Saturday, 25 July 2020

Seven headed dragon

This is a seal from Tell Asmar, dated to 2200 BC. It depicts a seven headed dragon (beast with lion's body and seven snake heads) with sun's heat rays radiating out of its back, being speared by two gods (heroes)...


As Gary A. Rendsburg points out in his article "UT 68 and the Tell Asmar Seal" this is one of the most remarkable seals ever found and one of the most discussed...

Why? Because the mythical theme of a hero (god) slaying 7 headed dragon keeps popping up again and again in different cultures in Eurasia...

For instance the Ugaritic monster Lotan (meaning "coiled"), also called "the mighty one with seven heads", was a serpent of the sea god Yam. Or Yam himself as he was also called "the serpent". This monster was defeated by the storm god Hadad-Baʿal in the Ugaritic Baal Cycle...

Hadad defeating Lotan, Yahweh defeating Leviathan, Marduk defeating Tiamat, Zeus slaying Typhon, Heracles slaying Hidra, Perun killing Veles, Thor fighting Jörmungandr...Different versions of the same myth which originated most likely in the Fertile Crescent among the Neolithic farmers...

This story is allegorical description of the local Mesopotamian climate, where the year is divided into two seasons: dry, hot summer (Apr/May-Oct/Nov) and wet, cool winter (Oct/Nov-Apr/May)...


So Thunder god fighting and killing dragon is a symbolic depiction of rain season following the dry season...And the veneration of the Thunder gods and all the sacrifices and prayers dedicated to them are means to ensure that this succession of seasons actually happen...

For instance, look at Yam-Lotan. Why was the Sea god, called "the serpent"? Well, Yam was a brother of Mot, Ugaritic god of death, who was identified as the sun...I talked about this identification of Mot with Sun in my post "The oldest Arabic poem"... 

As I explained in my post "Trojan horse" the sailing season (season ruled by Yam) in ancient Eastern Mediterranean started in Apr/May, at the beginning of the hot dry part of the year and ended in Sep/Oct, at the end of the hot dry part of the year...

Which is why Haddad (God of the cool wet part of the year) is fighting Yam (god of the hot dry part of the year). Yam who is helped in his rule over summer by his brother, Mot, God of death, Sun, which turns everything into desert...

As I explained in my post about "Snakes and Dragons symbolism on Bactrian seals" the key for understanding all of this was inexplicably preserved in Slavic folklore, of all places...

As I explained in my post "Enemy of the sun" snake is directly associated with the sun. It is a solar animal, because it follows the sun. It is in our world during the hot, dry part of the year when sun is in our world too...

And it is in the "underworld" during the cold, wet part of the year, when the sun is in the "underworld" too...Which is why snake is mistakenly identified as a "chthonic" animal...

Snake is the symbol of the sun's heat. And as I explained in my post "Dragon who stole rain" fire breathing dragon is the symbol of the destructive sun's heat of the mid and late summer...

The sun's heat which "steals" and then "guards" water...And the only way to release the water is to kill the dragon. Dragon is the symbolic description of summer heat which causes droughts and death. Which is why it is often mistakenly identified as water and not fire creature...

As a proof that Mesopotamians equated snake and dragon with the sun's heat, can be seen on the tell Asmar seal...The dragon has snake heads and the sun (heat) rays radiating out of its back...Sun (heat) rays usually radiating out of the sun god Utu (Shamash)...


On the seal from Tell Asmar, the dragon is being speared at the head and the back by two "heroes" (gods???)...Gary A. Rendsburg points out in his article "UT 68 and the Tell Asmar Seal" that in Ugaritic description of the Haddad's fight against Yam, Haddad defeats Yam using "two clubs"...

With one he strikes Yam in the back, but Yam does not fall. Then with the other club he strikes Yam in the head and that finally kills Yam...So basically this is textual description of the scene visually depicted on the Tell Asmar seal...

The two deities (heroes?) attacking the dragon are actually one deity, Storm god. His "attacks" at the back and head of the dragon symbolise the end of the rain season and the beginning of the rain season...Basically the beginning and the end of summer, the time of dragons...

Now here is the interesting bit (finally 🙂): no one has any idea why 7 heads...I have for a long time suspected that this has something to do with the duration of the Mesopotamian hot dry season, the season of the snake and dragon...

And today I stumbled across "The debate between Winter and Summer" or Myth of Emesh and Enten, a Sumerian creation myth, written on clay tablets in the mid to late 3rd millennium BC... 

And in it, after winter accuses summer of taking all the credit for winter's hard work, summer says: "In my working term of duty, which is seven months of the year"...

Ha!

This is why the dragon on the seal from Tell Asmar has 7 heads...And why its Ugraitic equivalent also has the 7 heads. These 7 heads represent 7 months of the Levantine and Mesopotamian summer: Apr/May-May/Jun-Jun/Jul-Jul/Aug-Aug/Sep-Sep/Oct-Oct/Nov...

That this interpretation is correct is actually emphasised on the seal...The dragon has 4 downward pointing (dead) heads and 3 upward pointing (alive) heads...This represents the point in time...The point at the end of the 4 summer months Apr/May-May/Jun-Jun/Jul-Jul/Aug...

How do we know this? Because this is the time when Sirius rises with the sun...And guess what: There is a star depicted in the sky above the scene...Star which can only be Sirius...

