Ritual of Tammuz
Each fall when it was time to sow the grain, the Assyrian women did a special ritual to appease the god, Tammuz, who was the god of corn and also of life, death, and rebirth. They wept to mourn the death of Tammuz, then threw corn seeds into the ground to die.
Of course, the corn didn’t really die. They were actually planting the seeds. In their minds, Tammuz blessed them by coming back to life as corn year after year, providing them with food.
Growing Grain Exploration
You can sow corn too. Just find a patch of ground and bury a few corn seeds. You may need to water them a bit, but you should see corn plants coming up withing a couple of weeks.
- Why fall? Unlike more moderate climates, which have the killing cold of winter, the middle east has unbelievable killing heat in summer. Learn about the desert climate in this part of the world.
- When you read about corn in ancient times the word really means grain. Corn, as in the kind that grows on a cob, is from the Americas and was unknown to ancient Asian and European people. What kinds of grain would the Assyrians have had? You can still plant corn seeds though, any kind of grain will do.
- Learn about seeds and exactly what they need to sprout and grow? Try planting the same type of seeds with different conditions. See what works and what doesn’t.
- Where was the ancient Kingdom of Assyria. Color it in on a map of the middle east. Add a few of the major cities as well.