The gods, goddesses and demons, the motifs, symbols and religious beliefs of .. beings survived in the form of a spirit or ghost another god, probably Samaš. biblical types of angels (or spirits), whether evil or good. The spirit realm . are servants of God who minister to believers and that demons are spirits who. Apr 14, Gods Demons Spirits. Gods, Demons and Spirits is a worthy successor to the bestseller BEGONE GODMEN. In it, Dr. Abraham Kovoor, the.
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Gods Demons and Spirits by Abraham Kovoor - Free ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online for free. Gods, Demons and Symbols .. The identification of specific named gods and demons in Mesopotamian . beings survived in the form of a spirit or ghost. Gods, Demons and Spirits is a worthy successor to the bestseller BEGONE GODMEN. In it, Dr. Abraham Kovoor, the famed rationalist, continues his relentless.
From a cylinder seal of the Akkadian Period. If numerous copies survive of one poem, there are many others of which only fragments have been recovered. A cult was materials, might also be dedicated to a god in offered to deified kings in temples throughout peace time for the 'life' of an individual, their kingdoms, and praise poetry was com- especially a ruler, by the individual himself or posed in their honour. It was 27 said to be solely within his power to grant or to remove kingship over Assyria, and the Assyrian king was his chief priest and lieuten- ant on earth. On Neo-Assyrian seals a god who plishing this solely by the creative power of his stands upon a goat-fish, probably Ea, some- word.
The king, pointing to the symbols of his gods, wears a necklace with similar pendant symbols as amulets.
Detail of a carved stone monumental wall relief from the king's royal palace at Nineveh. A rather different form of an imal sacrifice is attested by the animals commonly found in all periods in Mesopotam ar Eastern burials see death an d funerary practices.
For the most part these probably represented food for the deceased. In Sumerian burials, however, equids and oxen, sometimes har- har- ne ssed to carts, must have been part of the great nessed ceremonial of the funeral. Possibly their pur- 83,84 pose was also to continue their tasks as working animals in the service of the deceaseddur- the grave.
The sacrifice of a goat called 'man- substitute' was used in some rituals to divert sickness or portended evil from individual persons.
However, the sacrifice of a sheep dur- ing the New Year ceremonies at Babylon is ing not, as has been suggested, connected with the idea of the scapegoat, an an imal sacrific lled to bear the sins of the whole people e. Leviticus In sacrificial kid. From a excavations at Kalhu modern Nimrud , for shell inlay found in the temple of the goddess example, an animal, perhaps a gazelle, was dis- Ninhursaga at Mari.
At Ur, the bones of small birds were an imal skins occasionally found together with figu ri nes in An interesting deposit has been discovered in clay boxes set into the foundations of a Neo- excavations at the site of Zawi Chemi Shanidar Assyrian building. In a heap lying just outside a stone respects, a form of animal sacrifice, since King structure were at least fifteen skulls of goats Assurbanipal reigned —c. Except for and a bustard.
Knife marks on the bird bones these hunting scenes of dying animals, the indicated that they had been carefully cut from depiction in Mesopotamian art of sacrificial the birds. The archaeologists interpreted these animals in all their gory detail so commonly wings as part of ritual costumes.
The goat shown in Classical works is extremely rare. See animal skins; bull an d 'winged gate', Some Neo-Assyrian art seems to depict divination; figurines; human sacrifice; human figures dressed in animal skins. The pu ri ficati on; sacrifice an d offering. An alternative figures, perhaps priests that this could be the interpretation of the passage makes them the god himself.
A pair of such figures, apparently children of Lahmu and Lahamu. Ansar and dressed-up men, is earlier to be seen on a Kisar in turn bore Anu An , the supreme god 24 relief of King Assurnasirpal II reigned of heaven.
Similarly, while figures of the fish- See Assur. In this case, however, it seems unlikely that the ritual Anu: They are put to work to help The symbolic custom of anointing has its ori- build the temple at Girsu in a Sumerian hymn, gin in the habit of rubbing the body with fine and are linked with the benign iama-deities. The sky god cosmetic purposes. Oil might also be sym- Anu An is described as king of the Anun- bolically poured over the head, e.
In the Epic of Creation the multitude of of persons involved in property transactions, gods are called the 'Anunnakku of heaven and or at the manumission of a slave. Marduk of a past king if it were exposed during build- and Damkina Damgalnuna , Nergai and ing work, clearly a substitute for anointing the Madanu — associated with the underworld — are ruler himself.
This implies the were frequently used, prepared both from sym- gradual development of a detailed imagery of bolic and to us revolting ingredients and also the underworld.
The remaining southern of a constellation, Anunitu referred to the Arabian gods known to us are numerous and north-eastern part of Pisces. In the sixth and fifth centuries sC there was a Anunnakku: Babylon see Nanna-Suen. In the fifth century sC, the Greek historian apotropaic figures: In the sorcery.
They are also attested as divine names in earlier north Arabian inscriptions. There were also direct borrowings from Mesopotamia and Syria. Little is known about the religion and pan- arali: In northern Arabia arrow the chief deity seems to have been known as El An upright arrow is depicted on or Ilah, meaning 'God'. A number of astral and Kassite kudurrus as a symbol local deities are also known. Detail from the In the southern Arabian kingdoms the cult carving on a Babylonian kudurru.
The most important was the moon god, Aruru: He was accompanied by an army of the E-kur, Enlil's temple at Nippur. In some stone allies the stones of the mountains. On narrative poems, men also debate questions of one level the defeat of Ninurta in this myth of policy in an assembly of elders or adult men.
