One prominent aspect of Noah’s narrative is seamanship, and a less noticeable one is what I would call "industrial espionage." In fact, the surprising expertise of this exceptional Sethite should not be taken for granted, although he manages to tackle a historical enterprise just following the instructions coming from God. Why should this expression, "industrial espionage," be appropriate to describe the multifaceted contrast between Noah and his sons? I have already tried to hint at this interpretation of the well-known events. Still, the Egyptian side of the story might help trace out an important aspect: intrinsically technological. Noah’s name can be compared to the Egyptian for "rope", nw (Erman & Grapow 1971 [1]: II, 223; Teeter 1987 [2]; Veldmeijer, A.J., et al. 2008 [3]; Veldmeijer 2009 [4]; Bohr & Olsen 2011 [5]; Borojevic, K. & R. Mountain 2011 [6]). This comparison is highly instructive for many substantial reasons. The "rope" metaphor to define cosmology is very ancient because around the tablets of destiny revolves a complex of astral myths of Sumerian origin, according to which only the main deity is allowed to hold the ranks of the cosmic order, represented by ropes that keep the various elements in their reciprocal positions (serretu and markasu, George 1986 [7]; Horowitz 1998 [8]: 265). In fact, when Noah's children lay a cloak on their father's nudity, going backward in the manner of ropemakers (MacKay 1916 [9]), they reveal two aspects about an underlying competition in the field of a critical expertise. 1) Ham (Egypt) and his nephew Canaan (Phoenicians) have been determinant stakeholders among ancient thalassocracies and when they are accused of prying into Noah’s secrets, we should not dismiss what comes from the lesson of the other two brothers. 2) They wisely chose to walk backward to avoid the curse fallen on Canaan and maybe also to make more explicit their humble occupation of ropemakers, confronted to the divine sea mastery of their father. This gesture, so typical of a very ancient craft, displayed on Egyptian monuments, where artisans intertwine and tend the threads of the ropes they produce, is symbolical of what really matters in Noah’s story. 3) He is represented as some sort of Medusa, who can hurt people intruding into his own privacy, with a clear allusion to a region, Lycaonia, which is represented in Genesis by Matušael, "the one from Ušša" 4) This area, still undetermined in its historical extension (Gander 2015 [10]), but to be surely located at the frontier of Tarhuntassa, is connected to paralysis for two distinct reasons. One is historically determined because the land of Ušša is where Hittite royal chronicles locate the famous episode of king Mursili’s aphasia (Stefanini 1964 [11]; Justus 2007 [12]). We do not know if the Luwian for "wine," matusa- (CHLI 477; Weeden 2018 [13]) plays an extemporary role in the story, as a paretymology, introduced to characterize the inventor of viticulture in a region that will be famous for wine production. The case of Amblada, a city of Lycaonia that gave its name to a renowned nectar, may belong to this chapter. What really matters about our eminent Sethite is that he most likely lived near his once brethren Cainites. As Cain moved to Nod-Naid (LXX), I tentatively identified with the Hittite upati Nata, and he needed to be protected by God against the revenge of the Sethites, the two "tribes" were meant to live in close contact. In the territory of the Homonadeis, close to Lake Trogitis, a town named "Sedasa" has left epigraphical evidence (Sterrett 1888 [14]: 139-140; Calder 1910 [15]; Malten 1940 [16]: 169-172; Hall 1971 [17]: 129). Should we think that Sedasa, namely *Sa(n)ta-assa, was the town of the "children of Seth"? *Sa(n)ta-assa may be interpreted as a free standing genitive (Yakubovich 2006 [18]; Sasseville 2018 [19]). The diffusion of names whose common matrix may be the widespread Anatolian cult of Santa (Buckler & Robinson 1914 [20]: 37-39) allows to think that Sedasa was the stronghold of the Sethites in the land of Nata (Homonadeis= "those of *Komo-Nata"= "inhabitants of upati Nata"). The iconographical motif of Medusa is attested around Lake Suğla (Baldiran 2012 [21]: 32; Pehlİvan & Baldiran 2018 [22]: 78-81), but there is something more substantial in southern Isauria to justify the steady relationship between Lycaonia and Medusa myth (Ogden 2008 [23]). Lycaonia and Isauria are neighboring regions and together with Cilicia have shared in antiquity the deep influence of the Hittite / Luwian culture that was persistent until Christian era. Nonetheless, after realizing that Perseus and Medusa’s myth are rooted in an area that Herodotus would have called "Cilicia" tout court (Garstad 2014 [24]), it is interesting to wonder whether the origin of this diffusion may be identified. Iconium is privileged - maybe just for being the center of Lycaonia - in the aftermath of Medusa’s memories, but the little town of Artanada in Isauria, already in its name, may preserve the most pertinent sign of what is Medusa within Genesis’ protohistory. Artanada (Dülgerler) is known for a curious geological phenomenon (Bayari 2002 [25]; Öztürk 2009 [26]: 27-28; Delikan & Mert 2019 [27]), which makes a branch of the Göksu River disappear underground to reappear half a kilometer away. Thence the close relationship of this town with raging waters which flow downstream, sink into underground meanders, and karstly reappear. Not only Artanada belongs to an area named Potamia ("Riverine", Sterrett 1888 [14]: 52-53), but the travertine bridge formed by those waters at the foot of the hill where the town now sits is wondrous and the cave nearby may have represented an ideal setting for Medusa’s petrification. There are reasons to insist on Artanada to gather some light to understand the chronotope of Genesis: first, Artanada may be interpreted as "Arta of Nata", then as a sibling of Homonada that I proposed to read as "Kome Nata". Besides, if we accept the exegesis of Cassuto and others about Gn 4:17-18, Irad would be the first city, built by Enoch and named after his son’s name. As I suggested in the entry "Cainites", the oscillation between the initial /i/ in the Hittite language and the initial /a/ in the Luwian language is well documented and may be applied to the case of Arta/Arda. I have developed this line of thought in the entry "-aradu" and I am going to add more details, at the moment, I will just underline that water is fundamental to understand the role of the Sethites and in a way complementary to the rock where the Cainites are perched to (Num 24: 21-22). Enoch is the first to erect a city, but part of a lineage that will be swept away by the waters, too. In Byzantine times, the Isaurians gained lasting fame for their expertise in working the stone (Elton 2000 [28]), and Artanada is known for its travertine deposits, as remarked above. The rock is seen as a sure embankment and limit to water violence, and the ability shown by the Hittites in the canalization works in Lycaonia has remained proverbial. The monument of Eflatun Pinar preserves its tangible memory (Mellaart 1962 [29]; Emre, 1993 [30]; Bachmann 2004 [31]; Bahar & Çay 2007 [32]; Hawkins 2015 [33]: 2). If the Cainites – the children of the woman – represent the constructive hybris, the presumption of dominating the waters, the Sethites continue the line of divine reconciliation, which will have its climax with Noah and the new alliance signed by him.

Originally Published: June 11, 2021

Last Updated: June 11, 2021

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