Tag Archives: Mesopotamia

Fascinating Facts of Europe’s Oldest Writing

Galerie d'Appolllon Le Triomphe de Cybèle par Guichard

Joseph Guichard [Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons – Triumph of goddess Cybele

In modern day Turkey, known as the kingdom of Anatolia in ancient times, archaeologists recently discovered a variety of weights used by traders over 4,000 years ago. These were found in one of the 14 layers of the mound of Aemhoyuk. One of these was a piece of rock crystal, which– lo and behold—boasts an actual inscription. This marvelous discovery turns out to be the oldest written document in Anatolia and Europe as a whole. The cuneiform letters have not yet been deciphered, nor is it known whether the writing is in Anatolian or a more widespread international language used for trading purposes.

Antichambre de la reine-BELLONE, DÉESSE DES COMBATS, BRÛLE AVEC UN FLAMBEAU LE VISAGE DE CYBÈLE

By VIGNON, Claude-François (1633-1703) (RMN) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – goddess Cybele

The Assyrians of Mesopotamia, in the region now known as Iraq, established trade routes and centralized locations for traders to congregate and sell their wares. Purushattum in Anatolia became one of these centers. The civilized world of that time coveted the silver of Purushattum as a prized commodity. Tin and luxurious fabrics were among other items traded.

I look forward to the day when this ancient writing, one lonely line from so long ago on one small rock crystal, is translated. What do you think it is? I’m wondering if it refers to the amount and type of material the weight stood for, e.g., one measure of silver or the like. Trade talk and measurements are among the most common reasons for ancient writing. I remember that was the case for Linear B in Mycenaean and Cretan times.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Mythic Monday: ‎What You Should Know About Lughnasadh

Lavendimia Goya lou

Francisco Goya [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lughnasadh or Lammas is a traditional Celtic celebration that falls on August 1. On the Wheel of the Year, it designates the midpoint between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. Lughnasadh is one of four great festivals of ancient Ireland and Scotland. The others are Samhain (October 31), Imbolc (February 2), and Beltane (May 1). Each of the four falls on a midpoint between a solstice and an equinox on the Wheel of the Year.

The pagan originated holiday celebrated the first harvest of the year. With feasts of bilberries, apples, and corn, it was a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest that would see the people through the long winter to come. It corresponds to harvest festivals in other countries, including the English Lammas. Cultural observances of Lughnasadh have resurged in modern times.

Traditional observances of Lughnasadh took place in Ireland and Scotland up until the 20th century, usually on the Sunday nearest August 1. The word Lughnasadh is the basis of the Gaelic word for August. Rites involved climbing hills and mountains to offer the first of the harvested corn to the god Lugh by burying it in a sacred high place. Other activities included feasts, athletic contests similar to the early Olympics, rituals that involved dancing and playacting, the sacrifice of a bull, sacred rites, religious observances, and handfasting or trial marriages. Through a hole in the door, a man and woman joined hands and then lived together for a year and a day. At the end of that period, they could stay together or amicably dissolve the union.

In the Sister Fidelma mystery novels by Peter Tremayne, the title character handfasts with the Saxon monk Eadulf. These are wonderful books. Fidelma is not only a sister in the religious order of the community of St. Brigid of Kildare, she is also a dalaigh or type of lawyer. The books put you smack dab into colorful and pivotal times in 7th century Ireland.

Lugh spear Millar

Lugh’s Spear by Harold Robert Millar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Celtic god Lugh or Lug is said to have started his festival as a funeral service for his mother, the goddess Tailtiu. She was an earth mother goddess who symbolized the dying vegetation harvested to feed the people. How fitting that farmers honored the sacred life of vegetation just as ancient hunters honored the animals that would be slaughtered for food. Games and athletic competitions were an important historical aspect of the celebration in Tailtiu’s honor. Lugh is also identified as a High King of ancient Ireland. His father was one of the spendorous Tuatha de Danann, while his mother came from the Fomorian people. Since their marriage joined the two tribes, the handfasting aspect of Lughnasadh celebrations is particularly fitting. On a side note, the times of the Tuatha and Fomorians have always enthralled me, and the hero of one of my paranormal romances is a Fomorian, while the heroine has Tuatha blood in her ancestry.

According to Barbara G. Walker’s The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, the Celtic god Lug or Lugh was the basis of the former name of London, which was Lugdunum, and Lug’s temple was raised on Ludgate Hill. There also stood a great stone called the Bloody Crescent, which commemorated Lug’s wife, a moon goddess. Fascinatingly, the name Lug may have originated from ancient Mesopotamia. According to Joseph Campbell in The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology, the title of the king who served as the husband of the Great Goddess was lugal.

These cross cultural references of history and mythology send me into raptures, I must admit. I love it.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about the festival of Lughnasadh.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

 

Tuesday Tales: Shale 3-2-2015 by Flossie Benton Rogers

RingRedcroppedTuesday Tales is a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their WIPs based on word and picture prompts. Today’s prompt is address, and the snippet is from a work in progress temporarily called by the heroine’s name, Shale. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

The ornate doors opened to reveal a black bearded guard hurrying toward her, burly hand clasped around his sword handle. Shale’s heart pounded in her ears. Her voice came out raspy. “It’s me, Kashid.” Thank the goddess Nicholai wasn’t here to be taken. She prayed he had made his way to the necromancium before it was too late. She held out her hand toward Kashid, palm up.

Kashid looked her up and down before reaching out a finger to touch her warm flesh. “It is you. Forgive me, Lady. I thought perhaps the evil udug had returned.” He slid his weapon back into its scabbard and maneuvered a quick 360. “Where is Prince Nicholai? The queen desires that both of you attend her.”

She bit her lip, casting her mind about for a plausible explanation of Nicholai’s whereabouts. She had to give him time to find what they needed. “We were accidentally separated. This place is like a maze, with all these tunnels. I wouldn’t worry. It may take him a bit, but he’ll remember the layout of his childhood home. He’ll undoubtedly turn up at any moment.”

“Then if you please, allow me to escort you unto the queen’s presence.” Kashid motioned to another guard who had appeared. “Remain here as lookout for the prince and deliver him to the Throne Room when he appears. Come, if you please, Lady. I shall show you the way. As you say, the tunnels within the royal house can be confusing, even dangerous.”

Yeah right. His gracious courtesy masked a stoic and immutable loyalty to Queen Puabi. She wanted to plead exhaustion and retire to her chamber, but the consequences of not obeying the royal summons were too dire to consider. Her only recourse was to go with Kashid and hope the queen didn’t make one of her renowned “to the pit” proclamations.

She moved alongside him as he began to walk. “Kashid, I’m still confused about what to call the queen. I have heard her called beneficence, holiness, most high, and a myriad of other titles. I certainly don’t want to insult her with my ignorance. Can you tutor me as we go?”

“Lady, as consort of the powerful Dragon Ruler, the queen boasts a thousand names. Since you are a foreigner, there is only one correct way for you to address her. When speaking to her directly, you must say, “Your Great and Holy Beneficence.”

She peered at him. Was he telling the truth, or was this a trick to get her out of the queen’s well bewigged hair?

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Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance