Chapter 12: The Age of the Ram

“…When the Age of the Ram finally arrived, it did not come as the dawn of a New Age. Rather, it was accompanied by darkness at noon – the darkness of a cloud of deadly radiation from the first-ever explosion of nuclear weapons on Earth. It came as the culmination of more than two centuries of upheavals and warfare that pitted god against god and nation against nation; and in its aftermath, the great Sumerian civilization that had lasted for nearly two millennia lay prostrate and desolate, its people decimated, its remains dispersed in the world’s first Diaspora. Marduk did indeed gain supremacy; but the New Order that ensued was one of new laws and customs, a new religion and beliefs, an era of regression in sciences, of astrology instead of astronomy – even of a new and lesser status for women.

“…Did it have to happen that way? Was the change so devastating and bitter just because it involved ambitious protagonists – because the Anunnaki, not men, had directed the course of events? Or was it all destined, preordained, and the force and influence – real or imagined – of the passage into a new zodiacal house so overwhelming that empires must topple, religions must change, laws and custom and social organization must be overturned?

“…Let us review the record of that first known changeover, perchance we may find full answers, for sure enlightening clues.

“…Marduk, left on the understanding that the instruments and other “works of wonder” that he had put up in Babylon would remain undisturbed; but no sooner did Marduk leave, that Nergal/Erra broke his promise… he entered the forbidden Gigunu, the mysterious chamber that Marduk had declared off limits. Once inside he caused the chamber’s “brilliance” to be removed… “the day turned into darkness,” and calamities started afflicting Babylon and its people.

“…Was the “brilliance” a radiating, nuclear-driven device?… The other gods were angered by Nergal’s deed; even his father Enki reprimanded him and ordered him back to his African domain, Kutha. Nergal heeded the order; but before leaving he smashed all that Marduk had set up…

“…The two departures, first of Marduk and then of Nergal, left the arena free for the descendants of Enlil. First to take advantage of the situation was Inanna (Ishtar); she conquered the great Landing Place in the Cedar Mountains, the immense platform of Baalbeck in Lebanon… She seized Mission Control Center in Jerusalem and the crossing point on the land route from Mesopotamia and the Sinai, Jericho. She brought about the invasion of Egypt.

“…The texts suggest that recognizing her as an avowed adversary of Marduk, Nergal gave her his actual or tacit assistance in that invasion. But the leaders of the Anunnaki did not view it all with equanimity.

“…An Assembly of the Gods was convened in Nippur to deal with Inanna’s excesses. As a result an order for her arrest and trial was issued by Enlil… She escaped to hide with Nergal… she sent orders and oracles to Naram-Sin (Sargon’s grandson) encouraging him to continue the conquest and bloodshed. To counteract that, the other gods empowered Ninurta… to obliterate Agade. True to that vow, the city – once the pride of Sargon and the dynasty of Akkad – was never to be found again.

“…The relatively brief Era of Ishtar had come to an end… Ninurta (under whom Kingship had started in Sumer) was again given command of the country. Before Agade was destroyed, Ninurta its “crown-band of lordship, the tiara of kingship, the throne given to rulership, to his temple brought over…” Setting personal examples by his unwavering fidelity to his spouse Bau (nicknamed Gula “the Great”) with whom he had portraits made, and devoted to his mother Ninharsag, he proclaimed moral laws and codes of justice. To assist in these tasks he appointed human viceroys; circa 2160 B.C., Gudea was the chosen one.

“…Over in Egypt, in the aftermath of the exile of Marduk/Ra, Naram-Sin’s invasion and the reprimand to Nergal, the country was in disarray. Egyptologists call the chaotic century, between about 2180 and 2040 B.C., the “First Intermediate Period” in Egyptian history. It was a time when the Old Kingdom that was centered in Memphis and Heliopolis came under attack from Theban princes in the south. Political, religious, and calendrical issues were involved; underlying the human contest was the celestial confrontation between the Bull and the Ram.

“…From the very beginning of Egyptian dynastic rule and religion, the greatest celestial compliment to the great gods was to compare them to the Bull of Heaven.

