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23. Introduction on the Relationship Between Sanchuniathon and the Bible (§§301-316)

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23. Introduction on the Relationship Between Sanchuniathon and the Bible (§§301-316)




301. Following is a series of excerpts from the Phoenician History of Sanchuniathon. Relevant sections of this History will be quoted infra, and commented on successively. To read the full account in context, the reader must go to §355ff., below, >>. The original was composed in the Phoenician (Canaanite) language, traditionally c. 1300 BC. It was translated into Greek by Philo of Byblos in the early Roman Empire and was cited by Eusebius in his Preparation of the Gospel (Praeparatio Evangelica). It claimed to be an authentic record of what transpired in the so-called “Golden Age” at the dawn of human history. According to Philo the events of that age had been allegorized in “mystery” cults, and hence misunderstood by the Greeks. Sanchuniathon recovered the original history underlying the allegory by reference to ancient writings of the Ammouneans. These probably were the priests of Amun or Hammon at Siwa in North Africa, who were well known to the Phoenicians, and perhaps also the priests of Amun at the original cult-center at Thebes in Upper Egypt. There, specifically at Abydos, the tombs and primitive inscriptions of the earliest kings of Egypt were to be found. A limited number of their inscriptions have been recovered by archaeologists in the modern era. In addition to these, Sanchuniathon drew on records transmitted to a Phoenician king, Abelbalos of Beirut, by one Hierombalos priest of God Ieuo (thought to be the Biblical Jerubbaal or Gideon, servant of Jehovah, who features prominently in the Book of Judges). Certainly there is a striking affinity between Sanchuniathon’s account and the Bible, and post-Biblical expansions of the Biblical account of the kind already referenced in this study. The first section of Sanchuniathon’s account relating to Ouranos and his children reads as follows:


301. 1. [PE I. x. 16] “And Ouranos, having succeeded to his father’s rule, takes to himself in marriage his sister Ge, and gets by her four sons, Elos who is also Kronos, and Baitulos, and Dagon who is Siton [Bread, Corn], and Atlas. Also by other wives Ouranos begat a numerous progeny; on which account Ge was angry, and from jealousy began to reproach Ouranos, so that they even separated from each other.

[PE I. x. 17] “But Ouranos, after he had left her, used to come upon her with violence, whenever he chose, and consort with her, and go away again; he used to try also to destroy his children by her; but Ge repelled him many times, having gathered to herself allies. And when Kronos had advanced to manhood, he, with the counsel and help of Hermes Trismegistos (who was his secretary) [viz. the Third Hermes], repels his father Ouranos, and avenges his mother.

[PE I. x. 18] “To Kronos are born children, Persephone and Athena. The former died a virgin: but by the advice of Athena and Hermes Kronos made a sickle and a spear of iron. Then Hermes talked magical words to the allies of Kronos, and inspired them with a desire of fighting against Ouranos on behalf of Ge. And thus Kronos engaged in war, and drove Ouranos from his government, and succeeded to the kingdom. Also there was taken in the battle the beloved concubine of Ouranos, being great with child, whom Kronos grants to Dagon. [PE I. x. 19] And she gives birth, as his, to the child whom she carried by the impregnation of Ouranos, and which she named Demarous [later identified with Zeus] ….

[PE I. x. 29] “And in the thirty-second year of his power and kingdom Elos, that is Kronos, having watched his father Ouranos in an intermediate country, and got him into his hands, cuts off his private parts near some fountains and rivers. There Ouranos was offered up in a sacred ritual: and as he breathed his last, the blood from his wounds dropped into the fountains and into the waters of the rivers, and the spot is pointed out to this day.

[PE I. x. 30] “This, then, is the story of Kronos, and such are the glories of the mode of life, so vaunted among the Greeks, of men in the days of Kronos, whom they also affirm to have been the first and “golden race of articulate speaking men,” that blessed happiness of the olden time!”


302. The sequence of god-men, Ouranos, his son Kronos, and his son Zeus, features in Sanchuniathon, and he provides what he claims are authentic details about their lives and history. The key to understanding how the accounts of Sanchuniathon and the Bible interrelate, is the equation of Sanchuniathon’s Ouranos, the god of heaven, with the Biblical patriarch Noah. The equation has been examined and explained in an earlier section (§236ff., above, >>). Inasmuch as kingship was “taken up to Heaven” at the Flood, Noah (Ziusudra), the earthly embodiment of that “Heavenly kingship,” was unaffected, one might say, by what was going on in the realms below. Accordingly, and reflecting the thrust of the pagan interpretation, Sanchuniathon makes indirect allusions only to the Flood: Ouranos is said to have “separated” from his wife Ge (Earth), but thereafter to have come upon her “with violence” which is a reference to the separation of heaven and earth by the atmosphere at the Creation, and the subsequent devastation of earth by tempestuous flooding; the same is implied in the castration or cutting of the body of Ouranos, and the pouring of Ouranos’ blood (atmospheric fluids) into the rivers and streams; elsewhere there is the statement that Ouranos “fought against” Pontos, Sea. But Sanchuniathon illuminates in a remarkable manner a later incident in Noah’s life, which plays a prominent part in the exposition of the Erythraean Sibyl. According to the Sibyl, Ouranos-Noah’s reign of peace and concord was broken by the descendants of his son Titan-Ham, called the “Titans” (this word being used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew Rephaim, the giant inhabitants of Canaan), and there followed in consequence a protracted war between the sons of Titan and Kronos, that is, of Ham and Shem. (On Shem as Ouranos’ firstborn Kronos, and Nimrod as named Kronos [= “Semite”] through his anomalous descent from Cush the son “of Shem” [sic], see §101.11, above, >>, though Nimrod was also more specifically titled Kronos “the Titan [= Hamite],” §112, above, >>.) The Sibyl is alluding to the Biblical account of how Noah cursed Ham’s son Canaan, and how that curse related to the occupation of Canaan by the Hebrews, who were descended from Shem. It is understandable that this event should have been of particular interest to Sanchuniathon, as he himself was of the stock of Canaan. First, the Biblical account:

Genesis 9. 18-29: 18 The sons of Noah who went out from the container were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham himself was the father of Canaan.
19 These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled by dispersion.

20 Noah subsequently contrived to be a field-laborer, and planted a vineyard:
21 Then he drank of the wine, and became drunk; and allowed himself to be uncovered inside his tent.
22 Ham, now the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.
23 Shem and Japheth promptly took a garment, and laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward, covering the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.
24 Noah then awoke from his wine, and knew who had made his youngest son his own
[usually translated: what his younger or youngest son had done unto him].
25 He said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.
26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
28 Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
29 Noah lived altogether nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.


