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Real World Dagon was a Seriously Creepy Religion


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From Wikipedia;

 

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The god Dagon first appears in extant records about 2500 BC in the Mari texts and in personal Amorite names in which the Mesopotamian gods Ilu (Ēl), Dagan, and Adad are especially common.

At Ebla (Tell Mardikh), from at least 2300 BC, Dagan was the head of the city pantheon comprising some 200 deities and bore the titles BE-DINGIR-DINGIR, "Lord of the gods" and Bekalam, "Lord of the land". His consort was known only as Belatu, "Lady". Both were worshipped in a large temple complex called E-Mul, "House of the Star". One entire quarter of Ebla and one of its gates were named after Dagan. Dagan is called ti-lu ma-tim, "dew of the land" and Be-ka-na-na, possibly "Lord of Canaan". He was called lord of many cities: of Tuttul, Irim, Ma-Ne, Zarad, Uguash, Siwad, and Sipishu.

Dagan is mentioned occasionally in early Sumerian texts but becomes prominent only in later Assyro-Babylonian inscriptions as a powerful and warlike protector, sometimes equated with Enki. Dagan's wife was in some sources the goddess Shala (also named as wife of Adad and sometimes identified with Ninmah). In other texts, his wife is Ishara. In the preface to his famous law code, King Hammurabi calls himself "the subduer of the settlements along the Euphrates with the help of Dagan, his creator". An inscription about an expedition of Naram-Sin to the Cedar Mountain relates (ANET, p. 268): "Naram-Sin slew Arman and Ibla with the 'weapon' of the god Dagan who aggrandizes his kingdom."

An interesting early reference to Dagan occurs in a letter to King Zimri-Lim of Mari, 18th century BC, written by Itur-Asduu an official in the court of Mari and governor of Nahur (the Biblical city of Nahor) (ANET, p. 623). It relates a dream of a "man from Shaka" in which Dagan appeared. In the dream, Dagan blamed Zimri-Lim's failure to subdue the King of the Yaminites upon Zimri-Lim's failure to bring a report of his deeds to Dagan in Terqa. Dagan promises that when Zimri-Lim has done so: "I will have the kings of the Yaminites [coo]ked on a fisherman's spit, and I will lay them before you."

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In the Hebrew Bible, Dagon is particularly the god of the Philistines with temples at Beth-dagon in the territory of the tribe of Asher (Joshua 19.27), and in Gaza (see Judges16.23, which tells soon after how the temple is destroyed by Samson as his last act). Another temple, located in Ashdod, was mentioned in 1 Samuel 5:2–7 and again as late as 1 Maccabees 10.83 and 11.4. King Saul's head was displayed in a temple of Dagon after his death (1 Chronicles 10:8–10). There was also a second place known as Beth-Dagon in Judah (Joshua 15.41).

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The account in 1 Samuel 5.2–7 relates how the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines and taken to Dagon's temple in Ashdod. The following morning the Ashdodites found the image of Dagon lying prostrate before the ark. They set the image upright, but again on the morning of the following day they found it prostrate before the ark, but this time with head and hands severed, lying on the miptān translated as "threshold" or "podium". The account continues with the puzzling words raq dāgôn nišʾar ʿālāyw, which means literally "only Dagon was left to him." (The Septuagint, Peshitta, and Targums render "Dagon" here as "trunk of Dagon" or "body of Dagon", presumably referring to the lower part of his image.)

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More where that came from. Most of HP Lovecraft's gods did not have a basis in accepted history, but at least going by the Wiki entry, Dagon is different - a strange and terrible half fish half man god which for a time was a serious competitor with Abrahamic religions. Something to think about next time you watch the movie Dagon.
 

 

Edited by EricW
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The Dagon of Innsmouth ≠ the Canaanite Dagon. It was more a New England Puritan  shorthand for “Paganism” (in the sense of not being Christian, not the Gardnerian Wiccan variations).
 

See - https://sentinelhillpress.com/2015/10/23/october-ganza-day-23-dagon-in-new-england/

 

(or issue 2 of the Arkham Gazette for a revised and expanded take.)

 

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5 hours ago, SentinelHillPress said:

The Dagon of Innsmouth ≠ the Canaanite Dagon. It was more a New England Puritan  shorthand for “Paganism” (in the sense of not being Christian, not the Gardnerian Wiccan variations).
 

See - https://sentinelhillpress.com/2015/10/23/october-ganza-day-23-dagon-in-new-england/

 

(or issue 2 of the Arkham Gazette for a revised and expanded take.)

 

Absolutely - I'm not suggesting HP Lovecraft made an attempt to copy the real ancient Dagon religion. Just commenting on the oddness of reality mimicking art 😉

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ú-an-na-ak "fish of Heaven" > Oannes is a remarkable survival of a name from the Sumerian period to the Hellenistic period. That's 2000 years!

Also, gods promising to serve people up wasn't unexpected in Anatolia. The Hittite records - Hittite was an Indo-European language and thus related to English, Hindi, and Farsi - contain routine records of the cannibalising of defeated rulers. It seems to have been some kind of cultural thing in the region that transcended ethnic origin.

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26 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Also, gods promising to serve people up wasn't unexpected in Anatolia.

It might also have been a metaphor - it's one we still use now after all (it wouldn't be remarkable to hear a sports team say they're going to eat their opponents alive or something like that, and we wouldn't take it literally if we did).

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2 hours ago, SunlessNick said:

It might also have been a metaphor - it's one we still use now after all (it wouldn't be remarkable to hear a sports team say they're going to eat their opponents alive or something like that, and we wouldn't take it literally if we did).

No we're really sure they literally ate rival kings. It's not metaphorical, so there's no reason to assume the textual references were. Also, some of the texts are pretty clear: they're letters. One I read in college really stuck with me: "Since my subject [insert king-like term] rebelled, when I put down his troops, I slew his sister, his wife, and his mother, and had them served for dinner." My classmates kept trying to read the accusative as the dative.

Also, the Egyptians found this entire practice beyond abhorrent.

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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3 hours ago, SunlessNick said:

Oh, sorry, I meant Dagon's promise in the original might have been a metaphor.  Your post made it clear the Hittites meant that kind of thing literally.

not just the Hittites; they didn't introduce this practice, they picked it up locally.

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