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667-648 b.c.

ishdi-alia ("Bel Establishes the Foundation of My City"), Belit-mudishshat-hisbi ("Belit Increases Plenty"), I designated as names for the gates of Bel and Belit which face the north; Anu-mushallim-ipshit-katia ("Anu Prospers the Work of My Hands"), Ishtar-mushammihat-nisheshu ("Ishtar Enriches His People"), I gave as names to the gates of Anu and Ishtar which face the west; Ea-mushteshir-nakbishu ("Ea Makes His Springs Flow Abundantly"), Belit-ilani-murap-pishat-talittishu ("Belit-ilani Spreads Abroad His Offspring"), I called the names of the gates of Ea and Belit-ilani which face the south; Ashur-mulabbir-pale-sharri-epishishu-nasir-ummanatishu ("Ashur Makes the Years of the King, Its Builder, Grow Old and Guards Its Troops") was (the name of) its wall, Urta-mukin-temen-adushshi-ana-labar-ume-rukuti ("Urta Establishes Foundation Platform of the House for All Time to Come") was (the name of) its outer wall.

Here, we see the earliest mention of the directional winds, later so prominent in Mediterranean cultures, and they are associated with gods who are known to be planetary gods. We also find each of the planetary gods given a gate and associated with a metal or mineral. Although eight gates are mentioned, the gods Anu and Ishtar seem to share a single gate. Sargon buried tablets of material associated with the gods at the gates:

On tablets of gold, silver, bronze, lead, abar (magnesite), lapis lazuli and alabaster, I wrote the inscription of my name and placed (them) in its foundation walls. (Luckenbill 1929, p. 59)

Excavations at Khorsabad in 1854 revealed a chest with six tablets that correspond to those described by Sargon. It is striking that there are no further known sources for such associations until Origen's much later list of the associations among the planetary gods, and the metals (see Table 7.8,

Table 7.8. Planetary associations in the Mediterranean.8

Metal

Planet

Angelb

Animal

Lead

Kronos (Saturn)

Thaphabaoth

Ass

Tin

Aphrodite (Venus)

Erathaoth

Dog

Bronze

Zeus (Jupiter)

Thauthabaoth

Bear

Iron

Hermes (Mercury)

Gabriel

Eagle

Alloy

Ares (Mars)

Raphael

Serpent

Silver

Selene (Moon)

Suriel

Bull

Gold

Helios (Sun)

Michael

Lion

a Adapted from lists attributed by Celsus to the Persians and the Ophites, in Origen's Against Celsus, vi, 22 (Chadwick 1953/1965, pp. 334 and 345-346).

b Described by Origen from an Ophite diagram.

which follows Chadwick's edition of Origen's Contra Celsus).

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