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The Hopi legend of the ‘flying shields’

The Hopi legend of the ‘flying shields’ 94
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‘Hopituh Shi-nu-mu’ is the name that one of the Native American tribes is called and means “peaceful people.” The history of the ancient Hopi goes back thousands of years and makes them one of the oldest cultures in the world.

Unlike other mythologies of different cultures which speak of gods that descended from the heavens, in the ancient legends of the Hopi, a different story is told, speaking of mighty gods who reside in the center of the Earth.
But who were they? In a similar way, nearly all pre-Columbian cultures just like the Hopi believe that one day, not too far away, the gods who have shaped human culture will come back to Earth.

They have always lived according to the teachings that were given to them by Masauwu, the Master of the Fourth World, where ethical concepts are deeply rooted in their culture.

Einstein with Hopi, early 20th Century.

Einstein with Hopi, early 20th Century

However, contrary to many other mythologies that are widespread around thew globe, the Hopi believe that their gods do not live in the infinite spaces of the cosmos, but live in the heart of the Earth, conveying the idea of a hollow earth existing right below our feet.

The Hopi speak of “Flying Shields” that flew over the sky. They were run by deities and attacked cities in ancient times.

This legend of the Hopi of the “Flying Shields” has been narrated since the ancient times of America. In the remote past they observed a strange futuristic technology, with a type of circular aircraft that moved through the sky and were driven by beings called Kachina.

Hopi masks

Left: Hopi ceramic. Right: Hopi illustration about a female deity. Credit: Anagoria / Wikimedia commons / Internet Archive Book / Flickr..

The Hopi are a Native American tribe descendants of the so-called Old Town that lived in the southwestern United States. Its history is very old, more than 3,000 years old.

The Hopi, the Flying Shields and their deities

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Left: Hopi ceramic. Right: Hopi illustration about a female deity. Credit: Anagoria / Wikimedia commons / Internet Archive Book / Flickr..

According to the mythology of the Hopi, at the beginning of time, Taoiwa, the Creator, created Sotuknang, his nephew, giving him the task of creating nine universes or worlds: one for Taiowa, one for him and the other seven for the overabundance of life. In a cyclical conception of time, in a similar way to Aztec mythology, these worlds would continue cyclically.

The mythology tells that story that the first three worlds, Tokpela, Tokpa, and Kuskurza have already been inhabited and subsequently destroyed due to corruption and wickedness of men. The Hopi speak that the end of each cycle is marked by the return of the gods, and announced by the appearance of the Blue Kachina Star the sign of the ‘Day of Purification,” in which the old world is destroyed, and a new one begins.

Each time one of the worlds is destroyed, the Hopi, the faithful are saved and taken by the gods to the underground cities to escape the destruction of the planet.

In each cyclic destruction, and always according to the mythology of the Hopi, the ‘ant-men’ are crucial for human survival.

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Hopi Ant-Men

The so-called ‘First World’ (Tokpela) was apparently destroyed by the fire of global proportions, perhaps a kind of massive volcanism, or the impact of an asteroid or even a large coronal mass ejection from the Sun of catastrophic proportions.

The ‘Second World’ (Tokpa), however, was destroyed by the cold. Most likely due to a pole shift that caused a massive ice age that destroyed life on the planet.

Interestingly, in the course of these two global cataclysms, the members of the Hopi tribe were guided during the day by a cloud of strange shape and a moving star overnight, leading to the presence of the so-called ‘Ant-Man’ which the Hopi call Anu Sinom.

This creature escorted the Hopi to underground caves where they found shelter and sustenance.

Interestingly, in the ancient Sumerian language, Anum or Anu was the god of the gods. He is the creator of creation.

In the Hopi legend, the mysterious creature that resembled a humanoid-ant is described as a generous and hardworking creature, willing to provide food to the Hopi, and to teach them methods of food preservation so they could survive.

As you can see, like many cultures around the globe, the ancient Hopi believed in the existence of subterranean chambers, cities which are eerily similar to other theories of the Hollow Earth. The Ancient Hopi also mention the mysterious ant-men gods who helped the ancient Hopi progress through time. However, the ancient Hopi also speak of the patuwvotas or ancient ‘flying shields.’

