Monday, May 25, 2020

THE GOD Amon / Amma in Africa and India


     Many of the Proto Saharan beliefs originated during the wet African Aqualithic period. As a result their gods, who had once been great ancestors were referred to as "Fish" or "reed boat navigators". This common god was called Maa , the man fish (of Eridu) in Mesopotamia and Syria and the ithyphallic forms, the prototype of Amon/Aman in Egypt ; and the goddess Minaksi, of Madura in South India the goddess of the fish eyes, the Malabar fish bearer of Mana and the sacred fishes of the Mapilla of the west coast of the Dekkan. In the languages of the Manding Maa, is used to refer to the ancient inhabitants of the African continent, and the invisible spirit who inhabits the water-courses .In Egypt Maat, meant divine truth and justice.

     Among the Proto Saharans  the name Maa, for their great ancestor/god was joined to many ethnonyms. The descendants of the Maa clan, claim descent from Maa, as evident in the name Mande, for the parent group of the Manding of West Africa. Mande means, Ma nde or "children of Ma". Some Dravidians of South India were also members of the Mande Superclan, as illustrated in the  Kannada, Telugu and Tulu, Dravidian tribes that use the terms Mande or Mandi to denote  "people or persons". The Sumerians called themselves Mah Gar ri "God's exalted children".  

     The Proto Saharans in honor of great Maa, use the term "ma", to denote greatness, for example Manding:  Maga; Sumerian: Mag; and Dravidian: Ma. The ma, element was also used in the names for their rulers e.g., Menes of Egypt; the Mannan of the Dravidians; and the Mansa of the Manding.

      The Mal, of the Dravidians is just another form of Ma. Mal, is the Fish. He was the prototype of the Fish god among the Pandyan Tamils. Ama, Uma, Ammon, Amon and etc. seems to either refer to Mal's consort.

     This goddess Amon is most ancient among the Proto Saharans.This goddess has many names including Athene or Neith, daughter of Poseidon god of the Sea (again reference to the great Fish man); and Demeter, the mare headed   patroness.

      The Mother goddess Amma/Amon of Libya had her cult center at the Oasis of Siwa. In ancient Egypt Amon was depicted as a ram with spheres.  The god Amon was taken to Egypt during the New Kingdom.

       The Proto Saharans early used the oxen with sun disc between the horns as the symbol of their God, long before the Egyptians worshipped Hathor. This god represented Amon/Amma of the Dravidians, Egyptians and Manding speaking people.

      Engravings in the Sahara, dating back to Neolithic times show the solar disk with "uraei", which was associated with the worship of Ra/Re in Egypt, when worn by the ram it represented Amon of Thebes. There are depictions of this god from the Saharan sites such as Bou Alam and Zenoga. Archaeologists believe that these engravings date back to 4000 BC. This use of a ram god, with different names among the various groups indicate that the Proto Saharans worshipped the same religion.For example among the Dogon of West Africa, the god Amma is a ram. In Yoruba Amon, means concealed the same as in Egyptian."
     This worship  of the ram may have resulted from the important part goat/sheep played in the Sahara as a source of food when the Sahara increasingly became more arid.

     It is interesting to note that Siwa (> Siva?), was recognized as the cult center of Amon/Amma, because in the Siwa depression archaeologists have found numerous conical and pyramidal sand  encrusted hills that resemble the monuments of ancient Egypt, including a sphinx which resembles a gigantic ram. Although  most scholars believe these monuments in the Siwa and Farafra Oasis are natural erosional formations called yardangs, they may really be the remains of monuments built by the Proto Saharans now encrusted with sand harden by the wind.

     The mother goddess was either identified as Amon or Athene. Amon or Amen of the Egyptians was primarily a Theban god whose shrine was rebuilt around 2500 BC, when the Theban Kings defeated their northern foes. Amon became an important god  in Egypt beginning with the 12th Dynasty . The priests of Amon, called their god "the King of Gods". The Egyptians recognized Amon as a primeval god. Amon is identified with the ithyphalli god Men(< Maa ?).

