interest in the study of the serpent
was born during the early seventies, as I was preparing the final work of my Ph.
D. on the subject of the Roman religion in Hispania.
Since then, it has been the subject of several essays and documents
throughout my professional life.
The awareness of the existence of numerous serpent representations on
archaeological items in my country of origin, Spain, from Prehistoric times up
to our present days, prompted me to go beyond the scope of my investigations on
the Roman religion itself. So I
started a search for possible kinds of believes/cults directly related to the
serpent in other ancient cultures, further back in chronological terms, and
further away in geographical terms from the frame of my own western civilization.
let us settle two clear issues:
This investigation does not in any case pretend to explain the
diffusionism of the serpent cult from the East to the West nor from the West to
the East. In this sense, these
separate cults and believes, ancient and modern, related all to the figure of
the serpent, could well have had their origins independently from each other.
Although I will refer to linguistic terms and cuneiform signs, I must
precise I am not a philologist or Sumeriologist.
Thus, within my specialist subjects of magic and religion in the Roman
civilisation, I have needed to refer to the work of some colleagues in order to
present some of the linguistic material that follows.
So I apologise in advance if some of this material I have borrowed is not
in line with some other philologist theories well beyond my field.
have arrived in the East purely following hints of the fascinating figure of the
serpent, as a religious and magical animal, with which I came across while
studying the West. This continuous search took me over to the beginnings of the
written history in the Near East, where we have found the first written
documents in Sumerian, in which we can appreciate the word “serpent”, and
its clear relationship with the most important Mesopotamic goddesses.
us start in Hispania and proceed with manifestations of the serpent in other
In prerromanic Spain, one of the most beautiful remaining items showing the
serpent is the silver Ibero-roman Pátera
de Perotitos, in Santisteban del Puerto, Jaen, Andalucía (Spain), in which
a serpent surrounds the figure of a wolf on top of a human head.
The meaning of this symbol is unknown.
Possibly, the serpent was not a goddess, and only some kind of divinity,
with some powers of protection, immortality and regeneration(FIG.1).
In the Roman cult, it is well-known the Scene
in the house of the Vetii and others(FIG.2), in Pompeii, Italy.
According to their beliefs, the soul of the ancestors lived inside their
graves, as a snake. The spinal column would become a snake and remain living
there as a sign of immortality, as we see in sarcophags(FIG.
However, what is the true role that the snake plays? Although we find it as a
sign of immortality in funerary inscriptions and sarcophagi, some mosaics, like
this Mosaic against the evil eye, may
portrait the serpent as a protective creature, which keeps away the evil eye and
protects against its evil influence(FIG.4).
The Greek civilization, older than the Roman one, and closer geographically to
the Egyptian culture, offers numerous proofs of myths and beliefs related to the
early as the Ancient Minoic times, there have been
found traces of a cult to the serpent.
For instance, the Minoic Vessel
(Fig.5)and the figure of the Serpent
Priestesses/Goddesses(FIG.6), amongst many other significant testimonies of
the importance of this animal within the Greek civilisation, in which it was
associated with gods such as Heracles or Athenea.
Even in Athens, there was a primitive character called Erictonio, whose cult was
developed in the Acropolis or, for instance, in Delphes where Apollo(FIG.7),
god of the light, substitutes the primitive feminine deity: the Python.
In spite of the heavy presence of this animal in the Greco-Latin culture,
and in contrast with the Ancient Near East and Ancient Egypt –where there were
divinities shaped as serpents– there is no proof, in my opinion, of a possible
cult to the serpent in Greece.
At least in what refers to all the sources ever known or made known to
On the other hand, what happened in the Classical Greco-Latin world was that the
serpent was a manifestation, an expression, a materialisation, or certain powers
of the gods together with whom it may be represented.
In this way, the serpent appears together with Esculapio/Asclepio
and Higia(FIG 8-9), around the rod of
Esculapio and around the arms of Higia, as well as in the rod of Mercury (caduceus).
10. Something very common in the
Near East already since the IV Millennium: the divine powers, sometimes curative,
are associated to gods and godesses, such as Nergal,
Ningizzida, or the Phoenician Eshmun, from Hatra(FIG. 10).
In Phoenicia, the serpent biting its tail (Uroboros)
represents the never-ending passing of time, while in Egypt it symbolises the
infernal world (FIG.11).
We find representations of the serpent in the casites kudurrus.