303. This passage has perplexed many, because the outcome of Ham’s action in seeing his father’s nakedness is a curse on Ham’s son, Canaan, not on Ham himself. The implication of the verses describing Ham’s action is, indeed, that Ham did nothing wrong, that he accidentally stumbled upon his father’s shame: but that does nothing to explain why the curse fell on Ham’s son. A further complication arises from the wording of verses 24-27. Noah says (verse 25) Canaan will be a servant of servants “unto his BRETHREN.” Verses 26 and 27 go on to name those brethren as Shem and Japheth. The natural conclusion to be drawn from these statements is that Canaan was, literally, the brother of Shem and Japheth, and that his father was Noah. Yet Ham “himself” (verse 18) is said to have been the father of Canaan. If, again, we set aside the preferred translation in verse 24, we arrive at the same result: namely, that Canaan was Noah’s son. According to the common understanding, verse 24 means: “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his youngest son [lit. “THE young son of him,” viz. the son who was young in an absolute sense and therefore, the “youngest,” not “younger”] had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan etc.” The implication of these words is that Canaan was Noah’s son, and, in fact, his youngest son: the youngest son is the subject of the criticized action in verse 24, so he is cursed in verse 25. This is how Jubilees (7. 10) interprets the verse: “And Noah awoke from his sleep and knew all that his younger son had done unto him, and he cursed his son [my emphasis] and said: “Cursed be Canaan …”” No reference is made in Jubilees to Ham in the near vicinity of this verse such as would indicate “his son” meant “Ham’s son,” even though Ham is called the father of Canaan, his “younger son,” later in Jubilees 7. 13. The natural reading of Jubilees 7. 10 is that Canaan was Noah’s son. Arab chroniclers explicitly refer to Canaan as Noah’s fourth son. (E.g. Tabari [Belami], Chronique, trans. Zotenberg, Pt. I, ch. XLI. The Arab chronicles usually represent Noah’s fourth son Canaan as having perished in the Flood, identifying him, in effect, with one of the pre-diluvian giants. For other instances of the same identification, see §279, above, >>. As Canaan was believed to be reincarnated in Eliezer and the latter identified with Al Khidr, otherwise Jamshid and Tammuz, ibid. and §324f., below, >>, the Samma tradition in Sind and Baluchistan that Jam or Jamshid, the ultimate forefather of the Samma, was a son of Noah, and the corresponding Mandaean and Arabic tradition that “Yam” [viz. Jam, Jamshid] was a fourth son of Noah, are doubtless based on the same identification [Canaan fourth son of Noah = Al Khidr = Jamshid]; though the conflicting belief that Yam perished in the waters of the Inundation harks back to an earlier identification of Jamshid-Tammuz with the pre-diluvian Tammuz, Tubal-cain, see §422.1, below, >>. The alternative Samma tradition that Jam son of Noah was Shem son of Noah depends on another identification of Al Khidr with Melchizedek-Shem [Friedlaender, Die Chadhirlegende und der Alexanderroman, Leipzig 1913, p. 258ff.].) Ham himself is always placed genealogically between Shem and Japheth, “Shem, Ham and Japheth” (Gen. 5. 32, 6. 10, 7. 12, 9. 18, 10. 1, I Chron. 1. 4) and this strongly suggests he was the middle, not the youngest, son. We see, in that case, a different emphasis in the words of verse 18. The sons of Noah who “went forth from the container” were Shem, Ham, and Japheth: they were the sons who were on the container during the Flood: the following passage goes on to name a son of Noah who was not on the container, but was born afterwards, viz. Canaan. How can all that be reconciled with the fact stated twice very clearly in the same passage, that Ham was the father of Canaan?


304. We can cut the Gordian knot by accepting both statements as true: that both Noah and Ham were fathers of Canaan. Understood correctly, this passage is actually an explanation of how that strange situation came about. Ham, it says, “saw the nakedness” of his father, Noah. This phrase can mean simply, “to look upon a naked person,” as it does in English, but it can also mean in Hebrew “to have intercourse with a person’s wife,” because the wife or sexual partner of a man was considered to be that man’s “nakedness.” (See Leviticus 20. 11: “The man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness,” also Leviticus 20. 17-21. A man’s “father’s wife” in Lev. 20. 11 is contrasted with the man’s literal “mother” of the preceding verse, so the “father’s nakedness” is here that of the father’s sexual partner or concubine, rather than that of the mother of the household; see further infra for the relevance of this point in relation to the incident in Genesis.) If, as the context demands, Noah’s sexual partner was the mother of Canaan, and Ham had a sexual relationship with her also, or “saw his father’s nakedness,” then Canaan, originally the son of Noah, would become the son of Ham. That being so, the meaning of verse 24 is evident. It cannot mean “Noah knew what his youngest son had done to him,” since, aside from any other consideration, the context shows this youngest son was Canaan, and Canaan had done nothing wrong. The Hebrew reads: wayyēda et asher āsāh lô bnô ha-qāān. This must mean: Noah “knew who had made his [Noah’s] youngest son his own,” or, “ … who had constituted his youngest son to (be) his own.” (See Gesenius-Tregelles s.v. āsāh I [2] [h] for āsāh + le = appoint, constitute one to a position or role.) The identical phrase occurs in Jeremiah 38. 16: “As the LORD lives, He who has constituted to us [or, to be ours] this soul [et asher āsāh lānû et ha-neeš ha-zōt].” I.e. Noah realized, as soon as the effects of the wine wore off, that an incident had occurred in which Ham had become by proxy the father of Noah’s youngest son, Canaan.


305. The male perpetrator (Ham) must in this case have been ignorant of what he was doing, since he received no criticism from Noah. The same is implied by the wording of verse 22: “Ham, (now the) father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.” Ham was already the “father of Canaan,” i.e. had already entered into a sexual relationship with the mother of Canaan, when he realized he had defiled his father’s spouse. Also, the mother of Canaan could not have been Ham’s own mother, as she would have been immediately recognized by him. She was either a secondary wife of Noah or a concubine. Still, the relationship was incestuous, and worthy of censure if Ham had been a willing participant: Jacob pronounced a severe judgment on his son Reuben for entering into the identical relationship with his father’s concubine, Bilhah (Gen. 35. 22, 49. 3f., I Chron. 5. 1). However, the incestuous act itself, from the prophetic perspective, blighted the future of the child whose mother had been abused. The child had been subjected (the name Canaan means “subjection”) to his own brother (Ham) as though he was his father. Prophetically this signified Canaan’s subjection to his brethren, and that, precisely is the import of Noah’s prophecy in verses 25-27.


306. All this is paralleled in Sanchuniathon’s account of Ouranos, the same Ouranos who is equated with Noah in the Sibylline Oracles. The relevant section reads as follows (material in square brackets mine): “[Sanchuniathon as translated by Philo of Byblos apud Eusebius Praeparatio Evangelica (PE) I. x. 16] “And Ouranos, having succeeded to his father’s rule, takes to himself in marriage his sister Ge, and gets by her four sons, Elos who is also Kronos, and Baitulos, and Dagon who is Siton [Bread, Corn], and Atlas. Also by other wives Ouranos begat a numerous progeny; on which account Ge was angry, and from jealousy began to reproach Ouranos, so that they even separated from each other. …. [PE I. x. 18] … Kronos engaged in war, and drove Ouranos from his government, and succeeded to the kingdom. Also there was taken in the battle the beloved concubine of Ouranos, being great with child, whom Kronos grants to Dagon. [PE I. x. 19] And she gives birth, as his [viz. Dagon’s], to the child whom she carried by the impregnation of Ouranos, and which she named Demarous [elsewhere called Zeus, i.e. the chief god of the Phoenician pantheon].