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The tribe claim that we now live in the Fourth World after the previous three were destroyed by fire and ice

According to Frank Waters, author of Mystic Mexico: The advent of the Sixth World of Consciousness (1975) it is in the ‘third world’ where the ancient Hopi introduce the concept of the Patuwvotas, or “flying shields’.

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In Frank Waters’s writings on Hopi mythology, the Blue Star Kachina or Saquasohuh, is a kachina or spirit, that will signify the coming of the beginning of the new world by appearing in the form of a blue star.

In the third cycle, it is said that humanity built a very advanced civilization, and developed the concept of “flying shields,” a sort of vehicle that can quickly travel to different places in the world and devastate entire cities on Earth. The Third World was destroyed by Sotuknang, the nephew of the Creator, with a great flood.

Also, in this case, there is a clear parallel with the Sumerian tradition in which we talk about the great flood that destroyed all previous civilization on the planet. This story is told in the Epic of Gilgamesh, a text which was then taken to biblical tradition in the history of the Flood and Noah’s Ark.

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Sotuknang appeared to them and showed them as the last of the Third World sank into the ocean

According to the traditions of the Hopi, the survivors of the flood are scattered in different parts of the world, under the guidance of Masauwu, the Spirit of Death and the Master of the Fourth World. A fascinating petroglyph of the Hopi is that where Masauwu is represented piloting a wingless boat that has the shape of a dome. The similarity between the “flying shields” and what we today consider as airplanes or flying saucers, is mind boggling.

It seems evident that the flying shields or ‘ships without wings’ are something ancient cultures around the globe witnessed in the distant past. The ancient Hopi used the term to refer to something that was capable of flying through the skies and transporting people.

The Hopi described their deities as intraterrestrials , which ascended from within the Earth. They called them Ant People, and their imagery reminds a lot of the gray aliens of today.

aliens petroglyph 2

Hopi alien look like petroglyphs

This American tribe exposes the existence of a series of time cycles in the world. In the third cycle it is when they report the presence of the “Flying Shields” ( patuwvotas ) . It is the Third World called Kuskurza , in Hopi language.

That Third World was very advanced , even with what appears to be futuristic technology and ancient astronauts. The Flying Shields were an armament that floated in the sky, capable of attacking cities from long distances and moving in an extremely fast way .

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Hopi Petroglyph . Courtesy: Jedi Simon.

Those who handled the shields were spirits called Kachina , so-called mediators between gods and humans. The flying objects emitted an overwhelming sound : “a thunderous sound (and) a sibilant noise like that of the wind passing through a narrow place …” .

There is an amazing similarity between these artifacts and the flying saucers described by ufology or any other type of stealth military aircraft. That is why this American mythology is part of the folklore of ancient astronauts.

A flood and the destruction of the Third World

The Third World was a period of prosperity and advanced ancient technology , but it came to an end from a deluge generated by the gods.

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Credit: tombud / Pixabay.

According to the series Native American Wisdom , “Hopi, following the path of peace” , the god Sotuknang told the beginning of the Fourth World :

Look, I have razed even the traces of its Emergence; The steps I left for you. At the bottom of the seas are all the proud cities, the flying patuwvotas (shields) and the worldly treasures corrupted by evil, and those who found no time to sing the praises of the Creator from the top of their hills. But the day will come, if you keep the memory and the meaning of your Emergence, when these steps will emerge again to prove the truth that you expose ».

During the flood, the red city of Palatkwapi was destroyed . Tiwahongva and his sister Tawiayisnima had been abandoned, and, while camping, they heard a roar. It was Sotuknang, who descended from the sky boarding his paatuwvota (Flying Shield).

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Kachina traditional statue. Courtesy: History Disclosure.

God wore a suit that shone like ice and had a twinkling face. The brothers ascended the shield with the god , flying high above the heights. Finally, Sotuknang left them in the village where their parents had settled after the flood.

This legend of the Hopi amazes by the appearance of deities or even ancient astronauts who used a futuristic ancient technology. This tribe thinks that, even today, the Kachina still travel the Earth in Flying Shields! .

References: Ancient-Origins / HistoryDisclosure

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Ancient

Ancient recipe books are like a panacea for modern diseases!

