Information

Assyrian Apkallu Holding a Deer



Assyrian Apkallu Holding a Deer - History

You've got correctly most of the things, but there are some flaws.

First of all, you seem to miss one major point here. For ancient Greeks forests and meadows were inhabited by spirits of nature (similar to Japanese kami). Every river, every water spring had their own deity. In that way ancient Greek religion was similar to Shinto. (Although there was a significant difference in how ancient Greeks and Japanese imagined those spirits of nature.) Being familiar with Shinto (as a Japanese) Miura intuitively grasps the essence of other pagan religions of the type, ancient Greek in this case. Here is a couple of quotes on the matter from a classical book on ancient Greek folk religion (Martin P. Nilsson "Greek Folk Religion"):

"Nature was peopled with spirits, daemons, and gods. They haunted the mountains and the forests. They dwelt in trees and stones, in rivers and wells. Some of them were rough and dreadful, as the wilderness is, while others were gentle and benevolent. Some of them promoted the life of nature and also protected mankind. The great gods are less prominent in this sphere."

". in a scantily watered land such as Greece, the groves and meadows where the water produces a rich vegetation are the dwelling places of the nature spirits, and so are the forests and mountains where the wild beasts live. In the forests the nymphs dance centaurs, satyrs, and seilenoi roam about and Pan protects the herds, though he may also drive them away in a panic. The life of nature becomes centered in Artemis, who loves hills and groves and well-watered places and promotes that natural fertility which does not depend upon the efforts of man."

So my point is that you don't need to find some specific god or goddess prototype for every single episodic character in ɽuranki'.

Hermes - Identifiable by his winged boots and the staff Caduceus, as well as being the Greek patron god of Thieves.

You identified the god correctly, but why would the patron god of thieves be considered a god of wisdom? Hermes was the patron of many professions (not only thieves), including eloquence and trickery, he was considered really smart, but I guess there can be one more explanation. In the Hellenistic period and then in the Middle Ages Hermes was sometimes associated with a great sage called Hermes Trismegistus, the author of a series of sacred texts that are the basis of Hermeticism.

This is completely wrong. Except for Hermes, the other two gods are of Mesopotamian origin. First of all, they have horned caps which are the distinctive head-dress of divinity in Mesopotamia.

But apparently they are not the gods that created humans according to Mesopotamian myths that we know.

This Greek goddess of love and beauty is not named but she does reveal that she has had a son with Hermes named Hermaphroditus who Usumgallu is said to resemble.

Where exactly does the goddess reveal such thing? In Evil Genius translation somebody just says (apparently applying to Hermes): "I believe you understand, but this is not your true child. not Hermaphroditus". And that's all that was said on the matter.

Anyway the goddess doesn't look like Aphrodite at all. Where have you seen Aphrodite with horned cap, wings and bird feet?

The goddess must be Inanna. My arguments:

In the interview for Comic Natalie while discussing ɽuranki' Miura mentioned Inanna. (He says something like he was giving a thought what a god is when he was drawing ɽuranki' and mentions Inanna as an example.)

The goddess is winged - and Innana was often (though not always) depicted with wings. Moreover, the wings of the goddess here are outspread which is typical for Inanna.

At the top of the goddess' horned cap there is an eight-pointed star which was normally the symbol of Inana.

One can ask why Inanna has bird feet here. My guess is that her image in ɽuranki' was partly inspired by the so-called Burney Relief. Photos of Burney Relief are often used in books on Mesopotamian mythology. Sometimes the captions under the photo say that is depiction of Inanna. Although there are two main versions - one claiming that it is depiction of Inanna (Ishtar), the other that it is depiction of Ereshkigal.

Alternatively, this can be some abstract Mesopotamian "goddess of wisdom" whose image was inspired by images of Inanna/Ishtar (who was not considered a goddess of wisdom, by the way). But that's not very likely, taking in consideration argument 1. (But if that is nevertheless the case then Hermes is not considered a god of wisdom in that scene.)

I have found the raws for chapter 1 here (thank you, Spider-Man). So now the phrase you based upon became more clear. Somebody (apparently the Serpent god) says: ". this child is not your (plural!!) true child. Hermaphroditus." So it really sounds as if the Serpent god adresses to both Hermes and the goddess, which really implies that the goddess is Aphrodite after all.

I can think of only one explanation for that contradiction: Miura considers the goddess to be both Inanna and Aphrodite, meaning it is the same goddess known as Inanna for Sumerians, Ishtar for Akkadians, Aphrodite for Greeks and Venus for Romans. My guess is basing on the following Miura's words in the interview he gave for Comic Natalie:

I can recall only one Mesopotamian god whose lower body is of a serpent. The problem is that his upper body is also of a serpent. That is, he looks like a giant serpent and is one of the few cases of fully non-anthropomorfic gods of Mesopotamia. His name is Nirah. But it's a lesser god, the minister of god Ištaran, and he was not considered a god of wisdom.

According to 'Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, An Illustrated Dictionary' by by Jeremy Black and Anthony Green:

"An anthropomorphic god with the lower body of a snake, shown on cylinder seals of the Old Akkadian Period, may also represent Nirah."

But in those cases the lower bodies of a snake end with snake heads which seems to differ from the image of the Serpent God in ɽuranki'.

Another Mesopotamian god associated with snakes is Ningišzida. His symbol and beast was the horned snake. According to the article in English Wikipedia: "He was sometimes depicted as a serpent with a human head." But I don't know where they got that from, I only saw the image of Ningišzida with horned snakes rising from his shoulders. And anyway, Ningišzida was also not considered a god of wisdom.

On the other hand, at the top of the god's horned cap there is a recumbent crescent moon which was the symbol of the moon god Sîn (Akkadian) or Nanna (Sumerian). In Old Akkadian the god was called Zuen which means "lord of wisdom", which fits with the "god of wisdom" title. But his iconography is quite different from the image of the Serpent God in ɽuranki'. Nanna/Sîn was usually depicted as an old man with a flowing beard and the Serpent God is beardless and doesn't look that old. Besides, Nanna/Sîn was not associated with snakes, his main beast symbol was a bull.

So my guess is that the god may have been made serpentine in order to explain why he gives his creation the name ɽragon'.

In Japanese the Serpent God is called 龍蛇神. The first kanji here means "dragon", the second "snake" and the third "god". And it's the only of the three gods who names himself. Please note that it's not a real name of some god from Mesopotamian panteon, but rather a definition.

So this god may really be some artificially constructed serpentine "god of wisdom" whose image was inspired both by Nanna/Sîn and (may be) by some Mesopotamian images where characters have snake parts.

How much time has past since the beginning of Guts' journey till Fantasia?

It looks like some people just can't admit Miura can make a mistake.

For those who think Guts is 22 by the time he arrives to Skellig - that is possible, but more likely he is 23 already. Because if you look closely, 4 years have passed between the winter Guts left Hawks and the winter Guts got new comrades. I explained it in detail here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Berserk/comments/8iabfd/s_inchoerence_in_guts_age_or_did_i_miss_something/

As for Mule's remark that 3 years ago Griffith was arrested for treason and died in prison, it is ambiguous. As we know, more than a year have passed between Griffith being arrested and his disappearance (which could be interpreted as his death). Actually, he was arrested 4 years before and then rescued less than 3 years before that conversation. So Mule's estimation is inaccurate anyway. And it is not Mule who says: "It is also said he was rescued by his men and escaped the capital." It is the answer he gets from somebody.

[S] Inchoerence in Guts' age or did i miss something?

Some time passes between Casca's remark it's been 3 years and the moment Guts leaves Hawks/Falcons. He could already be 19 by then (or still 18). We can clearly see he left in winter. The same winter Knight of Skeleton / SkullKnight appeared before Guts and predicted: "One year hence shall be the time of the Eclipse!!" So one could expect the Eclipse will also be in winter. But when Guts returns to Hawks after hearing that "they caused an uprising a year ago" it does not look like winter at all, not even as autumn/fall (so it's not somewhat less than a year either). When Guts and Casca make love there is reach vegetation around them and leaves on trees look fresh. So it looks like spring. And after they free Griffith there is a scene with a girl presenting Griffith a bouquet of wild flowers. We can also see some wild flowers in the scene when Casca "gives birth". So it looks like the Eclipse happened in late spring or early summer (as Theozilla already mentioned in his post on tumblr.com). Even a month after the Eclipse when an apostle comes and Guts kills him using Dragonslayer for the first time there are no signs of winter at all. Thus, one can conclude the Eclipse happened a year and some months after Guts left Hawks. Two years after the Eclipse we can see Guts with Puck (in Lost Childrend) and it's definitely autumn/fall. That is, a little bit more than 2 years have passed. Which means the winter Guts journeys with Puck, Casca, Isidro, Farnese, Serpico and later also with Schierke is the winter 4 years after the winter Guts left Hawks. So he can be 22-23 at the time. They arrived in Vritannis in early spring and soon left for Skellig. The sail didn't take too long since the kids Isidro and Schierke haven't changed a bit and Guts could barely heal his wounds.

Last but not least, every time Miura writes things like "three years later" in Volume 3 that does not necessarily mean exactly 3 years have passed. That is, when Guts joined Hawks he could be 16 already or almost 16 (or still 14 on the other hand). In the former case by the time he arrives to Skellig Guts may be 24 after all (though it's not likely).

But then again, as other people mentioned already, Casca must be younger than Griffith. That is, they cannot be both 24 by now.


Mesopotamia

5000 BCE – Mesopotamia is a broader geographical term for ‘the land between the rivers’, referring to the ancient civilizations that lived between the Tigris and Euphrates river. Today its area includes modern day Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and parts of Syria and Turkey.

One of the earliest cultures to live here were the Ubaidian people from 5000 BCE – 4100 BCE. Little is known of them, but they are credited with laying the foundation for the first civilization of Sumerians.