“…When the Theban priests of Ra-Amen began the drive to supersede the Memphite-Heliopolitan religion and calendar, celestial depictions still showed the Sun rising over the Bull of Heaven, but the Bull of Heaven was depicted tethered and held back. Later on, when the New Kingdom reunited Egypt with Thebes as its capital and Amon-Ra was elevated to supremacy, the Bull of Heaven was depicted pierced and deflated. The Ram began to dominate celestial and monumental art and Ra was given the epithet “Ram of the Four Winds,” and was so depicted to indicate that he was master of the four corners and four regions of the Earth.

The Serapeum, at Saqqarah, Egypt; is a tomb for the holy Apis Bulls.

The Serapeum, at Saqqarah, Egypt; is a tomb for the holy Apis Bulls.

“…Where was Thoth during that First Intermediate Period, when in the heavens, above and on Earth below, the Ram and its followers were battling and chasing the Bull and its adherents…? It was a time when, without giving up his new domains in the New World, he could go about that in which he had become proficient – the creation of circular observatories and the teaching of the local inhabitants at odd and new places the “secrets of numbers” and the knowledge of the calendar.

“…Circa 2200 B.C. was indeed a time “when in Heaven and on Earth the fates were decided,” for it was the time when a New Age, the Age of the Ram, was due to replace the Old Age, the Age of the Bull.

“…Many sources indicate that Marduk’s son Nabu was crisscrossing the lands that later became known as Lands of the Bible, seeking adherents to his father’s side. His name Nabu, had the same meaning and came from the same verb by which the Bible called a true prophet: Nabi, one who receives the divine words and signs and in turn expresses them to the people. The divine signs of which Nabu spoke were the changing Heavens; the fact that the New Year and other worship days no longer seemed to occur when they should have. Nabu’s weapon, in behalf of Marduk, was the calendar

“…The truth of the matter is that even nowadays, no one can say for sure when one “Age” has ended and other began… The problem is especially acute in the case of Aries, that occupies less than 30º of the celestial arc, while its neighbours Taurus and Pisces extend beyond their official 30º Houses. So, if the gods disagreed, some of them (e.g. Marduk, so well trained in sciences by his father Enki, and Nabu) could say: 2,160 years (the result of the division of the Grand Precessional Cycle of 25,920 years into twelve Houses), the Time has come. But others, (e.g. Ninurta, Thoth) could and did say: But look to the Heavens, do you really see the change occurring?

“…The Era of Ninurta lasted about a century and a half. Then, satisfied that the situation was under control, Ninurta departed to some distant mission. In his stead Enlil appointed his son Nannar/Sin to oversee Sumer and Akkad, and Ur, Nannar/Sin’s “cult center,” became the capital of revitalized empire.

“…It was an appointment with more than political and hierarchical implications, for Nannar/Sin was the “Moon god” and his elevation of supremacy announced that the purely solar calendar of Ra/Marduk was done with and that the lunisolar calendar of Nippur was the only true one – religiously and politically. To assure adherence, a high priest knowledgeable in astronomy and celestial omens was sent from Nippur’s temple to liaison at Ur. His name was Terah; with him was his ten-year-old son, Abram.

“…Their (Terah and Abraham, establishing the Ur III Dynasty) saw on the one hand the glorious culmination of the Sumerian civilization; its epitome and hallmark was the grand ziggurat built there for Nannar/Sin – a monumental edifice that, though lying in ruins for almost four thousand years, still dominates the landscape and awes the viewer by its immensity, stability, and intricacy.

The Grand Ziggurat, over the ruins of ancient Ur; Iraq today.

The Grand Ziggurat, over the ruins of ancient Ur; Iraq today.

“…Under the active guidance of Nannar and his spouse Ningal, Sumer attained new heights in art and sciences, literature and urban organization, agriculture and industry and commerce.

“…On the other hand, hanging over all this greatness and glory was the destiny ordained by Time – the relentless change, from one New Year to another, and the Sun’s position less and less in the House of GUD.ANNA, the “Bull of Heaven,” and ever closer to that of KU.MAL, the celestial Ram – with all dire consequences.

“…Ever since it was given Priesthood and Kingship, Mankind had known its place and role. The “gods” were the Lords, to be worshipped and venerated. There was a defined hierarchy, prescribed rituals, and holy days. The gods were strict but benevolent, their decrees were sharp but righteous. For millennia the gods oversaw the welfare and fate of Mankind, all the while remaining clearly apart from the people, approachable only by the high priest on specific dates, communicating with the king in visions and by omens. But now all that was beginning to crumble, for the gods themselves were at odds, citing different celestial omens and a changing calendar, increasingly pitting nation against nation in the cause of “divine” wars, quarrels, and bloodshed. And Mankind, confused and bewildered, increasingly speaking of “my god” and “your god,” now even began to doubt the divine credibility.

