Friday, 27 August 2021

Fige

When I was a little kid, this was "the rude gesture" before I learned the other ruder gestures 🙂. 


It turns out this gesture has been used at least since the Roman time...Apparently in Roman times it was known as "manu fica" (fig sign) "for the resemblance to female genitalia" (???)  Does this remind you of a female genitalia?

Also, this sign "was made by the pater familias to ward off the evil spirits of the evil dead" (???) during Lemuria, the festival of "cleansing the home from the evil dead" (???) 

Are the dead really afraid of the female genitalia?

I actually think that the Romans had actually forgotten the original meaning of this sign. This sign represents male genitalia. Which is why it is pater familias (the father of the family) who is making it.

Here is the origin of the sign

So not a female genitalia, right? That this is actually a sign represented male genitalia, can be seen from the fact that in Poland this gesture, also called figa, means "nothing" as in "you will get nothing (from me)", while in Serbia, the expression "dobićeš kurac" (literally you will get dick) means you will get nothing...

Also the whole "evil spirits of the dead" is another sign that the Romans had forgotten the "old ways"...The dead, the ancestors, were not god or bad...They were good to the living if they respected them, remembered them, and bad if they didn't...

It is the dead, the ancestors who brought all the good things to the living...In return for regular mention, food and drink...I talked about this in my posts "Diduch", "Thirst", "Blood red wine" and "Wolf feast"...

And originally this sign was probably not made "to ward off the evil spirits of the dead"...The pater familias was making it to remind the ancestors that they are all part of the the same family...Paternal family...Symbolised by the...

Or I wonder, was pater familias actually telling the ancestors that they will get dick if they don't behave? Risky, very risky...Look what happened to the Hittites when they forgot their ancestors "House of the bones"...

Burned house horizon

While reading about the sudden collapse of the Balkan Neolithic cultures, like Vinča culture (pic) at the end of the 5th mill BC, I came across a proposition that maybe it was an epidemic of some sort which could have caused it...

This is a distinct possibility...New, previously not encountered diseases could have wiped out the population with no immunity. 

But we don't have data that proves that something like that happened in the Balkans at the end of the 5th millennium BC.

We however do have proof that epidemics and even pandemics occurred during Neolithic, but not that they were the cause of the collapse of the Neolithic cultures in which they occurred...

Between 1999 and 2001, archaeologists excavated the Frälsegården passage grave in Gökhem parish, Falbygden, western Sweden, which was built between 3300 and 3000 cal. BC. 

In it they discovered remains of up to 78 individuals. Which caught attention of the authors of this study: "Emergence and Spread of Basal Lineages of Yersinia pestis during the Neolithic Decline". 

And in it, the authors state that: 

"Because of a large number of bodies which were buried in the same grave during very short period, 3100–2900 BP, based on carbon dating of 34 individuals...a possible explanation for the magnitude and short duration of this grave was an epidemic event"...

Completely wrong conclusion. We know, based on Early Neolithic data, the the total life expectancy at 15 would have been 28–33 years.

So even if we assume that these guys lived until 40, and that they had children when they were 20, that would mean 5 generations per 100 years, which would mean 15 generations in 300 years...

78 individuals buried in this grave could have been 5 members of a tribe, clan, extended family, which were buried every generation...Not too many...Nothing really to indicate that anything weird went on...

Thankfully the authors of the "Emergence and Spread of Basal Lineages of Yersinia pestis during the Neolithic Decline" paper did think (wrongly) something weird was going on, so:

They analyzed the ancient DNA datasets from individuals of this grave and screened for the presence of known human pathogens. 

Unexpectedly, they found the unambiguous presence of Yersinia pestis, the etiological agent of plague, in two different individuals, dated to 2,900 BP

So again a confirmation that all these people weren't buried in a mass grave because they all died from some disease. Only the people buried last were in fact infected by the plague...

The discovery of Neolithic farmers in Scandinavia infected by plague, not only pre-dates all known cases of plague. The people were infected by the the strain from which all known modern and ancient strains of Y. pestis are derived...

