Tuesday 28 February 2012

The Gadim

Today I want to talk about the gadim or 'gads'.  'Gad' is a word meaning 'Fortune', and there is a god called Gad (who I will discuss in another post).  I want to talk about the class of 'Fortunes', a whole group of deities. 

Tutelary deities had existed in the land of Canaan for many years, going back (if we are to believe Sakkun-yaton) to the founding of the first cities and kingdoms.  But during the Greek and Roman periods (in the times when Canaan- called 'Phoenicia' and 'Syria' by the Greeks and Romans- was under the domain of the Seleukid Empire and the Roman Empire), tutelary deities became even more important, influenced heavily by the religious cults practiced by Greek and Roman kings and governors.  The city in which we can see this happening the most is the city of Tadmor (Palmyra to the Romans).  Tadmor was an Aramaean city, also settled by Amorites.  It was a very old city, mentioned in texts from Mari.  During later time periods communities of Arabs also lived there. 

From inscriptions in Tadmor, we can learn that the cults of the Fortunes, the tutelary deities, played an important role in the daily life of the citizens.  Everything had its own Gad, which watched over it and protected it, granting it good fortune.  These deities or spirits could also be venerated alongside the city's local ginnaya (djinn in Arabia). 

There was a Gad for every individual, a Gad of the village (qiryah), a Gad of Tadmor, a Gad of the gardens, a Gad of Taimi, a Gad of the oil merchants (meshach), a Gad of Yedibel, a Gad of the olive tree, and so on.  A Gad may be either male or female, and indeed from what we know it does appear that Tadmor's own Gad was/is female. 

Gad-Qiryah (the Gad of the village) is a local god or spirit who watches over the surrounding villages and their people.  Two altar inscriptions mention her.  One of them reads: "Abdibel erected (it) in thanksgiving to the compassionate one, the good, and to the Gad of the village and the Gad of the gardens.  Year 550" (This would be about 238/239 A.D).  Near Tadmor is an altar inscription from Anak, which reads: "The altar which Maliku son of Marban erected to Yarkhibol, to the one who irrigates Araq, to the Gad of the locality, the bountiful god.  Year 520... In the month Nisan"  (This would be around spring-time in 209 A.D).  This inscription may be interpreted as suggesting that a major god can also be a Gad (in this case Yarkhibol as the god of Araq).

The Gad in some ways is similar to an angel, and is often shown as a winged being.  But the Gad is very distinct from the angel in that it is more a personification of Fortune and of the good fortune that the deities will provide for whatever is under their domain (the garden, village, city etc.).  An angel, on the other hand, is more like a spirit messenger for a deity.  A relief found in the temple of Nebo shows a seated goddess (probably Ashtart, Malidthu or Allat- who was worshiped by Arabs in the city), standing on a swimming youth (the spirit of the spring of Afak).  Behind her is an eagle carrying a twig of oak, and to her right is a dog.  To her side stands a small female figure, wearing a crown and holding a branch of olive.  She is probably the Gad of the city.

Giving thanks to a Gad can increase good fortune, and it is important to show reverance towards a Gad.  In times when your success or the success of the community, the harvest, battles, anything, seems to be largely down to good fortune and the gods being on your side, then give offerings to the Gad of that particular aspect.  A Gad can function as being a personification of a deity's blessings and favour.  They are also deities of victory.

The Gad of Tadmor, standing on the spring which watered Tadmor's oasis.  She can be identified as a Gad because she is wearing a mural crown common in Assyrian and Elamite art

Sunday 19 February 2012

Offerings at the shrine

Today I made some offerings at my household cultic shrine for the Teraphim (household gods).  I took a cup of water up to my bedroom, then approached the shrine on the far wall.

The reason I was making offerings was in fulfillment of a promise that I would give the household deities offerings if they protected the house while I way away on a journey to an inn for two days (the same journey I spoke of in the blog post about my offerings to the deities when I returned).

I went to the shrine, and took the ritual bell, ringing it several times to ward off evil spirits.  I then bowed seven times and prayed.  I took a few moments of contemplation, during which I thought of these benevolent household gods and how they have been near my family and watched over me and the household since I was born.  I thought of the number of Canaanites, ancient and modern, who might do a similar ritual at their own household shrines.

