Sunday, 9 October 2016

Ancient Canaan, Kathirat, Athtar, Elsh, Baal, Eshmun, Molech

Kotharat (was thought to be Kathirat) 'skillful' They are a group of goddesses associated with conception and childbirth. '...The swallow-like daughters of the crescent moon.' (Gibson p. 106). They are also associated with the new moon. They attend Daniel for seven days to aid in the conception of Aqhat and receive his sacrifice.

 Athtar (Ashtar, 'Athtar, Atra of the sky) 'the terrible' He is a son of Athirat, possibly a god of the desert or of artificial irrigation. He is sometimes a suitor of Pidray. As the great god of the Sabeans and Himyar (both South Arabian states), he was identified with Venus and was sired by the moon on the sun. He looses his kingship to Yam at the behest of El and is warned off from an attack on Yam by Shapshu. He complains to her of his lack of status, palace and court.
Canaan God

He attempts to take Baal's place at his throne while Baal is dead, but he is too small for the seat and rejects it, becoming king of the earth instead. Sheger ('offspring of cattle') He is the god of cattle
Ithm He is the god of sheep Hirgab He is the father of the eagles. S,umul She is the mother of the eagles. She ate the body of Aqhat.

Elsh He is the steward (carpenter?) of El and of Baal's house. His wife is the stewardess (carpenter?) of the goddesses. Sha'taqat 'drives away' She is the flying demoness who drives away Keret's disease on behalf of El with a touch of her wand to his head. 'god(s) of the fathers' They are ancestral or clan deities, commonly associated with one family or another, outside of the main pantheon.
Nikkal-and-Ib 'great lady and clear/bright/fruit' or 'Great goddess of fruit' (Ningal) She is possibly the daughter of Dagon of Tuttul, or else of Khirkhib. She is romanced by Yarikh and marries him after Yarikh arranges a brideprice with Khirkhib and pays it to her parents.

Khirkhib (was thought to be Hiribi), king of summer, king of the raiding season (autumn) He is probably a Hurrian deity. He acts as a matchmaker between Yarikh and Nikkal-and-Ib, initially trying to dissuade Yarikh from pursuing her suggesting Pidray and Ybrdmy as alternative choices.
Dagon of Tuttul He is a Syrian version of Dagon, and the probable father of Nikkal-and-Ib. Ugarit's Dagon was the father of Baal and may have been identified with El. There were also temples to Dagon in Mari and Emar. To the Phoenicians, he was a god of wheat and the inventor of the plow. The Philistines adopted him as their own and depicted him with the upper torso of a man and the back half of a fish. (See also the Assyro-Babylonian Dagan and the Hittite Kumarbi)
Baal-Shamen(Baal-Shamain) 'lord of the skies'

Lord of the Assembly of the gods at Gubla. He was the great god of the Aramaean kingdoms of Hama and Laash and the protector of their rulers. Milqart (Melqart, Baal Tsur, Milkashtart?) - 'king of the city', the hunter, 'fire of heaven'. Patron god of Tyre, he was the god of the Metropolis and of the monarchy at Tyre and Carthage. His cult spread throughout the Mediterranean region, but has not been found at second millenium sites. As with the Babylonian Nergal/Erra, he has been identified with Heracles archetypes. Greek sources imply that he was a dying and rising vegetation god, and that he was associated with the sacred marriage like the Sumerian god, Dumuzi. He was ritually immolated in an annual festival. He was also a god of the sea and was pictured mounted on a hippocampus.

Eshmun 'the holy prince' He was a god of healing and the great god in Sidon. He was known in Tyre, Cyprus, and Carthage, but not in Ugarit. In the 5th century AD, Damascius identified him with the Greek god Asclepius. Chaos gods, Death Gods, and Baneful gods. Yam (Nahar, Yaw, Lotan?, Leviathan?) He is god of sea and rivers, he dwells in a palace under the sea. He carries a feud with Baal. He may have had in his following a dragon (tnn) which lives in the sea, a serpent (btn), and/or Lotan/Leviathan, or may have been all of those creatures.

