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The Cosmic Cave (3)

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04 Religious and philosophical literature and poetry

gondola of heaven
ordeal river
4th century CE
Roman philosophers and scholars

Julian the Emperor’s Cave of the Nymph is located beyond the river Gallus. The river of the ordeal of the Egal, the Ešdam and the hut near a river are present in mythological and ritual texts as well when a passage of state is meant. The boat, used to cross a river, also belongs in this context.

Julian the Emperor, Hymn to the Mother of the Gods 160 2.15.B, D (Wright):
But the goddess, as though she desired to show the Roman people that they were not bringing a lifeless image from Phrygia, but that what they had received from the Phrygians and were now bringing home possessed greater and more divine powers than an image, stayed the ship directly she touched the Tiber, and she was suddently as though rooted in mid-stream. Next, as the story goes, she (Claudia, priestess of the goddess) cried aloud as though it were some nautical word of command ‘O Goddess Mother, if I am pure follow me!’ And lo, she not only made the ship move, but even towed her for some distance up stream.

Julian the Emperor, Hymn to the Mother of the Gods 165 5.15.D (Wright):
… Attis, the cause which descends even unto matter, and we believe that Attis or Gallus is a god of generative powers. Of him the myth relates that, after being exposed at birth near the eddying stream of the river Gallus, he grew up like a flower, and when he had grown to be fair and tall, he was beloved by the Mother of the Gods. And she entrusted all things to him, and moreover set on his head the starry cap. But if our visible sky covers the crown of Attis, must one not interpret the river Gallus as the Milky Way?

Dumuzi-Inanna Song P, Segment B 18-20:
(Inana is speaking) The vulva, it is … it is the ‘Boat of Heaven’, fastening ropes …

UET 6/1 22 16:
She directed her steps toward the ‘tavern’ of the palace.

Inana and Bilulu 90-98:
That day what was in the lady’s heart? What was in holy Inana’s heart? To kill old woman Bilulu was in her heart! To make good the resting place for her beloved young husband, for Dumuzid-ama-ušumgal-ana - that was in her heart! My lady went to Bilulu in the haunted desert. Her son Ĝirĝire like the wind there did …… Širru of the haunted desert, no one’s child and no one’s friend, ……. Holy Inana entered the alehouse.

Iddin-Dagan A 169-172:
In the palace, the house that administers the country – in the house that is the (disciplining) neck-stock for all lands, the house (called) ‘The River Ordeal’ – has, in its entirety, the black-headed (people), the nation, founded a dais for (the divine) ‘Queen of the Palace’ (Nin-egala), the king, being a god, will dwell with her on it.

Nungal Hymn 8, 59:
House, river of the ordeal which leaves the just ones alive, and chooses the evil ones! … the gods are present at the place of interrogation, at the divine river ordeal.

Gilgameš Epic (SBV) 10.1-5:
Siduri was a tavern-keeper who lived by the sea-shore, … Gilgamesh came wandering.

Bīt Rimki Ritual:
The exorcist will go out into the open country and make a bīt rimki.

Mīs Pî Ritual, Nineveh Version 1-7:
When you wash the mouth of a god, on a favorable day in the morning you go into the countryside, to an orchard on the bank of a river, and you watch for sunrise, you mark out a boundary … you take a load of reeds, make up reed posts, set them up in a circle and establish ‘reed-huts’ for Ea, Šamaš, and Asalluḫi.

Sources (list of abbreviations) (source links will open in a new browser window)
Bīt Rimki Ritual
Dumuzi-Inanna Song P, Segment B 18-20
Inana and Bilulu 90-98
Julian the Emperor, Hymn to the Mother of the Gods 160 2.15.B, D (Wright)
Julian the Emperor, Hymn to the Mother of the Gods 165 5.15.D (Wright)
Gilgameš Epic (SBV) 10.1-5
Iddin-Dagan A 169-172
Mīs Pî Ritual, Nineveh Version 1-7
Nungal Hymn 8
Nungal Hymn 59
UET 6/1 22 16


Alster 1985, 222-224.Alster, Bendt. “Geštinanna as Singer and the Chorus of Uruk and Zabalam. UET 6/1 22.” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 37 (1985) 219-228. [JSTOR (requires subscription)]
George 1999, 76George, Andrew R. The Epic of Gilgamesh. The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian. London: Allen Lane/Penguin Press 1999.
Glassner 1992, 77-79Glassner, Jean-Jacques. “Inanna et les Me.” In: Maria deJong Ellis (ed.). Nippur at the Centennial. Papers Read at the 35e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Philadelphia, 1988. Occasional Publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund 14. Philadelphia: The Samuel Noah Kramer Fund 1991, 55-86.
Heimpel 1989Heimpel, Wolfgang. “The Babylonian Background of the Term 'Milky Way'.” In: Hermann Behrens, Darlene Loding and Martha T. Roth (eds.). DUMU-E2-DUB-BA-A. Studies in Honor of Åke W. Sjöberg. Occasional publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer fund 11. Philadelphia: Samuel Noah Kramer Fund 1989, 249-252.
Jacobsen 1975, 66Jacobsen, Thorkild. “Religious Drama in Ancient Mesopotamia.” In: Hans Goedicke and J.J.M. Roberts (eds.). Unity and Diversity. Essays in the History, Literature, and Religion of the Ancient Near East. The Johns Hopkins Near Eastern studies. Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press 1975, 65-97.
Jacobsen 1976, 43-47, 124-127.Jacobsen, Thorkild. The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion. Sources from the Ancient Near East 2.3. New Haven, London: Yale University Press 1976.
Kramer 1963, 505-508Kramer, Samuel N. “The Sumerian Sacred Marriage Texts.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 107 (1963) 485-527. [JSTOR (requires subscription)]
Læssøe 1955, 17Læssøe, Jørgen. Studies on the Assyrian Ritual and Series Bît Rimki. Copenhagen: Munksgaard 1955.
Mander 2001, 119-124.Mander, Pietro. “Antecedents in the Cuneiform Literature of the Attis Tradition in Late Antiquity.” Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 1 (2001) 100-149. [Brill (requires subscription)]
Walker and Dick 1999, 84-85Walker, Christopher and Michael B. Dick. “The induction of the Cult Image in Ancient Mesopotamia. The Mesopotamian Mīs Pî Ritual.” In: Michael B. Dick (ed.). Born in Heaven, Made on Earth. The Making of the Cult Image in the Ancient Near East. Winona Lake IN: Eisenbrauns 1999, 55-121.

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Cf. The cosmic cave (1)
Cf. The cosmic cave (2)

Pietro Mander

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