As I do my research into what is known about the realm of the jinn, I’m always on the lookout for archaeolgical links to places that may have a mysterious history; locations whose lore or legends lend themselves to jinn occupation. Mazraat Beit Jinn in the foothills of Mount Hermon is such a place. Translated from Arabic, Mazraat Beit Jinn means Farm in the Jinn House. There is a nearby town simply called Beit Jinn, which means House of the Jinn. Why? Why would residents of long ago give such a name to this windswept, sparsely populated desert outpost? Were the jinn here? There’s no answer now. Beit Jinn is a small village among a cluster of small villages southwest of Damascus having a total population of just over 2,000 souls. At one time, however, it sat along the route of the Silk Road. Once it was vibrant. Once, it might have hosted the jinn.
Not far from Beit Jinn, northeast of Damascus, lies Palmyra. And here, there are more remnants that lore credits to the handiwork of the jinn. Although located in the arid center of a desert, Palmyra employed a system of elaborate dams and cisterns 2,000 years ago to bring water to more than 100,00 inhabitants. A pretty big feat. Unless you have some jinn working for you. And here’s some literary evidence to support that theory:
“Rise up and go into the world to release it from error and send word to the Jinn and I will give them leave to build Tadmur with hewn stones and columns.” ~God said to Solomon according to the pre-Islamic Arab poet Nabigha al Dhubyain.
Tadmur is the Arabic name for Palmyra.
Here’s my theory. The jinn were active in the desert thousands of years ago. They claimed it as their own. They helped humans to build magnificent cities to provide respite from the heat. They didn’t care that conditions could be harsh and inhospitable. They were the jinn: great engineers. They tapped into the wadi, reservoirs of water beneath the sand; they erected cool marble halls; they brought elegance and civility to the desert. They worked with humans, but humans became more numerous. When Solomon was given control of the jinn nearly three thousand years ago, the game changed. They built his temple (there are allusions to this in the Christian Bible) and some other cities (Petra and Meda’in Salah among them). Here, we get back to Beit Jinn. While the jinn moved about from such locations as Palmyra in the north to Petra in the south, they would have resided at towns along the way. Towns that would forever bear the memory with such names as Beit Jinn and Mazraat Beit Jinn. But the jinn were seen increasingly as a threat. They were no longer needed. They withdrew. Where are they now?
You can certainly find them in my novels. Check out The Genie Ignites and 101 Nights for some fictional insight on what the realm of the jinn might be like. Sadly, to travel to Syria now is to risk getting caught in the civil strife there. News accounts report that the ancient citadel of Palmyra and those in Aleppo have been damaged by mortar fire. Hopefully, a resolution will soon be found so that this wonderful history isn’t lost forever.
This is how I find the seeds of a new novel…as well as fodder for my theory that the jinn once dwelt more fully on earth. Crazy? Maybe not. As you know from reading my blog, I frequently reference the scholarly and religious sources for the existence of the race of jinn. Here’s an article in my favorite magazine, Biblical Archaeology Review, that discusses the mysterious destruction of the city of Hattusa. Before the city was engulfed in a “consuming conflagration”, there was a frenzied spate of construction. According to legend, the jinn were the consummate builders, able to erect massive monuments that could last millenia. Were they the contractors on the Hattusa job? As so many contractors are, were they dissatisfied with their compensation and therefore destroyed their work and the city?? Who knows. But I have a theory…. I’ll let you know when that book is ready. Meanwhile, read about Hattusa and what happened to it. This excerpt sums it up.
The evidence of widespread destruction by fire on the royal acropolis, in the temples of both the Upper City and Lower City, and along stretches of the fortifications, suggests a scenario of a single, simultaneous, violent destruction in an all-consuming conflagration.
[Keep in mind that the jinn are creatures of fire..."forged from flame" according to the Quran.]
The Last Days of Hattusa
The Mysterious Collapse of the Hittite Empire
Trevor Bryce • 02/08/2013
**This article by Trevor Bryce appears as it was printed in Archaeology Odyssey. Full citation below. The BAS Library includes the complete version of every article published in Archaeology Odyssey.**
A helmeted god stands guard over one of the principal entrances to ancient Hattusa. From the 17th to the early 12th century B.C., Hattusa served as the capital of the Hittite empire. Credit: Gianni Dagli Orti/Corbis
From his capital, Hattusa, in central Anatolia, the last-known Hittite king, Suppiluliuma II (1207 B.C.-?), ruled over a people who had once built a great empire—one of the superpowers (along with Egypt, Mittani, Babylon and Assyria) of the Late Bronze Age. The Kingdom of the Hittites, called Hatti, had stretched across the face of Anatolia and northern Syria, from the Aegean in the west to the Euphrates in the east. But now those days were gone, and the royal capital was about to be destroyed forever by invasion and fire.Did Suppiluliuma die defending his city, like the last king of Constantinople 2,600 years later? Or did he spend his final moments in his palace, impassively contemplating mankind’s flickering mortality?
