Not so long ago, in an attempt to delineate certain basic rules that should be followed in the reconstruction of cosmic history, I had reason to claim that, in its cosmic interpretation, the mythological record "is backed by the astronomical lore that was current at the time." While not meant to be exhaustive, a compendium of this ancient astronomical lore will now be discussed. But first, a few clarifications are in order.
As I had previously stated in an even earlier paper, our primitive forefathers had no science capable of explaining the mysterious portents they saw suspended in the sky above them, much less the transfigurations these bodies were seen to undergo. All they had at their disposal was fear, reverence, and awe.
Understanding best through analogy, our progenitors, much like still-existing primitive cultures, compared what they did not know to what they knew. Seen at close quarters, the heavenly bodies looked like nothing on Earth. But because they moved and seemed to propagate, because they moved and interacted with one another, because they seemed to change, to age, and even to die, primitive man endowed them with life and could best compare them to the living things he saw around him, and this included himself.
As I have indicated in earlier works, the anthropomorphism of the heavenly bodies was nurtured despite the realization that these spheres could have been anything but human. To our ancient progenitors, these celestial lights were mysterious beings who followed a law unto themselves. Totally impervious to man's needs or desires, they were, in more than one respect, absolutely supreme.
Requiring a generic, these mysterious celestial beings eventually became known as gods which, in whatever language or dialect thereof, was at first an indistinctive term employed to describe the undescribable. It is as such that we must understand primitive man's first concept of the planets.
Because, in that far gone time, the planets did not always appear serene, our ancestors must have soon fell prone to fearing them. And because there were times when planetary malignity resulted in havoc, these primitive societies did not take long to realize that they lived their life completely at their mercy. Since they could not hinder, let alone harm, the planets, these early peoples could not understand why they were being chastised. But the idea soon took root that planetary displeasure might be directed toward the wrongs they inflicted upon each other, upon nature, or, perhaps, even against some unuttered taboo they could not quite comprehend. The concept of sin must have had its first stirrings in those days.
The human being is an egocentric animal. As such he must have found it difficult to accept that he had absolutely no control over the despotic nature of the planets. Thinking that, perhaps, the gods might be responsive to flattery, entire societies sought to appease them by mimicry and sycophancy through which ritual was eventually born. And, as they doubtless did when faced with human belligerency, they learned to subject themselves to prostration and entreaty, which actions were to lead to the inauguration of prayer and sacrifice.
Never knowing what the gods would do next, these primitive societies must have also sought to outguess them. In time, they would have learned to foretell at least some of the gods' attitudes and intentions by noting the changes in their appearances and positions. It is this attempted divination that was the mother of astrology.
The scenario is also based on what we have been able to learn from those times which came later when man did finally learn to record his thoughts in writing. And, in fact, it is from the writings of these later periods that we have been able to ascertain that primitive man must have been cognizant of the planets at close quarters. as well as how these planets had interacted with each other and the Earth. Of eye-witness reports from those primeval ages we have none, let this be stated and understood.
What we do have at our disposal is a universal fossilized memory of cosmic events which, other than in mild echoes of things past, had already terminated with the advent of extant written records. Of this there is no doubt because, at this time, man was already describing how the old celestial order had come to a catastrophic end. And this, also, must be understood.
This fossilized memory is what constitutes the mytho-historical record, the end result of rituals, litanies, prayers, tales, and moralities, memorized by rote and formula, which had been handed down by word of mouth through the ages by priests and shamans, poets and bards.
Man is truly an adaptive creature but, like most other animals, he feels most secure in the rut to which he becomes accustomed. While he is capable of rising to the occasion when challenged with environmental change, such occasions have never kept him from looking back with nostalgia. Bereft of his gods, which by this time had removed themselves to the blackness of space to become mere pin-points of light in the night sky, man found himself at a spiritual loss. The divine bounty of what had been the Golden Age was now also lost and his new environment, bewildering in its stark novelty, was seen as more cruel than the preceding one. Rather than feeling relieved for having been removed out of harm's way, man found himself longing for the gods to return.
The rituals, the prayers, festivals, and sacrifices, of course, continued, as they continue to this day, and the glorious, it at times calamitous, events of ages past were retold and embellished as the years rolled by. Man lauded his gods not as they were but as they once had been.
The end of the old celestial order was not, therefore, the end of planetary divination. The gods were still there, visible, acting out their now subdued drama in the sky. Man kept his vigil of them, observing their new motions, ever hoping to detect some intimation of their eventual return. Even planetary retribution was not yet thought to have dissipated for calamities continued to take place and, having long blamed his gods for their occurrence, man still believed them responsible for his tribulations and discomfort.
The studious observation of the planets was thus perpetuated in a continuous and contemplative effort to foretell, and thus forestall, approaching disasters. As time went by the catalogue of these disasters expanded, progressing from such major crises as earthquakes, famines, wars, and the death of kings to such minor afflictions as personal illness, bad fortune, and unrequited love, not to mention such mundane trials as family squabbles and lost sheep.
Now it has often been stated that astronomy is the daughter of astrology but the truth is that both these disciplines were born as Siamese twins of etiology. This is a natural outcome because astrological predictions could not have been formulated in the absence of astronomical observations. Nor must it be assumed, as it has often been, that these ancient predictions were always entirely spurious. In fact, astral prognostication was based on what had actually transpired in more ancient times by utilizing what was remembered of past events as projections for future ones. This can be ascertained from a study of Assyro-Babylonian astrology which, as we shall soon see, relied on astronomical terms, ideas, and images that can only be traced to the previous celestial order.
One often encounters the statement that the ancients deified the planets, a statement that, because of its handiness, I have even employed myself. Strictly speaking this is incorrect. The ancients had no need to deify the planets because, to them, the planets had always been deities. They were, to be sure, the only deities they knew, and this despite the fact that thousands of deities are known from some of the earliest cultures. As Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend realized:
The real actors on the stage of the universe are very few, if their adventures are many. The most 'ancient treasure', in Aristotle's word, that was left to us by our predecessors of the High and Far-Off Times was the idea that the gods are really stars, and that there are no others. The forces reside in the starry heavens, and all the stories, characters, and adventures narrated by mythology concentrate on the active powers among the stars, who are the planets.
The above should make it evident that, originally, there was no differentiation between the names of planets and the names of gods since both were one and the same. For that reason it becomes somewhat difficult to discuss ancient astronomical lore without also discussing the ancient deities. But while, in Egypt, astronomy was not divorced from religion until the advent of the Greeks under the Ptolemies, other centers of civilization began to diversify much earlier when a new breed of intellectuals sought to devote their time to the study of the planets without recourse to theology.
To be sure, the planets were not stripped of their divine character but, with the sophistication of mathematics, astronomical observation became more of a science in the modern sense. And, perhaps in order to keep their astral studies isolated from the higher realm of theology, these novel astronomers bestowed a set of new names on the planets, often chosen to reflect the same ancient characteristics without succumbing to divine nomenclature.
The identity of the gods with whatever planet was never lost but, as time went by, the independence acquired by astronomy came close to alienating it completely from religion. That this alienation was never quite realized was mainly due to the theologians (priests and shamans) whose invested interests assured the preservation of the ancient links.
It is only among the later Greeks, or their immediate ancestors, that the planet's identity came near to being forgotten, a situation that was much worsened by the new style of poetry that came into vogue with the likes of Hesiod and Homer who were, perhaps, more guilty of humanizing the ancient deities than anyone else who had gone before them. It was this state of affairs that occasioned Aristotle to re-affirm the belief that the planets had once been gods. As he wrote:
A tradition has been handed down by the ancient thinkers of very early times to the effect that these heavenly bodies are gods. The rest of their tradition has been added later in a mythological form to influence the vulgarI
Translators and other commentators of Aristotle have since attempted to fault him on this issue since, as they have pointed out, the gods are not identified as planets in the earliest extant Greek sources. Thus, M. Tredennick, who translated Aristotle for the Loeb Classical Library, appended a footnote to the above passage which, in part, reads:
This statement [of Aristotle] is not literally true. The planets do not seem to have been associated with the gods of popular mythology until the 4th century B.C.
Tredennick then referred his readers to John Burnet, an earlier authority on the subject, who had written:
In classical Greek literature no planets but Hesperos [Venus as Evening Star] & Eosphoros [Venus as Morning Star] are mentioned by name at allIMercury appears for the first time by name [as Hermes] in [Plato's] Timaeus 38e, and other divine names are given [also by Plato] in Epinomis 987b sq., where they are said to be 'Syrian.' The Greek names Phaenon [Saturn], Phaethon [Jupiter], Pyroeis [Mars], Phosphorus [another designation for Venus as Morning Star] & Stilbon [Mercury] are no doubt older, though they do not happen to occur earlier.
So, also, W.D. Ross, another modern translator of Aristotle who appended a similar disclaimer to the original passage quoted earlier.
What these authorities, and other since then, have failed to take into consideration is that there was no reason in very ancient and pre-Greek times to spell out the identity of gods and planets since this had been common knowledge and taken for granted.
That this knowledge, as per Aristotle, has later to be re-affirmed was due to a multitude of factors, not the least of which was the "forgetting" of cosmic history by the Greek nation. When Solon visited Egypt, he was unreservedly informed that "neither he nor any other Hellene knew anything worth mentioning about times of old." He was told that "there is no old opinion handed down among [the Greeks] by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age." The Greeks, according to the Egyptian sages, knew "nothing of what happened in ancient times."
Aristotle has no reason to invent the equation of planets with gods. Having once been forgotten by his immediate, but not earlier, ancestors, he simply rediscovered this verity and sought to reaffirm it. Besides, he was not the only Greek to offer the assertion. Lucian of Samosata also knew this truth. And Plato, who recognized it on his own, had it verified by the Egyptians.
The Romans, who borrowed many of their deities from the Greeks, were no different. Is it not, in fact, to them that we owe the present names of the planets in the western world so that to this day they continue to bear the names of the gods?