Mesopotamia was dominated by six primary cultures: Sumerians, Akkadians, Hittites, Assyrians, Phoenicians and Babylonians.

3800 BCE – Sumerians were the first ever civilization that formed in the area now known as Iraq. They invented cuneiform, which are wedge-like impressions in wet clay that dried into tablets. It evolved from early pictographs.

The Anunna/Anunnaki were the primordial Gods of Mesopotamia, who were believed to be the offspring of An/Anu the father god and Ki, the earth goddess. The eldest child of the Anunnaki was Enlil/El, the god of air/wind and chief god of the Sumerian pantheon. The Sumerians believed that until Enlil was born, An/Anu (sky) and Ki (earth) were inseparable. Then Enlil (air/wind) separated sky from earth and carried away his mother to the cosmos while his father held the sky.

The seven gods of the Anunnaki were: An/Anu (Father Sky), Ki/Ninhursag (Mother Earth), Enlil (air/wind), Enki/Ea (water/earth), Nanna/Sin (moon), Utu (sun) and Inanna/Ishtar (venus/star). Later these seven “gods” also took on the form of fish, eagles and angels as the Apkulla or wise sages as well as versions of themselves in other cultures. The word Anunna or Anunnaki may translate into “seed.”

2750 BCE – Phoenicians (Lebanon) the city Usher was founded as a port along the Mediterranean Sea. They worshipped Astarte/Asherah (Inanna/Ishtar) as the queen of heaven and her son, Baal. Baal was seen as a fertility God. Astarte is the root of the word “star.”

Pinecone from the Cedars of Lebanon.

The Cedars of Lebanon – were seen as the “home of the gods” that were protected by Enlil (god of wind/air). The Cedars of Lebanon were highly prized by surrounding cultures including Egypt.

Shamash (Sun God) is depicted as a flying solar disc above the cedar tree. Tended by Enki (Lord of Water) and Enlil (Lord of Air) along with the eagle-headed Apkallu. Sumerian cylinder seals.

2600 BCE – Shamash – is the combination of (An/Sky & Utu/Sun) His symbol of the solar disc shows a circle with four points protruding toward the cardinal directions and four wavy lines emanating diagonally outward from between them, representing the power, light, warmth, and reach of the sun. Shamash as An/Anu/Utu was not only the bringer of light but the arbiter of justice. The light of the sun was thought to be able to penetrate and pierce every level of the earth, even to the underworld, and illuminate the human heart. Most of the myths featuring Shamash emphasize his kindness and generosity. Nanna was his counterpart as God of the Moon and wisdom. His twin sister Inanna was the heavenly queen who held Shamash in place among the stars.

Stone relief depicting Sargon of Akkad (2334–2279 BCE) tending the Tree of Life.

2334 BCE – Akkadians (Semetic culture) lived in central Mesopotamia, north of the Sumerians. Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BCE) was influential in establishing language, military power and art. As a King, Sargon conquered the Sumerians, creating the world’s first empire. The Akkadians admired and copied Sumerian culture even as they invaded them. They spoke Akkadian, which is distantly related to Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic. Sargon the Great was a gardener and according to legend he was found floating in a basket on the Euphrates. He was taken in by a priestess who educated him. He rose to become a mighty warrior. (Similar to Moses)

2250 BCE – The Hatti were the original tribe of Anatolia/Turkey. The Hatti people are thought to have migrated into Turkey bringing with them a Germanic based language known as Indo-European. The above Sun Disc is made of bronze, and was commonly used in religious ceremonies. The circle which forms the perimeter of the disc represents life, the three disks represent the Sun, Moon and Venus.

2150 BCE – Epic of Gilgamesh – The first epic poem written in Cuneiform.

2150 BCE – Ancient Babylon was the home of the historic king of Ur called Gilgamesh. Ur, is also known as the legendary home of Abraham and Sarah from the Judeo-Christian book of Genesis.

The Epic of Gilgamesh Shamash (Sun God) helped mortals deal with the demon hiding in the Cedar Forest, Humbaba. Anu (God of Heaven) revealed knowledge to Gilgamesh whose companion Enkidu is made human by Ki/Innana (Queen of Heaven/Stars) This tale contains many encounters with trees, tree spirits, a serpent, a garden, a search for love and companionship, a desire for immortality, a great flood and a creation story. The tale itself may date thousands of years earlier.

The Myth of Etana – Etana petitions Shamash (Sun God) for aid in helping his wife conceive at the same time that an eagle and a serpent are feuding over ownership of a tree. In the beginning, there was no king on the earth the gods set out to find one and apparently chose Etana who proved to be an able ruler until he discovered that his wife, though pregnant, was unable to give birth, and thus he had no heir to the throne. The one known remedy was the birth plant, which Etana was required to bring down personally from heaven. Etana, therefore, prayed to the god Sun Shamash who heard his request and directed him to a mountain where a maimed eagle, hurt and lying in a pit (into which it had been thrown as punishment for breaking a sacred pact), would help him obtain the special plant. Etana rescued the eagle, and as a reward it carried him high up into the sky.

The story of Inanna and Huluppu Tree –the goddess Inanna (Queen of Heaven/Stars) takes a young Huluppu-tree and transplants it in her city of Urek, hoping that, when it reached maturity she would use its wood to craft a throne and couch to recline on. As the years went by, a snake built a nest in its roots, a bird nested in its branches and at its center, the evil spirit of a Lillitu (Lillith) set up house. When Inanna came to water her tree one evening and found these unwanted guests, she sat down and cried through the night. At dawn, her twin brother Utu/Shamash (Sun God) rose in the east and began his journey across the sky. Inanna called out to him and told him of her trouble, but he could not stop his daily trek and further, told her he felt no need to. Inanna then sought the aid of Gilgamesh, who killed the snake, drove the bird away, and sent the Lillitu demon running. Afterwards, he cut down the tree and presented it to Inanna for her throne and couch. This was no selfish request on her part because, from the tree, she created the sacred drum and drumsticks for Gilgamesh which he was supposed to use for good but then misused for war they were taken from him and drawn down to the netherworld. Then Enkidu, comrade in arms of Gilgamesh and his best friend, descended to the underworld to bring them back. After his death, Shamash parts the veil so that the two friends can talk one last time.

A Stele of two dieties making an offering to a tree. Circa 2060 BCE

Inanna – Goddess of love, fertility and war, Queen of Heaven (also known as Ki, Ishtar, Astarte, Asherah) Her name literally means star. In Egypt she was known as Nut and or Isis, later the Greeks and Romans saw her Aphrodite and Venus.

1700-1200 BCE – Hittites invaded the area of Anatolia/Turkey and conquered Hattusa, a powerful city that had existed before 2500 BCE.

1792 BCE – Babylon was a town in what had been the territory of the empire of Akkad in Sargon’s day. King Hammurabi, conquered most of Mesopotamia and founded an empire, as well as creating a famous code of laws. The Babylonian Empire did not long survive Hammurabi’s death, but his lasting legacy was to make Babylon itself into a huge and important city, and a major centre of religion and culture a status it would keep for over a thousand years.

1300 BCE – Assyria was the name given to the region of northern Mesopotamia. It had been part of the Akkadian empire, but later established its independence. The Assyrians became expansionistic and warlike.

Inanna/Ishtar (Venus), Nanna/Sin (Moon), and Utu/Shamash (Sun) depicted on a stelae/stone tree of King Meli-Shipak II (1100 BCE) granting land to a man and woman.

1077 BCE – Assyria conquered land all the way to Syria and the Mediterranean, as well as controlling Babylonia. It was the most powerful empire in the Middle East, stretching from Egypt to Persia (Iran).

1000 BCE – Phoenicians (Lebanon) their Capitol city of Tyre is at the height of it power.

King Abibaal of Tyre makes a trade agreement with King David of Israel by sending the new king timber from the fabled cedars of Lebanon, Abibaal’s son, Hiram, later did the same for David’s son King Solomon. Tyre is an ancient port city on the Mediterranean known as the birthplace of Europa, which gave Europe its name. Tyre shifted the worship from Baal, El, Balaat and Astarte/Asherah to Melqart as the head of the pantheon. He became the king of the city. Baal was a fertility God whose festival was held in February/March as a symbol of resurrection by fire. His other name became “the fire of heaven.”

900 BCE – The Chaldeans were a Semetic (Hebrew/Aramaic) speaking tribe of nomads from Syria and Levant. They migrated into Mesopotamia and settled in the far south of the region near the Persian Gulf. They assimilated the local customs and learned Akkadian. They were renowned for their knowledge of writing, math and astronomy. The concepts of a Maji/Magus began with the Chaldeans as a Wise person who knew how to read the stars and the cosmos.

Stone relief from the throne room of Ashurnasirpal II. Nimrud, northern Iraq. Neo-Assyrian, 870–860 BC. This image shows the King tending the Tree of Life and the Apkulla/Genies pointing pinecones towards the pineal gland.

950 BCE – King Solomon’s Temple. King David’s son built the first temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem using wood from the Cedars of Lebanon. It’s entrance is symbolic of the Garden of Eden which is flanked by two 27 foot bronze pillars named Jachin and Boaz fashioned after two pomegranate trees. These pillars are thought to represent the Tree of Knowledge as aspects of Good and Evil. The space between forms the entrance to the unified Tree of Life.

Pomegranates with their red “seeds” and white “flesh” were seen as symbols of the “Promised Land” and the duality that lives within each of us.

Jachin (right pillar) – represents the sacred masculine seen as the logical intellect: concrete, physical, earthly aspects of natures. In Hebrew Jachin means “will be established.” Jachin was often associated with the Sun as a symbol of “knowledge as good” or that which is “seen” such as the light of day.

