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Gurzil Dispels the Darkness


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(Libya)

Gurzil, the sun god, was worshiped among the Huwwara of Tripolitania well into the eleventh century, long after the Arab conquest. This deity was a protector, a guide, and a dispeller of darkness. In his solar aspect, he was identified with the two-horned Carthaginian Baal Hammon. He was not a major deity of cultivation or fertility, but rather a god of prophecy, a seer whose associations were with the departed, and whose—at times—enthroned, faceless mass appeared to represent the image of the deceased in a seated posture, wrapped for burial. He was the oracle of prophecy who advised by his foreknowledge, and who was also a divine guide.

In ancient times the Libyans were familiar with the priest-king who was at the same time a fighter for his faith. Nabis, who was a Libyan in Hannibal's army, was a chief and priest of Amen. He was well-armed, and under the protection of Amen rode fearlessly into the thick of battle shouting the name of his god. From his helmet hung the sacred bands of Amen, while his dress was that of a priest. More often the symbol of the Libyan sun-god was a bull or a ram known as Gurzil. See also: Baal Hammon.

Subjects: Religion.


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