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16. Cush as Amun-Ra of Siwa, the Third of Three Forms of Amun (§§115-132)

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16. Cush as Amun-Ra of Siwa, the Third of Three Forms of Amun (§§115-132)




115. At the dispersion, Mizraim (Menes) and his brother Cush migrated to Africa. There the moon-god Thoth was believed to have brought forth in his “bird-form,” the ibis, the egg of the chaotic universe out of which the sun-god hatched. Otherwise he was held to have begotten the grouping of eight gods (the “Ogdoad”) four male-female pairs, which represented the constituent elements of the chaotic universe. Mystically they represented also the four couples saved from the waters of the Flood in Noah’s container, as demonstrated long ago by Faber in The Origin of Pagan Idolatry, adapting Bryant’s Analysis of Ancient Mythology, even before archaeological evidence was available from Egypt to support that thesis. They were known, accordingly, in native Egyptian tradition as “primeval ancestors.” They sailed in a boat (illustrated in the Dendera Zodiac) and emerged out of the waters of chaos on the summit of a mountain at the dawn of creation, and from them were produced all later generations of gods and mortals. (See further infra on the identification of Thoth, the father of the Ogdoad, with Cush as well as with Enoch, Noah’s ancestor. For the traditional Arabic/Iranian background of the migration of Cush to Ethiopia and his assumption of divine honors, see §669, below, >>, §675, below, >>.)


116. At some subsequent period the god Amun took over Thoth’s role as begetter of the Ogdoad. He was also himself one of the four constituent elements of the Ogdoad, and was further identified with the sun (Ra) which emerged out of the Ogdoad. He was the Divine Light which created, indwelt, and came into manifestation out of, the original chaos (Jamblichus, De Mysteriis, VII. 2). Amun appropriated the winged sun-disk of Horus of Edfu. The sun-disk was interpreted as an egg, seed or germ, that is, of the universe. Over the top of the disk appeared a “fire-spitting” serpent or pair of serpents, representing the destructive power of the god. The serpent was itself a symbol of the sun-god, and in the form Kem-atef was represented curled in a circle, like the circle of the sun-disk, devouring its own tail. Attached to the sun-disk were two ram’s horns. These represented the god’s productive and creative power. Out of the disk spread the two wings of the vulture mother-goddess, representing the god’s all-embracing energy, radiance, or spirit, dispersed through the air, and these wings were depicted in a sheltering posture, which represented the preserving aspect of the deity. Therefore the god was at once Destroyer, Creator and Preserver, like Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu in the Hindu Trimurti (Trinity). The symbol was borrowed by the Assyrians and adopted and adapted for their solar god Asshur. The animal attributes characteristic of Egyptian iconography were transformed in the Assyrian symbol: the ram’s horns into curled excrescences over the top of the winged disk, and the serpents into bands or braids. Usually a human form was added, reflecting the common representation of the gods in Mesopotamia as men, rather than animals. The father-god Asshur was depicted as a bearded warrior, rising above and in front of, or through and from within, the winged disk. The warrior had three attributes like the disk: the horn-like excrescences on the disk, symbolizing creative power, were located in the position of horns sprouting from the warrior’s cap; his destructive power was symbolized by the bow and arrow in the warrior’s hands, the arrow having the head of a trident; and his protective function by the feather-like skirt of a warrior’s tunic, positionally placed to form the tail of the winged sun-disk. A three-headed version of the symbol demonstrated clearly the unity and trinity of the Assyrian godhead: two disembodied heads, in addition to the head of the warrior Asshur himself, were placed on the wings at each side of the disk. The mother-goddess in Assyria, corresponding to the vulture-goddess in Egypt, who provided the Egyptian disk’s wings, was Ishtar, her particular bird-form being the dove. She represented the loving spirit of the father-god. Another symbol used by the Egyptians was that of the sun-god, newly emergent at the dawn of time, sitting silent in and peering out over an opened lotus. The appearance of the seed (son) of the lotus was circular, like the disk of the sun. It has been conjectured the lotus received its distinction from the analogy of its seeds, which sprout in the capsule of the plant and begin to grow till they burst the pericarp and float away to take root in the slime by themselves. Circular also was the circumference formed by the opened leaves of the lotus, comparable to the wings of the sun-disk in the other symbol and representing the expansion of the energy (spirit) contained originally within the enclosed lotus on the waters. (Jamblichus, De Mysteriis, VII. 2.)


117. Though the Egyptians explained the divine name Amun as if it were a native Egyptian word meaning the “Concealed One” it is likely that hidden in actual fact behind the Egyptian form was an earlier Sumerian divine name “Umun,” which corresponded to the Semitic Mummu, meaning the “Logos.” It has been thought the word Mummu derives from the Semitic root hmm which means “to shut the mouth, make a humming sound.” A cognate root is hmh, with the same meaning. From hmh is formed the word hamon or amon (Gesenius-Tregelles s.v. amon II), and the latter is identical to the Hebrew form of the name of the Egyptian god Amun, viz. Amon, as in the Biblical city-name No-Amon, for Thebes in Upper Egypt, the “Abode of Amun.” The Egyptian language incorporated many roots which were the same as those in Semitic languages such as Hebrew. In this case Egyptian Amun, the “Concealed One,” has the same root meaning as Hebrew Amon, from hmh, “to shut the mouth.” In Mesopotamian theology Mummu was one of four elements of the primeval chaos, conceived as male-female deities, as was Amun in Egypt. Mummu also had a triple form, first Mummu as an elemental deity of chaos, second Mummu = Enki, third Mummu = Marduk, forming a generational series. Amun likewise had a triple form. A trinity of Amuns was envisaged, in which one form was the progenitor of the next 1) Amun of Karnak, identified with the cosmic serpent, Kem-atef, 2) Amun of Luxor (Thebes), identified with the serpent Irta and with Ptah Ta-tenen (Ptah as the cosmic hill emerging out of the waters of creation), and 3) Amun (Ra) of the Ogdoad, the ram-headed Amun of the Siwa Oasis in North Africa. According to Damascius (De Principiis cap. 125 ed Kopp p. 386) all three Amuns were termed “Kamephis” (Ka-mutef, “Bull of his Mother”), and either all three made up the complete Neoplatonic Logos, or the third of them was the Logos (the “Intelligible Intelligence”) and was also called Helios, the sun, after his father and grandfather.


118. This theology was familiar to the Greeks, since two dusky-skinned priestesses of Amun of Thebes introduced his cult at one and the same time into Siwa in Libya and into Dodona in Greece, according to a tradition first reported by Herodotus (I. 54ff.):


119. “As regards the Oracles both that among the Hellenes [Dodona] and that in Libya [Siwa], the Egyptians tell the following tale. The priests of the Theban Zeus told me that two women in the service of the temple had been carried away from Thebes by Phoenicians, and that they had heard that one of them had been sold to go into Libya and the other to the Hellenes; and these women, they said, were they who first founded the prophetic seats among the nations which have been named: and when I inquired whence they knew so perfectly of this tale which they told, they said in reply that a great search had been made by the priests after these women, and that they had not been able to find them, but they had heard afterwards this tale about them which they were telling.


