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Sirrusha from the gates of the queen


Sirrusha from the gates of the queen
This extraordinary story could begin with the events of recent years, but we'll get to a hundred years ago, to the time when..

When June 3, 1887 a German professor Robert Koldevey, looking for a couple of days at the site of ancient Babylon excavation, picked up a fragment of an old brick One of the surfaces it was covered with bright blue glaze and contained fragments of images, a very interesting scientific Perhaps he hoped to make a discovery but I never dreamed that it would be so important and surely did not know that it will generate a puzzle that intrigues us and today is no less than 50 years ago

Whatever it was, the professor returned to the excavation site only after more than 10 years at this time, the last three days in 1897, he devoted unearthing new glazed bricks Administration of the Royal Museum in Berlin and the German Oriental Society hinted to him that allocate funds for excavations Babylonia provided that will be obtained interesting results Brought professor from the second traveling trophies have satisfied these gentlemen-couch potatoes

"Excavations began March 26, 1899 on the east side Qasr, north of the Gate of Ishtar" - later wrote Koldevey Later, in 1902, the light appeared again the gates of Queen Ishtar, for centuries to hide under a layer of earth partially destroyed, they nevertheless looked very impressive Ishtar Gate - a huge semi-circular arch, bounded on the sides by giant walls, opening onto a pretty long path for the processions along which the right and left and stretched wall built all of brick, covered with a bright blue, yellow, white and black icing to heighten splendor wall gates and paths covered with bas-reliefs of great beauty, depicting animals in poses that are very close to natural. Rows gradually striding lions adorn the walls of the track. The walls are covered with the gate up and down the rows of alternating images of two other animals. One of them - a powerful bull fierce-looking, and the second ... here it begins zoological puzzle.

Usually it is the second animal is called the Babylonian dragon, and this is the same beast that appears under the same name in the Bible. On cuneiform tablets kept his Babylonian name - mušḫuššu. We leave it and, although there are some doubts about its correct pronunciation.

This is how Koldevey sizes Ishtar gate:

"The rows of bricks are one above the other. Dragons and bulls are never found in one horizontal row, but the number of bulls follows mušḫuššu next, and vice versa. Each individual image occupies height bricks 13, and the gap between them is 11 bricks. Thus, the distance from the bottom of the image to the bottom of another is 24 bricks, or almost exactly two meters, that is, four Babylonian Elam. "

Total at the gate about 575 images of animals.

The construction is impressive, and it is no wonder that King Nebuchadnezzar .;

who reconstructed Ishtar Gate, was very proud of them. When the works were completed, he was an inscription in cuneiform that was made and put on public display. With characteristic lack of modesty that epoch in the first lines were reported:

"I - Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the pious prince, the ruling by the will and good pleasure of Marduk (the supreme god of the Babylonians), the supreme ruler of the city, a favorite of Heaven (the son of Marduk, the supreme god of the neighboring town of Vorsippa), cunning and tireless ... always baking for the welfare of Babylon, wise Navopolassara first-born son, the king of Babylon ... "

Next to the inscription says that because of the constant increase of the embankment to the road to Babylon, the height of the gate all the time is reduced, and eventually Nebuchadnezzar ordered to completely rebuild them. All this is confirmed by archaeological finds, and we have no reason to doubt the truth or authenticity of the inscription, which inadvertently was not quite finished. The inscriptions are not ignored also images of animals.

"Fierce bulls (in the original, they are called" Rimi ") and grim dragons are inscribed on the gates of the yard (meaning wall), which I told the splendor of emergency gates and luxurious, and the human race can look at them in amazement."

Humanity really looked in amazement at them for centuries. And now, after the excavation and reconstruction, looking back. And the image Rimi (or Ray) even replicate elsewhere. In ancient Greece, too, knew the gate of Ishtar, but they preferred to call them the gates of Babylon.

