Site Section Links
KRONOS Vol VIII, No. 1
ON COMETS, COMET-LIKE LUMINOUS APPARITIONS AND METEORS (CONCLUDED)
Copyright (C) 1967 & 1982 by Ilse Fuhr and Otto Harrassowitz Verlag
3. Gods and Stars
Allam(32) cites information from Aelian according to which the Egyptian goddess Hathor - in her manifestation as Mistress of Cusae - was considered by the Greeks of Hellenistic times to be the equivalent of Aphrodite Urania, a goddess with an epithet not claimed by any other Greek goddess.(33) But Aphrodite Urania was also the name of a "meteor" goddess of Aphaca at Byblos in Syria, (34) a goddess identical to the Syrian 'Attart (Astart-Astarte), who was merged with the goddess 'Anath and became Atargatis before the time of Israel's prophets.(35) According to an ancient source, a "meteor" was expected on a certain day of the year - and this celestial appearance was supposed to have been the goddess herself - which was to plunge from the heights of Lebanon into the river Adonis (or, according to others, into the Lake el-Jammuneh), and would thereby initiate the celebration in honor of 'Attart. At the time of the service, a light like a torch(36) or a fireball was to have been seen in the sanctuary.(37)
This report is clearly an indication of a periodically appearing astral light apparition. And this could only have been a comet, identified with the goddess, since meteors are not periodically returning heavenly objects. In the time of Mithridates the Great, such an appearance was equated with the goddess Isis.
In referring to Urania, Herodotus (I, 131) means Aphrodite Urania and he designates her as Alilat ('Allat) when he speaks of her worship by the Arabs (Herodotus III, 8). 'Allat, according to Dussaud, (38) is to be associated with the planet Venus and its manifestations as Manatal (evening star) and al-Uzza (morning star). It is significant to note that, in southern Arabia, it is said of 'Attar that he - as Mandah bears the epithet of one "who returns from time to time". This, according to Höfner, can denote either a periodically visible planet or a periodically recurring rain. The epithet which the identical god in Qataban possesses is even clearer: "the one in motion" - a designation that can hardly be explained in the context of the ascent and descent of the celestial body alone.
In northern and central Arabia, the deity of the evening star is the goddess Ruda, who likewise possesses a masculine counterpart. She is depicted unclothed with horizontally extended arms "and holds a semi-circular shape which, touching the crown or back of her head (or extending from that point towards both sides? [!] ), stretches from one hand to the other"(40) (Fig. 5).
[*!* Image] Fig. 5. Déesse Safaïique - The goddess Ruda, goddess of the evening star. According to R. Dussard (see n. 38), fig. 30, p. 143. Above her right arm is a small circle with rays which is interpreted to mean a star.
Dussaud associates this half-circle with the veil of Aphrodite. Others speak of loosened hair, or a rainbow, and some see in this a depiction of the Sun (Höfner, et al.).
A similar conception emerges from the depiction on an Etruscan bronze mirror from Orvieto: a figure, visible from head to chest with a sun-like nimbus and fully extended arms - holds a sphere in each hand from each of which three wave-like rays reach upwards. The supposition here is that these are the morning and evening stars - but why then the wave-like rays? (Jacobsthal classifies these orbs as "lightning".(41)) One would only have to elongate them in order to obtain an image similar to that of the goddess Ruda (Fig 6).
A cylinder seal of the Kassite period (Fig. 7)(42) demonstrates an almost identical conception. The semi-circular shape which, in related depictions, is either curved over the head of the goddess or hangs behind her mostly unclothed body, between one hand and the other, is generally interpreted as a "veil"; we believe that an archetypal image, which was extensively widespread and visible to many peoples and found artistic expression in this particular form, is the basis for this "veil".
[*!* Image] Fig. 6. Detail from an Etruscan bronze mirror found at Orvieto. Sketch according to Vacano, Die Etruska, pl. 77, p. 179 (E. Gerhard, Etruskische Spiegel, Berlin, 1843-1897, vol. V, pl. 158).
Fig. 7. Cylinder seal of the Kassite period approx. 14th century B.C. Sketch according to Moortgat, Vorderasiatische Rollsiegel, pl. 63, no. 527, from Assur.