120. “This I heard from the priests at Thebes, and what follows is said by the prophetesses of Dodona. They say that two black doves flew from Thebes in Egypt, and came one of them to Libya and the other to their land. And this latter settled upon an oak-tree and spoke with human voice, saying that it was necessary that a prophetic seat of Zeus should be established in that place; and they supposed that that was of the gods which was announced to them, and made one accordingly: and the dove which went away to the Libyans, they say, bade the Libyans to make an Oracle of Ammon [Amun]; and this also is of Zeus. The priestesses of Dodona told me these things, of whom the eldest was named Promeneia, the next after her Timarete, and the youngest Nicandra; and the other people of Dodona who were engaged about the temple gave accounts agreeing with theirs.


121. “I however have an opinion about the matter as follows: — If the Phoenicians did in truth carry away the consecrated women and sold one of them into Libya and the other into Hellas, I suppose that in the country now called Hellas, which was formerly called Pelasgia, this woman was sold into the land of the Thesprotians; and then being a slave there she set up a sanctuary of Zeus under a real oak-tree; as indeed it was natural that being an attendant of the sanctuary of Zeus at Thebes, she should there, in the place to which she had come, have a memory of him; and after this, when she got understanding of the Hellenic tongue, she established an Oracle, and she reported, I suppose, that her sister had been sold in Libya by the same Phoenicians by whom she herself had been sold.


122. “Moreover, I think that the women were called doves by the people of Dodona for the reason that they were Barbarians and because it seemed to them that they uttered voice like birds; but after a time (they say) the dove spoke with human voice, that is when the woman began to speak so that they could understand; but so long as she spoke a Barbarian tongue she seemed to them to be uttering voice like a bird: for had it been really a dove, how could it speak with human voice? And in saying that the dove was black, they indicate that the woman was Egyptian. The ways of delivering oracles too at Thebes in Egypt and at Dodona closely resemble one another, as it happens, and also the method of divination by victims has come from Egypt.”


122.1. In Dodona the god was known as Zeus, and amongst the Romans as Jupiter. For those who held the “theory which treated the gods as deified men and split them into multiple forms” (Lydus, ut cit. infra) there was a trinity of Zeuses or Jupiters (Cicero De Natura Deorum III. 53, Lydus IV. 48, Arnobius IV. 14, Clement Alex. Protr. p. 24, Ampelius c. 9), as there was a trinity of Amuns in Egypt, and a trinity of Mummus in Mesopotamia. In the Greek and Roman system the first Zeus (Jupiter) was born of Aither, that is, according to the tenets of the Orientalizing Orphic system, from the material of the mundane egg (= the egg of Nun), as the first Mummu was born of Apsu (= Nun) and Tiamat, and the first Amun, Kem-Atef, encircled, and was also engendered within, the egg of Nun. The second Zeus was born of Ouranos (Caelum), that is, out of the heavenly element which emerged, along with the earthly element (Ge, Terra), from the broken shell of the mundane egg, and was termed the “Saturnian” (Saturnius), as the second Mummu was the son of Anu (Heaven) and was a by-name of Enki (Kronos, Saturn). This second Zeus was the father of Athena. He corresponds to the second Amun, Ptah Ta-tenen. Ptah Ta-tenen was identified with the Canaanite Kothar-wa-hasis, he with the Mesopotamian Enki, and Enki with Poseidon, and the latter likewise, according to the Libyans, was the father of Athena. (§337, below, >>.) Both these Zeuses are said to have been born in Arcadia, meaning amongst the Canaanite Arkites, who settled in Libya and North Africa, as well as in the Peloponnese just across the sea from Libya. (§894.0.3, below, >>.) The third Zeus, the “Cretan” Zeus, was the son of Kronos (Saturn), as the third Mummu was Bel Marduk (Jupiter), the son of Enki (Saturn). He corresponds to the third Amun, Amun of Siwa. This was the Libyan Ammon who was believed to have adopted Athena and subsequently to have fled to Crete. (§337.4, below, >>.)


122.2. Returning to the more primitive Egyptian scheme: Amun was the father of Khensu (the moon-god), i.e. Khensu was a secondary form (“son”) of Amun, and Khensu, in turn, was identified with Thoth (Hermes). Hermes was known amongst the Greeks as “Parammon,” which is thought to mean “Produced by Amun,” i.e. “Son of the Sun-god (Amun).” According to Arabic scholars (e.g. An-Nadim, Fihrist, Bk. 10, in Chwolson, Ssabier, Bd. I, 788), Hermes gave his name to what the Arabs called the “haram” or pyramid. This word is formed from the root rm (see Herbélot, Bibl. Orient., s.v. Ehram) which is cognate to hmm and hmh, (Gesenius-Tregelles s.vv. rm, r, sm, m), and the latter is the Semitic root of the name Amon, i.e. Amun. A “herm” (erma), the symbol of Hermes, was a sacred stone pillar, as was the “haram” or pyramid.


