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"The Luck of Nineveh" ...More abstracts

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"The Luck of Nineveh" ...More abstracts

Nov-13-2001 at 11:19 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In Worlds in Collision, the intellectual acrobat Immanuel Velikovsky relied on translations of astronomical observations found by Layard in Ashurbanipals LibraryMesopotamia is frequently called the cradle of astronomyto prove that Venus was once a comet and that its tail lashed earth before it was transformed into a planet of our solar system. This event, Velikovsky argued, caused havoc on earth and gave rise to much of the mythology of mankind. This star shattered mountains, shook the globe with such violence that it looked as if the heavens were shaking, was a storm, a cloud, a fire, a heavenly dragon, a torch and a blazing star, and it rained naphtha on the earth, he said. This lively overview dovetails with Ashurbanipals account of the goddess Ishtar (Venus), who is clothed with fire and bears aloft a crown of awful splendor, raining fire over Arabia.
Such a cataclysmic event may have been accomplished by a shift in the earths orbit, accounting for the Ice Age and subsequent Flood. As early as the twenties, this theory was promoted by Multin Milakovich, a Yugoslav geologist, but it was not until 1975 that the American Journal Science confirmed evidence that a rapidly melting ice sheet circa 10,725 B.C. may have resulted in the Flood described in the Assyrian cuneiform tablets and Genesis. Indeed, lately, the interaction between astronomy and archaeology has given rise to a new discipline, astroarchaeology.

An example of the latter is found in the research of Commander George Michanowsky. His research was based on a recent confirmation that a supernova in the southern constellation of Vela exploded circa 9000 B.C., perhaps releasing cosmic gamma rays which penetrated the earths atmosphere and reached the ground level of our planet, resulting in genetic consequences such as spontaneous mutations. Such a development could have either destroyed or created the monsters depicted in Assyrian bas-reliefs. Michanowsky cited an obscure passage in Job (who is believed to be of Mesopotamian origin), 9:8,9, in which reference is made to a monotheistic God who alone stretched out the heavens, and trampled the waves of the seawho made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south. The word chambers, Michanowsky observed, is the correct literal translation of the Old Testament, but the word also has a figurative meaningsecret. In the cuneiform tablets discovered by Layard and his successors, Michanowsky discovered references, he said, to the appearance of a mighty star in the Sumerian equivalent of what we today call the constellation Vela, where the supernova occurred. Vela is located in the southern sky. To enliven matters, he noted, philologists have recently confirmed that we currently have in English a cuneiform word related to this cosmic event. It is abyss, which was long thought to be of Greek origin but is now known to be derived from the Sumerian word ab-zu. It was used by Mesopotamians as a synonym for the great southern sea and heavenly vault above it. This ancient usage, Michanowsky feels, may be better appreciated when thought of as the conceptual equivalent of the present-day astronomical term deep space.
At the dawn of human history, he therefore concluded, a powerful cosmic stimulus reached out toward mankind from a mysterious event in the far southern sky and may have influenced the fate of all of us for ages to come. Manifestly, the cuneiform tablets still have much to yield.

Other minefields also dot Assyrian archaeology and Assyriology. What, for example, lies under the mound of Nebbi Ynnus, adjacent to the mound of Nineveh and revered by Moslems as the tomb of the prophet Jonah? Calah, Ashur, Nineveh have been unearthed. But where are Resen and Rehoboth-Ir, the other two cities of Genesis? They must be in the neighborhood.

In 1976 the archaeological ferris wheel was given a rude spin by Italian archaeologist working under Paolo Mathiae, professor of Near eastern Archaeology, University of Rome, and a colleague, Giovani Pettinato, an Assyriologist. Mathiae announced the stunning discovery, near Aleppo, Syria, the area Layard traversed with Mitford, of the seat of the ancient empire of Ebla. In cuneiform tablets there are hazy references to Ebla. In its day, the tablets recorded, Ebla rivaled Egypt and Assyria. Among the ruins of Ebla, the Italian archaeologists discovered the archives of the royal palace in much the same manner that Layard did before them at Nineveh. The archives contained 15,000 cuneiform tablets, including new versions of Genesis, the Flood, etc. They are still being translated.
Obviously, the words of H. V. Hilprecht hold as strongly today as when he wrote them. Much more remains to be done before the resurrection of ancient empires will be completed, Hilprecht, the Assyriologist, wrote. Hundreds of ruins scarcely yet known by their names await the explorer.

But there is a sense of urgency today lacking Hilprechts time. Turkeys economic development demands increasing amounts of power for industry and water for irrigation projects. Developmental plans include the erection along the Euphrates of dams, submerging many archaeological sites in a new, man-made Flood. The most stupid point of view is expressed by those who argue that Turkeylike Egypt, Greece, and Iraqhas so many archaeological sites that a few hundred less will not matter The problem also has a layardian strain. Some Turkish officials, according to a New York Times story, April 3, 1977, have little interest in cultures that preceded the Islamic invasion of Asia Minor, and this view is often linked to a general suspicion of foreign archaeologists who find it increasingly difficult to obtain permits of any kind in Turkey.
In 1852 an Armenian Catholic priest reported that a colossal statue had been discovered by men plowing a field at Kouyunjik and that the farmers, devout Moslems, ordered it to be broken, as they do with everything else that is brought to light.

Arnold C. Brackman
The Luck of Nineveh: In Search of the Lost Assyrian Empire, pp. 334-336

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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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