Thus the naked goddess on a small terracotta tablet from Alalakh (Fig. 8), (43) who carries birds in her hands, is depicted with a "veil" instead of locks; and this during a period when figures of this type were represented almost without exception with a "Hathor coiffure". In the "veil", the lower part of the omega-symbol is clearly recognizable. Behind the upper arms, or perhaps in front of the neck, one can recognize the upper part of the symbol. It is the identical "veil" which, repeating the omega-shaped contour of the curls - approximately six centuries later - hangs from the hips of the naked goddess on a relief from Carchemish (Fig. 9).*
[*!* Image] Fig. 8. Small terracotta tablet from Alalakh. Conventionally dated between 1358 and 1285 B.C. Sketch according to M.-Th. Barrelet (see n. 43), fig.9, p.42.
Fig. 9. "Istar"-relief from Carchemish, 8th century B.C. Sketch according to H. Th. Sossert, Altanatolien, no. 861. See M. Riemschneider, Die Welt der Hethiter (Stuttgart, 1954), pl. 42.
The "virgin" in the zodiac of the floor mosaic of the Synagogue of Beth Alpha (Jezreel-Plain) (517-528 A.D.) was depicted - true to the original - with an omega-shaped "veil" (Fig. 10); (44) similarly this "veil" arches over the Great Mother in a distant region of the Asiatic continent (Fig. 11 ).(45)
Other evidence of this nature could easily be documented, except that the later the examples, the more pronounced the generalizations are and, ultimately, the "veil" becomes a stereotypic attribute which is assigned to the so-called windgods and Nereids, who are hardly ever mentioned by name.
On the basis of the description by Pliny the Elder (Nat. Hist. II, 90), W. Gundel(46) believes that a "head"-comet appeared in ancient times.
[*!* Image] Fig. 10. The "virgin" from the zodiac of the floor mosaic in the Synagogue of Beth Alpha (Jezreel-Plain).
Fig. 11. Rockdrawing on the shore of Jenissei at Minussinksk. According to Aspelin (see n. 45).
The nucleus of the luminous appearance was the head, and the rays were the hair. It is significant to note that Pliny does not mention a "body". This must have led to the "entire anthropomorphic idea, namely, that a comet is a higher being similar to a human which, due to its power, ranks significantly above the other astral spirits and which reappears from time to time"; but perhaps an older legend, the basis for which is the appearance of a comet in the constellation of Virgo, is only concealed in this later version.
Hephaistion(47) actually describes the appearance of a comet named Eileithyia. It has the face of a virgin with conspicuously golden hair and rays. Since Hephaistion refers to it as "comet of Eileithyia", Boll(48) believes that this comet came from a constellation named Eileithyia (similarly, the comet which appeared in the constellation of the Great Bear, Typhon in Egyptian, was called Typhon).
In addition, Boll thinks it conceivable that the name of the constellation Eileithyia - which places the goddess of the pregnant in the sky - emerged from the name of a Babylonian constellation which, according to Hommel, (49) was called a "star" (or "constellation") of the "pregnant woman".
Boll has also pointed out the great difficulty(50) in distinguishing between "star" and "constellation" in the astrological-astronomical texts of the Babylonians, since the same expression is used for both.*
Furthermore, he notes that the Greeks - whose knowledge was to a great extent premised on that of the Babylonians - referred to comets by the same names as they did to planets, (51) on the basis of commonly shared coloration. Thus, for example, in the list of Hephaistion, the comet Hippeus is not only named after Aphrodite, but actually is Aphrodite (= Venus) as other comets actually are other planets.
Comets - visible in the sky for months - must have found their way into historical, literary, or astrological texts. How far the tangible equating of planets with comets by Greek authors can be traced back to their Babylonian teachers is, for the time being, beyond our knowledge. According to Schaumberger, (52) a cuneiform tablet from the library of Assurbanipal reports of a certain conjunction of Venus with the constellation of Gemini during the month of Ajaru (Airu); he calculates the time of this observation as corresponding to a period during the dynasty of Akkad! (53) In its formulation, this text is hardly distinguishable from more recent texts, i.e., all astronomical-astrological reports are not necessarily premised on observations made during Neo-Babylonian times. We have already seen that one of the astrological tablets is based on the appearance of a comet (or meteor) in very ancient times (see KRONOS VII:4, pp. 54-55 and nn. 9 and 10).
The text cited by Jastrow(54) speaks of a "comet" ([Mul] U-Neg-Ga) which, however, darts like a meteor (kakkabu rabû) from one corner of the heavens to another and disappears, an occurrence which can under no condition apply to a comet. In the texts, the designations for both heavenly bodies are used interchangeably and present difficulties which Boll could not clarify.
