Saturday, March 22, 2014

Nimrod and Babel identified Part 2

This is a follow up post, for part 1 go here.

Now to discus this Enmerkar in more detail. He's second only to Gilgamesh among the heroes of ancient Sumerian literature. Gilgamesh is also of the same Dynasty, a generation or two later.

In Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta a previous confusion of the languages of mankind is mentioned. This agrees with the Biblical conclusion I came to earlier, Nimrod didn't instigate Babel (at least not originally) but came sometime later, though definitely still when it was a fairly recent memory. Aside from founding Uruk, Enmerkar is said here to have had a temple built at Eridu, and is even credited with the invention of writing on clay tablets, for the purpose of threatening Aratta into submission. Enmerkar furthermore seeks to restore the disrupted linguistic unity of the inhabited regions around Uruk, listed as Shubur, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (the region around Akkad), and the Martu land.

This, and the other three major legends about Enmerkar chiefly revolve around his conflict with a Kingdom called Aratta, and it's ruler En-suhgir-ana. Aratta obviously sounds a lot like Ararat, but most scholars won't connect them because they are used to the traditional identification of Ararat referring to a mountain in Turkey, and these texts clearly seem to place Aratta in northern Iran.

But Bob Conruke has shown that The Bible clearly places Ararat in northern Iran.
He even addresses the connection between Ararat and Armenia.

From Genesis 10 and other sources referenced in Bill Cooper's After The Flood this region is indeed likely to be one of the earliest major settlements of Japheth's descendants (Gomer and Madai chiefly). Some Rabbinical traditions (like the so called book of Jasher from medieval times), suggest there was a war or conflict between Nimrod and Japheth (or Japheth's descendants).

According to the ancient Armenian historian Moses of Khorene and Georgian historian Leonti Mroveli.  Hayk was a Son of Togarmah son of Gomer son of Japheth who founded Armenia and inherited Arrarat.  Hayk is said to have fought wars with a Mesopotamian king named Bel who is sometimes identified with Nimrod.  Though to the Greeks Belus was the father of Ninus.

Enmerkar's successor was Lugalbanda, who appears in the narratives about Enmerkar as a military figure. It's possible that Lugalbanda was just an interim military governor ruling Uruk, and that the rule of Sumer as a whole went to Etana in Kish, who is said to have "consolidated all the foreign countries". Although his reign has yet to be archaeologically attested, his name is found in later legendary tablets, and Etana is sometimes regarded as the first king and founder of Kish himself.

Etana has been a Nimrod candidate on some websites I've visited.  The Evidence for Enmerkar far outweighs the evidence for Etana in my view.  But maybe it's not impossible Etana and Enmerkar are the same person simply known by different names in different cities.  But for now my working theory is that they are different people.

Etana could easily have been one of Cush's other sons, and the brother of Nimrod, creating possible parallels to Set overthrowing Osiris in Egyptian mythology, and many other myths about a a tyrant becoming King by killing his brother to latter be avenged by his brother's son. Zababa was the name of the patron deity of Kish, which makes Sabtah or Sabtecha seem the likely candidates to me.

The next King of Uruk was Dumuzid, who's name is another form of Tammuz. Modern mythology makes him the Son of Nimrod and likely an inspiration for figures like Osiris and/or Horus, I'm skeptical of all that, but it could fit here. Dumuzid was captured by Enmebaragesi of Kish, the earliest ruler on the kings-list whose name is attested directly from archaeology. So we are at the dawn of recorded history now.

There are two Dumuzids on the Kings-list. The Antediluvian one is who the Tammuz myths are usually attributed to. But I believe that's because of Confusion, while I do think some real Pre-Flood history may be remembered in the myths associated with the Antediluvian Sumerian Kings, I believe this was the only real Dumuzid. The Tammuz myths are clearly heavily mythologized and harder to identify with history anyway, because they revolve around Inanna.  But in part I feel this comes from this Dumuzid's relationship with the High Priestess of Inanna, who's Temple was in Uruk, and the sacred Marriage ritual that was key to the religion of Uruk.  I suspect the same thing about Inanna's role in the Gilgamesh legends.  Indeed every other myth about Inanna is known to be about the importance of Uruk.

Dumuzid was succeeded by Bilgames, more commonly known as Gilgamesh. The "Epic of Gilgamesh" most commonly refereed to is a much later construction, the earliest actual Sumerian poems about Bilgames (Which are still well after when he actually lived) are very different. Enkidu is not a wild-man who needed to be tamed, he has no origin story, he's just a loyal friend and partner (and possibly Lover) of Bilgames. Also in the Sumerian poems Bilgames dies first and it is Enkidu who mourns him.

One of the Bilgames poems lacks a parallel story in the latter Epic. "Bilgames and Aga", which is about his conflict with King Aga of Kish, the successor of Enmebaragesi.

Bilgames/Gilgamesh is sometimes cited as a son of Lugalbanda, but the Sumerian Kingslist calls him "The Son of Lilu" a phrase often translated Phantom, but also taken to mean an Incubus (Male Sucubus) and associated with Lilith. Lilith would in medieval times become the alleged first wife of Adam in Jewish folklore. But her original Sumerian origin story was as a "Sacred Prostitute" in the service of Inanna in Uruk. It's possible both names refer to the same man, or that Bilgames was adopted, or one was his step father by marriage. Bilgames' mother is always refereed to as the goddess Ninsun, who I'm simply going to randomly guess was a daughter of Nimrod.

One of the most noted things about Gilgamesh is his having traveled to meet the man who built the Ark and survived the Flood. This event isn't depicted directly in the surviving Sumerian Bilgames poems, but it is mentioned.  In the Sumerian poems the Noah figure is named Ziusudra rather then the more well known Utnapishtim of the later Epic of Gilgamesh.

Noah lived 350 years after The Flood, the time of Bilgames could very well have been that early after The Flood.  If he was a nephew or grandson of Nimrod as I suspect, that would make him the same generation as Eber or Peleg, Peleg actually died before Noah did.

So I feel I have succeeded in identifying Nimrod's true place in early history. And in so doing connected the first 10 and a half chapters of Genesis with the earliest recorded History.

If you want to read the Enmerkar and Bilgames Sumerian poems, they are online including English translations here.
I am well aware this theory has been suggested before (most notably by David Rohl), I have however added my own new contributions and twists to it.

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