The Bacchanalia were Roman festivals of Bacchus based on various ecstatic elements of the Greek Dionysia. They seem to have been popular and well-organised throughout the central and southern Italian peninsula, they were certainly associated with Rome's native cult of Liber, arrived in Rome itself around 200 BC. However, like all mystery religions of the ancient world little is known of their rites. Livy, writing some 200 years after the event, offers a scandalised colourful account of the Bacchanalia. Modern scholarship takes a skeptical approach to his allegations of frenzied rites, sexually violent initiations of both sexes, all ages and all social classes, the cult as a murderous instrument of conspiracy against the state. Livy claims that seven thousand cult leaders and followers were arrested, that most were executed. Senatorial legislation to reform the Bacchanalia in 186 BC attempted to control their size and priesthoods, under threat of the death penalty; this may have been motivated less by the kind of lurid and dramatic rumours that Livy describes than by the senate's determination to assert its civil and religious authority over Rome and her allies, after the prolonged social and military crisis of the Second Punic War.
The reformed Bacchanalia rites may have been merged with the Liberalia festival. Bacchus and Dionysus became interchangeable from the late Republican era, their mystery cults persisted well into the Principate of Roman Imperial era; the Bacchanalia were Roman festivals of Bacchus, the Greco-Roman god of wine, freedom and ecstasy. They were based on the Greek Dionysia and the Dionysian mysteries, arrived in Rome c. 200 BC via the Greek colonies in southern Italy, from Etruria, Rome's northern neighbour. Like all mystery cults, the Bacchanalia were held in strict privacy, initiates were bound to secrecy. Livy, the principal Roman literary source on the early Bacchanalia, as he reports a major political incident involving one form of the cult, names Paculla Annia, a Campanian priestess of Bacchus, as the founder of a private, unofficial Bacchanalia cult in Rome, based at the grove of Stimula, where the western slope of the Aventine Hill descends to the Tiber; the Aventine was an ethnically mixed district identified with Rome's plebeian class and the ingress of new and foreign cults.
The wine and fertility god Liber Pater, divine patron of plebeian rights and augury, had a long-established official cult in the nearby temple he shared with Ceres and Libera. Most Roman sources describe him as Rome's equivalent to Dionysus and Bacchus, both of whom were sometimes titled eleutherios. Livy claims the earliest version as open to women only, held on three days of the year, in daylight; those who resisted or betrayed the cult were disposed of. Under cover of religion and acolytes broke civil and religious laws with impunity. Livy claims that while the cult held particular appeal to those of uneducated and fickle mind, such as the young, women and "men most like women", most of the city's population was involved, Rome's highest class was not immune. An ex-initiate and prostitute named Hispala Faecenia, fearing the cult's vengeance for her betrayal but more fearful for her young, upper class client and protegé, told all to the consul Postumius, who presented it to a shocked Roman senate as a dire national emergency.
Once investigations were complete, the senate rewarded and protected informants, suppressed the cult "throughout Italy"—or rather, forced its reformation, in the course of which seven thousand persons were arrested, most of whom were executed. Legislation of 186 survives in the form of an inscription. Known as the Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus, it brought the Bacchanalia under control of the senate, thus of the Roman pontifices; the existing cult chapters and colleges were dismantled. Congregations of mixed gender were permitted, but were limited to no more than two men and three women, any Bacchanalia gathering must seek prior permission from the Senate. Men were forbidden Bacchus' priesthood. Despite their official suppression, illicit Bacchanals persisted covertly for many years in Southern Italy, their place of origin; the reformed approved Bacchic cults would have borne little resemblance to the earlier crowded and uninhibited Bacchanalia. Similar attrition may have been imposed on Liber's cults.
They were restored when the ferocity of reaction eased, but in much modified form. Livy's account of the Bacchanalia has been described as "tendentious to say the least"; as a political and social conservative, he had a deep mistrust of mystery religions, understood a
Hermes is the god of trade, merchants, roads, trickery, sports and athletes in Ancient Greek religion and mythology. Hermes was the messenger of the gods. Hermes was "the divine trickster" and "the god of boundaries and the transgression of boundaries... the patron of herdsmen, thieves and heralds." He is described as moving between the worlds of the mortal and divine, was the conductor of souls into the afterlife. He was viewed as the protector and patron of roads and travelers. In some myths, he is a trickster and outwits other gods for his own satisfaction or for the sake of humankind, his attributes and symbols include the herma, the rooster, the tortoise, satchel or pouch, winged sandals, winged cap. His main symbol is the Greek kerykeion or Latin caduceus, which appears in a form of two snakes wrapped around a winged staff with carvings of the other gods. In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon, Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury, though inherited from the Etruscans, developed many similar characteristics such as being the patron of commerce.
