Monday 21 October 2019

Egtved Girl

This is the burial of the so called "Egtved Girl", a 16-18 year old girl, buried in 1370 BC in an oak coffin that was covered with the barrow Storehøj near Egtved, west of Vejle, Danemark. 

She was buried wearing s short cord skirt. 

Here is what she would have probably looked like wearing these clothes

This is the bronze figurine of a girl making a backward bridge or somersaults, found at Grevensvænge near Næstved. She is only wearing a neck ring and the same kind of cord skirt as the Egtved Girl, however, a little shorter

This is the female bronze figurine found at Fårdal near Viborg. It depicts a woman offering her breast. She is dressed in the same type of cord skirt as the Egtved girl. She could also be wearing a neck ring...

What was the climate like in Scandinavia at that time if girls could walk around dressed like this? Well much warmer. These girls lived during the so called"Minoan Warm Period" a period of time with much higher average temperatures in the Baltic than they are today. Sign of how warm South Baltic was during the time when Egtved girl lived and died is that during that time millet (type of grain) was grown in southern Scandinavia. Today millet is grown in tropical and subtropical regions...

Compare the average temperature then (red arrow on the first green bar) with average temperature now (the last green bar) on the chart...

The above chart is from my article about climate fluctuations in Europe over last 5000 years and how they affected salt extraction in my post "Fulacht Faidh - Salt extraction facility".

Greedy king Gaban

Llyn Tegid also known in English as Bala Lake, is a lake in Gwynedd, Wales. The name Tegid may be related to Welsh teg, meaning "fair". It is the largest natural body of water in Wales. The name Bala could actually be older than the Welsh name. It could be derived from Proto-Indo-European "*bale-" (bog, marsh).

Cognate with

Lithuanian "bala" (bog; marsh; swamp; pool)
Latvian "bala" (a muddy, treeless depression)

Russian "baloto" (swamp; bog; marsh)
Serbian "blato" (lake, pond, mud, swamp), "bala" (slime, spit)
(Same in all other Slavic languages)

English "pool"
(Same in all other Germanic languages)

Albanian "baltë" (mud)
Romanian "baltă" (mud, swamp)
Greek "βάλτος" (váltos, swamp)

Thought to be derivable from Proto-Indo-European "*bʰelH-" meaning white...

So it is possible that Bala also just means lake, pond, swamp...

Why am I talking about this? Because of a very interesting legend about the lake Bala in Wales.

Once upon a time, where Bala (Llyn Tegid) lies today was the old town of Bala. Tegid Foel, who was very cruel prince, lived in a palace in the town. Despite numerous warnings that vengeance would come for his cruelty, he still didn’t change his ways. When his first grandson was born, the prince held a banquet to mark the occasion and he invited all of his friends and acquaintances who were all equally as cruel. Along with the food and the drink, the prince had hired the best harpist in the country to entertain them. During the feast, the harpist heard a voice saying “Vengeance will come!” When he looked over his shoulder he saw a little bird, which enticed him out of the palace and up to the hills where he fell asleep. Upon waking in the morning, the harpist saw that the old town of Bala had been drowned, and he found his harp floating on the lake. The lake was named after the cruel prince, and it’s said that boatmen, can hear at times, a feeble voice saying “Vengeance will come, vengeance will come” and another voice enquiring “When will it come?” The first voice replies “In the third generation”.

The reason why this legend is so interesting is that we find the same legend in two places one in Croatia and one in Serbia. 

Sveti Juraj u tradicijskoj baštini Hrvata

In Senj area of Croatia, there is a legend about Miloševo jezero (Miloš's lake) which is located under Krinja hill.  

Where the lake is once stood Širingrad city and the castle of king Gavan. Because of Gavan's evil deeds, the castle was swallowed by the earth and in its place a lake appeared. In this lake, the legend says, St George killed  a dragon. People say that until recently you could still see Gavan's castle at the bottom of the lake. The lake was also home to bulls with six horns, which used to come out of the lake and fight with bulls belonging to the people living in the area. Some shepherds swear that they have seen these bulls with their own eyes...

Here is the original in Croatian:

In Serbia there is a story recorded in a mid 19th century dictionary about king Gavan or Gaban. 

King Gavan was a mighty king who ruled somewhere above Danube. His wife's name was Gabanka, Gavanka. He had a great city and was very powerful. But he was also a very greedy and mean. One day angels fell from the sky and destroyed the King Gavan's castle and it sank into the lake Balaton (Originally just Balato meaning lake, pond, swamp). 

