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Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 144

During the Hyksos Age the horse was introduced into Egypt. Indeed the Hyksos conquest was probably due to the use of the horse, which was domesticated, as the Pumpelly expedition has ascertained, at a remote period in Turkestan, whence it may have been obtained by the horse-sacrificing Aryo-Indians and the horse-sacrificing ancestors of the Siberian Buriats.

If the Mitanni rulers were not overlords of the Hittites about 1800 B.C., the two peoples may have been military allies of the Kassites. Some writers suggest, indeed, that the Kassites came from Mitanni. Another view is that the Mitannians were the Aryan allies of the Kassites who entered Babylon from the Elamite highlands, and that they afterwards conquered Mesopotamia and part of Cappadocia prior to the Hyksos conquest of Egypt. A third solution of the problem is that the Aryan rulers of the Mitannian Hittites were the overlords of northern Babylonia, which they included in their Mesopotamian empire for a century before the Kassites achieved political supremacy in the Tigro-Euphrates valley, and that they were also the leaders of the Hyksos invasion of Egypt, which they accomplished with the assistance of their Hittite and Amoritic allies.

The first Kassite king of Babylonia of whom we have knowledge was Gandash. He adopted the old Akkadian title, "king of the four quarters", as well as the title "king of Sumer and Akkad", first used by the rulers of the Dynasty of Ur. Nippur appears to have been selected by Gandash as his capital, which suggests that his war and storm god, Shuqamuna, was identified with Bel Enlil, who as a "world giant" has much in common with the northern hammer gods. After reigning for sixteen years, Gandash was succeeded by his son, Agum the Great, who sat on the throne for twenty-two years. The great-grandson of Agum the Great was Agum II, and not until his reign were the statues of Merodach and his consort Zerpanitum brought back to the city of Babylon. This monarch recorded that, in response to the oracle of Shamash, the sun god, he sent to the distant land of Khani (Mitanni) for the great deity and his consort. Babylon would therefore appear to have been deprived of Merodach for about two centuries. The Hittite-Mitanni raid is dated about 1800 B.C., and the rise of Gandash, the Kassite, about 1700 B.C. At least a century elapsed between the reigns of Gandash and Agum II. These calculations do not coincide, it will be noted, with the statement in a Babylonian hymn, that Merodach remained in the land of the Hatti for twenty-four years, which, however, may be either a priestly fiction or a reference to a later conquest. The period which followed the fall of the Hammurabi Dynasty of Babylonia is as obscure as the Hyksos Age of Egypt.

Agum II, the Kassite king, does not state whether or not he waged war against Mitanni to recover Babylon's god Merodach. If, however, he was an ally of the Mitanni ruler, the transference of the deity may have been an ordinary diplomatic transaction. The possibility may also be suggested that the Hittites of Mitanni were not displaced by the Aryan military aristocracy until after the Kassites were firmly established in northern Babylonia between 1700 B.C. and 1600 B.C. This may account for the statements that Merodach was carried off by the Hatti and returned from the land of Khani.


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