Monday, November 2, 2015

Religion of the Archaic Rulers

Alice C. Linsley

Discerning students often wonder why Traditional African Religions, primitive Hinduism, and primitive Judaism have so much in common. They note that these share a religious tradition that includes ancestor veneration, henotheism, and belief in the divine appointment of rulers. Additionally, these religions have a priest caste, practice animal sacrifice, and venerate of the Sun. The commonality is due to the way these religions developed organically from the archaic religion spread by the ruler-priests who are called "the mighty men of old" in Genesis 6:4.

The "mighty men of old" were a ruler caste (clans that practiced endogamy) who spread along mountain chains (high places) of Southern Europe and the Hindu Kush, a melting pot of ancient peoples. They likely controlled commerce through the Pamir Junction. These were aggressive kingdom builders who regarded themselves as divinely appointed to disperse and subdue the earth. Later rulers held this idea as well.

Believing himself to be divinely appointed to rule the world, Alexander the Great attempted to conquer the whole of the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion. This was especially reinforced by the oracle of the shrine of Ammon-Ra in the Libyan Desert.

Constantine the Great appears to have had a similar self-conception. Constantine was born in Niš (pronounced Nish) on 27 February 273 AD. Nis is a very ancient city in southern Serbia. Its location made it a gateway between the East and the West. In ancient times, Nis was populated by Saka peoples. The Hindu text Matsya Purana claims that the Saka (called “Scythians” by the Greeks) ruled the ancient world for 7000 years. Another text, Mahabharata, designates “Sakadvipa” as the “land of the Sakas” in northern India. Assyrian documents speak of the Saka presence between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the time of Sargon (722-705 B.C.) The religion of the Saka corresponds to the religion of the archaic Rulers.

The rulers of the archaic world also controlled commerce on the major water systems, using these to expand their territories. Their ambitions were served by royal warriors, archers, sages and craftsmen.

The ancient high place of Meroe on the Orontes River in Turkey was built on the precipice of Mt. Silpius. The earlier name for this fortress was IO, which means “pillared place dedicated to the Creator.” The O is a solar image. This follows the Kushite practice of naming river shrines for the Sun. Heliopolis on the Nile was called “Iunu” which means "place of pillars" because it was constructed with many pillars. In ancient times, the Orontes River was called the Draco or the Asi. It was the chief river of the Levant and had sufficient depth for boats to sail up the river from the Mediterranean near modern Beirut. This was aided by the north-flowing currents.

In ancient texts the ruler-priest caste is known by various related names: Opiru, Hapiru, and Habiru (Hebrew). The number seven was sacred to them because it refered to the seven heavenly bodies which were viewed as ruling the heavens. This is evident in the Luo (Nilo-Saharan) word for seven: abiriyo. The word abir is a cognate of habiru The Y suffix is a solar symbol that indicated divine appointment, as in the names of these Habiru rulers: Yaktan (Joktan), Yishmael (Ishmael), Yitzak (Isaac), Yosef (Joseph), Yetro (Jethro), Yeshua (Jesus/Joshua), etc.

Within this caste of ruler-priests there were sub-castes dedicated to stone work and metal work. Tutu was a high ranked priest in the service of Akhenaten. Tutu's titles included:

Overseer of all the craftsmen of the Lord of the Two Lands (Upper and Lower Nile)
Overseer of all the works of His Majesty
Overseer of silver and gold
Chief spokesman of the entire land

The ruler-priests were responsible for the construction of great monuments such as royal tombs, palaces, shrines and temples. The Dravidian east-facing temple was termed O-piru, meaning “Sun House." Sargon I claimed to be the son of a lowly virgin who was overshadowed by the High God (cf. Luke 1:35). He was born in an O-piru. His home city was called Azu-piranu, meaning House of God (Azu in Akkadian, Asa in Chadic, Asha in Kushitic, Ashai in Hebrew).

Royal stone tombs have been discovered in Alaca Hüyük and Horoztepe in Anatolia, dating to c. 2400–2200 BC. Horoz-tepe means the "hill shrine of Horus" and his devotees, the Horite ruler-priests, who dispersed into Anatolia. They are referenced in ancient texts as the Nes. In addition to stone work, they were smiths. They called themselves the Nes (NS) and their language was called Nesli. Many magnificent artifacts have been recovered from the Anatolian royal tombs, including this exquisite sundisk from Alaca Hüyük (shown right).

In Nehemiah 3:1, we read that Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests rebuilt the Sheep Gate of Jerusalem. Both Aaron and Moses fabricated images of metal. Moses is credited with making a bronze serpent (Numbers 21:9), and Aaron made a golden bull calf like the one shown.

The priests who sacrificed animals were served by a sub-caste of tanners. Dravidian leather workers are called "Madigas" and they are recognized as one of the oldest castes. The Madiga have nucleotide diversity levels as high as those of HapMap African populations. Among Abraham's people these were the "Ta-hash." One of Abraham's nephews was Tahash (Genesis 22:24).

