Thursday, 27 August 2020

Marble copy of the Mask of Warka

This is the so called "Mask of Warka", made between 3300 BC and 3000 BC. It was found in the temple precinct of Inanna, Uruk (today village of Warka)...

Everyone is raving about this piece of art because it is considered to be the first anatomically correct depiction of the human face in Mesopotamia.

What I find absolutely amazing, is that no one is commenting on the fact that the head is actually carved out of marble, but in a way as to mimmic a head sculpted out of clay. Look at the hair. It looks like crudely fashioned with few thumb strokes going from back forward...

Was this an exact marble copy of previously existing clay head?

To me it looks like someone made a quick sketch of a human head in clay, and told a stonemason: this is how you do it. So he did. He copied everything exactly as he saw on the model. To the last detail... 

Here is another picture of the Mask of Warka, uder different light, which makes it look like it was made of clay. 


Look at the eyebrows. They look like they were gouged by a single stroke of a sharp piece of reed or wood through a soft clay. To me this is totally fascinating...

I mean even the eyes look like they were cut by a sharp knife in a single stroke. Look at the bottoms of both eyes, the thin lip of the material sticking out, like it was pressed out and down during the cutting movement. And was just left like that, like in a quick sketch...

How did this stay unnoticed I have no idea. Or maybe it was noticed but I haven't come across the article that talks about it...

But then we have the most delicately and beautifully sculpted bottom half of the head. The chin, lips, cheeks (and probably nose before it was broken off) are so life like. They are perfect...In sharp contrast to the top part of the head which was left "half finished"...

It gets curiouser and curiouser the more you look at this thing...

I think that the reason why the top part was left the way it is (sketched or unfinished or unpolished, called it what you want) is because the top of the head was covered with the wig, false eyebrows were inserted into the eyebrow groves and false eyes, with false eyelashes were inserted into eye sockets...

Which would make the "sketched" or "unfinished" or "unpolished" parts of the head invisible, and which is why the artist didn't bother to finish them. 

What is strange is that if you were doing this head straight out of a piece of stone, the unfinished parts wouldn't look like this

But they would look exactly like this if you made the head out of clay. 

What I think happened is that there was another, earlier, original, clay head, of which this stone head is a copy. It had a wig, false eyebrows and false eyes, which covered the "unfinished bits"...

That head was sacred. It could even have been a depiction of Inanna. And you don't mess with Inanna. You definitely don't change the head of the goddess, if you were told to make a stone copy of her miraculous idol, which was made in her likeness, who knows when...So you copy it exactly...

It's like the icons painters who copy icons exactly, because they believe that they are miraculous, sacred, exactly the way they are...

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Eagle calendar marker

There are two main eagle calendar markers which later became "mythologised". One is double headed eagle, like this Hittite one from Alaca Höyük...


This symbol was derived from annual vulture mating "synchronised flying" ritual, where two birds fly next to or on top of each other...Which from the ground looks like this...

In Eastern Anatolia, Northern Mesopotamia and Central Asia this coincides with the arrival of rainy season...Which is why in these areas this calendar marker was associated with rain and rain gods...Hence this eagle dude from Bactria, c: 2500-1500BC separating summer and autumn (winged lion) and winter (boar). I talked about this in my post "Double headed eagle


This guy also 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. Which is why he is fluffy, like a cloud. Bezoar cloud is there too as Bezoar goats mate at the same time too. Bactrian. 


From my post "Fluffy" 🙂 about Bactrian bezoar goat and eagle seals... 

The "eagle dude" (vulture god) with one or two heads appears is found in exactly these areas of Western and Central Asia... 

The second eagle calendar marker which later became "mythologised" is "Eagle killing snake".  

Like this one on one side of this Greek coin which has Zeus on the other side...


Or like this Roman statue



In the old times, before the discovery of the animal calendar markers 🙂, this symbol was interpreted as solar eagle killing chthonic snake...The problem is snake is not a chthonic but a solar symbol, representing sun's heat...I talked about this in my post "Chthonic animal" Bactrians knew that too...Here is a sun god with sun rays coming out of his shoulders and two snakes. 

I talked about it in my post "Bactrian snakes and dragons"... 

But Bactrians also had the "Eagle killing snake" symbol too. Here it is on this seal...

Sumerians had it too (I will talk about his soon)...So what does this symbol mean and what is it derived from?

Enters this cool dude: The short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus), a medium-sized bird of prey, found throughout the Mediterranean basin, into Russia and the Middle East, and parts of Western Asia, and in the Indian Subcontinent and also in some Indonesian islands...


