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 Сирруш с врат царицы This extraordinary story would start with the events of the last years, but we will be back on a hundred years ago, by the time...

...When 3 June 1887 the German Professor Robert Koldewey, looking for a couple of days on the site of Ancient Babylon, picked up a shard of old bricks. One of the surfaces of it was covered with bright-blue glaze and contained fragments of the image, very interested scientist. Perhaps he hoped to make the opening, but never dreamed that it will be so important. And I didn't know that it will produce a puzzle, which today is intriguing to us not less than 50 years ago.

Anyway, the Professor returned to the site only after 10 years. This time last three days 1897 he dedicated to unearthing new glazed bricks. The administration of the Royal Museum in Berlin and the German Oriental society hinted to him that allocate funds for excavations in Babylonia, provided that will be obtained interesting results. Brought by the Professor of the second voyage trophies met these gentlemen-couch.

"Excavations began March 26, 1899, on the East side Qasr, North of the gates of Ishtar", - he wrote later Kaldewei. Later, in 1902, the light appeared again the gates of the Queen Ishtar, long centuries was hidden under a layer of earth. Partially destroyed, however, they looked very impressive. Gates of Ishtar - a huge semicircular arch, bounded on the sides of the giant walls and facing quite a long track for marches along which the right and to the left also dragged on the wall. Built it all made of brick, covered with bright blue, yellow, white and black glaze. To heighten the splendour of the gate walls and paths are covered with bas-reliefs of extraordinary beauty, representing animals in the poses are very close to natural. The ranks of walking sedately Lviv decorate the walls of the track. The gate walls from top to bottom is covered by the alternating rows of two other images of animals. One of them is a powerful ferocious bull species, second... and it is here that begins the Zoological puzzle.

Usually it is the second beast is called the Babylonian dragon, and this is the same beast that appears under the same name in the Bible. In cuneiform tablets saved his Babylonian name - sirrusha. We will leave, although there are some doubts about its correct pronunciation.

This is how Kaldewei the size of the gates of Ishtar:

"The rows of bricks are one above the other. The dragons and the bulls never meet in one horizontal row, but the number of bulls follows a series of cirrosa, and Vice versa. Each image has the height of 13 bricks, and the interval between them is 11 bricks. Thus, the distance from the bottom of one image to the bottom of another is 24 bricks, or almost exactly two meters, that is, four of Babylon Godric".

Just at the gates, about 575 images of animals.

The building is impressive, and it is no wonder that king Nebuchadnezzar, who had rebuilt the Ishtar gate, very proud of them. When the work was completed, he was the inscription, which was made cuneiform and publicly exhibited. Inherent in that era the lack of modesty in the first lines was reported:

"I Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, pious Prince, the ruling by the will and good pleasure of Marduk (Supreme God of the Babylonians), the Supreme ruler of the City, the favorite of Heaven (son of Marduk, the Supreme God of the neighbouring town of Borsippa, clever and tireless... always concerned for the welfare of Babylon, wise firstborn son of Nabopolassar king of Babylon..."

Later in the inscriptions it is reported that due to the constant improvement of the embankment to the road leading to Babylon, the height of the gate has been, and in the end, Nebuchadnezzar ordered to completely rebuild them. All this is confirmed by archaeological finds, and we have no reason to doubt the faithfulness or authenticity label, which happened to be not quite finished. In the inscriptions are not ignored and images of animals.

Ferocious bulls (original they are called "Rimi") and dark dragons written on the yard gate (wall)than I informed the gates of splendor extraordinary and luxurious, and the human race can look at them in astonishment".

The human race and the truth in amazement and looked at them for many centuries. And now, after the excavations and perestroika, looks again. And images Rimi (or Rei) a copy elsewhere. In Ancient Greece, too, knew the gates of Ishtar, but they preferred to call the gates of Babylon.