In addition to sacrificing animals, crafting works of metal and constructing stone monuments, the ruler-priests kept records of astronomical events. Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors were great observers of the constellations and stars. Plato records that the Nilotes had been recording astronomical information for 10,000 years. The Habiru designed their temples so that they were aligned with the solar arc. They recognized the Sun as the great light in the sky that rules over the Earth, giving light, warm and generating life.

Through archaeoastronomy scientists have come to better understand the symbolism of these ancient sky watchers. Archaeoastronomy relies on the use of historical records of astronomical events and the history of astronomy, as well as data from written sources such as ancient sacred texts and oral traditions. Together these sources establish a picture of sophisticated sidereal astronomy under the direction of the archaic rulers.

Sidereal astronomy is based on observation of the arrangement and movement of the fixed stars and planets. This science originated among Abraham's Proto-Saharan cattle-herding ancestors who had recorded information about the fixed stars and clock-like motion of the planets and constellations for thousands of years.

By 4245 BC, the priests of the Upper Nile had established a calendar based on the appearance of the star Sirius that becomes visible to the naked eye once every 1,461 years. Apparently, Nilotes had been tracking this star and connecting it to seasonal changes and agriculture for thousands of years. This is verified by the priest Manetho who reported in 241 BC that Nilotic Africans had been “star-gazing” as early as 40,000 years ago.

Celestial events were of great importance to the rulers of the ancient world because they regarded themselves as the Creator's earthly representatives and they wished to pattern their rule on earth as "it is in heaven." The priests kept records of astronomical events and enlivened the religion with rich symbolism of celestial events, alignments, convergences, etc.

The Romanian anthropologist Mircea Eliade wrote extensively on the ritual nature of archaic societies. He noted that feasts, fasts, ceremonies and the construction of monuments were patterned after celestial archetypes. Religious observances, as well as the arrangement of residences in the village and the division of labor corresponded to events in the heavens such as the daily rising of the sun, the solstices and the equinoxes. Social structures among Abraham’s ancestors developed according to the celestial archetypes that they observed in the heavens.

Anghor Wat in Cambodia is a good (though late) example of how the ruler aligned his temple-palace according to astronomical observation.  Eleanor Mannikka, a scholar of Southeast Asian Studies. notes that Angkor Wat is located at 13.41 degrees north in latitude and that the north-south axis of the central tower’s chamber is 13.43 cubits long. She does not consider this precision a coincidence.

Mannika has found that the towers of the central temple have at least a dozen lunar alignments and the temple itself is aligned to the solar arc. Mannika writes, “During the long and clear Cambodian nights, when the stars filled every inch of the black sky, the astronomer-priests stood on the long western causeway ... and recorded the movements of the moon against the towers in the top two galleries of the temple.”

The Great Pyramid of Giza and Angkor Wat are nearly 72° apart, along the circle's circumference (diagram below). It has been noted also that Angkor Wat is located 72° of longitude east of the Giza Pyramids. The word Angkor is related to the ancient Egyptian Anhk-Hor, meaning "life to Horus."

Point A represents the Angkor Wat complex of 72 shrines.

Point G represents the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Point I represents Harappa in the Indus valley. Har-appa means "Horus is Father."
In Mannika's best-known work, Angkor Wat: Time, Space and Kingship, she argues that the dimensions, alignment and bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat speak of Suryavarman II as the divinely appointed king.

The idea of a universal ruler is much older than Angkor Wat. It is found in the oldest layers of Hindu thought. The Sanskrit word cakravartin and the Pali word cakkavattin refer to a righteous king who rules over the entire world. His "messianic" rule is called sar-vabhauma. From Africa to Nepal the words sar and sarki refer to ruler-priests. This is the root of the royal title Sar-gon, which means High King or King of Kings. Messianic expectation appears to have originated among the priest caste that served in the temples and shrines of archaic world.

Horus was regarded as the protector by archaic rulers. That is why many had Horus names. Horus was said to rule over all the earth. This was expressed in his many epithets: Lord of the Horizon; Lord of the Sky; Horus of the Twin Horizons; Lord of Humans; Lord of Mortals and Gods; Lord of the Two Lands (Upper and Lower Nile); Heir of His Father; Great One who Dwells in Heliopolis, Living One, Divine Falcon, etc.

This bas-relief from Angkor Wat show Horus perched as a falcon on the mast of Ra's solar boat.

Angkor Wat means "shrine of the living Horus." The earliest ruling families of the region were related to the older rulers of Ra-wat in Pakistan. Ra Wat means shrine of Ra. Primitive Hindu tradition teaches that "he who desires heaven is to construct a fire-altar in the form of a falcon."

Related reading: African Religion Predates Hinduism; The High Places; Stone Work of the Ancient World; The Religion of the Saka; Ancient Seats of Wisdom; Who Were the Kushites?; Plato's Debt to Ancient Egypt; The Ra-Horus-Hathor Narrative; Kushite Kingdom Building; Some Marks of Prehistoric Religion; Afro-Arabian and Aryan Religion; Can We Reconstruct the World's First Religion?

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