Ishara
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Ishara
Ishara
Goddess of oaths, disease and love
Yazilikaya49-51.jpg
Ishara between Allani and Nabarbi in the Yazilikaya procession
Major cult centerEbla, Kizzuwatna
Symbolsscorpion, bashmu
Personal information
ParentsEnlil and Apantu
Childrenpossibly Sebitti
Equivalents
Akkadian equivalentIshtar
Ugaritic equivalentAshtart[1]

Ishara (iara) is an ancient deity of unknown origin from the north of modern Syria.[2] She first appeared in Ebla and was incorporated into the Hurrian pantheon, from which she found her way to the Hittite pantheon. She appears in documents and personal names from Mesopotamia starting with the end of the 3rd millennium BCE, and had temples in Nippur, Sippar, Kish, Harbidum, Larsa, and Urum.

Origin

The etymology of Ishara's name is unknown.[3]

Variants of the name appear as Aara (in a treaty of Naram-Sin of Akkad with an Elamite king, possibly Hita of Awan)[4] Uara (in Hittite), and U?hry (in Ugaritic).[5] In Alalah, her name was written with the Akkadogram I?TAR plus a phonetic complement -ra, as I?TAR-ra. In Alalah, as well as in A?nakkum (Chagar Bazar) and Tigun?ni the logographic writing could refer to Ishara, Shaushka or Ishtar, making transcription of personal names from these locations difficult.[6]

Name of a month and personal names from Ebla involving the sign AMA were proposed to stand for Ishara in the 1980s, but this possibility isn't regarded as plausible anymore.[7]

While Wilfred G. Lambert considered it possible that Ishara's name was connected to early Semitic root ?hr (dawn), going as far as proposing this as explanation for her association with Ishtar,[8] it is agreed in modern scholarship that Ishara is a pre-Hurrian and perhaps pre-Semitic deity (one of the so-called "substrate" deities from ancient Syria), later incorporated into the Hurrian pantheon.[9][10][11] From the Hurrian pantheon, Ishara entered the Hittite pantheon and had her main shrine in Kizzuwatna.[12]

Functions and worship

In Ebla, Ishara was one of the main deities, and a tutelary goddess of the ruling house in particular.[13] In that role she was known as "Ishara of the king."[14] She is already attested as a goddess of love in texts from Ebla,[15] and Piotr Taracha goes as far as suggesting it was her oldest function.[16] Alfonso Archi notes that in Ebla she received maces as offering (much like Hadad, Resheph and Hadabal), which might indicate she had an Ishtar-like warlike side too.[17]

She was also strongly associated with divination and prophecy in Syria, as evidenced by the epithet b?let b?rim ("lady of divination") and references to "Ishara of the prophetesses" from Emar.[18]

Mesopotamian reception

Settlements from which the Mesopotamian cult of Ishara is attested include Nippur, Sippar, Ki?, Larsa, Urum and Tell al-Rimah.[19] In Akkadian tradition, Iara was a love goddess;[20] some researchers consider association with Ishtar to be the reason behind this development.[21] Association between Ishara and both Ishtar and Ashtart is well attested in god lists from Ugarit.[22]

Her role as a love goddess is documented in the Epic of Gilgamesh (Tablet II, col. v.28): 'For Ishara the bed is made,' while in Atra-hasis (I 301-304) she is called upon to bless a couple on their honeymoon.[23]

Ishara's original symbol was bashmu (frequently associated with gods of the underworld such as Tispak, Ninazu and Ereshkigal[24]) but later (ex. on kudurru) she was instead symbolically represented by the scorpion.[25] Neither the reason behind attribution of either symbol to her nor why the change occurred are known.[26] In addition to their association with Ishara, scorpions were a symbol of marriage.[27] In his discussion of "ladies of love" (b?let ru'?mi[28] - Inanna, Nanaya and Ishara) Frans Wiggermann additionally points out that she was associated with cannabis.[29]

Hurrian reception

Due to being a well established goddess in Syria from the third millennium B.C., Ishara was incorporated into the Hurrian pantheon.[30] She was worshipped with Teshub and Simegi at Alakh, and also at Ugarit, Emar and Chagar Bazar.[23] Texts from Ugarit written in Hurrian enumerate the following centers of Ishara worship: "Mari, Tuttul with Emar-Sirae, Mudkin-Nidabe, Yabl?-Ali?e, Na?tarbenne-?idurae, Tunanah-?aydar and Ugarit-Zulude."[31]