Wow this is amazing...It turns out that plague didn't come from "Dirty" Asians...It came from "Dirty" Europeans...The authors of the study continue to say that:

There is a remarkable overlap between the estimated radiation times of early lineages of Y. pestis, toward Europe and the Eurasian Steppe, and the collapse of Cucuteni/Trypillia (Tripolye) mega-settlements in the Balkans/Eastern Europe.

Now Cucuteni/Trypillia (Tripolye) culture, was a Neolithic–Eneolithic archaeological culture (c. 5500 to 2750 BCE) of Eastern Europe which covered huge territory (350,000 km2) in today's Romania, Moldova and Ukraine..

This culture is famous for its amazing pottery and figurines




But what it should be famous for are their settlements. Not the small villages, like this reconstructed one, which indeed constituted the majority of Cucuteni–Trypillia settlements...

But their "mega cities". During the Middle Trypillia phase (c. 4000 to 3500 BCE), Cucuteni/Trypillia culture built the largest settlements in the Neolithic, some of which had as many as 3000 structures and were possibly inhabited by 20,000 to 46,000 people!!!


The plan of the magnetic survey of the settlement Maidanetske 1. From the article "Governing Tripolye: Integrative architecture in Tripolye settlements"...


Here are reconstruction drawings of the two Cucuteni/Trypillia settlements

Talianki, Ukraine – up to 21,000 inhabitants, up to 2,700 houses

Maydanets, Ukraine – up to 29,000 inhabitants, up to 3,000 houses



So far 3000 settlements have been discovered, ranging from small villages to "vast fortified settlements consisting of hundreds and thousands of dwellings surrounded by multiple ditches".

The typical Trypillia hierarchy was one dominant "capital" of more than 100 hectares, surrounded by satellite towns typically in the size range 10–40 hectares and villages in the range of 2–7 hectares. The Capital controlled territories in about 20 km radius

These were basically city states...And these city states of the Cucuteni/Trypillia culture predate Mesopotamian city states, by half a millennium at least...

But very few people know about this...

Anyway, Cucuteni/Trypillia civilisation, because that's what it was really, was a society of subsistence farmers. Cultivating the soil (using an ard or scratch plough), harvesting crops and tending livestock was probably the main occupation for most people.

Typically for a Neolithic culture, the vast majority of their diet consisted of cereal grains. They cultivated club wheat, oats, rye, proso millet, barley and hemp, which were probably ground and baked as unleavened bread in clay ovens or on heated stones in the home...

Now. The article about the origin of the plague, identifies Trypillia Culture mega settlements, built towards the end of the 5th millennium BC, as the initial source of the Y. pestis infection...

Why? Well have you ever thought where did 30,000 people who lived in one of these mega cities go to the toilet? Huge number of people lived in these cities in cramped conditions with degrading sanitation...At least this is what the authors of the plague paper are hinting at...

But I don't think that was the reason...Cucuteni/Trypillia people grew grain in, for that time, huge amounts. And had to store it inside their homes, or communal storage building inside their settlements...And where there is lots of grain, there are mice and rats...

And it is mice and rats that can devastate grain stores and cause famine...Which is probably why Cucuteni/Trypillia people kept cats...Black cats depicted on a ceramic vessel from Cucuteni/Trypillian culture. 4500-4000BC...

This is also the reason why another civilisation which depended heavily on grain, Egyptian civilisation, deified cats...And held cat goddess festival around the time of the grain harvest. 

I talked about it in my post "Bastet"....

But rats also spread plague. The infected rat that carries the disease will infect fleas that live on it. These fleas then transmit the disease on humans... 

The authors of the plague study, say that the ever increasing Cucuteni/Trypillian population living under highly dense conglomerations was "likely under nutritional stress and weakened due to resource overexploitation". Ideal conditions favored epidemics and pandemics...

But the population didn't have to be weakened to catch plague. All you need is one infected rat, which enters the settlement and then dies...In a flea infested cramped neolithic settlement, by the time you know what hit you, you have dead bodies piling up...

