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Lotan


Lotan is an ancient beast known to the Semitic Canaanites —the Sumerians, the Mesopotamians and the ancient Syro-Palestinian— as The Coiling Serpent, The Fleeing Serpent or The Powerful with the Seven Heads.


The giant serpent-like creature Lotan was a servant of the sea-god Yam. When Yam (the sea) fought against Baʿal (the sky), Lotan was defeated by the benevolent storm-god, who, with the help of his sister, Anat, turned chaos into order, separating ocean from sky and creating the universe.


In The Baʿal Cycle —a cycle of stories written in the Ugaritic dialect, telling about the Canaanite god Baʿal, the storm-god associated with fertility— Lotan is described as a vicious serpent with seven heads who once defeated was condemned to inhabit the cosmic-sea which surrounds the habitable world.

Summarian tablet depicting a god fighting a seven-head beast (ca. 2500 BCE)

Lotan seems to be a predecessor of the biblical Leviathan, both represented as allies to the chaotic forces, and both fighting to prevent the creation of a natural order and the beginning of the living world.


Legends of this gargantuan seven headed serpent date back to over 2500 AD.




References

-Emerton, J.A., 1982. Leviathan and ltn: The Vocalization of the Ugaritic Word for the Dragon. Vetus Testamentum, 32(Fasc. 3), pp.327-331.

-Oswalt, J.N., 1977. The Myth of the Dragon and Old Testament Faith. Evangelical Quarterly, 49(3), pp.163-172.

-Van Der Sluijs, M.A. and Peratt, A.L., 2009. The Ourobóros as an auroral phenomenon. Journal of Folklore Research, pp.3-41.

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