I then placed the cup in the shrine and gave the deities the water as an offering.  After this was done, I bowed and left the room, removing the cup and drinking the water within as I went downstairs.  I was in high spirits, and felt calm and tranquil.

The Creation Story

I now want to attempt to do an analysis and an explanation of the creation myth to anyone is unfamiliar with the Canaanite cosmology, or is just curious.

"Before highest heaven had its name, before the earth below was called into being, and the primeval Arapel, the cloudy darkness; and chaos, Baad, the wind which blew; they were mingling together with no limit. And Baad produced Ruach, from him Ruach emerged, and was moving over the deep."

 This is the beginning of all things according to the Canaanite creation story.  The entire world was once only Arapel and Baad.  Arapel is a word meaning 'cloudy darkness', while Baad means 'wind'.  These things were for many ages with no limit and mingling together.  Darkness in Near Eastern cosmologies is not the absense of light.  Darkness is a type of thick black cloud which covers all things.  There is a 'place' or celestial treasure-room for darkness just like there is for snow and hail.  The gods can release this darkness from the storerooms and it will cover the earth.  But now Baad has produced Ruach, which is another type of wind.  But this wind is different.  It does not mix with the darkness, but instead blows it all away, revealing light.

"Their mingling was Teshuqah, who was the offspring of them both, and Baad knew not of what he had done."

Teshuqah means 'Desire', and the desire to rule over and to govern.  Now creation 'wants' to occur, but curiously is without thought and doesn't understand what it is doing.

"And the earth was made from the dirt of the desert; with the mud of the waters the earth was formed; and out of this came every germ of creation. "

The entire earth is pictured as a barren wasteland, like a desert.  It is made of a kind of mud or wet sand, made wet by the waters of the deep which cover the earth.  There is no dry land yet.  The whole of the earth is covered in a fathomless ocean (the abyss).  Heaven and earth do not yet exist.

"Then were created those which had no sensation, the earliest ones were called into being.  Ages increased, then the Zaphashamim were created, the observers of heaven, and they were formed like the shape of an egg."

The Zapahashamim are the 'watchers of heaven', though it is unknown exactly what they are.  In any case, some sort of intelligent life has now appeared.  Some think the Zaphashamim are like celestial birds which fly through the highest heavens, but it is unknown.

"Then Arapel, the cloudy darkness, burst into light, heavenly light, and both sea and land became heated.  And arose the winds, arose the clouds, and there were floods of the waters of heaven.  Came forth East-Wind and South-Wind, and they were in the midst of heaven.  Then came North-Wind and West-Wind, the winds were called forth, and they met there above."

Now the dark cloud has been blown away, and gathered into some secret places, from where it can still be unleashed.  Light has now appeared.  The clouds and winds appear.  Winds in the Near East are like cherubim which fly through the sky and caused winds by the beating of their wings.  The winds are blowing across the watery deep.

 "Then Kol-piakha, the great wind of heaven, went forward to Bahu, his wife, and knew her then. "

Kol-piakha is a great wind, and his consort Bahu is the desolate wasteland.  When the wind meets with the chaotic wasteland, the dark waste, it produces newer things.

"Ages increased, then Ulom and Kadmon were called into being. "

Ulom means 'time', which I will discuss in another post or video.  But time plays an important role in all of the Canaanite creation myths.  It is the driving force of creation, now things can finally occur.  It also means that this period was a time of great antiquity, but now that time exists, events can occur (they couldn't before).  Kadmon is linked to the east, the direction of the rising of the sun, where all things have their beginning and all things their end.  Creation is a cyclical process, rather than linear.  Interestingly, both Ulom and Kadmon are males (Kadmon is bisexual), so by the meeting of time and beginning, more things are created.  

"Long were the days, then Qen and Qenat were created."

Qen and Qenat are linked to genes, beginnings, origins.  Now all things will descend from them.

"The days became longer, then there came forth Ur, the son of Qen, and Ec their son, and holy Lehobah."

