Mean Mermaids Are A Thing


Most of us think of mermaids as sexy sirens of the sea. There seems to be a new mermaid fad with gals and guys both living mer-folk fantasy lifestyles. There are mermaid performers, mermaid weddings, mermaid blankies, and all sorts of other mermaid related stuff. But guess what mermaids are really about? Murder and mayhem, folks, murder and mayhem. Hate to spoil it for all you romantic mer-folk but your fantasy heroes were really mean in the mythos of old. And I mean REALLY mean!


The animated Little Mermaid movie by Disney, that inspires little girls to be sweet and hopeful and determined, is based on a Hans Christian Anderson tale from the 19th century. But the original story was far from a child-appropriate fairy tale.

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Yes, there was a mermaid princess and a drowning prince. But there was also romantic rejection and an ensuing plot for a blood bath. Once the prince turns the little mermaid princess down, she begins to die of a broken heart. But mermaid’s have no souls so they don’t go to heaven. Instead, they are transformed into the sea foam that tips raging waves and breakers.


But the transformation takes awhile. It’s a process. So, for awhile, there’s a chance to save the little mermaid from this terrible destiny. In the early stages, while she is tail-less and mute, she places her hope in someone, anyone, to take action to save her.


Seeing this horrible fate come upon their sister, the little mermaid’s faithful sisters do not disappoint. They become enraged. They swear vengeance. They negotiate a deal with a sea hag. 


She demands their mermaid hair in exchange for a poisoned, cursed dagger that can only be used while the human prince sleeps. His blood must be collected and washed over the little mermaid’s feet which will cause her tail to grow back. The sisters return with the blade and tell their sister what must be done. 


With the dagger in hand, the little mermaid stands over the unsuspecting prince who jilted her while he sleeps. She struggles silently with her conscience. Much time passes. In the end, the little mermaid can’t go through with it. But is she still destined to become lonely sea foam? Not so fast.


It seems that there are still heavenly rewards for soul-less mer-folk who opt out of murder. Angels suddenly appear and give her an option. Instead of becoming meaningless sea foam, she can remain human. It will just cost her a few centuries of good deeds. Then, she will have earned an immortal soul.


Now, that doesn’t seem like too mean of a mermaid, does it. Well, on the flip side, there are tales of much meaner sirens of the sea.


Like Japan’s sea-vampiress Nure Onna who’s mer-body resembles a sea snake more than a fish. She also has fangs amid the human teeth in her lovely smile. She likes to sit on the shore pretending to hold a baby as she cries in distress. What sympathetic human wouldn’t offer assistance? 


She asks them to hold her baby which becomes a weight pinning them down so she can drain their blood at her leisure. And if death by exsanguination isn’t bad enough, if you happen to have long hair she might just strangle you with it. Bad, bad mermaid.

And don’t forget about mer-men. Those are some bad boys, too. The Scots tell of the Blue Men who make friends with sailors. When ships get close enough to recognize the un-natural blue skin, it’s too late. The Blue Men attack, drag the sailors into the water and eat them. Great Scott! Cannibal Mer-men! Who knew?!

The Odyssey, of course, shares the most familiar mean mermaid story of sexy sea sirens who lure sailors to their deaths. They sing songs that hypnotize them, drawing them ever closer to the source of the song… Mermaids sitting atop rocks, rocks that will wreck their ships. Then, BOOM, you’re dead.


But where did the first mermaid come from? Who is the Eve of the seas? Ancient Syrians tell of Atargatis, a goddes who fell in love with a human. This story again? 


While loving him she lost control of her super-human goddess strength and killed her lover. Overcome with guilt and grief, surprise, she drowns herself in the sea. 


But didn’t she know she was a goddess? Like, immortal? Well, it seems that immortality is not the only rule gods and goddesses live by. It seems that there is a rule that when they jump into the ocean they automatically turn into fish. But the magic works out strangely on those who are incredibly beautiful, like Atargatis. She kept her human beauty and only became half-fish. The first mermaid.

Russians have their own lore about the mer-people, rusalki. They believe them to be the reincarnated souls of vengeful women who have died tragically, like from pregnancy, suicide or murder. So you can imagine that these kind of mermaids would be really, really mean. 


