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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  • 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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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The birth of modern Eurasia began 5,000 years ago

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 21, 2015

A Yamnaya skull from the Samara region coloured with red ochre. Image: Natalia Shishlina

A Yamnaya skull from the Samara region coloured with red ochre

The birth of modern Eurasia began 5,000 years ago

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/b1/40/60/b1406048a4416c287ab062fb63342ee4.jpg

File:Haplogroup J (Y-DNA).svg

Haplogroup J

Distribution map of haplogroup R1b in the Old World

Migration map of Y-haplogroup R1b from the Paleolithic to the end of the Bronze Age - Eupedia

Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Haplogroup R1b

Kurgan

https://i0.wp.com/oi.uchicago.edu/sites/oi.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shared/images/archive/Iraq_Site_300dpi.gif

The beginning

Was it mass migration, or rather a circulation of ideas that laid the foundation for the demographic map of Europe and Central Asia that we see today? The Bronze Age (about 5,000 – 3,000 years ago) was a period with large cultural upheavals. But just how these upheavals came to be have remained a mystery.

Assistant Professor Morten Allentoft from the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen is a geneticist and is first author on the paper in Nature, expains:

Both archaeologists and linguists have had theories about how cultures and languages have spread in our part of the world. We geneticists have now collaborated with them to publish an explanation based on a record amount of DNA-analyses of skeletons from the Bronze Age.”

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Baal

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 15, 2015

Baal is the same as Jupiter (Zeus), not Saturn (Cronus) – it is the weather-thunder god. He is a fertility and storm god. He is the god of the thunderstorm, the most vigorous and aggressive of the gods, the one on whom mortals most immediately depend. Baal resides on Mount Zaphon, north of Ugarit, and is usually depicted holding a thunderbolt.
 
Baal, also rendered Baʿal, is a Northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning “master” or “lord” that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant and Asia Minor, cognate to Akkadian Bēlu.
 
Baal was one of the most widely worshiped gods in ancient Canaan *, where he was associated with fertility and rain. He was the son of El, the supreme god of the Canaanites, and the husband and brother of Anat, the ferocious goddess of war.
 
“Baal” may refer to any god and even to human officials. In some texts it is used for Hadad, a god of thunderstorms, fertility and agriculture, and the lord of Heaven. Since only priests were allowed to utter his divine name, Hadad, Ba‛al was commonly used.
 
Prior to the discovery of the Ugaritic texts it was sometimes thought that there were various and quite-separate gods called Baal. However, it is now generally accepted that there was one great Canaanite storm-and-fertility deity Baal-Hadad, and local manifestations of this one god.
 
He is the protagonist of a cycle of myths from Ugarit. These tell of a challenge from Yamm (“Sea”), to which Baal responds. The Baal Cycle is a Ugaritic cycle of stories about the Canaanite god Baal, also known as Hadad—the god of rain, storm and fertility.
 
They are written in Ugaritic, a language written in a cuneiform alphabet, on a series of clay tablets found in the 1920s in the Tell of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), situated on the Mediterranean coast of northern Syria, a few kilometers north of the modern city of Latakia, far ahead of the now known coast.
 
According to the tales, Yam, the sea god, demanded that Baal be made his slave. He sent messengers to Baal, asking him to surrender, but Baal attacked the messengers and drove them away.
 
Baal then fought with Yam and, using two magic weapons, defeated him and seized control of the waters. In the story, Yam represents the destructive nature of water: rivers and seas flooding the land and ruining crops and killing animals. Baal represents water’s positive powers: rain and dew providing the moisture needed to make crops grow.
 
Ninurta was a Sumerian and the Akkadian god of hunting and war. He was worshipped in Babylonia and Assyria and in Lagash he was identified with the city god Ningirsu. In older transliteration the name is rendered Ninib and Ninip, and in early commentary he was sometimes portrayed as a solar deity.
 
A number of scholars have suggested that either the god Ninurta or the Assyrian king bearing his name (Tukulti-Ninurta I) was the inspiration for the Biblical character Nimrod.
 
In Nippur, Ninurta was worshiped as part of a triad of deities including his father, Enlil and his mother, Ninlil. In variant mythology, his mother is said to be the harvest goddess Ninhursag. The consort of Ninurta was Ugallu in Nippur and Bau when he was called Ningirsu.
 
Ninurta often appears holding a bow and arrow, a sickle sword, or a mace named Sharur: Sharur is capable of speech in the Sumerian legend “Deeds and Exploits of Ninurta” and can take the form of a winged lion and may represent an archetype for the later Shedu.
 
There are a lot of parallels with both and the story of Marduk (son of Enki) who slew Abzu (or Apsu), and delivered the Tablets of Destiny from Kingu to his father, Enki.
 
In the late neo-Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused Ninurta’s character with that of Nergal. The two gods were often invoked together, and spoken of as if they were one divinity.
 
A certain confusion exists in cuneiform literature between Ninurta (slayer of Asag and wielder of Sharur, an enchanted mace) and Nergal. Nergal has epithets such as the “raging king,” the “furious one,” and the like.
 
In the astral-theological system Ninurta was associated with the planet Saturn, or perhaps as offspring or an aspect of Saturn. In his capacity as a farmer-god, there are similarities between Ninurta and the Greek Titan Kronos, whom the Romans in turn identified with their Titan Saturn.
 
Nergal actually seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only a representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle.
 
He has also been called “the king of sunset”. Nergal evolved from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld. A play upon his name—separated into three elements as Ne-uru-gal (lord of the great dwelling)—expresses his position at the head of the nether-world pantheon.
 
Nergal was also the deity who presides over the netherworld, and who stands at the head of the special pantheon assigned to the government of the dead (supposed to be gathered in a large subterranean cave known as Aralu or Irkalla).
 
In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person. In some texts the god Ninazu is the son of Nergal and Allatu/Ereshkigal.
 
Nergal is a son of Enlil and Ninlil, along with Nanna and Ninurta. Ordinarily Nergal pairs with his consort Laz. Standard iconography pictured Nergal as a lion, and boundary-stone monuments symbolise him with a mace surmounted by the head of a lion. According to the rabbins, his emblem was a cock and Nergal means a “dunghill cock”, although standard iconography pictured Nergal as a lion.
 
The worship of Nergal does not appear to have spread as widely as that of Ninurta, but in the late Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused the two divinities, which were invoked together as if they were identical.
 
In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars) – hence the current name of the planet.
 
In Assyro-Babylonian ecclesiastical art the great lion-headed colossi serving as guardians to the temples and palaces seem to symbolise Nergal, just as the bull-headed colossi probably typify Ninurta.
 
Nergal’s chief temple at Cuthah bore the name Meslam, from which the god receives the designation of Meslamtaeda or Meslamtaea, “the one that rises up from Meslam”. The name Meslamtaeda/Meslamtaea indeed is found as early as the list of gods from Fara while the name Nergal only begins to appear in the Akkadian period.
 
Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. As God of the plague, he was invoked during the “plague years” during the reign of the Hittite king Suppiluliuma, when this disease spread from Egypt. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.
 
Being a deity of the desert, god of fire, which is one of negative aspects of the sun, god of the underworld, and also being a god of one of the religions which rivaled Christianity and Judaism, Nergal was sometimes called a demon and even identified with Satan.
 
According to Collin de Plancy and Johann Weyer, Nergal was depicted as the chief of Hell’s “secret police”, and worked as “an honorary spy in the service of Beelzebub”.
 
Enlil (nlin), (EN = Lord + LÍL = Wind, “Lord (of the) Storm”) is the God of breath, wind, loft and breadth (height and distance). It was the name of a chief deity listed and written about in Sumerian religion, and later in Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian), Hittite, Canaanite and other Mesopotamian clay and stone tablets. The name is perhaps pronounced and sometimes rendered in translations as “Ellil” in later Akkadian, Hittite, and Canaanite literature.
 
Ēl (cognate to Akkadian: ilu) is a Northwest Semitic word meaning “god” or “deity”, or referring (as a proper name) to any one of multiple major Ancient Near East deities. A rarer spelling, “‘ila”, represents the predicate form in Old Akkadian and in Amorite. The word is derived from the Proto-Semitic archaic biliteral ʔ-L, meaning “god”.
 
Specific deities known as El or Il include the supreme god of the Canaanite religion, the supreme god of the Mesopotamian Semites in the pre-Sargonic period, and the God of the Hebrew Bible.
 
ʾIlāh (plural: ʾālihah) is an Arabic term meaning “deity”. The feminine is ʾilāhah (meaning “goddess”); with the article, it appears as al-ʾilāhah. It appears in the name of the monotheistic god of Islam as al-Lāh, that is, translated, “the god”.
 
ʾIlāh is cognate to Northwest Semitic ʾēl and East Semitic forms such as Akkadian ilu. The word is from a Proto-Semitic biliteral Semitic root ʔ-L meaning “god” (possibly with a wider meaning of “strong”), which was extended to a regular triliteral by the addition of a h as in Hebrew ʾelōah and ʾelōhim.
 
Cognate forms are found throughout the Semitic languages. They include Ugaritic ʾil, pl. ʾlm; Phoenician ʾl pl. ʾlm; Hebrew ʾēl, pl. ʾēlîm; Aramaic ʾl; Akkadian ilu, pl. ilānu.
 
In northwest Semitic use, El was both a generic word for any god and the special name or title of a particular god who was distinguished from other gods as being “the god”. El is listed at the head of many pantheons. El is the Father God among the Canaanites.[citation needed]
 
However, because the word sometimes refers to a god other than the great god Ēl, it is frequently ambiguous as to whether Ēl followed by another name means the great god Ēl with a particular epithet applied or refers to another god entirely. For example, in the Ugaritic texts, ʾil mlk is understood to mean “Ēl the King” but ʾil hd as “the god Hadad”.[citation needed]
 
The Semitic root ʾlh (Arabic ʾilāh, Aramaic ʾAlāh, ʾElāh, Hebrew ʾelōah) may be ʾl with a parasitic h, and ʾl may be an abbreviated form of ʾlh. In Ugaritic the plural form meaning “gods” is ʾilhm, equivalent to Hebrew ʾelōhîm “powers”. But in Hebrew this word is also regularly used for semantically singular “god”.
 
The stem ʾl is found prominently in the earliest strata of east Semitic, northwest Semitic, and south Semitic groups. Personal names including the stem ʾl are found with similar patterns in both Amorite and South Arabic which indicates that probably already in Proto-Semitic ʾl was both a generic term for “god” and the common name or title of a single particular god.
 
Ptah/Enki was a “God of Heaven and Earth”, and considered to be a great engineer and master artificer. The Egyptian god Ptah, the demiurge of Memphis, god of craftsmen and architects, is given the title ḏū gitti ‘Lord of Gath’ in a prism from Lachish which has on its opposite face the name of Amenhotep II (c. 1435–1420 BCE).
 
Cross points out that Ptah is often called the Lord (or one) of eternity and thinks it may be this identification of ʼĒl with Ptah that lead to the epithet ’olam ‘eternal’ being applied to ʼĒl so early and so consistently.
 
Ptah is the spouse of Sekhmet and the father of Nefertum. Nefertum was eventually seen as the son of the Creator god Ptah, and the goddesses Sekhmet and Bast, the goddess of warfare in Lower Egypt, the Nile River delta region, before the unification of the cultures of ancient Egypt, were sometimes called his mother.
 
In art, Nefertum is usually depicted as a beautiful young man having blue water-lily flowers around his head. As the son of Bastet, he also sometimes has the head of a lion or is a lion or cat reclining.
 
Ptah was also regarded as the father of the sage Imhotep. Sekhmet also is a Solar deity, sometimes called the daughter of the sun god Ra and often associated with the goddesses Hathor and Bast.
 
