Saturday, 30 October 2021

Lion killing bull under a date palm

Here's an interesting cylinder seal impression, about which I only know that it is from the first half of the first millennium BC and that it is currently in Louvre. I presume that it is from Mesopotamia...

The official description is "lion attacking bull"...That's it...That's it? Of course not...This is another complex animal calendar marker. This one telling people when to harvest dates...That's a date palm full of fruit on the right...


Late July and early August is date harvesting season in Iraq, when within the span of a few weeks the desert sun turns hard green spheres into tender, golden brown fruit prized for its sweetness...




So what's with the bull and lion? 

Well....

Bull is the most common animal symbol for summer (May,Jun,Jul)...

This is because Apr/May, Taurus, the beginning of summer, is also the beginning of the calving of the wild Eurasian cattle. I talked about this in many posts...

Like "Green pastures" about this plaque from Tel Asmar...


Or like "Butt chewing", about this plaque from the first dynasty of Ur...

Lion is also the most common animal symbol of autumn (Aug/Sep/Oct)... 

This is because, Jul/Aug, Leo, the beginning of autumn, is also the beginning of the mating season of Eurasian lion. I talked about this in many posts... 

Like "Canals", about the hottest and driest part of the year in Mesopotamia, Jul/Aug, Leo, when canals are repaired...See the sun god Shamash, standing in an empty canal, river bed, holding reed cutting knife, between two reed bundles topped by lions. Between lions means "in Leo"...


Like my post "Winged superhuman hero", about Nergal, the destructive sun of Jul/Aug, who was depicted as a lion, winged lion, lion dragon...


You can read more about symbols of the seasons in my post 🙂  "Symbols of the seasons"


Anyway, back to our seal with the palm...

So the end of summer and the beginning of autumn can be symbolically depicted with a lion (autumn) killing (ending) bull (summer)...Which is what we see to the left of the palm tree...Oh, "coincidentally", that is exactly when you harvest dates in Mesopotamia...

Here is another cylinder seal impression, Elamite (Iran), ca. 11th–9th century BC. This one is from the met Museum, and its description is even better: "Cylinder seal with monster" Disappointed face Of course this is a lion, marking date harvest time. 

I talked about this in my post  🙂  "Cylinder seal with monster"...

But what about the dog? Is that just a random detail? Have you ever wondered why was Sirius called "The Dog star"? And why were the hottest days of the year, at the end of summer, beginning of autumn (yup, middle of Leo, date harvest) called "Dog days"?



Because mating season of the oldest domesticated dog breeds, begins during dog days, end of Jul beginning of Aug...Right when you are supposed to get your butt up that date palm and start picking...

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

Sooooo...Complex calendar marker telling people when to pick dates. Eeeeeeee!!! What about the imp on the other side of the palm tree?!? I have no idea what that thing is...There has to be some mystery left in the world, right?

My question is: hasn't anyone before looked at this seal and wondered: why are all these thing depicted together? Is there any reason for that, any method behind the madness?

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