Hadad

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Haddad (Ugaritic 𐎅𐎄𐎆 Haddu) was a northwest Semitic storm and rain god, cognate in name and origin with the Akkadian god Adad. Hadad was often called simply Ba‘al (Lord), but this title was also used for other gods. Hadad was equated with the Anatolian storm-god Teshub and other storm gods of the region, for which reason he is sometimes called Teshub-Hadad, Baal-Hadad or Baal-Hadad-Yahweh.

He was further associated with the Egyptian god Set, and the Greek god Zeus (Roman Jupiter), as Jupiter Dolichenus.

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Hadad in Ugarit

In religious texts, Ba‘al/Hadad is the lord of the sky who governs the rain and thus the germination of plants with the power of his desire that they be fertile. He is the protector of life and growth to the agricultural people of the region. The absence of Ba‘al causes dry spells, starvation, death, and chaos. Also refers to the mountain of the west wind. The Biblical reference occurs at a time when Yahweh has provided a strong east wind to carry the sons of Israel across the Red or Erythrian Sea to Elat.

In the Ugaritic texts El, the supreme god of the pantheon, resides on Mount Lel (perhaps meaning "Night") and it is there that the assembly of the gods meet. That is perhaps the mythical cosmic mountain.

The Ba‘al cycle is unfortunately fragmentary and in any case leaves much unexplained that would have been obvious to a contemporary. In the earliest extant sections there appears to be some sort of feud between El and Ba‘al. El makes one of his sons who is called both prince Yamm ("Sea") and judge Nahar ("River") king over the gods and changes Yamm's name from yw (so spelled at that point in the text) to mdd ’il, meaning "Darling of El". El informs Yamm that in order to secure his power, Yamm will have to drive Ba‘al from his throne.

In this battle Ba‘al is somehow weakened, but the divine craftsman Kothar-wa-Khasis strikes Yamm with two magic clubs, Yamm collapses, and Bal‘al finishes the fight. ‘Athtart proclaims Ba‘al's victory and salutes Ba‘al/Hadad as lrkb ‘rpt ("Rider on the Clouds"), a phrase applied by editors of modern English Bibles to Yahweh in Psalm 68.4. At ‘Athtart's urging Ba‘al "scatters" Yamm and proclaims that Yamm is dead and heat is assured.

A later passage refers to Ba‘al's victory over Lotan, the many-headed sea-dragon. Due to gaps in the text it is not known whether Lotan is another name for Yamm or a reference to another similar story. In the Mediterranean area, crops were often threatened by winds, storms, and floods from the sea, indicating why the ancients feared the fury of this cosmic being.

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