A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology by Gwendolyn Leick

By Gwendolyn Leick

The Dictionary of old close to jap Mythology covers resources from Mesopotamia, Syro-Palestine and Anatolia, from round 2800 to three hundred BC. It includes entries on gods and goddesses, giving facts in their worship in temples, describing their 'character', as documented through the texts, and defining their roles in the physique of mythological narratives; synoptic entries on myths, giving where of starting place of major texts and a quick historical past in their transmission in the course of the a while; and entries explaining using professional terminology, for things like different types of Sumerian texts or kinds of mythological figures.

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Baal departs with Anat to enlist the support of Aštart, the Lady Asherah of the Sea, in order to persuade El to allow the building of Baal’s palace to proceed. They ask Kothar-and-Hasis to produce suitably lavish gifts to soften her mood. Aštart, who lives in a distant place ‘by the sea’, is just engaged in some ritual by the shore, when Anat and Baal arrive. She is frightened when they appear, assuming they have come to kill her sons in revenge. However, she is comforted by the rich 20 BAAL-MYTHS presents they have brought.

But there is also much that owes more to Syrian or Amorite concepts than Sumerian tradition (see the myth of Harab, the rise of Marduk and Nabû). While hymns and prayers and other ‘proto-philosophical’ compositions developed the concept of morality, justice and personal piety, ‘mythography’, the writing of new myths, though certainly not a new genre in Mesopotamian literature, was used to explain and dramatize the modification of the official pantheon (Nergal and Ereškigal; to some extent Enuma eliš).

Gap] Baal returns from the sack of ninety cities and orders Kothar-and-Hasis to install a window in the house and ‘through a rift in the clouds he gave forth his holy voice’ until the earth shakes. Baal is enthroned in his palace and rejoices in his power. But even at this very apex of his might he is aware that his destiny is to descend into the ‘gullet of Mot’. He sees his enemies (the dry dust-storms which cause the vegetation to wither) and he sends messengers to the underworld, inviting ‘Death’ to his palace.

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