Chapter Five
KEEPERS OF THE SECRETS

 

"....The heavens bespeak the glory of the Lord and the vault of heaven reveals His handiwork," the Psalmist wrote. The "heavens" thus described were the nightly skies; and the glory they bespoke was conveyed to Mankind by astronomer-priests. It was them who made sense of the countless celestial bodies, recognized stars by their groups; distinguished between the immovable stars and the wondering planets, knew the Sunís and Moonís movements, and kept track of Time - the cycle of sacred days and festivals, the calendar.

"The sacred days began at dusk of the previous evening - a custom still retain in the Jewish calendar. A text which outlined the duties of the Urigallu priest during the twelve day New Year festival in Babylon throws light not only on the origin of priestly rituals later on, but also on the close connection between celestial observations and the festivalís proceedings. In the discovered text (generally consider to reflect, as the priestís title URI.GALLU itself, Sumerian origins) the beginning, dealing with the determination of the first day of New Year (the first of the month Nissan in Babylon) according to the spring equinox, is missing.
The inscription starts with the instructions for the second day:

On the second day of the month Nisannu,
two hours into the night,
the Urigallu priest shall arise
and wash with river water.

"Then, putting on a garment of pure white linen, he could enter into the presence of the great god (Marduk in Babylon) and recite prescribed prayers in the Holy of Holies of the ziggurat (the Esagil in Babylon). The recitation, which no one else was to hear, was deemed so secret that after the text lines in which the prayer was inscribed, the priestly scribe inserted the following admonition:

"Twenty-one lines: secrets of the Esagil temple. Whoever reveres the god Marduk shall show them to no one except the Urigallu priest."

"After he finished reciting the secret prayer, the Urigallu priest opened the templeís gate to let in the Eribbiti priests, who proceeded to "perform their rites, in the traditional manner," joined by musicians and singers. The text then details the rest of the duties of the Urigallu priest on that night.

""On the third day of the month Nisannu" at a time after sunset too damaged in the inscription to read, the Urigallu priest was again required to perform certain rites and recitations.... until three hours after sunrise," when he was to instruct artisans in the making of images of metal and precious stones to be used in ceremonies on the sixth day. On the fourth day, at "three and one third hours of the night," the rituals repeated themselves but the prayers now expanded to include a separate service for Mardukís spouse, the goddess Sarpanit. The prayers then paid homage to the other gods of Heaven and Earth and asked for the granting of long life to the king and prosperity to the people of Babylon. It was after that the advent of the New Year was directly linked to the Time of the Equinox in the constellation of the Ram Star at dawn. Pronouncing the blessing "Iku-star" upon the "Esagil, image of heaven and earth," the rest of the day was spent in prayers, singing and music playing. On that day, after sunset, the Enuma Elish, the Epic of Creation, was recited in its entirety.

"The fifth day of Nissan was compared by Henri Frankfort (Kingship and the Gods) to the Jewish Day of Atonement, for on that day the king was escorted to the main chapel and was relieved there by the High Priest of all the symbols of kingship; after which, struck in the face by the priest and humiliated into prostrating himself, the king pronounced declarations of confession and repentance....


"....the duties of the Urigallu priest.... on that night at "four hours of the night," recited twelve times the prayer "My Lord, is he not my Lord" in honor of Marduk, and invoked the Sun, the Moon, and the twelve constellations of the zodiac. A prayer to the goddess followed, in which her epithet DAM.KI.ANNA ("Mistress of Earth and Heaven" revealed the ritualís Sumerian origin. The prayer likened her to the planet Venus "which shines brilliantly among the stars," naming seven constellations. After these prayers which stressed the astronomical-calendrical aspects of the occasion, singers and musicians performed "in the traditional manner" and a breakfast was served to Marduk and Sarpanit "two hours after sunrise."

"The Babylonian New Year rituals evolved from the Sumerian AKITI ("On Earth Build Life") whose roots can be traced to the state visit by Anu and his spouse Antu circa 3800 B.C., when (as the texts attest) the zodiac was ruled by the Bull of Heaven, the Age of Taurus. We have suggested that it was then that Counted Time, the Calendar of Nippur, was granted to Mankind. Inevitably, that entailed celestial observations and thus led to the creation of a class of trained astronomers-priests.

"....Surprisingly, the texts on the clay tablets (whose scribal colophons identify them as copies of earlier originals) clearly describe two sets of rituals - one taking place in the month Nissan (the month of the spring equinox) and the other on the month Tishrit (the month of the autumnal equinox); the former was to become the Babylonian and Assyrian New Year, and the latter was retained in the Jewish calendar following the biblical commandment to celebrate the New Year "in the seventh month," Tishrei. While the reason for this diversity still mystifies scholars, Ebeling noted that the Nissan texts appear to have been better preserved than the Tishrei texts which are mostly fragmented, suggesting a clear bias on the part of the later temple scribes; and Falkenstein has noted that the Nissan and Tishrei rituals, seemingly identical, were not really so; the former stressed the various celestial observations, the latter the rituals within the Holy of Holies and its anteroom.

"Of the various texts, two main ones deal separately with eve time and sunrise rituals. The former, long and well preserved, is especially legible from the point at which Anu and Antu, the divine visitors from Nibiru, are seated in the courtyard of the sacred precinct at eve time, ready to begin a lavish dinner banquet. As the Sun was setting in the west, astronomer-priests stationed on various stages of the main ziggurat were required to watch for the appearance of the planets and to announce the sighting of the moment the celestial bodies appeared, beginning with Nibiru....

"....As these compositions ("To the one who grows bright, the heavenly planet of the Lord Anu" and "The Creatorís image has arisen") were recited from the ziggurat, wine was served to the gods from a golden libation vessel. Then, in succession, the priests announced the appearance of Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Mars, and the Moon. The ceremony of washing the hands followed, with water poured from seven golden pitchers honoring the six luminaries of the night plus the Sun of daytime. A large torch of "naphtha fire in which spices were inserted" was lighted; all the priests sang the hymn Kakkab Anu etellu shamame ("The planet of Anu rose in the sky"), and the banquet could begin. Afterward Anu and Antu retired for the night and leading gods were assigned as watchmen until dawn. Then, "forty minutes after sunrise," Anu and Antu were awakened "bringing to an end their overnight stay."

"The morning proceedings began outside the temple, in the courtyard of the Bit Akitu ("House of the New Year Festival" in Akkadian). Enlil and Enki were awaiting Anu at the "golden supporter," standing by or holding several objects; the Akkadian terms, whose precise meaning remains elusive, are best translated as "that which opens up the secrets," "the Sun disks" (plural!) and "the splendid/shining posts." Anu then came into the courtyard accompanied by gods in procession. "He stepped up to the Great Throne in the Akitu courtyard, and sat upon it facing the rising Sun." He was then joined by Enlil, who sat on Anuís right, and Enki, who sat on his left; Antu, Nannar/Sin, and Inanna/Ishtar then took places behind the seated Anu.

"The statement that Anu seated himself "facing the rising Sun" leaves no doubt that the ceremony involved a determination of a moment connected with sunrise on a particular day - the first day of Nissan (the spring Equinox Day) or the first day of Tishrei (the autumnal Equinox Day). It was only when this sunrise ceremony was completed, that Anu was led by one of the gods and by the High Priest to the BARAG.GAL - the "Holy of Holies" inside the temple.

