Sunday, 20 September 2020

Jumping goat

This is a very very interesting vessel from Shahr-i Sokhta, Iran. Late 3rd Mill. BC...

Here again we see the "Goat of rain" next to the "Tree of life". Basically just an Ibex goat eating green shoots from a green plant. Which has been revived by the first rain which arrives to this part of Iran during Ibex (Bezoar) goat mating season.  Which begins in late Oct early Nov

Yawn...Not the goat of rain again...

As much as this is really amazing, this is not why this vessel is so interesting. The five pictures on the side of the vessel show a goat stepping toward a tree, climbing it up, eating the leaves and coming down...

This series of pictures is one of earliest examples of an artist's attempting to show motion through animation. Now if you were able to spin the vessel around (fastish) this is what you would see. 


Seriously cool, right?

You can read more about the "Goat of rain" in Iran in my post "Vessel from Tepe Hissar" and "Maltese cross seal from Elam". You can find more articles about animal solar year calendar markers here.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Jiroft flood vase

This is the chlorite carved flask discussed in the paper entitled "Searching for mythological themes on the 'jiroft' chlorite artefacts" by Massimo Vidale of the University of Padua. The Flask dated to the 3rd millennium BC, is kept in the Bagh-e Harandi Museum, Kerman. 

In the paper we read: "The scene can be coherently read from the bottom to the top. In the foreground, we see a long-haired personage in kneeling position who grabs from the throat two massive humped bulls facing each other in a heraldic position. Below the neck of the animals runs a strip simiilar to a rope...The bulls (probably sky creatures) emanate heavy water flows, causing a major flood. At the end, the first mountain (or mountains) emerges from the flooded world, as water retires. Then another long-haired personage, accompanied by two heavenly signs (moon and star), puts in the sky an imposing rainbow, and signals that the flood is finished. Beyond the rainbow, a renovated world has finally emerged from the deadly waters."


So the paper interprets the scene from the vase as "a representation of a destructive flood, ending when a divinity lifts a rainbow in the sky at which point the first mountain emerges from the flood waters". And it then goes on to compare these images with Old Babylonian and later cuneiform versions of flood myths. 

I would have to strongly disagree with this interpretation. 

I don't think that the scene depicts a destructive flood and certainly not "The Flood". Instead it depicts the annual flood, the snowmelt flood, which was the main source of water, and life, for the people of the Jiroft culture. 

The rivers in the mountain areas of Iran, including the Halil river, around which the Jiroft culture was based, are fed by rainfall during the winter, but mostly by snowmelt during spring and summer. The snowmelt starts in late Feb early Mar, and peaks in late Apr, early May. 

Pic: the flow of Iranian rivers, which have a spike between Mar and Aug with peak in late Apr early May...


Pic: Halil River

So the flood peaks in late April early May, in Taurus. As I explained in my article about Khafajeh vase, another very interesting Jiroft artefact, on which bulls are linked with water, there is a direct link between the old wild cattle and the annual flood season in the Jiroft area. Here is the bulls and "rivers" part of the scene from the Khafajeh vase:

These are not just any bulls. These are Zebu bulls. Zebu's mating season coincides with the snowmelt flow season which peaks in Taurus 🙂. This is why, on Khafajeh vase, the "human looking being" who stands on zebus is holding flowing water, the rivers among lush vegetation...This is also why water, actually rivers, "emanate" from the bulls heads on this Jiroft vase. 

So the Jiroft rivers flood during the spring and summer. 

But the rain and snow that feed them fall during the winter and spring...

The climatic year in the Halil River (Jiroft) area is divided into dry season (Apr/May to Oct/Nov) and wet season (Nov/Dec-Mar/Apr). The wettest month is Feb, while the driest month is Jul which is also the hottest month...

The only time when you can see a rainbow is during the rain season. Which is winer and spring.  The rainbow dude has moon pointing upward with a star. The moon points up during the winter. 

