Friday, 31 July 2020

Mahishasuramardini

This is the 7th c. AD depiction of the moment when the Devi (goddess) Durga riding on a lion slays Asura (demon) Mahisha whose name means buffalo...



From Mahishasuramardini Mandapa, Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India 

In the perpetual conflict between Devas and Asuras, in the battle between the gods and the demons, the Devas led by Indra (riding on an elephant) were defeated by Mahisha, the Buffalo demon...

Dejected by their defeat, the Devas assemble in the mountains where their combined divine energies coalesce into goddess Durga...

The newborn Durga, riding on a lion, led a battle against Mahisha, buffalo demon, and killed him. Thereafter she is named Mahishasuramardini, meaning "the killer of Mahishasura"...

Sooooo... What does all this mean? 

To understand this story we need to look at the animal symbolism found in it. Namely Buffalo (bad) and Elephant and Lion (good) 🙂...And the local climate...Yup, again...

Just like in all other Eurasian and North African cultures, animals in legends are solar year calendar markers, developed from a well known annual events in the lifecycle of the animals in question, which happen every year at the same time...You can find the links to all the articles about these solar year calendar markers on this page in my blog.

When it comes to animals that usually means either beginning of the mating season or less commonly beginning of the birthing season...

In Durga-Mahisha story, buffalo, elephant and lion are solar calendar markers developed from the times of the mating seasons of these animals...

Buffalos, more precisely Wild Water Buffalos are seasonal breeders in most of their range, typically in October and November...


Asian Elephants are also seasonal breathers, mating between June and September, with peak in July and August...


July-August is the part of the year marked by Leo...Now Eurasian Lions are also seasonal breathers. In the "THE ASIATIC LION: A study of ecology and behaviour" by Paul Joslin we can read that the mating season of the Asiatic lions starts in August and lasts until October. 

This is based on the field research which was done between 1968-1971 in the Gir Forest Sanctuary in India...


If we look at the climate in the west of the Indian subcontinent, the Indus river valley and the adjoining areas in Pakistan and India, we can see that the year is divided into two parts: wet part (Jun-September) and dry part (October-May). 

The monsoon, wet season coincides with the elephant mating season...Which is why Indra, the rain god, rides on an elephant...


I talked about this link between monsoon, elephant mating season and Indra in detail in my post "Musth"...

The monsoon, wet season ends in September. And long dry season begins...In October, right when water buffalo mating season starts...

So water buffalo mating season starts when elephant mating season ends...Mahisha, buffalo, dry season "defeats" (succeeds) Indra, elephant, wet monsoon season...And this happens every year which is why this is a "perpetual conflict"...

Anyway, Mahisha beats Indra, rains stop...The weather stays dry all winter...Then in spring and early summer droughts start...


But just when people (and Devas, Gods) start to despair, Himalayas start to heat up in the early summer (April-May). And the updraft this creates starts sucking the moist Indian ocean air across India towards the mountains...


The monsoon starts...The Devas, assembled in the mountains have created Durga, the Invincible one, the defeater of Mahisha...

But Mahisha is not an easy "demon" to kill...Durga fights him for a long time, until finally, she kills him while "riding on a lion"...

Now Durga is not the only "warrior" goddess that rides on a lion...There's one for everyone in the audience 🙂

"The Lady" Durga arriving on a lion could mean "in Leo" July-August, or it could be "after Leo" which is Virgo, August-September...

So is Mahisha actually finally defeated by Durga in August, in Leo, at the peak of the monsoon season, or in September, in Virgo, at the end of the monsoon season???

Regardless which point in time exactly we take to be the moment of Durga's victory over Mahisha, this victory of Devas over Asuras is short lived...

Because after September comes October. The dry season starts. Right at the start of the Water Buffalo mating season. Mahisha again defeats Indra...Only to be in turn defeated by Durga...And so perpetual struggle between "good" (Devas, rain) and evil (Asuras, drought) continues...

Again, this time in India, we find animal solar year markers used originally to mark significant event in the local solar year (agricultural) calendar. In this case succession of monsoon season and dry season...Only to later become obscured and mythologised...

