Syria

The name Syria has since the Roman Empire’s era historically referred to the region of Syria. It is the Latinized from the original Indo-Anatolian and later Greek Συρία. Etymologically and historically, the name is accepted by majority mainstream academic opinion as having derived from Ασσυρία, Assuria/Assyria, from the Akkadian Aššur or Aššūrāyu, which is in fact located in Upper Mesopotamia (modern northern Iraq southeast Turkey and northeast Syria).

Majority mainstream scholarly opinion now strongly supports the already dominant position that ‘Syrian’ and Syriac indeed derived from ‘Assyrian’, and the 21st Century discovery of the Çineköy inscription seems to clearly confirm that Syria is ultimately derived from the Assyrian term Aššūrāyu.

The question was addressed from the Early Classical period through to the Renaissance Era by the likes of Herodotus, Strabo, Justinus, Michael the Syrian and John Selden, with each of these stating that Syrian/Syriac was synonymous and derivative of Assyrian. It was concluded that the Indo-European term Syrian was a derived from the much earlier Assyrian.

Some 19th-century historians such as Ernest Renan had dismissed the etymological identity of the two toponyms. Various alternatives had been suggested, including derivation from Subartu (a term which most modern scholars in fact accept is itself an early name for Assyria, and which was located in northern Mesopotamia), the Hurrian toponym Śu-ri, or Ṣūr (the Phoenician name of Tyre). Syria is known as Ḫrw (Ḫuru, referring to the Hurrian occupants prior to the Aramaean invasion) in the Amarna Period Egypt, and as Aram in Biblical Hebrew.

A. Tvedtnes had suggested that the Greek Suria is loaned from Coptic, and due to a regular Coptic development of Ḫrw to *Šuri. In this case, the name would directly derive from that of the Language Isolate speaking Hurrians, and be unrelated to the name Aššur. Tvedtnes’ explanation was rejected as highly unlikely by Frye in 1992.

Various theories have been advanced as to the etymological connections between the two terms. Some scholars suggest that the term Assyria included a definite article, similar to the function of the Arabic language “Al-“.

Theodor Nöldeke in 1881 gave philological support to the assumption that Syria and Assyria have the same etymology, a suggestion going back to John Selden (1617) rooted in his own Hebrew tradition about the descent of Assyrians from Jokshan.

Majority and mainstream current academic opinion strongly favours that Syria originates from Assyria. A Hieroglyphic Luwian and Phoenician bilingual monumental inscription found in Çineköy, Turkey, (the Çineköy inscription) belonging to Urikki, vassal king of Que (i.e. Cilicia), dating to the eighth century BC, reference is made to the relationship between his kingdom and his Assyrian overlords.

The Luwian inscription reads su-ra/i whereas the Phoenician translation reads ʾšr, i.e. ašur, which according to Robert Rollinger (2006) “settles the problem once and for all”.This view is also supported by Aziz Suryal Atiya, Silvio Zaorani, Encyclopedia Americana

Marduk/Sarpanit

In the Mesopotamian mythology Ashur was the equivalent of Babylonian Marduk (Sumerian spelling in Akkadian: AMAR.UTU “solar calf”), a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon. The Ésagila, a Sumerian name signifying “E (temple) whose top is lofty”, (literally: “house of the raised head”) was a temple dedicated to Marduk, the protector god of Babylon.

Marduk’s original character is obscure but he was later associated with water, vegetation, judgment, and magic. His consort was the goddess Sarpanit. Her name means “the shining one”, and she is sometimes associated with the planet Venus.

By a play on words her name was interpreted as zēr-bānītu, or “creatress of seed”, and is thereby associated with the goddess Aruru, who, according to Babylonian myth, created mankind. Her marriage with Marduk was celebrated annually at New Year in Babylon. She was worshipped via the rising moon, and was often depicted as being pregnant. She is also known as Erua. She may be the same as Gamsu, Ishtar, and/or Beltis.

Marduk was also regarded as the son of Ea (Sumerian Enki) and Damkina and the heir of Anu, but whatever special traits Marduk may have had were overshadowed by the political development through which the Euphrates valley passed and which led to people of the time imbuing him with traits belonging to gods who in an earlier period were recognized as the heads of the pantheon. There are particularly two gods—Ea and Enlil—whose powers and attributes pass over to Marduk.

In the case of Ea, the transfer proceeded pacifically and without effacing the older god. Marduk took over the identity of Asarluhi, the son of Ea and god of magic, so that Marduk was integrated in the pantheon of Eridu where both Ea and Asarluhi originally came from. Father Ea voluntarily recognized the superiority of the son and hands over to him the control of humanity.

This association of Marduk and Ea, while indicating primarily the passing of the supremacy once enjoyed by Eridu to Babylon as a religious and political centre, may also reflect an early dependence of Babylon upon Eridu, not necessarily of a political character but, in view of the spread of culture in the Euphrates valley from the south to the north, the recognition of Eridu as the older centre on the part of the younger one.

While the relationship between Ea and Marduk is marked by harmony and an amicable abdication on the part of the father in favour of his son, Marduk’s absorption of the power and prerogatives of Enlil of Nippur was at the expense of the latter’s prestige. Babylon became independent in the early 19th century BC, and was initially a small city state, overshadowed by older and more powerful Mesopotamian states such as Isin, Larsa and Assyria.

However, after Hammurabi forged an empire in the 18th century BC, turning Babylon into the dominant state in the south, the cult of Marduk eclipsed that of Enlil; although Nippur and the cult of Enlil enjoyed a period of renaissance during the over four centuries of Kassite control in Babylonia (c. 1595 BC–1157 BC), the definite and permanent triumph of Marduk over Enlil became felt within Babylonia.

The only serious rival to Marduk after ca. 1750 BC was the god Aššur (Ashur) (who had been the supreme deity in the northern Mesopotamian state of Assyria since the 25th century BC) which was the dominant power in the region between the 14th to the late 7th century BC.

In the south, Marduk reigned supreme. He is normally referred to as Bel “Lord”, also bel rabim “great lord”, bêl bêlim “lord of lords”, ab-kal ilâni bêl terêti “leader of the gods”, aklu bêl terieti “the wise, lord of oracles”, muballit mîte “reviver of the dead”, etc.

When Babylon became the principal city of southern Mesopotamia during the reign of Hammurabi in the 18th century BC, the patron deity of Babylon was elevated to the level of supreme god. In order to explain how Marduk seized power, Enûma Elish was written, which tells the story of Marduk’s birth, heroic deeds and becoming the ruler of the gods. This can be viewed as a form of Mesopotamian apologetics. Also included in this document are the fifty names of Marduk.

In Enûma Elish, a civil war between the gods was growing to a climactic battle. The Anunnaki gods gathered together to find one god who could defeat the gods rising against them. Marduk, a very young god, answered the call and was promised the position of head god.

To prepare for battle, he makes a bow, fletches arrows, grabs a mace, throws lightning before him, fills his body with flame, makes a net to encircle Tiamat within it, gathers the four winds so that no part of her could escape, creates seven nasty new winds such as the whirlwind and tornado, and raises up his mightiest weapon, the rain-flood. Then he sets out for battle, mounting his storm-chariot drawn by four horses with poison in their mouths. In his lips he holds a spell and in one hand he grasps a herb to counter poison.

First, he challenges the leader of the Anunnaki gods, the dragon of the primordial sea Tiamat, to single combat and defeats her by trapping her with his net, blowing her up with his winds, and piercing her belly with an arrow.

Then, he proceeds to defeat Kingu, who Tiamat put in charge of the army and wore the Tablets of Destiny on his breast, and “wrested from him the Tablets of Destiny, wrongfully his” and assumed his new position. Under his reign humans were created to bear the burdens of life so the gods could be at leisure.

Marduk was depicted as a human, often with his symbol the snake-dragon which he had taken over from the Akkadian god Tishpak, likely, identical with the Hurrian god “Teshup”. Another symbol that stood for Marduk was the spade. In the perfected system of astrology, the planet Jupiter was associated with Marduk by the Hammurabi period.

Babylonian texts talk of the creation of Eridu by the god Marduk as the first city, “the holy city, the dwelling of their [the other gods] delight”.

Nabu/Tashmetum

Nabu is the Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom and writing, worshipped by Babylonians as the son of Marduk and Sarpanitum and as the grandson of Ea. Nabu’s name is derived from the Semitic root nb´, meaning “to name/designate”, “announcer/herald”, “the one who is named/designated”, “to call”, and “to proclaim”.

Nabu resided in his temple of Ezida in Borsippa and also had several temples devoted to him throughout Assyria and beyond. Due to his role as Marduk’s minister and scribe, Nabu became the god of wisdom and writing (including religious, scientific and magical texts) taking over the role from the Sumerian goddess Nisaba.

Nabu was also worshipped as a god of fertility, a god of water, and a god of vegetation. He was also the keeper of the Tablets of Destiny, which recorded the fate of mankind and allowed him to increase or diminish the length of human life. His symbols are the clay tablet and stylus.

The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times, identified with Enki. As Enki also Nabu was identified by the Greeks with Hermes, by the Romans with Mercury, and by the Egyptians with Thoth.

Nabu’s consort was Tashmetum. She is called upon to listen to prayers and to grant requests. Tashmetum and Nabu both shared a temple in the city of Borsippa, in which they were patron deities. Tashmetum’s name means “the lady who listens”. She is also known as Tashmit and Tashmetu, and she was known by the epithets Lady of Hearing and Lady of Favor.

Tushpuea is an Araratian (Urartian) goddess from which the city of Tushpa derived its name. She may have been the wife of the solar god Shivini as both are listed as third, in the list of male and female deities on the Mheri-Dur inscription. It is hypothesized that the winged female figures on Urartian ornaments and cauldrons depict this goddess.

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Saturn (Arka) – Star of the Sun

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 27, 2015

Saturn is not a conspicuous planet in the sky. Were it not for its sluggish movement, an unaided eye would hardly distinguish it from the surrounding stars. In many ancient sources Saturn is called “sun.” The usual name for Saturn in Chaldean astronomy was Alap-Shamas, meaning “Star of the Sun.” Diodorus of Sicily reported that the Chaldeans called Cronos (Saturn) by the name Helios, or the sun, and he explained that this was because Saturn was the most conspicuous of the planets; Hyginus also wrote that Saturn was called “Sol.”

In the Babylonian astrological texts the word Shamash (Sun) was used to designate Saturn: “We learn from the notes written by the astrologers that by the word ‘sun’ we must understand the ‘star of the sun,’ i.e., Saturn.” Ninib was the Babylonian name for Saturn: “Ninib in various places is said to shine like the sun.” He was known as UT-GAL-LU, the “great sun of storms.” The Greeks used to call Saturn Phaenon, “the shining one.”

If Saturn was always as inconspicuous as it is at present, what could have caused the races of antiquity, as if by common consent, to give to Saturn the appellative “sun” or “the shining one” ? “The astrologers certainly must have found it increasingly contrary to reason to associate the star that gives us light and life with one of the palest, and the slowest of the planets.”

The folk etymology of the Hebrews explained the name Khima as meaning “about a hundred (ke’me-ah) stars.” The Bhagavat Gita contains the following description of a deity: “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky that would be like the splendor of the mighty one . . . the shatterer of worlds.”

All that we have considered up to now indicates that Saturn once exploded in a nova-like burst of light. The date of this event I would be hard-put to specify, even approximately, but possibly it took place about ten thousand years ago. The solar system and reaches beyond it were illuminated by the exploded star, and in a matter of a week the Earth was enveloped in waters of Saturnian origin.

Star of the Sun

Saturn: The ancient sun god

Saturn

Enki

Planets/Mercury

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Anu-60 (the sky, Uranus), Enlil-50 (the wind, Saturn), Enki-40 (the earth, Hermes)

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 27, 2015

“As significantly as sigil-scripts, colors and mystical alphabets have played their parts in ritualized magical drama, spiritual incantations and other ceremonial applications, so, too, are numbers viewed as mystical signs in the realm of form, representative of endless wisdom and correspondences.” — Joshua Free

[This mardukite necrogate blog post is officially excerpted from Liber-51/52, also available with its prequel “Sumerian Religion” (Liber 50) by Joshua Free in the combined Liber 50/51/52 edition “Mesopotamian Religion” or the NEW Mardukite Core Year-2 anthology mardukite.com economy edition of the GATES OF THE NECRONOMICON edited by Joshua Free.]

Although traditional or “classical” numerology is derived from a base-10 (or by some interpretations, a base-9) system, the mathematics born in Mesopotamia is base-6, or more appropriately, base-60. While this might seem complicated, consider that you are probably most familiar with a base- 10 metric system – things are easily grouped in tens and hundreds: decades and centuries and “percents.” This type of math is quite familiar to western civilization.

Base-60 mathematics is something more closely identified with “time” in our world. Rather than the division of an hour into hundredths or percents, we see sixty minutes as the “whole pie.” A quarter of that “pie,” while still “25%” is not the quantified value of 25, but instead: 15.

The measuring “foot” is divided by 12 [12 x 5 = 60]. This is the type of thinking that more closely resembles the Sumerian worldview. Sumerian religious mathematics that that the wheel (or more correctly, the circle) consisted of 360 degrees [6 x 60 = 360]. Thus was born “geometry,” the means of “earth-measuring,” as 360 being a perfect “earth” cycle (circle), was thought to compose the length of the year (in the Sumerian calendar).

Some of the most basic formulas:

6 x 1 = 6 = earth, fire, power [Marduk]
6 x 10 = 60 = command, heaven-earth, fire [Anu]
6 x 10 x 10 = 600 = chaos, void, abyss [Tiamat]
6 x 1 x 60 = 360 = earth-time, cycles [local planet]
6 x 10 x 60 = 3600 = heaven-time, spiritual cycles [sar]

This system of mathematics is called sexagesimal. The number sixty is sacred within its own system, having exactly twelve factors (three of which are prime) frequently occurring as “sacred” numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30 and itself. It is actually the smallest whole number perfectly divisible by the numbers 1 through 6.

This was very useful in the highly innovative form of multiplication by reciprocal used by Sumerians and Babylonians. Numbers were never actually divided by another number, they were instead multiplied by the reciprocal (or inverse) of the other number. In this system, the expression: “60 divided by 10” becomes “60 multiplied by one-tenth.”

[60 / 10 = 6] is the same as [60 x 0.1 = 6]

Commonplace uses of numbers also followed the sexagesimal formula. Where we might imagine the use of centimeters and inches, the basic unit of length in Mesopotamia was essentially the division of a “meter” into 360 parts called the she.

6 she = 1 su-shi
30 su-shi (360 she) = 1 kush
6 kush (2160 she) = 1 gi
12 kush (360 su-shi) = 1 nindan

The original hierarchy of Anunnaki designations runs in increments of five from 5 to 60, allowing space for the “Olympian Twelve” to be plotted thereupon. [The Sumerian Anunnaki Pantheon of Twelve consists of Anu (60), Antu (55), Enlil (50), Ninlil (45), Enki (40), Ninki-Damkina (35), Nanna (30), Ningal (25), Shammash (20), Inanna-Ishtar (15), Ishkur-Adad (10) and Ninhursag-Ninmah (5).]

The spiritual politics of post-Sumerian Mesopotamia resulted in the altering of the names or figures assuming the titles, but not the roles themselves (which were mathematically fixed). The designations of the Supernal Trinity: 60, 50 and 40, remain “master numbers.” The Babylonian fractional designations are inherited by the “younger pantheon,” some of which do not actually appear in the Olympian Twelve.

