Monday, May 16, 2016

The Sun and Celestial Horses



This gold Scythian belt title was recovered at Mingachevir. It dates to the 7th century BC.


Alice C. Linsley

In the ancient world, horses were associated with the power of the Supreme Deity whose emblem was the Sun. The Supreme Deity was known by many names, among them Helius who had a son named Phaeton, which means the "shining one." Phaeton declared, "My father is the Sun God Helius who drives the horses of the day and the golden chariot. He lights up the sky." One day Phaeton asked his father, "let me drive the horses of the Sun..."

The association of horses and the firey chariot are also found in the Hebrew Bible. Consider 2 Kings 2:11 - "As they [Elijah and Elisha] were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind."

Consider also Isaiah 66:16 - "For behold, the Lord will come in fire and His chariots like the whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire."

The Krkava stone or Triglav stone
The divinely appointed ruler is often shown with the sun as a halo. An example is the Krkava or Triglav Stone (shown right). This depicts the Righteous Ruler who overcomes suffering and death and wins victory over his enemies. This is the basic plot of the Messianic narrative. The divine hero is a rider with the sun as a halo surrounding him. This was a sign of divine appointment.

The victor is called the "Good God" because he gives gifts to his people. Paul makes reference to this received tradition when, alluding to Psalm 68:28, he writes, This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives and gave gifts to his people." (Ephesians 4:8)

Other names for the divine hero include Hor, Horus, Hromi Daba, Crom Dubh, Grom Div. All of these names are associated with the sun and the sky. As early as 2000 BC there is an association with the spoked wheel, another solar image. Votive wheels were offered at shrines, buried in royal tombs, or worn as amulets. Bronze Age wheel pendants or sun crosses usually had four spokes. These are a variation of the 6-prong solar symbol found on archaic rock shelters dating to the oldest period of Vinča culture (6th-5th millennia BC).

The spoked solar image was found among the Hittites who buried great warriors in their chariots. It was found among the ancient peoples of Gaul, as shown on this southern Chalcolithic anthropomorphic stele with an eight prong solar symbol. This was discovered during an archaeological excavation on the Rocher des Doms, Avignon.




As the wheel rumbles across rough terrain, so the sky rumbles with thunder. That is why the divine hero is also sometines associated with thunder, as in the case of Perun, and the Hittite/Luwian Teshub who is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt. The connection between celestial horses and a mighty voice in heaven is expressed in Psalm 68:33 - "To Him who rides upon the highest heavens, which are from ancient times; Behold, He speaks forth with His voice, a mighty voice."

Teshub's animal totem was the bull and throughout Anatolia he is shown wearing cow horns as a sign of divine appointment. His horses, named Seri and Hurri, drew his chariot. He is a divine hero of the Anu/Ainu, whose point of origin is the Nile Valley.

The 3,000-year-old Uffington White Horse
The Horites or Hurri/Hurrians of Antalolia were known for their breeding and training of horses. The name of a region with a large concentration of Hurri was called "horse land" or Ishuwa. A text discovered at Hattusa deals with the training of horses. The man called Kikkuli was responsible for the horse training. Kikuli is a common name among Nilotic peoples. It refers to one who subdues or tames a horse. Kikuli is derived from the Akkadian kikuli and kikildu which is to intimidate or to train a horse/camel, etc.

Wide distribution of horse/Sun myths
Joseph Campbell identified this narrative of the hero who dies and rises, leading his people to victory as a "monomyth" because of the wide distribution of the common elements and themes. Campbell's believed that all mythic narratives are variations of a single great story. He based this on his many years of collection and critical analysis of myths. Campbell observed that a common pattern exists beneath the narrative elements of most great myths, regardless of their origin or time of creation. The elements found in common are also the oldest.

A principle of anthropology holds that the more widely dispersed a narrative, the older it is. By this principle it is possible to identify the Messianic narrative as extremely ancient. The point of origin appears to be among the Nilotic peoples and their dispersed descendants for whom the Sun was the Creator's emblem.

The Nilotes were known for their breeding and training of quality horses, as is evident in Deuteronomy 17:16 - "Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.'"

In 2003, the frozen remains of a horse more than half a million years old were discovered in the permafrost of Canada’s west-central Yukon Territory.

An estimated 70 drawings were found in the Atxurra cave in northern Basque Spain. The engravings and paintings feature horses and date to about 14,000 years ago.

Horses are a prominent motif on this gold pectoral from a royal kurgan in Tolstaya Mogila, Ordzhonikidze, Ukraine. This Scythian artifact dates to the second half of the 4th century BC.




The Trundholm sun chariot (shown above) was discovered in Denmark. It is a representation of the sun chariot, a bronze statue of a horse and a large bronze disk, which are placed on a device with spoked wheels. It dates to between 1800 to 1600 BC.



In Modhera, India there is a temple with the images of the Sun deity and seven horses. Among the Vedic rulers the horse became a symbol of fertility and the ruler's principal wife was to copulate with the selected horse. The Ashvamedha yajna was a year-long process offered by kings seeking to gain strength,male heirs, or to expand their territories. The horse chosen for the sacrifice was to have the Krittika (the Pleiades) on his forehead. The horse was selected at the beginning of the year and allowed to wander freely while guarded by royal soldiers. Everywhere the horse wandered was claimed to be under the king’s jurisdiction. If the horse entered the territory of another ruler, that ruler had to submit or engage in combat. During the year the horse was not allowed to mate and at the end of the year it was returned to the city where it was sacrificed. After the horse was sacrificed, the carcass was cut into sections and the priests burned the sections on outdoor altars. The entire ceremony lasted three days.


Reaction to horse idolatry

The Ashvamedha yajna was contrary to the Biblical injunction against bestiality and idolatry. This may explain why Josiah removed the horses dedicated to the Sun.

"And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire." (II Kings 23:11)
 
Related reading: The Sun and the Sacred; 7000 BC Horse Burial Linked to Sheba; 700,000-Year-Old Horse Found in Yukon; Solar Imagery of the Proto-Gospel; The Urheimat of the Canaanite Y; The Solar Horseman; The Horse in Egyptian Hieroglyphs


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