In Hurrian context Ishara was closely connected to the underworld goddess Allani, and herself acquired a cthonic character (including a connection to the so-called "former gods," believed to be an ancestral generation of deities residing in "Dark Earth," the underworld); she also developed an association with diseases, p?rticularly so-called "Hand of Ishara." In cult Allani and Ishara functioned as a dyad; worship of pairs of similar deities this way as a common feature of Hurrian religion.[32][33]

During the hi?uwa festival from Kizzuwatna, meant to guarantee good fortune for the royal couple, she was worshiped alongside "Teshub Manuzi," Lelluri, Allani, two Nupatik gods (pibithi - "of Pibid(a)" and zalmathi - "of Zalman(a)/Zalmat") and Maliya.[34] Instructions for this celebration state the statue of Ishara is to be covered with a red draped garment, while that of Allani with blue.[35]

Hittite reception

Hittite texts sometimes use the name "Hamri-I?hara" to refer to her, presumably due to her role as an oath goddess which developed in connection to hamri buildings in Kizzuwatna.[36]Military oaths were particularly closely associated with her.[37]

In purification rituals and oaths she was commonly associated with the moon god (Hurrian Ku?u?, Anatolian Arma).[38][39] They were believed to punish oath-breakers, mostly by the means of various diseases. The Hittite verb i?hari?h- referred to being inflicted with such an "Ishara ilness." However, Ishara could also be placated with offerings and serve as a healing goddess.[40]

Relation to other deities

Enlil and Apantu were regarded as parents of Ishara, at least according to a Hurro-Hittite tradition documented in the opening sequence of the Song of Emergence (or Song of Kumarbi), the beginning of the Kumarbi cycle.[41][42][43]

Some texts refer to Sebitti as her children, but assyriologist Frans Wiggermann, who studied this group of gods extensively, points out that references to such a connection might be a result of confusion between her and the obscure figure Enmesharra, whose children these seven deities were more frequently identified as.[44]

From the Ur III period onward texts occasionally associate her with Dagan, and in the past some researchers (ex. Wilfred G. Lambert) considered it possible a tradition alternate to the usual view of Shalash as Dagan's wife presented them as spouses.[45] However, it's likely the association was rooted only in shared western origin and thus "foreign" status in the eyes of Mesopotamian theologians, as it isn't attested outside Babylonia, with no sources from Syria, where both of them were more prominent, indicating a strong connection; Lluís Feliu also pointed out that to make the purported connection to Dagan more plausible, Lambert wrongly assumed Ishara is one and the same as Haburitum, deity of the river Habur.[46] According to Alfonso Archi Haburitum was analogous to the goddess Belet Nagar[47] rather than Ishara. Like Felieu he also considers it impossible that Dagan and Ishara were ever regarded as a couple.[48]

In the god list An-Anum Ishara's sukkal is the goddess Ta?me-zikru ("She heard my word").[49]

Myths

Ishara plays a prominent role in the bilingual Hurrian-Hittite Song of Release ("Song" being the standard translation of a Hurrian term referring to mythical compositions), a fragmentary text discovered in Hattusa in 1983, with further fragments recovered in 1985.[50]

The beginning of the poem introduces Teshub (referred to as Tarhunna in the Hittite fragments), Allani and Ishara as the divine dramatis personae. Much like Allani, Ishara is introduced with the epithet "young woman," but she is also called "wordmaker, famous for her wisdom." The events of the myth appear to be a mythical account of destruction of Ebla, seemingly because in spite of the will of its king hostages weren't released. Fragments of the early sections indicate Teshub and Ishara negotiated something, presumably the fate of the city.[51] Due to fragmentary nature of the text its full plot and the roles played by individual deities in the rest of the narrative remain uncertain.[52] An episode describes a feast held by Allani which Teshub attends, the purpose and conclusion of which are unknown.[53][54] While Allani and Ishara were treated as a dyad in Hurrian religion, she is not referenced there, at least in the known sections.