The synonymity of planets with gods was so entrenched among the Romans that Cicero denied the possibility of planetary orbital changes simply because he believed such changes to be contrary to the planets' divine nature. The irony is that these very orbital changes were among the major characteristics that made ancient man think of the planets as gods.
(4) The Most Prominent of the Planets
Among the Babylonians, texts that deal strictly with astronomical, as opposed to astrological, observations do not seem to have made their appearance until about the middle of the seventh century B.C. during the reign of Nabonassar. It is from about this time, down to the turn of the millennium, that we have in our possession a collection of cuneiform tablets to which A. Sachs has applied the term "astronomical diaries."
These diaries record such phenomena as the length of the lunar months, based on the phases of the Moon; lunar and solar eclipses; the dates of first visibility for Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn; the first and last visibilities of the inner planets, Venus and Mercury; the dates of the occurrences of the equinoxes and solstices; the dates of the significant appearances of Sirius; and the "conjunction" of the Moon and each of the visible planets with various stars. Meteorological phenomena during the rainy seasons are also recorded, with diverse cloud and storm conditions. To all of this one finds appended the changes in the level (rise or fall) of the river at Babylon often followed "by a report of secular events or rumours of such events." Finally, the amount of produce (barley, dates, etc.) that could be purchased for one shekel of silver during any one month is also listed. The technical data, measurements, calculations, given in cubits and degrees, are evidence of a sophisticated attempt at reconciling once mysterious motions with numerical allocation, while the glosses concerning obstruction of visibility by bad weather are indicative of diligent observation.
There is nothing spurious about these astronomical diaries, nothing magical, mythological, or even faintly oracular. They are a mere record of the night by nigh occurrences concerning the heavenly bodies, hence the term "diaries", month by month, throughout the year. Were it not for the historical events that they also report, they would probably have incited less interest among scholars. Astronomically, they are nothing but a catalogue of the same boring celestial events that we see enacted in the sky above us to this day. But they are accurate, so that modern student of astronomy would not have been embarrassed had he or she been the author of the diaries. As Sachs observed: "Some of [the astronomical phenomena recorded in them] are precisely those that are predicted by the mathematical astronomical cuneiform texts of the Hellenistic period."
During Seleucid times, when Babylonia was ruled by the Hellenistic dynasty founded by Seleucus I after the death of Alexander, a period which is calculated to have lasted from 312 to 64 B.C., lunar and planetary theory had developed along Greek classical lines. Abstract numerical tables, or ephemerides, representing the motions of the heavenly bodies, were much in vogue at the time. These continued to record the recurrence of astronomical phenomena, year by year, "with an accuracy comparable with that of contemporary observations."
There is no great wonder in all of this, but it does prove one point, banal as it may seem, that shall be stressed time and again in the pages that follow, and that is this: Beginning from at least the middle of the seventh century B.C., Babylonian astronomers knew very well what these pin points of light called planets looked like and could easily distinguish one from the other; they knew where every planet belonged in the sky and what track each one of them invariably followed, an easy matter for anyone with a keen eye-sight plus the patience and the motivation to learn. Yes, I know, it is hardly even worth mentioning.
And yet, Diodorus Siculus, who lived in the first century B.C., had reason to report that the Chaldeans regarded Saturn as the most prominent of the planets:
But above all in importance, they [the Chaldeans] say, is the study of the influence of the five stars known as planetsIthe one named Cronus by the Greeks [i.e., Saturn]Iis the most conspicuousI
As viewed from Earth, this is simply not so. Venus is much more prominent. It is easily the brightest of the planets, bright enough at night to cast shadows and, when meteorological conditions permit, bright enough to be seen during the day. In contradistinction, Saturn is a very difficult object to observe. Even Bob Forrest, one of the strongest opponents of cosmic catastrophism, was moved to display his bewilderment when he stated:
The only puzzling thing about this passage [of Diodorus] is the way Saturn is said to be the most conspicuous of the planets. All else is fairly routine.
As we shall see, this statement is not the "only puzzling thing" in this passage of Diodorus; nor is all else in it "fairly routine." But one thing at a time.
The term "Chaldean," meanwhile, has long been misunderstood and misapplied by ancient historians and moderns alike. As used by Diodorus and other classical authors, the term simply mean "astrologers" and/or "astronomers," but always in relation to the Babylonians. These, then, were the same Babylonians whose astronomical achievements we have enumerated above. But how, then, with all of their sophisticated knowledge of the heavens, could they have committed such an error? Or, if an error it was not, why would they have perpetuated such a falsity?
Of course, one could also ask: Why take the word of Diodorus, a Greek historian, who could easily have been mistaken on matters Babylonian? But was Diodorus the only writer of antiquity who ever reported this strange belief concerning the planet Saturn? And, in fact, were the Babylonians the only ones who asserted this oddity?
To give but one other example, and later we shall give others, we note here one of the Sanskrit names of the planet Saturn, that is Grahanayakah. This name is composed of the words "graha(h)", "planet", and "nayakah", "chief or leader." Thus, according to this name, Saturn is, or at least was, considered the leader of the planets, in fact, the chief planet.
As we shall soon see, this belief was widespread among the ancient nations and, regardless of what modern astronomers may care to think, it is difficult to believe that such a persistent assertion could have been the result of mere fancy. But if the astronomers of the time could see, as they must have, that Saturn was not the most prominent, or conspicuous, of the planets, on what was the belief based?
(5) The Star of the Sun
What follows is not, of itself, new. The data has been presented before, both by myself and those few others who have been captivated by the fascination of the Saturnian phenomenon. But here, if nothing else, the data, while not all of it, will be collected in one place, thus emphasizing the evidential strength in its collective abundance. The dat will also be presented, perhaps for the first time, in more detail than the cursory mentions hitherto allotted to it.
As promised at the beginning of this essay, the emphasis will be on the astronomical, as opposed to the mythological, lore of the ancient nations. In view of the ancient synonymity of planets and gods, however, a certain amount of overlapping between these two disciplines is virtually unavoidable. Even so, in dealing with the gods, it will be their celestial characteristics that will be singled out and not the thematic epics in which they were involved. This, of course, is not to say that the epics are not themselves symbolic of astronomical events, but these events very often need deciphering before their cosmological nature can be understood.
This brings me to the second reason behind the following collection of data, and that is to stem the criticism of those detractors who have been accusing us of interpreting the myths to suit our needs, if not our preconceived notions, or of having been assessing these myths through modern perspective when we should be trying to understand them in terms of ancient perception. As will be readily seen, the data about to be presented do not require interpretation. The sources that will be cited are, for the most part, void of ambiguity. They can be taken at face value without the need to read between the lines.
Personally, I can honestly say that these ancient astronomical oddities, the likes of which follow, are what, after years of resistance, finally convinced me of the validity of the model that me research inexorably forced upon me. This evidence was driven home when I finally came to realize that the message of the mytho-historical record is complimented by ancient astronomical lore. These two disciplines are firmly welded and, while each can be pursued independently of the other, in the end they both reflect the same beliefs, the same events, and, yes, even the same truths.
The above can in fact be illustrated by the simple data already presented, for while we have seen that the Saturnian orb was believed to have been the most prominent of the planets, so also can it be shown, as elsewhere it already has, that the Saturnian deity was once the most prominent of the gods. It is for this reason that we find him heading the pantheons of every ancient nation as, unknown by his very adherents, we continue to find him heading that of the great religions of the modern world.
What was it, however, that made the Babylonians allude to Saturn as the most prominent of the planets, prominent enough for them to refer to it, inter alia, as En-Me Sarra, that is "Lord of the law of the Universe"? One must admit, that is quite a lofty title to bestow on what appears to be a mere pin-point of light in the present night sky.
The clue to Saturn's prominence, even loftiness, was supplied by Diodorus i the very same passage we have already partly quoted. There this writer continues to report that "the [planet] named Cronus [i.e. Saturn] by the GreeksIthey [the Chaldeans] call the star of HeliosI
It is somewhat odd that Forrest did not find this statement as "puzzling" as the one which proclaims Saturn to be the most prominent of the planets. Odder still is that he relegated it to the unimportance of "fairly routine" reporting because, to the Greeks of Diodorus' time, Helios was the sun. From it are derived such sun-oriented English words as "heliacal," "heliocentric," and "heliograph." Why would the Babylonians have referred to the planet Saturn as the star of the Sun?
But what of the Babylonians themselves? Do we not hear from them directly? With so many cuneiform tablets having been lost through the vagaries of nature and the hand of man, and with so many undeciphered others falling apart in museum basements, it would not have been remarkable had this datum not survived in the original. But it has, and in more than one text.
R.C. Thompson might have been the first to discover, even if not entirely understand, this Babylonian verity. Thus, another Babylonian name for the planet Saturn was (Mul) Lu-Bat Sag-Us and we find it stated in an astrological report from that nation that "(Mul) Lu-Bat Sag-Us (il) Samas Su-u," which Thompson translated as "[the planet] Saturn is the star of the sun."
Actually, Diodorus should have known that this belief was already common among the scholars of his own nation. Eratosthenes of Alexandria, who thrived somewhere between 276 and 194 B.C., and whose astronomical, mathematical, and geographical knowledge enabled him to measure the circumference of the Earth, identified the planet Saturn as the star of the Sun, as so did several other Greek writers. Among the Greeks, this belief continued down to the 6th century A.D. as is known through the neo-platonic philosopher Simplicus who also called Saturn the star of the Sun.
Whether they obtained this particular information from the Greeks or not, we find that the Romans were of a similar mind. In his enumeration of the planets, the Latin writer Gaius Iulius Hyginus who, as the superintendent of the Palatine Library, must have had access to much older material, referred to the planet in question as the star of Sol. As just about any dictionary will verify, Sol was not only the Roman Sun personified, it was, as it still is, the very Latin word for "sun." From it are derived such English words as "solar," "solarium," and "solstice." The scholiast on Germanicus also lists Saturn as Stella Solis, Star of the Sun, a name which apparently was a common designation for the planet in Roman times.