A curious epithet for Istar - singular to this planetary deity - is preserved in the Omen Texts(55) and in a hymn.(56) She is "decorated with a beard" ("bearded") - a formulation in which, Jastrow believes, is visualized the image of a glittering, trembling Venus star. A school text (K. 137) provides an astrological interpretation for every month during which Istar-Venus "decorated with a beard" ascends.
Schaumberger(57) dedicates a part of his work to this phenomenon and refers to a passage in a text(58) where the "hair-stars of the Pleiades, appearing in close proximity to Venus, are regarded as the latter's beard"; the fact, however, that Venus can have a beard during every month of the year is explained away by him.(59) It would not have been difficult to apply this curious epithet to a comet; "decorated with a beard" is a characterization still commonly applied to tail-stars. Such a comet could very well have been "decorated with a beard" in every month of the year during which it appeared, as long as its orbital path - like those of many later comets - ran parallel to the Earth.
Perhaps a peculiar designation for Inanna [Venus] who, in a Sumerian hymn, is twice referred to as "the strange star" can be explained in this connection.(60) Once again, the thought comes to mind that either a similar appearance was concealed in this paraphrase, or that the star - whose embodiment was viewed as the goddess - was masked in appearance by such a tail-star. Far more than in other areas of inquiry, one is operating on shaky ground with such assumptions, since it is hardly possible to ascertain what is to be regarded as a metaphor and what is to be taken literally as a statement. When the same Inanna "dances like a tornado in the midst of chaos", (61) it is not difficult to think of an unusual event in the night sky, or even during the day, with which the people of that age could only deal by means of such reports which seem utterly fantastic to us. It is a fact that "distant" stars shine through the radiant gas envelope of a comet's tail and even through its coma, which, however, changes its appearance peculiarly ("strangely"). Thus the extraordinary in the usual, the loss of luminescence, the "veiled" appearance of one of the best known stars (or constellations?) is given expression.
There is no doubt that, before the time of the "Chaldeans", more than one such appearance was observed over the centuries; and it can only be attributed to chance that not more references of this nature are known to us. The transposition of real events into the supernatural domain of the gods and the assignment to myth also create great difficulties. Additional problems are due to the multitude of paraphrasing expressions as well as the use of language which abounds with metaphors; these two factors make it difficult to separate fantasy from reality. In addition, our main source, the Omen Texts, is compromised by related astrological speculations which cause this field of inquiry to be suspect to many scientists on a priori grounds. Despite all of this, however, actual astronomical observations must be the fundamental basis for these texts, a fact which is repeatedly emphasized by those investigators who deal with these matters.(62)
It is a crucial point that those goddesses who are intricately linked to lightning and comet-like light apparitions are also always intertwined with events that pertain to pregnancy and birth. Eileithyia, after whom a comet was even named, is the Greek goddess of birth. Juno Lucina was involved with the delivery of Alkmene, and she is invoked for the protection of mother and child.(63) In the grove and temple of Juno on the Esquiline, women were only allowed to "sacrifice with untied knots which is related to the widespread belief that knots interfere with delivery".(64) The Etruscan Menrva and her Roman successor Minerva were - like the Etruscan Uni, who was later incorporated into the goddess Juno - lightning and birth goddesses; and Minerva is sometimes represented as holding a child.(65)
Hathor of Cusae, the manifestation of the great Egyptian goddess, who is equated with the meteor goddess of Aphaca - Aphrodite Urania - cannot be distinguished from the "Hathors" who step into action as midwives; even in the cult of Hathor a certain knot plays an important role, which has until now not been properly explained. And, significantly (in an admittedly late reference) Athene in Elis, who is often depicted with lightning, is called - like Demeter and Gê - Meter (Mother) which, according to Nilsson, (67) is founded etiologically on the immediate conception of women following a prayer to Athene. This report by Pausanias (V, 3, 2) reminds one of Athene's origin as an ancient Minoan home and palace goddess, with all her motherly and protective characteristics; a relationship of this goddess also to vegetation is reflected in a festival where all Athenian officials sacrificed to her at the end of the winter season.(68)
The zodiac image of "Virgo" (Parthenos) was known to the Greeks by the name of their birth goddess Eileithyia; in later texts she became equated with the goddess Isis whose identification with a fiery celestial apparition is also conveyed to us (see KRONOS VII:4, p. 59, n. 3).