King Gavan was punished to be eternally bitten by snakes. 

There used to be a fresco in the old Tronosha (tripod) monastery in Serbia depicting an old man naked covered in snakes which were biting his nipples. A local legend says that the man depicted on the fresco was king Gaban.

Now this is really interesting. We have the same story about evil greedy king whose town was submerged by a lake called Bala (Balaton) because of his sins. But we also have something even more interesting: the name of the evil greedy mean king from Balkan legends literally means "greedy" in Gaelic, Irish (Celtic)...

Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland) is the Middle Irish title of a loose collection of poems and prose narratives recounting the mythical origins and history of the Irish from the creation of the world down to the Middle Ages. An important record of the folkloric history of Ireland, it was compiled and edited by an anonymous scholar in the 11th century, and might be described as a mélange of mythology, legend, history, folklore and Christian historiography. It is usually known in English as The Book of Invasions or The Book of Conquests, and in Modern Irish as Leabhar Gabhála Éireann or Leabhar Gabhála na hÉireann.

The word Gabala from "Lebor Gabála Érenn" comes from the Irish root word gabh (old Irish gab) which means to take, to capture, to seize.

So king Gabhan could be the mean greedy king who only takes and never gives. If we look at "foclóir gaedhilge agus béarla by Patrick Dineen" we find these words which are derived from this root:

gabh - to take, to capture, to seize
gabhálach - taking, catching, receiving, seizing, spoiling, preying, conquering, passing or going by.

As far as I can recall from history books, Celts were last seen in the Balkans in 3rd century BC...Many many centuries before current local Slavic population arrived from somewhere in Poland...

How come then the mean greedy always grabbing king from this stories is called Gaban (Gavan)? Coincidence?

One of old towns in Neretva valey in Bosnia is called Gabela. Gabela means custom, tax, taking and also a customs house. Gabella in Catalan, Italian, French means tax, taking given to a prince. But if you look at the etymology of these word you will see that they all come from Arabic قبالة (qabāla, “bail, guaranty”), which makes no sense at all. I believe that this word also comes from Gaelic, Irish (Celtic) gabh - to take, to capture, to seize, which is what tax literally is, a portion of what you have which you have to give to a greedy mean prince or king or...

Interesting right?

Thursday 17 October 2019

Symbols of the seasons

If we look at the zodiac circle, we can see that each of the seasons either starts or ends with a sign representing a large animal:

Spring ends with Aries (ram). In my post "Ram and Bull" I explained that the ram symbol marks the end of the lambing season of the wild Eurasian sheep in Europe. 

Summer starts in Taurus (bull). In my post "Ram and Bull" I explained that the bull symbol marks the beginning of the calving season of the wild Eurasian cattle in Europe. 

Autumn starts in Leo (lion). In my post "Entemena vase" I postulated that this symbol marked the beginning of the mating season of the Eurasian lions in Europe. 

Winter ends in Capricorn (goat). In my post "Goat" I explained that the goat symbol marked the beginning of the mating season of the wild European Alpine ibex goat. 

So these four animals are symbols of the four seasons 

I wonder if this is the reason why the Achaemenids made their rhytons, ceremonial drinking, libation vessels, with the heads of these 4 animals?

Silver rhyton with horned ram head (Spring), Persia, Achaemenid Period, 538-331 BCE, Seattle Art Museum in Seattle, Washington.

Silver rhyton with bull head (Summer), Persia, Achaemenid Period, 600 - 400 BC, Cincinnati Art Museum

Gold rhyton with lion head (Autumn), Persia, Achaemenid Period, 500 BC, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

Silver rhyton wih goat head (Winter), Persia, Achaemenid Period, 400 - 100 BC, Met museum, New York

Now interestingly, three out of four of these animals are large wild Eurasian herbivores. There is one more large wild Eurasian herbivore, a deer. Is it possible that it somehow fits into this picture? Well it is. August, the beginning of autumn is the time when Persian fallow deer and European red deer start their mating season. Is this why we also find Achaemenids rhytons, ceremonial drinking, libation vessels with the heads of stags? Or is stag equivalent of the bull, considering that stag is linked with summer solstice and that we find "lion killing stag" scene equivalent to "lion killing bull" scene? I am not sure about this one...

Silver Rhyton with stag's head, Persia, Achaemenid Period, late 400 - 300 B.C. The George Ortiz Collection

What do you think about this?

Interestingly, the same types of rhyta, with the same animal heads, were made in Levant during the second half of the second millennium BC. 

