We know for a fact that Sundaland was regularly innundated by rising sea levels and then again emerged again during the many Pleistocene continental glaciations. The Chaos Dragon seems to be a personification of the destructive deluges.
It seems to me that the Chaos Dragon represents the Indopacific or Saltwater crocodile, or Man-Eating crocodile. seen as the recurring and unrelenting for of humanity. And that concept came down through many mythologies as the varios other Chaos Dragons and Sun-swallowers, including the Babylonian Tiamat and the Biblical equivalent Tehom, personification of the abyssas depths of the sea.
In Babylonian mythology, Tiamat is a chaos monster, a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû (the god of fresh water) to produce younger gods. It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is 'creatrix', through a "Sacred marriage" between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second "Chaoskampf" Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos. Although there are no early precedents for it, some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon. In the Enûma Elish, the Babylonian epic of creation, she gives birth to the first generation of deities; she later makes war upon them and is killed by the storm-god Marduk. The heavens and the earth are formed from her divided body.
Tiamat was known as Thalattē (as a variant of thalassa, the Greek word for "sea") in the Hellenistic Babylonian Berossus' first volume of universal history. It is thought that the name of Tiamat was dropped in secondary translations of the original religious texts because some Akkadian copyists of Enûma Elish substituted the ordinary word for "sea" for Tiamat, since the two names had become essentially the same, due to association.
Thorkild Jacobsen and Walter Burkert both argue for a connection with the Akkadian word for sea, tâmtu, following an early form, ti'amtum.
Burkert continues by making a linguistic connection to Tethys. He finds the later form, thalatth, to be related clearly to Greek thalassa, "sea". The Babylonian epic Enuma Elish is named for its incipit: "When above" the heavens did not yet exist nor the earth below, Apsu the freshwater ocean was there, "the first, the begetter", and Tiamat, the saltwater sea, "she who bore them all"; they were "mixing their waters". It is thought that female deities are older than male ones in Mesopotamia and Tiamat may have begun as part of the cult of Nammu, a female principle of a watery creative force, with equally strong connections to the underworld, which predates the appearance of Ea-Enki.
Harriet Crawford finds this "mixing of the waters" to be a natural feature of the middle Persian Gulf, where fresh waters from the Arabian aquifer mix and mingle with the salt waters of the sea. This characteristic is especially true of the region of Bahrain, whose name in Arabic means, "two seas", and which is thought to be the site of Dilmun, the original site of the Sumerian creation beliefs. The difference in density of salt and fresh water, driving a perceptible separation.
Tiamat also has been claimed to be cognate with Northwest Semitic tehom (תהום) (the deeps, abyss), in the Book of Genesis 1:2.
AppearanceThough Tiamat is often described by modern authors as a sea serpent or dragon, no ancient texts exist in which there is a clear association with those kinds of creatures, and the identification is debated. The Enûma Elish specifically states that Tiamat did give birth to dragons and serpents, but they are included among a larger and more general list of monsters including scorpion men and merpeople, none of which imply that any of the children resemble the mother or are even limited to aquatic creatures.
In the Enûma Elish her physical description includes a tail, a thigh, "lower parts" (which shake together), a belly, an udder, ribs, a neck, a head, a skull, eyes, nostrils, a mouth, and lips. She has insides (possibly "entrails"), a heart, arteries, and blood.
The strictly modern depiction of Tiamat as a multi-headed dragon was popularized in the 1970s as a fixture of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game inspired by earlier sources associating Tiamat with later mythological characters, such as Lotan.
MythologyApsu (or Abzu, from Sumerian ab = water, zu = far) fathered upon Tiamat the Elder deities Lahmu and Lahamu (the "muddy"), a title given to the gatekeepers at the Enki Abzu temple in Eridu. Lahmu and Lahamu, in turn, were the parents of the axis or pivot of the heavens (Anshar, from an = heaven, shar = axle or pivot) and the earth (Kishar); Anshar and Kishar were considered to meet on the horizon, becoming thereby, the parents of Anu (the Heavens, Biblical "Shemayim") and Ki (the Earth, Biblical "Eretz" created by Elohim in Genesis 1:1).