A related scene is found on Neo- tion of the movements of astral bodies with a 6 Assyrian seals. From the movement and appear- by means of head fevers, and who is mentioned ance of the moon, stars and planets, the Baby- in poetical enumerations of diseases. By contrast, Hellenistic and modern astrology Asarluhi views the planets themselves as exerting influ- Originally the god of Kuara, a village near ences over human destinies. It was only from Eridu, Asarluhi came to be associated with the fifth century BC that Babylonian astrologers Enki the god of Eridu , and with magical began to cast horoscopes to foretell the fortunes knowledge, the special preserve of Enki.
Asar- of ordinary individuals. However, although luhi was regarded as the son of Enki and many ancient astronomical texts are expressed Damgalnuna, and when Marduk was also in a form which allows for their astrological accorded the title of son of Ea the Akkadian application for example, they include associ- name of Enki it was natural for Asarluhi to be ations of deities with the constellations where absorbed in the personality of Marduk.
A hymn appropriate , the basic facts and procedures are of the Old Babylonian Period addresses Asar- of astronomical or chronological interest, and luhi as the river of ordeal see river ordeal , there is some evidence that the main reason for as the first-born son of Enki and as Marduk.
Al- Marduk in incantations and prayers. Many of the names for the constella- records only a small part of which survive , tions were the same as or similar to those trans- and by about BC had reached a remark- mitted to the modern world by the Greek ably accurate level given the pre-Galilean astronomer Ptolemy c.
AD Halley's comet was observed and recorded in BC and again in 87 Bc. Babylon and Uruk were important Originally he may have been the local deity of centres of astronomy during the fourth to first the city of the same name, or rather — since it is 26 centuries BC. Oaths were 'ways' of Enlil, Anu An and Ea Enki , sworn by the name of the city as if it were itself a which were used for locating the position of the god.
Later these eighteen con- of the emergent state and empire. Details of the stellations were assigned singly or in pairs to origins and development of the god, however, the twelve months, foreshadowing the later are lacking.
Five planets were recognised: The underlying to identify him with Sumerian Enlil. This reasons behind this action were clearly the probably represents an effort to cast him as the current political and military struggle between chief of gods. Ninlil was thus regarded as Assyria and Babylonia. This culminated in Agues wife, though worshipped in Assyria Sennacherib's nine-month siege, conquest and under the name Mullissu. Then, under Sargon systematic sacking of Babylon in BC, and his II of Assyria reigned o5 BC Assur subsequent imposition of direct rule and per- tended to be identified with Ansar, the father sonal assumption of the Babylonian throne.
His animal, the snake- as a god of long-standing, present from the dragon which even on Sennacherib's rock re- creation of the universe. The particular liefs at Maltai is not exclusive to him was taken 31 identification may have been suggested by over from Marduk.
In collections of symbols nothing more than the similarity of the names. Some scholars, however, believe that the winged disc, very common in Assyrian art and often on Assyrian sculptures with the image of a god above it, and placed over scenes of battle, ritual and the chase, must represent Assur. Again, there may be some borrowing of an image proper to another god.
It was 27 said to be solely within his power to grant or to remove kingship over Assyria, and the Assyrian king was his chief priest and lieuten- ant on earth. It was particularly common for the names of Assyrian kings to contain the god's name as an element e. Assurnasirpal, Assur- banipal, Esarhaddon Assur-ahh e -iddina. The god supported and encouraged the armies 27 The god of Assyria. In these contexts, centu ri es BC. See ietters to gods.
See zodiac. Bau Bau was a goddess worshipped almost exclu- Aya: It has been suggested that the 'ball- Formerly the goose was thought to be the staff' depicts a type of vessel, balance, rod or bird associated with Bau, but this is now known loom. Which deity if any it represents is un- to be erroneous.
On Babylonian kudurrus known. Bau is represented by an object which has been thought to be a winnowing fan. As well as their dis tinctive attributes, weapons It is captioned on one kudurru as a symbol of and inanimate or astral symbols, many Meso- 6 the goddess S ala, and is later, in the Hellen- potamian deities had their familiar beasts, 30,36 28 The so-called 'ball-staff' with vessel above.
Detail from a cylinder seal of the Isin-Larsa Period.
One of the emblems carved on a kudurru of the Kassite Period. Detail from a cylinder seal of the Akkadian Period. Among these beasts were: Berossos was one of the trophies of the god Ninurta see thus the ultimate source for authoritative Slain Heroes , may be a personified danger or knowledge of Babylonia by the ancient Greeks. However, the earliest bells found in He is said to have emigrated in old age to the Mesopotamia are Assyrian, dating to the first Aegean island of Cos, where he founded a millennium BC.
Magical texts refer to the school of astrology. There is no absolute ringing of a bell as a means of driving away evil certainty, however, that Berossos of Babylon 32 spirits.
One example of an Assyrian bell has and Berossos of Cos were one and the same. It protective supernatural figures see demons is also possible that certain ideas attributed to and monsters depicted on it. Berossos in Classical sources were later in ori- gin so-called Pseudo-Berossos' , along with certain other tradi ti ons concerning his life, in- cluding that he was the father of the Sibyl! The first book of his work Babytoniaka opened with an account of the beginnings of the world and the myth of Oannes and other fish-monsters, who, emerging from the sea, first brought the arts of civilisation to mankind see Seven Sages.