"(BARAG means "inner sanctum, screened-off place" and GAL means "great, foremost." The term evolved to Baragu/Barakhu/Parakhu in Akkadian with the meanings "inner sanctum, Holy of Holies" as well as the screen which hides it. This term appears in the Bible as the Hebrew word Parokhet, which was both the word for the Holy of Holies in the temple and for the screen that separated it from the anteroom. The traditions and rituals that began in Sumer were thus carried on both physically and linguistically.)

"Another text from Uruk, instructing the priests regarding daily sacrifices, calls for the sacrifice of "fat clean rams, whose horns and hooves are whole," to the deities Anu and Antu, "to the planets Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Saturn and Mars; to the Sun as it rises, and to the Moon on its appearance." The text then explains what "appearance" means in respect to each other of these seven celestial bodies: it meant the moment when they come to rest in the instrument which is "in the midst of the Bit Mahazzat" ("House of Viewing"). Further instructions suggest that this enclosure was "on topmost stage of the temple-tower of the god Anu."

"Depictions have been found that show divine beings flanking a temple entrance and holding up poles to which ring-like objects are attached. the celestial nature of the scene is indicated by the inclusion of the symbols of the Sun and the Moon....

"....Other depictions of poles-with-rings freestanding, not held up, flanking temple entrances suggest that they were the forerunners of the uprights that flanked temples throughout the ancient Near East in ensuing millennia, be it the two columns at Solomonís temple of the Egyptian obelisks. That these originally had an actual and not just symbolic astronomical function could be gathered from an inscription by the Assyrian king Tiglatpileser I (1115-1077 B.C.) in which he recorded the restoration of a temple to Anu and Adad that was built 641 years earlier and that had been lying in ruins for the past sixty years:

Two great towers
to discern the two great gods
I built in the House of Brilliance -
a place for their joy,
a place for their pride -
a brilliance of the stars of the heaven.
With the master-builderís artfulness,
with my own planning and exertions,
the insides of the temple I made splendid.
In its midst I made a place for the
rays directly from the heavens,
in the walls I made the stars to appear.
I made their brilliance great,
the towers I made to rise to the sky.

"According to this account, the two great towers of the temple were not just architectural features, but served an astronomical purpose. Walter Andrae, who led some of the most fruitful excavations in Assyria, expressed the view that the serrated "crowns" that topped towers that flanked temple gateways in Ashur, the Assyrian capital, indeed served such a purpose (Die Jungeren Ishtar-Tempel). He found confirmation for that conclusion in relevant illustrations on Assyrian cylinder seals, that associate the towers with celestial symbols. Andrae surmised that some of the depicted altars (usually shown together with a priest performing rites) also served a celestial (i.e., astronomical) purpose. In their serrated superstructures these facilities, high up temple gateways or in the open courtyards of temple precincts, created substitutes for the rising stages of the ziggurats as the ziggurats gave way to the more easily built flat-rooted temples.

"The Assyrian inscription also serves as a reminder that not only the Sun at dawn, and the accompanying heliacal rising of stars and planets, but also the nightly Host of Heaven were observed by the astronomer-priests. A perfect example of such dual observations concern the planet Venus, which because of its much shorter orbit time around the Sun than Earthís appears to an observer from Earth half the time as an evening star and half the time as a morning star. A Sumerian hymn to Inanna/Ishtar, whose celestial counterpart was the planet we call Venus, offered adoration to the planet first as an evening star, then as a morning star....

"....After describing how both people and beasts retire for the night "to their sleeping places" after the appearance of the Evening Star, the hymn continues to offer adoration to Inanna/Venus as the Morning Star....

"....While such texts throw light on the role of the ziggurats and their rising stages in the observation of the night sky, they also raise the intriguing question: did the astronomer-priests observe the heavens with the naked eye, or did they have instruments for pinpointing the celestial moments of appearances? The answer is provided by depictions of ziggurats on whose upper stages poles topped by circular objects are emplaced; their celestial function is indicated by the image of Venus or of the Moon.

"The hornlike devices (all graphics can be seen at Mr. Sitchinís books) serve as a link to Egyptian depictions of instruments for astronomical observations associated with temples. There, viewing devices consisting of a circular part emplaced in the center of a pair of horns atop a high pole were depicted as raised in front of temples to a god called Min. His festival, involved the erection of a high mast by groups of men pulling cords - a predecessor, perhaps, of the Maypole festival in Europe. Atop the mast are raised the emblems of Min - the temple with the viewing lunar horns.

"The identity of Min is somewhat of a mystery.... Min was also known as Amsu or Khem, which according to E. A. Wallis Budge (The Gods of the Egyptians) represented the Moon and meant "regeneration" - a calendrical connotation.

 

A detail of Sesostris I dancing before the god Min showing him holding a flail, signifying authority; Egyptian relief from Koptos.

"....Was Min perhaps another incarnation of Thoth who was firmly linked to the lunar calendar in Egypt? What is certain is that Min was deemed to be related celestially to the Bull of Heaven, the zodiacal constellation of Taurus, whose age lasted from about 4400 B.C. to about 2100 B.C. The viewing devices that we have seen in the Mesopotamian depictions and those associated with Min in Egypt thus represent some of the oldest astronomical instruments on Earth.

"According with the Uruk ritual texts, an instrument called Itz Pashshuri was used for the planetary observations. Thureau-Dangin translated the term simply as "an apparatus"; but the term literally meant an instrument "that solves, that unlocks secrets." Was this instrument one and the same as the circular objects that topped poles or posts, or was the term a generic one, meaning "astronomical instrument" in general? We cannot be sure because both texts and depictions have been found, from Sumerian times on, that attest to the existence of a variety of such instruments.

"The simplest astronomical device was the gnomon (from the Greek "that which knows"), an instrument which tracked the Sunís movements by a shadow cast by an upright pole; the shadowís length (growing smaller as the Sun rose to midday) indicated the hourly time and the direction (where the Sunís rays first appeared and last cast a shadow) could indicate the seasons.... In time, this led to actual structural shadow clocks which were built as stairways that indicated time as the shadow moved up or down the stairs.

"Gnomon" (Sun dials) today, Jantar Mantar, India

 

"....Shadow clocks are mentioned in the Bible. The Book of Job refers to portable gnomos, probably of the kind that were used in the fields to tell time, when it observes that the hired laborer "earnestly desireth the shadow" that indicated it was time to collect his daily wages. Less clear is the nature of a shadow clock that featured in a miraculous incident reported in II Kings Chapter 20 and Isaiah Chapter 38. When the prophet Isaiah told the ailing king Hezekiah that he would fully recover within three days, the king was disbelieving....
 

Isaiah visits King Hezekiah

"Be it as it may, scholars by and large agree that the sun clock that served as an omen for the miraculous recovery of the king was in all probability a gift presented to the Judean king Ahaz by the Assyrian King Tiglatpiliser II in the eight century B.C.... It was not a Greek invention nor, it seems, an Egyptian one. According to Plyny the Elder, the first century savant, the science of gnomonics was first described by Anaximander of Miletus who possessed an instrument called "shadow hunter." But Anaximander himself, in his work (in Greek) Upon Nature (547 B.C.) wrote that he had obtained the gnomon from Babylon.