Tiamat was the "shining" personification of salt water who roared and smote in the chaos of original creation. She and Apsu filled the cosmic abyss with the primeval waters. She is "Ummu-Hubur who formed all things".
In the myth recorded on cuneiform tablets, the deity Enki (later Ea) believed correctly that Apsu, upset with the chaos they created, was planning to murder the younger deities; and so captured him, holding him prisoner beneath is temple the E-Abzu. This angered Kingu, their son, who reported the event to Tiamat, whereupon she fashioned monsters to battle the deities in order to avenge Apsu's death. These were her own offspring: giant sea serpents, storm demons, fish-men, scorpion-men and many others.
Tiamat possessed the Tablets of Destiny and in the primordial battle she gave them to Kingu, the god she had chosen as her lover and the leader of her host. The deities gathered in terror, but Anu, (replaced later, first by Enlil and, in the late version that has survived after the First Dynasty of Babylon, by Marduk, the son of Ea), first extracting a promise that he would be revered as "king of the gods", overcame her, armed with the arrows of the winds, a net, a club, and an invincible spear.
- And the lord stood upon Tiamat's hinder parts,
- And with his merciless club he smashed her skull.
- He cut through the channels of her blood,
- And he made the North wind bear it away into secret places.
The principal theme of the epic is the justified elevation of Marduk to command over all the deities. "It has long been realized that the Marduk epic, for all its local coloring and probable elaboration by the Babylonian theologians, reflects in substance older Sumerian material," American Assyriologist E. A. Speiser remarked in 1942 adding "The exact Sumerian prototype, however, has not turned up so far." Without corroboration in surviving texts, this surmise that the Babylonian version of the story is based upon a modified version of an older epic, in which Enlil, not Marduk, was the god who slew Tiamat, is more recently dismissed as "distinctly improbable", in fact, Marduk has no precise Sumerian prototype.
InterpretationsThe Tiamat myth is one of the earliest recorded versions of the Chaoskampf, the battle between a culture hero and a chthonic or aquatic monster, serpent or dragon. Chaoskampf motives in other mythologies linked directly or indirectly to the Tiamat myth include the Hittite Illuyanka myth, and in Greek tradition Apollo's killing of the Python as a necessary action to take over the Delphic Oracle.
According to some analyses there are two parts to the Tiamat myth, the first in which Tiamat is creator goddess, through a "sacred marriage" between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second "Chaoskampf" Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos.
Robert Graves considered Tiamat's death by Marduk as evidence of his hypothesis that a shift in power from a matriarchy controlling society to a patriarchy happen in the ancient past. Grave's ideas were later developed into the Great Goddess theory by Marija Gimbutas, Merlin Stone and others. Tiamat and other ancient monster figures were presented as former supreme deities of peaceful, woman-centered religions that were turned into monsters when violent, male-dominated religions overthrew ancient society. This theory is rejected by modern authors such as Lotte Motz, Cynthia Eller and others.
- ^ a b Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia (Oxford University Press, 1987), p. 329.
- ^ such as Thorkild Jacobsen in "The Battle between Marduk and Tiamat", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 88.1 (January-March 1968), pp 104-108.
- ^ a b Jacobsen 1968:105.
- ^ Burkert, Walter. The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influences on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age 1993, p 92f.
- ^ Steinkeller, Piotr. "On Rulers, Priests and Sacred Marriage: tracing the evolution of early Sumerian kingship" in Wanatabe, K. (ed.), Priests and Officials in the Ancient Near East (Heidelberg 1999) pp.103–38
- ^ Crawford, Harriet E. W. (1998), Dilmun and its Gulf Neighbours (Cambridge University Press).
- ^ Crawford, Harriet; Killick, Robert and Moon, Jane, eds.. (1997). The Dilmun Temple at Saar: Bahrain and Its Archaeological Inheritance (Saar Excavation Reports / London-Bahrain Archaeological Expedition: Kegan Paul)
- ^ Yahuda, A., The Language of the Pentateuch in its Relation to Egyptian (Oxford, 1933)
- ^ Fontenrose, Joseph (1980). Python: a study of Delphic myth and its origins. University of California Press. pp. 153–154. ISBN 0-520-04091-0.