Anyway, the paper on Y. pestis concludes that: it is most likely that it was the Trypillia mega-settlements where the ancestor(s) of the plague emerged...

They then says that it then rapidly branched and migrated in all directions, including into the steppe...spreading mainly through early trade networks, rather than massive human migrations. This allowed for a rapid and large-scale expansion of the pathogen...

The authors blame the emergence of the animal traction complex, involving cattle traction, wagons, and ard ploughs, on creating the favorable and unprecedented conditions for a rapid expansion of infectious diseases over large geographic regions...

This same pathogen lineages persisted through the Bronze Age but got eventually extinct. The authors of the plague paper propose that plague may have contributed to the Neolithic decline, which paved the way for the later steppe migrations into Europe...

I agree that this is from where the plague spread east into Asian steppe...But I would like here to propose that paper authors are wrong, and that plague didn't originate in 4th millennium BC Trypillia mega-settlements...

I believe it probably originated in the 7th c. BC in "The First Temperate Neolithic" cultures of the Balkans, the first cultures to practice agriculture in temperate Europe...

This required significant innovations in farming technology previously adapted to a mediterranean climate. Leading temperate agriculture revolution was the Starčevo culture which built Blagotin settlement in Serbia around a temple dedicated to grain. 

I talked about this in my post "Blagotin"...

Why do I think this is where plague emerged? Because of something called "The burned house horizon", which is the geographical extent of the Neolithic phenomenon of people presumably intentionally burning their settlements. 


This was a widespread and long-lasting tradition in what is now Neolithic (grain farming) Southeastern and Eastern Europe, which ended when Neolithic ended...With the end of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, the last culture to practice the house burning...

Cucuteni-Trypillian culture brought it to its extreme...There is evidence that every single settlement in the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture practiced house burning. And that not just single houses, but whole settlements were burned regularly... 

Why? No one knows actually 🙂

Proposed explanations so far:

Accidental fire and deliberate burning of houses by invaders:

Some of the burned sites contained large quantities of stored food that was partially destroyed by the fires that burned the houses. Some burned houses also contained human remains...

This "supports the theory that the buildings were burned accidentally or due to enemy attack, as it could be argued that nobody would intentionally burn their food supplies along with their homes and their families"

However...Experiments have shown that unaided, both accidental or deliberate fires, can't produce temperatures that can cause vitrification of the clay from the walls (turn it into ceramic)...Which is found in these burned houses...

This can only happen if you deliberately pile huge amount of combustable material around the house and then light it up. Experimental house burning. Note the amount of extra fuel added to the outside of the clay walls to increase the temperature needed for ceramic vitrification

Additionally, the experimental burning with unaided fires, left the walls almost entirely intact. It would have been relatively easy for the roof to have been repaired quickly, the ash cleared away, and the house reoccupied. Which is not what archaeologists found...

The opposite opinion is that people deliberately burned their own homes. Proposed reasons :

1. weatherproofing (🙂  laughable sorry)

2. recycling of building materials (some of the burned clay from the house walls was reused, but this is an exception not a rule)

3. demolition to create space (no new space created. houses built on top of burned remains)

4. fumigation (!!! discarded as an overkill (!!!) as the damage to the settlement was almost total)

None of this really works as an explanation either...

So what's left is ritual 🙂 Symbolic end of house: the buildings were burned ritually, regularly and deliberately in order to mark the end of the "life" of the house which was seen as a living being...

Weeeeell...Here is what I think happened...

French scientist Paul-Louis Simond (who came to China to battle the Third Pandemic of plague in the late 19th c. and who there discovered how plague spreads through rats and fleas) had noted that:

In Yunnan, China, inhabitants would flee from their homes as soon as they saw dead rats, and on the island of Formosa (Taiwan), residents considered the handling of dead rats heightened the risks of developing plague...

And in "The Epidemic of Pneumonic Plague in Manchuria 1910-1911" we read that "In Harbin itself a large-scale burning took place: of houses which had lodged plague victims or whose inhabitants had been removed"!!!!!

