Saturday, 28 January 2023

Merovingian Christ

Terracotta plaque from Auvergne (Auvergne-Rodano-Alps, France). Merovingian era, 5th-6th century AD, Musée d ' Archéologie nationale et domaine national de Saint-Germain-en-Laye...


A very strange thing indeed...

"Accepted opinion" is that this plaque "depicts Christ with the sword, victorious over the forces of evil represented by the submissive serpent. In his right hand he squeezes the Moon (the lunar crescent), and in the left a torch with the flame facing upward"...Hmmmmm....

First, is this a torch or a spear? You know something like a thrusting spear...Like these ones? Did they exist in Europe in the 5th -6th century?

And If it's a torch, isn't  "torch (light) bringer (carrier)" direct translation of "Lucifer"? Would you really depict Christ like this?

Second, is this a moon or a shield or a mirror? If it's a moon, then the torch could be Venus, the morning star...Lucifer....

Third, what's with the round, very "sun like" face of "Christ"? And would you place cross on Christ's forehead?

Fourth, what is this on "Christ"'s head? A diadem? Strange thing for "Christ" to wear...Or is this a sun rays crown? Just like the one worn by Sol Invictus? Or a crown of thorns?

Fifth, what's with the funny ears? Are these lion's ears? Why would "Christ" have lion's ears? Or maybe this is not Christ at all, but sun in Leo...Have you seen this artefact from 11th c.? Lion (end of summer) killing snake (beginning of summer) under the head of Helios? I talked about it in my post "Lion killing snake"...

BTW

The reason why snake symbolises (is an animal calendar marker for) the beginning of summer, Apr/May, is because the most common Eurasian snakes start mating in Apr/May...

The reason why lion symbolises (is an animal calendar marker for) the end of summer, Jul/Aug, is because the Eurasian lions start mating in Jul/Aug...

Sixth, the only thing that looks as it should be is the snake...And honestly it doesn't look very submissive to me...It is looking at "Christ" and not away from him...And it's not like "Christ" is stomping on it, which is usually taken to mean "subduing, vanquishing"...

Like on this mosaic from Ravenna depicting Christ the warrior stomping on lion and snake, made during the same period as the Merovingian plaque. And even this can be interpreted in several different ways, like any symbol can...I talked about it in my post "You will trample great lion and serpent"...

So maybe the snake is just there looking at the "Christ" because that is not Christ at all. It is the Sun...And snakes love sun...After all they are solar animals...

They are in our world when sun is in our world, during the day and during the warm half of the year. And they are in the underworld when sun is there too, during the night and during the cold part of the year...I talked about it in my posts "Enemy of the sun", "The chthonic animal", "Bactrian snakes and dragons", "Dragon who stole rain", "Letnitsa treasure"...

And is this why "Christ" has a cross on his forehead? Cause this is not Christ at all, but some Sun god who was Christianised...Baptised..."The priest imprints a cross on the forehead...as a sign that he or she belongs to Christ"...

Not that he is Christ...

Anyway, as I said, a very strange object indeed...But who knows what was going on through the minds of the early European Christians...Anything is possible....

To read more about ancient animal and plant calendar markers, start here…then check the rest of the blog posts related to animal calendar markers I still didn't add to this page, and finally check my twitter threads I still didn't convert to blog post...I am 9 months behind now...

Friday, 27 January 2023

Onos

Ancient Greek, ὄνος (ónos) = ass, donkey...

According to Wiktionary, etymology = uncertain. Perhaps from Pre-Greek...

Hmmmmm...I wonder what Pre-Greek language could it be?

Slavic 

"o" = on, on top

"nos" = carry

onos = o + nos = on + carry...

What are donkeys used mostly for???

Mysterious coincidence...

Saturday, 21 January 2023

Resurrection of the Maize god

Codex-style plate depicting the rebirth of the Maize god. Maya, Late Classic Period. 680–740AD...Currently kept in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston...

