SEMITIC INVASIONS


The Semitic people ( Akkadians, Assyrians, Hyksos and Hebrews), whose common origin lies in the Arab desert, can be consider the world´s second focal point of expansion of the primitive patriarchal peoples, and whose worldview gives rise to the anthropocentric thinking that currently prevails in human society. The parallelism with the Indo Europeans are amazing: they are nomadic herders (sheep and goat) with no agricultural practices, they have domesticated the camel (which they can make long distances with) instead of the horse. They are patriarchal, hierarchical, they worship male gods,...

 

“The Aryans were not the only tribes to threaten the Goddess culture. To the west of Mesopotamia is a vast desert, reaching from Syria in the north to the southern tip of Arabia in the south. It was this region, contrasting so radically with the fertile upland valleys and the lands nourished by the large rivers, that was the matrix from which emerged all the Semitic tribes known and named during the Bronze and Iron ages.

 

Among these were the Akkadians, who settled in the north of Sumer and, eventually, under their King Sargon (2300 BC), gained control of the southern cities as well; also the Amoritic Babylonian, whose King Hammurabi (1800 BC) is famous for his code of law.

 

Another group of the Amorites conquered the city of Jericho about 1450 BC, leaving it in ruins; they were succeeded by the Canaanites. The Hebrews in their turn conquered the Canaanites but succumbed to the Assyrians (580 BC), who had seized Babylon in 1100 BC and extended their huge empire over their terrified neighbours.

 

But long before they became known by their tribal names, the Semites had migrated to Mesopotamia with their herds of sheep and goats, and perhaps merging with the inhabitants in earlier times more peacefully than their successors. The gods of the Semites dwelt in the clouds and on mountain tops, and hurled thunderbolts like the gods of Aryans. But they also had the character of tribal gods, each protective of a specific tribal group and, later, of a city.

 

Both invading peoples introduced the idea of an opposition between the powers of light and darkness, imposing this polarity on the older view in which the whole contained light and darkness in an ever-changing relationship. In both mythologies there is evidence of a desacralization of nature and of human life, which is starkly contrasted with the attitude of the Neolithic farmer, living close to the soil and to the rhythmic laws of the Goddess as immanent in all life." Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, ‘The Myth of the Goddess’

 

“There are noticeable analogies between the indo European and the Semitic expansion. Both groups were originally nomadic herders who lived around the first points of civilization; both migrated thousands of kilometres conquering the largest agricultural and urban civilizations (in Mesopotamia the first Semitic waves substituted the Sumerians); Both burst into Asia Minor and the Near East approximately at the same time, during the 3rd millennium BC (Seemingly, the indo European Hittites and the Semitic Assyrians met at Kanes, in Central Anatolia, 1900 BC);but more notably, both Indo Europeans and Semites had rigid androcratic social structures. In their rites, they frequently invoked the gods of the tribe, war and conquest. Also were very similar the social and spiritual conflicts generated by the encounter/clash with the populations (agricultural and gilanic) who lived in Europe and Near East at the time of their invasions. Mesopotamia still preserves the memory of a time of peace and abundance abruptly interrupted; like the Summerians, who worshipped a Creator Goddess, akin to the goddess of the Elamites. […] The indo Europeans are not close relatives of the Semites, as it proves their distant original places. Nevertheless, the oppositions ‘androcratic’ versus ‘matrifocal, ‘livestock’ versus ’agriculture’, ‘nomad’ versus ‘urban’ defines a fundamental polarization between Indo Europeans and Semites at one end, and the populations of Neolithic Europe, Pre- Semitic Near East and Pre-Aryan India at the other.” James Mallory.

 

The Semitic invasions of land of Canaan (Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon) are described in the Old Testament and represent a testimony of how these first patriarchal peoples conceived the world.

 

“Whether or not, the book of Joshua, with its fierce tribalism, describes what actually took place when the Hebrews entered Canaan, it must reflect the values of the Hebrews who recorded it. The deficient morality of Yahweh becomes more understandable when his commands are taken, not as divine revelations, but as ‘revelations’ of Iron Age values and patriarchal customs reflected in the behaviour of kings, priests and prophets. Jehu, for example, was praised by Yahweh for having murdered the remnant of the former king Ahab´s household and for riding Israel from the entire priesthood of Baal – inviting them to celebrate in the temple and then ordering their massacre( 2 Kgs. 10:0). Elijah (c. 860 BC) supervised the murder of the 450 priests of Baal:

 

‘Take the prophets of Baal, let not one escape. And they took them and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slew them there. (1 Kgs. 18:40)’

 

Episodes like this were used, consciously or unconsciously, to justify the brutality of war waged against an ‘evil’ enemy. Not surprisingly, this model of conduct has greatly influenced Christianity and Islam, which looks upon the Old Testament as divine revelation. Wherever a teaching did not agree with the ‘law of God’, its exponents could be persecuted. The Levite priests apparently exempted themselves, as later did the Christian and Islamic priesthood, from the commandment they believed to be sent by God: ‘Thou shalt not kill’. The law of life´s sacrality was not observed when it was a question of infringement of religious doctrine or the threat of a tribal enemy. New kinds of ritual sacrifice in which murder was justified, such as the stoning and crucifixion of prophets or the torturing and burning of heretics, appear wherever these archaic values went unchallenged. The idea of the ‘Holy war’ waged in Yahweh´s name against the unbelievers and ‘the wicked’ has echoed down the ages in Christian Crusades, the persecution of ‘heretics’, ‘witches’ and ‘enemies of God’.“ Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, ‘The Myth of the Goddess’

 

To get a clearer idea of the Semitic invasions of Canaan let’s take a fragment of the Old Testament:

 

And the Lord spoke unto Moses... saying,

"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,: When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan: Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the lan from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images,and quite pluck down all their higher places:. And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell there in: for I have given you the land to possess it."