(ORDO NEWS) — Sogmatar, Sanliurfa is located 53 kilometers from Harran. In the Tek Tek mountains, there are important Neolithic centers such as Karahantepe, Harbetsuvan and Kurt Tepesi, there is also a cult center dedicated to the moon god Sin.
The cult center dedicated to the God of the Moon Sinu is located in the area of the Tektek mountains among the Harranians during the period of the Abgar kingdom.
In the Sogmatar cult center; there is a cave where the moon god Sin is worshiped (Pognon Cave), and a hill (Sacred Hill – in Turkish Kutsal Tepe), on the slopes of which there are reliefs of the god and inscriptions engraved on stones.
There are also 6 square and round mausoleums, an inner castle and many rock tombs carved into the main temple.
Although the ancient city of Sogmatar dates back to the 2nd century AD, research shows that the history of the city dates back to 2000 BC.
Sogmatar was founded by people who fled from the constant attacks of the Parthians (Iranians) on the Urfa region, especially in 165 AD, and retained the features of a cult center until the Islamic period.
Although the name of the moon god in Mesopotamian civilizations varies from culture to culture, it is generally perceived as “Sin” and “Nanna”.
The Sumerians called their moon gods Nanna, Nannar or Suen.
Sometimes they combined two different names. In a later period, the Akkadians of Semitic origin called the moon god Sin. Apart from these names, Asimbabbar, Namrashit and Inbu were among the words used to describe Nanna-Sin.
The Sumerians used such descriptions for Nanna-Sin as the brightness of the moonlight, the bull, the young bull of Enlil, and depicted him as a bull and a lion-dragon. In addition, the symbol of this god consists of a crescent.
The moon god Sin was very important to the Sumerian city of Ur. But in subsequent periods, the city of Harran became an important center of Nanna-Sin. A trinity of gods was established in Harran with Nanna-Sin, Utu and Inanna.
Nanna-Sin, who was adopted as the patron god of the city of Ur, is mentioned in the Sumerian pantheon as the son of Enlil. The Sumerian texts describe that Nanna-Sin judged the dead in the underworld. He is said to be the time-determining god.
One of the most important features attributed to Nanna-Sin is that he acted with great vindictiveness against the wrong deeds of the kings living on earth, and was an important force in their punishment.
Although the moon is called “Sin” with its crescent shape, “Nanna” at full moon, gradually it takes the form of “Asimbabbar” with its growing condition.
The moon god Sin is known as the most important god of all the Semitic tribes. When he is in the form of a crescent, he is masculine, when in the full moon of the feminine, he is identified with a bull, when he is in the form of a crescent.
The deities associated with the 7 planets (Sin, Shamash, Ishtar or Atargatis, Mara, Samya or Ares, Girgis, Bel and Nabu or Nabig) and their families (Ningal, wife of Sin, Nusku, wife of the fire god Sadarnunna) dominated the Harran pantheon with Assyrian and Babylonian periods to Islamic.
The moon god Sin is constantly at the top of the pantheon of gods. The name of the moon god Sin is included in the treaties and agreements concluded between the kingdoms of Harran, starting from the Assyrian and Babylonian periods. It is even written that some treaties were concluded in the famous temple of Sin in Harran.
The name of the temple built in the name of the god Sin in Harran is E.HUL.HUL. The first information about the cult of Sin, which is known to have a very ancient history, appeared in a letter received from Mari, which dates back to about 1776 BC.
Accordingly, it is understood that in the temple of Sin in Harran, a decision was made to make peace. Thus, it is implied that Sin held an important position in Harran in the first half of the second millennium BC, and that due to the presence of Sin, his name began to sound more often.
The two reliefs at the northern end of the hill, south of the mound at the entrance to Sogmatar, are quite striking. This hill is mentioned in the inscription as a sacred hill. The relief on the right shows a man in front, framed by an arch, two quadrangular columns and two steps. Beams emanate above his head.
To the right of the relief is an inscription in Syriac. The inscription says: “God commanded to create this image of Ma’n on the thirteenth day of Adar (March) 476 (165 AD)”.
Another relief is a bust in a rock-cut niche to the right of this relief. Behind the shoulders of the bust, a crescent moon, the ends of which are directed upwards, attracts attention. There is an inscription on both sides of the bust.
In the first of these inscriptions: “Shila’s son Shila made this image for the god Sin, in memory of the life of Adona’s son Tirdat and his brothers”, In the second inscription: “I am God ….. I see him. I see him and I look at him. I am God Sin.” On the left side of this bust.
The inscription mentions the name of God. The inscription reads: “May the son of Kuza Zakkai and his children be remembered before God.” It is clear that this bust is the god Sin, due to the name Sin in the inscription and the crescent moon motif.
In addition, human reliefs and inscriptions can be seen on the southern, northern and western walls of the cave, which was identified by Pognon, the French ambassador to Aleppo, in the early 1900s and today is called Pognona Cave.
The presence of the crescent, which is the symbol of Sin, on top of the head of one of these reliefs, shows the presence of Sin in the sanctuary of Sogmatar.
In Sogmatar, the name “Maralakhe” is mentioned in two inscriptions, and “Maralakhe, the king of the gods” – in one inscription. Maralakhe, as the name of the moon god Sin in Old Akkadian and Aramaic.
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