Revisions on Sisig Oct 10, 2007 22:18:02 GMT -5
Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Oct 10, 2007 22:18:02 GMT -5
Just a Sketch So Far
Paraphrasing Al-Rawi and Cavigneaux (2000a), the theological idea that Sisig is the god of dreams would seem to have derived from the An.Anum god list. As in the list spTU 3, 107, Sisig in the An Anum god list - click here - lines 149-150) appears as the offspring of Utu, and is listed directly below Mamu, a dream deity. It seems that for the purposes of the list Sisig and Mamu were divinised and contrasted as male and female, appearing on the list as brother and sister. The Sumerian word ma.mu2 means dream or god dream (Oppenheim) and occurs numerous times in the literature although without a determinative and so not in a divinised form. Its therefore somewhat hard for me to say at which point in history Mamu was considered to be a deity. I also have the same problem interpreting the lack of determinative with Sisig in Sumerian sources, however he is stated to be the son of Utu already in the Death of Gilgamesh.
The entry for Sisig at ePSD reads: (14x: Old Babylonian, unknown) wr. sig-sig; tumusi-si-ig; si-si-ga; sig3-sig3 "ghost?; storm; breeze, wind" Akk. mehû; zīqīqu?; šāru and there are four variants:
Digesting the philology on this one remains beyond me, my guess work leads me to think 2 and 3 are syllabic readings, 4 is a reduplicated sig3 - to flatten I think which makes sense here. 1 just confuse's me completely So its better I say nothing at all about it.
Wind and Ghost:
The understanding of Sisig is that he is an incorporeal deity, being in some capacity wind or wind like and its interesting to note the line between the interpretation of wind and of ghost seems to blue in the ePSD entry - as it does elsewhere. The literature seems to suggest at least loose conceptual similarity between ghost and wind as in "You flatten those mountains and turn them over to ghostly winds" ( (t.188.8.131.52) or "Urim, the shrine, is haunted by the breezes, now how do you exist?" (t.2.2.2) and perhaps as winds are often portrayed as a destructive force which might produce haunted ruin mounds, there may be some explanation there for the ambiguity of Sisig as wind/ghost. In any case this deity has been identified with the Akk. Zaqiqu, Oppenheim wrote a very interesting note on the nature of Zaqiqu in CAD (Z) in a discussion of the same - part of Oppenheims note (quoted elsewhere buit iportant here as well) reads:
“The word zaqiqu does not refer to a stormwind or even a wind. The only passages in which sisig and lil correspond to mehu [violent storm] and saru [wind] are those cited in the lex. Section, and these correspondences are not paralleled in bil. Texts. The only instance in which zaqiqu denotes a metrological phenomenon (mng. La-2’) adds significantly the explanation iltanu; “north wind,” i.e, the only wind that was considered charged with supernatural quality (see istanu and manitu). The mng. Of Sum. Lil points likewise to “phantom,” “ghost,” “haunting spirt” (as in lu.lil.la, ki.sikil.lil.la,, see lilu, lilitu) rather than to “wind.” Note also that zaqiqu is to be considered an irregular diminutive (possibly to be posited as zaqiqu, zaqiqu). It is used as a designation of the dream god and also to denote some kind of divine communication in answer to prayers (see mng. 1a-2’). While in other contexts the translation “soul” seems to fit (see mng. 4).
The Akk.zaqiqu, as well as the Sum. Lil, not only denotes the ghosts, etc., that haunt a place in the desert or a ruined city, but these localities themselves, which are sometimes also called in Sum. Edin.lil.la (not “desert of the wind” Jacobsen, JNES 12 168 n.25). “
[At the bottom of the discussion is the line “Oppenheim, Dream-book 234ff.” so I believe these are his words]"
Also, Veldhuis in an article on the Death of Gilgeames , mentions "Sisig's role in dreaming and dream explanation is very restricted, and may be a consequence of his primary character as an underworld god with ghostly characteristics (see Butler 1998:77-83)." So Sisig may be interesting if not only for dreams, but as an aspect of the Mesopotamian understanding of human nature and afterlife. There is a mention of this deity in An Old Babylonian version of Bīt Rimki (Geller 1995:117:3) currently unaccessible to me), otherwise there are two key literary piece's to consider. The first is:
1. Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Netherworld:
1. Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Netherworld: Enki tells Utu to bring Enkidu back from the netherworld and Utu (l. 242) "opened a hole in the nether world and brought up his servant with his breeze (?) from the nether world."