Neither, according to recent archaeological evidence, which paints a somewhat less dramatic, though still mysterious, picture of Hattusa’s last days. Excavations at the site, directed by the German archaeologist Jürgen Seeher, have indeed determined that the city was invaded and burned early in the 12th century B.C. But this destruction appears to have taken place after many of Hattusa’s residents had abandoned the city, carrying off the valuable (and portable) objects as well as the city’s important official records. The site being uncovered by archaeologists was probably little more than a ghost town during its final days.1
From Assyrian records, we know that in the early second millennium B.C. Hattusa was the seat of a central Anatolian kingdom. In the 18th century B.C., this settlement was razed to the ground by a king named Anitta, who declared the site accursed and then left a record of his destruction of the city. One of the first Hittite kings, Hattusili I (c. 1650–1620 B.C.), rebuilt the city, taking advantage of the region’s abundant sources of water, thick forests and fertile land. An outcrop of rock rising precipitously above the site (now known as Büyükkale, or “Big Castle”) provided a readily defensible location for Hattusili’s royal citadel.
Although Hattusa became the capital of one of the greatest Near Eastern empires, the city was almost completely destroyed several times. One critical episode came early in the 14th century, when enemy forces launched a series of massive attacks upon the Hittite homeland, crossing its borders from all directions. The attackers included Arzawan forces from the west and south, Kaskan mountain tribes from the north, and Isuwan forces from across the Euphrates in the east. The Hittite king Tudhaliya III (c. 1360?-1350 B.C.) had no choice but to abandon his capital to the enemy. Tudhaliya probably went into exile in the eastern city of Samuha (according to his grandson and biographer, Mursili II, Tudhalia used Samuha as his base of operations for reconquering lost territories). Hattusa was destroyed, and the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III (1390–1352 B.C.) declared, in a letter tablet found at Tell el-Amarna, in Egypt, that “The Land of Hatti is finished!”
The most illustrious phase in the existence of Hattusa itself, however, did not come during the floruit of the Hittite empire under Suppiluliuma, his son Mursili II (c. 1321–1295 B.C.) or grandson Muwatalli II (c. 1295–1272 B.C.). At this time Hattusa was no match, in size or splendor, for the great Egyptian cities along the Nile—Thebes, Memphis and the short-lived Akhetaten, capital of the so-called heretic pharaoh Akhenaten (1352–1336 B.C.). Indeed, during Muwatalli’s reign Hattusa actually went into decline when the royal seat was transferred to a new site, Tarhuntassa, near Anatolia’s southern coast. Only later, when the kingdom was in the early stages of its final decline, did Hattusa become one of the great showplaces of the ancient Near East.
This renovation of the city was the inspiration of King Hattusili III (c. 1267–1237 B.C.), though his son and successor, Tudhaliya IV (c. 1237–1209 B.C.), did most of the work. Not only did Tudhaliya substantially renovate the acropolis; he more than doubled the city’s size, developing a new area lying south of and rising above the old city. In the new “Upper City,” a great temple complex arose. Hattusa could now boast at least 31 temples within its walls, many built during Tudhaliya’s reign. Though individually dwarfed by the enormous Temple of the Storm God in the “Lower City,” the new temples left no doubt about Hattusa’s grandeur, impressing upon all who visited the capital that it was the religious as well as the political and administrative heart of the Hittite empire.
Tudhaliya also constructed massive new fortifications. The main casemate wall was built upon an earthen rampart to a height of 35 feet, punctuated by towers at 70-foot intervals along its entire length. The wall twice crossed a deep gorge to enclose the Lower City, the Upper City and an area to the northeast; this was surely one of the most impressive engineering achievements of the Late Bronze Age.
What prompted this sudden and dramatic—perhaps even frenetic—surge of building activity in these last decades of the kingdom’s existence?
One is left with the uneasy feeling that the Hittite world was living on the edge. Despite outward appearances, all was not well with the kingdom, or with the royal dynasty that controlled it. To be sure, Tudhaliya had some military successes; in western Anatolia, for instance, he appears to have eliminated the threat posed by the Mycenaean Greeks to the Hittite vassal kingdoms, which extended to the Aegean Sea.3 But he also suffered a major military defeat to the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta, which dispelled any notion that the Hittites were invincible in the field of battle. Closer to home, Tudhaliya wrote anxiously to his mother about a serious rebellion that had broken out near the homeland’s frontiers and was likely to spread much farther….
