/ tv show

From Dominion to Sumerian

Last night I watched the first episode of the new TV series Dominion. So far it's been mildly interesting, I'll give it a couple more episodes before I make up my mind on it.

It's a post-apocaliptic show (literally), based on the premise that the Angels are actually the enemy of mankind. For reasons unknown, God had disappeared, and archangel Gabriel blames it on man. He decides to lead an army of lesser angels to battle mankind and nearly destroys them when archangel Michael sides with the humans.

This led me to a Wikipedia goose-chase after the show. I found that Dominion is a spin-off of the movie Legion, which is about the initial battle. In the movie, Michael brings down from heaven a tattoo in an ancient lost language, that is supposed to end armageddon. This language is supposed to be Enochian, the angelic language invented by John Dee in the 16th century and the basis of his angelic magic system.

Angelic or antediluvian languages were a common concept during Dee's time. Antedeluvian stands for the period "before the deluge", the period between the Fall of man and the Flood. This lead me to the antediluvian monsters, the animals that lived with the giants in the book of Genesis, the Tannin, Re'em, Behemoth and Leviathan.

From Re'em I took a small detour, and found that they were most likely Aurochs, large ancestors of the Ox. In the King James Version they were called Unicorns, in most modern translations they're called Oryx. According to Jewish folklore, the Re'em was so large that Noah had to strap it on the side of the Ark.

Backtracking to Behemoth, the chaos beast of the earth and it's battle with Leviathan, the chaos monster of the sea, who were originally parted from one I ended up with Ziz, the air-monster. The Ziz is said to stand with it's feet in the sea and it's head in the heavens. Once a ship came across it and, thinking the sea would be shallow there, the sailers prepared to take a bath there, when a voice came from heaven "Once a carpenter's axe slipped from his hand at thsi spot, and it took it seven years to touch bottom."

The Ziz, according to Rabbis, is comparable to the Persian Simurgh, or the Sumerian Anzu. The Anzu is a lesser god in Akkadian mythology, known as Imdugud in Sumerian. And this finally lead me to Sumerian. Sumerian was the language spoken in ancient Sumer (modern day Iraw), from around the 3rd until the 2nd millennium BC. It is thought to be a language isolate (no known ancestoral or related languages).

Scholars agree that Sumerian was in a Sprachbund (funny how many linguistic terms are in German) with Akkadian, the language from Akkad (possibly modern day Baghdad), meaning that both languages are separate, but influenced each other. Around the 2nd millennium BC Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language, although it remained in use as a sacret and scientific language until the 1st century AD. It then was forgotten until it was rediscovered in the 19th century.