It continued with the Babylonian creation story and an account of Babylonian astrology. Akkadian mythological and historical texts 32 A Neo-Assyrian copper or bronze bell, cast found in modern excava ti ons have largely con- with figures of magically protective demons. It firmed the authenticity of the tradi ti on rep- was probably used in rituals of exorcism.
Bes Berossos Bes or Bisu was the Egyptian god of play and Berossos a Greek form of a Babylonian name, recreation, represented as a full-faced bow- perhaps Bel-usur was a priest of Be Marduk legged dwarf, with oversized head, goggle at Babylon in the late fourth to early third cen- eyes, protruding tongue, bushy tail and usually turies BC. He wrote a three-volume work in a large feathered crown as head-dress.
He was Greek, now lost, on the culture and history a magically protective deity who averted the of Babylonia. An abridgement was made in power of evil, and was especially associated the first century BC by Alexander Polyhistor. Representations of a very similar figure are 33 found widely in Syria, Palestine, Assyria and Babylonia in the first millenium BC.
In Assyria and Babylonia the god may have been known as Pessu. It has been suggested that since Ningirsu was symbolised by the lion-headed bird Imdugud, this deity associ- ated with a natural-headed eagle might rather be iden ti fiable as Ninurta. In some ninth-century BC Assyrian repre- sentations of the god in the winged disc, a bird-tail is shown beneath the disc as if it were 33 A Neo-Assyrian cast copper figu rine of a one with the body of the god above.
According dwarf god, of a type known in Egypt as Bes. It has to one idea, this is a bird god who can, again, be a hollowed back and probably was originally identified as Ninurta. The winged disc, how- fitted to a timber pole or item of furniture. The bird recurs on a riding an ostrich. However, the ostrich appears Neo-Sumerian seal, associated with a seated only rarely before the glyptic art of the Middle goddess, and on Old Babylonian seals, after and Neo-Assyrian Periods. Often the bird is which it disappears from art.
Representations under attack from, or being throttled by, a pur- 14 of a goose-like bird perched on a tall pole, suing god. The mythological or religious basis shown on Parthian stamp-seals, are probably of these scenes is unknown. The early exist- unrelated. The top of the egg was severed and to the kudurrus and in Neo-Babylonian glyptic art open shell were attached a rim and base of pot- does the motif stand definitely as a religious tery decorated with inlays.
The accompany- A common scene on cylinder seals of the 61 ing inscription on one kudurru is partially Akkadian Period shows a large bird carrying broken but probably named the Kassite god the figure of a man, which has usually, and 90 Harbe. The symbol of a bird on a high perch, fairly plausibly, been interpreted as depicting probably in fact representing a bird-standard, the flight episode in the myth of Etana.
For the eagle-headed staff, see as a symbol of the obscure dual gods Suqa- standards, staves and sceptres of the gods. For augury, see divination. The motif of a bird on a low perch is found as a divine symbol on the rock stelae of the bird talons and wings Assyrian king Sennacherib at Judi Dagh, According to one suggestion, the presence of fr. Some Babylonian poems describe the dead as clothed with bird-like plumage.
The main literary basis for the idea, however, is a poetic account of a dream of an Assyrian prince, possibly the later King Assur- banipal reigned —c. In the dream, the prince descends to the underworld, which is peopled by a horde of unpleasant demons, described in graphic detail.
In almost all cases these hellish demons are said to have been winged and to have had the talons of birds or the feet of Imdugud, which amounts to the same thing. The content of this poem, however, is unique as the first known description of the 34 A walking bird. Detail from the carving on a 'medieval' image of a hell peopled by demonic Babylonian kudurru.
In Sumerian 42 familiar in Assyrian iconography. Even in the art, the bull-heads of the lyres from the Royal Assyrian Period these iconographic elements Graves at Ur, for example, have beards made of were not confined to underworld denizens, lapis lazuli that are reminiscent of the bison.
Moreover, the sug- kusarikku corresponds to part of Centaurus. In Mesopotamia, the importance of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, their tributaries and the bison canals dug from them made boats essential for The bison survives today in Europe and North many commercial, state and ritual activities.
The Mesopotamian bison seems to Even deities had their own barges see boats of have become extinct in pre-Sumerian times. The Sumerian term gud-atim Akkadian A common theme on cylinder seals, especi- kusarikku was used, however, for the super- ally in the Early Dynastic and Akkadian Periods, involves human-looking figures sit- ting or standing in a boat.
This has been inter- preted as Gilgames and Ut-napisti Ziusura in the Epic of Gilgames, but the suggestion is dubious, especially as the two heroes never actually travel by boat together in the surviving versions of the story, while the number of figures in the boat in artistic representations is not always limited to two. Gilgames does cross the waters with Ut-napisti's pilot Ursanabi, but it seems more likely that these boating scenes refer to various different ritual excursions of men and perhaps sometimes of gods see jour- neys an d processions of the gods.
In scenes of the presentation of offerings to a temple, common on seals of the Late Uruk Period, the procession of devotees, usually on foot, is sometimes shown approaching the temple by boat or else on foot and by boat , as some temples were sited on the water-front. Oc- casionally a small shrine is mounted on a boat, while people standing on the same vessel approach from one side. The Babylonians recognised a constellation 35 The gold head of a bison with affixed lapis called the Barge. The ornament on the sound-box of a lyre from the 'Royal Cemetery' at Ur.
Early boats of the gods Dynastic Period. Tell Asmar. The Assyrian king Sennacherib reigned Bc made an offering of a ship of gold to the resented them, had houses see temples and god Ea Enki.