(l. 242. si-si-ig-ni-ta cubur-a-ni kur-ta mu-/da\-ra-ab-ed3-de3)
- A. George, 1999, interprets that Utu is here instructed by Enki to bring Enkidu's shade up at dawn, when he exits the netherworld (pg.176)
- D. Katz 2003 interprets line 243 as:
243. As a dream (or: as his spirit80) his servant came up from the kur."
Note 80 reads: "In si-si-ga-ni-ta we probably have the possessive
third-person singular and the ablative, which apart from direction
denotes "by means of." Sisig is also the name of the dream-god. That
Enkidu as si-si-ig came out through a hole that was opened by Utu is
strongly reminiscent of DGil 180, about Sisig son of Utu the
dream-god. " [DGil= Death of Gilgamesh]
Later Katz again touches on this and in a note on pg. 213 states: "The description of Enkidu coming up from the netherworld points to necromancy. Presumably, si-si-ig-ni-ta in line 243 means that Enkidu appeared to Gilgamesh in a dream "in his dream form." I compare it to DGil 180-181, where Sisig can only metaphorically bring light to the netherworld, not literally."
So it seems these lines can be variously interpreted that Enkidu rose as ghost, dream or in physical form. As for the possibility of ghost in some type of Necromantic act, Katz has said "points to necromancy" and its might be relevant here that at least one extent Necromantic spell alludes to "Samaš, opener of the darknes
2. The Death of Gilgamesh:
-The main consideration I have for this deity is his occurrence in this composition. There are two versions extent, a version from Nippur and a version from Me-turan, its from the former that Mark. E. Cohen 1993 translates:
1 "Let..., the child of the sun-god Utu, *
2 light up for him the netherworld, the place of
3 Let him set up a threshold there (as bright) as the
4 (for) all mankind whatever their names be,
5 (for) those whose statues were fashioned in days of
6 (for) the heroes, the young men, and the...!
7 From there the strong and mighty will march out.
8 Without him no light would be there during the month
9 the festival of the gh]osts. (iti ne-IZI-gar e[ze]m-
* these same lines appear as segment E 1-11 at etcsl; Cohen for whatever reason leaves Sisig's name unrestored in line 1 - elsewhere line 1 appears "Let Sisig...".
- Veldhuis' translation of the equivalent lines in the version from Me-Turan read:
88 The youths and the strong men, on seeing the
lunar crescent, without him they should not
90 Sisig the son of Utu makes light in the dark
Translations and interpretations vary on what I understand to be difficult texts, but to try and keep it manageable, Ill just add below Cohens interpretation of segment E 1-11, which Ive found the most interesting for its insight about the mentioned festival of ghosts, and the month ne-IZI-gar. To me there remains plenty of enigma, but since the above translation would seem to have Sisig lighting up the darkness, and providing a 'threshold' or passage for the dead, it seems to provide a very interesting parallel to Enkidu's resurfacing: Cohen relates (pg.100) that the month name ne.IZI.gar originates in pre-Sargonic times and can be read "(the month when) lamps/braziers are lit." He seems to largely rely on his own translation of a passage from The Death of Gilgamesh for knowledge of the existence of the festival of the dead that took place during this month, and it seems to be largely from those lines that he develops the description of the festival on pg.103 - The festival of Ghost was..
"a time when the spirits of the dead followed a special passage of light leading from the darkness of the netherworld back into the world of the living for a brief stay. The setting of fire and lighting of torches by each household would guide the spirits of the dead back to the ancestral home, where a ceremonial meal, presumably the ne-IZI-gar offering, awaited."