Wise Old Fish

Excellent edition of “In Our Time” today, on the subject of the ancient library at Nineveh. Another example of the “enthusiastic scholar” in Karen Radner, but all good contributions.

As well as the general Assyrian / Babylonian cultural history, including Gilgamesh and the even older myth of the Great Flood, it was fascinating to hear the myth of the fish (long-lived human-sized Tigris carp) as wise advisers to the even-longer-lived and disease-free humans in the times before the flood.

After the flood, all had changed for humankind. So many allusions. A fall from grace. Babel-fish, and so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the … Douglas Adams references. [And how could I forget the “Salmon of Wisdom / Knowledge” and DNA’s “Salmon of Doubt” – Comment from Dermot below.]  Also another specific interest for me in Nineveh / Carchemish / Leonard Woolley and T E Lawrence. Libraries destroyed by fire; Nineveh, Alexandria, “Name of the Rose”, oh, and Guisborough my original home town. Must add links to all those referenced allusions …

[Post Note : The recycling of mythology in cultural undestanding of real knowledge is fundamental to the defining moment of “Arrive Without Travelling“.]

[Post Note : Conversation with DMB on MoQ.Discuss – The programme also mentions that ironically, if the library at Nineveh had not been torched, then future archeologists may never have found the Gilgamesh / flood tablets. Here’s a thought; how many of us would have known of the Afgan Buddha’s if they had NOT been parttially destroyed by the Taleban; how many US citizens would have known that Bablyon was the cradle of their civilized world if they had not been plundered in tthe course of their “war on whatever”. Perhaps myth has more lasting value than the contents of libraries and museums, however outrageous their deliberate destruction ? Perhaps they benefit from being converted back into myth ocasionally.]

2 thoughts on “Wise Old Fish”

  1. It sure does Dermot … another Douglas Adams allusion I forgot to mention “The Salmon of Doubt” is a play on that. Many thanks for the reminder & link.

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