Ninhursag is the wife and consort of Enki. She had many names including Ninmah (“Great Queen”); Nintu (“Lady of Birth”); Mamma or Mami (mother); Aruru, Belet-Ili (lady of the gods, Akkadian). According to legend her name was changed from Ninmah to Ninhursag by her son Ninurta in order to commemorate his creation of the mountains.
 
She was a mother goddess of the mountains. As the wife and consort of Enki she was also referred to as Damgulanna (great wife of heaven) or Damkina (faithful wife).
 
Her hair is sometimes depicted in an omega shape, and she at times wears a horned head-dress and tiered skirt, often with bow cases at her shoulders, and not infrequently carries a mace or baton surmounted by an omega motif or a derivation, sometimes accompanied by a lion cub on a leash.
 
Her symbol resembles the Greek letter omega Ω. It appears on some boundary stones — on the upper tier, indicating her importance. The omega symbol is associated with the Egyptian cow goddess Hathor, and may represent a stylized womb. Hathor is at times depicted on a mountain, so it may be that the two goddesses are connected.
 
In Sumerian mythology, Ninsun or Ninsuna (“lady wild cow”) is a goddess, best known as the mother of the legendary hero Gilgamesh, and as the tutelary goddess of Gudea of Lagash. Her parents are the deities Anu and Uras. Ninsun is called “Rimat-Ninsun”, the “August cow”, the “Wild Cow of the Enclosure”, and “The Great Queen”.
 
Ninsun was called Gula in Sumerian Mythology until the name was later changed to Ninisina. Gula in the latter became a Babylonian goddess.
 
Ninsun was originally named Nininsina, according to Pabilsag’s journey to Nibru. According to the ancient Babylonian text, Nininsina wedded Pabilsag near a riverbank. By Pabilsag she bore Damu, a god of vegetation and rebirth in Sumerian mythology.
 
In the Ugaritic Ba‘al cycle, Ēl is introduced dwelling on (or in) Mount Lel (Lel possibly meaning “Night”) at the fountains of the two rivers at the spring of the two deeps. He dwells in a tent according to some interpretations of the text which may explain why he had no temple in Ugarit.
 
As to the rivers and the spring of the two deeps, these might refer to real streams, or to the mythological sources of the salt water ocean and the fresh water sources under the earth, or to the waters above the heavens and the waters beneath the earth.
 
Enki was considered a god of life and replenishment, and was often depicted with two streams of water flowing into his shoulders, one the Tigris, the other the Euphrates. Alongside him were trees symbolising the female and male aspects of nature, each holding the female and male aspects of the ‘Life Essence’, which he, as apparent alchemist of the gods, would masterfully mix to create several beings that would live upon the face of the earth.
 
In 1964, a team of Italian archaeologists under the direction of Paolo Matthiae of the University of Rome La Sapienza performed a series of excavations of material from the third-millennium BCE city of Ebla. Much of the written material found in these digs was later translated by Giovanni Pettinato.
 
Among other conclusions, he found a tendency among the inhabitants of Ebla to replace the name of El, king of the gods of the Canaanite pantheon (found in names such as Mikael), with Ia.[citation needed]
 
Jean Bottero (1952) and others suggested that Ia in this case is a West Semitic (Canaanite) way of saying Ea, Enki’s Akkadian name, associating the Canaanite theonym Yahu, and ultimately Hebrew YHWH.
 
Some scholars remain skeptical of the theory while explaining how it might have been misinterpreted. Ia has also been compared by William Hallo with the Ugaritic Yamm (sea), (also called Judge Nahar, or Judge River) whose earlier name in at least one ancient source was Yaw, or Ya’a.
 
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”.
 
Baal’s Battle with Death. Other myths about Baal relate to fertility and the cycle of the seasons. One such story tells of the battle between Baal and Mot, the god of death and infertility. After conquering Yam, Baal complained that he had no house like the other gods did. El agreed to let the crafts god Kothar build Baal a fine house. When it was finished, Baal held a great feast—but he did not invite Mot or send him respectful presents.
 
Greatly insulted, Mot asked Baal to come to the underworld to dine. Although afraid, Baal could not refuse the invitation. The food served at Mot’s table was mud, the food of death, and when Baal ate it, he was trapped in the underworld.
 
While Baal was in the underworld, famine struck the earth, and El searched for someone to replace Baal. Asherah, the lady of the sea, convinced El to give Baal’s throne to her son Ashtar. But when Ashtar, the god of irrigation, sat on the throne, his feet did not even touch the floor. Realizing he could not fill Baal’s place, Ashtar gave up the throne.
 
Meanwhile, Baal’s wife and sister, the fierce goddess Anat, traveled to the underworld. After splitting Mot with her sword, she winnowed him with her fan, burned the pieces in a fire, ground them in a mill, and planted them in the ground. These actions brought Baal back to life. Later Mot was also restored to life, and the two gods again battled each other. In the end, the sun goddess Shapath separated them, Baal regained his throne, and the land became fertile again.
 
Like the story of Yam, this myth emphasizes the importance of rain to the land. Baal represents the fertility of spring rains, while Mot represents the drought of the summer months.
 
The actions taken by Anat against Mot—splitting, winnowing, burning, grinding, and planting—are steps taken by farmers when they harvest wheat. They prepare it for use as food during the winter and sow it to create more crops the next year. By defeating the drought (Mot), the rains (Baal) renew the earth each year and allow life to flourish in the dry Near East.
 
Despite the tendency in the Hebrew Bible to avoid the use of the word as a proper name, it is now quite clear that by pre-Israelite times the term had become the usual name of the weather-god of Syria-Palestine.
 
Because more than one god bore the title “Baal” and more than one goddess bore the title “Baalat” or “Baalah,” only the context of a text, the definitive article, or a genitive following the word in construct can denote which particular god, a text is speaking of.
 
Like the other inhabitants of Canaan, the ancient Hebrews worshiped local gods called Baal and honored their children with names ending with baal —such as Ishbaal, the son of King Saul. In fact, the Hebrew god Yahweh appears to have shared many of Baal’s characteristics.
 
For the early Hebrews, “Baal” referred to the Lord of Israel, just as “Baal” farther north designated the Lord of Lebanon or of Ugarit:
 
At first the name Baal was used by the Jews for their God without discrimination, but as the struggle between the two religions developed, the name Baal was given up by the Israelites as a thing of shame, and even names like Jerubbaal were changed to Jerubbosheth: Hebrew bosheth means “shame”.
 
As the worship of Yahweh became more important, Baal took on a negative meaning for the Hebrews. In the 800s B . C ., a queen of Israel named Jezebel introduced a cult of Baal borrowed from the Phoenicians. She set up the cult as a rival to the official worship of Yahweh.
 
Opposition to Baal grew so strong that over the next century the name Baal was replaced with the term boshet, meaning shame. In later texts, the name of Saul’s son was changed from Ishbaal to Ishbosheth. Later still, Christians considered Baal to be a name for a devil.
 
Baal in Other Ancient Cultures. Worship of Baal was widespread in the ancient Near East. The clay tablets of Ras es-Shamrah date from about 1500 BC., and Baal was also popular in Egypt from about 1400 to 1075 BC. In Mesopotamia, Baal was known to the Babylonians and Assyrians, and he was identified with their national gods Marduk and Ashur. The Greeks called the god Belos and identified him with Zeus.
 
But Baal-hamon was generally identified by the Greeks, by interpretatio Graeca with Greek Cronus and similarly by the Romans with Saturn. The Phoenician god Baal (not always synonymous with Baal-hamon) is generally identified either with the Northwest Semitic god El or with Dagon.
 
In the New Testament of the Bible, Beelzebub is one of the names given to Satan by Jesus. In some places, he is Satan’s main assistant rather than Satan himself. The name comes from Baalzebub, the name of the god of the Philistine city of Ekron. Baalzebub, which means “lord of the flies,” is probably a distorted version of Baal, or “lord of the house.” The origin of the word is unknown.
 
It was the program of Jezebel, in the 9th century BCE, to introduce into Israel’s capital city of Samaria her Phoenician worship of Baal as opposed to the worship of Yahweh that made the name anathema to the Israelites.
 
The competition between the priestly forces of Yahweh and of Baal in the ninth century is attested in 1Kings 18. Elijah the prophet challenged Baal’s prophets to settle the question whether it was Ba’al or Yahweh who supplied the rain. Elijah offered a sacrifice to Yahweh; Baal’s followers did the same.
 
According to the Hebrew Bible, Baal did not light his followers’ sacrifice, but Yahweh sent heavenly fire to burn Elijah’s sacrifice and altar to ashes, even after it had been soaked with water. Directly after that event, Elijah had the prophets of Ba’al slain, and it soon began to rain.
 
Baal Zebub occurs in 2 Kings 1:2–6 as the name of the Philistine god of Ekron: But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, [Is it] not because [there is] not a God in Israel, [that] ye go to enquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? KJV, 1611
 
Ba‘al Zəbûb is variously understood to mean “lord of flies”, or “lord of the (heavenly) dwelling”. Originally the name of a Philistine god, Ba’al, meaning “Lord” in Ugaritic, was used in conjunction with a descriptive name of a specific god.
 
Jewish scholars have interpreted the title of “Lord of Flies” as the Hebrew way of calling Ba’al a pile of dung, and comparing Ba’al followers to flies. The Septuagint renders the name as Baalzebub and as Baal muian (“Baal of flies”), but Symmachus the Ebionite may have reflected a tradition of its offensive ancient name when he rendered it as Beelzeboul.
 
Beelzebub, also Beelzebul, is also identified in the New Testament as Satan, the “prince of the demons”. In Arabic the name is retained as Ba‘al dhubaab / zubaab, literally “Lord of the Flies”. Biblical scholar Thomas Kelly Cheyne suggested that it might be a derogatory corruption of Ba‘al Zəbûl, “Lord of the High Place” (i.e., Heaven) or “High Lord”. The word Beelzebub in rabbinical texts is a mockery of the Ba’al religion, which ancient Hebrews considered to be idol (or, false god) worship.

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Maat, Asha/Arta etc

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 13, 2015

Maat or Ma’at was the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation. Her ideological counterpart was Isfet.

In Sumerian mythology, a me or ñe or parşu is one of the decrees of the gods foundational to those social institutions, religious practices, technologies, behaviors, mores, and human conditions that make civilization, as the Sumerians understood it, possible. They are fundamental to the Sumerian understanding of the relationship between humanity and the gods.

Ma is a Sumerian word meaning “land” that in Sumerian mythology was also used to regard Primordial Land. The underworld Kur is the void space between the primeval sea (Abzu) and the earth (Ma). Which seem a likely pairing for parentage, in a fuzzy set of records.

Kummanni was the name of the main center the Anatolian kingdom of Kizzuwatna. Its location is uncertain, but is believed to be near the classical settlement of Comana in Cappadocia. It was the major cult center of the Hurrian chief deity, Tešup. Its Hurrian name Kummeni simply translates as “The Shrine.” Ma was a local goddess at Ma and a Phrygian alternative name for Cybele.

Asha is the Avestan language term (corresponding to Vedic language ṛta) for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. Its Old Persian equivalent is arta-. In Middle Iranian languages the term appears as ard-.

In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called “the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism.” The significance of the term is complex, with a highly nuanced range of meaning. It is commonly summarized in accord with its contextual implications of ‘truth’ and ‘right(eousness)’, ‘order’ and ‘right working’. The opposite of Avestan aša is druj, “lie”.

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

Urartu, corresponding to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat or Kingdom of Van, was an Iron Age kingdom centred on Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands. In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521 or 520 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite.