They lure you near with their gorgeousness. They put you at ease with soothing words. Then, WHAM! They grab you and drown you. But a few have an even more demented way of killing their victims. They tickle them so that their victims drown by laughter. Sick. Very, very sick.


The Irish have their selkies seal-women and the French have their mermaid dragons called the melusine, as well as fat mer-monk creatures. There are also tales of mer-zombies. The Arabian Nights includes a story featuring a terrifying mermaid kingdom. 


It seems that the entire ancient world has been fascinated with the prospect of beautiful but deadly mer-people. It seems that sweet, adorable, kindly little mermaid princesses are only a modern creation. Does that mean that, as a race, humanity is taking a turn for the better instead of a turn for the worst? Could be. The gringa remains hopeful yet firmly a land-lubber. Just in case. 


Image Credits:

Deviant Art

Good Reads


Video Credits

Creepy World

NightTerrors

Lethe’s Artwork

Was Noah’s God A Mass Murderer?


If you live in a western society, especially one with a strong Judeo-Christian influence, you are familiar with the story of Noah and the worldwide flood sent by God to punish all those very bad humans he created and supposedly loved. Guess even the god of the Jews and Christians reserves the right to change his mind and turn mass murderer if he gets pissed. But is there any evidence that such a flood really existed? Are there other historical accounts of a global inundation? If so, do these ancient records claim that it was punishment from the heavens or something else?

Actually, there are many ancient cultures and texts that contain a similar story. Here’s a few of the most well-known that also bear some similarity to the Judeo-Christian flood of Noah:

Sumeria: Translations of ancient Sumerian tablets tell of a great deluge that dates back to 200 BCE. Not sure there is anyway to compensate for a discrepancy of about 2800 years for this to be the same flood that occurred, according to Bible scholars, around 3000 BC. But the gringa has always believed that the math of Judeo-Christianity is a bit flawed. I put my trust in good, hard science. But, for curiosity’s sake, I still want to know what the Sumerian flood was like.

As the story goes, Earth saw a population explosion of humanity. Apparently, all those humans were rather noisy and the main god in power wanted a little peace and quiet. Seems he couldn’t sleep. Which is strange. I mean, if you are immortal, who the heck needs to sleep, right? But, I digress.

So, the big god who is living on Earth with the creatures he made gets cranky over lack of sleep thanks to his human rabble that had pro-created like crazy. So, with a bit of buyer’s remorse when his creation turned out to be a pain in the patootie instead of a pleasure, the big god first sent a devastating famine and drought to kill off the noisy buggers.

When that didn’t have the desired effect, the main god and his lesser gods high-tailed it off the planet. Once their great escape was accomplished, they turned around and sent a horrible flood to clean up the noisy mess of humanity left behind. Then, once everything was globally squeaky clean and QUIET, they returned.

If the Sumerian account is the truth, then we would all be the descendants of these returning gods since all humanity was killed. I mean, it’s only logical to believe that they wouldn’t return and re-create humanity, the very project that went south to begin with which is why they had to skedaddle and clean house. They wouldn’t be very smart gods if they re-created humanity. In fact, according to logic and psychiatry, they would be insane gods. The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different outcome.

So, since none of us are immortal and vested with magical, supernatural powers, the gringa’s pretty sure that the Sumerian tale is just that, a tale. And very close to the account of Noah: mean gods who get sick and tired of humans so come up with a solution of human genocide.

Greek mythology’s Deucalion: Deucalion, son of Prometheus, the last Titan, tried to intervene on behalf of mankind when Zeus decided humans were just too much trouble and needed to be wiped out. Zeus decided that he would only have mercy on Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha. Zeus considered them to be the only righteous humans among an entirely corrupted generation.

Deucalion’s father told him to build a large boat (ahem, Noah’s “ark”). Duecalion and Pyrrha took shelter on their boat, surviving the ensuing flood after Zeus sent a storm that lasted 9 days and 9 nights. A shorter lived storm than Noah’s 40 days/40 night account.