In this artcile I would like to analyse the scene description which says:

"Maize god emerges from the Underworld through a cracked turtle shell, symbolizing the earth. The Hero Twins pour water onto their father to facilitate his resurrection, as Maya farmers water maize seeds to help them sprout"...

So corn god "emerging from the Underworld" is a symbolic depiction of a corn sprouting...So when does corn sprout in the Maya land? In the 1848 book "Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vol. I" by John L. Stephens we read that:

"In the dry season...Jan/Feb...a place is selected in the woods, from which the trees are cut down and burned. In...May/Jun...the corn is planted...by making little holes in the ground with a pointed stick, putting in a few grains of corn and covering them over..."

Local farmers in the old Maya lands even today plant corn in Apr/May/Jun, with planting season peaking in May...And, it takes only 4 days at 25 degrees celsius or more for corn to sprout...

Soooo...Turtle...Why "emerging through cracked turtle shell"...

Any guesses? Maaaaaybe this is another animal calendar marker, derived from a major turtle annual reproductive lifecycle event? 

Bingo...

When Maya made their mythology, every year, from May to Sep, thousands and thousands of sea turtles descended on the beaches of Central America to lay their eggs...They still do today...

Guess what happens in Maya land, right when the first turtle comes to lay its eggs, in May? Corn planting begins...

Guess what happens in Maya land right when the last turtle lays its eggs, in Oct? Corn harvest begins...

So corn god "emerging through cracked turtle shell"...

I am sure that turtles were a major food source for the Mayas...You can only hunt turtles during their nesting season, which is also corn growing season...And to get to the turtle meet you have to break the turtle's shell...

BTW, this is not the only place in the world where we find turtles (tortoises) as animal calendar markers...

Remember this article about turtles in Indian mythology? 

About earth being carried by four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle (tortoise)? From my article "Turtles all the way"...

And these articles about turtles in Sumerian mythology?

"The keel of Enki's little boat was trembling as if it were being butted by turtles"...From my article "Enki's little boat"...That must have been some scary turtle, cause "Against Ninurta [Thunder god], Enki fashions a turtle"...From my article "Ninurta and the turtle"...

And this article from Greek mythology?

About "The lyre of Apollo" made out of turtle (tortoise) shell and bull horns? 

All these turtles from all these legends turned out to be animal calendar markers linked with fertility of the land and grain agriculture in their respective areas...

So no surprises here then.


This is 
the House of the Turtles in Umaxl was a Mayan temple which has been named such because of the turtles which adorn the top of the building. The turtle in Mayan mythology/religion represented creation.



Hmmm...The description says "...turtles were associated with rain and the earth's cycles..." 

No one knows why...Maybe because sea turtles come to Maya land to nest during rain season? I

Now what about "The Hero Twins pour water onto their father to facilitate his resurrection"? 

Well here we have to look at the climate in the Maya territory. Here is Yucatan climate chart...It is hot year-round. The wet season usually starts in Jun and ends in Oct...

See how rain season proper starts in Jun, right after the planting of corn? Do you know of any twins which like to hang around Jun? I do...All the horse twins from Eurasia...I talked about it in my post "Hayagriva"...

They mark summer solstice...The moment which marks the middle of the solar year. Solar year which starts when the old sun dies and is reborn as the new sun, on winter solstice...Two halves...Twins?

Mayan calendar also started on winter solstice...And considering that in Maya land, the time of the twins, Jun/Jul, is also the time when the rains arrive, we have the twins (rain season) pouring water on the resurrecting (growing) corn (god)...


BTW, this just reminded me of another pair of twins...Well actually it's a single god, Hapi, the god of the annual flooding of the Nile, who was "often depicted as twins, tying papyrus and lotus flowers together". I talked about him/them 🙂 here, in my post "Lotus and papyrus"...

In my article I said that "this depiction of Hapi as twins, is depiction of flooding Nile, which rises between flowering of papyrus and flowering of lotus, when it floods...

But I completely missed the fact that in the middle of this period between flowering of papyrus (Apr/May) and flowering of lotus (Jul/Aug) is Summer solstice...The twins central...🙂

Does this make sense? 

