Zahhak the Snake Shoulder; Baal/Yam, Zeus/Cronus, Herod's Massacre of the Innocents

Discuss the world of the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, and Egyptians.
Post Reply
yakovzutolmai
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 6:03 am

Zahhak the Snake Shoulder; Baal/Yam, Zeus/Cronus, Herod's Massacre of the Innocents

Post by yakovzutolmai »

I have just become familiar with the story of Zahhak from the Shahnama. It's the story of a prince cursed by Ahriman, who sprouts snake shoulders which eat human flesh, ruling until a prophesied child overthrows him.

Here are some elements:
  • A vegetarian menu is changed to meat
  • The snake shoulders, and the eating of human flesh
  • A prophesied savior who hides from the wrath of the wicked king
  • The savior hides in the care of a sacred cow
  • The cow is killed in place of the savior
  • A blacksmith rebels against the wicked ruler
  • He provides a magic mace to the savior, Fereydun
  • Fereydun seats the daughters of the former emperor as his queens
  • Zahhak is imprisoned in a cave, where he is bound
Compare to Egyptian/Greek/Babylonian/Canaanite myths:
  • Hadad offers Yam grain but he wants meat, Cain offers Yahweh grain but he wants meat, Sekhmet wants blood but is offered beer died red
  • Typhon's limbs are made of snakes, Yam's servant is Leviathan, El/Cronus eats his children
  • Zeus hids from Cronus. Isis hides from Set. Hadad hides in the underworld from Yam. The Holy Family flees Herod.
  • Zeus in the cave of Gaia (sacred cow?), Apis Bull born of the sacred cow, Hadad produces a propitiatory heir via a hefer
  • Cronus eats the stone, Yam kills the one dressed in Hadad's royal garments
  • Kothar-wa-Khasis fashions driver and chaser for Hadad, Ptah assists Osiris, Daedalus builds the synthetic cow
  • Hadad has driver and chaser, Ninurta has the magic talking mace, Zeus has lightning bolts
  • Hadad marries Anat, Joseph marries Asenath
  • Typhon and Cronus are imprisoned in Tartarus, Yam is imprisoned in the sea, Prometheus is bound, Christ is bound
It's not surprising to see this myth appear again, even in a Zoroastrian context. However, its narrative strengthens the association of certain elements. For example, the grain vs. meat dichotomy seen with Cain and Abel as related to the wrath of an evil god (i.e.: Yam and Baal) rather than a test from Monotheos.

This is also interesting because it finally gives context to Herod's massacre of the innocents.

Bethlehem appears in Christian tradition because the "Child of Bethlehem" is from a local, ancient Adonis cult. It would seem that David himself is either a historicized version of Adonis, or that a historical David is euhemerized as Adonis incarnate. Adonis of Bethlehem.

Adonis claims the attributes and narrative of the Baal cycle, and so the mythological context for him would in fact include the wrath of angry Yam looking for the newborn child who is destined to overthrow him. The entire Bethlehem narrative predates Herod by a substantial number of centuries.

The snake symbolism is interesting. The snake-limbed god is replete. To the Gnostics, one such is a servant of Demiurge. I wonder if there's an astronomical explanation. Zahhak is interesting because the legend has him grow snake limbs rather than simply exist or be born with them. That's relevant because if there's an astronomical basis for this ur-myth, we would see some celestial pattern become "snake-like". It's unclear what or who Leviathan is in the cosmic reckoning. Adonis/Hadad appears to be Osiris himself. The Milky Way is Nut, the celestial cow. The Milky Way could also be the celestial dragon, since Oriental myths speak of the celestial hunter as having tamed then married the dragon.
Post Reply