Of course, in those days no one worried about the accuracy of the zoological. Lions on the walls of the track were lions, tours on the gate - tours, even though a somewhat unusual appearance; and the details of which Artisans Nebuchadnezzar saw fit to decorate the monster depicted by them, never stopped anyone. They are sometimes painted eagles with bearded human faces monsters and other hybrids. In short, the image mušḫuššu not surprising. And to be surprised, they had to arm themselves with great knowledge of later centuries - knowledge that helped unearth and restore the gates of Ishtar.

Bas mušḫuššu have a very clear path - the narrow body, covered with scales, long and thin scaly tail and the same long and thin scaly neck with a snake head. Mouth closed, but it protrudes a long forked tongue. On the back of his head visible leathery ears, decorated with straight horn, and serving as a weapon. It is possible that there are two horns, as the picture round-Rimi is seen only one horn too. "It is remarkable, - writes Koldevey - that, in spite of the scales, the animal has a coat. Next to the ears cascade down from the head of three helical strands, and on the neck, where there should be a comb lizard stretches a long series of curly tresses. "

But the most remarkable part - legs. The front like an animal paw of the cat family (such as Panther), and the rear - to the birds. They are very large, tetradigitate, covered with strong scales. And contrary to the combination of so many different parts mušḫuššu looks like a living, anyway, just as pictured beside him Rimi, if not more, of course.

Dig anyone Ishtar Gate 100 years earlier, it is a combination of different clutches might be considered sufficient proof that magic snake - not a real animal than birds and winged bulls with human heads of the Assyrian and Babylonian mythology. But a century Georges Cuvier had become the father of paleontology, Professor Marsh in the United States won the title of "father of the dinosaur," and do views on biological science has undergone tremendous changes. Paleontologists have discovered fossils of animals that had incredibly long necks and tails, huge body and small head or a snake head, crowned with horns (or maybe had and forked tongues, but, alas, they are not stored in the form of fossils). There were even those species that could walk straight or on all fours. Probably, they use one or the other way movement alternately, depending on the circumstances.

Accordingly mušḫuššu suddenly began to be seen as something real, and it is possible. At first we thought it was a picture of an animal of the order yascherovyh. In 1913, Professor Koldevey first expressed that the Babylonian dragon his main traits is similar to fossil dinosaurs.

"Mušḫuššu ... by uniformity of their physiological concepts far exceeds all other fantastic creatures", - he stated, and then, with a sigh of regret concluded: "Were it not for him so pronounced feline front paws, such a beast could exist in reality." Knowing that the Bible confirms the existence of mušḫuššu, professor dared to suggest that the Babylonian priests were kept in the dungeon of temples some reptile and showed her how to live in the shadows mušḫuššu.

This Koldevey wrote in his first extensive report on the excavations in Babylon. In 1918, five years later, he wrote a whole volume of the gate of Ishtar, providing it with beautiful illustrations, and thus re-entered the battle with the dragon. This time, he was bolder. Still confused similarity forepaws mušḫuššu with cat paws, he led the list of extinct dinosaurs, pointing to those of their traits that were inherent mušḫuššu. He concluded that the animal, if it existed, should be classified as a dinosaur ptitsenogy. Gently having brought the reader to this conclusion, he suddenly said: "Iguanodon found in the sediments of the Cretaceous period in Belgium - the closest relative of the Babylonian dragon"

History, amazing in so many ways. Ishtar Gate were enlarged and embellished these reliefs at the behest of the king, who is known to us mainly because of him repeatedly mentioned in the Bible. And the two most mysterious Biblical animals appear on this gate side by side, or rather, one above the other. Rimi, is not credible for all its mighty power, and the dragon, which is held in a certain Babylonian temple and worshiped by townspeople as Daniel did not kill him.

Finally it was found that Remey - is round. Well mušḫuššu? Why do not you find him just fiction? Koldevey himself thought it unlikely, as mušḫuššu image has not changed for thousands of years, which is not characteristic of other fantastic creatures of the Babylonians. In the early Babylonian art mušḫuššu he appeared in a recognizable form, and it is still painted with Navudohonosore, ie around 604-561 BC.