These boats were actually used when the conveying people or deities by river or canal are statutes of the gods made ritual journeys to visit on occasion rendered with a prominent prow one another at festival times see journeys and terminating in a human head, occasionally also processions of the gods. Individual boats with human torso and arms, with which the had names.
During that period of Meso- man-boat might actually row himself. Since 36 potamian history when each year was named the human head is sometimes crowned by a after an important event of the preceding horned cap, it seems likely that the rendering year about Bc , the refitting and is of a boat god perhaps the minor deity caulking of the boat of a god was a sufficiently Sirsir , or in effect, perhaps, an animation and grand and expensive undertaking to serve as a personification of the boat of a god.
Among the group of mythological characters The god's boat would be stored in the temple known as the Slain Heroes, defeated and and it seems that the cult statue of the god and killed by the god Ningirsu or in an alternative some of the god's or goddess's treasure might version Ninurta , is one referred to as the be exhibited in the boat.
Magillunt boat. Nothing is known of the form - The boats of the gods are a favourite theme in which this creature was envisaged. In the boundary stones: Only from malevolent demons and disease see very rarely are these objects held by figures building rites and deposits; magic and which might be interpreted as entirely human; sorcery. As well as in front of the stylised In ancient Mesopotamia, building activities tree, the bucket and cone are seen held before seem generally to have been accompanied by floral decorative elements, guardian super- certain appropriate rites.
During the construc- natural figures, the king or his attendants, or tion of new buildings, especially temples, open doorways. The cone has been interpreted there were usually some religious ceremonies as a fir cone Pinus brutia , as the male flower of and magical practices associated with the con- the date palm or as a clay object in imitation of secration of the edifice, its purification, dedi- such.
The bucket has been thought to have cation and protection from demonic forces. Such rituals are without definite proof. From the Old Babylon- generally treated together in modern literature ian Period onwards, however, the bull is as foundation or building rites.
They often in- usually associated with a god whose attribute of 9,11, volved the use of deposits of various kinds lightning confirms his identity as a storm god. In the See figurines; gipar. Old Babylonian Period, the bull can also be an attribute of the moon god Nanna-Suen, since it is associated with the crescent on seals.
On astronomical tablets, the depiction of a bull represents the constellation Taurus. Carrying the construction on its back, or perhaps simply lying in front of it, is a recumbent bull. A god or goddess sits in front of the animal. Either the deity gestures to the 38 left Copper 'peg figu rines', which were driven into the foundations of buildings: That the iconography is very else holds the animal's horns or the end of a rarely attested after that time may suggest that halter fastened to a ring piercing its nostrils.
Bulls and lions in quasi-human pose figure Some modern commentators have regarded among the fabulous beasts of the so-called the construction as a partly closed doorway, 'proto-Elamite' early third millennium BC and have thought that the projections resemble glyptic art of south-western Iran.
They have wings, hence the term 'winged gate'.
These been interpreted as personifying the ele- projec ti ons have alternatively been regarded as mentary principles of world order. Since the buil was also an animal of to be seen very commonly on cylinder seals. He the storm god, a possible interpretation of the is usually shown in profile, with a single visible projections might be as flashes of lightning. A horn projecting forward, although we know related theory sees in the subject a case of from those rarer occasions when either the an imai sac ri fice to a conquering sky god.
He Istar Inana and the Bull of Heaven. Prob- appears singly, in pairs or even in triplicate, in ably, however, the scene represents an episode contest scenes with rampant animals. Some- of some myth of the Akkadian Period which is times he is associated in his struggle with a 40 The bull-man on clay reliefs.
Blue the name for the extinct bison, became the term chalcedony cylinder seal of the Neo-Assyrian for the bull-man and possibly also for the bull Period, with modern impression. There is no basis for the sug- human figure, from the later Third Early gestion that the figure of the bull-man in art Dynastic Period usually with another stock represents the legendary hero Enkidu. Bull of Heaven In the art of the Old Babylonian and Kassite The Bull of Heaven was a mythical beast de- 53 73 Periods, the bull-man appears, as well as in manded by Istar [nana from her father Anu contests, as an a tt endant of the sun god Samas An so as to destroy the city of Uruk when her Utu.
In the scene on a Neo-Babylonian amorous advances toward Gilgames were re- foundation tablet, a pair of bull-men support pudiated by the hero. The bull caused wide- the throne of this god. As a becomes a magically protective demon, and by taunt, Gilgames dedicated the animal's horns Neo-Assyrian times it seems that his specific to his personal god Lugalbanda.
The story is associa ti on with Samas has been weakened; he told both in the Sumerian poem 'Gilgames and might still hold the god's symbol, and is also the Bull of Heaven' and in tablet VI of the 82 seen as a supporter ofSama'swinged disc, but Babylonian Epic of Gilgames.
The bull-man is also found in the art of outline of the constella ti on. The creature was designed to be viewed from either the front or side, hence its five legs. Babylonian times, and was taken over also into the art of the Achaemenid Empire. Monu- Cedar Forest: Such figures adorned the palaces of the Kassite and Middle Assyrian Periods on 43 the more important Assyrian kings from Assur- seals and sealings and on kudurrus.
Sometimes it has the tail of a scor- from the palace of King Assurbanipal reigned pion.
The human part is often shown armed —c. In availability of large enough blocks of stone at the Hellenistic Period the creature represents that time; some of Esarhaddon's bull-colossi the god Pabilsag. See bison; lion-centaur; merman and Male and female human-headed lions often mermaid. It is possible, but not certain, that the bull chaplet with human head was, like the bull-man, A so-called 'chaplet', or string of beads, is known in Akkadian as kusarikku see bison.