"The text in II Kings chapter 20, it seems to us, suggests a sundial rather than a built staircase and that it was placed in the Temple courtyard (it had to be in the open where the Sun could cast shadows). If Andrae was right regarding the astronomical function of altars, it was possible that the instrument was placed upon the Templeís main altar. Such altars had four "horns," a Hebrew term (Keren) that also meant "corner" as well as "beam, ray" - terms suggesting a common astronomical origin. Pictorial evidence supporting such a possibility ranges from early depictions of ziggurats in Sumer, where "horns" preceded the circular object all the way to Greek times. In tablets depicting altars from several centuries after Hezekiahís time, we can see a viewing ring on a short support placed between two altars; in a second illustration we can see an altar flanked by devices for Sun viewing and Moon viewing.

"In considering the astronomical instruments of antiquity, we are in fact dealing with knowledge and sophistication that go back millennia to ancient Sumer.

"....If the process of celestial observation progressed from massive ziggurats and great stone circles to lookout towers and specially designed altars, the altars with which the astronomer-priests scanned the heavens at night or tracked the Sun in daytime must have progressed in tandem. That such instruments became portable thus makes much more sense, especially if some were used not only for the original calendrical purposes (fixing festival times) but also for navigation. By the end of the second millennium B.C. the Phoenicians of northern Canaan had become the best navigators of the ancient world; plying the trade routes, one may say, between the stone pillars of Byblos and the ones in the British Isles, their foremost western outpost was Carthage (Keret-Hadash, "New City").

Phoenician ruins

at Byblos, center. Sidon, left. Tyre, right

CARTHAGE, above and left.

"There they adopted as their main divine symbol the depiction of an astronomical instrument; before it began to appear in stelae and even tombstones, it was shown is association with two double-ringed pillars that flanked the entrance to a temple - as earlier in Mesopotamia. The ring flanked by two opposite-facing crescents suggests observations of the Sun and of the Moonís phases.

Mr. Sitchin gives an ample description of depictions found in the ruins of a Phoenician settlement in Sicily, and makes a connection of the symbols there with symbols Egyptians used as well, for example:

"the Sun rising between two mountains. Indeed, the Phoenician device (scholars refer to it as a "cult symbol") suggesting a pair of raised hands is related to the Egyptian hieroglyph for Ka that represented the pharaohís spirit or alter ego for the Afterlife journey to the abode of the gods on the "Planet of millions of years." That the origin of the Ka was, to begin with, an astronomical instrument is suggested by an archaic Egyptian depiction or a viewing device in front of a temple.

"All these similarities and their astronomical origin should add new insights to understanding Egyptian depictions of the Kaís ascent toward the godsí planet with outstretched hands that emulate the Sumerian device, it ascends from atop a pillar equipped with gradation-steps.... The Egyptian hieroglyph depicting this step-pillar was called Ded, meaning "Everlastingness."

"....The Egyptian Book of the Dead has not reached us in the form of a cohesive book, assuming that a composition that might be called a "book" truly existed; rather, it has been collated from the many quotations that cover the walls of royal tombs. But a complete book did reach us from ancient Egypt, and it shows that an ascent heavenward to attain immortality was deemed connected with the calendar.

"The book we refer to is the Book of Enoch, an ancient composition known from two sets of versions, an Ethiopic one that scholars identify as "1 Enoch," and a Slavonic version that is identified as "2 Enoch," and which is also known as The Book of the Secrets of Enoch. Both versions.... are based on early sources that enlarge on the short biblical mention that Enoch, the seventh Patriarch after Adam, did not die because, at age 365, "he walked with God" - taken heavenward to join the deity.

"Enlarging on this brief statement in the Bible (Genesis chapter 5), the books describe in detail Enochís two celestial journeys - the first to learn the heavenly secrets, return, and impart the knowledge to his sons; and the second to stay put in the heavenly abode. The various versions indicate wide astronomical knowledge concerning the motions of the Sun and the Moon, the solstices and the equinoxes, the reasons for the shortening and lengthening days, the structure of the calendar, the solar and lunar years, and the rule of thumb for intercalation. In essence the secrets that were imparted to Enoch and by him to his sons to keep, were the knowledge of astronomy as it related to the calendar.

"Not only the contents of the Book of Enoch - astronomy as it relates to the calendar - but also the very life and ascension of Enoch are thus replete with calendrical aspects. His years on Earth, 365, are of course the number of whole days in a solar year; his birth and departure from Earth are linked to a specific month, even the day of the month.... (the sixth day of the month Tsivan, he was born, and the first day of the month Tsivan was taken away the first time; the second time he was taken away on the same day and month in which he was born).

"The Ethiopic version is deemed by scholars to be older by several centuries than the Slavonic one, and portions of that older version are in turn known to have been based on even older manuscripts, such as a lost Book of Noah. Fragments of Enoch books were discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The astronomical-calendrical tale of Enoch thus goes back into great antiquity - perhaps, as the Bible asserts, to pre-Diluvial times.

"Now that it is certain that the biblical tales of the Deluge and the Nefilim (the biblical Anunnaki), of the creation of the Adam and of Earth itself, and of ante-Diluvial patriarchs, are abbreviated renderings of original earlier Sumerian texts that recorded all that, it is almost certain that the biblical "Enoch" was the equivalent of the Sumerian first priest, EN.ME.DUR.AN.KI ("High Priest of the MEís of the Bond Heaven-Earth"), the man from the city Sippar taken heavenward to be taught the secrets of Heaven and Earth, of divination, and of the calendar. It was with him that the generations of astronomer-priests, of Keepers of the Secrets, began.

"The granting by Min to the Egyptian astronomer-priests of the viewing device was not an extraordinary action. A Sumerian sculpture molded in relief shows a great god granting a hand-held astronomical device to a king-priest. Numerous other Sumerian depictions show a king being granted a measuring rod and a rolled measuring cord for the purpose of assuring the correct astronomical orientation of temples, as we have seen. Such depictions only enhance the textual evidence that is explicit about the manner in which the line of astronomer-priests began.

"Did Man, however, become haughty enough to forget all that, to start thinking he had attained all that knowledge by himself? Millennia ago the issue was tackled when Job was asked to admit that not Man but El, "The Lofty One," was the Keeper of the Secrets of Heaven and Earth:

Say, if thow knowest science:
Who hath measured the Earth, that it be known?
Who hath streched a cord upon it?
By what were its platforms wrought?
Who hath cast its Stones of Corners?

"Have you ever ordered Morning or figured out Dawn according to the corners of the Earth? Job was asked. Do you know where daylight and darkness exchange places, or how snow and hailstones come about, or rains, or dew? "Do you know the celestial laws, or how they regulate that which is upon the Earth?

"The text and depictions were intended to make clear that the human Keepers of the Secrets were pupils, not teachers. The records of Summer leave no doubt that the teachers, the original Keepers of the Secrets, were the Anunnaki.