123. Traditionally there was a connection between this deity, Amun, and the Biblical Ham, which made the moon-god (Khensu, Thoth) not only “Son of the Sun-god” but also “Son of Ham.” Out of the Ogdoad of the last Amun (Amun [3]) in Egyptian theology emerged the other gods of Egypt, Geb, Osiris, Seth, and the rest, in successive generations, comprising the “Ennead” (group of nine gods) of Heliopolis. In the traditional king-lists of Egypt, as preserved by the priest Manetho, the first kings of Egypt were accordingly named Ptah and his son Ra (in Greek translation: Hephaistos [= Ptah] and Helios [= Ra]), that is, Amun (2) and Amun (3) of the Egyptian trinity; the latter was said to have produced Geb, and he, in turn, Osiris and so forth. Manetho treated these gods as historical kings of Egypt. He did this on the basis of ancient precedent. The Turin Canon, dating from the XIXth Dynasty in the latter half of the second millennium BC, began its list of Egyptian kings with the same figures, treated unquestioningly in this document, too, as though they had ruled the land in the most remote period of its history. It is cerebral vacuity for modern historians to reject, as they commonly do, the plain statements of those who practiced the ancient Egyptian religion that their chief “gods” were once kings on this order. The earliest god-kings in the Turin Canon are as follows (names missing in the fragmentary state of the text surrounded by angled brackets): “<King Ptah>, King Ra, <King Shu>, King Geb, King Osiris, King Seth … etc.” That the first two were different forms of the same god (Amun-Ra, the sun-god) can be deduced from the assertion of the Coptic bishop, John of Nikiu, in his version of Peri Theon (John of Nikiu, Chronicle, ed. Charles, XII. 1), that the man-god Hephaistos (= Ptah) was named Sun (i.e. Ra), and his son was named Sun (Ra) also after him. The same is stated by Heraiscus apud Damascius (De Principiis cap. 125 ed. Kopp p. 386), viz. that the third of the three successive gods Kamephis (i.e. Amuns [1], [2] and [3]) was called “Sun” (Helios, i.e. Ra) after his father and grandfather. Mar Abas Catina identified the first god-king in this list, Hephaistos or Ptah (= Amun [2], Ptah Ta-tenen), as the Biblical Ham, and his son Helios or Ra (= Amun [3], Amun of the Ogdoad, Amun-Ra), as Ham’s son, Cush. In Mar Abas Catina the son of Ouranos called Titan in the Sibylline Oracles is identified as Ham son of Noah. In Euhemerus, whose account of Ouranos and his sons is similar in many respects to the Sibylline version drawn on by Mar Abas Catina, this same son of Ouranos is called “Pan” (in Diodorus Siculus lib. VI apud Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica II. ii. 59 [codices]) as well as “Titan” (Ennius’ Latin translation of Euhemerus in Lactantius Div. Inst. I. 14). Pan was a common Greek translation of the name Amun, so Ham in this tradition was both Amun (Pan), i.e. Amun (2), Ptah or Hephaistos, and Titan, son of Ouranos. An identical lineage of Ham’s son Cush is implied in the traditional genealogy of Aethiops, the eponymous ancestor of the Ethiopians, preserved by Pliny (lib. VI. xxxv [187]: Ethiopia so named “a Vulcani filio Aethiope”), which represents him as a son of Vulcanus. (Vulcanus was the Latin name for the Greek Hephaistos and for the Egyptian Ptah.) Aethiops son of Vulcanus parallels Cush (Ra, Amun [3]), son of Ham (Ptah Ta-tenen, Amun [2]). Cush was commonly styled “Aethiops” (Eusebius’ Chronicle [Armenian translation], ed. Aucher, 1818, p. 109, and thereafter, e.g. Cedrenus, ed. Migne PG CXXI, col. 48). Boccacio (Genealogiae, Lib. VII, cap. xl) notes that his instructor Leontius Pilatus held that he whose proper name was Aethiops son of Vulcanus was identical with Sol (Helios) son of Vulcanus (Hephaistos), and was titled Sol, “Sun,” by his compatriots on account of the splendor of that celestial body in his homeland of Ethiopia. It has already been demonstrated how the name Aethiops (Greek Aithiops), meaning “burnt appearance,” like the Biblical Cush, “dark-complexioned” or “sun-burned,” accurately reflects the meaning of the name of the founder of Eana, the Shinar Tower, who was called Mes-kianga-sher by the Sumerians. Also Mes-kianga-sher (Cush) was son of “the sun-god” (Utu, Ham) in the Sumerian King List, and Enmerkar (Nimrod) was called son of “the sun-god” (Utu) in Sumerian Epic Literature, rather than of Mes-kianga-sher (Cush), as in the King List. Implied, therefore, is the equation of both Ham and Cush with the sun-god, just as in these traditions based on the Manethonian list of Egyptian god-kings. In fact, one of the alternative readings of the Sumerian sign read “Utu” is “Ra” (ra3 which means “clear, pure, bright”) and this is identical to the common pronunciation of the name of the Egyptian sun-god, Ra, though as in the case of Amun, the Egyptians may have given the original divine name a native Egyptian etymology. Amun (3) was one of the eight members of the Ogdoad, i.e. the eight gods or “primeval ancestors.” The extension of the mystical interpretation of the Ogdoad, from its original application to Noah and his family in Ararat, to Noah’s descendants in other lands, on other mountains, is brought out by Faber adapting Bryant in the work cited. The family of Noah was reduplicated in the family of Cush, in the sense that, as Noah and his family were “primeval ancestors” of the whole world, Cush’s family were “primeval ancestors” of Cush’s own, more limited, territory in Africa. The mountain in Ararat was exchanged in this reinterpretation of the scheme for a hill in Eshmunein, Hermopolis in Middle Egypt, which was the home of the cult of Thoth and of the Ogdoadic theology.


124. So, Ra (Amun [3], the Greek Helios) begot Geb (the Greek Kronos), that is, according to Mar Abas Catina, Cush (Helios, Ra) begot Nimrod (Kronos, Geb). In Syncellus’ text of Manetho Helios (Ra) was the father of “Agathodaimon” (representing the Egyptian god Shu) and he, not Helios (Ra) directly, begot Kronos (Geb) and the rest. Some genealogies of Nimrod similarly inserted a generation between Cush and Nimrod, e.g. Cush, father of Mizraim, father of Nimrod (Mar Abas Catina, §909, below, >>), or Cush, father of Raamah, father of Nimrod (Chronicon Paschale, Syncellus), or Cush, father of Canaan, father of Nimrod (Arab genealogies). Peri Theon identified Shu (“Sosis”) here with the Greek Ares (Mars), rather than Agathodaimon. In Egypt Ares was equated with Anhur (Onuris), and Anhur with Shu and Arueris, the Elder Horus. Shu was further assimilated to Ra and Ra to Kem-atef (Agathodaimon). Hence the equation of Shu in one line of tradition with Agathodaimon and in another with Ares, and also his disappearance in some texts, viz. by absorption into his predecessor, Ra. Similarly the title “Zoroaster,” applied to Ptah in the pseudo-Clementine Homilies, is found applied elsewhere to Ham (in the pseudo-Clementine Recognitions IV. 27f.), or otherwise to Mizraim (ibid., on a different interpretation of the text), as well as to Cush (Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks I. 5), because each of these patriarchs could be identified with Amun, and hence with Ptah. The Assyrian Ares (Hercules) in Peri Theon is the god-man Thouros or Belos/Baal, viz. Amraphel. Sos[is], the Egyptian Ares (Hercules), is called “Hercules Libycus” in the Armenian Sibylline tradition comprising the Defloratio Berosi of Giovanni Nanni, and is identified with the Biblical Lehabim son of Mizraim, the eponymus of the Libyans of North Africa (see the Chart at §886.2, below, >>, and a summary of his exploits at §884.5.6, below, >>, with cross-references). Lehabim is a plural, national, eponymus, and represents the title “Libycus” in the Defloratio. The Biblical figure who was the ancestor of these Lehabim, and who was worshiped as “the Egyptian Hercules” (Hercules = Ares = Shu [Sosis] = Arueris, the Elder Horus) was Heth son of Canaan (see §626.6, below, >>, and the cross-reference relating to Arueris §333, below, >>), progenitor of the Hittites/Hivites/Minaeans of the tribe of Sheba inhabiting the kingdom of Triton in Libya, see further §337.3f., below, >>, with cross-references. This, and evidence examined elsewhere, expands the series of identifications beyond the bounds of the list of gods and Biblical kings in Mar Abas Catina to provide the identifications missing in his list and enclosed within braces {} in the chart infra: Geb (the living Nimrod) begot Osiris (Sidon, see §101.17, above, >>, §343.0.2, below, >>, §334ff., below, >>, etc.) who then produced posthumously, by spiritual intercourse with Isis, his son Horus (the deified ancestor of the Mizraimite Philstines of Pelusium, §101.3, above, >>, §626.15, below, >>, §626.17.8, below, >>).