There’s more to the article in the Biblical Archaeology Review. Read the rest of it here.
What do you think?
Read more about the world of the jinn in The Genie Ignites from Boroughs Publishing Group.
Faced with the external threat of invasion from its more established neighbors, this small Middle Eastern nation began to build. They controlled the trade routes of the Persian Gulf, accumulating wealth and resources. Their construction established them as a major force in the region. Who are they? This upstart nation was known as the Chaldean tribe of southern Babylonia and first appeared in historical accounts around 3,000 years ago.
Accounts of ancient intrigue are a great source of literary inspiration for me. Who were these Chaldeans and why were they able to make a mark in history? Who really knows? All the players are dead and written accounts are scarce. I’m going to tap a reliable though fabricated resource: my imagination. My answer to who the Chaldeans were will be incorporated into my new novel, another romance about the rule of the jinn. Genies are described in folklore as being great builders. Could they have helped a tiny kingdom establish a temple and shrine that became known as the Foundation of Heaven and Earth? Sure, they could have. At least that’s the narrative I”m going to use in my novel.
The actual answer to how the Chaldeans rose to power can be partly found in history. My primary resource for this novel will be the Biblical Archaeology Society library. According to historical accounts, the Chaldeans benefited from the fact that their more powerful neighbors had weakened. With a strong ruler at the helm, the Chaldeans simply outmaneuvered the competition. Eriba-Marduk was the first ethnic Chaldean monarch of Babylonia. He must have been a bold risk-taker. Was he ruthless? Who knows. But if he were, he’d be a great villain. That’s where I’m heading with this. “The King who built an empire at any cost…using mercenaries and magic.” Whaddya think?
The real Eriba-Marduk’s reign lasted only nine years, but it set the stage for Chaldean resistance to the Assyrians for the next century and a half. King Nebuchadnezzar (much better known than his Chaldean predecessor) made his reputation off the construction projects that Eriba-Marduk started. As a matter of fact, the ziggurat called Etemenanki, which Eriba-Marduk started and Nebuchadnezzar restored, was believed to be the Biblical Tower of Babel. And who better to build a mammoth tower that reaches into the heavens than the jinn. Stay tuned for their exploits in my next novel.
Meanwhile, you can check out THE GENIE IGNITES from Boroughs Publishing Group…the story of a genie bound to the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the woman who would win his heart and maybe his freedom.
(Historical information for this blog was drawn from the Biblical Archaeology Society library, Nebuchadnezzar & Solomon: Parallel Lives Illuminate History by Bill T. Arnold: Jan/Feb 2007.)
Look for THE CHRISTMAS BOTTLE, a new Lunchbox Romance from Boroughs Publishing Group about a mystical night that unites a brutal man, his hopeful wife, and an alluring jinni. To be released November 25th, 2012.
I’ve been working with an amazing marketing consultant, Lisa Pietsch, to create a new look for my website/blog. Summoning Magic on the Page is the tagline for this oasis of genie lore, fiction, history, and photos related to all of these things. Please click the follow button on the right side of this page and join me on this magic carpet ride of discovery and exploration into the world of the jinn.
Over the coming weeks and months, you’ll read some shocking facts and fascinating tidbits about a realm that is mostly misunderstood. I’ll share the stories that I uncover in my research (some of them will be actual news accounts of genie encounters, some will be archaeological finds, historical facts, or ancient superstitions) and I’ll keep you posted about the new stories I’m creating based on the jinn.
Currently, The Genie Ignites is available from Boroughs Publishing Group for ereaders, phones, laptops, and most other digital divination. Pick it up today if you haven’t already. Meanwhile, I’m currently onto the edits for book two of the Zubis Chronicles series, which is titled The Genie Smolders. The editor on this book is the sharp and insightful Editor-in-Chief Christopher Keeslar, formerly of Dorchester. That fact alone is a guarantee of a hot, happenin’ and very well written romance.
Take a look around the site and let me know what you would like to see or feel free to share your own fascinating facts about genies.
Sincere thanks to Lisa Pietsch for unleashing this vibrant genie world with her extraordinary marketing savvy. I highly recommend her marketing services. If you’re an author like I am who mostly wants to write but also recognizes the need to get my books into people’s hands, you’re going to need some help. Lisa Pietsch is that person. She built a new website, linked all my social networking, and quadrupled my Facebook reach to readership in less than a week.
Let’s get started. Go click “follow” and fasten your silky sashes.