27 June 2022 The Future is the Product of the Past

Sacred Hill of Moon God Sin “Sogmatar”

Sogmatar, Şanlıurfa is 53 kilometers from Harran. It is located in Yağmurlu village, where there are important springs in the Tek Tek mountains.

Tek Tek Mountains, which have important Neolithic centers such as Karahantepe, Harbetsuvan, and Kurt Tepesi, also have a cult center belonging to the Moon God Sin.

The region is a cult center dedicated to the Moon God Sin in the Tektek Mountains region of the Harranians during the Abgar Kingdom Period.

In the Sogmatar Cult center; There is a cave where the moon god Sin is worshiped (Pognon Cave), and a hill  (Sacred Hill- Turkish: Kutsal Tepe) on the slopes of which there are reliefs of the god and inscriptions engraved on the ground. Also, there are 6 square and round planned mausoleums, the inner castle, and many rock tombs carved into the main castle.

Although the Ancient City of Sogmatar is dated to the 2nd century AD, researches show that the history of the city dates back to 2000 BC.

Sogmatar was founded by the people who fled from the region due to the intense attacks of the Parthians (Iranians) in the Urfa region, especially in 165 AD, and preserved its cult center feature until the Islamic Period.

Although the name of the moon god in Mesopotamian civilizations varies from culture to culture, it is mostly seen as “Sin” and “Nanna”.

Pognon cave
Pognon cave.

The Sumerians called their moon gods Nanna, Nannar, or Suen.

Sometimes they used to combine two different names. In later periods, the Akkadians of Semitic origin named the moon god Sin. Besides these names, Asimbabbar, Namraşit, and Inbu were among the words used to characterize Nanna-Sin.

The Sumerians used descriptions for Nanna-Sin such as the brightness of the moonlight, the bull, and Enlil’s young bull, and depicted him as a bull and a lion-dragon. In addition, the symbol of this god consists of a crescent. The moon god Sin was very important to the Sumerian city of Ur. But in the following periods, the city of Harran became an important center for Nanna-Sin. A triple god system was established in Harran with Nanna-Sin, Utu and Inanna.

Nanna-Sin, who was accepted as the patron god of the city of Ur, is mentioned in the Sumerian Pantheon as the son of Enlil. In the Sumerian texts, it is described that Nanna-Sin judged the dead in the underworld. It is said that he is the god who determines the time. One of the most important features attributed to Nanna-Sin is that he acted with great vengeance in the face of the wrong deeds of the kings living on earth and was an important power in punishing them.

The ancient city of Sogmatar. Photo: Gulcan Acar

Although the moon is called “Sin” with its crescent shape, “Nanna” at the full moon is gradually it took the form of “Asimbabbar” with its growing state. The moon god Sin is known as the most important god of all Semitic tribes. When it is in the form of a crescent, it is masculine, when it is in the full moon female, it is identified with the bull when it is in the form of a crescent.

Deities associated with the 7 planets (Sin, Shamash, Ishtar or Atargatis, Mara, Samyaya or Ares, Girgis, Bel, and Nabu or Nabig) and their families (Ningal, consort of Sin, Nusku, and consort of fire god) Sadarnunna) dominated the Harran pantheon from the Assyrian and Babylonian periods to the Islamic Period.

The moon god Sin is constantly at the top of the pantheon of gods. The name of the moon god Sin is included in the treaties and agreements made between the kingdoms in Harran since the Assyrian and Babylonian periods. It is even written that some treaties were made in the famous Sin Temple in Harran.

The name of the temple built in the name of the god Sin in Harran is E.HUL.HUL. The first information about the Sin Cult, which is known to have a very old history, was revealed in a letter obtained from Mari, which was dated to about 1776 BC. Accordingly, it is understood that a decision was made to make peace in the Sin Temple in Harran. Thus, it is understood that Sin in Harran had an important position in the first half of the second millennium BC and that his name was heard more thanks to the presence of Sin.

The ancient city of Sogmatar. Photo: Gulcan Acar

The two reliefs on the northern end of the hill, south of the mound at the entrance of Soğmatar, are quite striking. This hill is mentioned as a sacred hill in an inscription. The relief on the right is of a man depicted from the front and is in a frame with an arch, two quadrangular columns, and two steps. Rays radiate above his head

To the right of the relief is an inscription in Syriac. In the inscription; “God commanded this image to Ma’na on the thirteenth day of Adar (March) 476 (AD 165). is written.

The other relief is a bust in a rock-cut niche to the right of this relief. Behind the shoulders of the bust, a crescent with its ends upwards draws attention. There is an inscription on both sides of the bust.