On and sedu is also possible see lama. Neo-Assyrian seals, the goddess carrying the 87 chaplet is sometimes Istar Inana. Sometimes Bunene: Detail from a cylinder seal of the Middle Assyrian Period. Detail of a carved stone monumental relief from the royal palace of the Assyrian king Assurnasirpal u reigned BC. On the reliefs probably of King A variety of cosmological ideas were current at 31 Sennacherib reigned '3c at Maltai, different periods of Mesopotamian history.
Just as there were boats of the gods, so the Originally united and inhabited only by gods, 45 gods also had chariots for use in travel and they were at a primordial time separated from battle. They are often depicted standing in each other.
In actuality, the cult statues of the gods mankind to inhabit. The earth was viewed as a were transported by land in chariots and wag- rectangular field with four corners, an image ons. Perhaps on occasion, when documentary which persisted, at least as a formulaic expres- accounts describe a god as overseeing or actu- sion, until much later times.
At least salt sea surrounding it. Through these the sun passed each day, entering at the 'cone-smearing' ceremony: A staircase cone; stylised tree and its 'rituals'.
A naked goddess stands on the back of the beast. From a cylinder seal of the Akkadian Period. In a separate, interpreted as an emblem of Istar Inana or, astronomical, tradition the eastern horizon was perhaps with more probability, of Nin- Nin- d verseto three vertical bands see hursaga. That the group was represented in astrology and astronomy.
The cow and calf motif was depicted on the Assyrian palace Reflecting the old Sumerian idea of the relief showing the sacking of the temple. A temple thought to be is followed.
Generally, however, it is assumed a channel of communication between earth and that the gods have existed for a very long time, heaven might be so described. See also Angar Ansar and With apparent antecedents in early historic and Kisar. Sumerian art, a group consisting of a cow and To express the idea of creation various im- her calf is a common motif from the Old Baby- ages were used. On at least one Neo-Assyrian cylin- offspring of Enlil and Ninlil.
Enki and Nin- der seal we find a winged crescent with cen- hursaga produced a series of eight deities. An trally placed god, who wears a crescent-headed and Ki produced natural vegetation. Enlil and cap, and smaller inward-facing deities on the Kur produced Summer and Winter, per- ends of the wings, in apparent imitation of the sonified in a Sumerian poem.
Either a mother god- dess such as Nammu or Aruru, or else Enki, crook moulds the creature sometimes with another The crook-headed stick is an element mainly 76 goddess standing by as 'midwife'.
In the Epic occurring in Old Babylonian glyptic art. It of Atra-hasis, the clay is mixed with the blood occurs as an isolated motif, held by a god, or of a slain god. In the Epic of Creation, man is set above a goat or sitting dog. It is often apparently created solely from the blood of a placed close to the 'figure with mace', with slain god, Qingu. Finally, the quickening power of the divine It is a symbol of the god Amurru Martu. On a Kassite seal the crook is held by the Especially Enki is described as undertaking fish-garbed figure, who is associated with Ea the organisation of the universe, and as accom- Enki.
On Neo-Assyrian seals a god who plishing this solely by the creative power of his stands upon a goat-fish, probably Ea, some- word. See Berossos; Igigii; Sacred Marriage. The constellation called the Crook corre- sponds to Auriga see zodiac.
Its Ak- ese cross. In prehistoric and early historic art, 48 kadian name was uskaru. In all periods a the form occurs only as part of geometric and common variant placed the emblem on a post, floral designs, or in isolated contexts to which it 74 sometimes with elaborate trimmings, when it is difficult to attach with any certainty a reli- appears as an independent motif or is held by gious meaning.
After the Early Dynastic gods, goddesses, or animal or hybrid figures. Period the motif disappears from art until the Probably it was then considered to have a mid-second millennium BC. From the Old Appearing frequently on Kassite Period Babylonian Period onwards, and especially cylinder seals with a rarer variant on Middle 76 from Kassite times, Sin's crescent was often Assyrian , the 'Kassite' cross, as it has been 47,73 depicted within a disc; sometimes this appears called, probably had an independent origin.
It to be a fusion of the crescent and solar disc, as may have been a symbol of the Kassite sun if symbolic of an eclipse. In Neo-Assyrian and deity. These include, most rather than the winged disc which is invariably 21 commonly, positioning between a god with to be seen. It is only rarely that the cross stands raised hand and a worshipper the latter some- in place of the winged disc on Assyrian seals, times, in fact, omitted , above scenes of hunt-.
Sculptures of Assyrian kings, cult statues however, can show them wearing divine sym- The gods manifested themselves on earth 49 bols as earrings or as pendants strung upon a through the vehicle of their cult statues. With- necklace, and in these cases it is the cross out exactly being the god, the statue was 47 A crescent here, as often, enclosed within a disc , symbol of the moon god Sin Nanna-Suen. Sargon of Agade restrict the divine presence.
Baal Hadad and second only in rank to the Cult statues were made at least as early as the supreme god El. However, he is not an impor- Third Dynasty of Ur, usually carved in an tant figure in Ugaritic myths. The goddess Sala the mouth'.
Since the deity needed to eat and became his spouse; in a different tradition, drink see food and drink of the gods , the Dagan's wife was Ishara. It was said to be by temple kitchens would prepare daily meals. The sacrifices and S amsi-Adad I, 'worshipper of Dagan', built a offerings of devotees supplemented the stocks temple to the god at Terqa, which he named of food, which, in practice, were eaten by the E-kisiga, the 'House of Funerary Offerings'.
