Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Art of Anahita (400 BC)


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Aredvi Sura Anahita … Arədvī Sūrā Anāhitā … Ardwisur Anahid or Nahid … Anahit … Anaitis

"Anahita was the female protectress of Balkh … Anahita goddess of the Oxus, in Alexander’s day. Anahita’s magnificent gilded statue had been gifted by one of Darius’s predecessors, Artaxerxes II.... ‘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’….There is a long-standing tradition that an ancient shrine of Anahita was to be found here, a temple so rich it invited plunder....Another source of spiritual home that 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.".....

Statue of Anahita w/ Chariot in Maragha, Iran.

"The words sūra and anāhīta are generic Avestan language adjectives, and respectively mean "mighty" and "pure" (or "immaculate"). Both adjectives also appear as epithets of other divinities or divine concepts such as Haoma and the Fravashis… .Both adjectives are also attested in Vedic Sanskrit.".....Boyce, Mary (1983), "Anāhīd", Encyclopædia Iranica, 1, New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 1003–1009

"Anahita is the Old Persian form of the name of an Iranian goddess and appears in complete and earlier form as Aredvi Sura Anahita (Arədvī Sūrā Anāhitā); the Avestan language name of an Indo-Iranian cosmological figure venerated as the divinity of 'the Waters' (Aban) and hence associated with fertility, healing and wisdom. Aredvi Sura Anahita is Ardwisur Anahid or Nahid in Middle- and Modern Persian, Anahit in Armenian. An iconic shrine cult of Aredvi Sura Anahita, was – together with other shrine cults – "introduced apparently in the 4th century BCE and lasted until it was suppressed in the wake of an iconoclastic movement under the Sassanids."...

Temple d'Anahita - Site archéologique de Dohuk - Anahita's temple - Dohuk archaeological site - Dohuk - Dahouk - Dahuk" ... "Anahita, déesse de la mythologie perse, était la mère de Mithra le dieu-soleil."

“As a divinity of the waters (Abān), the yazata is of Indo-Iranian origin, according to Lommel related to Sanskrit Sarasvatī that, like its Proto-Iranian equivalent *Harahvatī, derives from Indo-Iranian *Saraswṇtī….. In its old Iranian form *Harahvatī, "her name was given to the region, rich in rivers, whose modern capital is Kandahar (Avestan Haraxvaitī, Old Persian Hara(h)uvati-, Greek Arachosia).”…..”Like the Indian Saraswati, [Aredvi Sura Anahita] nurtures crops and herds; and is hailed both as a divinity and the mythical river that she personifies, 'as great in bigness as all these waters which flow forth upon the earth'."

“Investiture scene: Anahita on the left as the patron yazata of the Sassanian dynasty behind Emperor Khosrau Parviz with Ahura Mazda presenting the diadem of sovereignty on the right. Taq-e Bostan, Iran…..Relief of Sasanian King Khosrow II, A.D. 6th - 7th century…..Bostan, Sassanids era, 224-651 CE Tagh-e Bostan, Sassanid Reliefs (224-651 BCE): The Sassanid kings chose a sensational setting for their rock reliefs Taghe-e-Bostan, four miles north-East of Kermanshah. A sacred spring gushes forth from a mountain cliff and empties into a large reflecting pool. In writer the entire scene is shrouded in mist and clouds.

A 4th century BCE depiction of Anahita, radiant and mounted on a lion, being worshipped by Artaxerxes II.

"The Aban Yasht, mostly in a very epical in style, has its roots deep in the pre-Zarathushtrian Aryan cult, which had, among other gods and goddesses, its male and female water deities. It presents Aredvi Sûrâ Anâhitâ, a specific river and a specific goddess. Grammatically the first word "Aredvi" is the name and the two following are the epithets. Again, since grammatically "water" is feminine in gender, the name and the two epithets are also feminine. ....The secondary meaning of "anâhitâ" as "undefiled" .... .....The Aredvi River... flows down with mighty volume from Mount Hukairya to the Vouru-kasha Sea....Several rivers of the Central Asia could be Aredvi. It could be Oxus, modern Amu Darya. It rises from the Pamirs and today flows into Lake Ural. But once, it poured into the Caspian Sea.....The odds are in favor of the Amu Darya, a river where the Indo-Iranians lived together before moving southward to split into two. There is a possibility that the upper roaring part of the river was called Aredvi and the lower lake-full as Harakhvaiti. The Avestan people, moving in almost the same terrain, retained the memory better and later applied her names to other prominent rivers along which they settled in due course. And for the early inland Aryan settlers, the Caspian was "Vouru-kasha," quite the "broad-shore" sea.".....

Head and left hand from a bronze cult statue of Anahita, a local goddess shown here in the guide of Aphrodite, 200-100 BC, British Museum

“Yazata is the Avestan language word for a Zoroastrian concept. The word has a wide range of meanings but generally signifies (or is an epithet of) a divinity. The term literally means "worthy of worship" or "worthy of veneration”…..Boyce, Mary (2001), Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, London: Routledge

“Aredvi Sura Anahita (Ardvisur Nahid) is both a divinity of the waters as well as a rushing world river that encircles the earth, which is blocked up by Angra Mainyu (Ahriman) thus causing drought. The blockage is removed by Verethragna (Vahram), and Tishtrya (Tir) gathers up the waters and spreads them over the earth (Zam) as rain. In stories with eschatological significance, Sraosha (Sarosh), Mithra (Mihr), and Rashnu (Rashn) are guardians of the Chinvat bridge, the bridge of the separator, across which all souls must pass.”

“Yazata- is originally an Avestan language adjective derived from the verbal root yaz- "to worship, to honor, to venerate". From the same root comes Avestan yasna "worship, sacrifice, oblation, prayer". A yazata is accordingly "a being worthy of worship" or "a holy being".

“As the stem form, yazata- has the inflected nominative forms yazatō, pl. yazatåŋhō. These forms reflect Proto-Iranian *yazatah and pl. *yazatāhah. In Middle Persian the term became yazad or yazd, pl. yazdān, continuing in New Persian as izad.
Related terms in other languages are Sanskrit yájati "he worships, he sacrifices", yajatá- "worthy of worship, holy", yajñá "sacrifice", and perhaps also Greek ἅγιος hagios "devoted to the gods, sacred, holy".
In Pokorny's comparative dictionary on Indo-European languages, the author considers Yazata-, yaz-, yasna, yájati, yajñá, ἅγιος hagios to all be derivatives of a Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root i̪agʲ- (i̪ag´-) "religiös verehren" ("religiously venerate"). However, some partially derivative authorities, such as Calvert Watkins' PIE Roots appendix to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, give no indication that Greek ἅγιος hagios is still considered a reflex of this PIE root.”….

“Venerate me and make offerings.”

“ In the Gathas, the yazatas are effectively what the daevas are not; that is, the yazatas are to be worshipped while the daevas are to be rejected.”…

“There is reference to Mithra as being born of "Anahita, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of the Lord Mithras". Anahita was said to have conceived the Mithras from the seed of Zarathustra preserved in the waters of Lake Hamun in the Persian province of Sistan. …. Lake Hamun was the keeper of Zoroaster's seed. And when the world's end is at hand , three maidens will enter the lake, and afterwards will give birth to the Saoshyants who will then be the "final saviors" of mankind. …..In other, contradictory traditions, he is also born without any sex but from the rock wall of a cave. One must know that there were separate Mithra traditions that may have changed and been adapted over time. This information comes from a Temple that bears this inscription dedicated to Anahita and dated to about 200 B.C.E.. “….


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