Seventy metal books found in cave in Jordan could change our view of Biblical history. For scholars of faith and history, it is a treasure trove too precious for price. This ancient collection of 70 tiny books, their lead pages bound with wire, could unlock some of the secrets of the earliest days of Christianity. Academics are divided as to their authenticity but say that if verified, they could prove as pivotal as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.
Could this be the biggest find since the Dead Sea Scrolls?
Mount Hermon is actually a cluster of mountains with three distinct summits, each about the same height. The Anti-Lebanon range extends for approximately 150 km (93 mi) in a northeast-southwest direction, running parallel to the Lebanon range on the west. The Hermon range covers an area of about 1000 square km, of which about 70 km² are under Israeli control. Most of the portion of Mount Hermon within the Golan Heights constitutes the Hermon nature reserve.
Place of origin – Haplogroup J1/J2
In human genetics, Haplogroup J-M172 [Phylogenetics 1] is a Y-chromosome haplogroup which is a subclade (branch) of haplogroup J-P209.[Phylogenetics 2] J-M172 can be classified as Mediterranean/Aegean (Di Giacomo, 2004), Greco-Anatolian, Mesopotamian and/or Caucasian and is linked to the earliest indigenous populations of Anatolia and the Aegean. It was carried by Bronze Age immigrants to Europe, and ultimately descends from the Cro-Magnon population (IJ-M429 Y-DNA) within the region spanning eastern Turkey and Persia around 35,000 years ago.
The precise region of origin for haplogroup J-M172 remains a topic of discussion. However, at least within a European context, Anatolia and the Aegean seem to be source regions, with Hg J2 having perhaps arisen in the Levant (Di Giacomo 2004) / Middle East (Semino 2004) with the development of agriculture. As to the timing of its spread into Europe, Di Giacomo points to events which post-date the Neolithic, in particular the demographic floruit associated with the rise of the Ancient Greek world.
Semino et al. derived older age estimates for overall J2 (having used the Zhivitovksy method c.f. Di Giacomo), postulating its initial spread with Neolithic farmers from the Near East. However, its subclade distribution, showing localized peaks in the Southern Balkans, southern Italy, north/ central Italy and the Caucasus, does not conform to a single ‘wave-of-advance’ scenario, betraying a number of still poorly understood post-Neolithic processes which created its current pattern. Like Di Giacomo, the Bronze Age southern Balkans was suggested to have been an important vector of spread.
Haplogroup J-M172 is found mainly in the Fertile Crescent, the Caucasus (Nasidze 2003), Anatolia, the Balkans, Italy, the Mediterranean littoral, and the Iranian plateau(Semino 2004).
J-M172 is found at very high frequencies in certain peoples of the Caucasus: among the Ingush 87.4% (Balanovsky 2011), Chechens 55.2% (Balanovsky 2011), Georgians 21%-72%, (Wells 2001), Azeris 24% (Di Giacomo 2004)-48%, (Wells 2001) Abkhaz 25%, (Nasidze 2004) Balkars 24% (Battaglia 2008), Ossetians 24% (Nasidze 2004), Armenians 21% (Wells 2001)-24% (Nasidze 2004), Circassians 21.8% (Balanovsky 2011), and other groups ( Nasidze 2004 and Nasidze 2003).
Haplogroup J2 is thought to have appeared somewhere in the Middle East towards the end of the last glaciation, between 15,000 and 22,000 years ago. Its present geographic distribution argue in favour of a Neolithic expansion from the Fertile Crescent. This expansion probably correlated with the diffusion of domesticated of cattle and goats (starting c. 8000-9000 BCE) from the Zagros mountains and northern Mesopotamia, rather than with the development of cereal agriculture in the Levant (which appears to be linked rather to haplogroups G2 and E1b1b). A second expansion of J2 could have occured with the advent of metallurgy, notably copper working (from the Lower Danube valley, central Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia), and the rise of some of the oldest civilisations.
Quite a few ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilisations flourished in territories where J2 lineages were preponderant. This is the case of the Hattians, the Hurrians, the Etruscans, the Minoans, the Greeks, the Phoenicians (and their Carthaginian offshoot), the Israelites, and to a lower extent also the Romans, the Assyrians and the Persians. All the great seafaring civilisations from the middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age were dominated by J2 men.
There is a distinct association of ancient J2 civilisations with bull worship. The oldest evidence of a cult of the bull can be traced back to Neolithic central Anatolia, notably at the sites of Çatalhöyük and Alaca Höyük. Bull depictions are omnipresent in Minoan frescos and ceramics in Crete. Bull-masked terracotta figurines and bull-horned stone altars have been found in Cyprus (dating back as far as the Neolithic, the first presumed expansion of J2 from West Asia).
The Hattians, Sumerians, Babylonians, Canaaites, and Carthaginians all had bull deities (in contrast with Indo-European or East Asian religions). The sacred bull of Hinduism, Nandi, present in all temples dedicated to Shiva or Parvati, does not have an Indo-European origin, but can be traced back to Indus Valley civilisation. Minoan Crete, Hittite Anatolia, the Levant, Bactria and the Indus Valley also shared a tradition of bull leaping, the ritual of dodging the charge of a bull. It survives today in the traditional bullfighting of Andalusia in Spain and Provence in France, two regions with a high percentage of J2 lineages.
In Genetic genealogy and human genetics, Y DNA haplogroup J-M267, also commonly known as Haplogroup J1 is a subclade (branch) of Y-DNA haplogroup J-P209, (commonly known as Haplogroup J) along with its sibling clade Y DNA haplogroup J-M172 (commonly known as Haplogroup J2). (All these haplogroups have had other historical names listed below.[Phylogenetics 1][Phylogenetics 2])
Men from this lineage share a common paternal ancestor, which is demonstrated and defined by the presence of the SNP mutation referred to as M267, which was announced in (Cinnioğlu 2004). This haplogroup is found today in significant frequencies in many areas in order near the Middle East, and parts of the Caucasus, Sudan and the Horn of Africa. It is also found in high frequencies in parts of North Africa and amongst Jewish groups, especially those with Cohen surnames. It can also be found much less commonly, but still occasionally in significant amounts, in Europe and as far east as Central Asia.
Since the discovery of haplogroup J-P209 it has generally been recognized that it shows signs of having originated in or near West Asia. The frequency and diversity of both its major branches, J-M267 and J-M172, in that region makes them candidates as genetic markers of the spread of farming technology during the Neolithic, which is proposed to have had a major impact upon human populations.
The P58 marker which defines subgroup J-P58 was announced in (Karafet 2008), but had been announced earlier under the name Page08 in (Repping 2006 and called that again in Chiaroni 2011). It is very prevalent in many areas where J-M267 is common, especially in parts of North Africa and throughout the Arabian peninsula. It also makes up approximately 70% of the J-M267 among the Amhara of Ethiopia. Notably, it is not common among the J-M267 populations in the Caucasus.
Chiaroni 2009 proposed that J-P58 (that they refer to as J1e) might have first dispersed during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period, “from a geographical zone, including northeast Syria, northern Iraq and eastern Turkey toward Mediterranean Anatolia, Ismaili from southern Syria, Jordan, Palestine and northern Egypt.” They further propose that the Zarzian material culture may be ancestral. They also propose that this movement of people may also be linked to the dispersal of Semitic languages by hunter-herders, who moved into arid areas during periods known to have had low rainfall. Thus, while other haplogroups including J-M172 moved out of the area with agriculturalists who followed the rainfall, populations carrying J-M267 remained with their flocks (King 2002 and Chiaroni 2008).
According to this scenario, after the initial neolithic expansion involving Semitic languages, which possibly reached as far as Yemen, a more recent dispersal occurred during the Chalcolithic or Early Bronze Age (approximately 3000–5000 BCE), and this involved the branch of Semitic which leads to the Arabic language. The authors propose that this involved a spread of some J-P58 from the direction of Syria towards Arab populations of the Arabian Peninsula and Negev.
Mother goddess is a term used to refer to a goddess who represents motherhood, fertility, creation, or who embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother.
Many different goddesses have represented motherhood in one way or another, and some have been associated with the birth of humanity as a whole. Others have represented the fertility of the earth.
Numerous female figurines from Neolithic Çatalhöyük in Anatolia have been interpreted as evidence of a mother-goddess cult, c.7500 BC. James Mellaart, who led excavation at the site in the 1960s, suggests that the figures represent a Great goddess, who headed the pantheon of an essentially matriarchal culture. A seated female figure, flanked by what Mellart describes as lionesses, was found in a grain-bin; she may have intended to protect the harvest and grain.
Reports of more recent excavations at Çatalhöyük conclude that overall, the site offers no unequivocal evidence of matriarchal culture or a dominant Great Goddess; the balance of male and female power appears to have been equal. The seated or enthroned goddess-like figure flanked by lionesses, has been suggested as a prototype Cybele, a leading deity and Mother Goddess of later Anatolian states.
In the Aegean, Anatolian, and ancient Near Eastern culture zones, Cybele, the primordial deity Gaia, and Rhea were worshiped as Mother goddesses. In Mycenae the great goddess often was represented by a column.
Ninsun is the Mother Goddess in general Mesopotamian mythology. She is Asherah in Canaan and `Ashtart in Syria. The Sumerians wrote erotic poetry about their mother goddess Ninhursag.
James Frazer (author of The Golden Bough) and others (such as Jane Ellen Harrison, Robert Graves and Marija Gimbutas) advance the idea that goddess worship in ancient Europe and the Aegean was descended from Pre-Indo-European neolithic matriarchies.
Gimbutas argued that the thousands of female images from Old Europe (archaeology) represented a number of different groups of goddess symbolism, notably a “bird and snake” group associated with water, an “earth mother” group associated with birth, and a “stiff nude” group associated with death, as well as other groups.
Gimbutas maintained that the “earth mother” group continues the paleolithic figural tradition, and that traces of these figural traditions may be found in goddesses of the historical period. According to Gimbutas’ Kurgan Hypothesis, Old European cultures were disrupted by expansion of Indo-European speakers from southern Siberia.
From 5500 to 2750 BC the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture flourished in the region of modern-day Romania, Moldova, and southwestern Ukraine, leaving behind ruins of settlements of as many as 15,000 residents who practiced agriculture and domesticated livestock. They also left behind many ceramic remains of pottery and clay figurines. Some of these figurines appear to represent the mother goddess (see images in this article).
Inanna is the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. Inanna can be considered 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 symbol is an eight-pointed star or a rosette. She was associated with lions – even then a symbol of power – and was frequently depicted standing on the backs of two lionesses. Her cuneiform ideogram was a hook-shaped twisted knot of reeds, representing the doorpost of the storehouse (and thus fertility and plenty).
Inanna was associated with the celestial planet Venus. Inanna was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Dumuzi was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries.
According to one story, Inanna tricked the god of culture, Enki, who was worshipped in the city of Eridu, into giving her the Mes. The Mes were documents or tablets which were blueprints to civilization. They represented everything from abstract notions like Victory and Counsel and Truth to technologies like weaving to writing to social constructs like law, priestly offices, kingship, and even prostitution. They granted power over, or possibly existence to, all the aspects of civilization (both positive and negative).
Inanna traveled to Enki’s city Eridu, and by getting him drunk, she got him to give her hundreds of Mes, which she took to her city of Uruk. Later, when sober, Enki sent mighty Abgallu (sea monsters, from ab, sea or lake + gal, big + lu, man) to stop her boat as it sailed the Euphrates and retrieve his gifts, but she escaped with the Mes and brought them to her city. This story may represent the historic transfer of power from Eridu to Uruk.
