The chief god of the Palmyrenes was a solar deity, called Samas or Shamash (" sun "), or Bel, or Malak-bel,' whose great temple is still the most imposing feature among the ruins of Palmyra.
The sun-god Shamash calls upon Eabani to remain with Gilgamesh, who pays him all honours in his palace at Erech.
In the 3rd tablet, very imperfectly preserved, Gilgamesh appeals through a Shamash priestess Rimat-Belit to the sun-god Shamash for his aid in the proposed undertaking.
It is significant in this connexion that there were two cities named Sippar, one under the protection of Shamash, the sun-god, and one under this Anunit, a fact which points strongly tothe probable proximity of Sippar and Agade.
Modified though never essentially changed, (1) by contact with the star-worship of the Chaldaeans, who identified Mithras with Shamash, god of the sun,(2) by the indigenous Armenian religion and other local Asiatic faiths and (3) by the Greeks of Asia Minor, who identified Mithras with Helios, and contributed to the success of his cult by equipping it for the first time with artistic representations (the famous Mithras relief originated in the Pergamene school towards the 2nd century B.C.), Mithraism was first transmitted to the Roman world during the 1st century B.C. by the Cilician pirates captured by Pompey.
Khammurabi and the sun-god Shamash, on the former's famous code of laws, have the same features and almost the same frizzled beard, and, according to Meyer, the king in claiming supremacy over Sumer and Akkad wears the costume of the lands.
Young Egyptian princes and youthful kings had 3 Comp. the horns of Bau (" mother of the gods "), Samas (Shamash), (H)adad, and (in Egypt) of the Asiatic god assimilated to Set (so, too, Rameses III.
His association with the sun-god, Shamash, due to the natural combination of the two deities who alternate in the control of nature, leads to imbuing him with some of the traits belonging to a solar deity.
The process of assimilation did not proceed so far in Babylonia and Assyria, but Shamash and Adad became in combination the gods of oracles and of divination in general.
Whether the will of the gods is determined through the inspection of the liver of the sacrificial animal, through observing the action of oil bubbles in a basin of water or through the observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, it is Shamash and Adad who, in the ritual connected with divination, are invariably invoked.
Similarly in the annals and votive inscriptions of the kings, when oracles are referred to, Shamash and Adad are always named as the gods addressed, and their ordinary designation in such instances is bele biri, " lords of divination."
23 that he has absorbed in his person various minor solar deities, representing different phases of the sun, just as subsequently Shamash absorbed the attributes of practically all the minor sun-deities.
In the systematized pantheon, Ninib survives the tendency towards centralizing all sun cults in Shamash by being made the symbol of a certain phase of the sun.
It had its root in the revolt of Samas-sumyukin (Shamash-shun-ukin) of Babylonia, and coming at a time immediately preceding the disintegration of the Assyrian Empire, may have had most important consequences for Judah and the east of the Jordan.'
Indeed, the other gods, Sin, Shamash (Samas), Adad, Ninib and Nergal, and even Ea, take on the warlike traits of Assur in the epithets and descriptions given of them in the annals and votive inscriptions of Assyrian rulers to such an extent as to make them appear like little Assurs by the side of the great one.
Besides the chief temple, the capital contained temples and chapels to Anu, Adad, Ishtar, Marduk, Gula, Sin, Shamash, so that we are to assume the existence of a sacred precinct in Assur precisely as in the religious centres of the south.
Thus he is called - in the cuneiform letters - their Shamash or their Addu.
At all events, when one considers the Babylonian-Assyrian conceptions of Shamash as the supreme and righteous judge, god of truth and justice, or the monotheism of Amenophis IV.
Associated with Marduk was his consort Sarpanit, and grouped around the pair as princes around a throne were the chief deities of the older centres, like Ea and Damkina of Eridu, Nebo and Tashmit of Borsippa, Nergal and Allatu of Kutha, Shamash and A of Sippar, Sin and Ningal of Ur, as well as pairs like Ramman (or Adad) and Shala whose central seat is unknown to us.
In this process of accommodating ancient prerogatives to new conditions, it was inevitable that attributes belonging specifically to the one or the other of these gods should have been transferred to Marduk, who thus from being, originally, a solar deity becomes an eclectic power, taking on the traits of Bel, Ea, Shamash, Nergal, Adad and even Sin (the moon-god)- a kind of composite residuum of all the chief gods.
The older incantations, associated with Ea, were re-edited so as to give to Marduk the supreme power over demons, witches and sorcerers; the hymns and lamentations composed for the cult of Bel, Shamash and of Adad were transformed into paeans and appeals to Marduk, while the ancient myths arising in the various religious and political centres underwent a similar process of adaptation to changed conditions, and as a consequence their original meaning was obscured by the endeavour to assign all mighty deeds and acts, originally symbolical of the change of seasons or of occurrences in nature, to the patron deity of Babylon - the supreme head of the entire Babylonian pantheon.
Besides the chief deities and their consorts, various minor ones, representing likewise patron gods of less important localities and in most cases of a solar character were added at one time or the other to the court of Marduk, though there is also to be noted a tendency on the part of the chief solar deity, Shamash of Sippara, and for the chief moon-god to absorb the solar and lunar deities of ]ess important sites, leading in the case of the solar gods to the differentiation of the functions of Shamash during the various seasons of the year and the various times of the day among these minor deities.
By the side of the first triad, consisting of Anu, Bel and Ea - disconnected in this form entirely from all local associations - we encounter a second triad composed of Shamash, Sin and Ishtar.
The personification of the two great luminaries - the sun and the moon - was the first step in the unfolding of this system, and this was followed by placing the other deities where Shamash and Sin had their seats.
Shamash the sun-god was invested with justice as his chief trait, Marduk is portrayed as full of mercy and kindness, Ea is the protector of mankind who is grieved when, through a deception practised upon Adapa, humanity is deprived of immortality.
1), an important city of ancient Babylonia, the site of the worship of the sun-god, Shamash, represented by the ancient ruin mound of Senkereh (Senkera).
This represents the ancient ziggurat of the temple of Shamash, which was in part explored by Loftus.
(5) The higher elemental gods sometimes, like the sun, as the Indian Surya, the Egyptian Re, the Babylonian Shamash (Samas), the Greek Helios, retain their distinct connexion with the visible object.
Not only does a sky-god like Varuna, or a sun-god like the Babylonian Shamash, survey all human things, and take cognizance of the evil-doer, but the daily course of the world is itself the expression of an intellectual and moral power.