*Yemo and *Manu; creation myth

From: Jean Kelly
Message: 17929
Date: 2003-01-22

Hi Glen, everyone

>So, if *Yemos is the earth, who is *Manus supposed to be?
Although I think he is meant to be the "first man", our
not-so-perfect ancestor who commits a tragic sin, I have a
feeling that he has a special link with the sky. Hence the
dual opposition idea.

>*Yemos seems to be this "Primordial Man". You see,
*Yemos would be slain by his bad brother, and by being slain
or "sacrificed", his body became the earth.

This is dealt with in Lincoln, B., "The Indo-European Myth of Creation",
History of Religions 15 (1975) 121-145; and (1991), "Death, War and
Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology and Practice", Chicago: 34-35]; and Puhvel,
J., "Remus et Frater" in History of Religions 15 (1975) 146-157. Your
intuition about *Manu and the sky is certainly interesting, but no mention
of such an association appears in Lincoln's papers.

Dan Milton:
>I did read a book a few years ago, specifically on the Roman myth
of Remus, that seemed to me to thoroughly refute Puhvel's twin
theory, at least as it applied to Remus. Sorry I don't remember the
details, or even the reference.

I'd be intersted in looking up this refutation, if a reference could be

>The cosmic egg motif is _related_ to
the world-view that I just illustrated. You remember that I
said that the very original concept was a goddess giving
birth to the universe. The very reason why she is female is
for the fact that women give birth, not men.

> In the beginning, there was only Darkness (symbolized
as a large female black bird) flying forever over the
primordial waters. She had nowhere to perch because
there was as yet no land. So she gave birth to an egg
and when the egg hatched, a great tree grew from it.
As it grew, it seperated the sky from the waters.
Now the great Goddess could rest upon its branches.

Yes, but women give birth to babies, not eggs. The goddess that you mention
in the creation myth is symbolized by a bird that gives birth to an egg.
The goddess is not described as a big lady (which is where this discussion
started) - and none of the archaic figurines discussed previously is
depicted as accompanied by an egg.

>what is _your_ interpretation? And again, why exactly do
you not accept it when you admit that it makes sense???

My own theory is that these myths could have an astronomical basis. You
don't agree, because (correct me if I'm wrong), in your view, the concepts
involved (ecliptic, celestial equator, and so on) are too sophisticated, and
it is more likely that creation myths were based on straightforward,
everyday observation of the earth, sky, sea, and so forth. On the face of
it, therefore, your theory makes sense. Nevertheless, I disagree with it
because I think that the level of interest in astronomical matters, as
suggested by people like Alexander Gurshtein and Michael Rappenglueck, was
more sophisticated than you suppose.

Dan Milton
> "When most people look at stone-age cave paintings, they see
> charging bulls, prancing reindeer and other animals.
> Dr. Michael A. Rappenglueck also sees maps of the night sky, and
> images of shamanistic ritual teeming with cosmological meaning."
> BBC should be ashamed of publicizing such nonsense.
> My opinion.

Piotr Gasiorowski:
>Mine too.

I'm not too sure about the latest Orion/carving identification proposed by
Rappenglueck, but he has produced interesting theories in the past, e.g.,
"The Pleiades in the 'Salle des Taureaux' Grotte de Lascaux. Does a rock
picture in the cave of Lascaux show the open star cluster of the Pleiades at
the Magdalenien era (ca 15,300 BC)?", in C. Jaschek and F. Atrio Barandela,
Proceedings of the IVth SEAC Meeting Astronomy and Culture, Salamanca,
Universidad de Salamanca, 1997. Whilst they are highly controversial, these
theories imply the burgeoning of the sort of concern with astronomy that I
mentioned earlier.

>Oh, Jean, sometimes I wish I could beat you over the head with
a big rubber chicken.

Presumably a rubber chicken that had just finished laying a giant rubber
cosmic egg?


Best regards,

Jean Kelly