“…In such circumstances Enlil and Nannar chose carefully the first ruler of the new dynasty. They selected Ur-Nammu (“The Joy of Ur”), a demigod whose mother was the goddess Ninsun.

“…Ur-Nammu’s assignment was to steer the people “away from the evil ways” of following the wrong gods. The effort was marked by the repair and rebuilding of all the major temples in the land – with the conspicuous exception of Marduk’s temple in Babylon. The next step was to subdue the “evil cities” where Nabu was making converts to Marduk. To that end Enlil provided Ur-Nammu with a “Divine Weapon” with which to “in the hostile lands heap up the rebels in piles.” That the enforcement of the Enlilite Celestial Time was a major purpose is made clear in the text that quotes Enlil’s instructions to Ur-Nammu about the weapon’s use:

As the Bull
to crash the foreign lands;
As the Lion
to hunt [the sinners] down;
to destroy the evil cities,
clear them of opposition to the Lofty Ones.

 

“…The Bull of the equinox and the Lion of the solstice were to be upheld; any opponent of the Lofty Ones had to be hunted down, crushed, destroyed.

Ur-Nammu died in a fatal accident caused by his own chariot while leading the military expedition. The people of Ur blamed the gods for the lack of assistance to Ur-Nammu.

As consequence of these events, Terah (Abram’s father) moved to Harran. In Ur, Shulgi, Ur-Nammu’s son provoked Enlil for not carrying out the divine regulations, by showing a distasteful behavior conducting banquets and orgies in the temple of Anu himself; and for failing to quell the “rebellion” stirred up by Nabu and Marduk. Shulgi was sentenced to death by Enlil.

“…The retreat from the western lands and the death of Shulgi triggered two moves. Marduk… decided to return to the proximity of Mesopotamia by arriving in the land of the Hittites. Abram, moved to the land of Canaan, to position himself in the Negev, on the Canaan-Sinai border. His mission, as we have fully detailed in The Wars of Gods and Men, was to protect the gateway to the spaceport.

“…He (Abram) arrived there (Canaan-Sinai border) skirting the “sinful cities” of the Canaanites; soon thereafter he went to Egypt, obtaining more troops and camels, for a cavalry, from the last pharaoh of the Memphite dynasties. Back in the Negev, he was ready to fulfill his mission.

“…The anticipated conflict came to a head in the seventh year of the reign of Shulgi’s successor, Amar-Sin (“Seen by Sin”)… Leading the attack, according to the biblical record in Chapter 14 of Genesis, was “Amraphel the king of Shin’ar” and, for a long time, it was believed that he was the Babylonian king Hammurabi. In fact, as our own studies have shown, he was the Sumerian Amar-Sin.

“…Marching under the banner of Sin and according to oracles given by Inanna/Ishtar, the allied army… smote one western land after another. Regaining for Sin all the lands between the Euphrates and the Jordan River, they circled the Dead Sea and set as their next target the spaceport in the Sinai peninsula. But there Abram, carrying out his mission, stood in their way; so they turned back north, ready to attack the “evil cities” of the Canaanites.

“…Instead of waiting in their walled cities to be attacked, the Canaanite alliance marched forth and joined battle with the invaders in the Valley of Siddin.

“…The “evil cities” were not obliterated, though the flight (and resulting death) of two kings, those of Sodom and Gomorrah, resulted in booty and prisoners being carried away from there…, among the prisoners was Lot, Abram’s nephew… when Abram heard that, his cavalry pursued the invaders, catching up with them near Damascus (now the capital of Syria). Lot, other prisoners, and the booty were retaken and brought back to Canaan.

