Saturday, 5 May 2018

Naming The Planets

Human history is a story of one group of people invading and taking over another. If you look at Religion you can trace how one God became assimilated into the new group, for example the story of Jesus in Christianity is based on the Mithra in Roman mythology who was himself absorbed into the religion from the Mithra in the Mesopotamian religion who was the original deity with 12 disciples,  and was born in a stable with shepherds for company.
An even more stark example of this journey of gods through religions is the history of the Planets names.     
The five Planets that can be seen with the naked eye were first named by the Mesopotamian's who lived in West Asia until they were conquered by the Greeks and Alexander the Great with the Greeks themselves conquered by the Romans.
The Mesopotamian's named the nearest planet to the Sun Nabu after their God of literacy. Post invasion, the Greeks replaced the name Nabu with their own messenger God, Hermes, until the Romans absorbed the Greek religion into their own and changed the Planets name to Mercury, their own god of messages and communication.
The second planet we know by the Roman name of Venus who was god of love and beauty was previously known in Greece by the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, who was the replacement for the Mesopotamian God Inanna, also a goddess of love and beauty.
Nergal was the Mesopotamian god of war, as was Ares in the Greek mythology and also Mars of the Roman persuasion.
Jupiter began life as Marduk the Mesopotamian King of the gods but before becoming Jupiter he was the Greek God Zeus, the Father of Gods before the Romans renamed it after their own King of the Gods.
The fifth known planet to the Mesopotamian's at the time was called Ninurta, named after their God of farming, and hunting which the Greeks renamed Cronus, their own god of the Harvest and which the Romans changed into Saturn, their God of agriculture.
The discovery of the other planets of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (now no longer a planet) followed the tradition of naming after Greek and Roman Gods but it shows that even something as simple as naming the Planets has been a journey through the history of wars with the victor doing their utmost to erase the vanquished nations religion by rewriting and enforcing their own with the consequence of what we call the Planets who, if things had turned out differently, would be called Nabu, Ianna, Nergal, Marduk and Ninurta.

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