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          LAMASSU

 

~*~LAMASSU~*~

Son colosales toros alados con cabeza de hombre. Como la esfinge pertenece al género Homocephali.

              Habitan principalmente en los desiertos y montañas áridas de  Irán e Irack; llegan a medir hasta 4.8m a la cruz y pueden vivir de 75 a150 años...

              Los asirios creían en la existencia de espíritus, si bien en su religión los había benefactores, cosa desconocida en Babilonia.Éstos fueron llamados Lamassu.

             Sus funciones eran las de proteger al hombre, defendiéndose del mal y llevando sus presentes y sus homenajes a las divinidades. Se les representaba en las puertas de los templos.

              Los malos espíritus reciben el nombre de Utukka y son de dos clases. Una la forman las almas de los difuntos que no han recibido sepultura, lo que les obliga a vagar eternamente, perjudicando a los mortales. La segunda clase la constituyen espíritus mucho más temibles que proceden del mundo inferior: son los que constantemente atacan a los hombres, deparándoles la enfermedad e incitándoles a cometer actos criminales. Cuando se aparecen al hombre lo hacen bajo el aspecto de seres monstruosos con cuerpo humano, cabeza de león erizada de cuernos y provistos de temibles garras. La única manera de librarse de su presencia es recurrir a la ayuda de un conjurador, quien por medio de exorcismos y magia los ahuyentaba.

 

(Lamassu)

 

 

 
home   :    index    :    ancient Mesopotamia    :    article by Jona Lendering ©

Lamassu (bull-man)

A bull-man from Khorsabad
(Louvre, Paris)
Lamassu: Babylonian protective demon with a bull's body, eagle's wings, and a human head.

The name lamassu is problematic. The Sumerian word lama, which is rendered in Akkadian as lamassu, refers to a protective deity, who is usually female. She is often shown as a standing figure that introduces guests to another god. Her male counterpart is called alad or, in Akkadian, šêdu.

During the Neo-Assyrian Empire (c.883-612), monumental bulls, often with wings and always with human heads, were placed as gateway guardians at the entrances of royal palaces. The general idea behind them was that they warded off evil. (In jargon: they were apotropaic figures.) Usually, they have five legs. Lion-bodied protective deities are also known, and are usually called "sphinxes".

Two lamassu's in the Gate of
All Nations, Persepolis)

These monumental statues were called aladlammû ('protective spirit') or lamassu, which means that the original female word was now applied for a rather macho demon. In one modern interpretation, they combine the strength of a bull, the freedom of an eagle, and the intelligence of a human being. Female lamassu's are called apsasû.

Lammasu's are also known from the palaces of the Achaemenid kings. Those in Pasargadae have now disappeared, but in Persepolis, we can still see them in the Gate of all nations. The hoofs are visible in the Unfinished gate; in the building that is identified as either a Council Hall or a Tripylon ("triple gate"), lamassu's served as the capitals of columns.

It would be interesting if we could establish a link between the Asian bull-man lamassu and the Greek bull-man Minotauros, although the first one has a man's head and a bull's body, and the Minotaur has a man's body and a bull's head.

 
 home   :    index    :    ancient Mesopotamia
 
The creature is a Lamassu, which were ancient Assyrian sculptures positioned in pairs as gate guardians to cities and palaces. The "Sheedu Lamassu", to give it its full name, translates as "the repellent of evil", and embodies the power of the Assyrian kings who ruled a vast empire centred in northern Iraq from the 9th to 7th centuries BC. The Lamassu symbolises the supernatural powers of the kings and were used to ward off evil spirits.

The sculptures consist of the body of a bull (sometimes a lion's body is used), the wings of an eagle and a crowned human head.

The bull demonstrates strength - in Assyrian times the wild bulls of Mesopotamia were huge beasts, up to 183cm at the shoulder, and were hunted by the kings.

The eagle, being the most powerful bird in the sky, symbolises the king's power as he looks over those he rules.

The crowned human head represents intelligence, with the face of the Lamassu carved to represent the king who ruled at the time the sculpture was created.

On top of the head is a crown, which features horns as a sign of divinity.

The sculpture has five legs, as the Lamassu could be viewed from the front and side: from the front it looked as though the Lamassu was standing firm, and from the side it looked as though the Lamassu was striding, giving the impression of motion.

The Lamassu was chosen for the divisional patch by the current MND-SE commanding officer, Major General Jonathan Riley, British Army, because of its symbology as a protector against evil and because it was used as the symbol of the World War I British-led Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force that defeated the Ottoman Turk Army who held the land now known as Iraq. The Lamassu also features on the reverse side of Britain's Iraq campaign medal, as a symbol of the region.

So it is appropriate that the Lamassu have been resurrected as a symbol of good against evil in a land they have watched over for nearly three millennia.

 

Palacio de Sargón II en Khorsabad, Asiria-Metropolitam Museum.Nueva York

~*~ANFISBENA~*~

Tambien conocido cono el Anphisbena Janus, es un híbrido que suele vivir de 5 a 10 años y mide 1.2 m; se distribuye a lo largo de los balcanes centrales ya que habita casi todos los entornos.

                            Animal fabuloso guardián del gran arcano, según un manuscrito italiano del siglo XVI que pertenecia al conde Pierre V. Piobb, es un símbolo que aparece con alguna frecuencia en marcas signos y representesiones heráldicas.  Era conocido por los griegos y su nombre procede de la creencia de que se trataba de una serpiente dotada del poder de andar hacia delante y hacia atrás que habitaba en África.

                           Cuerpo de serpiente engrosado en el centro para formar un torso de ave, con alas cortas y vestigiales de murciélago y dos garras de pájaro. De piel rayada alternando el blanco y el rojo. En el extremo de la cola, muy similar al cuello, tiene una cabeza idéntica a la otra. Ambas tienen colmillos venenosos.  probable expresión de la ambivalencia en su aspecto angustioso y terrorífico, siguendo la interpretación de Diel. 

                                   En la Antillas hay una serpiente parecida que es la madre de las hormigas y es mantenida por ellas. Si se la corta en dos, las partes se vuelven a unir. Se decia que tenia virtudes medicinales.