Is this how it all started? An infected rodent would come into the village looking for grains. And die. Someone in the village would get bitten by an infected flea...And would get infected by the plague...

Now people from all early the Neolithic Balkan farming cultures lived in separate single family households which were self sufficient...They didn't have to mix a lot with other people from the settlement...

So in most cases, the infection would first spread to the other members of the household and would most likely be initially localised.  But then people would start getting really sick and dying...

In the beginning it is possible that whole settlements were wiped out...Their bodies discovered by their kin from another settlement. Who then burned the whole place down to kill the evil disease (spirits, ghosts...whatever)...

But maybe the disease was spotted early and the other people from the village did run away from the "accursed sick possessed by the evil spirits" and came back when they were dead to burn them and their house and everything in it...

And burn it properly, making sure everything is completely destroyed and burned to cinder...Or burn the whole village properly, cause "the evil spirits of the disease could be lurking in any of the houses waiting to kill the rest of us"...

It is interesting that "Early Neolithic houses have more artifacts deposited in them, and it is in these early Neolithic phases that burned human remains are most likely to occur"

Something crazy just occurred to me. Why were Vinča culture figurines depicted with masks? What kind of "ritual" were they involved in? http://oldeuropeanculture.blogspot.com/2017/12/mask-from-belo-brdo.html

By the way the Vinča culture majorly culturally and genetically influenced Cucuteni/Trypillia culture



Did people eventually start paying attention to rats entering their settlement and fleeing as soon as they saw a dead rat? Just like the Chinese and Indian peasants still did in the 20th century...

Coming back after a while to burn their houses in giant pyres to incinerate all the rodents and all the fleas?

Once the agriculture developed, and population increased, and settlements became larger and more crowded, and number of rats increased and trade increased, the chances   of plague appearing and spreading became bigger...

Are regular burnings of the Cucuteni-Trypillian settlements really "regular ritual killings of houses" or "frequent killing of rats and fleas in plague infested houses"?

It is actually possible that in the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture this eventually became a ritual. Ritual cleansing of the place. A preventative burning of rats and fleas.

What do you think? I think that this actually explains pretty much every piece of archaeological evidence we have about Neolithic house burning.

It gives us a real reason why someone would resort to such ultimate destruction of his home and everything in it, why sometimes there are bodies burned with the house, why this is done often and why people then just rebuild their houses in the same place...

So is it possible that the Neolithic farmers in the South Eastern Europe would have survived and multiplied, if I was right? Well yes. People do survive epidemics of plague...And continue on...Well, after burning their houses and their dead...

So was the plague the reason for the collapse of the Cucuteni/Trypillia culture? I don't think so...Was the plague the reason for the Neolithic collapse in the 5th millennium BC Balkans? I don't think so...Something  else was. And I will talk about this soon...Sorry... 

Childe was right

 

This is Dolmen of Pierre-Alot, France...I would here like to talk about three interesting articles I read this week, which together, might shed some new light on the origin, spread and reason for megalithic culture...Or not...

There are over 35,000 currently accounted megaliths in Europe, including megalithic tombs, standing stones, stone circles, alignments, and megalithic buildings or temples...

Most of these were constructed during the Neolithic and the Copper Ages (5th - 3rd millennium BC) and are located in coastal areas...

Their distribution is along the so-called Atlantic façade, including Sweden, Denmark, North Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, northwest France, northern Spain, and Portugal...

And in the Mediterranean region, including southern and southeastern Spain, southern France, the Islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta and the Balearics, Apulia, northern Italy. And Montenegro, which is not widely known. Like this one. 


You can read more about Montenegrin Tumuli and how they fit into the wider European Megalithic - Metal working culture in these articles...

Interestingly, all these megaliths share similar or even identical architectonic features. Which is why in the later 19th and the first two-thirds of the 20th centuries, archaeologists, like Childe, supported a single origin of megaliths and their spread by a process of diffusion

Childe also, supported the idea of a diffusion by maritime exchange. According to him, the expansion was supported by a megalithic religion of migrant priestly elites who settled down long enough among local societies for the new ideas to take root...

