Some civilizations lived with chaos and violence as the norm, and there is no better example than the civilizations in ancient Mesopotamia and Canaan. Today, Don, Emily and Jeremy dive into the violent history and mythology of this incredibly influential region, so strap in.
1. Ancient Mesopotamia 101 | National Geographic (2018). Ancient Mesopotamia 101 | National Geographic. [online] YouTube. Available at: https://youtu.be/xVf5kZA0HtQ
2. Boaz Mysteries (2021). Sumerian Mythology Exploration That Will Give you Goosebumps and Leave your Hair Standing on End. [online] www.youtube.com. Available at: https://youtu.be/FD4T-8XQQ6M
3. CrashCourse (2012). Mesopotamia: Crash Course World History #3. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sohXPx_XZ6Y
4. Finkel, I. and The British Museum (2021). Ancient Demons with Irving Finkel I Curator’s Corner S3 Ep7 #CuratorsCorner. [online] www.youtube.com. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOT75GB64Hw
5. Jeffrey Burton Russell (1995). The Devil : Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity. London: Cornell University Press, pp.84–97.
6. Kings and Generals (2019). Rise of Sumer: Cradle of Civilization DOCUMENTARY. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHpmLrWBjnM
7. Nutty History (2021). CREEPY Things that were Normal in Mesopotamia. [online] www.youtube.com. Available at: https://youtu.be/MBEb8E01MM4
8. Octagram Story (2020). Astarte (Ashtoreth) - The Goddess of War, Love and Fertility | Egyptian Goddess. [online] www.youtube.com. Available at: https://youtu.be/1MA2wtdVw4o
9. See U in History / Mythology (2020). The Anunnaki Gods: The Astronaut Gods of the Sumerians - Sumerian Mythology - See U in History. [online] www.youtube.com. Available at: https://youtu.be/8uM9wnNqt-A
10. The Legends of History (2021). Baal: The Nemesis of Yahweh (Angels & Demons Explained). [online] www.youtube.com. Available at: https://youtu.be/XXgIVeKny-0
11. UsefulCharts (2021). Mesopotamian Gods Family Tree + Did Gilgamesh Exist? [online] www.youtube.com. Available at: https://youtu.be/iWZ-NgoFOdc
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13. Wikipedia Contributors (2021b). Enūma Eliš. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiSupport the show
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Episode 8 - Ancient Origins of the Devil - Mesopotamia & Canaan
[00:00:00] Don Early: Strike first, strike hard, no mercy. That was the motto of the fictional karate dojo Cobra, Kai from the karate kid movies, they were the typical bullies at the time. I mean, what was with all the one dimensional testosterone frenzy, bullies in the eighties. Anyway, Cobra Kai taught that the world was brutal. And if you were going to survive out there, you had to be even more brutal.
[00:00:39] You had to strike first, strike hard and show no mercy. It's a motto that befits the ancient Mesopotamians, you see 5,000 years ago, civilizations thrived in the fertile Crescent for millennia, that area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and because of the bounty, those luscious planes promised it was a hotbed of invasions, takeovers slavery in Congress.
[00:01:08] Violence begets violence. It's where an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth comes from. And now think about how literal they meant that hashtag Hammurabi you surfers were tortured or dismembered or even flayed alive. In fact, one king would wrap up pillar in human flesh, outside each city. He sacked as a warning.
[00:01:30] I dare say, sensei John crease would approve. If the people viewed humanity is brutal, fickle and self-serving and the gods would be no different. Welcome to the ancient origins of the devil part two Mesopotamia and Canaan. This. It's the devil. You don't know
[00:02:11] Hey everyone. Welcome back to The Devil That You Don't Know. This is the podcast that explores the historical and cultural relevance of the figure known as The Devil. I am Don Early.
[00:02:25] Emily Quann: I am Emily.
[00:02:27] Jeremy Spray: Hey everybody. It's Jeremy.
[00:02:28] Don Early: And this is part two of a series that we're doing right now on the ancient origins of the devil. Part one was ancient Egypt. That is the previous episode. So go check that out. If you haven't. Um, they do kind of stack in progression. So I would recommend go check that out.
[00:02:50] Jeremy Spray: They only in that we will refer to the previous episode, probably a part of that a couple of times. Not that you require information with the previous episode to get this one, though, right? Yeah. Got it. Right. There you go. Yeah.
[00:03:02] Don Early: So today our topic is Mesopotamia and Canaan, which are regions in the middle east area.
[00:03:12] Jeremy Spray: Thank you. Those, those regions to check. I like the word Mesopotamia,
[00:03:18] Emily Quann: The Fertile Crescent.
[00:03:19] Don Early: Lovely. Isn't it, it rolls off the tongue Mesopotamia Tamia.
[00:03:23] It's Greek
[00:03:23] Emily Quann: The region between the Tigris and Euphrates river,
[00:03:27] Don Early: meso and pot- I'll get to that in a second.
[00:03:34] Well, anyway, the peoples were the Sumerians, the Assyrians, the Acadians, and the Babylonians. And the Canaanites. Um, so those that's the general region of people and we're talking like this is the first civilization,
[00:03:52] Emily Quann: the birthplace of civilization, that whole, that whole fertile area between the Tigris river and the Euphrates river with the Persian Gulf, it just kind of slides from north know Southeast is it goes.
[00:04:07] That direction.
[00:04:08] Jeremy Spray: We keep seeing your hand. I know where the slashy was seeing my
[00:04:14] Emily Quann: hand and I'm just like, is this mirrored? How am I? Okay. Anyway, we're fine.
[00:04:19] Don Early: The listeners at home are totally following what you're saying.
[00:04:23] Emily Quann: I talk with my hands so much, sorry. Uh, for people who are watching this, I'm sorry, all you Patreon supporters.
[00:04:30] Don Early: It's fine. So this region is super important. I mean, it not, you just said it. It's the birthplace of civilization, at least in what we consider the Western world. There's probably other civilizations that are older and in different places. But we're focusing in on this region because this region contributed the most to our understanding of what The Devil is today.
[00:05:00] Hmm. So here we are birthplace of civilization. I believe we have artifacts that go back to 5,000 BCE, 6,000.
[00:05:11] Emily Quann: Yeah. So, so 8,000 years ago, just, this is, this is where some of my knowledge comes in. So around 8,000 years ago, the Persian Gulf, actually the coast of it was a lot further north than, than what it is today.
[00:05:25] Um, as, yes. So, so the city-state of Ur before it was a city-state of Ur, it was this ancient civilization, um, and so we're talking about like 6,000 BC or so, um, that was actually a coastal city. It was where the Euphrates meets, uh, the Persian Gulf. It was that far north from where it was, I think that's around eight feet higher than what it is today.
[00:05:57] Uh, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers kind of filled that it up with all of the silt and stuff. Um, so the land kind of pushed it further south, but yeah. Ur was a coastal city. So, um, and that leaves questions of whether ancient civilizations are actually buried underneath the Persian Gulf and all of that silt and stuff from, from the mouths of those rivers.
[00:06:25] So when we say the birthplace of civilization, I mean, this. Ancient ancient stuff we're talking about here.
[00:06:32] Don Early: Yeah. So examining the history and the mythology of this region will lay some foundations for where some of the familiar stories evolved, uh, eventually leading to the Western notion of the devil.
[00:06:47] In today's episode, we're going to lay out some context of the region and its peoples. We'll talk about a few of the civilizations and then get right down into some juicy myths, which, uh, Jeremy and Emily will help us out with. Yeah. And, uh, once again, none of these religions so far have a single principle of evil.
