Why do ancient images of the "lord of animals" appear all over the world?

140734x 27. 09. 2019 1 Reader
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Anyone who today at least occasionally admires the beauty of ancient art will notice it all over the world Repeat the same patterns, symbols and motifs. Is it just a coincidence? Or were ancient cultures linked much more than we think? It is not necessary to be an academic or a professional archaeologist to ask these questions when looking at ancient art.

Display animals

Lord of the animals

One of many such cases is the often recurring motive known as the "lord of animals." Sometimes it is also called "Ruler of animals" whether "Lady of the animals," or Potnia Theron. Some depictions of this motif go back to the time of 4000 BC Whatever we call them, they are depictions of man, god or goddess holding two animals or objects on the sides.

According to researcher and author Richard Cassaro, these are icons of the "divine self" and represent universal knowledge. He analyzed hundreds of such images from around the planet, along with ancient pyramidal buildings. As these motifs appear again and again all over the world, it is interesting to think about how this is even possible. Was it just a question that the same symbolic decorative motif came by chance? Or do we see evidence of communication over thousands of kilometers at a time that we thought was not possible?

Apart from this mystery, what does this symbol really mean? We may consider that these depictions may represent the reign of ancient heroes and heroines over the animal kingdom. Does this idea sound true? Or are we looking at the depiction of ancient beings endowed with higher intelligence, who transmit knowledge of agriculture and technology, as some proponents of the theory of ancient astronauts suggest? It seems that this question cannot be solved here, and therefore we have no choice but to admire and enjoy the beauty of these ancient works of art. The more we study them, the more questions we have and the more and more our current understanding of history is questioned.

Sitting woman

One of the oldest examples is a sitting woman from Çatalhöyük from Turkey. This ceramic figurine was created around 6000 BC It is commonly known as the "Mother Goddess" and was found in 1961.

“One of the grain tanks found in the temple contained an 12 cm tall statuette of a large woman sitting on a throne with two leopards on either side. The statuette depicts a fruiting woman with a baby's head visible between her legs. In addition to leopards and vultures, besides the mother goddess, there are bulls. The wall paintings show only the bull's heads. ”

Sitting woman

One of the first depictions of this motif can be seen on the pre-east and Mesopotamian sealing rollers. In the picture below we see a seal of the seal from the Achaimen period depicting a Persian king overcoming two Mesopotamian protective deities of the lamass.

Persian king conquering the two Mesopotamian protective deities of lamass

The example below comes from the ancient city-state of Ur in Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq, from around 2600 BC. Enkidu was the central figure of the ancient Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh.

Ancient bag

In a field in today's Iran, this strange shape object dating from around 2500 BC was discovered. Its shape resembles objects often depicted in the hands of ancient beings depicted in engravings around the world. Sometimes it is referred to as an ancient bag, but what was it actually? This subject seems to combine the motives of the lord of animals and the shape of the ancient bag. In the art of so-called intercultural style originating in western Iran, and often found in Mesopotamian temples as gifts, the motive of the lord of the animals was very common.


Now let us move into the civilization of the Indus Valley in present-day Pakistan, where we can see the depiction of "Pasupati," which is the name of the lord of animals in Sanskrit. A figure with three faces sitting in a yoga position is surrounded by animals.


Next, let's look at the famous flint knife with ivory handle called the knife from Gebel el-Arak from Abyd in Egypt. This subject is, according to popular awareness, dated around 3300-3200 BC The question of why the king of Sumer was apparently portrayed on an ancient Egyptian artifact did not allow researchers to sleep. (The contacts between Sumer and Egypt in 4. Thousand are also documented by Egyptian funerary architecture). The character may represent the "lord of the animals", the god Ela, the Meskiangasher (Biblical Crossbow), the Sumerian king of Uruk, or simply the "warrior."

Ancient depiction of the Lord of animals

King of Uruk

As his shepherd hat shows, one of the researchers wrote:

'It seems that the King of Uruck is always surrounded by animals. As explained in the article Kings of Uruk, 'The goal the persistent presence of animals in the iconography of the Uruck kings is to establish their identity as shepherds, the guardians of their flock, the people. ' The King of Uruk had to use a display instead of a written word to that he is the king-shepherd. It was because the Sumerian script was still developing at that time. ”

Golden pendant

Another example that refers to both ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia is a gold pendant depicting the lord of animals. Although it looks Egyptian, it is Minoan and is dated to the time between 1700-1500 BC It is currently located in the British Museum. Note that the snakes look unusual similar to those on the Gundestrup cauldron from Denmark shown below.

Golden pendant

Lady animals

When we move to ancient Greece, we can see a goddess called the "Lady of the Beasts" or Potnia Theron, which is depicted on an ivory votive plate from the archaic period.

Lady animals

In almost 3200, a kilometer away from Denmark, we find another depiction of the lord of animals on the cauldron of Gundestrup, the largest silver object of the European Iron Age. The cauldron was found in the peat bog in 1891 and can be dated to 2. or 3. This time it appears that the "animals" in the hands of the depicted figures represent some misunderstood technology, rather than real snakes.

The example below is a bronze object from Luristan from the period between 1000 and 650 BC and comes from a mountain area in western Iran. This complicated-looking object was the side of the horse's bit.

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One comment on "Why do ancient images of the "lord of animals" appear all over the world?"

  • EmArty says:

    Jan Kozák speaks in an interesting way to the article - the depiction of the "lord of animals" in his lecture "The Vedic Worldview as the Foundation of the Slavic Culture". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA3O_8JMaQo&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1hOoIwQyI3C_ReFaFXHeLzzxDh52n6Isgcja3ngRZbXOJiMC7QLR-noA8 (38 min) According to his interpretation, it is a representation of the power of the spirit (the power of man / god), which opens the opposing forces of the bipolar world and was praised by our ancestors as the holy force of life able to rise above contentious dualism and create harmonious coexistence of these basic forces. The power that brings peace. It would be understandable if, with this symbolism in mind, the rulers would subsequently present themselves as those who would secure order in chaos. There is no more glorious ruler than one who brings peace, harmony, love. This is true to this day. It seems to me to be a very good and informed argument.

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