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Larissa

This is apparently the only menhir ever discovered in Greece. Two metres tall, it depicts a female figure, and dates to the Early Bronze Age (3300-2200 BC). Discovered in Central Greece at Soufli Magoula, Prefecture of Larisa, currently in the Diachronic Museum of Larisa...


I always loved the name Larissa. I always loved the name Larissa. In mythology, the nymph Larissa was a daughter of the primordial man Pelasgus. The man who taught people how to eat acorns... 

 
Peleus, the hero beloved by the gods, father of Achilles lived in Larissa...Homer says in the Iliad that: 'Hippothous led the tribes of Pelasgian spearsmen, who dwelt in fertile Larissa"...


Officially: "The name Larissa (Λάρισα Lárīsa) is in origin a Pelasgian word for 'fortress'. There were many ancient Greek cities with this name"...

The Larissa of Peleus and Achilles, where the above Bronze Age menhir was found, lies in the plain of Larissa in Thessaly. A fertile flat pan like plain surrounded by high mountains. Pic: Mount Olympus from Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, 1850–85 by Edward Lear


This plain was the centre of the ancient Thessaly, one of the traditional regions of Ancient Greece. During the Mycenaean period, Thessaly was known as Aeolia... 

The fertile plains of Thessaly were continuously inhabited at least since the 8th millennium BC, when we find the first traces of the Neolithic farmers of the so called Sesklo culture...

But around the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC something very important happens. Yamna descendants start moving into the Balkans...Now guess who was making the first anthropomorphic stelae in the world? Yamna people...Here is one from Odessa... 


Now these Yamna guys were metalworking warriors...And were associated with the introduction of the warrior cult into Europe and the R1b haplogroup...Which language did they speak? It is accepted that it was an Indoeuropean language. I would further suggest that it was Gaelic...
What? I can hear you say. Based on what? Well based on the Irish oral histories, which were first written down in the early medieval time...And they say that the forefather of the Irish, Partholon, came to Ireland from Scythia, via Anatolia, Greece, Sicily and Spain...


Interestingly, according to the Irish Annals, Partholon's migration happened during the 3rd millennium BC, at the same time Yamna descendants moved west out of the Pontic steppe... 
Like for instance, that Partholon brought metalwork to Ireland, which were confirmed by the arc archaeological evidence which showed that around 2500 BC a completely new genetic population, R1b metalworkers, arrived to Ireland from oversees...I wrote about this in my post "Or, Ireland's gold"...

Or that during the first 300 years after Partholon arrived, lakes kept erupting... There is dendrochronological evidence  that right around the time when the Irish Annals say the Partholon arrived to Ireland, climate suddenly changed, resulting in years of rain and catastrophic flooding...I wrote about it in my post "Partholon and the great flood"...

These R1b people, the first metalworkers to reach Ireland were probably the first Irish, Gaelic speakers to reach reach Ireland...So it is possible that Irish was spoken in the Balkans before it was spoken in Ireland...

And it seems that these first Gaelic speaking (???) Irish came from the Balkans skipping the rest of continental Europe. At least based on archaeological evidence in both Balkans and Ireland. 

I wrote about this in the series of posts about the "Montenegrian Tumuluses"...


Did they arrive via Sicily and Spain, like the Irish Annals say? Well, most likely as there was a maritime trading network connecting Balkans, Sicily, Spain since Neolithic. I wrote about this in my post "Neolithic seafarers"...

Now, finally here is the interesting bit 😁 What is the root of the name Larissa? Apparently this is Pelasgian word. "Pelasgian language" just means pre Greek, not of any specific Pelasgian language...Pre Greek could be anything from any age. Could it be Gaelic? From Bronze Age?

Did you know that in Gaelic, the word "lár" (pronounced lor but also laer) means "earth, ground, flat surface, floor, plain, centre, middle"... 

This is plain of Thessaly...Flat plain surrounded by mountains...The centre of Thessaly... 



The name certainly matches the landscape...And there was enough time and enough further mixing of people in Thessaly to end up with Larissa from "lár" by the time the name was first recorded...Who knows...I am curious what those other Larissa's look like landscape wise???
But maybe this is just a complete coincidence...As I said, I always liked the name...

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

And those who lie


"And those who lie (break promise), may a dog f*ck their wives and their mothers"...