The earliest form of the name Hermes is the Mycenaean Greek *hermāhās, written e-ma-a2 in the Linear B syllabic script. Most scholars derive "Hermes" from Greek ἕρμα herma, "prop, heap of stones, boundary marker", from which the word hermai derives; the etymology of ἕρμα itself is unknown, but it is not a Proto-Indo-European word. However, the stone etymology is linked to Indo-European *ser-. Scholarly speculation that "Hermes" derives from a more primitive form meaning "one cairn" is disputed. In Greek, a lucky find. According to one theory that has received considerable scholarly acceptance, Hermes himself originated as a form of the god Pan, identified as a reflex of the Proto-Indo-European pastoral god *Péh2usōn, in his aspect as the god of boundary markers; the epithet supplanted the original name itself and Hermes took over the roles as god of messengers and boundaries, which had belonged to Pan, while Pan himself continued to be venerated by his original name in his more rustic aspect as the god of the wild in the isolated mountainous region of Arcadia.
In myths, after the cult of Pan was reintroduced to Attica, Pan was said to be Hermes's son. Other origins have been proposed. R. S. P. Beekes suggests a Pre-Greek origin. Other scholars have suggested. Homer and Hesiod portrayed Hermes as the author of skilled or deceptive acts and as a benefactor of mortals. In the Iliad, he is called "the bringer of good luck", "guide and guardian", "excellent in all the tricks", he was a divine ally of the Greeks against the Trojans. However, he did protect Priam when he went to the Greek camp to retrieve the body of his son Hector and accompanied them back to Troy, he rescued Ares from a brazen vessel where he had been imprisoned by Otus and Ephialtes. In the Odyssey, Hermes helps his great-grand son, the protagonist Odysseus, by informing him about the fate of his companions, who were turned into animals by the power of Circe. Hermes instructed Odysseus to protect himself by chewing a magic herb; when Odysseus killed the suitors of his wife, Hermes led their souls to Hades.
In The Works and Days, when Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create Pandora to disgrace humanity by punishing Prometheus's act of giving fire to man, every god gave her a gift, Hermes' gifts were lies, seductive words, a dubious character. Hermes was instructed to take her as wife to Epimetheus. Aeschylus wrote in The Eumenides that Hermes helped Orestes kill Clytemnestra under a false identity and other stratagems, said that he was the god of searches, those who seek things lost or stolen. In Philoctetes, Sophocles invokes Hermes when Odysseus needs to convince Philoctetes to join the Trojan War on the side of the Greeks, in Euripides' Rhesus Hermes helps Dolon spy on the Greek navy. Aesop featured him in several of his fables, as ruler of the gate of prophetic dreams, as the god of athletes, of edible roots, of hospitality, he said that Hermes had assigned each person his share of intelligence. Peitho, the goddess of seduction and persuasion, was said by Nonnus to be the wife of Hermes. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was wooed by Hermes.
After she had rejected him, Hermes sought the help of Zeus to seduce her. Zeus, out of pity, sent his eagle to take away Aphrodite's sandal when she was bathing, gave it to Hermes; when Aphrodite came looking for the sandal, Hermes made love to her. She bore him Hermaphroditus. Apemosyne, a princess of Crete. One day while travelling, Hermes fell in love with her, he was unable to catch her since she was swifter than him. So he strewed some newly stripped hides along the road, on which she slipped when she was returning after a while, he made love to her. When she disclosed to her brother, what had happened, he took her story about the god to be an excuse, killed her with a kick of his foot. Chione, a princess of Phokis, attracted the attention of Hermes, he slept with her. To Hermes she bore Autolycus. Penelopeia, an Arcadian nymph, was loved by Hermes, their son is said to be the god Pan. She has been confused or
Claudius Aelianus Aelian, born at Praeneste, was a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric who flourished under Septimius Severus and outlived Elagabalus, who died in 222. He spoke Greek so fluently that he was called "honey-tongued", his two chief works are valuable for the numerous quotations from the works of earlier authors, which are otherwise lost, for the surprising lore, which offers unexpected glimpses into the Greco-Roman world-view. On the Nature of Animals is a curious collection, in seventeen books, of brief stories of natural history, sometimes selected with an eye to conveying allegorical moral lessons, sometimes because they are just so astonishing: "The Beaver is an amphibious creature: by day it lives hidden in rivers, but at night it roams the land, feeding itself with anything that it can find. Now it understands the reason why hunters come after it with such eagerness and impetuosity, it puts down its head and with its teeth cuts off its testicles and throws them in their path, as a prudent man who, falling into the hands of robbers, sacrifices all that he is carrying, to save his life, forfeits his possessions by way of ransom.
