Sunday, September 8, 2013

Inanna, Anahiti & Historical Aratta (4,000 BC)


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"The legendary, mythical 7-gated Sumerian city of Aratta, the original homeland of the Sumerians .... appears to refer to Bactria at the eastern end of the "Great Khorasan Road".... the source of valuable gems and minerals, in particular lapis lazuli.....'Civilization' may have traveled from East to West along the Sun’s path rather than blossoming first in the land of the Two Rivers of Genesis....

Inanna.....Sumerian: Inanna; Akkadian: Ištar..... is the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare.

"Inanna can be considered the most prominent female deity in ancient Mesopotamia. As early as the Uruk period (ca. 4000–3100 BC), Inanna was associated with the city of Uruk. …. A Sacred Marriage to Inanna may have conferred legitimacy on a number of rulers of Uruk. Gilgamesh is reputed to have refused marriage to Inanna, on the grounds of her misalliance with such kings as Lugalbanda and Damuzi…..Inanna was associated with the celestial planet Venus. There are hymns to Inanna as her astral manifestation. It also is believed that in many myths about Inanna, including Inanna's Descent to the Underworld and Inanna and Shukaletuda, her movements correspond with the movements of Venus in the sky……Inanna also was associated with rain and storms and with the planet Venus, the morning and evening star….as was the Greco-Roman goddess Aphrodite or Venus….."….

"Uruk's fertility goddess, Inanna, "Queen of Heaven," the vase shows a procession in her honor. A long parade of naked priests winds their way up three tiers of friezes, returning first fruits to their source: animals and other good things to eat to sacrifice to the goddess.....The goddess herself stands at the top: robed, long-haired, and crowned with what appears to be the horned hat or head-dress that denotes a supreme deity. Not only may this be the first place where this divine sign appears; this may also be the first representation of the goddess in human form."......

"… The city Aratta is structured as a mirror image of Uruk, only Aratta has natural resources (i.e. gold, silver, lapis lazuli) that Uruk needs…..

"Aratta is described as follows in Sumerian literature:
It is a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them.
It is remote and difficult to reach.
It is home to the goddess Inana, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk.
It is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk.

"Boyce (1982:29-31) proposes that there was once a Perso-Elamite divinity named *Anahiti (as she reconstructs it from the Greek rendering of Anaitis, being otherwise unattested in old Persian) that was an analogue of Semitic Ishtar–Inanna. "That the concept [of *Anahiti] owes much to that of Ishtar was first suggested by H. Gressman, Archiv f. Religionswissenschaft XX, 1920, 35ff., 323ff."…..Boyce, Mary (1982), A History of Zoroastrianism, Vol. II, Leiden/Köln: Brill

4th-6th century silver and gilt Sassanian vessel, assumed to be depicting Anahita. (Cleveland Museum of Art)

"…What made Bactria sacred was a great temple of the ancient Iranian goddess, Anahit (in Pahlavi or Middle-Persian) and Anahita (Ânâhitâ) in the Avesta hymns. …The temple was so rich that often it attracted the needy Syrian kings who sat out to plunder it. In her name and honor, in Armenia, girls prostituted themselves. Anaitis was a Scythian goddess, but she is identified also as Assyrian Mylitta, the Arabian Alytta and the Greek Venus Urania. Artaxerxes Mnemon, one of the emperors of Achaemenid dynasty was among her devotees. She is also associated with the Persian Mithra. Her association with Zoroaster adds to her popularity…..

"Anahita & Balkh… the female protectress of the city, just as the ancient patroness of Balkh, Anahita goddess of the Oxus, was in Alexander’s day. Anahita’s magnificent gilded statue had been gifted by one of Darius’s predecessors, Artaxerxes II. Thousands had come to licentious rites in the precinct of the ‘High girdled one clad in a mantle of gold, on her head a golden crown with rays of light and a hundred stars clad in a robe of over thirty otter skins of shining fur’….

