The symbolism of the Auroch or Bison

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Table of contents

Preliminary note

For the time being, this analysis is limited to the etymological analysis, and has yet to include the various examples drawn from the comparative mythological analysis of the civilizational mythological variations of the two symbols studied.

Note also that this analysis is repeated in Book 1 of Volume 2, “Deciphering the language of caves”, auroch and bison being major figures in cave sacred art.

Symbolic equivalence of auroch and bison

To understand this, we must first note that the bison is an animal of equal symbolic equivalence to the auroch, the wild bull.

In Proto-Cuneiform, bison means alim with the ideographic sign [1].

But, alim doesn’t just mean bison, but also a wild ram, an auroch, referring to the idea of a powerful[2].

There is therefore a clear equivalence between the two.

What’s more, the term “mighty”, with which they are synonymous, was often used in ancient times to designate deities or kings, just as the Sumerian or Egyptian word “great” was a common epithet of divinity or royalty.

It’s not just a question of a simple animal…

Meaning of alim

If we want to understand the deeper meaning of « alim » and who it refers to, just break it down.

In Sumerian, “a” refers to the father.

What remains to be seen is the meaning of lim :

Meaning of lim

Lim may be the contraction of li-im

Or, li9 means to sparkle, to shine[3] and an excellent oil[4].

This is why su-lim means impressive brilliance or radiance, splendor (in Akkadian : šalummatu, šalummu)[5].

The original meaning of su being the body, the flesh, the skin, the animal skin[6], it’s lim which in su-lim gives it a radiant, splendid appearance, the usual attribute of the great divinity.

Lim can also be the contraction of lu-im.

But lu in Sumerian means a man, humans or a herd (note the constant Sumerian association between man and a herd animal) [7]; designates an adult male[8] ; lú-u18 designates a human being and humanity in general[9] (echoing the recurring analogy between humans and herds of animals lú-u-um18 is the name of a breed of small cattle[10]).

As for im on its own, it means clay, loam, mud.[11].

Note in passing that im also means wind, direction, storm, rain[12] ; which sends us back à tumu which means wind, a cardinal point, a direction[13] ; so there is equivalence between im and tumu ; It is important to point this out, because it brings us back to the double meanings of the word father « a » since « a » designates a father, but also a flood[14]. tumu is also very important (we know why in Book 2, “From God to Adam”).

Finally, im by ím (equivalent to gim4) also designates a runner, a trotter, a term that is mostly used for animals.

So.., lim by li-im or lu-im expresses the idea of a grown man with a body made of clay and mud, who can be associated with an animal, whose body radiates splendor like a divinity and who is a father.

Lim is also to be compared with lum and to lam.

Let’s see what these two logograms tell us:

lim-lum association

Lum can change into lim.

We have an example with silim (to be, to make in good shape, good condition, in good health…) (the equivalent of the famous salem [paix] in Akkadian as in 18 of the 21 Semitic languages), which is the contraction of sil5, “pleasure, joy” and lum, “grow”[15].

We note that lum changes into lim.

But, lum means being fertile, productivef[16] ; it is also manure, fertilizer; in its verbal sense, it essentially means to grow, luxuriantly. lum-ma is, for example, a fertile female[17]

We therefore understand that lim as equivalent to lum refers to a complete, healthy, fertile male, a reproductive sire, but also to fertilizer, manure, making it grow luxuriantly.

We repeatedly observe that the primordial human father has been represented in ithyphallic form as a symbol of his character as a reproductive progenitor.

We find him in the Lascaux cave in the scene in the well of the wounded man (or rather, the dead man), a mirror image of his own avatar, the bull facing him, also mortally wounded (with a hooked spear piercing his genitals). But I’ll come back to the meaning of this figure in volume 6 and book 1, dedicated to the analysis of the first megalithic temple, the cavern.

Association lim-lum-lam

Note also the equivalence between lum and lam.

lam designates both luxuriance and… the underworld. Its verb form also means to make grow or grow luxuriantly[18].

láma, lám designates the impressive power of a divinity, being the contraction of « la », abundance” and « me », « function, power »[19].

lamma, làma designates a tutelary genius[20].

Thus, through its equivalence with lam, lim designates a divine being endowed with abundant power, source of abundance and ruler of the underworld.

Conclusion on (Sumerian) etymology

Given that the bison is, like the auroch or the wild bull, a symbolic animal avatar of the primordial father, the fact that it is associated with the triple vertical line in Lascaux comes as no surprise, since it is ultimately a reiteration of the two signs of the auroch and the triple vertical line in the first panel of the unicorn, an association which, as we saw in Volume 2, Book 1, entitled “Deciphering the language of caves”, forms the “triple vertical line” of the first panel of the unicorn. name adam, adama or a-ku/gu

Thus, our “simple bison” is much more than he seems: he too is an animal representation, a divine avatar of the father, the powerful, radiant, adult man made of clay, the first progenitor father of mankind, source of fertility and god-king of the underworld.

The fact that he is depicted in a cavern sanctuary, a subterranean place emblematic of the underworld, makes perfect sense.

