The Seal of Shamash is a representation of the ancient Assyrian / Mesopotamian sun god of the same name. Also described as an eight-pointed star, this solar symbol is thought to represent the solar calendar, or Sun Wheel, with the four arms associated with the solstices and equinoxes that were key calendar days. Other theories state that it represents how the sun (and Shamash) hold dominion over all four quarters of the earth.

Shamash is traditionally associated with the concepts of fairness and justice. He brings injustice to light the same way that the sun chases away darkness. His followers were inspired to gather all existing legal procedures and laws and properly codify them. The imagery accompanying the code depicts a king kneeling before the god, who embodies justice. When used in legal documents, the Seal of Shamash represents fair application of the law and just decisions, and warns the authorities not to deviate from either. The message was so strong that Mesopotamian kings used the symbol as a cylinder seal, or ‘signature’. As a logical consequence of Shamash’s position as a righter of wrongs, he is also perceived as the God who rescues people from the torment of demons. The ancient Babylonians appealed to him to help those being unjustly persecuted. The Seal appears in hymns dedicated to him, many of which are highly moving. Due to the widespread popularity of the sun god, different versions of the Seal of Shamash exist, but the variations are so minimal that the image remains constant.

 

Seal of Shamash

 

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