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Myths and legends of Babylonia and Assyria (1916) (14801964123)


Myths and legends of Babylonia and Assyria (1916) (14801964123)



Identifier: mythslegendsofba00spenuoft (find matches)
Title: Myths and legends of Babylonia & Assyria
Year: 1916 (1910s)
Authors: Spence, Lewis, 1874-1955
Subjects: Assyro-Babylonian religion Mythology, Assyro-Babylonian Legends Cults
Publisher: London : Harrap
Contributing Library: Kelly - University of Toronto
Digitizing Sponsor: MSN

Text Appearing Before Image:
riants above enumeratedserve each to cast light on the other, and from acomparison of these we may succeed in arriving ata satisfactory conclusion. To begin with, however,it must be remembered that when the cult of anydeity has reached a fairly advanced stage it is impos-sible to assign to him any one department of nature,to say that he is a sun-god, a rain-god, a corn-god,for he may possess the attributes of all of these. Ingiving any god a departmental designation we arestriving to express his primitive or predominantcharacteristics merely. An Allegorical Interpfctation of the Myth A truly allegorical elucidation of the myth ofIshtars descent into Hades would depict Ishtar,as the goddess of fertility, seeking in the underworldfor her husband, the sun-god, slain by the icy breathof winter. During her sojourn in the nether regionsall fertility ceases on the earth, to be resumed onlywhen she returns as the joyful bride of the spring-tide sun. The surrender of her clothing and jewels136
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The Mother-goddess Ishtar Evelyn Paul 136 AN ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION at the seven gates of Aralu represents the gradualdecay of vegetation on the earth, and the resumptionof her garments the growing beauty and verdurewhich mark her return. Another hypothesis identifiesIshtar with Dawkina, goddess of the earth, wife ofEa and therefore mother as well as consort of Tammuz.According to this view Ishtar represents not thefertiHty of the earth, but the earth itself, deprivedof its adornments of flowers and leafage by theapproach of winter, or variously, by the burningheat of summer. The waters of life, with whichshe sprinkles and restores her husband,^ are therevivifying rains which give to the sun-god hisyouthful vigour and glory. Against this view it hasbeen urged (e.g. by Sir James Frazer) that thereis nothiiig in the suns annual course within thetemperate and tropical zones to suggest that he isdead for half or a third of the year, and alive forthe other half or two-thirds. Alternati





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