To read more about ancient animal and plant calendar markers, start here…then check the rest of the blog posts related to animal calendar markers I still didn't add to this page, and finally check my twitter threads I still didn't convert to blog post...I am 9 months behind now...

Turtles all the way

In Hindu mythology, the earth is supported by four elephants standing on the back of a turtle. 


It's Diskworld by Terry Pratchett. He stole his Diskworld idea from the Hindus...For a laugh...Cause he thought it was the most idiotic world myth there was...Bonkers, right? Complete nonsense, right? 

Not if you look at turtle and elephants as animal calendar markers: It's all a complex calendar marker for the monsoon season...

Elephants:

Indian elephants mate during Indian monsoon season...

Which is why Indra, the thunder and rain god, rides on a white elephant...

I wrote about elephant as an animal calendar marker in India in these articles: "Musth", "Samantabhadra", "Modesty", "Ganesha".

Turtles:

There are many turtle and tortoise species in India. So which one is "The World Turtle"? Apparently, The World Turtle is the reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu...And Hindus believe that the animal in question is Indian Star Tortoise. You can read about it in this paper "A star attraction: The illegal trade in Indian Star Tortoises"... 

And Indian Star Tortoises mate during monsoon season. You can read about it in this paper "Husbandry Guidelines For Indian Star Tortoise" 

It is very interesting that this sacred tortoise of Vishnu, Kurma, is associated "with the sun"...Vishnu has tendencies to be associated with solar animals...I talked about this in my article about Solar Horse Hayagriva, also Vishnu avatar...

But equally tortoise was believed to be "The lord of waters" and "The sap of life". You can read about it in this article "Tortoise in the Vedic mythology and ritual"...

Why is this important? Cause the monsoon season in India is the sunniest, hottest time of the year in India...

So I don't think that in this legend, the earth is really "The Earth"...It is more like Life giving earth...Apparently, Prajapati, the Procreator, took the shape of a turtle when creating all living beings...

So that's one possible explanation...But maybe I am wrong and this is all just a bonkers story that makes no sense...

To read more about ancient animal and plant calendar markers, start here…then check the rest of the blog posts related to animal calendar markers I still didn't add to this page, and finally check my twitter threads I still didn't convert to blog post...I am 9 months behind now...

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

The ear ring of god

I while back, Shamekh H posted this tweet: 

"There is a Persian idiom which literally translates as "to have the servitude ring of someone in one's ear" which means great loyalty to someone. Achaemenid officials in Persepolis reliefs have earrings while the king and princes don't. The rings seem signify such servitude and loyalty".

The idiom is used both in classic Persian poetry and in contemporary Persian. The 14th century Persian Poet, Hafez, used it proudly to denote his devotion to the sage leader of the magi (a mythical sage serving wine). Various forms of the expression are still used.

This is the conversation between me and Shamekh that ensued:

Me: As in chained (symbolically)?

Shamekh: Perhaps took pride in their loyalty.

Me: 🙂 Perhaps...

Shamekh: In Persian literature there are examples where this expression is used proudly. And in Persepolis reliefs it is almost more common among high ranking officials. The kings and crown Princes are never depicted with the earrings.

Me: You know the expression "servant of god"? Check this article "Angra Mainyu" (and linked articles) talking about lion symbolism and Persian kings being God's representatives on earth...

Shamekh: I will read it and I'm sure I will learn things from it. In my own tweet I was more concerned about the symbolism of a small ornament.

Me: Yes, but why would someone be proud to be servant of anyone...Maybe because they saw themselves as being servants of god himself...

Shamekh: I've got my personal impressions. But first, I have to read the article to learn things before I discuss my personal point. That way, I will be able to learn even more through the whole discussion.

Me: About the (ear) rings...

Me: Lutf 'Ali Khan, Drawing of Sasanian rock relief: Ardashir I (r. A.D. 224-241) and the Zoroastrian divinity Ahura Mazda at Naqsh-i Rustam, southern Iran, A.D. 1860 (drawing). Currently in The Met: Ancient Near Eastern Art


Shamekh: Thank you. I already had this in mind as part of my impression (that favoured your point of view). Last night in a yalda party I read your article and found it so deep and amazing. I Need to finish reading & start thinking. 