307. Here Ouranos has four sons: Elos-Kronos, Baitulos, Dagon and Atlas. He also has other children, in Sanchuniathon by several different female companions. One of these is a “beloved” concubine. The remarkable thing is that this concubine is said to have been transferred from Ouranos to one of Ouranos’ sons (Dagon), when she was already pregnant with a child of Ouranos, and this child was brought up as the son of Dagon. This is precisely the scenario envisaged in the Biblical account. The transferred child (Canaan in the Bible) is called Demarous and Zeus, also Adodos, in Sanchuniathon, and the son of Ouranos (Noah) to whom he was transferred is called Dagon (Ham in the Bible). Demarous = “Tamar” (Palm) = Phoenix = Canaan, see §85, above, >>. (The eponymus Canaan is actually mentioned by name, “Khna” = Canaan, at the end of the excerpt of Sanchuniathon cited by Eusebius, as brother of another figure mentioned in his scheme, but only obscurely alluded to, §407, below, >>, §337.2, below, >>.) Once the transfer had been effected, Zeus-Demarous became the son of Dagon (Canaan became the son of Ham). Accordingly, in native Canaanite mythology, Baal Hadad (= Zeus-Demarous, Adodos, in Sanchuniathon) is titled “son of Dagan.” (Dagan is an alternative pronunciation of the name Dagon.) Dagan was the god of the “Cedar Mountain” (the Amanus range) and was therefore titled Baal Hamon (“Lord [Baal] of Amanus [Hamon]”). Hamon is from the root ḥûm, “to be black, dark,” cognate to amam, “to be hot,” and denotes Mount Amanus, that is the mountain-range north of Antioch in Syria, known popularly as Montana Nigra, the “Black Mountain,” in medieval times. From the same root ḥûm or the cognate amam is formed the Biblical personal name Ham, the “Black, Dark, or, Hot one.” This connects the divine name Hamon, and therefore Dagon/Dagan, directly with Ham. Baal Hadad, on the other hand, was the chief god of Canaan, principally the god of storm, rain, and fertility. It is significant that the Biblical figure corresponding to Demarous, son of Dagon, is Canaan, son of Ham, and he was the ancestor of the whole Canaanite nation. We would expect such a figure to be identified with the chief deity of the Canaanite pantheon. (See §343.1, below, >>.)


308. Sanchuniathon further represents Elos-Kronos, rather than Dagon himself, as the culprit responsible for the transfer of Ouranos’ concubine: indeed, throughout his account Elos-Kronos is presented in a negative light; though in this instance he had the excuse that Ouranos ill-treated his chief wife, Ge. The transfer is said to have occurred during hostilities between Elos-Kronos and Ouranos. Elos-Kronos not only transferred the wife of Ouranos to Dagon, he also emasculated him, having first “watched” or “looked upon” him (the same concept occurring in the Biblical account) in order to deprive him of his power. It is implied in the Bible that Noah’s last child was Canaan: Canaan is designated his “youngest” son and no mention is made of any sons and daughters after him. The Rabbinic tradition (Sanhedrin 70a, Targum Yerushalmi Gen. 9. 24-25, Gen. Rab. 36. 4-5, 7, Tan. Ber. 1. 49, cf. Midr. Haserot 50) was that Noah suffered castration: (Sanhedrin 70a) “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. [With respect to the last verse] Rab and Samuel [differ,] one maintaining that he castrated him, whilst the other says that he sexually abused him. He who maintains that he castrated him, [reasons thus;] Since he cursed him by his fourth son {Canaan}, he must have injured him with respect to a fourth son. But he who says that he sexually abused him, draws an analogy between “and he saw” written twice. Here it is written, And Ham the father of Canaan saw the nakedness of his father; whilst elsewhere it is written, And when Shechem the son of Hamor saw her [he took her and lay with her and defiled her]. Now, on the view that he emasculated him, it is right that he cursed him by his fourth son; but on the view that he abused him, why did he curse his fourth son; he should have cursed him himself? — Both indignities were perpetrated.” In Peri Theon, Sanchuniathon’s Kronos, son of Ouranos, is identified with the Biblical Nimrod. It is remarkable that the Biblical account lays no blame on Noah’s son, Ham (corresponding to Ouranos’ son, Dagon), for the incestuous transaction in which the paternity of Canaan was transferred to him. It is precisely as though Noah’s female partner came to Ham through the medium of a third party, without his being aware, at first, of her identity, and Sanchuniathon’s account names that third party as Elos-Kronos, viz. the Biblical Nimrod. The same is implied in the Rabbinic tradition that on his exit from the container Noah was wounded by a lion and was consequently unable to have normal conjugal relations (Gen. Rab. 36. 4-6, Lev. Rab. 20. 1, Midr. Haserot 50). The Arab chronicler Masudi, in accounting for the application to the city of Babylon of the title Iran-Sheher, observes that, “according to some, the orthography should be Arian-Sheher, which signifies in Nabataean [Aramaic] the City of Lions” and that “this name of Lion designated the kings of Assyria, who bore the general title of Nimrod.” Of Nimrod himself Tabari says (History, p. 253) “he was called the Lion.” The “lion” which castrated Noah, therefore, was Nimrod. Also, as Sanchuniathon describes it, the transaction occurred during a war between Elos-Kronos and Ouranos over who should govern the world. The instigator of that war was Elos-Kronos. According to Genesis, the patriarch Noah was the ultimate human authority and the prophetic elder in the post-diluvian world, but Nimrod emerged as the founder of the first “kingdom” after the Flood. This kingdom started at Babel (Gen. 10. 10), where the principle of uniting and centralizing prevailed against the principle of dispersing over the earth (Gen. 11. 4), which latter was the express will of God, as conveyed to Noah and his sons (Gen. 9. 1, cf. 11. 8f.). A conflict is implied here between the divine kingdom, represented by the prophet Noah, and the human kingdom initiated presumptuously at Babel by Nimrod, just as in Sanchuniathon’s account of Ouranos and Elos-Kronos.


