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Ashur (god)

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Ashur god

A Neo-Assyrian "feather robed archer" figure, symbolizing Ashur. The right hand is extended similar to the Faravahar figure, while the left hand holds a bow instead of a ring (9th or 8th c. BC relief).

Ashur (also Assur, Aššur; written A-šur, also Aš-šùr,ܐܫܘܪ in Neo-Assyrian often shortened to ) is the head of the Assyrian pantheon.

He probably originated as the deified city Assur (pronounced Ashur),which dates from the 3rd millennium BC and was the capital of the Old Assyrian kingdom.[1] As such, Ashur did not originally have a family, but as the cult came under southern Mesopotamian influence he came to be regarded as the Assyiran equivalent of Enlil, the chief god of Nippur and one of the most important gods of the southern pantheon, and in time Ashur absorbed Enlil's wife Ninlil (as the Assyrian goddess Mullisu) and his sons Ninurta and Zababa - this process began around in the 13th century BC E and continued down to the 8th and 7th centuries.[2]

The Assyrians did not require conquered peoples to take up the worship of Ashur; instead, Assyrian imperial propaganda declared that the conquered peoples had been abandoned by their gods. When Assyria conquered Babylon in the Sargonid period (8th-7th centuries BCE), Assyrian scribes began to write the name of Ashur with the cuneiform signs AN.SHAR, literally "whole heaven" in Akkadian, the language of Babylon. The intention seems to have been to put Ashur at the head of the Babylonian pantheon, where Anshar and his counterpart Kishar ("whole earth") preceded even Enlil and Ninlil.[3] Thus in the Sargonid version of the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian national creation myth, Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, does not appear, and instead it is Ashur, as Anshar, who slays Tiamat the chaos-monster and creates the world of humankind.[4]

Some scholars have claimed that Ashur was represented as the solar disc that appears frequently in Assyrian iconography, but evidence indicates that this is in fact the sun god Shamash. Many Assyrian kings had names that included the name Ashur, including, above all, Ashurnasirpal, Esarhaddon (Ashur-aha-iddina), and Ashurbanipal. Epithets include bêlu rabû "great lord", ab ilâni "father of gods", šadû rabû "great mountain", and il aššurî "god of Ashur". The symbols of Ashur include:

  1. a winged disc with horns, enclosing four circles revolving round a middle circle; rippling rays fall down from either side of the disc;
  2. a circle or wheel, suspended from wings, and enclosing a warrior drawing his bow to discharge an arrow;
  3. the same circle; the warrior's bow, however, is carried in his left hand, while the right hand is uplifted as if to bless his worshipers (see picture).

An Assyrian standard, which probably represented the "world column", has the disc mounted on a bull's head with horns. The upper part of the disc is occupied by a warrior, whose head, part of his bow, and the point of his arrow protrude from the circle. The rippling water rays are V-shaped, and two bulls, treading river-like rays, occupy the divisions thus formed. There are also two heads—a lion's and a man's—with gaping mouths, which may symbolize tempests, the destroying power of the sun, or the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates. Jastrow regards the winged disc as "the purer and more genuine symbol of Ashur as a solar deity". He calls it "a sun disc with protruding rays", and says: "To this symbol the warrior with the bow and arrow was added—a despiritualization that reflects the martial spirit of the Assyrian empire".[5]

References

  1. [K. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=yCkRz5pfxz0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Dictionary+of+Deities+and+Demons&source=bl&ots=aFsyeWj--s&sig=bUBKLDaA9yIAvddu40f0VddVXd8&hl=en&ei=0UIlTNeyOcmXcYPxzfAC&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Ashur&f=false Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter Willem van der Horst, "Dictionary of deities and demons in the Bible", pp.108-9]
  2. [K. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=yCkRz5pfxz0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Dictionary+of+Deities+and+Demons&source=bl&ots=aFsyeWj--s&sig=bUBKLDaA9yIAvddu40f0VddVXd8&hl=en&ei=0UIlTNeyOcmXcYPxzfAC&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Ashur&f=false Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter Willem van der Horst, "Dictionary of deities and demons in the Bible", pp.108-9]
  3. [K. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=yCkRz5pfxz0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Dictionary+of+Deities+and+Demons&source=bl&ots=aFsyeWj--s&sig=bUBKLDaA9yIAvddu40f0VddVXd8&hl=en&ei=0UIlTNeyOcmXcYPxzfAC&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Ashur&f=false Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter Willem van der Horst, "Dictionary of deities and demons in the Bible", pp.108-9]
  4. Donald A. Mackenzie Myths of Babylonia and Assyria (1915), chapter 15: "Ashur the National God of Assyria"[1]
  5. Donald A. Mackenzie Myths of Babylonia and Assyria (1915), chapter 15: "Ashur the National God of Assyria"[2]

See also

Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Ashur (god). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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