As a substantive deity, distinct from her husband, Gula’s characteristics are that she presides over life and over fecundity. It is not quite clear whether these offices belong to her alone, or whether she is associated in each of them with a sister goddess. There is a “Mistress of Life,” who must be regarded as the special dispenser of that blessing; and there is a “Mistress of the Gods,” who is expressly said to “preside over births.” Concerning these two personages we cannot at present determine whether they are really distinct deities, or whether they are not rather aspects of Gula, sufficiently marked to be represented in the temples by distinct idols.
Gula was worshipped in close combination with her husband, both at Larsa and Sippara. Her name appears in the inscriptions connected with both places; and she is probably the “Anammelech,” whom the Sepharvites honored in conjunction with Adrammelech, the “Fire-King.” In later times she had also temples independent of her husband, at Babylon and Borsippa, as well as at Calah Asshur.
The emblem now commonly regarded as symbolizing Gula is the eight-rayed disk or orb, which frequently accompanies the orb with four rays in the Babylonian representations. In lieu of a disk, we have sometimes an eight-rayed star and even occasionally a star with six rays only. It is curious that the eight-rayed star became at an early period the universal emblem of divinity: but perhaps we can only conclude from this the stellar origin of the worship generally, and not any special pre-eminence or priority of Anunit over other deities.
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The third member of the second Triad is the god of the atmosphere, whose name it has been proposed to render phonetically in a great variety of ways. Until a general agreement shall be established, it is thought best to retain a name with which readers are familiar; and the form Vul will therefore be used in these volumes. Were Iva the correct articulation, we might regard the term as simply the old Hamitic name for “the air,” and illustrate it by the Arabic heva, which has still that meaning.
The importance of Vul in the Chaldaean mythology, and his strong positive character, contrast remarkably with the weak and shadowy features of Uranus, or AEther, in the classical system. Vul indeed corresponds in great measure with the classical Zeus or Jupiter, being, like him, the real “Prince of the power of the air,” the lord of the whirlwind and the tempest, and the wielder of the thunderbolt. His standard titles are “the minister of heaven and earth,” “the Lord of the air,” “he who makes the tempest to rage.” He is regarded as the destroyer of crops, the rooter-up of trees, the scatterer of the harvest. Famine, scarcity, and even their consequence, pestilence, are assigned to him. He is said to have in his