Here is the original part from the original text 


According to "Slavonic Letters in Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania from the Tenth to the Seventeenth Centuries" by D. J. Deletant, it seems that "Slavonic" was the language of choice in Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania during medieval time...Why? And which Slavonic, Medieval Serbian or Medieval Bulgarian which was pretty much indistinguishable from Medieval Serbian? 

Only a person who spoke Serbian and was brought up as Serbian could have used the curse from the above letter. This is still one of the worst curses you can utter in Serbian...It comes from the deepest and darkest part of the Serbian culture...I talked about ritual and ceremonial cursing in Serbian culture in my post "Prokletija":  

Do Bulgarians have this curse?

2 questions: 

1. Why would Wallachian (Romanian) ruler be called Voivode (Serbian Voj, Boj + vodja = war+ leader) which is what all the early Wallachian (Romanian) rulers were called? 
2. Why would a Wallachian (Romanian) ruler write the letter in Serbian to German burgers of Sibiu?

Maybe the reason Voivode Alexander wrote his letter to the citizens of Sibiu in Serbian and used the above mentioned Serbian curse to emphasise that he meant business, is because both him and the recipients of his letter spoke Serbian and knew how serious the curse was...

That this was probably the case can be seen from huge number of Slavic (actually Serbian) toponyms all over Romania...I talked about this in this article about Romanian national hero Iovan Iorgovan, who according to Romanian legends came from Serbia... 

All in all a very interesting subject...Oh by the way, Alexander's half brother was Vlad II Dracul, father of The Vlad Dracul, The Impaler...And here is a letter by Vlad II to the citizens of Brașov, another German city in Transylvania. Again in Serbian... 

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Seven headed dragon

This is a seal from Tell Asmar, dated to 2200 BC. It depicts a seven headed dragon (beast with lion's body and seven snake heads) with sun's heat rays radiating out of its back, being speared by two gods (heroes)...


As Gary A. Rendsburg points out in his article "UT 68 and the Tell Asmar Seal" this is one of the most remarkable seals ever found and one of the most discussed...

Why? Because the mythical theme of a hero (god) slaying 7 headed dragon keeps popping up again and again in different cultures in Eurasia...

For instance the Ugaritic monster Lotan (meaning "coiled"), also called "the mighty one with seven heads", was a serpent of the sea god Yam. Or Yam himself as he was also called "the serpent". This monster was defeated by the storm god Hadad-Baʿal in the Ugaritic Baal Cycle...

Hadad defeating Lotan, Yahweh defeating Leviathan, Marduk defeating Tiamat, Zeus slaying Typhon, Heracles slaying Hidra, Perun killing Veles, Thor fighting Jörmungandr...Different versions of the same myth which originated most likely in the Fertile Crescent among the Neolithic farmers...

This story is allegorical description of the local Mesopotamian climate, where the year is divided into two seasons: dry, hot summer (Apr/May-Oct/Nov) and wet, cool winter (Oct/Nov-Apr/May)...


So Thunder god fighting and killing dragon is a symbolic depiction of rain season following the dry season...And the veneration of the Thunder gods and all the sacrifices and prayers dedicated to them are means to ensure that this succession of seasons actually happen...

For instance, look at Yam-Lotan. Why was the Sea god, called "the serpent"? Well, Yam was a brother of Mot, Ugaritic god of death, who was identified as the sun...I talked about this identification of Mot with Sun in my post "The oldest Arabic poem"... 

As I explained in my post "Trojan horse" the sailing season (season ruled by Yam) in ancient Eastern Mediterranean started in Apr/May, at the beginning of the hot dry part of the year and ended in Sep/Oct, at the end of the hot dry part of the year...

Which is why Haddad (God of the cool wet part of the year) is fighting Yam (god of the hot dry part of the year). Yam who is helped in his rule over summer by his brother, Mot, God of death, Sun, which turns everything into desert...

As I explained in my post about "Snakes and Dragons symbolism on Bactrian seals" the key for understanding all of this was inexplicably preserved in Slavic folklore, of all places...

As I explained in my post "Enemy of the sun" snake is directly associated with the sun. It is a solar animal, because it follows the sun. It is in our world during the hot, dry part of the year when sun is in our world too...