1 / 2 = 30 [Nanna-Sin] (moon)
1 / 3 = 20 [Utu-Shammash] (sun)
1 / 4 = 15 [Inanna-Ishtar] (Venus)
1 / 5 = 12 [Nabu] (Mercury)
1 / 6 = 10 [Marduk] (Jupiter)
1 / 8 = 7.3 (8) [Nergal] (Mars)
1 / 15 = 4 [Ninib, Adad or Ninurta] (Saturn)

Concerning the order of the Gates:

1 = 7 (Nanna – 30) [30 x 2 = 60] [30 = 1 / 2]
2 = 6 (Nabu – 12) [12 x 5 = 60] [12 = 1 / 5]
3 = 5 (Ishtar – 15) [15 x 4 = 60] [15 = 1 / 4]
4 = 4 (Samas – 20) [20 x 3 = 60] [20 = 1 / 3]
5 = 3 (Nergal – 8)*
6 = 2 (Marduk – 10) [10 x 6 = 60] [10 = 1 / 6]
7 = 1 (Ninurta – 4) [4 x 15 = 60] [4 = 1 / 15]

Since the allocation of the gate-system [Babili] was composed in Babylon, it is not surprising to see the Martian force “out-of-balance” with the remaining ones. Nergal (Erra) is not actually placed on the original post-primordial (excluding Tiamat, etc.) pantheon, nor is Ereshkigal, Aya (consort of Shammash), Marduk, Sarpanit, Nabu, Teshmet, or even Ninurta, who was next in line to receive Enlil’s designation of 50 before the “Tower of Babel” incident (Marduk in Babylon).

With the passing of each generation, the successive characters moved up their positions in the “Ladder of Lights,” leaving us with the system illustrated in the Necronomicon cycle, the relatively most “updated” post-Sumerian version of the pantheon.

Anu-60, Enlil-50, Enki-40, Abzu and Ereshkigal

Concearning the numbers of the Gods

How to Enter the Mystical Gates Of Enki, Enlil, & Anu

Sumer – Land of the gods

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Skapelsen ifølge sumererne

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 22, 2015

Den kosmogeniske myten i Sumer var et hellig ekteskap hvor guddommelige prinsipper i form av dualistisk opposisjoner kom sammen som mann og kvinne for å føde kosmos. Det var før himmel eller jord eksisterte ifølge sumererne kun et enormt kaos bestående av et maskulint og et feminint prinsipp, som har skapt eller båret alt. Det var gjennom en forening av disse at kosmos bestående av verdensrommet, som representer det maskuline prinsippet, og materien, som representerer det feminine prinsippet, oppsto.

Materien ga grunnlag for stjernetegnene og konstellasjonene, også de som representanter for det feminine og maskuline. Samtidig møttes verdensrommet og materien ved horisonten og dannet himmelen, som representerer det maskuline prinsippet, og jorda, som representerer det feminine prinsippet.

Gud eksisterte som en kuppel som dekket jorda. Mens saltvannet, representert ved det feminine prinsippet, eksisterte utenfor kuppellen befant ferskvannet, som representerer det maskuline prinsippet, seg i undergrunnen og kom frem som innsjøer, brønner og elver.

Landet Sumer og den mesopotamiske religion hadde de tre hovedgudene An (himmelen), som befant seg i midtpunktet, som vil si i byen Uruk, Enlil (vindens guden), som holdt til i nord og kom til å bli guden i byen Nippur, og Enki (jordens gud), som holdt i sør og kom til å bli guden i byen Eridu.

Innen astralteologien kom de tre gudene til å utgjøre de tre ekliptiske sonene, som vil si den nordlige, sentrale og den sørlige. Det var 12 stjernetegn, hvorav 6 nordlige for og 6 sørlige.

An for sin del hadde kun en rent teoretisk karakter og kom til å komme ned på jorda hvor han ble sammen med Inanna, krigens og kjærlighetens gudinne representert ved planeten Venus.

An var konge over alle de andre gudene og gudinnene, samt alle andre ånder og demoner, og styrte konstellasjonene og hadde makt til å dømme de som begikk forbrytelser. Stjernene ble skapt som soldater for å ødelegge de slemme.

Annunakiene, som betyr prinser eller barn av An (maskulin) og Ki (feminin), car  ktoniske fruktbarhetsguder som kom til å bli assosiert med underjorden hvor de kom til å fungere som dommere.

Igigiene, sønnene og døtrene til Enlil og Ninlil, refererte til gudene i himmelen. Selv om de av og til var synonyme med termen anunnaki ble de sett på som yngre guder som tjenestegjorde for annunakiene frem til de gjorde opprør og ble skiftet ut med skapelsen av menneskene.

Paradiset ble sett på som en hage hvor igigiene ble satt til å arbeide med å irrigere vannkanaler av anunnakiene. Den syvende generasjonen gjorde opprør mot Enlil. Guden for ferskvannet, som var med på å skape kosmos, truer med å ødelegge verden med sitt vann og gudene blir skremt.

Enki lover å hjelpe dem og fanger ferskvannsguden i irrigasjonskanaler og i undergrunnen i Eridu. Men universet trues fortsatt ettersom saltvannsgudinnen er forbanna på drapet av ferskvannsguden. Hun etablerer sin sønn Kingu som hersker. Men også han blir drept. Hun truer da med å ta tilbake skapelsen.

Gudene samler seg i forferdelse og vender seg til Enki for hjelp, men han nekter å hjelpe dem. De søker derfor hjelp andre steder og Enlil, deres far, lover å løse problemet hvis de gjør ham til deres konge.

Enlil har i den babylonske skapelsesberetningen blitt skiftet ut med Marduk, Enkis sønn, mens han i den assyriske versjonen har blitt skiftet ut med Asshur. Hun blir drept, og hennes kropp blir brukt til å skape jorda, ribbeina hennes himmelen, halen Hennes melkeveien og hennes gråtende øyne blir til kildene til Eufrat og Tigris.

Men det er ennå et spørsmål om hvem som vil drive kosmos. Anunnakiene bestemmer seg da for å skape menneskene for at disse skal utføre jordbruksarbeidet. Enki, som ellers kunne ha hjulpet dem, ligger og sover. Hans mor Nammu (saltvannet) ber ham om å skape noen som kan betjene gudene.

Nammu (saltvannet), som er mor til de store gudene, er den som får ideen om å skape menneskene. Hun vekker Enki, som sover, slik at han kan sette i gang prosessen. Atrahasis verket hevder at Enlil ber Nammu skape menneskene og at hun forteller at hun kan skape menneskene i gudenes bilde med hjelp fra Enki. Han sier da at man kan skape menneskene fra leire og blod.

Mot Enkis ønske bestemmer anunnakiene seg for å myrde Kingu. Og Enki går til slutt med på å bruke hans blod til å danne de første menneskene. Hans blod blir blandet med jord og brukt som leire til å forme det første mennesket, den første av de 7 vismennene eller Abgallu (Ab = vann/intellekt, Gal = stor, Lu = menneske), aogså kjent som Adapa/Adam, som Enki alltid senere har god kontakt med.

Kingu reiser ned til underverden sammen med de gudene som tok side med ham og hans mor, mens Enki samler en gruppe guddommer for å hjelpe ham med å skape en gruppe gode prinser. Adapa drar for å fungere som rådgiver for kongen av Eridu, og sivilisasjonen blir skapt.

Ferskvannet, som representerer det maskuline prinsippet, var livnærende og var med til å skape livet slik vi kjenner det i dag gjennom en forening med landet, som representerer det feminine prinsippet.

Enki, herren over ferskvannet, blir gravid med sin kone Ninhursag, også kjent som Ki (Jorda), Mammi eller Nintu. Nintu føder Ninsar, som vil si det grønne. Enki forsøker seg deretter på Ninsar, som han ikke vet er hans egen datter. Ninsar føder Ninkurra, som vil si fruktbarhet, og forlater Enki. Enki forsøker seg deretter med Ninkurra, og Uttu, livets vev, blir født. Han forsøker seg deretter med Uttu, som konsulterer Ninhursag, som advarer Uttu.

I en annen versjon av denne myten tar Ninhursag Enkis sperm fra Uttus mage og planter det I jorda hvor 8 planter blomstrer opp. Uten å vite hva det er så spiser Enki dem. Gjennom å konsumere sin egen sperm blir han gravid og dårlig. Ettersom Enki mangler en mage som kan gi fødsel ser det ut til at han skal dø.

Ninhursag angrer seg og tar Enkis sperm inn i sin kropp og føder helende guddommer til de kroppsdeler hvor Enki er dårlig. Den siste er Ninti, ribbein, som også betyr liv, en tittel på Ninhursag. Historien reflekterer med andre od hvordan livet blir brakt frem gjennom å skaffe vann til land og at vann er nødvendig når det vokser og skal bære frukt. Det handler om balanse og ansvar.

Ninti, tittelen til Ninhursag, betyr også ”Mor til alt levende”, og var en tittel gitt til den hurriske gudinnen Kheba, samt til Eva i Bibelen, som ble laget av Adams ribbein, i en historie hvor det er Adam, og ikke Enki, som vandrer i paradiset.  Navnet Eva stammer fra navnet Kheba.

Dingir (vanligvis oversatt diĝir, uttalt diŋir) er et kileskrifttegn, som oftest tilsvarer den bestemte formen for “guddom”, selv om det er tilknyttet andre betydninger også. Som et determinativ blir det ikke uttalt, og blir vanligvis oversatt som en hevet “D” som i f.eks DInanna, som vil gudinnen Inanna.

Symbolet i sumerisk kileskrift representerer det sumeriske ordet An (“himmel” eller “himmelen”), ideogrammet for An eller ordet diĝir (“gud”), den øverste guddom i den sumeriske gudeverden. I assyriske kileskrift kan det enten være et ideogram for “guddom” (Ilum), et syllabogram for An eller IL-. I hettittisk ortografi var den syllabiske verdien igjen An.

Begrepet “guddom” er på sumerisk nært forbundet med himmelen, noe som kommer klart frem ved at kileskrifttegnet skrevet dobbelt som ideogram for “himmel”, og at dets opprinnelige form er bildet av en stjerne. Den opprinnelige meningen av “guddom” er dermed “lys” eller “lysende” hierophanies på himmelen.

Betegnelsen “An” ble i sumerisk brukt om både himmelguden og himmelen i seg selv. Akkadierne arvet An som guden for himmelen fra sumerisk som Anu-, og i akkadisk kileskrift kan DINGIR tegnet referere enten til Anum eller til det akkadiske ordet for gud, Ilu-, og hadde dermed de to fonetiske verdiene An og Il. Hettittisk kileskrift som som ble adoptert fra den gammel- assyriske beholdt An verdien, men forlot Il.

Enlil, som var kjent som oppfinneren av et redskap som minner om en hakke eller graveredskap benyttet innen jordbruket og ved at han hjalp planter med å vokse, er kanskje uttalt og noen ganger gjengitt i oversettelser som “Ellil” i senere akkadisk, hetittene og kanaaneiske litteratur. I senere akkadisk, er Enlil sønn Anshar og kishar.

Enlil (nlin), (EN = Herre + Lil = Vind “Herre (av) Storm”) er Guds pust, vind, loft og bredde (høyde og avstand). Han var en mesopotamisk gud og tilsvarer El blant semittene, Kubarbi blant hurrierne, Kronus blant grekerne og Saturn blant romerne.

Ifølge myten om Enlil og Ninlil ble Enlil forvist fra Ekur (“Fjellhus” ), som vil si gudenes hjem eller stedet hvor gudene samlet seg og som kan sammenlignes med fjellet Olympus blant grekerne, det helligste stedet i Sumer gudenes hjem, i byen Nippur til Kur, underverdenen for å ha forført gudinnen Ninlil (NIN.LÍL “dame i åpen mark ” eller “Vindens gudinne”), også kalt Sud og på assyrisk kalt Mulliltu, da han var en ung gud.

Ekur, også kjent som Duranki, var tilholdsstedet for annanukiene. Ekur var jordas sentrum og stedet hvor himmel og jord møttes. En hymne til Nanna illustrerer den nære forbindelsen mellom templer, hus og fjell.

Ninlil er trolig en representant av den sørlige vinden i historien om Adapa, ettersom Enlil blir assosiert med de nordlige vinterstormene. Hun er søster til Ninsun (Kuenes gudinne), mor til Gilgamesh. Som “Vindens gudinne” blir hun assosiert med den akkadiske demonen “Lil-itu”, som antas å være opphavet til den hebreiske myten om Lilith.

Hennes foreldre er vekslet beskrevet. Hyppigst kalles hun datter Haia og Nunbarsegunu eller Nisaba, den sumeriske gudinnen for skrift, kunnskap og innhøsting. En annen akkadisk kilde sier hun er datter av Anu (aka An) og Antu (sumerisk Ki)eller Urash, som synes å tilsvare Ninhursag. Andre kilder igjen kaller henne datter av Anu og Nammu.

Ninlil fulgte Enlil til underverdenen der hun fødte sitt første barn, måneguden Sin (sumerisk Nanna/Suen) og deretter Pabilsag, også kjent som Ninurta (også kalt Ningirsu) eller Ninib/Ninip, portrettert som en solgud. Etter å ha blitt far til tre underverdensguddommer, som fungerer som erstatninger for Sin, fikk Enlil lov til å dra tilbake til Ekur. Sammen med Ereshkigal ble Enlil far til Namtar.

I en legend er Ninurta/Ningirsu, mannen til Ugallu/Bau, i kamp mot et fuglelignende monster kalt Imdugud (akkadisk: Anzû); en babylonsk versjon relaterer til hvordan monsteret Anzû stjeler skjebnetavlene fra Enlil. Det er mange paralleller med historien om Marduk (sønn av Enki), som dreper Abzu (ferskvannet), og tok skjebnetavlene fra Kingu til sin far Enki.

I Nippur ble Ninurta dyrket som en del av en triade bestående av ham selv, Enlil og Ninlil. I en varierende historie blir hans mor sagt å være Ninhursag, konen til Enki. Ninurta skal ha fått endret navnet hennes fra Ninmah til Ninhursag for å minnes skapelsen av fjellene. Som Ninmenna, ifølge babylonerne, plasserte hun den gylne kronen på kongen i Eanna templet, som vil si Ans og Inannas tempel i Uruk.

Her har vi skapelsesberetningen og skapelsen av menneskene. Menneskene oppfattet stjernene som gudenes språk. De studerte dem og skrev det hele ned i form av mytologi og religion, som med andre ord er myntet på astrologi og astronomi. Dette på grunn av at stjernene varsler om årstider og gjenkomne sykluser i naturen. Kaldeerne ble kjent som astrologer i Babylon under det kaldeiske dynasti.

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Vår historie i korte trekk

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 21, 2015

Erebuni (Yerevan) fortErebuni Fortress

Urkesh musikk

Archatlas

Noas barn

European DNA pages

ArmenianHistoryImage KhorVirap Eternity.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/J2-origin.jpg

Image showing spread of agriculture in Europe

Kort og godt kan det sies at det dreier seg om et folk som kaller seg ar-i-ere og som spredde kulturen til alle kanter fra deres utgangspunkt i Portas-ar (På tyrkisk Gobekli tepe) for 10.000 år siden.

Bådet AR og deres symbol, swastikaen (de fire pilarer – balansen mellom de 4 ulike elementene), ble spredd, og de ulike sivilisasjonene i Asia, Europa og Afrika kan sees på som lokale variasjoner av et underliggende tema.

AR (som både betyr høyde, lys og skapelse), AN og mesh står alle for det samme, men på ulike språk. Samme kan sies ombåde ankhen og korset.

Sivilisasjonen har utviklet seg språket ble forvirret, ettersom det blandet seg med andre språk, inkludert indo-europeisk og semittisk. Uansett kom disse til å spre den samme sivilisasjonen og det samme underliggende tema.

