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THE PAGAN CHRONICLES

by James Herschel Lyda

English III

Professor Peake Dana

13 July 1998

             Outline

Thesis statement: The sources of paganism in our culture are rooted and founded in actual lives, not in fictional or fantasy characters as is commonly presumed.

  1. Noah’s descendants repopulated the earth beginning in ancient Sumer.

                 A. Nimrod, Noah’s grandson, built a mighty empire.

                    1. Semiramus has god-names that are widely known just like Nimrod’s.

                 D. Nimrod’s death is legendary.

                    1. Shem tries and executes Nimrod.

                    2. After Nimrod’s death, Semiramus becomes pregnant and gives birth.

                 E. Ninus replaces Nimrod.

                    1. Ninus marries his own mother.

                    2. Semiramus has him killed.

                 F. Nimrod’s religion spreads to Egypt.

                    1. Osiris is Nimrod’s god-name in Egypt.

                    2. Seth cuts Osiris into pieces.

 

THE PAGAN CHRONICLES

The sources of paganism in our culture are rooted and founded in actual lives, not in fictional or fantasy characters as is commonly presumed. The new world began in the mountains of Ararat following a great flood in ancient Sumer. Noah, his three sons, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and their wives departed from the ark and began to repopulate the earth. They left the mountains of Ararat and migrated to the plain of Shinar, which was a very favorable place to live and very conducive to agriculture (Josephus 30). As the populations began to grow, the people came together and began communities and towns.

Among the descendants of Noah, we are more concerned with the lineage of Ham. The son of Ham was Cush who was the father of Nimrod. "And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar."(Gen. 10: 8 - 10). Nimrod became very skilled in archery and warfare (Ridpath 114 -15). At this time in history the beasts of the land became very aggressive toward the people causing them to become fearful for their lives. Nimrod emerged as their protector by hunting the animals from horseback with bow and arrow. He also gathered the people together into communities and towns for protection. He built walls around the towns to keep out the beasts (Woodrow 2 - 4). Because of this the people looked up to Nimrod as their leader. His rulership reached from the seacoast northward to Babel. The capital was located at Ur, a short distance up the river of Euphrates. Nimrod was the first ruler of the second dynasty of Chaldea (Ridpath 114 -15).

Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, commented that Nimrod caused the people to revolt against God. Nimrod changed his rulership into a dictatorship. He threatened to get even with God for causing the flood to come upon the earth, by building a tower that would reach into heaven. It would be so high the flood waters would not cover it. During the process of building the tower, the language of the people changed so that no one could understand what his neighbor was saying. Because of the confusion, the people left off building the tower. The place of the tower was known as Babel, which means confusion (33).

After the people left off building the tower it was turned into a place of worship. A ziggurat was built on the top of the tower which became the center for worship of everything but the one true God, The Great I Am. The ziggurat became a place for the study of astronomy and astrology. It became a place in which magic and other perverse practices took place. It was a place of idol worship (Wallbank 16).

The religion of the people of this kingdom was a form of ancestor worship. The idea for this religion was brought through the flood, on the ark, by one or more of the eight souls. The people were known by god names, as an example, Noah was known as Ziusudra in Sumer, Utanapishtim and Atra-Hasis in Akkad, Abzu in Sumer, and Xisouthros in Greece. Noah’s wife had a god-name which was Tiamat. These were the names they were known by in legend and these were the great grandparents of Nimrod. It seems that Nimrod usurped the attributes and names of the preexisting gods and named them upon himself (Graves 56). Nimrod had as many as fifty different god-names, the most widely known was Marduk (Lambert).

According to Enuma Elish, the Babylonian Creation Epic, there arose a dispute between the older and younger gods. Tiamat was disturbed because the younger gods were making too much noise, therefore she set about to do something about it. The gods Ea and Anu, Noah’s son Ham and Ham’s son Cush, had failed in a battle against Tiamat (Noah's Wife). Because Marduk, who was Nimrod, had such a great reputation for battle, the younger gods approached him to enlist his help. Nimrod said that he would help only if they made him their king and leader with the civic and military powers plus the power of life and death. He was successful in his battle against Tiamat and created the cosmos from her body according to the epic (Clayton 120). Most likely she was banished to a foreign island with her husband, Noah. The gods proclaimed Marduk their king and leader, and did an exposition of his fifty names. Marduk was annually reinstated as king of the gods in New Year rites in the Akitu House when the creation epic was recited. The increasing synchronization of Marduk with the other important gods of the pantheon is explained in a small cuneiform tablet (a method of writing using wedge-shaped strokes mainly on clay) that explains each god as a particular aspect of Marduk himself (Lambert).

Nimrod had an officer of his army who had a beautiful blond wife. Legend says that a more beautiful woman could not be found (Hislop 74). Nimrod wanted her, so he took her away from his captain and married her. This was one of the first mixed marriages in the history of the world. A black man married to a blond white woman (Hislop 229). Her name was Semiramus and her god-name was Ishtar. They built a ziggurat temple to worship her.