Later, Childe expanded his theory about the spreading of a megalithic religion along the coastlines of western Europe by way of missionaries or prospectors...

With the introduction of radiocarbon dates and processual approaches, the idea of an independent emergence of the same kind of stone architecture in several regions arose in the late 20th century, because early C14 results did not support the diffusion model...

Renfrew was the first to exploit the new chronological results and proposed five independent nucleus centers, including Portugal, Andalusia, Brittany, southwest England, Denmark, and possibly Ireland for the emergence of megaliths in Europe...

The model of an independent emergence of megaliths in several regions and sedentary, immobile farming communities has remained dominant in the research literature since then...

However, since the 1970s, the number of C14 dates of megaliths has expanded enormously. And it turned out Childe was right...

The radiocarbon results suggest that megalithic graves emerged within a time interval of 200 to 300 years in the second half of the fifth millennium cal BC in northwest France, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula...

Northwest France is, so far, the only megalithic region in Europe which exhibits a pre-megalithic monumental sequence and transitional structures to the megaliths, suggesting northern France as the region of origin for the megalithic phenomenon...

For the remaining regions with an early megalithic proliferation in the fifth millennium cal BC (Catalonia, southern France, Corsica, Sardinia, Portugal and Italy), megaliths are found in small clusters as exceptional grave forms for this period in their respective regions...

A fresh expansion occurred during the first half of the fourth millennium cal BC when thousands of passage graves were built along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Ireland, England, Scotland, and France...

In the second half of the fourth millennium cal BC, the passage grave tradition finally reaches Scandinavia and the Funnel Beaker areas. Again, there is evidence for the spread of megalithic architecture along the seaway...

In the second half of the fourth millennium cal BC, the passage grave tradition finally reaches Scandinavia and the Funnel Beaker areas. Again, there is evidence for the spread of megalithic architecture along the seaway...

Here is what this looks like visually

The fast coastal distribution emphasizes the maritime linkage of these societies and a diffusion of the passage grave tradition along the seaway...

So, the older generation of archaeologists (like Childe) were correct concerning a single origin and maritime diffusion of the megalithic concept and accompanying radical economic and social changes. Ha!

This is the gist from the paper: "Radiocarbon dates and Bayesian modeling support maritime diffusion model for megaliths in Europe"

Now at the end of the paper the author says: 

"The megalithic movements must have been powerful to spread with such rapidity...and the maritime skills, knowledge, and technology of these societies must have been much more developed than hitherto presumed"

In my article "Neolithic seafarers" I talked about the neolithic mining and seafaring societies whose trading routes seem to have spanned the whole of Mediterranean  sea. 

In my article "Giant's ring" I talked about the possibility that these seafarers probably reached Ireland in the early 4th millennium BC and brought with them Megalithic culture and genes...

So we know that there was a mining/seafaring culture, caste, elite...in Neolithic Mediterranean...

And guess what: In the article entitled "Megalithic tombs in western and northern Neolithic Europe were linked to a kindred society" we can read that "males from megalith burials belong almost exclusively to YDNA haplogroup I2a"...

Interesting...Kind of like a mining/seafaring culture, caste, elite...

According to the author of the article I am talking about here Childe was wrong in one thing: he believed that the source of the Megalithic culture was in Mediterranean...

But was he? I am not contradicting the data that points at Northern France as the first place where we find Megaliths...But were the people who built these first megaliths originally from Northern France? Or from Mediterranean? The seafarers/miners/prospectors/missionaries...

And even if the Megalithic idea originated in the Northeastern France, were the people who spread it the same Mediterranean seafarers/miners/prospectors/missionaries who scoured European coast looking for best obsidian, flint, amber and later copper, zinc...

Mining, metalworking, ship building and seafaring are all extremely specialised activities, which require long training which can be only obtained from people who already know how to do it. Which in Neolithic was your own kin...

So it is very likely that these Neolithic seafarers/miners...and megalithic builders, were all related...Which is what the genetic data obtained from the early megalithic graves is confirming...