Of course, in those days nobody cared about Zoological reliability. Lions on the walls of the track were lions, tours on the gate - rounds, despite the somewhat unusual form; and the details which artisans Nebuchadnezzar felt it necessary to decorate depicted them monsters, no one interfered. They sometimes painted with eagles, bearded, human persons and other monsters-in hybrids. In short, image sirrusha no surprise. And to be surprised, they had to be armed with a huge knowledge in later centuries - knowledge that has helped to excavate and restore the gates of Ishtar.

The bas-reliefs sirrusha have a very clear path is narrow trunk, covered in scales, long and thin, scaly tail and the same long and thin squamous neck with a snake's head. The mouth is closed, but it sticks out a long forked tongue. On the back of the head are seen leathery ears, decorated with direct horn, servants also and weapons. It is possible that there for two horns, because the image of the tour-Rimi visible also only one horn. "Very remarkable, " writes Kaldewei, " that despite the scales, the animal has a coat. Near the ears from the head down three spiral strands, and on his neck, where there should be a crest lizards, stretches a long series of wavy curls".

But the most remarkable detail - paws. The front like the paws of an animal from the cat family (say, Panthers), and back - on the bird. They are very large, four-toed, strong covered with scales. And contrary to the combination of such different parts of the sirrusha looks like a living, anyway, just as depicted next to it Rimi, if not more naturally.

Recopy somebody the gates of Ishtar 100 years before this combination of feet could be considered sufficient proof that the magic snake - no more real animal than winged bulls and birds with human heads of the Assyrian and Babylonian mythology. But one hundred years Georges Cuvier had become the father of paleontology, Professor Marsh in America won the title of "father of the dinosaurs"and the views of biological science has undergone huge changes. Paleontologists have discovered fossils of animals that had incredibly long neck and tail, huge trunk and a small head or the serpent's head, crowned horns (and maybe had forked tongue, though, alas, they are not preserved as fossils). There were even those species that could walk upright, or on all fours. They may have used that one, another way to travel interchangeably, depending on the circumstances.

Accordingly sirrusha suddenly began to perceive it as something real and quite possible. At first thought it was a picture of an animal from the detachment laserowych. In 1913, Professor Kaldewei spoke for the first time that Babylon dragon their main features similar to fossil dinosaurs.

"Sirrusha... on uniformity of its physiological concepts far exceeds all other fantastic creatures," he argued, and then with a sigh concluded: "had he been so pronounced cat's front paws to such a creature could exist in reality". Knowing that the Bible confirms the existence sirrusha, Professor dared to assume that the Babylonian priests kept in the cave temples some kind of reptile and showed her in the dim light as a living sirrusha.

About this Kaldewei wrote in his first extensive report on the excavations at Babylon. In 1918, after five years, he wrote a volume on the gates of Ishtar and equipped with beautiful illustrations, and thus entered into battle with the dragon. This time he was bolder. Still confused by the similarity of the front paws sirrusha with the paws of a cat, he has led the list of extinct reptiles, indicating those traits that were inherent sirrusha. He came to the conclusion that the animal, if it existed, should be classified as tizenegy dinosaur. Gently moving the reader to this conclusion, he suddenly said: "Iguanodon found in the deposits of the Cretaceous period in Belgium, is the closest relative of Babylon dragon".

History, amazing in many ways. The gates of Ishtar were enlarged and embellished with these bas-reliefs at the behest of the king, which is known mostly because it is repeatedly mentioned in the Bible. And the two most mysterious biblical beast appear at these gates side by side, or, rather, one above the other. Rimi, which is suspicious for all his mighty power; and the dragon, which were held in some Babylonian temple and worshiped by the citizens, while Daniel did not kill him.

In the end, it was established that Rimi is the tour. Well, the sirrusha? Why not consider its just fiction? Kaldewei thought it unlikely, because the image sirrusha has not changed for thousands of years, which is not typical of other fantastic creatures of the Babylonians. In the early Babylonian art sirrusha appeared in recognizable form, and it's still painted in Nabucodonosor, that is about 604-561 years BC.