And it is in the "underworld" during the cold, wet part of the year, when the sun is in the "underworld" too...Which is why snake is mistakenly identified as a "chthonic" animal...

Snake is the symbol of the sun's heat. And as I explained in my post "Dragon who stole rain" fire breathing dragon is the symbol of the destructive sun's heat of the mid and late summer...

The sun's heat which "steals" and then "guards" water...And the only way to release the water is to kill the dragon. Dragon is the symbolic description of summer heat which causes droughts and death. Which is why it is often mistakenly identified as water and not fire creature...

As a proof that Mesopotamians equated snake and dragon with the sun's heat, can be seen on the tell Asmar seal...The dragon has snake heads and the sun (heat) rays radiating out of its back...Sun (heat) rays usually radiating out of the sun god Utu (Shamash)...


On the seal from Tell Asmar, the dragon is being speared at the head and the back by two "heroes" (gods???)...Gary A. Rendsburg points out in his article "UT 68 and the Tell Asmar Seal" that in Ugaritic description of the Haddad's fight against Yam, Haddad defeats Yam using "two clubs"...

With one he strikes Yam in the back, but Yam does not fall. Then with the other club he strikes Yam in the head and that finally kills Yam...So basically this is textual description of the scene visually depicted on the Tell Asmar seal...

The two deities (heroes?) attacking the dragon are actually one deity, Storm god. His "attacks" at the back and head of the dragon symbolise the end of the rain season and the beginning of the rain season...Basically the beginning and the end of summer, the time of dragons...

Now here is the interesting bit (finally 🙂): no one has any idea why 7 heads...I have for a long time suspected that this has something to do with the duration of the Mesopotamian hot dry season, the season of the snake and dragon...

And today I stumbled across "The debate between Winter and Summer" or Myth of Emesh and Enten, a Sumerian creation myth, written on clay tablets in the mid to late 3rd millennium BC... 

And in it, after winter accuses summer of taking all the credit for winter's hard work, summer says: "In my working term of duty, which is seven months of the year"...

Ha!

This is why the dragon on the seal from Tell Asmar has 7 heads...And why its Ugraitic equivalent also has the 7 heads. These 7 heads represent 7 months of the Levantine and Mesopotamian summer: Apr/May-May/Jun-Jun/Jul-Jul/Aug-Aug/Sep-Sep/Oct-Oct/Nov...

That this interpretation is correct is actually emphasised on the seal...The dragon has 4 downward pointing (dead) heads and 3 upward pointing (alive) heads...This represents the point in time...The point at the end of the 4 summer months Apr/May-May/Jun-Jun/Jul-Jul/Aug...

How do we know this? Because this is the time when Sirius rises with the sun...And guess what: There is a star depicted in the sky above the scene...Star which can only be Sirius...

Sirius, whose heliacal rising marks the hottest part of the year on the northern hemisphere. The part of the year also marked with a Lion, Leo...By the way, the body of the Sumerian and Akkadian dragons, and the dragon on the Tell Asmar seal, is usually a lion's body...

Oh yeah. Almost completely forgot to explain why was this exact moment in the solar year (middle of Leo) depicted on this seal 🙂 The Storm god has symbolically "half killed" (or 4/7ths killed, to be precise 🙂, well maybe actually only half killed as the 4th head is in process of being killed 🙂) the dragon of summer and his power is waning...,This is the precise moment when the heating of the northern hemisphere stops and cooling of the northern hemisphere begins...As I explained in my post "Thundering sun god", by pure "coincidence" of course, this is also the exact time of the year when Balkan Slavs, whose folklore formed the core of the key used for understanding all this, celebrate the day of their thunder god...


Oh and this star has everything to do with Inanna/Ishtar, the goddess that arrives on the lion, at the exact moment depicted on this seal...In the middle of Leo...

So this Tell Asmar seal is indeed an amazing artefact...

Friday, 24 July 2020

Croesus

This is Croesus, the last Lydian king. In 546 BC, he misunderstood the prophecy from Delphi, which said that "If Croesus attacked the Persians, he would destroy a great empire". Croesus went to war with Persia which ended up with the destruction of his empire...


Apart from being famous for his disastrous prophecy interpreting abilities, Croesus was also famous for minting the earliest known gold coins known as "Croeseids". They always depicted lion and bull in this pose, and the meaning of this scene is still debated... 


