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    Default Yazılıkaya: A Soli-Lunar Perpetual Calendar?

    Yazılıkaya: A 3000-year-old Hittite mystery may finally be solved

    Colin Barras New Scientist
    Thu, 27 Jun 2019 09:57 UTC


    Some call Yazılıkaya in Turkey the Sistine Chapel of Hittite religious art © Getty

    FOR 3200 years they have guarded their secret. The deities carved in limestone near the ancient city of Hattusa are as enigmatic as they are beautiful.

    Perhaps no longer. A controversial theory suggests the ancient carvings may have functioned as a calendar, with a level of sophistication way ahead of its time. "It's not only a striking idea, it's reasonable and possible," says Juan Antonio Belmonte at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, Spain, who wasn't part of the work.

    Hattusa was the capital city of the Bronze Age Hittite empire, based in what is now Turkey. A few kilometres to the north-east of Hattusa are the ruins of an ancient religious sanctuary centred on a large limestone outcrop.

    Archaeologists believe it was one of the holiest of Hittite sites, but its exact purpose is unknown. Even its original Hittite name is a mystery: today it is known simply as Yazılıkaya, a Turkish term meaning "inscribed rock".

    "Yazılıkaya has an aura to it," says Eberhard Zangger, president of Luwian Studies, an international non-profit foundation. "Part of it is because it's an unsolved enigma, part of it is the beauty of the place."

    The site has been described as the Sistine Chapel of Hittite religious art for the quality of the rock carvings preserved there. Yazılıkaya and Hattusa have UNESCO World Heritage Site status, and the carvings on the rock have been studied by scholars for decades. But according to Zangger, they all overlooked something.

    On the northern wall of a roofless limestone chamber at Yazılıkaya, there is a panel on which the supreme couple among Hittite gods are carved. On the western and eastern walls, more carved deities form two long processions marching towards the supreme couple. The eastern procession currently contains 17 deities, but Zangger and his colleague Rita Gautschy at the University of Basel, Switzerland, argue there were originally two more based on engraved symbols and deity-shaped gaps.

    The western procession is divided into two groups: one containing 12 deities and the other 30. Finally, there are curious horizontal benches carved into the rock below each procession.

    Zangger and Gautschy suggest the Hittites used the carvings as a calendar, keeping time by moving heavy stone markers along the benches beneath the processions.

    They believe the procession of 30 deities corresponded to the lunar cycle and marked a lunar month, which contains on average 29.53 days. At the beginning of the month, the marker would be placed beneath the deity at the front of the procession, and each day the Hittites shifted it one deity backwards. (Local hieroglyphs are always read in the opposite direction to the way any figures or faces are looking.)

    Significantly, says Gautschy, if the Hittites started the month with a new moon then, on the night of a full moon, the marker would always lie below one of two unusual bull-like figures in the procession who together hold up a large dish. The researchers say it would make sense for the Hittites to pay particular attention to the full moon because it was the one part of the month when a portentous lunar eclipse might occur.

    When the marker lay below the deity at the rear of the procession, the month was up and the Hittites would have moved the marker back to the front of the procession to start again, say the researchers. At the same time, the Hittites moved a second marker that lay below the procession of 12 deities, and so helped them track the passing months.


    Researchers believe ancient Hittites used 12 deities to mark the passing of lunar months © Paul Williams / Alamy Stock Photo

    But performing these two operations alone isn't enough to make an accurate calendar, because 12 lunar months add up to only about 354.36 days. The calendar can be brought roughly back in line with the solar year - about 365.24 days - by adding a 13th "intercalary" month every third year, meaning a total of six additional months are added over an 18-year period. Even then, however, the calendar still drifts.

    This drift can be largely removed by adding an additional intercalary month every 19th year - making the timepiece run on what is known as the Metonic cycle. Zangger and Gautschy suggest that the Hittites used the procession of 19 deities on the eastern wall to keep track of this. They think a stone marker was moved along this procession once a year to help the Hittites work out when to add extra months over a 19-year cycle (Journal of Skyscape Archaeology, DOI: 10.1558/jsa.37641).