"The leader of the first team of Anunnaki to come to Earth, splashing down in the waters of the Persian Gulf, was E.A - he "whose home is water." He was the chief scientist of the Anunnaki and his initial task was to obtain the gold they needed by extracting it from the gulfís waters - a task requiring knowledge in physics, chemistry, metallurgy. As a shift to mining became necessary and the operation moved to southeastern Africa, his knowledge of geography, geology, geometry - of all that we call Earth Sciences - came into play; no wonder his epithet-name changed to EN.KI, "Lord Earth," for his was the domain of Earthís secrets. Finally, suggesting and carrying out the genetic engineering that brought the Adam into being - a feat in which he was helped by his half sister Ninharsag, the Chief Medical Officer - he demonstrated his prowess in the disciplines of Life Sciences: biology, genetics, evolution. More than one hundred MEís, those enigmatic objects that, like computer disks, held the knowledge arranged by subject, were kept by him in his center, Eridu, in Sumer; and at the Southern tip of Africa, a scientific station held "the tablet of wisdom."

"All that knowledge was in time shared by Enki with his six sons, each of whom became expert in one or more of these scientific secrets.


"Enkiís half brother EN.LIL - "Lord of the Command" - arrived next to Earth. Under his leadership the number of Anunnaki on Earth increased to six hundred; in addition, three hundred IGI.GI ("Those who observe and see") remained in Earth orbit, manning orbiting stations, operating shuttlecraft to an from spacecraft. He was a great spaceman, organizer, disciplinarian. He established the first Mission Control Center in NI.IBRU, known to us by its Akkadian name Nippur, and the communication links with the Home Planet, the DUR.AN.KI - "Bond Heaven-Earth." The space charts, the celestial data, the secrets of astronomy were his to know and keep. He planned and supervised the setting up of the first space base in Sippar ("Bird City"). Matters of weather, winds and rains, were his concern; so was the assurance of efficient transportation and supplies, including the local provision of foodstuffs and the arts and craft of agriculture and shepherding. He maintained discipline among the Anunnaki, chaired the council of the "Seven who Judge," and remained the supreme god of law and order when Mankind began to proliferate. He regulated functions of the priesthood, and when kingship was instituted, it was called by the Sumerians "Enlilship."

"....On his ziggurat, the E.KUR ("House which is like a mountain"), he had a "beam that searches the heart of all the lands." He "set up the Duranki," the "Bond Heaven-Earth." In Nippur a "bellwether of the universe" he erected. Righteousness and justice he decreed. With "MEís of heaven" that "none can gaze upon" he established in the innermost part of the Ekur "a heavenly zenith, as mysterious as the distant sea," containing the "starry emblems ... carried to perfection"; these enabled the establishment of rituals and festivals. It was under Enlilís guidance that "cities were built, settlements founded, stalls built, sheepfolds erected," riverbanks controlled for overflowing, canals built, fields and meadows "filled with rich grain," gardens made to produce fruits, weaving and entwining taught.

"Those were the aspects of knowledge and civilization that Enlil bequeathed to his children and grandchildren, and through them to Mankind.

"The process by which the Anunnaki imparted such diverse aspects of science and knowledge to Mankind has been a neglected field of study. Little has been done to pursue, for example, such a major issue as how astronomer-priests came into being - an event without which we, today, would neither know much about our Solar System nor be able to venture into space. Of the pivotal event, the teaching of the heavenly secrets to Enmeduranki, we read in a little known tablet that was fortunately brought to light by W.G. Lambert in his study Enmeduranki and Related Material.

"....When the instruction of Enmeduranki in the secret knowledge of the Anunnaki was accomplished, he was returned to Sumer. The "men of Nippur, Sippar and Babylon were called into his presence." He informed them of his experiences and of the establishment of the institution of priesthood and that the gods commanded that it should be passed from father to son....

The episode of Enoch in the Bible attests to this as Enoch

"....passed this knowledge to Methuselah. The book of the Secrets of Enoch includes in the knowledge granted Enoch "all the workings of heaven, earth and the seas, and all the elements, their passages and goings and the thunderings of the thunder; and of the Sun and of the Moon; the goings and changing of the stars; the seasons, years, days, and hours." This would be in line with the attributes of Shamash - the god whose celestial counterpart was the Sun and who commanded the spaceport, and of Adad who was the "weather god" of antiquity, the god of storms and rains.

"Appeals by later kings to be granted as much "Wisdom" and scientific knowledge as renowned early sages had possessed, or boasts that they knew as much, were not uncommon. Royal Assyrian correspondence hailed a king as "surpassing in knowledge all the wise men of the Lower World" because he was an offspring of the "sage Adapa."

A Babylonian king had the same claim.

"....These were references to Adapa, the sage of Eridu (Enkiís center in Sumer), whom Enki had taught "wide understanding" of "the designs of Earth" - the secrets of Earth Sciences.

"....According to the Assyrian references to the wisdom of Adapa, he composed a book of sciences titled U.SAR d ANUM d ENLILA - "Writings regarding Time; from divine Anu and divine Enlil." Adapa, thus, is credited with writing Mankindís first book of astronomy and the calendar.

"When Enmeduranki ascended to heaven to be taught the various secrets, his patron gods were Utu/Shamash and Adad/Ishkur, a grandson and son of Enlil. His ascent was thus under Enlilite aegis. Of Adapa we read that when Enki sent him heavenward to Anuís abode, the two gods who acted as his chaperons were Dumuzi and Gizzida, two sons of Ea/Enki. There, "Adapa from the horizon of heaven to the zenith of heaven cast a glance; he saw its awesomeness" - words reflected in the books of Enoch. At the end of the visit Anu denied him everlasting life; instead "the priesthood of the city of Ea to glorify in future" he decreed for Adapa.

"The implication of these tales is that there were two lines of priesthood - one Enlilite and one Enkiíite; and two central scientific academies, one in Enlilís Nippur and the other in Enkiís Eridu. Both competing and cooperating, no doubt as the two half brothers were, they appear to have acquired their specialties. This conclusion, supported by later writings and events, is reflected in the fact that we find the leading Anunnaki having each their talents, specialty, and specific assignments.

"....Say, if thow knowest science: Who hath measured the Earth, that it be known? Who hath stretched a cord upon it?" So was Job asked when called to admit that God, not Man, was the ultimate Keeper of the Secrets. In the scene of the introduction of the king-priest to Shamash, the purpose or essence of the occurrence is indicated by two Divine Cordholders. The two cords they stretch to a ray-emitting planet from an angle, suggesting measurement not so much of distance as of orientation. An Egyptian depiction of a similar motif, a scene painted on the Papyrus of Queen Nejmet, shows how two cordholders measure an angled base on the planet called "Red Eye of Horus."

"....Such an orientation was not haphazard or a matter left to guesswork. The Egyptians relied on divine guidance to determine the orientation and major axis of their temples, the task was assigned to Sesheta (Goddess of the Calendar, her symbol was the stylus made of a palm branch, which in Egyptian hieroglyphs stood for "counting the years"... she was the Goddess of Construction (for the purpose of determining the orientation of temples)).

"....Determining the correct orientation called for an elaborate ceremony named Put-ser, meaning "the stretching of the cords."

Mr. Sitchin gives more details in his book about the ceremony.

"....The astral aspects of the ceremony have been made clear by relevant inscriptions, as the one found on the walls of the temple of Horus in Edfu.

It records the words of the pharaoh:

I take the peg-pole,
I grasp the club by its handle,
I stretch the cord with Sesheta.
I turn my sight to follow the starís movements,
I fix my gaze to the astrality of Msihettu
The star-god that announces the time
reaches the angle of its Merkhet;
I establish the four corners
of the godís temple.