In his connections with Inanna, Enki shows other aspects of his non-Patriarchal nature. The myth Enki and Inanna tells the story of the young goddess of the É-anna temple of Uruk, who visits the senior god of Eridu, and is entertained by him in a feast. The seductive god plies her with beer, and the young goddess maintains her virtue, whilst Enki proceeds to get drunk. In generosity he gives her all the gifts of his Me, the gifts of civilized life. Next morning, with a hangover, he asks his servant Isimud for his Me, only to be informed that he has given them to Inanna. Upset at his actions, he sends Galla demons to recover them. Inanna escapes her pursuers and arrives safely back at the quay at Uruk. Enki realises that he has been tricked in his hubris and accepts a peace treaty forever with Uruk.
Politically, this myth would seem to indicate events of an early period when political authority passed from Enki’s city of Eridu to Inanna’s city of Uruk.
Inanna’s name derives from Queen of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-anna). The cuneiform sign of Inanna however, is not a ligature of the signs lady (Sumerian: nin) and sky (Sumerian: an). These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that originally Inanna may have been 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.
Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta is a legendary Sumerian account, of preserved, early post-Sumerian copies, composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. 21st century BC). It is one of a series of accounts describing the conflicts between Enmerkar, king of Unug-Kulaba (Uruk), and the unnamed king of Aratta (probably somewhere in modern Iran or Armenia).
Because it gives a Sumerian account of the “confusion of tongues”, and also involves Enmerkar constructing ziggurats at Eridu and Uruk, it has, since the time of Samuel Kramer, been compared with the Tower of Babel narrative in the Book of Genesis.
The land of Subartu or Subar is mentioned in Bronze Age literature. The name also appears as Subari in the Amarna letters, and, in the form Šbr, in Ugarit. It was apparently a polity in Northern Mesopotamia, at the upper Tigris. Most scholars accept Subartu as an early name for Assyria proper on the Tigris, although there are various other theories placing it sometimes a little farther to the east, north or west of there. Its precise location has not been identified.
From the point of view of the Akkadian Empire, Subartu marked the northern geographical horizon, just as Martu, Elam and Sumer marked “west”, “east” and “south”, respectively.
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 in the earliest texts seem to have been farming mountain dwellers, frequently raided for slaves.
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 (Armenians), -which has been identified with Aleppo-, among the lands under his control. Ishbi-Erra of Isin and Hammurabi also claimed victories over Subar.
Three of the 14th century BC Amarna letters, Akkadian cuneiform correspondence found in Egypt, mention Subari as a toponym. All are addressed to Akenaten; in two (EA 108 and 109), Rib-Hadda, king of Byblos, complains that Abdi-Ashirta, ruler of Amurru, had sold captives to Subari, while another (EA 100), from the city of Irqata, also alludes to having transferred captured goods to Subari.
There is also a mention of “Subartu” in the 8th century BC Poem of Erra (IV, 132), along with other lands that have harassed Babylonia. In Neo-Babylonian times (under Nabopolassar, Nebuchadrezzar II and Nabonidus), Subartu was used as a generic term for Assyria. The term was still current under Cambyses II, who mentions Subarian captives.
Subartu may have been in the general sphere of influence of the Hurrians. There are various alternate theories associating the ancient Subartu with one or more modern cultures found in the region, including Armenian or Kurdish tribes. Some scholars, such as Harvard Professor Mehrdad Izady, claim to have identified Subartu with the current Kurdish tribe of Zibaris inhabiting the northern ring around Mosul up to Hakkari in Turkey.
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. A “possible reflex” has been suggested in Sanskrit Āraṭṭa or Arāṭṭa mentioned in the Mahabharata and other texts.
The goddess Inanna resides in Aratta, but Enmerkar of Uruk pleases her more than does the lord of Aratta, who is not named in this epic.
Enmerkar wants Aratta to submit to Uruk, bring stones down from the mountain, craft gold, silver and lapis lazuli, and send them, along with “kugmea” ore to Uruk to build a temple. Inana bids him send a messenger to Aratta, who ascends and descends the “Zubi” mountains, and crosses Susa, Anshan, and “five, six, seven” mountains before approaching Aratta.
Aratta in turn wants grain in exchange. However Inana transfers her allegiance to Uruk, and the grain gains the favor of Aratta’s people for Uruk, so the lord of Aratta challenges Enmerkar to send a champion to fight his champion. Then the god Ishkur makes Aratta’s crops grow.
Urkesh or Urkish is a tell, or settlement mound, located in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains in Al-Hasakah Governorate, northeastern Syria. It was founded during the fourth millennium BC possibly by the Hurrians on a site which appears to have been inhabited previously for a few centuries.
The genealogy and identity of Urkesh’s rulers is largely unknown, but the following names have been identified as being those of the city-state’s kings. The first three known kings (only two of whom are known by name) bore the Hurrian title endan.
EN is the Sumerian cuneiform for “lord” or “priest”. Originally, it seems to have been used to designate a high priest or priestess of a Sumerian city-state’s patron-deity – a position that entailed political power as well. It may also have been the original title of the ruler of Uruk.
ENSI (spelled PA.TE.SI in Sumerian cuneiform, hence occasionally transliterated as patesi; possibly derived from <en si-k>, “lord of the plowland”; borrowed into Akkadian as iššakkum) is a Sumerian title designating the ruler or prince of a city state. Originally it may have designated an independent ruler, but in later periods the title presupposed subordinance to a lugal (King/Emperor).
They held most political power in Sumerian city states during the Uruk period (c.4100-2900 BCE). In the city state of Ashur, the hereditary ruler bore the Akkadian language version of the title énsi, while the patron deity was regarded as šarrum (“King”).
Sumer (approximately “land of the civilized kings” or “native land”) was an ancient civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age. Although the earliest historical records in the region do not go back much further than ca. 2900 BC, modern historians have asserted that Sumer was first permanently settled between ca. 4500 and 4000 BC by a non-Semitic people who may or may not have spoken the Sumerian language (pointing to the names of cities, rivers, basic occupations, etc. as evidence).
These conjectured, prehistoric people are now called “proto-Euphrateans” or “Ubaidians”, and are theorized to have evolved from the Samarra culture of northern Mesopotamia (Assyria). The Ubaidians were the first civilizing force in Sumer, draining the marshes for agriculture, developing trade, and establishing industries, including weaving, leatherwork, metalwork, masonry, and pottery.
However, some scholars such as Piotr Michalowski and Gerd Steiner, contest the idea of a Proto-Euphratean language or one substrate language. It has been suggested by them and others, that the Sumerian language was originally that of the hunter and fisher peoples, who lived in the marshland and the east Arabian littoral region, and were part of the Arabian bifacial culture.
Sumerian civilization took form in the Uruk period (4th millennium BC), continuing into the Jemdat Nasr and Early Dynastic periods. During the 3rd millennium BC, a close cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians (who spoke a Language Isolate) and the Semitic Akkadian speakers, which included widespread bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian on Akkadian (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the 3rd millennium BC as a sprachbund. Sumer was conquered by the Semitic-speaking kings of the Akkadian Empire around 2270 BC (short chronology), but Sumerian continued as a sacred language.
The Sumerians were a non-Semitic people, and spoke a language isolate; a number of linguists believed they could detect a substrate language beneath Sumerian, names of some of Sumer’s major cities are not Sumerian, revealing influences of earlier inhabitants. However, the archaeological record shows clear uninterrupted cultural continuity from the time of the Early Ubaid period (5300 – 4700 BC C-14) settlements in southern Mesopotamia. The Sumerian people who settled here farmed the lands in this region that were made fertile by silt deposited by the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.
It is speculated by some archaeologists that Sumerian speakers were farmers who moved down from the north, after perfecting irrigation agriculture there. The Ubaid pottery of southern Mesopotamia has been connected via Choga Mami Transitional ware to the pottery of the Samarra period culture (c. 5700 – 4900 BC C-14) in the north, who were the first to practice a primitive form of irrigation agriculture along the middle Tigris River and its tributaries.
The connection is most clearly seen at Tell Awayli (Oueilli, Oueili) near Larsa, excavated by the French in the 1980s, where 8 levels yielded pre-Ubaid pottery resembling Samarran ware. Farming peoples spread down into southern Mesopotamia because they had developed a temple-centered social organization for mobilizing labor and technology for water control, enabling them to survive and prosper in a difficult environment.
Others have suggested a continuity of Sumerians, from the indigenous hunter-fisherfolk traditions, associated with the Arabian bifacial assemblages found on the Arabian littoral. The Sumerians themselves claimed kinship with the people of Dilmun, associated with Bahrein in the Persian Gulf. Professor Juris Zarins believes the Sumerians may have been the people living in the Persian Gulf region before it flooded at the end of the Ice Age.
The Hurrians were a people of the Bronze Age Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language called Hurrian, and lived in Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia. Hamoukar is a large archaeological site located in the Jazira region of northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border (Al Hasakah Governorate) and Turkey. The Excavations have shown that this site houses the remains of one of the world’s oldest known cities, leading scholars to believe that cities in this part of the world emerged much earlier than previously thought.
Traditionally, the origins of urban developments in this part of the world have been sought in the riverine societies of southern Mesopotamia (in what is now southern Iraq). This is the area of ancient Sumer, where around 4000 BC many of the famous Mesopotamian cities such as Ur and Uruk emerged, giving this region the attributes of “Cradle of Civilization” and “Heartland of Cities.” Following the discoveries at Hamoukar, this definition may have to extended further up the Tigris River to include that part of northern Syria where Hamoukar is located.
The Hurrians had a reputation in metallurgy. The Sumerians borrowed their copper terminology from the Hurrian vocabulary. Copper was traded south to Mesopotamia from the highlands of Anatolia. The Khabur Valley had a central position in the metal trade, and copper, silver and even tin were accessible from the Hurrian-dominated countries Kizzuwatna and Ishuwa situated in the Anatolian highland.
Knowledge of Hurrian culture relies on archaeological excavations at sites such as Nuzi and Alalakh as well as on cuneiform tablets, primarily from Hattusa (Boghazköy), the capital of the Hittites, whose civilization was greatly influenced by the Hurrians. Tablets from Nuzi, Alalakh, and other cities with Hurrian populations (as shown by personal names) reveal Hurrian cultural features even though they were written in Akkadian. Hurrian cylinder seals were carefully carved and often portrayed mythological motifs. They are a key to the understanding of Hurrian culture and history.
The Khabur River is the largest perennial tributary to the Euphrates in Syrian territory. Although the Khabur originates in Turkey, the karstic springs around Ra’s al-‘Ayn are the river’s main source of water. Several important wadis join the Khabur north of Al-Hasakah, together creating what is known as the Khabur Triangle, or Upper Khabur area.
From north to south, annual rainfall in the Khabur basin decreases from over 400 mm to less than 200 mm, making the river a vital water source for agriculture throughout history. The Khabur joins the Euphrates near the town of Busayrah.
Since the 1930s, numerous archaeological excavations and surveys have been carried out in the Khabur Valley, indicating that the region has been occupied since the Lower Palaeolithic period. Important sites that have been excavated include Tell Halaf, Tell Brak, Tell Leilan, Tell Mashnaqa, Tell Mozan and Tell Barri.
Sumeru (Sanskrit) or Sineru (Pāli) or Kangrinboqe is the name of the central world-mountain in Buddhist cosmology. Etymologically, the proper name of the mountain is Meru (Pāli Neru), to which is added the approbatory prefix su-, resulting in the meaning “excellent Meru” or “wonderful Meru”. The concept of Sumeru is closely related to the Hindu mythological concept of a central world mountain, called Meru, but differs from the Hindu concept in several particulars.
A flood myth or deluge myth is a symbolic narrative in which a great flood is sent by a deity, or deities, to destroy civilization in an act of divine retribution. Parallels are often drawn between the flood waters of these myths and the primeval waters found in certain creation myths, as the flood waters are described as a measure for the cleansing of humanity, in preparation for rebirth. Most flood myths also contain a culture hero, who strives to ensure this rebirth.