But whence the belief? Better still, what does the designation "star of the Sun" really mean? To what does it allude?
A telling clue comes from Sanskrit. In this language, Surya is the common name for the Sun. Suryaputrah, which means "son of the Sun," is however one of the names for the planet Saturn. Another Sanskrit name for the Sun is Ravi and, again, we find the planet Saturn designated as Raviputra which also means "son of the Sun." As the son of the Sun, Saturn could be termed the star of the Sun. But this only raises another question. Why would Saturn, among the planets, have been thought of as the son of the Sun?
Let us go one step further. Yet another Sanskrit name for the planet Saturn is Saurah. But "saurah" also means "solar day" and/or "solar month." This seems to indicated that the connection between Saturn and the Sun was more intimate than we have so far deduced. In fact, this last datum is enough to make one believe that, at least to the Hindus, Saturn and the Sun were close to being synonymous.
(6) The Sun as Saturn
A common entry in a collection of astrological reports from Nineveh and Babylon which, in variant forms, is many times repeated, uses the formula "when Shamash stands in the halo of Sin" such and such a thing will come to pass. Now open up just about any work on Assyro-Babylonian mythology and you will find it stated that Shamash and Sin were the deified Sun and Moon. The omen mentioned above should then read "when the Sun stands in the halo of the Moon" such and such a thing will come to pass.
Now while Sun and Moon can be seen together, the Sun can never appear in the halo of the Moon. For one thing, the Sun does not appear small enough to fit between the Moon and its surrounding halo, when it has one; for another, the Moon can only appear within a halo during the night when the Sun, needless to say, is absent. What, then, could the Babylonian astrologers have been alluding to?
There is no point in claiming that this was astrological nonsense. Babylonian astrologers, like those of ancient China, were required to acquaint their rulers with the mandates of heaven, to warn them of impending disasters or to soothe their fears with reports of divine satisfaction. The foretold events might not always have to come to pass. Fallacious predictions, however, were one thing; impossible ones were quite another. There would have been no point in predicting an astronomical occurrence, and an event foretold by it, that could never have come to pass. A prognostication based on the appearance of the Sun within the halo of the Moon would not only have been useless, it would have been considered utterly insane. No Babylonian astrologer would have risked ridicule, not to mention royal displeasure, by sending such a prediction to his king. Why, then, did they even bother writing down such a formula?
As Morris Jastrow shrewdly deduced: "Since this phenomenon can only occur at night, Samas [the same as Shamash] cannot of course be the sun."
This brings us back to the Babylonian statement mentioned earlier which reads "(Mul) Lu-Bat Sag-Us (il) Samas su-u," and which, as we have seen, Thompson translated as "Saturn is the star of the sun." Jastrow, however, has noted that while this reading is possible, a more accurate translation would be "Saturn is the sun-star." So also with the Latin designation we have already noted since the term Stella Solis translates better as "Sun Star" than "Star of the Sun." There is a difference between calling Saturn the star of the Sun, the star belonging to the Sun, and naming it as the Sun-star since the latter seems to connote the Sun itself. In fact, another translation given by Jastrow is "[the] planet Saturn (as a) star is Shamash." Stated more clearly, what this datum is really telling us is that "the planet Saturn is Shamash" or "Shamash is the planet Saturn."
What is also of interest is that this statement appears as a gloss in one of those omens which uses the formula "when Shamash stands in the halo of Sin." This, then, was the astrologers' way of informing whoever read this particular report that by Shamash the planet Saturn, and not the Sun, was meant. The formula in question should therefore read "when Saturn [and not the Sun] stands in the halo of the moon" such and such a thing will come to pass.
This is further clarified by another gloss which appears in a number of similar cases which unambiguously declares that "(Mul) Lu-Bat Sag-Us ina tarbas Sin izzaz", i.e. "Saturn stands in the halo of the moon." This not only makes observational sense, it compliments, nay, validates, the formula which uses Shamash as a name for Saturn. If conditions permit, the pin-point of light in the night sky that is Saturn can be discerned within the halo of the Moon.
Thompson, of course, was aware before Jastrow that the Babylonians called Saturn by the name of Shamash. Since this verity came to light at least as early as 1900, it is a sin of omission, worse still, a scholarly deception, not to have it so stated in current works dealing with Assyro-Babylonian mythology.
On the other hand, there is absolutely no doubt that Shamash was also the Babylonian name of the Sun. This is so true that a differentiation between Shamash/Saturn and Shamash/Sun had to be introduced into these astrological reports. Just as the above mentioned gloss was thought necessary to indicate that Saturn, in lieu of the Sun, was meant in those prognostications that might have appeared ambiguous to the casual reader, so similar glosses were inserted to emphasize the role of the Sun, in lieu of Saturn, when the opposite was true. In this case the gloss was made to indicate "Samse u-mi", i.e. "Samas of the day."
In fact, variants of the name, or word, "shamash" still mean "sun" in many modern Semitic languages. As is well known, one of the Hebrew names for "sun" is "shemesh." Among the Aramaeans the word was also rendered "semes" (Shemesh) or "simsa" (shimsha). In pre-Islamic times, the Arabic word was Samsu (of Shamshu). Even in Maltese, the only European language with a distinctive Semitic root-base, the Sun is called "xemx," where the "x" is phonetically equivalent to "sh", thus "shemsh."
All of this raises some very interesting questions. Why, for instance, was the planet Saturn called by the same name as the Sun? It is not as if the Babylonians had no other names for Saturn, we have already encountered two: En- Me Sar-ra and (Mul) Lu-Bat Sag-Us. But also, ancient names, unlike some modern ones, carried their own meanings. No one in those days would have thought of naming a person or an object by using lexical abstraction. As we have seen, En-Me Sar-ra translates as Lord of the law of the Universe; what (Mul) Lu-Bat Sag-Us translates as, I will leave for a later section. Meanwhile shemesh, and therefore Shamash, means "to be brilliant," and while this may be an apt name for the Sun, one would hardly think of alluding to the pin-point of light that is Saturn by the same appellation. And yet this is precisely what the Babylonians did. Thus while we understand that Shamash was the name of the planet Saturn as well as the Sun, is it also to be understood that Satu
rn was once believed to have been as brilliant as the Sun?
(7) The Light of the Gods
The close relationship, or quasi synonymy, between the planet Saturn and the Sun was not, in Mesopotamia, restricted to the Babylonian Shamash. The Sumerian planetary god Ninurta also shared this dual characteristic. Thus Stephen Langdon could speak of "the sun-god Ninurta" in one breath while claiming in the next that, in Sumero-Babylonian religion, Ninurta was "the war god and planet Saturn." Moreover, it was said of Ninurta that his face was Shamash, which could be interpreted to mean that the god's face was the planet Saturn, the Sun, or merely brilliant.
In view of the question asked at the end of the last section, I am going to cut across the lawn by claiming that all the above interpretations are correct. The god's face was Saturn because Ninurta, as we shall soon see, was the planet Saturn; his face was Shamash because, as we have already seen, Saturn was Shamash; his face was the Sun because, if we are to believe the ancients (and see more below), Saturn did once shine as a sun; and his face was brilliant in respect thereof.
Together with many other deities, Ninurta has often been presented by mythologists as a storm god. This view owes its origin to the texts themselves in which Ninurta is lauded as "u sur me-a" or, in Sumerian, as "lugul ud melambi nergal." In the past these epithets had been translated as "the most furious storm (or stormwind)" and "King Storm whose brilliance surpassed (all others)." It is strange that this consensus was reached, and maintained, in spite of Virolleaud's contention that "ud" and, by extension Akkadian "u," actually stands for "sun" or "sun light." More recently, this subject has again been taken up by Sjoberg and Bergmann who have indicated that "originally u [and, by extension, Sumerian "ud"] did not mean 'storm' but 'light." Thus even "sun" and "sun light" are not entirely correct.
The epithets quoted above should therefore read "the most furious [?] light" and "King Light (or King of Light) whose brilliance surpassed (all others, i.e. all other gods)." Thus, originally, Ninurta seems to have had nothing to do with storms and everything to do with light, which is much in keeping with his sun-like qualities.
Nimrod, has also, and often, been identified as the planet Saturn, even if the reason for the identification has seldom been clarified. When a reason is given, it usually runs something like the following: Nimrod, sometimes called Nebrod, the traditional founder of Babylon, was "the first to become king of earthIhe took as title the name of the planet Kronos [which was Saturn]." Nimrod, however, did not have to take the name of the planet Saturn because his name was already that of Saturn. Thus, for instance, Nimrod has also, and often, been claimed to be an alias of Ninurta. The actual truth, however, is that the two names are really one and the same. The cuneiform characters which spell "nin," "ur," and "ta" can also be read "nim," "ru," and "ud" respectively, which can be said to be the same syllables in reverse and which, of course, spell "nimru-ud," a name that has been popularized as "Nimrod." (The reason behind this alternate reading would necessitate a side excursion
on cuneiform decipherment but, as interesting as that might be, this is not the place for it).
Of course, it is not only in legendary tales, such as those dealing with Nimrod, that Saturn was lauded as king, often the very first king the world had ever known. As we have already seen above, in the original, that is older, sources, Ninurta/Saturn is himself proclaimed lugal, that is king. And this, again, is in keeping with the mytho-historical record since all of the Saturnian deities were revered as kings, the first of their line.
Now if, as surmised above, and as will be indicated further below, the planet Saturn, very much like the Sun, once radiated its own light, we can begin to understand not only its reverence as king among the planets, but the very prominence which the ancients claimed for it.