In clergy and temple staff. The cult statue was not an Assyrian poem, Dagan sits, along with Ner- only fed, but also dressed in the finest gar- gal and MYsaru see good and evil , as judge ments, constantly bathed, taken to bed in the of the dead when they reached the under- god's richly adorned bedchamber, and treated world.
In Babylonian belief Dagan kept with to festivities and entertainments, such as him in the underworld, in everlasting bondage, music. Diversions from the routine were pro- the seven children of the god Enmesarra see vided by the great monthly festivals and other Seven gods. See nude woman; Sacred Marriage; Damgalnuna Damkina temples and temple architecture.
Damgalnuna is the earlier Sumerian name of the goddess Damkina. Perhaps originally one of a number sively throughout the Near East, including of mother goddesses, she achieved an in- Mesopotamia.
The original meaning of the dependent personality as the wife of Enki. In name is unknown, but dagan is a common word the Babylonian Epic of Creation, Ea Enki in Hebrew and Ugaritic for 'grain', and and Damkina are the parents of the god Mar- according to one tradition the god Dagan was duk. Assurnasirpal II, king of Assyria the inventor of the plough.
Apparently, the eleven monstrous the circle of Nanse. Old Babylonian Period. Nothing in detail is known of the myth or Astrologically, Damu was associated with myths concerning the killing of the Slain the constella ti on called the Pig possibly Del- Heroes, but it seems clear that they were gods phinus.
A number of deities were regarded as dead. Nor were 'heroes' exempt from death. Unlike mortal men, gods do not seem ever to have died of diseases, nor generally of the activities of demons although Dumuzi was seized by gallas. Dead gods were usually those 50 who had been slain.
Seals of the Akkadian 50 One god cuts the throat of another. Both Period show deities in ba tt le, sometimes one figures wear the horned cap of divinity. From a slaying another. Since in both cases gest her 'death'. This has protective demons , it seems that, in spite of been interpreted as Nergal, lord of the under- being dead, these gods were thought still to world, at rest. Similarly the magical power and wisdom of ancient and death and funerary practices 9, probably dead gods such as Lahmu and even It was believed in ancient Mesopotamia that 11,12 the Seven Sages could be harnessed by the immortality was reserved for gods; death was modelling of a figurine in the image of the the inevitable lot of man see Siduri.
Nor was creature and by the recital of incanta tions to the afterlife considered very palatable: This is in marked contrast to to be effec tive as a magical force against evil. Egyptian concepts of the glorious life to come, For men, 'death' usually meant journeying which gave rise to the practice of embalming to the underworld see afterlife; death and and mummification.
Mesopotamian pessimism funerary practices , but for a god who was in this regard probably arose from the com- not dismembered as Tiamat or Qingu were paratively harsh condi tions of almost every the precise meaning of his or her 'death' is aspect of life, the alluvial plain of Sumer being unclear.
Huwawa seems simply to disappear well suited to agricultural produc ti on but lack- from the scene, as if into oblivion: Some 'dead gods', however, seem to have had It has been suggested that the practice of underworld associa tions. Since he was a shep- munication with the deceased, by means of a herd god, the tradi ti on of his death and rebirth cult of the dead, or, conversely, to restrain the was possibly an aetiological myth related to the dead from haunting the living, as they would passage of the seasons.
The god's 'death' seems do if left unburied and free to wander see to have involved his forced abduc ti on to the gidim. The Sumerian rite of pouring liba- underworld. See Ningiszida. In the Sumerian poem remain in their graves. In the time of the Third 'Inana's Descent to the Nether World', in Dynasty of Ur, however, as illustrated by order to gain admission to the underworld, a funerary poem, there was a belief in different Inana says that she has come to a tt end the treatments of the dead on arrival in the under- 'funeral' of Gugal-ana, her brother-in-law.
The proper burial of the deceased was memorated his removal to the infernal regions therefore of crucial importance to his or her in a certain sense, his 'death' or whether it future 'life'. The nine ancient Near East seems to have been inhum- skeletons seven adults and two infants do not ation interment of the body in the earth or in all belong to a single period, but date from a container , although the almost complete perhaps about 6o, to 45, years ago.
Cremation the burning of cemeteries. These involve the graves of male the bodily remains does not seem to have been and female adults and children. Young practised in any period: Babies, however, sorry plight indeed see afterlife. By the first human. Adults were also buried beneath the millennium BC, an exaggerated social differen- floors of houses, but only rarely on rubbish tiation is apparent within given cultures.
Neo- tips. Sumerian burials can show a very high those of the Assyrian queens very recently dis- level of effort and expenditure, most notably covered at Kalhu modern Nimrud. At less wealthy burials with burial chambers bricked off from 52 An elaborate object used for supporting some grave furnishing. A he-goat made of shell, lapis lazuli and gold on a wooden core.
One of a pair found in one of the fantastically rich 'Royal Tombs' at Ur. There is palm leaves, loose or in the form of woven mats. The posi tion of the vessels within the in the flexed or so-called 'sleeping' posi ti on graves may— almost accidentally— give us some with the legs together, bent and raised , indica tion of their intended purpose, for even though not often in the crouched or so-called if no rules governed the positioning, it would 'foetal' posture with legs tightly flexed and be natural to locate the more important and close to the chin.