The flood myth motif is widespread among many cultures as seen in the Mesopotamian flood stories, the Puranas, Deucalion in Greek mythology, the Genesis flood narrative, and in the lore of the K’iche’ and Maya peoples of Central America, the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa tribe of Native Americans in North America, and the Muisca people in South America.
According to Sumerian mythology, Enki also assisted humanity to survive the Deluge designed to kill them. This is one of the oldest of the surviving Middle Eastern Deluge myths.
In the later Legend of Atrahasis, Enlil, the king of the gods, sets out to eliminate humanity, whose noise is disturbing his rest. He successively sends drought, famine and plague to eliminate humanity, but Enki thwarts his half-brother’s plans by teaching Atrahasis how to counter these threats.
Each time, Atrahasis asks the population to abandon worship of all gods, except the one responsible for the calamity, and this seems to shame them into relenting. Humans, however, proliferate a fourth time.
Enraged, Enlil convenes a Council of Deities and gets them to promise not to tell humankind that he plans their total annihilation. Enki does not tell Atrahasis directly, but speaks to him in secret via a reed wall. He instructs Atrahasis to build a boat in order to rescue his family and other living creatures from the coming deluge. After the seven-day Deluge, the flood hero frees a swallow, a raven and a dove in an effort to find if the flood waters have receded. Upon landing, a sacrifice is made to the gods. Enlil is angry his will has been thwarted yet again, and Enki is named as the culprit. Enki explains that Enlil is unfair to punish the guiltless, and the gods institute measures to ensure that humanity does not become too populous in the future.
In some Hindu traditions, Manu is a title accorded to a progenitor of humanity. According to these traditions, the current time period is ruled by the seventh Manu called the Vaivasvata Manu, the son of Vivasvân and his wife Sanjnâ.
Vaivasvata Manu, whose original name was Satyavrata, is the 7th Manu and considered the first king to rule this earth, who saved humanity from the great flood — after being warned of it by the Matsya avatar of Vishnu, who had also advised him to build a giant boat. The story is mentioned in early Hindu scriptures such as the Satapatha Brahmana, and it has often been compared with the popular traditions of a Great Deluge from other cultures around the world, particularly that of Noah’s Ark. Because Manu was believed to be absolutely honest, he was initially known as Satyavrata (“One with the oath of truth”). Vaivasvata Manu ruled as King Manu. His wife was Sraddha.
A covenant, in its most general sense and historical sense, is a solemn promise to engage in or refrain from a specified action. Under historical English common law a covenant was distinguished from an ordinary contract by the presence of a seal. Because the presence of a seal indicated an unusual solemnity in the promises made in a covenant, the common law would enforce a covenant even in the absence of consideration. In United States contract law, an implied covenant of good faith is presumed.
A covenant is a type of contract in which the covenantor makes a promise to a covenantee to do (affirmative covenant) or not do some action (negative covenant). In real property law, the term real covenants is used for conditions tied to the use of land. A “covenant running with the land”, also imposes duties or restrictions upon the use of that land regardless of the owner. Restrictive covenants are somewhat similar to easements and equitable servitudes, leading to some discussion about whether these concepts should be unified; the Restatement (Third) of Property takes steps to merge these concepts as servitudes. Real covenant law in the United States has been referred to as an “unspeakable quagmire” by one court.
Covenants for title are covenants which come with a deed or title to the property, in which the grantor of the title makes certain guarantees to the grantee. Non-compete clauses in the United States are also called restrictive covenants.
The religious concept of a covenant is central to the Abrahamic religions and derived from the biblical covenants, notably the Abrahamic covenant. It is a formal alliance or agreement made by God with that religious community or with humanity in general.
A covenant may also refer to an agreement between members of a congregation to work together according to the precepts of their religion. In Indo-Iranian religious tradition, Mithra-Mitra is the hypostasis of covenant, and hence keeper and protector of moral, social and interpersonal relationships, including love and friendship. In living Zoroastrianism, which is one of the two primary developments of Indo-Iranian religious tradition, Mithra is by extension a judge, protecting agreements by ensuring that individuals who break one do not enter Heaven.
A biblical covenant is a religious covenant that is described in the Bible. All Abrahamic religions consider biblical covenants important. Of these covenants, the Noahic Covenant is unique in applying to all humanity, while the other covenants are principally agreements made between God and the biblical Israelites and their proselytes. Jeremiah 31:30–33 also mentions “a new covenant” that God would establish with Israel and Judah.
The New Covenant is a biblical interpretation originally derived from a phrase in the Book of Jeremiah, in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is often thought of as an eschatological Messianic Age or world to come and is related to the biblical concept of the Kingdom of God.
Generally, Christians believe that the New Covenant was instituted at the Last Supper as part of the Eucharist, which in the Gospel of John includes the New Commandment. There are several Christian eschatologies that further define the New Covenant, as an example an inaugurated eschatology defines and describes the New Covenant as an ongoing relationship between Christian believers and God that will be in full fruition after the Second Coming of Christ; that is, it will not only be in full fruition in believing hearts, but in the future external world as well. The connection between the Blood of Christ and the New Covenant is seen in most modern English translations of the New Testament with the saying: “this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood”.
Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant, and that the Blood of Christ shed at his crucifixion is the required blood of the covenant. As with all covenants between God and man described in the Bible, the New Covenant is considered “a bond in blood sovereignly administered by God.” It has been theorized that the New Covenant is the Law of Christ as spoken during his Sermon on the Mount.
Christians believe this new covenant to be the “replacement” or “final fulfilment” of the Old Covenant described in the Old Testament or as existing alongside it in dual covenant theology.
Noah’s Thanksoffering (c.1803) by Joseph Anton Koch. Noah builds an altar to the Lord after being delivered from the Flood; God sends the rainbow as a sign of his covenant.
The Noahic covenant [Gen 9:8-17] applies to all of humanity and to all living creatures. In this covenant, God promises never again to destroy all life on Earth by flood[9:11] and creates the rainbow as the sign of this “everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth”.[9:12-17]
God makes a pledge of commitment to Noah in Genesis 9:1–17. The priestly (Elohim) version takes the form of a covenant arrangement. This is the first explicit act of a covenant in the Hebrew Bible and is used seven times in this episode. God commits to continue both human and animal life and vows to never again use a second deluge against humanity. The covenant is sealed with the sign of a rainbow, after a storm, as a reminder.
God blesses Noah and his sons using the same language as the priestly source of the Genesis creation narrative, “Be fruitful and increase and fill the earth.” Before the flood, animals and humans coexisted in a realm of peace only knowing a vegetarian diet. After the flood, God maintained that mankind would be in charge over the animals, granting that they may be eaten for food under the condition that their blood be removed. God set these purity rules well before any transaction with Ancient Israel, effectively not confining such precedence solely to the Jewish faith. Human life receives special divine sanction because humanity is in the image of Elohim.
According to the Hebrew Bible, the covenant of the pieces or covenant between the parts was a seminal event in the life of the biblical Patriarch. In this event God revealed himself to Abraham and made a covenant with him (in the site known nowadays as Mount Betarim), in which God announced to Abraham that his descendants would eventually inherit the Land of Israel. This was the first of a series of covenants made between God and the Patriarchs.
The Abrahamic covenant found in Genesis 12-17 is known as the Brit bein HaBetarim, the “Covenant Between the Parts” in Hebrew, and is the basis for brit milah (covenant of circumcision) in Judaism. The covenant was for Abraham and his seed, or offspring, both of natural birth and adoption.
The Ark of the Covenant, also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in the Book of Exodus as containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. According to some traditional interpretations of the Book of Exodus, Book of Numbers, and the Letter to the Hebrews the Ark also contained Aaron’s rod, a jar of manna and the first Torah scroll as written by Moses; however, the first of the Books of Kings says that at the time of King Solomon, the Ark contained only the two Tablets of the Law. According to the Book of Exodus, the Ark was built at the command of God, in accordance with the instructions given to Moses on Mount Sinai. God was said to have communicated with Moses “from between the two cherubim” on the Ark’s cover.
In the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, the Blessed Virgin Mary is sometimes allegorically referred to as the Ark of the Covenant, in that she bore Jesus Christ in similarity to the original tangible contents of the Ark, as cited in the Book of Revelation and (in Roman Catholicism) the Litany of Loreto.
In Judaism, the Seven Laws of Noah, or the Noahide Laws, are a set of moral imperatives that, according to the Talmud, were given by God as a binding set of laws for the “children of Noah” – that is, all of humanity.
According to Judaism, any non-Jew who adheres to these laws is regarded as a righteous gentile, and is assured of a place in the World to Come, the final reward of the righteous. Adherents are often called “B’nei Noach” (Children of Noah) or “Noahides,”and may sometimes network in Jewish synagogues.
The Noahide laws comprise the six commandments which were given to Adam in the Garden of Eden, according to the Talmud’s interpretation of Gen 2:16, and a seventh precept, which was added after the Flood of Noah. According to Judaism, the 613 commandments given in the written Torah, as well as their explanations and applications discussed in the oral Torah, are applicable to the Jews only, and non-Jews are bound only to observe the seven Noahide laws.
Ishtar is the East Semitic Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. She is the counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna, and is the cognate for the Northwest Semitic Aramean goddess Astarte.
Ishtar was the goddess of love, war, fertility, and sexuality. She was the daughter of Ninurta. She was particularly worshipped in northern Mesopotamia, at the Assyrian cities of Nineveh, Ashur and Arbela (Erbil). Besides the lions on her gate, her symbol is an eight-pointed star. In the Babylonian pantheon, she “was the divine personification of the planet Venus”.
Astarte (“Astártē”) is the Greek name of the Mesopotamian (i.e. Assyrian, Akkadian, Babylonian) Semitic goddess Ishtar known throughout the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean from the early Bronze Age to Classical times. It is one of a number of names associated with the chief goddess or female divinity of those peoples.
She is found as Ugaritic (ʻṯtrt, “ʻAṯtart” or “ʻAthtart”); in Phoenician as, (ʻštrt, “Ashtart”); in Hebrew (Ashtoret, singular, or Ashtarot, plural); and appears originally in Akkadian as D, the grammatically masculine name of the goddess Ishtar; the form Astartu is used to describe her age. The name appears also in Etruscan as Uni-Astre (Pyrgi Tablets), Ishtar or Ashtart.
Astarte was connected with fertility, sexuality, and war. Her symbols were the lion, the horse, the sphinx, the dove, and a star within a circle indicating the planet Venus. Pictorial representations often show her naked. She has been known as the deified evening star.
Astarte (Ishtar) was accepted by the Greeks under the name of Aphrodite or, alternatively, Artemis. The island of Cyprus, one of Astarte’s greatest faith centers, supplied the name Cypris as Aphrodite’s most common byname.
Other major centers of Astarte’s worship were the Phoenician city states of Sidon, Tyre, and Byblos. Other faith centers were Cythera, Malta, and Eryx in Sicily from which she became known to the Romans as Venus Erycina. A bilingual inscription on the Pyrgi Tablets dating to about 500 BC found near Caere in Etruria equates Astarte with Etruscan Uni-Astre that is, Juno. At Carthage Astarte was worshipped alongside the goddess Tanit.
The Aramean goddess Atargatis (Semitic form ʻAtarʻatah) may originally have been equated with Astarte, but the first element of the name Atargatis appears to be related to the Ugaritic form of Asherah’s name: Athirat.
Attar (also known as Athtar, Astar, and Ashtar) is the god of the morning star in western Semitic mythology. In Canaanite legend, he attempts to usurp the throne of the dead god Baal but proves inadequate. In semi-arid regions of western Asia he was sometimes worshipped as a rain god. His female counterpart is the Phoenician Astarte. In more southerly regions he is probably known as Dhu-Samani.
Attar was worshipped in Southern Arabia in pre-Islamic times. A god of war, he was often referred to as “He who is Bold in Battle”. One of his symbols was the spear-point and the antelope was his sacred animal. He had power over Venus, the morning star, and was believed to provide humankind with water.
