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The Indus river is identified, and described as being up to twenty miles across.
India is heavily populated, more than the rest of the world combined
Indian elephants are first described
While monkeys were well known in the Mediterranean, unusual types are described for India, including a tiny breed with a six foot long tail
Indian dogs the size of lions
The martikhora (manticore), a red creature with a face like a man's, three rows of teeth, and a scorpion's sting on its tail.
Detailed descriptions of Indian customs, proclaiming them very just and honorable.
Short, black men called pygmies, who live in the middle of India.
Palm and date trees three times the size of those in Babylon
I'm not at all sure that term is the best, the concern seems with domesticated animals and cultivation, bridging the divide between mankind and nature, not hunting down the wee beasties.
Inanna was from earliest times a horned cattle Goddess, but in association with breeding huts and the establishment of herds and dairy houses, likewise Dumuzid a horned shepherd, gatherer of wild honey and charmer of serpents, in order to also bridge the gulf between life and death, the spirit world.
The romantic couple also bridge the divide between gender and thus are also concerned with pro-creation, so for me the cult was with regards to harmonious living and assimilation within nature and working with it rather than against, and also enjoying the good produce that comes of this.
No i read it because Qudshu is very much of interest to me with regards to the Mandaean Ruha Qudshu tradition, but the connection to nature in such a case would be much deeper than establishing harmonious relationship, all natural life on Earth would be expression of the spirit of Ruha in such Theology.
The important relationship that is established then is the romantic one between the shepherd and the Goddess that personifies the natural terrestrial spirits, he will no longer hunt her but work in conjunction with, thus there is a clear ideological break from the traditions of the past, from the Neolithic onward.
Those Mandaeans are a highly elitist bunch aren't they? Anyway, I am not sure what you mean really, but in the Mandaean context it provides an interesting example of how the morphology works as the society gets more complex and removed from nature. Once religious ritual moved into Fertility cults with the emergence of the Neolithic, you then get the Earth Mother figure, as exampled by Ruha, becoming increasingly negatively perceived, she is still necessary, in order to gestate the seed and produce new life, but her spiritual-wisdom aspect if rejected, as 'evil'. The Earth becomes merely a receptacle for the corpse, not as a conduit of the afterlife and a source of renewal. In such a way, not only is she removed from the human afterlife, but her role in providing the plants with spirituality are all but removed too. The Mandaeans are quite unique in retaining her, and in some ways feeling sorry for the fact that she is left with only materialistic properties, and recognising her bereavement from the power of wisdom giving. Kind of tragic.
Good golly...why was he hunting her? You have some interesting kinks Missy! I wouldn't really describe the Shepherd/Goddess relationship as romantic, domestic yes, but he is more of the Earthly intermediary of the God. He cleaves her vulva with his plough after all...not my idea of pillow talk. The Shepherd, as human emissary serves more of a Heirogamus role, 'Tupping' for God, and directing the semen/seed for the best results. Much later, under the Hittites, it becomes even more functional, and the Shepherd is sacrificed, giving his blood to appease the Goddess and make her more receptive to fertilisation. So while previously, the God and Goddess worked in equality to produce the natural world, engaging in the creative act as equals, God needs a helping hand to 'hit the spot', hence the Shepherd as intermediary, or tupper. Much as plant cultivars often need help with pollination, domestic animals need tupping, the soil needs fertiliser...the development of fertility cults reflect that need and apply ritual accordingly. That they dress it up in ribbons and bows, is perfectly understandable really, and the storytelling that the poems provide are mnemonic tools for ensuring that everyone knew what they had to do to help things along. Interestingly, the Sumerian word for shepherd, SIPA, is interchangeable with 'king' and the King was seen as the shepherd of his people, SIPA also means 'stretched horn' or erect penis. In Fertility cults, much like in domestication, the female assumes a much more passive role in the creative process...the Goddess is depicted as not liking that all that much...just as the Ewe might put up resistance...she does too...and good on her, it's a pity it is taking us so long to understand that she had a point. xt
Sooo...I am going to stick with Master/Mistress of the Animals...the Hunt thing seems to be causing too much confusion, and it is largely dependent on locale...all things considered, given the equality of the images, I would still go with the ones I highlighted as referring to them, not your shepherd and Goddess...which is a much more facilitating relationship, rather than an joint act of creativity. The Mistress becomes, later, more synonymous with the moon...but the Master is harder to pinpoint evolutionary wise, so study has avoided him largely, but in my opinion, he can be equated to some extent with the Shepherd, but to do so, relegates his divinity, so he is more usurped by the Shepherd.
He varies, stylistically, in time and place, but the basic themes, in keeping with those you posted, which are largely environmentally dependent, remain constant...