God images from the Fertile Crescent Nations
Copyright © 2017 by Yehuda Rotblum
In ancient times, there was a custom where each city-state in the Fertile Crescent had its protecting god; he was their ruler. People worshiped him and in return, their god would protect them. They credited their god with magical powers that affected both the national and the cosmic levels. How did he look? Xenophanes of Colophon 475 BC wrote:
But if cattle and horses and lions had hands or could paint with their hands and create works such as men do, horses like horses and cattle like cattle also would depict the gods’ shapes and make their bodies of such a sort as the form they themselves have.
And, so did people!! They created god image of their own, but to glorify him they copied the image of the Milky Way and created their god on earth in his image. Rockart and figurines of Gods from the Fertile Crescent attest to it as seen in Fig1:
Fig. 1 God figurines from Fertile Crescent, left to right: Pharaoh Narmer Egypt, Hadad – Phoenicia, Teshub – Kingdom of the Hittites, Baal – Canaan, Rock art Negev Desert, Milky Way
The image of the Milky Way imagined as an enormous giant spans the heavens overlooking the earth. He stands there, strong and glamorous, his legs slightly apart and his hands extend to the stars. His left foot bent forward in an expression of movement or action. He raises his hand in a motion to strike, thus he is nicknamed ‘the striking God’ and he even wears a funny cone hat instead of a crown! Not surprising, the god’s figurines are shaped exactly as the giant in the sky.
More deciphering, in a new book Rock Art in Israel, available online.