Configuring the Roots of Zahak Myth according to the Elamites’ CylinderSeals (3rd Millennium B.C.)
نویسنده: Mesbah، Bita؛
Februaryl 2018, Volume 14 - Number 56 علمی-پژوهشی (وزارت علوم)/ISC (12 صفحه - از 41 تا 52)
What is different about Iranian art is the use of hybrid motifs which is a characteristic of the Iranian art. The hybrid forms show the impact of the mythological beliefs. These beliefs also have changed a lot so it is hardto recognize the exact meaning of these motifs. Shahnama is the source of great myths in Iran and is the main source for tracing myths between the Islamic periods and the mythological beliefs before Islam. Thisresearch is based on studying the snake-man which is known as Zahak in Shahnama. The research focuseson three cylinder seals (the impressions found) which show the snake-man. These cylinder seals werefound in Susa, Tepe Yahya and Tepe Shahdad. All three date back to the third millennium B.C. The snakemanwhich has two snake or dragons on the shoulders was well-known in Iran and Mesopotamia. The godof the dead is basically showed by this motif in Mesopotamia. Especially, Ningišzida is a Mesopotamiandeity of the underworld. His name in Sumerian is translated as “the lord of the good tree”. The city ofLagash had a temple dedicated to Ningišzida, and Gudea, patesi of Lagash in the 21st century BC, was oneof his devotees. Moreover, what is so different about the Susa seal is the scene which shows a man flying to the sky. This reminds the myth of Etana in Mesopotamia. The results of this study show that a of mythwas known in Iran during the 3rd millennium which may reflect some influences of Etana myth and themyths related to the snake-man known as Zahak in Shahnama. Although there is not much known aboutthe Elamites’ gods, Inshûshinak ,the great Elamite god, may be more connected to this motif than otherdeities in Iran because he is also best known for his reliance to the dead bodies and underworld. What is sointeresting is that the most outstanding characteristic of Zahak is connected to his power of death throughkilling the young men in his myth. So the study believes that the man with snakes on his shoulders has beenthe god of underworld and death in the history.
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