[00:07:12] And what I mean by that is there's not one specific God or divine being or, or power that is specifically devoted to evil or, or their domain is evil. It's opposite is true. Not one specific God is considered 100% purely, fully the embodiment of good. Uh, I don't even know if that was really a priority because chaos and order were a little bit more relevant, you know, with the environment and everything.
[00:07:48] And as we'll see how the civilizations change violently,
[00:07:53] Jeremy Spray: Right. I was just going to say the idea of, of good, right. You're talking about that order. Like that seems to be a lot more of, of the, the ancient mindset is really the, when you are a good, you are obeying a law, which means you are staying docile or when you are chaotic, you are defying the law and, uh, in breaking those kinds of rules, it just, we've seen a lot of experience with that, with the religions that we talked about earlier.
[00:08:19] Don Early: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. The region specifically,Emily, you laid it out. Great. Uh, it's the Western Asia with, uh, you know, between the Tigris and Euphrates river system. It's from the Greek meso meeting middle and patamos, which is river. So middle of the rivers, uh, present day Iraq, parts of Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Kuwait.
[00:08:43] Civilizations once again, we're talking about Sumerians, which go back way far, uh, the Assyrians, the Acadians and the Babylonians. And we're not really going to get into specific myths of those individual cultures because they overlap so much that we can kind of, meld them together into one, because there was no Bible for them.
[00:09:05] There was no unifying text or thing. I mean, they had the cuneiform tablets and the other thing, you know, the other things that they wrote on, I think that the little, um, seals and stuff like the, it looks like a brick that has writing all the way around, think of Indiana Jones. And he puts the thing on the top of the pedestal.
[00:09:24] It's kind of those kinds of things.
[00:09:25] Jeremy Spray: Okay. Now it's way cooler.
[00:09:27] Don Early: That's what I think of.
[00:09:30] Jeremy Spray: Everything lights up. Yeah.
[00:09:33] Don Early: The Sumerians, they are, they kind of stand right behind Babylonia and Assyria and those two. Influenced heavily the Hebrews and the Canaanites and Canaan influenced both Israel and the Minoan civilization of Crete, which of course preceded the Mycenaean and the Hellenic cultures.
[00:09:57] And so it's just this.
[00:09:59] Jeremy Spray: Yeah, I think you're both nodding. I'm like, okay.
[00:10:03] Don Early: I am. Yes. I am taking for granted my classics background. So sorry. Now the Mesopotamian religious thought differs immensely from the Egyptian culture, um, and specifically in the characteristic of fearfulness. Okay. So if you recall, Egypt had this understanding that the cosmos at its natural resting state was in a place of order and divine, rightness, everything had a sort of system and balance to it, right?
[00:10:42] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. And that chaos was the, the antithesis of what you were shooting for order was the focus. Right. We talked about the annual floods that you can count on and using the Nile to replenish everything. So if there was chaos and that was bad.
[00:10:59] Don Early: That's right. Yeah. It was a disruption of that divine cosmic order. And they called that ma'at, so ma'at is that divine order or the cosmic order well instead of ma'at in the Mesopotamian area, Uh, the cosmos was always shattering often without warning and order constantly had to be rebuilt and restored. So it's like the opposite. The, the universe is exploding in chaos and nothing is, you know, and you always have to come back and try and bring order back to where it is supposed to be.
[00:11:43] And there's a really good reason for this. The region attracted frequent migrations, mixing of peoples, which looks like invasions and conquests, not just, you know, a nice little melting pot. Sure. I was like, I want that. So
[00:12:02] Jeremy Spray: You have it get out of my way.
[00:12:05] Don Early: Now you are my slave. Imagine living in there and you're farming and you're doing your thing. And then these foreigner outside people come in, take over your land, take over everything, uh, say, now that you know, now we own you and we're going to ship you out. Like that's, that could happen at any moment. So it is this constant prompting, continual fear of war it's threat of annihilation and resettlement and slavery.
[00:12:37] Like that's intense.
[00:12:40] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[00:12:41] Don Early: And the Mesopotamians, particularly the Assyrians. The Assyrians got real good at this. They became fierce and brutal under this fierce and brutal circumstances
[00:12:55] Jeremy Spray: Were the Assyrians, one of the groups that moved in or were they first?
[00:13:00] Don Early: Yeah, they took over F uh, from the S the Sumerians and they in the Assyrians were really sort of the later version of the Sumerians, um, Ashernasipal the second was a king in 883 to 859 BCE.
[00:13:20] And. Uh, Assyrian and he burned and pillaged any city that resisted and many that didn't resist. He would have their hands and feet cut off. And the dead and dying bodies piled up in a festering heat to rot in the sun.
[00:13:38] Emily Quann: Oh my God.
[00:13:39] Don Early: You know, as a deterrent to not fucking resist. So the Aramaean city of Surah did not resist when Ash showed up at their gates, demanding that they be opened, they freely opened their gates and they were rewarded with Ashernasipal's leniency. The city was burned to the ground. The people were carry. The people were carried off into slavery. He ordered the legs of the officers of the city to be cut off. And the governor was carried off to Nineveh where he was publicly flayed alive.
[00:14:18] Jeremy Spray: Jeez that's that's his mercy?
[00:14:20] Don Early: Real merciful.
[00:14:21] Jeremy Spray: God.
[00:14:22] Don Early: Yeah. Nature and society were not part of the divine cosmos. The world was fundamentally alienated from, from the divine plan. You know, the gods might help. They may just abandoned you, um, or completely ignore a nation or a city or the individual entirely.
[00:14:47] In an early Sumerian poem, a man complains that he has worshiped the gods properly. And yet his enemies triumph over him. A Babylonian version of the poem details of conversation between the suffer and his friend where the suffer inquires, why those who worship the gods, they suffer and those who ignore the gods prosper. It's starting to sound a little familiar?
[00:15:12] Jeremy Spray: Yeah, it does. That sounds like a solid Job.
[00:15:16] Emily Quann: I was going to say
[00:15:17] Jeremy Spray: parallel right there.
[00:15:18] Don Early: Yeah. So, um, obviously some big influence here and now it's time to kind of bring that into the biblical context. In the previous episode, we talked about sort of that, what was the context behind maybe that story of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt and Moses and all that.
[00:15:41] We're past all that at this point. And in, um, let's see here, 733 BCE is when the first diaspora happens. And diaspora is a fancy word that means dispersal where essentially the Assyrian empire invades the Israelites and their home, the kingdom of Israel. And, takes 'em over and disperses them to all of Mesopotamia. They kick them out of their own city. It's called the Exilic Period or because they were in exile, um, or they also call it the, the diaspora. And so the first one was with the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser, the third. We're going to get you these names.
[00:16:32] Yeah, but the one that most people are familiar with is the one that occurred in 597 BCE. And again, in 586 BCE where the Israelites were exiled under Babylonian captivity famously under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar the second. Uh, so I say famously because that's the one that's sort of, uh, mentioned in the Bible a bit. So that experience, as you can imagine, they're just in the kingdom of Israel and suddenly invaders come in and they get uprooted and sold into slavery and scattered across the region.
[00:17:09] They're still like the Jewish, the, the Hebrew scriptures are not totally written at this point and they're still being written. And this, as you can imagine, greatly influenced that. And so there is this Exilic Period, and then there is what's referred to as the Post Exilic Period when they were able to come back together.
[00:17:32] Um, some of them just kind of stayed out there and, and coalesced into groups across the region, but those who would come back. So what I'm talking about during this time during the diaspora. Um, we're talking about parts of Jeremiah, Second Kings, Second Chronicles, Ezra, Daniel, and Lamentations. Just to name a few, there's a few more so,
[00:17:54] Jeremy Spray: Matches up in that time period then. Okay.
[00:17:56] Don Early: Yeah. If you, uh, you know, you can go back and read, uh, sections of those and start to sort of see the influence that the Assyrians and the Babylonians had on them because they're, they're out there following Yahweh, but they are being subjected to, and probably forced to follow these other gods.
