Saturday 2 May 2020

Ostrich symbolism

The Arabian ostrich, Syrian ostrich, or Middle Eastern ostrich (Struthio camelus syriacus) is an extinct subspecies of the ostrich that lived on the Arabian Peninsula and in the Near East until the mid-20th century...

This bird appears on early middle eastern seals, like this one from Arslantepe, dated to the end of the 4th millennium BC...Here is a seal with ostriches and snakes...Any reason for this or is this just random?

Ostriches are seasonal breeders. In the northern hemisphere, breeding period is March to September. During hot part of the year...In Northern Syria, where these seals were made, temperature suddenly rises in March, peaks in July/August, and falls in October. More details about the climate in Syria can be found here

Snake seems to be a universal (Eurasia and North Africa) symbol, which represents sun's heat, hot part of the year...This true meaning of this old symbol was best preserved in Slavic mythology. I talked about this in my post "Enemy of the sun". 

So ostriches mate during the time when snakes are out...

The destructive power of the burning sun's heat during the hottest part of the year, end of July, beginning of August, is represented by the Dragon...Again Slavic mythology has preserved the key to understanding this universal symbol too...I talked abut this in my post "Dragon who stole the rain" and "Apep"... 

The destructive giant serpents, dragons are the main enemy of Storm gods. The reason becomes obvious if we know that Dragon is the drought and the Storm god is the rain...

Here is another seal with snake and lion

Snake and lion are found together in many myths around the world. The reason is that sun's heat (represented by snake) is strongest during Leo (end of July beginning of August). And Leo signals the beginning of the mating season of the Eurasian Lions...

Like in this Romanesque marble statues which I talked about in my post "Lion killing snake".

Or like on this Egyptian mural which I talked about in my post "Apep".

And the reason why lion is killing the snake is because it is in Leo, that the cooling of the northern hemisphere begins...

Back to our ostriches...

Ostrich mating season, which corresponds with the hot, snake season, is characterised by wild mating dances and loud calls...Definitely something you can't miss when it starts and stops...Which makes ostrich a very good calendar marker... 

Does putting ostriches and snakes on a seal together mean that in the 4th millennium Syria we already have this symbolic link established and widely known????

O yeah. Almost forgot about the other seal. 

The seal with:

Auroch bull (Mating season ends in Aug)
Ostrich (Mating season Mar-Aug/Sep)
Snake (Hot part of the year, hottest part: beginning of Aug)
Persian deer (Mating season starts in Aug)

Here's an old Neolithic Syrian love poem:

Under the burning late summer sun
Me and my love run
Jumping over bloody snakes
Which were everywhere
The aurochs were at it
The deer were at it
The ostriches were at it
So I turned to my sweetheart and asked
Why aren't we at it tooooooo??? 

For the lovers of ancient poetry, you might like this Elamite one from my article about date picking season seal.

You can find the details about the seals in "THE ORIGINS OF ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICES AND THEIR DEVELOPMENTS IN GREATER MESOPOTAMIA. THE EVIDENCE FROM ARSLANTEPE, ARCHÉO-NIL Revue de la société pour l'étude des cultures prépharaoniques de la vallée du Nil, 26, 2016"

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