    We know from earlier texts that the idea of three-year intercalation dates back a couple of millennia before Yazılıkaya was built. But conventional wisdom is that it was only about 2500 years ago that the more sophisticated Metonic cycle came into widespread use.

    "We would probably not expect knowledge of the 19-year cycle in the 2nd millennium BCE," says Gautschy. If the Hittites did follow such a calendar, they must have been influenced by exceptional astronomers.

    It isn't impossible that there was a Hittite equivalent of the astronomer Kepler in Hattusa at the time, says Ian Rutherford, a classicist at the University of Reading, UK. But he says it is odd that there are no traces of such an astronomer in the vast archives of ancient texts that have been discovered in Hattusa. It is one reason why he is sceptical - although open-minded - about the calendar idea.


    © Getty

    Belmonte, however, is enthusiastic. He has previously shown that many Hittite buildings are aligned to important astronomical events like the summer solstice. He envies Zangger and Gautschy for being the first to notice that the Yazılıkaya deities could have been used to observe a Metonic cycle. "I had this in front of my eyes and I was unable to see it," he says.

    Other astronomers are more cautious. "The numbers in play - 12, 30 and 19 - are astronomically suggestive," says Edwin Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. But he says that is far from proof that the site served as a calendar - a point Gautschy is keen to stress too.

    Krupp also sees a couple of problems with the calendar idea. Because of the nature of the site's preservation, we can't be sure the third group originally contained 19 deities. If there were just the 17 it now contains, the Metonic-like pattern breaks down.

    What's more, many of the deities depicted at Yazılıkaya have their names carved into the rock. The calendar idea would suggest that each deity name would be associated with a particular day of the month or month of the year, says Krupp - but he points out there is little in the Hittite texts to suggest this was the case.

    In fact, says Rutherford, the Hittite written records seem to paint a picture of a society that was remarkably unconcerned about the heavens. "That may have something to do with the climate: it rains a lot in the Anatolian highlands," he says. Cloud cover might have impeded careful astronomical observations.

    But Zangger thinks Hittite scholars place too much emphasis on the texts. For instance, archaeological evidence shows the Hittites were impressive hydraulic engineers, but Zangger says they left no records on the subject.

    "Hittite society consisted of more than is reflected in the documents," he says. "Perhaps the carvings really are just gods walking in a certain sequence - but there seems to be so much more to it."


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    Default Re: Yazılıkaya: A Soli-Lunar Perpetual Calendar?

    I watched a video from megalithomania a few days ago about an artefact found in Saxony, Germany. Not so much related to the hittites but the system of soli-lunar calendar counting certainly looks similar. A possible diffusion or migration of culture?

    The Nebra Sky disc (1600BC)


    It never clicked before that the hittites were based so close to Turkey. Some scholars have suggested the Hittites were the Hyksos that migrated into Egypt to become the Israelites. There is an older tradition not far from Turkey, whose oral traditions date back to 26,000BC. The Ahmsta Kebzeh tradition of the Circassians of the Caucasus Mountains.
    Quote The ancient oral tradition of Ahmsta Kebzeh, as learned and lived by Elder Murat Yagan, is recorded in this book. Seekers will discover the spiritual principles and practices of Ahmsta Kebzeh. Historians, ethnologists and sociologists will be intrigued by details of the social and cultural customs of the tradition as lived for millennia by the Circassians, the mountain peoples of the Caucasus. But because this book addresses the very essence of being human, it is a book for everyone. Ahmsta Kebzeh is a ‘mystical science’ that explains who and what a human being is and the place of human in Creation. Offering a scientific explanation of spiritual or mystical terms such as Transformation, Love, Beauty, Spirit, God, Consciousness, Self, Synergy, Cosmic Mind and more, Ahmsta Kebzeh speaks profoundly to humanity in this New Age, defined by the author as the age of the reconciliation of positive science and mysticism, ‘the greatest marriage of our time.’ At this time, when life on our planet forces us to re-visit our understanding of what being human really means, Ahmsta Kebzeh provides a comprehensive system of transformation that can raise us from our limited experience of ‘human’ to the realization of our full potential as completed, perfected ‘Human.’ Through this transformation to become fully Human, we can come to know and experience the Kebzeh principle:
    Without me, God is latent. Without God, I am not.