Finally, Croesus was also famous for the fact that no one knows what actually happened to him after he was captured by the Persian king Cyrus the Great...

In the version of the story written by Bacchylides, Croesus tried to commit suicide, by burning himself on a pyre. But at the last moment Zeus sent the storm with rain which extinguished the fire, and then Apollo took Croesus to the Hyperboreans where he lived happily ever after



In the version written by Herodotus, Cyrus captured Croesus and ordered for him to be burned to death on a pyre. But at the last moment, Croesus was saved from death by Apollo who sent a violent storm with rain which extinguished the flames. Cyrus then made Croesus his advisor..

The fact that we don't know how Croesus ended up on the pyre and what happened to him after he was saved, is not that interesting (to me at least). What is interesting (to me at least) is who and how saved him...

In the Bacchylides' version, Zeus, the God of Thunder, sends the rainstorm which extinguishes the flames. But in the Herodotus' version, it is Apollo who sends the rainstorm which extinguishes the flames...A weird thing for a Sun god to do...

A lot of people say that Herodotus was "known" to have written crap...But maybe not. Maybe Herodotus just had access to information other Greeks didn't...

Homer pictures Apollo on the side of the Trojans, fighting against the Achaeans, during the Trojan War. Believe or not the Hittite records, which called Troy "Wilusa", identify Trojan tutelary deity as a god named Appaliunas (A-ap-pa-li-u-na-aš), usually identified as Apollo...

Now there is a recently translated Hittite document which talks about a peace contract made between Hittite king Muwatalli and Wilusa king Alaksandu...The kings swear not to break the contract and list their deities as witnesses...

And in that document, one of three gods guaranteeing the terms of the treaty on the side of Alaksandu is A-ap-pa-li-u-na-aš who was described as the "Storm-god of the Army"...

Well, I guess, a storm god could easily send a rain storm to extinguish the flames of the Croesus' pyre...Right?

You know how you always wandered (well I did anyway) why Greeks were so afraid of lyre playing Apolo? They weren't. They were afraid of A-ap-pa-li-u-na-aš...

The same way Serbs were afraid of Sveti Ilija Gromovnik (St Elijah the Thunderer), The Thundering Sun. Serbs celebrate him at the end of summer and beginning of autumn. The moment when summer (represented by a bull) ends and autumn (represented by a lion) begins. Lion and bull???

In Serbian folklore, St Elijah is a weird character indeed. He is both the sun god (Helios, Veles) and storm god (Zeus, Perun)...Like A-ap-pa-li-u-na-aš??? I talked about St Elijah in my article "Thundering sun god"

He gets so angry every year around his pattern day, 2nd of August, the hottest part of the year, called in the Balkans "Kresovi, Krijesovi" (fires), that he "wants to burn the world to cinder". Just like any real scary sun god would do...

But he doesn't...His wife Ognjena Marija (Burning Mary, the ever hotter summer earth) calms him down...After St Elijah calms down, his wife turns to Blaga Marija (Mild, Kind Mary, the ever cooler autumn earth)... 

And right then, at the end of summer, beginning of autumn, the first autumn rains arrive, the world is saved...By the way, Serbs believed that these rains were brought by St Elijah himself...As any decent thunder god would have done...Hence Elijah (Helios) "The Thunderer" (Zeus)

In Serbian the expression "On vedri i oblači" means "he rules", "he has absolute control, absolute power". Literally this expression means "he makes the sky clear and cloudy"...

Originally the all powerful one was the Sky God...I talked about this in my article "The power of the thunder giant"

Was the original Apollo, "A-ap-pa-li-u-na-aš", before Greeks borrowed him from the Anatolians, one such god? The sun god + storm god = scary MF who can destroy your crops, dry out your wells, flood your houses, kill you with fire and lightning and disease? I believe so...

Finally, did you know that apparently no one knows what Croesus's name means??? Croesus comes from Latin Croesus, from Greek Kroîsos (the name has no further etymology)...

As i said he was famous for his gold, and for the pyre...Now Ancient Greek word for gold was χρυσός (kʰryː.sós)...Was this the root of his name? Golden king? Just misspelled???