Egyptian Name
(Square brackets [ ] = Phoenician equivalent
Braces { } = omissible figure)

Greek Equivalent or
“Interpretatio Graeca”
(Braces { } = omissible figure)

Equivalent Biblical Figure in Mar Abas Catina
(Angled brackets < > = non-explicit identification; braces {} = other source)

Trinity of Amuns:



Amun (1) of Karnak = Kem-atef


<Noah>

Amun (2) of Luxor = Irta = Ptah Ta-tenen

Hephaistos

Ham

Amun (3) of the Ogdoad or of Siwa [Hammon] = Ra

Helios

Cush (son of above)

Ra begot the other 8 deities of the Ennead of Heliopolis, the male members of which were:



{Shu}

{Agathodaimon, Ares (Herakles)}

{Lehabim from Mizraim “son of Cush”}

Geb

Kronos

Nimrod (“son of Mizraim” son of Cush)

Osiris

Osiris

{Sidon = Poseidon = Ninos = Serapis}

Horus

Horos

{Philistim from Asshur = Ninos}




125. It will be noticed that the scheme in Mar Abas Catina implies the identification of the first Amun in the series (Kem-atef) with Noah. This identification is confirmed by the tradition preserved in Tzetzes, Chil. 10, Hist. 335, that “One Hephaistos, an Egyptian, in the times of Noah, which Noah is called Dionusos [Dionysus] and Osiris, discovered fire, and all the technical skills associated with fire.” Tzetzes dates the Egyptian Hephaistos (Ptah) to the era of Noah, i.e. Ptah = Ham as in the scheme examined here. That would make Ptah-Ham the son of Osiris-Noah in the tradition drawn on by Tzetzes. Osiris was commonly identified with Amun Kem-atef, so in this case too Noah = Amun Kem-atef (or alternatively Osiris) and Ham = Amun Irta (or Ptah). Tzetzes ascribes the pillars of Dionysus in the mountains of India to Noah-Osiris-Dionysus (Chil. 8. Hist. 211), and the discovery of astronomy to Atlas the contemporary of Noah-Osiris-Dionysus (Chil. 12. Hist. 399), whose minister was Hermes Trismegistos, and who invented viticulture on Mount Loubar, Nysa etc. (See further on Dionysus = Noah, Nysa = the “Moon” mountain, Ararat, §316.1, below, >>.) He was titled Zeus as all kings were in early ages. (Chil. 5. Hist. 1. and see also §101.18, above, >>: the kings were named Zeus after Belos Zeus the king of Egypt, viz. Amun.) Hermes Trismegistos is deemed a contemporary of Noah-Osiris-Dionysus likewise in Chil. 5. Hist. 26, and there Tzetzes notes Noah “means ‘rest’ in Hebrew, as Attalos means ‘rest’ in Lydian,” ibid. 791f. See further §354.10.2, below, >>, on Noah = Sabbath (“Rest”) = Sabazius, Sabazius being the Phrygian Dionysus. According to Damascius, the god Amun, himself unfolding into a triple form (Amuns [1], [2] and [3], each called Kamephis), was one of three “reformulations” of the original primal essence (Gk. archê) designated “darkness,” the other two primal essences being “water” and “particulated matter” (Gk. psammos), and Amun himself the Logos emergent from the two latter primal essences. These four, darkness, water, particulated matter and Amun, correspond to the four male members of the Ogdoad, or group of eight primeval deities (four male four female) in the theology of Hermopolis Magna. The native Egyptian names of the four males were Kek (darkness), Nun (water), Heh (particulated matter, literally “infinite multitude”) and Amun. (The female names were identical except for the female termination.) They symbolized the four elements which the Greeks called “earth” (= Kek = darkness or dark matter), “air” (Heh, particulated matter, was depicted as a god of the atmosphere), fire (Amun as the fiery sun-god), and water (Nun). (Seneca, Quaest. Nat. III. 14, Jamblichus, De Mysteriis, VIII. 3.) One of these being Noah, as is implied in Mar Abas Catina, it is evident the underlying scheme treated the Ogdoad as a representation of the eight members of Noah’s family. According to the pre-Nicene Church Father Irenaeus (Adversus Haereses ed. Harvey I. xi. 2 [other editions I. xv. 2, I. xviii. 2]), certain Valentinian Gnostics of the second century AD similarly identified the eight members of their primeval Ogdoad (derived from the Egyptian Ogdoad through Greek intermediaries) with the eight members of Noah’s family — a Scriptural evidence of the truth of their Ogdoadic doctrine, as they saw it, of the “very plainest kind.”


126. The series of three Amuns (Kamephis) in Damascius’ scheme were successive manifestations of the same deity, viz. of the original Amun, and he himself was a “reformulation” of the primal essence “darkness” as were the two other primal essences out of which Amun emerged (lit. darkness “renamed three times” tris anaphônoumenon). All the deities in this scheme might be viewed, therefore, as so many forms of a single deity (and the genealogical series recast, if need be, to suit other theological objectives). The Neoplatonic thesis of Damascius was that the Trinitarian doctrine of the Christians had been current long before Christianity in these pagan systems. Nobody could deny that the creedal Trinitarianism of the post-Nicene church was a far cry from the Scriptural theology of the pre-Nicene Church fathers. Tritheism on the pagan model was the inevitable outcome of the officially-recognized church’s denial of the subordination of the Son, as that had been taught in the Logos theology and economic Trinitarianism of the sub-Apostolic Church, and its insistence on the absolute co-eternity of three equal but distinct divine persons in the godhead. The pagans’ Trinitarianism trounced that of the post-Nicene ecclesiastical regime: in the pagan systems Trinities of distinct divine beings emerged from earlier Trinities of the same. In this Egyptian scheme, for example, a Trinity of Amuns emerged from an earlier Trinity of primal essences.


126.1. The emergence of a Trinity of Amuns from the original primal essence in the Egyptian scheme, making four generations in all, and the subsequent emergence of four generations from the last of those three Amuns, viz. the emergence successively of Shu, Geb, Osiris and Horus, had the effect of creating an alternative Ogdoadic scheme comprising eight generations of male divinities, in contrast to the original Ogdoad of four male-female pairs. It will be demonstrated (§346, below, >>, §349.2, below, >>, §626.13, below, >>, etc.) that the first eight kings of the First Dynasty of Egypt were treated as a duplicate of the original Ogdoad (four male-female pairs) of Noah’s family. The first eight kings of Egypt appear in Peri Theon, accordingly, identified with these eight male divinities, that is, with the members of the alternative Ogdoad of eight males in successive generations. The first king of Egypt is stated to have been the Biblical Mizraim of the tribe of Ham. The next king is Faunus-Hermes (Latin Faunus = Greek Pan). In the Egyptian context, Faunus (Pan) is Amun, that is, the first Amun, Kem-atef. The next king is Hephaistos, viz. Amun Irta, identified with Ptah Ta-tenen. He is followed by Helios, son of Hephaistos (Amun-Ra of Siwa). That is the first Trinity of Amuns emergent from the primal essence, in this case, from Mizraim of the tribe of Ham (embodying the cosmic principle “darkness”). Sosis (Shu) features in some versions of Peri Theon as the successor of Helios. Then come Geb (Keb), Osiris and Horus. The full list is: Mizraim, Faunus, Hephaistos, Helios, Sosis, Keb, Osiris, Horus.