309. It is noticeable that Elos-Kronos is represented as a son of Ouranos in Sanchuniathon, but in the Bible Nimrod is the great-grandson of Noah: Nimrod, son of Cush, son of Ham, son of Noah. The simplest explanation of this relationship is that provided incidentally by Sanchuniathon himself, that Elos-Kronos captured and wedded three daughters of Ouranos, and was therefore Ouranos’ “son” in the ancient sense, that is, his “son-in-law.” (§387, below, >>.) There is the further consideration that the Hermopolitan Ogdoad reduplicated, in the family of Cush, the original Ogdoad, comprising the eight members of Noah’s family, and that there occurred subsequently a fusion of component members of the two Ogdoads. (See on this §346ff., below, >>.) The four male sons of Ouranos in Sanchuniathon parallel the four male members of the Ogdoad in Egypt. Amun was the most prominent of the Ogdoadic males, and he was titled the “Bull [= husband] of his Mother,” Egyptian “Ka-mutef” (the identical title was used in Mesopotamia). This concept is likely to have arisen as a result of the incident which transformed Ham (who was identified with the Egyptian Amun) into the husband of his father’s sexual partner, i.e. of his own “mother.” The same incident had the effect of transforming all the sons of Ham, including Cush, into “sons” (strictly sons-in-law) of Noah’s sexual partner, and hence also into “brothers” of Ham, and “brothers” of that same sexual partner. The sons of these “brothers,” including Nimrod, were at the same time transformed into her “sons” (sons-in-law), and hence into “sons” of Noah himself. Similarly, the wife of each male member in the genealogy was transformed into her partner’s “mother,” having been promoted, along with him, one generation higher in the genealogy. The title “Bull of his Mother” is, therefore, an appropriate description of this new relationship acquired by the descendants of Ham as a result of the incestuous sexual activity of their progenitor. El in Canaan (Sanchuniathon’s Elos-Kronos) also was very notably “Bull El,” specifically in reference to his sexual prowess and activity. In the scheme underlying the account of Mar Abas Catina Amun Kem-atef (Noah) emerged from the egg (= the container) and was triplicated in successive generations of Kamephis (Ka-mutef), the other two generations being Amun Irta or Ptah (= Ham), and his son, the ram-headed Amun-Ra of Siwa (= Cush). They were so many different forms of the Logos or of the sun-god. In this scheme Cush could be considered an incarnation of Noah (Amun or Ra), and Cush’s son Nimrod, a son of Noah (Geb son of Ra), as Elos-Kronos is a son of Ouranos in Sanchuniathon. A further consideration is that Elos-Kronos (Nimrod) castrated and murdered Ouranos (Noah), according to Sanchuniathon. The deed is described as having transpired in a “midland” region, and the identical Greek word is used in Stephanus Byzantinus to define the location of Damascus (s.n.), not far from Sanchuniathon’s home territory. In the same general area, in the plain of the Bekaa, on the south side of the town of Kerak or Karak near Zahlah, Lebanon, the locals still point out what they claim to be the tomb of Noah, which consists of a tombstone about ten feet long, three broad, and two high, plastered all over, and above it a long structure nearly sixty feet long. In antiquity, sacred ceremonies connected with Noah were performed at a hole in the ground at Syrian Mabug. (See §267, above, >>.) The crevice was believed to be the very one down which the waters of the flood of Deukalion-Ziusudra-Noah disappeared. The murder of Ouranos in Sanchuniathon was probably located in the same geographical zone, and most likely at the site near Karak. When Elos-Kronos committed acts of murder, he was held to have “robbed the soul” of the victim, and thus to have become identified with him. (See §332ff., below, >>.) In this instance, Elos-Kronos “robbed the soul” of Ouranos, and became one with him. Now, the four sons of Ouranos represent the four males of the Ogdoad, who represent, in turn, Noah and his three sons. In Sanchuniathon, Elos-Kronos stands at the head of the genealogy, in place of Noah whose soul he “robbed,” and the other three sons stand for Shem, Ham, and Japheth, in the same order as in the Bible.


310. Of the three sons of Ouranos in Sanchuniathon, excluding Elos-Kronos: 1) Dagon is in the middle position, as is Ham between Shem and Japheth. The semantic connection between Dagon (Baal Hamon) and Ham has already been referred to (§307, above, >>). Sanchuniathon translates the name Dagon correctly “bread, corn.” The Biblical name Ham, if taken as a derivative of the root mm, “be hot,” means “Hot one.” The same adjective is only used elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures to denote “hot” bread, newly baked (Gesenius-Tregelles s.v. [1]). Dagon would be an appropriate substitute for the name interpreted in this sense. The original meaning of the name Ham, however, seems to be “he who shelters, keeps close,” from the root mh, and there is a more specific connection between this name and the god Dagon, which will be brought out later.

2) Shem means literally “Name,” and as a personal name, of the firstborn son, would mean “Bearer of the family name.” In the blessing of Noah (Gen. 9. 26), however, it is interpreted, or rather reinterpreted, as “One who invokes the name of God,” a “Worshiper of Jehovah:” “Blessed [Heb. = invoked] is Jehovah, the God of Shem [the Name],” that is, the “name” of Jehovah, is invoked (called on) by Shem, because he is a “Worshiper of Jehovah.” The son listed in Sanchuniathon immediately before Dagon is Baitulos, representing the Canaanite bt-l, lit. “house/household/family of El, God,” or, when used as a personal name, as here, “(Man of the) household/family of God,” or simply “Man of God,” that is, a “Worshiper of God.” (See Gesenius-Tregelles s.v. bayit [7], for the meaning “household, family,” and also s.v. Bethuel, after which appears the comment “i.q. Methuel,” i.e. Bethuel is the same as Methuel, with the interchange of “b” and “m,” because these consonants had a similar pronunciation. The name should be “Man [Methu-] of God [El],” but is written “Bethu-el,” as though it was “House of God.” In that case, Sanchuniathon’s Baitulos stands for Bethuel = Methuel, “Man of God.”) El is the Canaanite equivalent of the Sumerian Enki or Ea. Also the divine name Jehovah has a form Yw (Yo), which alternates with Yam (Sea), and Yam corresponds to the Mesopotamian Apsu, who is a form of Enki or Ea, god of the sea. In fact the West Semitic word yamu (yam, sea) occurs infrequently in Akkadian and is equated with Sumerian a.ab.ba (CAD s.v. jamu) which is a synonym of abzu (Apsu). (The Sumerian a.ab.ba is itself probably a mere transliteration in Sumerian of the Semitic yamma [> (a)yabba], “sea.”) Jehovah, Yo, being equated with (the god of) the sea (yamu = a.ab.ba = Canaanite Yam), would be Apsu, Enki or Ea. It is remarkable that one of the survivors of the Flood, in Mesopotamian tradition, the “boatman” of Ziusudra (Noah), is named Ur-Shanabi, “Man of [that is, Worshiper of] Shanabi,” and Shanabi is a mystic name of the god Ea, meaning “Forty.” This “Worshiper of Ea,” would be the Sumerian equivalent of a “Worshiper of Yo, Jehovah,” which is the meaning of the name Shem, as reinterpreted in the blessing of Noah. In Berossus the boatman Ur-Shanabi, having survived the Flood, is translated to be with “the gods” along with Xisouthros (Ziusudra). In the Epic of Gilgamesh, accordingly, Ur-Shanabi is present with Ziusudra in his place of retirement. Since only Noah and his sons survived the Flood, we would expect this boatman to represent one of those sons, and probably the eldest, Shem, in view of his position of responsibility over the vessel. Shanabi = Ea = El, therefore Ur-Shanabi = “Man of God (El).” This not only parallels the derived meaning of Sanchuniathon’s Baitulos = Bethuel/Methuel, “Man of El,” it also nicely represents the meaning of the Hebrew name Shem, “Man of the mystic Name of God [Jehovah],” or, more simply “Man of God.” Apart from its use in Sanchuniathon as a personal name, “baitulos” (in the sense “house of El”) denoted a stone pillar which was believed to be El’s special “dwelling place.” Sanchuniathon’s reference to “baituloi” devised by Ouranos against Elos-Kronos, and endowed with life, relates in some way to the Semites’ practice of erecting such stone-pillars, — the classic example being Jacob’s pillar in Bethel (i.e. “Baitulos”), Gen. 28. 16-22, — and further implies an antithetical relationship between Shem-Baitulos, and his descendants (living “baituloi” plural), with their cultic use of stone-pillars, on the one hand, and Elos-Kronos and his religion (of child-sacrifice), on the other. In the Epic of Gilgamesh Ur-Shanabi is connected with or owns some mysterious “stones” and these play an important part in the interaction between him and Gilgamesh, though the fragmentary state of the text obscures the nature of that role. It is likely they are identical to the living “baituloi” of Sanchuniathon, being connected with Ur-Shanabi because he is the historical character behind his eponymous Baitulos, son of Ouranos.