Famous ones are the snakes in the vessel of Gudea.(FIG.12)
It is necessary to mention than in the Ancient Greece, and modern Greece, the
serpent has often been taken as a good spirit.
The Agathos Daimon or Good
Spirit was represented in the shape of a snake, and the snake was used as a
domestic animal and, amongst other uses, even as a scarf serpent around the neck to mitigate the extreme heat in the
The cobra, which is used nowadays in India by serpent-charmers (FIG.14) to attract the attention of tourists in
street shows, was in Ancient Egypt a great goddess, Wadjet her name.(FIG.15)
This goddess, one of the many in Ancient Egypt which borrowed the shape
of a serpent, appeared in the forehead of the Pharaohs, such as Tutankhamon
or others queens(Fi.g 16)
The serpent symbolised the power of the Pharaohs, and justified at the same time
their divine characteristics.
Fertility, healing, immortality, and magic are some of the main positive
attributions to this animal in its different species.
The serpent is sometimes demonised.
This is the case of Apopi, Re´s enemy,(FIG.17) the Babilonic Tiamat, Marduk´s enemy, or the
Biblical enemy of Yahvé.
In Mesopotamia, since IV Millenium B.C. (Ur),
there are feminine representations with snake-like featuresFIG.18).
everyone knows that another serpent, the god Amon shaped as one, was the father
of Alexander the Great. The legend
adds to the curative powers of the serpent the Western belief in the power of
fertility and fecundity that in the Ancient Near East and Ancient Egypt some
goddesses had. Some of these gods/goddesses
were represented in the company of a serpent, or were even serpent-shaped
themselves, while the cobra was the protector of the pharaoh.
Serpent in the Near East
what refers to literary sources, the oldest testimonies of serpents are possibly
those coming from Excavations at Susa, published by P. Toscane,
author interested in the interpretation of the myth of the serpent in paradise
or the bronze serpent of Mosses.
of the primitive Sumerian ideograms representing “the serpent” that we know
Snake Head from Susa, with the archaic sign
primitive ideogram. Read as MUS.
to the archaic forms
ideogram is the origin of the sign
SIR, with a general sense of “to be or to become long, big, tall, to extend,
to go far, to take”, with its translations ARKU, BAQAMU, RUQU, SABATU.
sign got transformed into ……
with its qunu and became the
long, to become long” and
the qunu, III, which completes the compounded sign
is equivalent to the modern sign
is read as MUS (Sumerian and Babilonic Asirian, and bûs in eblaitic,
and SIRU, serpent or SERRU/SERU, sometimes accompanied of specifications.
In the group of words derived from this one would be sarsaru,
“big serpent”, sippu in
Acadian, “serpent”, basmu,
“venomous serpent” and “mythic serpent with fabulous partcularities”,
which corresponds almost exactly to the Ugaritic btn,
“serpent”. For Mayer Modena,
the origin of the word is found again in the Hebraic srr
and in the Arabic darra, with the
meaning of “to tie, to force together by means of a tie”.
root is clearly distinguished in Acadian, with the word serretu/serrate.
This is related to the Semitic root that is found as well in the Hebrew term srr,
with a basic meaning of “to tie,
to link together with a bond”, which indicates the use of a rope to carry
animals by their nose, or a nose ring, “brida” or “rope”, in general.
This subject would be related to the well-known “knot magic” or magic
of the knots”, which symbolic value is comparable to that of the imitative
magical spells that the wizard would cast to undo any magic enchantments.
All these knots are synonyms of illnesses, of death, of enchantment. In
the Semite world and Mesopotamia in general, the knots and laces are found
interchangeably with witchcraft, wizardry, and popular medicine.
using the term “serpent” like that one that “bonds together”, the magic
of the word gets united with the one derived from the figure and the magical
power of the serpent, so as to make the magic even more powerful.
The serpent transforms itself into a “living rope”, a “living bond”,
like it is defined specifically in the Atharva Veda 14, 3.
Egloga VIII of Virgilio carries us to a mimetic magic ritual, similar to that in
the II Idilio by Teocritus. Having
affirmed the power of the spell, the abandoned lover gives an order to the witch
to surround the image of Dafnis with three bands and, then, to tie three knots
saying: “I tighten the knots of Venus”.
the Israelites, the magic of the knots was common practice.
In Deuteronomy XVIII there is a comment about the “magicians that tie
knots”, and in Tell-Sandahanna they have discovered, in Palestine, between
Bethlehem and Gaza, sixteen rudimentary statuettes, made of lead, which bodies,
arms, hands and legs are tied together with threads of the same metal.