126.2. The story of the adultery of Hephaistos’ wife Aphrodite with Ares (Sosis), which Peri Theon inserts at this point in its narrative in relation to the third, fourth and fifth of the eight god-kings listed supra, is based on very early sources, though Peri Theon only mentions the version which appears in Homer. As Homer tells it (Odyssey, 8. 265ff.) Ares committed adultery with Hephaistos’ wife Aphrodite in the very house of Hephaistos, his host. Helios, the sun-god, observing the (day-time) shenanigans, reported them to Hephaistos. The prospect of vengeance in the raging heart of the aggrieved spouse mollified a trifle the bitterness of insult and indignation: Hephaistos went off to his smithy and forged bonds which could not be broken or loosed, and which were as fine as spider-webs, so marvelously constructed that even gods could not detect them. These he hung around his bed and from the beams above it, ready to ensnare the lovers on their next encounter. He then made as though to depart on a long journey to his beloved isle of Lemnos (the location, it should be noted, of the mystery-cult of the eight Kabeiroi). Ares watched for his departure, then swiftly returned to the house of Hephaistos and took Aphrodite to bed. Soon they realized they were trapped, and unable to rise from the covers. Ever-watchful Helios let Hephaistos know that Ares was back in his house. Hephaistos invited the gods to look upon the brazen couple, who had treated him so shamelessly for the mere fact he was lame and not as athletic as Ares. Hephaistos vowed he would not release them till Aphrodite’s father Zeus, son of Kronos, paid him back the bride-price he had handed over to marry his daughter. Hermes and Apollo remarked they would gladly take Ares’ place, exciting mirth amongst the assembled immortals, but Poseidon pleaded with eloquent words for the couple’s release, and, at last, having bound himself to pay the price, if Ares did not, obtained his request. Immediately, on the loosing of their bonds by Hephaistos, the couple sprang up and sped away, Ares to his homeland of Thrace, and Aphrodite to her sacred isle of Cyprus. So the story ends. It is remarkable in this account that implicit mention is made of the cult of the eight Kabeiroi, as they can be identified with the eight kings of the First Dynasty of Egypt, which comprises the second “Ogdoad,” duplicating the earlier and original Kabeiric Ogdoad of four male and four female divinities (viz. the members of Noah’s family, see the cross-references cited supra). Precisely eight, and only eight, male divinities are named in Homer’s account, viz. Poseidon, Hermes, Hephaistos, Helios, Ares, Kronos, Zeus and Apollo, and these eight correspond to the eight god-men in Peri Theon, described there as the earliest kings of Egypt: Poseidon = Mizraim (see further §626.3, below, >>), Hermes = Faunus (sic in Peri Theon), Hephaistos is common to both, as also Helios, Ares = Sosis (as stated in Peri Theon), Kronos = Keb (as stated ibid.), Zeus = Osiris (as commonly in the Interpretatio Graeca), and Apollo = Horus (likewise).


126.3. The Oriental myth underlying this pretty tale was one which justified the sacrifice of a king in order to ensure fertility. The dying god was Tammuz in Mesopotamia, Osiris, reincarnated in Horus, in Egypt. As all the kings of the First Dynasty were identified with Horus (and with Osiris, called at that time Khenty-Amentiu), it is clear the myth relates to the sacrifice, or ritual sacrifice, of the king, which is known to have been practiced by them in that particular period of history. In the Mesopotamian myth the goddess of love and fertility, Inana (= Venus, Aphrodite), was trapped in the underworld realm of Nergal (= Mars, Ares), until she was released by the descent of Tammuz (the smith-god = Hephaistos) into the underworld to take her place. An arrangement was made whereby she remained in the upper world to render it fertile at the appropriate season, and Tammuz was condemned to perpetual cycles of time in the bleak and barren underworld. In the Greek version of the myth the more gruesome aspects of the Oriental version were toned down, but the pattern was the same: Aphrodite (= Inana) was trapped (in bed = death) with Ares (= Nergal, god of the underworld). When finally released, her husband Hephaistos (= Tammuz the smith-god) was left, without her at his side, to continue his work at the divine smithy amongst the subterranean fires of the underworld, whilst Aphrodite herself flitted off to the summery land of Cyprus (representing the fertile season), and Ares (king of the unfertile underworld) departed to his cold, wintry, homeland in Thrace. In the Oriental myth, the release of the goddess was secured by the cunning and mischievous Enki or Ea, god of the netherworld waters, and in the Greek myth by Poseidon, god of the sea, who was equated with Enki-Ea already in antiquity. The historical background of this myth and cult, and its connection with Ham, the father of Mizraim, and ancestor of the other kings of the second set of Kabeiroi, is examined at §321ff., below, >>. The name Hephaistos has been transferred from Ham (in the first set of Kabeiroi) to Tammuz (= Djer in the second set of Kabeiroi), because Tammuz slew Ham (Hephaistos) for love of Aphrodite and thus absorbed his identity and his name. (See further ibid., on the murder of Ham-Hephaistos by Tammuz, and §626.3, below, >> on Djer = Sidon-Tammuz.)


127. The most recondite of the ancient theologies, according to Damascius (De Principiis cap. 111, ed. Kopp, p. 344) was that of the Chaldaeans whom he also terms theurgists: “These theurgists, instructed by the gods themselves, have transmitted down to us the tradition of three Triads [or Trinities].” The Egyptians and Phoenicians developed this scheme, he says, and extended their pantheons accordingly. Depending on the same Neoplatonic interpretation of the ancient theologies Lydus (De Mens. IV. 78 [122]) says: “The ennead [group of nine] is the divine number, because it is composed of three Triads [or Trinities]. And also, as Porphyrius says, it preserves the sublimest expression of theological thought according to the philosophy of the Chaldaeans.” Damascius (De Principiis cap. 125) compares the pagan theologies of the Babylonians, the Magi, the Phoenicians and the Egyptians, and summarizes the Babylonian scheme as follows. The primacy amongst the original universal essences is relegated “to Silence [Greek Sigê (fem.)],” as it appears to Damascius, in the Babylonian system, and the two other primal essences are there called Apason and Tauthe, a male-female pair. (This is the first Trinity.) From them emerges the Logos, Moumis, like Amun in the Egyptian scheme, and amongst the Babylonians Moumis is designated the “only-begotten son” of the two primal essences. In place of the two following Amuns, there appear in the Babylonian scheme two further “generations” of male-female pairs, viz. Lachos and Lache (the manuscripts read incorrectly “Dachos” and “Dache”) and Assoros and Kissare. (This is a second Trinity of divine generations.) From these spring (the third Trinity consisting of) Anos, Illinos and Aos. From Aos is born the Demiurge (Creator) Belos.