A unique representation of the "Virgin" ("Virgo") in the Greek zodiac exists in the so-called "Twelve-Gods-Altar from Gabii" in the Louvre: she holds a torch in each hand. The same attribute was assigned to the "Virgin" on astrological coins from Alexandria. But the goddess Eileithyia, too, could be represented with two torches in her hands.(70)
Plutarch referred to the brand with which the sacred cows of Anaitis were marked as "torch of the deity" (cf. n. 36), (70a) and twice Istar is also bestowed with the same epithet - "torch".(71)
The motherly character of Istar is emphasized in a variety of ways. She can be called "birth giver" or "birth helper" and is considered to be the "goddess of women" who "performs birth".(72) According to Edzard, Inanna (Istar) may never be confused with the mother goddess.(73) Gradually, however, "almost all female deities of a similar nature" became merged in the figure of Istar(74) - like Baba, Mah (= Ninmah), Nana, Nintu, and Ninhursanga. As Ninmah, Ninhursanga is later also depicted as a standing naked woman with folded hands.(75)
The approximate date at which the division of one universally assumed archetypal mother into so many goddesses, with so many names and such varied functions, began cannot be individually pinpointed. However, one should consider that all of the hypostases of one primal deity are evident in them. This means that in each of them is a part of the heritage of the Great Mother Goddess which none of them will completely lose. The syncretism which took place over the centuries has erased the characteristic features, and in many instances it makes a precise distinction barely possible.(76)
Two examples may serve as proof of the manner in which a merger of deities occurred; very likely both cases deal with the works of priests so that speculative intentions are not to be excluded.
Ninurta gives the hill of stones, which he erected over the Kur, the name Hursag (= mountain) and establishes his mother Ninmah as its queen (Ninhursanga); (77) Kramer refers to Ninmah as only another name for Ninhursanga.(78) And in the legend of "Istar's ascendance" it is written: "To the Goddess Innin whom you love/ hand over the execution of your orders/ let her be Antu/ the wife who is your equal/ let her be elevated to your name . . ."; whereupon Anu confirms: "In correspondence with my name/ let your name be: Venerable Antu."(79)
These corresponding and superimposed names become clear even in the relatively small number of ancient Mesopotamian symbols; however, some deities claim several of them simultaneously. In general, the symbols for gods show great continuity; when viewed iconographically they remain nearly the same over a period of centuries - they are, in the words of Moortgat, (80) "timeless" and most likely there is hardly any change in their meaning.(81) Prior to the appearance of the omega-shaped symbol, nothing is known about a "sign" of the mother goddess Ninhursanga. The symbol assigned to her emerges as a god-emblem during the Isin-Larsa period (3rd millennium B.C.) and undergoes some unusual transformations. If one explains the omega-shaped symbol as a depiction of a comet-like light apparition, as we wish to propose, then it becomes clear that the great variety of representations is due to the changes in appearance of such celestial objects.
From Pliny we know of the "comet of Eileithyia", which was a tailstar, and that it resembled "a beautiful virgin". It is also entirely conceivable that it appeared in the zodiac constellation "Virgo". A conclusion which is self-evident is the assumption that both possibilities here apply, as well as to the earlier appearance of such a "hair" star. Whether it eclipsed the Inanna-Istar star or whether it itself possessed a conspicuously brilliant nucleus - in both cases the reference can be to the bright luminous flux (coma) which is perceived as a hairdo or locks ("coiffure hathorique") around the head of the goddess who is embodied in the star. As proof of this point, one may cite the extraordinary prevalence of this hair fashion in the pictorial art of all ancient cultures in the Near East and the Mediterranean region. The same applies to the "veil" which, in many cases, represents the stereotypic attribute of the same goddess and the forms in which she appears.
The evident connection between such a conspicuous appearance in the sky, and the concepts and events which revolve around pregnancy and birth, can perhaps be explained by means of an extant omen text from which was previously quoted: "When a Great Star (kakkabu rabû) blazes from the northern to the southern direction, and displays a tail like a scorpion during its appearance, then pregnant women will abort their fruit."(82) This text, especially, can be dated back to a time long before the Neo-Babylonian period due to the following colophon: "This is according to a commemorative tablet 'When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Elam'." However, before such an interpretation had become customary, in order to be drawn upon by the prognosticators for their own purposes, a long period of time with many experiences must have passed first. In medieval manuscripts one can read that women gave birth prematurely out of fear of such celestial appearances; it is only a small step from this to an apotropaion. It is a widely held and very ancient belief that whatever hurts heals, and that which opens wounds also closes them.