Scholars such as Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt (1910) believed that the people of Urartu called themselves Khaldini after their god Khaldi (Ḫaldi, also known as Khaldi or Hayk), one of the three chief deities of Ararat (Urartu). His shrine was at Ardini (the present form of the name is Artin, meaning “sun rising” or to “awake”, and it persists in Armenian names to this day). The other two chief deities were Theispas of Kumenu, and Shivini of Tushpa.

Hayk or Hayg, also known as Haik Nahapet (Hayk the Tribal Chief) is the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation. His story is told in the History of Armenia attributed to the Armenian historian Moses of Chorene (410 to 490). Hayk and Haig are connected to hay and hayer (the nominative plural in Modern Armenian), the self-designation of the Armenians.

The name Armenia is connected to the Indo-European root Ar- meaning “assemble/create” which is vastly used in names of or regarding the Sun, light, or fire, found in Ararat, Aryan, Arta etc.

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The rainbow serpent

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 13, 2015

Rainbow Serpent

Serpent (symbolism)

Rainbows in culture

Australian Aboriginal mythology: Rainbow Serpent

Rainbow Serpent Festival

Professor Simon Davies – Professor Emeritus of Enlightenment Studies

The Voltaire Foundation

Origins and dispersal of our first mythologies

Origins of the World’s Mythologies

Globalization of mythology

How did our legends really begin?

JFR Review for The Origins of the World’s Mythologies

The Rainbow Serpent is often portrayed as creator deity, producing the human race and sustaining them with rain, waterways and fertile lands. This deity can mostly be found in the regions of Africa, Asia, and Australia. It is always identified with the shape of a rainbow, making it one of the earliest depictions of sky deity.

This Rainbow Serpent is traditionally associated with ceremonies to do with fertility and abundance, as well as the organisation of the community and the keeping of peace. It is depicted as both male and female, and many meandering rivers are said to have been carved out by its body as it slithered across the Earth. Piles of rocks are also said to be the deity’s droppings, and as such, have been designated as sacred places by many tribes.

What makes the Rainbow Serpent so remarkable is that it is likely one of the oldest beings to emerge in world mythology. It continues to be a figure of worship in many surviving tribes today, and images of the great snake can be found in the rock art of Australia, dating back as far as 8000 BCE to 40,000 BCE.

The rainbow serpent has been associated with the Milky Way, which the Egyptian Nut or Neuth (also spelled Nuit or Newet), the goddess of the sky in the Ennead of ancient Egyptian religion, is also associated with. Nut was seen as a star-covered nude woman arching over the earth, or as a cow. However, it is likely the origins of the rainbow snake go back a lot further than this.

The similarities between the Australian and Sub-Saharan rainbow serpent are striking, but nothing in recent history connects these two continents. Australia was discovered by westerners in the 1600’s. Prior to this, the aborigine had lived undisturbed in Australia for nearly 45,000 years, with no connection to the African people.

So how did two, identical beings, originate at opposite ends of the globe, separated by thousands of miles, and tens of thousands of years? The answer lies in prehistory.

The aboriginal people of Australia are directly linked with humanities first migration out of Africa. This great exodus took place 100,000 years ago, and there are a few surviving tribes today whose customs and traditions are directly linked to the ancestors of this pioneering race.

They have been several waves of migrations since, but none of their descendants tell the story of the rainbow snake. The few remaining tribes that remember this legendary deity are the indigenous people of Australia, the Papuan people (New Guinea), the Sentinelese people (Andaman Islands, India) and most sub-Saharan tribes (Africa). It can also be found in Chinese mythology, and Scandinavian folklore.

It is believed the geographical isolation of these people has helped to preserve their mythology, which dates back far into the Stone Age. By studying the myths and traditions of all these people, it becomes clear they are all connected by the same roots. Based on the people who have maintained the legends about this ancient serpent, it seems likely the Rainbow Snake originated in Africa, at least 1000,000 years ago, and could well date back even further than that.

Today this deity is known by many names: Oshumare (Yoruba, W.Africa), Aido Hwedo (Dahomey, W. Africa), Da (Fon People, W. Africa), Hong (Zhou Dynasty, China), Ngalyod (N. Australia), Borlung (N.W. Australia), Wagyl (S.W. Australia), and Degei (Fiji).

Aido Hwedo by Alector Fencer
Hong by Monica Sky
Boamie: Stone Age ancestor
Creation Myths
Sumerian

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

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.

The Tiamat myth is one of the earliest recorded versions of the Chaoskampf, the battle between a culture hero and a chthonic or aquatic monster, serpent or dragon. Chaoskampf motifs in other mythologies linked directly or indirectly to the Tiamat myth include the Hittite Illuyanka myth, and in Greek tradition Apollo’s killing of the Python as a necessary action to take over the Delphic Oracle.

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

In the Enûma Elish, the Babylonian epic of creation, she gives birth to the first generation of deities; her husband, Apsu, later makes war upon them and is killed. When she, too, wars upon her husband’s murderers, she is then slain by Enki’s son, the storm-god Marduk. The heavens and the earth are formed from her divided body.

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 not 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.

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

In the myth recorded on cuneiform tablets, the deity Enki (later Ea) believed correctly that Apsu, upset with the chaos they created, was planning to murder the younger deities; and so captured him, holding him prisoner beneath his temple the E-Abzu. This angered Kingu, their son, who reported the event to Tiamat, whereupon she fashioned eleven monsters to battle the deities in order to avenge Apsu’s death.

Tiamat possessed the Tablets of Destiny and in the primordial battle she gave them to Kingu, the deity she had chosen as her lover and the leader of her host, and who was also one of her children. The deities gathered in terror, but Anu, (replaced later, first by Enlil and, in the late version that has survived after the First Dynasty of Babylon, by Marduk, the son of Ea), first extracting a promise that he would be revered as “king of the gods”, overcame her, armed with the arrows of the winds, a net, a club, and an invincible spear.

Slicing Tiamat in half, he made from her ribs the vault of heaven and earth. Her weeping eyes became the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates, her tail became the Milky Way. With the approval of the elder deities, he took from Kingu the Tablets of Destiny, installing himself as the head of the Babylonian pantheon. Kingu was captured and later was slain: his red blood mixed with the red clay of the Earth would make the body of humankind, created to act as the servant of the younger Igigi deities.

Abzu (or Apsû) fathered upon Tiamat the elder deities Lahmu and Lahamu (masc. the “hairy”), a title given to the gatekeepers at Enki’s Abzu/E’engurra-temple in Eridu. Laḫmu, Lakhmu, Lache, Lumasi, or Assyro-Akkadian Lammasu is a deity from Akkadian mythology that represents the zodiac, parent stars, or constellations.

Lahamu is sometimes seen as a serpent, and sometimes as a woman with a red sash and six curls on her head. It is suggested that the pair were represented by the silt of the sea-bed, but more accurately are known to be the representations of the zodiac, parent-stars, or constellations.

Lahmu, meaning parent star or constellation, is the name of a protective and beneficent deity, the first-born son of Abzu and Tiamat. Laḫmu is depicted as a bearded man with a red sash-usually with three strands- and four to six curls on his head and they are also depicted as monsters, which each encompasses a specific constellation. He is often associated with the Kusarikku or “Bull-Man.”

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

Lahmu and his sister Laḫamu are the parents of the ‘ends’ of the heavens (Anshar, from an = heaven, shár = horizon, end) and the earth (Kishar); Kishar is the female principle, sister and wife of Anshar, the male principle. Kishar may represent the earth as a counterpart to Anshar, the sky, and can be seen as an earth mother goddess. Her name also means “Whole Earth”, while Anshur means “whole heaven”.

Anshar and Kishar were considered to meet at the horizon, becoming, thereby, the parents of Anu (Heaven), the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and Ki, who birthed the gods of the Mesopotamian Pantheon.

If this name /Anšar/ is derived from */Anśar/, then it may be related to the Egyptian hieroglyphic /NṬR/ (“god”), since hieroglyphic Egyptian /Ṭ/ may be etymological */Ś/.

Ki is the sign for “earth”, also read as GI, GUNNI (=KI.NE) “hearth”, KARAŠ (=KI.KAL.BAD) “encampment, army”, KISLAḪ (=KI.UD) “threshing floor” or steath, and SUR7 (=KI.GAG), in Akkadian orthography, it functions as a determiner for toponyms and has the syllabic values gi, ge, qi, and qe.

Anu existed in Sumerian cosmogony as a dome that covered the flat earth; Outside of this dome was the primordial body of water known as Tiamat (not to be confused with the subterranean Abzu).

Kishar appears only once in Enuma Elish, in the opening lines of the epic, and then disappears from the remainder of the story. She appears only occasionally in other first millennium BCE texts, where she can be equated with the goddess Antu.

In Akkadian mythology, Antu or Antum (add the name in cuneiform please an=𒀭 shar=?) is a Babylonian goddess. She was the first consort of Anu, and the pair was the parents of the Anunnaki, the most prominent of these deities being Enlil, god of the air, and the Utukki.

According to legends, heaven and earth were once inseparable until Enlil was born; Enlil cleaved heaven and earth in two. An carried away heaven. Ki, in company with Enlil, took the earth.

Some authorities question whether Ki was regarded as a deity since there is no evidence of a cult and the name appears only in a limited number of Sumerian creation texts. Samuel Noah Kramer identifies Ki with the Sumerian mother goddess Ninhursag and claims that they were originally the same figure.

She later developed into the Babylonian and Akkadian goddess Antu, consort of the god Anu (from Sumerian An). Antu was a dominant feature of the Babylonian akit festival until as recently as 200 BC, her later pre-eminence possibly attributable to identification with the Greek goddess Hera. Antu was replaced as consort by Ishtar or Inanna, who may also be a daughter of Anu and Antu. She is similar to Anat.

Uraš or Urash, in Sumerian mythology is a goddess of earth, and one of the consorts of the sky god Anu. She is the mother of the goddess Ninsun and a grandmother of the hero Gilgamesh. However, Uras may only have been another name for Antu, Anu’s wife. The name Uras even became applied to Anu himself, and acquired the meaning “heaven”. Ninurta also was apparently called Uras in later time.

Ninurta was a Sumerian and the Akkadian god of hunting and war. He was worshipped in Babylonia and Assyria and in Lagash he was identified with the city god Ningirsu. In older transliteration the name is rendered Ninib and Ninip, and in early commentary he was sometimes portrayed as a solar deity.

A number of scholars have suggested that either the god Ninurta or the Assyrian king bearing his name (Tukulti-Ninurta I) was the inspiration for the Biblical character Nimrod.

In Nippur, Ninurta was worshiped as part of a triad of deities including his father, Enlil and his mother, Ninlil. In variant mythology, his mother is said to be the harvest goddess Ninhursag. The consort of Ninurta was Ugallu in Nippur and Bau when he was called Ningirsu.

Ninurta often appears holding a bow and arrow, a sickle sword, or a mace named Sharur: Sharur is capable of speech in the Sumerian legend “Deeds and Exploits of Ninurta” and can take the form of a winged lion and may represent an archetype for the later Shedu.

In another legend, Ninurta battles a birdlike monster called Imdugud (Akkadian: Anzû); a Babylonian version relates how the monster Anzû steals the Tablets of Destiny from Enlil. The Tablets of Destiny were believed to contain the details of fate and the future.

Ninurta slays each of the monsters later known as the “Slain Heroes” (the Warrior Dragon, the Palm Tree King, Lord Saman-ana, the Bison-beast, the Mermaid, the Seven-headed Snake, the Six-headed Wild Ram), and despoils them of valuable items such as Gypsum, Strong Copper, and the Magilum boat. Eventually, Anzû is killed by Ninurta who delivers the Tablet of Destiny to his father, Enlil.

