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08 Demi-gods and Heroes (Canaanite/Ugaritic Mythology)




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This article is from the Canaanite/Ugaritic Mythology FAQ, by Christopher B. Siren cbsiren@hopper.unh.edu with numerous contributions by others.

08 Demi-gods and Heroes (Canaanite/Ugaritic Mythology)

Keret - Keret was a king (of Khubur?) and possibly the son of El (this
may be an expression for a fortunate person) who lost his estate and his
sucsessive eight wives to death, disease, and accident before any one of
them could produce an heir. Having fallen asleep in tears, he is visited
by El in a dream and offered kingship and riches to assuage his sorrow.
This is ineffective as Keret only desires sons and heirs. El directs him
to make an animal and wine sacrifice to El and Baal on the tower and then
muster an army to lay siege to the city of Udm. There, Keret is to
refuse offers from the Udm's king Pabil and demand his daughter, the fair
Huray. Keret does as instructed, vowing to himself to give Huray an
enormous sum of wealth upon his success.

Returning to his estate with Huray, Keret is blessed by El at
Baal's behest and is promised eight sons, the first of which, Yassib,
shall have Athirat and Anat as nursemaids. In addition, Huray will bear
eight daughters all of whom as blessed as a first-born child. Athirat
calls attention to Keret's promise of wealth to Huray which he has yet to
fulfil.

Later, Keret and Huray prepare a great feast for the lords of
Khubur. Later still Keret has become deathly ill and Huray entreats
guests at a feast to morn for him and make sacrifices on his behalf.

The household is tense and Keret's son Elhu, despondently visits
his father. Keret tells him not to sorrow, but to send for his
sympathetic sister, Keret's daughter Thitmanat ('the eighth one'). Her
sympathy, heighted Keret expects from her surprise at his state will
evoke the attention of the gods during a sacrifice he intends to
perform. Indeed she weeps readily when the truth is revealed.
Meanwhile, the rains have ceased with Keret's illness, but return after a
ceremony on Mt. Zephon. El convenes an assembly of the gods and
dispatches the demoness Sha'taqat who cures Keret. Keret's son and heir
Yassib, unaware of his father's cure entreats him to surrender his throne
as he has been remiss in his duties, but Yassib is rebuffed and cursed.

Daniel - 'He of Harnan', a devotee of Rapiu (Baal) and a patriarchal
king. Like Keret, Daniel is in mourning because unlike his brothers he
had no sons. So, for several days he sacrificed food and drink to the
gods. On the seventh day, Baal takes notice and successfully petitions
El to allow Daniel and his wife, Danatay, to have a child, citing, among
other reasons, that the child will be able to continue the contributions
and sacrifices to their temples. El informs Daniel of his impending
change of fortune. He rejoyces and slaughters an ox for the Kotharat,
pouring sacrifices to them for six days and watching them depart on the
seventh. During some missing columns, Danatay gives birth to Aqhat.
Later, Kothar-u-Khasis arrives with a specially crafted bow and arrows
set for Aqhat. Daniel and Danatay hold a feast, inviting the god, and
Daniel presents Aqhat with the bow reminding him to sacrifice the choices
game to the gods. When Aqhat is slain, Daniel's daughter Pughat notices
the eagles and the drought and becomes upset. Daniel prays that Baal
might return the rains and travels among the fields coaxing the few
living plants to grow and wishing that Aqhat were there to help harvest
them. Pughat informs him of Aqhat's demise. Daniel then swears vengence
upon his son's slayer. In succession he spies some eagles, Hirgab, and
Sumul. He calls upon Baal to break their wings and breast-bones, then he
searches their insides for Aqhat's remains. Initially not finding them,
he asks Baal to restore the eagles and Hirgab. Finding Aqhat's remains
within Sumul, he buries him and calls upon Baal to break the bones of any
eagle that my disturb them and curses the lands near which his son was
slain. His court goes into mourning for seven years, at which time
Daniel dismisses the mourners and burns incense in sacrifice to the
gods. Pughat prays to the gods to bless her in her venture and disguises
herself as Anat, intending to wreck vengence upon those who slew Aqhat.

Aqhat - The much anticipated child of Daniel and Danatay, Aqhat is
presented with a bow and arrows set made by Kothar-u-Khasis early in his
life by his father at a feast. Daniel reminds him to take the best of
his kills to the temple for the gods. At the feast Anat offers Aqhat
riches and eternal life if he would give her the bow. When he refuses,
she promises to deliver vengence upon him should he ever transgress.
Presumably he fails to offer his best kills to the gods. Later he
followes a disguised Anat to Qart-Abilim but presumably thwarts her new
scheme to aquire his bow and lives there for a time, possibly under the
favor of Yarikh. He is left on a mountain and while sitting for a meal
is attacked by Anat's attendent Yatpan in the form of an eagle, along
with other birds of prey, and is slain. Following his death, the land is
poisoned and there is a period of famine and drought. Daniel recovers
his son's remains from the eagle S,umul.

Later, Daniel visits the underworld, probably in hopes of recovering
Aqhat, and there encounters the Rephaim.

Pughat - Daughter of Daniel and Danatay. When Aqhat is slain, Daniel's
daughter Pughat notices the eagles and the drought and becomes upset.
Daniel prays that Baal might return the rains and travels among the
fields coaxing the few living plants to grow and wishing that Aqhat were
there to help harvest them. Pughat encounters Aqhat's servents and
learns of his demise. After seven years of Daniel's court mourning,
Daniel dismisses the mourners and burns incense in sacrifice to the
gods. Pughat prays to the gods to bless her in her venture and disguises
herself as Anat, intending to wreck vengence upon those who slew Aqhat.
She arrives and meets Yatpan, accepting his wine, and the rest is missing.

Men in general - from a side note (Gibson p. 68) men are considered made
of 'clay'.

 

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