Later the preferred posi ti on personal items close to the body, with other seems to have been the 'stretched' posture with objects piled into the remaining space. In Early the body laid out full length, legs straight, and Dynastic and Ninevite 5 burials the deceased lying on the side or back.
Preferred orienta- perished. The bones of a small animal have in tion, or avoidance of certain orienta tions, one case been retrieved from the bowl in this varied according to period and loca tion. The bones of larger animals and the Except in the case of very wealthy in- carbonised remains of cereals, probably the dividuals, adorned with a mass of jewellery, remains of food or sacrificial offerings see evidence of the clothing worn by the deceased animal sacrifice , have sometimes been found is slim, since in the arid condi tions of the in the graves.
A large vessel often placed close Mesopotamian plain tex tiles rarely survive. A to the head, regularly with a smaller pot sitting few fr agments have, however, been found.
Another been identified as silk! The fairly large vessel is sometimes found together with a common occurrence of copper or bronze pins, large natural stone slab the so-called often found on the chest or at the shoulders, 'gravestone': The grave goods seem to have served a vari- Burials without grave goods were not un- ety of purposes. Some objects were so personal common, but even an impoverished burial to the deceased that their inclusion in the grave would often contain a pot or two, even a broken was natural, since they would not be used one.
Pottery is the most common of objects by others. A second dedicated in connection with vows or pledges category of items was included for the use of votive offerings , but small models of e. Finally, lems or bodily illnesses to be due to a particular goods eventually assigned to the grave could deity, or as promptings by those hopeful of represent a public display of wealth by the de- achieving cures.
Probably in the case of high- slavery for granted, and an extension of this ranking or wealthy individuals an elaborate was the dedication of certain human beings as ceremony accompanied the procession from 'belonging' to the gods. At different periods the house to the site of burial, although for this took different forms, with varying social Mesopotamia we have little in the way of evi- effects.
The dedication in the Old Babylonian dence for the rites involved in contrast to the Period of the daughters of wealthy families to a depictions on Egyptian murals. Once considered only a the inheritance. In later Babylonian times the basis for often imaginative speculations on temple sirkutu dedicated slaves was an order religious beliefs, burial data are today widely of male and female persons dedicated to Mar- studied as evidence of social stratification.
Parents dedicated their children and Mesopotamia have on the whole been slow to freemen their slaves. They were branded with a make use of mortuary evidence in this way, but star, spade or wedge.
Kings and became part of the temple's treasure. Valu- who were deified claimed to be sons or brothers able ceremonial objects, often of precious of major gods see Lugalbanda. A cult was materials, might also be dedicated to a god in offered to deified kings in temples throughout peace time for the 'life' of an individual, their kingdoms, and praise poetry was com- especially a ruler, by the individual himself or posed in their honour.
Period, when cylinder seal designs often mix Come in, good rabisu! Period gave way to a preponderance of animal- The scores of demons whose names are known headed hybrids; to us are mentioned mainly in magical incant- 5 a demonic phase, represented by Neo- ations. Their usual with the new theology of a demonically populated underworld in the first millennium 65, 78, method of attacking humans was by inflicting 99,, diseases but not all illness was thought to be sc.
The change happens, moreover, at the same ,, due to them ; there is no evidence for a general time as the advent of the practice of erecting in palaces and temples monumental statues and belief in demonic possession.
Evil gods and demons are, only very rarely depicted in art, reliefs of magically protective beings, and of perhaps because it was thought that their burying small clay images of them in the 9,11, foundations. Diverse in cultural background 12,40, images might endanger people; in some cases 70, descriptions of their appearances are so vague and original significance, the various gods, de- and inconsistent as to suggest they were not mons and monsters involved were brought to- gether into a fairly restricted visual series at well established.
By the first millennium BC, this time, and for the first time they came to be however, Lamastu is commonly represented, treated as a group in mythological narratives. This change may be re- lated to a new concept in the first millennium destiny and fate: The supposed name for Bahrain and an area of the western 'empty' graves can for the most part be coast of the Gulf the la tt er area apparently explained by lack of archaeological technique called Agaru by the inhabitants of Dilmun in the excava ti on of often disturbed or poorly themselves , possibly also including Failaka preserved burials.
It became increasingly important in Mesopotamian trade from the end Dilmunite gods of the Early Dynastic Period on. The two principal gods of Dilmun, the god In the poem 'Enki and Ninhursaga', Dilmun Inzak and the goddess Meskilak, are referred is described as a 'holy', 'virgin' and 'pure' land to in both Mesopotamian and Dilmunite without any normal civilisa ti on, human or sources.
Inzak was regarded by the Sumerians animal, or even water supplies. At the request by whom he was called Enzag as the chief of his wife-daughter, the goddess Ninsikila god of Dilmun, but in Dilmun itself he was Ninhursaka , Enki first arranges for Dilmun characterised as a god of Agaru eastern to be provided with fresh water and abundant Arabia.
He probably also had a cult centre on produce. Then in a series of incestuous unions Failaka island, where the temple seems to have a number of gods and goddesses are born, been dedicated to him. A god 'Lord of Magan'.
The fuller text of the poem now name for Ninhursaka. Nin-Dilmun, 'lady of available shows that Dilmun was not, as was Dilmun', was probably a title of the same god- earlier thought, described as a 'paradise' land. She may have been regarded as either the According to another Sumerian poem, after wife or mother of Inzak.
A Babylonian hymn the Flood the gods settled Ziusura in 'a refers to a goddess called S uluhitu as wife of foreign land, the land of Dilmun in the east'. It galnuna, Adad Iskur and Marduk. In fact, although the low levels of soil posing that his cult was established there or that above bedrock necessitated the construction of the temple at Barbar on Bahrain was dedicated above-ground tombs, which makes them ab- to him as is commonly assumed.