Boaz (left pillar) – represents the sacred feminine and the intuitive ability found in the abstract and creative principles of our higher spiritual nature. In Hebrew, Boaz means “strength is within.” Boaz was often attributed with the Moon as a symbol of the knowledge of “evil” or that which is unseen, such as the darkness of the night sky and the mysteries of life.

883-859 BCE – The reign of Assurnasirpal II marked a turning point in the history of the Assyrian empire. His military exploits recaptured territories lost to Assyria centuries earlier, and established it as one of the most important powers in the Near East. But the crowning achievement of his reign was the creation of a magnificent capital city, Kalhu, in Iraq built on a grand scale and decorated with carved stone reliefs.

Assyrian stone relief depicting an Apkallu/Abgal as a Genie/Angel tending/pollinating to the Tree of Life with a pinecone. Nimrud, Iraq. Neo-Assyrian, 870–860 BCE.

604 BCE – King Nebuchadnezzar conquered the Assyrians. Babylon became the greatest city of the Chaldean Empire. He rebuilt all the cities in Babylonia and turned it into a powerful empire that stretched from the land of Ur (Iraq) to Egypt.

600 BCE – The worship of Mithras as an Iranian Sun God who shined on contracts, laws, and agriculture began to appear. Some think he was worshipped much earlier. He is often seen slaying a bull that releases the moon that seeds the earth to give birth to the sun thus creating trees and vegetation.

600 BCE – The Chaldean/Persian high priest Zoroaster believed, “that to know the Tree of Life is to know the soul and its way to heaven.” He was considered a Maji, in the Chaldean/Persian tradition. Maji were seen as astrologers who mastered the ability to travel with the stars. They were astronomers, mathematicians and philosophers. The Cypress, an evergreen tree, was seen as the Tree of Life.

Zoroaster and the Sacred Cypress tree of immortality at Persepolis.

Cypress of Zoroaster – is a mythical story of the cypress tree is said to have sprung from a branch brought by Zoroaster from Paradise.

Ancient Cypress tree thought to have planted by Zoroaster in Abarkooh, Iran.

A living Cypress tree lives in Abarkooh, Iran today that is thought to have been planted by Zoroaster himself. The tree is between 4,000 and 4,500 years old. The Cypress Tree is seen as a symbol of truth, integrity and beauty.

Faravahar is the symbol of the spirit of human beings that has existed before his/her birth and will continue to exist after his/her death. Like a guardian angel.The Faravahar etched in the ruins of Persepolis, Iran.

Zoroastrianism is an ancient culture from Persia that survives in isolated areas, and more prosperously in India, where the descendants of Zoroastrian Persian immigrants are known as Parsis, or Parsees. In India the religion is called Parsiism.

In Zoroastrianism, the Faravahar or human spirit, embodies two opposing indicators of good and bad. It is the symbol of Zoroastrianism. The Faravahar is symbolic of the spirit of a human being before his/her birth and will continue to exist after his/her death. It can be seen as a sort of guardian angel. It is very similar to the symbol of Shamash/Utu the Sun God of Mesopotamia. The teachings contain both monotheistic and dualistic features. Zarathustra praised Ahura Mazda (God) as the creator of heaven and earth. Zoroaster taught a philosophy that everybody should try to promote his/her Sepanta Minu (positive force) and suppress his/her Ankareh Minu (negative force).

586 BCE – King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Solomon’s temple. He deported the Jews to Babylon and built a temple to Marduk, as the King of the Gods.

539 BCE – The Chaldean empire fell when it was conquered by King Cyrus of Persia, giving way to the Achaemedien Empire, which ruled until 330 BCE.

The Achaemenid Persian Empire was the largest that the ancient world had seen, extending from Anatolia (Turkey) and Egypt across western Asia to northern India and Central Asia.

550 BCE – King Cyrus the Great, came to rule large parts of the Middle East with territories as far as western Pakistan. He conquered Babylon in 539 BCE and saw himself as a traditional Mesopotamian King. He was tolerant and inclusive of the many faiths and cultures within his kingdom, but to continue on he wanted each “religion” to provide him with a “book of laws”. This is when the Hebrews began committing their oral stories to paper in what is now known as the Torah.

525 BCE – Cyrus’s son Cambyses is now King and conquers the Egyptian capital of Memphis along the Nile River.

The ancient city of Parsa in (Persia/Iran) served as the capital of the Persian Empire. Persepolis was built on Mount Mithra. The pillars are representative of trees.

518 BCE – King Darius, built Persepolis: a city worthy of governing and entertaining the royalties of the member nations. It was a magnificent temple: stairways, gates and ceremonial halls. Darius conquered parts of Greece in 494 BCE. In Iranian tradition the cypress tree represents auspiciousness that was traditionally believed to have been planted by Zoroaster. The palm tree is a symbol of affluence and good life. The motif of the lion-goring-the-bull appears repeatedly at Persepolis. It may have astrological symbolism (Leo/Lion = sun and Taurus/Bull = Venus/Moon).

486 BCE – King Xerxes, son of Darius, attempted to force the mainland Greeks to acknowledge Persian power, Sparta and Athens refused to give way. Xerxes led his sea and land forces against Greece in 480 BCE. On his way to Greece he encountered a glorious plane tree. He was so taken by this magnificent deciduous shade tree that he adorned it with gold bangles and assigned a guard to watch over it for ever after. King Xerxes defeated the Spartans in the battle of Thermopylae and conquered Athens.

Xerxes was later assassinated and succeeded by one of his sons, who took the name Artaxerxes I (465–424 BCE). He was succeeded by Darius II (423–405 BCE) and Artaxerxes II (405–359 BCE) Artaxerxes III (358–338 BCE) Artaxerxes IV (338–336 BCE.) Darius III (336–330 BCE)

330 BCE – Darius III was murdered by one of his own generals.

320 BCE – Alexander the Great claimed the Persian empire and conquered Persepolis. He is known for planting sweet chestnut trees to insure a staple food source for their troops. Alexander the Great went on to conquer vast lands from India to Egypt. Wherever he went he gathered information that expanded his world view. Before he passed away he began the process of creating the City of Alexandria in Egypt along with a vast library that would house scrolls, maps and artifacts from all cultures. This would serve as a central resource for knowledge. From this place many of the Tree of Life myths exchanged stories and content.

Persian mythology also tells of a Tree of Life that held the seeds of the world’s plants and animals, which stood at the center of a garden known as Pairidaeza, the Persian paradise. This garden was originally associated with the Virgin Goddess Pairidaeza who represented the eternal womb from which all life begins. One day two birds landed on the tree sending a thousand branches crashing onto the ground spreading a thousand seeds. One of the birds gathered up all the seeds and planted them in fertile places all over the earth. All the plants and animals in the world are believed to originate from those seeds.

In ancient Mesopotamia the Tree of Life was seen as an organic connection between Earth and Sky, the life of humans and the life of gods. Various deities were often depicted standing on both sides of the tree. This symbolized the opposite yet harmonic aspects of nature’s creative process.

All of these ancient stories were blended together as they laid the groundwork for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Abraham, the Biblical father of monotheism, was born in the Sumerian city of UR. These stories were carried by him and passed on to his children.


All Things Assyrian

All Things Assyrian
Ancient Assyria in Color
By Tom Porter
http://community.bowdoin.edu
Posted 2018-03-09 18:15 GMT
With a flick of a switch, the lights on the projector came on accompanied by a sharp intake of breath from the assembled crowd at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. The 3,000-year old Assyrian stone relief in front of them erupted into color. Or at least the top of half of it did–the projected light needs to be above head height so it’s not continually blocked by passing visitors.
“We can now reconstruct a little of what the ancient viewer would have been able to see in the ninth century BCE,” said classics professor James Higginbotham, curator for the Museum’s ancient collection.

“While visitors today can appreciate the carved form and detail of Bowdoin’s Assyrian reliefs, the ancient viewer was treated to a much more colorful display,” said Higginbotham. “Ancient sculptures as a rule were finished with paint that helped accentuate the figural and decorative elements of the composition. Tha’s what we’re trying to recreate.”

The artifact in question is the Winged Spirit (or Apkallu), a stone relief excavated near Mosul in northern Iraq about one hundred and seventy years ago. Higginbotham, along with academic technology consultant Paul Benham, spent some time piecing together information about what colors this relief would have been painted. They used spectrographic analysis of the minute samples of paint still found on some artifacts, including this one. They have also been studying color plates in the Bowdoin library collections from Sir Austen Henry Layard, who led the expedition that uncovered this and other reliefs in the 1840s.

The wings, beard, crown and some of the robes on this particular figure take on a new life, as shades of gold, red, blue, white are “digitally painted” onto the relief–colors that can change with a click of the mouse. The brightness of the color depends on the level of ambient light, so the darker it is, the more colorful the display. The “digital painting” was done by Benham using a software program called MadMapper and a powerful projector, which is necessary, he explained, because of the bright ambient light (the reliefs are on display in the Museum’s upper level, visible through a large window facing Maine Street).

“If we could hide the projector, then you might think, and some people have indeed been fooled into thinking, that we have physically painted the relief,” said Benham. Higginbotham said he had actually been approached by one or two people “demanding to know why we had painted these ancient reliefs!” The next phase of the project, they said, is likely to involve an interactive element, where gallery patrons can tinker with an on-site computer to adjust the colors on the relief and “repaint” it to their own preferences.


Ancient Handbags in Stone and Art – True Origin and Meaning Revealed

Representation of fish-man Oannes, Olmec anthropomorphic figure accompanied by an eagle-headed serpent, and the eagle-man Dagon. Each anthropomorphic figure clutches his bag. Note that the Olmec serpents head is a replication of the eagle head from Mesopotamia.

Sumerian handbags, Olmec handbags, Maori handbags, Egyptian handbags, Indian handbags and handbags at Gobekli Tepe, in rock art from the Americas and Australia. Members of the archaeological research community have been left scratching their heads.