This is very interesting, right?

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Sumer and winter BMAC seals

BMAC (Bactria-Margiana) seal, Turkmenistan, 1st half of the 2nd mil BC. From: "Ancient Art in Miniature: Ancient Near Eastern Seals from the Collection of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky"



Official description:

Obverse: boar "striding towards tulip shaped flowers"

Reverse: bird of pray with wings spread, as seen from below...

That's it...But is it? Of course not...

Both animals

Vulture


Wild boar

depicted on this seal are animal calendar markers for winter in Northern hemisphere. The reason for this is that the mating season of both animals in Central Asia starts in November and spans the whole of winter (Nov, Dec, Jan)...

Now the climatic year in Turkmenistan is divided into hot dry summer (May-Oct) and cold wet winter (Nov-Apr). It is the rain and snow which fall during winter (and subsequent snowmelt) which bring life to this dry region...

Which is why wild boar is depicted under a green leafy branch. But why is it striding towards tulips?



Because, most tulips originate in the mountains of Central Asia, where huge number of different wild varieties can still be seen blooming every spring...


So wild boar striding towards blooming tulips indicates the end of winter and beginning of spring...And symbolically depicts the effect of winter precipitation on the land...It turns desert into this...

Now on the same page of the "Ancient Art in Miniature..." we can see another two faced seal. 


The official description of the seal says:

Obverse: Nude hero dominates writhing snakes

Reverse: winged dragon strides towards a branch

Of course this is not a nude hero. This is the Sun, Sun God, Bactrian equivalent of Sumerian Utu/Shamash (see the heat rays coming out of "hero's" shoulders just like they do from Utu/Shamash's ones?)...I talked about this seal in my post "Nude hero dominating snakes"...

He is not fighting snakes. He is holding snakes which are symbols of sun, sun's heat...You could though say that he is dominating snakes, because they are utterly dependent on sun's heat for survival...

Remember that snakes are solar animals. They are in our world when sun is in our world (hot part of the year) and they are in the underworld when sun is in the underworld (cold part of the year)...I talked about snakes (and dragons) as solar symbols in my posts "Bactrian snakes and dragons", "Enemy of the sun", "Chthonic animal", "Dragon who stole rain"...And many others...

The dragon is actually a winged lion. Where wings are stylistic evolution of heat rays found in earlier depictions of this "beast"...Like on this Bactrian seal...


Beast which represents the hot, dry part of the year, summer...I talked about this in my post "Lion radiating heat"...

By the way did you see how the dragon lion is striding towards a bare branch? This is symbolic depiction of the effect the hot dry summer season, symbolised by the lion, has on nature...It turns it into this

So side by side, on the same page, we have a summer seal and winter seal...I don't think the authors of this paper knew what they did when they placed these two seals together like this...


Friday, 6 August 2021

Falling on his head

A really weird carved chlorite(?) jar with high-relief image of two oxen tied to a tree, inverted nude male between them. 222 grams, 64mm (2 ½"). Mid-third millennium BC. Sold at auction...

These kind of vessels are believed to have been originally made by people of Jiroft culture from Zagros mountains in Western Iran. 


Anyway, no one knows what this scene means. Who is the dude falling on his head? I don't know. But it is important that he is falling on his head between two water buffalos...



Why is it important that these are buffalos? Because different animals represent different things, depending when they mate or give birth in relation to the local climate...They are different calendar markers...Water buffalo bulls are symbol of winter...Oct/Nov-Jan/Feb

Because, wild water buffalo are seasonal breeders in most of their range, typically in October and November...Domesticated buffaloes also breed mostly during the winter...Which makes them an ideal animal calendar marker for Oct/Nov, beginning of winter...And winter in general...

I talked about water buffalos as animal calendar marker in my post "Mahishasuramardini"... 

This is the beginning of winter and the rain season in Jiroft culture area...

I talked about two other Jiroft vessels with weird (read complex) bull scenes which turned out to be complex animal calendar markers...

You can read about them in my posts "Khafajeh vase" and "Jiroft flood vase"...

