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).
“the champion,” “the warrior who subdues foes,” “he who strengthens the heart of his followers;” and again, “the destroyer of enemies,” “the reducer of the disobedient,” “the exterminator of rebels,” “he whose sword is good.”  In many respects he bears a close resemblance to Nergal or Mars.  Like him, he is a god of battle and of the chase, presiding over the king’s expeditions, whether for war or hunting, and giving success in both alike.  At the same time he has qualities which seem wholly unconnected with any that have been hitherto mentioned.  He is the true “Fish-God” of Berosus, and is fig ured as such in the sculptures. [PLATE XIX., Fig. 5.] In this point of view he is called “the god of the sea,” “he who dwells in the sea,” and again, somewhat curiously, “the opener of aqueducts.”  Besides these epithets, he has many of a more general character, as “the powerful chief,” “the supreme,” “the first of the gods,” “the favorite of the gods,” “the chief of the spirits,” and the like.  Again, he has a set of epithets which seem to point to his stellar character, very difficult to reconcile with the notion that, as a celestial luminary, he was Saturn.  We find him called “the light of heaven and earth,” “he who, like the sun, the light of the gods, irradiates the nations.”  These phrases appear to point to the Moon, or to some very brilliant star, and are scarcely reconcilable with the notion that he was the dark and distant Saturn.

Nin’s emblem in Assyria is the Man-bull, the impersonation of strength and power. [PLATE XIX., Fig. 6.] He guards the palaces of the Assyrian kings, who reckon him their tutelary god, and give his name to their capital city.  We may conjecture that in Babylonia his emblem was the sacred fish, which is often seen under different forms upon the cylinders. [PLATE XIX., Fig. 7.]

The monuments furnish no evidence of the early worship of Nin in Chaldaea.  We may perhaps gather the fact from Berosus’ account of the Fish-God as an early object of veneration in that region, as well as from the Hamitic etymology of the name by which he was ordinarily known even in Assyria.  There he was always one of the most important deities.  His temple at Nineveh was very famous, and is noticed by Tacitus in his “Annals;” and he had likewise two temples at Calah (Nimrud), both of them buildings of some pretension.

It has been already mentioned that Nin was the son of Bel-Nimrod, and that Beltis was both his wife and his mother.  These relationships are well established, since they are repeatedly asserted.  One tablet, however, inverts the genealogy, and makes Bel-Nimrod the son of Nin, instead of his father.  The contradiction perhaps springs from the double character of this divinity, who, as Saturn, is the father, but, as Hercules, the son of Jupiter.


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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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