Ask a dozen researchers their thoughts on these mysterious ancient handbags, and you may very well receive twelve different theories. Perhaps the most widespread claim reported by independent news websites and ancient mysteries blogs is the suggestion that these bags are connected with alien visitors in some way. It is especially common to see these objects linked to the work of Zecharia Sitchin and his ancient alien Anunnaki visitors theory. Could these bags be some alien technology? Breathing equipment even? Advanced medicine perhaps?

As far out as some of these claims may sound, it might be they hold a seed of truth. To really understand these bags requires a journey to the remote past and consideration of the very oldest representations, these being at the 12,000-year-old site of Gobekli Tepe as well as in stone-age rock at sites including Coso rock art district (China Lake, USA), where some images are over 10,000 years old, and across Arnhem Land (Northern Territory, Australia) with images from over 15,000 years into the past. We will come back to this most ancient set of sources in a few moments.

Coso rock art district, USA, engravings of multiple bags.
(Image credit: Stephen Bodio)

Pillar 43 at Gobekli Tepe prominently depicts birds, scorpion, serpents and bags among other symbols.
(Image source: Vincent J. Musi)

In Mesopotamia, the region where most of the relevant images are known, there are recorded legends of a heroic bringer of civilisation to humanity, a being known as Adapa, Dagon or Oannes. This mythical figure is portrayed in several forms, a fish-tailed man, an eagle-headed man or a winged man, always carrying a bag in one hand. The strange deity was considered the founder of civilisation, emerging from the waters of the Persian Gulf and bringing with him the knowledge of writing, art and sciences. This strange figure was not alone, rather he was said to be the leader of the seven sages known as the apkallu/abgal, all of whom were fish-men tasked with bringing civilisation to the Earth by the god Ea/Enki. This legend is at least 4500 years old at least, but the root is of an unknown age consider that geographically speaking the ancient site of Gobekli Tepe also lays in the region of Mesopotamia.

Mother goddess squatting to give birth, engraved at Gobekli Tepe.
(Image credit: Santha Faiia)

Gobekli Tepe is an astonishing megalithic construction project, the site is truly enormous, covering at least 22 acres and incorporating several dozens of, very large, rings of T-shaped megalithic constructions. One of the most well-publicised images from this site is a certain pillar decorated by spectacular engravings, mostly of animal forms. It is on this pillar that we find a row of three handbags, amongst the animals, largely birds, we also find three that should be noted here, two are serpents and the other a scorpion. In a different area of the site is another important engraving of a female figure in a squatting position (likely giving birth) but with a most peculiar mushroom-ic head. This is interpreted as a representation of the creative Earth goddess.

Yinganna the creation mother, a female, humanoid, aspect of the Rainbow Serpent as represented in Injalak rock art. She carries with her many sacred bags.
(Image credit: Moyra Le Blanc Smith)

Now meet Creation Mother, or Yinganna, considered by the Aboriginal people of Arnhem Land to be an incarnation of the earth mother energy and an aspect, or immediate relative of, the Rainbow Serpent. In the story of Yinganna we find many overlaps with the more recent Mesopotamian story, she came from the East after emerging from the sea. With her, she carried many bags, each one carried the seeds of creation for a specific people, also their language and cultural identity. As Yinganna roamed she created the first people and gave to them language, agriculture (farming of yams is often singled out) and other key knowledge. Each people, or cultural group, had their own bag. Yinganna is represented as neither human or animal (anthropomorphic), and sometimes even incorporates lotus flowers and yams into her form, whether she be primarily in her snake form or human shape.

Across the many nations of ancient Australia, there was always a local version of the Rainbow Serpent and Earth mother tradition, although it varies the core almost always overlaps, as does the symbolism. Bags are a feature of the rock art across the continent. There is little doubt that this legend is one of the most ancient amongst a cultural background that goes back many tens of thousands of years (at the very least). In this matriarchal landscape rather than being associated with 7 male sages, the association is with 7 females, a group of sisters that came to Earth from the Pleiades to help in the creation process of human beings – the legendary Pleiadian sky heroes of the Dreaming.

If anybody is still in any doubt of the stark connections between the imagery in ancient Australia and in Mesopotamia, whether that of Sumer or of Gobekli Tepe, I will share some final proofs.

Earth mother images from Gobekli Tepe and from Arnhem Land, without profound similarity. Beneath is a more recent depiction of the creator spirit in serpent form.
(Rainbow serpent Image credit: Bardayal ‘Lofty’ Nadjamerrek)

Note in the above images the incredible similarity of the representation of the Earth mother, right down to exact posture, breast positioning and exaggerated vaginal region. Consider also the strange head of the Earth mother as she is depicted at Gobekli Tepe, now examine closely the mysterious appendages of the Rainbow Serpent, as it is often depicted in the Aboriginal artwork of Arnhem Land, and observe the exact same shape. If you look closely at the image of Yinganna with her many bags, provided earlier above, you will also recognise that she has the same ‘mushroom-shape’ for her head. These are described elsewhere as being representations of water lilies, a flower held most sacred in ancient Egypt which is yet another land with strong connections to this investigation. Speaking of Egypt, I would recommend viewing the imagery of the Rainbow Serpent arched across the sky and comparing her with the images of serpentine-bodied goddess Nut holding exactly the same position.

If you are wondering what is in those bags it is always one of two things, the seeds of life or esoteric higher knowledge

This is by no means the end of the story, there is far more to this symbolism than I have discussed, and this subject ranges far broader than I can reveal in a single article. rest assured I intend to share everything that I have learned from my deep investigations over the last many years. There are deep cosmological connections hidden in the ancient images and a forgotten re-creation of our Earth after a terrible cataclysm is also encoded. Some of you may be interested to know that there are a great deal more symbols at Gobekli Tepe which absolutely confirm an Aboriginal Australian root to the knowledge encoded there, and this should be no surprise, there was no other culture existing on our Earth when it was constructed…who else did you think built it?

Before leaving this subject area, let me share some profound words of wisdom. The following lines were deciphered from ancient glyphs on a huge megalithic construction at the Mullumbimby sacred mound site.

Mullumbimby stone circles as they once stood.
(Image credit: Richard Patterson)

Life was brought in a bag. God came in with Light from Darkness and gave man a soul and the sons of man brought in with Light became the Pillars of Heaven. He who came from on high brought life into the world.

There is currently ongoing investigations into this site based on the notes of the original investigating archaeologist, Frederic Slater, follow the story as it unfolds with the help of Steven & Evan Strong as well as Richard Patterson.

If you enjoyed this revelation and you would like to follow the rest of this journey with me, please consider subscribing and following my updates. Be prepared for the greatest series of revelations since we began to explore the history of our species. As the saying goes, “you ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Quetzalcóatl – The Feathered Serpent – sfu.museum

Gobeklitepe | The Oldest Temple of the World – Gobeklitepe.info

WARRAMURRUNGUNDJI – The Fertility Mother – kakadu-attractions.com

Australia’s Stonehenge: the History of an Ancient Stone Arrangement (40 Kilometres from Mullumbimby NSW) – Forgottenorigins.com

Bruce Fenton is an ancient mysteries and human origins researcher currently based in Australia. He is the author of the book The Forgotten Exodus – The Into Africa Theory of Human Evolution.


Human sacrifices in history

While I am not dismissing of Herodotus, who had immense wisdom for the period in depicting a somewhat realistic history, on this matter I am not sure. My first thought is that the human sacrifice he mentions of attendants must have either been influenced by Scythian culture or otherwise a Scythian noble who practiced it there and Herodotus was confused as to the reporting.

Generally speaking, Elamite and Sumero-Akkadian societies had essentially no practice of human sacrifice. There has been no evidence uncovered of the practice in Elam or Bronze Age Iran. In Mesopotamia, the custom was common during the Copper Age as part of a hierarchical priestly ruling caste in urban areas, but seems to have steadily declined every century until by the Early Bronze Age, human sacrifice was generally reserved for attendant sacrifice, which likely influenced the custom in Egypt. However, by the Middle Bronze Age and into the Early Bronze Age, the idea of sacrifice had changed. In the past, before the Bronze Age, it may be the case that sacrifices were seen as exchanges with the divine, giving services in exchange for benefits in the mortal plain. While that mentality remained, due to the influence of Kassito-Assyrian perspectives, this ultimately priestly mentality was lessened an the cultic sacrifice was made less important in the favor of ceremonial actions of a ruler. The ruling elite thus enacted their exchange to the gods by way less of monumental tribute and rather in the form of implied active sacrifice.

The idea for instance of destroying all chaos in the world and subjugating all humans to the throne of the Great Gods became something that substituted many potentially excessive sacrifices. As was the idea of punishing the sinful, which formed itself into an entire sort of ritual and religious experience. Such that Assyrian kings speak of making heaps of rubbles from cities in honor of the Gods, or massacring a population in service of so and so or waging war as a service generally. The importance of high ritualism was replaced by a sort of proactive set of state powers and actions in a very bureaucratic, imperialistic and militaristic way. This is where Mario Liverani drew the divergence between religious missions and goals between the Assyrian kingdom and the Aztec Triple Alliance. The former focused upon destruction of chaos and punishment of evil as a form of religious service, with the state devoted to world conquest and assimilation. The later focused upon the importance of excessive and extreme religious ritualism and sacrifice, that in turn led to a state that was devoted less to outward conquest but in fulfilling the duties of sacrifice that was enormous and immense weight, requiring constant war and maneuvering by the Triple Alliance elites.

Flashman

While I am not dismissing of Herodotus, who had immense wisdom for the period in depicting a somewhat realistic history, on this matter I am not sure. My first thought is that the human sacrifice he mentions of attendants must have either been influenced by Scythian culture or otherwise a Scythian noble who practiced it there and Herodotus was confused as to the reporting.