They were often ascribed to the work of of Samas Utu ', indicating the deity or demon gods or of demons acting as the agents of gods thought responsible for them. The god or for the punishment of sin. Particular demons demon is said to 'seize' the vic ti m. In art, a were thought likely to cause specific diseases. In a Neo- 14,54 'the hand of god', 'the hand of a ghost Assyrian prayer, a sufferer pleads forgiveness gidim ', 'the hand of Istar Inana ', 'the hand for his unwitting offence of a god or goddess 'whom I know or whom I do not know'.
Such diseases were treated by the exorcist see priests and priestesses. Some illnesses which we should regard as psychological were referred to as the work of demons; psychologi- cal illness could also be caused by sorcery see magic an d sorcery. In some cases a distinc ti on seems to have been made between such divine or demonically originating illness and more 'naturally' occur- ring condi ti ons although the causes were not known. For the treatment of the latter type of diseases a different priest was usually involved, who practised a primi tive form of medicine.
However, the functions of this 'general practi- 55 tioner' and the exorcist overlapped and were to some extent interchangeable. If the type of dis- 55 Nergal, god of the underworld, instructs a ease was unclear, both priests would be called lion-demon in the punishment of a sinner, a graphic rendering of seizure by disease. Detail in, and a common complaint was that neither from a cylinder seal of the Old Babylonian had been able to effect a cure. It course of the disease.
Among around him, which can be interpreted the skeletons from Shanidar Cave in the Zag- divined by experts with specialist knowledge. Particularly important from Sumerian atrophied right arm, the lower part of which times was extispicy, in which the liver, lungs or had been successfully amputated before his colon spiral of a specially slaughtered young death in a rock-fall. By the Old Babylonian Period, the Babylonians included ingredients such as extispicy was highly developed and had a com- honey and syrup of dates, as well as varied and plex technical vocabulary.
Also used were lec- apparently secret substances. Ne- 'snake-skin'. Other medicinal agents included cromancy calling up the spirits of the dead warm and cold baths, the rubbing of oils into was used only rarely and considered to be the body and blood-letting.
Mesopotamian dangerous. The study of celestial omens astro- tion of drains for the proper disposal of sewage, logical and meteorological came to surpass and in battle the use of large trenches for mass even extispicy in popularity and survived until burial. Models of the liver, used for instruction after the end of Mesopotamian civilisation.
This re- branch of the subject with its own specialised futes the claim of the Greek historian Hero- practitioners. They were See dogs; galla; 'hands-of-Istar'; Nergal. Often they accom- Gula; Ninisina. It is covered with writing giving the prognostications derived from signs observed in the various part gan, and was probably used as an aid in teaching divina tion. Human misfortune and diseases and also on a much more homely level as a form were often regarded as an indica ti on of divine of personal fortune-telling —'likenation played displeasure.
Behind the theory of divination, an important part in decision-making. Rulers were careful to barrel, who knows what is going on inside?
Offerings see vene vene to some extent in human life. Indeed attached specifically to any individual deity. They were 57 bility of divine intervention in mortals' affairs. Whether they were magically The sitting dog first occurs as a divine symbol protective or dedicatory or served some other in the Old Babylonian Period and continues purpose is unclear. Insc riptions It has been suggested that the disease of 79,90 on kudurrus identify it as the symbol of rabies was present in Mesopotamia by the Gula, goddess of healing.
An Old Babylonian beginning of the second millennium BC and dog figurine from Girsu modern Tello is more widespread during the first millennium dedicated see dedication to Ninisina Gula BC. That it con- also lions. A dog is long upright ears, probably those of a donkey.
The lion-demon is depicted with 32,99, the goddess, sitting and supporting the symbol leonine ears in the Akkadian Period, but there- of the crook. The evil 57 Five little clay models of dogs. They had been placed in a hollow at the base of a monumental stone relief on one side of a doorway in the royal palace of the Assyrian king Assurbanipal reigned —c.
They are painted in different colours and inscribed in exact conformity to the prescription of written rituals, which denote their purpose as one of protective magic. Her as a branch of divination. When such crea- The importance attached to dreams can be tures were copied in arts outside Mesopotamia seen, for example, in the number of dream the ears were generally altered to those of a episodes related in the stories of Gilgames, lion, an interesting example of lack of 'under- in both the Sumerian and Akkadian versions.
Here they are used as a literary device to open a However, in Greek art the griffin retained its window upon subsequent events and, by their long ears, and these passed into the icono- consequent effects upon the protagonists, as a graphy of medieval and modern European catalyst for moving the story on. In the Stan- griffins and dragons. He has a lion in such demonic hybrids might have series of three dreams concerning the projected seemed an appropriate combination of wild campaign against Humbaba Huwawa.
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Kavita Kane. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Straightforward expose of frauds in the name of religion.
Unfortunately the Indian subcontinent is rife with superstition and it seems like things are getting worse. Must read by every theist in the Excellent book. Must read by every theist in the World. Only scientific attitude can lead to real progress of civilisation. A must read Kindle Edition. In an entertaining but educative manner, author demolishes the myths and superstitions of people who continue to believe in them.
A must read for all who want to know the "truth" because as the author says, 'belief can transcend reason but not truth! This gives further instances of cases where gullible people are exploited by the so called god men, astrologers, etc following the earlier book "Begone Godmen ".
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