Ancient recipe books are like a panacea for modern diseases! 103

Six months ago, the world media reported that the mixture, created according to the Old English medical book of the 9th century, destroyed up to 90 percent of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, one of the antibiotic-resistant strains of this bacterium that causes barley in the eyes. Only the antibiotic vancomycin, the main drug used in the treatment of MRSA, had the same effect.

And the drug, which was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, would not have surprised the doctors of Ancient China.

Chinese pharmacologist Tu Yuyu discovered the drug artemisinin in the 70s, which cures malaria.

But the plant from which this substance is obtained, wormwood (Artemisia annua L), has been used to treat fevers, including those caused by malaria, as early as the 3rd or 4th centuries.

Tu Yuyu invented a cure for malaria after reading traditional Chinese medicine texts that described herbal recipes. The path to discovery and recognition was very difficult because hundreds of plant species had to be tested. In addition, the political atmosphere in China in the 70s was difficult. But her tenacity paid off. Artemisinin has now become an important antimalarial drug.

Her story is unusual in modern medicine. However, artemisinin is far from the only substance isolated from plants. Another malaria drug, quinine, is made from the bark of the officinalis L tree found in the rainforests of South America. The pain reliever morphine was isolated from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L), and the poison strychnine from the tree Strychnos nux-vomica L.

These plants were used in medicine for centuries and even millennia before chemists were able to isolate their most active components.

Is it possible that physicians can discover new drugs simply by studying ancient medical treatises, as did Tu Yuyu or English specialists? The answer to this question is ambiguous. Ancient pharmacological texts in Chinese, Arabic, Greek, or any other ancient language are not easy to study for a number of reasons.

Ancient recipe books

Ancient pharmacological texts are usually a list of recipes without explanation, whether they were used, and in what cases. Submit your favorite cookbook. You hardly cook all the recipes from it. If you do not make notes in it, then no one will know what recipes you tried, and so much you liked them. Commentaries are rarely found in ancient pharmacological books.

It is often difficult to determine which plants are listed in an ancient recipe. Nowadays, the Linnaean system is used to classify plants, where the genus and species of the plant are indicated. But before the Linnaean system became generally accepted, the classification of plants was extremely erratic.

Different local names could be used to denote the same plant. This means that it is not always possible to accurately determine which plants are discussed in the book. If we cannot accurately translate the names in old recipes, how can we evaluate their effectiveness?

Disease definitions also have links to local culture. This means that each nation has a different definition of the disease. For example, the ancient Greeks and Romans considered fever to be a disease, but in modern medicine it is seen as a symptom of the disease.

The millennial collection of recipes “Kitab al-tabih”, written by Ibn Sayar al-Warak.

In the Greek and Roman texts, there are many descriptions of wave-like fever, that is, a fever that repeats every few days.

In modern medicine, wave-like fever is a symptom of malaria, but it is also a symptom of other diseases. Should scientists searching for new cures for malaria test all ancient Greek and Roman remedies for “wave-like fever”?

Holistic Medicine

The most important aspect, according to medical historians, is that each medical system must be considered holistically. This means that it is wrong to focus only on those aspects of ancient medicine that are successful by modern standards, and brush aside everything else.

Although there are effective medicines in ancient medicine, many of them are useless or even harmful. For example, in our time, hardly anyone will dare to be treated by taking huge doses of hellebore, as the ancient Greeks did.

But even with these shortcomings, there is great potential in ancient medical books for new drug discovery. This requires collaboration between pharmacologists, historians and ethno-pharmacologists who study traditional medicine from different cultures.

Such cooperation is not an easy process, because each of the specialists feels that they speak different languages. But the great examples mentioned above remind us that the result can be outstanding, especially when looking for cures for common diseases.

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The ancient Romans also loved take-away food. For the first time, a hot fast food restaurant unearthed in Pompeii

The ancient Romans also loved take-away food. For the first time, a hot fast food restaurant unearthed in Pompeii 104
A "fast food restaurant" in the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii in Italy has been excavated. In addition to the exquisite murals, archaeologists have also discovered evidence that the restaurant was selling hot food (AP)

The ancient city of Pompeii, Italy, recently unearthed the remains of a complete hot fast food restaurant, showing that the ancient Romans also had take-away eating habits. There are also murals of chicken, duck and other dishes, as well as a variety of tableware. Archaeologists say this is the first time the ancient city of Pompeii has unearthed the remains of a hot fast food restaurant.