Generally speaking, Elamite and Sumero-Akkadian societies had essentially no practice of human sacrifice. There has been no evidence uncovered of the practice in Elam or Bronze Age Iran. In Mesopotamia, the custom was common during the Copper Age as part of a hierarchical priestly ruling caste in urban areas, but seems to have steadily declined every century until by the Early Bronze Age, human sacrifice was generally reserved for attendant sacrifice, which likely influenced the custom in Egypt. However, by the Middle Bronze Age and into the Early Bronze Age, the idea of sacrifice had changed. In the past, before the Bronze Age, it may be the case that sacrifices were seen as exchanges with the divine, giving services in exchange for benefits in the mortal plain. While that mentality remained, due to the influence of Kassito-Assyrian perspectives, this ultimately priestly mentality was lessened an the cultic sacrifice was made less important in the favor of ceremonial actions of a ruler. The ruling elite thus enacted their exchange to the gods by way less of monumental tribute and rather in the form of implied active sacrifice.

The idea for instance of destroying all chaos in the world and subjugating all humans to the throne of the Great Gods became something that substituted many potentially excessive sacrifices. As was the idea of punishing the sinful, which formed itself into an entire sort of ritual and religious experience. Such that Assyrian kings speak of making heaps of rubbles from cities in honor of the Gods, or massacring a population in service of so and so or waging war as a service generally. The importance of high ritualism was replaced by a sort of proactive set of state powers and actions in a very bureaucratic, imperialistic and militaristic way. This is where Mario Liverani drew the divergence between religious missions and goals between the Assyrian kingdom and the Aztec Triple Alliance. The former focused upon destruction of chaos and punishment of evil as a form of religious service, with the state devoted to world conquest and assimilation. The later focused upon the importance of excessive and extreme religious ritualism and sacrifice, that in turn led to a state that was devoted less to outward conquest but in fulfilling the duties of sacrifice that was enormous and immense weight, requiring constant war and maneuvering by the Triple Alliance elites.

John7755 يوحنا

Frankly, I am not exactly sure there is one answer. But I can conceive of these as hypothesis from what I have learned and read/studied:

1. During the Early Bronze Age, at least its later part, there was a growth of what could be called 'people kings.' These people kings, or 'big-men' arose as hereditary kings who for whatever reason harnessed a sort of demagogic tactic of distributism of power from local nobility and priests. Kings allied commoners and peasants and struck from different angles the entrenched clerical institutions and ancient noble households. While this did not end in destruction of any institution or anything akin to a socialist system, it did however end in the construction of some of the earliest Mesopotamian legal systems, wherein law was said to emerge from the kingly exertion of what was the Divine Mandate.

In my view, this led to some level of decline for the priestly caste in Mesopotamia. Most notably, it permitted the king to have access to powers that it prior did not hold, namely this conception of distributing law via legal abstraction and interpretation of a supposed Divine Custom handed from the Great Gods unto man. Kings placed themselves as the enforcers of this interpretation and also the vehicles for its propagation by universal conquest literally Mesopotamian kings saw themselves as kings over all things and their power over law was seen as critical in that matter. While this is not a fact, as in it is an educated opinion, the priestly class likely held a certain power over the general society prior to the Early Bronze Age whereby their knowledge of ritualism, natural phenomena and their skills generally allowed them the ability to have control over the general public in the new urban centers of Mesopotamia during the Copper Age. These priests in turn maintained their power by through the ideological display of immense ritualism that provided the wellness of the community and also gave their people powers, which became the new function of the priesthood in Mesopotamia that would last until the relatively recent periods of the common era.

The growing power of monarchs as conduits of the divine at least lessened the importance of the temple complexes, despite these temple complexes remaining dominant fixtures in Mesopotamia.

2. There came about at some point during the Middle Bronze Age, a strong feeling that humans were slaves of the Divine to such a degree that humans were created simply to be the enslaved subjects of the Great Gods, who eternal and wondrous, had little interest in tending to the earth and instead thus created humans to tend to the gardens of the earth. This notion comes about during the Atrahasis mythos during the 1700s BCE and then is reiterated into a full view in the Enuma Elish by the 1500s BCE under Kassite direction.

According to both mythos when combined into a comprehensive thought, the Great Gods, who seemingly are uncreated according to the new imagination of Enuma Elish, engaged in a war with a set of primordial entities, most notably Tiamat and Kingu. Marduk who arose as a champion, slew the primordial Tiamat and cutting her body into two, the Great Gods created the world and the sky surrounding the so-called Duranki (an abstract conception of the place where the Gods dwelled, similar to Mount Olympus). This world created by the remains of Tiamat maintained however an essence and the Great Gods noticed that what emerged from the earth was chaotic just as Tiamat was, a beast who sought to reduce all things to what she loved, aka 'The Deep' or the Abzu. As such, the need was there for the Great Gods to create workers to tend to Tiamat/Earth and assert order over the chaos. The Great Gods initially placed 'angels' and lesser deities to do the work, for which they became annoyed and wished a new creation. As such, the Great Gods, took the body of the son of Tiamat, Kingu (meaning to work) and cut his body into pieces. After the cutting there was a need for the provision of a soul to the bodies for which they created. In order to provide this, the Great God, Ilawela offered himself as a sacrificial victim.

Ilawela was then taken and then in what was a vast ceremony, was ritually sacrificed and had his essence ripped apart into pieces and given to the bodies of Kingu who awoke as humans. These bodies then given life to work, were instructed to rule the earth and control chaos in service to the Great Gods. It was seen that the humans did this, but over multiplied and for some reason, displeased the Great Gods and was then punished by an intense flood or the Deluge. The Deluge destroyed humanity and left only some survivors, but the heirs of the flood retained a place in Mesopotamia from which they emerged. Upon the emergence and recovery, the Great Gods appeared and granted a mission to the humans that survived namely restore Duranki or restore the power of the Great Gods over the whole earth. For it was seen, that due to the flood, humans had been dispersed an upon their emergence adopted false-gods, superstitions and or had become beings of chaos that had forgot their duty to garden the world. As such, the goal of the Akkadian state became, subjugation of all things in the universe, not for material gains, but as a way to enforce the correct order an bring silence to the chaos that had been wrought by the flood.

What this idea ultimately led to was that the more important service to the Great Gods was less the idea of great ceremony and ritual excessiveness as in human sacrifice or becoming intermediaries to the Gods, but in following a sort of ordained mission to destroy chaos and punish sinners. Sinners being anyone who did not come into the realm of the Great King, namely the Assyrian monarchy. In fact, the Assyrian kings often referred to themselves as 'Emissaries of the Great Gods' and would upon entering contact with foreigners, would issue a command to the opposing peoples giving them 'glad tidings, for the Emissary of the Great Gods has appeared to place before you order. Submit to the reign of the Great Gods and be safe.' If the people did not immediately accept and pay tribute and enter the Assyrian monarchical sphere, they were called 'sinners' and then 'rebels' and were massacred or enslaved (with slavery being seen as a process of 'taming humans' into accordance with the mission of the Great Gods or Duranki).

Performing sacrifices to appease the Gods and receive their boons became less important than simply adhering to the model of dealing with every issue in the country by starting war and punishing rebels, aka foreign peoples and states.

3. Where the above comes from is anyone's guess. I feel that it has something to do with a looming sense and fear of chaos in Mesopotamian society. The idea that the world was inherently evil and dangerous and the Great Gods themselves seemed ever distant and uninterested. As such, the need was there to construct ideas around the Great Gods that amounted to a 'protection formula' and one that sustained the idea of Akkadian humanity. Akkadian-Sumerian peoples in the olden days, believed in humanity in a different way than we do. Namely, they saw humans as more akin to, adhering to the Divine Order of things, which was sedentary farming lifestyle, devotion to the Divine, and a certain set of customs. In fact, until the later periods, Akkadian words for foreign or alien meant 'human, are you human' and often Akkadian sources simply call foreigners deer, ibex, pigs, multitudes or non-humans.

As such, creating an ultimately isolationist and militaristic and zealous despotism was seen as both a way perhaps internally of controlling chaos/evil and defending themselves and then also a way to assert their humanity whilst denying it to all outside of it that had not become assimilated or subordinated to an order within the Akkadian worldview, being either a subject, slave or a tributary state.

4. Finally, the Assyrian state and its hyper militarism and the militarization of Assyrian society into a country of military officials, where bureaucrats simply were military advisers and officials, created a scenario wherein the halls of power were filled with military doers. That meant that official ideology in Assyrian religion generally drifted to the idea that the martial service was the ultimate religious service.

Ultimately however, excessive religious ceremony never left, but it became less overt in time and human sacrifice was phased out in Mesopotamia in the Early Bronze Age and was only maintained in myths. The counter runs true for the Triple-Alliance of the Aztec, where ceremonial ritualism became all encompassing and of immeasurable value, such that the society in general was enthralled by the need to acquire bountiful tribute to the gods constantly. It is definitely an interesting case, both societies.


WATCH WEEK #1 IN NEW INVESTIGATIVE SERIES! GIANTS, GODS & DRAGONS

All that leads to the $64,000 question: Could the Antichrist actually be the spirit of Chaos, known also as Leviathan, Tiamat, Têmtu, and the Dragon?