He is given kingship by El. He threatens vast destruction until El names him 'beloved of El' and sends him on his way to oust Baal. Upbraided by Kothar-and-Khasis, he dispatches messengers to El to demand the delivery of Baal. Baal strikes him with Yagrush and Chaser in the chest and forehead, knocking him down. He is slain and scattered at the urging of Athtart. The battle may have been representative of rough winter sea-storms which calmed in the spring and which were preceded and accompanied by autumn rains which ended summer droughts and enabled crops to grow.

Arsh: The 'darling of the gods', a monstrous attendant of Yam, slain by Anat. Arsh lives in the sea.
Atik: The 'calf of El', an enemy of Baal. Slain by Anat. Ishat (fire) The 'bitch of the gods', an enemy of Baal, slain by Anat. Zabib (flame? flies?) The daughter of El, an enemy of Baal, slain by Anat.
Mot (-and-Shar) 'Death and Prince/Dissolution/Evil' 'the beloved one'- Mot is the god of sterility, death, and the underworld. In one hand he holds the scepter of bereavement, and in the other the scepter of widowhood. His jaws and throat are described in cosmic proportions and serve as a euphemism for death. When he has influence over Shapshu, it is unusually hot and dry. He sits on a pit for a throne in the city of Miry in the underworld.

Prior to the conception of the gracious gods, he is pruned and felled like a vine by the vine dressers. He is favored by El following Baal's defeat of Yam and Baal refuses him tribute. When Baal's messengers deliver him an invitation to feast at Baal's new palace, he is insulted that he is offered bread and wine and not the flesh he hungers for. In fact, he threatens to defeat Baal as Baal did Leviathan, causing the sky to wilt and then eat Baal himself. Baal would then visit his palace in the underworld. He is pleased that Baal submits to him. Baal goes to the underworld and either he or his substitute is eaten by Mot. Presumably the sons of Athirat had some part in his death.

After seven years of famine, Anat seizes Mot, splits, winnows, sows and grinds him like corn. Baal eventually returns and defeats Mot's allies. After seven years Mot returns and demands Baal's brother, lest he wipe out humanity. Baal rebuffs him and the two have a mighty battle, but are separated by Shapshu who declares Baal to have E 's favor. 'The yellow ones of Mot' Mot's henchmen who are slain by Baal upon his return. Horon He is probably a chthonic deity. Resheph 'prince Resheph' is the god of pestilence. aklm - 'the devourers' These are some creatures who fought Baal-Hadad in the desert, they remind some of grasshoppers. Rephaim (Rpum) - 'shades'

These are deities of the underworld whom Daniel meets in his journey there. They may have been involved in negotiations with him for the return of his son Aqhat. Eight of them led by Repu-Baal (Rapiu? Baal?) arrive at a feast given by El in chariots, on horseback, and on wild asses. Molech (Melech, Malik, Milcom?, Milqart?) Not explicitly found in the Ugarit texts, Molech is a bit of an enigma. He shows up in the Old Testament in Leviticus 18 and 20, 1 Kings 11, 2 Kings 23, and Jeremiah 32. From that he appears to be a god of the Ammonites - a region west of the Jordon – it is said that worshipers there, sacrificed children in fires at temples, some of which were in the Valley of Hinnom, i.e. Gehenna, just south of Jerusalem.

The Old Testament also names the similarly spelt "Milcom" as a god of the Ammonites leading to the suspicion that they are the same god. Molech is probably not the original name of the deity. There has been a good deal of argument as to whether Molech could be identified with another foreign deity and which deity that would be, or whether molech was simply a term which referred to child sacrifice of any sort. The Canaanite gods Mot and Milqart of Tyre, and the Mesopotamian god Nergal, whom it is believed is somewhere referred to as Malik=king, are a couple of the prime candidates for being Molech.

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