This is a late Bronze Age ivory plaque from Megiddo (Israel) ca. 1200 BC. The ruler, seated on an imposing throne, drinks wine being served from a large krater behind him, using lion and goat headed horns (rhyta)

"...Egyptian armies which reguralrly invaded Retenu or Canaan during LBA, made certain that they brought back animal-headed rhyta and drinking horns as tribute. Two lion-headed examples in silver are depicted on the frescoes inside the Theban tomb of Amenmose, a commander of the infantry under Tuthmosis III and his son Amenothep II. Tuthmosis III raided levant 14 times over the 54 year period of his reign. The records say that "wine flowed like water" and that "have been drunk...every day as if at feast in Egypt". The pharaoh's annals also record that bull-headed, ram-headed and lion-headed vessels were taken as booty. They are said to have been made in Retenu..." From "Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture" by Patrick E. McGovern

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Trojan's city

On mountain Cer in North Western Serbia, there is a ruined fortress known locally as King Trojan's city. 

According to the local legend, King Trojan had 5 daughters: Kosana, Vida, Koviljka, Soka and Dostana and he built a fortified city for each of them too. The remains of their fortresses can also still be seen today 

These are remains of Kosanin grad (Kosana's city) 

These are remains of Vidin grad (Vida's city) 

These are remains of Koviljkin grad (Koviljka's city) 

These are remains of Dostinik (Dostana's city) 

These are remains of Soko grad (Soka's city)

Usual interpretation of the name of the Soko Grad is "Falcon city", "soko" being Serbian word for falcon. This fortress was originally built by the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I. The spa in the valley below the fortress also dates from the Roman time and has interesting legend related to the discovery of medicinal water wells. Here is the legend of the Falcon spa:

All the other fortresses were probably originally Roman fortresses too.

Interestingly a Roman emperor called Trajan Decius (3rd c. AD) was born nearby in Budalija, near Sirmium (today Sremska Mitrovica) 

So is the local legend about King Trojan a faint memory of Roman Emperor Trajan Decius which was preserved by the local population to this day?

Or is king Trojan from the legends old Serbian God Triglav (Trojan means triple and Triglav means three headed)?

By the way, none of these fortresses are being excavated or protected. They are overgrown in vegetation and silently crumbling to dust...😞

Sunday 13 October 2019

an ki = ankh

In the Lepenski Vir collection of the National museum in Belgrade are kept artefacts from the archaeological site of the same name. The objects date from 10th to 6th millennium BC. The collection consists of bone, horn and antler objects – needles, fishhooks, spatulas, and jewellery made of bones and shells, and artefacts made of chipped stone. Among the bone artefacts we find this:

I believe that this object as a symbolic representation of a pregnant woman. Mother and child. Creation of new life.

But the more we look at this object the more it looks familiar doesn't it? It looks like ankh, an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that was most commonly used in writing and in Egyptian art to represent the word for "life" and, by extension, as a symbol of life itself.

Early examples of the ankh sign date to the First Dynasty (c. 30th to 29th century BC). There is little agreement on what physical object the sign originally represented. Most scholars believe the sign is a knot formed of a flexible material such as cloth or reeds or rope... The below stone ankh was actually made to resemble ankh made from reeds.

This ankh is made by bending one piece of reed into a loop, and then tying it to a handle created from  another piece of reed bent to form T shape. Like this:

Here is one I made today :)

So we know actually what first Ankhs looked like, I believe...But is there anything that this original Ankh represented? Anything physical?

Here is something very interesting. Ankh looks very much like the strange object seen on Mesopotamian reliefs, the so called "Rod and Ring" symbol.

The Rod and ring symbol is a symbol that is depicted on Mesopotamian stelae, cylinder seals and reliefs. It is held by a god or goddess and in most cases is being offered to a king who is standing, often making a sacrifice, or otherwise showing respect. The symbol dates from the Neo-Sumerian Empire (c. 22nd to 21st century BC) to the Neo-Assyrian Empire (c. 911 and 609 BC). 

The best known examples of the symbol are from Code of Hammurabi stela

It is commonly explained as "a coil of measuring string and a yardstick". 

This is what a coil of measuring string and a yardstick would look like separately and being held in a hand:

I talked in detail about this symbol in detail in my post "Etemenanki". In this post I explained why I believe that this symbol is the earliest incarnation of the "square and compasses" symbol. 

In my post "Square and compasses" I talked about thy symbolism of these two measuring tools. 

