Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 57

Upon his breast lay many treasures which were to travel with him into the power of the flood. Certainly they (the mourners) furnished him with no less of gifts, of tribal treasures, than those had done who, in his early days, started him over the sea alone, child as he was. Moreover, they set besides a gold-embroidered standard high above his head, and let the flood bear him--gave him to the sea. Their soul was sad, their spirit sorrowful. Who received that load, men, chiefs of council, heroes under heaven, cannot for certain tell.[116]

Sceaf or Scyld is identical with Yngve, the patriarch of the Ynglings; with Frey, the harvest and boar god, son of Njord,[117] the sea god; and with Hermod, referred to as follows in the Eddic "Lay of Hyndla":

To some grants he wealth, to his children war fame,
Word skill to many and wisdom to men,
Fair winds to sea-farers, song craft to skalds,
And might of manhood to many a warrior.

Tammuz is similarly "the heroic lord of the land", the "wise one", the "lord of knowledge", and "the sovereign, lord of invocation".

Heimdal, watchman of the Teutonic gods, also dwelt for a time among men as "Rig", and had human offspring, his son Thrall being the ancestor of the Thralls, his son Churl of churls, and Jarl of noblemen.

Tammuz, like Heimdal, is also a guardian. He watches the flocks and herds, whom he apparently guards against the Gallu demons as Heimdal guards the world and the heavens against attacks by giants and monsters. The flocks of Tammuz, Professor Pinches suggests, "recall the flocks of the Greek sun god Helios. These were the clouds illuminated by the sun, which were likened to sheep--indeed, one of the early Sumerian expressions for 'fleece' was 'sheep of the sky'. The name of Tammuz in Sumerian is Dumu-zi, or in its rare fullest form, Dumuzida, meaning 'true or faithful son'. There is probably some legend attached to this which is at present unknown."[118]

So the Sumerian hymn-chanters lamented:

Like an herdsman the sentinel place of sheep and cattle he
(Tammuz) has forsaken...
From his home, from his inhabited domain, the son, he of wisdom,
pre-eminent steer of heaven,
The hero unto the nether herding place has taken his way.[119]

Agni, the Aryo-Indian god, who, as the sky sentinel, has points of resemblance to Heimdal, also links with Tammuz, especially in his Mitra character:

Agni has been established among the tribes of men, the son of the waters, Mitra acting in the right way. Rigveda, iii, 5, 3.

Agni, who has been looked and longed for in Heaven, who has been looked for on earth--he who has been looked for has entered all herbs. Rigveda, i, 98.[120]

Tammuz, like the Egyptian lunar and solar god Khonsu, is "the healer", and Agni "drives away all disease". Tammuz is the god "of sonorous voice"; Agni "roars like a bull"; and Heimdal blows a horn when the giants and demons threaten to attack the citadel of the gods. As the spring sun god, Tammuz is "a youthful warrior", says Jastrow, "triumphing over the storms of winter".[121] The storms, of course, were symbolized as demons. Tammuz, "the heroic lord", was therefore a demon slayer like Heimdal and Agni. Each of these gods appear to have been developed in isolation from an archaic spring god of fertility and corn whose attributes were symbolized. In Teutonic mythology, for instance, Heimdal was the warrior form of the patriarch Scef, while Frey was the deified agriculturist who came over the deep as a child. In Saxo's mythical history of Denmark, Frey as Frode is taken prisoner by a storm giant, Beli, "the howler", and is loved by his hag sister in the Teutonic Hades, as Tammuz is loved by Eresh-ki-gal, spouse of the storm god Nergal, in the Babylonian Hades. Frode returns to earth, like Tammuz, in due season.