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Nergal's responsibilities as a god of death are not limited to the enemy, but include all life, human as well as animal. He is the god of inflicted death in general , and he inflicts death by supporting the king's arms, but also by supernatural means, plague.
The peace Nergal guarantees recurs in his name Lugal-silimma' "The lord of peace" , The complementary char acter traits of the armed god are expressed by the names of his two dragons at the gate of the E-meslam, his temple in Kutha: War (Tabazum) and Peace (Tubbum)
There appears to be a connection between Nergal and Shamash. It has indeed been argued that the Mesopotamians saw them as alter-egos , Nergal governing the underworld and Shamash the sky.
Deposits of grave goods, particularly food, drink and personal belongings,demonstrate a belief that life continues beyond the grave, and therefore that humankind contains an immortal segment. Thus, death appears as atransitional phase, in which life is transformed from one mode to another.
Deemed actual, the land of the dead was described in the social, political and economical terms of the familiar contemporary terrestrial kingdom.
Abundant textual and archaeological evidence makes manifest that the ghost was nourished with food and drink provided by living kinsmen,signifying that it was held a corporal living entity. A figurine of the dead was made for the burial ritual, set on a chair and clad with a garment it received the offerings of food and drink.
Numerous incantations and rituals aiming to chase away restless spirits testify that hungered ghosts, neglected by their family, returned to the living and caused troubles, diseases and untimely death.
Nergal is concerned with the afterlife of the soul in the "big city", the chthonic Eres-kigal with the decay of the body in the "big earth". her type of death is submission to Fate
Namtar "Fate", the vizier of Eres-kigal ; Fate's wife Iusbisa "Its horror is good"
What was the point of retaining the spirits of the dead, if they are not to return, within the ever expanding underworld city...
Wow! This would make a GREAT 'coffee table' book! You know; those big $$$ books that aspire to visually captivate and create conversation. Maybe on the other side o' the pond they are called 'tea table' books?
Very evocative artwork, K! Thank you for making such a high-quality thread for us.
reply to post by abeverage
Ostensibly this was it, an afterlife of little cheer, were nothing grew, a dark and dusty place were the only clothing, provisions and furnishings were those provided by the relatives of the deceased, hence the importance of grave goods.
All the ghosts would look forward to the death of a King because then a good spread would be laid on
The fact of the matter is though that the Divine spirit doesn't properly belong in the Underworld, as neither do the Deities associated with it's administration really, Eres-Kigal was a daughter of Anu, Nergal was seen as becoming bound there after his dalliance with her, Nin-subur tidied up the place on occasion, but the point is these are aspects of the Higher Celestial Deities, and not underworld Deities due to any intrinsic evil nature or rebellion, thus they're just there doing a job.
The restoration then of such Divine spirit to the upper realm of Earth and beyond remains a possibility.
Thanks, the general question this raised for me while studying and illustrating the subject was what was the point of retaining the spirits of the dead, if they are not to return, within the ever expanding underworld city...