Helena of Adiabene As The Magdalene - The Tower Motif In Mythology?

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Baley
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Re: Helena of Adiabene As The Magdalene - The Tower Motif In Mythology?

Post by Baley »

yakovzutolmai wrote: Mon Sep 06, 2021 9:29 am I'm having trouble finding the tower motif anywhere before Joseph and Asenath, and Simonian writings. I assume they arise out of a common tradition. Medieval motifs so successfully employ the tower as the metaphorical home of the sacred feminine, so I'm surprised I'm having trouble finding it as an ancient trope.
Yes, the tower and maiden is a popular Medieval motif. It always brings to my mind the story of Rapunzel (or Petrosinella), even though the tale as we know it might not have originated in Medieval folklore; see: https://www.terriwindling.com/blog/2020 ... unzel.html. I'll see if I can come up with a tower and maiden story that dates from before 200BC.
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Baley
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Re: Helena of Adiabene As The Magdalene - The Tower Motif In Mythology?

Post by Baley »

Herodotus in his Histories relates the following:
The temple of Bêl, the Babylonian Zeus [...] was still in existence in my time. It has a solid central tower, one stadium square, with a second erected on top of it and then a third, and so on up to eight. All eight towers can be climbed by a spiral way running round the outside, and about half way up there are seats for those who make the ascent to rest on. On the summit of the topmost tower stands a great temple with a fine large couch in it, richly covered, and a golden table beside it. The shrine contains no image, and no one spends the night there except (if we may believe that Chaldaeans who are the priests of Bêl) one Babylonian woman, all alone, whoever it may be that the god has chosen. The Chaldaeans also say -though I do not believe them- that the god enters the temple in person and takes his rest upon the bed.
Henkelman, in footnote 62 of his Birth of Gilgamesh (http://www.achemenet.com/pdf/in-press/H ... gamesh.pdf), writes:
Notwithstanding these uncertainties, it may be clear that Herodotus’ report must, essentially, be based on an authentic local legend (whatever the latter’s historic value). This renders the story particularly important for the origin of the motif of ‘the maiden in the tower’ (Aarne-Thompson 1961: no. 310)
It seems that Henkelman and Aarne-Thompson view the ziggurat more as a temple tower than as a primeval mountain. In that light the maiden and tower motif would be much older than Joseph and Asenath.
Last edited by Baley on Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
yakovzutolmai
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Re: Helena of Adiabene As The Magdalene - The Tower Motif In Mythology?

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Baley wrote: Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:12 am Yes, the tower and maiden is a popular Medieval motif. It always brings to my mind the story of Rapunzel (or Petrosinella), even though the tale as we know it might not have originated in Medieval folklore; see: https://www.terriwindling.com/blog/2020 ... unzel.html. I'll see if I can come up with a tower and maiden story that dates from before 200BC.
Thanks.

I'm reaching here, but the tower may derive from the Sefirotic Tree and its relationship to Sophia. Whenever that was developed.

Also, very much a tagent, but the Tower in Tarot represents change and chaos. This is more notable for not being a helpful clue in identifying the maiden in the tower motif. However, I can be a bit cheeky in claiming my "Zamaris rescues Mariamne from Archelaus's tower, leading ultimately to the upheavals of 6 CE" has inspired Tarot.
yakovzutolmai
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Re: Helena of Adiabene As The Magdalene - The Tower Motif In Mythology?

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Baley wrote: Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:49 am It seems that Henkelman and Aarne-Thompson view the ziggurat more as a temple tower than as a primeval mountain. In that light the maiden and tower motif would be much older than Joseph and Asenath.
Great. The pinnacle of the mountain, at least, containing the maiden's tower. Either way, a productive avenue.

There is one missing piece, however. The rescue of the maiden from the tower. Which is present with Simon's Helen and with Asenath. Certainly, central to the medieval trope.

However, first, more focus on the Babylonian practice and its theology.
yakovzutolmai
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Re: Helena of Adiabene As The Magdalene - The Tower Motif In Mythology?

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Baley wrote: Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:49 am
The shrine contains no image, and no one spends the night there except (if we may believe that Chaldaeans who are the priests of Bêl) one Babylonian woman, all alone, whoever it may be that the god has chosen. The Chaldaeans also say -though I do not believe them- that the god enters the temple in person and takes his rest upon the bed.
Sounds quite like the tale of Paulina.
yakovzutolmai
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Re: Helena of Adiabene As The Magdalene - The Tower Motif In Mythology?