This eagle, as its name says has short toes 🙂 And eats snakes. And in Europe, it is a migratory bird, leaving for Africa in Sep/Oct and returning in Apr/May...So this eagle disappears with snakes (goes to the underworld 🙂) and reappears with snakes (returns from the underworld)...

The only time you can see this scene is during summer and autumn...Beginning from Apr-May...Beginning of summer...Which is interesting, because in Europe, Apr-May is also the beginning of the Thunderstorm season...

Hence Eagle (Thunder god) fighting Snake (Sun's heat)...

This fight intensifies as the summer goes on, reaching crescendo at the end of Jul, beginning of Aug, right when Slavs celebrate the victory of their thunder god Perun (Eagle) over his enemy, the great serpent (Veles) who stole heavenly cows (clouds)...You can read more about the thunderstorms in Europe in "A Climatology of Thunderstorms across Europe from a Synthesis of Multiple Data Sources

Cool, right? This is why we have ambiguity when it comes to the eagle symbol...It is both symbol of thunder and sun (gods 🙂)...This is also why it both snake and eagle are linked to a bull...Because this epic battle between eagle and snake starts in Taurus, Bull...

Oh and by the way, In Bactria, the snakes disappear in October, November, just when the cold and damp part of the year starts, and just when the double headed eagle appears in the sky (vulture mating starts). Bactrian seal, double headed eagle fighting two snakes. End of 3rd, beginning of second millennium BC. 


It the climate thingy...It's all linked, it's all so simple and it's all so beautiful...And suddenly everything makes sense...Well at least to me...

Babe(le)

Ok this is going to be fun. This amazing rock formation covered in snow is known as Babele. The name means "Grandmothers" and it's derived from Slavic (Serbian) "baba" meaning grandmother but also rock. 


Here is the same rock formation just without snow.

It is located in Romania, on the Bucegi plateau which itself is located on Bucegi Mountains, part of the Southern Carpathian mountain chain...The name "Bucegi" is derived from the Slavic (Serbian) "buk" meaning beech tree. So the mountain name means "Beech mountains"...

The Babele rock formation is located near the mountain peak called "Baba Mare". The name is again derived from Slavic (Serbian) "baba" meaning "grandmother" or "rock" and Romanian mare meaning great, big...

Baba (Grandmother, Rock) is a common root for mountain peaks and rock outcrops in Balkan Slavic countries. I have collected quite a few of them in my article "Baba mountains and crags

For instance Velika Baba (Big Grandmother, Big Rock) peak, Jezersko, Slovenia

If you thought that Babele rock formation is wow, how about this one, also located on the same Bucegi plateau...It is just like the sphinx in Egypt. Just organic...

Here is the same rock formation just without snow but with some sheep...

Bucegi plateau is located on the borders of three counties in Romania, all three with Slavic names:

Brașov-from "baras", fortress

Prahova-from "prag", doorstep, water cataract or "prah" dust

Dâmbovița-from "dămb" (dub), oak

List of Romanian counties and the etymologies of their names

The main pass through the Bucegi mountain range Bran pass, once marked by border crossings between Wallachia and Transylvania, and was defended by the Bran Castle, named after Bran village situates nearby. Bran is a Slavic (Serbian) word means "to defend"... 



The castle is linked to Vlad III Dracula, better known as Vlad the Impaler, who was ruler of Wallachia on and off from 1448 to 1476. And an inspiration for the Bram Stoker's Count Dracula. Whether Vlad ever set foot to the Bran Castle is disputed and not really relevant to the theme of this article. What is relevant is that the name Vlad is Slavic and means Ruler. 

Oh and there is a letter written by Vlad III's father Vlad II to the citizens of Brașov (Slavic name) in written in medieval Serbian, and a letter written by his uncle Aleksander to the citizens of Sibiu (Slavic name) in also written in medieval Serbian, and containing a very juicy Serbian curse still used today...I wrote about this this post "And those who lie"

Now...Back to the Babele rock formation. There is a legend linked to it. It goes like this: 

This is interesting, considering that Baba is a Slavic word. And that Baba Dochia is basically Romanian version of South Slavic Baba Marta (Grandmother March), The Hag, Winter Earth, the spiteful old witch...Originally Baba Morana, the goddess of death...I wrote about this in my post "Gryla"...

In Romania there are three main legends related to Baba Dochia as Baba Marta, the Old Hag Winter Earth...

First legend says that Baba Dochia was a proud old woman who insulted the month of March either by badmouthing Him or by going up to the mountain with a herd of goats (way before she should, in May). March then borrows frosty days from February to punish her...

