Herodotus considered the Lycians a true exception because of their
matrilineal parental system (I 173, 4-5; Erodoto 1988 :
58). This "myth", even though not currently supported by epigraphical
evidence (Pembroke 1965 ; Bryce 1978 ; Bryce
1979 ; 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 (Fontenrose 1959 ; Bryce 1983 ;
Schürr 2016 ). The special relationship of the people
of this country with the goddess - entitling 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
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 smelting 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 (Noll 1971 ;
Childs 1976 ; Szemethy 2005 ; Radt 2008
; Daumas 2010 ; Landskron 2016 ;
Niemann & Benndorf 2017 ), and in various areas of
Western Anatolia, it is an honour to trace one's origins back to similar
founders (Lloyd-Jones 1999 ; Lloyd-Jones 1999 ;
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 by
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 at 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.
A summary of the "Lycian" elements in Genesis
- Adam names his wife ḥawah, "Eve," and the Lycian
for "sheep" is xawa- (DLL 81). There is a homology between
the roles of Eve and Rachel. Their names candidate them to start
- The name "Eve" is commented like this: "because she was
the mother of all living" (Gn 3:20)
- Rachel's name means "sheep" in Hebrew (raḥel,
HALOT 1216) and she gave birth to all the tribes of Israel.
- Eve is represented in a "friendly" talk with the snake and later
"friendship" develops into a feud between her descent, the "seed
of the woman", and the "seed of the snake." Among the Lycian myths,
we find the hero Amisodarus (or Isaras, LLES 243, 246; HE 41, 118,
164, 553), who fed the Chimera according to Homer (Il. 16.28).
- Amisodarus feeding the serpentine Chimera may represent
the ante fact of the feud, that in Lycian mythology is led by
Bellerophon, the "slayer of *(B)elleros" (Watkins 1995
: 385 n. 4).
- Bellerophon is an adopted hero according to Homer's
Iliad. He is from Ephyra, identified with Corinth by Eumelus,
while in Homer, it corresponds to Argos (Privitera 1970
: 70ff.). Cain, too, is "adopted" according to my
interpretation: his name may correspond to the Hittite kaina-
- Where is the serpent in Cain's story? A speaking snake,
capable of having children fighting as equals against woman's
children, is a living paradox that can be solved only by admitting
HE represents the totemic symbol of those left out of the garden
in Eden. In other words, as it is evident in Genesis
that Adam was TAKEN (Gn 2:15) to live in the garden, we
are allowed to think that he was chosen (Gn 2:8) among the humans
mentioned in Genesis 1:26-29. It is crucial, for the
prosecution of this research, that the garden where the privileged
Adam was taken lies in Eden, in a territory inhabited by people
who are not immune from envy and I have already suggested to
look for this place in north-eastern Anatolia, at the slopes
of Mt. Ida where Homer locates a colony(?) of Lycians. In that
area, namely Troad and Hellespont, we know from Strabo (§13.1.14)
of the serpent tribe, the
living in Parion.
My suggestion, at the moment, is that a colony of Lycians living
around Mt. Ida, celebrated in mythology as the seat of Zeus
himself and inhabited by the Dactyls, blacksmiths and wizards,
might have provided the model for the garden in Eden. The serpent
and its descent? The area surrounding Mt. Ida has been ruled
by the Lydians, and according to Homer, who calls them Maeonians,
the root of their royal ancestry is in the Gygean Lake, inhabited
by Echidna, a mythical snake (see
Originally Published: April
Last Updated: July 6, 2021
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