Ba'al and Seth : an investigation into the relationship of two gods, with reference to their iconography (ca. 1500 – 1000 BCE)

Cox, Michael James (2013-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Although the traditional viewpoint of the Ancient Egyptian civilisation is one of isolation and self containment, in fact Egypt and Syro-Palestine had a long history of contact and interaction before the Late Bronze Age, albeit somewhat tenuous and ad hoc. The commencement of the New Kingdom in Egypt heralded a more vigorous period of exchange. This was largely due to the Egyptian policy of increased commercial activity and military campaigns in Syro-Palestine as well as the rising strength of the Asiatic peoples. At the personal level there was always a trend of Asiatics moving into Egypt in search of a better life, which opened the door for the Hyksos rule at the end of the Middle Bronze Age. This foreign rule was an affront on the dignity of the Egyptians. Thus, following numerous military campaigns much of Syro-Palestine was incorporated into the wider Egyptian political entity. In counterpoint to the situation in Egypt, Syro-Palestine was very far from isolated, situated in the open cultural landscape of Syria and Mesopotamia it was the very hub of the Ancient Near East. Inevitably there was considerable interaction, and throughout history, as even today, Syro-Palestine is a crossroads and melting pot of different peoples. At the forefront of any exchange were religious ideas, religious traditions were introduced and foreign gods were spread far and wide. The international nature of the gods seems to have been a characteristic of the Ancient Near East. In this scenario were the Egyptian god Seth and his counterpart the Syro-Palestinian god Baaal, each with a complex story, wherein the iconographical and textual evidence of the gods show much commonality. The association of Seth with Baaal in Egypt is clear, the name of Baaal being written with the Seth-animal determinative, whereas Syro-Palestine has the Mami stele from Ugarit. Major events shook the Ancient Near East ca. 1500-1000 BCE, Egypt reached its apogee and ruled the East; providing the most likely answer regarding the presence and worship of Seth in Syro-Palestine. Certainly Seth was present and worshipped, naturally the massive numbers of Egyptian military and diplomatic personnel required facilities for this practice. Since the earlier Hyksos rulers accepted and worshipped Seth this predicates on a continuum into the period in question. To summarize: Seth equals Baaal and Baaal equals Seth.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Alhoewel die tradisionele siening van die antieke Egiptiese beskawing een van isolasie en selfonderhouding is, het Egipte en Siro-Palestina in werklikheid ʼn lang geskiedenis van kontak en interaksie voor die Laat Bronstydperk gehad, hoewel ietwat beperk en ad hoc. Die aanvang van die Nuwe Koninkryk in Egipte het ʼn meer dinamiese tydperk van wisselwerking ingelui. Dit was grootliks weens die Egiptiese beleid van toenemende handelsaktiwiteit en militêre veldtogte in Siro-Palestina, asook die opkomende mag van die Asiatiese volke. Op persoonlike vlak was daar altyd ʼn neiging van Asiate om na Egipte te trek op soek na ʼn beter lewe, wat die deur vir die Hiksosheerskappy aan die einde van die Middel-Bronstydperk oopgemaak het. Hierdie vreemdelinge heerskappy was ʼn belediging vir die waardigheid van die Egiptenare. Gevolglik, na afloop van talle militêre veldtogte is die meerderheid van Siro-Palestina in die breër Egiptiese politieke entiteit ingelyf. In teenstelling met die situasie in Egipte was Siro-Palestina alles behalwe geïsoleer. Geleë in die oop kulturele landskap van Sirië en Mesopotamië was dit die ware middelpunt van die Ou Nabye Ooste. Daar was noodwendig aansienlike interaksie, en regdeur die geskiedenis, soos selfs vandag nog, is Siro-Palestina ‟n kruispad en smeltkroes van verskillende volke. Aan die voorpunt van enige wisselwerking was godsdienstige idees, godsdienstige tradisies was ingevoer en uitheemse gode wyd en syd versprei. Die internasionale aard van die gode blyk ʼn kenmerk van die Ou Nabye Ooste te wees. In hierdie scenario was die Egiptiese god Seth en sy Siro-Palestynse eweknie Baäl, elk met ʼn komplekse storie, waarin die ikonografiese en tekstuele bronne van die gode baie ooreenstemming toon. Die verbintenis van Seth met Baäl is duidelik in Egipte, waar Baäl se naam met die Seth-dier as determinatief geskryf is, terwyl Siro-Palestina die Mami-stela van Ugarit het. Groot gebeurtenisse het die Ou Nabye Ooste ca. 1500-1000 v.C. geskud, Egipte het sy hoogtepunt bereik en oor die Ooste geheers, wat die mees waarskynlike antwoord aangaande die teenwoordigheid en aanbidding van Seth in Siro-Palestina verskaf. Seth was ongetwyfeld teenwoordig en aanbid, natuurlik het die enorme getalle Egiptiese militêre en diplomatieke personeel fasiliteite vir hierdie praktyk vereis. Aangesien die vroeëre Hiksosheersers Seth aanvaar en aanbid het, bevestig dit ‟n kontinuum in die periode onder bespreking. Om op te som: Seth is gelyk aan Baäl en Baäl is gelyk aan Seth.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85852
This item appears in the following collections: