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Ancient Mesopotamia
Assyria Nineveh
Arslan Tash Til Barsip
Iran Palace of Darius
Phoenicia Arabia Palmyra
Syrian coast
Ougarit Byblos

Tayma Stele
AO 1505
Sully room 19 showcase 7
The Aramaic text on this stele
relates the onset of the worship
of a Babylonian god in Arabia.
On the lower register of the slab,
the priest is shown with raised arms
in the attitude of prayer. Above,
the image of the god is placed
beneath the winged disc.
This important document is
often associated with the visit of Nabonidus to Tayma. It appears that King Nabonidus of the Chaldean dynasty established his royal
residence in this oasis city,
located at the crossroads of
the routes followed by the caravans which transported spices
across Arabia.

Tayma Stele, and the worship of a Babylonian god

The Bible offers no religious scene of this type. There is only one altar where sacrifices can be offered, that of the temple. And there exists no representation of the descendants of Aaron. It is only after the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD that we find representations A253 of the high priest on frescoes or mosaics. “He developed the city, he built [his palace there]; like the Palace of Babylon he built it (?)”. The biblical account of Daniel chapter 5 apparently makes allusion to the sovereignty of Nabonidus, since his son, Belshazzar, proposes to Daniel to become the third highest ruler in the kingdom. A254
The distinction between priests and lay people is a characteristic feature of Babylonian religion. Already the highest orders of the priesthood were committed to celibacy. A255

 The distinction between

priests and lay people is a
characteristic feature of
Babylonian religion. 
Jesus did not impose it as a precondition to priesthood. Furthermore, “the inspired utterance says definitely that in later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, forbidding to marry”. - 1 Timothy 4:1-3.  A256
“The New Testament, which contains the doctrine of Christ and the Apostles, in no way requires the celibacy of sacred ministers (…).
Jesus Christ did not impose it as a precondition to the choice of the Twelve, neither did the Apostles with regard to the men assigned to the first Christian communities.”
 “The overseer should therefore
be irreprehensible,
a husband of one wife.”
1 Timothy 3:2
There exists such an analogy between the institutions of India (since before the Christian era, Buddhism imposed celibacy A258 on its monks), America (and notably Peruvian nuns), Ancient Rome and those of Christendom that a common origin is highly probable. A259

Cybele Sat on a Throne     CA 1797

Sully 1st floor room 36 showcase 18

Cybele (Greek: Kybele) is the Latin name
of a goddess born in Phrygia, Asia Minor;
she was known to the Greeks
by the name Rhea.
Wife of the titan Cronus, she was honoured
in Rome as the Great Mother of the gods.
She is often seated on a throne
flanked by lions.
Her cult was led by eunuch priests
called Corybants. It was introduced to Rome under its primitive form with its celibate clergy.


R.F 4718
Richelieu ground floor room 29
This masterpiece of 18th Century French art is considered a national treasure.
Vestals were young virgins who devoted themselves to the worship of Vesta by seeing to it that the sacred fire never went out.
They were chosen by the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of the Roman religion.
One Vestal who broke her vow of chastity
was burnt alive.
Christian tradition treated one of these Vestals, Claudia Quinta, as the embodiment of all the Vestal Virgins. A257


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