Unlike the biblical account that declares that all humanity was destroyed except for Noah and his family, the Greek myth allowed for a few stragglers to survive. It recounts that some people survived by escaping high into the mountaintops.

Another similarity between Deucalion and Noah is where the boat ended up. Noah’s account claims the ark came to rest atop Mount Ararat. Deucalion, too, ran aground atop a mountain, presumably mount Parnasus.

Chinese myth of the Gun-Yu: Occurring during Emperor Yao’s reign, this flood would have happened about the 24th century BCE. Best estimates place Noah’s flood about 3000 BC. Give or take several hundred years, the timing is consistent for both accounts. But the 40 days and nights of rain and several weeks of waiting for floodwaters to recede of the Noah story is a very different schedule of events compared to China’s record. As well as the disposition of Noah’s god as compared to the god of the ancient Chinese.

As the story goes, for 9 years Yao’s cousin, Gun, struggled to serve his emperor by devising different methods to keep the flood waters at bay. His efforts a failure, Yao resigned as emperor. His distant relative Shun took over ruling the country. He spent the next 4 years also battling the rising waters. The months of flooding Noah dealt with seems like a walk in the park compared to what China’s tale reveals of a torrential storm system lasting more than a decade.

Although attributing the flood as an act of the supreme deity, the Chinese do not attribute cruelty and punishment as the diety’s reason for sending the deluge. The Gun-Yu story also does not record the worldwide death of all humanity and wildlife as a result of the flood.

If you find this kind of history fascinating, there are many other cultural and religious tales that channel the Noah story. Check out:

  • K’iche’ lore
  • Mayan lore
  • North American tribe, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa
  • Muisca people
  • Hindu mythology
  • Scientific evidence

Yes, the gringa said scientific evidence. Scientists and geologists who have studied sedimentary layers believe there is evidence that suggests that the waters of the Mediterranean Sea once merged violently with the waters of the Black Sea about 7,500 years ago. That timing would place the event around the estimated time of Noah’s flood.

One thing the gringa finds incredibly interesting about the scientific evidence: Scientists say that the chain of events that culminated in this worldwide flood actually began much earlier, about 20,000 years ago during Earth’s last great glacier age. A global warming event occurred that caused massive ice melt and catastrophic sea level rise.

What do we know about global warming and rising sea levels? El Nino phenomena that causes catastrophic, extreme weather systems. So, that period of extreme drought and famine that culminated in a catastrophic flood as told by the Sumerians? Yep. Could have happened. Nearly 15 years of heavy downpours and flooding that ravaged ancient China? Yep. Could have happened. A storm that lasted 40 days and 40 nights, flooding the entire MIddle East where Noah was from? Yep. Could have happened.

But was the Noah account correct with regard to an angry, vengeful god who regretted creating humanity so turned mass murderer? The gringa thinks not. The gringa thinks that particular twist to the story was inspired by the same human instinct a parent exhibits when they tell their child to stay in bed lest the boogey-man grab them. Parents want some peace and quiet which can’t be had if kids don’t do as their told and go to bed and stay there!

So, the leaders of mankind often terrify the people they lead so they will behave. It makes the job of leadership easier. And nothing is more terrifying than thinking that an omnipotent god could wipe you out in the blink of an eye just because he found you annoying.

The moral of the story? Go ahead. Be annoying without fear. You’re only human. You can’t be expected to behave all of the time.

Sources:

Ancient Origins

Smithsonian Mag

Dave Livingston

Image Credit:

Maasai Boys

Video Credit:

Laurent Larraillet

Russia Gets Blamed For Hell


The gringa is wondering just what this world is coming to, thanks to what many call the “Trump Effect”. It seems that all sorts of hidden hostilities, that have been simmering below the surface of many in society, are now bubbling up, out in the open. And it’s making for some very ugly accusations and stereotyping. 


Now, the gringa’s dear readers may think I am going to point out the rise of Islamaphobic cruelties perpetrated by religious bigots, or alt-right racists attacking the Black Lives Matter movement. A glance at this post’s title may also cause the dear reader to assume that the gringa is going to deliver a detailed account of the Trump-Russia investigation. But I’m going to go somewhere else entirely. I’m going to take my dear readers straight to hell.