[00:18:21] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[00:18:22] Don Early: And the old gods, these are old, old gods.
[00:18:28] I want to thank Emily for pointing out the YouTube channel, useful charts.
[00:18:36] It is, uh,
[00:18:39] Emily Quann: YouTube channel devoted to charts. Yep. That is my cup of tea folks. It's embarrassing, but it's true. No, I it's. I, I love that channel. I think it's fantastic. I've learned a lot. They have fun, silly things. It's not just like
[00:18:58] Don Early: They, they don't take themselves too seriously, but they definitely present the information that it, and it's entertaining to listen to. And what makes it fun as a video is that their main video is this chart they've made. That is useful. Yeah. Useful chart.
[00:19:19] Emily Quann: I mean, like I said, they do some silly stuff, like who would be king of Britain today, if you know, they didn't follow the rule of firstborn, male, whatever. And they go through the family tree and they, they name it. They have, but they have some actual, fantastic historical, uh, things that they go through.
[00:19:42] And I've learned a lot from that. I like it. And I, I love how linearly the, the stuff is given to you. The information is given, uh, it's easy to follow along and they have, they have these family trees and, and charts and timelines for nearly anything you can think of.
[00:20:02] Don Early: In the previous episode, I linked the one for ancient Egypt. It has the, the timeline of the different dynasties and the different pharaohs and Kings. And then also it has the timeline that with all of the pyramids and when those were built and who they were for, and then it also has their mythology and who's all the gods were and a little bit of the family tree.
[00:20:27] So I've, I've linked that really, really cool. And they do have one for the Mesopotamia gods. So I'm linking that in.
[00:20:36] Emily Quann: Right. And, and talking about Gilgamesh. Yup. Yeah. Okay. I've seen
[00:20:40] Don Early: Not going to get into GIl, Gilgamesh.
[00:20:42] Emily Quann: finished watching it yet, but yeah,
[00:20:44] Don Early: we're not going to get into Gilgamesh cause he doesn't really apply to The Devil.
[00:20:48] But the other myths that are mentioned in there... what's really cool is that, so we're going to present some, of one particular way to tell it. Um, but as we've talked about before these myths, there's no consistency whatsoever and certain gods take the place of other gods in particular stories. So there's no real right way to tell it.
[00:21:14] And you can't go back to the oldest one and say, that's the right one, because there's other factors that don't make it right for this other region. And each region had its own sort of version for it's like patron, saints, and patron gods, uh, of their cities and stuff. So anyway, I go check that out 24 minutes long, um, link is in the link tree.
[00:21:37] Yeah. So let's get into the Enuma Elish. This is the Babylonian creation, epic. And, uh, Jeremy, how are you feeling?
[00:21:48] Jeremy Spray: I feel like if you said the word epic, then I should definitely be the one to read it.
[00:21:52] Don Early: Alright!
[00:21:53] Jeremy Spray: That's.
[00:21:56] Emily Quann: I'm just happy. It's not me. Cause there there's words in that. So I it's got a names. Do it!
[00:22:08] Jeremy Spray: I love the way it's written. I'm just going to put that right out in there. Don there's there's some, there's some direct verbiage. I've got to make sure I don't screw up because reading it the way it's written is a chef's kiss. That's a, that's the way it's done.
[00:22:21] All right. Known as the Seven Tablets of Creation, the story is important because it would later inspire Hebrew scribes who created the text now known as Genesis.
[00:22:32] So we are talking beginnings of beginnings here. It tells that the creation of the universe out of watery chaos, and primeval darkness. It resembles the battles between elder gods and younger gods found in so many other religions like the victory of cosmos over chaos.
[00:22:56] In the beginning, there was only undifferentiated waters, swirling in chaos. Out of this chaos, the waters divided. The sweet, fresh water became the God Apsu. The bitter salty water became the goddess Tiamat. Once they were separated and distinct, their union gave birth to the younger gods.
[00:23:19] These younger gods were allowed rowdy bunch of asshole kids. They kept Apsu from sleeping at night and distracted him from doing his work during the day. So he gets super pissed off and finally can't stand it anymore and plots to murder all his kids.
[00:23:35] That is a real thing, by the way. All parents out there, you, you feel exactly what I'm talking about. Some days murder doesn't seem that bad
[00:23:43] Emily Quann: Oh, some days.
[00:23:45] Jeremy Spray: It's a real thing. Their mother, as a mom is Tiamat -who is by now also grumpy as shit, due to all the noise and jostling around these younger gods- isn't quite comfortable with the idea of having her children murdered outright. So one of two things happen depending on the version of the myth here, reading one, she warns her son Enki his father plans on killing all of the younger gods. That's one version.
[00:24:08] Number two, the young gods, find out about Apsu's plans, and choose Enki to kill Apsu for them. Either way Enki the picked, but it depends on which way you're looking at it. So Enki kills Apsu and builds a nice house on his corpse. It's a damn god. It's a big place. So like you, Enki invites all of the siblings into his peaceful house and he and genders, a son Mark Duck, the god of Babylon.
[00:24:33] Can you
[00:24:34] Don Early: Sorry, marduk.
[00:24:36] Jeremy Spray: Marduk. I no Mark Duke?
[00:24:39] Don Early: No Mark Duke. It's Marduk.
[00:24:41] Jeremy Spray: Can I call him Mark Duke?
[00:24:43] Don Early: No.
[00:24:44] Jeremy Spray: Alright, we'll use the proper name. What do you mean by he engenders a son, real quick. Is he becoming him the, he is he
[00:24:51] Don Early: kind of, this is again where these kinds of things, uh, take place. Uh, you know, so they're in an earlier version or a different version. It's not Enki that slays Apsu uh, actually it is Enki. It's not Apsu that he slaves it's Anu and oh,Apsu and Tiamat had two kids, which I can't remember their names and they're basically kind of forgotten anyway, but those two kids had another set of two kids, Anu and Ki. Anu is the sky and Ki is the earth.
[00:25:26] And the idea is that, um, so a Ki is Mother Earth and it is said that, when it rains, that is the seed of Anu sprinkling across Ki and so w Ki gives birth to everything that there is. So that's not gross. Um,
[00:25:47] Jeremy Spray: Is that why you kept that out. Like, I just didn't want to talk about rain jizz.
[00:25:53] Don Early: Well, we're yeah, we'll go. We're not going to go there today.
[00:25:57] Um, there's some great myths out there, guys, dirty as hell, real dirty these folks. Anyway.
[00:26:05] So in one version, it's Anu. It's not Apsu, it's, it's Ki it's not Tiamat. And so there's this other character Enlil, which is Enki's, uh, brother. And so it's, it gets a little confusing. So I think your insight is probably right. In that, when he says he engenders his son, he either has a son. And I think there is mythology around who his son's mother is. And I think that's in that video that I mentioned earlier with the cool chart, but, but I think also in different versions, his son Marduk takes on the role of Enki and fulfills the rest of the, the myth. So.
[00:26:51] Jeremy Spray: Okay. All right. Well thank you. So that, that helps a lot kind of, eh, no it does, it helps to just, just figuring out where the differentiation is because I'm going to keep going down.
[00:27:00] So yeah, so we're working our way down. So we were at Apsu and Tiamat, Enki straight up kills Apsu who was made a freshwater by the way.
[00:27:10] Don Early: And the freshwater we're talking about the fresh water. Under the earth, all the aquifers, everything, the groundwater, the sweet or drinkable water, whereas Tiamat is the, uh, rushing, uh, raging seawater.
[00:27:25] That is, uh, hostile.
[00:27:28] Jeremy Spray: Yeah, absolutely. Speaking of hostile because now Enki killed Apsu has a son named Marduk now the god of Babylon. Oh, by the way, each city has their own version of this myth, but we're going to focus on Marduk because that one's easy. He's he's, Babylon's patron god. And there's a lot of information about that majority of tablets that were found or anyway, you got it.
[00:27:49] Yeah. So Apsu is dead, right? So now Tiamat is fucking enraged that her kids killed her husband. I don't know exactly what she expected to happen. She told them that that was going to happen and she didn't want murder to happen, but either way, she's probably going to be mad no matter what the outcome was. So now we need to note that Tiamat also had other children that were not gods.
[00:28:12] You can think of them like the old ones kind of like Greek Titans. The eldest old one is Kingu and Kingu speaks with her and advises her to make war on the younger gods. She agrees. And in order to do it her without doing it herself, she creates out of the forces of chaos, 11 horrible monsters or demons to destroy her children under Kingu's command.
[00:28:36] So this is his army. Here's these names, Emily you're ready. I'm ready. The first one is Basmu or Bashmu, which is a venomous snake. Then there's Usumgallu, Great Dragon, Musmahhu, Exalted Serpent, Mushussu, The Furious Snake. Lahmu, The Hairy One.
[00:28:58] Don Early: That was named after me.
[00:29:00] Jeremy Spray: Gross
[00:29:02] Ugallu, The Big Weather Beast, which I thought was actually named after Don. Uridimmu The Mad Lion. Sorry, I'm going to say that, that different Ooridimmu. And then there's a Girtablullu, Scorpion Man. Umu dabrutu, Violent Storms. There's Kulullu, the Fishman and Kusarikku, the Bull Man. So there's going to be a test later. So make sure you remember those names in order.
[00:29:33] Don Early: So I heard you, right. There's a lot of snakes, a lot of serpents. Yep. And then we've got some like half man, half beast, like the scorpion man and the Fishman and the bull man. Yeah. And then we've got some like storms and weather and
[00:29:53] Emily Quann: the weather beast and violent storms.
[00:29:55] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:29:57] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. You know what? I'm not seeing here.
[00:29:59] I'm not seeing bears. I'm not seeing tigers. I'm not seeing alligators. I'm like immediately aware of like, oh, okay. So the Fishman, the bull man, the scorpion man that is creatures of the fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia area. So, so that you, right. The imagination goes to what's what's nearby what you can see.
[00:30:20] Don Early: Yeah. Cause if you don't know a bear exists, how do you make it up?
[00:30:24] Jeremy Spray: How do you make it up? Yeah. All right. So back to Enki, he's a bit overwhelmed by this and doesn't feel like he's up the task he could handle. Apsu right. One giant elder God, but now there's an army of under gods and demons and he's out.
[00:30:36] He doesn't want the only with that. All right. So,
[00:30:41] Hey, I know I got your turn. I'll take care of this one on, uh, actually his brother Anu does step up not to fight though. He tries to a seat, but their mother instead, you know, try to talk her out of it and she ain't having any of that shit.
[00:30:55] Don Early: So a raging Tiamat?
[00:30:57] Jeremy Spray: I mean, it's mom. She could give it a shot. Maybe he was the favorite. So Enki's son. Remember Enki's son, Marduk. He's now chosen to be the leader of the gods and Marduk being leader of the gods now says, you know what? Fuck diplomacy. We're going to go attack grandma. So he attacks Tiamat with sword and flame and lightning.
[00:31:20] So the great fight is happening. Tiamat opens up her mouth to swallow him. Remember the great bit of water. So, so we're talking lots and lots of storm .Marduk drives the storm wind through her to incapacitate her. And then he shoots her with an arrow, killing her and splitting her into two. From her eyes, when she dies, flows the rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates.
[00:31:48] Emily Quann: Awesome.
[00:31:49] Jeremy Spray: Marduk fashions her corpse into heaven and earth. So now she is the split of the two and he finishes the creation of the cosmos. By the way he does get to Kingu. Kingu gets brought forth, charged and is killed. And out of Kingu's blood Marduk creates humanity, whose sole purpose is to make sacrifices and serve the gods.
[00:32:10] That's why we exist by the way, is because Marduk creates humanity out of the blood of his enemies. This is kind of implying that this is why humanity is rebellious against the gods because we're, we're born of, of blood and fire. Marduk then appoints all the other gods to their appropriate in stations.
[00:32:29] And there they are. So we have now been created Marduk saved the day.
[00:32:33] Don Early: Wow. Yeah. So a huge, crazy story. What, there's a lot of parallels. There's a lot of parallels here. I feel like, um, I mean, not character for character and not event for event, obviously, but, but what are some things that jump out at you?
[00:32:53] Jeremy Spray: Well, how about the flood? Thinking of Tiamat, the, the, the made of the giant bitter raging waters, uh, opening up her maw to swallow Marduk and everything.
[00:33:04] That sounds prettyflood-like to me. That sounds something that would be pretty massive and devastating.
[00:33:10] Don Early: I have, I have a note there. Uh, so that was to signify. So Tiamat opening, her maw is, you know, this is chaos, the devouring female attempts to destroy order by ingesting it and reabsorbing it and forcing it back into the primordial womb.
[00:33:32] And so that's the note that we're supposed to pick up on.
[00:33:37] Jeremy Spray: Ah, okay.
[00:33:38] Don Early: From that context, you know, you know, what's the, that's the thing that I love about this mythology is that A, it's a story with characters who are doing things, but B these characters are also concepts, that reflect what you see out in the world and trying to explain it.
[00:33:58] Jeremy Spray: Yeah, I get that.
[00:34:00] Don Early: And with, with Marduk, eh, you know, fashioning humanity out of Kingu's blood, his whole idea there is to, you know, okay. So backing up a little bit when Enki kills Apsu, someone's got a run Apsu's kingdom. Right. Sure. So Enki is the one that goes down under the earth and, and is now like, you know, running the kingdom.
[00:34:30] Jeremy Spray: Is that part of the idea of making a, uh, a house on his corpse? Yeah. It's like kind of taken over for where he's dead.
[00:34:38] Don Early: There's another version of the story is he actually, um, you know, the, the corpse gets buried deep down into the earth because it basically, he is the fresh water, if you, if you remember.
[00:34:47] Yeah. Um, so he builds his house within, you know, underground into, into this area, but then Marduk kills Tiamat. So right now someone's got a rule kingdom,
[00:35:03] Jeremy Spray: chaos, and oceans right.
[00:35:05] Don Early: And stuff. And so, and so by doing that, he splits her in another myth. She, she, you know, she's a primordial god, so she can't actually die.
[00:35:14] And so. He sorta incapacitates her, split her into two and makes one half of her body, you know, the sky and one half the earth and her out of her eyes, you know, the, the rivers flow, she still alive in this disfigured state. Uh,
[00:35:35] Emily Quann: oh my gosh.
[00:35:36] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:35:39] Jeremy Spray: Brutal people like you said. Yeah. There's some, some brutalness here.
[00:35:45] Don Early: Yeah. So I think that's the other thing that sort of gets me is how violent the, this creation myth is. You know, we, in Genesis, we have in the beginning where the waters of the void, right. And they were ups unsubstantiated waters and they were in the darkness and then God had to separate the waters, which were not quite Up and Down yet, but eventually then would fashion the world and that sort of thing. Egypt had primordial waters too. So this kind of, kind of makes me just, it's really interesting that the sky, they look up at the sky and they think that was water.
[00:36:30] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. I mean, there's, there's a part of me that kind of gets it because the, if you look at things on their surface, right?