Interestingly in Serbian folklore, "babini jarci" (grandmother's goats) and "pozаjmenci" (borrowed days), both mean "cold stormy snowy days in March or April"...I wrote about this in my post "Gryla"...

Second legend goes like this:

The whole story is an allegory about the animosity between the old hag winter and the young maiden spring. Just like in these Irish and Slavic legends. I talked about this in my posts "The old woman of the mill dust" and "The Snow White

Now in this legend, Baba Dochia's son's name is Dragomir, Slavic name meaning "The one who is very dear" . I wonder if this is euphemism for the sun, which is "very dear" as it is the sun that turns old hag winter earth into young maiden spring earth...

We have parallel to Dragomir (very dear)=Sun, Summer in Radegast (dear guest)=Sun, Summer 

The wild strawberries are a summer fruit, ripening at the earliest at the end of May, beginning of June. May is the time when in the Balkans the flocks are moved to the highland pastures.

Which is why Baba Dochia, The Old Hag, Winter goes into the mountains with her flock of Goats when she sees that her daughter in law, Young Maiden, Spring brought the strawberries from the forest...

In the third legend Baba Dochia's son's name is partially Romanised to Dragobete. The legend goes like this:


In Serbia, traditionally, sheep were sheared twice. First time in February, when dirty wool between the legs and around the udder was sheared in preparation for lambing and suckling. This is the black dirty wool which was usually thrown away. The main shearing season is in May, after the lambing is over, and before the sheep are taken up to the mountain pastures. This is the clean white wool...

The sheared wool was washed in rivers before being dried and further processed. The washing of wool is the signal to take the flocks to the highland pastures...Which is why Baba Dochia, The Old Hag, Winter, sets off with her flocks up the mountain when she sees that her daughter in law, Young Maiden, Spring, have brought back home freshly washed white wool...

The reason why in one legend Baba Dochia goes up the mountain wearing 9 coats and in the other 12 coats, is this. There is a belief in Carpathian region of Romania, that the first 9 (in some parts 12) days of March are the "Baba days". This is the time when Baba Dochia can bring snowstorms and cold weather before the spring fully sets in. 

There was also once a custom in the same region, for women to pick a day out of these Baba days, on the first of March. And if the day turns out to be fair, they'll be fair in their old days (when you are a baba yourself), and if the day turns out to be cold, they'll turn bitter when you get old (when you are a baba yourself). 

Very interesting considering that Baba is a Slavic word meaning Grandmother. And that in Serbian folklore, "baba" (grandmother) also means changeable weather at the beginning of March when snow is likely to fall. And that in Serbian folklore, "bаbini dni" (grandmother's days) means cold stormy snowy days in March or April...I wrote about this in my post "Gryla"...

By the way, why is Baba Dochia called Baba Dochia? Apparently, the name originates from the Byzantine calendar, which celebrates the 2nd-century martyr-saint Eudokia of Heliopolis (Evdokia) on 1st of March...

I love this. 

The name Eudokia comes from Greek Eudoxia (Ancient Greek: Εὐδοξία, Eudoxía), originally meaning "good fame or judgement" or "she whose fame or judgement is good". And on her day the judgement ritual is performed by women...Eudokia is from Heliopolis (the Sun City) and the Baba Dochia celebration is about the defeat of winter by the sun. , St Eudocia was celebrated on the 1st of March, "because she was beheaded on that day" and the Slavic mythological equivalent of Baba Dochia, Baba Marta, is celebrated by the Balkan Slavs on the 1st of March...Well people celebrate the killing of winter...

How can such an importan Romanian folk character be basically Slavic, Serbian in origin? Well even the Romanian national hero, Iovan Iorgovan was, according to Romanian legends, of Serbian origin...

How come? Well someone had to give names to all the Slavic toponyms and Hydronyms in Romania...Huge number of Serbs once lived in the southern areas of Romania...They are, almost all, Romanised now, through a process organised and "encouraged" by Austor-Hungarian state...

All that's left are toponyms, hydronyms and legends...

Monday, 24 August 2020

Baba mountains and crags

This peak on Stara planina (Old mountain) in South of Serbia is called "Babin zub" (Grandmother's tooth). It is one of many toponyms and hydronyms with the root "Baba" (Grandmother) found in the area. 

Interestingly, the word "Baba" (and its variant Boba) once also meant "rock" and "Mother Earth" 

There are many many more mountains, hills and crags with "Baba" in its name all over the Balkans. 

