Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 139

But the days of the brilliant Hammurabi Dynasty were drawing to a close. It endured for about a century longer than the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt, which came to an end, according to the Berlin calculations, in 1788 B.C. Apparently some of the Hammurabi and Amenemhet kings were contemporaries, but there is no evidence that they came into direct touch with one another. It was not until at about two centuries after Hammurabi's day that Egypt first invaded Syria, with which, however, it had for a long period previously conducted a brisk trade. Evidently the influence of the Hittites and their Amoritic allies predominated between Mesopotamia and the Delta frontier of Egypt, and it is significant to find in this connection that the "Khatti" or "Hatti" were referred to for the first time in Egypt during the Twelfth Dynasty, and in Babylonia during the Hammurabi Dynasty, sometime shortly before or after 2000 B.C. About 1800 B.C. a Hittite raid resulted in the overthrow of the last king of the Hammurabi family at Babylon. The Hyksos invasion of Egypt took place after 1788 B.C.

[272] Genesis, xii and xiii.
[273] Genesis, xiv, 13.
[274] Ibid., xxiii.
[275] Ezekiel, xvi, 3.
[276] Genesis, xiv, 1-4.
[277] Ibid., 5-24.
[278] Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts, and Letters, C.H.W. Johns, pp. 392 et seq.
[279] Translation by Johns in Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts, and Letters, pp. 390 et seq.
[280] Matthew, ix, 37.
[281] Johns's Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, &c., pp. 371-2.

Chapter XII. Rise of the Hittites, Mitannians, Kassites, Hyksos, and Assyrians


The War God of Mountaineers--Antiquity of Hittite Civilization--Prehistoric Movements of "Broad Heads"--Evidence of Babylon and Egypt--Hittites and Mongolians--Biblical References to Hittites in Canaan--Jacob's Mother and her Daughters-in-law--Great Father and Great Mother Cults--History in Mythology--The Kingdom of Mitanni--Its Aryan Aristocracy--The Hyksos Problem--The Horse in Warfare--Hittites and Mitannians--Kassites and Mitannians--Hyksos Empire in Asia--Kassites overthrow Sealand Dynasty--Egyptian Campaigns in Syria--Assyria in the Making--Ethnics of Genesis--Nimrod as Merodach--Early Conquerors of Assyria--Mitannian Overlords--Tell-el-Amarna Letters--Fall of Mitanni--Rise of Hittite and Assyrian Empires--Egypt in Eclipse--Assyrian and Babylonian Rivalries.

When the Hammurabi Dynasty, like the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt, is found to be suffering languid decline, the gaps in the dulled historical records are filled with the echoes of the thunder god, whose hammer beating resounds among the northern mountains. As this deity comes each year in Western Asia when vegetation has withered and after fruits have dropped from trees, bringing tempests and black rainclouds to issue in a new season of growth and fresh activity, so he descended from the hills in the second millennium before the Christian era as the battle lord of invaders and the stormy herald of a new age which was to dawn upon the ancient world.

He was the war god of the Hittites as well as of the northern Amorites, the Mitannians, and the Kassites; and he led the Aryans from the Iranian steppes towards the verdurous valley of the Punjab. His worshippers engraved his image with grateful hands on the beetling cliffs of Cappadocian chasms in Asia Minor, where his sway was steadfast and pre-eminent for long centuries. In one locality he appears mounted on a bull wearing a fringed and belted tunic with short sleeves, a conical helmet, and upturned shoes, while he grasps in one hand the lightning symbol, and in the other a triangular bow resting on his right shoulder. In another locality he is the bringer of grapes and barley sheaves. But his most familiar form is the bearded and thick-set mountaineer, armed with a ponderous thunder hammer, a flashing trident, and a long two-edged sword with a hemispherical knob on the hilt, which dangles from his belt, while an antelope or goat wearing a pointed tiara prances beside him. This deity is identical with bluff, impetuous Thor of northern Europe, Indra of the Himalayas, Tarku of Phrygia, and Teshup or Teshub of Armenia and northern Mesopotamia, Sandan, the Hercules of Cilicia, Adad or Hadad of Amurru and Assyria, and Ramman, who at an early period penetrated Akkad and Sumer in various forms. His Hittite name is uncertain, but in the time of Rameses II he was identified with Sutekh (Set). He passed into southern Europe as Zeus, and became "the lord" of the deities of the Aegean and Crete.