Shamekh: Moreover, devotion and strict loyalty seem to have been brave 'manly' attributes.

Me: Silver coin of Persis, via Parthian rule, c. 140 BCE. The second image is a bird of prey with a diadem in its beak. The symbol itself is said to represent "Xvarənah" (glory/power of royalty and God).

Me: It is interesting that it is an eagle giving the ring, considering the link between eagles, rain, (rain) gods...

Now Ganjajizz joined the discussion...

Ganjajizz: They used to say at the time during achaemenid era that the people were "slaves to the king" And the king rules by divine mandate (the just server of god; ahura-mazda). It is called "Farr", only given to the chosen/worthy...Farr or Xvarenah means "glory/fortune". Etymologically it is connected to light. Many mazdaen/zoroastrian Yazatas/Divinities possess it, such as Ahura Mazda, and Mithra (who is "the most endowed").

Shamekh: Since words with the same denotation can have opposing connotations, they can sometimes be mis-interpreted. The word 'slave' can be a too strong word here. And I agree that the concept of Farr or (فره ایزدی)  was part of ancient Iranian belief system.

Ganjajizz: Yes but that is the term some foreigners used iirc, I’m only making reference to that. What it really means is that people were loyal subjects, not literal slaves

Shamekh: I know. And that's how words can be misinterpreted across cultures.

Now King Typo joined the conversation...

King Typo: The Hebrews may have connoted ear piercing with servitude. I read that a slave who had completed his term could choose to stay on in perpetuity, at which point his ear would be nailed to his master's doorpost. Possible connection?

Shamekh: Possible connection, but in a most grotesque manner. Seems more relevant to a penal code dealing with runaway slaves.

King Typo: I believe it was done voluntarily, not as a punishment

Shamekh: I didn't know that. Thank you for sharing the information. These pieces of information serve as pieces of a puzzle.

Now Janaína joined the conversation

Exodus 21:1-6Deut 15:12-17

"If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. 3 If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.

But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges.[a] He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life."

Shamekh: Thank you so much for the reference

That's it. See! You can have really cool discussions on twitter...🙂 I want to thank all the people who contributed to this conversation for sharing their knowledge with the world...

Sphinxy

In 1989 film When Harry Met Sally, Harry Burns says: You know, I have a theory that hieroglyphics are just an ancient comic strip about a character named Sphinxy...

This is a drawing of the eastern wall relief from the mid 3rd mil BC tomb of Ptahhotep in Saqqara.

I talked about it in my post "Papyrus harvest time", in which I tried to determine when the Ancient Egyptians harvested papyrus, which apparently is not known. 


I based my argument on the plant calendar markers found on the relief from Ptahhotep's tumb.

But this relief is turning to be more interesting than I originally thought. As it seems that this "comic strip" contain quite a few additional animal and plant calendar markers...

Today I will like to talk about this part of the relief. I will again be using the drawings from this page from this great site "osirisnet.net"...

First register contains herdsmen and scenes with cattle, one of which is calving. The narrow sub-register above contains tethered calves...

Second and third registers contain various groups of cattle which are led or driven before Ptahhotep. The third register being the particularly interesting one...

Fourth register shows "the superintendent of the corn store leading a flock of cranes"? Followed by two rows, the upper division containing three sorts of geese then a group of swans...and lots of other birds numbering in total more than 600,000 based on the accompanying text...

Sooo...What's the big deal here? Well, I think that this part of the relief is depicting a (known? unknown?) ceremony, festival, which (I think) included bull sacrifice, which took place during Shemu (Mar/Apr/May), the grain harvest season in Ancient Egypt...

Why do I think this? Because of the animal calendar markers depicted together in this scene: wild cattle calving which takes place while "the superintendent of the corn store" "leads" huge number of wild birds towards Ptahhotep, most importantly common cranes and swans...

