Mar. 19th, 2016 06:45 pm
ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
A chapter on Hittite birth rituals, discussing "binding" in sorcery and mythology:

"Here [Text F in Beckman's catalogue] the goddess IŠTAR speaks to the goddess Malliya, who speaks to the goddess Pirwa, she she in turn to Kamrusepa, who 'yoked her horses and drove to the Great River, whom she conjured by incantation'. Then all that had been bound was loosed, through the ritual agency of Kamrusepa.

This goddess is found frequently in the circle of IŠTAR (ie the Hurrian Shausuga), Malliya (a river goddess), Pirwa and Askasepa, the 'genius' of the Gateway. Pirwa, both god and goddess, honoured by songs in Nesite and Luwian, is described as the god upon a Silver Horse and depicted in the iconography of Kültepe/Kanesh with chariot and team of horses... The logographic writing IŠTAR represented a deity, at once male and female, of War and Love." (All emphases mine.)

What caught my eye here, of course, was the hints of gender ambiguity; but also - look at all those goddesses! The article goes on to describe Kamrusepa's healing a newborn child and calming the anger of "the Hattic god Telepinus".

Beckman, Gary M. Hittite birth rituals. Wiesbaden, O. Harrassowitz, 1983.
Pringle, Jackie. "Hittite Birth Rituals". in Averil Cameron and Amélie Kuhrt. Images of Women in Antiquity. Croom Helm, London and Sydney, 1983.
ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
(Happy New Year peeps. lj is coming up in Japanese. God knows why.)

I seem to have photocopied some pages from this book at random! I'm always on the lookout for goddesses I haven't heard of before, though - here we have "... the Babylonian Nanna in combination with Isis became Namaia" (p 86). I think "Namaia" may be the Mesopotamian goddess Nanaia or Nanaya, also worshipped at Palmyra - although how she would be a combination of Isis with a male Sumerian deity idk; James does not provide a reference.

Other names I hadn't encountered before include two Hittite goddesses: Hannahanna, "the grandmother"; and Shaushka, "the Anatolian counterpart of the Babylonian Ishtar" who "combined belligerent qualities with those of sexuality and love, and had her attendants Ninatta and Kalitta, and other local 'Ishtars' under Anatolian names at Samuha and elsewhere in south-east Anatolia".

Interestingly, James remarks that the ancients' "readiness to identify one deity with another made it possible to evolve some kind of unity out of this jumble of cults" (p 85), and suggests that "pagan thought was moving more and more towards the conception of one universal Magna Mater" (p 86) - sort of the reverse of the idea of an original Neolithic Great Goddess, I suppose.
James, E.O. The Ancient Gods: the history and diffusion of religion in the ancient Near East and the eastern Mediterranean. London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1960.


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