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Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Donald Alexander Mackenzie

Book Overview: 

Donald Alexander Mackenzie was a Scottish journalist and prolific writer on religion, mythology and anthropology in the early 20th century. His works included Indian Myth and Legend, Celtic Folklore and Myths of China and Japan.

As well as writing books, articles and poems, he often gave lectures, and also broadcast talks on Celtic mythology.

This volume deals with the myths and legends of Babylonia and Assyria, and as these reflect the civilization in which they developed, a historical narrative has been provided, beginning with the early Sumerian Age and concluding with the periods of the Persian and Grecian Empires. Over thirty centuries of human progress are thus passed under review.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . cultural contact between separate nationalities, and, as a result, a not inconsiderable amount of "religious borrowing". Greece was supposed to have received its great goddesses from the western Semites, who had come under the spell of Babylonian religion. Archaeological evidence, however, tends to disprove this theory. "The most recent researches into Mesopotamian history", writes Dr. Farnell, "establish with certainty the conclusion that there was no direct political contact possible between the powers in the valley of the Euphrates and the western shores of the Aegean in the second millennium B.C. In fact, between the nascent Hellas and the great world of Mesopotamia there were powerful and possibly independent strata of cultures interposing."[137]

The real connection appears to be the racial one. Among the Mediterranean Neolithic tribes of Sumeria, Arabia, and Europe, the goddess cult appears to have been influential. Mother worship was the predominant chara. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I love both history and mythology. I expected the latter, but was pleasantly surprised by how much of the former I got in reading this. My major concern, of course, is with the accuracy--I'm not a scholar, but I felt like many of these theories and things were likely out of date, especially with...more

It says 'Myths of Babylonia and Assyria' but halfway through it becomes a chronicle of the infamous aforementioned kingdoms. It's not a terrible book, but it's not a great if you're looking for a compendium of myths. It is, however, a great intellectual examination of the myths by paralleling the...more

This is a good intellectual text. I like the exposition.

Mackenzie was an excellent scholar. You'll not find rosy prose here, but an excellent description of the evolution and causes of Middle Eastern mythology.

Extended:

If you’ve never been introduced to the seldom-seen myths of the ancient Middle East than this is a good book...more

Once you get past the ancient racism, this is a pretty great book.

The study of mythology is sort of inextricably bound up in the ancient histories of people and therefore the racial differences between people. This stuff stretches way, way back, and the people of the olden days were racist as cr...more

Fascinating stuff, but I was hoping for more.

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