Footnotes :

[1] (CNIL, 1996?, p. 346)

[2] Alim : wild ram; bison; aurochs; powerful [gir3] sign per P. Steinkeller, (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 50) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français = alim = bélier sauvage ; bison ; auroch ; puissant

[3] li9: to glisten, shine (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 12) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : li9 = scintiller, briller

[4] ì-lí : fine oil (jar) (‘oil’ + ‘true measure; fine oil’) (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 103) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : = mesure exacte ; excellente huile

[5] su-lim : awesome radiance, splendor (Akk. šalummatu, šalummu ) (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 138) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : su-lim = nu éclat ou un rayonnement impressionnant ; splendeur (Akk. šalummatu, šalummu ).

[6] su : n., body ; flesh; skin; animal hide ; relatives; substitute (as verb, cf., si; sug6 or rúg) adj., naked. (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 15) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : su = nouns: body, flesh, skin, animal hide; substitute, replacement (as a verb cf.., si; sug6 or rúg)

[7] lu : n., many, much; man, men, people; sheep. v., to be/make numerous, abundant; to multiply; to mix; to graze, pasture (reduplication class [?]) (cf., lug) (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 12) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : lu = beaucoup ; homme, humains, gens, peuple ; troupeau. Verbs: to make numerous, abundant; to multiply; to mix; to graze.

[8] : grown man; male; human being; someone, anyone, no one; gentleman (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 12) Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : = homme adulte ; mâle ; être humain ; quelqu’un, n’importe qui, personne ; gentleman.

[9] lú-u18[ÑIŠGAL]– (lu) : mankind; human being (‘humans’ + ‘huge’ [ + ‘numerous’]) (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 117) ; Cf Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien français : lú-u18[ÑIŠGAL]-(lu) = humanité ; être humain (humains + énorme + nombreux)

[10] lú-u-um18 : name of a breed of small cattle (possible Semitic loanword) (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 117) ; Cf Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien français : lú-u-um18 : nom d’une race de petit bétail (possible emprunt sémitique).

[11] imi, im, em : clay, loam, mud ; tablet (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 15) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : imi, im, em = argile, glaise, boue

[12] imi, im, em : wind; direction; weather; storm; cloud; rain (cf. tumu). (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 15) ; Volume 4 / Sumerian-French lexicon : imi, im, em = wind, direction, climate, storm, cloud, rain (see tumu).

[13] tumu, tum9, tu15 : wind; cardinal point, direction (ta, ‘from’, + mú, ‘to blow’). (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 36); Volume 4 / Sumerian-French lexicon : tumu, tum9, tu15 wind; cardinal point; direction (ta « from », + « blow »).

[14] a, e4 = noun. : water; watercourse, canal; seminal fluid; offspring; father; tears; flood (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 3) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : a, e4 = au nominatif = eau, cours d’eau, canal, fluide séminal, descendance, père, larmes, inondation ou déluge.

[15] silim [DI] : to be/make in good shape, healthy, complete (usually considered Akk. loanword, root means ‘peace’ in 18 of 21 Semitic languages, but Sumerians used word in greeting and root not in Orel & Stolbova’s Hamito-Semitic Etymological Dictionary; cf., sil4, ‘pleasure, joy’, + lum, ‘to grow luxuriantly’). (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 65) ; Volume 4 / Sumerian-French lexicon :silim [DI] = to be, to make fit, good condition, healthy, complete (generally considered a borrowing from an Akkadian root meaning “peace” in 18 of 21 Semitic languages, but Sumerians used this word in greeting and this root is not in Orel & Stolbova’s Hamito-Semitic Etymological Dictionary; see sil5, « pleasure, joy » + lum, « grow »

[16] lum : n., fertilizer, manure; cloud ; v., to be satiated, full; to soften, soak; to grow luxuriantly; to be fertile, productive; to make productive; to bear fruit (abundance + grass, plant + to be, behave). (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 35) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : lum = fertilizer, manure; cloud. Verbs: to be satiated, full; to soften, soften; to soak, soak in; to grow luxuriantly; to be fertile, productive; to bear fruit (abundance + grass, plant + be, behave, conduct).

[17] lum-ma : a fecund female (‘to be fertile, productive’ + nominative) (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 117) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : lum-ma = une femelle féconde (« être fertile, productive + nominatif).

[18] lam : n., abundance, luxuriance; almond tree; netherworld ; v., to grow luxuriantly; to make grow luxuriantly (la, ‘abundance’ + to be) (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 34) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : lam = noms : abondance, luxuriance ; amandier ; les enfers ou le monde souterrain ; Verbes : faire croître ou croître de manière luxuriante ; (la, « abondance » + être).

[19] láma, lám : an awe-inspiring quality (la, ‘abundance’ + me, ‘function, power’) (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 35) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : láma, lám = une qualité ou caractéristique impressionnante (la, « abondance » + me, « fonction, pouvoir »)

[20] lamma, làma : a female spirit of good fortune; tutelary genius (lam, ‘to make grow luxuriantly’, + a, nominative suffix) (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 35) ; Volume 4 / Lexique sumérien-français : lamma, làma = a female spirit of good fortune; tutelary genius (lam, « faire croître de manière luxuriante » + a nominative suffix).

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