Today, Saturn's brilliance does not surpass all others; among the planets it is anything but the brightest. In fact, while it does shine, one is hardly justified in speaking of its brilliance. And yet, the various people who, throughout history, have occupied the land that was once Mesopotamia, were persistent in their allusion to the planet's radiating brilliance.
Formerly, when the decipherment of cuneiform was still in its infancy and the transliteration of the Mesopotamian deities had not yet been formalized, the name Ninurta was variously read as Ninib, Ninip, or simply Nin (a title which, like "Baal," meant "Lord.") Thus, scholars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were wont to refer to this astral deity by one, or more, of the above names. Writing in 1885, George Rawlinson opted for Nin and Ninip (and even Bar in lieu of Baal). Among the epithets of Nin/Ninip that he discussed, we again encounter such familiar ones as "the powerful chief" and "the supreme." Not only do we find this deity lauded as the first among kings but also as "the first of the gods," thus giving the impression that Saturn was the very first god ancient man had recognized as such.
We note in this respect that the very cuneiform sign for "king" and "god" was one and the same, the character being developed from an earlier pictograph depicting a sun-like star. The same ideogram was also used to "spell" the name of the great Sumerian god An (or Anu) whom both Alfred Jeremias and Stephen Langdon have recognized as being the same as Ninurta and the planet Saturn.
More in keeping with our subject, we also find Ninib lauded as "the light of heaven and earth" and, quite explicitly, as "he who, like the sun, the light of the gods, irradiates the nations."
There is, again, no point in claiming that these were metaphorical epithets meant to be applied to the god and not the planet he represented because, to the ancients who venerated him, the god and the planet was one and the same. And this, incidentally, is not merely my contention, or that of those colleagues who have recently become involved in studying the Saturnian phenomenon. Conventional mythologists had recognized this fact for themselves even though they found it very difficult to accept. Thus Peter Jensen was forced to see in Saturn an ancient symbol of the "eastern sun" or "the sun on the horizon," without however offering a single piece of evidence for this interpretation. Rawlinson himself found these epithets "very difficult to reconcile with the notion that, as a celestial luminary, [Ninip] was Saturn." Somewhat like Jensen, he, also, sought to explain the situation by appealing to astral bodies other than the one indicated by the texts themselves. As he wrote:
These phrase appear to point to the Moon, or to some very brilliant star, and are scarcely reconcilable with the notion that [Ninip] was the dark and distant Saturn.
Elsewhere, and earlier, Rawlinson had indicated the same bewilderment when he asked: "How is it possible that the dark and distant planet Saturn can answer to the luminary who [or which] 'irradiates the nations like the sun, the light of the gods'?"
One bona fide alias of Ninurta (and he had more than one) was Ningirsu, the Lord of Girsu (in Lagash). This is ascertained by the Gula Hymn of Bullut-sa-rabi in which the consort of the goddess (also known as Bay and/or Nin-Karrak) is called by various names among which is Ninurta as well as Ningirsu. As with the former, so also with the latter: the luminary identified with the god is spoken of as radiating a great light. Thus we find it recorded in Gudea's Cylinder B:
NingirsuIrose in overwhelming splendor. In the land it became day; the Eninnu [another epithet of the god] rivaled in brilliance the child of Enzu.
This Enzu, also read Zu-en, was the more familiar Sin. His "child" was Shamash, often referred to as Shamash mar Sin, i.e., Shamash son of Sin. What the above therefore records is that Ningirsu rivaled Shamash in brilliance.
This led William Albright to state that "Ningirsu is here the sunIwho ascends each morning from the underworld." But it would have been tautological to have it recorded that the Sun rivaled the Sun in brilliance and one is led to assume that had Albright been aware of the implications of Jastrow's work of nine years earlier, he might have thought better before proposing this identification.
That Albright was not well acquainted with the characteristics of this deity is further illustrated when he also opined that "Ningirsu, like Ninurta, seems to have been primarily a god of fertility with intimate solar association." In this, he was not as wide off the mark as Fred Bratton who, writing as late as 1970, listed Ninurta as a fertility goddess. At least Albright did recognize that Ningirsu has "solar associations," but that Ningirsu was Saturn and not the Sun had already been demonstrated by Jastrow.
This identification is based on a series of deductions which not only proves the ancient identity of Ningirsu but also, once and for all, that of Ninurta. These deductions lead us back to those omens incorporating the formula "when Shamash stands in the halo of Sin." Apart from the gloss, already discussed, which explains that Shamash is the name of the planet Saturn (Lu-Bat Sag-Us), we also come across a clarification which names Ninib/Ninurta as "standing therein." This indicates beyond any doubt that Ninib/Ninurta was the same as Lu-Bat Sag Us/Shamash/Saturn. Thus, as Jastrow admitted, Franz Kugler was correct in identifying "the planet (Lu-Bat) whose name is Ninib [i.e. Ninurta]" as referring to Saturn.
Now it should be understood that the term "Lu-Bat" was also used to designate Mars and Mercury besides Saturn. It is the descriptive epithets added to "Lu- -Bat" that signifies which of these three planets is meant. Thus Lu-Bat Dir was Mars, Lu-Bat Bu-Ud was Mercury, and Lu-Bat Sag-Us, as we have seen, was Saturn. Neither Jupiter nor Venus, on the other hand, was ever designated as Lu-Bat.
Meanwhile, an astrological text distinguishes Ningirsu as (An) Lu-Bat which identifies the deity as a planet even if we are left with a choice between Saturn, Mars, and Mercury. As Jastrow however pointed out, the listing of Ningirsu as an alias of Ninurta leaves no doubt as to which Lu-Bat, i.e. which planet, is intended. If Ninurta, as we have seen, was Lu-Bat Sag-Us/Saturn, then so must have been Ningirsu.
We can now return to Gudea's Cylinder B and re-evaluate that line which states that Ningirsu "rivaled in brilliance the child of Enzu [i.e. Shamash]." But since Shamash can stand for either the Sun or Saturn, a distinction must here be made. The choice, of course, is forced upon us for if we assume that by Shamash the planet Saturn was meant, the announcement, that Saturn (Ningirsu) rivaled Saturn (Shamash) in brilliance, would be just as tautological as the interpretation proposed by Albright. It is therefore more than obvious that the text should be understood as stating that Saturn (Ningirsu) rivaled the Sun in brilliance.
This statement requires no further interpretation. That it is correct is indicated by what else Gudea's Cylinder B has to say concerning Ningirsu, that he "rose in overwhelming splendor" and that "in the land it became day." Additionally, it is also said of him that "he changes darkness into light." That all this refers to the sun-like brilliance of the planet Saturn there is no doubt.
Now while no conventional mythologist has, to my knowledge, ever sanctioned this verity, the veneration of Saturn by the ancient as some sort of sun god has been accepted as fact by more than one of them. Discretion, it seems, has impeded them from going further. But, as astronomically impossible as it may seem, there is no doubt that the ancients believed Saturn to have radiated a light that rivalled the Sun's. While there is more that is yet to come, we have now reached a point where it can safely be said there is no other way in which these ancient statements can be understood.
(8) The True Sun
Like that of other ancient nations, Hindu astronomy is inseparable from mythology. This mythology, however, continues to thrive as the basis of Hindu religion. In a way, it can therefore be said that, among the Hindus, planetary worship is practiced to this day, and not only in an indirect way. Thus the Linga Purana admonishes that "the worship of the planets should be pursued by good men." Moreover, the reason behind this admonition is precisely that which we have outlined at the beginning of this essay, that is to ward off evil at times of planetary "harassment." It is as if planetary "harassment" also continues to this day.
Hindu mythology, of course, is largely based on Vedic belief. And yet, as one critic pointed out some thirty years ago, it has never been proved to the general satisfaction of Indologists that any planets are mentioned in the Vedas. As I had earlier written in reference to this criticism, however, this lack can be compensated for "if it can be shown that certain deities mentioned in the [Vedic} hymns possess planetary traits and/or characteristics comparable to the [known] planetary deities of other nations. Today I would go even further for if it can be shown that the names and/or epithets applied to the Vedic deities are identical to those applied to the planets by the same people and in the same language, the equivalence of deities and planets is proven on home ground without any recourse or appeal to comparative studies. Such, for instance, is the case with Agni.
Any work on Indian mythology will have it stated that Agni is the god of fire or, in other words, fire personified. This belief is not monopolized by mythologists, which is often the case, but is adhered to by the Hindus themselves. And so, in truth, has Agni become, a veritable god of flames. But in seeking the origin of the god, one should ask whose fire it was that Agni first wielded. After all, Hindu mythology also presents the Sun as wielding its fire, and this, needless to say, is as it should be. But the fire called Agni, from which the verb "to ignite" and the noun "ignition" are ultimately derived, was created "at the beginning of the world" before the fire of the Sun had been itself ignited. Some fire this must have been!
Agni's fire was definitely of a celestial nature. Of this there is absolutely no doubt as many of the Vedic hymns dedicated to this god well illustrate. And since the fire of the Sun obviously belongs to a celestial body, (what a statement to utter), one is naturally inclined to think likewise of Agni's celestial fire. But what celestial body, other than the Sun, can be said to possess fire?
If Sumero- and Assyro-Babylonian belief held that the planet Saturn once radiated like the Sun, may we not assume that so, also, did the Hindus and their ancestors? Actually, the origin of Agni as a personification of the planet Saturn can be demonstrated by analyzing various sets of mythological evidence but, without wading through the thick morass of Vedic lore, the following should be sufficient.
Like the gods of other nations, Vedic deities are known by more than one name or epithet as so, also, are the planets. Thus, two other designations for Saturn are Arki and Arka-putra, both of which, again, translate as "son of the Sun" since "arka" means "belonging or relating to the Sun," while "putra" is the well known Sanskrit word for "son," "child," or "offspring." And, in fact, as a proper name, Arka is the Sun. But Agni is also lauded by the name Arka and while this seems to identify Agni as the Sun, we note that in the literature, Agni is said to be "of Sun-like aspect" and as "brilliant as the Sun." In order to avoid the same tautological objection we encountered in the case of Ningirsu, we will therefore have to assume that Agni was a celestial object other than the Sun. And since, as we have already seen, Shamash was a name for Saturn as well as the Sun, may we not assume that so was Arka? And if this is the case, would not Agni then be a representation of Saturn rather than the Sun?