128. The divine names were once only known from this passage of Damascius, but they have since come to light as the names of the earliest generations of gods in the Babylonian Epic of Creation, Enuma Elish. Damascius’ Apason and Tauthe are the native Babylonian Apsu and Tiamat, Moumis is Mummu, Lachos and Lache are Lahmu and Lahamu, and Assoros and Kissare are Anshar and Kishar. Anos is Anu; Illinos is Enlil; and Aos is Ea. (Damascius seems to treat these last three as coeval siblings but in the native mythology Anu is the father of the other two. Enlil does not feature in Enuma Elish under his own name, Bel Marduk having effectively replaced him.) Belos finally is Bel Marduk, son of Ea. In Damascius’ version of the Babylonian scheme, three of the four male-female pairs of the Egyptian Ogdoad, whose male members appear in the original Trinity of primal essences in the Egyptian scheme (viz. Kek = “darkness,” Nun = “water” and Heh = “particulated matter”) are present, but with their dual (male and female) designations: the Egyptian Nun and Nunet (male and female forms of) “water” correspond to the Babylonian male-female pair Apsu (sweet water) and Tiamat (salt water); the Egyptian Kek and Keket (male and female forms of) “darkness” to the Babylonian male-female pair Lahmu (dark matter) and Lahamu (female complement of the same); the Egyptian Heh and Hehet (male and female forms of) “particulated matter” or “infinite multitude” to the Babylonian Anshar (lit. “infinite multitude, or totality, of heaven or the upper realm”) and Kishar (lit. “infinite multitude, or totality, of earth or the lower realm”). In the original Egyptian theology Amun and his female complement Amunet (two forms of) the Logos were included to make eight in all. The Trinitarian recasting of the Egyptian scheme in Damascius separated off three of the male members (darkness, water, particulated matter) as the Trinity of primal essences, and the male member Amun, in a successively unfolding triple form, as the emergent Trinity of the Logos. His Trinitarian recasting of the Babylonian scheme separated off the male-female pair Apsu and Tiamat, with an obscure earlier primal essence “Silence,” as the original Trinity, out of which emerged the only-begotten son, Mummu, and two other generations from Apsu and Tiamat (male-female pairs, Lahmu-Lahamu and Anshar-Kishar), i.e. a Trinity of divine generations. The obscure earlier primal essence corresponds to what would by analogy be the female complement of the Logos Mummu (corresponding to Amunet the female complement of the Logos Amun in the Egyptian scheme). No such female complement of Mummu is explicitly named in Enuma Elish, but when the name Mummu appears for the first time in that Epic it is precisely in a Triadic combination with Apsu and Tiamat, as if it represented an already-existing component of the universe at the very beginning of things, contemporary with Apsu and Tiamat, rather than a servile vizier, which is what Mummu is designated later on in the main text of the Epic, or a firstborn son, as in Damascius. The first lines of the Epic read:

When on high [“Enuma elish” in the original] the heaven had not been named,
Firm ground below had not been called by name,
Naught but primordial Apsu, their begetter,
And Mummu Tiamat, she who bore them all,
Their waters commingling as a single body;
No reed hut had been matted, no marsh land had appeared,
When no gods whatever had been brought into being,
Uncalled by name, their destinies undetermined —
Then it was that the gods were formed within them.
Lahmu and Lahamu were brought forth, by name they were called.
Before they had grown in age and stature,
Anshar and Kishar were formed, surpassing the others.
They prolonged the days, added on the years.

This first, and undoubtedly obscure, mention of Mummu may be presumed to be the primal Triadic essence “Silence” of Damascius’ summary. Note the root meaning of the word Mummu, “to shut the mouth with a humming sound, be dumb,” and its semantic relationship to the Egyptian Amun. Because one of the meanings of the word Mummu is “Mother,” some have thought the word here should be attached to Tiamat “Mummu-Tiamat” or “Mother Tiamat.” In that case, Mummu is female and a by-name of Tiamat. Since the tendency was for attributes or by-names of deities to become distinct deities in their own right (the male Mummu himself being also a by-name of Enki), it can easily be understood how a by-name of Tiamat might be or become a goddess, equivalent to the female Amunet in the Egyptian scheme. Accordingly, the name “Sige,” of the primary essence “Silence” in Damascius, is female in gender. Apsu, furthermore, was originally the god of the netherworld waters, otherwise known as Enki and Ea, therefore Mummu (the male Mummu) was also a by-name of Apsu. The two original deities might be called Mummu-Apsu and Mummu-Tiamat. The attribute of a deity was treated in Mesopotamian mythology as that deity’s servant or as an opponent of the deity captured or killed by him. Thus Mummu was at first the servant of Apsu, according to Enuma Elish, and subsequently was captured by Ea and became his servant (held “by the nose-rope”), and was then killed by him.


129. The eight original gods or components of the universe were Apsu and Tiamat corresponding to Nun and Nunet, Mummu (the vizier or son) and Mummu (of the original Triad), corresponding to Amun and Amunet, Lahmu and Lahamu corresponding to Kek and Keket, and Anshar and Kishar corresponding to Heh and Hehet. In the Babylonian scheme Apsu was the father of the other six and of all the subsequent gods, and similarly in Egypt Nun was the father of all the gods. Mummu was born from Apsu as Amun was born from Nun. The order in the Babylonian scheme is Apsu, the father, and his sons Mummu, Lahmu and Anshar. In the scheme used by Mar Abas Catina these would be Noah (Apsu), Shem (firstborn son = Mummu), Ham (Lahmu) and Japheth (Anshar):

1) Remarkably the name Japheth means “He (God) expands,” and the name Anshar (a Sumerian name borrowed by the Babylonians) can be interpreted “God (An) enlarges, expands, multiplies,” the second element “shar” being translated in this instance as a verb (multiply) rather than as a noun (large number).

2) Evidence will be presented elsewhere (§310, below, >>) that the name Shem, meaning literally “Name,” i.e. “Bearer of the family name,” the firstborn son, was reinterpreted in the blessing of Noah as a reference to the mystic (secret, silent) name of El, God. (Cf. the root meaning of the name Mummu, “shut the mouth.”) The Canaanite El was equated with the Sumerian god Enki or Ea, and Mummu was a by-name of Enki. Hence here Mummu stands for Shem. The word “name” also means firstborn son. Mummu was the firstborn son of Apsu, according to Damascius. The divine “Name” was God’s Expression of Himself, His Mode of Communication, what we would call the Logos. Mummu means “Logos.” The Logos is the Son of God, and Shem is the firstborn son.

3) Ham means “One who shelters, keeps close” from the root mh, “protect, shelter, be close.” This seems to be the original meaning of the name, which is found translated into Sumerian as Puzur, “shelter, secret, aegis, shadow,” followed by a divine name. (See §312, below, >>.) However, it could mean secondarily the “hot, charred or dark one,” if understood as a formation from the root mm.or ḥwm. Since Ham was the founding father of the tribes of Africa, the latter has been the preferred interpretation. The name Lahmu designates a creature of the watery chaos and a protector of the entrances of temples, such as Enlil’s temple “E-Kur” (meaning “Underworld House”) in Nippur. Lahmu creatures were believed to dispense fresh waters from the underground reservoir, which they guarded, to thirsty beasts on land. They had a negroid (Hamitic) appearance, and long, flowing curls of hair. The primordial “protective” Lahmu of the watery Apsu in the Epic of Creation is an apt representation of the “shelterer” Ham. For the traditional comparison of the boat of Naggu-napishti, the Babylonian Noah, with the Temple Apsu in Eridu, see the following paragraph. The boat is referred to as a “palace” (ekallu) in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the person given the job of guarding it was the boatman whose name has the same meaning as Ham. The exact equivalent word in Syriac, haykal, “palace” (and/or “temple”), is employed as a proper noun, “Haykal daughter of Namos(a),” for the name of Noah’s wife in the Cave of Treasures, a man’s wife in ancient Oriental thought being representative of his house or dwelling-place in this case the vessel in which Noah survived the Flood. Post-Biblical Rabbinic mysticism treated Noah’s container, not only as a manifestation of Shekhinah (lit. the “Abode,” viz. of God) analogous to the Heykal (Heb. “Temple”) in Jerusalem, but also as his “wife” with which he united (i.e. entered) to populate the post-diluvian world (Zohar I. 59b ff.). A similar idea can be traced in the Nag Hammadi Gnostic manuscripts, The Hypostasis of the Archons, The Apocryphon of John, and The Thought of Norea, in which Noah’s wife is Norea (“Light”), and the posterity of Noah are hidden from destruction in a “luminous cloud,” similar in function to the Shekhinah, rather than in a boat. In view of Ham’s role as “shelterer,” therefore, there might well be indicated, in the more ancient Near-Eastern tradition, a special connection also of Noah’s son Ham with his father’s wife. (See further §303, below, >>.) Ham would be the “protector” or “guardian” of the palace-cum-boat of Noah, which was identified with the Apsu in Mesopotamia, as Lahmu was the protector or guardian of the cosmic Apsu, and the temple in Eridu which represented it. One of the ways of writing the Sumerian word Puzur, “shelter,” corresponding to the Biblical Ham, was with the signs KA×GAN2tenû. The same signs could also be read kana, “to be dark, gloomy” or, as a noun, “gloom.” Another way of writing kana was with the signs KA×MI or SAG×MI, in which the last sign MI was a depiction of a night sky with stars. In other words, the same set of signs could convey the idea of “darkness, gloom,” or the idea of “shelter,” and the Sumerian name for Ham, Puzur, was associated with the former, as well as conveying the latter, idea. Compare the second meaning of the name Ham, the “Dark one.” Furthermore, the sign MI used to express the idea of darkness in the word kana, could also be read kukku5, kukkû, “darkness.” It can hardly be coincidence that the Egyptian word spelled Kek here (a conventional spelling) seems to have been pronounced precisely “kuku,” was represented hieroglyphically by the sign of a night sky with stars, and meant, like the Babylonian kukkû, “darkness.” It is not known what Semitic root gave rise to the name Lahmu. Since Lahmu creatures had long, curly, hair, it has been thought the name is the same as the word lamu meaning “hairy.” It has also been suggested it is formed from the same root as the word luummû, mud. Luummû is written with the Sumerian signs ĜIŠ.MI (literally “dark [MI] stuff [ĜIŠ]”), in which the last sign is the identical sign MI, depicting a night sky with stars.

4) Noah and his wife were treated in post-Biblical tradition as duplicates of Adam and Eve, the first man and first woman of the post-diluvian world, as Adam and Eve were the first man and first woman of the pre-diluvian world. Here the word Apsu, meaning sweet water reservoir, netherworld, is formed of two Sumerian signs AB (also read ABBA and AP), meaning “father” and ZU meaning “he who obtained knowledge.” This name exactly describes fallen Adam, the father of the dead in the netherworld, who died through the obtaining of knowledge, i.e. by eating from the tree of “knowledge of good and evil” (= the experience of moral extremes). It was for this reason, according to the Sibylline Oracles (I. 81f.), ascribed to the Sibyl Sambethe, daughter of the Babylonian priest Berossus, that Adam was named “Hades” (Gk. Aidês, as though it was a transcription of the name Adam): because he was the first to taste of death, and was the ancestor of all mortals condemned thereafter to the netherworld. Apsu in the sense “netherworld” is equivalent to the Greek Hades. Hades in an earlier stage of the language was “Avides,” where “v” represents the digamma. The digamma was the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew waw, a “w” or “v” sound, which could substitute for the Hebrew beth or “b” sound. The final long “e” in the Greek was originally something like a long “a.” The middle vowel “e” in the Hebrew Abedah is a sere, or long e, which was often transcribed in Greek as “ei” or simply “i.” Abedah > Avedah > Avide(s) > Aides (= Hades). Thus, Avides would represent a transcription of the Hebrew Abedah, which is the same as the alternative Hebrew form Abaddon, the Netherworld, or, literally the “Realm of the lost” (from the root abad, “be lost, disappear, perish”). It is remarkable that the name Hades was explained to mean precisely the “invisible” realm, as though it was a combination of the Greek privative “a,” meaning “not, without,” and “ido” or “vido,” “to see.” The participial noun Obed in Hebrew conveyed the same sense as Abaddon, “Realm of Destruction,” literally the “Destroyer” (Gesenius-Tregelles, s.v.). In Greek a similar participial form was employed to translate the Semitic Abaddon: Apolluon (“Apollyon”), literally the “Destroyer” (Revelation 9. 11), or, more commonly, Apollo. Hence in the Interpretatio Graeca, Apollo replaced the Oriental name of the god of the underworld and death, Resheph, Nergal, Mot etc. The Sumerian abzu (Apsu) was originally, there can be little doubt, a transcription of a Semitic word analogous to the Hebrew Abaddoh or Abaddo (for Abaddon, Prov. 27. 20). The final vowel, a long “u” in the Semitic Babylonian form Apsu, corresponds to the long “o” in the Hebrew form, as the Babylonian divine name Nabu, with long final “u,” becomes Nebo, with long final “o,” in Hebrew. Damascius transcribed the name Apsu as Apason, which implies it was pronounced Appaso or Abbaso in Hellenistic times, with a final “n” appended in the Greek, and this is very similar to the Hebrew Abaddo, or, with a final “n,” Abaddon. The “z” in the Sumerian abzu, and the corresponding “s” in Apason stands for the Semitic zayin, a “z” sound, substituted, as commonly elsewhere, for the daleth or “d” sound in the final syllable. Abadoh/Abzu/Apsu aptly describes Adam’s “lost state” once he, as the “father” (AB or ABBA) of humanity, had partaken of “knowledge” (ZU) instead of life. The name of his wife Tiamat, though intended to represent the Semitic word Tamtu, “sea,” is written strangely with two Sumerian signs, TI = “life” or “living one” and AMAT = “subordinate female.” The Hebrew name Eve means “life,” “living one,” and at the Fall she was subjected to the man. She was therefore, in her fallen state, precisely the “living one (TI), the subordinate female (AMAT).”


130. The implication of this scheme is, essentially as Bryant and Faber reasoned long ago, that just as the “egg” of the original chaotic universe was split apart, to give birth to the ordered creation from the outgrowth of the chaotic elements inside the “egg,” viz. water, spirit (Logos), darkness, and particulated matter, so the “egg” of Noah’s container, having sailed through the chaos of the Inundation, opened up to give birth to the post-diluvian world, derived from Noah (corresponding on the cosmic level to water), Shem (corresponding to the cosmic Logos), Ham (corresponding to the netherworld darkness) and Japheth (corresponding to the cosmic particulated matter). In Egypt this egg was called the “egg of Nun.” The Egyptian Nun corresponds to the Babylonian Apsu. In the Flood story Atrahasis, dating from the early second millennium BC, and in the Epic of Gilgamesh, which recounts the story of Naggu-napishti (Ziusudra, Noah), the flood-hero is commanded to “roof over” the boat “like the Apsu.” (Atrahasis i. c. 29, Gilgamesh XI. 31.) The meaning of the phrase is unclear. One suggestion is that it is a reference to the roofing of the shrine of Enki in Eridu called the “Apsu,” which represented the realm Apsu, the cosmic abode of the same god. However understood, it provides evidence of a perceived equivalence of the boat and the Apsu, of the kind suggested here. Finally, the thesis of the ancient Phoenician writer Sanchuniathon (quoted in §362, below, >>) is vindicated in all this, that the hierophants of the pagan mysteries combined cosmology with history, and identified cosmic elements (“gods”) with heroes of the past, to produce the strange concoction known as pagan theology.


