From: João Simões Lopes Filho
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2003 11:04 AM
Subject: [tied] Re: Medieval Dragons, dog/snake, Greek Dragons
Regarding dragons there is also the dragon as guardian. Legged
serpents appear on the walls of Babylon, and the dragon as Guardian
appears as Ladon, in the Garden of Hesperides, Guarding the Golden
Apples of the daughters of Atlas. Ladon was the equivalent of the
Syrian Lawtan, the Hebrew Leviathan, Hittite I-lukan-as.
The "serpent" in the Garden of Eden was also a legged dragon, as the
Genesis account shows (only afterwards was he cursed to crawl
legless). Legged serpents also appear in Egyptian iconography.
Cultures lacking cats had troubles with rodents in granaries.
Encouraging a pair of serpents (Greek Drako) to act as guardians of
the granary, was a way of dealing with the problem.
Local "priestesses" had the responsibility of catching the snakes to
allow grain to be retrieved. Cretian statues show Goddesses with
serpents wound around their arms and European myths are full of
stories of dragons guarding a "golden hoard" (the grain "wealth" of
the community). The Sumerian word for "priestess" was "snake
charmer". There was also a serpent (Nehushtan), found in the Hebrew
Ark of the Covenant by King Hezekiah and snakes were painted on the
inside walls of Solomon's temple, according to Ezekiel. Nehushtan
appears etymologically related to the Indo-Aryan "Nahash" (Serpent),
which was venerated by the Mitannites in the Middle East.
The association of woman, tree of life and serpent is thus a very old
one. Ninhursag or Ninti was also present in the Canaano-Syrian lands
where she was known under the Semitic translation of Ninti
as "Hawah", a title of Asherah meaning the mother of all living.
Amongst the Neo-Hittites she was called *Hawwah (Life), and to the
Aramaic speaking Persians she was *Hvov (Earth). In Aramaic, *Hawah,
mother of all living, the Aramaic name of Eve, is linked to the verb
*hawa (to instruct), and *heywa (serpent). Eve's name in Arabic still
links life *heyyat with the serpent *hayyat. In Hebrew she was HWH,
Chawah, known to us as Eve. From this point of view the original
meaning of the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, is simply that at the time of
the act of union between Enki/Ea, (Yah) and the lady of the mountain,
Ninhursag, (or Hawah) beside the burning bush of the sacred tree, Yah
joined with HWH to make the sacred name - the Holy of Holies - YHWH.
This was the Elohim (or "Host of Heaven", a plural feminine noun) -
the union of God and Goddess, the moment of creation, the time in
which one like Moses could literally speak with the Gods.
> >How do we know which is the "lesser" motif and which is the
> >"Core" one?
> It's relative, to be sure. But we were talking about dragons
> and the core motif here is "water", usually rain but not
> necessarily. It all depends on which dragon we are discussing
> and what our definition of "dragon" is. I consider than a
> subtype of serpents. The serpent theme is almost always linked
> with water in general while the dragon theme is linked more
> specifically with rain (water from the sky) and there are
> special tell-tale symbols like bird claws, wings, etc that
> are specifically sky symbolisms.
> >Some consider Tiamat to be a dragon as well.
> And yes, so if we're discussing Tiamat and we say that she
> is a dragon, then she has nothing to do with rain, no. If we're
> talking about dragons with eagle's claws that fly in the sky,
> they have more to do with rain.
> >Hmm...What about Cacus, a local Roman fire-breathing cattle-
> Yes, the fire-breathing aspect would be merely the overlay
> of the thunder dragon motif on top of the cattle-stealing
> three-headed serpent. The fire being originally lightning.
> - gLeN
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