The gringa would like to ask the media several questions:

  1. Is the media using the heightened sensitivities about all things Russia to try to stereotype Russia in general as a generic boogey-man? 
  2. Is the American media hoping to stir the pot of nationalist pride even among those in liberal-land who proclaim loudly that they are, in no way, shape or form, nationalists? 
  3. Is the media pouncing on the liberal left’s blame of Russia meddling that cost them the election as an opportunity to stir up hate for all things Russian? 
  4. Is the media trying to demonize Russia for all Americans? 
  5. Could such a demonization strategy be behind the outrageous claim in the news that scientists actually discovered in Siberia the gateway to the realm of demons and devils? 
  6. Is there really an entrance into hell in Russia’s remote Siberia wilderness? 
  7. Is Russia the gatekeeper for the damned, who are spirited away to eternal torment below the frozen tundra of Siberia, or is this just opportunistic political propaganda?

The Claim: It is alleged that Finnish newspaper, Ammennusatia, ran an article that tells the tale the excavation of a 14,000-meter-deep-well that was drilled by Russian geologists in 1989. Scientists at the site claim to have heard voices emanating from the hole expressing regret and begging for mercy and water. There is supposed to be 25 seconds of audio recording of these voices before the microphone melted from the incredible heat of “hell”. 17 seconds of this audio were the horrific screams of the damned. The Russians who supposedly witnessed the discovery of “hell” claimed that Jacques Cousteau had a similar experience with deep-water ocean caves which motivated him to retire.

What We Know: 

  • The Finnish newspaper, Ammennusatia, doesn’t seem to have ever existed. That should be all the proof my dear readers need. However, for those who require a bit more de-bunking proof, please do read on.
  • There are 1,609 meters in a single mile. The radius of the Earth is 3,959 miles.The 14,000 meter hole was about 8.7 miles deep, nowhere near the center of the Earth where hell is supposed to be. The Kola Superdeep Borehole holds the world record for the deepest hole ever drilled for scientific study, 7.5 miles deep. It took more than 2 decades for Russian scientists to inch their way through the Earth on the Kola Peninsula. Although the hole produced signs of Precambrian life, the scientists didn’t say anything about finding any signs of hell.
  • The Earth’s liquid core meets the Earth’s mantle at a depth of 1,800 miles below the surface. 8.7 miles seems a bit too shallow for anyone to become overwhelmed with the heat of hell. So much for temperatures that would melt audio recording devices.
  • Jacques Cousteau was born in 1910. He was still performing oceanic research on board Calypso until it sank in 1996. This was the vessel he used to film his TV series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. In 1996 Cousteau would have been 86-years-old. The urban legend of Cousteau encountering the screams of the damned are related to a research dive of Lake Tahoe in the 1970s. 
  • For supposedly being terrified, it would seem he continued to dive for 20 more years. Also, the particular Lake Tahoe dive of the damned was not performed by Jacques himself, but by his son. The maximum depth of Lake Tahoe is 1,645 feet. Although there are plenty of underwater caves, after dozens of dives and footage from dozens of submersibles, um, no hell as of yet.

The Gringa’s Conclusion: Russia is not the gateway to hell. Neither is Lake Tahoe. Jacques Cousteau was one of the most courageous explorers to ever live. If he had encountered the gateway to hell, he would have studied it, not retired.

When it comes to sensational news, dear readers, enjoy the fun but fact check so you can enjoy it the way it is meant to be enjoyed. Like a sci-fi novel. Because if you take such things at face value, you could be swallowing, hook-line-and-sinker, the early stages of political propaganda designed to make you hate Russians, or Lake Tahoe, or BLM, or whatever is politically expedient for whoever controls the media. And that, my dear readers, is why we grown up humans can’t have nice things.

Sources:

Video Credits: 

Luciferian & Satanist – Are They Different?


The gringa was raised in a fundamental evangelical household. Needless to say, the basic training of such a life is that Satan is bad. Nowadays, living the heretic life I do, I don’t give Satan much thought. If I do something bad, I own it. It was my decision and no phantom Lord of the Underworld made me do it.

