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HomeArchaeologyLamashtu Plaque: Assyrian Healing Device Against The Evil Goddess

Lamashtu Plaque: Assyrian Healing Device Against The Evil Goddess

A. Sutherland – – ‘Lamashtu Plaque’ (or ‘Hell Plaque’) was an Assyrian therapeutic system in opposition to the feminine demon Lamashtu and her evil doings.

Lamashtu plaque held by Pazuzu

Lamashtu plaque held by Pazuzu. Image credit score: Rama –  CC BY-SA 2.0 fr

Now within the Louvre, the unique of this plaque is fabricated from bronze and dates from the Neo-Assyrian interval between the tenth and seventh century BC. Lamashtu plaque held by the demon Pazuzu, the king of the demons of the wind and son of Hanbi, the god of all evil forces and the daddy of Pazuzu and Humbaba.

The artifact is certainly one of many useful historical Assyrian treasures.

Lamashtu, usually known as “she who erases,” is an evil creature blamed for the deaths of youngsters and moms, poisoning water, killing vegetation, consuming the flesh, consuming the blood of grownup males, and inflicting nightmares. She had a bushy physique with a lioness’s head, a donkey’s tooth and ears, and hen talons.

According to Mesopotamian beliefs, hanging the plaque over the mattress was essential to keep off illness by driving evil Lamashtu out. She was believed to trigger many diseases. Her husband Pazuzu, proven on the again, is invoked to influence her to go away and thus velocity the affected person’s restoration.

Exorcism Ceremony Depicted On The Artifact

The exorcism scene is split into registers. The higher register exhibits symbols that symbolize the good cosmic gods invoked to heal the sick individual: the solar of Shamash, the crescent moon of Sin, the lightning bolt of the storm god Adad, and the winged disc of Ashur, the supreme god of the Assyrian Empire.

The seven spirits depicted within the second register (every with a special animal’s head) most likely had a useful perform as a result of they symbolically guard the door of the affected person’s bed-chamber.

Protection plaque in opposition to Lamashtu (fragment). Dimensions: 6.40 cm excessive, 8.40 cm broad, 1.20 cm deep. Photo credit:  Rama –  CC BY-SA 2.0 fr – Louvre Museum

The affected person is seen within the third register, mendacity on a mattress surrounded by two figures wearing fish skins. These figures could possibly be the spirits related to Ea, the god of the depths and knowledge. They are most likely the priestly exorcists conducting the ritual with the assistance of three animal-headed spirits.

Driving Out Evil Spirits

Lamashtu, sitting on a donkey in a ship is depicted within the decrease register.  The evil Lamashtu is twice as massive as all the opposite characters. She is introduced as bodily fearsome, with a bushy physique, lion’s head, and talons.

She is holding and suckling two lion cubs and snakes. From an inscription, we study that she is “livid and merciless, a blinding goddess. As a she-wolf; she snatches the younger man on the trail, the lady at play, the kid from his nurse’s arms.” Clearly, she is chargeable for evil deeds.

The boat is crusing alongside a river stuffed with fish, symbolizing the world of Apsu (Abzu) – the underworld residence to demons. Do all of the presents depicted on the artifact encourage Lamashtu to set off on her journey again to the underworld? Pazuzu is standing behind Lamashtu and is as fearsome as his spouse.

He is current there to guard the affected person by urging his spouse to retreat. This historical perception was very robust and widespread within the 1st millennium in Mesopotamia. Ancient Mesopotamians feared Lamashtu and searched for various means to guard themselves from this harmful feminine demon and her evil doings.

The uppermost a part of the plaque shows the totally different gods concerned within the therapeutic course of: the solar of Shamash, the crescent moon of Sin, the lightning bolt of Adad, and the winged disc of Ashur.

Lamashtu Plaque: Assyrian Healing Device Against The Evil Goddess

Close-up of plaque’ s prime register. Pazuzu holding the safety plaque in opposition to Lamashtu. Photo credit: Rama –  CC BY-SA 2.0 fr – Louvre Museum

In the second register, seven animal-headed spirits guard the door to a bed-chamber, and within the third, the affected person is depicted mendacity on a mattress, flanked by two monks, who’re aided by three animal spirits related to Ea god  (or Enki), the Sumerian god of water, data, mischief, crafts, and creation.

Overlooking the plaque is Lamashtu’s husband, the demon Pazuzu, the one one who might persuade her to go away. It’s price mentioning that ‘Lamashtu Plaque’ was initially thought to have represented the Babylonian goddess Eresh-kigal and her journey by way of the underworld.

The lion-headed determine on the prime was believed to be the Babylonian god Nergal, (“Great Watcher”) and Ereshkigal’s husband.

In Mesopotamian mythology, the goddess Ereshkigal, “Queen of the Great Earth,” dominated the underworld. She was additionally known as Irkalla and the one one who might move judgment and provides legal guidelines in her kingdom.

Was the feminine demon Lamashtu the goddess Ereshkigal?

Based on Mesopotamian mythology, Lamashtu was the daughter of the sky god Anu. There can also be a Semitic record of seven known as Kamu or captive demons: Lamashtu, Labasu, Akbazu, Lilu, Lilitu, Ardat, Lili, and Mukil.

Was Lamashtu punished for misbehaving by the supreme gods and expelled from the Earth to underground realms the place she was compelled to remain indefinitely?

Written by – A. Sutherland Staff Writer

Updated on March 14, 2023

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