The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 1. (of 7): Chaldaea eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 190 pages of information about The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 1. (of 7).

These principal gods do not appear to have been connected, like the Egyptian and the classical divinities, into a single genealogical scheme:  yet still a certain amount of relationship was considered to exist among them.  Ana and Bel, for instance, were brothers, the sons of Il or Ra; Vul was son of Ana; Hurki, the Moon-god, of Bel; Nebo and Merodach were sons of Hea or Hoa.  Many deities, however, are without parentage, as not only Il or Ra, but Hea, San (the Sun), Ishtar, and Nergal.  Sometimes the relationship alleged is confused, and even contradictory, as in the case of Nin or Ninip, who is at one time the son, at another the father of Bel, and who is at once the son and the husband of Beltis.  It is evident that the genealogical aspect is not that upon which much stress is intended to be laid, or which is looked upon as having much reality.  The great gods are viewed habitually rather as a hierarchy of coequal powers, than as united by ties implying on the one hand pre-eminence and on the other subordination.

We may now consider briefly the characters and attributes of the several deities so far as they can be made out, either from the native records, or from classical tradition.  And, first, concerning the god who stands in some sense at the head of the Chaldaean Pantheon.

IL, or RA.

The form Ra represents probably the native Chaldaean name of this deity, while Il is the Semitic equivalent. Il, of course, is but a variant of El, the root of the well-known Biblical Elohim as well as of the Arabic Allah.  It is this name which Diodorus represents under the form of Elms (’H??oc), 7 and Sanchoniathon, or rather Philo-Byblius, under that of Elus or Ilus.  The meaning of the word is simply “God,” or perhaps “the god” emphatically. Ra, the Cushite equivalent, must be considered to have had the same force originally, though in Egypt it received a special application to the sun, and became the proper name of that particular deity.  The word is lost in the modern Ethiopic.  It formed an element in the native name of Babylon, which was Ka-ra, the Cushite equivalent of the Semitic Bab-il, an expression signifying “the gate of God.”

Ra is a god with few peculiar attributes.  He is a sort of fount and origin of deity, too remote from man to be much worshipped or to excite any warm interest.  There is no evidence of his having had any temple in Chaldaea during the early times.  A belief in his existence is implied rather than expressed in inscriptions of the primitive kings, where the Moon-god is said to be “brother’s son of Ana, and eldest son of Bil, or Belus.”  We gather from this that Bel and Ana were considered to have a common father; and later documents sufficiently indicate that that common father was Il or Ra.  We must conclude from the name Babil, that Babylon was originally under his protection, though

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The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 1. (of 7): Chaldaea from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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