Egypt, the necklaces and bracelets acted as bonds, and often do contain magical
symbols, such as the eye.
the Greek Papyrus in the Library in the University of Oslo, can be read:
Hor, Hor, phor, phor, Iao, Sabaot, Adonais, Salaman.
I tie you, artemisius scorpio theree hundred and fifteen, three hundred
and fifteen times; look after this household and protect them from every evil,
from any spell of the aerial spirits and coming from the human eye, and from the
terrible illnesses, and from the fatal bite of the scorpion and the serpent, in
the name of God Almighty. Take care
of me, my God, son of David in offspring, the one born from the Saint Virgin
Mary, thy Highness, the Holy Spirit, Glory to you, Celestial King. Amen.”
the prophet Mahoma was enchanted by the daughters of the jewish Lobeid Ben El
Aram, who blew on the knots, the angel Gabriel did reveal to him the one sura
before the last in the Coran:
I find shelter close to the God of dawn… Against the evilness of those who
blow on the knots.”
did indicate that the knots were ten and that they had been flung into a well.
Mahoma did send Ali there to look for the knots, and Mahoma pronounced
that sura, as well as the next one,
which was revealed to him at the same time. After
each verse, each one of the knots was untied.
«Gods that tie» are those that use magic knots to defeat their rivals.
The “Terrible King” in the Indo-European mythologies, opposed to the
“Lawyer King”, has the monopoly of the use of Magic.
In this way, Varuna (which confronts the lawyer Mitra and the warrior
Indra), has his maya d’Asura as a
great weapon. This represents his
magic as King, in the shape of a band or knot, which appear in a figurative
sense or are referred to in the texts, echoing his power to chain.
Indra opposes him, and rescues any victims tied by Varuna.
Greece, there is this opposition as well. While
Zeus fights and persists in difficult wars, Uranus does not fight, but just ties,
puts chains, uses knots to bond their rivals with Hell.
In Rome Jupiter intervenes in the battle as the great wizard.
to Dumézil and Eliade, there is an Indo-European magic King, lord of the magic
ties or knots. They refer to a text
in which he says that in front of Romulus there advanced men armed with straps
to tie whatever he ordered. Yahve,
“terrible master of the knots”, is described with knots in his hand, as a
weapon to punish the guilty ones.
the Greek world, Hefaisto used to practice this.
His ties, such as in the case of those in the trap to surprise Venus and
Mars, were indissoluble.
tongues present, as well, the semantic evolution “bond” as to charm, enchant,
fascinate. In the Greek Magic Papyri,
Adonais is referred to as “Great Serpent”, Zeus, Damnameneo and Io.
in the Ugaritic term `qsr, used in the Ugaritic splint KTU 1.107 = RS 24.244, with the
spell against serpents to which we will refer later on, the root `qsr
can be recognized, “to tie”, “to bond”,
which alludes to the knots in the twisted body of the serpent.
the Hindu mythology, the Vedic texts present Varuna as a supreme god that
governs the world, the gods (devas) and men, thus a universal king as well as a magician.
H. Petersen has explained his name stemming from the Indo-European root *uer,
“to tie”. Terrible Lord and
King, true owner of the knots, that has the magic power to tie his victims in
the distance, and also the power to untie them.
They are represented with a rope in their hand and, in the ceremonies,
everything that he ties, starting by the knots themselves, is known as varunic.
Signs that are found, according to Toscane, in the cylinder-seals and
seals of Susa to represent the words “serpent” and “scorpion”:
“Serpent” in the cylinder-seals.
in the cylinder-seals.
the casites kudurrus, the serpent is the symbol of the god SIRU (the weapon of
Kadi) (Fig.19) and can have a religious value, either representing the god
himself, as well as the sign of his power, in Hebrew, its name is saraph,
venomous serpent, in Arabic it is sarfat. We also find the peten,
venomous serpent or aspid, and aksub,
Hebrew which designates, according to Toscane, the viper or aspid, possibly a
cobra pr, naja, like the one often represented in paintings and relieves of
Egypt. According to Mayer
Modena, the term nahas, in Hebrew,
which is the term most often used to refer to the serpent in biblical texts,
refers to a certain wisdom or supernatural intelligence associated with this
animal, that relates to the root nhs,
“to foresee”, “to see into the future”.