Massimo Osanna, director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, said on December 26 that although approximately 80 similar fast food restaurants have been unearthed in the ancient city of Pompeii , the total unearthed hot food fast food restaurant is still the first Times.

Archaeologists excavated part of the counter of this hot food fast food restaurant in 2019, and now the entire polygonal counter is unearthed. There are multiple deep circular containers on the countertop. Archaeologists guessed that these are containers for holding hot food, similar to the soup vessels in modern salad bars.

The side wall of the counter is yellow as the background, and there are many murals on it, including bush-like plants, two ducks with heads down, a rooster, a dog on a rope, and a sea fairy riding a horse. These murals are still colorful after thousands of years.

Valeria Amoretti, an anthropologist in Pompeii, said: Preliminary analysis confirmed that these murals represent the food and beverages sold in this fast food restaurant. For example, a round container contains fragments of duck bones, as well as the remains of goats, pigs, fish, snails and other animals; a small amount of broad beans are also found at the bottom of the wine container.

Amoretti said that in ancient times, adding broad beans to wine can add flavor.

Ossana said that these remaining foods let us know what people ate on the day Pompeii was overthrown by volcanic ash. It also means that “the fast food on the street was very popular among ordinary people at the time, but the elites of the upper class in Rome did not frequent them.”

The location of this fast food restaurant is quite good. It is located at the bustling crossroads. There is a fountain square outside, and there are hot spring baths nearby. It is a good place to run restaurants.

Archaeologists also unearthed human remains at this fast food restaurant site. They also unearthed a bronze spoon, nine common food containers amphora, several flasks and a ceramic container for oil.

Pompeii was founded around 600 BC on a small hill on the banks of the Sano River in Italy. It was wiped out by volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Many precious historical relics were buried several meters overnight. Deeper than volcanic ash.

Pompeii is currently the most intact ancient Roman city ruins in Italy and has been included in the World Heritage List.

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Who are the Elamites and why the language of this ancient civilization was deciphered only now

Who are the Elamites and why the language of this ancient civilization was deciphered only now 105

The writing of Elam, a neighbor of Sumer, one of the oldest civilizations on Earth, could not be deciphered to this day. However, the end of 2020 was marked by a breakthrough in Elam studies: French archaeologist François Dessay presented a deciphering of the Elamite Linear script used in the XXV-XIX centuries BC. e. Ilya Egorov, a specialist in comparative historical linguistics and an employee of the RANEPA, talks about who the Elamites are, what we know about their language and why the linear Elamite script was deciphered only now.

At the beginning of the story

The Elamite state existed from the third millennium to the 6th century BC. e., when all of its territory came under the rule of the Persian royal dynasty of the Achaemenids. Information about the Elamites has come down to us from Sumerian, Akkadian and Persian sources and from their own cuneiform texts. Now these sources have been supplemented by texts written in Linear Elamite script.

Elam was first mentioned in Sumerian clay tablets in the middle of the third millennium BC. e. The Sumerians designated this country with the sign NIM, which also meant ‘upper’. Elam does indeed lie on a higher ground compared to the main Sumerian cities. Susa, the capital of the Elamite state, was located in the foothills of the Zagros, east of the interfluve of the Tigris and Euphrates.

This is very close to the place where, as Samuel Kramer aptly put it, history began 

By the beginning of history, Kramer understood the beginning of written history, that is, the moment when written monuments appeared. Writing was invented in Sumer at the turn of the third and fourth millennia BC. e. A little later, a proto-Elamite letter appeared, from which, perhaps, the writing system that François Dessay deciphered came from. The corpus of proto-Elamite writing contains about 1,700 clay tablets, found mainly in Susa. They date back to 3100-2900 BC. e. Most of the tablets are kept in the Louvre storerooms. Now almost all of them have been digitized and are available on the Internet to everyone.

Proto-Elamite writing

In the strict sense, proto-Elamite writing remains undeciphered, that is, it has not yet been possible to ascribe to signs (most of which are rather abstract) concrete meanings and to understand how these texts should have sounded. However, we have a general idea of ​​what is written on these plates. In structure, they are similar to the Sumerian proto-cuneiform tablets from Uruk, containing household records.

