Lycians

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Herodotus considered the Lycians a true exception because of their matrilinear parental system (I 173, 4-5; Asheri 1983: 58). This "myth", even though not currently supported by epigraphical evidence (Pembroke 1965; Bryce 1978; Bryce 1979a; (Schweyer 2002: 188-189; Mirkovic 2011), is on the contrary strengthened by the attested cult of the mother goddess (Laroche 1979: 75-76; Frei 1990: 1765, 1791, 1812-1813; LLES 68, 176; DL 194ff.; Glyk 83-85, 191), called "mother of this sanctuary" (ẽni qlahi ebiyehi) in the epichoric inscriptions, but later syncretized with Leto (TL 56.4, 134.4; DL 69; Bryce 1981: 81-82; Glyk 82, s.v. ẽni-), mother of Apollo, threatened by the serpent Python and bound to wander through Lycia. The special relationship of the people of this country with the goddess, which entitles them to be considered "seed of the woman" (Gn 3:15), their mythical dwelling at Mount Ida’s slopes according to Homer, their nomadism candidate the Lycians to be worthy heirs of the Idaean Dactyls, also called Cabiri or Corybantes or Curetes (Strabo 10.3.7; Blakely 2007). According to the witness of Marmor Parium, ("Parian Marble"), a Hellenistic chronicle (1581/80-299/98 B.C.) on a slab from the Greek island of Paros, we get to know that Dactyls (Celmis, and Damnameneus) invented iron on Mt. Ida in 1432 B. C. The cult of these wizards, blacksmiths, warriors is well attested in Lycia, especially in Trysa, but in Hellenistic times (Landskron 2016), and in various areas of western Anatolia, it is an honor to trace one’s own origins back to similar founders (Lloyd-Jones 1999a; Lloyd-Jones 1999b; Austin 1999; Gagné 2006; Bremmer 2009; Bremmer 2013). The hypothesis that the Cainites, the "seed of the woman" are Lycians, finds unexpected confirmation from archaeology, which has reached an agreement on the nomadism of the Lukka. The Cainites are a nomadic people, moving to Nod and finally to Tabal (Tubal-Cain) and Cilicia (Adah’s children). The end of this migration, "to the east", leaves little room for alternative explanations: if the term is Tabal, in eastern Anatolia, the Troad, Mount Ida are an ideal starting point, because there ancient mythology located the beginnings of the iron industry, the peculiar activity of Tubal, son of Lamech. A leitmotif would thus be claimed: the production of iron, a metal for which Cilicia was known in Babylon in the 7th century. The bellicose character of the Dactyls, the myth that wants them assistants of the mother goddess, founders of the iron industry and distinguished in two families, the Dactyls of the right and the left ((Johnston 2013: 102ff.), has striking parallels with the Biblical distinction between the Cainites and the Sethites, two related clans, but fighting each other, prone to revenge. Obviously, this tentative reconstruction of Genesis proto-history faces one main objection: why should the Hebrew scribal tradition give such a chronological primacy to a people, Lycians/Lukka, who don’t seem to play a role in the most ancient creation or flood myths? Most likely these scribes were trained reading and copying the classical texts of the ANE tradition, such as Enūma eliš and nowhere a mention of Lukka can be found. Any attempt to reply to this critical argument should consider Noah and try to gather the hints to a Hittite reformulation of a central character in the Mesopotamian flood myths, that is Utnapishtim. So far, I have not mentioned a feature of Lukka that stirred the worried attention of the courts in LBA, that is their naval prowess, a special skill they deployed in piracy and surely they were part of the so-called "Sea Peoples". Hittite scribes promoted a shift of geographical coordinates in the Gilgamesh myth, locating Ullu’s seat in the North. Ullu is the name used for Utnapishtim in the Hittite version of the Gilgamesh myth (Beckman 2019) and it will be important to understand when this reframing of ancient myths leading northward was ready to be used by later scribes and what kind of political and religious ideology could support the continuity of such new tradition.