Now, while the chaos-god Typhon wasn’t one of the original Titans, he was believed to be their half-brother and is sometimes referred to as a Titan. Interestingly, at least one of the early church fathers thought a Titan would return at the end of days. Irenaeus, a Christian theologian of the second century, offered these thoughts on John’s prophecy of the Antichrist:

Although certain as to the number of the name of Antichrist, yet we should come to no rash conclusions as to the name itself, because this number [666] is capable of being fitted to many names.… Teitan too, (ΤΕΙΤΑΝ, the first syllable being written with the two Greek vowels ε and ι), among all the names which are found among us, is rather worthy of credit… Inasmuch, then, as this name “Titan” has so much to recommend it, there is a strong degree of probability, that from among the many [names suggested], we infer, that perchance he who is to come shall be called “Titan.” [6] (Emphasis added)

To his credit, Irenaeus declined to say absolutely that the Antichrist would be named Titan. He reasoned that if the precise name had been important, John would have revealed it instead of a number. Still, it’s intriguing, isn’t it? And consider this: Jesus demonstrated His mastery over Chaos to the disciples one night on the Sea of Galilee:

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35–41 emphasis added)

Puts that story in a whole different light, doesn’t it?

Now, let’s look at Revelation 9. When the fifth of the trumpet-blowing angels sounds his horn, a star falls from heaven to earth with a key to the abyss. We believe that this moment marks the return of the old gods:

He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.

In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold their faces were like human faces, their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon. (Revelation 9:2–11 emphasis added)

In the preceding verses, we see the entities that the world thousands of years ago called Titans, Watchers, Anunnaki, and even apkallu angrily roar out of the abyss. That’s where they are now, but they’ll soon be given a short time to torment humanity. Five months. One hundred and fifty days—the same it took for their children, the Nephilim, to die in the Flood! [7]

Thus, the Watchers will take revenge on God’s most prized creation—man—in return for the punishment of watching their own children, the Nephilim/Rephaim, destroyed in the Flood of Noah. Granted, the description of the things from the pit doesn’t exactly match the Mesopotamian images of apkallu or Greek sculptures of the Titans. Remember, though, that those entities were sent to the bottomless pit around the time of the Great Flood. Hundreds of years, and maybe a thousand or more, had passed by the time the Sumerians began to create images of apkallu on cylinder seals and clay tablets. Those descriptions captured handed-down, oral traditions of supernatural human-animal hybrids, however, which is basically what John describes for us in Revelation.

The Titans, the Watchers of the Bible, return when Apollyon opens the pit. And for humans without the protective seal of God on their foreheads, it will literally be hell on earth.

[2] Hesiod. The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Theogony(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press London, William Heinemann Ltd., 1914).

[ 3] J. W. Van Henten. “Typhon,” in K. van der Toorn, B. Becking, & P. W. van der Horst (Eds.), Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible 2nd extensively rev. ed. (Leiden Boston Köln Grand Rapids, MI Cambridge: Brill Eerdmans, 1999), p. 879.

[5] Apollodorus. Library and Epitome (English). J. G. Frazer, Ed. (Medford, MA: Perseus Digital Library), p. 47.

[6] Irenaeus. Against Heresies, Book V, Chapter 30.

[7] See Genesis 7:24. 150 days on a calendar based on a 30-day lunar month is exactly five months.


Record-Setting Sale Of An Ancient Assyrian Stone Relief Sparks Looting Fears In Iraq

By Jane Arraf
NPR.org, November 4, 2018 · A bidding war at Christie’s this week sent the price of a 3,000-year-old stone relief from $7 million to more than $28 million, setting a world record for ancient Assyrian artworks and raising fears among some archaeologists that soaring prices will fuel the market for looted antiquities as well as legally acquired ones.

The 7-foot bas-relief from the palace of Nimrud in present-day Iraq was acquired in the 19th century, long before there were laws prohibiting the wholesale removal and export of archaeological treasures.

Christie’s described it as “the finest example of Assyrian art to have come onto the market in decades.”

The price was thought to have reached as high as it did partly because the piece — brought to Virginia in 1860 and one of the earliest known pieces of ancient art imported to the U.S. — has a clear provenance.

The gypsum slab, depicting a protective deity, is one of hundreds of reliefs that were removed from the palace of Nimrud near Mosul in the 1800s. These are now spread around museums and institutions from Kansas City, Mo., to Kyoto.

But only a few pieces from Nimrud are on display in Iraqi museums — and what was left of the site was smashed and looted by ISIS after it occupied northern Iraq four years ago.

ISIS destroyed pre-Islamic sites as idolatrous but is also believed to have smuggled out pieces for sale on the black market to fund its operations.

This week’s multi-million-dollar Christie’s sale, some experts warn, may lead to more instances of looting.

“This is going to spark a whole bunch of new looting because the prices of antiquities will go up,” says McGuire Gibson, professor of Mesopotamian archaeology at the University of Chicago. “Besides the stuff that was destroyed in Nimrud, I’m sure parts of it were taken out and are on the international market … It’s going to make the price of all Mesopotamian antiquities go up.”

Gibson says fragments of other Assyrian palaces, along with cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals, have increasingly been showing up on the market with fake documents showing the country of origin.

“There have been bits and pieces of broken reliefs that have been stolen out of these places over the last 10 years,” he says.

“A matter of principle” for Iraq

As the auction unfolded at Christie’s in New York on Tuesday, two potential buyers placed bids by phone, bidding against two others in the auction room and a preexisting bid on the books.

Bids started at about $7 million, and over the next five minutes increased until they reached more than $28 million, bid by one of those in the room on behalf of an anonymous buyer. The buyer’s premium paid to Christie’s boosted the total price to almost $31 million.

The relief’s seller was the Virginia Theological Seminary, an Episcopalian seminary that was given three Nimrud reliefs in 1860 by Dr. Henri Byron Haskell, an American missionary.

The unusually well-preserved relief depicts a winged genie or minor deity known as an apkallu. He has daggers tucked into his tunic and holds a small bucket in one hand and a cone-shaped object in the other, signifying fertility and protection for the king.

The Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II reigned in the late 9th century B.C. The palace he built at Nimrud was one of the largest in antiquity, reflecting his conquests of much of the ancient Near East.

A cuneiform inscription on the relief calls him a fierce monarch and merciless hero — a “king of kings.”

The Iraqi government had earlier appealed to Christie’s to stop the sale, arguing the relief was part of the heritage and patrimony of the Iraqi people.

“It’s a matter of principle, similar to the Elgin Marbles,” Fareed Yasseen, Iraq’s ambassador to the United States, tells NPR.

The Elgin Marbles are marble sculptures that stood in the Acropolis of Athens in ancient Greece. They were removed and shipped to Britain in the early 1800s, while Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire.

Christie’s international head of antiquities G. Max Bernheimer told NPR by email that the auction house had “completely” responded to Iraq’s request to stop the sale with documentation that the piece had been legally imported.

The Virginia seminary said it made “the difficult decision” to sell one of its three Nimrud reliefs after realizing last year it could not afford the insurance premiums for all of them.

“Now that the relief has been featured at Christie’s, people think of it primarily as an art object, but for Virginia Theological Seminary the panels have always been considered scholarly resources,” Dean Ian Markham told NPR in emailed responses to questions. “For instance, the inscription across the relief is in Akkadian, which is the oldest attested Semitic language and key to ancient Biblical studies … like any ancient text, it was awe-inspiring for those who studied it.”

Markham says the remaining reliefs are in temporary storage until the seminary can build a secure display area for them. The seminary has said it would use the funds from the relief’s sale for scholarships to increase the diversity of its students.

Five other Assyrian reliefs are at Bowdoin College in Maine, where Haskell, the 19th century American missionary who donated them, studied medicine.

The provenance of the Assyrian relief provides a glimpse into the freewheeling world of archaeology in the 19th century, when English archaeologist Austen Henry Layard was given permission by the Ottoman sultan to excavate Nimrud and ship off whatever he found to patrons and friends.

Haskell, who obtained at least eight of the reliefs sent to the U.S., was a physician and missionary in Mosul in the late 1850s, says Markham. He says it’s not known how Haskell knew Layard, but there is documentation that the missionary wrote to a faculty member at his alma mater, Bowdoin College, to ask if they would be interested in the reliefs. The Bowdoin faculty member’s brother was teaching at the Virginia Theological Seminary at the time and said the seminary would also be interested. The requirement was that both colleges raise the money for shipping.

“Layard did give quite a lot of these to people,” says London-based Iraqi archaeologist Lamia al-Gailani. “There was no law — he was allowed to take them and to do whatever he wanted with them. That’s how he funded the excavations.”

Many Christians at the time viewed the discovery of the ruins of Nimrud, known as “Kalhu” in antiquity and “Calah” in the Old Testament, and other Assyrian palaces as proof that Biblical events were real.

The June 1858 edition of the Southern Churchman newspaper contains a fundraising appeal for the shipping costs needed to transport the reliefs. Although it refers to artworks from Ninevah, the reference is actually to the Nimrud reliefs, according to the seminary.

“We learn that the slabs can be obtained … through the kindness of a Presbyterian missionary at Mosul, opposite Ninevah, by the payment for the cost of freight, which is $75 a piece, from Ninevah, down the Tigris to Baghdad, Bombay and thence to Boston,” the 1858 notice reads.

It notes that “most of the Northern Colleges have already obtained slabs.”

Another Nimrud relief ended up on the wall of a snack shop in a school in Dorset, England. It was sold in 1994 at Christie’s in London for 7.7 million British pounds and is now in a museum in Japan.

When the American Civil War broke out and the Virginia seminary was used as a hospital for Union troops, the reliefs were removed to a nearby warehouse for safekeeping.

It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that the Ottomans put in place an antiquities law, requiring part of the findings be sent to Istanbul to obtain permission for export. Iraq’s first antiquities law came into force in 1924.

Christie’s said it had consulted with law enforcement authorities on the legality of the sale before Tuesday’s auction. The auction catalogue noted that the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Sultan ruling Iraq at the time had given Layard permission to export anything he wished.

“Documentation detailed in Christie’s sale catalogue clearly establishes the item’s provenance, and literature references confirm its consistent presence in Virginia from 1860 forward,” it said.

