Ancient Lingua Franca
The ancient cultures knew everything about algebra in symbolism. They made icons that were common in huge parts of the world. One clever symbol could be icon for a process, a treaty or whatever they needed to picture. We need imagination if we want to understand
Lingua franca, Indo-European, Aryan, Hurrian, Mitanni, cultural influence, Varuna, Mitra, Nasatyas, Nabu, Hittitian, Nuzi, Iran, time-wave, Naked Lady, Young Lower, Sitting Lady, Animal Round, Teshub, MursilisLingua Franca | iconography |Time law ideas | Indus symbols | Indus 1 | sitemap| home |
Early archaeology build much on theories since there were lack of physical evidence. It is much what I call the Heinrich syndrome in search for Troy he found something else. We have also the Indo-European theory about Aryans emanating from some unknown place spreading culture and killing aborigines in east and west.
Big cultures are not born over night and there is no such place that could have produce people and culture enough to overrun India with 4 big cities and at least 2600 sites/settlements maybe 300000 inhabitants approximately from present facts. To that we must add Europe from Ural to the Atlantic as target for the supposed Aryans … in India I look for the "white Aryans" about those "dark beauties".
Most of the evidence is speculating in languages and words that should be specifically Indo-Aryan of origin. One example is words for horse colours babru = brown, parita = pale and pingala = pink in Hurrian that should be similar to Indian words, however even to English as Indo-European like other European languages. It is only that English and German are late concepts created after 0 AD when Caesar used the word "German" and the English were Celts then. Scandinavian tongue has only "babru" = brun with some likeness.
The words are from a manual for studs written by a horse master from Mitanni. The writer did not know about word tenses and used the normal syllable logic for verbs. For mating he used the double infinitive PA-PA = in English ON-ON and mating is going on and on I think. The manual speaks only for that writer, but probably it was much alike in other parts of the area.
On this seal from Nuzi Iran animals from the Animal Round surround the Hero. We recognise Pegasus, Fish, Bird, Lion, Capricorn and Scorpio
Horses and stables were matters for kings and nobility. I think it would be more natural that words about horsemanship were spread with mingling and trade between kings. Maybe for instance nobility hired a Horse Master from Mitanni to establish a stud near the local court. We know from later times that arms and horse harnessing spread all over the Old World without any war. In Roman time the Parthian cavalry was model for Europe and even in Scandinavia they knew everything about that style.
In India they very soon established offer rituals with the Goat and the Stallion combined with the early fire ritual that still is specific for India. But these were rituals for the nobility and they are as such a function of size of population. Ordinary people can cook even for feast without special ritual
There is no evidence about big size aggressive movements at the time they suppose the Aryans expanded. The only two great movements we know about is the Hyksos in Egypt and they tell that they were not Aryans. The others were the Sea People but they used "sea horses".
Naturally I am simplifying here and the next big argument is the few Indian god names in the Mitanni treaty from middle of second millennium BC. They believe that the Indo-Aryans god names Mitra, Varuna, Nasatyas in the Mitanni and Hurrian pantheon are evidence of invading people. I think it is much like "one swallow does not make a summer". The words could have come to use by cultural influence.
Another thing is that maybe these terms are much older than the time they usually speak about. New finds show more and more that the culture developed in parallel in the three big cultures from let us say 5th millennium onward so it was old in middle of second millennium BC. During that time they also influence their neighbours and the culture of even the northern part of the "Fertile Crescent" is maybe 10000 years old. Too often they speak only about the heydays and not about the roots. The roots of the people in Mitanni in 2500 BC were at least 5000 years of combined agriculture and cattle-rearing besides the growth of small cities and trade.
I think we should always translate god names to true concepts then telling bout what they really meant. We still use formulas and "Latin" in treaties. Laws and treaties have always some"protection formula" as we for instance see on the Law Rock at Haugsbyn around 2000 BC. The Mitanni treaty mentions Varuna = order and true speech, Mitra = contract and treaty, Nasatyas = the law brothers mentioned in the Kret epos from Ugarit and maybe the scribe god Nabu. We should see the god names as the protection formula of the treaty.
Maybe there was a "lingua franca" and Sumerian cuneiform was used like Latin in Middle East until last millennium BC. So they used these gods as "international" terms ... we have also the syndrome of "giving the Bear foreign names when hunting". In this case it should mean that they used foreign words to manifest that the treaty was of a higher rank than local quarrel. Too often we underestimate the logic and manners of ancient times. The Sumerian texts show how they defined things precisely in their texts.
Outside the three great cultures we find another more reliable source. It is the seals of kings and traders from the Hittitian, Hurrian and Mitanni kingdoms as good examples. Their kingdoms extended from Anatolia and Ugarit at the Mediterranean coasts to the Zagros Mountains and included at the time Assyria and Babylon. The seals show similar culture from Ugarit in Levant to Nuzi in Iran (and of course the rest of Mesopotamia and to some extent even in India). We know that these cultures were much alike the former Sumerians with a lot in common with Indian culture. These kingdoms and their rule varied in time of course
Some interpreters think that the seal are decorated with demons from Underworld while I see most of it as icons from the zodiac and telling about their world order, what else? It would not be likely that a ruler gave such impressions. Using symbols from the ritual Animal Round it was something people understood. He wants to tell his people of order in the kingdom and that he is capable of defending his people.
That is why lion and bull were used as symbol of power or in many cases the Hero that fights the wild animals and sometimes even two beast at a time. Such a composition shows guts. It would not be wise to point weapon at his own people and the fights we know of are usually between kingdoms including the nobility that in the federation furnishes the king with trained warriors.
In the long run rulership varies between weak rulers and aggressive rulers who try to expand their kingdom. In ritual Age peace loving priest-kings were most common and the worldly kingdom seem to begin after the Akkadian Sargon around 2300 BC. Here it is about the majority rule.
This seal is from Ugarit in Syria the biggest harbour at the time that left us the Kret Epos.
We see the Young Lower bringing tribute to the Naked Lady broad in the beam to speak about and her two maidens. Just that silhouette is seen in the Levant and Mari and the composition usually tells about the Naked Lady. I am pretty sure that it is the asterism Aurigae since on another seal she stands on the Oxen in "Indian style".
A seal from Syria c 1800 BC, Thenaked goddess known in the Levant and she was symbol of rain and fertility.
There were a lot of pairs where one part is the tame and the other wild. There were the ox and bull, a tame lion and a wild lion as well. It is supposed there should be a wild river and the tamed channel. The form of the river from the star Rigel is made very tame. Anyhow the heavenly channel was current as the spring equinox in the time gap between the Ox and the Perseus and this was approximately from c.2400 to 2000 BC.
The endless screw in upper corner stands for the River in sky, but it stands also for treaty and tolerance and perhaps the seasons. Compared with some other seals it could also mean the time running in quarters, since on some seal we see instead four circles with a dot inside. The endless screw is very abstract and much like our time's infinity.
Folk-mouth often names wavy lines as serpentines. That is not true since you see no serpent head on them. Of course there is pairs of serpents but they are ideograms for a definite time, space-time and harvest. Waved lines are more likely to express flow and often the time flow. In these seals there are a symbol like a fork with wavy legs. That symbol consists of the Serpent and the "harvest" in end of season. Inanna sometimes have it in her hand and the Phoenicians made it a starry symbol opposite to the asterism Crab.
The time-wave is indefinite and expresses the indefinite time at the wavy rock. That leads to an idiomatic expression picturing life as a journey on the River of Time. It is in phases with most of the ideograms on our rocks. It takes time to follow a river.
This Sitting Lady is from Nuzi Iran and we recognise the Lion and The Stag that was significant for Anatolia and Mitanni
On the seal from Nuzi we see the other great goddess I name "Sitting Lady". We also see her in the outdoor temple at Hazor for sure as Libra in the zodiac. In these two seals are not many animals but lion, goat, stag and bull are all from the celestial symbolism. Some of the compositions are Old Sumerian while others are Egyptian besides that Lady between lotus stalks from India maybe. When I think of the temples of India to think of the Naked coming from there is easy
This should be from Babylon and could be from last millennium BC when we in Scandinavia see the "Sitting" on our rocks.
Here the pair is surely Aurigae and the Oxen in same shape as the old Sumerian Oannes. Both wear horned crown with vegetative symbols added. The Plough is Ursa Major and at left the Twins= Gemini = Asvins. Sometimes they stand for brotherhood and treaty and sometimes for the helpers in fertility and other situations.
Under that Scorpio with new moon symbol and the two dots mark that second part of year begins and Ramadan maybe. That is the same symbolism as in Scandinavia. Then there is Crater and Leo with a single dot that marks "sowing time". The Eagle and the bucks are wintertime in the Animal Round. The Bull and Lion were normally the symbols of power of the leaders besides that they were asterisms.
On other seals there are more creatures the Double-head Eagle that I think is the asterism Gemini at the time and that we see in the entire Old World of three big cultures. There are also other celestial figures such as Fish, Water-snake, Entwined Snakes, Sun Eagle, Bird, Hare, Pegasus and I am wondering about an ugly face that maybe is Humbaba or the late Gorgon head that should be "Face of Underworld". Scorpio is always the sure mark of the Animal Round between fourth and middle of second millennium BC. A few figures I have never seen before. I have to look at these images many times before I have melted it all.
The term "lingua franca" means originally a mixture of Italian with French, Greek, Arabic and Spanish used in Levant … any language serving as medium between different nations whose languages are not the same system providing understanding. The qualified guess is that this idea is older than that and we know also that Sumerian cuneiform was used until last millennium BC as lingua franca script.
We can see the astro-symbolism as "lingua franca symbolism" of the establishment and not only in the three big cultures but also far in Scandinavia from the very beginning of Ritual Age in 4200 BC. In these seals we normally can expect the priest-kings, kings and nobility of traders behind the symbolism. Some seals are furnished with cuneiform script that tells us about the owner of the seal. We know that they often used a god-names or part of a god name.
Asko Parppola reminds us that we do not know if people really spoke the way we see in texts. We know also that the scripts were not developed with verbs in tenses in the early syllable script that seems to be the model for most languages at the time. We are not far from the text when we see the ideograms as parts of a rebus telling about their time and world order.
The seal of king Saushtatar son of Parsatatar from Nuzi was used for several generations
We have no continuous history and artefacts from those old kingdoms. We can only make a rhapsody of short glimpses that covers some of the culture. They have for instance reconstructed the chronology of Hittitian kings from Pitharna around 1800 BC to the last Tudhaylias ca 1200 BC.
The cultural style in Mitanni and Hatti was much the same and the Hurrians were part of the Mitanni. The variation maybe follows normal variations in fashion and taste among nobility. We see influence from the older Sumerian style here and in other seals we see influence from Egypt even in Nuzi in Iran.
In left corner there is "Longleg" the runner that catch the buck Capricorn and he has one long leg. Surely symbolising the long step over winter but also the contact between the cities/ settlements in the federation … we know the term "telestai" from the Aegean culture. The heroes dominate the picture we see they are used to illustrate the power of the kingdom with the old Bull taming as model from the days of Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The hero in centre is winged and that is surely Teshub the stormgod of Mitanni and Hatti. In Mitanni the dynasty of Kip-Teshub used the god name for generations.
There are some symbols from the Animal round such as Fish, Hare, Ram, Face of Underworld, Water-snake, and Eagle. Above Teshub we see the winged standard where the wings symbolise the sun maybe and the star is Venus representing the Earth. In other seals we see the rosette as symbol of the moon goddess. In Sumer the big bird with human face and the net or gripping animals was symbol of the all-seeing power of kingdom.
Hittitian Tudhayliya's seal with him as worldly priest-king under the Sun, Moon and Venus.
The Hittitians completed the symbolism in their AEDICULA showing their world order. All seals are not complete but we find examples like this that shows they thought the pillars as symbols for the federation of world pillars. The priest-king is flanked by the "runners" and in other seals by symbols for horse soldiers = nobility. They stand on the feet = the people and the priest-king stands on the leg = nobility and in some seal the footstool. This is a big step from the earlier animal symbolism. However we see that still in the outdoor temples with rows of relief stones as late as in the Neo-Hittitian kingdom in last millennium BC. … see alsoThe Hittitians
Let us look at a treaty between the Hittian high-king Mursilis in the heydays when they dominated the Akkadian kings. The other part is king Duppi-Tessub Of Amurru that should continue to pay "300 shekels of refined and first- class gold, the tribute which my father had imposed upon your father, he brought year for year; he never refused it."
Compare his preamble with the seal of Tudhaliyas:
"These are the words of the Sun Mursilis, the great king, the king of the Hatti land, the valiant, the favourite of the Storm- god, the son of Suppiluliumas, the great king, the king of the Hatti land, the valiant."