There are a lot of parallels with both and the story of Marduk (son of Enki) who slew Abzu (or Apsu), and delivered the Tablets of Destiny from Kingu to his father, Enki.

The cult of Ninurta can be traced back to the oldest period of Sumerian history. In the inscriptions found at Lagash he appears under his name Ningirsu, “the lord of Girsu”, Girsu being the name of a city where he was considered the patron deity.

Ninurta appears in a double capacity in the epithets bestowed on him, and in the hymns and incantations addressed to him. On the one hand he is a farmer and a healing god who releases humans from sickness and the power of demons; on the other he is the god of the South Wind as the son of Enlil, displacing his mother Ninlil who was earlier held to be the goddess of the South Wind. Enlil’s brother, Enki, was portrayed as Ninurta’s mentor from whom Ninurta was entrusted several powerful Mes, including the Deluge.

He remained popular under the Assyrians: two kings of Assyria bore the name Tukulti-Ninurta. Ashurnasirpal II (883—859 BCE) built him a temple in the then capital city of Kalhu (the Biblical Calah, now Nimrud). In Assyria, Ninurta was worshipped alongside the gods Aššur and Mulissu.

In the late neo-Babylonian and early Persian period, syncretism seems to have fused Ninurta’s character with that of Nergal, the plague god. The two gods were often invoked together, and spoken of as if they were one divinity.

Once, the gods held a banquet that Ereshkigal, the goddess of Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld, as queen of the Netherworld cannot come up to attend. They invite her to send a messenger and she sends Namtar (or Namtaru, or Namtara; meaning destiny or fate), a hellish minor deity in Mesopotamian mythology, god of death, and minister and messenger of An, Ereshkigal, and Nerga.

Namtar was the son of Enlil anid Ereshkigal; he was born before his father raped the goddess Ninlil. Namtar was considered responsible for diseases and pests. Namtar was regarded as the beloved son of Bêl/Enlil, and was married to the underworld goddess Hušbišag.

Namtar is treated well by all but disrespected by Nergal. As a result of this, Nergal is banished to the kingdom controlled by the goddess. Versions vary at this point, but all of them result in him becoming her husband. In later tradition, Nergal is said to have been the victor, taking her as wife and ruling the land himself.

It is theorized that the story of Inanna’s descent is told to illustrate the possibility of an escape from the netherworld, while the Nergal myth is intended to reconcile the existence of two rulers of the netherworld: a goddess and a god. The addition of Nergal represents the harmonizing tendency to unite Ereshkigal as the queen of the netherworld with the god who, as god of war and of pestilence, brings death to the living and thus becomes the one who presides over the dead.

In the astral-theological system Ninurta was associated with the planet Saturn, or perhaps as offspring or an aspect of Saturn. In his capacity as a farmer-god, there are similarities between Ninurta and the Greek Titan Kronos, whom the Romans in turn identified with their Titan Saturn.

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.

Egyptian

Iusaset (“the great one who comes forth”) or Iusaas is the name of a primal goddess in Ancient Egyptian religion. Many alternative spellings of her name include Iusaaset, Juesaes, Ausaas, and Jusas, as well as in Greek Saosis.

She also is described as “the grandmother of all of the deities”. This allusion is without any reference to a grandfather, so there might have been a very early, but now lost, myth with parthenogenesis as the means of the birth of the deities from the region where her cult arose near the delta of the Nile.

In Ancient Egyptian art, Iusaaset appears as a woman wearing the horned vulture crown with the uraeus and the solar disk in it, and she carries an ankh, the symbol of life, in one hand and a scepter in the other.

The Egyptian vulture, most sacred to the ancient Egyptians and symbolizing Nekhbet, one of the Two Ladies protecting Egypt, was thought to reproduce though parthenogenesis also. This association might be the basis for the similar view about the motherhood of Iusaaset. The vultures also were considered extremely good mothers. The horns, the uraeus, and the solar disk make a religious connection to Bat and Hathor.

Because of Iusaaset’s link to the vulture and uraeus, it can be assumed that she links together both upper and lower Egypt, much like the goddess Mut who she is also associated with.

Although her origins are unclear, Iusaaset seems to be attested quite early in the Egyptian pantheon, being associated with creation and the creation of the deities. Many myths relate that she was seen as the mother of the first deities and the grandmother of the following deities, having watched over the birth of the ones that were her grandchildren. She remains as a primary deity in the pantheon throughout all eras of the culture, even through the Persian, Hyksos, Greek, and Roman occupations, and regardless of changes in the specific myths.

Iusaaset was associated with the acacia tree, considered the tree of life, and thus with the oldest one known being situated just north of Heliopolis and, thereby, which became identified as the birthplace of the deities. Iusaaset was said to own this tree. The acacia tree was renowned for its strength, hardiness, medical properties, and edibility. Many useful applications gave it a central importance in the culture.

One belief held that Iusaaset and Atum (Ra) were the parents of Shu and Tefnut, the first deities. In this myth she often was described as his shadow, sister, or wife. Later other goddesses also became associated with Atum and one variant even relates that he gave birth to the deities, although that variant seems to have been rejected by many cultural and religious centers.

During the Old Kingdom the Egyptians believed that Atum lifted the dead pharaoh’s soul from the tomb to the starry heavens. By the time of the New Kingdom, the Atum myth had merged in the Egyptian pantheon with that of Ra, who later was described as a creator and a solar deity as his cult arose. Their two identities were joined into Atum-Ra.

After they were combined, Ra was seen as the whole sun and Atum came to be seen as the sun when it sets in the west (depicted as an old man leaning on his staff), while Khepri was seen as the sun when it was rising. At these later times Iusaaset sometimes is described as the eye of Ra.

Atum, sometimes rendered as Atem or Tem, is an important deity in Egyptian mythology. Atum’s cult centered on the city of Heliopolis (Egyptian: Annu).

He is usually depicted as a man wearing either the royal head-cloth or the dual white and red crown of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, reinforcing his connection with kingship. Sometimes he also is shown as a serpent, the form he returns to at the end of the creative cycle, and also occasionally as a mongoose, lion, bull, lizard, or ape.

Atum’s name is thought to be derived from the word tem which means to complete or finish. Thus he has been interpreted as being the ‘complete one’ and also the finisher of the world, which he returns to watery chaos at the end of the creative cycle. As creator he was seen as the underlying substance of the world, the deities and all things being made of his flesh or alternatively being his ka.

Atum is one of the most important and frequently mentioned deities from earliest times, as evidenced by his prominence in the Pyramid Texts, where he is portrayed as both a creator and father to the king.

Atum was a self-created deity, the first being to emerge from the darkness and endless watery abyss that existed before creation. A product of the energy and matter contained in this chaos, he created his children—the first deities, out of loneliness.

He produced from his own sneeze, or in some accounts, semen, Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture. The brother and sister, curious about the primeval waters that surrounded them, went to explore the waters and disappeared into the darkness. Unable to bear his loss, Atum sent a fiery messenger, the Eye of Ra, to find his children. The tears of joy he shed on their return were the first human beings.

In the Heliopolitan creation myth, Atum was considered to be the first god, having created himself, sitting on a mound (benben) (or identified with the mound itself), from the primordial waters (Nu). Early myths state that Atum created the god Shu and goddess Tefnut by spitting them out of his mouth.

To explain how Atum did this, the myth uses the metaphor of masturbation, with the hand he used in this act representing the female principle inherent within him. Other interpretations state that he has made union with his shadow.

In the Old Kingdom the Egyptians believed that Atum lifted the dead king’s soul from his pyramid to the starry heavens. He was also a solar deity, associated with the primary sun god Ra. Atum was linked specifically with the evening sun, while Ra or the closely linked god Khepri were connected with the sun at morning and midday.

In the Book of the Dead, which was still current in the Graeco-Roman period, the sun god Atum is said to have ascended from chaos-waters with the appearance of a snake, the animal renewing itself every morning.

Atum is the god of pre-existence and post-existence. In the binary solar cycle, the serpentine Atum is contrasted with the ram-headed scarab Khepri—the young sun god, whose name is derived from the Egyptian hpr “to come into existence”. Khepri-Atum encompassed sunrise and sunset, thus reflecting the entire solar cycle.

Shu (meaning “emptiness” and “he who rises up”) was one of the primordial Egyptian gods, a personification of air, one of the Ennead of Heliopolis. The Greeks associated Shu with Atlas, the primordial Titan who held up the celestial spheres, as they are both depicted holding the sky. He carries an ankh, the symbol of life.

He was created by Atum, his father and Iusaaset, his mother in the city of Heliopolis. With his twin sister Tefnut (moisture), he was the father of Nut and Geb. His daughter, Nut, was the sky goddess whom he held over the Earth (Geb), separating the two. The Egyptians believed that if Shu didn’t hold his son and daughter (the god of the earth and the goddess of the sky) apart there would be no way life could be created.

As the air, Shu was considered to be cooling, and thus calming, influence, and pacifier. Due to the association with air, calm, and thus Ma’at (truth, justice and order), Shu was portrayed in art as wearing an ostrich feather.

Shu was seen with between one and four feathers. The ostrich feather was symbolic of light and emptiness. Fog and clouds were also Shu’s elements and they were often called his bones. Because of his position between the sky and earth, he was also known as the wind.

In a much later myth, representing the terrible weather disaster at the end of the Old Kingdom, it was said that Tefnut and Shu once argued, and Tefnut left Egypt for Nubia (which was always more temperate). It was said that Shu quickly decided that he missed her, but she changed into a cat that destroyed any man or god that approached. Thoth, disguised, eventually succeeded in convincing her to return.

The air god Shu separated the sky goddess Nut from the earth god, Geb. This treatment symbolized duality, the separation of the world into opposites: above and below, light and dark, good and evil. Shu is mostly represented by a man. Only in his function as a fighter and defender as the sun god does he sometimes receive a lion’s head.

In Egyptian mythology, Shu arrived as breath from the nose of the original god, Atum-Ra, together with his sister and wife, Tefnut, the moist air. The first pair of cosmic elements then created the sky goddess, Nut, and the earth god, Geb, who in turn created the deities Isis, Osiris, Nephthys and Set. Shu’s grandchildren are Osiris, Horus, Isis, Set and Nephthys. His great-grandson is Anubis.

Tefnut (Egyptian: Tefenet) is a goddess of moisture, moist air, dew and rain in Ancient Egyptian religion. She is the sister and consort of the air god Shu and the mother of Geb and Nut.

Literally translating as “That Water”, the name Tefnut has been linked to the verb ‘tfn’ meaning ‘to spit’ and versions of the creation myth say that Ra (or Atum) spat her out and her name was written as a mouth spitting in late texts.

like most Egyptian deities, including her brother, Tefnut has no single ideograph or symbol. Her name in hieroglyphics consists of four single phonogram symbols t-f-n-t. Although the n phonogram is a representation of waves on the surface of water, it was never used as an ideogram or determinative for the word water (mw), or for anything associated with water.

Tefnut is a daughter of the solar god Ra-Atum. Married to her brother, Shu, she is mother of Nut, the sky and Geb, the earth. Tefnut’s grandchildren were Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys, and in some versions, Horus the Elder (Heru Wer). She was also a great grandmother of Horus the Younger. Alongside her father, brother, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild, she is a member of the Ennead of Heliopolis.

There are a number of variants to the myth of the creation of Tefnut and her twin brother Shu. In all versions, Tefnut is the product of parthenogenesis, and all involve some variety of bodily fluid.

In the Heliopolitan creation myth, the solar god Atum masturbates to produce Tefnut and Shu. In some versions of this myth, Atum also swallows his semen, and spits it out to form the twins, or else the spitting of his saliva forms the act of procreation. Both of these versions contain a play on words, the tef sound which forms the first syllable of the name Tefnut also constitutes a word meaning “to spit” or “to expectorate”.