This is a page that will collect the names and images of all the known mountains, and other toponyms and hydronyms with the root "baba" or "boba" from the Balkans.

Please send me any info about any toponym or hydronym I missed. Thank you. 


SERBIA

This is an example of "bobija" from mountain Azbukovica, Serbia


Bobija, Serbia (copper mine)



Babina glava, Mt Suvobor, Serbia



Gužbaba, Mt. Šar planina, Serbia


Babino polje, Starac peak, Mt. Prokletija, Serbia



Visibaba, Azbukovica, Serbia (No pictures found)
Baba, Kopaonik - western Serbia (No pictures found)
Babin vrh, Kučaj (Resavica) (No pictures found) The whole area is full of caves and mines.

Babino Mašilo, Severni Kučaj. Babino Mašilo is a mountain in Serbia, situated between Prun, Šomrda and Trstenik, and nearby to Kriva Dula. 


Mučibaba, Stara planina


 Tresibaba, southeastern Serbia


Babušnica, valley below Stol (Table or Throne) mountain, Serbia


Babička gora, Serbia


Babin zub, Majdan. Couldn't find any picture of the Babin zub (Baba's tooth) peak, but here is a tipical scene from Majdan (Mine) mountain


Babin drob (No pictures found)

Baba, Rtanj, Serbia



Tornička Bobija, Mt Bobija, Serbia



Babin nos, Mt Stara Planina, Serbia


Babina Stena is a peak found in Kosovo, Serbia

 

Babin zub (Baba's tooth) peak, Mt. Stara Planina (Old Mountain), Serbia


Babin kuk, Stara planina, Serbia (no photo)

Babin nos, Serbia



Mt, Baba, Paracin, Serbia




Mt. Mala Baba, Paracin, Serbia



CROATIA

Two peaks are called Babin Vrh (Baba's peak).

Babin vrh  (Baba peak) (1) Južni Velebit, Croatia


Babin vrh  (Baba peak) (2)   Južni Velebit, Croatia


Babin kuk, Velebit Croatia


Visibaba (Hanging baba, snow drop), Mt. Velebit, Croatia. This is a very good video showing the climb to the Visibaba peak



Bobički kuk, Velebit, Croatia


Babin grob (Baba's grave), Mt. Učka, Croatia


Babina gomila (Baba's pile), Mt Rujnica, Croatia


Kuk (rock) Baba, Vinodol, Croatia


Rock outcrop called Baba, above the village Krvavic, near Makarska, Croatia


MACEDONIA

Mt. Babuna, Macedonia. On mountain Babuna there is a river Babunica. In Makedonia there was once a tribe called Babuni



Pelister, Mt. Baba, Macedonia


Baba pass, Mt Galičica. From this point you can see both lake Ohrid and lake Prespa. In front is mount Magaro


BOSNIA

Babin zub, Sarajevo, Bosnia


Baba Mountain, Bosnia-Herzegovina, a mountain in the south-east of Bosnia-Herzegovina


MONTENEGRO

Mala Bobija, Skadar, Montenegro


Bobija hill, Žabljak, Montenegro


Milunova bobija, Montenegro



Bablji zub, Sinjajevina, Montenegro



Babina Gora, nothern part of Mt. Baba, Prokletije, Montenegro


Babina glava, Lovćen, Montenegro


BULGARIA

Etropolska Baba, a mountain in the Balkan Mountains near Etropole, Bulgaria


Tetevenska Baba, a mountain in the Balkan Mountains near Teteven, Bulgaria


Čelopečka baba, a mountain in the Balkan Mountains near Čelopek


Baba, Mt. Rila near the Rila Monastery, Bulgaria


Baba, Mt. Pirin, Bulgaria


Baba, Mt. Rodopi, Bulgaria


SLOVENIA

Lučka Baba, Slovenia


Velika and Mala Baba (Big and Small Baba) peaks in Kamnik Alps, Slovenia


Velika Baba, Jezersko, Slovenia


Velika Baba, krnsko jezero, Slovenia


Veliki Babanski Skedenj, Slovenia



Dovška baba, Mt. Karavanke, Slovenia



Ljubeljska Baba, Košutica, Mt. Karavanke, Slovenia



Poljanska baba on the eastern slope of Mt. Mežakla, Slovenia


Babji zob, Mt Jablanica, Slovenia


Babji zob nad Martuljkom, Slovenia


Babji zob na Studorju, Slovenia


Babji zob v Kočevšu pod Vojskim, Slovenia


Babji zob, Škofjeloško, Cerkljansko hribovje in Jelovica