    Ahmsta Kebzeh: The Science of Universal Awe – Volume 1 is divided into 3 parts:
    – Part One, Presentation of the Essentials of the Teaching;
    – Part Two, Transformation of Human;
    – Part Three, Inner Body Work.

    Murat chose the image for the cover of the book, and Patricia Johnston has created a gold leaf painting of this image that carries great power. The text is enhanced by seven illustrations, beautifully drawn by artist Mary Anne Kingsmill.
    Their Oral tradition can be found in the Nart Sagas: Ancient Myths and Legends of the Circassians and Abkhazians.


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    Default Re: Yazılıkaya: A Soli-Lunar Perpetual Calendar?

    The Abkhazians there on the cover are perfectly modern, best Syrian conflict reporters.

    They apparently have no concern tying themselves to something that's "too old". The OP also has a good tone by roughly admitting "we've found some writings, but they probably don't tell the whole story". A lot of academic silliness seems to have been committed by the belief that something has to be written first, then you can improve on it, and only then can you build a bridge or make a sword. I believe in most cases it was probably backwards; one guy had the expertise, he never wrote anything, and most of the writings were probably from his apprentice's kids trying to learn it. When you see the numbers of deities involved, then yes, it likely is a clock. Such "clocks" are performed in dance for example by the Gopi girls in India.

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    Default Re: Yazılıkaya: A Soli-Lunar Perpetual Calendar?

    Quote Posted by shaberon (here)
    The Abkhazians there on the cover are perfectly modern, best Syrian conflict reporters.

    They apparently have no concern tying themselves to something that's "too old". The OP also has a good tone by roughly admitting "we've found some writings, but they probably don't tell the whole story". A lot of academic silliness seems to have been committed by the belief that something has to be written first, then you can improve on it, and only then can you build a bridge or make a sword. I believe in most cases it was probably backwards; one guy had the expertise, he never wrote anything, and most of the writings were probably from his apprentice's kids trying to learn it. When you see the numbers of deities involved, then yes, it likely is a clock. Such "clocks" are performed in dance for example by the Gopi girls in India.
    The Abkhazians might be modern but the Circassians have been there for a while...
    Quote The Cercetae are an ancient people of Scythia mentioned by Strabo [1] and Pliny the Elder [2]. They are one of many ancient tribes of the Northwestern Caucasus which are the ancestors of modern Circassians.[3] The name "Cercetae" apparently was the basis of the name of the people that arose later - the Circassians.[3] The ethnonym itself of presumably Iranian origin[4] or derived from the κερκέτηζ, is a kind of "stern oar”, and is the nickname given to them by the Greeks due to their skill in the sea business.[5]

    Pliny places them beyond the Amazons and the Hyperboreans, together with the Cimmerii, Cissianti, Achaei, Georgili, Moschi, Phoristae and Rimphaces.
    Strabo also mentions them as above Colchis, where legends of the golden fleece abound.

    King of Colchis was Aeëtes, son of the sun-god Helios and the Oceanid Perseis, (a daughter of Oceanus). Aeetes was also the brother of Circe, from whom the Circassians are suggested to have taken their name. Circe or 'kirke' as it was also written, is the root word for our modern day 'church'. The story of Tanos Kirkos in Ethiopia is interesting, a place that was formerly named zion but changed to Tanos Kirkos after Jesus supposedly travelled their as a child with the Ark of the Covenant.