From the examples presented by Blackman and Kriss, (83) we know that the apotropaic spiral pendants were worn as protective measures against miscarriages until the time for delivery had come - only thereafter were they removed. Today, as many centuries ago, these spiral pendants merely represent the primitive surrogate for a religious symbol.
The considerable prevalence of this sign, with its significance as a "lightning symbol", also explains the acceptance of this sign by males. (While it might be justified when worn as an amulet around the neck of a boy until about the age of seven, as the "indispensable eye-glass" in the graves of Scythian males it becomes quite incomprehensible.(84)) The connection, however, with such an impressive celestial body - as a comet - would allow this phenomenon to appear quite natural. The same applies to the incorporation of this symbolic figure into Sarmatian signs of property and social rank (Tamgen).
Still remaining to be explained is the "knot" which, in the form of intertwined omega symbols, survived as a "Heracles-knot" into the post-Roman era and as a "love-knot" to the present. Possibly, the answer to this question can be found in the description which Pliny (Nat. Hist. II, 91)(85) gives of the comet Typhon when he refers to it as "a spiral-shaped, rolled-up, fiery knot". The general populace (Volk) always recognizes only one comet; (86) and if there had ever been a comet like the one called Typhon which we encounter in so many legendary reports, a comet whose form changed like a knot, then one could see in this the reason for the connection between knots and events dealing with birth.
The connection between the omega-shaped symbol, which appeared relatively late, and the ancient Sumerian mother goddess Ninhursanga could not until now be deduced from texts and treatises. On account of the later analogies to spiral amulets and knot-magic, two peculiarities which can be traced quite far back into antiquity and which cannot be separated - in spite of expressions like "amulet" and "magic" - from beliefs which were actually held, it appears to us quite certain that this symbol and its derivations must represent a symbol of a mother goddess.
The pertinent fact that no distinguishing symbols exist for an enormous number of mother goddesses - with the possible exception of the "cow and calf" group - leads us to assume that we are dealing here with a symbol which was assigned exclusively to the mother goddess, whether women invoked her as Ninhursanga, Ninmah, or by any of her many other names.
At the end of this discussion we present an illustration of the extant upper part of a terracotta figurine from Parthian or Sassanian times (Fig. 12).(87) Her headdress, placed precisely over the forehead, features a decoration in the form of an omega-shaped symbol or a double spiral. It can only be conjectured that this is a goddess; however, it is certain that it represents a mother who is hugging a child!
[*!* Image]. Terracotta figurine (fragment) from Oarthian or Sassanian times. Sketch according to Ph. Ackerman, cf. N. 87.
NOTES32. Schafik Allam, Beiträge zum Hathorkult (bis zum Ende des Mittleren Reiches). Müchner Aegyptologische Studien (Berlin, 1963), p. 25 and n. 4. (Aelian, De Natura Animalium X, 27).
33. Martin Nilsson, Geschichte der Griechischen Religion I (Munich, 1955), pp. 520-521. [Cf. D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn", Part I, KRONOS VII:1, pp. 59 ff. - LMG]
34. G. A. Wainwright, "Amun's Meteorite and Omphaloi" in Zeitschrift für Aegyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, Vol. 71 (1935), p. 43. On Aphaca, see Ludan, De Dea Syria, par 9; Zosimus 1.58; Eusebius Pamphilus, De Vita Constantini III. iv (in J. -P. Migne ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus, ser. Graeca XX, col. 1120); Sozomen, Historia Ecclesiastica II. v. in Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus, ser. Graeca, LXVII, col.948.
35. Marvin H. Pope and Wolfgang Röllig, "Syrien" in Wörterbuch der Mythologie (Stuttgart, 1965) 1/2. In the Canaanite region 'Attart, a feminine version of the masculine (sometimes also androgynous) 'Attar-Astar, embodied the evening star, whereas in Syria this deity represented the morning star, and in southern Arabia it represented both stars (Pope-Röllig, p. 209); both of these deities cannot be distinguished from the Mesopotamian Istar or her manifestations and the planets assigned to her. The "Astarte-Papyrus", which is dated to the 18th or 19th Dynasties of the New Kingdom, already refers to the Phoenician Astarte as "daughter of Ptah" (J. A. Wilson, in his introduction to the translation of the Astarte-Papyrus, in Pritchard, ANET, p. 17).