Recently there was a terrible crime that took place in my city. A young girl was kidnapped and murdered. Her murderer claimed he killed her as a sacrifice to Satan because she disrespected his altar dedicated to the Evil One.

So, with this fresh reminder of the presence of Satan being very real for many people, the gringa made a snarky Satan-related comment on social media. It didn’t take long before the trolls hammered me. Who knew there were so many Satanists? They assured me that they were good guys. That their tenets didn’t demand human sacrifice or torture. They were kind enough to refer me to the local Luciferians for such acts.

The gringa was left scratching her head. Isn’t Lucifer just another name for Satan? Wasn’t Lucifer the name this entity had before he got exiled from God’s presence on rebellion charges? Isn’t Satan just an interpretation of an ancient Hebrew word that literally means the accuser? So if a Satanist accuses the Luciferian of dirty deeds that were blamed on Satanists, isn’t such an action actually a dead give-away that the Satanists actually are the bad guys after all?

It’s all so confusing. Now atheists or deists would both say that it’s not worth the bother to ponder over such things. After all, Satan and Lucifer are only religious myths. But the gringa says, “Not so fast.”

 
The issue is not whether Satan and Lucifer really exist. The crux of the matter is whether or not there are people who believe these entities exist, have power, and are willing to engage in certain acts in order to tap into that power or gain favor of a supernatural intervener. The existence of crimes in the names of fictitious gods is a very real and present concern for humanity. So, what do modern Luciferians and Satanists believe and practice?

The Greater Church of Lucifer has a really creepy website landing page, which is actually completely contrary to the claim that the entity they worship is the Light Bearer. I would have expected the main landing page to contain, well, beautiful light. Instead it is everything synonymous with the Prince of Darkness. A black background filled with ominous looking symbols and sigils.

They claim that Luciferianism is not really a religion but, rather, a life philosophy. The main difference between religion and philosophy is a god lacking in a system of philosophy.
There are basically 11 tenets of “faith” called the 11 Luciferian Points of Power. These 11 points encompass a lifestyle of individual power, rather than power vested in a supernatural being of authority. Spiritual lawlessness is the first step toward enlightenment (whatever that means).  They are clear that there is no practice of submission or worship to anyone physical or spiritual or imaginary. They don’t believe in the existence of deities.

 
They regard the power as being vested in Lucifer as a word, or name, of power. This name is associated with pride and self-liberation balanced with discipline and logic. This philosophy is designed to inspire Luciferians to live a life of balance yet challenge all that seeks to bring them into submission.
As the Bearer of Light, Luciferians associate with the planet Venus which is also known as the Morning and Evening Star This title is also applied to Jesus of Christianity and the expected Messiah of the Judaism.

Although Luciferians admit a close kinship with Satanists, they offer these distinct differences:

  • Satan is regarded as a deity
  • Satanism centers around self-interest and hedonism

Luciferians have a strong appreciation for skepticism and science. They value individuality. About the only thing they believe that can be considered supernatural is the power of language, words and names. The magyck they practice centers around using the power of language.

The gringa found the Luciferians interesting. There were a few times when I thought to myself, “I think I’m a Luciferian!” But then it was time to visit the Church of Satan’s website and see what they had to say for themselves. And it has an equally dark landing page. What the heck is up with all this darkness if they don’t appreciate the stereotypes of the Prince of Darkness? Silly people. But, I digress.

The Satanists trace their roots through many religions like Voodoo and the Black Order of Germany from the 1920s and 1930s (um, yeah, if you are thinking Nazi mysticism, you are on the right track). Anton LaVey is considered to be the current High Priest of all Satanists around the world (even though he’s been dead for a decade).

Now, any Satanist can conduct a ritual but a priest is necessary to lead group worship. And, boy, do they have some dillies for rituals. There are 3 types:

  1. Sexual – to, of course, fulfill desire
  2. Compassionate – to help others (who knew)
  3. Destructive – to channel anger, annoyance or hate (oh boy)

Satanists are highly concerned with power. The gringa found it very interesting that the most important religious holiday for a Satanist to observe was their own birthday. It is considered the day another God was made manifest, in accordance with their belief that each person is a God (yeah, capital G).

