Giuseppe Furlani

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Giuseppe Furlani (1885 – 1962), Italian Assyriologist and historian of religions.

Arab philosophy:[edit]

  • In Arab culture, philosophy has occupied a rather conspicuous position. Philosophy, perhaps even only with the simple categories of Aristotelian and Porphyrian logic[1], pervades all the fields in which Arab thought expressed itself, it involves not only theological speculation - to varying degrees, however, according to the different schools and tendencies - to a certain extent law, but also all the sciences, astronomy no less than mathematics, medicine no less than musicology. Even the Arabic grammatical theory, which does not depend at all on the corresponding Greek doctrines, but is a completely indigenous product, fully reflecting the particular spirit of the Semitic languages, is affected, although to a very slight extent, by the action of some concepts of logic. Aristotelian. (p. 126)
  • Arabic philosophy was [...] philosophy of foreign origin, Greek speculation, Aristotelian philosophy, and was introduced among the Arabs already done, it did not arise slowly in the country itself from uncertain and modest origins, it did not it has always developed through internal development, it has not always then divided into various currents according to the mental peculiarities of its different followers, as Greek speculation developed, to cite a luminous and almost paradigmatic example. (p. 129)
  • The Arabs knew Aristotle's doctrines only through Arabic language versions. No Arab philosopher knew Greek. (p. 132)

Babylonian and Assyrian myths:[edit]