If however it has saved its life by self-castration and is again pursued it stands up and reveals that it offers no ground for their eager pursuit, releases the hunters from all further exertions, for they esteem its flesh less. However Beavers with testicles intact, after escaping as far away as possible, have drawn in the coveted part, with great skill and ingenuity tricked their pursuers, pretending that they no longer possessed what they were keeping in concealment."The Loeb Classical Library introduction characterizes the book as "an appealing collection of facts and fables about the animal kingdom that invites the reader to ponder contrasts between human and animal behavior."Aelian's anecdotes on animals depend on direct observation: they are entirely taken from written sources Pliny the Elder, but other authors and works now lost, to whom he is thus a valuable witness. He is more attentive to marine life than might be expected and this seems to reflect first-hand personal interest.
At times he strikes the modern reader as credulous, but at others he states that he is reporting what is told by others, that he does not believe them. Aelian's work is one of the sources of medieval natural history and of the bestiaries of the Middle Ages; the portions of the text that are still extant are badly mangled and garbled and replete with interpolations. Conrad Gessner, the Swiss scientist and natural historian of the Renaissance, made a Latin translation of Aelian's work, to give it a wider European audience. An English translation by A. F. Scholfield has been published in the Loeb Classical Library, 3 vols.. Various History — for the most part preserved only in an abridged form — is Aelian's other well-known work, a miscellany of anecdotes and biographical sketches, pithy maxims, descriptions of natural wonders and strange local customs, in 14 books, with many surprises for the cultural historian and the mythographer, anecdotes about the famous Greek philosophers, poets and playwrights and myths instructively retold.
The emphasis is on various moralizing tales about heroes and rulers and wise men. Aelian gives an account of fly fishing, using lures of red wool and feathers, of lacquerwork, serpent worship — Essentially the Various History is a Classical "magazine" in the original senses of that word, he is not trustworthy in details, his agenda was influenced by Stoic opinions so that his readers will not feel guilty, but Jane Ellen Harrison found survivals of archaic rites mentioned by Aelian illuminating in her Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion. The first printing was in 1545; the standard modern text is Mervin R. Dilts's, of 1974. Two English translations of the Various History, by Fleming and Stanley made Aelian's miscellany available to English readers, but after 1665 no English translation appeared, until three English translations appeared simultaneously: James G. DeVoto, Claudius Aelianus: Ποιϰίλης Ἱοτορίας Chicago, 1995. Considerable fragments of two other works, On Providence and Divine Manifestations, are preserved in the early medieval encyclopedia, the Suda.
Twenty "letters from a farmer" after the manner of Alciphron are attributed to him. The letters are invented compositions to a fictitious correspondent, which are a device for vignettes of agricultural and rural life, set in Attica, though mellifluous Aelian once boasted that he had never been outside Italy, never been aboard a ship, thus conclusions about actual agriculture in the Letters are as to evoke Latium as Attica. The fragments are not available in English; the Letters are ava
The Polynesian narrative or Polynesian mythology encompasses the oral traditions of the people of Polynesia, a grouping of Central and South Pacific Ocean island archipelagos in the Polynesian Triangle together with the scattered cultures known as the Polynesian outliers. Polynesians speak languages that descend from a language reconstructed as Proto-Polynesian, spoken in the Tonga - Samoa area around 1000 BC. Prior to the 15th century AD, Polynesian peoples fanned out to the east, to the Cook Islands, from there to other groups such as Tahiti and the Marquesas, their descendants discovered the islands from Tahiti to Rapa Nui, Hawai‘i and New Zealand. Latest research puts the settlement of New Zealand at about 1300 AD; the various Polynesian languages are all part of the Austronesian language family. Many are close enough in terms of vocabulary and grammar to permit communication between some other language speakers. There are substantial cultural similarities between the various groups in terms of social organisation, childrearing, as well as horticulture and textile technologies.