3) If Baitulos is Shem and Dagon is Ham, then the last brother, Atlas must be Japheth. Atlas means “Well disciplined, trained, Very submissive,” and Japheth (from the Hebrew verb patah) can be translated: “He is [or makes him] submissive, open to persuasion or mental control,” by an “expansion” of the mind, though the common rendering is “He [God] shall expand/enlarge,” in a physical sense. The Egyptian elemental deity Heh, corresponding to Anshar-Japheth, is represented as a heaven-supporting god, like Atlas in Greek myth. In Giovanni Nanni’s “Defloratio Berosi” (§884ff., below, >>), drawing on Armenian Sibylline traditions, Japheth (identified with Iapetus), son of Noah (identified with Caelum = Ouranos), is surnamed “Atlas,” corresponding exactly to Sanchuniathon’s Atlas son of Ouranos. (Antiquitatum, ed. 1512, fol. CXIb [genealogical charts in Book II, §886.2, below, >>] “Iapetus” surnamed “Atalus;” CXVIb [§888.1, below, >>] Iapetus “called Atlas Maurus [= Atlas of Mauretania],” after the place “where he died,” Mauretania being the site of Canaanite colonies and of the worship of Canaanite gods, and the death of Atlas at the hands of Elos-Kronos being the specific point of reference in Sanchuniathon; CXVIIb [§888.6, below, >>] in the text of the Defloratio “Iapetum priscum atalaa [sic],” explained in the commentary as = “Atlas,” though Nanni [ibid.] found it difficult to explain how Japheth, whose connections were with Europe, was in the Defloratio the leader of colonies into North Africa; CXIXb [text §889.5, below, >>] “Iapetus priscus atalaa;” CXLIa [§889.87, below, >>] the name Atalaa is said to be the same as Atlas and Italus, the person so named “on account of his mental capacity,” “ob mentis excellentiam.”)


311. The names of the three sons of Noah can be traced in Mesopotamian tradition. The story of the Flood appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet XI. There another name appears as that of a boatman of the boat of Naggu-napishti (= Ziusudra, Noah). This name is Puzur-Enlil (sometimes transcribed “Puzur-Amurri”). It means “Protection [Puzur] of (the god) Enlil.” It is in this same Epic that the name Ur-Shanabi appears (Tab. X passim), also as a boatman of Naggu-napishti, after the Flood, when Naggu-napishti has been “transported by the gods” to another location, away from Mesopotamia. That name means “Man [Ur] of (the god) Shanabi (a.k.a. Enki).” The other name appears during Naggu-napishti’s retelling of the Flood story in Tablet XI, as a boatman at the time of the Flood, not after it. It has been assumed by some that the two names refer to the same person, but there is no evidence to support this assumption. A third name, Ur-Enlil, meaning “Man [Ur] of Enlil,” appears in two places in the same Tablet (i.e. Tablet XI, Langdon JAOS 23. 1 [1902], p. 48, Haupt, Nimrodepos, p. 105, lines 33, 34), referring to a boatman of Naggu-napishti at the time of the Flood, and again it has been assumed, without explicit warrant in the text itself, that this is the same person as Ur-Shanabi, or else is a scribal error (e.g. Langdon himself, ibid.). The name, in fact, is quite different. The only similarity between the names Ur-Shanabi and Ur-Enlil is that both begin with the common initial element “ur” meaning “man, devotee, worshiper, servant (of a particular god).” The divine name Shanabi in the name Ur-Shanabi is written with a sign composed of four impressions like arrow-heads, and means “Forty,” which is the mystic name of the god Enki or Ea, as explained earlier. The divine name Enlil in the name Ur-Enlil is written with five, not four, of these impressions, and accordingly means “Fifty,” which is the mystic numeric name of the god Enlil. If we resist the temptation to dismiss the differences as textual errors, and accept all three names as they stand, then we have three boatmen of Naggu-napishti: Ur-Shanabi, Puzur-Enlil, and Ur-Enlil. But then Noah had three sons, companions with him on the container, viz. Shem, Ham and Japheth.


312. The identity of Shem and Ur-Shanabi has been indicated supra, and is more fully investigated infra. Of the remaining two names, one of them contains an element which means the same as the Hebrew Ham, viz. Puzur. Puzur means “protection, shelter,” and the name Ham is identical in form to the common Hebrew word am, meaning “father-in-law,” but literally “one who shelters, keeps close,” in the sense of a close relative, from the root mh, meaning “protect, shelter, keep close,” so Ham is “he who shelters, keeps close.” (The same root supplies the word ômah, “wall,” i.e. “that which shelters.”) Puzur can be written with the sign UD. This depicts a rising sun, which causes one to take shelter (puzur) in the shade (puzur), and the same sign could be read as an adjectival noun Ammu = Ham, the “hot one.” (§65, above, >>.) Both meanings of the name are represented in Sumerian by the sign UD. Ham = Ammu = UD = Puzur. In the Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet XI, Puzur-Enlil is said to have been given the job of guarding the boat of Naggu-napishti, referred to as the “palace,” and its contents. This suits the meaning of his name, “protector.” It is noticeable that the divine element in the name Puzur-Enlil, viz. Enlil, is written here with the signs dKUR.GAL meaning “God of the Great Earth/Underworld,” emphasizing Enlil’s dominion over the harmful powers of the Underworld, from which protection was sought by the devotee. (The same signs dKUR.GAL were used to represent the names of other, but less important, gods, like Shakkan, or Amurru, so it is not certain what god’s name was intended here: but whoever the god was, he was the god of the earth and underworld, and the significance of the boatman’s name is unchanged.) There is an etymological connection between the name Puzur and the Egyptian Ptah (Ham being identified with Ptah in Mar Abas Catina). Puzur is identical to the Hebrew b--r, “cut off, and hence, protect, fortify, seclude, make inaccessible.” This word is from the same root as the Hebrew b-d-d, “separate, divide” and p-t-, “open up” (Gesenius-Tregelles s.v. b-d-d). The last, p-t-, is believed to be the Semitic root from which the Egyptian divine name Ptah was derived, being interpreted in antiquity to mean “Anoigeus [Gk.], the Opener.” Ptah, in that case, was the Egyptian form of the name Puzur (Ham). The fuller name Puzur dKUR.GAL “Puzur [Protection] of the (god of the) Great/Growing [GAL] Earth/Underworld [KUR],” corresponds precisely to the Egyptian Ptah Ta-tenen (“Ptah of the Rising/Growing [tenen] Land [Ta]”), which was the form of Ptah specifically identifiable with Ham.


313. From the same root as the name Japheth, y-p(h)-t, is the personal name Pethu-el (Gesenius-Tregelles s.v.) or Pethi-el, meaning “Pethu is God [El].” The first element Pethu is the same as pethi, meaning “one who opens or reveals, or, one open to revelation, mental persuasion, influence” (in a bad sense, “simpleton”): and hence (according to Ex. R. s. 3 beg., ref. to Prov. 14. 15, Jastrow, Talmudic Dictionary s.v.), like the equivalent word in Arabic, it comes to mean “lad,” strictly, an inexperienced dependent under training or control. The Aramaic pathia from the same root means both “inexperienced, child, lad,” and “widening, wide space” (Jastrow, ibid. s.v. pathia I and II). The Hebrew yephet (Japheth) seems to have had the same two meanings: originally, perhaps, when given, “inexperienced child,” then, in the blessing of Noah, “widening (spiritual, mental and literal).” (Gen. 9. 27.) The name in the blessing of Noah was interpreted in the sense: “God shall make Japheth open to revelation or expansion.”