  • The Babylonians and Assyrians had a large number of myths and legends, largely based on those of the Sumerian, a nation of southern Mesopotamia who preceded them in history and civilization, from which they drew heavily , so it can be said that the whole Babylonian and Assyrian civilization, and in the first place religion, stands on a rich Sumerian substratum. (p. xiii)
  • The purpose of the recitation Template:NDR was first of all this: to narrate, to make the great deeds of the god [[Marduk] well known to all ], to praise the way in which, as a young and insignificant son of Ea he had managed, through his great valor, to gain first place in the Babylonian pantheon, and thereby motivate in a certain sense the celebration of the festival. (p. 4)
  • L'Enûma eliš had the same function during the New Year celebration that every hymn to the god had during ceremonies in the temple. The poem is also a grandiose hymn, in which abundant biographical passages of the god are included. They remind the god of his great deeds and invite him to do something grandiose again in favor of the one who recites the hymn. The god who saved his fellow gods from evil beings will certainly want to save his faithful now! (p. 4)
  • We cannot say anything about the author of the grandiose poem, since in the numerous Mesopotamian texts in cuneiform characters made public so far no information can be found about him, and probably never will be found, as the Babylonians have annexed very little or no importance to the property literature and the belonging of works of literature to this or that artist, just as they have never taken care to pass on to posterity the names of their most famous sculptors, carvers of bas-reliefs and seals, painters, and builders of palaces and temples. (pp. 6-7)
  • The fight between the gods and the monster or monsters certainly has an astral, and perhaps even cosmic, character, and could for example symbolize the succession or conflict of the seasons as it manifests itself in nature. (p. 14)
  • There was perhaps no great god of ancient Mesopotamia of whom it was not said that he had subjugated monstrous and terrible beings, just as it was said of every great god that he had performed acts of formation or creation and destined destinies. Creating, eradicating monsters and destining destinies were common traits of the great gods of the civilizations of the ancient East. (pp. 17-18)
  • The whole epic story, and in particular the conflict of Marduk and Tiāmat have an astral meaning, and certain traits in which we are not yet able to see it must also have it. Unfortunately we do not know exactly which events in the starry sky the poem depicts: we do not yet know its true astral meaning. However, since the Babylonian and Assyrian religion acquired this character to an ever greater degree only as time progressed, we must assume that originally the poem reflected a mythical event of a fundamentally different character, some natural, cosmic event. Behind the gods-people there should therefore be natural gods-phenomena, and especially behind the conflict between Marduk and Tiāmat, which is the central and culminating point of the mythical action. In other words: what physical event represents this conflict? A natural fact interpreted as a divine adventure and transferred to the origins? Here too the answer is not easy. One might suppose that it was a question of depicting the struggle of spring with winter or that of the sun and light with darkness, but Marduk was never truly a solar god, any more than Aššūr was, or that Tiāmat and his offspring would represent the fury of the elements, of the rain and the storm, the rainy and stormy season, which in a region like that of the Valley of the Two Rivers causes destruction, until in spring the sun triumphs over the bad weather: Marduk would therefore represent the sun of spring, and the world would begin this very season. Tiāmat instead represents winter and night and also disorderly chaos, according to the view of the various theological schools of the country and also of the Babylonians and Assyrians of different eras. (pp. 21-22)
  • In a cylinder from the British Museum, a cylinder dating back to around 800 BCE., Tiāmat has the exact shape of a serpent, as long as the seal itself. [...] In addition to some other similar cylinders, with Tiāmat in the form of a serpent, we also have cylinders with Tiāmat in the guise of a lion-griffin or dragon. This depiction of the monster is very common in the last period, but it is nothing more than an artistic variant of the first. (p. 30)
  • From what we have explained about the depictions of the conflict between Marduk and Tiāmat, it can be seen that the monster was the famous dragon of Babel, represented countless times in Mesopotamian art, a dragon that could have either an elongated shape, almost like a serpent, or a shortened one of a lion. Originally, however, it must have been a snake. (p. 33)
  • The Mesopotamians conceived the generation of the gods in perfect agreement with the human one through the work of a male god and a female goddess. Even the primitive gods were therefore procreated by a couple. (p. 77)
  • Ea is the great advisor of the gods, and it is therefore natural that he is the first to be aware of the evil that Tiāmat was preparing. (p. 83)
  • According to the Babylonian concept, men are, compared to the gods, immensely stupid and ignorant. (p. 98)
  • The concept of the life-giving breath of the god seems to be of Egyptian origin and belongs to the prehistory or protohistory of the idea of ​​the spirit of the god. (p. 103)
  • Marduk redeemed the gods following Tiāmat from slavery, he freed them from slavery by creating men and making them carry the burden of serving the gods. That is, Marduk, to spare the vanquished gods from serving the other victorious gods, forms humanity which is therefore destined by original and natural disposition to serve the gods, to religion. Humanity is therefore the subject of redemption, it is not to be redeemed, but a part of the gods is redeemable: men redeem the gods. (p. 104)
  • Template:NDR This epic, which we could call the Mesopotamian'Odyssey, tells us it goes back a long way in time. It paints us with incisive and sometimes very eloquent features the social and spiritual conditions of southern Mesopotamia around 2800 BCE. and in part certainly from an even more ancient era, since the Sumerian epic and mythical texts on which the Babylonian language versions that constitute our poem are based should have arisen during the era of the third dynasty of Uru, therefore during the period from 2028 to approximately 1920 BCE., but they are certainly at least partly older. (p. 111)
  • Template:NDR This poem is a true hymn to the most intimate and profound friendship, all'' 'ibru-talīmūtu, between Gilgameš, king of Uruk, and his companion Enkidu, both unparalleled heroes, of which the first however is the hero in the true sense of the word, the one hundred percent hero, without confusion, inflexible and intransigent, whose heroism can be concisely expressed in his own words: I don't care at all about life and I am ready to die, as long as I accomplish great works, bringing universal and imperishable fame. This was therefore the heroic ideal of the ancient Mesopotamians, Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians, not at all dissimilar to the later one of the Greeks. (p. 113)
  • Template:NDR In her relations with Gilgamesh she is the prostitute goddess, a true slut, ferocious, passionate, while in the story of the universal flood, in the eleventh table, she is a merciful goddess, who takes the fate of humanity to heart and deplores the way of acting of the cruel Enlil, provocateur of the destruction of men with the exception of a few survivors. (p. 117)
  • Ḫumbaba, the guardian of the cedar forest, placed there by the gods, is not truly a god but a demon with a monstrous appearance, with a frightening face, cruel and ferocious like his master Enlil. Someone wanted to see in this demonic figure, sometimes invoked to scare children, the personification of a volcano. (p. 117)
  • Whoever compares the style of the'Enûma eliš with that of our epic will certainly notice a great difference. The Epic is written in a less solemn and toga style than the first and seems less ancient precisely because of its style. From many parts of the two writings it emerges that they had as authors two poets who were quite different in mentality and artistic ability. In both compositions there are also rather down-to-earth songs. However, from an aesthetic point of view the'Epic is superior. (p. 118)
  • No one will be able to deny that in some points, in some episodes the text is highly poetic, capable of dragging even the modern reader, to whom at first many things will certainly seem quite foreign to his way of seeing and feeling, as well as bizarre. Everyone will have to admire the simplicity of the means with which the poet was able to achieve surprisingly profound effects. Who will not be moved when he reads Gilgamesh's pathetic lament over the fate of his friend? Who won't be amazed when they read the dialogue between Ištār and Gilgameš? Who will not smile and at the same time be amazed when he reads the speeches between the king and the elders of Uruk? He will not think that humanity has not changed at all in certain sentiments since the beginning of the third millennium BCE. up to the present day? (p. 119)
  • Since in the epic no mention is made of the name of the national god of Babylon, Marduk, raised to his pre-eminent position precisely by the first dynasty mentioned above, it is clear that it must be prior to the advent of this dynasty. Or it could be contemporary with this dynasty, but arose in a state independent of the Babylon of the kings of that dynasty. (p. 121)
  • We don't know exactly what Gilgameš's name means. It is not excluded that the name dates back to a Presumer language, and that the different ways of writing it represent different adaptations to the Sumerian language or attempts at explanation using the words of the Sumerian language. (p. 132)
  • Template:NDR It has been held that the first two elements of the name form that of the Sumerian god Enki, the god of water and wisdom, the Ea of the Babylonians and Assyrians. In the third element, du, we saw the Sumerian ideogram meaning to create, produce, and we therefore reproduced the whole name in Babylonian with Ea-bānī, <Ea has created> or <creates> or <is creator>. (p. 133)


1. Porphyrius, ancient Greek philosopher, theologian and astrologer.


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