In Zoroastrian mythology, Atar is one of the Yazatas and the spirit of fire. He is also called Adar, Atash, Atesh, or Adur. Referred to as “The Son of Ahura Mazda” in the Avesta, he was created to fight the dragon Azhi Dahaka created by Ahriman to destroy the universe. The 9th day of the month and 9th month of the year is named for him in the Zoroastrian calendar.
According to Ugarit tablets however, Atar is the son of El and Aserah, known as The Terrible. In Phoenician lore, he attempted to rule the world for a time after the killing of Baal by Mot but was unsuccessful.
In Southern Arabia, Attar (Athar) is a pre-Islamic god of war, but also a giver of water. He was often referred to as “He who is Bold in Battle.” One of his symbols is the spear-point, and his sacred animal is the antelope. He may be equated with Atter of the northern Semites, the god of war whose planet was Venus and whose female counterpart was Attar. Atter may also be equated with Shahar (Sahar), a moon good of the northern and southern Semites.
ATAR, or Agni, is a Hindu/Persian god, the God of fire and purification. Agni became the god Atar under Zoroasterism, a religion where all the old Vedic Gods found worshippers under new names. Varuna became Ahura Mazda or simply, Ormazd, the ruler of the Persian Gods in Zoroasterism.
Atar possesses the conventional attributes of the Persian Gods. He has superhuman strength (possibly Class 50), stamina, resistance to injury and various skills mystical in nature. He may be able to control fire, but he has yet to demonstrate the full range of his power. According to his worshippers, he could purify objects be eating them. He can also cross between various dimensions because he was supposed to guide the cremated dead to the afterlife.
In Hindu-Persian Myth Agni is the son of Dyaus, the sky-god, and Prithivi, the earth-goddess. Very little is known about his role or his character except he was one of the most important gods of the early Vedic Pantheon. He presided over sacrificial flames and guided the spirits of the cremated dead to the underworld to await their next life. As the Rakshasas led by Ravanna supplanted the Vedic gods, Agni protected the monkey-god Hanuman and led him to safety even as he himself was forced into the role of cook before the demons.
The god Vishnu subsequently led the Vedic gods to conquer the Rakshasas as the Vedic Gods were replaced by the religion of Hinduism.
Atar, however, lost his son, the war-god, Kartikkeya, to Skanda, the son of Shiva, who was god of war in the Hindu Pantheon. Skanda assumed his predecessor’s identity and took over many of his aspects. He is also credited with slaying Azhi Dahaka, one of the Asuras. Guilty for many undefined defiances against the gods, Dahaka was chained to a mountain by Atar.
Asha Vahishta’s association with atar is carried forward in the post-Gathic texts, and they are often mentioned together. In Zoroastrian cosmogony, each of the Amesha Spentas represents one aspect of creation and one of seven primordial elements that in Zoroastrian tradition are the basis of that creation. In this matrix, aša/arta is the origin of fire, Avestan atar, which permeates through all Creation. The correspondence then is that aša/arta “penetrates all ethical life, as fire penetrates all physical being.”
Asha (aša) is the Avestan language term (corresponding to Vedic language ṛta) for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called “the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism.” The opposite of Avestan aša is druj, “lie.”
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’. For other connotations, see meaning below.
Its Old Persian equivalent is arta-. In Middle Iranian languages the term appears as ard-.[a]
The word is also the proper name of the divinity Asha, the Amesha Spenta that is the hypostasis or “genius» of “Truth” or “Righteousness”. In the Younger Avesta, this figure is more commonly referred to as Asha Vahishta (Aša Vahišta, Arta Vahišta), “Best Truth”. The Middle Persian descendant is Ashawahist or Ardwahisht; New Persian Ardibehesht or Ordibehesht.
In the Gathas, the oldest texts of Zoroastrianism and thought to have been composed by the prophet himself, it is seldom possible to distinguish between moral principle and the divinity. Later texts consistently use the ‘Best’ epithet when speaking of the Amesha Spenta, only once in the Gathas is ‘best’ an adjective of aša/arta.
Avestan aša and its Vedic equivalent ṛtá both derive from Proto-Indo-Iranian *ṛtá- “truth”, which in turn continues Proto-Indo-European *h2r-to- “properly joined, right, true”, from the root *h2ar. The word is attested in Old Persian as arta.
*Mitra (Proto-Indo-Iranian, nominative *Mitras) was an important Indo-Iranian divinity. Following the prehistoric cultural split of Indo-Aryan and Iranian cultures, names descended from *mitra were used for the following religious entities:
Both Vedic Mitra and Avestan Mithra derive from an Indo-Iranian common noun *mitra-, generally reconstructed to have meant “covenant, treaty, agreement, promise.” This meaning is preserved in Avestan miθra “covenant.” In Sanskrit and modern Indo-Aryan languages, mitra means “friend,” one of the aspects of binding[disambiguation needed] and alliance
The Indo-Iranian reconstruction is attributed to Christian Bartholomae, and was subsequently refined by A. Meillet (1907), who suggested derivation from the Proto-Indo-European root *mei “to exchange.”
A suggested alternative derivation was *meh “to measure” (Gray 1929). Pokorny (IEW 1959) refined Meillet’s *mei as “to bind.” Combining the root *mei with the “tool suffix” -tra- “that which [causes] …” (also found in man-tra-, “that which causes to think”), then literally means “that which binds,” and thus “covenant, treaty, agreement, promise, oath” etc. Pokorny’s interpretation also supports “to fasten, strengthen”, which may be found in Latin moenia “city wall, fortification”, and in an antonymic form, Old English (ge)maere “border, boundary-post”.
Meillet and Pokorny’s “contract” did however have its detractors. Lentz (1964, 1970) refused to accept abstract “contract” for so exalted a divinity and preferred the more religious “piety.” Because present-day Sanskrit mitra means “friend,” and New Persian mihr means “love” or “friendship,” Gonda (1972, 1973) insisted on a Vedic meaning of “friend, friendship,” not “contract”.
Mitanni (Mi-ta-an-ni, also Mittani Mi-it-ta-ni) or Hanigalbat (Assyrian Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat cuneiform Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) was an Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC. Founded by an Indo-Aryan ruling class governing a predominately Hurrian population, Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Amorite Babylon and a series of ineffectual Assyrian kings created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia.
Some theonyms, proper names and other terminology of the Mitanni exhibit close similarities to Indo-Aryan, suggesting that an Indo-Aryan elite imposed itself over the Hurrian population in the course of the Indo-Aryan expansion. In a treaty between the Hittites and the Mitanni, the deities Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and Nasatya (Ashvins) are invoked.
At the beginning of its history, Mitanni’s major rival was Egypt under the Thutmosids. Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) mentioned the people of Ermenen, and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”.
The name Armenian was firstly recorded on an inscription which mentions Armani together with Ebla, from territories conquered by Naram-Sin of Akkad in ca. 2250 BC, identified with the Syrian city of Aleppo. To this day the Assyrians still refer to the Armenians by the name Armani. The word is also thought to be related to the Mannaeans and to the biblical Minni.
Aleppo appears in historical records as an important city much earlier than Damascus. The first record of Aleppo comes from the third millennium BC, when Aleppo was the capital of an independent kingdom closely related to Ebla, known as Armi to Ebla and Armani to the Akkadians. Giovanni Pettinato describes Armi as Ebla’s alter ego. Naram-Sin of Akkad destroyed both Ebla and Armani in the 23rd century BC.
However, with the ascent of the Hittite empire, Mitanni and Egypt made an alliance to protect their mutual interests from the threat of Hittite domination. At the height of its power, during the 14th century BC, Mitanni had outposts centered around its capital, Washukanni, whose location has been determined by archaeologists to be on the headwaters of the Khabur River. Eventually, Mitanni succumbed to Hittite and later Assyrian attacks, and was reduced to the status of a province of the Middle Assyrian Empire.
In the time of Ashur-nirari III (ca. 1200 BC, the beginning Bronze Age collapse), the Phrygians and others invaded and destroyed the Hittite Empire, already weakened by defeats against Assyria. Some parts of Assyrian ruled Hanilgalbat was temporarily lost to the Phrygians also, however the Assyrians defeated the Phrygians and regained these colonies . The Hurrians still held Katmuhu and Paphu. In the transitional period to the Early Iron Age, Mitanni was settled by invading Semitic Aramaean tribes.
Within a few centuries of the fall of Washshukanni to Assyria, Mitanni became fully Assyrianized and linguistically Aramaized, and use of the Hurrian language began to be discouraged throughout the Neo-Assyrian Empire. However, Urartean, a dialect closely related to Hurrian seems to have survived in the new state of Urartu, in the mountainous areas to the north. In the 10th to 9th century BC inscriptions of Adad-nirari II and Shalmaneser III, Hanigalbat is still used as a geographical term.
Chaldea or Chaldæa (Akkadian: māt Ḫaldu, Aramaic: Kaldo) was a marshy land located in south eastern Mesopotamia which came to rule Babylon briefly. Tribes of Semitic settlers who arrived in the region from the 10th century BC became known as the Chaldeans or the Chaldees.
Though belonging to the same Semitic ethnic group, they are to be differentiated from the Aramean stock; and the Assyrian king Sennacherib, for example, is careful in his inscriptions to distinguish them. When they came to possess the whole of southern Mesopotamia, the name “Chaldean” became synonymous with “Babylonian”, particularly to the Greeks and Jews.
The language used by the Chaldeans was the Babylonian dialect of Akkadian, the same Semitic language, save for slight peculiarities in sound and in characters, as Assyrian Akkadian. In late periods both the Babylonian and Assyrian dialects of Akkadian ceased to be spoken, and Aramaic took its place across Mesopotamia, and remains the mother tongue of the Assyrian (also known as Chaldo-Assyrian) Christians of Iraq and its surrounds to this day. One form of this widespread language is used in Daniel and Ezra, but the use of the name “Chaldee” to describe it, first introduced by Jerome, is incorrect and a misnomer.
The origin of the Arameans remains uncertain, with limited mention of Arameans in Mesopotamian inscriptions supplemented by a few descriptive incidents associated with Rebekah from Aram-Naharaim in the book of Genesis in the Bible.
The toponym A-ra-mu appears in an inscription at Ebla listing geographical names, and the term Armi, which is the Eblaite term for nearby Aleppo, occurs frequently in the Ebla tablets (ca. 2300 BC). One of the annals of Naram-Sin of Akkad (c. 2250 BC) mentions that he captured “Dubul, the ensi of A-ra-me” (Arame is seemingly a genitive form), in the course of a campaign against Simurrum in the northern mountains.
Other early references to a place or people of “Aram” have appeared at the archives of Mari (c. 1900 BC) and at Ugarit (c. 1300 BC). There is little agreement concerning what, if any, relationship there was between these places, or if the Aramu were actually Arameans; the earliest undisputed mention of Arameans as a people appears in the inscriptions of Tiglath Pileser I (c. 1100 BC).
For the first time, an inscription of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115-1077 BC) refers to the “Ahlamû-Aramaeans” (Ahlame Armaia) and shortly after, the Ahlamû rapidly disappear from Assyrian annals, to be replaced by the Aramaeans (Aramu, Arimi). “Ahlamû-Aramaeans” would consider the Arameans as an important and in time dominant faction of the Ahlamû tribes, however it is possible that the two peoples had nothing in common, but operated in the same area. It is conceivable that the name “Aramaeans” was a more accurate form of the earlier ethnonym Martu (Amorites, westerners) in the Assyrian tablets.
The Arameans conquered, during the 11th and the 10th centuries, Sam’al (Zenjirli), also known as Yaudi, the region from Arpad to Aleppo which they renamed Bît-Agushi, and Til Barsip, which became the chief town of Bît-Adini, also known as Beth Eden.