According to Mayer Modena, the numerous names that the serpent has in
Semitic, which cannot we recreated in many areas, were due to a linguistic taboo.
The serpent itself is a dangerous creature, and, also, its only mention
could mean its evocation or appearance. The
fact that many gods do test their strength with the serpent, like Marduk with
Tiamat, or Apollo with Python, shows the power of this creature, against which
men can only fight by using their magic, by invoking the power of the gods. This would precisely be the case of Horon, who defeats the
serpent with his strength, like we can read in the splints Ugarit K.T.U. 1100
and .007. In theses splints the
terminology nhs is used to refer to
the serpent, while `qsr would be
“ofidic” (lines 9 and 12), in Hebrew nahas,
in Talmudic Aramean hakina, “big
some bereber dialects, the terminology used more often is `ezram,
with the root `zr, “to know”.
This link would be justified with the cultural world and mythic world of
the Mediterranean, which believes in the serpent as a ctonic animal, from the
underworld, linked to the dead, considered as depositary of magical and
supernatural powers, and also related to the prophecy.
Cartage, as well, it is possible the existence of a feminine deity hwt
which could have been known as well in Ugarit, as we deduct from a piece of the
fragment NK 12-201, 4, where the expression `and hwt is found, which Aitsñeitner
translates into “lord of life”. Mayer
Modena, based on the reading that Garbini makes, in what respects to this
divinity (he supposes that `and and b`l, although without feminine prefix, can
precede a feminine deity), thinks that the Ugaritic can be interpreted the same
way, as the feminine “Hwt”,
connected with the term hiwia, serpent.
deity of hell, in Cartage, according to Harris,
was supposed as eel-shaped, which is also witnessed in other places around the
In biblical Hebrew, according to Mayer Modena, the term used is peten
< *patnu, that as well as
corresponding to “viper”, seems to have been used in parallel with sif’oni,
viper, in Jes. 11, 8, and with nahas “serpent” in Ps.
58, 5, and with Tannin, “mythical
eel-shaped monster” in Ps. 19, 13.
term Basan, which the Old Testament interpretes as a region (Beisan?)
could be related to basmu, btn,
Basan may be the name of the mythical
serpent Basan, in its original form.
In this respect, we shall remember that in Beisan itself a temple and
numerous materials with serpents were found.
In this temple they worshipped a goddess of whom there is a great variety
of symbols, whose image appears in several steles, and that is referred by its
own name: ”Anta (=’Anat), goddess
of the skies and ruler of all the gods”, following the protocol of a votive
stelein the septentrional temple of the group restored in the times of Ramses
II, but, differently from the lascivious Astarte, would be translated better in
the contemporary steles “de Qadesh” (fig. 20).
And the majority of the representations of the voluptuous goddess so common in
all Palestinian excavations, this ‘Anat is characterised by her more noble,
chaste and tutorial character, and it is identified with the Egyptian Hathor.
This goddess, ruler of the planet Venus and queen of the sky, will
dominate the constellations and the celestial serpents and would be the one
represented I the Khafaje cup and in different seals(Fig. 21-22),
Cananean descendant, according to Rowe, of the mysterious goddess-serpent
Babilonic Sahan , fountain of life,
the beginning of health, dispenser of every good and all the happiness in the
world, eponym of an old Palestinian city.
to P. Dhorme, the Cananean-Hebrew nahas,
with its aceptions and its derivations, could be the phonetic transposition of Sahan,
a Babilonian goddess, daughter of Kadi, the goddess couple of Ninurta = Nebo,
that is related to the serpent Sahan,
genie that guards, together with Alad
the entrance to the temple of the god Enlil.
Ancient Mesopotamian Sahan was the goddess of health, possibly an ancient
predecessor of the Phoenician Eshmoun or the Greek Asclepio. Not too far from
the ruins, may be used as a sanctuary, where the stele of Camos was found, there
is the mountain named Sihan, which
evokes the goddess Sahan, miysterious goddess-serpent to which we have referred
above. This is precisely what
drives M. Rowe into searching in the existence of an archaic sanctuary of the
serpent-goddess Sahan for the more authentic ethimology of Baisan, that is
–San. The intermediary could be
the god Sa-an which appears in and old
the god Samash and your god, the god Sa-an, give you life”.
it is in Susa where we find the first ceramics that we know as serpents (Figs.
23-29) and the first woman with a serpent (Fig. 34), such as the ones we will
find later on in Ur in the IV millennium (Fig. 37) and in the Minoican culture,
already in the Aegean area.