They make it clear that they do worship Satan, referring to him as Lucifer, the bearer of light. They believe that he is invisible yet manifest in the forces of nature like wind, tornadoes, lightning, etc. They also believe that human life is sacred and that each person is obligated to fulfill their potential (so far, so good).  It’s the ethics of Satanists where things get tricky, er, messy.

Satanists believe in indulgence rather than abstinence. I suspect there may be a lot of substance abusers in their church and they are a-okay with that. Which is why I found it surprising to later see all sorts of discouraging language with regard to substance abuse.

Indulgence would also seem diametrically opposed to the obligation to fulfill one’s potential. After all, to achieve your best, a person often has to sacrifice their personal wants and desires and practice self-discipline. This one’s a head-scratcher for the gringa.

Although Satanists believe in kindness for those who deserve it, they have no problem “channeling” their anger through rituals of destruction aimed at someone they might consider an “ingrate”. But they also believe that Satan and man are just animals, and sometimes very bad animals. Now, no matter how mad I might be at an armadillo digging up my garden or a puppy chewing up an expensive pair of shoes, I wouldn’t channel my anger through a destructive ritual to punish those darn ingrates.
So, how can a Satanist rationalize revenge upon an “ingrate” human animal that might have just been following their own animal nature? Well, that’s because Satanists claim that their Lord is the embodiment of vengeance. Curious because Christians & Jews have a scripture that says, “Vengeance is mine, thus sayeth the Lord.” The gringa’s sees how conflicted Satanists, Christians and Jews will be if they ever compared notes.

The strangest ethical practice the gringa saw posted was “Satan represents responsibility for the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires!” I’m not sure what that means. I think by the time the Satanist content creator got to this point in their writing they may have been in the grips of meaningless babble. Perhaps their animal nature was wrestling with their higher human mind.

It is even stranger that after talking about the obligation of kindness, undefiled wisdom, the hypocrisy of self-deceit, the rambling goes on to say that Satan and man have such highly developed spirituality and intellect that they have become the most vicious animal of all. The gringa doesn’t find animals to be vicious, only attacking others when necessary for survival. The gringa finds animals quite reliable and sometimes even noble. As for the humans the gringa knows who are considered to be highly intellectual and divinely evolved, I don’t find them to be vicious either. Usually they are pacifists.

Even more confusing is labeling Satan the most vicious animal of all yet a few sentences later calling him the best friend of the Church of Satan. With a friend like a vicious animal, who needs enemies, right?

My only conclusion is that Satanists are highly self-deceived because their own tenets and ethics are conflicting and contrary to one another. Hence living up to the stereotype and label generated from the Christian Bible that Satan is the author of confusion.

So, this guy in Houston who killed this girl and did it in the name of Satan? Well, Satan didn’t tell him to do it. This Satanist did it because he was a cruel, selfish man who hoped to mitigate some of his guilt and ease his conscience as he lashed out cruelly toward another human being. This makes Satanists dangerous because they can justify heinous acts through the reasoning that Satan would have wanted them to do such a thing. This man’s act of murder became a ritual of destruction to channel his anger at an “ingrate” who desecrated his religious altar to his god. He rationalized killing her as an act of religious justice.

 
Since she wouldn’t love her kidnapper, then this monster used his religion excuse to act on the belief that she didn’t deserve for him to waste kindness on her. He was only living up to another tenet of Satanism. His indulgence and self-gratification through his abuse of this victim was only a Satanist modeling himself after his god. And this god is claimed to teach adherents that the acts labeled sins by other religions are the acts one should engage in to satisfy their physical, mental and emotional desires.

Although the gringa has rejected the faith of her ancestors, she will give credit where credit is due. Fundamental evangelicals were right when they said Satan is bad. Even if Satan doesn’t exist, those who believe that Satan is real and worthy of worship and emulation, well, those are the REAL bad guys. Luciferians? I haven’t made up my mind, yet.

 
But one more curious point to ponder. Although the public may like to point the finger at this murderer and decry the evils of Satanism. Consider this. Without the Christian and Jewish texts, this vile religion wouldn’t exist. So, the stranger truth may be the existence of a trinity of blame for the existence of the evil of Satanism. But that deep well is fodder for another post.