The Coffin Texts contain references to Shu being sneezed out by Atum from his nose, and Tefnut being spat out like saliva. The Bremner-Rind Papyrus and the Memphite Theology describe Atum masturbating into his mouth, before spitting out his semen to form the twins.

Tefnut is a leonine deity, and appears as human with a lioness head when depicted as part of the Great Ennead of Heliopolis. The other frequent depiction is as a lioness, but Tefnut can also be depicted as fully human. In her fully or semi anthropomorphic form, she is depicted wearing a wig, topped either with a uraeus serpent, or a uraeus and solar disk, and she is sometimes depicted as a lion headed serpent. Her face is sometimes used in a double headed form with that of her brother Shu on collar counterpoises.

When depicted as a woman with a lion´s head, she can be distinguished from Sekhmet as Sekhmet’s ears are rounded while Tefnut´s are pointed. Tefnut was connected with other leonine goddesses as the Eye of Ra. As a lioness she could display a wrathful aspect and is said to escape to Nubia in a rage from where she is brought back by Thoth. In the earlier Pyramid Texts she is said to produce pure waters from her vagina.

Nut or Neuth (also spelled Nuit or Newet) is the goddess of the sky in the Ennead of ancient Egyptian religion. She was seen as a star-covered nude woman arching over the earth, or as a cow.

Nut is a daughter of Shu and Tefnut. Her husband and brother is Geb. She has five children: Osiris, Set, Isis, Nephthys and Horus. Her name is translated to mean ‘sky’ and she is considered one of the oldest deities among the Egyptian pantheon, with her origin being found on the creation story of Heliopolis.

She was originally the goddess of the nighttime sky, but eventually became referred to as simply the sky goddess. Her headdress was the hieroglyphic of part of her name, a pot, which may also symbolize the uterus. Mostly depicted in nude human form, Nut was also sometimes depicted in the form of a cow whose great body formed the sky and heavens, a sycamore tree, or as a giant sow, suckling many piglets (representing the stars).

A sacred symbol of Nut was the ladder, used by Osiris to enter her heavenly skies. This ladder-symbol was called maqet and was placed in tombs to protect the deceased, and to invoke the aid of the deity of the dead. Nut and her brother, Geb, may be considered enigmas in the world of mythology. In direct contrast to most other mythologies which usually develop a sky father associated with an Earth mother (or Mother Nature), she personified the sky and he the Earth.

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

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

Osiris is killed by his brother Seth and scattered over the Earth in 14 pieces which Isis gathers up and puts back together. Osiris then climbs a ladder into his mother Nut for safety and eventually becomes king of the dead.

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

Ra, the sun god, was the second to rule the world, according to the reign of the gods. Ra was a strong ruler but he feared anyone taking his throne. When he discovered that Nut was to have children, he was furious. He decreed, “Nut shall not give birth any day of the year.” At that time, the year was only 360 days.

Nut spoke to Thoth, god of wisdom, and he had a plan. Thoth gambled with Khonsu, god of the moon, whose light rivalled that of Ra’s. Every time Khonsu lost, he had to give Thoth some of his moonlight. Khonsu lost so many times that Thoth had enough moonlight to make five extra days.

Since these days were not part of the year, Nut could have her children. She had five children: Osiris, later ruler of the gods and then god of the dead, Horus the Elder, god of war, Set, god of evil and wastelands, Isis, goddess of magic, and Nephthys, goddess of water. When Ra found out, he was furious. He separated Nut from her husband Geb for eternity. Her father, Shu, was to keep them apart. Nevertheless, Nut did not regret her decision.

Some of the titles of Nut were: Coverer of the Sky (Nut was said to be covered in stars touching the different points of her body), She Who Protects (Among her jobs was to envelop and protect Ra, the sun god), Mistress of All or “She who Bore the Gods” (Originally, Nut was said to be lying on top of Geb (Earth) and continually having intercourse.

During this time she birthed four children: Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys. A fifth child named Arueris is mentioned by Plutarch. He was the Egyptian counterpart to the Greek god Apollo, who was made syncretic with Horus in the Hellenistic era as ‘Horus the Elder’. The Ptolemaic temple of Edfu is dedicated to Horus the Elder and there he is called the son of Nut and Geb, brother of Osiris, and the eldest son of Geb), and She Who Holds a Thousand Souls (Because of her role in the re-birthing of Ra every morning and in her son Osiris’s resurrection, Nut became a key god in many of the myths about the afterlife).

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

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

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

She was often painted on the inside lid of the sarcophagus, protecting the deceased. The vaults of tombs were often painted dark blue with many stars as a representation of Nut. The Book of the Dead says, “Hail, thou Sycamore Tree of the Goddess Nut! Give me of the water and of the air which is in thee. I embrace that throne which is in Unu, and I keep guard over the Egg of Nekek-ur. It flourisheth, and I flourish; it liveth, and I live; it snuffeth the air, and I snuff the air, I the Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, in peace.”

The Book of Nut is a modern title of what was known in ancient times as The Fundamentals of the Course of the Stars. This is an important collection of ancient Egyptian astronomical texts, perhaps the earliest of several other such texts, going back at least to 2,000 BC.

Nut, being the sky goddess, plays the big role in the Book of Nut. The text also tells about various other sky and earth deities, such as the star deities and the decans deities. The cycles of the stars and the planets, and the time keeping are covered in the book.

Geb was the Egyptian god of the Earth and a member of the Ennead of Heliopolis. It was believed in ancient Egypt that Geb’s laughter was earthquakes and that he allowed crops to grow.

The name was pronounced as such from the Greek period onward and was formerly erroneously read as Seb or as Keb. The original Egyptian was perhaps “Gebeb”/”Kebeb”. It was spelled with either initial -g- (all periods), or with -k-point (gj).

The latter initial root consonant occurs once in the Middle Kingdom Coffin Texts, more often in 21st Dynasty mythological papyri as well as in a text from the Ptolemaic tomb of Petosiris at Tuna el-Gebel or was written with initial hard -k-, as e.g. in a 30th Dynasty papyrus text in the Brooklyn Museum dealing with descriptions of and remedies against snakes.

The oldest representation in a fragmentary relief of the god, was as an anthropomorphic bearded being accompanied by his name, and dating from king Djoser’s reign, 3rd Dynasty, and was found in Heliopolis. In later times he could also be depicted as a ram, a bull or a crocodile (the latter in a vignette of the Book of the Dead of the lady Heryweben in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo).

Geb was frequently described mythologically as father of snakes (one of the names for snake was s3-t3 – “son of the earth”). In a Coffin Texts spell Geb was described as father of the snake Nehebkau. In mythology, Geb also often occurs as a primeval divine king of Egypt from whom his son Osiris and his grandson Horus inherited the land after many contendings with the disruptive god Set, brother and killer of Osiris.

Geb could also be regarded as personified fertile earth and barren desert, the latter containing the dead or setting them free from their tombs, metaphorically described as “Geb opening his jaws”, or imprisoning those there not worthy to go to the fertile North-Eastern heavenly Field of Reeds. In the latter case, one of his otherworldly attributes was an ominous jackal-headed stave (called wsr.t) rising from the ground onto which enemies could be bound.

In the Heliopolitan Ennead (a group of nine gods created in the beginning by the one god Atum or Ra), Geb is the husband of Nut, the sky or visible daytime and nightly firmament, the son of the earlier primordial elements Tefnut (moisture) and Shu (’emptiness’), and the father to the four lesser gods of the system – Osiris, Seth, Isis and Nephthys.

In this context, Geb was believed to have originally been engaged with Nut and had to be separated from her by Shu, god of the air. Consequently, in mythological depictions, Geb was shown as a man reclining, sometimes with his phallus still pointed towards Nut.

As time progressed, the deity became more associated with the habitable land of Egypt and also as one of its early rulers. As a chthonic deity he (like Min) became naturally associated with the underworld and with vegetation – barley being said to grow upon his ribs – and was depicted with plants and other green patches on his body.

His association with vegetation, and sometimes with the underworld and royalty brought Geb the occasional interpretation that he was the husband of Renenutet, a minor goddess of the harvest and also mythological caretaker (the meaning of her name is “nursing snake”) of the young king in the shape of a cobra, who herself could also be regarded as the mother of Nehebkau, a primeval snake god associated with the underworld. He is also equated by classical authors as the Greek Titan Cronus.

Some Egyptologists, (specifically Jan Bergman, Terence Duquesne or Richard H. Wilkinson) have stated that Geb was associated with a mythological divine creator goose who had laid a world egg from which the sun and/or the world had sprung. This theory is assumed to be incorrect and to be a result of confusing the divine name “Geb” with that of a Whitefronted Goose (Anser albifrons), also called originally gb(b): “lame one, stumbler”.

This bird-sign is used only as a phonogram in order to spell the name of the god (H.te Velde, in: Lexikon der Aegyptologie II, lemma: Geb). An alternative ancient name for this goose species was trp meaning similarly walk like a drunk, stumbler. The Whitefronted Goose is never found as a cultic symbol or holy bird of Geb.

The mythological creator goose referred to above, was called Ngg wr “Great Honker” and always depicted as a Nilegoose/Foxgoose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) who ornitologically belongs to a separate genus and whose Egyptian name was smn, Coptic smon. A coloured vignet irrefutably depicts a Nile Goose with an opened beak (Ngg wr!) in a context of solar creation on a mythological papyrus dating from the 21st Dynasty.

Similar images of this divine bird are to be found on temple walls (Karnak, Deir el-Bahari), showing a scene of the king standing on a papyrus raft and ritually plucking papyrus for the Theban god Amun-Re-Kamutef. The latter Theban creator god could be embodied in a Nilegoose, but never in a Whitefronted Goose.

In Underworld Books a diacritic goose-sign (most probably denoting then an Anser albifrons) was sometimes depicted on top of the head of a standing anonymous male anthropomorphic deity, pointing to Geb’s identity. Geb himself was never depicted as a Nile Goose, as later was Amun, called on some New Kingdom stelae explicitly:’Amun, the beautiful smn-goose (Nile Goose).

The only clear pictorial confusion between the hieroglyphs of a Whitefronted Goose (in the normal hieroglyphic spelling of the name Geb, often followed by the additional -b-sign) and a Nile Goose in the spelling of the name Geb occurs in the rock cut tomb of the provincial governor Sarenput II (12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom) on the Qubba el-Hawa desert-ridge (opposite Aswan), namely on the left (southern) wall near the open doorway, in the first line of the brightly painted funerary offering formula.

This confusion is to be compared with the frequent hacking out by Ekhnaton’s agents of the sign of the Pintail Duck (meaning ‘son’) in the royal title ‘Son of Re’, especially in Theban temples, where they confused the duck sign with that of a Nilegoose regarded as a form of the then forbidden god Amon.

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Secret Ciphers

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 12, 2015

Around the world there exist a number of undeciphered texts that date back as far as the Neolithic (8000 BCE). These ancient writing systems must be viewed with an open mind as they may have been composed with artistic intent, but its most likely they represent the origins of abstract thought and writing.

Many scholars have tried to decode these prehistoric ciphers, but so far, no one has cracked their arcane secrets. The knowledge they possess could be mind blowing, perhaps offering a glimpse into the rituals and myths of the ancient world – or they may be as mundane as a list of directions to local village.

These mysterious texts include:
The Jiahu symbols (6,600 BCE) resemble a proto-writing style composed of 16 distinct markings (found on a wooden tablet in Jiahu, China). Archaeologists believe these markings to be a proto-language to the later known ‘oracle bone script’ (a sacred text carved onto bone). The Oracle Bones were used for divination, suggesting that the ancient Jiahu symbols may have had a supernatural purpose.