Ur is fire, Ec is flame, and Lehobah is light.  We can now identify some of the elements featured in creation.  In the Near East, the elements are (from lowest to highest):  Sea (equivalent to Water), Earth, Wind (equivalent of Air), and Sky (equivalent to Ether).  Though fire also plays an important role, it was not one of the primal elements present at creation like the others were.  Fire first appears with Ur, Ec and Lehobah.

"In their time was born El'abu, Aliyan the noble, and his wife Berith, the creators of gods."

El'abu (here called the Most High) in many ways can be called the first 'real' god.  He is the 'god of the fathers' and linked to ancestor veneration.  Berith is linked to the covenant between gods and mortals.  Before El'abu there were no 'real' gods.  But El'abu still doesn't belong to the current generation of gods like El, Baal, and Yam.  He is a god who came before the current generation.  The current generation is one large family and assembly of gods, headed by the patriarch El and his consort Asherah.  It is these gods that we worship most often.

"And from them was born Shamuma, the excellent one, most beautiful, filled with pride, he was the greatest of them all. And also his sister, holy Artzu, the most glorious, and they were together in their embrace.  And primeval Guruma, the other one, and chaos, Tahamatu, another besides; they were together as one. "

Shamuma is 'Heaven', Artzu is 'Earth'.  They are joined as one, like an egg.  Heaven and earth are not yet seperate.  'Heaven' means the sky above, while 'earth' means the dry land below us.  Guruma means 'mountains', while Tahamatu means 'deep'.  These are the mountains and waters of the primeval deep.

"And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen; when the gods were not born, not called into being, and when none bore a name, and all was in its former state; then were created the gods in the depths and the heights.  Ages increased, then there came forth El, the great god El, and Bethel, and Anak besides.  Then Shamuma, who hated his children, sent his daughters to El and told them to slay him.  Then they went, Asherah and Rachmay; then they went, the daughters of heaven, sisters of El.  But El, kindly El, did take them for his wives, and by them his children, the children of El, were born.  Numerous were they, sons and daughters, the divine assembly, the seventy sons and daughters of El.  The gods were established; in the birth chamber they were formed.  To El and Asherah, the Womb of the Deep, to El and Elat were born the gods.  And to the gods were born children, to them sons and daughters, until they were numerous as a multitude of nations."

What happens here is the birth of the current generation of gods.  They are the offspring of either Heaven and Earth (Shamuma and Artzu), or Heaven and the Deep (Shamuma and Tahamatu).  The gods are born in the waters of the deep, and emerge from the chaotic depths to see one another.  These gods are responsible for making the world habitable.  Before them, the world was in a chaotic state, and uninhabitable.  Shamuma intends for it to stay that way, as he hates his children (especially El) and tries to kill them.  He sends El's sisters, Asherah and Rachmay, to him.  But El makes them his wives as he is captivated by their beauty.  Then El and Asherah enter the birth chamber and begin to have many children, and their children have many more children, until the gods are formed.  It is also worth noting that creation starts off with very simple elements being born, but as time progresses they become increasingly more complex. 

"Ages increased, then there came forth Dagon, growing in the black earth; and Kothar, cunning in the working of devices and incantations; and Mot, the evil one; and Shaddai, the mountain; and Ashtart, the noble Morning Star; and Yam, the lord of the abyss; and Resheph, the fiery lord; and Anat, the divine warrior; and Allani, purest daughter; they were the greatest of all, the mightiest of deities.  From them came Mishar, the judge, and Zeduq, who discovered salt; and from Mishar, Nebo, the scribe."

Now we see the gods beginning to emerge.  They are born as the children of the primal deities.  

"Then El carried off heaven, and Asherah carried off earth, and Virgin Allani was carried off into the underworld as a prize.  By the advice of Anat, by the word of Nebo; by the word of the gods El made a sickle and a spear of iron, and drove back Shamuma his father, and drove him from his kingdom.  His concubine El gave to Dagon, and she was with child, giving birth to a son in the house of Dagon.  And they called him Hadad, a hero from birth, he was noble and mighty, and his heart filled with joy."

