Oannes

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Similar stories of fish gods who suddenly appear and become the teachers of mankind can be found in other traditions, for example the Indian stories about Matsya, the first avatar of Vishnu, and the stories of the ancient Phoenicians of the Dagon, who taught humankind the art of irrigation, and the ancient fish gods of the Dagon tribe in West Africa. We even know from Plutarch that the earliest representations of Zeus were of a man with a fish tail, an image which survived in Greek mythology in the form of his brother Poseidon.

Mark Booth / <cite>The Secret History of the World</cite>

The few fragments of Berosus that survive contain teachings on the history of the origins of the earth and the sky and the race of hermaphrodites, the pre-sexual humans who reproduced by means of parthenogenesis.

Berosus goes on to describe how the land came to be inhabited by a primitive race. Then one day a monster emerged on the seashore, an animal called Oannes '... whose whole body was that of a fish; under the fish's head he had another head with feed also below similar tot hose of a man, subjoined to the fish's tail. His voice and language were articulate and human; and representation of him is preserved even to this day...'

'This monster was accustomed to pass the day among men, but took no food then; and he gave them an insight into letter and sciences and arts of every kind. He taught them to construct cities, to found temples, to compile laws, and explained to them the principles of geometric knowledge. He made them distinguish the seeds of the earth and showed them how to collect fruits; in short, he instructed them in everything which could soften manners and humanize their lives...'

'And when the sun had set this being Oannes retired again intot he sea, and passed the night in the sea, for he was amphibious...'

Mark Booth / <cite>The Secret History of the World</cite>

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