     Amon was recognized as an unseen god, because he could travel. He was also seen as an imperial god. Sesostris I, is credited with building the Temple of Amon at Karnak, near Thebes. Sesostris I, is also credited with conquering the whole sea coast of India, beyond the Ganges to the Eastern Ocean, he also conquered Europe as far as Thrace.

The God Amman/Amma links many African groups and the Dravidian people of India who originated in Africa. This god was probably worshipped by Saharan people who probably created a great civilization in Middle Africa, called Maa,   long before the rise of ancient Egypt.

The Temehus or C-Group people began to settle Kush around 2200 BC. The kings of Kush had their capital at Kerma, in Dongola and a sedentary center on Sai Island. The same pottery found at Kerma is also present in Libya especially the Fezzan.

The C-Group founded the Kerma dynasty of Kush. Diop (1986, p.72) noted that the "earliest substratum of the Libyan population was a black population from the south Sahara". Kerma was first inhabited in the 4th millennium BC (Bonnet 1986). By the 2nd millennium BC Kushites at kerma were already worshippers of Amon/Amun and they used a distinctive black-and-red ware (Bonnet 1986; Winters 1985b,1991). Amon, later became a major god of the Egyptians during the 18th Dynasty.

     It is clear that Amon or Amen, was the ancient god of the Kushites/Proto Saharans because Ammenemes I or Ameny I of the 11th Dynasty was from the southern state of Ta Seti, the first Nome (city/state) of Egypt. Ammenemes means "Amon is in front". 

     Sesostris I (Thutmose I), probably helped establish Amon worship in Europe and Asia , because as he expanded his Empire he left colonies in all the lands he conquered. Herodutus in his Histories , said that Sesostris 1  defeated the Scythians and Thracians , went all the way the to modern Romania and Bulgaria). Next he went and established a colony river Phasis in Colchis.

There are other traditions of Sesostris 1 , or  Sesostrasen Osiritasen of the 12th Dynasty, in which he is suppose to have established colonies along the Danube river and the Black Sea. Strabo (Bk.3), said that Sesostris I, is suppose to have conquered Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Iberia and Colchis. Diodorus, claims that Sesostris I also invaded India up to the Ganges River.

Aman was introduced as a god of the Egyptians by members of the 18th Dynasty. Once the 18 Dynasty came to power they introduced Aman/Amun to the rest of the Egyptians. To encouarge Egyptians to worship Aman, this god's new name became Aman-Re, to maintain continuity between Re, the original chief god of the Egyptians, and Aman, the popular god of the 18th Dynasty rulers.
The creation of Aman-Re changed the god from male to female, so s/he would be found acceptable for worship by the average Egyptian, who associated male gods with the pharoah.

     Before the Egyptians conquered Greece the worship of Amon had already been established in the region. It was the Garamante Manding speaking tribe who took Amon worship to Greece. In Appollonius Rhodius iv.1310, we discover that the goddess Athene was born beside Lake Tritonis in Libya. Plato, identified Athene of Athens  with the Libyan god Neith. Athene was worshipped by the Manding and other Western Saharans including the Linear A people of Minoan Crete.

  Athene is always associated with the god Amon. Moreover the Manding concept of N'ama as a dynamic spirit among the other Mande tribes point to an earlier worship of Amon, before the Mande accepted Islam. The Bambara call their ancestral god Gnia  or Nia, this has affinity to the Greek term for the Libyan god called Neith. It is interesting to note that in the Linear A inscriptions we find mention of the goddess Nia= Neith. Moreover, some South Indian worship Amma = Amon. The priest of this cult are called Chom or Khonrini, the Greeks called the Indian clerics: Gymnosophists. This Chom, of the Dravidians has affinity to Khon, the leading Kushite god.