Modern science can easily determine the type of lizard, which belonged mušḫuššu, although fossil remains exactly the same kind she does not know, as an artist, he has depicted, probably

I made a few small mistakes. Now surely it is known that the Babylonians did not know paleontology. Their mušḫuššu - a replica of something known to them, or the miracle of imagination, fully coincided with reality. But this is certainly not a "reconstruction." Furthermore, nowhere near Babylon were found dinosaur graveyards.

Since we do not know a living or recently extinct animals, which could serve as an "in kind" to the image mušḫuššu, we stand before a choice: either to stop the search or allow that mušḫuššu - an accurate portrait of the animal, not a familiar modern zoology.

We should not worry about the fact that the animal is unlikely to be found even in the time of ancient Babylon. Rimi in those days, too, have died in Mesopotamia, but they have lived 20 centuries in Europe. For the Babylonians Rimi was a "monster from distant countries." The same can be said about mušḫuššu.

But where did he come from? According to some scientists, from Central Africa.

Here we must make a slight digression and give the floor to the opponents' African version. "

Legend of the Dragon first recorded in written monuments of human history. Previously, others they appeared in Sumerian sources. Certainly, the dragons - a mythical creature. But the legend of dragons and snakes wander from the Millennium Goals on all continents of the Earth, and there are striking similarities.

Coincidence? Zoologist from the University of Florida, Walter Auffenberg considers that the similarity of these legends is too large for a simple coincidence.

The dragon of legend, said the scientist, usually endowed with wings, immortality, and a special knowledge of the essence of life and death. Dragons seem to dominate the rivers and rains and rains, they know the secrets of fertility.

The legends about dragons exist in China, Japan, Australia, America, India and, of course, in Europe - is enough to recall the story of St. George and the dragon. Western Dragons are usually carriers of evil, but in the East they are benefactors, they are very honored.

Auffenberg suggests that the first myth of the dragon originated 100 thousand years ago - at the time when primitive man watched from the ground in spring crawling snake - "reborn" after the winter. He believes that this can be observed in the ancient calendars made of bones that are archaeologists.

But the scientist adds that the first evidence of which can be accurately defined as "the dragon", refer to the Sumerian culture, which arose 5000 years ago between the Tigris and Euphrates. Sumerian Dragons consisted of parts, "selected" from the vultures, hyenas, snakes or lizards. And the dragon made up of scavengers, quite logically could symbolize the connection between the living and the nonliving.

Furthermore, suggests Auffenberg, about 1500 BC, warriors horsemen of Central Asia have brought pieces of the Sumerian myth of the West - Europe and the East - to China.

The conquerors-Aryans could bring the legend of the dragon in India, says the scientist, then traders could bring it back to Indonesia and Australia, where there is the myth of the Flying Serpent.

In North America, these prehistoric legends took the form of flying snakes that inhabit the sky. In South America, there were "superkrokodily" that dominate the rivers.

But let us suppose, however, that it does not open the animal. The only place where it could live undetected, is Sub-Saharan Africa, the area of ​​tropical rainforest and the Congo River basin. Therefore it is very curious rumors about a big unknown and terrifying animal emanating therefrom. One of these rumors reached the big game hunter Hans Schomburgk for many years before Koldevey wrote his first great record.

Shomburgk worked for Carl Hagenbeck, a merchant of wild animals, which delivered them to the zoological gardens and held a huge zoo Shtelingene near Hamburg.

In 1912, after returning from Africa, Shomburgk Hagenbeck told an amazing story. And glad when Hagenbeck not ridiculed him. Instead, he said Shomburgk that not once received such information from other sources. These messages were the natives of the hybrid, "the dragon and the elephant", which was believed to have lived in the impenetrable swamps.