314. Comparing now these Biblical patriarchal names of the sons of Noah with the Sumerian and Akkadian names of the boatmen of Ziusudra: two of the latter names referred to supra, as well as another name referred to in a subsequent paragraph (§316, below, >>), being numeric in form, are artificial constructions on the face of them, and probably plays on original Semitic names:

1) The Sumerian name Ur-Shanabi is written thus: ur-d40. Sumerian ur = Akkadian šû, “he (of),” and d40 = Ea, the latter being the god who embodies and represents the element “water,” Akkadian mû, “water.” (For the equivalence of the divine name Ea and mû, “water,” see CAD s.v. mû, lexical section sub fin., both elements of the god’s name Ea, spelled e2.a in Sumerian, viz. e2 and a, being ways of writing the Sumerian “a” = Akkadian mû, “water”). So ur- d40 = “shu-mu” (viz. Akkadian shumu = Heb. shem, “Name”). That is, the original Semitic (Akkadian) name Shumu (= Hebrew Shem), which meant “Name, or First-born Son” was interpreted as if it was written šû-mû, pronounced “shu-mu,” meaning “He of (šû, “shu”) the Water-god (mû, “mu,” “water,” or the god of the water, Ea).” Then the god’s name was put into its numeric form, d40, otherwise read “Shanabi,” that is “Two-thirds.” 40 is two-thirds of 60, and 60 [d60] is the numeric name of the supreme god An. An was equated with Shem’s father Noah, and the first-born son Shem was “two-thirds” as important as his father, or the equivalent in status to two of the three sons.

2) The Sumerian name Ur-Enlil is written thus: ur-d50. Sumerian ur = aya. One of the readings of the sign UR is aja9 (spelled out phonetically as “a-a,” this combination of signs being pronounced “aya,” often later reduced to “ya” [v. Soden, Grammatik, §22 d]), meaning amilu, “man,” etc. Sumerian d50 = dBAD (a name of the god Ellil or Enlil). Sumerian BAD = “open,” being also read pat2, and is, in origin, most likely a Sumerianization of the similar-sounding Semitic word pethû, “to open.” Thus, dBAD is the “Opener” (Pethû), cf. supra, Pethu-el, “Pethu is god.” Sumerian ur-d50 = ya-phat = Japheth, “The man who causes to open, be enlarged, be enlightened.” That is, the original Semitic name Yephet or Yaphat (y-p[h]-t, Japheth) was interpreted as if it was written ya-phat, meaning in Sumerian “Man of ([a]ya) the [god] Opener (BAD [pat2] = Pethû).” Here, initial Semitic “ya” is represented in Sumerian as “a-a,” as in Sumerian a.ab.ba (initial “a-a”) = Semitic yamma (initial “ya,” see §310, above, >>, sea, lake). Then the god’s name was put into its numeric form, d50, that is “Fifty.” This is a decade higher in numeric value than in the case of Shem (40), presumably on account of the prophecy of Noah that the “expansion” or “enlargement” referred to in the patriarch’s name would coincide with Japheth’s dwelling, that is, as adopted son, inheritor and successor, in the “tents of Shem.” This meant Japheth would supersede Shem as “firstborn.”

So the names are:

1) Shu-Mu (Mu being god of the waters) = Shem (conventionally written Ur-Shanabi)

2) Ammu of Amurru (Amurru, “the Amorite,” being god of the Underworld, and the Amorites descendants of Ham via Cush) = Ham (conventionally written Puzur-Enlil or Puzur-Amurri)

3) Ya-Phat (Phat being god of the atmosphere) = Japheth (conventionally written Ur-Enlil)

It will be noticed that the three Sumerian names incorporate divine elements which might identify each of Naggu-napishti’s boatmen with a cosmic element: Shem = the Logos or Wisdom (water being considered the realm of divine wisdom), Ham = the earth or underworld (KUR), Japheth = the air. These are the same identifications already suggested for the three children of Apsu in the Epic of Creation, viz. Shem = Mummu (Enki), the Logos, Ham = Lahmu, a dispenser of the fertilizing waters that spring up from the earth at the entrance to the underworld, and Japheth = Anshar, equated with Asshur, a form of the sky-god Enlil. When Noah, the father of these three, was equated with the god of heaven, then the three cosmic elements were understood as 1) water (Enki being the god of water, as well as the Logos), 2) earth/underworld, and 3) air, viz. the three elements located beneath their “father” heaven. In Canaan they were Yam (sea), Mot (death = underworld), and Baal-Hadad, the god of the stormy air, the three sons of El. Here El replaces the Mesopotamian An or Anu as god of the sky, whose name was translated in different Semitic dialects as Ilu and El. In Greece they were Poseidon (sea), Hades (underworld) and Zeus (sky), the three sons of Kronos (= El). In Rome, the three were Neptunus (sea), Pluto (underworld) and Jupiter (sky), the sons of Saturnus (= Kronos = El). On the other hand, when heaven (An) and earth (Ki) were viewed as a conjoined pair, the Sumerian An-Ki, the chaotic “Heaven-Earth” in an undifferentiated state, then Noah was symbolized as the male element in the chaotic combination. Chaos was conceived as a single fluid mass, for example, as the commingled Apsu-Tiamat in the opening verses of the Epic of Creation. Now Noah was identified with the male watery element, viz. the fluid, watery and chaotic Apsu (Nun in Egypt), and so Shem was identified with the Logos, rather than with the element water. Enki (Ea, Mummu, Shanabi etc., however named) was both the Logos and god of the water, and was also another form of Apsu; therefore the roles of Apsu and Enki were to some extent interchangeable. Similarly on the social level, the firstborn son (Shem) might substitute for his father (Noah). The following facts should also be taken into account in relation to Ham and Japheth. As regards Ham: Lahmu creatures were “protectors” of the entrance to great temples, including specifically that of the “E-Kur” or “Mountain/Underworld Temple” of Enlil in Nippur, the religious headquarters of Sumer. This connects the divine element Enlil in the name Puzur-Enlil (Ham), the god of the KUR.GAL or “Great Earth/Underworld,” with a specific “Protector” (Puzur), namely with Lahmu. Hence, it is suggested, the identification of Ham (Puzur-Enlil) with Lahmu in the Epic of Creation. Similarly the divine element in the name Ur-Enlil (Japheth), is written dNINNU, “Fifty,” and this name belongs to Anshar in the Assyrian version of the Epic of Creation, as the recipient of the “fifty” divine names. Hence Anshar in the Epic of Creation is identifiable with Japheth. Anshar is equated with Enlil in the god-lists. The name Anshar additionally has the same meaning as Japheth: “God [An] shall enlarge [shar].”


315. Ham was identified with the sun-god, and with Dagon. These identifications can be explained as interpretations of the two elements in his Sumerian name, Puzur-Enlil. The first element Puzur, meaning “Protection,” was a name of the sun-god, Utu or Shamash. Hence, presumably, the identification of Ham with the sun-god Utu, the father of Mes-kianga-sher (Cush), at the head of the First Dynasty of Uruk in the Sumerian King List. It is possible the sign representing the sun-god, read “Utu” here, should actually be read Puzur, viz. Ham, explicitly, as both Utu and Puzur were names of the sun-god, and there is nothing in the text itself to show which name of the sun-god was intended to be read. There was an additional etymological link between the name Ham and the sun-god, as there was between the names Japheth and Anshar: the same Sumerian sign read Utu could be read in Akkadian (the Semitic language of Babylonia) as immu heat, or ammu, the hot one, from the root ememu, and the corresponding Hebrew root mm provides an alternative derivation of the name Ham. This is the most popular etymology today. Furthermore, the god Enlil, whose name formed the second element in the name of the boatman, Puzur-Enlil, was equated with Dagan (Baal Hamon, Dagon). Hence the identification of Dagon with Ham in Sanchuniathon.