A typical proto-Elamite plaque is designed roughly like a modern cashier’s check

Who are the Elamites and why the language of this ancient civilization was deciphered only now 106
Tablet Sb 15166, oriented as the scribe held it. Front side with body text on the right. On the left is the reverse side with the amount of property and the imprint of a cylindrical seal. Photo: CDLI project

They began to write in the upper right corner. First there was a headline that indicated the owner of the property. A list of this property followed. Each position in it was arranged like this: the name of the object, then some unit of measurement and quantity. When the line ended, they wrote on the next one from left to right, and after it – again from right to left. 

This direction of writing is called bustrofedon. The lines were separated from each other by a line. If the list needed to be continued on the reverse side, then the plate was turned over along the vertical axis. At the end of the list, the amount was calculated. For this, the plate was turned over along the horizontal axis relative to the front side. The back was sometimes stamped… So that life does not seem like honey to an uninitiated reader, it is customary to publish proto-Elamite tablets rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise.

Who are the Elamites and why the language of this ancient civilization was deciphered only now 107
Layout of the text. The plate is oriented in the same way as in modern publications. Source: Englund, Robert K., The State of Decipherment of Proto-Elamite // The First Writing: Script Invention as History and Process. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004. P. 123

What language was behind the proto-Elamite script is still unclear. Moreover, it is unclear whether it is even worthwhile to correlate the proto-Elamite writing with any language. After all, here we are dealing with a record of an account rather than a text in the full sense of the word. The subject of the account and the unit of measure are indicated by pictograms followed by a number. This is most similar to how we indicate the quantity of the required product opposite the icon with its image in the online store.

Monuments of linear Elamite writing, in contrast to proto-Elamite tablets, already represent what can be called texts and read in the more familiar sense of the word. The earliest of these date back to about 2500-2400 BC. e., and the last 1900-1800 years BC. e. These are mainly monumental inscriptions, inscriptions on clay tablets and cones, and inscriptions on metal vessels of the Gunaga. The latter ultimately played a key role in decryption.

How to decipher ancient writing?

Speaking about decryption, first of all, it is necessary to distinguish between two situations: decoding of writing and decoding of the language. It so happens that we already know the written language, but the language is unknown. This is, for example, the case of the Hittite language.

The Hittite texts are written in a variation of Akkadian cuneiform that was read in the middle of the 19th century. Since the texts could be easily “spoken”, it was not too difficult to understand that the language belongs to the Indo-European family. After this was established, the meaning of many words began to be derived from the meanings of related words in other Indo-European languages. 

An important role was played by the fact that Akkadian cuneiform, in addition to syllabic signs, uses ideograms, that is, hieroglyphs denoting not some sound or syllable, but a concept. Fortunately for the researchers, Hittite scribes also inserted many Akkadian words.

The meaning of the remaining words can often be guessed from the context, just like we do in a foreign language lesson

It’s another matter when the writing itself is unknown.

And in that case , it’s a good idea to define the type of letter first.

Quite reliably, this can be established by the number of characters:

  • 20–40 characters – an alphabetical letter, where the character corresponds to a phoneme;
  • 50–100 signs – syllabic writing, where the sign corresponds to the syllable;
  • 100-600 characters – mixed type: syllabic or alphabetical writing using hieroglyphs (logograms and ideograms). In such a system, syllabic or letter signs are much more frequent than hieroglyphic;
  • > 600 – hieroglyphic writing, where the sign corresponds to a word (logogram) or a more general concept (ideogram).

If you are very lucky, then by looking at the alphabetical or syllabic system, you can guess the language in which the text is written.

Here the analysis of frequency combinations and their variants comes to the rescue. So, in deciphering the Mycenaean Linear B, the key was the assumption that the texts were written in Greek. They guessed this, noting that behind the variations of the chains of symbols, you can see the Greek inflectional paradigms.

The most important step towards the successful deciphering of ancient writing is the identification in the text of some personal names or geographical names known from other sources. Since proper names tend to sound similar in different languages, they help to easily establish the phonetic meaning of written signs.