At the same time Slavic word Kres, Krijes, Kris means "fire" but also "ritual summer solstice bonfire" representing the sun's fire...


Looks very much like Croesus's pyre...And sounds very much like Croesus...Probably a coincidence...

Kaunakes

The earliest type of dress attested in early Sumerian art of the Pre-Dynastic period (4000-2700 BC) is a sort of kilt made of smooth fabric, which is quite closely fitting the lower body, while the upper body remains bare...Warka Vase detail, Uruk period, c. 3200–3000 BC


During the same period, these "kilts" were also depicted with the "fishnet" design...Some say it's a depiction of tartan...But I would say that it is a way of depicting "woven fabric". You can see an example of this on this Uruk period (c. 3100BC) cylinder-seal...


But then during the Early Dynastic Period (2700-2350 BC), the fashion begins to change...We still see plain smooth fabric kilts and dresses, but we also begin to see the clothes with tasseled ends and fully tasseled garments...Hoard of Sumerian statues from Tell Asmar, Iraq...


To be finally replaced by this: Kaunakes...Statue of Iku-Shamagan, King of Mari, wearing the "Kaunakes". Circa 2500 BCE...


During the Dynastic period, kaunakes seem to have became the cloths worn by "important" characters, a symbol of distinction...Votive relief of Ur-Nanshe, king of Lagash, Early Dynastic III (2550–2500 BC), with all important figures wearing "kaunakes"


Now the exact nature of the "kaunakes" seems to be still debated...You can read about this in "Que savons-nous exactement du kaunakès mésopotamien?" by Catherine Breniquet...

I believe that originally this was just a sheep or goat fleece cut and stitched together into sheets...Just like this shepherds cloak from Romania:


But later, it became a woollen fabric with tassels, woollen dreadlocks, made to look like a fleece...Just like this shepherds cloak from Montenegro:


Which was made like this:


There are two interesting things related to this real and artificial sheep fleece clothes...

First the name...

I am not sure if we know the Sumerian name for it. Akkadians called it "GU-NAK-KU". It was the Ancient Greeks who called it καυνάκης (kaunakes) or γαυνάκης (gaunákēs)...

Now in English we have word "gown" which apparently comes "from Anglo-Norman gune, goune ("fur-trimmed coat, pelisse"), from Old French goune, from Late Latin gunna ("leather garment, a fur"), from Ancient Greek γούνα (goúna, "coarse garment") from "unknown origin"...

Two roots are proposed: 

1. Perhaps from a Balkan or Apennine language...

Well, I don't know about Apennine languages, but in the Balkans languages, more precisely Serbian, we find the word "Gunj". Gunj is Serbian word which means a cover and clothes made from sheepskin, woollen fabric with clumps (tassels) made to look like artificial sheepskin, or woollen felt...I talked about this in my post "Gunj"...

2. Perhaps from Proto-Iranian "*gawnám" (fur) (compare Younger Avestan "gaona" (body hair) and Ossetian гъун (ǧun))...

But what about the Akkadian "GU-NAK-KU"? We can't just ignore this, right?

So is this another Sumerian (Akkadian) - PIE cognate? Remember my article about the PIE - Akkadian words for acorns? Or someone borrowed it from someone? Who borrowed it from whom? And when? 

The second interesting thing. 

Was this change in Sumerian fashion a reflection in the political and ethnic change at the top of the Sumerian society? Why were all of a sudden all the big heads wearing sheepskins or imitations of sheepskins?

What were they trying to show? That they were the "sheep" people and not the "grain and cattle" people? Was this new fashion the result of the herders subduing the farmers? And were the big shots wearing their sheepskin clothes as a symbol of their superiority?

What do you think?


https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f77b/6d1ee9b4699208f3db93987403fb96d6f244.pdf#page=403
https://cairn.info/revue-d-assyriologie-2016-1-page-1.htm

Fluffy

Few weeks ago I published an article about the solar snake symbolism found on 2000BC Bactrian seals...  In this article I will analyse some other Bactrian seals, whose symbolism is explainable through local climate and animal behaviour in that climatic area..

Bactria is the area located on the border between Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan...


The climatic year is divided into dry part (May-Oct,Nov) and wet part (Oct,Nov-May)...


