|“||He will always be my enemy, my opposite, the light to my darkness. So why do I seek his return to life? It's because without him, I am incomplete. Without Hadad, the Baal Cycle cannot be done. And perhaps even I miss my dear younger brother and.... my king.||„|
Mot is the West Semitic and Canaanite god of death, infertility, drought and the underworld. He is the ruler of Mawt, the Canaanite Underworld. He was worshipped by the people of Ugarit, by the Phoenicians, and also by the Hebrews of the Old Testament.
He is one of the sons of the high god El, he was the chief antagonist of the rain god Baal Hadad, whose life-giving waters brought fertility to the land. Mot was the Lord of the desert dryness, the underworld, and all that is opposed to life. The Phoenicians called him Death and Pluto, lord of the underworld. In Ugaritic myth, Mot is a personification of Death.
The main source of the story of Mot is Ugaritic. According to instructions given by the god Baal Hadad to his messengers, lives in a city named hmry ('Mirey'), a pit is his throne, and Filth is the land of her heritage. He, as the god of the dead, rules the realm also known as Mawt (or the infernal realm Sheol), the name of the Underworld (Hell) for both Hebrews and the Canaanites, who say that such dark place is found deep beneath the earth. The throne city of Mot goes by the name Hemry.
Mot was particularly important in the land of Canaan, which, unlike Mesopotamia and Egypt, had no great rivers and relied largely on rainfall to water its crops. In Canaanite mythology, Mot, and Baal were bound in a cyclical battle in which Mot temporarily vanquishes Baal, whose body is heroically rescued by his sister Anat, after which Baal is resurrected, finally defeating Mot and returning life-giving rain to the land.
Powers and Abilities
According the Baal Cycle, discovered at Ras Shamra, Mot was called the "Darling of El" and was one of the primary actors in the annual fertility cycle. In this drama, Baal, the Lord of the life-giving fresh waters, had defeated the sea god Yam and established his throne on Mount Saphon. A struggle then ensued, in which Baal and Mot battled for supremacy.
Mot sends back a message that his appetite is that of lions in the wilderness, like the longing of dolphins in the sea and he threatens to devour Baal himself. In a subsequent passage Mot seemingly makes good his threat, or at least is deceived into believing he has slain Baal. Numerous gaps in the text make this portion of the tale obscure.
The god of the underworld wants to open his mouth wide, so Baal could descend into his innards. That would be revenge for the demise of the death god’s brother, the serpent Lotan. The god of underworld summons Baal down his gaping throat, so the latter could pay the price for slaying Lotan, the god of the sea and rivers.
The sun stops shining as its goddess Shapash joins Baal's sister, Anat , who then comes upon Mot, seizing him, splitting him with a blade, winnowing him in a sieve, burning him in a fire, grinding him under a millstone, and throwing what remains in the end over a field for birds to devour.
El, Baal's father, dreams that Baal is alive, and sends Shapash to bring him back to life because the land had become dry. After seven years, Death returns, seeking vengeance and demanding one of Baal's brothers to feed upon. A gap in the text is followed by Mot complaining that Ba'al has given Mot his own brothers to eat, the sons of his mother to consume.
Single combat between the two breaks out until the sun goddess Shapash upbraids Mot, informing him that his own father El will turn against him and overturn his throne if he continues. Mot concedes and the conflict ends.
"Respects I shall not send to Mot," Baal declares, "nor greetings to El's beloved!" Mot responds in kind: "I alone am he who will rule over the gods, yea, command gods and men, even dominate the multitudes of the earth."
Baal commands his messengers to travel to Mot's city in the underworld, where he sits on his throne. However, Baal cautions his minions: "Do not draw near the god Mot, lest he make you like a lamb in his mouth, like a kid in his jaws you be crushed!" The lesser gods must honor Mot: "The heavens halt on account of El's darling, Mot," Baal declares. "At the feet of Mot, bow and fall. Prostrate yourselves and honor him!"
Despite honoring him with words, however, Baal refuses to pay him tribute. Infuriated, Mot sends word back to Baal that he will exact revenge by devouring Baal like a titanic lion, thus bringing a terrible curse of drought upon the earth.
Struggle with Yahweh
The struggle between Mot and Baal also figures in the biblical story of the prophet Elijah's battle with the prophets of Baal, played out in the context of a period of devastating drought. The Israelites must decide whether they will accept the Canaanite view that only by properly propitiating Baal Hadad can they hope for rain to return, or whether they will follow Elijah's teaching that the God of Israel controls both drought and rain alike.
To propitiate Baal, his priests engage in a self-mutilating ritual, recapitulating the story of El and Anath, who lacerated themselves while mourning Baal's death prior to his resurrection. Elijah proves God's superiority over Baal first by a miracle in which God consumes Elijah's sacrifice with fire from heaven, and later by God's providing rain to end the drought.
Myths and Legends
The Jewish tradition of Passover may have begun as a ritual connected with the myth of Mot killing Baal. Passover is held at the end of the rainy season, which could symbolize the death of Baal, as he was the god of rain. In the myth, Mot eats Baal like a lamb. During Passover, the priests eat lamb. However, the bones of the lamb are not broken, possibly signifying that Baal will return in the fall. During the festival, the priests prepare the body of the lamb in a similar fashion as Anat kills Mot. The festival may have started with the belief that by participating in the death of Baal, they would insure that rains would not come during the spring, as rain in the spring could ruin the crops.
A few references in the Bible also appear to be a memory of Mot, such as vague mentions of seemingly personified death in the books of Hosea, Habakkuk and Jeremiah. Evidence from Ugarit indicates Mot was not worshiped, and he isn't attested in theophoric names; he was a demonic personification of an abstract concept rather than a god. This makes him distinct from other Semitic figures associated with the afterlife, such as Nergal.
|“||So you are saying that this will not only endanger the existence of all gods, the multiverse, possibility of an all-out wars between all supernatural races, AND Hadad will be blamed for all of it? Damn, I wish I was the one who thought of that. Give me 5 minutes for me to finish my work, then we can go.||„|
|— Mot during ancient times.|
|“||What wilt thou gain by fighting me god of death and meaninglessness? Doth more meaninglessness await a meaningless battle, or will it be answered by creation? Regardless, I shall destroy thee. On this stage where Death playeth its music, I shall scatter the embers of thy life.||„|
|— Mot to Hadad.|
|“||Nobody kills the beloved brother of the god of death and get away with it alive.||„|
|— Mot after hearing of Lotan's death.|
- His Greek counterpart is the God Hades.