New - 20 March 2010
aka "Historical Myth"
If stories of the ancient past agree with a religion or an agenda, they are called history.
If the ancient stories do not agree, they are called myths.
Curiously, the stories, whether history or myth, are surprisingly similar.
In large part, history is written by the winners. This fact severely limits said history, in that only those events and descriptions of actual happenings that happen to “fit” into a preconceived paradigm are allowed to see the light of day... or at least in that history. Winners do, in fact, go to great, if not extraordinary lengths to legitimize their victories and subsequent rules, statutes, and various idiocies.
A myth on the other hand, can be thought of as a Minority Report... a report that is still perfectly valid, but one that likely cannot carry the day with respect to any contrary arguments as to its truth and veracity... if only because the winners will go to the aforementioned great, if not extraordinary lengths to squash such Inconvenient Truths. Such a Myth/Minority Report/Urban Legend can still be history, but just not one acceptable to the authorities... which in most cases will involve a religious hierarchy that is even more prone to vengefully extinguish the slightest hint of a minority report. Book burnings and the like are the very essence of religions, winners, and fanatical governments intent upon one size fits all.
One of the principal reasons why many otherwise legitimate histories are called myths, fantasies, fictions, and allegories (particularly by various religious fanatics) is because many of these myths involve so-called other gods and goddesses who are interacting with humans (i.e., begetting, having sex, creating babies and heroes, making wholly unreasonable demands, and so forth and so on). This is as opposed to a “one true religion” (as defined by one particular religious fanatic), in which only one god (or goddess) is allowed to interact with humans in what appears to be fantastical (mysterious and/or miraculous) circumstances. However... if these other “goddesses and gods” are simply extraterrestrials, technologically superior aliens, parading-shaking sentient beings, and/or any other hominid type species (for example, the Anunnaki as recorded by the Sumerian Civilization)... and if these beings are involved in creating a sub-species of humans by their inter-begating (aka inter-course or inter-coastal meanderings)... then suddenly, a prime reason to doubt these histories/myths is removed.
Another way of looking at things is that all histories are essentially myths... i.e., “traditional narratives usually involving supernatural or imaginary persons and embodying popular ideas on natural or social phenomena.” The degree to which said histories/myths approach reality is dependent entirely upon the historian/myth maker, their biases, paradigms, public relations acumen, and who they’re beholden to (the latter including specifically the Powers That Be, state religions, rulers, governments, and deities of various stripes). A delightful treatment of this particular genre can be found in Terry Ratchet’s book, Small Gods .
The predominant, Western view of history (i.e., it’s mythical paradigm) is predicated upon Christian/Judaeo religious traditions (albeit with the increasing influence of Islamic paradigms). The amount of myth, fantasies, and incredible accounts in these religions is phenomenal. They have been able to get away with just about anything... even when most of their more incredible bits are plagiarized from earlier myths, fantasies, and so forth. The simple reason for this is that it has been these three monotheistic groups that have been the winners, more often than not, over less cohesive pantheistic believers. However, this does NOT imply that the Monotheistics are actually right... just more focused on killing non-believers than the Pantheistics.
Pantheistic cultures with traditions of numerous gods and goddesses have one thing in common: they tend to be very tolerant of other people’s beliefs. They are more prone to a very much “live and let live” attitude. In some cases, an upstart culture, such as Rome, may even take a loser’s pantheon (such as the one promulgated by the earlier Greeks) and with only minor changes incorporate the loser’s paradigm into their own version of gods and goddesses. Conversely, a monotheistic culture with a single, jealous, vengeful, and wholly dysfunctional god... who is sufficiently super ego-centric to demand that he and only he be considered the big kahuna... such a culture is anything but tolerant of other paradigms.
This position is perhaps even better described by Bart D. Ehrman in his excellent book, Lost Christianities; The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew :
Monotheism in fact enjoys a strategic advantage over pantheism in that the monotheistic culture can by its very nature take the position of ignoring any and all of its alleged morals and ethics in destroying anyone outside their culture, including any and every pantheistic tradition... whereas the tolerance of the latter actually inhibits it from being similarly lacking in mercy, justice, and fairness. Tolerant people are far more likely to hesitate to slaughter innocents, whereas the monotheistic mindset recognizes no limits in “defending the faith”. The end results are religious wars which strongly favor monotheism.
The current state of affairs in histories of the ancient world -- the premise promulgated in this Mother of All Family Trees -- is that the so-called gods and goddesses were (are?) in fact real... that there existed mortal, often dysfunctional beings who were literally and figuratively lording it over each of the members of a lesser species... like some dysfunctional, absentee landlord. Furthermore, one of their members (still mortal and distinctly dysfunctional... named Enlil, aka Jehovah), went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his followers (his chosen people, his rag tag bag of adherents) not only avoided like the plague any of the other alleged gods and/or goddesses, but urged holy war, jihad, and mass slaughters of innocents for any city, culture, country, or society who did not agree with, or kow tow to him.