131. On the cosmic level these “gods” were interchangeable. They represented the commingled elements of chaos, therefore no hard and fast distinction could be drawn between them. Accordingly, Damascius described them as “reformulations” of the original essence in the Egyptian scheme, “darkness.” Note that the cosmic “darkness” corresponded historically to Ham, and Ham was the ancestor of the Egyptians. Hence the precedence given to “darkness” in the Egyptian system. They could equally well have been described as “reformulations” of any and each of the other Ogdoadic elements. For this reason the three coeval generations Mummu, Lahmu and Anshar, emerging from the “two primal essences” Apsu and Tiamat, are treated by implication in Damascius as parallel to the three successive generations of Amun emerging from the “two primal essences” Nun and Heh. The native Babylonian scheme represented a similar interpretation. In the later sections of Enuma Elish, the primeval deities Apsu, Lahmu and Anshar are treated as successive generations, whereas in the first few verses of the Epic Apsu seems to be the father of the other two coeval siblings. Anshar also has a special status in the later sections as “father of the gods.” The Assyrians equated Anshar with Asshur, the chief god of Assyria. They represented Anshar-Asshur as the hero of their version of Enuma Elish, the victor over the forces of chaos. Anshar-Asshur, son of Lahmu, was the Assyrian Bel, replacing the hero-god Bel Marduk son of Ea in the Babylonian scheme. Both Ea and Marduk bore the by-name Mummu, as did their ancestor Apsu, so in the Assyrian scheme, three successive Mummus could be held to have appeared, like the three Amuns in Egypt: 1) Mummu I = Apsu, 2) Mummu II = Lahmu (corresponding to Ea) 3) Mummu III = Anshar-Asshur (corresponding to Bel Marduk).There is a strict analogy between the Assyrian and Egyptian schemes, since Asshur, the Assyrian Bel (Belus), father of Ninus, was equated traditionally with the ram-headed solar deity Amun-Ra of Siwa — precisely the third Amun of Damascius’ Egyptian scheme. Asshur the Assyrian sun-god even borrowed, with minor modifications, the winged sun-disk of Amun-Ra. Supplying the Biblical identifications of Mar Abas Catina the scheme is:


Noah =

Amun I = Kem-atef =

Apsu (= Mummu I)

Ham =

Amun II = Irta = Ptah Ta-tenen =

Lahmu (= Mummu II)

Cush =

Amun III = Ra =

Anshar-Asshur (= Mummu III)



Note that the artificial equation of Asshur, a.k.a. Amun-Ra of Siwa, a.k.a. Cush, with Anshar, had the effect of obscuring and suppressing the original identity of Anshar with the Biblical Japheth. For an explanation of this phenomenon, see §343, below, >>. Anshar brother of Lahmu was Japheth; Anshar son of Lahmu was Cush.


132. A similar scheme is traceable in the Hindu Trinity or Trimurti. Three deities, so many forms of the supreme being, having the functions of Preserver (Vishnu), Creator (Brahma) and Destroyer (Shiva), are identified with the three elements water (Vishnu), earth (Brahma) and fire (Shiva). These correspond respectively to Apsu, Lahmu and Anshar-Asshur in the Assyrian scheme. The functions in Assyria are symbolized in the attributes of the winged sun-disk of Asshur: the sheltering wings and tail feathers represent the preserving power; the horns sprouting from the head, the creative power of the divine intelligence; and the bands or arrow with the head of a trident, the destructive power. According to the Muslim tradition, preserved in Sheikh Sadik Ali Sher Ali, Ansari, A Short Sketch, Historical and Traditional, of the Musulman Races found in Sind, Baluchistan and Afghanistan, Karachi, 1901, p. 7: “Ishwar, the God of the Hindus, and Iran ([the eponymus of] Persia) are the names of Sam’s [Shem’s] descendants;” and ibid., p. 36: “… a reference to the genealogical tables of the Arab tribes compiled in a book called the ‘Sabaikatu Zahab,’ and in other books, shows that Sam had five sons [as in Gen. 10. 22], whose names are 1. Ishwar [Asshur]. 2. Ilam [Elam]. 3. Irim [Aram]. 4. Lawud [Lud]. 5. Arfakhashad [Arphaxad].” (Emphasis added.) Here Ishwar, i.e. the Hindu god Ishwara, Shiva, is identified with Asshur, son of Shem. As in the Mesopotamian and Egyptian schemes, so in the Hindu, the priority of the individual elemental deities varies, according to the theology of the transmitter of the tradition. However, the common scheme envisages Vishnu as giving birth to Brahma from a lotus protruding from Vishnu’s navel. Rudra (Shiva) then springs out of the eye in the center of Brahma’s forehead. The order here is water, earth, fire, as in the Near-Eastern scheme. The trident is the symbol of the third power, Shiva, as in Assyria. Note the similarity of names, even. Apsu, or Apason in Damascius, Vishnu in India; Lahmu and Brahma; Asshur (Anshar) and Ishwara (Shiva). The trinity of male deities might become a triad of husband, mother and son, the second power having usurped or murdered the first and seized his wife, that is, his female complement, becoming the “Bull of His Mother.” Thus in the Egyptian symbol the wings of the Preserving power are those of a vulture, representing the Egyptian mother-goddess. In India the three wives of the three gods of the Trimurti are expressly so many different forms of the same goddess, who is a deification of the “shakti,” the energy or spirit, of the supreme being. In popular Hinduism the three principal gods are Vishnu, Surya the sun-god (replacing Brahma [or the supreme being Brahman]), and Shiva, and the triad of father, mother and son is most commonly expressed in the persons of Shiva (the father), Devi (the mother), and Ganesha (the son), the last, the elephant-god, representing a secondary form of Shiva, who is the master of beasts, and therefore wears as his attribute the skin of an elephant. (On the mystic meaning of “elephant” in this context see §676, below, >>.) Ishi (Devi) and Ishwara (Shiva) correspond, even in the sound of their names, to the Egyptian Isis and Osiris. Ishwara is sometimes represented as an infant at the breast of his wife-cum-mother, Ishi (“Bull of His Mother”). Osiris in Egypt, like Shiva in India, is a phallic deity, and is identified likewise with the third god in the triadic series of male gods, viz. Amun-Ra in the Egyptian scheme. His Egyptian name, Asari, is identical, both in pictographic form and in pronunciation, to that of the Mesopotamian god Asari, who is similarly identified with the third god in the series, the Assyrian Anshar-Asshur. In the Egyptian New Kingdom, as outlined in a subsequent paragraph, the principal Triad of Father, Mother and Son comprised Osiris, now identified with Ptah, the second deity in the triadic series, the “Bull of His Mother,” Osiris’ wife Isis, and their son Horus (the re-embodied Osiris), identified with Khensu, the moon-god, and with the third god in the triadic series. The Apis bull was the embodiment of Osiris or Ptah, and the bull Nandi similarly of Ishwara. Osiris, Isis and Khensu correspond, again, even in the sound of their names, to Ishwara, Ishi and Ganesha. (See further on Ganesha, §316.1, below, >>.)