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World Mythology

Ancient Middle Eastern Myths
by

Betsy Lagace

on 3 June 2013

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Transcript of World Mythology

World Mythology Middle East (Ancient Persian/Babylonian Empires) Persian Empire Babylonian Empire Hero's Journey
Separation
Initiation
Return Creation Myth Afterlife Beliefs Shahname Epic Part II: Reign of Rostam Rostam is born to King Zal and his wife, Rudabeh. Rostam is superhuman. He had grown to the size of a boy in five days. Within a few weeks he had the height and strength of a man. Powerful Female Since Rostam is royalty he has duties to help and protect others. Rostam must save King Kay Kavus from demons. When he sets out on his journey, Rostam undergoes seven trials. Seven Trials: 1. The Lion: While Rostam sleeps his mighty horse, Rakhsh kills a lion
2. The Desert: Rostam and Rakhash get lost in a desert. A Sheep appears as an answer to their prayers and leads them to a stream.
3.The Dragon: Rostam and Rakhash fight off and kill a dragon that threatens them
4.The Witch: Rostam come across a witch who changes form in to a beautiful maiden. Rostam is taken by her beauty but she quickly changes back to a witch and Rostam kills her.
5. Battle with Ulad: Rostam comes head to head with the hero Ulad and his entire army. Rostam defeats the army all on his own. Ulad is so impressed that he joins Rostam on his quest and promises to protect him.
6. Demon King Arzhang: Rostam and Rakhash come across an army of demons and their King Arzhang. Rostam and Rakhash defeat the King and the other demons flee.
7. The White Demon: Rostam comes to King Kay Karvus's castle which has been taken by demons. They wait for the demons to fall asleep at dawn and attack. They kill the White demon. Call To Action: Return: Rostam frees King Kay Kavrus. The kingdom has a party to celebrate the victory. Rostam and Raksash return home. Rostam falls in love and marries a princess named Tahmina. They have a son, Sohrab who grows up to have the strength of Rostam. Rostam reigns for 300 years. The god Marduk was created to defend the divine beings from an attack plotted by the ocean goddess Tiamat. The hero Marduk offers to save the gods only if he is appointed their leader and is allowed to remain forever. The gods agree to Marduk's terms. Marduk challenges Tiamat to a battle and destroys her. He then rips her corpse into two halves with which he makes the Earth and the heavens. Marduk then creates the calendar, organizes the planets, stars and regulates the moon, sun, and weather. Marduk then destroys Tiamat's husband, Aspu using his blood to create mankind so that they can do the work of the gods. Babylonian Creation Babylonian myths call the underworld the Land of No Return. This place of the dead is described as the end of a road that leads only one way. The realm is surrounded by high, impenetrable walls, with seven locked gates. In the Land of No Return, the dead eat clay dust unless their families have made offerings of food for the afterlife. The familes also believed if the dead were not well take care of they would come back to haunt them.
According to the myths, each new grave serves as a passage to the underworld, which is located deep within the earth. A bird-faced ferryman escorts the deceased from their tombs to the Land of No Return. There they must pass through the seven gates. After spending about a year in here in a limbo stage, the souls eventually fade into oblivion. Since the Babylonians had such a negative outlook on death they believed one day the right ritual would be discovered to cure people from death. Land of No Return Goddess of the Sea Before there was anything else in existence in the Babylonian world, there was the dragon goddess of salt water, Tiamat. Tiamat and her husband Aspu, the god of sweet water, began to create all the gods and goddesses in the Babylonian world. Tiamat was said to be fierce and untamed. As their children grew they became much like Tiamat. Aspu noticed their children's recklessness and asked Tiamat if they should do away with gods. Concerned for her children, Tiamat refused. Fearing that they will soon be slain by their parents, the children revlot. Tiamat is killed by her children gods and they use her body to create earth. In different versions Tiamat is slain by the god Marduk who came from later generations of the water gods. Cultural Values The people of the ancient Middle Eastern cultures believed great physical strength and endurance was important. This is shown in the hero, Rostam. He is put through seven challenging trials and succeeds in all.

These people also had great respect for their creators and what they sacrificed to create earth. This is shown in both the creation and powerful female myth. Tiamat, the mother of all gods and goddesses was killed in order to create life on earth. Bibliography Gill, N. S. "Marduk." About.com Ancient / Classical History. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2013.

Staunton, Paula Marie. "Examining the Afterlife in Early Babylonian and Assyrian Religions." Helium. Helium, 05 June 2007. Web. 02 June 2013.

Sitarik, Jessica. "Tiamat - Babylonian Mother Goddess." Home. Crystal Vaults, n.d. Web. 02 June 2013.

Warthy, Joe. "RossMythWiki - Babylonian Heroes." RossMythWiki - Babylonian Heroes. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2013.

Pomme Clayton, Sally. "Shahname Synopsis." Shahname Synopsis. British Library, 2005. Web. 02 June 2013.

Zimmern, Helen. "Shahnameh (The Epic of Kings): Rostam and Sohrab." Shahnameh (The Epic of Kings): Rostam and Sohrab. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2013.
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