In the first of these inscriptions; “Šila’s son Šila made this image for the god Sin, in memory of the life of Adona’s son Tirdat and his brothers,” In the second inscription; “I am God…. I see him. I see him and him I’m looking. I am God Sin”. On the left side of this bust.

A general view of the Sogmatar inscriptions.
A general view of the Sogmatar inscriptions.

In the inscription, the title of God is mentioned. The inscription; says, “May the son of Kuza Zakkai and his children be remembered before God”. It is clearly understood that this bust is the god Sin, due to the name Sin in the inscription and the crescent motif.

In addition, human reliefs and inscriptions can be seen on the south, north, and west walls of the cave, which was identified by Pognon, the French Ambassador to Aleppo, in the early 1900s and is called the Pognon Cave today. The presence of the crescent, which is the symbol of Sin, on the top of the head of one of these reliefs, reveals the presence of Sin in the Soğmatar sanctuary.

In Soğmatar, the name “Maralahe” is mentioned in two inscriptions and “Maralahe, the king of the gods” in one inscription. Maralahe, as the name of the moon god Sin in Old Akkadian and Aramaic known.

Source: Süheyla İrem MUTLU, Yusuf ALBAYRAK, “Harran ve Soğmatar’da Sin kültünün varlığı“, Karadeniz, no: 37

Banner
Related Post

Gold jewelry from the time of Nefertiti found in Bronze Age tombs in Cyprus

1 December 2021

1 December 2021

Archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg have concluded an excavation of two tombs in the Bronze Age city of Hala...

‘Theodoric the Great’ villa mosaic found near Verona in Italy

17 April 2022

17 April 2022

A section of the ancient Roman mosaic flooring from the 5th century AD villa of Ostrogoth king Theodoric the Great...

World’s Oldest Pants was Made through Three Weaving Techniques

26 February 2022

26 February 2022

Back in 2014, a group of archaeologists discovered in China a pair of wool pants dating back to around 3,300...

Archaeologists find sunken ancient Egyptian warship under Abu Qir Bay

26 July 2021

26 July 2021

According to a press release by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Egyptian French archaeological mission of the...

1900 years old funerary altar of a teenage girl discovered in Rome

9 May 2022

9 May 2022

A funerary altar indicating the location of the remains of Valeria, a 13-year-old girl who died in the 2nd century...

4,400 Years Old Shaman Snake Staff Found in Finland

29 June 2021

29 June 2021

A very well-preserved 4,400-year-old Shaman Snake Staff made of wood has been found in Finland. The “Snake Staff” found is...

The first Dutch Neanderthal’s ‘Krijn’ face was reconstructed

7 September 2021

7 September 2021

World-renowned “paleo-artists” Kennis brothers have reconstructed the face of the first Neanderthal in the Netherlands. After more than 50,000 years,...

Archaeologists in Peru discover a mummy tied with 800-year-old ropes

28 November 2021

28 November 2021

On Peru’s central coast, archaeologists discovered a mummy estimated to be at least 800 years old. The mummy’s body was...

Two mysterious stone balls were found buried in a tomb dating to 3500 BC in Orkney

2 September 2021

2 September 2021

In Orkney, archaeologists discovered two carved stone balls in a tomb dating from 3500 BC. Archaeologists are on-site at Tresness,...

The inner wall was reached during the excavations of the tomb of the poet Aratos in the Soli Pompeiopolis Ancient City

13 August 2021

13 August 2021

The inner wall was reached during the excavations of the tomb of Aratos, the famous poet and astronomer of the...

Grave Goods Show Gendered Roles for Neolithic Age

16 April 2021

16 April 2021

Grave goods, such as stone tools, have revealed that Neolithic farmers had different work-related activities for men and women. Researchers...

Stone Age Loved to Dance to the Rhythm of the Elk Tooth Rattles

4 June 2021

4 June 2021

Thousands of years ago, people danced frequently and to the rhythm. This is the conclusion of the discovery of elk...

An 1800-year-old geometric patterned mosaic was discovered in Turkey’s ancient city of Bergama

17 June 2022

17 June 2022

During excavations surrounding the Red Basilica at Pergamon, an ancient city in western Turkey that is a UNESCO World Heritage...

Archaeologists discovered the monastery of Queen Cynethryth, a strong Anglo-Saxon queen

19 August 2021

19 August 2021

Archaeologists from the University of Reading and local volunteers excavating on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church have made an...

“Harbetsuvan Tepe”, the 10,000-year-old Neolithic Acropolis of Taş Tepeler

21 May 2022

21 May 2022

Harbetsuvan Hill is similar to the acropolises built on the hills near the ancient Greek cities. It was established in...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.