Which is the rain and snow season in Zagros mountains. Hence the only time you can see a rainbow.

So the rainbow dude represents winter (and spring) and the zebu dude represents (spring and) summer. The water reach seasons... 

By the way, remember this rainbow girl from Sassanian Iran? 

People now think that this girl "is just a dancer". But once people thought that she was Goddess of water and fertility Anahita. By the way I still think she is the water and fertility goddess...Mostly because she is holding a rainbow from which vegetation grows...Basically she symbolises the same thing as the rainbow dude from the Jiroft flood vase. Rain creating life...

So it seems that the rainbow god/goddess was the ting in Iran from at least Jiroft culture, until the Sassanian culture...

Oh and it is not "the first mountain emerges from the flooded world as the waters of The Flood recede"...It's just the Zagros mountains, the source of water and life for Jiroft people...The rainbow is over the mountains because Jiroft guys lived in valleys surrounded by high mountains...

Friday, 11 September 2020

Khafajeh vase


I have seen this picture of the so called "Khafajeh vase" so many times before. Amazing object. It was dated to the mid 3rd millennium BC, and it is called so because it was allegedly found in Khafajeh, in Diyala region of Iraq in an unsupervised dig...

The vase was made in the so called "Intercultural style" with stylistic elements from Mesopotamia, Iran, Central Asia and Indus valley. And it is believed that it was not made in Iraq, but in Iran by the people of the Jiroft culture...

As I said, an amazing object. But just how amazing this object really is, I only realised the other day, when for the first time I saw the whole design that adorns it unrolled into a continuous stip...


It is shown on the page 331 of the "Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus Valley" By Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) 

The design is divided into four "scenes" (and not three as it is stated in the description in the book):


The official interpretation is: "heroes, masters of animals subduing the nature". I would beg to disagree...And to understand why I am so sure that this has nothing to do with any imaginary "masters of animals" we need to look at climate and animal behaviour in Jiroft area...

Jiroft culture was centred around the Halil River catchment area. Pic: Key physical, archaeological and phytogeographical features in the Jiroft valley. KSN (Konar Sandal North) and KSS (Konar Sandal South) sites. Inset: Map of Iran with location of the Jiroft valley...


The climatic year in the Halil River (Jiroft) area is divided into dry season (Apr/May to Oct/Nov) and wet season (Nov/Dec-Mar/Apr). The wettest month is Feb, while the driest month is Jul which is also the hottest month...

The precipitation falls as rain in the valley and as snow in the mountains which surround it. And it is the snow which fell on the mountains that affected the life of the Jiroft people more than the rain that fell on the valley...Pic: snow cover of the Iranian mountains per month



The rivers in the mountain areas of Iran, including the Halil river, are fed mostly by snowmelt, which starts in late Feb early Mar, and peaks in late Apr, early May. Pic: the flow of Iranian rivers, which have a spike between Mar and Aug with peak in late Apr early May...



The snowmelt brought with it sediments from the mountains and created rich alluvial plains ideal for agriculture. It also fed the river until the end of June, allowing for intensive irrigation for months after the last spring rains, extending growing season significantly...

The snowmelt in the surrounding high mountains also fed the a shallow groundwater table in the alluvial plains which created many artesian wells and springs. Agriculture and civilisation flourishes where freshwater is readily available...



And if the rain and snow ever stopped falling, the river would stop flowing and that would mean the end of the life in the Jiroft valley...And  this is exactly what happened at the end of the 3rd millennium BC...

Everything indicates that the Halil river valley was abandoned due to desertification during the "4.2 kiloyear event



The end 🙂 

Well the end of the bit about the climate. Now the animals. We have: zebu cattle, eurasian lions, scorpions, vultures, bears and snakes...What is the meaning of this menagerie? Let's see...

Zebu

I couldn't find much info about natural mating season of Zebu cattle. Except two notes from "Zebu cattle of India and Pakistan": 

Dhani cattle (Mating has slight peak May to August)

Kankrej cattle (Mating tendency March to August)

I would suggest, based on the behaviour of other wild cattle (aurochs, buffalos) which both have single mating season, and Indus valley depictions, that wild zebu also had single mating season which spanned the summer (May-Jul) or which peaked in May...I talked about this in my post "Kharif and Rabi season"... 


Eurasian lion

As for Eurasian lions, their main mating season was and still is August to October. I talked about this in my post "Entemena vase"


Syrian Brown bear

It is distributed throughout Northern Armenia, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia in Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey and Turkmenistan. They mate between May and July with cubs born in the winter den around January or early February. 

Asiatic black bear

It is found in the forests of Eastern Asia from Iran to Taiwan and Japan, particularly in hilly and mountainous terrain. They mate in June and July with cubs born in winter den in January and February.

Both Syrian brown bears and Asian black bears prepare their dens for hibernation in mid-October, and will sleep from November until March when they will emerge out of their dens with their cubs...

Guess what happens in Iran at the exact time when the bear cubs emerge from their dens? Date palm pollination, which in the Northern Hemisphere takes place in Mar/Apr...Which is what is shown on the "bear part of the "Khafajeh vase": bear cubs next to blooming date tree...

Vulture

As for vultures, the vultures which live in Iraq, Iran and North India start their mating season at the end of autumn, beginning of winter (late Oct early Nov). I talked about this in my post "Double headed eagle

Scorpion

As for scorpions, they disappear from the outside nature (and probably appear inside human dwellings) at the end of autumn, beginning of winter, when the weather gets too cold and damp. I talked about it in my post "Scorpion man"...


Finally snakes.

 

They are the symbol of sun's heat. The only true solar animals, they are in our world when the sun is in it too (day, and hot, dry part of the year), and in the underworld when the sun is there too (night, and wet, cold part of the year). I talked about this in my post "Bactrian snakes and dragons"...

Why am I yapping about animals and their mating and birthing seasons? Because these significant lifecycle events, which occur every year at the same time, were used by our ancestors, before solar and lunar calendars were developed, as solar year calendar markers...I am adding articles related to this theme to this list

And this is exactly what each animal is on the "Khafajeh vase": a calendar marker...

So let's have a look at the "Khafajeh vase" imagery again, with all the knowledge about the natural world in which the Jiroft people who made this amazing vase lived...

1. The bear cubs scene

Bear cubs are born at the end of Jan beginning of Feb, beginning of spring. They emerge from their dens in Mar, middle of spring, at the beginning of the date palms pollination and the beginning of the snowmelt. So I would say that the bear cubs "scene" symbolises the spring...

2. Zebus

Zebu's mating season coincides with the snowmelt flow season which peaks in Taurus 🙂. This is why the "human looking being" who stands on zebus is holding flowing water, the rivers among lush vegetation. So I would say that the zebus symbolise summer...

The snowmelt surge starts diminishing towards the end of June, around summer solstice. Which I would say is the border between the zebu scene and the lion scene. The maximum water flaw beginning of summer, Taurus. The minimum water flow end of summer, Leo...

3. Lions

Lion mating season coincides with the driest part of the year in the Halil river catchment area. Not only that this is the period with the least precipitation, but also the snow melt flow has stopped, so river is at its lowest level...And Leo is also the hottest part of the year.

This is why the "human looking being" who stands on lions is holding snakes...And lions are depicted standing in arid landscape with no vegetation...So I would say that the lions symbolise autumn...

4. Carnage...

Lion (autumn) has killed the zebu (summer) and is now eating the carcass of a long dead animal. Lion is joined by scorpion and eagle...

Eagle is the dual zodiac sign for scorpio. On the zodiac circle, and in general as solar year animal markers, they both symbolise the beginning of winter. And the arrival of rain and snow...So I would say that the scorpion and eagle symbolise winter...

So here we have, spelled out, in animal solar year markers, the climate in the Halil river basin, where Jiroft culture once thrived. Until the sun god got angry and dried the skies and rivers and wells for ever. Well for few hundred years, during the 4.2 kiloyear event...

The same sun god depicted standing on zebus (young sun of spring and early summer, which causes the snow to melt and rivers to fill - holding water) and standing on loins (the old sun of late summer and autumn, which causes the land and rivers and wells to dry - holding snakes)

Yes I believe that this "human looking being" is not a hero or a master of the animals, but the sun god, from the time before the "bull horn hats" became fashionable among gods...

That's it...

Well except for the sun and the moon. The sun is shown next to both the young and the old sun. As the identification mark. The moon pointing up, which I postulated to mean winter, wet season, is only shown next to the young sun, the one which causes water to flow...

Which makes me wonder if this is moon, which points upward during winter, or vessel which collect precipitation which falls during winter wet season, river bed...Or both...Still thinking...

To conclude. This is an extremely complex set of interconnected animal and plant calendar markers, which perfectly describe the climate in Jiroft valley. There is no way this is an accident or coincidence...

Which is why "Khafajeh vase" is so important: it proves that Jiroft culture, like Indus Valley culture, Elamites, Akkadians, Sumerians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Hittites, Minoans, Mycenaeans, BMAC...also used animal solar year markers...The same ones in the same way...

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Queen Uqnitum


Today I saw this drawing with this description: "Bulla depicting an intimate family scene of Queen Uqnitum & King Tupkish of the Hurrian kingdom of Urkesh (late 3rd millennium BC), with the princess sitting on Uqnitum's lap & the young prince touching his father's knee".

My first reaction was: how do we know the child sitting on the queen's lap was a girl? To me it actually looked like a small boy...And in this thread I would like to explain why I think the child is a boy and why this is important...

To check if my gut feeling was right, I searched for this seal impression in the literature to see what others had to say about this whole thing...

In the "Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus" by Joan Aruz, Ronald Wallenfel, we can read that "this is Queen Uqnitum's most important seal. She appears to be seated on the left holding a small child."

In the "City of Myth, in search of Hurrian Urkesh" by Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, people who found the seal, we also read, in the main description of the seal "...on the left, the mother-queen, seated on a level with the king, holds a small child on her lap..."

But then in the side note we find this: "This bulla shows on intimate scene in the life of Urkesh's royal family, with the king and queen seated on a level with one another, the princess perched on Uqnitum's lop, and the young prince reaching for his father's knee"...

I seriously believe that this is a misinterpretation of the scene, and probably added to fit the "ideal western family standard" of mother, daughter, father, son...

I think the small child depicted on the left of the scene as siting on the Queen Uqnitum's laps is a boy. And not just any boy. He is the same boy, who is depicted on the right of the scene reaching for his father's knee, just at younger age...

This seal does not depict "intimate scene in the life of Urkesh's royal family". This seal is an example of political propaganda...

Ten seals were found which belonged to Uqnitum. The text on one of the seals reads: "Uqnitum, wife of Tupkish". Uqnitum was probably an Akkadian wife (according to her name) of a Hurrian king. One of probably many wives (according to the authors of the The City of Myth)...

Most of these wives had children with the king. But only one of those children, one son of the king Tupkish, will end up succeeding the king at the throne and becoming the new king of Urkesh. And it seems that it was the son of Uqnitum, that became the new king...

Because the inscription on this seal reads "Uqnitum, the queen". Uqnitum could have been promoted from a "wife" to the "queen" only through her sone becoming the "crown prince", the successor to the throne...

And this is exactly what the scene on this seal depicts: "I Queen (!!!) Uqnitum gave birth to the future king of Urkesh".

How do we know that this scene represents the recognition of the Uqnitum's son as the crown prince? Well Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati say that this is because "The prince is shown touching king's lap"...

In the "City of Myth" we can read that among many "King's seals" there is one which also shows "the prince touching the king's lap". This one:


And this is the interpretation of the scene depicted on this seal:



This is very interesting. Except I don't think that the ritual described in Genesis is the same ritual shown on these seals. What Abraham asked his follower to do is to place his hand on his, Abraham's, penis while swearing an oath...

Remember the article about the origin of sceptres

In it I proposed that originally, penis was the sign of power the symbol of gods and rulers...I think the ritual from the Genesis is related to this veneration of the penis as the symbol of power.

And Scott, George Ryley states the same in his "Phallic worship: a history of sex and sex rites in relation to the religions of all races from antiquity to the present day" published in 1941. 

In this book we can read that Hebrews, Arabs and Egyptians swore oaths "by placing their hand on their penis or on their master's penis" which was in the Bible euphemisised as "placing the hand under someone's thigh" or just "giving hand under someone"...

I believe that the ritual shown on the Hurrian seals is, I believe, something else. 

The prince is not touching king's thigh nor is he touching king's lap. He is in fact touching king's knee, as the authors of the "City of Myth" state themselves. Why? What does this mean?

Remember the article about the Serbian expression "From knee to knee" meaning "From generation to generation", "From father to son"? In it I talked about the fact that the word for generation and the word for knee have the same root in many languages. Why?

Because of this: The English etymological dictionary says something interesting about the etymology of the word genus: "...could come from Latin genu (knee) from a supposed ancient custom of a father acknowledging paternity of a newborn by placing it on his knee..."

So this is what the prince does on these Hurrian seals. He is touching the king's knee, as a symbol that the king "held him on his knee", that he is "the next generation", that he is "legitimate son" and therefore  that he is "the crown prince" and therefore "the future king"...

These Hurrian seal impressions could be the earliest known depictions of this custom of "father recognising the child as his own by placing it on his knee"...

Amazing, right?

Oh and yeah, almost forgot. The meaning of the message from the original seal therefore is: "Up yours! It is MY son, the one I gave birth to and held on my lap, that was placed on the king's knee and was chosen to be the future king...Yours, QUEEN!!! Uqnitum. Have a nice day" 🙂

PS. As someone said earlier today: what's with the noses?

Few years ago, i did this survey on FB: When you are on a toilet, constipated, and you are straining to push things out, what is the sound you are making? Does it sound like "nnnnn"? What about the sound you are making when you are pushing something away? The same? 🙂

Most people answered yes. The sound made was like "nnnnn". Made through closed teeth & mouth, tongue pressed against the back of the upper teeth and the roof of mouth...Interesting. Why? Well, why do words for "no" 🙂 in most IE languages start with "n"? Every thought about this?

Is this an example of natural, involuntary sounds evolving into words? Is this maybe one of the oldest words in IE languages? I mean people recognised the meaning of "nnnnn" instinctively...From there to "no" is a very short step...

I would even go as far as to say that "nnnn" is the second oldest word in the word... 🙂 The oldest word in the world I think was "aaaa". You all know that word. You all used it and heard it being used 🙂...

I explained why I think so in my post "The oldest word in the world"...

I don't know which number in the top 10 oldest words in the world is "mmmm", but it is definitely close to the top 🙂. You know the word. When something is "mmmm". Like honey. The first truly "mmmm" thing humans tasted. 


I have no idea where the word honey comes from, because in most IE languages the word for honey starts with "mmmm". I talked about this in my post "mmmmm"...

Anyway...

Monday, 7 September 2020

Uluçinar stelae

In 2007 two stelae, each bearing figures of the Storm-god leading a ruler and a duplicate Hieroglyphic Luwian text, were discovered at Uluçinar (formerly Arsuz), on the Turkish coast south of İskenderun...


The inscription is the work of a Suppiluliuma, son of Manana, king of the land of Walastin, now understood as the Luwian designation of the Amuq plain with its capital at the Iron Age site of Tell Tayinat...