Sources: GCOL

Church Of Satan

Image Credit: Labor In Christ

Video Credit: Nateypxgrey

A Summary of Sumerians


So what does mankind really know about the ancient civilization of Sumeria? Around 4000 B.C. it was located in a geographical region known as Mesopotamia covering the area we know today as Iraq and Kuwait. The Sumerians called themselves the “black headed people” and they had a written language, cuneiform. They didn’t call their country anything other than “the land” but the people around them called their country Shinar or Sumer. The language they spoke is called Akkadian and means “land of the civilized kings”. It seems Sumeria had a reputation as having some very sophisticated leadership. Who were these kings and what made them so civilized compared to the nations around them?

Eridu is the first Sumerian city to be ruled by a king according to Sumerian religious mythology. Uruk is the oldest city to be established by historians and is also the oldest city in the world that is known to mankind. The “black headed people” who settled here are believed to be the Ubaid people who had evolved from a hunter-gatherer society into an agricultural society. Archaeologists have found remnants of tools and artifacts leading them to this conclusion.

The first record of a king is one named Etana of Kish. He is attributed with creating stability. He is featured in ancient mythology as ascending to heaven on an eagle. Utu-Hegal is next in line and created a document called the “King List”, basically a summary of Sumerian Kings. King Utu-Hegal felt it was an important responsibility to document human accomplishments because they were accountable to the gods who had created them. The manuscript contains names and kingdoms spanning hundreds of thousands of years. An English translation can be read here. Copies of the list have been found by archaeologists in numerous regions remote from Sumeria and recorded in different languages.

One of the reasons their kings may have had such acclaim as founders of civilization is that one of their cities was home to more than 80,000 people. The city rose out of the desert floor, constructed as a massive ziggurat with civilians living in a tiered, pyramid like structure. There were irrigation canals and a sophisticated plumbing network that delivered a water supply from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. At the time, it would have been the largest city in the world.

Amongst all of those notable kings there was a single woman. With humble beginnings as a tavern-keeper, she rose to monarch status. The King List credits her with firmly establishing the foundations of Kish and creating a dynastic legacy that lasted a century.

More recently, Sumeria’s King List has made the news with some historians speculating on the longevity of the kings. Well, the gringa should say eight kings in particular. They believe the manuscripts and tablets reveal a tale of eight kings who ruled for more than 240,000 years, only meeting their end in what is popularly known as the Great Flood. Archaeology does establish a devastating deluge which is recounted in the mythology of many religions. Historians wonder if these kings were even human, since the King List records that their “kingship was lowered from heaven”.

If they survived for hundreds of thousands of years, only dying because of the catastrophic flood, could they have been considered immortal? Or, were they just long-lived space aliens? Were some of their descendants the result of inter-marriage with shorter lived humans, producing children with long life-spans that inspired tales of characters like Methuselah? You know, the descendant of Adam and Eve who was Noah’s grandfather and lived almost one thousand years? Was Methuselah a space alien? Were all the pre-flood people space aliens or alien/human hybrids? Was the flood’s purpose, then, not to kill all of mankind but only to purge the space alien element?

That would explain the seeming contradiction of how life survived a catastrophe created by a god for the purpose of destroying mankind. It was actually only supposed to destroy the aliens posing as men. I mean, think about it. If these aliens established their kingdoms in desert locales, chances are it’s because they didn’t like water. Maybe the waters of the sea, saltwater, was deadly to them. Maybe a catastrophic flood that would mingle the water of the Earth’s oceans with the freshwater these aliens could tolerate would result in a toxic combination they could not survive. Maybe that’s the nugget of truth behind the legends of water killing witches, like depicted in the “Wizard of Oz“. Like the gringa says, stranger things have happened.

Sources:

www.ancient.eu

reflectionofmind.org

www.history.com

Image Credit: reflectionofmind.org

 

 

 

Cannibals & Their Lightning God


Two things the gringa loves most are science and history. When the two collide I believe I am in Paradise.  Add the spice of controversy and there is simply no going back for the gringa. Archaeologists in Greece have made this dream combination come true for the gringa.