El now carries off heaven, and Asherah carries off earth.  The two are seperated from each other by their children, and heaven is placed above, while earth is placed below.  El's daughter Allani, while still a virgin, is carried off into the underworld by Mot as a prize.  She never returns.  Anat and Nebo tell El to fight against Shamuma, which he does.  Then his consort, who is pregnant, is given to Dagon.  She then gives birth to a son in Dagon's house.  This son is Baal Hadad, the greatest warrior.  This seems to be an attempt by Sakkun-yaton to harmonize two accounts of Baal's birth.  In one he is the son of Heaven, and in another (the most common account) he is the son of Dagon.

"Then Shamuma, the begetter of the great gods, made war against El, plotting evil against his son.  And El seized his father, he took him in his hands, and attacked him there, so that the blood from his wounds flowed into the fountains of the deep.  In the heights of him the divine council made their home, in his heavens the gods dwelled, and met there in council."

El now attacks and defeats Shamuma, making the heavens into the areas where the gods will dwell.  The assembly of the deities now meet there.

"When Tahamatu heard of this, she raged and cried aloud, thinking evil in her heart.  She advanced, she roared, she rested not by day or night, so that all the gods were cowering in fear.  Yam went forth against her, but he turned back and fled.  El went forth against her, but he turned back and fled.  Then mighty Hadad went against her, great Baal advanced in his chariot of thunder.  He found her, struck her, and her face was darkened by his hand."

Tahamatu is angered, and goes against the gods.  Baal is the mightiest and defeats her.  Now the chaotic primal deities are defeated, the gods can begin the task of creation.

"And the gods made a firmament in the midst of the waters, they divided the waters above from the waters below, declaring heaven and earth as their own.  And at El’s command, the waters fled, they fled from above the mountains, and dry land appeared."

The deities now divide the waters above from the waters below with a firmament (a dome that goes across the sky and holds back the rainwaters above).  Now the waters are gathered into the watery abyss and areas of the deep which Yam makes his home.  The waters retreat from the earth (often seen as flat in the ancient Near East), and and mountains and dry land begin to appearThe retreating waters become flowing rivers.

"To Ashtart there were born seven daughters, to her were born the Kathirat, and Qudshu and Chesed besides.  And from Resheph came the Qabirim, who made the ships and knew healing charms.  He took one among the Kathirat, one of the goddesses for his own, she gave birth to Eshmun the eighth of the sons of Resheph.  And they too begat sons of surpassing size and stature, men of renown, the giants, whose names are Zapan, and Lubnaan, and Hermon, and Martu."

Some more deities are born.  Then there are some giants who either inhabit the mountains which are named after them, or are turned into the mountains themselves.

"Then El decreed the fate of Anak in the assembly of the gods.  With the advice of Nebo he threw him into a deep pit, and buried him there below the earth.  At about this time the sons of the Qabirim put together rafts and ships, and made voyages; and were cast ashore near Mount Zapan, consecrating a temple there."

El becomes suspiscious of Anak and so buries him below the earth.  He now holds up the earth on its foundations.  A temple is built near Mount Zapan, which is the mountain where Baal makes his home.

"El made stations for the great gods; the stars, their images, as the stars of the zodiac, he fixed.  Shapash he caused to shine as a lamp by day, Yarikh he caused to shine as a lamp by night.  Then the stars, the great Kakabuma, were stationed in the firmament, being made for signs and the telling of signs.  The year he ordained, and the seasons, and all the months of the calendar would shine as accorded to the horns of Yarikh.  And he made the days, and declared the seventh day holy, the seventh day as a day of rest."

El now creates the stars and sets the sun and moon in place by day and night.  The seasons and the months are created.  And the seventh day is declared holy and a day of rest.  Now the deities need to make the earth pleasing and create life.  So God goes on to make animals.

"Then the gods made the seas and the land produce animals after their kind, the cattle and the wild beast and the creeping thing; and they set them in the sacred garden, the garden in the east.  The earth produced plants, the shrub and herb and tree, and they were given as food for the living souls."

Plants and animals are created, and live in a garden in the east.  This is a sacred garden of the gods on Mount Lel.  It is a lush paradise where there is no death or pain, only harmony and peace.

