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Thread: Ancient Mesopotamia, July 15th

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    You're probably familiar with Mermaids and Mermen, but how about the Goat Fish? Head and forelages of a goat, then body of a fish. Actually, similar to the capricorn. The Goat fish was often paired with mermen. Seems they were generally seen as protective magic.
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    Thanks for posting info, pancake machine! I was feeling a bit lost with this one, but I think I can make a start this weekend.

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    Here are my cards:

    Marduk.jpg Marduk, Chief God of Babylon, from the Babylonian creation tale Enuma Elish

    Sculpture of Noah's Beast.jpg Sculpture of Noah's Beast from Queen Puabi's Tomb, 3300 to 2250 BCE

    Sculpture on Ishtar Gate.jpg Relief Sculpture on Ishtar Gate at Babylon, from about 575 BCE

    Statue of Standing Woman.jpg Sculpture of Standing Woman, currently located at Metropolitan Museum of Art, from 2600 to 2500 BCE

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  5. #44
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    Those are great Jo! Love Marduk in particular.

    My goal is to try and post a bit more about Mesopotamian art/history. Probably lots of gods and such. But I will say, if you like human/ animal combinations, it may be that the Mesopotamians did it first.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluSkyHare View Post
    Thanks for posting info, pancake machine! I was feeling a bit lost with this one, but I think I can make a start this weekend.
    Yes! I meant to post more than I had so far. The Mesopotamian gods and stories aren't as well known. There are some really interesting and fascinating beliefs from this period.

    The book Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia by Amy Black and Anthony Green is proving invaluable for the most recent quick synopsis of gods.
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    This one is for CQ5

    Inana (Istar) is the most important female deity of all the various periods of ancient Mesopotamia.

    In art - she is represented as a warrior goddess - often winged, armed to the teeth, or surrounded by a nimbus of stars. Also, by her posture or state of dress, she might also allude to her role as goddess of sex and prostitutes. Later periods often depict her as fully nude or nude from the waist down, has wings and wears a horned cap of divinity.

    At least according to the authors Black and Green, she has 3 different personalities.
    1) Goddess of love and sexual behavior. Connected to extramarital sex and somehow related to prostitution. She is not a mother goddess.
    2) War - to quote further "violent and lusting after power, she stands beside her favourite kings as they fight."
    3) associated with the planet Venus, the morning and evening star.
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  10. #47
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    It seems that they were a group of very martial or at least a warrior centered cultures. Very masculine--Pazuz with is snake parts, Inana/Venus as a warrior and bad girl, many artifacts showing lions/lion fighting men/lions killing men. whereas the egyptians depicted men and women as equals, many more women related artifacts and paintings, and not so many war scenes.

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    Yes, it is quite interesting and that has been my take too. I've always understood the Assyrians in particular to be constantly at war. Perhaps it is the nature of being in a crossroads.

    This is an interesting paragraph from Karen Radner's Ancient Assyria
    Siege warfare, on the other hand, was a key tactic of the Assyrian forces but even more so the threat of siege. Without catapults (widely used only from the early 4th century BC onwards) or any other kind of heavy artillery that could be deployed from a safe distance, the only option was to overcome or destroy the fortifications while operating within reach of the defenders. p. 101↵Depictions of sieges on the palace wall decorations (Figure 11) show an impressive arsenal of battering rams and manned siege engines, ladders, and mobile siege towers as well as sapping and tunnelling. These images were designed to create the impression that Assyrian conquest was inevitable. The popular view of the Assyrian Empire rarely goes beyond the impression gained from these images, resulting—absolutely in line with the intent of their creators—in the perception of a people hell-bent on conquest. This is, for example, the key message of You Wouldn’t Want to Be an Assyrian Soldier: An Ancient Army You’d Rather Not Join, by Rupert Matthews and David Antram, a rare, and amusing, example of a children’s book dealing with Assyria.

    My reading on the lion hunts is this demonstrates the ruler's divinity and prowess. Any weakness from the ruler is an indication that the gods are unhappy.

    Throw in flooding and plagues along with frequent warfare, and I'd agree that the art of Mesopotamia is darker in nature.
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  13. #49
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    yes, and Pazuzu is termed a demon, but a "helpful" one.

    Anyway, finished my cards this weekend and I'll post pics soon.

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    The Wikipedia article on Dumuzid (or Tammuz) is worth a read. Very interesting how he is associated with shepards and harvests. In one way, he is similar to Persephone - he only spends part of the year on earth, whereas the other 6 months he is in the underworld.

    On a happier note - he is also associated with the date palm. The date palm is a constant source that can be harvested, so this association is always a positive one.

    Quite a few variations in how he is understood - probably since it changes some over time.
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    Very cool BSH - and thanks for the extra.

    Jo's cards arrived - very cool! And the extra is appreciated.
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    Mine were mailed yesterday. may the gods bring them safely to you!

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  23. #54
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    Excellent! Some of the old gods are pretty frickin' scary. I'm planning on posting something about Marduk. And there is this whole thing about dead gods, which is interesting. Need to look at that a bit more.
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    Asharnanae - your cards arrived! Really great! Thanks so much for the extra as well.
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    One of the fun things about researching a topic is that you often get to a point where you realize how little you know! This page sets some of what I've written on the ear. I've not seen the book by Thorkild Jacobsen, where the author presumably got most of his information. And that work is from 1976, and some advances have been made.

    Nevertheless, this is quite interesting from the site:
    Marduk should not be regarded as King of the Gods in the same way Zeus ruled in Greece. While Marduk was venerated highly in Babylon, Enlil held that place in Sumer. It should also be noted that the English word 'demon', understood as an evil spirit, derives from the Greek word 'daimon' which meant, simply, 'spirit' and that many of the supernatural entities of the Mesopotamian pantheon designated as 'demons' were not necessarily evil.

    So Pazuzu has evil elements as an embodiment of the south wind, but also has protective elements. Hmmm. So I'm finding somewhat conflicting information on Pazuzu - or it might better be said what elements of Pazuzu are emphasized.

    This is also interesting from the site:
    The Epic of Irra text was enormously popular in Babylon. More copies of this work have been discovered than copies of the more famous Epic of Gilgamesh.

    Irra/Erra - the Babylonian god of plagues pestilence, death, war, and destruction, associated with Nergal, god of death. Irra was a clever and annoying demon responsible for all kinds of human miseries. In The Epic of Irra (also known as The Wrath of Erra) he takes over the city of Babylon in Marduk's absence, leading to its destruction or, alternately, delivers Babylon from her enemies but only after `turning the world upside down' with the slaughter of the righteous and unrighteous alike.
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    BluSkyHare - your fab cards have arrived and thanks for the extra!
    One can only dream of what never was
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  28. #58
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    I'm glad they arrived, pancake machine!
    Those older gods aren't very straight-forward with their myths, like the Greek gods are, but I guess it's because they are much older and the stories more obscure.

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    I'd add that we are looking at different empires over time, so so.e of it is variation by empire. I suppose even the Romans decided they needed to rename the gods, even if they didn't make other changes.
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    My theme is the dress or clothing of that era. I will post photos soon.

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