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Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 165

As the ten antediluvian kings who reigned for 120 saroi had an astral significance, their long reigns corresponding "with the distances separating certain of the principal stars in or near the ecliptic",[335]) it seems highly probable that the planets were similarly connected with mythical ages which were equated with the "four quarters" of the celestial regions and the four regions of the earth, which in Gaelic story are called "the four red divisions of the world".

Three of the planets may have been heralds of change. Venus, as "Dilbat", was the "Proclaimer", and both Jupiter and Mercury were called "Face voices of light", and "Heroes of the rising sun" among other names. Jupiter may have been the herald of the "Golden Age" as a morning star. This planet was also associated with bronze, as "Kakkub Urud", "the star of bronze", while Mars was "Kakkub Aban Kha-urud," "the star of the bronze fish stone". Mercury, the lapis lazuli planet, may have been connected with the black Saturn, the ghost of the dead sun, the demoniac elder god; in Egypt lapis lazuli was the hair colour of Ra when he grew old, and Egyptologists translate it as black.[336] The rare and regular appearances of Mercury may have suggested the planet's connection with a recurring Age. Venus as an evening star might be regarded as the herald of the lunar or silver age; she was propitious as a bearded deity and interchanged with Merodach as a seasonal herald.

Connecting Jupiter with the sun as a propitious planet, and with Mars as a destroying planet, Venus with the moon, and Mercury with Saturn, we have left four colour schemes which suggest the Golden, Silvern, Bronze, and Iron Ages. The Greek order of mythical ages may have had a solar significance, beginning as it does with the "golden" period. On the other hand the Indian and Irish systems begin with the Silvern or white lunar period. In India the White Age (Treta Yuga) was the age of perfect men, and in Greece the Golden Age was the age of men who lived like gods. Thus the first ages in both cases were "Perfect" Ages. The Bronze Age of Greece was the age of notorious fighters and takers of life; in Babylonia the bronze planet Mars was the symbol of the destroying Nergal, god of war and pestilence, while Jupiter was also a destroyer as Merodach, the slayer of Tiamat. In India the Black Age is the age of wickedness. The Babylonian Saturn, as we have seen, is black, and its god, Ninip, was the destroying boar, which recalls the black boar of the Egyptian demon (or elder god) Set. The Greek Cronos was a destroyer even of his own children. All the elder gods had demoniac traits like the ghosts of human beings.

As the Babylonian lunar zodiac was imported into India before solar worship and the solar zodiac were developed, so too may have been the germs of the Yuga doctrine, which appears to have a long history. Greece, on the other hand, came under the influence of Babylon at a much later period. In Egypt Ra, the sun god, was an antediluvian king, and he was followed by Osiris. Osiris was slain by Set, who was depicted sometimes red and sometimes black. There was also a Horus Age.


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