Let's Hear It For Us Assyrians

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Posted by pancho from ? ( on Sunday, March 31, 2002 at 10:17AM :

This is Easter...it's Spring. Assyrians had their Tammuz, our own vegetation god, as many people back then had. Imagine what an advance it was when people figured out the miracle of a seed, or an egg. It meant they could live in settled communities not chase their food over hill and dale. Settling down meant stability, it meant crops and that produced leisure time...the time to begin creating a culture...architecture...to amass wealth and objects of beauty...it meant you could afford to spring a few members of the tribe loose from the fetters of daily survival...you could "pay" someone to sit for a week and carve a statue or make an instrument or compose a song...you'd get him the food he needed from the field down there where the wheat was growing.

Wheat was the first embodiment of the "god" probably. I mean just imagine what it meant when the women who didn't go hunting, but gathered edible plants, noticed one day that along the paths they walked to and from the camp to gather stalks and flowers and seeded things...a trail of plants grew from tiny "things" dropping as they'd walked that way before time and again. Then came the realization that these little things, these seeds could be planted at the right season...in rows even and fields and the water that came from the sky could be scooped out of the rivers and puddles and poured or channeled into the fields and food would grow...food which was life itself as the sun was.

In the Spring the wheat and other grains and plants would grow...promising life and health and success...the world in other words. When the harvest was ready, the gods of the plants would allow themselves to be cut to be reaped, to be "sacrificed", so that men and women and children could live. It was a sad yet joyous time...from death would come resurrection...the wheat would be transformed into bread, the stuff of life...a miracle if ever there was one.

Tammuz was our vegetation god who allowed himself to be sacrificed each harvest and was raised from death each Spring when the green shoots appeared for another cycle of life and renewal.

If you want to go and get all excited because the Jews re-packaged this story of ours, go ahead. You'll have to excuse me.

-- pancho
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