By the Gods!

Let's get Mythical.

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El

The supreme deity of the ancient Canaanites, El was big man on the Levant-campus back in the day. El was the father of Ba’al, who would eventually become more popular than his dad throughout the Middle-East, and husband of Asherah (a semitic mother goddess).

In many depictions, El wore the same bull horns as did Ba’al, though we often see him portrayed in the fancy hats of an ancient Mesopotamian king. The power of fancy hats was one worth flaunting, after all. Though his main priority was sitting in a throne, enjoying being the boss, he was accredited with being a patron deity of fertility, thunder, mountains, deserts, oceans, and war. A real Renaissance-god.

Now, even though Ba’al was the god of storm and sky (a position usually held by a chief deity) his papa was #1, at least in the inception of the Pantheon. El’s full title was El Shaddai, which loosely translates (we’re pretty sure, anyway) to God of the Mountain. The Mesopotamian Holy Mountain was a big deal, and a fitting place for a king of the Gods to dwell, one might think. El was too popular for his own good, though. Or, for our good, at least; he’s brought up in so many places in so many different forms, it’s difficult to pin down what exactly he was to whom.

The most popular reference to El would be in the Hebrew Torah, where El Shaddai is the God of Abraham, and is synonymous with Yahweh. Does this mean that Abraham was originally a practitioner of the Canaanite faith? Quite possible! But either way, it seems the Hebrews adopted the title of the supreme deity in Canaan and used it as a feather in Yahweh’s cap. Ol’ El has also drawn comparisons to the Babylonian Ea (Enki) and Poseidon, if you can believe it.

Whoever you are, El, you’re almost definitely a badass.

Filed under canaanite mesopotamian god sky god sky pantheon babylonian ancient

  1. ihavelikedthesethings reblogged this from bythegods
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  3. hedge-witch reblogged this from cosmicwitchery and added:
    There are theories that the ancient Israelites were a sect of Canaanites who worshipped El as supreme instead of Ba’al....
  4. cosmicwitchery reblogged this from bookofwisdom
  5. bookofwisdom reblogged this from bythegods
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  7. alexanderraban reblogged this from monstermadeofeyes and added:
    This misconceives what “El” really meant in ancient mesopotamian religion; it was a word for god not a specific god, and...
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  10. polarbear1986 reblogged this from bythegods and added:
    why I love studying religion. Whether you like it or not, there...overlap. And I’ll cut...
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  17. florence-lucy reblogged this from bythegods and added:
    As someone who has just finished reading about Abraham in the bible, this is seriously interesting!
  18. proofoffire reblogged this from bythegods and added:
    Interesting.
  19. archaeologistforhire reblogged this from bythegods and added:
    Reblogging for ancient Near Eastern awesomeness! Those Babylonian deities were a wacky bunch.
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