"And El took clay, the dust of the earth, and made humans, in the image of the gods he made them.  Into their lungs he breathed, they became living souls, and founded temples in the east."

Now mortals are made from clay in the image of the gods.  And mortals build temples to the gods their creators, and give offerings to them.  They live in the garden of paradise.                  


Thursday 16 February 2012

First sacrifice upon return

Yesterday I returned from a very long journey to another city.  The journey was pleasant, and I travelled through the mountains which had some snow lying about, and across several rivers.

When I returned, I realised that I haven't made any sacrifices in a long time.  I was having Middle-Eastern pizza that night, which contained beef (cows and bulls are listed in offering lists as frequent sacrifices), and so I gave it as an offering to the gods in my house before I ate it.

I felt spiritual and closer to the deities as a result.  It is sacrifices like these which ensure that we honour our side of our covenant with them.

Sunday 12 February 2012

The Story of Adon

A long time ago, when the earth was new, there was a spring called Afak, from which flowed a great river through Lubnaan.  And while the waters of the spring were flowing, fire fell from heaven into them; and at the merging of earthly waters and heavenly fire was born Malidthu, the goddess of the myrrh tree.

Malidthu's youth was ever-renewed by the spring, and it is here that she gave birth.  According to some, she knew the first king of a nearby city (it's name was Gebal), and by him conceived.  It is said that the offspring of this union was a handsome demigod named Adon, after whom the river was named.  Then Malidthu became a myrrh tree, and baby Adon was kept within, until a wild boar set him free.

The young man Adon sprung straight from the myrrh tree, and he took up the life of a shepherd.  Sometimes, it is said that the first King of Gebal had another son by his wife, who was a brother to Adon.  And this son became a farmer who cultivated the land.

Adon was beloved by the gods, being half-god and half-man, and when he offered the firstborn lamb as a sacrifice, the gods were pleased.  He was also so handsome that he became the desire of the goddess Ashtart.

Adon and Ashtart were married, and Ashtart (here called Baalat Gebal), came to his house.  While Adon lived, the land was green and fertile.

One night, Adon's father had a terrible dream.  In it, Adon was killed, either by a spear or by someone carrying a spear.  He awoke and warned his son, cautious of him to avoid danger.

Adon went to Ashtart and told her that he was going out to hunt wild boars in the mountains.  Ashtart warned him of the dangers, but Adon laughed and told her that he could only be killed by a spear (or someone carrying a spear) and as boars don't carry spears it would be foolish to worry.  Besides, he told her, he would return by the setting of the sun.

Adon picked up his bow and left his house, but on his way to the mountain his father met him.  His father again warned him not to go, but Adon laughed and told him that he could only be killed by a spear, and a boar couldn't kill him.  When it became apparent that his son wouldn't listen, the old king at last let him go.

But the old king was not satisfied with leaving Adon in danger, and so told his farmer brother to go and watch over him from a far-off place.

Arriving at the mountain, Adon took his bow and began to hunt the wild boars that lived there.  At first he did very well, but he soon caught sight of a large boar and began to chase after it.

There are different versions of what happens next.  According to one, the boar turned and gored Adon to death with its tusks.  But taking the dream into account, there are another two versions which attempt to explain it.  In one, Adon's brother saw the event from a distance, and thought that the boar would kill Adon.  So he threw his spear, and it missed the boar and killed Adon instead.  In the other, this boar was actually his brother in disguise, and he killed his brother (either by accident or on purpose as he was jealous of him).  In all cases, Adon's blood was spilled below the sacred pine tree, and from his blood red anemone flowers sprung up.  Then his blood flowed into his sacred river, and it turned red and flowed into the sea.

When he did not return by sunset, Ashtart went to the mountain and found her husband dead.  So she led the women of the nearby city in mourning.  The earth became barren and dry.

Adon's brother, consumed by guilt and cursed by the gods, went to the place of his brother's death and killed himself, though his descendants lived on in the city.