[00:36:38] I feel the same way about dragons this way. Like, if you look at something on its surface and you say, what I see is real, then what you're seeing is a bunch of ocean in the sky. Right? You look down, you see all the blue water here, you look up, that's a lot of blue. That's gotta be water. That's I can feel this.
[00:36:56] I can touch this. That's what I see. It's the same thing, right? The idea of dragons existing in the background. I believe that there were absolutely dinosaur bones that were a lot closer to the surface when, when people dug them up, they're like, holy hell, look at the face of this thing that could keep everything there's gotta be dragons around.
[00:37:15] Right, right. Because my reality is what it is. That's what I perceive and that's what I create of it. So I, I can definitely see that separation of the split because they look the same. Everything matches.
[00:37:28] Don Early: Yeah, for sure.
[00:37:29] Jeremy Spray: And if this one is so powerful and if I got to be careful of my God, of the ocean, they got to be careful, that means there's gotta be something fearful up there that I also have to sacrifice and pay homage to before that also attacks me.
[00:37:43] Don Early: Well. And then there's the other side of things. Death and, and death is the thing that everybody, uh, is afraid of. It's a universal human experience because we have awareness and we have this fear of oblivion and, and so then becomes this well, how do you explain that? How do you explain how things keep going on and w you know, is there any hope for us and that sort of thing? And so we get all these different, um, underworlds and the Babylonian underworld is super cool. And, uh, it has some very interesting characters in it.
[00:38:24] Uh, so once again, the land of the dead and the land of the dead is ruled by Ereshkigal. She is the Queen of Darkness. Originally. She was a sky goddess, uh, and she was carried off by force to the underworld by the dragon Kur and she now shares the throne with Nergil. And we'll get to him in a second. Um,
[00:38:51] Jeremy Spray: Now who's got all the names?
[00:38:53] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:38:56] But, uh, Queen of Darkness, this is the first one that we're starting to get this sense of like death equals darkness. Um, and, uh, it had, it's interesting to me that the, uh, the head of the underworld is, is a queen, uh, who was originally a sky goddess. That's sounding familiar. Osiris?
[00:39:19] Jeremy Spray: I was actually thinking of, uh, fricking call me out Greeks.
[00:39:24] Don Early: Um, Hades or Persephone?
[00:39:27] Jeremy Spray: Yes. That's. That's where my mind was going.
[00:39:28] Don Early: Yeah. And so, and then Kur is the Great Lord of the Underworld beneath the earth. And indeed he is the underworld and he is also understood as sickness and death, and he takes the form of this great dragon. Um, Nergil is son of Enlil and Enlil is Enki's brother.
[00:39:53] So we talked a little bit about that, but, and again, I don't have the family tree. I can't really audibly describe it, but just go with me. Well, we heard a lot about Enki. He did a lot of things and Enki had a son named Marduk. Well Enki's brother, Marduk's uncle is Enlil. And Enlil's son is Nergil, and Nergil was originally a sun god, and a god of healing. But he, I don't have the myth on this, but there's a particular reason for why he does this. He forces his way into the underworld for, reasons reasons, using heat and lightening there again, that sort of heat, lightening thing. And sh he threatens to destroy Ereshkigal, uh, she avoids destruction by agreeing to marry him.
[00:40:46] That's romantic.
[00:40:47] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[00:40:48] Emily Quann: Lovely.
[00:40:50] Don Early: As gods of the underworld there now in dark gods of destruction, death, plague, and war, and yet they still retain their origins as sky gods that have fallen. And so there's the, again that ambivalence, that sort of sky god, but also god of the underworld.
[00:41:11] Jeremy Spray: Wow. They sound really bad.
[00:41:12] Well, let's not be judgemental. These are sky gods here. Calm down.
[00:41:16] Emily Quann: Is that sort of like the thought of like the fallen angels who are now, I mean, I know that these are gods in this as, you know, sky gods that have fallen, but
[00:41:27] Don Early: I think that you could draw a parallel as it is to say that, you know, these were gods that have fallen or that have been brought to the underworld, but I'm not think fallen in a sense of being kicked out of heaven. Right. Fallen angels were thought to be evil as well. And, um, the, uh, you know, the gods who became the gods of the underworld were not necessarily evil, but they were probably more likely to be associated with evil just because death is real scary.
[00:42:00] Emily Quann: Yeah. Um, okay.
[00:42:03] Jeremy Spray: I do like, and I don't mean to keep cutting you off, but I do like pointing out that like consistently w the last minutes and these, but these are especially gods are fricking workers.
[00:42:14] You can't be a god without having a job, a very specific task and job. Like you have to be in charge of this thing. There's no, god that just like, I'm, I'm going to chill. Like I like being god's and just being able to like, Nope, fricking earn this, you do it. Like when I was in the sky, you changed your mind now you're in charge of death.
[00:42:34] Good luck. Goodbye.
[00:42:36] Emily Quann: Yeah.
[00:42:37] Don Early: Again, trying to explain why things run in the world the way they do. And that especially stuff in the sky has to have immense power beyond human comprehension. Yeah. And then death and everything that goes beyond like what happens and, you know, your body goes down into the earth.
[00:42:59] Then what? You know, it just sparks that imagination. There is one exception though. Anu Remember I was talking about Anu?
[00:43:08] Jeremy Spray: I was talking about Anu. Yeah. The one who's tried to diplomacy with Tiamat.
[00:43:11] Don Early: Yeah. He was also the sky god, that was married to Ki, the mother earth.
[00:43:18] Jeremy Spray: Right.
[00:43:18] Don Early: Um, so different myth, same character, different hierarchy.
[00:43:23] Anyway, Anu was kind of a sky god, but he really wasn't ever worshipped as such. He really was just kind of the god of being divine. He was just sort of thought of like I'm um, he was the lazy one. I think
[00:43:42] Jeremy Spray: I'll take it. Yeah. That's he's gotten it.
[00:43:45] Don Early: But he's the only one that I know.
[00:43:48] Jeremy Spray: I'm the god of being worshiped.
[00:43:50] Yeah, man. I wanted that gig.
[00:43:54] Don Early: All right. So let's talk about Ereshkigal's sister. She has a sister and her name is Ishtar. And in another civilization or another religion or version, uh, her name is Innanu. Um, but we're going to go with Ishtar, but she's very well known as Innanu as well.
[00:44:12] So Ishtar is a goddess of fertility. She is goddess of love and, uh, she decides to descend into the underworld. I don't know why she, I guess, maybe wanted to visit her sister or maybe she, I don't know. I don't know. We don't know why she descends, but she does. She goes down into the underworld and she fears that her sister will resent her and put her to death.
[00:44:42] So that's probably a valid fear. It could be that she thinks that Ereshkigal would think that, you know, she wanted her chair or something. We don't really know, but her fears are justified because she is absolutely resisted by her sister. Her sister feels threatened by Ishtar. Why the hell're you down in my kingdom?
[00:45:02] So Ishtar must pass through seven gates of hell. And in each gate, she is met by a demon who strips her of one article of clothing. Strip gates of hell.
[00:45:14] Emily Quann: Wow.
[00:45:17] Jeremy Spray: It doesn't sound so bad. Let's see how this plays out.
[00:45:20] Don Early: Yeah. Quote, "She is brought stark naked and on bended knee before Ereshkigal and the Annunaki, the seven dreaded judges of the netherworld.
[00:45:33] They fasten upon her their eyes of death. And she's turned into a corpse, which is then hung from a state.
[00:45:41] Emily Quann: God,
[00:45:42] Jeremy Spray: jeez dude, they give her the death stare.
[00:45:44] Don Early: So while Ishtar is dead, the world above becomes sterile and barren. But with the help of Enki, she is revived, but there's a rule that no one can return to the land of the living unless they have a replacement.
[00:46:02] Jeremy Spray: Oh.
[00:46:03] Don Early: So, uh, and the replacement has to be suitable, has to be a proper substitute since
[00:46:09] Emily Quann: Gotta find someone.
[00:46:11] Don Early: Yeah. So she goes back to the surface and goes back to her husband, Tammuz, who's in, um, the place of Kullab, and finds that, uh, he's not real mourning her death, uh, while she's been away, he's been there actually kind of enjoying the high life on the throne in her absence.
[00:46:33] Jeremy Spray: Oh m' god.
[00:46:34] Don Early: So she's like, yeah, you bastard. Ishtar looks upon him with the eye of death and hands them over to the demons. Buh-bye who dragged him to the underworld and is never seen from again.
[00:46:50] Jeremy Spray: Gees,
[00:46:51] Don Early: Hell is the region of death. And then w while imprisoning the goddess of love and fertility, that can cause the world above to be blighted and sterile. But she comes back and that gets renewed.
[00:47:05] And there's again, this cycle, but by very violent means in both ways. Right,
[00:47:12] Jeremy Spray: Right.
[00:47:12] Emily Quann: Yeah.
[00:47:14] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. It, it, like you said, it's not order out of chaos. It's kind of order deriven from the chaos that's being created. Again, the chaos is the cycle.
[00:47:22] Don Early: Yeah. Anyway.. So that's, that's sort of the, the underworld of the Mesopotamian religion.
[00:47:30] Uh, let's talk a little real quickly about the demonology of Mesopotamia. Cause they had some real interesting demons. They're generally hostile spirits of lesser dignity and power to the gods are basically evil spirits that are very powerful, but they're definitely not as powerful, and they're definitely not as respected as gods even the lowest gods.
[00:47:56] The terrible previously mentioned Annunaki were the jailers and the judges of the dead in hell. The etimmu were ghosts of those who died unhappy. The utukku lived in deserts or graveyards, and then there were some other demons, you know, they had demons of plagues, demons of nightmares, demons of headaches.
[00:48:20] Pretty sure. I had one of those last night. Um,
[00:48:26] demons, a wind storms. It must be windy as fuck there.
[00:48:31] Jeremy Spray: Yeah, man.
[00:48:32] Don Early: How many gods are there a wind and storms and shit.
[00:48:36] Jeremy Spray: Have you looked at where this thing is on the map? Like, yeah, that is windy as hell there. It's gotta be, with the way it's done between the seas and the dry lands across in the air and this.
[00:48:47] Yeah, I imagine there's, there's a ton of fricking storm.
[00:48:50] Don Early: Well, all the, every time you see the big sand storms and all the big movies, and I'm sure if you saw one in real life, they are. Like humbling. Really terrifying. Yeah. Anyway, so demons of windstorms, such as or Pazuzu the king of the demons of, of the wind. And Pazuzu might be familiar to some of you. He is the demon that is referenced in the Exorcist.
[00:49:20] Jeremy Spray: Oh wow.
[00:49:21] Don Early: And it is thought that he is the demon that possesses Reagan, the child, in the Exorcist. I've read The Exorcist and I've seen the movie and they definitely make a little bit bigger deal out of that in the sequels to the movie. But you don't really get that directly. They talk about Pez Pazuzu early on, like in Iraq and the sort of archeological dig site and stuff.
[00:49:50] And they reference him like one more time and that's it. It's there. And he is thought to be a very evil demon, very old demon, Mesopotamian demon.
[00:50:02] Jeremy Spray: Good writing, good catch.
[00:50:03] Don Early: Very famous. He's in Hollywood now.
[00:50:06] Jeremy Spray: Oh, I made it.
[00:50:09] Don Early: And of course, you know, demons of every human ill, because if your sick it's obviously gotta be a demon, right.
[00:50:16] It's among the worst of the demons was Lillitu or Ardat Lili. And she is the ancestral prototype to the biblical Lilith in Isaiah 34. Uh, Lillitu was a frigid barren husbandless quote, maid of desolation who roamed the night, attacking men as a succubus and drinking their blood. To protect oneself against demons, one resorted to the use of amulets, incantations, exorcisms, and yeah, all that.
[00:50:49] You get the idea, we got demons like proper demons
[00:50:53] Jeremy Spray: Full on. Yeah. In a couple of things now.
[00:50:56] Don Early: And then, you know, you, you have the Israelites who are then sort of thrust upon all of this and, and have to absorb people, you know, observing these deities and whatnot. Clearly that has to influence what your thought of evil is.
[00:51:15] Jeremy Spray: Yeah, for sure.
[00:51:17] Don Early: All right. Well, we're done with Mesopotamia. We're going to move on. We're moving on to Canaan.
[00:51:24] All right.
[00:51:25] Canaan is a term that broadly applies or the Canaanites, um, that broadly applies to the Semetic speaking civilizations around the coast of what is now Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. So it's on the coastal side of things.
[00:51:39] The high god
[00:51:40] Jeremy Spray: Was Mediterranean coastal side of things, right? Yeah,
[00:51:45] Don Early: The high God was El, and this was adopted by Yahweh. As in el shaddai or Elohim, the god of the sky and sun often portrayed as a bull. His son was Baal or Bale or Bal, or you get the idea.
[00:52:05] Jeremy Spray: It's that guy, you know, Baal.
[00:52:09] Don Early: Uh, which means "the Lord." And it was equated with Hadi or Hadad, god of lightning and thunder who became god of agriculture when the Amorites, which were a roaming civilization settled in Canaan.
[00:52:23] Um, it's later determined, pretty distinctly that, uh, Baal and, uh, Hadad or, um, are two very specific different characters, but. They were associated. There was other deities like, um, Dagon god of vegetation, especially grain. Reshef, god of the desert, war, and plague. There we go again.
[00:52:47] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[00:52:49] Don Early: And then the three goddesses whose functions were often indistinguishable from one another.
[00:52:54] So in a lot of stories, they're going to, you're going to see them being substituted for each other quite a bit. Okay. And they all start with a cool, so there's Asherah. She was a sea goddess. Astarte, who's very, very famous. She, uh, this is the heat, the Hebrews distorted a star, a into Ashtoreth, or in some translations Ashtoroth to make it sound like a word, meaning shame in Hebrew.
[00:53:26] Uh, she was the goddess of war love and fertility, and, uh, the Egyptians associated her with the horse and chariot, which were the deadliest war machines of the time. Cause it was often depicted on horseback and things like that. They knew who she was, the Egyptians knew exactly who she was and they, they brought her on, in to their Pantheon as well.
[00:53:50] Jeremy Spray: So we have a god and goddess of war. Cause, cause war, desert, and was it pestilence was, was one of the other ones? The guy before
[00:53:58] Yeah, destruction.
[00:54:00] Don Early: Yeah. Yeah. And then there's, uh, Anath, Anath, Aneth, or Anat. Um, she is the sister wife of Baal.
[00:54:12] Jeremy Spray: Sister wife.
[00:54:12] Don Early: Yeah. So, and at the center of this religion was a fertility cult and the central figures were Baal, Anath, and their enemy Mot. And Mot was the Lord of destruction and sterility.
[00:54:28] So, uh, very much the exact opposite of Baal. Baal is the Lord of life and fertility. Yeah. For centuries, the only knowledge we had of the Canaanites came from the Bible. Who viewed Baal as evil or at the very least a false god. To the Canaanites, however, Baal was the savior god, the Lord of life and fertility. His symbols were like his father's El, the bull and the crescent horns.
[00:54:55] And it was generally known as the Lord. I found some really interesting sort of, uh, language break down. Uh, of this. So in the Semetic languages, there's Ba'al, where they have the apostrophe between the A's and yeah. When you're using in Ba'al or Baal, uh, that is to signify owner, lord, or even husband.
[00:55:21] Jeremy Spray: Hah!
[00:55:22] Don Early: Baalim was thought to be the pluralized form of Baal, suggesting either multiple deities of the same name or that Baal could take on different forms.
[00:55:35] There is just Bal, which was, uh, Amharic.which is B-A-L. There's Belu or Bel in a Acadian. Ba'l which is B-A apostrophe L in Arabic. And this one's interesting can serve as names for various gods fall or serve as the word that indicates ownership or the possessive. So again, we talked about like working this notion that Baal is "The Lord, I own this. This is my realm." And as you can imagine, marriage probably wasn't as equality,
[00:56:14] Jeremy Spray: We know that it wasn't. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:56:17] Emily Quann: Yeah. Not at all.
[00:56:19] Jeremy Spray: So it's, it's, uh, it could be a form of not just God named, but, but ownership.
[00:56:23] Don Early: Yeah.
[00:56:24] Jeremy Spray: And, and in actual lordships that the way that we currently use it?
[00:56:29] Don Early: That's right.
[00:56:29] Jeremy Spray: How interesting. So, wait a minute. Does that mean that in the Bible, in the biblical context of it, they were referencing it the same way.
[00:56:38] Don Early: Yes. Thank you for that segue.
[00:56:40] Jeremy Spray: Whahaaa!
[00:56:43] Don Early: But before I get to that, I want to throw this one little last thing. Ba'alah was is the Hebrew Aramaic. That can mean the lady of the house or in the rare form wife.
[00:56:55] So all I'm trying to point out is that Baal was used in a lot of different ways in these old languages. Um, but Baal can be used as a title and is equated with the Hebrew: Adon, Lord, or Adonai, my Lord. And you are observation is absolutely 100% correct that there, there is thought to be, that Baal was equated with Yahweh.
[00:57:22] There's not a lot of direct evidence to suggest this. It's just anecdotal observational. It could be coincidence. But another thought, which this sounds a little bit more compelling to me, is that at some point that they were, but by the ninth century BCE, when Jezebel introduced Israel to her Baal and encourage them to neglect Yahweh, the Israelites began to resent the name Baal culminating in an outright denunciation of Baal as a false God, or, you know, equated the concept with shame.
[00:57:59] And so we get this separation. But it makes sense the way it's used. And the way it's, it's used in the Bible, you know, in the, in the Hebrew Bible is, is, you know, the terms Lord and my Lord, and
[00:58:15] Jeremy Spray: Right. It's, it's less about the, the deity and more about like a fiefdom and the determination of ownership and, and title.
[00:58:25] Don Early: Yeah, exactly.
[00:58:25] Emily Quann: Fascinating.
[00:58:27] Don Early: And it gets better. Baal is also where we eventually get Baal Zebub, or Beelzebub. Baal Zebub meant "Baal of the heavenly mansion", whereas Zebub is like a place or a mention or a house.
[00:58:46] Jeremy Spray: Oh
[00:58:46] Don Early: "Lord of the high place." Beezlebub, or Beezelbub,, but was apparently the deity worshipped in the Philistine city of Ekron and the Old Testament Beezlebub is referred to as "the Lord of flies" or "the Lord of dung."
[00:59:02] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[00:59:02] Don Early: So. In that context... I see a lightbulb in your face.
[00:59:13] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. Okay. So if here here's, here's my piece of it just went ahead, Beezlebub, which I already knew as "Lord of the flies" or "the Lord of the dung." But if that means "the Lord of the high place" or "God of the high castle," and they look down on those people, then when the Israelites are referring to the Palestinians in, in their conflict, they're like, yeah, you know,
[00:59:38] Don Early: The Philistines
[00:59:38] Jeremy Spray: the Philistines, excuse me. Right. The Philistines they'd be like, yeah, those people, they, they live on crap. They are, they are crap people rather than an actual god of flies because it's not a god anymore. It's it's the Lord. It's the, he is the King of the Pile of shit.
[00:59:57] Don Early: It's commentary. It's absolutely commentary. I think it's, it's commentary on the rival religion and the rival, uh, political state, the captors, the oppressors. Um, absolutely. I think that's a hundred percent. Lord of the high place? Lord of the high mansion? Nah, fuck that. He's the Lord of Shit.
[01:00:20] Emily Quann: Yeah.
[01:00:23] Don Early: That's what that means. So you can imagine if your religion says there's only one God, and all the other gods are false gods, then everyone else's god becomes evil regardless.
[01:00:34] So yeah, a lot of bull horns and cloven feet. Yeah. Fertility and,
[01:00:45] Jeremy Spray: and every one of them is evil. Therefore you combine them all having an embodiment of the bad God.
[01:00:51] Don Early: Yeah.
[01:00:53] Jeremy Spray: The Lord of Shit.
[01:00:54] Don Early: The Lord of shit. Yeah. Lord of Flies a Lord of dung. All right. So, so let's get into the, the Canaanite myth for Baal. And Emily, I think you've got this one.
[01:01:08] Emily Quann: I do. Okay.
[01:01:16] So Mot is ravaging the world and Baal goes out to fight him. After a long battle, Mot defeats Baal who bows and humiliates himself before the enemy promising to be a slave. But Mot kills him or swallows him or send them to the underworld. It's all the same thing we don't know. But you get the idea, right?
[01:01:43] Jeremy Spray: Got them off the map. Check.
[01:01:46] Emily Quann: Gone.
[01:01:46] Don Early: It reminds me of like, uh, when you're roughing out rough housing is kids and, you know, you clearly get beat. You're like, okay, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I promise to be your slave. But in this case, it's was like, yeah, fuck you die.
[01:02:00] Emily Quann: Exactly. So Baal is gone from the earth for seven years.
[01:02:06] And during that time, the earth is barren. Crops wilt. They die, nothing's growing, but Baal's sister, Anath, or Anat, or however we decided to pronounce that, um, is the terrible goddess of love and war. And she wanders the earth in search of her dead brother. So she finds his body and gives him a proper burial.
[01:02:34] But then out of revenge, she seeks out Mot. And kills the fucking shit out of him,
[01:02:48] "Death thou, shalt and die." And here's a pretty kick ass quote. Um, and Don can fill in where it's from. But "with sword doth, she cleave him .With fan doth she winnow him. With fire doth she burn him. With hand mill, she grinds him. In the field, she doth sew him.
[01:03:18] So death is dead.
[01:03:23] Yeah. So killing Mot is an act of fertility, uh, to make the grain grow.
[01:03:30] And the death of death revives Baal and with right, and with Baals return, the world blooms. It's a wonderful again. Mot however, also revives and the two gods fight again. And so, right, and this is the cycle of life in that region. Seven year cycles, these, these battles, you know, seven years and then crap. Now if Baal won, the land and people are fertile and have plenty to eat. But if Mot wins, there's drought and famine. So equal power, equal chance of winning.
[01:04:11] And there's another myth about Anath. And she's confronted with a hostile army of men because. And she fights reasons who knows. She fights them violently. And also slays the shit out of them. And there's another, is this from a poem or a song?
[01:04:31] Don Early: This is, uh, this is from, uh, either a poem or a clay tablet or something. It's it's translated.
[01:04:40] Emily Quann: Okay. So,
[01:04:41] "And lo Anath fights violently. She slays the sons of the two cities. She fights the people of the seashore, annihilates mankind of the sunrise. She plunges me deep in the blood of heroes and neck high and the gore of troops.
[01:05:01] Jeremy Spray: Oh god.
[01:05:01] Don Early: Jesus.
[01:05:04] Jeremy Spray: Yeah, that was it. As a visual, I wasn't waiting. I wasn't expecting
[01:05:10] Emily Quann: So similar to the Sekmet myth, she is representative of God's destructive power. Um, you know, God plans the destruction of humanity, but stays His hand to spare a select few from the slaughter.
[01:05:25] Don Early: Yeah.
[01:05:26] Emily Quann: So that is how that myth goes.
[01:05:30] Don Early: What Stark's similarities there are.
[01:05:32] Um, I don't know if that's the right way to say that stark similarities. Very similar.
[01:05:37] Jeremy Spray: What very clear. Yeah.
[01:05:39] Don Early: Um, with Egypt. I really feel like, you know, there's that cycle again, where things sort of, there's a clash and then somebody dies and then things go to shit. But then he comes back and things are better.
[01:05:56] And, um,
[01:05:57] Jeremy Spray: The, the very moment you mentioned seven years of famine. I was like, oh, that's Potiphar. And I immediately thought of Joseph's dreams as well from, uh, the, from old Testament, uh, of the, you know, you guys remember ages a 17 year old kid, and he's like, there will be seven years of feast and then there'll be seven years of famine and right.
[01:06:16] And it goes, it goes back and forth and everyone's like, how can this be anyway that it reminded me of that thinking like that's a, that's a similar tale as well.
[01:06:26] Emily Quann: I just think it's neat that, that they're seeing things that are going on in their lives. They're noticing these seven-year cycles. Um, and they create these stories to explain it, to explain it away.
[01:06:40] Yeah, yeah.
[01:06:42] Don Early: Yeah, no kiddin. Well, we didn't get any beer in this episode, uh, with the myths, but
[01:06:49] Jeremy Spray: I have no doubt that you tried. I bet you tried your hardest.
[01:06:51] Don Early: Yeah. Uh, there's jizz and there's a lot of blood and gore and bodies being torn asunder.
[01:07:01] Jeremy Spray: I'm trying not to like wrinkle my nose at that, but like that's true. There was a there's a lot of that yeah.
[01:07:07] Emily Quann: We could add beer to this. She plunges knee deep in the blood of heroes, neck high in the gore of troops and slams the beer to, to celebrate.
[01:07:17] Don Early: That made that myth a whole lot better. Thanks.
[01:07:26] Jeremy Spray: Good job. Thanks.
[01:07:28] Don Early: Well, okay, so let's summarize. I think number one, proximity makes the Mesopotamian and Canaanite influence on Judaism and early Christianity inevitable. Yeah, the world is chaotic and cruel and their gods reflect this. And the gods did not seem to have much affinity for humanity. And it establishes some influences for future creation myths. The sky god that falls and becomes associated with death, the underworld disease, fertility, and thereby sex, love, symbols of the bull crescent moon. So startin' to ring any bells? So bit sky divine being falls from the sky, becomes associated with death and the underworld and diseases.
[01:08:17] Jeremy Spray: Yep. That adds up.
[01:08:19] Don Early: Number three, if a new religion establishes in the area with a focus on only one God, all the other gods are false. Not only that though, but the other gods are cruel, barely even care about humanity, it seems. So, make your religion where the sky god actually likes humanity and doesn't like false gods. All the other gods are then evil. And then by extension become the demons in the new religion. And some of these false gods names become associated with the ultimate evil one.
[01:08:51] Emily Quann: Sure.
[01:08:52] Jeremy Spray: Yep. Totally see that.
[01:08:54] Don Early: These civilizations continue to wrestle with the theodicy, the way to explain why things, the way they are. Why does all this bad shit happen when I worship properly? Don't the gods even care? Is it all just chaos? And all we can do is try our best to create some kind of order to get some peace? The sky gods, aren't they supposed to be good? Why do they allow us to suffer? These are still relevant.
[01:09:23] Jeremy Spray: Yes. If you're coming to that from that perspective that there are gods that create suffering or allow suffering for sure. Cause suffering still exists
[01:09:33] Emily Quann: well, and just looking back at that seven year cycle of famine and, and if the other God wins the battle, then we seven years of good times, you know?
[01:09:43] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[01:09:44] Don Early: And remember that the people of this area, man, they suffered. Mutilations, slavery, pillaging, burning, uh, bodies piled high and left to rot in the sun. Imperialism, drought, blights, harsh desert winds, and scorching sands. But maybe there's another explanation. Maybe the sky god isn't responsible. Maybe the sky god isn't all powerful.
[01:10:13] And that there is another being that's responsible for all this awfulness. Well, in the sixth century, BCE Zarathustra, prophet out of Iran, establishes the idea of actual dualism. There is another. There is a second principle. There is one whose domain is evil and the suffering of the individual. The first prince of darkness. The first devil. Ahura Mainyu or later known as Ahriman and we will get all into his situation in the next episode.
[01:10:50] Jeremy Spray: Sweet.
[01:10:51] Emily Quann: so, so that's it now has a name, this sing singular being of evilness has a name. And, and what was that again? Ahriman
[01:11:02] Don Early: Ahriman.
[01:11:03] Yeah. Or if you want to go with the old name, Ahura Mainyu.
[01:11:08] Emily Quann: Ahura Mainyu
[01:11:10] Jeremy Spray: Cool man. Well, Hey, um, I'll be here next week. I'm looking forward to it.
[01:11:16] Don Early: I will too. Cause I wrote it
[01:11:20] Emily Quann: I'll come along to,
[01:11:26] Don Early: well, this has been the devil you don't know. And in our series, the ancient origins of the devil head on over to our new website at thedevilpodcast.com and leave a comment or review, let us know you're listening. You can also find all the links to our social media and all of our sources through our link tree.
[01:11:48] Definitely check that out. If you've got a story or question or praise for the show, you can leave us a voicemail, (971) 666-3351. I know who uses phone numbers anymore, but you can so give us a call, leave your voicemail, and we will play it on the air. On the air. We were played in on an episode. 9 7 1 6 6 6 3 3 5 1.
[01:12:15] Remember to subscribe. You can find us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Also remember on Apple Podcasts, you can leave us a review there as well. That'd be great
[01:12:29] Jeremy Spray: 5 stars, please.
[01:12:30] Emily Quann: Yeah, I'd love that.
[01:12:32] Don Early: Thank you all so, so much for listening to us and tune in next time as we continue our series on the ancient origins of the devil, this will be Zoroastrianism or the first devil.
[01:12:48] Emily Quann: Yes.
[01:12:50] By folks
[01:12:51] Jeremy Spray: Bye all.
[01:13:05] Don Early: Next on The Devil You Don't Know, how did Zoroastrianism influence a post exilic Judaism and early Christianity? And I'll remind everybody what post exilic means, uh, in a bit. So last time on last
[01:13:24] time on the Devil You Don't Know.
[01:13:27] Jeremy Spray: That's right. I want to hear each of us do that. That was really good. Emily, can we do that again?
[01:13:32] Emily Quann: What?
[01:13:32] Jeremy Spray: Say it again. See the exactly. You just said the last time. All right, I'll do it. Do it after me. Last time, on the devil you don't know
[01:13:41] Emily Quann: last time on the devil, you don't know. I don't know how I said it the first time now trying to like do it on command.
[01:13:51] Jeremy Spray: Do the radio voice be funny? I can't, I can't be funny when you say
[01:13:59] last time on, I don't know,
[01:14:01] Emily Quann: last time on the devil, you don't know. And hit it Don.
[01:14:07] Jeremy Spray: Now you say Don, we didn't get yours
[01:14:10] Don Early: last time, on the devil you don't know,
[01:14:13] Emily Quann: see, that sounds way better.
[01:14:14] Jeremy Spray: That was pretty NPR is what that was. I loved it.
[01:14:18] Don Early: NPR is definitely a big inspiration of mine. I strive to, to meet that. I I'm a long way there. It's going to be fine. Let's start with Egypt.