But Gailani says there appears to be a lingering question about whether the relief was acquired by Haskell from Layard directly or from someone else after the archaeologist left Iraq. If it were the latter, it’s not clear that that the permission from Ottoman authorities to Layard would have applied to that piece.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which later acquired some of the Nimrud reliefs, says Layard left Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq, “for good” in 1851. Christie’s says “the frieze was acquired in Mosul in 1859” by Haskell from Layard.

“There could be a question mark about it,” Gailani says. “There was a possibility it wasn’t Layard who gave it to them and the piece was removed several years after Layard left Nimrud.”

Gailani says while “you can’t reverse history,” she believes it is still worth protesting the sale.

“I’m not sure there will be a chance of getting it back,” she says, “but at least it’s not just Christie’s version we should accept and the Iraqi government should make a little bit of a fuss about it.”


Aisholpan Nurgaiv: Eagle Huntress

Aisholpan Nurgaiv

Today, we focus on someone that Girl Museum has long admired &ndash Aisholpan Nurgaiv, the 13-year-old eagle huntress of Mongolia.

Aisholpan is a Kazakh &ndash a group of nomadic people in Mongolia and Central Asia who speak the Kazakh language and are Muslim. Due to their nomadic lifestyle, religion, and the limited learning of Mongolia&rsquos dominant language, the Kazakh people face much prejudice and discrimination. This discrimination led, in 1940, to the creation of the Bryan-Ulgii province, where Kazakh&rsquos keep their culture and mother tongue but are isolated from the rest of the world and kept from fully participating in the political life of Mongolia. This is where Aisholpan lives.

The Kazakh people practice eagle hunting &ndash also known as falconry. This is an ancient practice, especially among people living on grasslands like those of Mongolia. The earliest images of falconry appear in Assyrian and Hittite reliefs of the 9th and 8th centuries BCE &ndash that is over 2900 years ago! Falconry was also prevalent in Ancient Greece, Persia, and even described in the accounts of European explorer Marco Polo.

Archaeological evidence goes back even further. This includes burial mounds made by nomadic peoples on the steppes of Asia, dating back over 3,000 years ago. Many finds in these mounds point to eagles as the nomads&rsquo preferred hunting companions, with artifacts adorned with eagle imagery. There is even a skeleton of a Scythian nomad that was found buried with an eagle in Kazakhstan. Falconry is also preserved in oral history and cultural lore, including Central Asian poems that epically document the heroes and heroines who hunted with eagles. Known as the Nart Sagas, these tales tell of many heroes and heroines, including the 17th-century nomadic Nokia warrior, Jayne Myrna, who tamed eagles and gained respect among her people.

Falconry continued for centuries. In modern times, there have also been eagle huntresses &ndash in the 1920s, a Mongol eagle huntress became known as Princess Nirgidma in Europe. A highly educated nomad, she was photographed with her eagle in 1932, where she was buried after her death in 1983. There is also Makpal Abrazakova, who was documented in 2009 while competing in the eagle festival in Kazakhstan.

As historian Adrienne Mayor of Stanford University states, &ldquoFor thousands of years, golden eagles have been the favorite raptor to train as a hunting companion across the northern steppes from the Caucasus to China. Eagles are strong predators especially adapted to winter hunting for hare, marmot, wild goat, deer, fox. [&hellip]&rdquo They also trained horses and sight hounds. &ldquoBy training these three animals&mdashhorse, dog, and eagle&mdashto be their hunting companions, the early nomads made the harsh, unforgiving steppes into a land rich with accessible game for furs and food.&rdquo (Mayor)

Girls and women have been eagle hunters since antiquity. Though men are more common, the practice has always been open to girls &ndash and archaeology suggests that girls were once more common than men &mdash &ldquograves across ancient Scythia&hellipreveals that steppe nomad females engaged in the same riding and hunting activities as the men, and about one third of the women were active warriors in battle.&rdquo (Mayor)

Mayor also described the process of training eagles: &ldquoTo support the eagle on a rider&rsquos arm, a baldak, a Y-shaped wooden rest, is attached to the saddle. [&hellip] Fledglings or sub-adult eagles are captured from the nest and trained to hunt. According to tradition, after 5-7 years the eagles are released back to the wild to mate and raise young.&rdquo (Mayor)

Today, the tradition is carried on primarily among the Kazakh and Kyrgyz nomadic groups of Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Xianjiang province in China. They are commemorated in a bronze sculpture in Kyzyl, Tuva, that shows a man and a woman setting off on horseback with their dogs and eagles. There are approximately 200-400 eagle hunters are known today, with a handful of them being women.

What is not commonly known is that the societies were practice falconry gender equal compared to more Western societies: &ldquoGirls and boys start riding horses at age five and help with herds and putting up gers. Girls and women can compete in horse racing, archery, and wrestling. Eagle hunting is traditionally passed down among male relatives. Female hunters are rare but there are no religious or cultural prohibitions against a girl who wishes to participate in training and flying eagles.&rdquo

Aisholpan is one such girl. She began to train at the age of ten, when she told her father she wanted to be an eagle huntress. Within a year, she was training and hunting. &ldquoAisholpan also confirms that she was aware some men thought a girl was not strong enough to hold an eagle, that she should stay at home, and would not be able to stand the cold hunting for hours in the Altai mountains.&rdquo She says the pressure gave her more will, power, and inspiration

In 2014, Aisholpan won her first competition, followed by additional wins in 2015 and 2016. Her accomplishments were first documented by Israeli photographer Asher Svidensky for BBC News seeing the photographs, film director Otto Bell tracked her family down. In an interview with BBC, Otto stated that &ldquoon the very first day&hellip[he] filmed one of the early scenes in the film, where the girl and her father seize a baby eaglet from its nest. It&rsquos a dramatic moment with Aisholpan climbing down a cliff, her father holding a rope attached to her waist.&rdquo

Apparently unaware of Makpal Abdrazakova&rsquos fame and other girls and women with eagle training experience, Svidensky cited the extreme cold and difficult terrain as the reason eagle hunting was always reserved for males. He portrayed Aisholpan as the only girl to train an eagle. Otto Bell took this as truth. But since antiquity, the challenging conditions on the steppes have meant that men and women engaged in strenuous riding and other activities together. Indeed, as Svidensky himself remarked in his 2013 photo essay, girls only have to ask and they could become a bürkitshi, the native word for eagle huntress. (Mayor)

The film which Bell made featured Aisholpan becoming the first female to enter the Golden Eagle Festival, an annual competition, which she won and her eagle broke a speed record in one of the events. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, and was purchased for distribution by Sony Pictures and Altitude Film. The resulting documentary featured narration by Daisy Ridley, an actress from the Star Wars films, and later won Best Documentary at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

Yet the film faced criticism, with some claiming the film was staged. A major flaw with the film is that it suggests that Aisholpan&rsquos parents are outliers in the Kazakh community, which is not true. Her parents&rsquo support and the general belief that girls can do whatever boys can do has been confirmed by several other celebrated Kazakh and Kyrgyz eagle hunters such as Kukan, Agii, and Sary, by Mongolian guides, and by the experiences of other young women in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia. Eagle hunting families are deeply committed to preserving their ancient legacy. Documentary photography and films are expected to be ethnographically sensitive and factual, so it is surprising that the creators of Aisholpan&rsquos story for Western audiences have failed to acknowledge Makpal Abdrazakova&rsquos prior eagle hunting prowess, widely publicized since 2011. Otto Bell knew about Makpal in 2014 but he declined an offer to meet her, preferring to focus on his heartwarming story pitting one girl and her father against their male-dominated society. In spring 2016, Bell indicated that it is not his responsibility to tell an ethnologically comprehensive story. As co-producer Asher Svidensky commented to Mayor in early 2016, &ldquoEntertainment isn&rsquot anthropology.&rdquo (Mayor)

Despite criticisms, historian Adrienne Mayorstates, &ldquo[Aisholpan&rsquos] bravery and her feats in that eagle hunting contest are really amazing and inspiring.&rdquo

We were pleased to hear that Aisholpan has benefited from the film. Profits from its distribution were shared with Aisholpan and her family, who established a fund to help her pursue higher education and her dreams of becoming a doctor.

Additionally, the film &ndash and Aisholpan&rsquos resulting fame &ndash has helped to shift attitudes about the Kazakh minority, especially among Mongolia&rsquos dominant ethnic groups. Kazakhstan&rsquos President invited Aisholpan and her family to move to Kazakhstan, where many Kazakhs had previously moved, but her family declined the offer, calling it a privilege to live in Mongolia. Though the film was only shown twice in Mongolia in theaters and a few times on television, many call Aisholpan a patriot and claim her decision to stay has helped change opinions on the Kazakhs and express their patriotism.

Aisholpan also wants to encourage investment in Mongolia. Already, ethnic Mongolians are investing in the eagle festivals (which are held twice a year), raising attendance from an average 1,500 to over 3,500 &mdash as Aisholpan stated, &ldquoI want Mongolians to see our Kazakh culture, history, father-daughter bonding, and our patience from my movie. I&rsquom glad that Mongolians tell me that they&rsquore proud of me.&rdquo

In 2017, Aisholpan received the Asia Game Changers award from the Asia Society for breaking gender barriers. She also met with Prime Minister of Mongolia.

Even though she is not the first &ndash and certainly won&rsquot be the last &ndash eagle huntress, Professor Mayor summed up Aisholpan&rsquos legacy as a Great Girl, stating, &ldquoHer story is inspiring enough without being cast as a struggle against male oppression. As the first girl to compete in the Ulgii eagle festival, her achievements are truly impressive. But they are made possible not only by her own grit and skill but by her nomadic culture, in which women can be men&rsquos equals and girls can train eagles if they wish.&rdquo


A Description of the Building of Sargon II’s City in the Book of Judith

The only preliminary comment that I (Damien Mackey) would need to make regarding this interesting piece by Jory Steven Brooks:

http://www.hope-of-israel.org.nz/captiveisrael.html is that I may not necessarily accept the precise BC dates given therein.