But let us leave assumptions and ambiguities aside. Another designation for Agni is Saptan-Amshu, which means "seven rays or beams of light." The planet Saturn is also known by a virtually identical name, Saptan-Archis, which translates as "seven rays of light of flames." What is of additional interest, and of great import, is that only Agni and the planet Saturn are anywhere in Sanskrit literature endorsed with such an epithet.
The above is further supplemented by the fact that Brahmanah, which means "priest," is also an epithet of Agni since, among other things, Agni is considered the priest of the gods. Brahmanyah, on the other hand, is yet another epithet of the planet Saturn.
As Roger Ashton shrewdly deduced, "the virtual equivalence of [these] names rather firmly links Agni with Saturn." More than that, one may consider Saturn to be Agni's planet or, better still, the two may be thought of as being mutually interchangeable or even identical.
In view of all this, while highly revealing, it is almost redundant to find Agni described as having stood "at the world's head with refulgent splendor." This reminds us very much of Ningirsu who "rose in overwhelming splendor" as so, also, does Agni's mentioned Sun-like aspect and his being as brilliant as the Sun. Elsewhere, repeatedly, consistently, one can almost say tediously, Agni is again said to shine "refulgent like the Sun, with brilliance and with fiery flame, decked with imperishable sheen." But Sun-like as these laudatory descriptions make Agni to be, they clearly pertain to Saturn and not the Sun.
Saturn's epithet of Brahmanyah, meanwhile, induces us to examine the supreme Vedic and Hindu deity Brahma. More than any other deity in Vedic and Hindu mythology, Brahma was venerated as the creator of gods and men. As such Brahma is akin to the Sumerian An, or Anu, who was the same as Ninurta, but also Ningirsu, the personification, as we have seen, of the planet Saturn. In this respect it should be noted that the Sanskrit adjective "Brahmanya" means "relating [or belonging] to Brahma." As Brahmanyah, Saturn can therefore be said to be Brahma's planet. In fact, while Indologists may find it difficult to accept, Brahma has long been identified as Saturn by certain sages of Hindu religion itself. What is of greater import to this study is that these sages consider Brahma to be the "true sun", which is the same as saying that, to them, it is Saturn, and not the Sun, that is the real solar orb. Since this is absurdly not so, we can only assume, on the strength of what we have learned, that this dictum stems from ancient belief. Was then Saturn to ancient man what the Sun is to us today?
(9) Saturn's Night
Shiva, another Vedic deity, bears the epithet Surya which, as any work on Indian mythology will assert, is not only the name of the god of the Sun but is the most common Sanskrit name of the Sun itself. While this seems to indicate that Shiva must be equated with the Sun, we note the following curious fact, first brought to my attention by Roger Ashton:
An evening ceremony during which Shiva is worshipped takes place when the thirteenth day of a lunar fortnight happens to fall on a Saturday. In Sanskrit, the day of Saturday is called Shanivar which, Shani being Saturn, translates as Saturn's day. Actually, Saturday was the day sacred to Saturn among more than once ancient nation and, to this day, it continues to bear the planet's name not only in Sanskrit. To the Jews, Saturday is Shabbath (the Sabbath), named in honor of Saturn which, in Hebrew, is called Shabtai. In Italian it is Sabato, derived from Hebrew through the Greek Sabbaton. In Maltese, Saturday is called Sibt, derived from the same Semitic root. The English name Saturday is itself a contraction of the Saxon Saterne's Day (or Daeg) from the Latin Saturni Dies. Even in Indo-China, and more specifically Cambodia, Saturday is named in honor of Prah Sau, which is the planet Saturn.
Now while it is true that not every ceremony that is celebrated on a Saturday has to be Saturnian in character and/or origin, the Shivaite ceremony mentioned above is itself called Shani Pradosh. Since "pradosh" means "night," the festival in question is translateable as "Saturn's Night." A ceremony called Saturn's Night held in the evening of Saturn's Day is not just any ceremony conducted on a Saturday; it is obviously one conducted in honor of Saturn. And since the deity venerated during this ceremony is Shiva, one is inclined to equate Shiva with Saturn rather than the Sun.
Actually, there are many lines of evidence which indicate that Shiva originated as a personification of Saturn but, if any doubt remains, we note that, apart from being the usual Sanskrit name of the planet Saturn, Shani is also yet another name for Shiva.
Why, then, is Shiva also called Surya, that is Sun?
After all we have perused, should this surprise us? Have we not already noted that Saturn was called by the very name of the Sun?
There are other lines of evidence which indicate that Surya was originally Saturn and not the Sun, the least of which not being the reference to Surya as graha Surya, that is the planet Sun. But let me forestall an objection.
It will be pointed out by the knowledgeable that in India, as in certain other nations, the Sun was counted, with the Moon, as one of the seven "planets." But one hardly finds, among these other nations, the Sun itself alluded to singly by a term reserved for planets. Even so, one might argue that the Hindus allowed this exception. To which I can reply that this cannot be the case because the "motions" attributed to Surya do not fit the role of the Sun. Thus, to give but one example (and, in a future continuation of this essay, I shall give others), Surya is said to occupy samanam dhama, which means "the same place of rising and setting." (How this, in turn, applies to the primeval Saturn, I shall also explain in a later continuation).
Let us, however, be a little more specific. Surya, the Sun, is also termed Suraj. But Suraj is also another name for the planet Saturn. So that, yet one more time, we can see that Saturn and the Sun once shared the same name as, among the Hindus, at least in Sanskrit, they still do.
Nor is this peculiarity, in India, limited to Surya/Suraj. As earlier noted, another Sanskrit name for the planet Saturn is Grahanayakah, which means chief, or leader, of the planets. But again, Grahanayakah is also one of the names bestowed on the Sun.
The question, therefore, is: even if we were to grant that, somehow, Saturn once radiated with a light as bright as the Sun's, why should it have been given the same name as the Sun?
We shall return to this question anon but, meanwhile, there is more.
(10) The Saturnian Sun of Yore
The point we have now reached is one where we face the risk of monotonous repetition. But ours is a precarious position since, while listening to the voice of antiquity, we seem to be lending a deaf ear to astronomical principles. For the moment, however, our main interest must focus on what the ancients had to say concerning the cosmos around them. Thus if our inquiry is to have any meaning, our position will have to be fortified and, hopefully, sustained by invoking first the strength of numbers. Unless enough evidence is presented, we will always face the greater risk of being accused of selectivity. For that reason, and in order to show that the theme being discused was well nigh universal, we must continue to press home with further examples until we have covered a fair share of the ancient world and the civilizations it engendered.
When it comes to astronomical lore, ancient Egypt presents something of a problem since the Egyptians were not possessed of a formal astronomy until Ptolemaic times. It seems as if, and in my mind there is no doubt that, the Egyptians were content to view the heavenly bodies as deities whose motions were too sacred to be reduced to mundane numbers. Not that the Egyptians did not show interest in the denizens of the sky as such and, in fact, star charts were drawn, stellar treatises were written, and astronomical themes were monumentally etched on architectural ceilings of worth. When it comes to the planets and their motions, however, nothing has survived from pre-Alexandrian Egypt that would allow us to claim an astronomical achievement on their part.
On the other hand, if conventional mythologists can treat of deities like Horus and Ra as solar representations, with the likes of Isis and Hathor as lunar or Venerian ones, then so are we allowed to treat them as celestial bodies. In fact, ask any mythologist to name the solar god par excellance and the name of Ra (or Re) is bound to come up. Not only was Ra the Egyptian Sun god, he was the Sun itself. As James Frazer echoed this Egyptological dictum: "That Ra was both the physical sun and the sun-god is of course undisputedI" And yet, an Egyptian ostrakon form Ptolemaic times identifies Ra as the Greek Kronos, which is the planet Saturn.
Egyptologists, of course, will object, pointing out that this is a late, and isolated, case, stemming, no less, from Greek interpretation, that that datum should not be given any credence. But, granting the uniqueness of the ostrakon in question, we at least have one direct identification of Ra as Saturn. Where do we find a single instance in original Egyptian texts explicitly proclaiming Ra to be the Sun? Besides, is it conceivable that, with the progress of astronomical science, it would have been forgotten by Ptolemaic times that Ra was the Sun? Or had the Greeks no word for the Sun for them to refer to it as Kronos? (In view of what follows, of course, this last is something of a loaded question).
Even so, on the basis of this one datum, I would not be bold enough to build an edifice. But, again, as in the case of Surya, the "motions" and characteristics attributed to Ra do not fit the role of the Sun while, as will be made clear in a future installment of this serialized essay, they fit what the ancients stated of Saturn to the proverbial "T."
As a qualification I will add that this does not mean that Ra never stood for the Sun. It is obvious from texts of a historical, or narrative, but not mythological, nature that the Sun was also referred to as Ra. But is this not the same situation we have found among other ancient nations where the planet Saturn and the Sun are made to share the same name?
The Ptolemaic identification of Ra as Saturn is even given credence, albeit in an indirect way, by the Greek epic poet known as Nonnus. A native of Panapolis in Ptolemaic Egypt, Nonnus likewise referred to the Arabic Sun as Kronos which, again, was the same as calling the Sun by the name of Saturn.