Modern science can easily ODAedelity species of pangolin, which belonged to the sirrusha, although fossils exactly the same kind she doesn't know, and the artist, depicting his probably made some minor bugs. Now certainly know that the Babylonians were not aware of paleontology. Their sirrusha any exact copy of something known to them, or the miracle of imagination, completely coincided with reality. But it certainly wasn't "reconstruction". In addition, nowhere near Babylon is not found in the cemeteries of the dinosaurs.

Because we do not know living or recently extinct animal that could serve as "in kind" for the image sirrusha, we face a choice: either to stop the search, or to assume that Cerruti - accurate portrait of an animal who is not familiar modern Zoology.

We should not be concerned by the fact that this animal is hardly met even in the times of Ancient Babylon. Rimi in those days, too, became extinct in Mesopotamia, but they are still 20 centuries lived in Europe. For Babylonians Rimi was a "beast from distant countries". The same can be said about the sirrusha.

But where did he come? According to some scientists, from Central Africa.

Here we should make a small digression and give the floor to the opponents of the African version".

The legend of the dragon recorded in the first written monuments of human history. Before the others they appeared in the Sumerian sources. Of course, the dragons are mythical creatures. But legends about dragons and serpents wander from the Millennium Millennium on all continents of the Earth, and there is a striking similarity.

Coincidence? Zoologist at the University of Florida Walter Auffenberg believes that for a simple match the similarity of these legends is too large.

The dragon of legends, he says, usually endowed with wings, immortality, and special knowledge of the essence of life and death. Dragons seemed to rule over rivers, rain and rains, they have the secrets of fertility.

Legends about dragons exist in China, Japan, Australia, America, India and, of course, in Europe - it is enough to remember the history of St. George and the dragon. Dragons of the West usually are carriers of evil, but in the East they are benefactors, they really look.

Auffenberg suggests that for the first time the myth of the dragon emerged 100 thousand years ago - at a time when primitive man watched from the ground in the spring of snakes crawl - "reborn" after winter. He believes that this can be marked on the ancient made of the bones of the calendars that archeologists find.

But the scientist adds that the first evidence of which can accurately be defined as the "dragon", belong to the Sumerian culture that emerged 5 thousand years ago in the interfluves of the Tigris and Euphrates. Sumerian dragons consisted of parts, "selected" vultures, hyenas, snakes and lizards. And the dragon made of animals feeding on carrion, quite logically could symbolize the link between the living and non-living.

Further, assumes Auffenberg, about 1500 BC warriors-horsemen of Central Asia brought fragments of Sumerian myth West to Europe and to the East - China.

Conquerors-Aryans could bring the legend of the dragon in India, says scientist, and then merchants were able to bring it to Indonesia and Australia, where there is a myth about the flying Serpent.

In North America these prehistoric legends took the form of a flying snakes that inhabit the sky. In South America appeared "supercreative"to rule over the rivers.

But let us suppose that this is not open an animal. The only place where it could live without being noticed, this Central Africa, the area of tropical rainforest and the Congo basin. So very curious of all the rumors about some unknown large and terrible animal that emanate therefrom. One of these rumors came to hunting big game Hans Somborska for many years before Kaldewei wrote his first major report.

Shomburgk worked for Karl Hagenbach, trader of wild animals, which supplied them to the Zoological gardens, and was holding a huge zoo Stellingen near Hamburg.

In 1912, after returning from Africa, Shomburgk told Hagenbeck amazing story. And rejoiced when Hagenbeck not mocked him. Instead, he said Schomburgk that received such information from other sources. These messages were stories natives about a hybrid of the "dragon and the elephant", which was believed to have lived in the impenetrable swamps.