On both of these vessels we see zebu bulls, which are calendar markers for the annual snowmelt flood which spans the whole of summer, season symbolised by a bull, flood which peaks in Apr/May, in Taurus...

Summer is the season of the bull because Wild Eurasian cattle calved at the beginning of summer, Apr/May, and mated at the end of summer, Jul/Aug...

I talked about this in my post "Ram and bull"...Interestingly, Zebu cattle could once have had mating peek in Apr/May...I talked about the mating habits of zebu cattle, and their use as animal calendar markers in Indus Valley civilisation, in my post "Kharif and Rabi seasons

But as I said, buffaloes are different. They mate during the winter rain season...Is this why they are tied to a green tree? Because it is the rain (and snow and subsequent snowmelt), which start during the mating season of water buffalos, that turn plants green...

BTW, when I first saw water buffalos on this vessel, I was like, in Iran? But it turns out there are buffalos in Iran...This is a map showing the distribution of buffalo breeds in Iran

You can read more about it in this paper: A genome-wide scan for signatures of selection in Azeri and Khuzestani buffalo breeds...

And according to this paper "Buffalo breeds and management systems": "There is some evidence that buffalo were raised in Lorestan (Iran) in the 9th c. BC. since six engraved buffalo heads have been found on a bronze stick from this period." 

Well add about 2000 years to that now as these buffalo look like domesticated buffalos to me...

This is seriously cool right?

So...why would a male figure be falling down between the buffalos? 

Well there are indications that in Iran, the rain season was linked to the goddess of water since Bronze Age...It was she who ruled the cold, wet, dark (Yin), but also fertile, part of the year...

Here she is in the early centuries AD

Here she is in the in the 8th century BC


And I think here she is again in the mid 3rd millennium BC...


A girl holding a rainbow...

You can read more about this in my post "Jiroft flood vase"

She ascends to the throne at the beginning of the rain season, between the mating (fighting) buffaloes...Well after kicking the sun from the same throne...Sun which rules the other part of the year, the hot, dry, bright (Yang) part of the year...

So maybe the falling male figure is the symbol of the end of the rule of Sun, Yang and beginning of the rule of Rain, Yin...I really don't know 🙂 What do you think? Just an acrobat? 

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Anat

Anat was a Semitic goddess worshipped by the Canaanites & Egyptians during the Bronze and Iron Ages. 


 

Depicted as violent, delighting in war, she was also establisher of peace. She was also portrayed as highly sexual & fertile, but also referred to as virgin & maiden. Fiercely loyal to her brother Baal, she takes revenge against Mot, god of the underworld, for (briefly) taking Baal's life. According to the Ugaritic text, "She seized divine Mot, with a knife she split him...with fire she burnt him; with millstones she ground him; with a sieve she sifted him; on the steppe she abandoned him.."

She was imported into Egypt by the Hyksos rulers. So who was Anat?

According to old poems from the area, Mot was equated to the sun. I talked about this in my post "Oldest Arabic poem"...


This is the climatic year in Levant. You can see that it is divided into two halves: the wet season (Nov-Apr) and the dry season (May-Oct) dominated by the blazing sun...

In ancient Levant, the wet season was the time when Baal/Hadad ruled the world. But every year, in May, Mot would usurps the throne of Baal/Hadad, kill Baal, and turn the world into hell...

Mot had a brother, Yam, the sea god, also enemy of Baal. The seafaring season in Levant (Apr-Sep) corresponds with the dry season, the season ruled by Mot...Also with mating season of horses, which were the symbol of Yam. 

I talked about this in my post "Trojan horse"...

Anat "put an end to Yam, the beloved of El, and to other enemies of Baal including a 7 headed serpent"...

Interesting...

Like this 7 headed serpent (dragon) from Mesopotamia? Which has the body of a lion (Leo is the symbol of the the hottest part of the year)...And seven snake heads (snake is the symbol of the sun's heat, and 7 heads represent 7 months of the Mesopotamian summer)...With Shamash (sun god) sun rays rising from his back?

