Saturday, 21 March 2020

Double headed eagle


This amazing object is a silver gilt cast shaft-hole axe head, made between 2500-1500 BC in the area along the Oxus and Murghab rivers in modern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. This is one of my favourite ancient objects. Why? Because it made me realise what double headed eagle means...

The axe head is currently kept in Met museum. The description reads shaft-hole axe with "bird-headed demon, boar, and dragon". The accompanying short article points at the Western Iran as the possible origin of the mythological scene depicted on the axe... 


To understand what we are looking at here, we need to try to identify the animals depicted on the axe head, and we need to answer the question: why is the double headed eagle "hero" separating the dragon (actually winged lion) and the boar?

I talked about winded lions (dragons) in my post about Entemena vase, the most beautiful example of the Sumerian metalwork...  


Dragon represents the destructive power of the sun, which during the summer, burns in the sky threatening to turn everything into cinder. Hence fire breathing dragons...I talked about this in many of my posts. For instance "Dragon that stole the rain


The hottest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, including the Western Iran, is the end of the summer beginning of Autumn (August - September)...Which is represented by Leo. Why? Because Eurasian lions mate during that time...I talked about this in my of my posts. For instance "Cylinder seal with a monster


So our "dragon" (winged lion) represents August-September, end of summer, beginning of autumn. What about wild boar? This is a wild boar from Tajikistan. Wild boar mating season, across Eurasia, starts in November...At the the end of autumn beginning of winter... 


Sooo. Our double headed eagle "hero" is separating lion (beginning of autumn) and boar (end of autumn)...So if we want to understand what the double headed eagle "hero" means, we need to look at autumn and eagles. More precisely, based on the look of the eagle heads, vultures...

Considering that lion marks the beginning of the lion mating season and that boar marks the beginning of the boar mating season, it would be kind of logical to assume that eagle marks the beginning of the eagle (vulture) mating season. But which vulture?

I believe that our suspect is Gyps bengalensis. This species is found in Iran, Afganistan, Pakistan, India, China and south east Asia...Why? Because of all Western Asian vultures, it alone starts mating in autumn. It breeds from October to March... 


But why double headed eagle? Well, because all vultures, at the beginning of their mating season, perform courtship aerial displays. And the most important part of this display is synchronous flying, wing to wing or one under another...



Vultures only fly together like this at the beginning of their mating season. Vultures flying one above each other, can actually look like this from the ground. Like a double headed eagle...


Interestingly, in Zodiac, Scorpio marks the period between 23 October and 22 November. And guess what. This is the only period in the solar year, which has two symbols. The other one is Eagle...Why? I talked about the zodiac eagle in my post about "Four living creatures". 


Different species of vultures mate at different times at different locations. European Griffon Vultures breed from December. Occasionally birds start breeding earlier and copulation has been recorded in October-November... 


Now bronze age Europe had different, much warmer climate...


Did Griffon Vultures mate earlier then? Say October-November??? They still do in the warmest part of Europe...If so, that wold explain why we find Eagle marking end of October beginning of November...Remember, I postulated that the Solar zodiac, which predates stelar zodiac, was developed in Europe during late Neolithic, early Bronze Age...

By the way, I forgot the best bit... Why would people in Western Iran, Eastern Iraq, give a shit about copulating vultures? Because right at the time when the "double headed eagle" appears in the sky, the rains arrive. The rain season starts in October-November... 


Now that is worth noting and marking, right? Oh, what was the favourite bird of the thunder gods??? You know, the guys that bring rain? Just asking...

And so this finally gives us the identity of the double headed eagle "hero": He is the Thunder God...

If we look at the axe head again, we see that the double headed eagle "hero" is pushing the boar (winter cold is yet to come) but he is strangling the dragon, winged lion (he is killing, ending the summer heat, drought)...

Neat, right?

And here is another, this time Elamite axe head with Lion (Autumn) and Boar (Winter). So this seems to have been a common motif...


6 comments:

  1. How old are the sky burials, excarnations? Zoroastrians used to do that and lived in that area.

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  2. Great text. Just to add something. Have you noticed that double-headed eagle (vulture) on that axe is actually depicted exactly like one head is behind the other or if it is in sky and you look from the ground - on above the other. The line on the neck of the one which looks to dragon goes obviously all the way to the body of hero. Line of the other head (that looks to boar) is obviously continuing behind the first one.

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  3. Great text! Check this link for more interesting facts about vultures and Serbia: http://vulture.org.rs/o-nama-2/zasto-beloglavi-sup/

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