"In another instance concerning the rebuilding of a temple in Abydos by the Pharaoh Seti I, the inscription quotes the king thus:

The hammering club in my hand was of gold.
I struck the peg with it.
Thow was with me in thy capacity of Harpedonapt.
Thy hand held the spade during the fixing of
the templeís four corners with accuracy
by the four supports of heaven.

"Sesheta was, according to Egyptian theology, the female companion and chief assistant of Thoth, the Egyptian god of sciences, mathematics, and the calendar - the Divine Scribe, who kept the godís records, and the Keeper of the Secrets of the construction of the pyramids.

"As such he was the foremost Divine Architect.

Return

 

 

Chapter Six
THE DIVINE ARCHITECTS

 

"Some time between 2200 and 2100 B.C. - a time of great import at Stonehenge - Ninurta, Enlilís Foremost Son, embarked on a major undertaking: the building of a new "House" for himself at Lagash.

"The event throws light on many matters of gods and men thanks to the fact that the king entrusted with the task, Gudea of Lagash, wrote it all down in great detail on two large clay cylinders. In spite of the immensity of the task, he realized that it was a great honor and a unique opportunity to have his name and deeds remembered for all time, for no many kings were so entrusted; in fact royal records (since found by archaeologists) spoke of at least one instance when a famous king (Naram-Sin), otherwise beloved by the gods, was again and again refused permission to engage in the building of a new temple (such a situation arose millennia later in the case of King David in Jerusalem). Shrewdly expressing his gratitude to his god by inscribing laudatory statements on statues of himself which Gudea then emplaced in the new temple, Gudea managed to leave behind a rather substantial amount of written information which explains the How and What for of the sacred precincts and temples of the Anunnaki.

"....Throughout the millennia Ninurta was a faithful aid to his father (as the Foremost Son of Enlil by his half sister Ninharsag) carrying out dutifully each task assigned to him.


"....When a brutal war, which in The Wars of God and Men we have called the Second Pyramid War, broke out between the Enlilites and the Enkiíites, it was again Ninurta who led his fatherís side to victory. That conflict ended with a peace conference forced on the warrying clans by Ninharsag, in the aftermath of which the Earth was divided among the two brothers and their sons and civilization was granted to Mankind in the "Three Regions" - Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Indus Valley.

"The peace that ensued lasted for a long time, but not forever. One who had been unhappy with the arrangements all along was Marduk, the Firstborn Son of Enki. Reviving the rivalry between his father and Enlil which stemmed from the complex succession rules of the Anunnaki, Marduk challenged the grant of Sumer and Akkad (what we call Mesopotamia) to the offspring of Enlil and claimed the right to a Mesopotamian city called Bab-Ili (Babylon) - literally, "Gateway of the Gods." As a result of the ensuing conflicts, Marduk was sentenced to be buried alive inside the Great Pyramid of Giza; but, pardoned before it was too late, he was forced to exile; and once again Ninurta was called upon to help resolve the conflicts.

"Ninurta however was not just a warrior. In the aftermath of the Deluge it was he who dammed the mountain passes to prevent more flooding.... he oversaw the introduction of organized agriculture.... he was assigned to organize Kingship to Mankind at the first city of Men, Kish....

"....His reward was permission from Enlil to build a brand new temple in Lagash. It was not that he was "homeless"; he already had a temple in Kish, and a temple within the sacred precinct in Nippur, next to his fatherís ziggurat. He also had his own temple in the Girsu, the sacred precinct of his "cult center" the city of Lagash. French teams of archaeologists who have been excavating at the site (now locally called Tello), conducting twenty "campaigns" between 1877 and 1933, uncovered many of the ancient remains of a square ziggurat and rectangular temples whose corners were precisely oriented to the cardinal points. They estimate that the foundations of the earliest temples were laid in Early Dynastic times, before 2700 B.C.... Inscriptions by the earliest rulers of Lagash already spoke of rebuilding and improvements in the Girsu, as well as of the presentation of votive artifacts, such as the silver vase by Entemena, over a period of six or seven hundred years before Gudeaís time. Some inscriptions may mean that the foundation for the very first Eninnu were laid by Mesilim, a king of Kish who had reigned circa 2850 B.C. Kish, it will be recalled, was where Ninurta had established for the Sumerians the institution of Kingship.

Naram Sinís stele of Victory. Although he was the beloved of the gods, he was not granted permission to build a new temple.

The Second Pyramid. The site of a great war of the gods. The aftermath was the division of the Earth in three Regions.

 

The Great Pyramid, where Marduk was sentenced to be buried alive. Pardoned just in time, he was helped out. After another victory for Enlil from Ninurta, Ninurta entered the Pyramid for the first time....

"....When Ninurta defeated the Enkiíites he entered the Great Pyramid and for the first time realized its intricate and amazing inner architecture in addition to its outer grandeur. The information provided by the inscriptions of Gudea suggests that Ninurta had nourished a desire to have a ziggurat of similar greatness and intricacy ever since his Egyptian tour of duty. Now that he had pacified Sumer and attained for Lagash the status of a royal capital, he asked Enlil once again for permission to build a new E.NINNU, a new "House of Fifty," in the Girsu precinct of Lagash. This time his wish was to be fulfilled.

"That his wish was granted should not be downplayed as a matter of course. We read, for example, in the Canaanite "myths" regarding the god Baíal ("Lord"), that for his role in defeating the enemies of El ("The Lofty One," the supreme deity) he sought Elís permission to build a House on the crest of Mount Zaphon in Lebanon. Baíal had sought his permission before, and was repeatedly turned down....

"....Now he asked Asherah, Elís spouse, to intercede for him; and Asherah finally convinced El to give his permission. Added to the previous arguments was a new one: Baíal she said, could then, "observe the seasons" in his new House - make there celestial observations for a calendar.

".... The plans had to be drawn and construction supervised by the Kothar-Hasis, the "Skilled and Knowing" Craftsman of the Gods.... The Canaanite texts indeed state that Baíal sent emissaries to Egypt to fetch Kothar-Hasis, but found him eventually in Crete.

"No sooner, however, did Kothar-Hasis arrive than Baíal got into fierce arguments with him regarding the templeís architecture. He wanted, it appears, a House of only two parts, not the customary three - an Hekhal and a Bamtim (a raised stage). The sharpest argument was over a funnel-like window or skylight which Kothar-Hasis claimed had to be positioned "in the House" but Baíal vehemently argued should be located somewhere else....

"....The reasons for the argument regarding the skylight and its location remain obscure; our guess is that it might have been connected with the templeís orientation. The statement by Asherah that the temple would enable observance of the seasons suggests an orientation requiring certain astronomical observations. Baíal, on the other hand, as the Canaanite texts later reveals, was planning to install in the temple a secret communication device that would enable him to seize power over other gods. To that purpose Baíal "stretched a cord, strong and supple," from the peak of Zaphon ("North") to Kadesh ("the Sacred Place") in the south, in the Sinai desert.

"The orientation in the end remained the way the divine architect, Kothar-Hasis, wanted it.... If, as one must assume, the later temples atop the Baalbek platform were built according to that olden plan, then we find that the orientation Kothar-Hasis had insisted upon resulted in a temple with an east-west axis.

"As the Sumerian tale of the new Eninnu temple unfolds, we shall see that it too involved celestial observations to determine its orientation, and required the services of divine architects.