      The goddess Neith or Athene was known by many names. Some names related to Athene include Anaitis, Nanaia > Tanit of the Phoenicians; Nama in Albania; and the Sumero Dravidian Ninni Istar "the wild cow".

         Napata was the main religious center of the Kushites. Jebel Barkal was both the companion site of Napata , and the sacred mountain of the city of Napata. It was identified as the holy southern abode of the god Amon. Jebel Barkal, was considered the southern most center for Amun/Amon worship in north Africa. Reisner excavated this rock outcrop between 1913 and 1916.

Aman had long been worshiped by the Kushites. The Kushites/C-Group people of Kerma first worshiped Amun long before the founding of the temple of Aman at Jebel Barkal.. Many of the Meroitic kings were buried at Jebel Barkal after 300 B.C.

The Egyptians called Jebel Barkal, dw w Ʒ b 'holy mountain'. At the foot of Jebel Barkal, the Egyptians erected the great temple of Amon in the 15th century B.C.

Aman was recognized by the Kushites as a supreme creator god, the god of the Sun, and progenitor of the king. In addition to Aman, the Kushites also worshipped the Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. The goddess Isis watched over the rites of metamorphosis, while Osiris was suppose to lead the dead to paradise.

Aman was also referred to as Amani and Amnpe or Amanape. The term Amanape probably should be interpreted as Amn p-ne or 'Aman the foundation (of Good)'. The Meroites often called the god Aman, Amani. Amani was recognized as the creator of the Kushites and supporter of all existence in the inscriptions from Armina West (Trigger 1970).

The Meroites recognized Aman as a god that 'inclined' man towards good. Aman was also considered a guide to the rebirth. The Meroites believed that Aman had the ability to make his s 'patron, supporter', a sign of honor. In the Armina West inscription (Trigger 1970), we see the following Meroitic  passage: Si ye qo wi-ne nt-ne Amni se-ne-a bo y /or/ 'Content to live everlasting bowing in reverence to Amani, (who is) supporting (now) all existence'.

     The Proto Dravidians and Sumerians had common religions. For example in the Sumer pantheon the emblem for Inanna, was the date palm, while Ninsun, Dumuzi, Anu and Ishkur were associated with bulls. The Dravidian equivalent to Anu, or bull worship was Anu Rupa or Siva. The name of this clan in India was called Anu. Many of these Dravidians were also established in Armenia.

     In India we find the "men with horns". This term was given to Dravidian dignitaries who had crowns made of animal horns. This type of horned figure appear on many Harappan seals, as do serpents. The wearing of animal horns on crowns may date back to the time of Sesostris, because many Egyptian headdresses included horns.

     In ancient Sumer, the goddess of the marriage rites was Ur. The goddess Ur, has analogies to the Dravidian cult of the goddess Paravati, in Siva temples.
The Dravidian god Amma(n) is associated with the ram god: Amun/Amon. In addition to Amman, being associated with goddesses, in DED 183 we find that Amman also means ‘uncle, wife’s father’ and etc.. This makes it clear that the term Amman was associated with both goddesses and honored—high respected men.

The earliest representation of the ram god appeared in the Sahara, the homeland of the Dravidians, Elamites, Sumerians, the Egyptians and other Black African groups. It was in the Sahara that we see the first example of the ram holding a disc or sphere which came to symbolize the Egyptian god Amon. These ancient people were called Kushites are associated with the Proto-Saharan cultures and the C-Group. Due to the association of Amon with the Kushites, the Priestess of Amon, had to be a Kushite.

Diop has made it clear that Amon was the god of Black Africa. Among the Dravidians Amon was called Amman. Mrs. T. Aravanan, made it clear that the Pandyan people of Kumarinadu worshipped the goddess Kumari Amman. Kumarinadu, according to tradition was ruled by the Pandians/ Pandyans. She says that Kumarinadu was situated south of present-day South India.