Sirius, whose heliacal rising marks the hottest part of the year on the northern hemisphere. The part of the year also marked with a Lion, Leo...By the way, the body of the Sumerian and Akkadian dragons, and the dragon on the Tell Asmar seal, is usually a lion's body...

Oh yeah. Almost completely forgot to explain why was this exact moment in the solar year (middle of Leo) depicted on this seal 🙂 The Storm god has symbolically "half killed" (or 4/7ths killed, to be precise 🙂, well maybe actually only half killed as the 4th head is in process of being killed 🙂) the dragon of summer and his power is waning...,This is the precise moment when the heating of the northern hemisphere stops and cooling of the northern hemisphere begins...As I explained in my post "Thundering sun god", by pure "coincidence" of course, this is also the exact time of the year when Balkan Slavs, whose folklore formed the core of the key used for understanding all this, celebrate the day of their thunder god...


Oh and this star has everything to do with Inanna/Ishtar, the goddess that arrives on the lion, at the exact moment depicted on this seal...In the middle of Leo...

So this Tell Asmar seal is indeed an amazing artefact...

Today I came across this artefact: 


The description that came with it says: Hero-God (which some scholars identify as the Akkadian god Ninurta) fighting a seven-headed flaming monster, shell plate, 2500 - 2400 BC, Proto-Dynastic III, Bible Lands Museum (BLMJ), Jerusalem, Israel, no. 2051

Again we see 7 headed dragon. This time only one head is cut by a kneeling "hero-god" who is holding a sickle...

This is Sumerian agricultural calendar


Guess what happens during the first of the seven months of summer which is what the seven headed dragon represents? Grain harvest...Which is why the "god-hero" has grain on his hat...

This is amazing...

9 comments:

  1. Figures with multiple heads associated with snakes also exist in Buddhism, in China, and in Japan, so I don't think that the origin of this imagery can be said to originate in the Fertile Crescent.

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    1. Why not? How old are these other symbols are? People move, symbols get adopted by foreign cultures through cultural and religious exchange...Also multiple heads are not the same as 7 heads...Slavic dragons have 3 heads...Some Sumerian dragons have 1...Indian ones have 7 or 5 or myriad...Not the same thing...

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  2. The Nāga:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C4%81ga

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  3. Well done.
    You just forgot Seth and Apep, but it does not matter.

    Da, kod Slovena dan gromovnika Peruna obelezava se 20.07. po julijanskom ili 02.08. po gregorijanskom kalendaru. 20.07. je i helijakalni izlazak zvezde Sirijus.
    Sazvezdje Lav predstavlja Peruna, lav je i simbol Istarin.

    Kada Seth ubija kopljem Apepa, imamo 4 zmije koje vuku solarnu barku i cetiri vuka(sakala).
    Nergal ima tri psa(vuka). Tri meseca-psa zvezde Sirius?
    Nergal ima glavu lava i znak skorpije.
    Nergal simbolizuje tri meseca avgust, septembar, oktobar.

    Ja sam godinama proucavao ovo, ali nisam mogao da povezem ove simbole.
    Bravo covece, bravo !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Protrci kroz moj blog

      za pocetak

      http://oldeuropeanculture.blogspot.com/2019/04/apep.html
      http://oldeuropeanculture.blogspot.com/2020/05/dog-days.html

      onda

      https://oldeuropeanculture.blogspot.com/p/animal-solar-year-markers.html

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  4. Fascinantno. Toliko mnogo podataka, a tako sazeto, lepo objasnjeno.
    Svaka cast!

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  5. At the entrance to the old town of Zadar, Croatia (near the car park) there is a relief of a 7 headed dragon on the right side.

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  6. You said "And it is in the "underworld" during the cold, wet part of the year, when the sun is in the "underworld" too...Which is why snake is mistakenly identified as a "chthonic" animal..." however I disagree. The serpent/snake is a sun/heat deity AND a water and earth and chthonic deity. Bceause the serpent is the river, the river/stream from the mountain, because the river looks like a snake, the fountain, spring and well from the mountain and the earth, the river that leads to the sea, the sea serpent is the river the envelops the world, the sea. In europe you can lietrally see all over statues of dragons that act as fountains dragons spewing water and legends of dragons living in lakes and rivers. Thats why the serpent/dragon retains the water in summer, because the serpent is the master of water, the master of the river, the river of agriculture. Thats why sacrifices were made to the dragon, sacrifices for rain, sacrifice a virgin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebo https://chinesemythologypodcast.com/2018/04/06/episode-5-river-sacrifice/. This video explains the chthonic elements of the serpent https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHfYERFNaAw&t=2397s . So I think that maybe before a humanoid rain god there was a summer dragon and a winter dragon or simply one dragon that people made sacrifices to in the drought season. Also I have a theory that before there was a male agricultural storm god, people made sacrifices for the serpent/dragon for rain to come. Also I think that the serpent originally represents the feminine energy, of mother earth. And also I have a theory that before virgins were used as sacrifices I think they were priestesses like the ones at the oracle of Delphi, the Pythia of Python.

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  7. This is connected to the Vedic story of Indra/Agni's release of the Seven Rivers. I discuss these as veiled Zodiacal and Geometric symbols. See https://360lotus.com/seven-rivers.

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