Urartierne, og senere hurrierne, var de opprinnelige bærerne av kulturen. Nakh (fra det bibelske navnet «Noa – Noah)» er i dag ariernes språk sammen med de andre nordvest- og nordøst-kaukasiske språkene, samt semittisk (fra det bibelske navnet «Shem») og indoeuropeisk (fra det bibelske navnet «Javhe»), som kan sees på som en avart av kaukasisk.

Mens det semittiske språket er et afroasiatisk språk, men som utviklet seg i møtet med det kaukasiske i det som i dag er Syria, utviklet indoeuropeisk seg rett nord for Kaukasus fra nordvest kaukasisk, også kjent som protopontisk, i møte med det kartvelske georgiske språket og finno ugrisk.

Mens protosemittene var jegere og sankere var indoeuropeerne en steppebefolkning. Kaukaserne utviklet jordbruk og byer, mens semittene gikk over til pastoralisme. Proto-semittene fikk, etter å ha inkludert den neolittiske redskapspakken og sivilisasjonen til kaukaserne, makten i Sørvest Asia, mens indoeuropeerne kom til å erobre store deler av Eurasia.

Proto-semittisk kom fra Egypt via Sinai. De første semittiske språkene var nordøst-semittiske språk som eblaittisk og akkadisk. Trolig utviklet dette seg via et Circum-Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex sett av kulturer i perioden etter klimakrisen 6.200 f.vt.

Dette komplekset strakk seg fra Rødehavet og nordøst og inn i dagens Syria og Irak. Munhata kulturen (8300-6000 f.vt.) og den senere Yarmuk kulturen (6400–6000 f.vt.) er to eksempler på denne kulturen.

Den hadde sin bakgrunn i en blanding mellom harifiske jeger-sankere i Negev-ørkenen, som hadde nære forbindelser med de mesolittiske kulturene i Fayyum og den øst-egyptiske ørken, samt Pre-Pottery Neolithic B kulturen i det sørlige Levanten, som hadde tette bånd til Portasar og kulturene i nord.

Kobberalderen eller æneolitikum, som er en periode mellom steinalderen og bronsealderen, førte til utviklingen av en sekunær produksjonsrevolusjon og dannelsen av Ghassul kulturen (3800–3350 f.vt.) i det som i dag er Jordan.

Ghassul kulturen pionerte den mediterreanske blandingsøkonomien, som inkluderte hagebruk, korndyrking, kommersiell produksjon av oliven og vin, samt nomadisk pastoralisme. En blanding som varierte med klimaendringene. Denne befolkningen blir ansett for å være de første semittiske talerne.

Ebla sørvest for Aleppo i Syria var en viktig by. Stedet er kjent for Eblait tavletne, et arkiv på omlag 20,000 kuneiform tavler datert fra rundt 2250 f.vt. De er skrevet på eblaittisk, men benytter seg av sumerisk skrift. Eblaittisk, som nært beslektet med pre-sargoisk akkadisk, er det tidligste semittiske språket.

Aleppo i det nordlige Syria, som synes å ha vært en langt viktigere bronsealder bystat enn Damaskus, var hovedstaden for et kongedømme nært relatert til Ebla, kjent som Armi, eller Arame/Aramu, for folket i Ebla og som Arman eller Armani for akkadierne. Armi har blitt beskrevet som Eblas alterego. Men Naram-Sin av Akkad (eller hans bestefar Sargon) ødela både Ebla og Armani omkring 2300 f.vt. Uansett blir stedet eller folket Aram brukt av befolkningen i Mari (1900 f.vt.) og Ugarit (1300 f.vt.).

Den hurriske byen Urkesh ved forberget til Taurus fjellene i nordøst Syria var en alliert av det akkadiske imperiet via hva som blir antatt å ha vært en dynastisk ekteskapstradisjon. Tar’am-Agade, datteren til den akkadiske kongen Naram-Sin giftet seg med kongen av Urkesh.

Yamhad (1800-1600 f.vt.), også kjent som Aram-ka-ad, var et viktig amorittisk kongedømme sentrert i Ḥalab, eller Ḥalba, som vil si i dagens Aleppo. Befolkningen var stort sett hurriere og den hurriske kulturen influerte området. Men også dette kongedømmet ble ødelagt. Denne gangen av hetittene, som også var influert av hurrierne, på 1600-tallet f.vt.

Senere oppsto kongeriket Mitanni (Mi-ta-an-ni ) (1500 – 1300f.vt.), også kjent som Hanigalbat (Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) på assyrisk, Maryannu, Nahrin eller Mitanni på egyptisk og Hurri på hettitisk. Alle tre navnene var utskiftbare. Det var et hurrisk-talende stat i nord Syria og sørøst Anatolia med en indo-arisk herskerklasse. En del teonymer, egennavn og annen terminologi blir ansett for å være et indo-arisk superstratum, noe som tyder på at en indo-arisk elite satte seg selv som herskerklasse overfor hurrierne som en del av den indo-ariske ekspansjonen.

De hurriske stammene og bystatene ble samlet og Mitanni ble en regional maktfaktor etter at hetittene hadde erobret Yamkhad, ødelagt amorittenes Babylon og kassittene hadde tatt over byen, en serie med ueffektive assyriske konger hadde skapt et maktvakum i Mesopotamia. Uansett ble også denne staten ødelagt. Dene gangen av Assyria og hettitene på 1200-tallet f.vt.

Egyptiske kilder kalte Mitanni “nhrn”, noe som blir uttalt Naharin/Naharina og som kommer fra det assyro-akkadiske ordet for “elv”, jamført med Aram-Naharaim. Aram-Naharaim blir identifisert med Nahrima nevnt som en geografisk beskrivelse på Mitanni.

Ifølge Genesis er Aram sønn av Shem, og far til Uz, Hul, Gether og Mash. Aram blir anerkjent som profet i mandaeisme og Islam. Han blir ansett som stamfaren til det arameiske folket i det nordlige Mesopotamia og Syria. I Jubileenes bok blir Arams del av området beskrevet som liggende mellom Tigris og Eufrat [Naharaim] til grensene av fjellene til Asshur og landet Arara, som anslås for å være dagens Armenia, Ararat, men nord for khaldeerne.

Navnet Armenia stammer fra Armenak eller Aram, som var etterkommer av den armenske patriarken Hayk, som er stamfar for alle armenere. Det opprinnelige armenske navnet for landet var Hayk, senere Hayastan. Grunnleggeren av den armenske staten Urartu, hvor befolkningen snakket urspråket til hurrierne, var Aramé, som samlet alle prinsedømmene i det armenske høylandet og ga seg selv tittelen “Konge av konger”, som var den tradisjonelle tittelen på Urartus konger.

Nomadene, som etter å ha ankommet Mitanni ble kjent som arameere, var kjent som ahlamu omkring 1250 f.vt. Det var et nordvest semittisk semi-nomadisk og pastoralistisk folk som oppsto i Syria (Aram). Store grupper migrerte til Mesopotamia hvor de blandet seg med den assyriske og babylonske befolkningen.

Arameerne hadde aldri noen egen samlet nasjon, men var delt inn i mindre uavhengige kongedømmer over deler av Sørvest Asia, og da især i Syria, men de inngikk i et antall syro-hettit stater som inngikk i det ny-assyriske imperiet på 800-tallet f.vt. Dette til tross for at det arameiske språket kom til å bli lingua franca i hele Sørvest Asia og utviklet seg som skriftspråk til syrisk og mandeisk. Denne prosessen hvor assyro-babylonerne ble arameisk talende har blitt kjent som aramafisering.

Nomadiske pastoralister har alltid vært et trekk i Sørvest Asia, men antallet har variert i forhold til klimaforhold, samt makten til de ulike statene. Sen bronsealder var en tid med tørke og svekkede sater, samt en tid hvor pastoralistene måtte tilbringe stadig mer tid sammen med deres flokker. Byene krympet frem til nomadisk pastoralisme dominerte regionen. Disse høyst mobile, konkurransedyktige stammefolk med sine plutselige raid var en trussel for blant annet langdistanse handel.

Det er et åpent spørsmål hvordan et folk som var kjent som går under navnet Ahlamû, som betyr vandrere, en term som er likestilt med den egyptiske termen Shasu, som også betyr vandrere og som overtok fra de illegale hapiru (hebreerne) som hovedkilden for ustabilitet i det egyptiske levanten fra Tutankhamun og fremover.

Første gangen det blir referert til “Ahlamû-Aramaeans” (Ahlame Armaia) er i en innskrift av Tiglath-Pileser I (1115-1077 f.vt.), men kort etter forsvinner termen ahlamû for å bli skiftet ut med arameere (Aramu, Arimi). Ahlamû-arameerne må ha ansett arameerne som viktige og dominerende. Det kan også være at navnet arameere ar en mer korrekt form for det tidligere etnonymet Martu, eller amoritter, som vil si vestlige.

Hvor og når de semittiske khaldeerne migrerte fra til området rundt Babylon og området rundt den persiske golf er usikkert, men det virker som om de opptrer der på samme tid som arameerne og sutuene opptrådte i Babylonia, omkring 1000 f.vt. Under en periode hvor Babylon var svekket og ikke kunne forhindre at nye folk kom og tok seg til rette og bosatte seg. Men selv om khaldeerne tilhørte samme semittiske gruppe som arameerne differensierte de seg fra den arameiske gruppen.

Ifølge Gamle Testamentet kom Abraham fra khaldeernes Ur. Hvis byen var den sumeriske byen så ville det vært i khaldeernes opprinnelige område sør for Eufrat selv om det må ha skjedd før khaldeerne ankom området. Urfa i sørøst Tyrkia er en annen kandidat for fødestedet til Abraham. Byen ligger i nærheyten av Harran. Befolkningen i Urartu ble også kaldt khaldeere på grunn av deres gud Khaldi.

Uansett så var khaldeerne raske med å assimilere den dominerende semittisk akkadisk babylonske kulturen, slik amorittene før dem hadde vært, og da khaldeerne hadde erobret hele det sørlige Mesopotamia ble navnet khaldeere synonymt med Babylon, og da især for grekere og hebreere. Etter Babylons fall i 539 f.vt. ble termen kun brukt til beskrive en sosio-økonomisk klasse.

Sumererne, som er kreditert med det første skrevne språk og mange andre oppfinnelser, kom fra Portasar og kom raskt til å lage store byer og oppfinnelser. Mye kan man derfor forstå ved å studere deres kultur.

I dag er det først og fremst armenerne som bærer denne kulturarven videre, men som sagt så kan andre kulturer, inkludert den norske, best sees på som lokale varianter og bærere av det samme underliggende tema.

Folkemordet på armenerne

Ødeleggelsen av den armenske kulturelle, religiøse, historiske og kommunale arv var et av hovedformålene for både folkemordet i seg selv og de påfølgende postfolkemordskampanjene. Armenske kirker og klostre ble ødelagt, armenske kirkegårder kjørt over av bulldosere og i flere byer, slik som i byen Van, ble armenske kvarterer ødelagt.

Folkemordet på armenerne

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The Lord/Master of the Animals and Potnia Theron (“The Mistress of the Animals”)

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 20, 2015

Gundestrup Cauldron, Silver - Gundestrup, northern Denmark, 100 BC–AD 1 © The National Museum of Denmark

Gundestrup Cauldron, Silver – Gundestrup, northern Denmark, 100 BC–AD 1

The Lord of the Animals (also known as Master of (the) Animals) is a generic term for a number of deities from a variety of cultures with close relationships to the animal kingdom or in part animal form (in cultures where that is not the norm). They sometimes also have female equivalents, the so-called Mistress of the Animals.

Horned gods are not universal however, and in some cultures Bear gods, like Arktos might take the role, or even the more anthropomorphic deities who lead the Wild Hunt. Such figures are also often referred to as ‘Lord of the forest’* or ‘Lord of the mountain’.

The implication being that these all have a Stone Age precursor who was probabably a hunter’s deity. The classic example of which is the ‘horned god of the hunt’, typified by Cernunnos, Herne the Hunter and Arnon, and a variety of Stag, Bull, Ram and Goat gods.

Alulim was the first king of Eridu, and the first king of Sumer, according to the mythological antediluvian section of the Sumerian King List. Enki, the god of Eridu, is said to have brought civilization to Sumer at this point, or just shortly before.

The Sumerian King List has the following entry for Alulim: “After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridug (Eridu). In Eridug, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28,800 years.”

In a chart of antediluvian generations in Babylonian and Biblical traditions, Professor William Wolfgang Hallo associates Alulim with the composite half-man, half-fish counselor or culture hero (Apkallu) Uanna-Adapa (Oannes), and suggests an equivalence between Alulim and Enosh in the Sethite genealogy given in Genesis chapter 5. Hallo notes that Alulim’s name means “Stag”.

Potnia Theron (“The Mistress of the Animals”) is a term first used (once) by Homer (Iliad 21. 470) and often used to describe female divinities associated with animals. The word Potnia, meaning mistress or lady, was a Mycenaean word inherited by Classical Greek, with the same meaning, cognate to Sanskrit patnī.

Homer’s mention of potnia theron is thought to refer to Artemis and Walter Burkert describes this mention as “a well established formula”. An Artemis type deity, a ‘Mistress of the Animals’, is often assumed to have existed in prehistorical religion and often referred to as Potnia Theron, with some scholars positing a relationship between Artemis and goddesses depicted in Minoan art and “Potnia Theron has become a generic term for any female associated with animals.”

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

In Egyptian mythology, Satet (also spelt Satis, Satjit, Sates, and Sati) was the deification of the floods of the Nile River. Her cult originated in the ancient city of Swenet, now called Aswan on the southern edge of Egypt. Her name means she who shoots forth referring to the annual flooding of the river. Satet was also connected with the Eye of Ra.

She was an early war, hunting, and fertility deity who was seen as the mother of the goddess Anuket, the personification and goddess of the Nile river in the Egyptian mythology, and a protector of southern Egypt. Satet, goddess of the hunt, was shown with the horns of a deer, and sometimes a deer’s face.

One of her titles was She Who Runs Like an Arrow, which is thought to refer to the river current, and her symbols became the arrow and the running river. Satet was pictured as a woman wearing the conical crown of Upper Egypt, the Hedjet, with gazelle or antelope horns, or as an antelope, a fast moving creature living near the banks of the river in the southern portion of Ancient Egypt. She also was depicted with a bow and arrows.

Other interpretations say her primary role was that of the war goddess, a guardian of Egypt’s southern (Nubian) frontier and killing the enemies of the Pharaoh with her arrows.

She usually is depicted as holding an ankh also, due to her association with the life giving flooding of the Nile. Consequently, Satet acted as a fertility goddess, thus granting the wishes of those who sought love. Satet is also described as offering jars of purifying water.

Later she became regarded as one of the consorts of Khnum, the god identified as the guardian of the source of the Nile, with whom she was worshipped at Elephantine (the First nome of Egypt), indeed the centre of her cult was nearby, at Sahal, another island of the Nile. Since she was most dominant at the southern end of Egypt, she became regarded as the guard of Egypt’s southern border with Nubia.

Satet’s child was Anuket, goddess of the Nile River herself, who formed the third part of the Elephantine triad of deities when formed. Anuket is in the interpretatio graeca, considered equivalent to Hestia or Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth and home.

Deer have significant roles in the mythology of various peoples. The Insular Celts have stories involving supernatural deer, who are associated with a spiritual figure, and spirits or deities who may take the form of deer. In some Scottish and Irish tales deer are seen as “fairy cattle” and are herded and milked by a tutelary, benevolent, otherworldly woman (such as a bean sìdhe or in other cases the goddess Flidais), who can shapeshift into the form of a red or white deer. In the West Highlands, this woman of the otherworld selects the individual deer who will be slain in the next day’s hunt.