Let's start from the end: common cranes and swans. Both of these birds are winter visitors to Egypt, which arrive in Oct/Nov and leave in Mar/Apr...So the only time when these birds could have been "led" by "the superintendent of the corn store" in Egypt is between Oct and Apr...

It is interesting that it is "the superintendent of the corn store" that leads these migratory birds "in huge numbers", considering that the spring northward migration of these birds out of Egypt, coincides with Shemu (Mar/Apr/May), the grain harvest season in Ancient Egypt...

Guess what else happens during this period, more precisely Apr/May? The calving season of the Wild Eurasian cattle. Which is why cow and calf is an ancient animal calendar marker for Apr/May. Today this period is marked by Taurus. I talked about this in my post "Cow and calf ivory"...

So all these animal calendar markers point at Apr/May, harvest time...Was there a festival that took place during that time, during which bulls were sacrificed? What are these things that look like some kind machete to me...

Not sure if Egyptians had anything like that...Anyone knows?

To read more about ancient animal and plant calendar markers, start here…then check the rest of the blog posts related to animal calendar markers I still didn't add to this page, and finally check my twitter threads I still didn't convert to blog post...I am 9 months behind now...

Saturday, 14 January 2023

Snake god from Hatra

This marble slab carved in raised relief was originally set into a base of an object with Aramaic inscription. It shows a winged and bearded male deity holding a dagger in his right hand and is about to slaughter a goat...A snake appears behind the deity...


Pic by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin

The slab was discovered in a temple in Hatra, Niniveh Governorate, Iraq, it dates to the 2nd to 3rd century AD, and is currently kept in the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, Iraq.

But what does this mean?

Well, to figure this out we need to look at the local climate in the area of Hatra and the meaning of the two animals depicted on the slab, goat and snake, as animal calendar markers...

The climatic year in the Niniveh Governorate of Iraq is divided into two halves: hot, dry half (Apr/May-Oct/Nov) and cool, wet half (Oct/Nov-Apr/May)...



Because the beginning of the cool, wet half of the year coincides with the beginning of the mating season of Ibex goats, Ibex became linked to rain and became "The Goat of Rain" and an animal calendar marker for Oct/Nov...

Because the beginning of the hot, dry half of the year coincides with the beginning of the mating season of Eurasian vipers, snake became linked with the sun and became "The Snake of Sun" and an animal calendar marker for Apr/May...


These animals have been used as animal calendar markers with this meaning probably since Early Neolithic in Fertile Crescent. I talked about it in my post "Goat and snake from Kortik tepe", about these two very interesting objects from the 10,000BC  Pre-Pottery Neolithic B site Körtik Tepe, located in the Diyarbakır district of Turkey. 

And because these two animals mark beginnings of two opposing seasons

Goat - rain season, season of life

Snake. - drought season, season of death

they became "enemies"...



Usually we se depictions of a "Goat man" subduing snakes...Representing rain, source of life triumphing over sun, source of death...For instance, here are two depictions of the Goat Man dominating snakes from Susa Iran, dated to 4000BC. I talked about them in my post "Goat petroglyphs from Iran"...


But this relief from Hatra is the first time that I have seen a snake man subduing a goat...Symbolic depiction of death triumphing over life...

But then Hatra was the place where people worshiped Nergal...

Who's Nergal?

The (sun) god of death...

The destructive sun of Jul/Aug, the hottest and driest part of the year in Mesopotamia...Leo...


Which is why he was depicted as a lion man...

Nergal the "Lion dragon", symbolic depiction of the hot, dry half of the year...

The reason why Nergal was depicted as a lion man, is because the sun's heat is strongest and most destructive in (Jul/Aug), the period of the year marked with Leo, because this is then the main mating season of Eurasian lions starts...





Nergal then during Achaemenid times became known as Angra Mainiu, the "Negative force" opposed to Spenta Mainiu, the "Positive force"...I talked about this in my post "Angra Mainyu", about this Middle Assyrian Cylinder Seal with a "Lion-Dragon", 1300-1200 BC.