- ^ Four ways of Creation: "Tiamat & Lotan." Retrieved on August 23, 2010
- ^ Speiser, "An Intrusive Hurro-Hittite Myth", Journal of the American Oriental Society 62.2 (June 1942:98–102) p. 100.
- ^ Expressed, for example, in E. O. James, The Worship of the Skygod: A Comparative Study in Semitic and Indo-European Religion (London: University of London, Jordan Lectures in Comparative religion) 1963:24, 27f.
- ^ As by W. G. Lambert, reviewing James 1963 in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 27.1 (1964), pp. 157–158.
- ^ e.g. Thorkild Jacobsen in "The Battle between Marduk and Tiamat", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 88.1 (January–March 1968), pp 104–108.
- ^ MArtkheel
- ^ Graves, The Greek Myths, rev. ed. 1960:§4.5.
- ^ The Faces of the Goddess, Lotte Motz, Oxford University Press (1997), ISBN 978-0195089677
- ^ The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why An Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future, Cynthia Eller, Beacon Press (2000), ISBN 978-0807067925.
- Enuma Elish
- Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation story
- detailed graphic ot Tiamat, from clay tablet; (astronomy/astrology article)
In Jewish folklore, Rahab (noise, tumult, arrogance) is a mythical sea monster, a dragon of the waters, the "demonic angel of the sea". Rahab represents the primordial abyss, the water-dragon of darkness and chaos, comparable to Leviathan and Tiamat. Rahab later became a particular demon, inhabitant of the sea, especially associated with the Red Sea.
In Jewish folklore Tannin is the name of an aquatic demon. Sometimes he is compared with Rahab, another sea monster who is especially associated with the Red Sea. Some scholars associated Tannin with Tiamat, as it happened with Rahab. It is unclear in Jewish literature the differentiation between Tannin, Rahab, and Leviathan, but Tannin and Rahab are more easily confused one with the other. Tannin, as well as Rahab, was a name applied to Egypt after the exodus of the Israelites from that country.
In modern Hebrew the word tannin (תנין) literally means crocodile.
In Hindu mythology, Rahu (Kannada: ರಾಹು) () is a cut-off head of an asura, that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Rahu is one of the navagrahas (nine planets) in Vedic astrology. The Rahu kala (time of day under the influence of Rahu) is considered inauspicious.
According to legend, during the Samudra manthan, the asura Rahu drank some of the divine nectar. But before the nectar could pass his throat, Mohini (the female avatar of Vishnu) cut off his head. The head, however, remained immortal. It is believed that this immortal head occasionally swallows the sun or the moon, causing eclipses. Then, the sun or moon passes through the opening at the neck, ending the eclipse.
Astronomically (as per Hindu Astrology), Rahu and Ketu denote the two points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move around the celestial sphere. Therefore, Rahu and Ketu are respectively called the north and the south lunar nodes. The fact that eclipses occur when Sun and Moon are at one of these points gives rise to the myth of the swallowing of the Sun.
[Rahu is the head part and Ketu is the tail. Like Tiamat, the demon has become divided, but this time at the hands of a female deity. Rahu is cognate with the Hebrew Rahab and Ketu with the Greek Ketos]
As side issue is the fact that some authorities have identified consistent features of pipefish in Rainbow Serpent depictions deep in the Australian desert, and this is referenced in George Eberhart's Mysterious Creatures under "Rainbow Serpent". This may be related to the fact that some jade charm "Dragons" are in a distinctive S-curved shape traditionally in New Zealand and as far back as Neolithic China. These look very much like seahorses. I presume dried pipefishes and seahorses were used in Sundaland as charms to invoke the protection of the Rainbow Serpent, but that the meaning of the symbol was lost over the years.
The Seven-headed Serpent (from Sumerian muš-saĝ-7: snake with seven heads) in Sumerian mythology was one of the Heroes slain by Ninurta, patron god of Lagash, in ancient Iraq. Its body was hung on the "shining cross-beam" of Ninurta's chariot
Here is a story from a border area where the Sevenheaded snake was "a Hero" but killed by a rival Hero, the god Ninurta of Lagash. The snake is in fact crucified in the story.