In Ireland, The Cailleach Bhéara (“The Old Woman of Beare”), who lives on an island off the coast of County Cork, takes the form of a deer to avoid capture, and herds her deer down by the shore. The Beare peninsula is also associated with the islands in the western sea that are the lands of the dead. Other Celtic mythological figures such as Oisin and Sadbh also have connections to deer.

Cernunnos is a mythological figure in Continental Celtic mythology, and possibly one of the figures depicted on the Gundestrup cauldron. He has deer or stag antlers on the top of his head. His role in the religion and mythology is unclear, as there are no particular stories about him.

An Anglo-Saxon royal scepter found at the Sutton Hoo burial site in England features a depiction of an upright, antlered stag. In the Old English language poem Beowulf, much of the first portion of the story focuses on events surrounding a great mead hall called Heorot, meaning “Hall of the Hart”.

In the Poetic Edda poem Grímnismál the four stags of Yggdrasil are described as feeding on the world tree, Yggdrasil, and the poem further relates that the stag Eikþyrnir lives on top of Valhalla. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, the god Freyr is having once killed Beli with an antler. In Þiðrekssaga, Sigurd is presented as having been nursed by a doe.

Andy Orchard proposes a connection between the hart Eikþyrnir atop Valhalla, the hart imagery associated with Heorot, and the Sutton Hoo scepter. Sam Newton identifies both the Sutton Hoo whetstone and the hall Heorot as early English symbols of kingship.

Rudolf Simek says that “it is not completely clear what role the stag played in Germanic religion” and theorizes that “the stag cult probably stood in some sort of connexion to Odin’s endowment of the dignity of kings.”

In Greek mythology, the deer is particularly associated with Artemis in her role as virginal huntress. Actaeon, after witnessing the nude figure of Artemis bathing in a pool, was transformed by Artemis into a stag that his own hounds tore to pieces. Callimachus, in his archly knowledgeable “Hymn III to Artemis”, mentions the deer that drew the chariot of Artemis:

One of the Labors of Heracles was to capture the Cerynian Hind sacred to Artemis and deliver it briefly to his patron, then rededicate it to Artemis. As a hind bearing antlers was unknown in Greece, the story suggests a reindeer, which, unlike other deer, can be harnessed and whose females bear antlers. The myth relates to Hyperborea, a northern land that would be a natural habitat for reindeer. Heracles’ son Telephus was exposed as an infant on the slopes of Tegea but nurtured by a doe.

In Hindu mythology, the Aitareya Upanishad tells us that the goddess Saraswati takes the form of a red deer called Rohit. Saraswati is the goddess of learning, so learned men use deer skin as clothing and mats to sit upon.

A golden deer plays an important role in the epic Ramayana. While in exile in the forest, Rama’s wife Sita sees a golden deer and asks Rama and Lakshmana to get it for her. The deer is actually a rakshasa called Maricha in disguise. Maricha takes this form to lure Rama and Lakshmana away from Sita so his nephew Ravana can kidnap her.

The stag was revered alongside the bull at Alaca Höyük and continued in the Hittite mythology as the protective deity whose name is recorded as dKAL. Other Hittite gods were often depicted standing on the backs of stags.

The Tribe Naftali bore a Stag on its tribal banner, and was poetically described as a Hind in the Blessing of Jacob. In Jewish mythology – as discussed in the Talmud exists a giant kind of stag by the name “Keresh”. He is said to live in a mythical forest called “Bei Ilai”.

In Hungarian mythology, Hunor and Magor, the founders of the Magyar peoples, chased a white stag in a hunt. The stag lead them into unknown land that they named Scythia. Hunor and Magor populated Scythia with their descendants the Huns and the Magyars. To this day, an important emblem in Hungary is a many-antlered stag with its head turned back over its shoulder.

The Scythians had some reverence for the stag, which is one of the most common motifs in their artwork, especially at funeral sites. The swift animal was believed to speed the spirits of the dead on their way, which perhaps explains the curious antlered headdresses found on horses buried at Pazyryk. In Slavic fairytales, Golden-horned deer is a large deer with golden antlers.

Saint Giles, a Catholic saint especially revered in the south of France, is reported to have lived for many years as a hermit in the forest near Nîmes, where in the greatest solitude he spent many years, his sole companion being a deer, or hind, who in some stories sustained him on her milk. In art, he is often depicted together with that hind.

Deer figure in the founding legend of Le Puy-en-Velay, where a Christian church replaced a megalithic dolmen said to have healing powers. A local tradition had rededicated the curative virtue of the sacred site to Mary, who cured ailments by contact with the standing stone. When the founding bishop Vosy climbed the hill, he found that it was snow-covered in July; in the snowfall, the tracks of a deer around the dolmen outlined the foundations of the future church.

Saint Hubertus (or “Hubert”) is a Christian saint, the patron saint of hunters, mathematicians, opticians and metalworkers, and used to be invoked to cure rabies. The legend of St Hubertus concerned an apparition of a stag with the crucifix between its horns, effecting the worldly and aristocratic Hubert’s conversion to a saintly life.

In the story of Saint Hubertus, on Good Friday morning, when the faithful were crowding the churches, Hubertus sallied forth to the chase. As he was pursuing a magnificent stag the animal turned and, as the pious legend narrates, he was astounded at perceiving a crucifix standing between its antlers, which occasioned the change of heart that led him to a saintly life. The story of the hart appears first in one of the later legendary hagiographies (Bibliotheca hagiographica Latina, nos. 3994–4002) and has been appropriated from the earlier legend of Saint Eustace (Placidus).

Later in the 6th century, the Bishop Saint Gregory of Tours wrote his chronicles about the Merovingian rulers. Historia Francorum contains the legend of King Clovis I, who prayed to Christ in one of his campaigns so he could find a place to cross the river Vienne. Considered as a divine sign, a huge deer appeared and showed where the army could pass.

In the 14th century, probably keeping some relation with Saint Eustace’s legend, the deer again appears in Christian legend. The Chronicon Pictum contains a story where the later King Saint Ladislaus I of Hungary and his brother the King Géza I of Hungary were hunting in a forest, and a deer with numerous candles on his antlers appeared to them.

Saint Ladislaus told his brother that it wasn’t a deer but an angel of God, and his antlers were wings; the candles were shining feathers. He also stated his intent to build a cathedral in honor of the Holy Virgin in the place where the deer appeared.

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The coiling of the snake – Consciousness

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 20, 2015

Drawing by Theodoros Pelecanos, in a 1478 copy[1] of a lost alchemical tract by Synesius.

The Celtic Triskele, also called the spiral of life, the triple spiral and the triple goddess, is three equal spirals radiating from a common center. The Celtic Triskele was found in the remnants of an ancient temple from the Bronze Age in Ireland.Because, at times, it is drawn in one continuous line, the triskele represents a continuous movement of time. It is probably this unending quality of the spiral that attracts us so greatly, and has contributed to it remaining on of the most popular Celtic symbols.

Ouroboros

Ouroboros

The ouroboros often symbolizes self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things such as the phoenix which operate in cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished.

While first emerging in Ancient Egypt and India, the ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism, but has also been frequently used in alchemical illustrations, where it symbolizes the circular nature of the alchemist’s opus. It is also often associated with Gnosticism, Hermeticism and Hinduism.

Carl Jung interpreted the ouroboros as having an archetypal significance to the human psyche. The Jungian psychologist Erich Neumann writes of it as a representation of the pre-ego “dawn state”, depicting the undifferentiated infancy experience of both mankind and the individual child.

Gnosticism

In Gnosticism, a serpent biting its tail symbolized eternity and the soul of the world. The Gnostic text Pistis Sophia describes the disc of the sun as a 12-part dragon with his tail in his mouth.

Divine balance

the entwined serpents representing divine balance in the west

DNA

the entwined serpents representing the human DNA

The Creator

Plato described the ouroboros as the first living thing; a self-eating, circular being—the universe as an immortal, mythologically constructed entity. The living being had no need of eyes because there was nothing outside of him to be seen; nor of ears because there was nothing to be heard; and there was no surrounding atmosphere to be breathed; nor would there have been any use of organs by the help of which he might receive his food or get rid of what he had already digested, since there was nothing which went from him or came into him: for there was nothing beside him.

Of design he created thus; his own waste providing his own food, and all that he did or suffered taking place in and by himself. For the Creator conceived that a being which was self-sufficient would be far more excellent than one which lacked anything; and, as he had no need to take anything or defend himself against any one, the Creator did not think it necessary to bestow upon him hands: nor had he any need of feet, nor of the whole apparatus of walking; but the movement suited to his spherical form which was designed by him, being of all the seven that which is most appropriate to mind and intelligence; and he was made to move in the same manner and on the same spot, within his own limits revolving in a circle.

All the other six motions were taken away from him, and he was made not to partake of their deviations. And as this circular movement required no feet, the universe was created without legs and without feet.

Snake goddess

Snake Goddess indicates figurines of a woman holding a snake in each hand found during excavation of Minoan archaeological sites in Crete dating from approximately 1600 BCE. These figurines were found only in house sanctuaries, where the figurine appears as “the goddess of the household”, and they are probably related with the Paleolithic tradition regarding women and domesticity.

The first ‘Snake Goddess’ figurines to be discovered were found by the British archaeologist Arthur Evans in 1903, in the temple repositories of Knossos. The figurines are made of faience, a technique for glazing earthenware and other ceramic vessels by using a quartz paste. This material symbolized in old Egypt the renewal of life, therefore it was used in the funeral cult and in the sanctuaries. After firing this produces bright colors and a lustrous sheen.

These two figurines are today exhibited at the Herakleion Archeological Museum in Crete. It is possible that they illustrate the fashion of dress of Minoan women: a tight bodice which left the breasts bare, a long flounced skirt, and an apron made of material with embroidered or woven decoration. The larger of these figures has snakes crawling over her arms up to her tiara. The smaller figure holds two snakes in her raised hands, which seems to be the imitation of a panther. These were usually symbols of an earth goddess.

In particular, one of the snake goddesses was found in few pieces apart, and was later filled with a solution of paraffin to preserve it from further damage. The goddess is depicted just as in other statues (crown on head, hands grasping snakes and so on…) The expression on her face is described as lifelike, and is also wearing the typical Minoan dress. Also another figure found in Berlin, made of bronze, looks more like a snake charmer with the snakes on top of her head. Many Minoan statues and statuettes seem to express a sort of pride.

Clay sculptures with raised hands and curling snakes were found in the “house of the double axes” in Knossos, in Asine, in Gournia, and in Myrtos. Objects with snakes curling up the sides of clay-tubes were also found in Cyprus and Palestine.

The snake goddess’s Minoan name may be related with A-sa-sa-ra, a possible interpretation of inscriptions found in Linear A texts. Although Linear A is not yet deciphered, Palmer relates tentatively the inscription a-sa-sa-ra-me which seems to have accompanied goddesses, with the Hittite išhaššara, which means “mistress”.

Her exposed and amplified breasts suggest a show of womanhood very much similar to Lady Godiva. The figurines may illustrate the fashion of dress of Minoan women.

The serpent is often symbolically associated with the renewal of life because it sheds its skin periodically. A similar belief existed in the ancient Mesopotamians and Semites, and appears also in Hindu mythology.

The Pelasgian myth of creation refers to snakes as the reborn dead. However, Nilsson noticed that in the Minoan religion the snake was the protector of the house, as it later appears also in Greek religion. Among the Greek Dionysiac cult it signified wisdom and was the symbol of fertility.

The serpents were considered the protectors of the temples and the chthonic masters of the ancient earth goddess. In Greece the old oracles were devoted to the mother goddess. According to a Greek legend Apollo came to Delphi carrying Cretan priests, and there he possessed the oracle after slaying the serpent Python, the daughter of Gaia.

Nammu

In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically NAMMA = ENGUR) was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat in Babylonian mythology.

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

The Atrahasis-Epos has it that Enlil requested from Nammu the creation of humans. And Nammu told him that with the help of Enki (her son) she can create humans in the image of gods.

Reay Tannahill in Sex in History (1980) singled out Nammu as the “only female prime mover” in the cosmogonic myths of antiquity.

Tiamat

In Mesopotamian Religion (Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian and Babylonian), Tiamat is a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû (the god of fresh water) to produce younger gods. She is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation, depicted as a woman she represents the beauty of the feminine, depicted as the glistening one.

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. 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.

In the Enûma Elish her physical description includes a tail, a thigh, “lower parts” (which shake together), a belly, an udder, ribs, a neck, a head, a skull, eyes, nostrils, a mouth, and lips. She has insides (possibly “entrails”), a heart, arteries, and blood.

Tiamat is usually described as a sea serpent or dragon, however assyriologist Alexander Heidel disagreed with this identification and argued that “dragon form can’t be imputed to Tiamat with certainty”.

Other scholars have disregarded Heidel’s argument, Joseph Fontenrose in particular found it “not convincing” and concluded that “there is reason to believe that Tiamat was sometimes, not necessarily always, conceived as a dragoness”.

While the Enûma Elish does not specifically state that Tiamat is a dragon, only that she gave birth to dragons and serpents among a more general list of monsters including scorpion men and merpeople, other sources containing the same myth do refer to her as a dragon.

The depiction of Tiamat as a multi-headed dragon was popularized in the 1970s as a fixture of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game inspired by earlier sources associating Tiamat with later mythological characters, such as Lotan.

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

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

Tiamat was later known as Thalattē (as a variant of thalassa, the Greek word for “sea”) in the Hellenistic Babylonian writer Berossus’ first volume of universal history. It is thought that the name of Tiamat was dropped in secondary translations of the original religious texts (written in the East Semitic Akkadian language) because some Akkadian copyists of Enûma Elish substituted the ordinary word for “sea” for Tiamat, since the two names had become essentially the same due to association.

Thorkild Jacobsen and Walter Burkert both argue for a connection with the Akkadian word for sea, tâmtu, following an early form, ti’amtum. Burkert continues by making a linguistic connection to Tethys. He finds the later form, thalatth, to be related clearly to Greek thalatta or thalassa, “sea”. Tiamat also has been claimed to be cognate with Northwest Semitic tehom (the deeps, abyss), in the Book of Genesis 1:2.

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

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

Harriet Crawford finds this “mixing of the waters” to be a natural feature of the middle Persian Gulf, where fresh waters from the Arabian aquifer mix and mingle with the salt waters of the sea.

This characteristic is especially true of the region of Bahrain, whose name in Arabic means “two seas”, and which is thought to be the site of Dilmun, the original site of the Sumerian creation beliefs. The difference in density of salt and fresh water drives a perceptible separation.

Ariadne

Barry Powell suggested that the snake goddess reduced in legend into a folklore heroine was Ariadne (utterly pure or the very holy one), who is often depicted surrounded by Maenads and satyrs.

Europa

In a relative Greek myth Europa, who is sometimes identified with Astarte in ancient sources, was a Phoenician princess who Zeus abducted and carried to Crete.

Astarte

Some scholars relate the snake goddess with the Phoenician Astarte (virgin daughter). She was the goddess of fertility and sexuality and her worship was connected with orgiastic cult. Her temples were decorated with serpentine motifs.

Enki

The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times, identified with Enki (EN.KI(G)). Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was sometimes referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for “40,” occasionally referred to as his “sacred number.”

Enki is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians.

He was the deity of crafts (gašam); mischief; water, seawater, lakewater (a, aba, ab), intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”) and creation (Nudimmud: nu, likeness, dim mud, make beer). He was associated with the southern band of constellations called stars of Ea, but also with the constellation AŠ-IKU, the Field (Square of Pegasus).