Whether Nimrod or his wife started the teaching cannot be discovered, but it was taught that Nimrod was the god of the sun come down from heaven and incarnate upon the earth (Hislop 229). Nimrod was associated with magic and was named in many spells and incantations. He was known to have been a master warlock. He invented archery and trained armies in archery. In his capital city he built a high tower which all the people of the plain of Shinar could see and come to. He built this tower of sun baked bricks, because there were no stones found in the plain of Shinar, and coated it inside and out with bitumen (crude oil), so it would be water proof. The bible says that the people tried to build it to reach unto heaven (Gen. 11: 4)(that is to reach the throne of god, or to rule as gods). The temple tower was known as Entemenanki and was popularly associated with the original Tower of Babel. It was known as Marduk’s temple. In it was a solid gold statue of Marduk and a gold bed where the marriage ceremony was performed. This worship was a polluted and vile sexually oriented practice in which the women would at various times spend the night with the god (Frazer 142).

Among all the descendants of Noah, Shem was the one who worshipped the true god, The Great I Am. Shem became so enraged at the open defiance of the true god, that he called a meeting of all the worshipers of the true god. They decided that Nimrod had to be stopped so they caught him, tried him for his crimes and executed him by cutting him in many pieces. Some say the pieces were burned others say not, but one fact is common, these pieces were sent to all the cities and was a showpiece to everyone as an example to all who dared defy the worship of the true god (Hislop 63). Remember this story because you will see it repeated from one culture and religion to another with very little variation.

After the death of Nimrod, Semiramus took control and further established the pagan religion of sun worship. Quite some time after Nimrod's death Semiramus became pregnant. She claimed that a ray of the sun had impregnated her and that Nimrod himself was being reborn or reincarnated through her (Hislop 305). She named this child Ninus, who came to be worshipped as the god Nabu. After he became of age Semiramus married him because he was, after all, her husband Nimrod reincarnated (Hislop 22).

Ninus was enraged that Shem had killed his father, so he set out to find him and kill him. When they finally met, a great battle ensued. During this battle Ninus managed to emasculate Shem, but Shem managed to gouge out the eye of Ninus (Hislop 63 - 5) . This became the "Wadjat" or the eye of god symbol found through out the world, even on our dollar bill.

Semiramus and Ninus ruled together on the throne of Babylon for some time. During this time Semiramus took on the attributes of Nimrod; the archer, the builder of walled cities, the great warrior, etc (Hislop 31). Semiramus was a vicious tyrant of a ruler who stopped at nothing to satisfy her whims. After some time, Ninus could no longer perform his manly duties with Semiramus so she had him killed, but she continued to rule for many more years as the Great Mother

Goddess, Ishtar. During her rule she had affairs with many men among whom was her father-in-law. She also had several of these men put to death. Legend has it that Semiramus met Gilgamesh, a Babylonian king of the city of Uruk, and she declared her love for him. Gilgamesh refused her love with the statement that she might have him put to death as she had many other lovers (Clayton 88-91).

This early pagan religion was so well established in ancient Babylon when God confounded their language at the building of the tower of Babel, this religion spread into all the world. We shall next look at this same religion as was found in ancient Egypt. Semiramus was reportedly found in Egypt at one time in the role of a healer of one of the royal household (Hislop 305). This also helped to establish this religion in this country.

The early Egyptians believed that the god of the sun was called Aten or Re which later was joined as Aten Re. Later it was believed that he came down to earth and ruled the kingdom as the god Osiris, this was the same teaching that Nimrod had taught in Babylon. The goddess who ruled beside him was called Isis. Legend says that Osiris’s brother Seth killed him and cut his body into pieces and cast them into the Nile river. Isis searched for the pieces until she found all of them except one, the phallus. Once she finally found it she used this to become pregnant. After giving birth to a son, she called him Horus (Wallbank 25 - 26).

Horus heard the story how Seth had killed his father and declared revenge on him. They fought a terrible battle in which Seth was castrated and the eye of Horus was ripped from his head (Clayton 103 & 170).

Does this not sound the same as the story we have already heard from Babylon? This same pattern is repeated over and over from one culture to another. After Egypt it is transported to Greece and then to Rome. It continues through out pagan worship until it becomes Christianized, or Christianity becomes Paganized. Some of the same teachings and customs that Nimrod started can be found in almost every religious organization even today.

Works Cited

Clayton, Peter. Great Figures of Mythology. New York: Cresent. 1990.

Frazer, Sir James. The Golden Bough. Denmark: Wordsworth. 1993.

Graves, Robert. New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. New York: Promethus. 1959.

Hislop, The Rev. Alexander. The Two Babylons. Neptune: Loiyeaus. 1959.

Josephus, Flavius. Josephus: Complete Works. Standard ed. Trans. William Whinton. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates. 1984.

Lambert, W. G. and A. R. Millard. "Atrahasis." 1969. Reading the Old Testament, the Electronic Edition. Online. Internet. Available http:// hope.edu/academic/religion/bandstra/RTOT/CH1/CH1_2A3C.HTML (8 July 1998).

Ridpath, John Clark. History of the World. Vol 1. Cincinnati: Ridpath Historical Society. 1936. 9 vols.

Wallbank, T. Walter, Alastair M. Taylor, and Nels M. Bailkey. Civilization Past and Present. Chicago: Scott, Foreman, and Co. 1962.

Woodrow, Ralph Edward. Babylon Mystery Religion. Riverside: Woodrow. 1993.

Some Links to Nimrod Sites (They don't all agree in "Fact")

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