The most famous of these stories was the story of Hercules slaying the Lernean Hydra.
The details of the struggle are explicit in Apollodorus (2.5.2): realizing that he could not defeat the Hydra in this way, Heracles called on his nephew Iolaus for help. His nephew then came upon the idea (possibly inspired by Athena) of using a blazing firebrand to scorch the neck stumps after each decapitation. Heracles cut off each head and Iolaus cauterized the open stumps. Seeing that Heracles was winning the struggle, Hera sent a large crab to distract him. He crushed it under his mighty foot. Its one immortal head was cut off with a golden sword given to him by Athena. Heracles placed it under a great rock on the sacred way between Lerna and Elaius (Kerenyi 1959:144), and dipped his arrows in the Hydra's poisonous blood, and so his second task was complete. The alternative version of this myth is that after cutting off one head he then dipped his sword in it and used its venom to burn each head so it couldn't grow back. Hera, upset that Heracles slew the beast she raised to kill him, placed it in the dark blue vault of the sky as the Constellation Hydra. She then turned the crab into the Constellation Cancer.
The number of heads vary between different versions: originally seven or nine, they could become fifty or even a thousand according to the retelling.
In High School I made a suggestion that the seven (or nine) headed serpent was originally the emblem of a powerful tribe making its headquarters at the mouth of the Meikong River, since the Meikong was the River of the Nine Dragons. Different systems of numerology would later prefer either the seven or the nine for rerasons of their own. I further guessed that the emblem would be best displayed as in heraldry, on the [tall rectangular] shields of the soldiers. Warriors in the border counrty who came out victorious in skirmishes with the soldiers could brag that they had killed "One of the Seven-Headed Serpents" [The story in Appendix 2 at the bottom, from Indonesia, even specifies that the Sevenheaded serpents served the King as soldiers] Peter Lum in Fabulous Beasts spoke of a theory that the Dragon got a bad reputation in ancient times because it wasa used as the emblem of a black race that warred with the white race and so gained the animosity of the whites. he then included the information that the Dragon's reputation was not wholly evil because some [presumably meaning Orientals] regarded the Dragon as a benificent protector. My amendment was of course to throw out the racist angle of the story-we are talking brown races fighting against brown races in many instances, as indicated by the map-but then to go on and confirm if he was talking about outlanders describing their batteles with the "Seven-heads", tradition seems to confirm it.
Next, she assumed the form of a dove, brooding on the waves and, in due process of time, laid the Universal Egg. At her bidding, Ophion coiled seven times about this egg, until it hatched and split in two. out tumbled all things that exist, her children: sun, moon, planets, stars, the earth with its mountains and rivers, its trees, herbs, and living creatures.
Eurynome and Ophion made their home upon Mount Olympus, where he vexed her by claiming to be the author of the Universe. Forthwith she bruised his head with her heel, kicked out his teeth, and banished him to the dark caves below the earth.
Next, the goddess created the seven planetary powers, setting a Titaness and a Titan over each. Theia and Hyperion for the Sun; Phoebe and Atlas for the Moon; Dione and Crius for the planet Mars; Metis and Coeus for the planet Mercury; Themis and Eurynmedon for the planet Jupiter; Tethys and Oceanus for Venus; Rhea and Cronus for the planet Saturn. But the first man was Pelasgus, ancestor of the Pelasgians; he sprang from the soil of Arcadia, followed by certain others, whom he taught to make huts and feed upon acorns [nuts] and sew pig-skin tunics such as poor folk still wear in Euboea and Phocis.
"The Pelasgian Creation Myth," from Robert Graves' The Greek Myths, v.I, p. 27: Penguin Books, England, 1955.
Karl Shuker mentions that there is some speculation that the story of the Phoenix bird in the Eastern Mediterranean derives ultimately from preserved specimens of Birds-of-Paradise, stuffed with camphor and sold abroad as curios. If this is so, then that is another cultural trait to mark down.
|The Seven Headed Snake - Inyoka Makhandakhanda! The mysterious seven headed snake has been talked about for generations in Swaziland. |
It is extremely dangerous, so if you see it don¹t go too close as it swallows people whole and the lake turns to blood! The problem here is that it can also change forms and become a beautiful young maiden.
