Sunday, 23 May 2021

Winged superhuman hero

Impression from a cylinder seal from Babylonia, 8th century BC; currently in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York City

Here is the official description of the scene depicted on the seal:

"A demonic lion faces a winged superhuman hero. The lion's threatening gesture and the tension of his sharp claws suggest his evil power. But the hero will prevail. Taller than the lion, he calmly dominates it, and the bull—the victim of the contest—remains in his power"...

🙂 What does this seal really depict?

Well, it depicts Nergal, the Mesopotamian god of death, war, and destruction, who was most often depicted holding a scimitar...

Example: Old Babylonian cylinder seal from Larsa, depicting the underworld (the god of death) Nergal, holding his distinctive scimitar and the double lion headed scepter. The Inscription is a dedication to Nergal by Abisare, perhaps the king of Larsa at that time...

Yeah right. How do we know that the winged dude on the original seal is Nergal? 

Because, in his earliest incarnation, in the Early Dynastic Period (c. 2900-2700 BC), this god of death "represented the high summer sun which scorched the earth...which hindered crop production"...

Sooo??? 

So, the climatic year in Mesopotamia is divided into two halves: cool, wet season (Oct/Nov-Apr/May) and hot, dry season (Apr/May-Oct/Nov)...

The hot dry season spans summer (symbolised by bull) and autumn (symbolised by lion). 

I talked about the animal symbols of the seasons in my article "Symbols of the seasons"...

And the hottest and driest part of the hot and dry season is the moment when lion catches bull. At the end of summer, beginning of autumn. This moment is "marked" by all those "lion killing bull" images, like this one from Persepolis...Lion (autumn) killing (ending) Bull (summer)...Well more like lion chewing on the bulls butt actually...

Which is why, on our original seal, we don't see hero defending the bull from the lion...We see Nergal, deadly sun, standing at the end of summer, symbolised by upside down bull whom he is holding by the hind leg, and the beginning of autumn, symbolised by the attacking lion...

This is the seat of Nergal, the god of death, the destructive sun of the hottest, driest part of the hot, dry season...Which marked by Leo... 

Which is why Nergal is depicted as a winged lion with a human face. 

Either with wings

Or without wings

And which is why Nergal, when depicted in his human form, holds double lion headed scepter...

Eeee, what? What about precession? Leo I am talking about has nothing to do with constellations. It is an ancient animal calendar marker, marking the beginning of the main mating season of the Eurasian lions. Which has nothing to do with stars and is not affected by precession...



Leo is also "the lair" of the fire breathing dragon... Usually in Mesopotamia depicted as a winged lion... The seat of the beast...Nergal...


I talked about this in my post "Is that you Gilgamesh"...

Nergal is also depicted as a true winged lion, without any human characteristics. Like on this "kuduru" boundary stone of the king Meli-shipak II, dated to the 15th c. BC and currently in Louvre.


Now the winged lion is the evolution of the "lion with sun rays coming out of his back", which is the symbol for the hot, dry half of the year in Mesopotamia, and particularly the hottest, driest part of the year, Leo... 


I talked about this in my posts "Nude winged hero dominating snakes", "Lion radiating heat" and "Butt chewing"...

Nergal, the Burning sun, the Dragon. This cylinder seal from Ur III, is dedicated to Meslamtaea, the earliest name of Nergal. Pic from: "Nergal alakja a sumer irodalomban"... 

It shows Meslamtaea/Nergal, holding his scimitar, and a "mythical beast", winged lion, both holding onto a scepter which looks very much like the two lion headed scepter of Nergal...

So is the scene depicting "Nergal and the dragon fighting over the scepter" a symbolic way of telling us: "Nergal is the winged lion, dragon"???

But this winged lion also has eagle talons...Which means that this "creature" is a mix of lion and eagle...Autumn which starts with Eurasian lions mating season ends with Eurasian vultures mating season...So this "creature" symbolises autumn, which starts when summer ends (dies)...

I talked about this in my post "Assyrian winged dragon"...

Why would Nergal be equated to autumn?

Guess who else is standing "between the lions" or "on a lion"? In Leo...The Old Utu/Shamash, the Old Sun of the end of summer...The destructive sun that dries the rivers and canals...And kills people...


I talked about this in my post "Canal".

In my posts "Shamash young and old" and "Butt chewing", I explained that the hot dry part of the year in Mesopotamia was divided into two parts. 

First part, Summer, Apr/May-Jul/Aug, symbolised by a bull, the part dominated by the "Young Utu/Shamash, the god of life"...He is the sun that fills the holy rivers and the irrigation canals...

Second part, Autumn, Jul/Aug-Oct/Nov, symbolised by a lion, the part dominated by the "Old Utu/Shamash, the god of death"...He is the sun that dries the holy rivers and the irrigation canals...Nergal. God of death...

Which is why on the above seal, Nergal is depicted as a winged dragon, half lion half eagle...Autumn....

So what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Sta reci osim bravo.

    Nergalov skiptar ima oblik okrenutog simbola omega, koji krasi Hathor, Inannu, tj. njegovu zenu Ereshkigal.
    Zanimljivo je da je Nergal jedini bog koji oko sebe ima sve atribute koje ima i Mitra.
    Osim toga, Nergal poseduje slugu troglavog psa.
    Grci troglavog psa cuvara podzemnog sveta nazivaju Cerberus, sto moze znaciti sluga, ker-cer-ser-servire-sluziti.
    Kerber simbolise tri zvezde skorpijinog repa, a skorpioni su cuvari podzemlja, Juznog neba.
    Naravno, tu je i veza Skorpije i jeseni.

    Heryshaf

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