Apparently, visiting Liberia, Shomburgk he never heard about this animal, but when he arrived at the shore of Lake Bangweulu, the place that seemingly perfect behemoths, and asked the natives why there are no hippo, they pointedly said that this is a good reason. They are (here we quote the book Shomburgk "for wild animals in the heart of Africa") "... was told that in this lake lives a beast that, behind the size behemoths nevertheless kills and eats them. As he habits must be amphibious beast comes out on shore, but no one had seen his tracks. Unfortunately, I described the story as a fairy tale and did not conduct a further search. Later, I talked about this with Carl Hagenbeck and is now convinced that the beast belonged to some species of lizards. I hold this view because Hagenbeck received from other sources posts, fully coincides with my observations, and with the information provided to me by the natives, whom I interviewed. Hagenbeck sent Lake Bangweulu special expedition, but, alas, not even able to find this lake. "

In 1913 the German government sent an expedition to Cameroon under the Fryer background Stainz Lauznittsa with the task to carry out a general survey of the colony. The official report of the expedition, still exists only in manuscript, contains a fairly extensive section dedicated to the unknown animal Shomburgk. Captain von Stein, of course, was extremely cautious, choosing his words for this part of the report, wisely calling the animal "a very mysterious creature," which "may exist only in the imagination of the natives," but the imagination is, "probably pushed some reason more tangible ". Details von Stein, consisted of, as he puts it, of "the natives of the former German colony" (Cameroon) about "being, which is very afraid of negros in some parts of the territory of the Congo, in the lower reaches of the Ubangi, Sanga and Ikelemby". He emphasized that these stories came from the "experienced guides who are not familiar with each other, but I repeat all the details completely independently of one another." The natives call this animal mokelembembe, but it was impossible to say for sure whether it is the name of any specific meaning. Captain von Stein wrote:

"According to reports, the creature does not live in small rivers, such as the two Likualy, and above the rivers, they say, there are only a few individuals. When we were in the expedition, we were told that one individual notice on non-navigable stretch of the river flow Sanga, somewhere between the rivers and Mbaye Pikunda; Unfortunately, this part of the river could not be investigated due to the fact that our expedition was crumpled. We have heard about some animals that live in the river Ssombo. The natives are reduced to the following description.

The animal is said, it has a gray-brown color, smooth skin and dimensions approximately similar to an elephant, or at least with a hippopotamus. It has a long and very flexible neck and only one tooth but a very long one. Some say that it is a horn. Some mentioned a long muscular tail like a gator. It is said that approaching the beast canoe doomed: the animal immediately attack them and kill command, but do not eat the body. This creature lives in the caves, washed river in the clay banks of the steep bends. In search of food, it is said, comes out on the beach even during the day and eats only plants. This trait is not possible to explain all the myths. They showed me his favorite plant. It is kind of liana with large white flowers, reminiscent of milk and juice on the apple-like fruit. On the river I showed Ssombo clearing, which paved the beast in the intrigues of food. The path was fresh and there were also close above the plants. However, there were too many trails trodden by elephants, rhinos and other large animals, and it was impossible with any certainty identify traces of this substance. "

It is a pity that Baron von Stein was so little time. He could find mokelembembe.

As for the animal from Lake Bangweulu, which Shomburgk told the Englishman Hughes got on it a little more information. In his book "28 years on Lake Bangweulu," Hughes led the conversation with the son of a local tribal chief of the animal, which is called here "chipekve". Young man proudly said that his grandfather was, or at least watched hunt chipekve.

Oral tradition has informed description of the hunt. It involved a lot of the best hunters, and they have a whole day chipekve pricked her large forts, which were used for hunting hippopotami. Chipekve described as an animal with a smooth dark skin, without bristles, armed with a smooth white horn, like a rhinoceros, only pure white and polished. It is a pity that they have not kept this horn: Hughes would give him all that they desire.

Hughes was familiar with the Rhodesian officer who told how one night he heard a very loud splash in the lake, near which was encamped, and in the morning found a previously unknown tracks.

Scientists, after hearing these stories, laughed. On any large unknown animals may be involved, when all is already open!

Too many similar evidence suggests: what if it really hides a large unknown animal in shallow waters and rivers of Central Africa? Rather reptile.