The treaty deals with … Future Relations of the Two Countries …Military Clauses …Dealings with Foreigners and Fugitives and that part is omitted here. More interesting are the invocations that tell much about the organisation of the Hittitian dominions:
"The Sun-god of Heaven, the Sun-goddess of Arinna, the Storm-god of Heaven, the Hattian Storm-god, Seris (and) Hurris, Mount Nanni (and) Mount Hazzi, the Storm-god of [ . . . ], the Storm-god of Halab, the Storm-god of Zippalanda, the Storm-god of Nerik, the Storm-god of Lihzina, the Storm-god of Hissashapa, the Storm-god of Sabina, the Storm-god of Tahaya, the Storm-god of Bettiyarik, the Storm-god of Samuha, the Storm-god of Hurma, the Storm-god of Saressa, the Storm-god of . . ., the Storm-god of Uda, the Storm- god of Kizzuwatna, the Storm-god of Ishupitta, the Storm-god of Nuhassi;
the Patron-god, the Hattian Patron-god, Zithariyas, Hapantalliyas, the Patron-god of Karahna, the Patron-god of the shield, Ea (Enki), Allatum, Telepinus of Durmitta, Telepinus of Tawiniya, Telepinus of Hanhana, Ishtar the Mighty, Askasepas;
Sin (moon), lord of the oath, Ishara, queen of the oath, Hebat, queen of heaven, Ishtar, Ishtar of the battlefield, Ishtar of Nineveh, Ishtar of Hattarina, Ninatta (and) ] Kulitta, the Hattian Warrior-god, the Warrior-god of Ellaya, the Warrior- god of Arziya, Yarris, Zampanas;
Hantidassus of Hurma, Abaras of Samuhas, Katahhas of Ankuwa, the Queen of Katapa, Ammammas of Tahurpa, Hallaras of Dunna, Huwassanas of Hupisna, Tapisuwa of Ishupitta, the "Lady" of Landa, Kunniyawannis of Landa, NIN.PISAN.PISAN of Kinza, Mount Lablana, Mount Sariyana, Mount Pisaisa, the Lulahhi gods (and) the Hapiri gods, Ereskigal (Queen of Netherworld), the gods and goddesses of the Hatti land, the gods and goddesses of Amurru land, all the olden gods, Naras, Napsaras, Minki, Tuhusi, Ammunki, Ammizadu, Allalu, Anu, Antu, Apantu, Ellil, Ninlil, the mountains, the rivers, the springs, the great Sea, heaven and earth, the winds (and) the clouds—let these be witnesses to this treaty and to the oath."
We can note many things out from this list. The Storm-god with many names was besides the sun highest male god. Even mountains were seen as gods. But not all gods were valid in all places since many of these are local. Only a few of the deities we now from general descriptions of the "Fertile Crescent". This section shows us also that our descriptions of their world are very rough and we are just simplifying.
We see from the seals of different kings that their style varies. The languages varies also but times with a king in common mixed languages as for instance the time of Sargon and that of the Hittites. But the point here is that starry sky and the archetypes in heaven and on earth were much the same. Here I call the iconography Lingua Franca of Middle East. The myths varies a little, but on the other hand we normally look at three thousand years of culture.
Much of this is surely mixed with heritage from the leading Sumerian order in third millennium and maybe earlier. Significant in Mesopotamia, Levant, Anatolia and the Aegean world is the federative order of society. It begins with independent city-states in Sumer probably. As long as there were space and fertility enough the ritual order kept the societies peaceful except for the "mountain people" in the Sumerian legends. They attacked sometimes the Sumerian cities.
Sargon of Akkad was the first to unite many cities and reached the Levant around 2300 BC. We do not know how much cultural imperialism influenced the conquered lands long before Sargon and long before the Hittitian and Mitanni kingdoms we know of. Surely trade and mingling in time was a much greater influence since mutual interests made cultural changes.
We know that the Hittitian kingdom consisted of small city-states lead by the high priest-king. His duty was primarily to lead the seasonal rituals in the same ways as the pharaoh's title was from the beginning "yearman" and he visited the cities along the Nile leading rituals. The Hittitians conquered Babylon for short around 1600 BC and soon we see old Sumerian influence in the symbolism since usually the stronger culture influences the weaker.
The Hittitian world order seems to have influenced Europe very much as we see in the symbolism during Bronze and Roman Age. Even the early kingdoms in Germany and Scandinavia were at least at times federative.
We should not forget that Sumerian and cuneiform became what Latin has been for Europe. They tell that the Sumerian dictionary's size is 65000 words. Scribes and writers surely borrowed from old documents and word lists.
We know it from Latin that for instance Adam of Bremen nearly 1000 years ago borrowed from the Greek cartographers when he did not know about some parts of Scandinavia. Latin became official language and it was forbidden to translate the Bible. In the universities they disputed in Latin … In my younger days I was told to use many classical quotations that should show I am educated. I have met people that correct my plain normal language and want Latin or latinized words. I have even met highly educated people that have difficulties in understanding me when I use normal language.
Mostly I use the concept "cultural influence" but now I come to think of internal cultural domination" when the so called higher class rather use foreign words to dominate the people." We cannot blame the foreign "high" cultures for what happens when people try to be noble and borrow some feathers.