In some island groups, help is of fishing. There is a story of the marriage between Sky and Earth. There are stories of islands pulled up from the bottom of the sea by a magic fishhook, or thrown down from heaven. There are stories of voyages, migrations and battles, as one might expect. Stories about a trickster, Māui, are known, as are those about a beautiful goddess/ancestress Hina or Sina. In addition to these shared themes in the oral tradition, each island group has its own stories of demi-gods and culture heroes, shading into the firmer outlines of remembered history; such stories were linked to various geographic or ecological features, which may be described as the petrified remains of the supernatural beings. The various Polynesian cultures each have distinct but related oral traditions, that is, legends or myths traditionally considered to recount the history of ancient times and the adventures of gods and deified ancestors; the accounts are characterised by extensive use of allegory, parable and personification.
Orality has an essential flexibility. In an oral tradition, there is no fixed version of a given tale; the story may change within certain limits according to the setting, the needs of the narrator and the audience. Contrary to the Western concept of history, where the knowledge of the past serves to bring a better understanding of the present, the purpose of oral literature is rather to justify and legitimatise the present situation. An example is provided by genealogies, which exist in multiple and contradictory versions; the purpose of genealogies in oral societies is not to provide a'true' account, but rather to emphasise the seniority of the ruling chiefly line, hence its political legitimacy and right to exploit resources of land and the like. If another line should rise to ascendency, it was necessary to bestow upon the new line the most prestigious genealogy if this meant borrowing a few ancestors from the preceding dynasty; each island, each tribe or each clan will have their own version or interpretation of a given narrative cycle.
This process is disrupted when writing becomes the primary means to record and remember the traditions. When missionaries, anthropologists or ethnologists collected and published these accounts, they changed their nature. By fixing forever on paper what had been subject to infinite variation, they fixed as the authoritative version an account told by one narrator at a given moment. In New Zealand, the writings of one chief, Wiremu Te Rangikāheke, formed the basis of much of Governor George Grey's Polynesian Mythology, a book which to this day provides the de facto official versions of many of the best-known Māori legends; some Polynesians seem to have been aware of the danger and the potential of this new means of expression. As of the mid-19th century, a number of them wrote down their genealogy, the history and the origin of their tribe; these writings, known under the name of "pukapuka whakapapa" or in tropical Polynesia as "puta tumu" or "puta tūpuna” were jealously guarded by the heads of households.
Many were destroyed. In the 1890s, Makea Takau, a Rarotongan chief, ordered his tribe to burn all their family books, save his own; as a result, Makea Takau's version became the official history of the chiefly line, removing the possibility of dissent. At his request, extracts were published in the Journal of the Polynesian Society. Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, Yale University Press, 1940, as re-issued in 1970, University of Hawaii Press Buck, Sir Peter / Te Rangi Hiroa, Samoan Material Culture. Bishop Museum bulletin. Craig, D. Robert, Dictionary of Polynesian Mythology, 1989, Greenwood Press. Kirch, Patrick,'On the Road of the Winds' 2000, University of California Press. Malo, Hawaiian Antiquities, first published in English in 1898, available as Bernice P. Bishop Museum Special Publication 2, Second Edition, 1951
The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples, noted for its logosyllabic script—the most sophisticated and developed writing system in pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, mathematics and astronomical system. The Maya civilization developed in an area that encompasses southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador; this region consists of the northern lowlands encompassing the Yucatán Peninsula, the highlands of the Sierra Madre, running from the Mexican state of Chiapas, across southern Guatemala and onwards into El Salvador, the southern lowlands of the Pacific littoral plain. The Archaic period, prior to 2000 BC, saw the first developments in agriculture and the earliest villages; the Preclassic period saw the establishment of the first complex societies in the Maya region, the cultivation of the staple crops of the Maya diet, including maize, beans and chili peppers. The first Maya cities developed around 750 BC, by 500 BC these cities possessed monumental architecture, including large temples with elaborate stucco façades.