36. Eduard Meyer, "Anaitis" in Mythologisches Lexikon I, Roscher, ed., col. 331. Meyer, who mentions among others the Berosus fragment 16 of Clem. Alex. prot. 1, 5 and Herodotus I, 131, with regard to the equation of Anaitis with Aphrodite, also cites Plutarch, Lucullus 24: "Cows, which have been branded with the torch of the goddess as a symbol, are sacred to her (Anaitis)." We consider it therefore hardly a coincidence when, on an ivory carving from Megiddo, a certain mark appears on the body of a cow in a shape which is comparable to our symbol (see Fig. 4). The great herds of cattle which the Roman soldiers encountered at Melitene (Armenia) which were consecrated to Anahita, the "Persian Artemis", were only kept as sacrificial animals (G. Widengren, Die Religion Irans (Stuttgart, 1965), pp. 183 and 228). In J. Burckhardt, Die Zeit Constantins des Grossen (Vienna, n.d.), p. 121 (Eusebius, Vita Const. III, 55) and p. 124 (Apuleius, Metamorphoses VIII), the personifications of the Great Goddess are invoked one after the other: "Dea Syria . . . et Bellona et mater Idaea cum suo Adone Venus domina . . ." But Bellona possesses in Anaitis her alter ego.
[*!* Image] Fig. 4. Ivory carving from Megiddo, conventionally dated to the 2nd half of the fourteenth to twelfth century B.C. Sketch according to C. Loud, The Megiddo Ivories (Chicago, 1939), pl. 51, 225b. [cf. Ages in Chaos where a downdating of 500 years is called for. – LMG]37. Pope-Röllig, "Syrien", pl. 252.
38. René Dussaud, La Pénétration des Arabes en Syrie avant l'Islam, Bibl. archéol. et histor. 59 (Paris, 1955), p. 46. Cf. L'Abbe Starcky, "Quelques aspects de la religion des Nabatéens" in Proceedings of the First International Conference on the History andArchaeology of Jordan (Oxford, 1980). Starcky describes Allat as follows: "It is especially in this second Nabatean capital and in the neighboring village of Salkhad that she appears to be the chief divinity. On one of the pyres discovered in this latter locality in Hauran, Allat is called 'lady of al-Atar'. Rather than a geographical term, one should see in it the Iranian word 'atar': fire, pyre. The same link is found also in Palmyra. Allat is thus the lady of the pyre. The Arabic character of the Nabatean pantheon does not thus exclude outside influences."
39. Maria Höfner, "Südarabien" in Wörterbuch der Mythologie I/4 (Stuttgart, 1965), p. 498.
40. M. Höfner, "Nord- und Zentralarabien" in Wörterbuch der Mythologie I/3, p. 463.
41. P. Jacobsthal, Der Blitz in der orientalischen und griechischen Kunst (Berlin, 1906), p. 39.
42. Anton Moortgat, Vorderasiatische Rollsiegel (Berlin, 1940), pl. 63, no. 527 (=VA 51900), text p. 52. - (W. Andrae, Die jüngeren Ischtar-Tempel. Wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 58 (Leipzig-Berlin), p. 81, ill. 55). "She seems to lift her veil."
43. L. Woolley, Alalakh (1955), p. 247, pl. LIV A.T. 39240. Cited according to Marie Thérèse Barrelet, "Deux Déesses Syro-Phéniciennes sur un Bronze du Louvre, " Syria 35 (1958), (Fig. 9), p. 42.
44. Barrich, Kanael, Die Kunst der Antiken Synagoge (Munich, 1961), ill. 61. Cf. Watzinger, Denkmäler Palästinas II (Leipzig, 1933), pl. 20, ill.49; and Ludwig Voelke, "Zusammenhänge der antiken und frühchristlichen Symbolwelt", Das Münster, 16 (1953), vol. 7/8, ill. 61, p. 266.
45. J. Reinhard Aspelin, Antiquités du Nord Finno-ougrien (Helsingfors, 1877-84), p. 76, ill. 345. Lacks a dating.
46. W. Gundel, Naive Ansichten über Wesen, Herkuntt und Wirkung der Kometen (Hessische Blätter für Volkskunde VIII, 1908), pp. 84-85.