The Vinča symbols originated in S.E. Europe at around 5,500 BCE. This mysterious script was etched into a series of clay amulets and is considered to be one of the oldest examples of “proto-writing” in the world. Some have linked these symbols to the Indo-Europeans, an ancient culture whose cultural heroics went onto inspire many of the mythical systems we know today (e.g. the Greek epics and Norse Sagas etc). The nature and purpose of the symbols remain a mystery to this day.

The Dispilio tablet (5260 BCE), is a wooden birch block which bears strange, symbolic markings. An old European folktale speaks of a primordial birch goddess who taught her people the craft of writing. Could it be that this tablet is in some way associated with the myth of Gods imparting knowledge to humans? Unlike other ideograms found in the Neolithic (picture based symbols) the Dispilio tablet seems to represent signs alluding to early phonetics, indicating advanced speech.

The Cretan Hieroglyphs were found on artifacts from Bronze Age Crete (1900 BCE). It predates Linear A texts by a century, and was used in parallel for most of Minoan history. The Cretan symbols bear a naturalistic style of characters, typically resembling objects like plants, animals, weapons, ships and amorphous shapes. It is suggested they were based on ornamental and ritualistic functions whereas Linear A was employed in more mundane, administration ways.

The Phaistos Disc is a strange text written on a ceramic plate from the Minoan era (1600 BCE). Its strange layout and meaning remains a mystery to archaeology. Perhaps it is in the realm of mythology that a glimpse of its original purpose can be found. According to legend, Phaistos was the city that gave birth to one of the seven sages of the old world, Epimenidis. Legend tells us that he slept in Zeus’s cave and acquired the powers of prophecy. His skin was said to be be covered with tattooed symbols similar to that of the Phaistos Disc. Is it possible the disk contains the secrets of Cretan wisdom and divination?

Finally there is the Cascajal Block (900 BCE), a stone tablet from the Olmec civilisation. this tablet was scored with strange symbols which many believe represent the earliest writing system in the New World. The block holds a total of 62 glyphs, some of which resemble plants, animals and vegetables. Many of the symbols are abstract, and unlike any other writing system found in Mesoamerica before or after. Some suggest that it was used as a sign post directing travelers to a local market, others that they represent clan names for merchants and royalty. It has even been hinted that it is a map that leads to a lost Olmec city, laden with treasure.

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Ancient Near East (Babylonia) Glossary and Texts

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 12, 2015

Ancient Near East (Babylonia) Glossary and Texts

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Sumerian goddesses and gods

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 12, 2015

In ancient Mesopotamia, many of the divine goddesses were equal in strength, power and wit to their masculine counterparts. These primordial beings ruled with an equal status for many centuries, but towards the end of the Bronze Age, their positions were slowly eclipsed by new and emerging religions such as Judaism and Zoroastrianism.

These Iron Age faiths elevated the sky god to a monotheistic status, branding all other deities as false idols, unworthy of worship. Sadly, during this patriarchal revolution, the great goddesses were expelled from this male-defined ideology. Many were vilified as monsters and demons as a part of a propaganda campaign to smear the Gods of the old world.

Thankfully their original roles as oracles, soothsayers and politicians can still be ascertained from their depictions on stone tablets and pottery art (all gleaned from the archaeological research). These feminine idols include:

Nammu (Goddess of the Sea) an alpha female who gave birth to the first generation of gods. She was a self-procreating entity who created all matter in the universe. She represented the creative force of feminine energy and was responsible for producing the human race.

Aya (Goddess of Light) associated with the dawn, youth and sexual love. She was often called the ‘bride of the sun’. Many of the Mesopotamian people believed that Aya’s mystical union with the sun god Utu caused all vegetation to grow and flourish.

Ningal (Goddess of the Reeds) was a marsh goddess connected with imagination and divination. Through her mystical interpretations she could unlock the secret language of dreams, omens and ancient mythology.

Ereshkigal (Goddess of the Underworld) ruled over the afterlife, passing judgment on the dead. Along with her sister Ishtar, these two deities represented the changing seasons. Where as Ishtar represented birth and life, Ereshkigal represented the dying of Autumn and the scarcity of winter.

Ishtar (Goddess of love) was patron of sexual devotion and warfare. This paradox could be witnessed by her tempestuous relationships, where she could honour her lovers one day, and devour them the next. Her cult involved sacred prostitution, whereby her courtesans would tend to the desires of human sexuality.

Ninkarrak (Goddess of Healing) was associated with herbalism and regeneration. She was known to possess a volatile side, hailed by some as the “queen of tempests who rages like a storm, making the earth tremble”. It was said that after the great flood deluge, she helped breath life back into mankind.

Ninhursag (Fertility Goddess) was known to many as “lady of the sacred mountain”. It was she who created the wildlife of the earth. She was associated with birth making her a mother-goddess figure. Her powers allowed her to unlock the secrets of reality, create life and transform sacred materials.

Ninlil (Goddess of the Wind), was associated with fate and destiny. After being seduced by her lover Enlil, she travelled with him to the underworld as part of his punishment for corrupting the sacred goddess.

Nanshe (Goddess of Justice) was patron of social order and protection. She nurtured orphans, provided for widows, gave advice to those in debt, and took in refugees from war torn areas. People came from all over the land to seek her wisdom and aid. She often settled disputes and handled court cases amongst mortals.

Nidaba (Goddess of writing) was said to have developed the cultural identity of Mesopotamia. Inspired by her literary skills and teaching abilities, her father (Enki) built her a school so that she could better serve those in need. She kept records, chronicled important events and marked cultural borders.

Ninsun (Goddess of the Herd) was known to many as “lady wild cow”. She was originally represented in bovine form, embodying the qualities of health, vigor and strength. Later she was expressed in human form, giving birth to one of the greatest heroes in Mesopotamia, the legendary Gilgamesh.

Ninkasi (Goddess of alcohol) was made to satiate desire and warm the heart. She knew the secrets brewing alcohol which in the early bronze age was typically managed by women. This was an important role in cultural festivities and ritualistic traditions.

Human Odyssey

Sumer, known as the “land of the kings”, was founded in southern Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) between 4500 and 4000 BCE. It became one of the first civilisations ever established in history, where its people drained the marshes for agriculture, developed trade, and established industries such as weaving, metallurgy and pottery.

Each city was protected by a particular god or goddess, with large temples built in the city centre for them to reside in. The Gods of Mesopotamia still possessed the vestigial remnants of their earlier, elemental roles, such as air, fire and thunder.

• Anu (God of heaven) was the original ruler of the Mesopotamian pantheon. He was a ethereal-god, known as the lord of constellations and master of spirits, who dwelt in the highest region of heaven and had the power to judge those who committed crimes.

• Enlil (God of the air) was patron to the city of Nippur, associated with the wind and open spaces. He was the only god who could reach out to Anu in heaven, because he ruled over the sky. It was Enlil who helped create humans, but he soon grew irritated of their commotion and tried to kill them by engulfing them in a great flood.

• Enki (God of freshwater) was the patron of the city of Eridu. He was known as the lord of knowledge, crafts and creation, who resided over all who dwelt on the earth plane. He was the keeper of a divine power known as ‘Me’ which were inscribed on stone tablets (said to hold the secrets of civilization). He is often depicted with a horned crown, dressed in the skin of a carp.

• Enbilulu (God of Rivers) was in charge of the river Tigris and Euphrates, both of which were considered to be very sacred. He ruled over the domain of agriculture, teaching men the craft of irrigation and farming. It is said he knew the secrets of water above and below the earth, granting him the power to make all things flourish.

• Nergal (God of Death) was a chthonic deity whose seat of power resided in Cuthah. He is often presented as half man half lion, known by all as the “raging king,” or “furious one.” He represented the sun of noon-time that brings darkness and chaos, thereby associating him with war, famine and pestilence. He also presided over the netherworld, where he governed the dead souls of the afterlife.

• Nanna (God of the Moon) was commonly known as the “lord of wisdom” who presided over the city of Ur. He personified the sacred knowledge of science, astronomy and astrology. Nanna was often presented as a great, winged bull flying across the crescent moon. In the astral system he is represented by the number 30 (which refers to the average number of days in a lunar month).

• Ninurta (God of War) was lord of Lagash, often depicted with a magical mace called Sharur. Not only a master of war, he was also associated with healing and surgery, helping to release humans from injury, illness and demonic possession. It was Enki, the fresh-water God, who mentored Ninurta’s in the ways of warfare and arcane knowledge (probably based upon the sacred teachings of the Me).

• Utu (God of the Sun) was in charge of truth, justice and law. He is usually portrayed as a man wearing a helmet, holding a sun disk and carrying a serrated sword. Every day Utu emerges from a mountain in the east, travelling across the Earth in a chariot, before returning to a cave in a west (creating dawn, midday and sunset respectively). Every night he descends into the underworld to decide the fate of the dead.

• Gerra (God of Fire) was said to possess a wisdom and skill so vast “that all the gods could not fathom it”. He was known to his followers as “lord of the fire and the forge”, capable of refining potent metals, purifying people of evil spirits and mastering any weapon known to man. It was claimed that he was undefeatable in battle.

• Tammuz (God of Vegetation) was a patrol deity associated with food and sustenance. He represented abundance in the spring, and the waning of life in the Autumn. The passing of summer came to represent death to Mesopotamian’s, and many rituals were practiced in Tammuz’s name, grieving for his passing and calling for his return in the coming year.

• Marduk (God of Storms) was the patron deity of Babylon, who slowly rose to power as the head of the Babylonian pantheon. He is a complex God associated with prophecy, resurrection and thunder. He rose to power during a civil war between the gods and their prodigy (known as the Igigi). It was Marduk who conquered Tiamat (a primeval goddess), elevating him to the status of God-king, ruling over the Heaven and the Earth. All nature, including man, owed its existence to him.

• Nabu (God of Scribes) was master of wisdom and writing. He was the son of Marduk, acting as his scribe and minister, and eventually became the keeper of the Tablets of Destiny, in which the fate of humankind was recorded. Nabu wears a horned cap, and stands with hands clasped, in the ancient gesture of priesthood. He rides on a winged dragon that is initially belonged to his father Marduk.

Human Odyssey

Sagburru was a witch from ancient Sumeria who saved her kingdom from ruin, yet very little is known about this mythical figure. She was the first witch ever to be mentioned in recorded history, possessing a magical talent that could easily match her with the likes of Circe, Morgana and Hecate.

Her tale took place nearly six thousand years ago, in the fertile lands of Mesopotamia. It was in this newly emerging world that two warlords quarrelled with one another, trying to gain favour with the goddess Inana.

En-suhgir-ana (lord of Aratta) boasted that he alone was the rightful king, for he had the pleasure of sleeping with the divine Goddess. Yet Emmerkar (ruler of Uruk) declared he was the best match for Inana, for they shared an intimacy in their dreams, unrivalled by any other man.

In order to protect their reputations, each warlord appointed a sorcerer to champion their kingdom, facing one another in magical combat. Whomever could outmatch their opponent would win the favour of the love goddess and secure the legitimacy of their realm.

En-suhgir-ana commissioned Urgirnuna, a powerful wizard who was feared throughout Sumeria. He had single-handedly destroyed the city of Hamazu, raising it to the ground with his dark sorcery. The citizens of Uruk shuddered, for it was said none could match his mastery of the arcane.

However, Emmerkar did not appoint a man to represent his kingdom. Instead he chose a woman whose history was less than obscure. The two spellbinders met on the banks of the Euphrates, Urgirnuna full of mock and contempt for the woman who he feared was less than worthy of his skill and prowess.