Jean-François Champollion made a breakthrough in the study of Egyptian writing by identifying cartouches with the names of Ptolemy and Cleopatra on the Rosetta Stone. Michael Ventris found place names in tablets with Linear B. Friedrich Grotefend was able to decipher the Persian cuneiform due to the fact that the Behistun inscription contained a list of kings known from the works of Herodotus.

The presence of parallel texts in other languages ​​greatly simplifies decryption. Monuments containing both the original text and its translation are called bilinguals.

If the translation is accurate, then deciphering turns into a not very difficult linguistic task, like those that high school students can cope with in a few hours at the Olympiad in linguistics.

The already mentioned Behistun inscription is an extremely important monument. It is a parallel trilingual inscription in Old Persian, Akkadian and Elamite in cuneiform transmission.

So, deciphering writing is likely to be successful if at least two of the three conditions are met:

  • understand what language the texts are written in and find known related languages;
  • identify personal names;
  • find bilingual texts.

In the case of the Elamite Linear script, all three conditions had already been met, so that complete decryption remained a matter of time.

Elamite language

The assumption that the inscriptions made in the linear Elamite script reflect the Elamite language has remained only a hypothesis, although it is quite reliable. Indeed, the Akkadian version of one bilingual text mentions the king of Elam, Puzur-Inshushinak, so it is logical to think that the second language of these texts is Elamite. Now this guess has been confirmed.

The hypothesis that the mysterious inscriptions were made in the Elamite language gave optimism to the decoders. After all, Elamite is already well known.

The fact is that the Elamites used not only their own original script, but also the Akkadian cuneiform. Akkadian cuneiform was used in ancient times in the Middle East as widely as the Latin alphabet in modern Europe. In addition to the Elamite and Akkadian language proper, various modifications of the Akkadian cuneiform were used for writing in Hittite, Luwian, Hurrian, Urartian and some other languages.

Thanks to the cuneiform texts and the Elamite-Akkadian bilinguals, the Elamite language was learned well. There is a two-volume dictionary, a small but generally satisfactory grammar and a few short essays, so that reading Elamite texts is not difficult.

It has not yet been possible to establish the linguistic relatives of the Elamite language. It is considered an isolate .

There are two hypotheses about his family ties. David McAlpin compared Elamite to the Dravidian languages ​​spoken in southern India, eastern Iran and Pakistan. Czech linguist Vaclav Blazek – with the  languages ​​of the Afrasian macrofamily, which includes Semitic languages ​​in the Middle East, Egyptian (Ancient Egyptian and Coptic), Berber, Cushite, Omotic, and Chadian in northern Africa. 

After re-analyzing both hypotheses, Georgy Starostin came to the conclusion that McAlpin and Blazhek failed to show a close connection of the Elamites with the Dravids or Afrasians, but the Elamite can still be connected with these families on a deeper level. Proof of such a distant relationship remains a matter for the future.

What is already known about the Elamite Linear script?

By 2020, only 40 fairly short inscriptions are known. They can identify 258 characters. This number speaks rather of the mixed nature of the writing: syllabary and logograms. For example, in the Mycenaean linear letter B, comparable in the number of characters, there are 87 syllabic characters and 120 logograms. 

However, it is assumed that some of the 258 Elamite signs are actually variants of each other. Although not many monuments are known, they are scattered over an area of ​​about 1000 kilometers from Susa to Konar-Sandal and span several centuries. In such a situation, geographical and chronological variations should have arisen. François Dessay suggests that about a hundred characters were used at a time in one place. And this may already be a purely syllabic letter.

Before François Dessay, two attempts were made to decrypt. Walter Hinz in the 1960s thought he knew the meaning of almost 60 characters. Piero Merigi in the 1970s believed that it is possible to reliably speak about the meaning of 30 characters. François Dessay made more or less reliable conclusions about 13 signs in 2018.

The starting point for all decryptions is the bilingual Akkadian-Elamite inscription with a mention of the king Puzur-Inshushinak. There are ten more inscriptions where a string of symbols is found that can be identified with the name of this king. These ten inscriptions are grouped into three independent texts: the first one exists in four versions (inscriptions A, B, C, E), the second – in three (inscriptions F, G, H) and the third – in one (inscription I).