Hieroglyphic writing was being used in the Maya region by the 3rd century BC. In the Late Preclassic a number of large cities developed in the Petén Basin, the city of Kaminaljuyu rose to prominence in the Guatemalan Highlands. Beginning around 250 AD, the Classic period is defined as when the Maya were raising sculpted monuments with Long Count dates; this period saw the Maya civilization develop a large number of city-states linked by a complex trade network. In the Maya Lowlands two great rivals, the cities of Tikal and Calakmul, became powerful; the Classic period saw the intrusive intervention of the central Mexican city of Teotihuacan in Maya dynastic politics. In the 9th century, there was a widespread political collapse in the central Maya region, resulting in internecine warfare, the abandonment of cities, a northward shift of population; the Postclassic period saw the rise of Chichen Itza in the north, the expansion of the aggressive Kʼicheʼ kingdom in the Guatemalan Highlands. In the 16th century, the Spanish Empire colonized the Mesoamerican region, a lengthy series of campaigns saw the fall of Nojpetén, the last Maya city, in 1697.
Classic period rule was centred on the concept of the "divine king", who acted as a mediator between mortals and the supernatural realm. Kingship was patrilineal, power would pass to the eldest son. A prospective king was expected to be a successful war leader. Maya politics was dominated by a closed system of patronage, although the exact political make-up of a kingdom varied from city-state to city-state. By the Late Classic, the aristocracy had increased, resulting in the corresponding reduction in the exclusive power of the divine king; the Maya civilization developed sophisticated artforms, the Maya created art using both perishable and non-perishable materials, including wood, obsidian, sculpted stone monuments and finely painted murals. Maya cities tended to expand haphazardly, the city centre would be occupied by ceremonial and administrative complexes, surrounded by an irregular sprawl of residential districts. Different parts of a city would be linked by causeways; the principal architecture of the city consisted of palaces, pyramid-temples, ceremonial ballcourts, structures aligned for astronomical observation.
The Maya elite were literate, developed a complex system of hieroglyphic writing, the most advanced in the pre-Columbian Americas. The Maya recorded their history and ritual knowledge in screenfold books, of which only three uncontested examples remain, the rest having been destroyed by the Spanish. There are a great many examples of Maya text found on stelae and ceramics; the Maya developed a complex series of interlocking ritual calendars, employed mathematics that included one of the earliest instances of the explicit zero in the world. As a part of their religion, the Maya practised human sacrifice; the Maya civilization developed within the Mesoamerican cultural area, which covers a region that spreads from northern Mexico southwards into Central America. Mesoamerica was one of six cradles of civilization worldwide; the Mesoamerican area gave rise to a series of cultural developments that included complex societies, cities, monumental architecture and calendrical systems. The set of traits shared by Mesoamerican cultures included astronomical knowledge and human sacrifice, a cosmovision that viewed the world as divided into four divisions aligned with the cardinal directions, each with different attributes, a three-way division of the world into the celestial realm, the earth, the underworld.
By 6000 BC, the early inhabitants of Mesoamerica were experimenting with the domestication of plants, a process that led to the establishment of sedentary agricultural societies. The diverse climate allowed for wide variation in available crops, but all regions of Mesoamerica cultivated the base crops of maize and squashes. All Mesoamerican cultures used Stone Age technology. Mesoamerica lacked draft animals, did not use the wheel, possessed few domesticated animals. Mesoamericans viewed the world as hostile and governed by unpredictable deities; the ritual Mesoamerican ballgame was played. Mesoamerica is linguistically diverse, with most languages falling within a small number of language families—the major families are Mayan, Mixe–Zoquean and Uto-Aztecan.
Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ
A goddess is a female deity. Goddesses have been linked with virtues such as beauty, love and fertility, they have been associated with ideas such as war and death. In some faiths, a sacred female figure holds a central place in religious worship. For example, the worship of the female force that animates the world, is one of the three major sects of Hinduism; the primacy of a monotheistic or near-monotheistic "Great Goddess" is advocated by some modern matriarchists as a female version of, preceding, or analogue to, the Abrahamic God associated with the historical rise of monotheism in the Mediterranean Axis Age. Polytheist religions, including Polytheistic reconstructionists, honour multiple goddesses and gods, view them as discrete, separate beings; these deities may be part of a pantheon. The reconstructionists, like their ancient forebears, honour the deities particular to their country of origin; the noun goddess is a secondary formation. It first appeared in Middle English, from about 1350.