“…The unsuccessful military campaign depressed and confused Amar-Sin. According to the Date Formula for the ensuing year, 2040 B.C., he left Ur and the worship of Nannar/Sin, and became a priest in Eridu, Enki’s “cult center…” The year 2040 B.C. was even more memorable in Egypt; there, Mentuhotep II, leader of the Theban princes… extended the rule and rules of Ra-Amen throughout Egypt, up to the Sinai boundary. The victory ushered in what scholars call the Middle Kingdom of the XI and XII dynasties that lasted to about 1790 B.C. While the full force and significance of the Age of the Ram came into play in Egypt during the later New Kingdom, the Theban victory of 2040 B.C. marked the end of the Age of the Bull in the African domains.

Pharaoh Mentuhotep II

Pharaoh Mentuhotep II

“…In Canaan, Abram retreated to a mountain stronghold near Hebron. In Sumer, the new king, Shu-Sin, a brother of Aman-Sin strengthened the defensive walls in the west, sought an alliance with the Nippurites who had settled with Terah in Harran, and built two large ships – possibly as a precaution, with escape in mind… In a night equivalent to one in February 2031 B.C. a major lunar eclipse occurred in Sumer; it was taken to be an ominous omen of the nearing “eclipse” of the Moon god himself. The first victim, however, was Shu-Sin; for by the next following year he was no longer king.

“…Within a year of the reign of the next (and last) king of Ur, Ibbi-Sin, raiders from the west, organized by Nabu and encouraged by Marduk, were clashing with Elamite mercenaries at Mesopotamia’s gates.

“…Unlike any other time in Sumer’s and Mesopotamia’s long history, omens were cited in unusual frequency. Judging by the record of human behavior one may see in that a known reaction to fear of the unknown and to a search for reassurance or guidance from some higher power or intelligence. But at that time there was a real cause for watching the heavens for omens, for the celestial arrival of the Ram was becoming increasingly evident.

“…As the texts that have survived from that period attest, the course of events about to happen on Earth was closely linked to celestial phenomena; and each side of the growing confrontation constantly observed the skies for heavenly signs. Since the various Great Anunnaki were associated with celestial counterparts, both zodiacal constellations and the twelve members of the Solar System (as well as with months), the movements and positions of the celestial bodies associated with the chief protagonists were especially significant.

“…A text designated by scholars Prophecy Text B, known from later copies of the original Sumerian record that was made in Nippur, illustrates how such celestial omens were interpreted as prophecies of the coming doom.

“…Some of those omen-prophecies directly related the planetary positions to the constellation Ram:

If the Ram by Jupiter will be entered
when Venus enters the Moon,
the watch will come to an end.
Woes, troubles, confusion
and bad things will occur in the lands.
People will sell their children for money.

 

“…The king of Elam will be surrounded in his palace:

. . . the destruction of Elam and its people.
If the Ram has a conjunction with the planet . . .
. . . when Venus . . . and the . . .
. . . planets can be seen . . .
. . . will rebel against the king,
. . . will seize the throne,
the whole land . . . will diminish at his command.

 

“…In the opposing camp, the heavens were also observed for signs and omens… an amazing autobiographical record by Marduk of his exile, agonizing wait for the right celestial omens, and final move to take over the Lordship that he believed was his…

“…Various astronomical texts from the years that marked the transition from Taurus to Aries offer a clue regarding the omens that Marduk was especially interested in. In those texts, as well as in what is called by scholars “mythological texts,” the association of Marduk with Jupiter is strongly suggested … such texts as the Epic of Creation were rewritten (in Babylon) so as to associate Marduk with Nibiru, the home planet of the Anunnaki. But prior to that Jupiter, by all indications, was the celestial body of Marduk in his epithet “Son of the Sun”; and a suggestion – made more than a century and a half ago – that Jupiter might have served in Babylon as a device parallel ‘to that which Sirius had served in Egypt, as the synchronizer of the calendrical cycle, is quite pertinent here.

“…John Landseer … asserted that the “Chaldeans” had known of the phenomenon of precession millennia before the Greeks. Calling those early times an era “when Astronomy was Religion” and vice versa, he asserted that the calendar was related to the zodiacal “mansion” of the Bull, and that the transition to Aries was associated with “a mystifying conjunction of the Sun and Jupiter in the sign of Aries, at the commencement of the great cycle of intricate [celestial] revolutions.” He believed that the Greek myths and legends connecting Zeus/Jupiter with the Ram and its golden fleece reflected the transition of Aries. And he calculated that such a determining conjunction of Jupiter and the Sun in the boundary between Taurus and Aries had occurred in the year 2142 B.C.