At the same time, Arameans moved to the east of the Euphrates, where they settled in such numbers that the whole region became known as Aram-Naharaim or “Aram of the two rivers”. One of their earliest kingdoms in Mesopotamia was Bît-bahiâni (Tell Halaf).
North of Sam’al was the Arameans state of Bit-Gabari, sandwiched between the Neo-Hittite states of Carchemish, Gurgum, Tabal, Khattina and Unqi. Whilst these later states maintained a Neo-Hittite hieroglyphic for official communication, it would seem that the population of these small states was progressively Aramaeanised.
Hurrian is related to Urartian, the language of Urartu, both belonging to the Hurro-Urartian language family. It had been held that nothing more can be deduced from current evidence.
It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Old Persian Armina and the Greek Armenoi are continuations of an Assyrian toponym Armânum or Armanî. The name has also been claimed as a variant of Urmani (or Urmenu), attested epigraphically in an inscription of Menuas of Urartu.
Scholars such as Carl Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt (1910) believed that the people of Urartu called themselves Khaldini after their god Khaldi. Boris Piotrovsky wrote that “the Urartians first appear in history in the 13th century B.C. as a league of tribes or countries which did not yet constitute a unitary state. In the Assyrian annals the term Uruatri (Urartu) as a name for this league was superseded during a considerable period of years by the term “land of Nairi””.
Shupria (Shubria) or Arme-Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) was a 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. Shubria was part of the Urartu confederation. Later, there is reference to a district in the area called Arme or Urme, which some scholars have linked to the name Armenia.
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 early 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 in the earliest texts seem to have been farming mountain dwellers, frequently raided for slaves.
There is also a mention of “Subartu” in the 8th century BC Poem of Erra (IV, 132), along with other lands that have harassed Babylonia. In Neo-Babylonian times (under Nabopolassar, Nebuchadrezzar II and Nabonidus), Subartu was used as a generic term for Assyria. The term was still current under Cambyses II, who mentions Subarian captives.
In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty.
In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521/0 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.
The Mitanni kingdom was referred to as the Maryannu, Nahrin or Mitanni by the Egyptians, the Hurri by the Hittites, and the Hanigalbat by the Assyrians. The different names seem to have referred to the same kingdom and were used interchangeably, according to Michael C. Astour.
Hittite annals mention a people called Hurri (Ḫu-ur-ri), located in northeastern Syria. A Hittite fragment, probably from the time of Mursili I, mentions a “King of the Hurri”, or “Hurrians”. The Assyro-Akkadian version of the text renders “Hurri” as Hanigalbat. Tushratta, who styles himself “king of Mitanni” in his Akkadian Amarna letters, refers to his kingdom as Hanigalbat.
Egyptian sources call Mitanni “nhrn”, which is usually pronounced as Naharin/Naharina from the Assyro-Akkadian word for “river”, cf. Aram-Naharaim. The name Mitanni is first found in the “memoirs” of the Syrian wars (ca. 1480 BC) of the official astronomer and clockmaker Amememhet, who returned from the “foreign country called Me-ta-ni” at the time of Thutmose I.
The expedition to the Naharina announced by Thutmosis I at the beginning of his reign may have actually taken place during the long previous reign of Amenhotep I Helck believes that this was the expedition mentioned by Amenhotep II.
Their chief festival was the celebration of the solstice (vishuva) which was common in most cultures in the ancient world. The Mitanni warriors were called marya, the term for warrior in Sanskrit as well; note mišta-nnu (= miẓḍha,~ Sanskrit mīḍha) “payment (for catching a fugitive)”.
The ethnicity of the people of Mitanni is difficult to ascertain. A treatise on the training of chariot horses by Kikkuli contains a number of Indo-Aryan glosses. Kammenhuber (1968) suggested that this vocabulary was derived from the still undivided Indo-Iranian language, but Mayrhofer (1974) has shown that specifically Indo-Aryan features are present.
The names of the Mitanni aristocracy frequently are of Indo-Aryan origin, but it is specifically their deities which show Indo-Aryan roots (Mitra, Varuna, Indra, Nasatya), though some think that they are more immediately related to the Kassites. The common people’s language, the Hurrian language, is neither Indo-European nor Semitic. A Hurrian passage in the Amarna letters – usually composed in Akkadian, the lingua franca of the day – indicates that the royal family of Mitanni was by then speaking Hurrian as well.
Maryannu is an ancient word for the caste of chariot-mounted hereditary warrior nobility which dominated many of the societies of the Middle East during the Bronze Age. The term is attested in the Amarna letters written by Haapi. Robert Drews writes that the name ‘maryannu’ although plural takes the singular ‘marya’, which in Sanskrit means young warrior, and attaches a Hurrian suffix.(Drews:p. 59) He suggests that at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age most would have spoken either Hurrian or Aryan but by the end of the 14th century most of the Levant maryannu had Semitic names.
The Aryan Homeland
The Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture was a civilization that existed from 3400 BC until about 2000 BC, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end, but it may have disappeared as early as 2600 or 2700 BC. The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain; thence it spread to Georgia by 3000 BC (but never reaching Colchis), and during the next millennium it proceeded westward to the Erzurum plain, southwest to Cilicia, and to the southeast into an area below the Urmia basin and Lake Van, and finally down to the borders of present day Syria. Altogether, the early Trans-Caucasian culture, at its greatest spread, enveloped a vast area approximately 1,000 km by 500 km.
The name of the culture is derived from the Kura and Araxes river valleys. Its territory corresponds to parts of modern Armenia, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Georgia, Ingushetia and North Ossetia. It may have given rise to the later Khirbet Kerak ware culture found in Syria and Canaan after the fall of the Akkadian Empire.
The earliest kurgans occur in the northwestern and southern Caucasus and precede by several centuries those of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) cultures of the western Eurasian steppes (cf. Chernykh and Orlovskaya 2004a and b). The Maikop ‘culture’ seems to have had a formative influence on steppe kurgan burial rituals and the later development of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) culture on the Eurasian steppes (Chernykh and Orlovskaya 2004a: 97).
The archaeological record seems to document a movement of peoples north to south across a very extensive part of the Ancient Near East from the end of the 4th to the first half of the 3rd millennium BCE. Although migrations are notoriously difficult to document on archaeological evidence, these materials constitute one of the best examples of prehistoric movements of peoples available for the Early Bronze Age.
The spread of this pottery, along with archaeological evidence of invasions, suggests that the Kura-Araxes people may have spread outward from their original homes, and most certainly, had extensive trade contacts. Jaimoukha believes that its southern expanse is attributable primarily to Mitanni and the Hurrians.
Hurrian and Urartian elements are quite probable, as are Northeast Caucasian ones. Some authors subsume Hurrians and Urartians under Northeast Caucasian as well as part of the Alarodian theory. The presence of Kartvelian languages was also highly probable. Influences of Semitic languages and Indo-European languages are also highly possible, though the presence of the languages on the lands of the Kura–Araxes culture is more controversial.
Haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA) – Eupedia
Haplogroup J2 (Y-DNA) – Eupedia
Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni
The Indo-European Elements In Hurrian
Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta
Confusion of tongues
Atar (Hindu god)
Covenant of the pieces
Ark of the Covenant
Rainbows in mythology
Christian views of the Old Covenant
Genesis creation narrative
Sumerian creation myth
Genesis flood narrative
History of Man
The term man (from Proto-Germanic *mannaz or *manwaz “man, person”) and words derived from it can designate any or even all of the human race regardless of their sex or age. The word developed into Old English man, mann meaning primarily “adult male human” but secondarily capable of designating a person of unspecified gender, “someone, one” or humanity at large (see also German Mann, Old Norse maðr, Gothic manna “man”). More restricted English terms for an adult male were wer (cognate: Latin vir; survives as the first element in “werewolf”) and guma (cognate: Latin homo; survives as the second element in “bridegroom”).
However, Man in traditional usage refers to the species, to humanity as a whole. Equating the term for the male with the whole species is commonly occurring in other languages (e.g. French l’Homme), particularly in traditional registers, but not uniformly even within language groups.
For example, the German equivalent of “Man” is “Mensch” which is male grammatically (itself a possible expression of the tradition as this is an exception to normal morphology which would have Mensch neuter) but refers to a general person not a male one. The usage persists in all registers of English although it has an old-fashioned tone.
In Old English the words wer and wīf (and wīfmann) were used to refer to “a man” and “a woman” respectively, while mann had the primary meaning of “adult male human” but could also be used for gender neutral purposes (as is the case with modern German man, corresponding to the pronoun in the English utterance “one does what one must”).
In the late twentieth century, the generic meaning of “man” declined (but is also continued in compounds “mankind”, “everyman”, “no-man”, etc.). The same thing has happened to the Latin word homo: in most of the Romance languages, homme, uomo, om, hombre, homem have come to refer mainly to males, with a residual generic meaning.
*Mannaz or *Manwaz is also the Proto-Germanic reconstructed name of the m-rune ᛗ. It is derived from a Proto-Indo-European root *man- (see Sanskrit/Avestan manu-, Slavic mǫž “man, male”). In Hindu mythology, Manu is a title accorded the progenitor of humankind. The Slavic forms (Russian muzh “man, male” etc.) are derived from a suffixed stem *man-gyo-. *Manus in Indo-European mythology was the first man, see Mannus, Manu (Hinduism).
Mannus is a Germanic mythological figure attested by the 1st century AD Roman historian Tacitus in his work Germania. According to Tacitus, Mannus is the son of Tuisto and the progenitor of the three Germanic tribes Ingaevones, Herminones and Istvaeones.
The names of the three sons of Mannus can be extrapolated as Ingui, Irmin, and Istaev aka Iscio. In the Eddas we find the name Yngvi applied to the god FreyR, while the same source lists Jormun (the Old Norse cognate of Irmin) as a byname of Odin’s. Widukind of Corvey further identifies the deity associated with the Saxon Irminsul as Hermin, that is, Hermes, but worshipped as Mars.
Tacitus (Germania, chapter 2): “In ancient lays, their only type of historical tradition, they celebrate Tuisto, a god brought forth from the earth. They attribute to him a son, Mannus, the source and founder of their people, and to Mannus three sons, from whose names those nearest the Ocean are called Ingvaeones, those in the middle Herminones, and the rest Isvaeones. Some people, inasmuch as antiquity gives free rein to speculation, maintain that there were more sons born from the god and hence more tribal designations—Marsi, Gambrivii, Suebi, and Vandilii—and that those names are genuine and ancient.”
The name of this deity or mythological ancestor means human or man (i.e. Homo sapiens). It is thought to stem from the same root as the name of the figure Manu in Hindu tradition, who is held to be the progenitor of humanity, first holy king to rule this earth who saves mankind, the Vedas and the priesthood from the universal flood.
In the Eddas, Mannus seems to most closely resemble Heimdall (World’s Brightness). In the opening passage of the Voluspa, men are referred to as being Heimdall’s kin, while in the poem Rigsthula he is shown uniting each of the hierarchal ranks in siblinghood. Furthermore, while Mannus is remembered as being the father of both Odin and Frey, Heimdall is remembered as being one of the Aesir, but also to have qualities directly linked to the Vanir and to exist in a close paternal relationship to Freyja.
In Eddaic Creation, Mannus occupies the same stead as Borr, ie. a god (Tuisto, Buri), begets a god (Mannus, Borr), begets a trio of brother gods (Ing-Irmin-Istaev, Odin-Vili-Ve).
Hinduism is the dominant religion of the Indian subcontinent, particularly of India and Nepal. It includes Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Smartism among numerous other traditions. Among other practices and philosophies, Hinduism includes a wide spectrum of laws and prescriptions of “daily morality” based on karma, dharma, and societal norms. Hinduism is a categorisation of distinct intellectual or philosophical points of view, rather than a rigid, common set of beliefs.
