One of a pair of divine attendant statues from the Temple of Nabu, Nimrud, northern Iraq. Neo-Assyrian, about 811-783 BCE. British Museum. Image source: X i
Today is International Day for Monuments and Sites, established in 1983 by UNESCO to raise public awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of the world’s built monuments and heritage sites and the efforts required to protect and conserve them.
This day is less formally being recognized as a Global Day of Mourning for the antiquities and sacred sites that have been destroyed and looted by Daesh. Part of the purpose of this day is to raise awareness of the intentional destruction of archaeological sites that have been destroyed and are under threat of destruction. Daesh has destroyed artifacts and bulldozed the archaeological site of Nimrud. It is also active in selling looted artifacts, and uses the profits to finance its illegitimate regime and acts of terrorism. Just yesterday, I noticed Roman coins on Ebay selling at conspicuously low prices from the United Arab Emirates. Please be careful about purchasing antiquities, and make sure the seller uses only respected sources.
The second purpose of this Global Day of Mourning is to come together as Pagans, Heathens, and Polytheists of every denomination with the shared focused will that this terrorist group be stopped, and to pray that the indigenous Gods of these lands - the Gods of Sumer, Assyria, and Babylon—rise up to inspire the hearts and minds of the descendants of those who once worshipped them. This is an opportunity for us to help restore what was broken. Please offer prayer for today for these intentions to the deities of your choosing.
The situation in Syria and Iraq is a dire, one and I have shamelessly appropriated phrases from ancient prayers to compose an invocation to Nabu, so that He might find the words I familiar and pleasing. I think it is particularly important to point out that the epithet applied to the god Ellil, which is found in a prayer of 8th century BCE, “the merciful and compassionate”, is still used as an epithet for the God worshiped by Muslims, Jews and Christians.
To Nabu, wise and splendid, mighty prince whose command is supreme, skilled in the arts, trustee of all heaven and underworld, expert in everything, wise, the holder of the tablet stylus, learned in the scribal art, merciful and judicious, who has the power to depopulate and repopulate a country, beloved of the god Ellil, lord of lords, whose might has no rival, without whom there can be no order in heaven, the merciful and compassionate, whose benevolence is good:
Preserve the well-being of the peoples descended from your worshipers in Assyria and Babylon. Direct your just face toward those who seek to erase the heritage of the Land Between the Two Rivers. O Nabu, scribe of the universe, controller of harmony, let the evil ones be overthrown! You speak truth and justice: let just rulers be raised up, and let them in wisdom shepherd the lands! Let the peoples obtain justice, let them uphold truth and rightness!