Rain was the most important thing in the lives of farmers in Bactria...It turned desert into a garden...They must have been constantly on the lookout for  any sign that could announce its arrival, and anything that coincided with it soon got turned into a calendar marker...

Like for instance disappearance of snakes, which go under ground to escape incoming cold and wet weather...And the beginning of the mating season of the Goitered gazelle which starts in November, right when the rains arrive...


And so here is the first Bactrian seal for today: Mother earth flowering next to the flowing river. The snake is under ground and the Goitered gazelle is looking at the amazing effect of "the rain it has brought"...


One of the main animal calendar markers in the area between Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia, is of course Ibex (Bezoar) goat...Which is why we find it on artefacts from Crete to Indus Valley. It's wild mating season starts in Oct-Nov and announces the arrival of winter...


In Bactria, the beginning of winter is also the beginning of the rain season...Winter - wet and cold - Bezoar is opposed to Summer - dry and hot - Snake...Snake is the symbol of sun's heat which "swallows all the water" which Bezoar goat brings to Bactria...Hence this seal...


One other animal that announces the arrival of the rain season in Central and Western Asia is the vulture...


Storms arrive when local vultures start their mating flying routines...I talked about the root of the double headed eagle symbol in my article "Double headed eagle". 

Hence this seal...A vulture guy holding Bezoar goats...


In the old days, before the animal calendar markers were discovered 🙂 this would have been interpreted as the "master of the animals" 🙂 or a "demon" 🙂 But we now know better...This is the storm god (hight flying vultures are directly associated with the sky) brining rain when Bezoar goats mate...

I find these next seals very cute 🙂  Look at the way the bodies are drawn...Fluffy...


These are clouds... With Goitered gazelle horns...Just so we know when the clouds arrive...In November when Goitered gazelles start their mating season...Rally cool...

Another fluffy dude...

This guy has two vulture heads pointing to two opposite directions...The way a couple of vultures looks like during their mating synchronised flying from the ground...In November, when rain clouds arrive. Bezoar cloud is there too. 

Anyway, enough for today...Have fun...

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Nakovana

This is the abandoned Nakovana village located near the tip of the Pelješac Peninsula in Southern Dalmatia, Croatia...



The name Nakovana is related to the Slavic word "nakovanj", meaning "anvil", most likely because of the shape of this nearby hill. It is known today locally as Grad (City), because of the ruins of a huge Illyrian fortress which once stood on its top...


The fortress was destroyed during the Octavian's Illyrian campaign which lasted 8 years, from 35 to 27 BC, and encompassed almost the entire eastern Adriatic and much of its hinterland...

During the first year of operations, the Roman army massacred the native populations of the islands of Korčula and Mljet. Historical sources do not say whether the Illyrians on the Pelješac peninsula met the same faith...

But the archaeological survey of the region found virtually no traces of occupation during the Early Imperial or Late Roman periods. This is an unusual situation in Dalmatia, where those periods often account for the bulk of archaeological remains...

Most likely, the conquering Romans could not tolerate a native stronghold at such a key strategic position and they most likely destroyed it and turned the surrounding area into a wasteland. The local population was either exterminated or expelled...

How important Nakovana fort was during the Illyrian times can be seen from the fact that over 50 stone tumuli (cairns) are strewn over the fields surrounding the fort. Like the one on this picture shown with the Grad fortress in the background...


These are burials of important people, most likely the aristocracy of the era and the time - the people who built and lived in the Grad fortress. None of the tumuli have been excavated so far...

You have probably never heard of Nakovana before...Unless you are an archaeologist with an interest in Dalmatian prehistory...But you should have. And the fact that Nakovana is not famous world wide beggars belief...

The reason why Nakovana should be famous is not because of its Illyrian fortress and its tumuli...It is because of this cave that lies near the fortress. 


It is the same cave I talked about in my article about the Neolithic maritime trade...


The reason why Nakovana should be famous is not (just) because the lithics found in the cave's front chamber are the proof of the maritime trade network which existed for thousands of years in the South of the Adriatic Sea...

The reason why Nakovana should be famous was discovered in the cave's second chamber which was deliberately sealed, probably immediately before or after the Illyrian fortress Grad was destroyed by the Romans...