"The chain of events, Gudeaís record states, began on a certain day, a day of great significance. Referring in the inscriptions to Ninurta by his formal title NIN.GIRSU - "Lord of the Girsu."

"....Recording Ninurtaís complaint about the delay in the building of the new temple "which is vital to the city in accordance with the MEís," it reports that on that propitious day Enlil finally granted the permission, and he also decreed what the templeís name shall be: "Its king shall name the temple E.NINNU."

"....Having received the permission of Enlil and having obtained the name for the new ziggurat, Ninurta was now free to proceed with the construction. Without losing time, Gudea rushed to supplicate his god to be the one chosen for the task.

"....Finally the miracle happened.... He took his asphalt-lined boat and, sailing on a canal, went to a nearby town to seek an explanation (about his vision) from the oracle goddess Nanshe in her "House of Fate-Solving." Offering prayers and sacrifices that she would solve the riddle of his vision, he proceeded to tell her about the appearance of the god whose command he was to heed....

"....Having heard the details of the dreamlike vision, the oracle goddess proceeded to tell Gudea what it meant. The first god to appear was Ningirsu (Ninurta); "for thee to build his temple, Eninnu, he commanded." The heliacal rising, she explained, signaled the god Ningishzidda, indicating to him the point of the Sun in the horizon. The goddess (in his vision), was Nisaba; "to build the House in accordance with the Holy Planet she instructed thee." And the third god, Nanshe explained, "Nindub, is his name, to thee the plan of the House he gave."

"Nanshe then added some instructions of her own, reminding Gudea that the new Eninnu had to provide appropriate places for Ninurtaís weapons, for his great aircraft, even for his favorite lyre.

"....Most baffling to him, to begin with, was the matter of the new templeís orientation....

"....He asked for a second omen; and as he was sleeping Ningirsu/Ninurta appeared to him.... The god then lists for Gudea all the inner requirements of the new temple, expanding at the same time on his great powers, the awesomeness of his weapons, his memorable deeds (such as the damming of the waters), and the status he was granted by Anu, "the fifty names of lordship, by those ordained." The construction, he tells Gudea, should begin on "the day of the new Moon," when the god will give him the proper omen - a signal: on the evening of the New Year the godís hand shall appear holding a flame, giving off a light "that shall make the night as light as day."

"Ninurta/Ningirsu also assures Gudea that he will receive from the very beginning of the planning of the new Eninnu divine help: the god whose epithet was "The Bright Serpent" shall come to help build the Eninnu and its precinct - "build it to be like the House of the Serpent, as a strong place it shall be built."

"....Losing no time Gudea proceeded to "purify the city" and organize the people of Lagash, old and young, to form work brigades and enlist themselves in the solemn task. In verses that throw light on the human side of the story, of life and manners and social problems more than four millennia ago, we read that as a way to consecrate themselves for the unique undertaking "the whip of the overseer was prohibited, the mother did not chide her child . . . a maid who had done a great wrong was not struck by her mistress in the face." But the people were asked not only to become angelic; to finance the project, Gudea "levied taxes in the land; as a submission to the lord Ningirsu the taxes were increased."

"One can stop here for a moment to look ahead to another construction of a Godís Residence, the one built in the wilderness of Sinai for Yahweh. The subject is recorded in detail in the Book of Exodus, beginning in chapter 25. "Speak unto the Children of Israel," Yahweh told Moses, "that they may bring for me a contribution, from every man whose heart shall prompt him thereto shall be taken an allotment for me... and they shall build for me a sacred sanctuary, and I shall dwell in their midst. In accordance with all that which I am showing thee, the plan of the Residence and the pattern of all the instruments thereof shall ye make it." Then followed the most detailed architectural instructions - details which made possible the reconstructions of the Residence and its components by modern scholars.

"To help Moses carry out these detailed plans, Yahweh decided to provide Moses with two assistants whom Yahweh was to endow with a "divine spirit" - "wisdom and understanding and knowledge of all manner of workmanship." Two men were chosen by Yahweh to be so instructed, Bezalel and Aholiab, "to carry out all the sacred work in all of the manner that Yahweh had ordered." These instructions began with the layout plan of the Residence and make clear that it was a rectangular enclosure with its long sides (one hundred cubits) facing precisely south and north and its short sides (fifty cubits in length) facing precisely east and west, creating an east-west axis of orientation.

"By now "greatly wise" and "understanding great things," Gudea - to go back to Sumer some seven centuries before the Exodus - launched the execution of the divine instructions in a grand way. By canal and river he sent out boats, "holy ships on which the emblem of Nanshe was raised," to summon assistance from her followers; he sent caravans of cattle and asses to the lands of Inanna, with her emblem of the "star-disk" carried in front; he enlisted the men of Utu, "the god whom he loves." As a result, Elamites came from Elam, Susians came from Susa, Magan (Egypt) and Melukhah (Nubia) sent a large tribute from Lebanon, bronze was collected, shiploads of stones arrived. Copper, gold, silver and marble were obtained.

Elamites, went from Elam to help build the temple for Ninurta. (Two views from ancient Elam)

 

The Castle of the French Archaeologists in Susa.
Susians went to help build the temple for Ninurta....

From Nubia, they sent tribute to help build the temple for Ninurta...
Ancient Nubian temple (left), modern above

And from Magan (Egypt) they also sent a great tribute....

Cedars, Bronze, Gold was collected....

  

Copper, Silver and Marble was collected

"When all that was ready, it was time to make the bricks of clay. This was no small undertaking, not only because tens of thousands of bricks were needed. The bricks - one of the Sumerian "firsts" which, in a land short of stones, enabled them to build high-rise buildings - were not of the shape or size that we use nowadays; they were usually square, a foot or more on each side and two or three inches thick. They were not identical in all places at all times; they were sometimes just sun-dried, some times dried in kilns for durability; they were not always flat, but sometimes concave or convex, as their function required, to withstand structural stress. As is clear from Gudeaís as well as other kingsí inscriptions, when it came to temples, and even more so to ziggurats, it was the god in charge who determined the size and shape of the bricks; this was such an important step in the construction, and such an honor for the king to mold the first brick, that the kings embedded in the wet bricks a stamped inscription with a votive content. This custom, fortunately, made it possible for archaeologists to identify so many of the kings involved in the construction, reconstruction, or repair of the temples.

"....Ancient, even archaic, Sumerian depictions have been found dealing with the brick ceremony, one of them shows a seated deity holding up the Holy Mold, bricks from which are carried to construct a ziggurat.

"The time has thus come to start building the temple, and the first step was to mark out its orientation and implant the foundation stone. Gudea wrote that a new place was chosen for the new Eninnu, and archaeologists have indeed found its remains on a hill about fifteen hundred feet away from the earlier one.

"We know from these remains that the ziggurat was built so that its corners would be oriented to the cardinal points; the precise orientation was obtained by first determining true east, then running one or more walls at right angles to each other. This ceremony too was done on an auspicious day for which "the full year" had to come to pass. The day was announced by the goddess Nanshe....

"....Apart from depictions of the ceremony, showing a god with the horned headdress implanting the conical "stone," was actually a bronze one; the use of the term "stone" is not unusual, since all metals resulting from quarrying and mining were named with the prefix NA, meaning "stone" or "that which is mined."

Mr. Sitchin mentions at this point in his book the use of such "stones" in biblical accounts as well.