47. Hephaistion 1, 24. Cf. Gundel in Realencyclopädie XXI (=11, 1), 1921, col. 1152.
48. Franz Boll, Sphaera (Leipzig, 1903), p. 214.
49. F. Hommel, Aufsätze und Abhandlungen, 1890; 1901-1902, p. 413. Quoted from Boll, Sphaera.
50. Franz Boll, Antike Beobachtungen Farbiger Sterne, Abhandlung der Königlich Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaft, Philos.-philolog.-hist. Kl. XXX/I (Munich, 1918), p. 14.
51. Boll, Antike Beobachtungen . . . Gundel, Naive Ansichten . . ., p. 85, speaks of the "teachings of the Chaldeans" which assign a star-like nature to the comets but refer to the latter, nevertheless, as messengers created and sent by the planet-gods. Perhaps this is merely an astrological or priestly construct - there might, however, be a grain of truth in it which, on account of what has been said, gains in credibility.
52. J. Schaumberger, in Franz Xaver Kugler, Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel, supplementary vol. 3 (Munster, 1935), pp. 344-345.
53. Schaumberger, in Kugler, Sternkunde...
54. Jastrow, Religion II/2, p. 696, n. 1 (according to Jensen, Kosmologie , pp. 153-154).
55. Jastrow, Religion II/2, pp. 633-637. Especially pp. 634-6. Meissner, Babylonien und Assyrien II, 255. Knut Tallqvist, Akkadische Götterepitheta (Studia Orientalia Sic. Or. Fennica vol. VII, Helsingfors, 1938), p. 282 in reference to Istar = d/s Dilbat.
56. Craig, Religious Texts I, pl. 7, obv. 6 = Jastrow, Religion, p. 633, n. 4.
57. Schaumberger, in Kugler, Sternkunde... p. 303.
58. In C. Virolleaud, L'Astrologie Chaldéenne, suppl. 33, 20-24; 3543.
59. A factor which cannot correspond to the Pleiades since this conjunction with Venus is possible only during the spring when the Pleiades are close to the Sun. (Schaumberger, loc. cit.)
60. A. Falkenstein-W. von Soden, Sumerische und Akkadische Hymnen und Cebete (Zürich, 1953), no. 18, pp. 90-99, pp. 86 and 133.
61. Tallqvist, Akkadische Götterepitheta . . ., p. 201 (ZA. 31, 33, 3 - Assurbanipal).
62. Schaumberger, pp. 359 ff. Schaumberger deals here only with purely astronomical texts without any astrological supplements.
63. Kurt Latte, Römische Religionsgeschichte, Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaften V, 4 (Munich, 1960), p. 96.
64. Latte, p. 105. This thought can be traced back for more than one and one-half millennia to post Old-Babylonian times when Utu (= Samas) is implored that, before his eyes, the "bonds" of the woman giving birth be loosened so that the birth may be successful (A. Falkenstein, von Soden, SAHG, no. 43, p. 222). The name of [Samas] repeatedly appears next to the name of his wife Aja on cylinder seals with the omega-shaped symbol.
65. Latte, Römische Religionsgeschichte, p. 164, n. 2.
66. E. Otto speaks of Hathor's transmutation into a mother deity in Die Religion der Alten Ägypter, Handbuch der Orientalistik, part 1, vol. 8, "Religion", par. 1, edition 1 (Leiden, 1964), p. 6.
67. Nilsson, Geschichte der Griechischen Religion I, p. 443 (Pausanias V, 3, 2).
68. Nilsson, Geschichte . . ., p. 440. E. Zehren, Das Testament der Sterne (Berlin, 1957), p. 317 quotes Pliny, Nat. Hist. II, 37, where Isis is equated with Venus, and in addition Plutarch's statement that many call Isis by the name Athene. On p. 326 is stated: "For the Greeks, Athene embodies the morning star." (More information was not supplied.)
69. Boll, Sphaera, p. 129.
70. Boll, pp. 217 ff.
70a. In Widengren, Religionen Irans, p. 123 and p. 177, n. 13, p. 188, one finds the following equation: Anahita is often identified with Artemis; see also p. 179. Most likely Athene of Ilion was equated with Anahita by Xerxes who sacrificed to her. p. 158: "Hestia in the Scythian language means Tabiti . . . (Herodotus IV, 59) . . ." The name Tabiti means "the flaming one" (Herodotus IV, 59). p. 227: ". . . the Zervantic goddess Anahita - or whatever she is called, because we are dealing with a type identical to the Iranian mother goddess . . ." - i.e., original and final forms represent one and the same goddess.