A man will approach her and then find himself becoming very dizzy and will fall into the river - and end up being eaten by the snake. There are many of these snakes in Swaziland.
The female will lay eggs in the water, there are usually only 2 or 3 eggs. Female snakes will live together but the male ones prefer to live alone. There is a warning out to not pick up any strange eggs near a river or dam.
If you do take one home and the egg hatches do not harm the baby seven headed snake because if you do, the mother will find you and kill you. The best thing to do is to pick it up and throw it into the river. The seven headed snake can fly as well and when there is a storm you will know it is in the air.
They like to hide behind dark clouds that travel fast across the sky! Watch out when the snake is flying because if it bends one of it¹s heads towards your house then your roof will blow away! If you have one living near you and wish to get rid of it then you can place a large mirror in the lake.
Once the snake sees it¹s reflection it will fly away. Remember also that some people feel that the seven headed snake does not like to be talked about and will come after you if you do so.
Many people also say that large companies have been asked to put money into the river every few months in order to keep the snake happy. What the snake does with the money is not clear, but if it does not get enough it will go on a rampage and destroy your business.
So, it might be a good idea if you are near any water to throw a coin in to keep it happy.
Remember to have your camera ready when you are travelling around Swaziland and try to get a photo of this elusive monster...but be careful!
The Legend of the Seven-Headed Snake
Folklore from BengkuluTHE people of Kutei Rukam Kingdom in Lebong, Bengkulu, were happy. The Crown Prince Gajah Meram would marry a princess from Suka Negeri Kingdom. King Bikau Bermano asked his people to prepare a great party.
One of the wedding procession was the bride and the bridegroom had to take a bath in the bath Lake. when they were swimming, suddenly the prince and the princess were gone. The soldier immediately jumped into the lake. But they could not find the prince and the princess. They were absolutely confused why the prince and the princess suddenly disappeared.
The king was sad. He asked all the soldiers to swim. But still the prince and the princess could not be found. Later an old holy man came to the king. He said that the prince and the princess were kidnapped by the seven-headed snake. He was the king of the snake and he had many snake soldiers. The only person that could help was a young man who had great skills in martial arts and supernatural power.
The young man he meant was the king's youngest son. His name was Prince Gajah Merik. He was also the student of the holy man. The king was very touched when the Prince Gajah Merik was willing to find his older brother and his brother's wife.
The holy man gave Prince Gajah Merik was not afraid of them. Instead, he fought them bravely. The snake soldiers could not fight him. Gajah Merik was so powerful. He could easily kill the snake soldiers.
And finally he was face-to-face with the snake king. He was a seven-headed snake. He was very angry!
"Hey, you human! Why did you kill all my soldiers?" asked the snake king.
"They tried to stop me. I want to free my older brother and his wife."
"I will free them. But you have to do two things. First you have to make my dead soldiers live again. And second, you have to beat me of course. Hahaha."
With his power, Gajah Merik touched the dead snakes. Amazingly, they lived again. Then, the prince and the snake king were fighting.
Unlike the snake soldiers, the snake king was very powerful. He almost killed Gajah Merik. Fortunately, Gajah Merik had better skills. And after fighting for seven days. Gajah Merik won the fight. The snake king asked Gajah Merik to forgive him and let him free. Gajah Merik felt sorry and he let the snake king and his soldiers go away.
Later, Gajah Merik brought Gajah Meram and his wife back to the palace. The king was very happy. He also planned to make Gajah Meram to be the new king. However, Gajah Meram refused it. He said Gajah Merik was better to be the next king. He was very courageous and powerful. He also had great heart. He was willing to sacrifice himself.
Gajah Merik agreed to be the next king. But he asked his father to let the snake king and his soldiers to be his soldiers. The king agreed. Since then, the snake king and his soldiers became the soldiers of Gajah Merik.
Until now, people in Lebong, Bengkulu, believe that there is a seven-headed snake who guards the Test lake. They do not dare to say bad words when crossing the lake. Otherwise, the seven-headed snake will be angry!***