Ishtar Gate Dragon: Evidence for the Existence of an Ancient Dragon

Ishtar Gate Dragon: Evidence for the Existence of an Ancient Dragon
Ishtar Gate Dragon: Evidence for the Existence of an Ancient Dragon

Around 600 BC, during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, a Babylonian artist created bas-reliefs on bricks used in the huge arch of the Ishtar gate.

575 animals are depicted, 287 of these animals are one of the greatest mysteries of history, because these animals are dragons or Sirrashim.

Today we think of the dragon as a mythical beast. But there are facts that question this statement and prove that the dragon was real, and not just a myth. In Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions, Sirrash is referred to as Mus-russu, which can be translated as "Magnificent Serpent".

Sirrash, in ancient sources, is described as a huge beast with a slender body covered with scales, a long thin scaly tail and a long thin scaly neck with a snake's head. A long forked tongue protrudes from his mouth. Attached to the back of the head are patches of skin adorned (or armed) with a straight horn.

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, whom the biblical prophet Daniel (possessed from God the gift of understanding and interpreting dreams, which made him famous at the court of Nebuchadnezzar, and after the fall of Babylon - at the court of Cyrus and Darius) extolled as "the king of kings", was the ruler who restored Babylon as the capital of your empire. To do this, he captured 11,000 prisoners, the best representatives of the Jewish community, which included engineers, urban planners, architects and artisans..

The ruins of the city that Nebuchadnezzar built can be seen today south of Baghdad and remain his legacy. Its population was about 200,000. It was a real metropolis of antiquity, in which the Hittites, Chaldeans, Egyptians, Assyrians, Arameans, Elamites and Jews lived.

Saddam Hussein spent millions to rebuild it, and now any visitor can see what was once a stunningly impressive city. Many restoration works begun under Hussein were not completed (prevented by the US invasion of the country), but one project was completed - the reconstruction of the Ishtar gate.

During the reign of Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, from the desert side in the north, there was at first a large outer enclosure surrounded by a high wall. It became a refuge for people who could find protection during the war.

Within this wall was the city itself, protected by double walls with towers at a distance of 18 meters. The inner wall was 6 meters thick, and the distance between it and the 4 meters thick outer wall was 7 meters. It was possible to enter Babylon only through one of eight gates, every 15 meters high and well fortified.

They were all alike, but the most difficult of them was the Ishtar Gate. It is the gateway through which Jewish captives, including Daniel and Ezekiel, passed, and it is a tribute to the glory and power of the Babylonian Empire.

Part of the wall of the Ishtar gate with an unrestored image of a dragon

Daniel, chapter 4, verses 30 and 31; "Isn't this the great Babylon that I built for my royal residence by my power and for the glory of my majesty?"

The Ishtar Gate was beautifully decorated with glazed tiles in gorgeous blue with relief carvings in yellow and brown. The huge cedar doors brought from Lebanon were decorated with bronze.

Inside the gate began the Path of the Procession, which must have been built throughout the forty-three years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. He walked parallel to the Euphrates River halfway through the old city, then across the bridge turned west, and then into the western half of Babylon. The remains of a bridge built of stone blocks were also found.

The outside of the Ishtar gate itself is also covered with glazed tiles in various shades of gorgeous blue.The bas-reliefs are composed of three animals, and in each row of bricks there are numerous images of one of them. The rows alternate: some depict lions, others - bulls and sirrus (dragons).

Lions and bulls were common in the Middle East at that time, but what animal did the ancient Babylonians model the dragon on? If lions and bulls were well known, why didn't a third animal exist - or did it exist?

An interesting story is told in the ancient Babylonian legends: in the temple of Bel, the Lord of the World, the beloved god Nebuchadnezzar, the priests kept "the great dragon or serpent whom they worshiped in Babylon."

The king challenged the prophet Daniel, who mocked the undead brass gods, to challenge this god who “lives and eats and drinks; it cannot be said that he is not a living god; therefore worship him."

To get out of this predicament, Daniel poisoned the animal (dragon).

The Babylonians had several gods, but the greatest of them was Marduk. He was originally the local god of Babylon, but later became a national god as Babylon gradually established complete dominion over all the cities of Mesopotamia.

Marduk was often depicted with an animal at his feet. In all cases, it is the same animal, one sacred to him, and it was known as the Sirrash (dragon). The depiction of Sirrash in the bas-reliefs shows a scaly body with a long neck and a long tail, also covered in scales.

On a thin, scaly neck, there is a snake's head with a horn and a long forked tongue. (Since the tiles show a side view, only one horn can be seen, but other images clearly show two horns.) Skin flaps cover the ears. The legs are unusual, the front ones are like those of a feline, possibly a leopard or a panther.

However, the hind legs are similar to those of a bird of prey, very large, with four toes and covered with scales. This animal is identical to the dragons guarding Marduk and is also an accurate description of the dragons at the gate of Ishtar.

The discoverer of the Ishtar Gate, German archaeologist Robert Koldewey, seriously considered the possibility that the Sirrash could be a real animal. He noted that unlike other fantastical animals in Babylonian art, sirrash depictions have remained unchanged for centuries. What struck him about these images was the "uniformity of Sirrash's physiological representations."

He said the Sirrash looked more like a raptor than any other animal. He wrote that such creatures do not coexist with humans, and the Babylonians, who were not paleontologists, could not reconstruct them from fossils; however, the Old Testament explicitly states that the sirrsh (dragon) was real.

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