Naturally, the following question arises: could you survive in Central Africa, large reptile? A zoologists is that if somewhere she could survive, but here, in Central Africa!

This is what this claim is based. These dinosaurs and other large reptiles, related to them, have become extinct in the late Cretaceous period, about 60 million years ago. Hypotheses on this subject, there are many. Huge Dinosaur graveyard near Tendaguru in East Africa show that in Africa, there was something like that. There is no doubt that here, as elsewhere, large forms disappeared. But medium-sized forms is somewhat different story.

In the world the last 60 million years were marked by all kinds of geological changes. Small sea flooded vast areas of land, other areas have dried up. Emerging and re-disappeared necks; tectonic forces piled mountains, there was an active volcanic activity. But Sub-Saharan Africa was geologically stable: there is plenty of land is the same as 60 million years ago.

Finally, the continent to the north and south of the fifties parallels in both hemispheres have been through a series of glaciations, but, despite the fact that they had an impact on the climate between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, these effects did not lead to dramatic consequences. A Central Africa is not subjected to geological disasters from the Cretaceous period, and experienced only minor climate changes. So if ever the time and escaped large reptiles, they need to look in Central Africa ...

And the search began. In 1981 the interior of the expedition went to Zaire, where patrons oil magnate Jack Bryant, three journalists and Roy Mack, a biologist and director of the University of Chicago, by coincidence, who is also vice-president of the International Society cryptozoologists. The expedition was intended to check the visual observations in 1776. Then there was the first time seen a beast resembling a sauropod, herbivorous dinosaur. Locals, as we have said, call it mokelembembe.

Sailing in canoes, cutting through his way through the vegetation hanging over the head of the jungle, the expedition penetrated far into the swampy jungle. With the help of sonar, they investigated ponds in search of submerged animals. Sometimes rowing for two days in a row, to find a piece of dry land.

Once, rounding the bend of the river, the canoe began to swing heavily as were raised on some big waves of animals. Beast had just plunged into the water. Member of the expedition led by Richard Green, Desert Ecology and Secretary of the International Society cryptozoologists, stated: "We were with the natives of panic."

Scientists have reacted to this more relaxed Grinvel believed that it could be a hippo, an elephant or a crocodile. However, he knew that the hippos do not live in swamps, elephants are not immersed in water completely, and crocodiles are raised very little wave. A government official on zoology, who participated in the expedition - his name was Marceline Anyang - was so intrigued that he decided to come back with their own expedition. This he did in April 1983. A few days searching did not bring any fruit. One day, right in front of Anyang and his colleagues from the water suddenly rose a creature. It was a strange animal with a broad back, a long neck and small head. However, the scientist wrote bitterly, "in the tide of feelings, alarmed by this sudden and unexpected appearance, I was not able to remove the animal on film."

"The visible part of the animal, - said M. Anyang - roughly corresponds to our idea of ​​a brontosaurus. I am personally convinced that the swampy jungle Likualy inhabited by at least two kinds of unknown animals. A few days before the arrival of the expedition to the area of ​​the village Edzhama there was such an event. On the river on the cake floated woman. Suddenly, the boat ran into some obstacle and stopped The woman set upon the pole, trying to push his boat with the "stranded" Then a powerful impetus threw the cake directly on the beach, but on the surface there was a huge animal about half an hour it raged, uttering heartrending cries of "

In the north of the Congo came the dry season, and the river-lake-Likouala Erb became shallow so that its something where you could wade However, in the area of ​​the incident reached the depth of 10-12 meters is where the scientists found the floating island, consisting of a thick layer of sand, resting on a solid bed of dead aquatic vegetation on a perfectly flat surface traces - if crawling on the sand some enormous animal found on the island and skin flaps from 1 to 15 centimeters long

And one more touch to our unfinished history of American traveler Herman Ragaster taped sounds of unknown animals in the body of the lake district he gave voice recording scientist from California, Kenneth Templin, who cleared it of side noise and compared with records of other animals, he concluded the recorded voice belonged to a hitherto unknown substance.

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