So I was reading and researching for our Gilgamesh episode and kept getting distracted by things entirely unrelated, thus, if you’re listening to us and you think to yourself “Self, Jamin seems especially ignorant this week” now you know why.
Null Hypothesis research is best research, but boring. Best research is thinking “I bet that’s a thing so I’m going to find some datums to prove it!” Which is bad research, but sexy research!
Ok, so you know how after a bit of exposure to things and/or stuff you start to see (or hear) patterns? And you think to your self “self? Is there a connection?” It’s how we get the Zeus / Deus connection and the Jupiter / Dis Pater bits. They look completely different but the way you put your tongue matches up (calm down now).
Having spent the better part of two weeks not researching Pazuzu I was suddenly immersed in a conversation where his name got bandied about quite a lot and I pretended to say some smart words and suddenly there was Pazuzu and Abzu and Anzu and Ninazu and all of these deity/entities (deientity?) are winged/windy sort of critters and I keep wanting there to be a zu = wing corollary that I can point to and say “Aha! I have done a smart!”
To the Internets!
Exactly 1.21 Googlewatts later… I was wrong. Zu != wing/feather/pinion/flight/aeroplane.
It actually means… but wait! Let me digress and show my work first, this is the super interesting part which isn’t actually, but still, I spent like 20 whole minutes on this.
There isn’t actually a lot of easily accessible good information on Pazuzu. It’s mostly just a bunch of crazies asking each other how to be super cool and demonic on Myspace and spellchecking each others’ spells and incantations. Honestly it’s a bunch of crazies trying to be spookycool and diluting the pool of proper academic demonology (nb if you are an aforementioned crazy and you’re reading this I just want to say: Hi! Thanks for reading my post and checking out our podcast!:-)
So here we go:
Abzu 𒀭𒍪 𒀊
….sourced from either Wikipedia or the Brittanica because it was hit or miss who had the cuneiform.
Coming from a Chinese background, where glyphs equate to sounds, this both makes sense and confuses me. Some things line up, but some don’t. Like 4 out of 5 times zu lines up with 𒍪 but what is that pesky 𒀭 ?
According to Wiki it’s a Dingir! It’s an unpronounced prefix to signify the divine, except in the case of Anzu when is conveniently pronounced an.
(A brief aside, Facebook wouldn’t let me change my name to 𒀭Jamin)
And now the denouement: From the Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary (online ed)
𒍪 (964x: ED IIIb, Old Akkadian, Ur III, Old Babylonian) wr. zu “to know; to learn” Akk. edû; lamādu
Takeaway, The common thread in these demon/deity names is the word for knowledge.
So here’s Pazuzu again:
𒅆 Ši: face/presence
𒊒 Ru: bird
𒍪 zu: know
note bene these are the names of the phonemes not the pronunciations. So do your best guess at what his name means?
Back to the Brittanica we find that Ninazu is “the water knower”
Anzu is the “knower of the heavens”
Abzu is another “water knower” but these are the waters of the deep, like, the mythical oceans we can’t find unless we’re dead. The primeval sea between the underworld (kur) and the earth (ma) that we live on. Also, maybe aquifers and artesian wells cuz those are also kinda magical?
Noneways, thanks for joining me on this deep dive into a hunch and finding the 𒍪𒍪 at the end of the rainbow.
Wuv 𒀭Jamin and I’ll see you in hell.