    =======

    Greek mythology might be connected to Yazilikaya in some way. The date of 3200 years or 1200BC is highly significant because that’s precisely when the Lydian empire emerged to control that geographic area.


    Quote The Kingdom of Lydia existed from about 1200 BC to 546 BC. At its greatest extent, during the 7th century BC, it covered all of western Anatolia. In 546 BC, it became a province of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, known as the satrapy of Lydia or Sparda in Old Persian. In 133 BC, it became part of the Roman province of Asia.

    Coins are said to have been invented in Lydia around the 7th century BC
    The Lydian empire was ruled by the Heraclid dynasty (descendants of Heracles) after the battle of Troy.
    MYCENAEAN-HITTITE WAR, THE FALL OF TROY VI, AND THE SHERDEN INVASION IN EGYPT IN THE HERACLES MYTH: A POSSIBILITY OF ASTRONOMICAL DATING by Iurii Mosenkis

    Heracles might personify the Mycenaean warriors who might fought the Egyptians and Hittites among the Sherden of the Sea Peoples while the Argonauts were also the Greeks among the SeaPeoples

    Heracles, a Mycenaean generalissimo in late 14 the early 13th centuries BCE. The mythical image of Heracles was related to both the constellation of Hercules and the planet of Jupiter as a star of Heracles in ancient Greek astronomy. Heracles was a contemporary of the Argonauts, fathers of heroes of the Trojan War. A long night when Heracles was conceived might be related to the total solar eclipse on December 30, 1332 BCE, near the winter solstice; the morning rise of Hercules occurred nine months after the event. Heracles strongly related to Mycens might be a Mycenaean generalissimo, lawagetas.

    The solar eclipse onNovember 19, 1274 BCE near Venus (Deianira as a cause of the event) when the constellation of Hercules (Heracles) was located in the zenith and Mercury was located in Sagittarius (Philoctetes who inherited the Heracles’arrow) might be interpreted as the self-burning of Heracles.

    The Mycenaean-Hittite war in late 14th c. BCE

    Heracles fought Cetus before he captured Troy, and the monster might be related not only to the constellation of Cetus wich is located so far from the constellation of Virgo (as possible symbol of Troy) but to the constellation of Hydra (sea monster) near Virgo related to Troy and Hesione. The battle between Heracles and Ketos (Κῆτος) near Troy might reflect the conflict between Mycenaean Greece and theHittites (Hatti) near the city at the end of Laom edon’s Troy VI. The name of the Trojan princess, Hesione (Ἡσιόνη), might be compared with the Hittite-Luwian king title, hassus, and perhaps with the name of Muwatallis’ mother, Hassulawiya. Before the murdering of Ketos (the Hittites) near Troy, Heracles fighted the Amazons (the Hittites too).

    According to the Parian marble, the invasion of the Amazons in Greece (Mycenaean-Hittite war?) occurred in 1256/1255 BCE. If the astrometrical date of the fall of Troy (1230 BCE) preceded the Parian date (1209 BCE)

    If then we can accept about the 20-year correction and propose the earlier date of the Amasonian invasion about early 13th century BCE which correlated with the Heracles’ war against the Hittites, i.e. Ketos and the Amazons, closely to the date of the Heracles’ trip with the Argonauts. Attarisiyas, a king of Ahhiyawa who fighted the Hittites, might be neither Atreus (who was not known as a warrior) nor Atrides Agamemnon but Otreus, the Phrygian king who fought the Amazons = Hittites as an ally of Priamus and Mygdon.
    The Lydian Empire is also significant because of its Phoenician connections i.e. one of its famous citizens was Thales of Miletus, the part Phoenician, pre-socratic philosopher. The Milesians are also considered the final race to have settled in Ireland after the Tuatha Danaan.

    https://www.libraryireland.com/Atlas/I-Milesians.php
    Last edited by Jayke; 28th June 2019 at 09:16.

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