Hinduism consists of many diverse traditions and has no single founder. Among its direct roots is the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India. As such, Hinduism is often called the “oldest living religion” or the “oldest living major religion” in the world. Since Vedic times, a process of Sanskritization has been taking place, in which “people from many strata of society throughout the subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms”.
Hindu texts are classified into Śruti (“revealed”) and Smriti (“remembered”). These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, Vedic yajna and agamic rituals and temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Manusmriti, Bhagavad Gita and Agamas.
The earliest evidence for prehistoric religion in India date back to the late Neolithic in the early Harappan period (5500–2600 BCE). The beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era (1500–500 BCE) are called the “historical Vedic religion”.
The Vedic religion is an off-shoot from the Proto-Indo-European religion. The oldest Veda is the Rigveda, dated to 1700 – 4000 BCE or older. The Vedas centre on the worship of deities such as Indra, Varuna and Agni, and on the Soma ritual. Fire-sacrifices, called yajña are performed by chanting Vedic mantras but no temples or idols are known.
Vishnu is a popular Hindu deity and is portrayed as Supreme Being in Vaishnavism and as Purushottama or Supreme Purusha in ancient sacred texts like the Bhagavad Gita. Vishnu is also known as Narayana and Hari.
The Vishnu Sahasranama declares Vishnu as Paramatman (supreme soul) and Parameshwara (supreme God). It describes Vishnu as the all-pervading essence of all beings, the master of—and beyond—the past, present and future, the creator and destroyer of all existences, one who supports, preserves, sustains and governs the universe and originates and develops all elements within.
Vishnu is also venerated as Mukunda, which means Supreme God who is the giver of mukti or moksha (liberation from the cycle of rebirths) to his devotees or the worthy ones who deserve salvation from the material world.
The Trimurti (three forms) is a concept in Hinduism “in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva the destroyer or transformer.” These three deities have also been called “the Hindu triad” or the “Great Trinity”, all having the same meaning of three in One. Of the three members of the Trimurti, the Bhagavata Purana, which espouses the Vaishnavite viewpoint, claims that the greatest benefit can be had from worshipping Vishnu.
In some Hindu traditions, Manu is a title accorded to a progenitor of humanity. The current period is ruled by the 7th Manu called the Vaivasvata Manu, the son of Vivasvân and his wife Sanjnâ. Vaivasvata Manu, who ruled as King Manu, is considered the first king to rule this earth. His wife was Sraddha. Because Manu was believed to be absolutely honest, he was initially known as Satyavrata (“One with the oath of truth”).
According to tradition, Manava Grihyasutra, Manava Sulbasutra and Manava Dharmashastra (Manusmriti or rules of Manu) texts are ascribed to Svayambhuva Manu. Manusmriti is considered by some Hindus to be the law laid down for Hindus and is seen as the most important and earliest metrical work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism.
At the same time it is a Smriti, so whenever there is a conflict between what is mentioned in it and that mentioned in sruti (Vedas and Upanishads) the latter is considered to be correct as it holds higher spiritual authority.
In Theosophy, the “Vaivasvatu Manu” is one of the most important beings at the highest levels of Initiation of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, along with Sanat Kumara, Gautama Buddha, Maitreya, the Maha Chohan, and Djwal Khul. According to Theosophy, each root race has its own Manu which physically incarnates in an advanced body of an individual of the old root race and physically progenerates with a suitable female partner the first individuals of the new root race.
The Deluge Myth is a common theme in mythologies all over the Mediterranean, the Near East, and Pacific Asia, and India is no exception. The story is mentioned in early Hindu scriptures such as the Satapatha Brahmana, belonging to the latest part of the Brahmana period of Vedic Sanskrit (i.e. roughly the 8th to 6th centuries BC, Iron Age India, and it has often been compared with the popular traditions of a Great Deluge from other cultures around the world, particularly that of Noah’s Ark.
Vaivasvata Manu is considered the one saved humanity from the great flood – after being warned of it by the Matsya avatar of Vishnu, who had also advised him to build a giant boat. According to the Matsya Purana, a composite work dated to c. 250–500 CE., the Matsya Avatar of Vishnu is believed to have appeared initially as a Shaphari (a small carp), to King Manu, the then King of Kumari Kandam, while he washed his hands in a river. This river was supposed to have been flowing down the Malaya Mountains in his land of Dravida.
The little Fish approached him and swam into his hands. Its name was Matsya, and though Manu didn’t realize this, it was an avatar of Vishnu. The fish asks Manu to protect him from the larger fish that want to eat him, and promises to save his protector from a predicted flood. Out of compassion, Manu put it in a water jar, and once it’s large enough to survive on its own, he releases back into the ocean.
It kept growing bigger and bigger, until King Manu first put Him in a bigger pitcher, and then deposited Him in a well. When the well also proved insufficient for the ever-growing Fish, the King placed Him in a tank (reservoir), that was two yojanas (16 miles) in height above the surface and on land, as much in length, and a yojana (8 miles) in breadth. As it grew further King Manu had to put the fish in a river, and when even the river proved insufficient he placed it in the ocean, after which it nearly filled the vast expanse of the great ocean.
It was then that He (Lord Matsya), revealing Himself, informed the King of an all-destructive deluge which would be coming very soon. Manu built a huge boat which housed his family, 9 types of seeds, and animals to repopulate the earth, after the deluge would end and the oceans and seas would recede. At the time of deluge, Vishnu appeared as a horned fish and Shesha appeared as a rope, with which Manu fastened the boat to horn of the fish for protection against the rising waters and waves. The fish took Manu to a mountaintop, where he chilled out until the flood ended, when he strolled back down to earth to begin the task of repopulating humanity.
According to the Matsya Purana, his boat was perched after the deluge on the top of the Malaya Mountains This narrative is to an extent similar to other deluge stories, like those of Utnapishtim from ancient Sumerian Mythology, and the story of Noah’s ark from the Bible and the Qur’an.
The southern bank of river Gundar, 12 kms off Aruppukkottai, a town and a municipality in Virudhunagar district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, hides history which dates back to the microlithic age, roughly 4,000 years ago. In the village Thiruchuli by the river bank there is a 7 century A.D Shiva temple. It is one among the 14 sanctified Shaiva temples in the Pandya country boasting of a garbhagriha, arthamandapam, mahamandapam and a sabha mandapam.
Thirumeninathaswamy alias Boominatha Swamy with his consort Thunai Malai Amman was enshrined in this well patronized temple of the past. According to a legend, a deluge occurred at the end of Dwapara Yuga. The king prayed to the Almighty to save his country. Answering his prayers, the God made a hole with his trident that sucked away the flood, hence the name Thiruchuli.
As a record, on the north of Thirumeninathar temple is another Shiva shrine known as Pralaya Vindangar. Vanamaiyan Kuthiraikarai Kattiya Thumbichi Nayak (1562-1573 AD) had constructed the shrine for Lord Pralaya Vindangar. A big tank named ‘Kavvai kadal’ is situated in front of the temple. It had the privilege of being mentioned by Sundaramoorthy Nayanar in his Thevaram hymns as ‘Oli punari.’
Namma Madurai: The birth place of a modern saint and a 7th century temple make Thiruchuli famous
Mesopotamian religion was polytheistic, thereby accepting the existence of many different deities, both male and female, though it was also henotheistic, with certain gods being viewed as superior to others by their specific devotees. These devotees were often from a particular city or city-state that held that deity as its patron deity, for instance the god Enki was often associated with the city of Eridu, and the god Marduk was associated with Babylon.
Eridu, which in Sumerian mythology, is said to be one of the five cities built before the Deluge occurred, appears to be the earliest settlement in the region, founded ca. 5400 BC, close to the Persian Gulf near the mouth of the Euphrates River. Because of accumulation of silt at the shoreline over the millennia, the remains of Eridu are now some distance from the gulf at Abu Shahrain in Iraq.
Enki is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians. He was the deity of crafts (gašam); mischief; water, seawater, lakewater (a, aba, ab), intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”) and creation (Nudimmud: nu, likeness, dim mud, make beer).
It is, however, as the third figure in the triad (the two other members of which were Anu, a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions, and Enlil,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 ) that Enki acquires his permanent place in the pantheon. To him was assigned the control of the watery element, and in this capacity he becomes the shar apsi; i.e. king of the Apsu or “the deep”.
Enki and later Ea were apparently depicted, sometimes, like Adam, as a man covered with the skin of a fish, and this representation, as likewise the name of his main temple E-apsu, “house of the watery deep” (also E-en-gur-a, meaning “house of the subterranean waters””), a ziggurat temple surrounded by Euphratean marshlands near the ancient Persian Gulf coastline at Eridu, points decidedly to his original character as a god of the waters (see Oannes). Around the excavation of the 18 shrines found on the spot, thousands of carp bones were found, consumed possibly in feasts to the god.
Enki was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization. His image is a double-helix snake, or the Caduceus, very similar to the Rod of Asclepius used to symbolize medicine. He is often shown with the horned crown of divinity dressed in the skin of a carp. His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the goat Capricorn, recognised as the Zodiacal constellation Capricornus. He was accompanied by an attendant Isimud. He was also associated with the planet Mercury in the Sumerian astrological system.
Considered the master shaper of the world, god of wisdom and of all magic, Enki was characterized as the lord of the Abzu (Apsu in Akkadian), the freshwater sea or groundwater located within the earth. In the later Babylonian epic Enûma Eliš, Abzu, the “begetter of the gods”, is inert and sleepy but finds his peace disturbed by the younger gods, so sets out to destroy them. His grandson Enki, chosen to represent the younger gods, puts a spell on Abzu “casting him into a deep sleep”, thereby confining him deep underground. Enki subsequently sets up his home “in the depths of the Abzu.” Enki thus takes on all of the functions of the Abzu, including his fertilising powers as lord of the waters and lord of semen.
Of his cult at Eridu, which goes back to the oldest period of Mesopotamian history, nothing definite is known except that his temple was also associated with Ninhursag’s temple which was called Esaggila, “the lofty head house” (E, house, sag, head, ila, high; or Akkadian goddess = Ila), a name shared with Marduk’s temple in Babylon, pointing to a staged tower or ziggurat (as with the temple of Enlil at Nippur, which was known as E-kur (kur, hill)), and that incantations, involving ceremonial rites in which water as a sacred element played a prominent part, formed a feature of his worship.
This seems also implicated in the epic of the hieros gamos or sacred marriage of Enki and Ninhursag, which seems an etiological myth of the fertilisation of the dry ground by the coming of irrigation water (from Sumerian a, ab, water or semen).
The pool of the Abzu at the front of his temple was adopted also at the temple to Nanna (Akkadian Sin) the Moon, at Ur, and spread from there throughout the Middle East. It is believed to remain today as the sacred pool at Mosques, or as the holy water font in Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches.
A large number of myths about Enki have been collected from many sites, stretching from Southern Iraq to the Levantine coast. He figures in the earliest extant cuneiform inscriptions throughout the region and was prominent from the third millennium down to Hellenistic times.
Myths in which Ea figures prominently have been found in Assurbanipal’s library, and in the Hattusas archive in Hittite Anatolia. As Ea, Enki had a wide influence outside of Sumer, being equated with El (at Ugarit) and possibly Yah (at Ebla) in the Canaanite ‘ilhm pantheon, he is also found in Hurrian and Hittite mythology, as a god of contracts, and is particularly favourable to humankind.
The exact meaning of his name is uncertain: the common translation is “Lord of the Earth”: the Sumerian en is translated as a title equivalent to “lord”; it was originally a title given to the High Priest; ki means “earth”; but there are theories that ki in this name has another origin, possibly kig of unknown meaning, or kur meaning “mound”.