The history of the ancient world in accordance with the Old Testament of the Bible, for example, does admit to their being a lot of other gods and goddesses running about (as well as lording it over the lesser humans, and being worshiped as a matter of course). However, the Bible insists all such worship was blasphemy, was fundamentally wrong, and could not be condoned, upon pain of death. On the other hand, the histories (alleged myths) of other cultures with a more ecumenical viewpoint were more inclined to note just how often the principal gods and goddesses were interacting with humans in order to produce offspring. For the gods and goddesses, this was what they did. These alternative, pantheistic histories, therefore, simply reported the facts... For example: Inanna (aka, Aphrodite, Venus, Ishtar, Isis, a female extraordinaire by any other name) slept with so and so hero, king, or attractive young man, and subsequently had a kid who would become a hero, king, or... whatever. It was the way of the world for thousands of years... that is, until recently... maybe.
Any history, in order to be considered remotely valid and accurate, needs to be reconciled with other histories concerning the same time and locale. The fact, for example, that different cultures have a different name for a god or goddess with similar histories and characteristics, does not change the fact that such a god or goddess is still an historical figure -- a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet... a god by any other name would still smite and rampage as much -- but in fact such histories add to the lore we have concerning these so-called gods and goddesses.
The interpretatio graeca, according to Wikipedia, is “a Latin term for the common tendency of [for example] ancient Greek writers to equate foreign divinities to members of their own pantheon. Herodotus, for example, refers to the ancient Egyptian gods, Amon, Osiris and Ptah as "Zeus", "Dionysus" and "Hephaestus", respectively.” It’s a bit like Englishmen referring to a city whose name sounds a bit like Beijing but instead calling it Peking. Elsewhere the fit suggested by Herodotus and others is less precise, and a Roman god might add attributes borrowed from the Greek, but still remain distinct. As noted by Wikipedia, for example, “Mars retained his Latin association with agriculture and fertility alongside his warlike attributes and, quite unlike the fearsome Greek Ares, was a benevolent and widely-revered cult figure.”
There is, parenthetically, a problem with any tradition which equates Ptah -- a primary member of the Egyptian pantheon and, in fact, the creator god of Egypt -- with Hephaestus... the latter who is a second generation and lower ranked god in the Olympian pantheon. The problem likely arises from the description of Ptah’s pre imminence as the “master artificer”, whereby Ptah might be described -- according to Laurence Gardner (Genesis of the Grail Kings, page 170) -- as:
If one gets beyond “Artificer” as a forage-wielding mechanic... and considers the greater creation of the world as a work of the “Great Master Artificer"... as in, for example, ancient metallurgists working as alchemists in order to fashion out of creation the philosopher’s stone and/or the elixir of life... then Ptah becomes much more than a Vulcan... or a Romulan... or even a Klingon.
Furthermore, according to the same article in Wikipedia,
On a whole new perspective, “The visible planets were also associated with divinities. Thus
From our perspective, the planet Mercury would be better associated with Hermes and/or, possibly, Enki’s son, Ningishzidda, although Nabu does sound like someone with the proper credentials (see below). Furthermore, Marduk was also very much associated with Mars, while Anu was typically represented by Uranus, and Enki (also Poseidon) was represented by Neptune. (The latter points are important in that Uranus and Neptune are not visible to the naked eye... and thus ostensibly unknown to the ancients... but in fact the Sumerians were well aware of these two outer planets and connected them to their respective gods.)
On the other hand, Enlil as the god Jupiter (whom the planet was named after) just doesn’t quite make sense. Jupiter/Zeus is notorious for having sex at the drop of a pair of panties... and with any number of women... while Enlil was anti-human to the point of being (literally) homophobic. Making Enlil the “King of the Gods”, when he was only the “Lord of the Command” -- and NOT the “Lord of Earth” (as was Enki) -- also fails to make the cut. Clearly, one cannot identify two versions of the same deity purely on the basis of their title. What counts is how they act... their personalities... and to some degree their children. Clearly Enki was the god also named Zeus and/or Jupiter; just not necessarily the planet (which in astrology, is typically referred to as the “Santa Claus of the Zodiac”).
As for Marduk’s claim to being the King of the Gods... Enki’s son did do a LOT of history revisionism when he temporarily took over in Babylon. This was an era when he rewrote the Sumerian history books, replacing Anu’s name with his own. And, now that you mention Babylon and Marduk...
A curious feature is the fact that in looking at histories and lineages from cultures other than the narrowly focused Biblical one, there are a LOT of sexual interactions going on between mortal humans and the so-called gods and goddesses. There are innumerable occasions for “divine interventions”, especially in a sexual context. The Bible does have a god (or gods) who creates mankind (in pretty much the traditional manner), and in one case causes a human female (a virgin, no less) to become pregnant with the “son of [a] god”. More over, the Bible also has the “sons of god” contributing their part as well... including the sharing of their "precious bodily fluids.“
In other words, there was a lot of sexual activity between humans and their deities. A lot.