Now it is true that the Greeks, and after them the Romans, had a penchant for calling alien deities and celestial bodies by what they understood to be their Greek, or Roman, counterparts. It is also known that, in certain cases, their matching was somewhat arbitrary. But neither the planet Saturn nor the Sun could have contributed to such arbitrariness since both luminaries were beyond confusion. So why would Nonnus have chosen to call the Arabic Sun by the name of the planet Saturn? Is not one inclined to assume that a similar ambiguity between the Sun and the planet Saturn must have existed in Arabic nomenclature? And does this not indicate that the Graeco-Egyptian who had it recorded that Ra stood for Kronos/Saturn was, in fact, echoing the popular belief of the time?
The Greeks, of course, had their own lore to draw upon. As the readers of this periodical have learned through the writings of David Talbott and Ev Cochrane, the Greeks not only referred to the planet Saturn as the star of Helios, they identified it outright as Helios. Those who have been following the unfolding of the Saturnian scenario are probably weary of being fed the same data over and again. But the omission of the Greek data would not only render this essay incomplete, it would also rob it of one particular statement of Franz Boll upon which I wish to conclude this first installment. And for a very good reason. But first the data:
Plato wrote that pre-eminent among the planets for its slowness was the one whom "some call Kronos," which is Saturn. But, in the earliest copies of the text, the name used was not Kronos but, rather, Helios, that is Sun. It was only later copyists, who could not understand why the planet Saturn was here being alluded to by the name of the Sun, who "corrected" the text to read "Kronos," the "accepted" Greek name of the planet Saturn. As Franz Boll, whose illuminating study of this subject has often been ignored, demonstrated, the practice of "correcting" such texts, changing the name "Helios" to read "Kronos", was quite common among later copyists.
To Porphyry, originally named Malchus, the Greek historian and Neoplatonist from Tyre, in Syria, Kronos/Saturn was also called Helios as it was to Rhetorios and Ptolemy (i.e. Claudius Ptolemaus) himself. All of which further indicates that the Ptolemaic identification of Ra as Kronos/Saturn was in keeping with the belief of the time.
As it happens, the name "Helios" closely resembles the Greek transliteration of the Canaanite/Phoenician "El," that is "Elos," a deity who, as Philo Byblius proclaimed, was the same as Kronos/Saturn. Thus a confusion between the names Elos and Helios has been suggested to be at the root of this belief. This point is somewhat tacky because, in my opinion, the Greek Helios, with similar divinities incorporating the same philological root, does ultimately derive from El; but Plato, who already used the name Helios for the planet Saturn, would not have known this since he wrote some four hundred years before Philo. Besides, as Boll pointed out, and as we have seen, the association of Saturn with the Sun was much too widespread to be attributed to a Greek confusion based on Philo. Boll's own conclusion was that the naming of the planet Saturn as Helios was not due to any confusion of names, and hardly a confusion of the luminaries involved, but owed its cause to the simple fact that, originally, Helios and Kronos were one and the same god and, therefore, one and the same planet, that is Saturn. (Boll offered his own explanation for this widespread belief but since this encroaches on a slightly different aspect of the primeval Saturn, we will postpone its discussion and take it up in a later installment).
Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius, the Roman philosopher and grammarian who lived between 395 and 423 A.D., has been much maligned for claiming, in the first book of his Saturnalia, that all forms of worship derived from that of the Sun. Among the misconceptions that are laid at his door is his identification of Kronos as the Sun. But, having learned what we now have, can we honestly say that Macrobius was that much in error? Was he not, in his own way, reporting that his ancestors, and those of the Greeks before them, had believed, that Saturn was a sun? Should we fault him for believing that this sun was the same sun that shone daily above his head? Have we not now seen that most modern mythologists have been trapped into committing the same error?
This belief was so inbred in the early sciences it even turns up in alchemy, the foster mother of chemistry. When astrology embraced, and thus debased, what had commenced a monopolized industry in the transformation of base metals into gold-simulating alloys by the priestly caste of Alexandria, ancient astronomical lore entrenched itself in mystical treatises that were to obsess alchemist well past medieval times. Among these astro-alchemical echoes we encounter the statement that the planet Saturn constitutes "the best sun," which reminds us of the "true sun" believed in by Hindu sages. As David Talbott well realized, "it is unlikely that [the alchemists] themselves knew what to do with the idea. But that tradition was passed down from remote antiquity is both indisputable and crucial."
(11) First Interlude
The handing down of traditions from remote antiquity of which Talbott speaks above does not, however, explain the tenacity with which ancient man has held to the idea that Saturn was a sun. Neither does it explain how the belief itself originated. So that despite the fact that ideas do travel, both over distance, across geographical boundaries, and through time, from centuries to millennia, it is not easy to understand why a belief in something that was obviously not so could have survived the advertency of the ages.
It is therefore not enough to maintain that this belief owes its spread to diffusion, cultural contact, or wholesale borrowing because, for one thing, we are not here concerned with an idea that would readily have lent itself to popular appeal. What we are concerned with is an astronomical belief, something that the common man in the street would not have cared about except as a curiosity. In this respect, it was no different then than it is now.
Granted that religion would have augmented the belief until it fossilized itself into a credo of faith, the question of why such an obvious falsity would have been incorporated in ritualistic litanies in the first place remains unanswered. More amazing is the fact that the belief survived the scrutiny of those who were in the best position to know otherwise, the astronomers and astrologers. How could these professional men have attempted to utilize the datum in a more practical way when the belief on which it was based belied reality?
We can, perhaps, understand how an error in astronomical observation, or a miscalculated set of figures, could have been misconstrued into a truth. Habitual acceptance of such a misconstrued fact might even, in time, have cemented the misconception into dogmatic belief. It happens. But the incongruity of a belief in something which was demonstrably false would have had a difficult time in being accepted as dogma by a culture and installed as a pillar of astrological wisdom supposedly based on astronomical verity. It is difficult to understand why ancient astronomers, astrologers, or priests looked up at the planet Saturn and asserted it shone radiantly as the Sun. More difficult to believe would be that such a preposterous idea, even if it was somehow believed in, say, by the Babylonians, could have been foisted on people of a different culture. Everyone could look up into the sky and see that Saturn did not shine as brightly as the Sun did. One need not have been an astronomer in order to expose such a deceit.
What people might have believed is that Saturn could have once shone as a sun. This is different because although everyone could see that Saturn did not shine as a sun, there was no way they could tell whether it once did. And, let us face it, man has long been prone to the possibility that things could have been different in remote antiquity, which renders this very study beyond exemption.
On the other hand, whether imbedded in fact or fiction, every belief has to have an origin. So what could have been the origin of this particular one? The Babylonians and, before them, the Sumerians had absolutely no reason to invent the postulate, to perpetrate this astronomical lie. It could have served no purpose we can think of, religious, political, or otherwise. It would not have answered any questions posed by theology, sovereignty, or nature. Would it then be too much to consider what appears to be the only other alternative, that what the ancients described was indeed what they, or their ancestors, had actually seen?
Before we answer that question, let us consider one additional point. The ancients did not really describe Saturn as having radiated as a sun. In fact, had I come across a text which would have gone out of its way in proclaiming that Saturn once blazed as a sun, I might have considered it suspect. The texts at our disposal simply treat Saturn as if it did so once glare. It seems as if the knowledge was taken for granted; as if everyone knew that this was, or had been, the case. No explanations, clarifications, or qualified rationalizations are ever encountered to account for the phenomenon. But, whether speaking of the Saturnian god as distinct from his luminary or of the luminary that was Saturn itself, it was always accepted that deity and planet, which in reality were one, coruscated, or had once coruscated, as a true sun. Personally, this was one aspect concerning the Saturnian phenomenon which further convinced me that not only did the ancients mean exactly what they "said," but that they probably knew what they were "talking" about. But what, exactly, did this amount to?
At this point we had best lay the cards we have so far accumulated plainly on the table. We have, I believe, supplied ample evidence (and more will be forthcoming in the next installment of this serialized paper) to indicate that the ancients believed Saturn to have once radiated as a sun. But a question we posed earlier remains unanswered. This concerns the sharing of names between Saturn and the Sun. But the, what is true, that Saturn was given the name of the Sun, or that the Sun was given the name of Saturn?
Boll seems to have had no doubts about this. As far as he was concerned, the Greek Helios and the Latin Sol were originally the names of the planet Saturn. It can therefore be suspected that in each other case where Saturn and the Sun share the same name, the name originally belonged to Saturn. This suspicion moves closer to certainty when we realize that, while every ancient name of the Sun was also bestowed on Saturn, not every ancient name of the planet Saturn was bestowed on the Sun. The certainty grows when, as already intimated, we discover that the characteristics attributed to the ancient sun gods do not fit the role of the Sun. Mythology, it now seems, was never concerned with the Sun, that is our Sun. The sun it speaks of was the Saturnian one. It therefore follows that the sun of the ancients, the "true sun", was Saturn. And if, later, some of the names of Saturn were bestowed on the Sun, it could only have been because the Sun supplanted Saturn, not merely mythologically, but physically.
This postulate can be partly tested by analyzing what else the ancients had to offer on the subject because, if their sun of ages was Saturn rather than the present Sun, their traditions should also reflect conditional astronomical differences. And this is precisely what we encounter in our continuing investigation of ancient astronomical lore, as we intend to demonstrate in following installments of this serialization.
Having exposed the Indic god Shiva as both Surya and Shani, that is Sun and Saturn, it might appear to those in the know that we have been somewhat selective. This is because, in later times, Shiva was burdened with a multitude of names, one thousand and eight, it is claimed, an unwarranted boast since some names are duplicated while others are identical in meaning.
Apart from Surya (which appears as name #68 and again as #630), Shiva is also called Bhanu (name #4) and Ravi (#444 and 644), both of which are names of the Sun. Shiva's name of Shani/Saturn appears as #69.
Sun and Saturn, however, are not the only recognizable celestial luminaries encountered among these Shivaite epithets. As Chandra (#67), Nisakara (#331), and Indu (#850), Shiva is identifiable as the Moon. Actually, Nisakara means "night walker" and, while it is an apt name for the Moon, it also has reference to Shiva's wandering among the graveyards during the night. His name of Mata (#73), an alias of Budha, and of Budha itself (#727), identifies Shiva as Mercury. As Rajan (#74), he is associated with Raja, the planet Venus, although it should be noted that "rajan" simply means "king." Shiva's Venerian identity is more clearly indicated by his name of SHukra (#419), even though this name was also shared by Agni/Saturn, Soma/Saturn, and even Jupiter. Elsewhere it is narrated how Brihaspati/Jupiter became Shukra as well as how Soma became the Moon.
Name #71 is Graha, identifying Shiva merely as a planet. The Shivatosini, a commentary on the Linga Purana written in the 18th century by Ganesha Natu, however claims that Graha here stands for "Vrishityavagrahakarako bhaumah," that is "Mars witholding rain." Now while it has been admitted that the interpretations contained in the Shivatosini are often "far-fetched, forced or fancied," the identification of Graha as Mars might, in this instance, be acceptable since the name is one among eight referring to the celestial bodies (#67 to 74) where, otherwise, Mars is conspicuously absent. Of course, further down in the litany, Shiva is lauded as both Visakha (#350) and Kumara (#626) which, as aliases of Karttikeya, do equate him with Mars.
Name #72 is Grahapati, which means Lord of Planets, a title usually given to Jupiter although it could easily be descriptive of Saturn comparable to Grahanayakah, the Chief (of Leader) of the Planets. Shiva's link with Jupiter is further indicated by his name of Vasava (#293), an epithet shared by Indra.
As Dhruva (#26 and 638), which means "steady," Shiva seems to be equated with the Pole Star but, elsewhere, it is told how Dhruva became the Pole Star. There it is also told how this celestial location had once been Shiva's and how Shiva later surrendered it to Dhruva. While this particular subject will be taken up in a following installment of this serialization, the subject has already been broached in an earlier essay.
Finally, Shiva is also called Shumaketu (#629), which means "comet."
In view of all this, it might rightly be asked why Shiva's identity as Surya/Shani/Sun/Saturn should be given preference at the expense of the other celestial bodies with which he also seems to be associated.
The term "purana" signifies "old" or "ancient" and the Linga Purana itself claims that Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa abridged it at the beginning of the mythical Dvapara Age from a no longer extant version composed by Brahma himself. Internal historical evidence however proves that, as we now have it, the compilation does not date from earlier than the 5th century A.D. This requires a clarification because, in actual fact, the Puranas were "living" compilations which were constantly being added to. The above date can therefore only be taken as "the lowest limit by which the bulk of this Purana had assumed its present shape." There is no need to emphasize, of course, that the Puranas are based on much older material. Even so, other than data which can be traced to older sources, we have no way of knowing how old any particular item contained within them might be.
This can be dangerous for the student of comparative mythology because any Puranic statement which contradicts the view being presented can easily be dismissed as of late vintage. But for us to claim that Shiva's assimlation with the celestial bodies other than Sun and Saturn are of late derivation places upon us the burden of proving that his identification as Sun and Saturn are not.
There is another matter to consider. The Puranas were compiled for the specific purpose of promoting prevalent local belief and, as such, suffer from sectarian bias. The Linga Purana is no exception since "its real greatness lies in expounding the monistic background of Saiva [that is Shivaite] philosophy especially in the context of the Linga cult." Thus, again, one can argue that Shiva was assimilated with every celestial body in order to demonstrate his divine omin-form as, in fact, Ganesha Natu claims. Is this not borne out by the Linga Purana itself in which Shiva is called Sarvadevamaya (name #893 and 949), which means "identical with all Devas," and Sarvalakshana (name #866), "one who has all characteristics"? But then, again, how can we prove that Shiva's identity as Sun and Saturn does not stem for the same cause?
Preference for a Sun/Saturn identification originates in those Shivaite epithets which, without calling on Sun or Saturn, compare favorably with the universal characteristics of the mythological Saturnian sun. Among the "thousand" names of Shiva, these epithets proliferate while few, if any, can be found to compare with the mythological characteristics of the other celestial bodies. This indicates that Shiva's identity as Sun and Saturn predominates, casting doubt on his assimilation with the other planets. This is further demonstrated by the mythology of Shiva's deeds which, while outside the scope of this study, has already, in part, been illustrated elsewhere.
The above is difficult to prove in a short appendix because, in order to demonstrate the validity of our approach, we would have to draw on those Saturnian attributes which have not been dealt with in the foregoing essay (but some of which will be analyzed in future installments). In clarifying this very same problem, Roger Ashton had recourse to an argument which has a lot of merit. Thus, as he indicated, one of Shiva's epithets is Yamantaka which is also a name of Yama. The Linga Purana, on the other hand, identifies Yama as the planet Saturn. Kala is another name of Shiva, in fact it is the one most duplicated in the list (#161, 252, 372, 387, 544, 705, and 907), but, again, Kala is identified as Saturn. So, also, with Raivata which appears as both a name of Shiva and Saturn as is the case with Sthira, yet another name bestowed on Shiva (#1 and 534) and the planet Saturn. As Ashton has shrewdly noted:
In the other instances of Kala, Raivata, Sthira, and Yama, no planet other than Saturn is mentioned. It could [therefore] be assumed that the original linkage is shown by this one class of clues rather than by several others. Given this, Shiva's real link is to Saturn, while others are misleading.
Continuation of this serialization will amply demonstrate the correctness of this.
______________________________ ______________________________ / \ // **** ***** **** *** * \\ /// *** * *** *** * **** * \\\ //// *** * **** *** * *** ** \\\\ ///// ****** *** *** * *** * \\\\\ ////// *** * ***** ** * *** * \\\\\\AEON is a journal of science devoted to the collection and exploration of archaeo-astronomical traditions and analysis of common patterns in ancient myths from around the world. Articles and abstracts build upon the pioneering work of Immanuel Velikovsky, author of the best selling "Worlds In Collision".
Featured topics include:
AEON 601 Hayward, Ames, IA, 50014.email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscriptions are $40 per year* $55 foreign air mail.
D. Cardona, "The Reconstruction of Cosmic History," AEON II:2 (Feb. 1990), p. 109.
Idem, "Child of Saturn," Part IV, KRONOS XI:1 (Fall 1985), pp. 36-37.
Ibid., p. 38; idem, "The Road to Saturn," AEON I:1 (Jan. 1988), p. 122.
Also spelled "aetiology", the philosophy, and later science, of causation.
See, for instance, F.G. Bratton, Myths and Legends of the Ancient Near East (N. Y., 1970), p. 21, in which he estimates that "a list of Sumerian deities [alone] would contain more than five thousand names."
G. de Santillana & H. von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time (Boston, 1969), p. 177 (emphasis added).
Aristotle, Metaphysics 12:8:19
D.R. Dicks, Early Greek Astronomy to Aristotle (Ithaca, 1970), pp. 28-29, 66, 73.
H. Tredennick, translator of Aristotle's Metaphysics (Loeb Classical Library, 1947), footnote to 12:8:19.
J. Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy (New York, 1931), p. 23.
G. de Santillana & H. von Dechend, op cit., p. 4.
Plato, Timaeus, 22
G. de Santillana & H. von Dechend, op cit., p. 177.
Plato, op cit., 22.
I. Velikovsky, Mankind in Amnesia (New York, 1982), pp. 59-60.
A. Sachs, "Babylonian Observation Astronomy," Philosophical Trans. of the Royal Soc. of London, A.276 (1974), p. 44.
Ibid., pp. 44-48.
Ibid., p. 44.
A. Armitage, "History of Astronomy," Encyclopaedia Brittannica (1959 ed.) Vol. 2, p. 582 (emphasis added).
Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, II:30-34.
B. Forrest, Velikovsky's Sources: Notes and Index Volume (Manchester, 1983), p. 532.
J.D. Prince, "Chaldea," Encyclopaedia Brittannica (1959 ed.), Vol. 5, p. 195.
V.S. Apte, The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary (Delhi, 1975), p. 417.
Ibid., p. 542.
I acknowledge my debt to Roger Ashton for this insight.
M. Jastrow, Jr., "Sun and Saturn," Revue D' Assyriologie et D' Archeologie Orientale (Paris, Sept. 1910), p. 173.
Diodorus Siculus, loc. cit.
M. Jastrow, Jr., "The Sign and Name for Planet in Babylonian," Proceedings of the Am. Philosophical Society, 47:89 (May-August 1908), pp. 155-156.
R.C. Thompson, The Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of Nineveh and Babylon, Vol. II (London, 1900), p. lxiii. (See also, W.A. Heidel, The Day of Yahweh (N.Y., 1929), pp. 437, 470, were other references are cited).
A. Bouche-Leclercq, L' Astrologie Grecque (Paris, 1899), p. 93.
Hyginus, De Astronomia (also known as Poetica Astronomica), II:42:6-10
There are even some indications that the words "sol" and "sun" might be philologically related. See N. Webster, Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language (N.Y., 1939), p. 1666.
A. Bouche-Leclercq, loc. cit.
R. H. Allen, Star-Names and Their Meanings (N.Y., 1936), p. 470.
V.S. Apte, op. cit., p. 997.
Ibid., p. 796.
Ibid., p. 1002.
M. Jastrow, Jr., "Sun and Saturn," op. cit., pp. 163-164, 169.
Ibid., p. 163.
Ibid., pp. 163-164.
Ibid., p. 164.
Ibid., p. 163.
Ibid., p. 164.
R.C. Thompson, op. cit., p. xxv; see also, P. Gossman, Planetarium Babylonicum (Rome, 1950), pp. 41, 57.
M. Jastrow, Jr., loc. cit. (emphasis added).
Anonymous, "Shamash," Encyclopedia Brittanica (1959 ed.), Vol. 20, p. 454.
E.D. Busuttil, Kalepin Tliet Ilsna (Valletta, 1978), p. 123.
J. Strong, Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary (Madison, N.J., 1890), p. 119. (Note: The earlier opinion of George Rawlinson, The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World (N.Y., 1885), Vol. I, p. 82, who contended that the name Shamash signified "the ministering office of the sun" (emphasis given), is no longer held to be valid.)
S. Langdon, "Semitic Mythology," MAR, Vol. V (N.Y., 1964), pp. 55, 135.
T. Jacobsen, Before Philosophy (Harmondsworth, 1963), pp. 145ff.
J. van Dijk, Sumerische Gottlieder, Vol. II (Heidelberg, 1960), p. 140.
Lugal-e Ud Melambi Nergal, I:1.
Or, according to a slightly different translation, "King, Storm, whose splendor is Heroic", see H. Lewy, "Origin and Significance of the Magen Dawid," Archiv Orientali, 18:3 (1950), p. 335.
M. Jastrow, Jr., op. cit., p. 165.
A.W. Sjoberg & E. Bergmann, The Collection of the Sumerian Temple Hymns (N.Y., 1969), p. 100.
S. Langdon, op. cit., p. 55; H. Lewy, op. cit., p. 338.
A.B. Cook, Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion, Vol. II:1 (N.Y., 1965), p. 693.
H. Lewy, op cit., pp. 337, 338; A.E. Guiness (ed.), Mysteries of the Bible (N. Y., 1988), p. 41.
B. Aaronson, "On the Merits of the Revised Chronologies," Chronology & Catastrophism Workshop (1988), p. 18.
D. Cardona, "Let There Be Light," KRONOS III:3 (Spring 1978), pp. 44-45; idem, "Saturn as King," ibid., IV:3 (Spring 1979), pp. 91-93; E. Cochrane, "Kadmos: The Primeval King," ibid., XI:3 (Summer 1986), pp. 3ff.
G. Rawlinson, op. cit., p. 86.
Ibid., p. 87.
J.E. Pfeiffer, The Emergence of Society: A Prehistory of the Establishment (N. Y., 1977), p. 170.
S. Langdon, op. cit., p. 93.
Ibid., p. 55; A. Jeremias, Handbuch der Altorientalischen Geistekultur (Leipzig, 1913), pp. 137, 278.
G. Rawlinson, op. cit., p. 87 (emphasis added).
P. Jensen, Die Kosmologie der Babylonier (Strassburg, 1890), pp. 115-116, 136.
G. Rawlinson, loc. cit.
Idem, History of Herodotus (London, 1862), p. 509.
F. Guirand, "Assyro-Babylonian Mythology," New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (London, 1972), p. 60.
H. Lewy, op. cit., p. 335.
F. Guirand, loc. cit.
W.G. Lambert, "The Gula Hymn of Bullutsa-rabi," Orientalia: New Series, 36 (1967), pp. 105ff.
W.F. Albright, "The Mouth of the Rivers," The Am. Jour. of Semitic Languages and Literatures 35:4 (July 1919), p. 165 (emphasis added).
Ibid., pp. 165-166.
Ibid., p. 166 (emphasis added).
F.G. Bratton, op. cit., p. 16.
M. Jastrow, Jr., op. cit., p. 173.
Ibid., p. 172.
Ibid.; F.X. Kugler, Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel, Vol. I (Munster, 1907- 1913), pp. 221ff.
M. Jastrow, Jr., op. cit., pp. 174-175.
Ibid., p. 173.
Idem, The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria (Boston, 1898), p. 57.
Besides Jastrow, see U. von Wilamowitz-Mollendorff, "Phaethon," Hermes 18 (1883), pp. 421-422; F. Boll, "Kronos-Helios," Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft 19 (1916-1919), in toto.
Linga Purana, I:57:32-39.
F. Edgerton, "Still Colliding," Harper's Magazine (August 1951).
D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn," Part II, KRONOS VII:2 (Winter 1982), p. 35.
Linga Purana, I:59:21ff.
See for instance, D. Cardona, op. cit., pp. 36-37 where only some of this voluminous evidence is cited.
V.S. Apte, op. cit., p. 228.
R. Temple, The Sirius Mystery (N.Y., 1976), p. 181.
Ibid., p. 180.
V.S. Apte, op. cit., p. 147.
Satapatha Brahmana, X:3:4:5
Rigveda, III:2:14. (Emphasis added).
Ibid., I:89:7. (Emphasis added).
V.S. Apte, op. cit., pp. 2, 959.
Ibid., pp. 148, 959. (Note: Those who are acquainted with the seven rings of light said to have surrounded the primeval Saturn will recognize the allusion inherent in these epithets, additional confirmation of Agni's identity as Saturn).
Ibid., p. 707.
Ibid., p. 708.
R. Ashton, "The Polar Planet," Part X (1982), unpublished manuscript, p. 22.
V.S. Apte, op. cit., p. 707.
E. Moor, Hindu Pantheon (London, 1864), p. 218.
J. Campbell in H. Zimmer, Philosophies of India (Princeton, 1951), p. 587.
V.S. Apte, op. cit., p. 804.
Ibid., p. 997.
Ibid., p. 907.
Bhargava's Standard Illustrated Dictionary of the Hindi Language (Hindi-English Edition) (Varanasi, 1960), p. 1017.
W.A. Heidel, op. cit., p. 465.
C.H. Marchal, "The Mythology of Indo-China and Java," Asiatic Mythology (N.Y., 1972), p. 198.
V.S. Apte, loc. cit.
See, for instance, D. Cardona, op. cit., pp. 29-33; idem, "Vishnu Born of Shiva," KRONOS VII:3 (Spring 1982), pp. 15-18; R. Ashton, "The Genie of the Pivot," in ibid., X:1 (Fall 1984), pp. 18-20. (Note: Here, again, in these essays, only a fraction of the total evidence is supplied).
V.S. Apte, loc. cit. (Note: See Appendix following this paper for the association of Shiva with the other planets).
Linga Purana, I:54:65-68.
H.D. Velanker, Rgveda Mandala VII (Bombay, 1963), p. 147.
Meanwhile, the curious and/or interested reader can refer to D. Talbott, The Saturn Myth (N.Y., 1980), p. 54.
Bhargava's Standard Illustrated Dictionary of the Hindi Language (Hindi-English Edition) (Varanasi, 1960), p. 1110.
V.S. Apte, op. cit., pp. 417, 542.
J. Frazer, The Golden Bough (N.Y., 1890/1981), Vol. I, p. 313.
F. Boll, op. cit., pp. 343ff.
For more on Ra as Saturn see D. Cardona, "The Sun of Night," KRONOS III:1 (Fall 1977), pp. 35-36.
David Talbott was incorrect in referring to Nonnus as a Roman historian, "On Testing the Polar Configuration," AEON I:2 (Feb. 1988), p. 98.
Nonnus, Dionysiaca, XL:393.
These references are becoming too numerous to cite but see below for the original sources.
Plato, Epinomis, 987c.
F. Boll, loc. cit.
Macrobius, Saturnalia, I:22:8.
F. Boll, op. cit., p. 344.
L. Delaporte, "Phoenician Mythology," New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (London, 1972), p. 83; see also W.A. Heidel, op. cit., p. 470.
A. Bouche-Leclercq, op. cit., p. 93.
F. Boll, op. cit., p. 343.
Ibid., pp. 345-346.
Macrobius, loc. cit.
In fact, his statement is based on the belief of Porphyry, see Ibid.
J. Schwabe, Archetyp und Tierkreis (Basle, 1951), p. 492.
D. Talbott, The Saturn Myth (N.Y., 1980), p. 40.
F. Boll, op. cit., pp. 344.
While this is something of a generalization, space does not here permit a full survey of the data. The author of this paper is however ready to meet any scholarly objections raised to challenge this generalization.
Linga Purana, I:65:54b-168.
V.S. Apte, The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary (Delhi, 1975), p. 922.
M. Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (Oxford, 1899), p. 1080. (Note: Although Soma is usually presented as one of the names of the Moon, see W.D. Flaherty, Hindu Myths (Harmondsworth, 1976), p. 354, as a name of Yama it is more correctly identified as Saturn. For Soma as Yama see V.S. Apte, op. cit., p. 1000; for Yama as Saturn see Collitz below. The identification of Soma as Saturn, moreover, can be further confirmed by comparing its attributes with those of the mythological Saturn).
Bhargava's Standard Illustrated Dictionary of the Hindi Language (Hindi-English Edition) (Varanasi, 1960), p. 1029.
Maitri Upanishad, VII:9.
Satapatha Brahmana, I:6:3:16-17.
Anonymous board of scholars, The Linga Purana (Varanasi, 1973), Part I, p. 264.
Ibid., p. vii.
For Karttikeya as Mars see D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn," Part II, KRONOS VII:2 (Winter 1982), p. 34; A. Isenberg & D. Cardona, "Kartikeya: Mars or Venus?" in ibid., VIII:2 (Winter 1983), pp. 73-76; A. Isenberg & D. Cardona, "Kartikeya: Mars or Venus?" in ibid., IX:2 (Winter 1984), pp. 100-109.
For Indra as Jupiter see D. Cardona, "Indra," KRONOS VII:3 (Spring 1982), pp. 19-24; R. Ashton, Brhaspati," in ibid., pp. 25-27; A. Isenberg, R. Ashton, & D. Cardona, "Indra and Brhaspati," in ibid., VIII:4 (Summer 1983), pp. 79-85; A. Isenberg & D. Cardona, "Indra and Brhaspati, II," in ibid., XI:2 (Winter 1986), pp. 75-82.
D. Cardona, "The Reconstruction of Cosmic History," AEON II:2 (Feb. 1990), pp. 120-122, where the original sources are cited.
Linga Purana, I:2:3.
Anonymous board of scholars, op. cit., p. xviii.
Ibid., p. xxiii.
AEON Vol. I, No. 4 ______________________________