The name Ea is allegedly Hurrian in origin while others claim that his name ‘Ea’ is possibly of Semitic origin and may be a derivation from the West-Semitic root *hyy meaning “life” in this case used for “spring”, “running water.” In Sumerian E-A means “the house of water”, and it has been suggested that this was originally the name for the shrine to the god at Eridu.
Enki and later Ea were apparently depicted, sometimes, like Adam, as a man covered with the skin of a fish, and this representation, as likewise the name of his temple E-apsu, “house of the watery deep”, points decidedly to his original character as a god of the waters (see Oannes). Around the excavation of the 18 shrines found on the spot, thousands of carp bones were found, consumed possibly in feasts to the god.
In Sumerian mythology, a me (Sumerian, conventionally pronounced [mɛ]) or ñe [ŋɛ] or parşu (Akkadian, [parsˤu]) 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.
The mes were originally collected by Enlil and then handed over to the guardianship of Enki who was to broker them out to the various Sumerian centers beginning with his own city of Eridu and continuing with Ur, an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, Meluhha, identified with the Harappan Civilization on the basis of the extensive evidence of trading contacts between Sumer and this region, and Dilmun, a Persian Gulf civilization which traded with Mesopotamian civilizations, the current scholarly consensus is that Dilmun encompassed Bahrain, Failaka, Kuwait and the adjacent eastern Arabia coast in the Persian Gulf. This is described in the poem, “Enki and the World Order” which also details how he parcels out responsibility for various crafts and natural phenomena to the lesser gods.
After six generations of Gods, in the Babylonian “Enuma Elish”, in the seventh generation, (Akkadian “shapattu” or sabath), the younger Igigi Gods, the sons and daughters of Enlil and Ninlil, go on strike and refuse their duties of keeping the creation working. Abzu God of fresh water, co-creator of the cosmos, threatens to destroy the world with his waters, and the Gods gather in terror.
Enki promises to help and puts Abzu to sleep, confining him in irrigation canals and places him in the Kur, beneath his city of Eridu. But then, with the universe still threatened, Tiamat, with the imprisonment of her husband and consort Abzu and at the prompting of her son and vizier Kingu, decides to take back the creation herself.
The Gods gather again in terror and turn to Enki for help, but Enki who harnessed Abzu, Tiamat’s consort, for irrigation refuses to get involved. The gods then seek help elsewhere, and the patriarchal Enlil, their father, God of Nippur, promises to solve the problem if they make him King of the Gods. In the Babylonian tale, Enlil’s role is taken by Marduk, Enki’s son, and in the Assyrian version it is Asshur.
After dispatching Tiamat with the “arrows of his winds” down her throat (similar in some respects to how Elohim moves his breath (ruach) over the “face of the deep” or “Tehom”, in Genesis 1:2) and reconstructing the heavens with the arch of her ribs (i.e. her “life”), Enlil places her tail in the sky as the Milky Way, and her crying eyes become the source of the Tigris and Euphrates.
But there is still the problem of “who will keep the cosmos working”. Enki, who might have otherwise come to their aid, is lying in a deep sleep and fails to hear their cries. His mother Nammu (creatrix also of Abzu and Tiamat) “brings the tears of the gods” before Enki and says: Oh my son, arise from thy bed, from thy (slumber), work what is wise, Fashion servants for the Gods, may they produce their (bread?).
Enki then advises that they create a servant of the Gods, humankind, out of clay and blood. Against Enki’s wish the Gods decide to slay Kingu, and Enki finally consents to use Kingu’s blood to make the first human, with whom Enki always later has a close relationship, the first of the seven sages, seven wise men or “Abgallu” (Ab = water, Gal = great, Lu = Man), also known as Adapa. Enki assembles a team of divinities to help him, creating a host of “good and princely fashioners”.
Adapa, the first man fashioned, later goes and acts as the advisor to the King of Eridu, when in the Sumerian Kinglist, the “Me” of “kingship descends on Eridu”.
Adapa, the first of the Mesopotamian seven sages, was a mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. The story is first attested in the Kassite period (14th century BC), in fragmentary tablets from Tell el-Amarna, and from Assur, of the late second millennium BC.
Mesopotamian myth tells of seven antediluvian sages, who were sent by Ea, the wise god of Eridu, to bring the arts of civilisation to humankind. The first of these, Adapa, also known as Uan, the name given as Oannes by Berossus, introduced the practice of the correct rites of religious observance as priest of the E’Apsu temple, at Eridu.
The sages are described in Mesopotamian literature as ‘pure parādu-fish, probably carp, whose bones are found associated with the earliest shrine, and still kept as a holy duty in the precincts of Near Eastern mosques and monasteries.
The word Abgallu, sage (Ab = water, Gal = great, Lu = man, Sumerian) survived into Nabatean times, around the time of Christ, as apkallum, used to describe the profession of a certain kind of priest.
Adapa as a fisherman was iconographically portrayed as a fish-man composite. He was a mortal man from a godly lineage, a son of Ea (Enki in Sumerian), the god of wisdom and of the ancient city of Eridu, who brought the arts of civilization to that city (from Dilmun, according to some versions).
Adapa broke the wings of Ninlil the South Wind, who had overturned his fishing boat, and was called to account before Anu. Ea, his patron god, warned him to apologize humbly for his actions, but not to partake of food or drink while he was in heaven, as it would be the food of death. Anu, impressed by Adapa’s sincerity, offered instead the food of immortality, but Adapa heeded Ea’s advice, refused, and thus missed the chance for immortality that would have been his.
Vague parallels can be drawn to the story of Genesis, where Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden by Yahweh, after they ate from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus gaining death. Parallels are also apparent (to an even greater degree) with the story of Persephone visiting Hades, who was warned to take nothing from that kingdom. Stephanie Galley writes “From Erra and Ishum” we know that all the sages were banished … because they angered the gods, and went back to the Apsu, where Ea lived, and … the story … ended with Adapa’s banishment” p. 182.
Adapa is often identified as advisor to the mythical first (antediluvian) king of Eridu, Alulim. In addition to his advisory duties, he served as a priest and exorcist, and upon his death took his place among the Seven Sages or Apkallū. (Apkallu, “sage”, comes from Sumerian AB.GAL.LU (Ab=water, Gal=Great Lu=Man) a reference to Adapa, the first sage’s association with water.)
Oannes was the name given by the Babylonian writer Berossus in the 3rd century BCE to a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom. Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man. He is described as dwelling in the Persian Gulf, and rising out of the waters in the daytime and furnishing mankind instruction in writing, the arts and the various sciences.
The name “Oannes” was once conjectured to be derived from that of the ancient Babylonian god Ea, but it is now known that the name is the Greek form of the Babylonian Uanna (or Uan) a name used for Adapa in texts from the Library of Ashurbanipal. The Assyrian texts attempt to connect the word to the Akkadian for a craftsman ummanu but this is merely a pun.
Iosif Shklovsky and Carl Sagan cited tales of Oannes as deserving closer scrutiny as a possible instance of paleocontact due to its consistency and detail.
According to Sumerian mythology, Enki also assisted humanity to survive the Deluge designed to kill them. In the later Legend of Atrahasis, Enlil, the king of the gods, sets out to eliminate humanity, whose noise is disturbing his rest. He successively sends drought, famine and plague to eliminate humanity, but Enki thwarts his half-brother’s plans by teaching Atrahasis how to counter these threats. Each time, Atrahasis asks the population to abandon worship of all gods, except the one responsible for the calamity, and this seems to shame them into relenting.
Humans, however, proliferate a fourth time. Enraged, Enlil convenes a Council of Deities and gets them to promise not to tell humankind that he plans their total annihilation. Enki does not tell Atrahasis directly, but speaks to him in secret via a reed wall. He instructs Atrahasis to build a boat in order to rescue his family and other living creatures from the coming deluge.
After the seven-day Deluge, the flood hero frees a swallow, a raven and a dove in an effort to find if the flood waters have receded. Upon landing, a sacrifice is made to the gods. Enlil is angry his will has been thwarted yet again, and Enki is named as the culprit. Enki explains that Enlil is unfair to punish the guiltless, and the gods institute measures to ensure that humanity does not become too populous in the future. This is one of the oldest of the surviving Middle Eastern Deluge myths.
The earliest record of the Sumerian creation and flood is found on a single fragmentary tablet excavated in Nippur, sometimes called the Eridu Genesis. It is written in the Sumerian language and dated to around 1600 BC during the first Babylonian dynasty, where the language of writing and administration was still Sumerian. Other Sumerian creation myths from around this date are called the Barton Cylinder, the Debate between sheep and grain and the Debate between Winter and Summer, also found at Nippur.
The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from Mesopotamia, is amongst the earliest surviving works of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five independent Sumerian poems about ‘Bilgamesh’ (Sumerian for Gilgamesh), king of Uruk. Four of these were used as source material for a combined epic in Akkadian. This first combined epic, known as the “Old Babylonian” version, dates to the 18th century BC and is titled after its incipit, Shūtur eli sharrī (“Surpassing All Other Kings”).
Atra-Hasis (“exceedingly wise”) is the protagonist of an 18th century BC Akkadian epic recorded in various versions on clay tablets. The Atra-Hasis tablets include both a creation myth and a flood account, which is one of three surviving Babylonian deluge stories. The name “Atra-Hasis” also appears on one of the Sumerian king lists as king of Shuruppak in the times before a flood.
Two flood myths with many similarities to the Sumerian story are the Utnapishtim episode in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Genesis flood narrative found in the Bible. The ancient Greeks have two very similar floods legends they are the Deucalion and The great Flood in Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid.
In the WB-62 Sumerian king list recension, Ziusudra, or Zin-Suddu of Shuruppak is recorded as having reigned as both king and gudug priest for 10 sars, or periods of 3,600. In this version, Ziusudra inherited rulership from his father Šuruppak (written SU.KUR.LAM) who ruled for 10 sars. The line following Ziusudra in WB-62 reads: Then the flood swept over. The next line reads: After the flood swept over, kingship descended from heaven; the kingship was in Kish.
The city of Kish flourished in the Early Dynastic period soon after an archaeologically attested river flood in Shuruppak (modern Tell Fara, Iraq) and various other Sumerian cities. This flood has been radiocarbon dated to ca. 2900 BCE. Polychrome pottery from the Jemdet Nasr period (ca. 3000–2900 BCE) was discovered immediately below the Shuruppak flood stratum, and the Jemdet Nasr period immediately preceded the Early Dynastic I period.
The significance of Ziusudra’s name appearing on the WB-62 king list is that it links the flood mentioned in the three surviving Babylonian deluge epics of Ziusudra (Eridu Genesis), Utnapishtim (Epic of Gilgamesh), and Atrahasis (Epic of Atrahasis) to river flood sediments in Shuruppak, Uruk, Kish et al. that have been radiocarbon dated to ca. 2900 BC. This has led some scholars to conclude that the flood hero was king of Shuruppak at the end of the Jemdet Nasr period (ca. 3000–2900) which ended with the river flood of 2900 BC.
Ziusudra being a king from Shuruppak is supported by the Gilgamesh XI tablet (see below) making reference to Utnapishtim (Akkadian translation of the Sumerian name Ziusudra) with the epithet “man of Shuruppak” at line 23.
A Sumerian document known as The Instructions of Shuruppak dated by Kramer to about 2500 BC, refers in a later version to Ziusudra. Kramer concluded that “Ziusudra had become a venerable figure in literary tradition by the middle of the third millennium BC.”
The Deluge – In Greece
Greek mythology describes three floods, the flood of Ogyges, the flood of Deucalion, and the flood of Dardanus. Two of the Greek Ages of Man concluded with a flood: The Ogygian Deluge ended the Silver Age, and the flood of Deucalion ended the First Bronze Age (Heroic age). In addition to these floods, Greek mythology says the world was also periodically destroyed by fire.
In Greek mythology, Deucalion was a son of Prometheus; ancient sources name his mother as Clymene, Hesione, or Pronoia. The Deucalion legend as told by the Bibliotheca has some similarity to other deluge myths such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the story of Noah’s Ark.