The stelae, probably dating to the later tenth century BC, record the successful reign of the ruler who "achieved things his father or grandfather could not" like conquer the city of Adana and the land of Hiyawa (most likely Ahhiyawa, the Hittite designation of Greeks)

All his military victories and the abundance of grain and wine in his kingdom, the king attributes to the mighty Storm god. On both stelae, the king is depicted holding grapes in his right hand and grain in his left, while being led by the hand by the Storm god, his patron deity...


On the first stela the storm god, stands on a bull under the winged sun disc... 

On the second stela the storm god, stands on a plant under the winged sun disc... 

Why?

Well here is why: This is a chart showing yearly temperature and precipitation in Eastern Anatolia...

The late April early May (Taurus) is the time of maximum precipitation and maximum thunderstorms. The time when Thunder god arrives to the land of the Hittites...Hence the bull...This is also start of summer...Hence the winged sun disc...

The inscriptions are from the article "Two new inscribed Storm-god stelae from Arsuz (İskenderun): ARSUZ 1 and 2" by Belkis Dinçol, Ali Dinçol, J.D. Hawkins, Hasan Peker and Aliye Öztan

One more thing: Look at the end of the spring rain season. July-August. The Storm god is leading the king who is holding grapes and grain towards the end of the summer (symbolised by a bull) and the end of the rain season. And the end of July beginning of August is the beginning of the grain and grape harvest in Eastern Anatolian plateau. 

Here is something interesting. 

Summer starts on the 6th of May, in the middle of Taurus (end of April beginning of May) and is symbolised by a bull. 

Autumn starts on the 2nd of August, in the middle of Leo (end of July beginning of August) and is symbolised by a lion.

You can read more about the beginnings of seasons in my post "Two crosses"...

You can read more about this in my post "Symbols of the seasons"...

You can also read about why are the zodiac signs where they are on the zodiac circle (spoiler: it has to do with reproductive cycles of the animals used as zodiac symbols) in the posts linked from my page "Zodiac"...

Now, the autumn (lion) succeeds summer (bull). The autumn (lion) ends (kills) summer (bull). End of July beginning of August. Lion kills Bull. But also harvests begins...

Killing of the bull = Killing of the grain = Beginning of Harvest?

Unicorn

Unicorn, 13th c. floor mosaic, Basilica of San Giovanni Evangelista, Ravenna

While we are talking about unicorns, I actually believe that unicorns (horses with a single giant "horn") do exist...Except their horns are depicted in the wrong place...Probably because of the morals 🙂 

The predecessor of all medieval bestiaries, Physiologus (Φυσιολόγος), which was compiled in Alexandria sometime between 2nd-4th c. AD, popularised an elaborate allegory about a unicorn trapped by a maiden (representing the Virgin Mary) 

"As soon as the unicorn sees the virgin, it lays its head on her lap and falls asleep" it claims...

What does this mean? 

Well I believe that this is another myth which has its root in the "natural zodiac", set of symbols based on fixed annual lifecycle events...

In this case the unicorn symbol is derived from the natural reproductive cycle of horses. 

The natural breeding season of horses typically begins around mid-April and finishes around mid September...It is characterised by violent stallion fights...

The beginning of the horse mating season coincided with the beginning of the sailing season in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is probably why the Greek sea god Poseidon to whom then sailors prayed for calm seas, was also "god of horses" who was "worshiped as a stallion". You can read more about this in my post "Trojan horse"...

So obviously, the horse mating season is the time when stallions get "horny" 🙂 Unicorn horn is described as "being cubit and a half (700 mm, 28 inches) in length". 

Pic: erect horse's penis sizes 🙂 (sorry)

The virgin, which calms the unicorn 🙂 is not an euphemism for bestial sex...It just means that the natural horse mating season ends in Virgo 23 Aug–23 Sep...Which is the time when unicorns (🙂) disappear. 

Until next summer...

But maybe this is just me reading into things...

Oh I completely forgot to say that the Unicorn is the symbol of the sun, sunny part of the year, from spring equinox to autumn equinox. Mares fertility is tuned to day length, which means they are most fertile around summer solstice...When stallions are horniest 🙂 too...