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09 What about their cosmology? (Divine geography) (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.

09 What about their cosmology? (Divine geography) (Canaanite/Ugaritic Mythology)

Little is certain about the cosmology of the Canaanites. While the Ugaritic
texts tell us of El, Athirat, and Rahmay's creation of the gracious gods,
for the creation of the universe we must rely on the Greek sources of
Philo of Byblos, Athenaeus, and Damascius, which are thoroughly drenched in
Greek cosmology. In general they relate that from gods like chaos,
ether, air, wind and desire was produced the egg Mot, which was probably
not the same Mot as found in Ugarit. The egg was populated with
creatures who remained motionless until it was opened, whence the sky and
heavenly bodies were formed. Later the waters were separated from the
sky, and gods of El's generation were formed. Additional hints about the
divine geography gathered from the Ugarit texts are included below:

Mt. Lel - Where the assembly of the gods meet. It is El's abode and the
source of the rivers and two oceans, as well as where those waters meet
those of the firmament. It lies 'two layers beneath the wells of the
earth, three spans beneath its marshes.' It had been thought to be a
field and not a mountain. The mansion there has eight entrances and
seven chambers.

hmry 'Miry' - Mot's city in the underworld, "where a pit is the throne on
which he sits, filth the land of his heritage." (Gibson p. 66)

the underworld - 'the place of freedom'. The Aramaeans believed that the
souls of the blessed dead ate with Baal-Hadad.

Targhizizi and Tharumagi - the twin mountains which hold the firmament up
above the earth-circling ocean, thereby bounding the earth. The entrance
to the underworld and Shapash's 'grave'. It is entered by lifting up a
rock to a wooded height. The entrance is bounded by a river-shore land
of pasture and fields known ironicly as "Pleasure" or "Delight".

Ughar or Inbab - the location of Anat's mansion.

Mt. Zephon - Either the mountain is deified and holy, godlike in
proportion, or El has a pavilion there. It has recesses within which
Baal holds his feast. Baal had his first house of cedar and brick there,
as well as his second house of gold, silver, and lapis-lazuli.

 

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