According to the Theogony of the Bibliotheca, Prometheus moulded men out of water and earth and gave them fire which, unknown to Zeus, he had hidden in a stalk of fennel. When Zeus learned of it, he ordered Hephaestus to nail Prometheus to Mount Caucasus, a Scythian mountain.
Prometheus was nailed to the mountain and kept bound for many years. Every day an eagle swooped on him and devoured the lobes of his liver, which grew by night. That was the penalty that Prometheus paid for the theft of fire until Hercules afterwards released him.
Prometheus had a son Deucalion. He, reigning in the regions about Phthia, married Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora, the first woman fashioned by the gods.
The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, so he decided to put an end to the Bronze Age. Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering. Zeus unleashed a deluge, so that the rivers ran in torrents and the sea flooded the coastal plain, engulfed the foothills with spray, and washed everything clean.
Deucalion, with the aid of his father, the titan Prometheus, who advised his son Deucalion to build a chest, was saved from this deluge by building a chest (that is, a “box”). Like the Biblical Noah and the Mesopotamian counterpart Utnapishtim, he uses his device to survive the deluge with his wife, Pyrrha. Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha, after floating in the chest for nine days and nights, landed on Parnassus.
All other men perished except for a few who escaped to high mountains. The mountains in Thessaly were parted, and all the world beyond the Isthmus and Peloponnese was overwhelmed. An older version of the story told by Hellanicus has Deucalion’s “ark” landing on Mount Othrys in Thessaly. Another account has him landing on a peak, probably Phouka, in Argolis, later called Nemea.
When the rains ceased, he sacrificed to Zeus. Then, at the bidding of Zeus, he threw stones behind him, and they became men, and the stones Pyrrha threw became women.
The Bibliotheca gives this as an etymology for Greek Laos “people” as derived from laas “stone”. The Megarians told that Megarus, son of Zeus and a Sithnid nymph, escaped Deucalion’s flood by swimming to the top of Mount Gerania, guided by the cries of cranes.
For some time during the Middle Ages, many European Christian scholars continued to accept Greek mythical history at face value, thus asserting that Deucalion’s flood was a regional flood, that occurred a few centuries later than the global one survived by Noah’s family.
On the basis of the archaeological stele known as the Parian Chronicle, Deucalion’s Flood was usually fixed as occurring sometime around c. 1528 BC. Deucalion’s flood may be dated in the chronology of Saint Jerome to c. 1460 BC. According to Augustine of Hippo (City of God XVIII,8,10,&11), Deucalion and his father Prometheus were contemporaries of Moses. According to Clement of Alexandria in his Stromata, “…in the time of Crotopus occurred the burning of Phaethon, and the deluges of Deucalion.”
The flood of Dardanus has the same basic story line. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Dardanus left Pheneus in Arcadia to colonize a land in the North-East Aegean Sea. When the Dardanus’ deluge occurred, the land was flooded and the mountain where he and his family survived formed the island of Samothrace.
Dardanus left Samothrace on an inflated skin to the opposite shores of Asia Minor and settled on Mount Ida. Due to the fear of another flood, they refrained from building a city and lived in the open for fifty years. His grandson Tros eventually moved from the highlands down to a large plain, on a hill that had many rivers flowing down from Ida above. There he built a city, which was named Troy after him.
A triple deity (sometimes referred to as threefold, tripled, triplicate, tripartite, triune or triadic, or as a trinity) is a deity associated with the number three. Such deities are common throughout world mythology.
The doctrine of the Trinity in Christianity defines God as three divine persons or hypostases: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit; “one God in three persons”. The three persons are distinct, yet are one “substance, essence or nature”. A nature is what one is, while a person is who one is.
The Trinity is considered to be a mystery of Christian faith. According to this doctrine, there is only one God in three persons. Each person is God, whole and entire. They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: as the Fourth Lateran Council declared, “it is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds”.
While distinct in their relations with one another, they are one in all else. The whole work of creation and grace is a single operation common to all three divine persons, who at the same time operate according to their unique properties, so that all things are from the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. The three persons are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial.
Trinitarianism contrasts with nontrinitarian positions which include Binitarianism (one deity in two persons, or two deities), Unitarianism (one deity in one person, analogous to Jewish interpretation of the Shema and Muslim belief in Tawhid), Oneness Pentecostalism or Modalism (one deity manifested in three separate aspects).
Animals are still living in paradise, but humans got knowledge and went out of paradise. They are free to choose between god and bad, and in that way destroy the natural harmony which exists in nature, but sadly it looks like they are going to destroy mother Earth – or that is what it looks like at least.
Hebat, also transcribed Kheba or Khepat, was the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living”. She is also a Queen of the gods. Hebat is the wife of Teshub, the Hurrian god of sky and storm, and the mother of Sarruma, the “king of the mountains”, and Alanzu, as well mother-in-law of the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka.
The mother goddess is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele, the “Mountain Mother”. Cybele may have evolved from an Anatolian Mother Goddess of a type found at Çatalhöyük, dated to the 6th millennium BC.
This corpulent, fertile Mother Goddess appears to be giving birth on her throne, which has two feline-headed hand rests. In Phrygian art of the 8th century BC, the cult attributes of the Phrygian mother-goddess include attendant lions, a bird of prey, and a small vase for her libations or other offerings.
Cybele was an originally Anatolian mother goddess. Little is known of her oldest Anatolian cults, other than her association with mountains, hawks and lions. She may have been Phrygia’s state deity; her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread from there to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies from around the 6th century BC.
Attis was the consort of Cybele (Hebat) in Phrygian and Greek mythology. His priests were eunuchs, the Galli, as explained by origin myths pertaining to Attis and castration.
Attis was also a Phrygian god of vegetation, and in his self-mutilation, death, and resurrection he represents the fruits of the earth, which die in winter only to rise again in the spring.
An Attis cult began around 1250 BC in Dindymon (today’s Murat Dağı of Gediz, Kütahya). He was originally a local semi-deity of Phrygia, associated with the great Phrygian trading city of Pessinos, which lay under the lee of Mount Agdistis. The mountain was personified as a daemon, whom foreigners associated with the Great Mother Cybele.
Some authors say, that the Christian religion partly origins from the Attis cult. Attis is known to be worshipped between 500 B.C. and 400 A.C., first in Phrygia and eventually even in Rome. During this period, the legend of Attis has taken many forms, which makes it hard to comment on the parallels.
It is hard to determine which version of the legend was most popular at the time when and the place where Christianity emerged.
The Phrygian cap is a soft conical cap with the top pulled forward, associated in antiquity with the inhabitants of Phrygia, a region of central Anatolia.
The Phrygian cap identifies Trojans such as Paris in vase-paintings and sculpture, and it is worn by the syncretic saviour god Mithras and by the Anatolian god Attis who were later adopted by Romans and Hellenic cultures.
In the later parts of Roman history, the god Mithras – whose worship was widespread until suppressed by Christianity – was regularly portrayed as wearing a Phrygian cap, fitting with his being perceived as a god who had “come out of the East”.
Both Vedic Mitra and Avestan Mithra derive from an Indo-Iranian common noun *mitra-, generally reconstructed to have meant “covenant, treaty, agreement, promise.” This meaning is preserved in Avestan mithra “covenant.” In Sanskrit and modern Indo-Aryan languages, mitra means “friend,” one of the aspects of binding and alliance.
The first extant record of Indo-Aryan Mitra, in the form mi-it-ra-, is in the inscribed peace treaty of c. 1400 BC between Hittites and the Hurrian kingdom of the Mitanni in the area southeast of Lake Van in Asia Minor. There Mitra appears together with four other Indo-Aryan divinities as witnesses and keepers of the pact.
This kingdom was known as the Maryannu, Nahrin or Mitanni to the Egyptians, Hurri to the Hittites and Hanigalbat to the Assyrians. All three names were equivalent and interchangeable.
Maryannu is an ancient word for the caste of chariot-mounted hereditary warrior nobility which dominated many of the societies of the Middle East during the Bronze Age. The term is attested in the Amarna letters written by Haapi. Robert Drews writes that the name ‘maryannu’ although plural takes the singular ‘marya’, which in Sanskrit means young warrior, and attaches a Hurrian suffix.
The Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture, was a civilization that existed from 3400 BC until about 2000 BC. The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain. Jaimoukha believes that its southern expanse is attributable primarily to Mitanni and the Hurrians.
Founded by an Indo-Aryan ruling class governing a predominately Hurrian population, Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Amorite Babylon, and a series of ineffectual Assyrian kings created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia.
At the beginning of its history, Mitanni’s major rival was Egypt under the Thutmosids. However, with the ascent of the Hittite empire, Mitanni and Egypt made an alliance to protect their mutual interests from the threat of Hittite domination.
At the height of its power, during the 14th century BC, it had outposts centered around its capital, Washukanni, whose location has been determined by archaeologists to be on the headwaters of the Khabur River.
Some theonyms, proper names and other terminology of the Mitanni exhibit close similarities to Indo-Aryan, suggesting that an Indo-Aryan elite imposed itself over the Hurrian population in the course of the Indo-Aryan expansion.
The names of the Mitanni aristocracy frequently are of Indo-Aryan origin, but it is specifically their deities which show Indo-Aryan roots (Mitra, Varuna, Indra, Nasatya).
Hurrian is related to Urartian, the language of Urartu, both belonging to the Hurro-Urartian language family. In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521/0 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.
The name Mithra was adopted by the Greeks and Romans as Mithras, chief figure in the mystery religion of Mithraism. At first identified with the Sun-god Helios by the Greeks, the syncretic Mithra-Helios was transformed into the figure Mithras during the 2nd century BC, probably at Pergamon.
This new cult was taken to Rome around the 1st century BC and was dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. Popular among the Roman military, Mithraism was spread as far north as Hadrian’s Wall and the Germanic Limes.
The Macedonian, Thracian, Dacian and 12th-century Norman military helmets had a forward peaked top resembling the Phrygian cap called Phrygian type helmets.
In the western provinces of the Roman Empire it came to signify freedom and the pursuit of liberty, perhaps through a confusion with the pileus, the felt cap of manumitted (emancipated) slaves of ancient Rome.
John R. Hinnells has written of Mitra/Mithra/Mithras as a single deity worshipped in several different religions. On the basis of his astronomical interpretation of Mithraism, David Ulansey argues for a “profound kinship between Mithraism and Christianity”, in that Mithras, like Jesus Christ, was considered to be “a being from beyond the universe”.
Ulansey suggests that these two figures, Mithras and Jesus, “are to some extent both manifestations of a single deep longing in the human spirit”.
Accordingly, the Phrygian cap is sometimes called a liberty cap; in artistic representations it signifies freedom and the pursuit of liberty.
The pileus was worn in Illyria, Epirus and Ancient Greece and later copied by Ancient Rome. It was associated with the manumission of slaves. who wore it upon their liberation, and became emblematic of liberty and freedom from bondage.
During the classic revival of the 18th and 19th centuries it was widely confused with the Phrygian cap which, in turn, appeared frequently on statuary and heraldic devices as a “liberty cap.”
Stephane Hessel, the concentration camp survivor who inspired the Occupy Wall Street movement, had a Phrygian cap, an icon of the French Revolution, on him when he spoked at a rally of Solidarite-Palestine in Paris, January 18 2011.
In 2011, one of the names given to the 2011 Spanish protests against corruption and bipartisan politics was Los Indignados (The Outraged), taken from the title of the book’s translation there (¡Indignaos!).
The Spanish protests later inspired other protests all around the world, including Greece, Israel and Occupy Wall Street in the United States.
According to Hessel his runaway best-seller “Indignez-Vous” (Be Indignant!) is a call to action to protect human rights and combat the yawning gap between rich and poor.
Attis – Jesus