316. Finally, there appears another name for one of Naggu-napishti’s boatmen in a single line of the Epic of Gilgamesh: Ur-Zu’en (Tab. XI. col. vi. line 14 [Haupt’s Texts (Nimrodepos p. 104)], Langdon JAOS 23. 1 [1902], p. 48). The name of the moon-god forms the second element in this boatman’s name, ur-d30 = “Man [Ur-] of the Moon-god [d30 = Zu’en, Sin],” and the name of the god is written, as commonly elsewhere, with the sign UŠU3 composed of three arrow-shaped impressions, representing the numeral 30. (The reference is to the round 30 days in the Mesopotamian month, as measured by the waxing and waning of the moon.) The name is similar to Ur-Shanabi (ur-d40), in which the second element is written with four arrow-shaped impressions, and Ur-Enlil (ur-d50), in which it is written with five. Rejecting the theory of a textual error in this instance also, we assume the name is that of an occupant of Naggu-napishti’s boat, distinct from Ur-Shanabi, Puzur-Enlil and Ur-Enlil. We have already traced a tradition identifying an ancient patriarch of the line of Ham with Zu’en or Sin, the moon-god: that patriarch is Cush, the son of Ham. His Sumerian name Mes-kianga-sher means “Fine male tan,” but if the final element is interpreted as one of the moon-god’s names (dSHER), then the name means “Man [Mes] beloved of [kianga] the Moon-god [Sher],” which is equivalent to Ur-Zu’en, “Man devoted to [Ur] the Moon-god (Zu’en).” Presumably the form of the latter name was chosen in the Epic of Gilgamesh to parallel the names Ur-Shanabi and Ur-Enlil. The Sumerian name Ur-Zu’en is written thus: ur-d30. Sumerian ur = amilu, “man/inhabitant of,” d30 = dSher (the moon-god), and Sumerian sher = Akkadian kasû, “bound, striped, marked,” as in the name Mes-kianga-Sher, “comrade, fellow man (mes-kianga) Kasû (Cush), the Marked One.” So the name ur- d30 would mean “Man [of] Cush.” It is probable the lack of a numeric divine name for Ham, and the presence of one for Ham’s son Cush, were intended to illustrate the native Mesopotamian belief a negative view attested also in the medieval Defloratio Berosi, §887.9, below, >> that Ham had been excluded from the roster of the sons of the flood-hero on account of his liaison with Noah’s concubine, and effectively replaced by his son Cush. According to Rabbinic legend, Cush was conceived by Ham’s wife on the container during the Inundation. Some believed this act defiled Ham, and resulted in Noah’s post-diluvian curse on Ham’s son. The appearance of the name Ur-Zu’en for a boatman of Naggu-napishti in the Epic of Gilgamesh suggests the tradition originated in Mesopotamia. There is inscriptional evidence identifying the moon-god with a boat. A common religious device in Mesopotamia comprises the symbols of the moon-god, of the sun-god, and of the goddess Venus, in a threefold combination, with the moon in the middle, shaped like a boat. Typically the round sun-disk of the sun-god tops the depiction, and the boat-like crescent representing the moon-god is placed beneath it, giving the impression that the sun-disk is sailing in the boat of the lunar crescent. Beneath the crescent-boat is placed a star-shape representing the planet-goddess Venus (Inana or Ishtar). Inana is the daughter of the moon-god Zu’en or Sin in Mesopotamian mythology. The depiction could be seen as a symbolic representation of the tradition examined here: the container is identified with Cush, the moon-god, as he was conceived on the container. Outside the crescent-boat, i.e. outside the container, following the Inundation, Venus appears. Venus represents the daughter of Sin (Cush), called “Balthi” (= Venus) in Syriac sources, born to him after the Inundation. (See further on this §321ff., below, >>.) She was the concubine of Noah, whose liaison with Ham brought the curse on Ham’s son, and the blessing on the firstborn Shem, and who was subsequently deified. In the god-list An = Anum, the moon-god Zu’en or Sin is the father, not only of Ishtar, but also of a triad of gods, comprising 1) the sun-god, Shamash, 2) the storm-god, Adad, and 3) the god of the netherworld and of fertility, Tammuz. For reasons outlined infra (§338.3, below, >>), this triad represents the three family-lines of Shem, Japheth and Ham, who have been subsumed within the family of Cush (Zu’en). The sun-god Shamash represents the Semitic line, that is, the line of Noah’s firstborn, and the heirs to his dominion. Symbolically, Noah and/or Shem (the sun disk) is enclosed within the container (the lunar crescent), that is, incorporated into the line of Cush, through Cush’s daughter and Noah’s concubine (the star), who was born after the Flood.



Excursus on Cush, the Moon-god, and the Flood


316.1. The connection traced between the moon-god Sin and the container in which Noah survived the catastrophe, is a wider one, as demonstrated here, between the mythology of Sin and the story of the Flood in toto. The name Sin has often been seen in the name Sinai of the famous mountain on which the Law was given, associated, as it was, and is, with the neighboring “Desert of Sin,” so named, or Desert of Kaa, around Tor. In the Chronicon Paschale (ed. Dindorf p. 61) Sinai is called Nussos (Latin Nyssus) and is listed among the twelve famous mountains of the ancient world. This is a potent name in Greek mythology, as it designates the birthplace of the god Dionysus (“Zeus [Dio-] of Nysa [Nus(s)os]”), as well as, in Byzantine sources (§125, above, >>), the mountain on which Noah’s container grounded. Many identified the Dionysiac mountain as the Nysa located “in Arabia.” Mount Sinai (Nussos), traditionally the highest (from ground level) in the Arabian peninsula named after the mountain, would be the obvious candidate. The original Mount Sinai was Serbal (as in Cosmas Indicopleuses), which towers over the glorious Wadi Feiran, and, indeed, the detailed description of the Arabian Nysa as a fertile oasis nestling amongst lofty mountains in Diodorus Siculus III fits precisely Wadi Feiran at the base of Serbal. Note the metathesis of the consonants in the names (Sinai, Nussos). Similarly, in the name Beth-shan of the town in Canaan, the significant element “-shan” (variously spelled in Hebrew, sh-n, or sh-n) was vocalized Nussa/Nysa in Greek and Latin (Pliny, Nat. Hist. V. 16. 20 [“Nysa”], Steph. Byz. s.v. Scythopolis [“Nussa”]). The metathesis of the consonants in the names Sinai and Nussos is interesting, given the form Sinai incorporates the name Sin. For an identical metathesis is found in the earliest form of the name Sin in Sumerian: Sin is written EN.ZU, but is read in the opposite manner, Zu’en or Sin. As has already been pointed out (§114, above, >>), the Egyptian name of the moon-god, Khensu, seems to be a phonetic echo, if not a transcription, of the form EN.ZU. EN.ZU, with the syllables in that order, or the Egyptian Khensu, would correspond to the form Nysa (Nussos, with the consonant “n” preceding the “s”), and the form Sinai to Zu’en or Sin. There was another Nysa in the vicinity of the important site of Mazaca (Caesarea, the modern Kayseri) in Cappadocia, which was the homeland of the Indo-European stock who founded the Hittite civilization, and, more relevantly, a region identified in antiquity as the landing-place of Noah’s container. The ancient name of Mazaca was “Nesha,” alternatively “Kanesh.” These two forms look remarkably like the Classical Nysa/Nusa (Nesha) and the corresponding Sumerian and Egyptian forms, with prosthetic vowel or initial aspirated vowel, EN.ZU/Khensu (Kanesh). The name Dionysus is likely to have entered Greece from this source: Zeus/Di (= Adi, Hadad, the Storm-god), of Nysa (= Nesha).