Yet when the battle commenced, Urgirnuna disdain soon turned to horror. For every round the mages fought, Sagburru’s magic proved to be mightier. Her mind was sharp, outwitting his deceptions at every turn. Her illusions were so real that he began to confuse her fantasy with reality. Her energy was so profound that the air around her literally crackled with electricity.

In the end, Urgirnuna, dazed and confused, collapsed with exhaustion and begged for mercy. But none was shown by the witch of Hamazu, just as the wizard had shown none to her people. In an incredible display of light the witch blasted the wizard into the Euphrates. It was undeniable, Sagburru was the supreme champion, and her lord and master the rightful hand of Inana.

En-suhgir-ana, lord of Aratta fell to his knees and immediately hailed Emmerkar as the king of Sumeria.

Enmerkar and Aratta

Enmerkar, according to the Sumerian king list, was a Sumerian hero and king of Erech, a city-state in southern Mesopotamia, who is thought to have lived at the end of the 4th or beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. He was the builder of Uruk in Sumer, and was said to have reigned for “420 years” (some copies read “900 years”).

The king list adds that Enmerkar became king after his father Mesh-ki-ang-gasher, son of Utu, had “entered the sea and disappeared.” Along with Lugalbanda and Gilgamesh, Enmerkar is one of the three most significant figures in the surviving Sumerian epics.

Although scholars once assumed that there was only one epic relating Enmerkar’s subjugation of a rival city, Aratta, it is now believed that two separate epics tell this tale. Enmerkar is also known from a few other Sumerian legends, most notably Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, a collection of preserved, early post-Sumerian copies, composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. 21st century BC). It is the longest Sumerian epic yet discovered, it is the source of important information about the history and culture of the Sumero-Iranian border area.

In Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave, Enmerkar is seen leading a campaign against Aratta. It is one of a series of accounts describing the conflicts between Enmerkar, king of Unug-Kulaba (Uruk), and the unnamed king of Aratta, 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.

According to this legend, Enmerkar, son of the sun god Utu, was envious of Aratta’s wealth of metal and stones, which he needed in order to build various shrines, especially a temple for the god Enki in Eridu. Enmerkar therefore requested his sister, the goddess Inanna, to aid him in acquiring material and manpower from Aratta; she agreed and advised him to send a threatening message to the lord of Aratta.

The lord of Aratta, however, demanded that Enmerkar first deliver large amounts of grain to him. Though Enmerkar complied, the lord of Aratta refused to complete his part of the agreement; threatening messages were again sent out by both men, each claiming the aid and sanction of the goddess Inanna. The text becomes fragmented at that point in the narrative, but in the end Enmerkar was apparently victorious.

In Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta a previous confusion of the languages of mankind is mentioned. Enmerkar furthermore seeks to restore the disrupted linguistic unity of the inhabited regions around Uruk, listed as Shubur, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (the region around Akkad), and the Martu land.

Aratta is described as follows in Sumerian literature. It is 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.

Inanna is the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre. Inanna was the most prominent female deity in ancient Mesopotamia. As early as the Uruk period (ca. 4000–3100 BC), Inanna was associated with the city of Uruk.

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).

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. The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not widely accepted by modern Assyriologists.

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.

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.

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.

In this account, it is Enmerkar himself who is called ‘the son of Utu’ (the Sumerian sun god). Aside from founding Uruk, Enmerkar is said here to have had a temple built at Eridu, and is even credited with the invention of writing on clay tablets, for the purpose of threatening Aratta into submission.

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 may have been in the general sphere of influence of the Hurrians (Armenians).

The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (Akkad), and the Martu land (the Amorites). 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 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.

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 among the lands under his control. Ishbi-Erra of Isin and Hammurabi also claimed victories over Subar.

Shupria (Shubria) or Arme-Shupria 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. The capital was called Ubbumu. 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. The name Subartu (Sumerian: Shubur) for the region is attested much earlier, from the time of the earliest Mesopotamian records (mid 3rd millennium BC).

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.

The name Syria is a 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.

The other epic relating the defeat of Aratta is known as Enmerkar and Ensuhkeshdanna. In this tale the ruler of Aratta, Ensuhkeshdanna (or Ensukushsiranna), demanded that Enmerkar become his vassal. Enmerkar refused and, declaring himself the favourite of the gods, commanded Ensuhkeshdanna to submit to him.

Three other texts in the same series describe Enmerkar’s reign. In Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana, while describing Enmerkar’s continued diplomatic rivalries with Aratta, there are an allusion to Hamazi having been vanquished.

The text mentions that the sorcerer of Hamazi, Urgirinuna, went to Aratta after Hamazi “had been destroyed”; he is later sent by the Lord of Aratta on a failed mission attempting to bring Enmerkar into submission. According to the Sumerian king list, king Hadanish of Hamazi held hegemony over Sumer after defeating Kish, but was in turn defeated by Enshakushanna of Uruk.

A clay tablet found in the archives at Ebla in Syria bears a copy of a diplomatic message sent from king Irkab-Damu of Ebla to king Zizi of Hamazi, along with a large quantity of wood, hailing him as a brother, and requesting him to send mercenaries in exchange.

Hamazi was one of the provinces of Ur under the reign of Amar-Sin during the “Sumerian renaissance”; two governors or ensis during this reign were named Lu-nanna son of Namhani, and Ur-Ishkur. In ca. 2010 BC, the province was occupied and plundered by Ishbi-Erra of Isin as the Ur-III empire was collapsing.

Although the members of Ensuhkeshdanna’s council advised him to comply with Enmerkar, he listened instead to a local priest, who promised to make Erech subject to Aratta. When the priest arrived in Erech, however, he was outwitted and killed by a wise old woman, Sagburru, and the two sons of the goddess Nidaba. After he learned the fate of his priest, Ensuhkeshdanna’s will was broken and he yielded to Enmerkar’s demands.

A third epic, Lugalbanda and Enmerkar, tells of the heroic journey to Aratta made by Lugalbanda in the service of Enmerkar. According to the epic, Erech was under attack by Semitic nomads. In order to save his domain, Enmerkar required the aid of Inanna, who was in Aratta.

Enmerkar requested volunteers to go to Inanna, but only Lugalbanda would agree to undertake the dangerous mission. The epic concerns the events of Lugalbanda’s journey and the message given him from Inanna for Enmerkar. Although obscure, Inanna’s reply seems to indicate that Enmerkar was to make special water vessels and was also to catch strange fish from a certain river.

The fourth and last tablet, Lugalbanda and the Anzu Bird, describes Enmerkar’s year-long siege of Aratta. It also mentions that fifty years into Enmerkar’s reign, the Martu people had arisen in all of Sumer and Akkad, necessitating the building of a wall in the desert to protect Uruk.

In the earliest Sumerian texts, all western lands beyond the Euphrates, including modern Syria and Canaan, were known as “the land of the MAR.TU (Amorites)”. This term appears in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, which describes it in the time of Enmerkar as one of the regions inhabited by speakers of a different language.

Another text known as Lugalbanda and the Anzud bird describes how, fifty years into Enmerkar’s reign, the Martu people arose in Sumer and Akkad, (southern Mesopotamia) necessitating the building of a wall to protect Uruk.

The Amorites (Sumerian MAR.TU; Akkadian Tidnum or Amurrūm; Egyptian Amar; Hebrew Emori) were an ancient Semitic-speaking people from ancient Syria who also occupied large parts of southern Mesopotamia from the 21st century BC to the end of the 17th century BC, where they established several prominent city states in existing locations, notably Babylon which was raised from a small administrative town to an independent state and major city. The term Amurru in Akkadian and Sumerian texts refers to them, as well as to their principal deity.

In the earliest Sumerian sources concerning the Amorites, beginning about 2400 BC, the land of the Amorites (“the Mar.tu land”) is associated not with Mesopotamia but with the lands to the west of the Euphrates, including Canaan and what was to become Syria.

They appear as an uncivilized and nomadic people in early Mesopotamian writings from Sumer, Akkad and Assyria, especially connected with the mountainous region of Jebel Bishri in northern Syria called the “mountain of the Amorites”. The ethnic terms Amurru and Amar were used for them in Sumerian, Akkadian and Ancient Egyptian respectively.

From the 21st century BC, possibly triggered by a long major drought starting about 2200 BC, a large-scale migration of Amorite tribes infiltrated southern Mesopotamia. They were one of the instruments of the downfall of the Sumerian Third Dynasty of Ur, and Amorite dynasties both usurped native Sumero-Akkadian rulers of long extant south Mesopotamian city states (such as Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna and Kish), and also established new city-states, the most famous of which was to become Babylon, although it was initially a minor and insignificant state.

Known Amorites wrote in a dialect of Akkadian found on tablets at Mari dating from 1800–1750 BC. Since the language shows northwest Semitic forms, words and constructions, the Amorite language is believed to be a northwest branch of the Canaanite languages, whose other members were; Hebrew, Phoenician, Edomite, Moabite, Ammonite, Sutean, Punic/Carthaginian and Amalekite.

The main sources for the extremely limited knowledge about Amorite are the proper names, not Akkadian in style, that are preserved in such texts. The Akkadian language of the native Semites of Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria, Isin, Larsa, Ur etc.), was from the east Semitic, as was Eblaite.

In these last two tablets, the character of Lugalbanda is introduced as one of Enmerkar’s war chiefs. According to the Sumerian king list, it was this Lugalbanda “the shepherd” who eventually succeeded Enmerkar to the throne of Uruk. Lugalbanda is also named as the father of Gilgamesh, a later king of Uruk, in both Sumerian and Akkadian versions of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

David Rohl has claimed parallels between Enmerkar, builder of Uruk, and Nimrod, ruler of biblical Erech (Uruk) and architect of the Tower of Babel in extra-biblical legends. One parallel Rohl noted is the description “Nimrod the Hunter”, and the -kar in Enmerkar also meaning “hunter”. Rohl has also suggested that Eridu near Ur is the original site of Babel, and that the incomplete ziggurat found there – by far the oldest and largest of its kind – is none other than the remnants of the Biblical tower.

In a legend related by Aelian (ca. AD 200), the king of Babylon, Euechoros or Seuechoros (also appearing in many variants as Sevekhoros, earlier Sacchoras, etc.), is said to be the grandfather of Gilgamos, who later becomes king of Babylon (i.e., Gilgamesh of Uruk).

Several recent scholars have suggested that this “Seuechoros” or “Euechoros” is moreover to be identified with Enmerkar of Uruk, as well as the Euechous named by Berossus as being the first king of Chaldea and Assyria. This last name Euechous (also appearing as Evechius and in many other variants) has long been identified with Nimrod.

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The mythical number 12

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 12, 2015

12 months of the year, 12 hours of daytime, 12 hours of night time…..

Human Odyssey

The number 12 plays a significant role in the Human Odyssey. Many of the myths and ancient philosophies revolve around this mysterious cipher; for example, there were:

12 Apostles of Christ
12 Constellations of the Zodiac
12 Pillars of light in Hinduism
12 Ordeals of Gilgamesh
12 Argonauts who followed Jason
12 Tribes of Israel
12 Knights of the round Table
12 Halls of Valhalla
12 Gates of Egyptian Heaven
12 Labors of Hercules
12 Olympians
12 Titans

In my short stories I’ll reveal the secrets behind this sacred code. You’ll learn why our ancestors associated it so closely with myth, divinity and the destiny of mankind.

12 in Hinduism:
12 is important after 108 in Hindu Dharma.

1) Important of twelve by Ashtavakra:

(i) Mahabharata, Vana Parva (Book 3), Chapter 134, Verse 18:

Ashtavakra said, Twelve months compose the year; twelve letters go to the composition of a foot of the metre called Jagati; twelve are the minor sacrifices; and twelve, according to the learned, is the number of the Adityas.’