Meanwhile, Ashtart went and appeared before Shapash, asking her to go and search the in the underworld for Adon.  Shapash went off, and as she went, the days grew shorter and shorter.  Eventually, Shapash went and found Adon in the netherworld, and restored him to the land of the living.  But there was a problem.  Adon had been to the underworld, and should not be allowed to return.  So the gods decreed that Adon would spend half of the year in the land above, and the other half in the land below.  And so he became the deity who had been to both lands, and the deity who knew the mysteries of life and death.  From that day forward, the city cult of Gebal was that of divine Adon and Baalat Gebal.

The Canaanite story of Adon has similarities with stories of gods from other cultures.  The most obvious examples are Osir of the Egyptians, Dumuzi of the Sumerians, Tammuz of the Babylonians, Abel of the Hebrews, and some Hittite and Hurrian deities.

Idols of Adon
Adon's city of Gebal, founded near to his place of birth
The Adon River (Nahr Adon, also known as Nahr Ibrahim)
Adon's place of birth at Afak
The sacred temple in Gebal where Adon and Baalat Gebal's rites were celebrated
Pine trees sacred to Adon
Pine trees sacred to Adon

Saturday 4 February 2012

The Founding of Qart-Hadasht

This is the mythical history of Qart-Hadasht, and concerns its first queen, Dudu.

Once, the King of Tyre, Mattan, grew old.  And so he made his son, Prince Pumayyaton; and his daughter, Princess Elishat, his joint heirs.  And then King Mattan grew old and died.

But the Tyrians refused to accept Elishat as their queen.  And so they crowned Pumayyaton as sole king instead.  So Elishat went to the famous temple of Melqart which stood in the city, and there married her uncle Zakarbaal, the high priest of Melqart.  In the Kingdom of Tyre, the high priest had a level of power which rivalled that of the king himself.

This made both Pumayyaton and Zakarbaal (the king and high priest respectively) both very wealthy, as Tyre had founded many colonies across the sea to the west, and traded with many areas, among them:  Senir, Lubnaan, Bashan, Assyria, Kittim, Egypt, Elishah, Sidon, Arvad, Gubla, Persia, Lud, Phut, Serug, Rodanim, Greece, Tarshish, Israel, Judah, Dimashqu, Arabia, and Tubal.  The wealth was numerous and made Tyre a powerful and prosperous kingdom.

However, King Pumayyaton didn't want to share his power with Zakarbaal, and he wanted his gold.  So the king arranged for his men to kill Zakarbaal in the temple.  But Elishat knew that whoever killed her husband must have been after his gold, and so she took it and hid it away.  She then went to see her brother at the royal palace of Tyre.

But her brother lied and told her stories of deception.  Eventually, however, she saw through his lies and escaped his court.  When messengers arrived, she told them to tell the king that she was moving to the palace.  The king was delighted, thinking that Elishat had fallen for his trick and would give him Zakarbaal's gold.  But Elishat was cunning.  She met with some members of the city council, who had also began to suspect the king of playing a part in the murder of the high priest.  She told them to come with her and flee Tyre, for if they were caught suspecting the king of murder, he might have them put to death.  They agreed, and so Elishat told them to prepare a ship in the city harbour.

But Elishat still did not have enough people to come with her and found a colony to the west.  So she devised a plan.  When she saw Pumayyaton's slaves and workers moving her belongings to the palace, she filled several bags full of sand and handed them over.  She then told them to throw the bags into the sea as an offering to Zakarbaal's shade.  When they did so, she told them that these bags were the bags of gold, and that the king was going to execute them for doing this when he found out.  Unless, of course, they agreed to come with her and escape.

With all her men onboard the ship, Elishat gave the order to set sail and leave Tyre.  But as she was leaving, messengers arrived at the palace telling King Pumayyaton what had happened.  In a fit of rage, Pumayyaton ordered his men to send ships after them and bring them back.

The Tyrian ships full of soldiers soon caught up with Elishat's ship, but she had another plan.  She called to the other ships and told them that she would really throw the bags of gold into the sea unless they came with her.  If they returned to Tyre with her, they would be executed anyway for losing the gold.  And so they agreed.