In English, the distinction between the words “Snake” and “Serpent”,
which in other languages may just be the same word, must be made following
the recommendations in MUNDKUR, B.: The
Cult of the Serpent, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1983,
p. 2. According to this author, the distinction between the words
is a dim one in popular parlance, but it involves more than a linguistic
subtlety. The former is the
native English word and far more commonly used; the latter is considered
alien and sometimes reserved for venomous or larger species. A snake is merely the zoological entity, but “serpent”,
as we will see, opens up vast metaphorical possibilities. The lexicographer Fowler aptly observes that “we perhaps
conceive serpents as terrible and powerful and beautiful things, snakes as
insidious and cold and contemptible”.
XELLA P.: “D’Ugarit á la Phénicie: sur les traces de Raspa.
Welt des Orients,
XIX, 1988, pp. 45-64; VAZQUEZ HOYS, A. Mª : “La serpiente en el
Mundo Antiguo 1. La serpiente
en las religiones mediterráneas”, Boletín
de la Asociación de Amigos de la Arqueología n.14, Dec. 1981, pp.
33-39; id.: “The
representation of serpent in Ancient Iberia”, International
Conference of Archaeology and Fertility Cult in Ancient Mediterranean.
The last works about this animal are cited in VAZQUEZ HOYS, A. Mª:
“Aproximación a la serpiente como motivo religioso y mágico en el Próximo
Oriente y Egipto”, Actes du III
Congrès International des Etudes Phèniciennes et Puniques, Tunis,
11-16 Nov. 1991, vol. II, pp. 424-442.
Also, please consult periodically the URL http://www.uned.es/geo-1-historia-antigua-universal/.
Not Influence, but possibly coincidence, because the serpent is a very
common, zoologically polysemic, animal in the Mediterranean.
 See, amongst other works: S. B. JOHNSON: The Cobra Goddess in Ancient Egypt, London, 1990; HART, G.: A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, London, 1986; BUDGE, W: Egyptian Magic, reimp., 3rd Ed., 1986; HAZAN, F.: Dictionnaire de la civilization égyptienne, Paris, 1986.
 Toscane P.: “Etudes sur le serpent, figure et symbole dans l’Antiquité Elamite”, Memoires de Recherches Archeologiques, Delegation en Perse, T.12, Paris 1911, pp. 153-228.
 Mayer Modena, Mª L.: “Il tabu lingüístico e alcune denominación del serpente in semitico”, ACME 35, 1982, pp. 173-90, 183, n.48.
Mayer Modena, Mª L., op. cit., pp. 177-178.
DOUTTE, E.: Magie et religion en Afrique du Nord, p. 89, cit. by BUISSON, M.: La
Magia, Barcelona 1976, p. 37; RIVIERE, J. : Amuletos,
talismanes y pantáculos, Ed. Martínez Roca S.A. Barcelona 1974, knots,
25, 113, 115, 194; nail, 158-9, 222, 342-3; ties, 113; CONTENAU, G. : La
magie chez les Assyriens et les Babyloniens, Payot, Paris 1947, p. 246.
Cfr. MIRCEA ELIADE: “Le dieu lieur et le symbolisme des noeuds”, Revue
d‘Histoire des Religions
CXXXIV, 1945, pp. 5-36.
 Figure in CONTENAU, op. cit. p. 273.
 Cfr. FRAZER, S.J.: La Rama Dorada, cit., pp. 213, 290; II. One magical Greek papyrus (PGM P XV, Greek Papyrus 491 in the Museum of Alexandria, Magical texts in Greek Papyri, starts by saying: “I will tie you, Nile, tie you to the so-called Agato Daimon, given birth by Demetria, with great evil…”
Cfr. MIRCEA ELIADE: Historia de la creencia y de las ideas religiosas I. De la Prehistoria a los misterios de Eleusis. Ed. Cristiandad 1978, pp. 216-219.
Cfr. DUMEZIL, G.: Ouranos-Varuna, Paris 1934, passim, id. Mythes et Dieux des Germains, Paris 1941, p. 79 ss.
As to the equivalence Romulus-Varuna-Ouranus-Jupiter, cfr. MIRCEA ELIADE: Le dieu lieur… cit. p. 6.
Romulus, p. 26.
