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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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the name of a Babylonian god, who, in the first year of the foundation of Babylon, is said to have come out of the Persian Gulf, or the old Erythtaean Sea, adjoining Babylon. He is described as having the head and body of a fish, to which were added a human head and feet under the fish's head and at the tail. He lived among men during the daytime, without, however, taking any food, and retired at sunset to the sea from which he had emerged. Oannes had a human voice, and instructed men in the use of letters and in all the principal arts and sciences of civilization, which he communicated to them. Such is the account of him preserved by Berosus and Apollodorus. Five such monsters are said to have come out of the Persian Gulf: one. called Anedotos or Idotion, in the reign of Amenon, the fourth king of Babylon; another in that of the fifth king; and the last, called Odacon (or Ho Dagon), apparently the Phoenician Dagon, under the sixth. Many figures of Oannes, resembling that of a Triton, having the upper part of a man and the lower of a fish, or as a man covered with a fish's body, have been found in the sculptures of Kuyunjik and Khorsabad, as well as on many cylinders and gems. Oannes is supposed to have symbolized the conquest of Babylonia by a more civilized nation coming in ships to the mouth of the Euphrates; but he is apparently a water-god, resembling in character the Phoenician Dagon and the Greek Proteus and Triton. See Helladius, Apud. Phot. Cod. 279, p. 535, 34; Richter, De Beroso; Cory, Anc. Fraigm. p. 30; Bunsen, Egypt's Place, 1:706; Layard, Nineveh, p. 343. (See DAGON).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Oannes'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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