I talked about this cylinder seal in my post "Seven headed dragon"...

Who's the girl standing under the star, looking at "heroes killing the 4th snake head of the dragon with 7 snake heads"? Well Ishtar/Inanna of course...The warrior goddess standing on a lion...Under a star...Sirius rising with the sun in Leo...

I talked about her in my post "Ninshubur"...

'The yellow ones of Mot' Mot's henchmen who are slain by Baal/Hadad upon his return...Who are these "yellow ones"?

Look at these pictures: 

Summer (May-Oct), ruled by Mot, the time of death in Levant. 

Winter (Nov-Apr), ruled by Baal/Hadad, the time of life in Levant

Anat also kills: Arsh, a monstrous attendant of Yam, the sea god and "the darling of the gods"...Apparently his name means "towards the land"...Who is Arsh? Who does Anat kill? 

I would suggest that Arsh is the deified "etesian winds" season. 

The etesian winds are the prevailing annually recurring summer winds, blowing over large parts of Greece, the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean. The name derives from the Greek 'etesios', annual. They blow steadily from northern to northwestern directions, bringing cold continental air and clear skies between end of May and beginning of October...

They blow from the north "towards the land" in Levant and Egypt...During the sailing season...When this "monstrous attendant of Yam, the sea god" is killed, the dry season dominated by the sun, Mot, ends too...And Baal/Hadad comes back to power...The storms and rains return...

Anat also kills Atik, the calf of El, and the enemy of Baal/Hadad...

The calving season of wild Eurasian cattle, Aurochs starts in Apr/May...

This period is marked by a bull, calf, cow with calf...Taurus. This is one of the oldest animal calendar markers, which is found all over Eurasia and North Africa. I talked about this in my post "Ram and Bull".. 

Taurus announces the beginning of the hot, dry season, dominated by the sun, Mot and the end of the cool, wet season dominated by rain, Baal/Hadad.



Anat also kills Ishat (Light, Fire) and Zabib (Flame) the Goddesses of fire or flame, the daughters of El, the king of the Gods and servants of Yam/Mot, the enemy of Ba'al, the storm God. Naturally...The fire, flame (heat) of the sun scorches the land and turns it into this: Mot's hell.

I love the fact that Ishat (fire), the goddess of fire and drought, is known as "the bitch of the gods"...In Slavic folklore, the hottest part of the year, end of Jul beginning of Aug, is knows as "kresovi" (fires)...This is also the mating season of the old Canaan dogs...

You know, dog days...When Dog Star, Sirius, rises with the sun...In Leo...Sounds familiar? 

I talked about this in my post "Dog days"...

Anat kills Mot after "seven years of drought"...This is a "poetic" version of "seven months of drought"...This story originates in Mesopotamia, and there, summer, dry season says  "In my working term of duty, which is seven months of the year"...I talked about this in my post "Seven headed dragon"...

Anat finds Mot, and cuts, winnows, and sows him like grain. Have a look at this:

Mesopotamian agricultural calendar. 

Levantine agricultural calendar. 

Mot's reign, dry season, starts with grain harvest, in Apr/May...In the middle of that period, in Leo, Jul/Aug, after harvest, threshing, winnowing, storing...of the grain is all done, Anat arrives...Mot's reign, the dry season, ends with grain sowing, in Oct/Nov...

Which is when Anat kills Mot and Baal rules again...For a while...

And you know what also spans 7 months? The time between the sowing and harvesting of grain. During which time you open 7 sealed grain storage pithos jars...7 seals...

Interestingly, the opening of the 7th seal happens in Aries, the end of the lambing season of wild sheep...So the lamb opens the 7th seal...I talked about this in my post "Seven seals"...

After Anat kills Mot and his goons, Baal/Hadad, the Rain god, ascends back to the throne...

Accompanied by his daughters:

Pidray - daughter of the mist, daughter of light (lightning)...

Tallay - she of dew, daughter of drizzle...

Arsay - she of the earth, daughter of [ample flows]...

Ybrdmy - she/he who serves up water...

How mythological...