316.1.1. In this light, the identification of Noah with Dionysus in Tzetzes (§125, above, >>) gains added significance. Noah was understood to be the sky-god (Zeus, Dio-) of the “Moon” mountain (Nysa, meaning the mountain of EN.ZU = Sin, the Moon). The moon represented Noah’s container, the crescent being an appropriate boat symbol. The “Moon/Boat” mountain was the one on which the container grounded in Ararat. In the case of Mount Sinai (Serbal), the name had different associations: the most probable derivation of the name Sinai is from the root of the word “tooth” (Hebrew shen), rather than from the name of the moon-god; a verbal representation of the prominent, jagged, tooth-like, crest of Serbal, which dominates the “Desert of Sin” at its western foot, and the coast of the Red Sea adjoining. There is no contradiction between the etymologies (tooth, moon): the crescent-moon is tooth-like in its form, too. The moon is a “tooth,” or rather a bright, shining “tusk” (which is also shen in Hebrew). Note the use of the term “elephant-tooth” (tusk) in the title of Cush Fil Dendan, Cush “Elephant Tooth” or the “Tusked.” And, of course, Cush was appropriately identified with the Moon. This concept completes the circle: Cush is the tusk-like Moon, and the same figure represents the boat in which Noah (Dionysus, the “sky-god,” Zeus of the “Moon” mountain Nysa) survived the Flood.


316.1.2. A phonetic echo of the Egyptian form of the name EN.ZU, viz. Khensu (§114, above, >>), is found in the name of the Hindu god Ganesha. (See §132, above, >>.) But Ganesha, according to the Brahmavaivarta Purana, was simply the god Krishna (the “Black One”) transformed into the son of Parvati, the wife of Shiva. Similarly in the Ganesha-Gita the name Ganesha was substituted for Krishna of the Bhagavad-Gita. The common form of Krishna’s name in Hindustani, Kishan (written with the consonants k-sh-n), is surely a transcription of the ancient Semitic Kushan/Kishan (likewise meaning the “Black One”), Kushan being a secondary formation from the eponymus Cush (Heb. Kush = “Black”). In Ferishta’s History an ancient Kishan is listed (§283, above, >>, §650, below, >>) in the early section of the king-list of India, amongst the descendants of Ham and contemporary with Tahmurasp (traditionally equated with Nimrod, see note at §669, below, >>), just after the Flood, who is said to have been the first to sit on the royal throne of Hind, and who is specifically differentiated by the historian from the later god of that name, viz. from the eighth-century contemporary of the Pandavas. He is said to have been of gigantic form and to have trained elephants for riding. (On the elephants, see infra.) The form Krishna was probably itself a modification, or adaptation, of the earlier Semitic name Kishan/Kushan in Sanskrit, and Ganesha a further one, to identify the primitive (pre-Indo-European, Dravidian, that is, Cushite) deity with the Vedic Gana-pati, “Lord of Hosts.” Kishan/Ganesha, like Cush “Fil Dendan” (§676ff., below, >>), has an elephant’s head and is called Eka-Danta, the “Single Tusked One,” employing the identical word, dendan/danta. He is known as Pille in the Tamil language, meaning “Child,” but this harks back to an earlier (Dravidian) title Pell, meaning “Elephant,” in exact conformity to the Iranian and Aramaic terminology (Fil, Pil, “elephant”). The notable “single” tusk of Ganesha, is the (singular) crescent (tusk) of the Moon: he is titled, accordingly, Bhalachandra, “the One whose forehead is adorned with the Moon.”


316.1.3. If the three Hindu names, Kishan, Pille, Eka-Danta, are combined in one, the result is a duplicate of the Iranian man-god’s name-cum-title, Cush Fil Dendan, “Cush Elephant Tooth.” The “Indian” Dionysus celebrated in Greek mythology, therefore, who has often been thought to be some form of Krishna, or, alternatively, of the phallic deity Shiva, is, in fact, both deities: he is Kishan/Krishna, and the “god” (Deva = Dio-) Ganesha (= Nusos), Ganesha being indeed the son (secondary form) of Shiva, yet at the same time an embodiment of Kishan/Krishna. Originally Kishan/Ganesha was the patriarch Cush, who was the ancestor, via his grandchildren Sheba (Arabic “Sind”) and Dedan (Arabic “Hind”), of the dark-skinned inhabitants of India, and was identified with the Moon-god (Khensu-Thoth in Egypt); a re-embodiment, in other words, and spiritual heir of the Flood-hero Noah.


316.2. As suggested in §676, below, >>, the name “Elephant,” Pil/Fil, is grammatically related, and is a covert reference, to the Aramaic and Hebrew word “naphil,” meaning “giant,” literally “fallen one.” It marks Cush as being of giant stock, in the line of the Nephilim and Rephaim. The Puranic story which purports to explain how Ganesha (= Cush Fildendan) ended up with one tusk, has a connection, accordingly, with his Nephilite origin. It is related that Ganesha went out, as was his wont, one night, for a ride on his vehicle, the Rat. The Rat noticed a snake in the path and fled, causing Ganesha to fall in an ungainly manner. Ganesha’s rounded belly split open, and out on the ground fell the undigested sweet balls from it, which were the insatiable Ganesha’s peculiar delight. Quickly Ganesha grabbed the snake and tied it round his belly to mend the breach. He was about to continue his journey when he heard laughter ringing out above his head. Looking up, he saw the Moon-god, Chandra, mocking the ridiculous sight. Ganesha was enraged at the god’s effrontery, plucked out his left-hand tusk, and hurled it at the celestial luminary. Immediately the Moon’s light was extinguished. Being a genial deity, however, Ganesha was persuaded to have mercy on Chandra, and allowed him henceforth to continue his work of lighting up the night, but with the inconvenience that he must suffer waxing and waning, so his light might be extinguished, at least, for a part of the month. (The waning fortnight was named after Kishan.) Philosophically, this story has been interpreted as a reference to the interaction between the divine macrocosm (the enormous elephant Ganesha) and the microcosm of human existence (the miniscule Rat as vehicle of the divine). Human frailty causes disruption in the cosmic order (the fall of Ganesha) which can only be rectified by harnessing the cosmic force known as kundalini (the serpent) in order to restore universal harmony (Ganesha’s round belly). Historically, it is a reflex, rather, of the fall (Pille/Pil/Fil) of the spirits (Ganesha) whilst incarnate in human flesh as the Nephilim (the Rat) before the Flood (the snake), which resulted in a disruption of the universal order (the splitting of Ganesha’s belly). Noah (the moon-god Chandra in his cosmic boat) triumphed (laughed) over the destruction, and was assaulted doctrinally by Cush as a consequence (with the oral weapon = tooth = tusk of Ganesha). Noah’s life was extinguished in the conflict thus stirred up by Cush (the Moon went out), and thereafter the divine role Cush ascribed both to himself and to Noah, as the embodiment of divine light, was shared between them (waxing and waning moon, one tusk in the sky, one on earth).