"....In Lagash, once the cornerstone was embedded by the god Ningishzidda, Gudea was able to lay the templeís foundations, by now "like Nisaba knowing the meaning of numbers."

"The ziggurat built by Gudea, scholars have concluded, was one of seven stages. Accordingly, seven blessings were pronounced as soon as the laying of the foundation stone was completed and the templeís orientation set and Gudea began to place the bricks along the marking on the ground:

May the bricks rest peacefully!
May the House by its plan rise high!
May the divine Black Storm Bird be as a young eagle!
May it be like a young lion awesome!
May the House have the brilliance of Heaven!
May joy abound at the prescribed sacrifices!
May Eninnu be a light unto the world!

"Then did Gudea begin to build the "House, a dwelling he established for his lord Ningirsu . . . a temple truly a Heaven-Earth mountain, its head reaching heavenward . . ."

"....The king, we read in the inscriptions, "the Righteous Shepherd," "built the temple bright with metal" bringing copper, gold, and silver from distant lands. "He built the Eninnu with stone, he made it bright with jewels; with copper mixed with tin he held it fast." This is undoubtedly a reference to bronze which, in addition to its use for various listed artifacts, apparently was also used to clamp together stone blocks and metals. The making of bronze, a complex process involving the mixing of copper and tin under great heat in specified proportions, was quite an art; and indeed Gudeaís inscription makes it clear that for the purpose a Sangu Simug, a "priestly smith," working for the god Nintud, was brought over from the "Land of smelting." This priestly smith, the inscription adds, "worked on the templeís facade; with two handbreadths of bright stone he faced over the brickwork; with diorite and one handbreadth of bright stone he . . ." (the inscription is too damaged here to be legible).

"Not just the mere quantity of stones used in the Eninnu but the outright statement that the brickwork was faced with bright stone of a certain thickness - a statement that until now has not drawn the attention of scholars - is nothing short of sensational. We know of no other instance of Sumerian records of temple construction that mention the facing or "casing" of brickwork with stones. Such inscriptions speak only of brickwork - its erection, its crumbling, its replacement - but never of a stone facing over the brick facade.

"Incredibly - but as we shall show, not inexplicably - the facing of the new Eninnu with bright stones, unique in Sumer, emulated the Egyptian method of facing step-pyramids with bright stone casings to give them smooth sides!

"The Egyptian pyramids that were built by pharaos began with one built by King Zoser at Sakkara (south of Memphis) circa 2650 B.C.

"Rising in six steps within a rectangular sacred precinct, it was originally faced with bright limestone casing stones of which only traces now remain; its casing stones, as those of ensuing pyramids, were removed by later rulers to be used in their own monuments.

"The Egyptian pyramids, as we have shown and proved in The Stairway to Heaven, began with those built by the Anunnaki themselves - the Great Pyramid and its two companions at Giza. It was they who devised the casing with bright stones of what were in their core step-pyramids, giving them their renowned smooth sides.

"That the new Eninnu in Lagash, commissioned by Ninurta at about the same time as Stonehenge became truly a stone-henge, emulated an Egyptian pyramidís stone facing, is a major clue for the resolution of the Stonehenge enigma.

"Such an unexpected link to Egypt, as we have been showing, was only one among many. Gudea himself was alluding to these connections when he stated that the shape of the Eninnu and its casing with bright stones were based on information provided by Nisaba "who was taught the plan of the temple by Enki" in the "House of Learning." That academy was undoubtedly in one of Enkiís centers; and Egypt, it will be recalled, was the domain alloted to Enki and his descendants when Earth was divided.

"The Eninnu project involved the participation of quite a number of gods; Nisaba, who had appeared to Gudea in the first vision with the star map, was not the only female among them.

"....Astronomy clearly played a key role in the Eninnu project; and two of the deities involved, Nanshe and Nisaba, were female astronomer-gods. They applied their specialized knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, and metrology not only to temple construction (as in Gudeaís case), but also in general productive purposes as well as in ritual roles. One, however, was trained in the academy of Eridu; the other in that of Nippur.

"Nanshe.... is called in the Gudea inscriptions "a daughter of Eridu" (Enkiís city in Sumer). Indeed, in the major Gods Lists of Mesopotamia, she was called NIN.A - "Lady of Water - and shown as a daughter of Ea/Enki. The planning of waterways and the locating of fountainheads were her specialty; her celestial counterpart was the constellation Scorpio - mul GIR.TAB in Sumerian. The knowledge she contributed to the building of the Eninnu in Lagash was thus that of Enkiíite academies.

"A hymn to Nanshe in her role as determiner of the New Year Day was her sitting in judgment of Mankind on that day, accompanied by Nisaba in the role of Divine Accountant who tallies and measures the sins of those who are judged, such as the sin of he "who substituted a small weight for a large weight, a small measure for a large measure." But while the two goddesses were frequently mentioned together, Nisaba (some scholars read her name Nidaba) was clearly listed among the Enlilites, and was sometimes identified as a half sister of Ninurta/Ningirsu. Although she was in later times deemed to be a goddess who blesses the crops - perhaps because of her association with the calendar and weather - she was described in Sumerian literature as one who "opens menís ears," i.e. teaches them wisdom.... Samuel N. Kramer called her "the Sumerian Goddess of Wisdom."

"Nisaba was, in the words of D.O. Ezard, the Sumerian goddess of "the art of writing, mathematics, science, architecture and astronomy." Gudea specifically described her as the "goddess who knows numbers" - a female "Einstein" of antiquity . . .

"The emblem of Nisaba was the Holy Sylus.... With her Holy Stylus Nisaba pointed to Gudea the "favorite star" on the "star tablet" that she held on her knees; the implication is that the star tablet had drawn on it more than one star, so that the correct one for the orientation had to be pointed out from among several stars. This conclusion is strengthened by the statement in The Blessing of Nisaba by Enki that Enki had given her as part of her schooling "the holy tablet of the heavenly stars" - again "stars" in the plural.

"Her great wisdom and scientific knowledge were expressed in Sumerian hymns by the statement that she was "perfected with the fifty great MEís" - those enigmatic "divine formulas" that, like computer disks, were small enough to be carried by hand though each contained a vast amount of information.... Nisaba, did not have to steal the fifty MEís (like Inanna/Ishtar had). A poetic text compiled from fragments and rendered into English by William H. Hallo (in a lecture titled "The Cultic Setting of Sumerian Poetry") that he called The Blessing of Nisaba by Enki, makes clear that in addition to her Enlilite schooling Nisaba was also a graduate of the Eridu academy of Enki. Extolling Nisaba as "Chief scribe of heaven, record-keeper of Enlil, all-knowing sage of the gods" and exalting Enki "the craftsman of Eridu" and his "House of Learning...."

"The "cult city" of Nisaba was called Eresh ("Foremost Abode"); its remains or location was never discovered in Mesopotamia.

Eresh he constructed for her,
in abundance created of pure little bricks.
She is granted wisdom of the highest degree
in the Abzu, great place of Eriduís crown.

"A cousin of Nisaba, the goddess ERESH.KI.GAL ("Foremost Abode in the Great Place"), was in charge of a scientific station in southern Africa and there shared control of a Tablet of Wisdom with Nergal, a son of Enki, as a marriage dowry. It is quite possible that it was there that Nisaba acquired her additional schooling.