See also

  • Ishtar and Nanaya, other goddesses regarded as "ladies of love" in Mesopotamia
  • Allani, associated with Ishara in Hurrian culture
  • Bashmu, a mythical beast which early on served as Ishara's symbol
  • Hittite laws

Notes

  1. ^ M. Smith, 'Athtart in Late Bronze Age Syrian Texts [in:] D. T. Sugimoto (ed), Transformation of a Goddess. Ishtar - Astarte - Aphrodite, 2014, p. 74-75
  2. ^ Hans Gustav Güterbock; K. Aslihan Yener; Harry A. Hoffner; Simrit Dhesi (2002). Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History. p. 29. ISBN 9781575060538.
  3. ^ Gwendolyn Leick (2002). A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology. p. 94. ISBN 9781134641024.
  4. ^ L. Murat, Goddess I?hara, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Co?rafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Ara?t?rmalar? Dergisi 45, 2009, p. 160
  5. ^ W. G. Frantz-Szabó, W. G. Lambert, Iara [in:] Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol 5, 1980, p. 176
  6. ^ L. E. Monti, A Systematic Approach to the Hurrian Pantheon: the Onomastic Evidence (dissertation), 2017, p. 204; 356-357; 359; 419; 464
  7. ^ A. Archi, Formation of the West Hurrian Pantheon: The Case of Iara [in:] K. Aslihan Yener, H. A. Hoffner (eds.), Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History: Papers in Memory of Hans G. Güterbock, 2002, p. 28
  8. ^ W. G. Frantz-Szabó, W. G. Lambert, Iara [in:] Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol 5, 1980, p. 176
  9. ^ Hans Gustav Güterbock; K. Aslihan Yener; Harry A. Hoffner; Simrit Dhesi (2002). Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History. p. 31. ISBN 9781575060538.
  10. ^ Karel van Lerberghe; Gabriela Voet (1999). Languages and Cultures in Contact: At the Crossroads of Civilizations in the Syro-Mesopotamian Realm ; Proceedings of the 42th [sic] RAI. p. 155. ISBN 9789042907195.
  11. ^ Daniel E. Fleming (2000). Time at Emar: The Cultic Calendar and the Rituals from the Diviner's Archive. p. 208. ISBN 9781575060446.
  12. ^ Gwendolyn Leick (2002). A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology. p. 95. ISBN 9781134641024.
  13. ^ A. Archi, The West Hurrian Pantheon and Its Background [in:] B. J. Collins, P. Michalowski, Beyond Hatti. A tribute to Gary Beckman, 2013, p. 16
  14. ^ A. Archi, The Gods of Ebla [in:] J. Eidem, C.H. van Zoest (eds.), Annual Report NINO and NIT 2010, 2011, p. 7
  15. ^ L. Murat, Goddess I?hara, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Co?rafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Ara?t?rmalar? Dergisi 45, 2009, p. 174
  16. ^ P. Taracha, Religions of Second Millennium Anatolia, 2009, p. 123
  17. ^ A. Archi, Hadda of ?alab and his temple in the Ebla period, Iraq vol. 72, 2010, p. 11
  18. ^ L. Felieu, The God Dagan in Bronze Age Syria, p. 55
  19. ^ L. Murat, Goddess I?hara, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Co?rafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Ara?t?rmalar? Dergisi 45, 2009, p. 160
  20. ^ L. Murat, Goddess I?hara, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Co?rafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Ara?t?rmalar? Dergisi 45, 2009, p. 176
  21. ^ J. M. Asher-Greve, J. G. Westenholz, Goddesses in Context: On Divine Powers, Roles, Relationships and Gender in Mesopotamian Textual and Visual Sources, 2013, p. 134
  22. ^ M. Smith, 'Athtart in Late Bronze Age Syrian Texts [in:] D. T. Sugimoto (ed), Transformation of a Goddess. Ishtar - Astarte - Aphrodite, 2014, p. 74-75
  23. ^ a b "Ishara/Eshara". Gwendolyn Leick. A Dictionary of Ancient Eastern Mythology. London. Routledge. 1991, pp. 94-95
  24. ^ F. Wiggermann, Transtigridian Snake Gods [in:] I. L. Finkel, M. J. Geller (eds.), Sumerian Gods and their Representations, 1997, p. 34, 39-40
  25. ^ W. G. Frantz-Szabó, W. G. Lambert, Iara [in:] Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol 5, 1980, p. 177
  26. ^ W. G. Lambert, Babylonian Creation Myths, 2013, p. 234