Apparently, visiting Liberia, Shomburgk never heard of that animal, but when he arrived on the shores of lake Bangweulu, on the place that seemingly ideal for hippos, and asked the natives, why there is not a hippopotamus, those pointedly replied that there is good reason. They are (here we cite the book Samburga "For wild animals in the heart of Africa") "...said that in this lake live the beast, who, second in size to hippos, however, kills and eats them. On the habits he must amphibian: the beast comes out of the water, but no one has ever seen his tracks. Unfortunately, I described the story as the story and was not to conduct a further search. Later I spoke about this with Karl Hagenbeck and now convinced that the animal belonged to some varieties of dinosaurs. I stick to the opinion that, because of Hagenbeck received from other sources messages that fully coincides with my observations and information received from the natives, whom I interviewed. Hagenbeck sent to the lake Bangweulu special expedition, but unfortunately it is not even able to find this lake.

In 1913, the German government sent in Cameroon expedition under Freyer von Stancu of Loznitza with the task to conduct a General survey of the colony. An official report about this expedition, still exists in the manuscript contains a fairly extensive section dedicated to the unknown animal Somborska. Captain von Stein, of course, was extremely cautious, choosing words for this part of the report wisely calling animal "a very mysterious creature," which "may exist only in the imagination of the natives, but imagination is, "probably based on something more tangible". Information von Stein was, in his words, from "the stories of natives of the former German colonies" (Cameroon) about "being very afraid Negroes in some parts of the territory of the Congo, in the lower reaches of the Ubangi, Sangi and Ikelemba". He stressed that these stories came from "experienced guides who are not familiar with each other, but who repeated all the details completely independently of one another". The natives called it the animal mokele-mbembe, but it was impossible to say for sure whether this is the name of some specific meaning. Captain von Stein wrote:

"Messages, this being not live in smaller rivers such as the two Likely, and in the above-mentioned rivers, they say, there are only a few individuals. When we were in the expedition, we were told that one individual noticed on non-navigable section of the river Sanga, somewhere between the rivers of MBIA and Picunda; unfortunately, this part of the river could not be examined due to the fact that our expedition was crumpled. We also heard about some animal that live on the river Sambo. Stories natives are reduced to the following description.

The animal, as they say, has a gray-brown color, smooth skin and the size is approximately similar to the elephant, or at least with a hippopotamus. It has a long and a very flexible neck and only one tooth, but very long. Some says it's horn. Some mentioned long muscular tail, like an alligator. They say that approaching the beast Canoeing doomed: the animal immediately attacked them and kill command, but do not eat of the body. It is the creation live in caves, washed by the river in clay banks on steep bends. In search of food it is, they say, comes out on the beach even during the day and eats only plants. A trait that is not possible to explain all the myths. Showed me his favorite plant. This is a variation of vines with large white flowers, reminiscent of milk juice and similar to the Apple fruits. On the river Sambo showed me the lane, which in search of food paved the beast. The track was fresh and there was found and described above plants. However, there were too many paths trodden by elephants, rhinos and other large animals, and could not with any certainty to allocate the creature's trail".

It is a pity that Baron von Stein was so little time. He could look mokele-mbembe.

As for the animal from the lake Bangweulu, which told Somborska, the Englishman Hughes received about it a little more information. In his book "the 28 years on lake Bangweulu" Hughes led a conversation with the son of the leader of a local tribe of an animal that is called here "chipeque". The young man said proudly that his grandfather was, or at least watched the hunt for chipeque.

Oral tradition was told description this hunting. It was attended by many of the best hunters, and they day pricked chipeque his big hooks used in the hunt for hippos. Chipeque describe as an animal with smooth dark skin without beards, armed with one smooth white horn, as the rhinoceros, only the white and polished. It is a pity that they have not saved this horn: Hughes would have given him all that they desire.

Hughes was familiar with the Rhodesian official, who said that one night he heard a very loud splash in the lake, near which stood the camp, and in the morning he found a hitherto unheard tracks.

Scientists, having listened to these stories, laughed. About any large unknown animals can speak, when everything is already open!

Too many similar evidence suggests: what if in the shallow ponds and rivers of Central Africa really hides large unknown animal? Probably reptile.

