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Ancient Near East Archives - Page 4 of 4 - varnamvarnam | Page 4
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Tag Archives | Ancient Near East

Godesses around the world

The earliest inhabitants of India worshipped a Mother Goddess and a horned fertility god. Godesses are also mentioned in the Rg Veda like Prthvi, Aditi, Usas, Rathri and Aranyani. While godesses are still worshipped in Indic religions, they have largely disappeared from the West after the arrival of the Abrahamic religions.

But this was not the case before; female worship was prevalent all around the world. Recently three such artifacts were found:  in Turkey, in Golan and in Scotland.

The one in Golan, dated to 500 CE, was of Aphrodite – the Greek goddess of love. (see pictures)

“Aphrodite was the goddess of love, but also the goddess of fertility and childbirth,” Segal says. “Pregnant woman hoping for a safe birth would sacrifice to her, as would young girls hoping for love. Mainly, flowers, rather than animals, would be sacrificed to Aphrodite. The figurines we found were made in a mold in rather large numbers. They would be offered to the goddess in a temple by supplicants, or kept above one’s bed,” Segal said. [Dig unearths ancient cult figurines of Aphrodite]

According to the person who led the dig, Christians outlawed the Aphrodite cult, but it still survived since women clung to it.

While the Aphrodite figurine is just 1500 years old, the one found in Turkey is ancient, dating to 16,000 years back.

Erek said that the figurine showed that the social status of women was very important 16,000 years ago. Erek noted that the oldest fired clay god or goddess figurines –unearthed in Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Near East– were made in 5,000 BC. He added that experts believed that the clay was used earliest in that period, however, the goddess figurine showed that this method was older than thought. [16,000 Year-Old Mother Goddess Figurine Unearthed]

Finally, a sandstone figurine, 5000 years old, was discovered in Scotland and it is supposed to Scotland’s earliest face.

The carving is flat with a round head on top of a lozenge-shaped body. The face has heavy brows, two dots for eyes and an oblong for a nose. It is thought other scratches on top of the skull could be hair. A pair of circles on the chest are being interpreted as representing breasts, and arms have been etched at either side. It is believed a regular pattern of crossed markings on the reverse could suggest the fabric of the woman’s clothing.[Scotland’s ‘earliest face’ found]

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The origins of Crucifixion and Resurrection myth

In the early days of Christianity, the practice was to appropriate pagan practices and celebrations. The Roman emperor Constantine presided over the First Council of Nicaea and it was there that Dec 25 was picked as the birth date of Yeshua. During those times, two important pagan festivals were celebrated – the first one starting on Dec. 17 honored Saturn, a major Roman deity of agriculture and harvest and the second one starting on Dec 25, celebrated the birth of Mithras, the Persian god of light. Constantine combined both and we now have Christmas.[Dec 25, 326 CE | varnam]

Now it turns out that even the story of crucifixion and resurrection has a pagan connection. According to Valerie Tarico, “it is an historicized version of a very ancient myth from Mesopotamia.” In the Sumerian tradition it is called “The Descent of Inanna” and “The Descent of Ishtar” in the Babylonian version.

Let’s start with the first part of the myth. Inanna and Jesus both travel to a big city, where they are arrested by soldiers, put on trial, convicted, sentenced to death, stripped of their clothes, tortured, hung up on a stake, and die. And then, after 3 days, they are resurrected from the dead. Now there are, to be sure, a number of significant differences between the stories. For one thing, one story is about a goddess and the other is about a divine man. But this is a specific pattern, a mythic template. When you are dealing with the question of whether these things actually happened, you have to deal with the fact that there is a mythic template here. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there wasn’t a real person, Jesus, who was crucified, but rather that, if there was, the story about it is structured and embellished in accordance with a pattern that was very ancient and widespread.[Valerie Tarico: Ancient Sumerian Origins of the Easter Story]

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