Cfr. DELCOR, M.: Hephaistos ou la legende du magician. Paris 1957, page 22 ss.; also LOPEZ DE LA ORDEN, M. D. PEREZ LOPEZ, I.: “A propósito de un nudo hercúleo encontrado en Cadiz”, Anales de la Universidad de Cádiz II, Cádiz 1985, pp. 83-97.
Textos de Magia en los Papiros griegos.
Ed. Gredos, Madrid 1987,
LIPINSKI, E.: “La legende sacree de la conjuration des morsures de
serpents” UF 6, 1974, pp.
170-174; also ASTOUR M.C. : “Two Ugaritic Serpent charms“, JNES
27, 1968, pp. 13-36 ; QAQUOT, A. : “ Nouveaux documents
ougaritiens“, Syria 46, 1969, pp. 241-265.
relation to the knots and magic, cfr. VAZQUEZ HOYS, A. Mª: ”Aspectos mágicos
de la Antigüedad I”, cit. The
knots are similar to the tie of love, VIRGILIO, Egloge VIII, 77; Cirid. p.
368 ss. About other uses of the
same symbol, cfr. FRAZER, The golden böuth I, pp. 394-odd, n. 2-3.
Harria, A Grammar of the Phoenician Language. New Haven, 1936, p. 101.
Mayer Modena, Mª L., op. cit., pp. 173-190.
Mayer Modena, Mª L., op. cit., p. 183.
Cfr. Mayer Modena, Mª L., op. cit., p. 193.
According to LIPINSKI, E.: “The Syro-Palestinian Iconography of Woman and
Goddess”, Israel Exploration Journal 36, n. 1-2, Jerusalem 1986, p. 89. It is
necessary to make a distinction between the naked goddesses, in several
moments or movements, with a base, or standing over an animal, and the small
figures or plaques found during excavations in Israel.
These are dated since the Bronze Age up to the Iron Age II, in favissae,
tombs, sanctuaries, and private houses, while others are from an unknown
origin. Many of these figures,
undoubtedly represent a goddess, but others are true “concubines of the
dead” or votive offerings of women that would like to have a baby
by means of the “sympathetic magic”, this interpretation
confirmed by comparison to the Egyptian figures in the New Empire
(1400-1200) that represent a naked woman laying down, milking a baby.
Metal pendants of those that portrait the figure of the goddess QUDHU
or QADESH are often used as earrings. This
can be confirmed in the use of the Western-Semitic term qudasu/qedasa,
in Neoasirian, Neobabilonian and Aramean, in the sense of an earring or a
ring of a woman, with a naked feminine figure represented in a golden
earring found in the tomb of Mamshit and a golden pendant discovered in
‘Avdat. This figure
represents in many cases the figure Aphrodite, identified in Hellenistic
times with Astarte. However,
amongst the Nabateans, Aphrodite is assimilated to the Arabic goddess al-‘Uzza’,
cfr. PATRICH, J.: “’Àl-uzza’ Earrings”, IEJ
34, 1984, pp. 39-46, p. l6: B-D. The
word qds refers to “amulet” or
“sacred object” in the Egypt of the New Empire.
Therefore, it is logical to think that it refers not to the main name
given to this goddess, Qadesh, but that it is Anat or Astarte, as suggested
in the interprestation of the inscription in the stele of Winchester College,
cfr. EDWARDS, I.E.S.: “A relief of Qudushu-Astarte-Anat in the Winchester
College Collection”, JNES 14,
1955, pp. 49-51, pls. III-IV: ANEP, 3rd ed. No. 830.
VINCENT, L. H. in RB XXXVII, 1928, page 544 no.1; also P. Dhorme, in RB
1928, page 165.
DU MESNIL DU BUISSON, Nouvelles
documents cit. page 231. According to this author, Sid Babi is Sardus Pater, cfr. Op. cit. page 233.
Although LANGDON, Ishtar and Tammuz,
cit. by FRANFOT, H. in Iraq I,
page 13, hinks that Sahan means
“fire” and it is also the name of Ningizzida, whose other name, Serah
means “vegetation”, being a link with the fertility of the earth, a
known characteristic of serpent-gods in general, confirmed, in many cases,
by the representation of the god-serpent in relation to plants or carrying
plants in their hands.
VINCENT L. H.: “Les fouilles … cit. page 138 and footnote 1.
and the sanctuaries, see also further pp. on the same work.
On the goddess-serpent in Ancient Mesopotamia cfr. BUCHANAN: “A
Snake Goddess and her companions”, Iraq
33, 1971, pp. 1-18, with bibliography and comments.