The Storm-Gods of the Ancient Near East: Summary, Synthesis, Recent Studies. Part I

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Schwemer, Daniel (2007)

In many regions of the ancient Near East, not least in Upper Mesopotamia, Syria and Anatolia where agriculture relied mainly on rainfall, storm-gods ranked among the most prominent gods in the local panthea or were even regarded as divine kings, ruling over the gods and bestowing kingship on the human ruler. While the Babylonian and Assyrian storm-god never held the highest position among the gods, he too belongs to the group of 'great gods' through most periods of Mesopotamian history. Given the many cultural contacts and the longevity of traditions in the ancient Near East only a study that takes into account all relevant periods, regions and text-groups can further our understanding of the different ancient Near Eastern storm-gods. The study Wettergottgestalten Mesopotamiens und Nordsyriens by the present author (2001) tried to tackle the problems involved, basing itself primarily on the textual record and excluding the genuinely Anatolian storm-gods from the study. Given the lack of handbooks, concordances and thesauri in our field, the book is necessarily heavily burdened with materials collected for the first time. Despite comprehensive indices, the long lists and footnotes as well as the lack of an overall synthesis make the study not easily accessible, especially outside the German-speaking community. In 2003 Alberto Green published a comprehensive monograph entitled The Storm-God in the Ancient Near East whose aims are more ambitious than those of Wettergottgestalten: All regions of the ancient Near East—including a chapter on Yahwe as a storm-god—are taken into account, and both textual and iconographic sources are given equal space. Unfortunately this book, which was apparently finished and submitted to the publisher before Wettergottgestalten came to its author's attention, suffers from some serious flaws with regard to methodology, philology and the interpretation of texts and images. In presenting the following succinct overview I take the opportunity to make up for the missing synthesis in Wettergottgestalten and to provide some additions and corrections where necessary. It is hoped that this synthesis can also serve as a response to the history of ancient Near Eastern storm-gods as outlined by A. Green.
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    7. The Anatolian Storm-Gods Taru and Tar¢un(t) 7.1 Names and Strands of Tradition 7.2 Position in the Pantheon 7.3 Modus Operandi in Mythology and Ritual 8. The Victory of the Storm-God over the Sea 9. Further Gods with Storm-God Characteristics 9.1 The North-Babylonian and Assyrian Storm-God Wèr 9.2 The Babylonian God of the Western Lands Mardu-Amurru 9.3 The Anatolian Vegetation- and Storm-God Telipinu 10. A Few Remarks on Iconography Appendix: Selected Additions and Corrections to Schwemer, Wettergottgestalten

    25 See Wettergottgestalten, 166-168; note that J. Klein's article on the filiation of Nanna referred to p. 168 fn. 1188 has now been published as “The Genealogy of Nanna-Suen and its Historical Background”, in: Historiography in the Cuneiform World (CRRAI 45), ed. T. Abusch e.a., Bethesda 2001, 279-301.

    26 See Wettergottgestalten, 170-171, 408 fn. 3418 with references.

    27 Wettergottgestalten, 168-170, cf. also M.W. Green, Eridu in Sumerian Literature, Diss. Chicago 1975, 91, and, for SEM 117, K. Hecker, Untersuchungen zur akkadischen Epik, AOATS 8, Kevelaer-Neukirchen-Vluyn 1974, 38, 113, 118.

    63 The inclusion of Is¢ara in this group does not provide sufficient reason to characterise the whole group as a circle of Syrian gods (contra W. Sallaberger, “Pantheon”, RlA 10 [2004] 306).

    64 For the text see Wettergottgestalten, 78-86; ibid., 73-78, 86-92 for other relevant texts.

    65 It should be noted, however, that Medimsa as consort of Iskur-Adad is not attested before the Old Babylonian period either. Since the goddess herself is already mentioned in texts of the Fàra period this may be due to chance. For Medimsa see Wettergottgestalten, 170-172; cf. also W.G. Lambert, “Sumerian Gods: Combining the Evidence of Texts and Art”, in: Sumerian Gods and Their Representations, ed. I.L. Finkel-M.J. Geller, CM 7, Groningen 1997, 6-7.

    70 A good photograph of the tablet (AO 6448+,) is reproduced in SAA 8, 182f. (for an edition see E.F. Weidner, Gestirn-Darstellungen auf babylonischen Tontafeln, SÖAW 254/2, Wien 1967). For the association of Adad with Corvus see Wettergottgestalten, 605 fn. 4892, 688f.

    71 For Adad as god of divination and his association with Samas within this and other contexts see Wettergottgestalten, 221-226, 284, 683-686.

    72 See Wettergottgestalten, 427-428, cf. now also P. Michalowski, “The Scribe(s) of MDAI 57 Susa Omens?”, NABU 2006/41.

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