The Book 2 Kings ch.17 v.6 reveals that one of the places to which Israel was transplanted was called, “Halah.” Little has been written about this in Christian literature, and some scholars plead ignorance as to the correct location of this place of exile. However, the Anchor Bible Dictionary (III. 25) tells us that this word matches letter for letter with the Assyrian district of “Halahhu,” except for the doubling of the last “h” and the addition of the characteristic Assyrian “u” case ending. The latter is not unusual, because the Biblical Haran (Genesis 11:32, 12:4-5, 28:10 &amp 29:4) appears in Assyrian as “Haranu”, and Ur, the birthplace of Abraham (Genesis 11:28 and 31, 15:7 and Nehemiah 9:7), is written as Uru.

This district of Halahhu was located north-east of the city of Nineveh in northern Assyria. A map shown in the Rand-McNally Bible Atlas (1956) indicates that Halahhu covered all of the area from Nineveh to the Zagros Mountains to the north and north-east (p. 244-5). In the midst of this district, King Sargon II purchased land along the Khosr River from the inhabitants of the small non-Assyrian town of Maganuba to build a new capital city. This new city was named Dur-Sharrukin, the Fortress of Sargon it is better known today as Khorsabad after the modern small village of that name built on part of the ruins.

Halahhu was also the name of a city as well as a district. The Rand-McNally Bible Atlas (p. 297-8), informs us,

“Halah lay northeast of Nineveh, which city at a slightly later day had a gate named the ‘gate of the land of Halah’ [Halahhu]. Since there is reason to believe that the city lay between Nineveh and Sargon’s new capital [Khorsabad], the large mound of Tell Abassiyeh has been nominated for it. …..”

The city of Halah, or Halahhu, in which Israelites were resettled was therefore located just outside Sargon’s new capital city complex. Amazingly, in spite of this knowledge, apparently no one — historian, scholar, or archaeologist — has ever examined this Halahhu city mound area. There seems to be no effort to trace lost Israel! Is it perhaps because of the popular myth in books and journals that no Israelites were ever exiled or lost?

The reasons why Sargon moved the capital of Assyria from Nimrud to the new city of Dur-Sharrukin has been a fertile subject for speculation among scholars. Historians believe that his predecessor, Shalmaneser V, was murdered in Palestine during the siege of Samaria. The exact date of Shalmaneser’s death is unknown, but it may have been in 721 BC, because Sargon claimed to be the conqueror of the capital of Israel. If Sargon was in some way involved in the conspiracy that enabled him to seize power (an obvious supposition), he may have disdained ruling in the palace of his predecessor. Another possibility is that Sargon wished to expand the borders of Assyria northward into the sparsely inhabited Zagros Mountains, its foothills and valleys, to strengthen his northern border.

Whatever the reasons, a marvellous palace complex came into being almost a mile square, twelve miles north-east of Nineveh along the Khosr River. It was a massive building project. Assyrian scholar William R. Gallagher tells us that in Assyrian terms, Dur-Sharrukin was 2,935 dunams in size, compared to the city of Jerusalem at only 600 dunams (Sennacherib’s Campaign, p. 263). Yet this accomplishment was in spite of the fact that Assyria had a massive labour shortage:

“At least two letters to Sargon indicate a shortage of manpower. In one letter the sender complained that the magnates had not replaced his dead and invalid soldiers. These amounted to at least 1,200 men. The second letter, probably from Taklak-ana-Bel, governor of Nasibina, reports a scarcity of troops” (ibid., p.266).

This labour shortage was partly due to the massive capital building project, but also because of a deadly epidemic resembling the bubonic plague that later raged across Europe in the fourteenth century AD. The Akkadian word for it was “mutanu”, the plural of “mutu,” meaning death. This epidemic struck not just once, but several times (802, 765, 759, and 707 BC) with deadly effect. Historical records indicate that this plague had so decimated the Assyrian army by 706 BC that they were unable to engage in any military missions at all that year (ibid., p. 267).

The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago carried out an archaeological excavation at the site of Dur-Sharrukin during the years 1930-33, and published an account of their discoveries in a volume written by Henri Frankfort which says the following:

“We know that Sargon used a considerable amount of forced labor in the building of his capital — captives and colonists from other parts of the empire” (p. 89).

Assyrian scholar Gallagher adds:

“Sargon II’s cumbersome building projects at Dur-Sharrukin had placed a great strain on the empire…Much of the forced labor on Sargon‘s new city was done by prisoners of war. The conditions shown on Sennacherib’s palace wall reliefs for the transport of his bull colossi were undoubtedly the same as in Sargon‘s time. They show forced laborers under great exertion, some clearly exhausted, being driven by taskmasters with sticks” (ibid., p. 265).

Mackey’s comment re: “The conditions shown on Sennacherib’s palace wall reliefs for the transport of his bull colossi were undoubtedly the same as in Sargon’s time”.

Sargon II was Sennacherib:

Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

Jory Steven Brooks continues:

A text inscribed upon a carved stone bull at Dur-Sharrukin states,

“He [Sargon] swept away Samaria, and the whole house of Omri” (Records Of The Past, XI:18).

The “House of Omri” was the Assyrian designation for Israel, and was spoken with a guttural applied to the first vowel, so that it was pronounced “Khumri.” Following Sargon’s terse statement was a notice of the building of the new Assyrian capital city. Construction of Dur-Sharrukin began in 717 BC, only four years after the fall of Samaria, and took over ten years, with ceremonies marking its completion in 706 BC.

Although there is no record of the exact date that the Assyrians marched the Israelite residents of Samaria eastward to Halah(hu), it is probable that Sargon knew from the beginning of his rule (or even before he became king) that he would build his palace in that location. Did he send the Israelites there in order to help build his new city, the capital of Assyria? If not, why were they there during these years of construction? Although proof does not exist at present, the correlation of location and dates, coupled with the great need for labourers, makes it highly probable that YEHOVAH’s people were involved.

And how appropriate was the symbolism resulting from this circumstance! Israel was called to build the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God on earth, but refused. They turned their hearts to false gods and worshipped the work of men’s hands. Because of this, YEHOVAH used the Assyrians, perhaps the foremost pagan idolaters, to punish his people. Those who had been offered the highest honour of building YEHOVAH’s earthly dominion instead were consigned the deepest dishonour of building the earthly dominion of the enemies of YEHOVAH God.

Many of the wall reliefs, stone idols, and other important finds from Dur-Sharrukin are now on display at the Oriental Institute in Chicago. Included is a massive stone winged bull termed in Assyrian, “Lamassu,” that formerly stood at the doorway to King Sargon’s throne room. The carving and moving of several of these monstrous stone monuments was undoubtedly one of the most amazing feats of human labour. They were composite figures, with a human face, a body that was part bull, part lion, and wings of a bird. The king was thus symbolically empowered with the formidable qualities of speed, power, and intelligence.

Was Sargon II aware of Solomon’s cherubs?

“… it appears that cherubs are a kind of divine guard. This fits in with the description

of the cherubs in Solomon’s Temple as well (1 Kings 6:23-28), which were ten cubits (approximately twenty two feet) high”.

Dr. Rabbi Zev Farber

Sargon II’s lamassu at Khorsabad were apparently slightly less than fourteen feet high:

Carved from a single block

Whilst Dr. Rabbi Zev Farber will adopt the standard view, that the biblical accounts had borrowed from the pagan world, might it not have been the other way around considering that cherubim (כְּרֻבִ֑ים) guardians were known as far back as the days of Adam (Genesis 3:24) and, afterwards, Moses (Numbers 7:89), long before Sargon II?

Modern scholarship approaches the topic of cherubs both by looking at the contextual clues from the biblical stories (similar to what ibn Ezra and Bekhor Shor did) and by looking at the ancient Near Eastern evidence.

Keruvim and Karibu

The name kerub seems to be a loanword from the Akkadian karibu.[11] The word karibu is a noun derived from the Akkadian root karābu, which means “bless.” The karibu are the blessed ones they were genies or lower level divine beings who function as supplicants, standing before the god and praying on behalf of others. The karibu were generally pictured as colossal bulls.[12] Apparently, the Torah incorporates the Akkadian concept of karibu in the Hebraicized cherub. But was their function there same as their Mesopotamian antecedents? Biblical accounts offer a variety of answers.[13]

Image 1 – Guards

As noted earlier, Genesis 3:24 suggests that God stations Cherubim outside the garden of Eden to prevent Adam and Eve from trying to re-enter.

He drove the man out, and stationed east of the garden of Eden the cherubim and the fiery ever-turning sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.

From this source, it appears that cherubs are a kind of divine guard. This fits in with the description of the cherubs in Solomon’s Temple as well (1 Kings 6:23-28), which were ten cubits (approximately twenty two feet) high.

Unlike the cherubs of the Ark, they were gigantic in size and instead of facing each other they both faced the door. The effect of such a display would be to intimidate people, forcing those who enter the room to be somber and frightening off unauthorized people who might be curious. [14]

Solomon’s daunting cherubs (as well as the cherubs outside the garden of Eden) are highly reminiscent of the Ancient Near Eastern practice of placing giant statues of heavenly beasts, called karibu, apkallu (from Sumerian Abgal), lamassu, sheddu,[15] or alad-lammu outside of palaces.

Figure 1 – Assyrian Style Lamassu Guards from Nimrud (now in the Louvre) Figure 2- The Gate of All Nations: Persian Palace of in Persepolis

Although this is true for Solomon’s cherubs, the cherubs on the Ark, however, do not seem to be guards, since they face each other not the outside, and are small and hardly intimidating. ….


Watch the video: Little Dark Age -- Trump (January 2022).