A large number of myths about Enki have been collected from many sites, stretching from Southern Iraq to the Levantine coast. He figures in the earliest extant cuneiform inscriptions throughout the region and was prominent from the third millennium down to Hellenistic times.

The exact meaning of his name is uncertain: the common translation is “Lord of the Earth”: the Sumerian en is translated as a title equivalent to “lord”; it was originally a title given to the High Priest; ki means “earth”; but there are theories that ki in this name has another origin, possibly kig of unknown meaning, or kur meaning “mound”.

The name Ea is allegedly Hurrian in origin while others claim that his name ‘Ea’ is possibly of Semitic origin and may be a derivation from the West-Semitic root *hyy meaning “life” in this case used for “spring”, “running water.” In Sumerian E-A means “the house of water”, and it has been suggested that this was originally the name for the shrine to the god at Eridu.

Ningishzida

Ningishzida is a Mesopotamian deity of the underworld. His name in Sumerian is translated as “lord of the good tree” by Thorkild Jacobsen. 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.

Ningishzida is sometimes the son of Ninazu and Ningiridda, even though the myth Ningishzidda’s journey to the netherworld suggests he is the son of Ereshkigal. Following an inscription found at Lagash, he was the son of Anu, the heavens.

The Adapa myth mentions Ningizzida and Tammuz (or Dumuzi) and refers to the serpent god as male. His wife is Azimua and also Geshtinanna, while his sister is Amashilama. In some texts Ningishzida is said to be female, which means “Nin” would then refer to Lady, which is mostly how the word is used by the Sumerians. He or she was one of the ancestors of Gilgamesh.

Ningishzida is the earliest known symbol of snakes twining around an axial rod. It predates the Caduceus of Hermes, the Rod of Asclepius and the biblical Nehushtan of Moses by more than a millennium. One Greek myth on origin of the caduceus is part of the story of Tieresias, who found two snakes copulating and killed the female with his staff.

Nabu

The planet Mercury was in Sumerian times, identified with Enki, but was later associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk). Nabu is the Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom and writing, worshipped by Babylonians as the son of Marduk and Sarpanitum and as the grandson of Ea. As a god of wisdom and writing he was identified by the Greeks with Hermes, by the Romans with Mercury, and by the Egyptians with Thoth.

Due to his role as Marduk’s minister and scribe, Nabu became the god of wisdom and writing (including religious, scientific and magical texts) taking over the role from the Sumerian goddess Nisaba. Nabu became one of the principal gods in Assyria; Assyrians addressed many prayers and inscriptions to Nabu and named children after him.

Tanit

the Phoenician goddess Tanit, worshipped as a patron goddess of Carthage, literally meaning “of the mind”, or “conceived in the mind”, or “power of the mind”

Diktynna

Diktynna, aka the Cretan “Mistress of the Wild”, is a possible identification.

Ra-Osiris

The first known appearance of the ouroboros motif is in the Enigmatic Book of the Netherworld, an ancient Egyptian funerary text in KV62, the tomb of Tutankhamun, in the 14th century BC. The text concerns the actions of the god Ra and his union with Osiris in the underworld.

In an illustration from this text, two serpents, holding their tails in their mouths, coil around the head and feet of an enormous god, who may represent the unified Ra-Osiris. Both serpents are manifestations of the deity Mehen, who in other funerary texts protects Ra in his underworld journey. The whole divine figure represents the beginning and the end of time.

The ouroboros appears elsewhere in Egyptian sources, where, like many Egyptian serpent deities, it represents the formless disorder that surrounds the orderly world and is involved in that world’s periodic renewal. The symbol persisted in Egypt into Roman times, when it frequently appeared on magical talismans, sometimes in combination with other magical emblems.

The 4th-century AD Latin commentator Servius was aware of the Egyptian use of the symbol, noting that the image of a snake biting its tail represents the cyclical nature of the year. The symbol of the Ouroboros is also highly prominent within mystical literature and is circular appealing to our primordial desire for unity and continuity.

Mehen

In Ancient Egypt the name Mehen meaning ‘coiled one’ referred to a mythological snake-god and to a game. The earliest references to Mehen occur in the Coffin Texts. Mehen is a protective deity who is depicted as a snake which coils around the sun god Ra during his journey through the night, for instance in the Amduat.

In the German-Egyptian dictionary by R. Hannig it is said that the Mehen (mḥn) or the Mehenet (mḥnt) snake is equivalent to the Ouroboros from the Greek tail-devouring snake, an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.

Renenutet

the ancient Egyptian goddess Renenutet, who often appeared in the form of a hooded cobra

Wadjet

Evans tentatively linked the snake goddess with the Egyptian snake goddess Wadjet but did not pursue this connection. Statuettes similar to the “snake goddess” identified as priest of Wadjud and magician were found in Egypt. Both goddesses have a knot with a projecting looped cord between their breasts. Evans noticed that these are analogous to the sacral knot, a name given by him to a knot with a loop of fabric above and sometimes fringed ends hanging down below.

Numerous such symbols in ivory, faience, painted in frescoes or engraved in seals sometimes combined with the symbol of the double-edged axe or labrys which was the most important Minoan religious symbol. Such symbols were found in Minoan and Mycenaean sites. It is believed that the sacral knot was the symbol of holiness on human figures or cult-objects. Its combination with the double-axe can be compared with the Egyptian ankh (eternal life), or with the tyet (welfare/life) a symbol of Isis (the knot of Isis).

Wadjet (“green one”), the serpent goddess of Lower Egypt from the Pre-dynastic period demonstrates the earliest known representation of a single serpent entwined around a pole – in this case a papyrus reed (refer to first glyph): Wadjet Hieroglyph, was known to the Greek world as Uto or Buto among other names. She is not to be confused with the Egyptian demon Apep, who is also represented as a snake in Egyptian mythology.

Wadjet had a famous oracle in the city Dep, which became part of the city that the Egyptians named Per-Wadjet, House of Wadjet, and the Greeks called Buto (Desouk now), a city that was an important site in the Predynastic era of Ancient Egypti and the cultural developments of the Paleolithic. According to Herodotus this may have been the source of the oracular tradition which spread to Greece from Egypt.

She 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 with the “goddess” of Upper Egypt. The image of Wadjet with the sun disk is called the uraeus, and it was the emblem on the crown of the rulers of Lower Egypt. She was also the protector of kings and of women in childbirth.

As the patron goddess, she was associated with the land and depicted as a snake-headed woman or a snake – usually an Egyptian cobra, a venomous snake common to the region; sometimes she was depicted as a woman with two snake heads and, at other times, a snake with a woman’s head. Her oracle was in the renowned temple in Per-Wadjet that was dedicated to her worship and gave the city its name. This oracle may have been the source for the oracular tradition that spread to Greece from Egypt.

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.

Wadjet was closely associated in the Egyptian pantheon with the Eye of Ra, a powerful protective deity. The hieroglyph for her eye is shown below; sometimes two are shown in the sky of religious images. Per-Wadjet also contained a sanctuary of Horus, the child of the sun deity who would be interpreted to represent the pharaoh. Much later, Wadjet became associated with Isis as well as with many other deities.

In the relief shown to the right, which is on the wall of the Hatshepsut Temple at Luxor, there are two images of Wadjet: one of her as the uraeus sun disk with her head through an ankh and another where she precedes a Horus hawk wearing the double crown of united Egypt, representing the pharaoh whom she protects.

An interpretation of the Milky Way was that it was the primal snake, Wadjet, the protector of Egypt. In this interpretation she was closely associated with Hathor and other early deities among the various aspects of the great mother goddess, including Mut and Naunet. The association with Hathor brought her son Horus into association also. The cult of Ra absorbed most of Horus’s traits and included the protective eye of Wadjet that had shown her association with Hathor.

When identified as the protector of Ra, who was also a sun deity associated with heat and fire, she was sometimes said to be able to send fire onto those who might attack, just as the cobra spits poison into the eyes of its enemies. In this role she was called the Lady of Flame.

She later became identified with the war goddess of Lower Egypt, Bast, who acted as another figure symbolic of the nation, consequently becoming Wadjet-Bast. In this role, since Bast was a lioness, Wadjet-Bast was often depicted with a lioness head.

After Lower Egypt had been conquered by Upper Egypt and they were unified, the lioness goddess of Upper Egypt, Sekhmet, was seen as the more powerful of the two warrior goddesses. It was Sekhmet who was seen as the Avenger of Wrongs, and the Scarlet Lady, a reference to blood, as the one with bloodlust. She is depicted with the solar disk and Wadjet, however.

Eventually, Wadjet’s position as patron led to her being identified as the more powerful goddess Mut, whose cult had come to the fore in conjunction with rise of the cult of Amun, and eventually being absorbed into her as the Mut-Wadjet-Bast triad.

When the pairing of deities occurred in later Egyptian myths, since she was linked to the land, after the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt she came to be thought of as the wife of Hapy, a deity of the Nile, which flowed through the land.

Wadjet, as the goddess of Lower Egypt, had a big temple at the ancient Imet (now Tell Nebesha) in the Nile Delta. She was worshipped in the area as the ‘Lady of Imet’. Later she was joined by Min and Horus to form a triad of deities. This was based on an Osiriac model identified elsewhere in Egypt.

Unut

Unut, alt. Wenut or Wenet, is a prehistoric Egyptian snake goddess. Originally, she had the form of a snake and was called “The swift one”. She came from the fifteenth Upper Egyptian province and was worshipped with Thoth at its capital Hermopolis (in Egyptian: Wenu). Later she was depicted with a woman’s body and a hare’s head. She was taken into the cult of Horus and later of Ra.

Her name can be represented with five different hieroglyphs, but she appears rarely in literature and inscriptions. An exceptional sculpture of her has been found by American archaeologists and is probably the only one of its kind found so far. Her name was taken into the highest royal position just once in the long Egyptian history. The only king bearing her name was Unas. Her male companion is Wenenu, who was sometimes regarded as a form of Osiris or Ra.

The constellation Hydra was known in Babylonian astronomical texts as MUŠ (“the serpent”). It was depicted as a snake drawn out long with the forepaws of a lion, no hind-legs, with wings, and with a head comparable to the mušḫuššu dragon. This monstrous serpent may have inspired the Lernaean Hydra of Greek mythology and ultimately the modern Hydra constellation.

Bel and the Dragon, a deuterocanonical Biblical text, relates a story that Koldewey thought involved a mušḫuššu/sirrush. In a temple dedicated to Bel (Nebuchadnezzar’s god), priests had a “great dragon or serpent, which they of Babylon worshipped.”

Daniel, the protagonist of the Book of Daniel, was confronted with this creature by the priests in the apocryphal text. They challenged him to match his invisible God against their living god. Eventually, Daniel poisoned the creature.

Manasa

the Indian snake goddess Manasa, the tutelary deity of snakes and fertility, worshipped mainly in Bengal an the eastern parts of India

Mandala

In Hinduism and Buddhism, we also find the mandala. The mandala, in Jungian terms reflects the centre of the cosmos as well as the fundamental spiritual core of man. As we develop ourselves and our sense of inner perfect, we approach the centre of the mandala.

Shiva in Hinduism represents the duality of creation and destruction and thus the birth of life through opposites. This god is often represented within a circle. This circle represents the circular nature of the universe and time- death-rebirth, creation-destruction, love-hate, spring-winter- the eternal dance of the cosmos.

Halo

The Ouroboros represent in Asia in Hinduism an animal Halo often in the form of a snake or lizard represented by a god or goddess. For example Shiva statues often have an Ouroboros surrounding them in the form of a snake eating his tail. The Halo is a symbol of the divine aura that cloaks those that have witnessed the divine nature of the cosmos. They are circular and appeal to our primal obsession with circles.

Kundalini

Ouroboros symbolism has been used to describe Kundalini energy. According to the second century Yoga Kundalini Upanishad, “The divine power, Kundalini, shines like the stem of a young lotus; like a snake, coiled round upon herself she holds her tail in her mouth and lies resting half asleep as the base of the body” (1.82).

Sarama

It is also suggested that Hermes is cognate of the Vedic Sarama (Sanskrit: Saramā; Tamil: Carapai; Thai: Trichada; Malay: Marcu Dewi), a mythological being referred to as the bitch of the gods, or Deva-shuni.

She first appears in one of Hinduism’s earliest texts, the Rig Veda, in which she helps the god-king Indra to recover divine cows stolen by the Panis, a class of demons. This legend is alluded to in many later texts, and Sarama is often associated with Indra. The epic Mahabharata, and some Puranas, also make brief reference to Sarama.

Early Rig-Vedic works do not depict Sarama as canine, but later Vedic mythologies and interpretations usually do. She is described as the mother of all dogs, in particular of the two four-eyed brindle dogs of the god Yama, and dogs are given the matronymic Sarameya (“offspring of Sarama”). One scripture further describes Sarama as the mother of all wild animals.

Orientalist Max Müller suggests that the word Sarama may mean “the runner”, with the stem originating from the Sanskrit root sar (“to go”), but he is unable to account for the second part of the name, ama.

Professor Monier-Williams translates Sarama as “the fleet one”. The etymological treatise Nirukta by Yaska mentions that Sarama derives her name from her quick movement. Mahidhara, a commentator of the Vajasaneyi Samhita, states that Sarama is “she who entertains (remante) the gods”. More broadly, Sarama has also come to mean any female dog.

There are two epithets for Sarama in the original Rig Veda. Firstly, she is described as supadi, which means “having good feet”, “fair-footed” or “quick”, an epithet only used for Sarama in the text. Her other epithet is subhaga – “the fortunate one”, or “the beloved one” – a common epithet of the Ushas, the Dawn. Sarama’s other name Deva-shuni means “divine bitch” or “bitch of the gods”.

Hermes

Another interpretation is that Kundalini equates to the entwined serpents of the caduceus of the Greek god Hermes, an Olympian god in Greek religion and mythology, son of Zeus and the Pleiad Maia, a god of transitions and boundaries.

Hermes is quick and cunning, and moves freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine, as emissary and messenger of the gods, intercessor between mortals and the divine, and conductor of souls into the afterlife. He is protector and patron of travelers, herdsmen, thieves, orators and wit, literature and poets, athletics and sports, invention and trade.

In some myths he is a trickster, and outwits other gods for his own satisfaction or the sake of humankind. His attributes and symbols include the herma, the rooster and the tortoise, purse or pouch, winged sandals, winged cap, and his main symbol is the herald’s staff, the Greek kerykeion or Latin caduceus which consisted of two snakes wrapped around a winged staff.

Mercury

In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon (see interpretatio romana), Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury, who, though inherited from the Etruscan deity Turms, developed many similar characteristics, such as being the patron of commerce.

Mercury is a major Roman god, being one of the Dii Consentes within the ancient Roman pantheon. He is the patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence (and thus poetry), messages, communication (including divination), travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he is also the guide of souls to the underworld.

He was considered the son of Maia and Jupiter in Roman mythology. His name is possibly related to the Latin word merx (“merchandise”; compare merchant, commerce, etc.), mercari (to trade), and merces (wages); another possible connection is the Proto-Indo-European root merĝ- for “boundary, border” (cf. Old English “mearc”, Old Norse “mark” and Latin “margō”) and Greek as the “keeper of boundaries,” referring to his role as bridge between the upper and lower worlds.

In Ovid’s Fasti, Mercury is assigned to escort the nymph Larunda to the underworld. Mercury, however, fell in love with Larunda and made love to her on the way. Larunda thereby became mother to two children, referred to as the Lares, invisible household gods.

