Snake Cults Dominated Early Arabia
This photo shows a closeup of a 3rd century A.D. relief from Iran. The "hostile spirit" Ahriman is depicted as having a crown in the shape of a snake.
Pre-Islamic Middle Eastern regions were home to mysterious snake cults, according to two papers published in this month's Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy journal.
From at least 1250 B.C. until around 550 A.D., residents of what is now the Persian Gulf worshipped snakes in elaborate temple complexes that appear to have been built for this purpose, the studies reveal.
The first paper, by archaeologist Dan Potts of the University of Sydney, describes architecture and relics dating to 500 B.C. from Qalat al-Bahrain in Bahrain.
Two rooms in what is now known as the Late Dilmun Palace each contain 39 pits, some of which surround what appears to have been an altar. At least 32 of the pits housed ceramic vessels containing bones from rat snakes and sea snakes.
The remains showed no signs of mutilation.
"They were in cloth bags, now badly decomposed, and that might suggest that they had been buried alive, i.e. put into a bag, placed in a bowl, and then buried in the ground," Potts told Discovery News.
Some bowls found at the site have been identified as "wine-drinking" cups. Potts, however, does not necessarily think that wine consumption accompanied the snake rituals, which he speculates were meant to confer protection and good luck.
He described pottery decorated with snakes, snake artwork and even ancient oral traditions, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, which originated at early Arabic sites and paid homage to snakes.
In the second paper, archaeologist Anne Benoist of the Eastern Archaeology Laboratory at the National Center for Scientific Research in France describes yet another Iron Age temple complex linked to snake cults.
Excavation of the site, at Al Bithnah in the United Arab Emirates, revealed both indoor and open-air altars, chapel-like structures, incense burners, man-made pools of water and numerous vessels and objects decorated with snakes.
Most of the snakes were depicted with triangular heads and scales, which Benoist said suggests "a viper species, which is striking, as they are venomous and therefore dangerous."
Benoist said early Middle Eastern traditions held that snake venom was viewed as "a source of power over life." Snakes are prevalent in Persian Gulf regions.
She pointed out that the association of snakes with power over life even carried over into the Old Testament. One passage describes Moses placing a bronze snake on a pole so that anyone who had been bitten by a snake would be healed upon seeing it.
The seasonal shedding of skin linked the reptile to cycles of death and rebirth, so snakes were probably also connected to fertility.
Potts thinks snake worship originated in India and spread throughout the Middle East. There is evidence for extensive trade and travel between the two areas.
As for the fate of snake cults, Benoist said later religions likely deemed them "superstitious," causing followers to practice snake veneration in secret. Eventually, she said, the cults were "overtaken by the official monotheist religion."
Article from: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/05/17/
Deciphering of earliest Semitic text reveals talk of snakes and spells
World’s oldest ritual discovered. Worshipped the python 70,000 years ago
The Serpent and the Real Origins of Freemasonry
Snakemen Stone Reliefs Discovered in Jiroft, Iran
Origins of the devil...
House of Vere & the Merovingians
Ossified Dragon Theories
Dragons came down to Earth from Sirius to share their wisdom with humans, myths say
Lost Land of the Lizard People
Serpents reveal links between myths in Australia, China
The Luciferian Legacy
Philip Gardiner - Secrets of the Serpent, Symbology and Myth (Subscription)
The Dragon and the Pearl
Here be dragons
Latest News from our Front Page
Pro-Israel bias: BBC admits editorial breach in interview with Israeli defense chief
The BBC has reached a â€śprovisional findingâ€ť to uphold complaints made by Palestinian activists that the broadcaster breached its editorial guidelines in a â€śsoftâ€ť interview with the Israeli defense minister.
Complaints focused on BBC journalist Sarah Montagueâ€™s alleged failure to challenge controversial claims made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaâ€™alon.
Journalist Amena Saleem, who works with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), wrote ...
41% of Americans Support Criminalizing "Hate Speech"
The following are from a recent poll about what some are calling on for "hate speech"
1. Support for Hate Crimes Legislation
Do you support or oppose the federal law that requires increased penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person?
2. Support for Expanding Hate Crimes
FBI Admits No Major Cases Cracked with Patriot Act Snooping Powers
FBI agents canâ€™t point to any major terrorism cases theyâ€™ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Departmentâ€™s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating.
Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk ...
Sweetener Stevia Was Once Hailed As An Anti-Fertility Agent for Population Reduction
Maybe it's not so sweet now... If you've thought stevia, the natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweetners with aspartame, et al., is too good to be true, there may be a catch. Check out this textbook written in 1970 by Paul and Anne Ehrlich, the precursor to the textbook Ecoscience they wrote with Obama Science Czar John P. Holdren ...
TPP Aproved: Senate Republicans Give Obama New Powers - Details Remain 'Classified'
President Obama won a big victory for his trade agenda Friday with the Senateâ€™s approval of fast-track legislation that could make it easier for him to complete a wide-ranging trade deal that would include 11 Pacific Rim nations.
A coalition of 48 Senate Republicans and 14 Democrats voted for Trade Promotion Authority late Friday, sending the legislation to a difficult fight ...
|More News » |