"…Inanna and the Mes….According to one story, Inanna tricked the god of culture, Enki, who was worshipped in the city of Eridu, into giving her the Mes. The Mes were documents or tablets which were blueprints to civilization. They represented everything from abstract notions like Victory and Counsel and Truth to technologies like weaving to writing to social constructs like law, priestly offices, kingship, and even prostitution. They granted power over, or possibly existence to, all the aspects of civilization (both positive and negative). Inanna traveled to Enki's city Eridu, and by getting him drunk, she got him to give her hundreds of Mes, which she took to her city of Uruk. Later, when sober, Enki sent mighty Abgallu (sea monsters, from ab, sea or lake + gal, big + lu, man) to stop her boat as it sailed the Euphrates and retrieve his gifts, but she escaped with the Mes and brought them to her city. This story may represent the historic transfer of power from Eridu to Uruk."….

"In the Mesopotamian pantheon Inanna is the daughter of the sky-god An, but also is depicted as the daughter of the moon-goddess Ningal and her consort Nanna. Alternately, she is the daughter of the god of wisdom Enki and sister to Ereshkigal (goddess of the underworld) and Utu the sun god. Her husband Dumuzi transforms in time (as Inanna does into Ishtar) into the dying-and-reviving god Tammuz and, annually at the autumn equinox, the people would celebrate the holy marriage rites of Inanna and Dumuzi as he returned from the underworld to mate again with Inanna, thus bringing the land to life. Her temples throughout Mesopotamia were numerous, and sacred prostitutes of both genders were employed to ensure the fertility of the earth and the continued prosperity of the communities."……

"It has indeed been proposed that Jiroft is Aratta, the seven-gated city, the mythical land of origins of the Sumerians which they situated past many mountains to the Orient. The only name of a king of Aratta recorded in Sumerian literature, Ensukeshdanna or Ensukushsiranna, bears some analogy to the Inshusinak who was the chief god of the Elamites of Khuzestan, on the ancient site of Susa which later became the meridional capital of the Achaemenid Kings of Kings as Cyrus himself was originally the ruler of Anzan, part of old Elam. Some six centuries before Cyrus became lord over Babylon, the Elamite monarchs of Susa had plundered the city and taken away some of its fabled landmarks, including the famous Stela (kudurru) of Hammurabi, thereby laying claim to the succession of the Sumero-Chaldean paramount kings."….

"Sumerian literature…..Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta - The goddess Inanna resides in Aratta, but Enmerkar of Uruk pleases her more than does the lord of Aratta, who is not named in this epic. Enmerkar wants Aratta to submit to Uruk, bring stones down from the mountain, craft gold, silver and lapis lazuli, and send them, along with "kugmea" ore to Uruk to build a temple. Inana bids him send a messenger to Aratta, who ascends and descends the "Zubi" mountains, and crosses Susa, Anshan, and "five, six, seven" mountains before approaching Aratta. Aratta in turn wants grain in exchange. However Inana transfers her allegiance to Uruk, and the grain gains the favor of Aratta's people for Uruk, so the lord of Aratta challenges Enmerkar to send a champion to fight his champion. Then the god Ishkur makes Aratta's crops grow."…..

"Aratta was originally taken to be an epithet of the Sumerian city Shuruppak related to its local name for the god Enlil; however that is no longer seen to be the case. Although Aratta is known only from myth, some Assyriologists and archaeologists have speculated on possible locations where Aratta could have been, using criteria from the myths:
Land travelers must pass through Susa and the mountainous Anshan region to reach it.
It is a source of, or has access to valuable gems and minerals, in particular lapis lazuli, that are crafted on site.
It is accessible to Uruk by watercourse, yet remote from Uruk.
It is close enough to march a 27th century BC Sumerian army there.
Other speculations referred to the early gem trade route, the "Great Khorasan Road" from Balkh to Mesopotamia, which ran through northern Iran.


September 2013

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico


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