Twelve Adityas from Vishnu Purana are:

Amsa, Aryaman, Bhaga, Dhuti, Mitra, Pusan, Sakra, Savitr, Tvastr, Varuna, Visnu and Vivasvat

(ii) Other features of 12 in Hinduism:

Twelve Rasis based on Solar Months

There are twenty-four hours in a day in all, with twelve hours for a half a day.

Furthermore, the basic units of time (60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours) can all perfectly divide by twelve. Tamil years are numbered 60, a multiple of 12.

Twelve Jyotirlingas are mentioned in Shiva Purana, Satarudra Samhita, Chapter 42, Verses 2 to 4.

Twelve most important deities (Brahma, Vishna, Shiva, Krishna, Rama, Hanuman, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh, Skanda and Surya

Guru (jupiter) takes 12 years time to go around sun. So it takes 12 years to complete 12 twelve zodiac signs.

Maha (great) Kumbha Mela is celebrated at Prayag once in 12 years.

When Jupiter transits in Simha and Makha star occurring in the month when Sun is in Kumbha as per Nirayana System, “Mamangam” is celebrated. This comes once in 12 years. (Kumbakonam and Thirukoshtiyur etc.).

Dwadasa Nama of Lord Vishnu are Keshava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Vishnu, Madhusudhana, Trivikrama, Vamana, Sridhara, Hrishikesha, Padmanabha and Damodhara),

Dwadasa Nama of Goddess Lakshmi are Sriyee, Amruthotbhavaye, Kamalaye, Chandra sodharye, Vishnu patniye, Vaishnavye, Vararohaye, Hari vallabhaye, Saranghaye, Deva devikaye, Sura sundarye, Sri MahaLakshmiye

Vaisnavite wear 12 pundam. After putting Dvadasa Oordhva pundram (Thiruaman) one should chant 12 names of Perumal (Maha Vishnu) and 12 names of Thayar (Maha Lakshmi)

There are 12 Alwars (Vaisnavite saints) who sang Divya Prabandham.

Pandavas had exile for 12 years and unrecognised exile for 12 months!

Both Hindustani and Carnatic music use 12 Swarasthanas in an octave. (sa, ri, Ri, ga, Ga, ma, Ma, pa, dha, Dha, ni and Ni)

2) 12 in other religions:

The number 12 is very important in many religions, mainly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and also found in some older religions and belief systems.

Ancient Greek religion, the Twelve Olympians were the principal gods of the pantheon. The chief Norse god, Odin, had 12 sons. Several sets of twelve cities are identified in history as a dodecapolis, the most familiar being the Etruscan League. In the King Arthur Legend, Arthur is said to have subdued 12 rebel princes and to have won 12 great battles against Saxon invaders.

The importance of 12 in Judaism and Christianity can be found in the Bible. The biblical Jacob had 12 sons, who were the progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, while the New Testament describes twelve apostles of Jesus; when Judas Iscariot was disgraced, a meeting was held (Acts) to add Matthias to complete the number twelve once more. (Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.)

The Book of Revelation contains much numerical symbolism, and a lot of the numbers mentioned have 12 as a divisor. 12:1 mentions a woman — interpreted as the people of Israel, the Church or the Virgin Mary — wearing a crown of twelve stars (representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel). Furthermore, there are 12,000 people sealed from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, making a total of 144,000 (which is the square of 12 multiplied by a thousand).

There are 12 days of Christmas. The song Twelve Days of Christmas came from the traditional practice of extending Yuletide celebrations over the twelve days from Christmas day to the eve of Epiphany; the period of thirteen days including Epiphany is sometimes known as Christmastide. Thus Twelfth Night is another name for the twelfth day of Christmas or January 5 (the eve of Epiphany). Similarly, Eastern Orthodoxy observes 12 Great Feasts.

In Shiah Islam, there are twelve Imams, legitimate successors of the prophet Muhammad. These twelve early leaders of Islam are—Ali, Hasan, Husayn, and nine of Husayn’s descendants.

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Megaliths of Oceania

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 12, 2015

Human Odyssey

The distinct culture of Polynesians has created some of the most interesting monuments in the world. A true wonder of the world are the Moai sculptures in Easter Island but not less intriguing are the mysterious Tikis statues of Hiva Oa.

The temple of Taputapuatea Marae is an ancient pyramid built on the Leeward Islands, French Polynesia. It is considered as one of the most important sacred complexes in Polynesia. Established around 1000 AD, the marae was a place of learning where priests and navigators from all over the Pacific would gather to offer sacrifices to the gods and share their knowledge of the genealogical origins of the universe, and of deep-ocean navigation.

During the 15th century ce, the Maori of New Zealand constructed a hill fort known as Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) in Auckland. It is the largest Maori fort ever built. These Earth workers literally carved a fortified complex out of the hill, considered to be the most impressive systems in world. Many of the Maori can also trace their ancestry back to this hill, which is said to possess the spirits of their elders.

The island of Hiva Oa is home to a ceremonial site with houses some of the largest prehistoric statues in French Polynesia, up to 2.6 m high. They are positioned on an ancient monument known as the me’ae, a sacred site arranged for ceremonies and gatherings. The old stone figures were based on gods and legendary figures from the islander’s history.

One of the most interesting fortifications of Polynesia can be found on the small island of Rapa Iti. These pyramid shaped towers were built along the highest peaks of the island, a realm where the island gods were said to reside. It is believed that the depletion of natural resources on the island resulted in warfare, and the inhabitants lived along side these fortified settlements for protection.

One of the most significant petroglyph sites in the world can be found in Rapa Nui (with more than 1,20 valuable carvings). The ‘Orongo’ glyphs were based on the birdman cult, which hosted an annual race to bring the first bird egg from the islet of Motu Nui to ‘Orongo’. The site has numerous petroglyphs, mainly of the birdmen, carved out of large volcanic blocks.

One of the most unusual megalithic monuments in the Pacific is the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui in Tonga. Each stone weighs some 20 tons and is some 6 m high. This massive trilithon was composed of three giant stones – two upright and a lintel uniting them. It was built in the beginning of 13th century, possibly as a royal gateway. Nearby is large upright stone slab – Maka Fa’akinanga – a legendary throne of the king. The local legends of Tonga suggest that this monument was made by a god, because no mortals would be able to handle such giant slabs of stone.

Hale O Pi’ilani Heiau is an ancient temple complex built on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. This huge shrine was used to treat the sick, make offerings to the gods, start rain, stop rain, increase the population, ensure health of the nation, achieve success in distant voyaging, reach peace, and achieve success in war.

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Forgotten lands and civilizations

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 12, 2015

Human Odyssey

Many cultures from around the world speak of mythical lands, sunken cities and lost kingdoms that have defied all attempts in being discovered. It’s possible these mysterious civilizations have come and gone, reaching back further in time than history will ever know. There forgotten lands, if discovered today, could shed light on our ancient culture via their ancient structures, cryptic hieroglyphics and forgotten artwork.


Atlantis was a mythical island that was said to have sunk below the ocean. It was first mentioned by Plato at around 350 BC, who wrote about a beautiful island in the Atlantic Ocean that was swallowed by the sea in one day and one night. He wrote two books about the history and culture of this mythical island.

Another sunken city was Ys, which legends claims reached back as far as the prehistoric era where a settlement was built off the coast of Douarnenez, France. The myth states that Gradlon, a King of Cornouaille, built a city within these walls on the request of his daughter Dahut who loved the sea. However, one day a wave as high as a mountain collapsed on Ys, dragging the city to the depths of the ocean.

Lemuria is the name of a lost land located somewhere in the Indian or Pacific Ocean. The island was not based upon legend but rather scientific conjecture. Though Lemuria is no longer considered a valid scientific hypothesis, it has been adopted by occult practitioners who believe a mysterious continent once existed in the ancient world that has now sank beneath the ocean as a result of a cataclysmic event.

Mu is the name of a hypothetical lost continent proposed by 19th-century traveller Augustus Le Plongeon. He claimed that several ancient civilizations, such as those of Egypt and Mesoamerica, were created by refugees from Mu, which he located in the Atlantic Ocean (others suggest the Pacific). Today scientists dismiss the concept of Mu as physically impossible, arguing that a continent can neither sink nor be destroyed in the short period of time required by this premise.

Avalon is a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legends. It first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 1136 ce “historical” account British history. Within his book he claimed that a mysterious island to the west of England had forged Arthur’s sword Excalibur, and later acted as a place of refuge after Arthur was wounded in the Battle of Camlann. Avalon was has always been associated with mystical practices and supernatural beings.

Agartha is a legendary city that is said to reside under the earth’s surface. It was first mentioned in the west by Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre who proposed that this hidden civilisation protected of secret knowledge and incredible wealth. Theosophists regard Agartha as a vast complex of caves underneath Tibet, inhabited by supernatural creatures called asuras.

In Tibetan and Buddhist traditions, Shambhala is an ancient kingdom hidden somewhere in Inner Asia. It is mentioned in various ancient texts, the oldest being the Bön scriptures (which vastly predates Buddhism). They all see Shambhala as a pure realm that lies on the edge of physical reality, connecting this world to the next (a gateway between the physical and spiritual realms). Only the most enlightened of beings can enter this paradise, (indeed, Tibetan lamas spend a great deal of their lives in spiritual development before attempting the journey to this mythical realm).

In Greek mythology, Hyperborea was a mythical land situated “beyond the North Wind”. The Greeks believed it was a fertile paradise that lay far to the north of Thrace, ‘where the sun shone twenty-four hours a day’ (which to modern ears suggests the Arctic region). However, it is also possible that Hyperborea was not a physical location at all, for according to the Greek poet Pindar, neither by ship nor on foot would you find the marvellous road to Hyperborea.

Thule was first mentioned in classical European geography as a region that lay far to the north of Britain. Prior to the 19th century, many thought of this northern mystery as hell, surrounded by raging volcanoes in the midst of a frozen wilderness. Conversely, after the 18th century, it came to be known as a land of plenty; where fish were caught abundantly and there was plenty of grazing for the production of meat and butter. The legend of Thule has therefore been appraised as being both heaven and hell. The term ‘Ultima Thule’ denotes any distant place that is located beyond the “borders of the known world”.

When Spanish explorers arrived in South America in the early 16th century they heard rumours of a lost city called El Dorado which was filled with gold. Local folklore said that every time a new ruler was appointed in this city, gold and precious jewels were thrown into a lake called Guativita. This lake was found it 1545, by explorers who managed to lower its level enough to find hundred of pieces of gold along the lake’s edge. However, attempts to drain the lake further have remained unsuccessful, and the city of gold remains lost.

Paititi is a legendary Inca lost city which was the equivalent of a western utopia. It was said to be abundant with food and mineral wealth. Folklore places this forgotten city somewhere within the remote rain forests of Peru, northern Bolivia or southwest Brazil. The Paititi legend revolves around the story of the culture-hero Inkarri, who, after he had founded Q’ero and Cusco, retreated toward the jungles of Pantiacolla to live out the rest of his days in his refuge city of Paititi.

Brasil is a phantom island which is said to lie west of Ireland in the Atlantic Ocean. It is described as being cloaked in a perpetual mist, except for one day every seven years, where its incredible beauty became visible to the naked eye. Expeditions left Bristol in 1480 and 1481 to search for the island; but nothing was found.

Then, in 1674, Captain John Nisbet claimed to have found the island when on a journey to Ireland. He described strangeblack rodents and a magician who lived in a stone castle. A follow-up expedition by captain Alexander Johnson also found Brasil, confirming the same findings. But thereafter, Brasil reverted to its elusive self. Only a few sightings have been made since.

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