This is how the archaeologists who discovered this hidden chamber described the event:


And what they discovered in the hidden chamber is this: A large gleaming white stalagmite in a shape of a phallus...



The stalagmite sits on top of a series of superimposed prehistoric layers, the earliest being from Early Copper Age and dated to the mid-fourth millennium BC. A direct radiocarbon date on the base of the stalagmite suggests that it began to grow about 3600 years ago...


The floor of the chamber was strewn with broken high quality pottery, mostly drinking cups, mostly imported and mostly Greek, broken and deposited there as sacrifice...


The fact that the pottery was Greek made, doesn't mean that Greeks deposited there. Some of the cairns surrounding the Grad fortress, were looted in the past. What remains in and around them shows that the character of the funerary rite is unquestionably Illyrian...

The people were buried with locally made Iron Age jewellery, handmade pottery, and fairly often, fragments of fine Hellenistic ceramic vessels, identical to those from the cave...

Illyrians were famous maritime traders and pirates and they pretty much controlled the southern Adriatic for hundreds of years...

And the Nakovana Grad fortress controlled one of the most strategically important points, the entrance into the Neretva river which was the entrance into the Balkan hinterland...


Which is the reason why the Romans eventually wiped them out...

By the way, were Illyrians the descendants of the people who controlled the Southern Adriatic since Neolithic??? Just putting this out there for people to think about it...

The broken pottery was deposited around the stalagmite, showing that it was the centre of the cultic activities in the cave. The earliest pottery shards deposited next to the stalagmite date to the 4th century BC, around the time of the Alexander the Great...

Now this is very very interesting...

If I didn't tell you where this cave was, you would be forgiven to think that this was a Siva lingam cave temple located somewhere in India...

I wonder if this Illyrian sanctuary predates or postdates Alexander's Indian campaign and who was celebrated in a shape of a lingam in this cave???

The archaeologists who excavated the cave say Silvanus, Pan...

Hmm...Possibly...

Believe or not, as impressive as this phallus looks like :)  this is not the most amazing thing found in the hidden chamber of the Nakovana cave...The most amazing thing was found among the rubble deposited around it...

Among hundreds of pottery shards, archaeologists have also found several pieces of ivory with engraved astrological signs, which once formed part of an astrologer's horoscope board...The oldest so far found horoscope in the world...









I am here talking about Greek horoscopic astrology, which is believed to have been invented in late Ptolemaic Egypt, in the 2nd or early 1st c. BC...

Now we know that the Nakovana cave was sealed around 35BC. So the horoscope board deposited next to the stalagmite must have been made before that. Radiocarbon dating actually points to much earlier date...

The age obtained by the accelerator mass spectrometry is 2217±21 B.P. The calibrated range of two standard deviations is the period be- tween 375 and 204 BC, with an asymmetrical probability distribution leaning towards the 3rd c. BC...

In plain English, the animal from which the ivory was obtained was killed in the 3rd century BC...

Archaeologists who discovered this amazing artefact say: "It is believed horoscope was invented in Egypt, late 2nd, early 1st c. BC. Therefore, the Nakovana zodiac could not have been made before the 2nd c. BC (probably not much before 100 BC), meaning that the ivory used to make it was at least hundred years old"...

Now I don't know for how long a piece of ivory is usually left lying around before it is cut and carved into sellable objects, but I don't think it was left to "age" for over 100 years...

Why playing it down? "It is believed (!!!) that horoscope was invented in Egypt in late 2nd, early 1st c. BC"...What if it wasn't? What if it was invented somewhere else? Earlier? And brought to Egypt from there?


I have been writing about zodiac for a while...One of the things that I have discovered is that zodiac signs, as they are positioned in this "Ptolemaic Greek zodiac" mark the annual lifecycle events of the depicted animals in Europe. You can read about this in this series of articles about Zodiac signs (work in progress)...

By the way, I am here talking about the horoscope zodiac circle the way we know it today. Not animal solar calendar markers found in many cultures in Eurasia and North Africa over last 10,000 years. I wrote about those extensively too. You can read about this in this series of articles about Solar calendar markers (work in progress)...

Do you see now why I think that it is completely unbelievable that Nakovana is not a famous archaeological site? 

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