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Shamal or 'the North' is called the 'Greatest God', and 'The Chief of the Jinn, who is the Greatest Divinity'. According to Bayard Dodge, English translator of the Fihrist, this god was probably the same as the ancient Semitic divinity Saphon or Zephon. The deity Adon Saphon or Baal Zephon is identified as the 'Lord of the North'. The people of the ancient port city of Ugarit (at modern-day Ras Shamra in Syria) worshipped Saphon or Zeus Cassios at Mount Casius located north of the city, while the Mandaeans regarded the North as a source of light and power. The people of Harran may have identified the North with the Primal Cause, from which the cosmic existences were said to emanate. 'It is more likely, however.' Dodge says, 'that they inherited from earlier peoples the idea that, in addition to the twelve deities for whom they built shrines in their sacred enclosure, there was also a great deity called the North, who was not transcendent, but active in the universe, directing the planetary spirits, lording it over the jinn and disciplining the devils.' Like most pagan peoples, the Harranians believed in jinn and devils, whom they propitiated and attempted to control through charms and incantations.

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