"....One of the oddest statements made by Gudea when he described the deities who appeared to him concerned Nisaba: "The image of a temple structure, a ziggurat, she carried on her head." The headdress of Mesopotamian deities was distinguished by its pairs of horns; that gods or goddesses would instead wear on their heads the image of a temple or an object was absolutely unheard of. Yet, in his inscription, that is how Gudea described Nisaba.

"....Illustration 80 (in Mr. Sitchinís Book) shows that Nasaba is indeed carrying on her head the image of a temple-ziggurat.... But it is not a stepped structure; rather, it is the image of a smooth-sided pyramid - an Egyptian pyramid!

"Moreover, not only is the ziggurat Egyptianized - the very custom of wearing such an image on the head is Egyptian, especially as it applied to Egyptian goddesses. Foremost of them was Isis, the sister-wife of Osiris and Nephtys, their sister.

Goddess Isis wearing a headdress exactly as portrayed on Mr. Sitchinís Book

 

"Was Nisaba, an Enlilite goddess schooled in Enkiís academy, Egyptianized enough to be wearing this kind of headdress? As we pursue this investigation, many similarities between Nisaba and Sesheta, the female assistant of Thoth in Egypt, come to light.... They included her role as "the goddess of the arts of writing and of science...." Nisaba possessed the "stylus of seven numbers"; Sesheta too was associated with the number seven. One of her epithets was "Sesheta means seven".... Like Nisaba, who had appeared to Gudea witht he image of a temple-structure on her head, so was Sesheta depicted with the image of a twin towered structure on her head, above her identifying star-and-bow symbol. She was a "daughter of the sky," a chronologer and chronographer; and like Nisaba, she determined the required astronomical data for the royal-temple builders.

"According to the Sumerian texts, the consort of Nisaba was a god called Haia.... he was the balancer of the scales (in the judgment procedures on New Yearís Day). In Egyptian beliefs Judgment Day for the pharaoh was when he died, at which time his heart was weighed to determined his fate in the Afterlife. In Egyptian theology, the god who balanced the scales was Thoth, the god of science, astronomy, the calendar, and of writing and record keeping.

"Such an overlapping of identities between the deities who provided the astronomical and calendrical knowledge for the Eninnu reveals an otherwise unknown state of cooperation between the Sumerian and Egyptian Divine Architects in Gudeaís time.

"It was, in many respects, an unusual phenomenon; it found expression in the unique shape and appearance of the Eninnu and in the establishment within its sacred precinct of an extraordinary astronomical facility. It all involved and revolved around the calendar - the gift to mankind by the divine Keepers of the Secrets.

"After the construction of the Eninnu was completed....

"....Now he (Gudea) turned his attention and efforts to the Girsu, the sacred precinct as such....


"Cylinder A alone lists more than fifty separate shrines and temples built adjoining the ziggurat to honor the various gods involved in the project as well as Anu, Enlil, and Enki.

"....There were also special enclosures or facilities to house the Divine Blak Bird, the aircraft of Ninurta, and of his awesome weapons; as well as places at which the calendrical-astronomical functions of the new Eninnu were to be performed. There was a special place for "the Master of Secrets," and the new Shugalam the high place of the aperture, the place of determining whose awesomeness is great, where the Brilliance is announced." And there were two buildings with the "solving of the cords" and the "binding with the cords" respectively - facilities whose purpose has eluded scholars but which had to be connected with celestial observations, for they were located next to, or were part of, the structures called "Uppermost Chamber" and "Chamber of the seven zones."

"....There was also a need, as the text makes clear, to await a certain specific day - New Yearís Day, to be precise - before Ninurta and his spouse Bau could actually move into the new Eninnu and make it their dwelling abode.

"....Cylinder B deals with the rites connected with the consecration of the new ziggurat and its sacred precinct and the ceremonies involved in the actual arrival of Ninurta and Bau in the Girsu - reaffirming his title as NIN.GIRSU, "Lord of Girsu" - and their entry into their new dwelling place.

"While the arrival of the inauguration day was awaited - for the better part of the year - Gudea engaged in daily prayers, the pouring of libations, and the filling up of the new templeís granaries with food from the fields and its cattle pens with sheep from the pastures. Finally the designated day arrived:

The year went round,
the months were completed;
the New Year came in the heavens -
the "Month of the Temple" began.

"On that day, as the "New Moon was born." the dedication ceremonies began. The gods themselves performed the purification and consecration rites.

"....The third day, Gudea recorded, was a bright day. It was on that day that Ninurta stepped out - "with a bright radiance he shone." As he entered the new sacred precinct, "the goddess Bau was advancing on his left side." Gudea "sprinkled the ground with an abundance of oil . . . he brought forth honey, butter, milk, grain, olive oil . . . dates and grapes he piled up in a heap - food untouched by fire, food for the eating of the gods."

"The entertainment of the divine couple and the other gods with fruits and other uncooked foods went on until midday. "When the Sun rose high over the country" Gudea "slaughtered a fat ox and a fat sheep" and a feast of roasted meats with much wine began; "white bread and milk they brought by day and through the night"; and Ninurta, the warrior of Enlil, taking food and beer for drink, was satisfied." All the while Gudea "made the whole city kneel, he made the whole country prostrate itself . . . By day there were petitions, by night prayers."

"At the morning aurora" - at dawn - "Ningirsu, the warrior, entered the Temple; into the Temple its lord came; giving a shout like the cry of battle, Ningirsu advanced into his temple." "It was," observed Gudea, "like the rising of the Sun over the land of Lagash . . . and the land of Lagash rejoiced." It was also the day in which the harvest began:

On that day,
when the Righteous God entered,
Gudea, on that day,
began to harvest the fields.

"Following a decree from Ninurta and the goddess Nanshe, there followed seven days of repentance and atonement in the land. "For seven days the maid and her mistress were equal, master and slave walked side by side . . the rich man did not wrong the orphan, no man oppressed the widow . . the city restrained wickedness." At the end of the seven days, on the tenth day of the month, Gudea entered the new temple and for the first time performed there the rites of the High Priest, "lighting the fire in the temple-terrace before the bright heavens."

"A depiction on a cylinder seal from the second millennium B.C., found at Ashur, may well have preserved for us the scene that had taken place a thousand years earlier in Lagash: it shows a High priest (who as often as not was also the king, as in the case of Gudea) lighting a fire on an altar as he faces the godís ziggurat, while the "favorite planet" is seen in the heavens.

"On the altar, "before the bright heavens, the fire on the temple-terrace increased." Gudea "oxen and kids sacrificed in numbers." From a lead bowl he poured a libation. "For the city below the temple he pleaded." He swore everlasting allegiance to Ningirsu, "by the bricks of Eninnu he swore, a favorable oath he swore."

"And the god Ninurta, promising Lagash and its people abundance, that, "the land may bear whatever is good," to Gudea himself said: "Life shall be prolongued for thee."

"Appropriately, the Cylinder B inscription concludes thus:

House, rising heavenward as a great mountain,
its luster powerfully falls on the land
As Anu and Enlil the fate of Lagash determine.

Eninnu, for Heaven-Earth constructed,
the lordship of Ningirsu
to all the lands it makes known.

O Ningirsu, thou art honored!
The House of Ningirsu is built;
Glory be unto it!

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