Let us travel back 3,000 years to the bleak mountaintop of Mount Lykaion in southern Greece, which some ancient Greeks believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, rather than Crete. This is the revered resting place of an altar featuring a grisly design of sheep bone construction. This is where the religious leaders of Greece hoped to pacify their god of gods, Zeus himself. Offered up are the bloody sacrifices of what one would expect to be sheep or goats, considering what the altar is made of. Think again dear readers.

For those schooled in literature and philosophy, when Greece is mentioned, you hearken back to the days of Plato and Socrates. You believe these sophisticated thinkers of Greece gave birth to civilized society as we know it. As you cruise about town, passing homes with columned porches, you remind yourself that this bit of architecture was passed down from an exceptionally cultured society. Or not. Not when the skeletal remains of a teenage boy near Zeus’ altar indicates that young, human sacrifices were being bled out on top of a table made from sheep bones in efforts to gain favor with a god that might rain down lightning if he got pissed.

But Mount Lykaion is historically linked to Greek athletic festivals, isn’t it? Isn’t it one of the ancient sites with a stadium and hippodrome, all indicators of a culture that appreciated athletic competitions? The gringa wonders, was death the price for losing or, could it have been the price for winning, or, could it have been the “opening ceremony” after which a priest turns around and commands, “Let the games begin!” Who really knows at this time because this is a recent discovery.

And some scholars are not too happy about revelations of human sacrifice as part of ancient Greek religious ceremonies. I mean, after all, Greece way back then liked to call rival foreign nations nasty names like barbarians and cannibals. But, really, who do they think they are fooling? Remember, Socrates asked Adeimantos if he had heard the latest gossip about religious zealouts feasting on the remains of their human sacrifice. Socrates includes a gruesome description of a terrible recipe of mixing the entrails of different victims which, if ingested by some hapless cannibal, transforms them into a wolf. Considering that Adeimantos had already heard the story, it seems that the nasty religious practices going on atop Mount Lykaion were no big secret among the ancient Greeks. It’s just big news to us.

So what kind of science goes into the decision that the remains of this young man belong to a specific era and culture? Scientists have to analyze the composition of the altar itself. Considered an “ash altar”, the gringa’s depiction of it being constructed in the fashion of, say, a dining room table and made completely out of sheep bones is not an altogether clear picture of what scientists are dealing with. Imagine, if you will, that ancient priests led sheep and goats to a sacred place, slit their throat, then burned the remains. Each sacrifice slaughtered and burned atop the ones that went before. Eventually a mound of ash accumulates and becomes a ritual platform. At Mount Lykaion the mound was almost five feet high.

So, the scientists use their handy-dandy equipment to measure remains of bones to see which animal (or human) they belong to. If human, they measure the pelvis to see if it is male or female. Then they need to determine the age of the remains. The first thing that comes to mind is ye aulde carbon dating technique. But there are other methods that can be used on other objects and archaeological sites to determine age:

  • Stratigraphical: The science of geology comes into play with a method that relies on the accumulation of soil to calculate the passage of time. The premise is that the area where people live results in layers of earth becoming deposited. Gives a whole new meaning to the saying that a particular area sure has “built up”.
  • Astronomical Chronology: Astronomers have used their knowledge to study the fluctuations of solar radiation to calculate when ice ages have occurred. The common argument is that 5 have occurred.
  • Dendrochronology: This science was pioneered in 1904 by A.E. Douglass who created the technique of analyzing tree rings to determine not only the age of a tree but to find indicators of drought, disease and hearty growing seasons.

So, if history, science and drama are appealing to someone you know, remind them that there are still exciting discoveries to be made, particularly in Greece. For young people who long for the curiosities that are found in archaeological digs, remind them that not every ancient puzzle has been solved. Along with history, they should also have a strong foundation in STEM studies.  And lucky for me this archaeological site has its own website keeping fascinated individuals like myself up-to-date on their latest discoveries. Because the gringa really wants to know just went on up there.

Sources:

www.greekmythology.com

www.biblicalarchaeology.org

www.oocities.org

lykaionexcavation.org

Image Source: tse4.mm.bing.net