“…If the determining or triggering omen for Marduk/Ra was the conjunction of Jupiter and the sun in the “mansion” of Aries, and if it did occur in 2142 B.C. as John Landseer suggested, then this heralding more or less coincided with the arithmetically calculated (once in 2,160 years) zodiacal shift. That, however, would have meant that the claim that the shift of Aries had come about preceded by about a century and a half the observational shift of the vernal equinox into Aries in 2000 B.C. as attested by the two tablets. The discrepancy could explain, at least in part, the disagreement at that time regarding what the celestial omens or observations were truly portending.

“…As the autobiographical Marduk text admits, even the omen that signified to him the time to end his wanderings and come to Hatti Land, the Land of the Hittites in Asia Minor, occurred twenty-four years before his next move…

On the Enlilite side, and although the Ram had not yet fully dominated the New Year’s day on the spring equinox in the time of Ibbi-Sin, the last king of Ur, the oracle priests interpreted the omens as portents of the disastrous end.

“…In the twenty-fourth year of his sojourn in the Land of the Hittites, Marduk received another omen: “My days [of exile] were completed, my years [of exile] were fulfilled,” he wrote in his memoirs. “With longing to my city Babylon I set course, to my temple Esagila as a mount [to rebuild], my everlasting abode to reestablish.” The partly damaged tablet then describes Marduk’s route from Anatolia back to Babylon; the cities name indicate that he first went south to Hama (the biblical Hamat), then crossed the Euphrates at Mari; he indeed returned, as the omens had predicted, from the west.

“…The year was 2024 B.C.

“…When the Esagil (Marduk’s) was eventually built, it was erected according to very detailed and precise plans; its orientation, height, and various stages were indeed such that its head pointed directly to the star Iku, the lead star of the constellation Aries.

“…But Marduk’s ambitious vision was not to be fulfilled right then and there. In the very same year that he began his march back to Babylon at the head of the horde of Western supporters organized by Nabu, a most awesome catastrophe befell the ancient Near East – a calamity the likes of which neither Mankind nor Earth itself had previously experienced.

“…He expected that once the omens were clear, both gods and men would heed his call for accepting his supremacy without further resistance. “I called on the gods, all of them, to heed me,” Marduk wrote in his memoirs. “I called on the people along my march, ‘bring your tribute to Babylon.'” Instead, he encountered a scorched-earth policy…

“…As Marduk’s followers continued their advance, the temples and shrines of other gods began to be desecrated. The greatest sacrilege was the defilement of Enlil’s temple in Nippur, until then the venerated religious center of all the lands and all the peoples. When Enlil heard that even the Holy of Holies was not spared… He “set off a brilliance like lightning” as he came down from the skies… Enlil ordered that Nabu be seized and be brought before the Council of the Gods, and Ninurta and Nergal were given the assignment. But Nabu had escaped from his temple…

“…Meeting in Council the Anunnaki debated what to do… Only Enki spoke on behalf of his son Marduk… Enki reprimanded Nergal for opposing his brother… Nergal argued that the celestial omens were being misread…

“…As the exchanges between Enki and Nergal became harsher, Nergal, “leaving in a huff,” announced that it was necessary to “activate that which with a mantle of radiance is covered,” and thereby make the “evil people perish.” There was no way to block the takeover by Marduk and Nabu except by the use of “the seven awesome weapons,” whose hiding place in Africa he alone knew…

“…It was Inanna who had pointed out that time was running out … Inanna suggested to Enlil to continue the discussion in the privacy of the Emeslam temple; Ninurta spoke up… “The time has elapsed, the hour has passed,” he said. “Open up a path and let me take the road!”

“…The die was cast.

“…Of the various extant sources dealing with the fateful chain of events, the principal and most intact one is the Erra Epic… Details are added by the Khedorlaomer Texts and inscriptions of various tablets, such as those in the Oxford Editions of Cuneiform Texts. They all describe the ominous and fateful march to its culmination, of which we can read in Genesis, chapters 18 and 19: the “upheavaling” of Sodom and Gomorrah and of the “evil cities” of their plain, “and all the inhabitants of the cities, and all that which grew on the ground.”