Because Mercury was not one of the early deities surviving from the Roman Kingdom, he was not assigned a flamen (“priest”), but he did have his own major festival, on May 15, the Mercuralia. During the Mercuralia, merchants sprinkled water from his sacred well near the Porta Capena on their heads.

Mercury has influenced the name of many things in a variety of scientific fields, such as the planet Mercury, and the element mercury. The word mercurial is commonly used to refer to something or someone erratic, volatile or unstable, derived from Mercury’s swift flights from place to place. He is often depicted holding the caduceus in his left hand.

Lares

Lares (singular Lar) were guardian deities in ancient Roman religion. Their origin is uncertain; they may have been hero-ancestors, guardians of the hearth, fields, boundaries or fruitfulness, or an amalgam of these. They share similarities with Lahmu, meaning parent star or constellation, is the name of a protective and beneficent deity, the first-born son of Abzu and Tiamat, and his sister Laḫamu.

Archaic Rome’s Etruscan neighbours practiced domestic, ancestral or family cults very similar to those offered by later Romans to their Lares. The word itself seems to derive from the Etruscan lar, lars, or larth, meaning “lord”.

Ancient Greek and Roman authors offer “heroes” and “daimones” as translations of “Lares”; the early Roman playwright Plautus (c. 254–184 BC) employs a Lar Familiaris as a guardian of treasure on behalf of a family, as a plot equivalent to the Greek playwright Menander’s use of a heroon (as an ancestral hero-shrine). Weinstock proposes a more ancient equivalence of Lar and Greek hero, based on his gloss of a 4th-century BC Latin dedication to the Roman ancestor-hero Aeneas as Lare (Lar).

Lugus

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.

Mercury in particular was reported as becoming extremely popular among the nations the Roman Empire conquered; 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.

Odin

Romans associated Mercury with the Germanic god Wotan (from Old Norse Óðinn), by interpretatio Romana; 1st-century Roman writer Tacitus identifies him as the chief god of the Germanic peoples.

In Old Norse sources, whence most surviving information about the god stems, Odin is associated with healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, battle, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and is the husband of the goddess Frigg.

In wider Germanic mythology and paganism, Odin was known in Old English as Wóden, in Old Saxon as Wōden, and in Old High German as Wuotan or Wodan, all stemming from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz.

Jörmungandr

In Norse mythology, the ouroboros appears as the serpent Jörmungandr, one of the three children of Loki and Angrboda, which grew so large that it could encircle the world and grasp its tail in its teeth. In the legends of Ragnar Lodbrok, such as Ragnarssona þáttr, the Geatish king Herraud gives a small lindworm as a gift to his daughter Þóra Town-Hart after which it grows into a large serpent which encircles the girl’s bower and bites itself in the tail.

The serpent is slain by Ragnar Lodbrok who marries Þóra. Ragnar later has a son with another woman named Kráka and this son is born with the image of a white snake in one eye. This snake encircled the iris and bit itself in the tail, and the son was named Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye.

Sirius

Sirius is the brightest star (in fact, a star system) in the Earth’s night sky. With a visual apparent magnitude of −1.46, it is almost twice as bright as Canopus, the next brightest star. The name “Sirius” is derived from the Ancient Greek: Seirios (“glowing” or “scorcher”). In Scandinavia, the star has been known as Lokabrenna (“burning done by Loki”, or “Loki’s torch”). In Sanskrit it is known as Mrgavyadha “deer hunter”, or Lubdhaka “hunter”. As Mrgavyadha, the star represents Rudra (Shiva).

Tir

In Iranian mythology, especially in Persian mythology and in Zoroastrianism, the ancient religion of Persia, Sirius appears as Tishtrya and is revered as the rain-maker divinity (Tishtar of New Persian poetry). Beside passages in the sacred texts of the Avesta, the Avestan language Tishtrya followed by the version Tir in Middle and New Persian is also depicted in the Persian epic Shahnameh of Ferdowsi.

Due to the concept of the yazatas, powers which are “worthy of worship”, Tishtrya is a divinity of rain and fertility and an antagonist of apaosha, the demon of drought. In this struggle, Tishtrya is beautifully depicted as a white horse.

Tishtrya (Tištrya) is the Avestan language name of an Zoroastrian benevolent divinity associated with life-bringing rainfall and fertility. Tishtrya is Tir in Middle- and Modern Persian. As has been judged from the archaic context in which Tishtrya appears in the texts of the Avesta, the divinity/concept is almost certainly of Indo-Iranian origin.

In a hymn of the Avesta (incorporated by Ferdowsi, with due acknowledgement, in the Shahnameh), Tishtrya is involved in a cosmic struggle against the drought-bringing demon Apaosha. According to the myth, in the form of a pure white horse the god did battle with the demon who, in contrast, had assumed the form of a terrifying black horse. Apaosa soon gained the upper hand over Tishtrya, who was weakened from the lack of sufficient prayers and sacrifices from humankind.

The yazata proceeded to call upon the Creator Ahura Mazda, who himself then intervened by offering a sacrifice to the overwhelmed god. Infused with the power brought by this sacrifice, Tishtrya was able to overcome Apaosa, and his rains were able to flow to the parched fields and pastures unabated by drought. This story serves to underscore the importance of votive offerings and sacrifice in religious tradition.

In the Zoroastrian religious calendar, the 13th day of the month and the 4th month of the year are dedicated to Tishtrya/Tir, and hence named after the entity. In the Iranian civil calendar, which inherits its month names from the Zoroastrian calendar, the 4th month is likewise named Tir.

During the Achaemenid period, Tishtrya was conflated with Semitic Nabu-*Tiri, and thus came to be associated with the Dog Star, Sirius. The Tiregan festival, previously associated with *Tiri (a reconstructed name), was likewise transferred to Tishtrya. During the Hellenic period, Tishtrya came to be associated with Pythian Apollo, patron of Delphi, and thus a divinity of oracles.

Celestial wolf

Sirius is also known colloquially as the “Dog Star”, reflecting its prominence in its constellation, Canis Major (Greater Dog). The heliacal rising of Sirius marked the flooding of the Nile in Ancient Egypt and the “dog days” of summer for the ancient Greeks, while to the Polynesians in the southern hemisphere it marked winter and was an important star for navigation around the Pacific Ocean.

In Chinese astronomy the star is known as the star of the “celestial wolf” in the Mansion of Jǐng. Farther afield, many nations among the indigenous peoples of North America also associated Sirius with canines; the Seri and Tohono O’odham of the southwest note the star as a dog that follows mountain sheep, while the Blackfoot called it “Dog-face”. The Cherokee paired Sirius with Antares as a dog-star guardian of either end of the “Path of Souls”.

The Pawnee of Nebraska had several associations; the Wolf (Skidi) tribe knew it as the “Wolf Star”, while other branches knew it as the “Coyote Star”. Further north, the Alaskan Inuit of the Bering Strait called it “Moon Dog”.

Bow and arrow

Several cultures also associated the star with a bow and arrows. The Ancient Chinese visualized a large bow and arrow across the southern sky, formed by the constellations of Puppis and Canis Major. In this, the arrow tip is pointed at the wolf Sirius. A similar association is depicted at the Temple of Hathor in Dendera, where the goddess Satet has drawn her arrow at Hathor (Sirius). Known as “Tir”, the star was portrayed as the arrow itself in later Persian culture.

Sirius is mentioned in Surah, An-Najm (“The Star”), of the Qur’an, where it is given the name الشِّعْرَى (transliteration: aš-ši‘rā or ash-shira; the leader). The verse is: “That He is the Lord of Sirius (the Mighty Star).” (An-Najm:49) Ibn Kathir said in his commentary “Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, Qatada and Ibn Zayd said about Ash-Shi`ra that it is the bright star, named Mirzam Al-Jawza’ (Sirius), which a group of Arabs used to worship.” The alternate name Aschere, used by Johann Bayer, is derived from this.

In Theosophy, it is believed the Seven Stars of the Pleiades transmit the spiritual energy of the Seven Rays from the Galactic Logos to the Seven Stars of the Great Bear, then to Sirius. From there is it sent via the Sun to the god of Earth (Sanat Kumara), and finally through the seven Masters of the Seven Rays to the human race.

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The fire bird in mythology

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 18, 2015

Firebird (Slavic folklore)

Sirin

The Golden Bird

Phoenix

Peacock

Hazaran Blbul – in Armenian mythology, Phoenix, sacred firebird found in the mythologies of many cultures, Bennu – Egyptian firebird, Huma (mythology) – Persian firebird, (Жар-Птица) – Firebird (Slavic folklore), the Thunderbird is a legendary creature in certain North American indigenous peoples’ history and culture, the Greek ‘φοινιξ’, meaning the color purple-red or crimson. They and the Romans subsequently pictured the bird more like a peacock or an eagle, etc.

When the wild gardens in the valley at the foot of Mount Ararat bloom, thousands of birds sing their wonderful songs in unison. People welcome the arrival of spring and recall the legend of Hazaran Blbul*, without whose help spring would never have come.

That tiny bird with bright plumage always sang the loudest. Her magical art revived withered gardens, so mountains and valleys bloomed with lush vegetation. The bird never raised any hatchlings for there was only one of its kind on earth. Upon reaching old age, when the bird felt that death was imminent, she arranged a nest of rare herbs and strange plants. The herbs were dry and flammable. At the time of its death, the bird and its nest burned to ashes. Then out of the warm ashes formed a small lump that in turn, grew into a nestling that looked very much like Hazaran Blbul.

The first Armenian tribes and legendary heroic kings knew of the ability of Hazaran Blbul to rise from the ashes, soar into the sky, and summon the onset of spring. They believed that there would always be prosperity, happiness, and love anywhere that tiny bird sang.

No one ever dared to offend it or catch it. Because if you startled Hazaran Blbul, she would leave the blooming valley forever and no force would be able to bring it back to the foothills of Mount Ararat. The magic bird continues to serve people today. It provides inspiration for painters and artists, faith for the elderly, love for the young, and hope for all those who have wandered away from their native land.

Armenian Hazaran Blbul – In the Armenian tale, the bird does not glow, but rather makes the land bloom through its song. It belongs to a flying magical (bird)-girl called “Huri Peri”. No one ever dared to offend it or catch it. Because if you startled Hazaran Blbul, she would leave the blooming valley forever and no force would be able to bring it back And I think the original explanation of this phenomenon is in Armenian tale. The phoenix is consistently characterized as a bird with brightly colored plumage, which, after a long life, dies in a fire of its own making only to rise again from the ashes.

There are 2 versions of Egyptian Bennu bird myth. One version of the myth says that the Bennu bird burst forth from the heart of Osiris. In the more prevalent myths, the Bennu created itself from a fire that was burned on a holy tree in one of the sacred precincts of the temple of Ra.

The Huma, also known as the “bird of paradise,” is a Persian mythological bird. It consumes itself in fire every few hundred years, only to rise anew from the ashes. The Huma is considered to be a compassionate bird and its touch is said to bring great fortune.

The Greeks adapted the word bennu and identified it with their own word phoenix ‘φοινιξ’, meaning the color purple-red or crimson. They and the Romans subsequently pictured the bird more like a peacock or an eagle. According to Greek mythology, the phoenix lived in Arabia next to a well. At dawn, it bathed in the water of the well, and the Greek sun-god Apollo stopped his chariot (the sun) in order to listen to its song.

The phoenix (known as Garuda in Sanskrit) is the mystical fire bird which is considered as the chariot of the Hindu god Vishnu. Its reference can be found in the Hindu epic Ramayana.

In China, the phoenix is called Feng-huang and symbolizes completeness, incorporating the basic elements of music, colors, nature, as well as the joining of yin and yang. It is a symbol of peace, and represents fire, the sun, justice, obedience, and fidelity. The Feng-huang, unlike the phoenix which dies and is reborn, is truly immortal although it only appears in times of peace and prosperity.

In Slavic folklore, the Firebird (Russian: Жар-пти́ца, Zhar-ptitsa; Ukrainian: Жар-пти́ця, Zhar-ptica; Serbian: Жар-птица or Žar-ptica; Croatian: Žar ptica; Bulgarian: Жар-птица, Zhar-ptitsa; Macedonian: Жар-птица, Žar-ptica; Polish: Żar-ptak; Czech: Pták Ohnivák; Slovak: Vták Ohnivák) and Hungarian: Tűzmadár is a magical glowing bird from a faraway land, which is both a blessing and a bringer of doom to its captor.

In Czech folklore, it is called Pták Ohnivák (Fire-like Bird) and appears, for example, in a Karel Jaromír Erben fairy tale, also as an object of a difficult quest. Moreover, in the beginning of this fairy tale, the bird steals magical golden apples belonging to a king and is therefore pursued by the king’s servants in order to protect the precious apples.

The thunderbird is a legendary creature in certain North American indigenous peoples’ history and culture. It is considered a supernatural bird of power and strength. It is especially important, and frequently depicted, in the art, songs and oral histories of many Pacific Northwest Coast cultures, and is found in various forms among the peoples of the American Southwest, Great Lakes, and Great Plains.

The thunderbird’s name comes from the common belief that the beating of its enormous wings causes thunder and stirs the wind. The Lakota name for the thunderbird is Wakį́nyąn, from wakhąn, meaning “sacred”, and kįyą, meaning “winged”. The Kwakwaka’wakw have many names for the thunderbird, and the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) called it Kw-Uhnx-Wa. The Ojibwa word for a thunderbird that is closely associated with thunder is animikii, while large thunderous birds are known as binesi.

The Garuda is a large bird-like creature, or humanoid bird that appears in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Garuda is the mount (vahana) of the Lord Vishnu. Garuda is the Hindu name for the constellation Aquila. The brahminy kite and phoenix are considered to be the contemporary representations of garuda. Indonesia adopts a more stylistic approach to the Garuda’s depiction as its national symbol, where it depicts a Javanese eagle (being much larger than a kite).

In Hinduism, Garuda is a Hindu divinity, usually the mount (vahana) of the Lord Vishnu. Garuda is depicted as having the golden body of a strong man with a white face, red wings, and an eagle’s beak and with a crown on his head. This ancient deity was said to be massive, large enough to block out the sun. Garuda is known as the eternal sworn enemy of the Nāga serpent race and known for feeding exclusively on snakes, such behavior may have referred to the actual short-toed eagle of India.

Pamola (also known as Pamolai, P-mol-a, Pomola, and Bmola) is a legendary bird spirit that appears in Abenaki mythology. This spirit causes cold weather. Specifically, according to the Penobscot tribal nation. Pamola is said to be the god of Thunder and protector of the mountain. The Penobscot people describe him as having the head of a moose, the body of a man and the wings and feet of an eagle.

The Rain Bird in Native American legend was a bird who brought rain. A Rain Bird design is used in some Native American pottery. The name was borrowed by the Rain Bird Corporation to name their irrigation sprinkler. The Rain Bird was known by the coastal Native Americans as the bringer of life. The reason behind it was that Rain (The bringer of life) brought life to the coastal Natives by watering their plants and hence, giving food & water to the animals they hunted.

In Judaism, the phoenix is known as Milcham or Chol (or Hol): According to the Midrash Rabbah, upset by her situation and jealous of creatures still innocent, Eve tempted all the other creatures of the garden to do the same. Only the Chol (phoenix) resisted. As a reward, the phoenix was given eternal life. This reference, however, is controversial since chol has been translated as phoenix, sand, and palm tree in different versions.

The ideology of the phoenix fit perfectly with the story of Christ. The phoenix’s resurrection from death as new and pure can be viewed as a metaphor for Christ’s resurrection, central to Christian belief. The phoenix is referenced by the early Christian Apostolic Father Clement in The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. Most of the Christian-based phoenix symbolism appears within works of literature, especially in Medieval and Renaissance Christian literature that combined classical and regional myth and folklore with more mainstream doctrine.