Who are the Elamites and why the language of this ancient civilization was deciphered only now 108
Texts mentioning Puzur-Inshushinak. Source: Francois Desset, Linear Elamite writing // The Elamite world / eds. J. Alvarez-Mon, G.-P. Basello et Y. Wicks. Routledge World Series, Taylor and Francis, Abington. P. 201

The chain of characters in a gray frame under the number 2 in all three texts denotes the name of the king and reads pu-zu-r-šu-ši-na-k. In the text A / B / C / E under the number 1, apparently, there should be the name of the god, from which the name of the king is derived and which is translated from Akkadian ‘The Secret of Inshushinak’. 

The chain under the number 5 contains two already known characters – ši and in. This suggests that it should be read ši-in-piš-huk. Shinpishkhuk, as follows from cuneiform sources, is the father of Puzur-Inshushinak. The chains numbered 3 and 4 are most likely the titles of Puzur-Inshushinak.

In 2018, François Dessay began to study the body of the metal vessels of the Gunaga. He noticed that the texts on them are of a formulaic nature, that is, they consist of stable blocks with a small variable part. The inscriptions on the eight vessels begin with the same symbol (marked in green in the figure), followed by a variable part, most likely the name.

 Next, the title is indicated (in the figure it is indicated in blue). François Dessay noticed that ten vessels in the title contain the same chain of signs that followed the name Puzur-Inshushinak (in the figure below – under the number 6, in the figure above – under the number 3). He decided that it meant ‘king’ and began to select the names of the Elamite kings.

 It is known that one name must begin with ši (the string under the number 2), and the other must contain r in the middle (the string under the number 3). And these must be kings who lived between 2050 and 1800 BC e. – this is how the vessels are dated. Only one candidate was found: Shilhaha (chain 2) and Ebarat II (chain 3). So the meaning of some more symbols became known, and François Dessay opened the road to complete deciphering.

Who are the Elamites and why the language of this ancient civilization was deciphered only now 109
Comparison of texts on the vessels of the Gunaga. Source: Desset F., Nine Linear Elamite Texts Inscribed on Silver “Gunagi” Vessels (X, Y, Z, F ‘, H’, I ‘, J’, K ‘and L’): New Data on Linear Elamite Writing and the History of the Sukkalmaḫ Dynasty // Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies Volume 56 (2). 2018

What was François Dessay doing in quarantine?

During the quarantine, Desse, along with three colleagues – Cambyz Tabibzade, Matthew Kervran and Jean-Pietro Basello – continued to explore the silver vessels of the Gunaga. They managed to establish that the cuneiform text on a vessel in honor of King Sive-Palar-Huhpak is very close to the text made in linear Elamite script on a vessel in honor of King Ittatu I.

In fact, they managed to find not even a bilingual, but a biggraphic text, that is, an inscription on the Siwe-Palar-Huhpaka vessel is practically a cuneiform transliteration of the inscription on the Ittatu I vessel. Thanks to this inscription, it was possible to carry out a complete decoding. 

The letter turned out to be completely phonetic, that is, the signs in it denote only syllables or individual sounds, and logograms or ideograms are not used.

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A vessel with a cuneiform inscription mentioning Siwe-Palar-Huhpak (left) and a vessel with an inscription in Linear Elamite script mentioning Ittatu I (right). Source: The Mahboubian Collection

As evidence of the success of the decryption, François Dessay presented in a short talk the reading and translation of two texts written in Linear Elamite script. The inscription on the stone discovered in Susa and now stored in the Louvre turned out to be just the name and title of the king Puzur-Inshushinak. The inscription on the silver vessel is an initiatory formula. 

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Photo and drawing of the letter E. Source: Alice Kober Gesellschaft für die Entzifferung antiker Schriftsysteme

‘Puzur-Shushinak, hatbak Suz, whisper of the people of Elam, (son of) Shinpishkhuk’.

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Photo and drawing of Q lettering. Source: Alice Kober Gesellschaft für die Entzifferung antiker Schriftsysteme

‘Mistress Marapshsha , Shumar-Ash / su ,

(this) silver (vessel) I made. In the temple that will be named after me (for the glory of my name -?),

Khumshat, (because) I have humbly made an offering to you. ‘

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