Now think about what brings order and disorder to an agricultural society? Which is why I believe that originally Angra Mainyu and Spenta Mainyu were, just two opposing natural forces: sun (Nergal) and rain (Ninurta)...Which later became Ahriman (devil) and Ahura Mazda (god)...

Nergal eventually became known as Ahriman, the enemy of Ahura Mazda...Which had to be killed...I talked about this in my post "The king killing Angra Mainyu" so order can prevail...

Finally, Ahriman became known as Arimanius, the "obscure deity" depicted as a man with a lion's head and eagle's wings and a serpent coiled around his body (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arimanius)...

Or a complex animal calendar marker, symbol for dry season (Apr/May-Oct/Nov), season dominated by the sun, which starts when snakes start to mate (Apr/May), peaks when lions start to mate (Jul/Aug), and ends when vultures start to mate (Oct/Nov)...

The complex animal calendar marker with the meaning equivalent the meaning of Chimera. Vulture mating season starts at the same time as Ibex mating season, at the end of the hot, dry half of the year. Which makes them interchangeable as calendar markers

Ancient Greek coins. 

Left: Silver stater, Sikyon, 431-400 BC, depicting Chimera.

Rigth: Silver stater, Corinth, 345-307 BC, depicting Pegasus. 

Chimera and Pegasus, mythical beasts or complex animal calendar markers for "old summer" (Apr/May-Oct/Nov)? I talked about this in my post "Pegasus and Chimera"...

About vulture calendar marker and it's link with rain gods...

Eagle dance...

Left: Montenegro 1963AD

Right: Syria, 1800BC


Eagle (vulture) couples dance above the mountains at the beginning of their mating season, which coincides with the beginning of the rain season in Fertile Crescent...I talked about this in my post "Eagle dance"...

So Arimanius is not so obscure any more, right??? I don't think so...

And so finally we get back to the winged dude with a snake on his shoulders about to kill a goat...

Arimanius? Ahriman? Angra Mainiu? Nergal? Dragon? Sun? 

PS: Someone who read my twitter thread about the Snake god from Hatra told me to have a look at the guy called Zahhak:  

Zahhāk, also known as Zahhak the Snake Shoulder, is an evil figure in Persian mythology, evident in ancient Persian folklore as Azhi Dahāka, the name by which he also appears in the texts of the Avesta. In Middle Persian he is called Dahāg. In Zoroastrianism, Zahhak (going under the name Aži Dahāka) is considered the son of Ahriman, the foe of Ahura Mazda...

Very very interesting...Here is why:

Aži (nominative ažiš) is the Avestan word for "serpent" or "dragon". It is cognate to the Vedic Sanskrit word ahi, "snake"...

See...

The original meaning of dahāka is uncertain. Among the meanings suggested are "stinging" (source uncertain), "burning" (cf. Sanskrit dahana), "man" or "manlike" (cf. Khotanese daha), "huge" or "foreign" (cf. the Dahae people and the Vedic dasas)...

I would bet that the original meaning was "burning", as Dahaka is no other than the Sun...

The Avestan term Aži Dahāka and the Middle Persian azdahāg are the source of Old Armenian mythological figure Aždahak, Modern Persian 'aždehâ/aždahâ', Tajik Persian 'azhdahâ', Urdu 'azhdahā' (اژدها), as well as the Kurdish ejdîha (ئەژدیها) and Serbian Aždaja (Aždaya) or Aždaha, which all mean dragon...

Remember Slavic beliefs about snakes, dragons and sun? Serbs and other Slavs believed that snakes suck sun's heat and that dragon was just an old snake that sucked too much sun's heat...

I talked about Slavic snake, dragon, sun beliefs in my post "Letnitsa treasure"

That's all I have to say about that...For now...

To read more about ancient animal and plant calendar markers, start here…then check the rest of the blog posts related to animal calendar markers I still didn't add to this page, and finally check my twitter threads I still didn't convert to blog post...I am 9 months behind now...