The ancient Hebrews saw the universe as a stone built structure with the stone flat Earth as the base and the stone Heavenly dome as the roof. Knowing this, the idea of God being the Great Architect starts making a lot of sense. Only a great architect could have built such a magnificent stone universe...

That architect would have used the Compasses to draw the top of the universe, the great stone semi circular dome of Heavens. 

He would also have used the Square to draw the bottom of the universe, the great stone flat earth. 

And this is exactly how the Compasses and Square are positioned in the Masonic symbol: the Compasses at the top, representing the Heavens, the Square at the bottom, representing the Earth. 

This is a doodle that got me into trouble when I was in primary school. Father and Mother in an act of creating life :)

Looks familiar? Well it should be. It is the above Square (Mother Earth) and Compasses (Father Sky) image again...

It seems that Hebrews inherited this world view from the Sumerians.

Sumerians believed that both sky and earth were built out of stone. And they did see the sky as Father God An and Earth as Mother Goddess Ki.

Ok but what about measuring rod and measuring line?

Well if you were a builder and you wanted to draw a straight line, you would use a measuring stick. But if you wanted to draw an arch or a circle, you would not use compasses. You would use measuring line. Like this:

You take the measuring line, tie it to the central pole and then walk around the pole. As you walk you mark a circle with the centre in the pole. This predates compasses. Also, you can't use compasses to draw large arches or circles. You have to use measuring line. 

I talked about this in my post "Boaz and Jachin". 

So the original symbol of a mason was indeed a measuring rod and measuring line.

There is actually Serbian saying "Pomoću štapa i kanapa" (Using stick and rope) meaning "in the old primitive way"...

These two tools are also the symbols of Heaven and Earth. The measuring line, used for drawing arches, is the symbol of the Sky. And the measuring rod, used for drawing straight lines, is the symbol of Earth. They represent Sky Father and Earth mother. Put together, they represent the power of Sky and Earth to create life. 

Sumerians actually believed that An (the sky) and Ki (the earth) mated together and produced basically everything there is including all life. Have a look at this drawing:

An (Sky, Father) and Ki (Earth, Mother) create life (AnKi, Ankh).

Held together in a hand, they look very much like the Ankh symbol. 

When this symbol meaning "life" reached Egypt, where An and Ki meant nothing, AnKi (SkyEarth = FatherMother = Life) became corrupted to Ankh. 

That would mean that Sumerians venerated An and Ki before the begging of the 3rd millennium, before the first Ankh appeared in Egypt...

We know they venerated An (sky) and built ziggurats for him in the 4th millennium BC. And that these ziggurats had a "mating" platform at their top... Were the ziggurats built to bring Mother Earth (Ki) closer to Father Sky (An) so that they can mate (AnKi) and produce life? I believe so. You can read more about this in my post "Etemenanki". 

The ankh was one of the few ancient Egyptian symbols that continued to be used after the Christianization of Egypt during the 4th and 5th centuries AD.

According to Socrates of Constantinople, when Christians were dismantling Alexandria's greatest temple, the Serapeum, in 391 AD, they noticed cross-like signs inscribed on the stone blocks. Pagans who were present said the sign meant "life to come", an indication that the sign Socrates referred to was the ankh; Christians claimed the sign was their own, indicating that they could easily regard the ankh as a crux ansata.

This is crux ansata:

The explanation that the Ankh symbol meant "life to come" is very interesting indeed as AnKi = FatherMother literally means "life to come"...

What does the intercourse between the Father Sky and Mother Earth produce? Life. Living nature including us humans...Life is materialised divine, (sky) god who became (earth) matter.  

What did the intercourse between God and Mary (basically symbolical replacement for Mother Earth) produce? Christ who is God who became Man. God materialised. So based on the above analogy, Christ is just a symbol. Symbol of life itself. 

If Christ is life, living nature, and we are part of life, living nature, then we are Christ. We truly live and move and have our being in Christ...

If Christ is life, living nature, god who became matter, then we are all god materialised. Just like the mystics the world over have been teaching for millennia.

This is Christ on the cross from "Plaque from the Maskell ivories", AD 420-30, Rome 

This is also crux ansata, Ankh, AnKi, life...

Interestingly in Central Europe we find a curious type of "anthropomorphic" cross, known in Serbia as "Narodni krst" (Folk cross), which looks very much like Ankh...Her is one of these Ankh crosses from Serbia:

Do they symbolises eternal life through Christ who is Life? In Christ (Life, Living nature) we are immortal...We die only to be reborn as another living thing in Christ (Life, Living nature)...