Post by yakovzutolmai »

yakovzutolmai wrote: Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:59 am Sounds quite like the tale of Paulina.
Oddly,
There was at Rome a woman whose name was Paulina; one who, on account of the dignity of her ancestors, and by the regular conduct of a virtuous life, had a great reputation: she was also very rich; and although she was of a beautiful countenance, and in that flower of her age wherein women are the most gay, yet did she lead a life of great modesty. She was married to Saturninus, one that was every way answerable to her in an excellent character. Decius Mundus fell in love with this woman,
(Antiquities XVIII 3:4)

This sounds a lot like:
A certain Parthian, who came as general of an army into those parts, had a wife following him, who had a vast reputation for other accomplishments, and particularly was admired above all other women for her beauty.
(Antiquities XVIII 9:5)

Decius Mundus sounds like "One-tenth of the Earth". It this a reference to tithing? Or perhaps a tithe or tax collector? A player in the story is a freed-woman "Ide". Ides being the day in the month when tax is collected?

In Paulina's story the guilty dresses as Anubis. In the Toledot Yeshu, Panthera seduces Mary by dressing in priestly robes.

I've wondered about the role of "Sabinus" with Herod's wealth, and the "honest tax-collector". Hmm..
yakovzutolmai
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Re: Helena of Adiabene As The Magdalene - The Tower Motif In Mythology?

Post by yakovzutolmai »

yakovzutolmai wrote: Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:41 am Decius Mundus sounds like "One-tenth of the Earth". It this a reference to tithing? Or perhaps a tithe or tax collector? A player in the story is a freed-woman "Ide". Ides being the day in the month when tax is collected?
Let us say the Paulina story is allegory and comes from whichever mythology sent women up to the tower in Babylon. In this respect, Saturninus can serve as some heavenly consort, and the name Paulina references that she is famous for being someone's daughter.

A completely allegorical interpretation says that the tax collector hijacked the cult.

I have wondered about Sabinus. Josephus sort of implies that he runs off with some of Herod's wealth. Perhaps this explains Archelaus's pitiful position. I've also wondered about Gaius Poppaeus Sabinus, homo novus around that same time and his granddaughter Poppaeia is embroiled in the events surrounding Nero's demise. She is also a liaison with Josephus and the Jews come to Nero to plead their case. Is this the "honest tax collector" mentioned in the gospels and by the Roman historian?

In my scheme of the Ananian-Boethusian rivalry, Sabinus running off with Herod's wealth and later plausibly an ally of the Paulines makes him on the Ananian side.

So the Paulina story, in the frame I've presented, is saying that the Ananian/Poppaeian (Piso, etc.) faction (via the Flavian household) has worn the priestly garment - is masquerading as the true face of Christianity - and is defiling the Holy Sophia.

I've read a paper which finds allusions to Domitian's love of the Isis cult in Paulina. Perhaps the desecration of Christianity by the Flavians/Ananians is being persecuted by Domitian, and this is the era in which the Paulina story was inserted. Domitian would not persecute his beloved Isis cult, so the invocation of Isis is a clever concealment of the true story.

Just a shot in the dark. Paulina is mystifying, but it obviously connects to the Mary/Helen/Panthera/Ennoia spectrum of stories.

Maybe Paulina is esoteric, and is conveying a cultic narrative dressed up as banal Roman gossip.
davidmartin
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Re: Helena of Adiabene As The Magdalene - The Tower Motif In Mythology?

Post by davidmartin »

Some other tower motifs for you
The tower of the church in the Shephard of Hermas
On showing me these visions, she wished to retire. I said to her, What is the use of my having seen all this, while I do not know what it means? She said to me, You are a cunning fellow, wishing to know everything that relates to the tower ... Hear, then, the parables of the tower; for I will reveal all to you, and give me no more trouble in regard to revelation: for these revelations have an end, for they have been completed. But you will not cease praying for revelations, for you are shameless. The tower which you see building is myself, the Church, who have appeared to you now and on the former occasion
Maybe you might identify with that 'cunning fellow' ha ha
It might not be a co-incidence this stuff in the Shephard emerged in Rome where one might expect to find a prominent elder lady of the church influencing things. The Shephard's theology is kind of unusual

Another slight similarity is found in the Nassene psalm, it has the rescue of the maiden but not the tower
And now She reaches the point where hemmed in by evil, She knows no way out. Misled, She has entered a labyrinth.
Then Jesus said, "Behold, Father, she wanders the earth pursued by evil. Far from thy Breath she is going astray. She is trying to flee bitter Chaos, and does not know how she is to escape. Send me forth, O Father, therefore, and I, bearing the seal shall descend and wander all Aeons through, all mysteries reveal. I shall manifest the forms of the gods and teach them the secrets of the holy way which I call Gnosis
Then there is the Pistis Sophia which is consistently about saving the maiden, not sure if it has any tower references. It might, i haven't time to search it. It does say Magdalene will tower over the other disciples
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