The English word follows the linguistic precedent of a number of languages—including Egyptian, Classical Greek, several Semitic languages—that add a feminine ending to the language's word for god. Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth, a 1988 interview with Bill Moyers, links the image of the Earth or Mother Goddess to symbols of fertility and reproduction. For example, Campbell states that, "There have been systems of religion where the mother is the prime parent, the source... We talk of Mother Earth, and in Egypt you have the Mother Heavens, the Goddess Nut, represented as the whole heavenly sphere". Campbell continues by stating that the correlation between fertility and the Goddess found its roots in agriculture: Bill Moyers: But what happened along the way to this reverence that in primitive societies was directed to the Goddess figure, the Great Goddess, the mother earth- what happened to that? Joseph Campbell: Well, associated with agriculture and the agricultural societies, it has to do with the earth.
The human woman gives birth just as the earth gives birth to the plants...so woman magic and earth magic are the same. They are related, and the personification of the energy that gives birth to forms and nourishes forms is properly female. It is in the agricultural world of ancient Mesopotamia, the Egyptian Nile, in the earlier planting-culture systems that the Goddess is the dominant mythic form. Campbell argues that the image of the Virgin Mary was derived from the image of Isis and her child Horus: "The antique model for the Madonna, is Isis with Horus at her breast". Inanna was the most worshipped goddess in ancient Sumer, she was syncretized with the East Semitic goddess Ishtar. Other Mesopotamian goddesses include Ninhursag, Ninlil and Gaga. Goddesses of the Ennead of Heliopolis: Tefnut, Nephthys, Isis Goddesses of the Ogdoad of Hermopolis: Naunet, Kauket, Hauhet. Cybele: Her Hittite name was Kubaba, but her name changed to Cybele in Phrygian and Roman culture, her effect can be seen on Artemis as the Lady of Ephesus.
Hebat: Mother Goddess of the Hittite pantheon and wife of the leader sky god, Teshub. She was the origin of the Hurrian cult. Arinniti: Hittite Goddess of the sun, she became patron of monarchy. Leto: A mother Goddess figure in Lykia, she was the main goddess of the capital city of Lykia League In pre-Islamic Mecca the goddesses Uzza, Manāt and al-Lāt were known as "the daughters of god". Uzzā was worshipped by the Nabataeans, who equated her with the Graeco-Roman goddesses Aphrodite, Urania and Caelestis; each of the three goddesses had a separate shrine near Mecca. Uzzā, was called upon for protection by the pre-Islamic Quraysh. "In 624 at the battle called "Uhud", the war cry of the Qurayshites was, "O people of Uzzā, people of Hubal!". In fact, in ancient times, the goddess and god were known as Allat and Allah, or what would better be termed as deities representing "husband and wife". According to Ibn Ishaq's controversial account of the Satanic Verses, these verses had endorsed them as intercessors for Muslims, but were abrogated.
Most Muslim scholars have regarded the story as implausible, while opinion is divided among western scholars such as Leone Caetani and John Burton, who argue against, William Muir and William Montgomery Watt, who argue for its plausibility. Pre-Christian and pre-Islamic goddesses in cultures that spoke Indo-European languages. Ushas: is the main goddess of the Rigveda. Prithivi: the Earth appears as a goddess. Rivers are deified as goddesses. Agneya: or Aagneya is the Hindu Goddess of Fire. Varuni: is the Hindu Goddess of Water. Bhoomi, Janani and Prithvi are names of the Hindu Goddess of Earth. Anahita: or Anahit, or Nahid, or Arədvī Sūrā Anāhitā, or Aban: the divinity of "the Waters" and hence associated with fertility, healing and wisdom. Daena: a divinity, counted among the yazatas, representing insight and revelation, hence "conscience" or "religion". Spenta Armaiti: or Sandaramet, one of the Amesha Spentas, a female divinity associated with earth and Mother Nature, she is associated with the female virtue of devotion.
In the Iranian calendar, her name is on the twelfth month and the fifth day of the month. Ashi: a divinity of fertility and fortune in the Zoroastrian hierarchy of yazatas. Eleusinian Mysteries: Persephone, Baubo Artemis: Goddes