The ADDA – Greenstone cylinder seal explained.
For a start, it’s rolled out on a clay tablet as a signature at the bottom of sorts on documents: clay documents, but official documents written in stone non the less.
On the signature roll: all of the characters are wearing multiple-horned head-dresses; which means that they are (all) gods, the male figures are also bearded.
Hunting god (full-face), wears his hair in a long curl down his left side, (reminiscent of those worn by bull-men). He carries a bow and an arrow over his shoulder, and a quiver with tassel attached hangs on his back. He also wears a split down the middle of a striped skirt: with the right hand side of it being hitched up, or it could be a cod piece.
On the left hand side of the mountain stands a small tree, and to the right next to it is Ishtar, (full-face on), showing two curls hanging down her face one to either side. The goddess is also armed with weapons; including an Axe and a Mace rising from her shoulders. She is winged; and is seen holding a bush-like object over the sun-god’s head,
- (Which is probably a bunch of dates as his breakfast.).
The sun-god Shamash, (face side on with rays), wears his hair up in a triple bun. He is noted holding a serrated blade, and is also just beginning to emerge from between two square topped mountains.
Ea, (the water god) also has his hair in a triple bun, and stands to the right: with one foot placed on the right hand side of the mountain, his right hand also stretches out towards an eagle, ..
- (Probably the Zu bird who stole the tablets of destiny.).
Streams of water and fish can be seen flowing (into) his shoulders; there is also a couchant bull lying between his legs, .. (it means sitting down in that pose.).
Behind Ea, stands his two-faced attendant: the god Usimu, who has a double beard and also has his right hand raised.
All of them are wearing flouched skirts. Ea, (male water); and Ishtar, (female warrior); also both wear flouched robes, . (flouched means:- yer! – Look it up.).
The scales of the mountain are continued in a horizontal band all round the lower part of the seal, and it is on this band of land that the figures are standing, and all around them down on the floor level is the boulders and rubble thrown out as the sun-god emerges.
- It’s an all action relief I think you must agree.
A lion is pacing towards the right, and is openly roaring up at the hunter, and perhaps even at the dawn itself? – And so the action builds to a crashing crescendo.
There is also a terminal two line inscription in a frame that identifies the owner of the seal as Adda, who is formally described as dubsar, or (scribe).
- From reading the relief of the warped story; then I would have to say that it means that the (Godly World), once more greets and feeds the sun-god after his toils digging through the dark depths of the lower world, creating yet another wondrous dawn on his exit, and they all joyfully meet him emerging: everyone that is, except for the roaring lion, .. (he looks pissed).
The seal as it stands, (groan), is also slightly concave.
Height wise it’s tiny, standing at only (3.9 cm) tall.
- Or: one and a half inches if you want to be imperial.
- Or even one thumb joint to the end, and then a half added again if you want to be practical.
- (It really is titchy),
- But my question is this: how did they even engrave it? – Because the seal dates to about 2,300 BC, and we know that the Babylonians didn’t possess micro drill bits or anything else like it either. Because we haven’t found any, and they’ve looked.
- (It really is titchy),
** The god armed with a bow and quiver: hasn’t been identified with any certainty, but may well represent a hunting god like Nusku.
But I can tell you what the above represents with 100% certainty on my part, .. a fun afternoon with fifteen tabs all open at the same time in my infernal internal internet browser.
Thanks for reading, Jessica: Praise be the ORI.