“…The main target of obliteration was the spaceport in the Sinai peninsula…

  • the year was 2024 B.C.
  • the evidence – the immense cavity in the center of the Sinai and the resulting fracture lines, the vast surrounding flat area covered with
  • blackened stones
  • traces of radiation south of the Dead Sea
  • the new extent and shape of the Dead Sea – is still there, four thousand years later.

 

“…Typical of the calamities that befell the once proud and prosperous land are those listed in the Lamentations Over the Destruction of Ur, a long poem of some 400 verses. (Mr. Sitchin offers a few of those verses in his Book).

“…yet to be accepted is the evidence that we have presented that the calamity was linked to the “upheavaling” of the “evil cities” and the spaceport in the west. It was the unexpected development of an atmospheric vacuum, creating an immense whirlwind and a storm that carried the radioactive cloud eastward – toward Sumer.

“…The story, however, was not the same everywhere. In Ur, Nannar and Ningal refused to abandon their followers and appealed to the great Enlil to do whatever possible to avert the disaster, but Enlil responded that the fate of Ur could not be changed. The divine couple spent a nightmarish night at Ur. “Of that night’s foulness they did not flee,” hiding underground “as termites.” But in the morning Ningal realized that Nannar/Sin had been afflicted, and “hastily putting on a garment” departed the beloved Ur with the stricken mate. In Lagash, where with Ninurta away Bau had stayed in the Girsu by herself, the goddess could not force herself to leave. Lingering behind “she wept bitterly for her holy temple, for her city.” The delay almost cost her life: “On that day, the storm caught up with her, with the Lady.”

“…Enki, we learn took cover some distance away from the wind’s path, yet close enough to be able to return to the city after the cloud had passed. He found a city “smothered with silence, its residents stacked up in heaps.” But here and there there were survivors, and Enki led them southward, to the desert. It was an “inimical land,” uninhabitable; but using his scientific prowess, Enki – like Yahweh half a millennium later in the Sinai desert – managed miraculously to provide water and food for “those who have been displaced from Eridu.”

“…Alerted and advised by his father, Marduk urged the city’s people to leave and hurry northward; and, in words reminiscent of the angels’ advice to Lot and his family as they were told to leave Sodom before the upheavaling, Marduk told the escapees “neither to turn nor to look back.” If escape was not possible, they were told to “get thee into a chamber below the earth, into a darkness.” Once the Evil Storm had passed, they were not to consume any of the food or beverage in the city, for they might have been “touched by the ghost.”

“…Life began to stir anew only seven years later. Backed by Elamite and Gutian troops loyal to Ninurta, a semblance of organized society returned to Sumer under rulers seated in former provincial centers, Isin and Larsa. It was only after the passage of seventy years – the same interval that later applied to the restoration of the temple of Jerusalem – that the temple in Nippur was restored. But the “gods who determine the destinies,” Anu and Enlil, saw no purpose in resurrecting the past. As Enlil had told Nannar/Sin who had appealed in behalf of Ur

Ur was granted kingship –
It was not granted an eternal reign.

 

“…Marduk had won out. Within a few decades, his vision of a king in Babylon who would grasp his hand, rebuild the city, raise high his ziggurat Esagil – had come true. After a halting start, the First Dynasty of Babylon attained the intended power and assurance that were expressed by Hammurabi

“…In Egypt, unaffected by the nuclear cloud, the transition of the Age of the Ram began right after the Theban victory and the enthronement of the Middle Kingdom dynasties.

“…In Mesopotamia, slowly but surely, the ascendancy of the Age of the Ram was recognized by changes in the calendar and in the lists of celestial stars… Iku was the “alpha” or lead star of the constellation of the Ram; it is still known by its Arabic name Hamal, meaning “male sheep.”

“…The New Age had arrived, in the heavens and on Earth. It was to dominate the next two millennia and the astronomy that the “Chaldeans” had transmitted to the Greeks. When, in closing years of the fourth century B.C., Alexander came to believe that he was entitled – like Gilgamesh 2,500 years earlier – to immortality because his true father was the Egyptian god Amon, he went to the god’s oracle place in Egypt’s western desert to seek confirmation. Having received it, he struck silver coins bearing his image adorned with the horns of the Ram.

“…A few centuries later the Ram faded and was replaced by the sign of the Fishes, Pisces. But that, as the saying goes, is already history.

Continue to Chapter 13: Aftermath