Genesis is the story of events occurring between roughly 1800 and 4000 BCE (or perhaps much, much further back in time -- the jury is still out on that one). The Bible then goes on to assume (or simply not report) that after roughly 3000 BCE or so, there was not a lot of sexual activity going on between the gods and humans... at least in the Bible's relatively narrow version of history. Elsewhere in other traditions, it’s quite another story... and accordingly, a whole lot more interesting, entertaining, and... in many respects... more credible given the actors and actresses in these sagas.
Nevertheless, around 600 BCE, the fun and games for the sons (and daughters) of god, aka the gods and goddesses of many different cultures, Anunnaki or whatever... were no longer being reported as having had sex with the mortal humans. (Admittedly, there were one or two exceptions; one, for example, with a woman named Mary, c. 4-7 BCE). In fact, in all of the other histories, there were apparently far less interactions of any kind between the humans and their deities.
In effect, circa 600 BCE, the gods and goddesses went from being micro-managers of humanity to something more akin to hands-off parents... the kind of parents who were hoping their children would find out for themselves what was important and what wasn't.
Prior to that time, the one really consistent factor in the non-monotheistic histories of the ancient world was that the allegedly immortal gods (and goddesses) were routinely having sex and jointly procreating with the mortal humans. Everyone was in many respects worshiping the goddess whose basic tenet was that “all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.” The deities were also interacting and/or interfering in human affairs like crazy.
Accordingly, from a genealogical viewpoint, there are now lots of opportunities for modern day humans to trace their heritages back to the likes of Inanna/Aphrodite/Venus, Enki/Ptah/Zeus/Jupiter, Ares/Mars, and so forth and so on. But, as it turns out, probably not Enlil/Jehovah... if only because Jehovah’s interventions in human history were typically never for purposes of sexuality and/or procreation. (Forget about the ~4-7 BCE event, inasmuch as Jehovah almost certainly had no involvement whatsoever... and only later claimed responsibility even when it wasn’t true. People, gods and goddesses do claim the strangest things... particularly when they have the advantage of Monday morning quarterbacking.)
This reason for this rather lengthy -- but brilliantly conceived and written -- digression from our genealogical treatment of history is that in order to broaden our perspective in this Mother of All Family Trees (MOAFT), it is worth considering alternative lines of descent for our genealogical heritage. There are, for example, the so-called “legendary kings of Britain“. A portion of this referenced web page and link is worth quoting in order to make a point... or two points... maybe even three.
Note that the “fictional, imagination, fabrication, and now known” comments all require a “citation”, i.e., these are just the -- potentially narrow-minded -- opinions of the author, and he apparently has no basis for his opinions other than that of a personal bias. His use of terms such as “legends” and “legendary” -- “sometimes popularly regarded as historical but unauthenticated; a myth” -- and so forth (e.g., “pseudo”) also allow him to gently deny any possible reality to the stories, tales, and histories. He doesn’t come out and flat state that they’re not true... but rather he demeans them in a more subtle fashion. Clearly, the idea of trusting any such authoritative pronouncements would be extremely unwise.
This web page goes on to note the “First kings derived from pseudo-Berossus:
The web page then lists 116 kings (taken from the History of the Kings of Britain), a list which extends from Brutus (et tu, circa 1150 BCE) to Cadwallader (d. CE 689). The list includes such luminaries as Ebraucus (a contemporary of King David), Leil (a contemporary of Solomon), Cunedagius (a contemporary of Isaiah, Hosea, and Romulus), Danius (Welsh: Daned map Saessyllt), Arvirargus (a contemporary of Claudius and Vespasian), Constantine I, Uther Pendragon, and King Arthur.
Importantly, these kings do not always follow a particular lineage, and in fact war and battle were as likely to determine the next king as was the procreational method of going from father to son.
Meanwhile, pseudo-Berossus is important as a 3rd century BCE historical source, one which is widely considered legendary, mythical or just plain BS... but which in fact may have equal or slightly greater claim to legitimacy than the Biblical accounts of the same periods of time. [We won’t even mention Hercules (the Roman name for the mythical Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus, the Roman Jupiter, and the mortal Alcmena) and his involvement in the history of British kings. With all of his labors, the guy was really busy... waging conflict in large part with Tories and the like.]
According to Anno Mundi, Berossus traces the kingly lineage from Noah to Dardanus (albeit with apparently a missing 30 generations or so... but which includes a specific date of the Great Flood: 18 April 2317 BCE). Anno Mundi even provides a convenient family tree... but which is probably woefully incomplete.
For our purposes, we will begin our treatment from Dardanus... if only because of his middle name... and the fact he is allegedly the offspring of our ancestor, Enki (aka Jupiter) -- a son of god. Enki's paramour in this case is Electra, a Pleiad... and thus one of the seven daughters of Atlas -- the latter a god who can legitimately claim to having to carry the world on his shoulders.
 Reader's Digest Oxford Complete Wordfinder, Pleasantville New York, 1996.
 Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities; The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, Oxford University Press, 2003, pages 91-92.
2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved [Feedback]