  27. ^ F. Wiggermann, Mesopotamian Protective Spirits: The Ritual Texts, 1992, p. 149
  28. ^ O. Drewnowska-Rymarz, Mesopotamian Goddess Nanaj?, 2008, p. 97
  29. ^ F. A. M. Wiggermann, Sexualität A. In Mesopotamien · Sexuality A. In Mesopotamia [in:] Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol. 12, 2010, p. 417: "I?hara is an independent [from Ishtar] "lady of love" who is associated with the scorpion and cannabis"
  30. ^ A. Archi, The West Hurrian Pantheon and Its Background [in:] B. J. Collins, P. Michalowski, Beyond Hatti. A tribute to Gary Beckman, 2013, p. 14
  31. ^ P. Taracha, Religions of Second Millennium Anatolia, 2009, p. 123, footnote 688
  32. ^ P. Taracha, Religions of Second Millennium Anatolia, 2009, p. 124, 128
  33. ^ L. Murat, Goddess I?hara, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Co?rafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Ara?t?rmalar? Dergisi 45, 2009, p. 169-170
  34. ^ P. Taracha, Religions of Second Millennium Anatolia, 2009, p. 138
  35. ^ V. Haas, Geschichte der hethitischen Religion, 2015, p. 849
  36. ^ P. Taracha, Religions of Second Millennium Anatolia, 2009, p. 123 - 124
  37. ^ L. Murat, Goddess I?hara, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Co?rafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Ara?t?rmalar? Dergisi 45, 2009, p. 175
  38. ^ L. Murat, Goddess I?hara, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Co?rafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Ara?t?rmalar? Dergisi 45, 2009, p. 167, 175, 177
  39. ^ W. G. Frantz-Szabó, W. G. Lambert, Iara [in:] Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol 5, 1980, p. 177
  40. ^ L. Murat, Goddess I?hara, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Co?rafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Ara?t?rmalar? Dergisi 45, 2009, p. 177-183
  41. ^ G. Beckman, Primordial Obstetrics. "The Song of Emergence" (CTH 344) [in:] Hethitische Literatur. Überlieferungsprozesse, Textstrukturen, Ausdrucksformen und Nachwirken, 2011, p. 26
  42. ^ A. Archi, The West Hurrian Pantheon and Its Background [in:] B. J. Collins, P. Michalowski, Beyond Hatti. A tribute to Gary Beckman, 2013, p. 17
  43. ^ L. Murat, Goddess I?hara, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Co?rafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü Tarih Ara?t?rmalar? Dergisi 45, 2009, p. 167
  44. ^ F. Wiggermann, Siebengötter A (Sebettu) [in:] Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol. 12, p. 462-463
  45. ^ W. G. Frantz-Szabó, W. G. Lambert, Iara [in:] Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol 5, 1980, p. 176
  46. ^ L. Felieu, The God Dagan in Bronze Age Syria, 2003, p. 54-55
  47. ^ A. Archi, The Gods of Ebla [in:] J. Eidem, C.H. van Zoest (eds.), Annual Report NINO and NIT 2010, 2011, p. 6
  48. ^ A. Archi, Translation of Gods: Kumarpi, Enlil, Dagan/NISABA, ?alki, Orientalia NOVA SERIES, Vol. 73, No. 4, 2004, p. 324
  49. ^ M. Krebernik, Ta?me-zikr?/u [in] Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol 13, 2011, p. 474
  50. ^ M. R. Bacharova, Song of Release (translation) [in:] C. López-Ruiz (ed.), Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: A Sourcebook of Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern Myths in Translation, 2nd ed., 2013, p. 301
  51. ^ M. R. Bacharova, Song of Release (translation) [in:] C. López-Ruiz (ed.), Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: A Sourcebook of Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern Myths in Translation, 2nd ed., 2013, p. 302-303
  52. ^ M. R. Bacharova, Relations between god and man in the Hurro-Hittite Song of Release, Journal of the American Oriental Society 125, 2005, p. 45
  53. ^ G. Wilhelm, The Dispute on Manumission at Ebla: Why does the Stormgod descend to the Netherworld?, Revue d'Assyriologie 107, 2013, p. 188
  54. ^ H. A. Hoffner, Hittite myths (2nd ed.), 1998, p. 73

References


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