By Tamara M Green PhD

This learn treats the non secular and highbrow heritage of the town of Harran (Eastern Turkey) from biblical occasions right down to the institution of Islam. the writer starts off from the well known reference within the Qur'an and the early Islamic histories to the folk of Harran as Sabians, one of many 'peoples of the book.' the writer unravels strands of spiritual culture in Harran that run from the outdated Semitic planetary cults via Hellenistic hermeticism, gnosticism, and Neo-Pythagoreanism and Christian cults to esoteric Islamic sects similar to the Sufis and Shiites.

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Eclipses were interpreted as evil omens: special prayers were offered on the moon's behalf, for they were a sign that Sin had been overpowered by demons. Once Sin,' 'the luminary of heaven and earth,'' has vanished from the heavens, evil and chaos have the chance to flourish. 39 Indeed, the motif of the moon struggling continually against the powers of darkness would seem to be central to an understanding of his earliest function in Mesopotamian religion. In a Babylonian tale, seven evil spirits from the netherworld attack the house of Anu and block off the light of the Moon, who is eventually rescued by Marduk.

E. , 5 Harran's Roman associations in the subsequent history of the area were not happy ones. E. Ironically, it is reported by Plutarch that it was the phylarch or shaykh of Edessa (called by Plutarch Ariamnes, but whose dates correspond to King Abgar II) who delivered the unsuspecting Crassus and his troops into the hands of the Parthian commander Surena; 6 yet, it was Harran that forever bore the odium of being the site of one of the worst Roman military disasters. Crassus and a few hundred of his followers took refuge in Harran after the debacle; a certain man ofCarrhae, Andromachus, who had promised to help them slip away, led them instead into an ambush below a hill called Sinnaca.

E. to guarantee the treaty of Ashurnirari V with Mati)ilu of Arpad: (If the Assyrian army) goes to war at the orders of Ashurnirari, king of Assyria, and Mati)ilu, together with his officials, his army, his chariotry, does not leave (on the campaign) in full loyalty, may the great lord Sin who dwells in Harran clothe Mati)ilu, his sons, his officials, and the people of his land in leprosy as in a cloak so that they have to roam the open country, and may he have no mercy on them. 58 The political power of the deity was extended to his earthly representatives: everywhere we find close ties between the institution of kingship and "Father Nanna, lord of the shining crown, " 59 whose crescent shape was transformed into a mitre, the symbol of the royal crown.

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