Naturalbut, the next question is: could survive in Central Africa, large reptile? The answer zoologists is: if somewhere she could survive, it is only here, in Central Africa!

Now what is the basis for this assertion.

These dinosaurs and the other great reptiles, related to them, died out at the end of the Cretaceous period, about 60 million years ago. Hypotheses on this account there are many. Huge cemetery of dinosaurs near Tendaguru in East Africa show that in Africa there was something like that. There is no doubt that here, as elsewhere, large form disappeared. But the average is somewhat different story.

Worldwide last 60 million years were marked by all kinds of geological changes. Small sea flooded vast areas of land, other areas have dried up. Arose and again disappeared passages; tectonic forces gromozdin mountains, was an active volcanic activity. But Central Africa has been geologically stable: land mass there is exactly the same as 60 million years ago.

Finally, the continents to the North and South of the fiftieth parallel in both hemispheres passed through a number of glaciations, but, although they had an impact on the climate between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, this impact has not led to dramatic consequences. And Central Africa are not subjected to geological disasters since the Cretaceous period, and suffered only minor changes in climate. So if one of those days and survived the great reptiles, to seek their needs in Central Africa...

And the search began. 1981. Into the interior of Zaire went expedition, which was patronized oil tycoon Jack Bryant, three journalists and Roy Mackal, a biologist and Director of the University of Chicago, on coincidence of circumstances which, and the Vice-President of the international society of cryptozoology. The expedition was aimed to check visual observation 1776. Then there was first seen the beast, reminiscent of sauropod, herbivorous dinosaur. The locals, as we have said, call it mokele-mbembe.

Sailing canoe, and hewed his way through the looming overhead jungle vegetation, the expedition members had penetrated far into the marshy jungle. By sonar they investigated ponds in search submerged under water animals. Sometimes rowing for two days in a row, to find a piece of dry ground.

One day, around the river bend, Canoeing became much sway, because you were raised on some large animals wave. The beast just plunged into the water. Expedition member Richard Grinvil, ecologist deserts and Secretary of the international society of cryptozoology, stated: "Former us natives started to panic".

Scientists took it more calmly. Grinvil believed that it could be Hippo, elephant and crocodile. However, he knew that hippos are not living in the marshes, elephants are not immersed in water, and crocodiles raise very little wave. A government official on matters of Zoology, who participated in the expedition, " his name was Marcelin of Anania - was so intrigued that he decided to come back here with your own expedition. And he did so in April 1983. A few days searches yielded no fruit. And then one day, right in front of the noses of Anagni and his colleagues, from the water suddenly rose a creature. It was a strange animal with broad back, a long neck and small head. However, as with bitterness scientist wrote, "in the tide of feeling alarmed by this sudden and unexpected appearance, I was not able to remove this animal on film".

"The visible part of the animal, - told M. Anania - approximately corresponds to our idea of a Brontosaurus. I am personally convinced that in the swampy jungles of Likouala home to at least two types of unknown animals. A few days before the arrival of our expedition in the area of the settlement Agama there was such an event. The river in a canoe floated woman. Suddenly the boat ran into an obstacle and stopped. The woman leaned on the pole, trying to push their boat with "stranded". After that powerful impetus threw the cake right on the shore, and the surface has a huge animal. About half an hour raged it, uttering the shrieks".

In the North of the Congo came the dry season, and the river Likouala-oz-ERB shoaled so that her somewhere you could Wade across. However, in the area of the incident depth reached 10-12 meters. Here scientists have discovered a floating island, consisting of a thick layer of sand, resting on a solid bed of dead aquatic vegetation. On a perfectly flat surface traces - like in the sand crept some huge animal. The island also found the flaps of skin from 1 to 15 centimeters long.

And one more stroke to our unfinished history. American traveler Herman of Register've recorded the sounds of unknown animals in the lake district of the Body. He gave voice recording scientist from California Kenneth Templin, which scraped the side of noise and compared with records of other animals. He came to the conclusion that the recorded voice belonged to the unknown till now the merits. What?
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