Sailing west, the ship first landed on the island of Kittim.  There, the men took several women from the temple of Baal as their wives.  Then they set sail for the land of Phut in the west.  Arriving in Phut, Elishat approached the local tribes bringing gifts of peace.  She then asked to buy land from them.  Laughing, the people threw her an oxhide and told her she could have all the land the oxhide covered.  But Elishat had another plan.  She told her men to cut the oxhide into very thin strips, and then lay them out one after the other until they formed lines which covered a nearby hill.  When the people returned, they saw what she had done, but they were true to their word and let her build a city atop the hill.

While digging on the hill, the men found the head of an ox and the head of a horse.  This they considered to be a sign from the gods.  The priest of Baal arrived, and told them that they were indeed a sign, promising that the city which would be founded here would be great and powerful, becoming famed throughout the whole world.  Assured, the city was built atop the hill.  This hill became known as the Bozrah, which is where the palace, citadel, and many temples were built.  And this city was named Qart-Hadasht, which means 'New City'.

In time, Qart-Hadasht was fully completed, and the people lived there happily in their new home.  They crowned Elishat as queen, and she ruled over the city and its people.  But she was always unmarried, preferring instead to remain loyal to her first husband, Zakarbaal.  Many suitors from the surrounding Phutite tribes came forth asking for her hand in marriage, but she always refused them, telling them that she would never forget her husband and she would remain faithful forever.

But the king of the Gattulites, a local Phutite tribe, was determined to marry her.  He was called King Jarbu, and his people had lived in Phut for far longer than these foreign Canaanites, and they possessed a far stronger army.  He ordered messengers to arrive at the palace of Queen Elishat, and to tell her that she was to marry him or else he would wage a brutal war on Qart-Hadasht.  The messengers went off, and told the messengers at Elishat's court.  They appeared before her and told her that King Jarbu asked for a Canaanite woman to teach him the ways and culture of her people.  Queen Elishat told them that Canaanites were always prepared to do anything to defend their people and their city.  Then the messengers told her the bitter truth.  Jarbu had demanded to marry her or he would besiege the city.

The queen went off by herself, lost in thought.  She had swore to remain faithful to her first husband, and she never intended to stray from her promise.  But Jarbu was a king, and a powerful one at that.  Qart-Hadasht was still young, and vulnerable to attack.  She knew that she must defend her city from attack, and as a queen it was the duty charged to her by heaven and earth.  She had to choose: betray her husband and marry Jarbu, or allow her city to be destroyed and its people massacred or enslaved.  But crafty Elishat had one last scheme in mind.

When the messengers of Jarbu arrived, she told them that she would not refuse to marry him provided he swore not to attack her city.  Then she went to a high place above the city, and ordered her slaves to stack a large pile of wood on this location.  They found this odd, but did not question her orders.  It took several days for this pile to be built.

When it was finally completed, Elishat waited for the arrival of Jarbu in the city.  When he came, she made him swear not to attack Qart-Hadasht as long as she didn't refuse to marry him.  Then she ascended to the high place.  And there she stood, for all to see her.  She then set the wood alight, and gave burnt offerings to the shade of her husband.  Elishat then swore upon his memory that she would always defend her city, in any way possible.  And she also swore that she would never forget her husband, no matter what.  Then virtuous Elishat took her sword, and fell upon it.  And before she died, she threw herself upon the fire, which became her funeral pyre.

In committing this act, all who stood and watched were moved to tears.  Elishat had remained faithful to her husband, and married no other man.  Qart-Hadasht was saved, as she had not refused to marry Jarbu, and with her dead he would not attack the city.  In time, it would grow to become a powerful and mighty kingdom, founding colonies elsewhere, and claiming the lands of the local tribes as its own.  Jarbu's people, the Gattulites, became allies of the Qart-Hadashtites; and in later days one of Elishat's descendants, the famous general Hannibaal, would have Gattulite infantry in his great army.

From that day forward, Elishat was named Dudu.  And her promise to defend her city continued even after her death, for it is said that she ascended from the pyre into the heavens and became deified as a goddess.  Dudu was always revered as the protector of Qart-Hadasht in times of danger, and among some it was even said that she was an incarnation of the goddess Tanit herself, and from her came a great and noble city.