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Surya and Saranya in Hinduism

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 18, 2015

Planets in astrology

Planets in astrology have a meaning different from the modern astronomical understanding of what a planet is. Before the age of telescopes, the night sky was thought to consist of two very similar components: fixed stars, which remained motionless in relation to each other, and “wandering stars”, which moved relative to the fixed stars over the course of the year.

To the Greeks and the other earliest astronomers, this group comprised the five planets visible to the naked eye, and excluded the Earth. Although strictly the term “planet” applied only to those five objects, the term was latterly broadened, particularly in the Middle Ages, to include the Sun and the Moon (sometimes referred to as “Lights”), making a total of seven planets. Astrologers retain this definition today.

To ancient astrologers, the planets represented the will of the gods and their direct influence upon human affairs. To modern astrologers the planets represent basic drives or urges in the unconscious, or energy flow regulators representing dimensions of experience. They express themselves with different qualities in the twelve signs of the zodiac and in the twelve houses. The planets are also related to each other in the form of aspects.

Modern astrologers differ on the source of the planets’ influence. Hone writes that the planets exert it directly through gravitation or another, unknown influence. Others hold that the planets have no direct influence in themselves, but are mirrors of basic organizing principles in the universe. In other words, the basic patterns of the universe repeat themselves everywhere, in fractal-like fashion, and “as above so below”.

Therefore, the patterns that the planets make in the sky reflect the ebb and flow of basic human impulses. The planets are also associated, especially in the Chinese tradition, with the basic forces of nature.

The planets in Hindu astrology are known as the Navagraha or “nine realms” (Tamily kōṇmīṉ, “imperial stars”), which includes the planets Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn; the Sun; the Moon; and positions in the sky, Rahu (north or ascending lunar node) and Ketu (south or descending lunar node).

In Chinese astrology, the planets are associated with the life forces of yin and yang and the five elements, which play an important role in the Chinese form of geomancy known as Feng Shui.

Surya (the first sign)

Surya (“the Supreme Light”), also known as Aditya, Bhanu or Ravi Vivasvana in Sanskrit, and in Avestan Vivanhant, is the chief solar deity in Hinduism and generally refers to the Sun. He is the chief of the Graha (Sanskrit gráha “seizing, laying hold of, holding”, Tamil: kōḷ), the Navagraha, astrological figures in Hindu astrology, the nine Indian Classical planets and important elements of Hindu astrology. He is the son of Aditi and Kashyap, and equavalent to Sol, the solar deity in Ancient Roman religion, Apollo and Helios.

Surya has the following associations: the colors – copper or red, the metals – gold or brass, the gemstone – ruby, the direction – east and the season of summer. The food grain associated with him is wheat.

He is often depicted riding a chariot harnessed by seven horses which might represent the seven colors of the rainbow or the seven chakras in the body. He is also the presiding deity of Sunday. He is regarded as the Supreme Deity by Saura sect and Smartas worship him as one of the five primary forms of God. The sun god, Zun, worshipped by the Afghan Zunbil dynasty, is thought to be synonymous with Surya.

Surya is also known as “Mitra” (meaning friend) for his life nourishing properties. The Mitra form of Surya had been worshiped mostly in Gujarat, where a clan of Suryawanshi kings was known as Mitrawanshi kshatriyas, also known by its derivative name “Maitrakas”.

Like some other deities, such as Shiva (who are worshiped by saints, normal worshipers and demons), Surya has a following of the same types of beings. A group of Raksasas known as Yatudhanas were the followers of Surya and wandered with him. It is mentioned that Bhauvana the Daitya offered a prayer to Surya with the Rathantara saman and was immediately turned into an elephant.

In Vedic astrology Surya is considered a mild malefic on account of his hot, dry nature. He represents soul, will-power, fame, the eyes, general vitality, courage, kingship, father, highly placed persons and authority. He is exalted in the sign Mesha, is in mulatrikona in the sign Simha and is in debilitation in the sign Tula.

Surya is lord of three nakshatras or lunar mansions: Krittika, corresponding to the open star cluster called Pleiades in western astronomy, one of the clusters which makes up the constellation Taurus, Uttara Phalguni, corresponding to Denebola (β Leo, β Leonis, Beta Leonis, “tail of the lion”), the third brightest star in the zodiac constellation of Leo, and Uttara Ashadha, knwn as the constellation of Sagittarius.

Surya is the father of the famous tragic hero Karna, described in the Indian epic Mahabharata, by a human princess named Kunti. His sons, Shani and Yama, are responsible for the judgment of human life. Shani provides the results of one’s deeds during one’s life through appropriate punishments and rewards while Yama grants the results of one’s deeds after death.

Apollo

Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more.

He is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu. He is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis, s one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities.

Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name, and indeed the goddess herself, was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: “Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals”. The Arcadians believed she was the daughter of Demeter.

She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.

As the patron of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo was an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague.

Amongst the god’s custodial charges, Apollo became associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. As the leader of the Muses (Apollon Musegetes) and director of their choir, Apollo functioned as the patron god of music and poetry. Hermes created the lyre for him, and the instrument became a common attribute of Apollo. Hymns sung to Apollo were called paeans.

In Hellenistic times, especially during the 3rd century BCE, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios, Titan god of the sun, and his sister Artemis similarly equated with Selene, Titan goddess of the moon.

Helios

The Greek Helios is the inherited word for the Sun, from Proto-Indo-European *sóh₂wl̥, cognate with Latin sol, Sanskrit surya, Old English swegl, Old Norse sól, Welsh haul, etc. The Greek sun god had various bynames or epithets, which over time in some cases came to be considered separate deities associated with the Sun. Most notably, Helios is closely associated with, and sometimes consciously identified with, Apollo.

Diodorus Siculus of Sicily reported that the Chaldeans called Cronus (Saturn) by the name Helios, or the sun, and he explained that this was because Saturn was the most conspicuous of the planets.

Among these is Hyperion (superus, “high up”), Elektor (of uncertain derivation, often translated as “beaming” or “radiant”; especially in the combination elektor Hyperion), Phaëton “the radiant”, Hekatos (of Apollo, also Hekatebolos “far-shooter”, i.e. the sun’s rays considered as arrows).

Ra

The Greek counterpart of Surya is Helios and his Egyptian counterpart is Ra or Re, the ancient Egyptian solar deity, who by the Fifth Dynasty (2494 to 2345 BCE) had become a major god in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the midday sun. In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was merged with the god Horus, as Ra-Horakhty (“Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons”). He was believed to rule in all parts of the created world: the sky, the earth, and the underworld.

Ra was associated with the falcon or hawk. When in the New Kingdom the god Amun rose to prominence he was fused with Ra as Amun-Ra. During the Amarna Period, Akhenaten suppressed the cult of Ra in favour of another solar deity, the Aten, the deified solar disc, but after the death of Akhenaten the cult of Ra was restored.

The cult of the Mnevis bull, an embodiment of Ra, had its centre in Heliopolis and there was a formal burial ground for the sacrificed bulls north of the city. All forms of life were believed to have been created by Ra, who called each of them into existence by speaking their secret names. Alternatively humans were created from Ra’s tears and sweat, hence the Egyptians call themselves the “Cattle of Ra.”

In the myth of the Celestial Cow it is recounted how mankind plotted against Ra and how he sent his eye as the goddess Sekhmet to punish them. When she became bloodthirsty she was pacified by drinking beer mixed with red dye.

Saranya

Surya had three wives: Saranya, Ragyi and Prabha. Saranya or Saraṇyū (also known as Saranya, Sanjna, or Sangya) was the mother of Vaivasvata Manu (the seventh, i.e., present Manu) and the twins Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yami. She also bore him Revanta (“brilliant”), a minor Hindu deity, and the twins known as the Ashvins, divine horsemen and physicians to the Devas, the Indian Dioscuri (the Indian and Greek myths being regarded as identical).

Saranya, being unable to bear the extreme radiance of Surya, created a superficial entity from her shadow called Chhaya (“shadow” or “shade”) and instructed her to act as Surya’s wife in her absence. Chhaya was born from the shadow of Saranya and replaced Saranya in her house, after the latter abandoned her husband.

Chhaya mothered two sons Savarni Manu (the eighth, i.e., next Manu), who is destined to be the next and eighth Manu (progenitor of mankind) – the ruler of the next Manvantara period, and Shani (the planet Saturn), and two daughters, a feared graha; goddess Tapti, the personification of river Tapti, and Vishti.

Saranya, the the goddess of clouds in Hindu mythology, is the daughter of Visvakarman (Sanskrit “all-accomplishing, maker of all, all-doer”), the personified omnipotence and the abstract form of the creator God according to the Rigveda. She is the female form of the adjective saraṇyú. Her name meaning “quick, fleet, nimble”, used for rivers and wind in the Rigveda.

She is sometimes associated with Demeter, Greek goddess of agriculture, and etymologically, Saranyu may be related to Helen of Troy. In Rigveda 10.17, she is the daughter of Tvastar, and, like Helen, is abducted, and Vivasvat is given a replacement bride instead. According to Max Müller and A. Kuhn, Demeter is the mythological equivalent of the Sanskrit Saranyu, who, having turned herself into a mare, is pursued by Vivasvat.

According to Farnell, the meaning of the epithet is to be looked for in the original conception of Erinys, in Greek mythology also known as Furies, female chthonic deities of vengeance; they were sometimes referred to as “infernal goddesses”, which was that of an earth-goddess akin to Ge, thus naturally associated with Demeter, rather than that of a wrathful avenging deity.

Usha

Saranya, sometimes called “Usha”, Sanskrit for “dawn”, a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well. Sanskrit uṣas is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is uṣásas. It is from PIE *hausos-, cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora.

Ushas is an exalted goddess in the Rig Veda but less prominent in post-Rigvedic texts. She is often spoken of in the plural, “the Dawns.” She is portrayed as warding off evil spirits of the night, and as a beautifully adorned young woman riding in a golden chariot on her path across the sky. Due to her color she is often identified with the reddish cows, and both are released by Indra from the Vala cave at the beginning of time.

In the “family books” of the Rig Veda (e.g. RV 6.64.5), Ushas is the divine daughter—a divó duhitâ —of Dyaus Pita (“Sky Father”). In one recent Hindu interpretation, Sri Aurobindo in his Secret of the Veda, described Ushas as “the medium of the awakening, the activity and the growth of the other gods; she is the first condition of the Vedic realisation. By her increasing illumination the whole nature of man is clarified; through her [mankind] arrives at the Truth, through her he enjoys [Truth’s] beatitude.”

Shukra (Śukra), the Sanskrit for “clear, pure” or “brightness, clearness”, is the name of the son of Bhrigu, and preceptor of the Daityas, and the guru of the Asuras, identified with the planet Venus, one of the Navagrahas. He presides over Shukravar “Friday”. Shukra is etymologically identical with Shukla “light”.

Manu

In Hindu mythology, Sraddhadeva Manu is the current Manu and the progenitor of the current humanity (manvantara). He is the seventh of the 14 Manus of the current kalpa (aeon). He was the king of Dravida (in present-day South India) during the epoch of the Matsya Purana (literally, the ancient chronicle of Matsya) before the great flood. He is the son of Surya, also known as Vivasvat, and therefore, is also known as Vaivasvata. Besides, he is also called Satyavrata (“the honest one”).

Forewarned about the flood by the matsya avatar of Vishnu, he saved the humanity by building a boat that carried his family and the seven sages to safety. He married Shraddha and had ten children including Ila and Ikshvaku, the progenitors of the Lunar Dynasty and Solar Dynasty respectively.

According to the Matsya Purana, the Matsya Avatar of Vishnu first appeared as a shaphari (a small carp), to Sraddhadeva, while he washed his hands in a river flowing down the Malaya Mountains in his land of Dravida.

The little fish asked the king to save Him, and out of compassion, he put it in a water jar. It kept growing bigger and bigger, until the king first put it in a bigger pitcher, and then deposited it in a well. When the well also proved insufficient for the ever-growing fish, the King placed it in a tank (reservoir), that was two yojanas (16 miles) in height above the surface and on land, as much in length, and a yojana (8 miles) in breadth.

As it grew further, the king had to put the fish in a river, and when even the river proved insufficient, he placed it in the ocean, after which it nearly filled the vast expanse of the great ocean.

It was then that Vishnu, revealing himself, informed the king of an all-destructive deluge which would be coming very soon. The king built a huge boat which housed his family, the seven sages, 9 types of seeds, and animals to repopulate the earth, after the deluge would end and the oceans and seas would recede. At the time of deluge, Vishnu appeared as a horned fish and Shesha appeared as a rope, with which the king fastened the boat to horn of the fish.

The boat was perched after the deluge on the top of the Malaya Mountains. After the deluge, Manu’s family and the seven sages repopulated the earth. This narrative is similar to other flood myths such as that of Gilgamesh and Noah.

Matsya Purana (literally, the ancient chronicle of Matsya) is one of the oldest of the 18 post-Vedic Hindu scriptures called the Puranas. The scripture is a composite work dated to c. 250–500 CE. It narrates the story of Matsya, the first of ten major Avatars of the Hindu god Vishnu.

During the period of mahapralaya, Lord Vishnu had taken Matsya Avatar (fish incarnation) to save the seeds of all lives and Manu. Matsya Purana contains a comprehensive description of Manu and Matsya avatar. The Padma Purana categorizes Matsya Purana as a Tamas Purana (Purana of darkness or ignorance).

Shani

Hindus believed in the existence of nine planets called Navagraha. Shani, also known as Śanaiścara, equivalent to Cronus and Saturn, is one of the Navagraha (the nine primary celestial beings in Hindu astrology) of Jyotiṣa. He is embodied in the planet Saturn and is the Lord of Saturday, and is equated to the Greek Cronus (the Titan father of Zeus), the Babylonian Ninurta and the Roman Saturn.

The word shani also denotes the seventh day or Saturday in most Indian languages. The word shani comes from Śanayē Kramati Saḥ (the one who moves slowly), because Saturn takes about 30 years to revolve around the Sun. Shani Jayanti the birth anniversary of Lord Shani falls on the Amavasya (New moon day) of Jyeshta month of Hindu calendar.

Shani is a deva and son of Surya and his wife Chhaya, hence also known as Chayyaputra. He is the elder brother of Yama, the Hindu god of death, who in some scriptures corresponds to the deliverance of justice. Surya’s two sons Shani and Yama judge. Shani gives the results of one’s deeds through one’s life through appropriate punishments and rewards; Yama grants the results of one’s deeds after death.

It is said that when Shani opened his eyes as a baby for the very first time, the sun went into an eclipse, which clearly denotes the impact of Shani on astrological charts. He is known as the greatest teacher and well wisher for the righteous as well the greatest punisher for those who follow the path of evil, betrayal, backstabbing and unjust revenge.

Shani is also known as the lord of masses and his blessings are thus considered very important in an individual’s horoscope for bestowing him with mass following and popularity. He is depicted dark in colour, clothed in black; holding a sword, arrows and two daggers and mounted on a crow, which is Shani’s vāhana. As protector of property, Shani is able to repress the thieving tendencies of birds.

Yama

Yama or Yamarāja, equated with Pluto (“wealth”) and Hades (“the unseen”), is the god of death, belonging to an early stratum of Vedic mythology. In Sanskrit, his name can be interpreted to mean “twin”. In the Zend-Avesta he is called “Yima”. According to the Vishnu Purana, his parents are the sun-god Surya and Saranya.

In the Vedas, Yama is said to have been the first mortal who died. By virtue of precedence, he became the ruler of the departed, called “Lord of the Pitrs”. Mentioned by the Buddha in the Pali canon, Yama subsequently entered Buddhist, Chinese, Tibetan, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese mythology as a wrathful god under various transliterations. He is otherwise also called as “Dharmaraja”.

In a disputable etymology, W. Meid (1992) has linked the names Yama (reconstructed in Proto-Indo-European as *yemos) and the name of the primeval Norse frost giant Ymir, which can be reconstructed in Proto-Germanic as *umijaz or *jumijaz, in the latter case possibly deriving from PIE *ym̥yos, from the root yem “twin”. In his myth, however, Ymir is not a twin, and only shares with Yama the characteristics of being primeval and mortal. However, Ymir is a hermaphrodite and engenders the race of giants.

A parallel character in Iranian mythology and Zoroastrianism is known as Yima Xšaēta, who appears in the Avesta. The pronunciation “Yima” is peculiar to the Avestan dialect; in most Iranian dialects, including Old Persian, the name would have been “Yama”. In the Avesta, the emphasis is on Yima’s character as one of the first mortals and as a great king of men.

Over time, *Yamaxšaita was transformed into Jamšēd or Jamshid, celebrated as the greatest of the early shahs of the world. Both Yamas in Zoroastrian and Hindu myth guard hell with the help of two four-eyed dogs.

Yami

Yama is the brother of the current Manu Vaivasvatha and of his older sister Yami, which H. H. Wilson indicates to mean the Yamuna river, which like the Ganges is highly venerated in Hinduism and worshipped as goddess Yamuna, throughout its course. It is a sacred river in Hinduism and the main tributary of the Ganges (Ganga), the holiest river of Hinduism. In the Vedas, Yamuna is known as Yami, while in later literature, she is called Kalindi. According to Harivamsa Purana her name is Daya.

In Hindu mythology, she is the daughter of Sun God, Surya, and is associated with her twin brother and partner Yama, the god of death, hence also known as Yami and according to popular legends, bathing in its sacred waters frees one from the torments of death. Later, she is associated with the god Krishna as one of Ashtabharya, his consort as well and plays an important role in his early life as a river. Bathing and drinking Yamuna’s waters is regarded to remove sin.

The Ashvins

The Ashvins or Ashwini Kumaras (Sanskrit: aśvin-, dual aśvinau), in Hindu mythology, are two Vedic gods, divine twin horsemen in the Rigveda, sons of Saranyu. They symbolise the shining of sunrise and sunset, appearing in the sky before the dawn in a golden chariot, bringing treasures to men and averting misfortune and sickness.

They are the doctors of gods and are devas of Ayurvedic medicine. They are represented as humans with head of a horse. In the epic Mahabharata, King Pandu’s wife Madri is granted a son by each Ashvin and bears the twins Nakula and Sahadeva who, along with the sons of Kunti, are known as the Pandavas.

They are also called Nasatya (dual nāsatyau “kind, helpful”) in the Rigveda; later, Nasatya is the name of one twin, while the other is called Dasra (“enlightened giving”). By popular etymology, the name nāsatya is often incorrectly analysed as na+asatya “not untrue”=”true”.

Various Indian holy books like Mahabharat, Puranas etc., relate that Ashwini Kumar brothers, the twins, who were Raj Vaidhya (Royal Physicians) to Devas during Vedic times, first prepared Chyawanprash formulation for Chyawan Rishi at his Ashram on Dhosi Hill near Narnaul, Haryana, India, hence the name Chyawanprash.

The Ashvins can be compared with the Dioscuri (the twins Castor and Pollux) of Greek and Roman mythology, and especially to the divine twins Ašvieniai of the ancient Baltic religion. The Nasatya twins are invoked in a treaty between Suppiluliuma and Shattiwaza, kings of the Hittites and the Mitanni respectively.

Visvakarman

Visvakarman is the presiding deity of all artisans and architects. He is believed to be the “Principal Architect of the Universe”, and the root concept of the later Upanishadic figures of Brahman and Purusha.

Vishwakarma is visualized as Ultimate reality (later developed as Brahman) in the Rig Veda, from whose navel all visible things Hiranyagarbha emanate. The same imagery is seen in Yajurveda purusha sukta, in which the divine smith Tvastar emerging from Vishwakarma. In the later puranic period this concept paved the way to the imagery of Padmanabha and Sadasiva.

In the Vedic period the term first appeared as an epithet of Indra, Surya, and Agni. In that time the later developed creator concept of Brahma might have been intertwined with the concept of Vastospati and Bṛhaspati, or Brahmanaspathi.

In the last phase of vedic period and during the growth of monotheism, this realistic God concept becoming more abstract and one can see Vishwakarma [the invisible creative power] emerged as the supreme god who was perceived as a hotar, the unborn [Aja] creator and name giver of all other gods who have lot of faces, eyes and feet on every side; and who helps Tvashtar (the visible creative power of viswakarma) in producing all the Heavenly, Earthly and other Celestial realms and preserves them through the exercise of his arms and wings.

He sacrificed himself to himself for the evolution of this visible world, thus he is Purusha or Narayana His attributes like Vachaspathy connect him with Brahaspathi (the Guru of Gods). Again, Yajurveda pictured him as the Prajapati and in the Atharva veda he is mentioned as Pashupati.

Shwethashwatharopanishad described him as Rudrasiva, the one who is dwelling in all living forms. Na Bhoomir Na Jalam Chaiva Na Teejo Nacha Vaayavaha Na chakasam na chitthasha Na budhi khrana gocharam Nacha Brahmaa Na Vishnuscha Na Rudrascha Taarakaaha Sarvashoonya niralambam Swayambhu Viswakarmana.

According to the above hymn, from Moolastambha purana which is something similar to Nasadeeya suktha It/He was the one who created himself from thyself when there was no earth, water, light, air and akasha,and even the Thrimurthies Later in the post vedic and brahmanic period, the term Vishwakarma is appeared both as the Rsi and the Silpi.

In yajurveda the term is seen as one of names of pancha risis. Though the term is an epithet of suryanarayana, one of the seven rays of Surya is also known as Viswakarma. Bhuvana Vishwakarma (Atharva/Angirasa Gothra) is a vedic Rsi who was the author of Rg 10-81,82 suktha, (Prabasa Vishwakarma) was probably a silpi and the son of Prabhas, the eighth hermit of the legendary Astam vasu and Yogasiddha, sister of Brihaspati. He is said to have revealed the Sthapatya Veda / Vastu Shastra or fourth Upa-veda, and presides over the sixty-four mechanical arts.

Vishvakarma created five prajapathies — from his five faces such as Sadyojāta,Vāmadeva, Aghora, Tatpuruṣha, Īsāna. They are Manu, Maya, Twosta, Silpy, Viswajna and their respective Rishis are Sanaga Brahma Rishi, Sanaathana Brahma Rishi, Ahbhuvanasa Brahma Rishi, Prathnasa Brahma Rishi, and Suparnasa Brahma Rishi, and created five Vedas:- from his five faces such as Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharvana Veda, Pranava Veda.

Since Vishwakarma is the divine engineer of the world, as a mark of reverence, he is not only worshiped by the engineering and architectural community but also by all professionals. It is customary for craftsmen to worship their tools in his name.

Vishwakarma is visualized as Ultimate reality (later developed as Brahman) in the Rig Veda, from whose navel all visible things Hiranyagarbha emanate. The same imagery is seen in Yajurveda purusha sukta, in which the divine smith Tvastar emerging from Vishwakarma. In the later puranic period this concept paved the way to the imagery of Padmanabha and Sadasiva.

Tvaṣṭṛ

In later puranas Vishvakarma is sometimes identified with Vedic Tvastar, a solar deity in the Mahābhārata and the Harivaṃśa. Silpi Vishwakarma is the designer of all the flying chariots of the gods, and all their weapons and divine attributes.

Vishwakarma/Tvastr is also credited with creating the missiles used in the mythological era, including the Vajra, the sacred weapon of Lord Indra, from the bones of sage Dadhichi. He is regarded as the supreme worker, the very essence of excellence and quality in craftsmanship.

Tvaṣṭṛ is mentioned as the son of Kāśyapa and Aditi and is said to have made the three worlds with pieces of the Sun god, Surya. In the historical Vedic religion, Tvaṣṭṛ is the first-born creator of the universe. The Purusha Sukta refers to the Purusha as Tvastr, who is the visible form of creativity emerged from the navel of the invisible Vishvakarman.

In the Yajurveda, Purusha Sukta and the tenth mandala of the Rigveda, his character and attributes are merged with the concept of Hiranyagharbha/Prajapathy or Brahma. The term, also transliterated as Tvaṣṭr, nominative Tvaṣṭā, is the heavenly builder, the maker of divine implements, especially Indra’s Vajra and the guardian of Soma.

Tvaṣṭṛ is mentioned 65 times in the Ṛgveda and is the former of the bodies of men and animals,’ and invoked when desiring offspring, called garbha-pati or the lord of the womb. The term Tvaṣṭṛ is mentioned in the Mitanni treaty, which establishes him as a proto-Indo-Iranian divinity.

As per Ṛgveda Tvaṣṭr known belongs to clan of the Bhṛgus. Similarly, as mentioned in the epic Mahābhārata, Tvaṣṭr is Śukra’s son. Tvaṣṭṛ is sometimes associated or identified with similar deities,such as Savitṛ, Prajāpatī, Viśvakarman and Puṣan.

He is the father of Saranyu, who twice bears twins to Surya (RV 10.17.1), Yama and Yami, identified as the first humans to be born on Earth. He is also the father of Viśvarūpa or Triśiras who was killed by Indra, in revenge Tvaṣṭṛ created Vrtra a fearsome dragon. Surprisingly he is also inferred to as Indra’s father.

Tvaṣṭṛ is a solar deity in the Mahābhārata and the Harivaṃśa. He is mentioned as the son of Kāśyapa and Aditi and is said to have made the three worlds with pieces of the Sun god, Surya.

Tuisto

According to Tacitus’s Germania (98 CE), Tuisto is the divine ancestor of the Germanic peoples. The figure remains the subject of some scholarly discussion, largely focused upon etymological connections and comparisons to figures in later (particularly Norse) Germanic mythology. In the larger Indo-European pantheon, Tuisto is equated to the Vedic Tvastar.

The Germania manuscript corpus contains two primary variant readings of the name. The most frequently occurring, Tuisto, is commonly connected to the Proto-Germanic root tvai (“two”) and its derivative tvis (“twice”; “doubled”). Allusions to intersex is entirely conjectural, as the tvia/tvis roots are also the roots of any number of other concepts/words in the Germanic languages. Take for instance the Germanic “twist”, which, in all but the English has the primary meaning of “dispute/conflict”.

The second variant of the name, occurring originally in manuscript E, is Tuisco (sometimes rendered Tuiscon). One proposed etymology for this variant reconstructs a Proto-Germanic tiwisko, and connects this with Proto-Germanic Tiwaz, yielded the meaning “son of Tiu”. This interpretation implies that Tuisco is the son of the sky god (Proto-Indo-European Dyeus) and the earth-goddess.

Connections have been proposed between the 1st century figure of Tuisto and the hermaphroditic primeval being Ymir in later Norse mythology, attested in 13th century sources, based upon etymological and functional similarity. Meyer (1907) sees the connection as so strong, that he considers the two to be identical.

Lindow (2001), while mindful of the possible semantic connection between Tuisto and Ymir, notes an essential functional difference: while Ymir is portrayed as an “essentially … negative figure” – Tuisto is described as being “celebrated” (celebrant) by the early Germanic peoples in song, with Tacitus reporting nothing negative about Tuisto.

Jacob (2005) attempts to establish a genealogical relationship between Tuisto and Ymir based on etymology and a comparison with (post-)Vedic Indian mythology: as Tvastr, through his daughter Saranyū and her husband Vivaswān, is said to have been the grandfather of the twins Yama and Yami, so Jacob argues that the Germanic Tuisto (assuming a connection with Tvastr) must originally have been the grandfather of Ymir (cognate to Yama). Incidentally, Indian mythology also places Manu (cognate to Germanic Mannus), the Vedic progenitor of mankind, as a son of Vivaswān, thus making him the brother of Yama/Ymir.

Tacitus relates that “ancient songs” (Latin carminibus antiquis) of the Germanic peoples celebrated Tuisto as “a god, born of the earth” (deum terra editum’). These songs further attributed to him a son, Mannus, who in turn had three sons, the offspring of whom were referred to as Ingaevones, Herminones and Istaevones, living near the Ocean (proximi Oceano), in the interior (medii), and the remaining parts (ceteri) of the geographical region of Germania, respectively.

Tacitus’s report falls squarely within the ethnographic tradition of the classical world, which often fused anthropogony, ethnogony, and theogony together into a synthetic whole. The succession of father-son-three sons parallels occurs in both Germanic and non-Germanic Indo-European areas. The essential characteristics of the myth have been theorized as ultimately originating in Proto-Indo-European society around 2,000 BCE.

According to Rives (1999), the fact that the ancient Germanic peoples claimed descent from an earth-born god was used by Tacitus to support his contention that they were an indigenous population: the Latin word indigena was often used in the same sense as the Greek autochthonos, meaning literally ‘[born from] the earth itself’ (from χθών – chthōn “earth”).

Lindauer (1975) notes that, although this claim is to be judged as one made out of simple ignorance of the facts on the part of Tacitus, he was not entirely wrong, as he made the judgement based on a comparison with the relatively turbulent Mediterranean region of his day.

The sequence in which one god has a son, who has three famous sons, has a resemblance to how Búri has a son Borr who has three sons: Odin, Vili and Vé. The same tradition occurs with the Slavs and their expansion, in the legend of Lech, Čech and Rus.

In 1498, a monk named Annio da Viterbo published fragments known as “Pseudo-Berossus”, now considered a forgery, claiming that Babylonian records had shown that Tuiscon or Tuisto, the fourth son of Noah, had been the first ruler of Scythia and Germany following the dispersion of peoples, with him being succeeded by his son Mannus as the second king.

Later historians (e.g. Johannes Aventinus) managed to furnish numerous further details, including the assertion by James Anderson that this Tuiscon was in fact none other than the biblical Ashkenaz, son of Gomer.

Tyr

Týr (Old Norse: Týr) is a god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is Tius or Tio. It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

In the late Icelandic Eddas, Tyr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while the origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto (see Tacitus’ Germania) suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon, since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion.

Týr is a god of war and will take mead, meat and blood for sacrifice. If a warrior carved the rune Tîwaz on his weapon he would be dedicating it to Týr and strengthen the outcome of a battle to be in his favor. After a warrior has dedicated his weapon to Týr he should not lose it or break it. Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is in fact “Tīw’s Day” (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.

Old Norse Týr, literally “god”, plural tívar “gods”, comes from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz (cf. Old English Tīw, Old High German Zīo), which continues Proto-Indo-European *deiwós “celestial being, god” (cf. Welsh duw, Latin deus, Lithuanian diẽvas, Sanskrit dēvá, Avestan daēvō “demon”). And *deiwós is based in *dei-, *deyā-, *dīdyā-, meaning ‘to shine’.

The earliest attestation for Týr’s continental counterpart occurs in Gothic tyz “the t-rune” in the 9th-century Codex Vindobonensis 795. The name is later attested in Old High German as Cyo in the A Wessobrunn prayer ms. of 814. The Negau helmet inscription (2nd century b.c.) may actually record the earliest form, teiva, but this interpretation is tentative.

Týr in origin was a generic noun meaning “god”, e.g. Hangatyr, literally, the “god of the hanged”, as one of Odin’s names, which was probably inherited from Tyr in his role as god of justice.

Planets in astrology

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