The Dravidian literary evidence indicate that Dravidians, probably speaking Tamil, invaded South India from Kumarinadu. In Kalittokai 104, we read “In order to compensate the area lost to the great waves of the sea, King Paandia without tiresome moved to the other countries and won them. Removing the emblems of tiger [Cholas] and bow [Cheras] he, in their places inscribed his reputed emblem fish [Pandias] and valiantly made his enemies bow to him”.

The mention of the “fish emblem” in the Kalittokai provides textual support to the African origin of the Dravidians. Many peoples in the Western Sahara claim that they are descendants of the Ma [Fish] Confederation or Mande clan. Thus we have the Mande people of West Africa, and the Dogon who claim descent from Mande. It is interesting to note that among the Kannanda, Telugu and Tulu the term : Mande or Mandi, denotes persons or people.

The leading tribes of that claim descent from Ma include the Dogon and Mande. Before the introduction of Islam, the Mande worshipped Athene or Neith and Amon. They called Neith, Nia and Amon was called N’ama.

The Dogon called Amon, Amma. Accoridng to the Dogon Amma descends from the sky and is a symbol of humidity and rain. The Dogon Amma, is analogous to Amman of the Tamil. Amman is represented as Mariamman the protector of the people in a village and Kumariamman

Pandia association with the fish, associates these Tamils with other ancient Blacks descending from the Ma Clan. Fish tails, were a common feature of the Egyptians, Elamites, Sumerians and Proto-Dravidians. The common god of the Fish Clan was the manfish (of Eridu) in Mesopotamia and Syria and the ithyphallic forms of Min, proto-type of Amon in Egypt, the goddess Minaksi of Madura, the goddess of the fish eyes, the Malabar fish bearer of Mana and the sacred fishes of the Mapilla of the West coast of the Dekkan.The Dogon,claim they came from the great Nommo, who was represented by fish signs. The Kings of people descending from the Ma Confederation were called MNS, e,g., Menes or King Aha of Egypt, Mannan among the Dravidians and Mansa, among the Mande speaking people of West Africa.

The Greeks claim that the father of the goddess Neith, who was worshipped by many Black African groups was Poseidon or potidan ‘ he who gives to drink the wooded mountain’ [boat]. Since Neith or Athene is said to have been born in the Proto-Sahara beside Lake Tritonis, we can assume that the worship of Poseidon was common among the people of the Ma Confederation. The symbol of Poseidon was the trident.

Poseidon seems to relate to an aspect of the Dravidian god Siva. The god Siva is sometimes referred to as the “Great Fish’ and represented by Fish signs. Throughout Tamilnadu tridents are found in association to temples, and the god Siva.

Just as the Kalittokai mentioned that the totem of the Pandia was the fish, we find that Africans along the Indian Ocean, which would have been part of Kumarinadu, worshipped Poseidon.

The Greeks reported that the people from the eastern coast of Africa worshipped Poseidon. According to Strabo, Eudoxus of Cyzicus reported the people Ethiopia to Somalia and Nubia were Icthiyophage who worshipped Poseidon. They often referred to Ethiopia and Somalia as Poseidonia.

In conclusion,Amon was the god of Africans and Dravidians.  The ancient Dravidians belonged to the Ma Confederation, and the Dravidian term Amman can refer to goddesses and male figures. The leaders of this Confederation founded many ancient civilizations which had the Fish as their standard. The worship of Amman originated in the Sahara where the early worship of Poseidon probably also originated given the fact his daughter was Neith/Athene.

The Pandia/Pandyans called their god KumariAmma(n), like other followers of the Ma Confederation. Due to the relationship between Amma, and fishes and the sea, we find that at Kodikarai, there is a Dravidian custom that the ship crews worship Mariammon before they go out to sea.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you, Dr. Winters!

The article is very insightful and encouraging to aspiring historians of any descent, and especially to those of African descent. Thanks again!

Mr. Risby