71. Tallqvist, Akkadische Götterepitheta, pp. 140, 336.
72. Tallqvist, Akkadische Götterepitheta, "Birth giver" - p. 334; "Birth helper" - p. 334; "Goddess of women" - p. 37; "she, who performs the birth" - p. 111.
73. Dietz Otto Edzard, "Mesopotamien" in Wörterbuch der Mythologie I/1 (Stuttgart, 1965), p. 84.
74. Hartmut Schmöckel, Kulturgeschichte des Alten Orients: Mesopotamien (Stuttgart, 1961), p. 278.
75. Meissner, Babylonien und Assyrien II , p. 11. A. Moortgat, Die Entstehung der sumerischen Hochkultur, Der Alte Orient, vol. 43 (1945), p. 79 in reference to the archetypal character of the goddess Innin.
76. André Parrot, Tello (Paris, 1948), p. 305 (Dieux et Déesses) concludes after his enumeration of deities: "Les déesses ont des caractéristiques identiques. Plusieurs se ressemblent étrangement. C'est ainsi que Nintu 'mère des dieux' rappelle si directement Ninharsag qu'on pourrait les confrondre (Gudéa, Statue A, III, 4 seq.). On en dirait tout autant de Damgalnunna à qui l'on apportait des offrandes . . . et dont se demande si ce n'est pas inharsag. Ninmah échappe à toute identification. Est-ce une déesse particulière, est-ce une périphrase (dame auguste) pow indiquer une divinité dont le sanctuaire fut ravagé à la ruine de Lagash?"
77. S. N. Kramer, The Sumerians (Chicago, 1963), p. 152.
78. Kramer, The Sumerians, p. 150. In Neo-Babylonian times Istar emerges as Ninhursanga: Jastrow, Religion 1, p. 252 (=Rawlinson V 34, col. II, 6).
79. Meissner, Babylonien und Assyrien II, pp. 173-74. Meissner adds: "The copy is young, but the text is most likely ancient."
80. A. Moortgat, Tammuz (Berlin, 1949), p. 27.
81. An exception is the so-called round-reed-bundle of Inanna which had already been replaced by the eight-rayed star of Istar in early dynastic times. The possibility that the round-reed-bundle served as a symbol for other deities, or perhaps was used as a ritual object in general is extensively discussed in: Beatrice Laura Goff, Symbols of Prehistoric Mesopotamia (New Haven-London, 1963), p. 86. See also p. 84.
82. Jastrow, Religion II/2, pp. 690-691. - Another Omen Text (Jastrow, pp. 689-690) interprets the same appearance of a "star with the tail of a scorpion" as an omen which is favorable in many ways; the first text, therefore, does not necessarily deal with premature births. It should be noted, however, that the terror which such an unusual appearance necessarily causes, can precipitate permanent barrenness in cows, a fact which may shed new light on several instances of sudden infertility in animals (and perhaps also human beings) in textual passages which have until now not been adequately clarified. (W. Koch, Lehrbuch der allgemeinen Tierzucht (Stuttgart, 1954), pp. 46, 116, 132, as well as information gratefully supplied by Director Kalender, Munich).
83. See Winifred S. and A. M. Blackman, "An Ancient Egyptian Symbol as a Modern Egyptian Amulet" in Annuairede L'Institut du Philologie et d 'Histoire Orentales, vol. III/1935 (Brussels, 1935) p. 93; and Rudolf Kriss and Herbert Kriss-Heinrich, Volksglaube im Bereich des Isiam n. Amulete, Zauberformeln, Beschwörungen (Wiesbaden, 1961), pp. 66ff.
84. Cf. T. Talbot Rice, Die Skythen (Cologne, 1957), pp. 116ff.
85. In his tabulation of objects found in the Pazirik-Kurgans the author speaks of the "indispensable eye-glass", i.e., an ornament in the form of the double spiral.
86. W. Gundel, Naive Ansichten. . ., p. 79.
87. Ph. Ackerman, Survey I, fig. 48d, p. 216. Ph. Ackerman sees in this ornament a "pomegranate".