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Myths and Legends of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 79

HADAD OR RIMMON from Religious Belief and Practices in Babylonia and Assyria, by Prof. Jastrow. (G. P. Putnam's Sons.)

Ramman or Rimmon, identified with Hadad or Adad, is a deity of later type and introduction.[Pg 188] Indeed Ramman may be merely a variant or subsidiary name, meaning as it does 'the thunderer,' quite a common title for several types of deities. The worship of Hadad was widespread in Syria and Palestine, and he was a god of storms or rains, whose symbol was the thunderbolt or the lightning which he holds in his grasp like a fiery sword. But he bears solar emblems upon his apparel, and seems to wear a solar crown. He does not, however, appear to have had any centre of worship in Babylonia, and was probably a god of the Amorites, and becoming popular with the Babylonians, was later admitted into their pantheon. At Asshur in Assyria he was worshipped along with Anu, with whom he had a temple in common. This building, which was excavated in 1908, contains two shrines having but the one entrance, and the date of its foundation is referred so far back as B.C. 2400. There can be little doubt that the partnership of Hadad with Anu was a late one. Perhaps it was on Assyrian and not Babylonian soil that Hadad first entered from the alien world.

In many of his characteristics Hadad closely resembled En-lil. Like him he was designated 'the great mountain,' and seems to have been conceived of as almost a counterpart of the older god. It is peculiar that while in Assyria and Babylonia Hadad has many of the characteristics of a sun-god, in his old home in Syria he possessed those of a thunder-god who dwelt among the mountains of northern[Pg 189] Palestine and Syria and spoke in thunder and wielded the lightning. But even in Assyria the stormy characteristics of Hadad are not altogether obscured. Hadad's cult in Babylonia is probably not much older than the days of Khammurabi, in whose time the first inscriptional mention of him is made. His worship obtained a stronger hold in the times of the Kassite dynasty, for we find many of its monarchs incorporating his name with their own and altogether affording him a prominent place.

Hadad, Dáda, David, and Dido

In a curious and interesting passage in his Hibbert Lectures,[1] Professor Sayce indicates resemblances between the name Hadad, Dáda, the abbreviated form of the name of Abd-Hadad, who reigned at Hierapolis in the fourth century, Queen Dido of Carthage, and that of the Biblical David. Speaking of Hadad he says: "He was, as I have said, the supreme Baal or Sun-god; whose worship extended southward from Carchemish to Edom and Palestine. At Damascus he was adored under the Assyrian name of Rimmon, and Zechariah (xii 11) alludes to the cult of the compound Hadad-Rimmon in the close neighbourhood of the great Canaanitish fortress of Megiddo. Coins bear the name of Abd-Hadad, 'the servant of Hadad,' who reigned in the fourth century at Hierapolis, the later successor of Carchemish, and, under the abbreviated form of Dáda, Shalmaneser speaks of 'the god Dáda of Aleppo' (Khalman). The abbreviated form was that current among the nations of the north; in the south it was confounded with the Semite word which appears in Assyrian as dadu, 'dear little child.' This[Pg 190] is the word which we have in Be-Dad or Ben-Dad, 'the son of Dad,' the father of the Edomite Hadad; we have it also in the David of the Old Testament. David, or Dod, as the word ought to be read, which is sometimes written Dodo with the vocalic suffix of the nominative, is the masculine corresponding to a Phœnician goddess whose name means 'the beloved one,' and who was called Dido by the writers of Rome. Dido, in fact, was the consort of the Sun-god, conceived as Tammuz, 'the beloved son,' and was the presiding deity of Carthage, whom legend confounded with Elissa, the foundress of the city. In the article I have alluded to above, I expressed my conviction that the names of Dodo and David pointed to a worship of the Sun-god, under the title of 'the beloved one,' in southern Canaan as well as in Phœnicia. I had little idea at the time how soon my belief would be verified. Within the last year, the squeeze of the Moabite stone, now in the Louvre, has been subjected to a thorough examination by the German Professors Socin and Smend, with the result of correcting some of the received readings and of filling up some of the lacunæ. One of the most important discoveries that have been thus made is that the Israelites of the northern kingdom worshipped a Dodo or Dod by the side of Yahveh, or rather that they adored the supreme God under the name of Dodo as well as under that of Yahveh. Mesha, the Moabite king, in describing the victories which his god Chemosh had enabled him to gain over his Israelitish foes, tells us that he had carried away from Atarath 'the arel (or altar) of Dodo and dragged it before Chemosh,' and from Nebo 'the arels (or altars) of Yahveh,' which he likewise 'dragged before Chemosh.' Here the arel[Pg 191] or 'altar' of Dodo is placed in parallelism with the arels of Yahveh; and it is quite clear, therefore, that Dodo, like Yahveh, was a name under which the deity was worshipped by the people of the land. I have suggested that Dod or Dodo was an old title of the supreme God in the Jebusite Jerusalem, and that hence Isaiah (v 1), when describing Jerusalem as the tower of the vineyard the Lord had planted in Israel, calls him Dôd-i, 'my beloved.' We can easily understand how a name of the kind, with such a signification, should have been transferred by popular affection from the Deity to the king of whom it is said that 'all Israel and Judah loved him' (I Sam. xviii 16)."

Ea in Later Times

Ea developed with the centuries, and about the epoch of Khammurabi appears to have achieved a high standard of godhead, probably because of the very considerable amount of theological moulding which he had received. In the later Babylonian period we find him described as the protagonist of mankind, the father of Merodach, and, along with Anu and Bel, a member of a great triad. The priests of Babylon were the sole mythographers of these days. This is in sharp contradistinction to the mythographers of Greece, who were nearly always philosophers and never priests. But they were mythographers in a secondary sense only, for they merely rearranged, re-edited, or otherwise altered already existing tales relating to the gods, usually with a view to the exaltation of a certain deity or to enable his story to fit in with those of other gods. It is only after a religion or mythological system has enjoyed a vogue more or less extended that the[Pg 192] relationship of the gods towards one another becomes fixed.


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