Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Abraham, Athamas and the Minyans
The story of Athamas is the Minyan version of the story about Abraham. Intricate details of Abraham’s life appear as parts of the Greek myth as well. I can’t think of another pair of ancient stories which are so similar, but never compared! Both were divinely commanded to sacrifice their own son with a knife on a mountain top, and each was about to comply when the child was saved by the miraculous appearance of a ram.
by John Salverda
The Athamas of Greek Myths was a well known Minyan. Abraham and his family were said to have been from “Ur of the Chaldee’s.” These two statements complement each other because the Minyans were the Armenians, and the Armenians of Urartu were famously known as the Chaldeans of Urartu. This is the land where Noah’s ark landed, and since the people of Noah’s land could build ships (the Greek word for “ship” is plausibly derived from the very name of Noah, “naus”) they were very colonial. The “Minni,” named in connection with Ararat by Jeremiah (Jer. 51:27), are the same people as those mentioned by Josephus, who uses the Greek form “Minyas” (Antiquities i. I. 6) to indicate a place in Armenia -- the country where Noah’s Ark landed.
As a result there are fairly convincing connections between the Greeks, “Minyas” and the Armenians. Historians call these people the “Manneans” -- or the kingdom of “Van.” This group lived in the mountains (alternately known as the “Gordyan” mountains by Berosus, and as the “Chaldean” mountains by Xenophon) where Noah’s ark landed. The Chaldeans are the descendants of Noah’s grandson, Arpachshad (Greek “Harpagus,” and since the “Celti” are the “Chaldees,” it is possibly the French name “Arbogast”). Abraham was one of these Chaldeans. These three closely related peoples -- the Armenians, the Hebrews and the Minyans -- knew about each other’s existence and they kept in touch in ancient times. Since the “Manneans” are known to have been largely composed of Hurrians, it seems reasonable to assume that the “Hurrians” were so called after “Ur,” the homeland of Abraham. (The area surrounding Haran, the pre-Canaan home of Abraham, was also settled by the Hurrians.)
The theory that Abraham came from Ur in Sumer dies slowly, but surely. As has been argued by Prof. Cyrus Gordon and others, Abraham was a nomadic herdsman from the mountains of Noah the ship builder, with specialized abilities like knot tying for the rigging of canvas, and astral navigation. He had herds for wealth (goats and sheep, animals that are specialized for the mountains) and was not a city dwelling farmer like the Sumerians, and obviously did not come from the cities of the plains of Shinar.
Trading merchandise (known as Minyan ware), possibly along with adventurous tourists attracted by the stories of the patriarchs, were ferried between Greece and the Minyans by a seafaring, horse breeding people known as the "Thekel" (the Thekelwesh of the Sea Peoples). The Thekel also had ties to the Minyan culture and were more familiarly known as the "Thessalians" -- a name they adopted around 825 B.C.
The People of Thessaly were from the land of Canaan, and were called “Aeolians” -- the “sons of Aeolus” (Eloah, with the usual Greek suffix -us appended). The Hebrews knew of these people and called them “the sons of Elishah.” The Aeolians traded extensively with the Armenians (see Ezekiel 27:9-25) whose gray colored Minyan ware (as it is so-called by modern archaeologists who find it scattered throughout northern Greece and southern Thrace from the time preceding the Troy VI period) would come down through Hittite territory to the coastal cities on the Cyprus corner of the Mediterranean sea. From there the goods were carried over the sea, by the Aeolians of Thessaly, to northern Greece and Thrace.
The story of Athamas is the Minyan version of the story about Abraham. He began a movement with the aim of abolishing that age old, and widespread, religious concept of human sacrifice -- and it’s companion tradition, cannibalism. Although we praise Abraham for his role in this abolition, it seems that some factions of the ancient Greeks were of a different opinion. They considered their Abrahamic equivalent Athamas -- and his descendants as well -- to be cursed for their part in the civilizing of mankind. Intricate details of Abraham’s life appear as parts of the Greek myth as well. I can’t think of another pair of ancient stories which are so similar, but never compared! Both were divinely commanded to sacrifice their own son with a knife on a mountain top, and each was about to comply when the child was saved by the miraculous appearance of a ram.
The ram was considered to have been supplied by God, and was said to have been acceptable to Him as a replacement sacrifice instead of the son of man. The symbol of the sacrificed lamb of God seems to have been a constant one, lasting from Abraham down through the Passover lamb of the Hebrew exodus -- and on as the image of the sacrificed Christ. For our present purposes however, let us not forget one important stop over, for this symbol, which was outside of the usual Judeo-Christian religious continuum, appears to have served the sea people of Greece as the quest of the Argonautic expedition.
The symbol of the sacrificed lamb of God appears in the Greek Myth complete with an association to the Hebrew story of the garden of Eden. The quest of the Argonauts, like the Biblical quest of all mankind, hangs in a tree in a sacred grove. There is a serpent, and the way is guarded. This association begs for the conclusion that these Greeks had some knowledge about the Hebrew concept of the original sin. No doubt they did, for they knew many intricate details of the Hebrew story -- including the sophisticated religious symbolism inherent in the parable of Abraham’s two wives.
Both Abraham and Athamas are said to have had a pair of competing wives, each of whom were obvious allegories of differing religious concepts. Offspring was born to each of the wives, and the quarrel concerned whose offspring and their attending religious concept, would be favored. This is true in both stories. Ino is the equivalent of Hagar, while Nephele is the equivalent of Sarah. Consider the Ino, Hagar identification first: The Greeks considered Ino to be the loser of the wifely quarrel. She was exiled and had to flee from her family home with her child in her arms, and was at the point of death when god intervened, granting Ino powerful miraculous abilities over water. This saved the lives of Ino and her son Melicertes, and they were appointed to become great religious icons among the people who lived in the land of her exile -- which we are told was Corinth in Greece. All of these motifs are straight from the life of Hagar, who was looked upon as symbolic of earthly Zion -- the covenant with slavery and death -- while Sarah was symbolic of freedom, the Heavenly Zion and the wife of God.
Now consider the identification of Nephele with Sarah: Nephele was created as a duplicate of Hera, the heavenly wife of god. Hers were the favored offspring who were carried off to the "land of Egypt" (Colchis) from which they eventually had a miraculous epic deliverance (Argonautica). The son of Nephele was called Phrixus. Phrixus is the Minyan version of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph -- all rolled into one. As Isaac he is almost offered up as a sacrifice by his father on a mountain top, but is saved at the last minute by the miraculous appearance of a ram. As Jacob he goes off to the "land of Egypt" where he stays until the end of his life. In each case his descendants returned and his bones are carried back home for burial. As Joseph, Phrixus has an episode with the wife of Aeetes (son of Helios, and king of Colchis), which is an obvious doublet of the same story told about Joseph with Potiphar.
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