I'm writing a bronze age fantasy novel. Please propose minor deities.

I'm working on a novel, and I have done a lot of world building to establish the main social groups and power players in the society, but I could use a little help from some people with different brains than me to come up with other elements of the world that I can add to give it more flavor, and make sure it doesn't feel like it was holy created by a single person's imagination.

So far, the main action centers around a Babylon-esque city, where the ziggurat called the Palace Hill serves as a focal point for a polytheistic religion. Four primary deities whose shrines sit atop the structure. Then there are about ten minor deities I've come up with that are recognized, plus religions of other hostile cultures that are not well received.

Quick list (which lacks a ton of nuance):

The Big Four
Beshel. Sea, commerce, enforcement of order across the region.

Abgal. Animal domestication, protection from natural disasters.

Jetwan. Medicine, higher learning.

Ixon. Metallurgy, artisans.

B-Listers
Allatu. Warfare, summer heat, sickness.

Melendiel. Vanity, beauty, ennui.

Methodra. Guarding the frontier, rural communities.

Nasda. Travelers, roads, storytellers.

Imsiah. Mercy, familial love.

Regkel. Prisoners, burial, mining.

Amrita. Deserts, illusions, personal metamorphosis.

Artyr. Child of Allatu, also warfare but with a vibe of retribution rather than conquest.

Mateshur. Suffering, solitude. Loathed by the gods but forbidden from dying.

Nhedu. Weaving, poison, sneaking.

The Outliers
Chebash. Floods and agriculture. Her priesthood has chosen not to align with the Palace Hill, believing the goddess's gifts should belong to all. Not hostile, but skeptical.

Brakal. Nomads, raiders. Many tribes have their own private gods, but revere him as a sort of focus of opposition to the cities that drive them from the best lands.

Sica. Wild beasts, the terror in the night. Her priestesses say she never speaks to them, just sends signs, but she hates the Palace Hill.

Aphrax. Primordial destruction, hunger. Appeased with offerings but no formal priests.

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So, do you have any ideas for deities that bronze age or stone age cultures might revere? Maybe some small minor things? Any inspiration is appreciated.
 

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Ryujin

Legend
Thinking that a god of Home and Hearth might go well. Then perhaps one of written knowledge? Written language would be a fairly recent development. Or perhaps that's folded into "higher learning"?
 

MarkB

Legend
Other possible domains:

Good fortune.
Time.
Wisdom tied to age.
You've got summer heat, but what about other seasons, and specific weather phenomena such as storms or snow?
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Does one of them deal with the Dead? Childbirth?
Is the three (Badb, Fates, Norns, etc...) a kind of universal thing, or too cliche?
 

SanjMerchant

Explorer
Does one of them deal with the Dead? Childbirth?
Is the three (Badb, Fates, Norns, etc...) a kind of universal thing, or too cliche?
Well, Regkal does say "burial" so maybe they're the underworld deity?

If not, depending on how you want to divide things, you can have pantheons that split Death, Psychopomp, and The Dead into separate deities. (I believe the Ancient Greeks did this, with Thanatos, Hermes, and Hades respectively.)

Does hunting come under "animal domestication" or "wild beasts"? If not, I think a god(dess) of "The Hunt" would be a good fit.

Also, is this a setting where the gods are demonstrably real, or is it more like the real world where faith is a matter of, well, faith?

EDIT TO ADD: You can really fill out the roster by anthropomorphizing various natural phenomena: the sun, the moon, the north, east, west, and south winds. Any given geographical feature (rivers, lakes, mountains, etc.) might have its own minor deity association. If there are any specific crops that have particular significance, they might have their own patron (either independently or as part of the portfolio of one of the more major gods).
 
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Other possible domains:

Good fortune.
Time.
Wisdom tied to age.
You've got summer heat, but what about other seasons, and specific weather phenomena such as storms or snow?
The region is very much inspired by real-world Mesopotamia, so I'm going for a Sumerian/Akkadian vibe, with some neighbors who are Egyptian-esque, and distant connections to cultures inspired by the Indus Valley Civilization and by a sorta anachronistic iron age Slavic area.

I think I want to avoid a general 'luck' concept, because it's more fun in my view to have people appeal to different gods for luck in specific areas.

Time is an interesting one. I've got a storm god, but hoo boy that's a complicated bit of backstory to explain. Basically a very primitive god of the concept of 'eternity' once in prehistory was asked by the god of desert storms to wield his power so the storm god could go about the world as a mortal. But the eternity god was unable to return that power, and so he added storms to his purview. He later gained the power to alter the nature of reality simply by speaking, at which point Sica sacrificed her ability to speak so he could not speak either.

Ever since then, this god, whose real name is Lorem but whom everyone thinks is El the god of desert storms, had very few followers, just tribes wandering in the desert. That changed after thousands of years when a priest happened to proclaim himself the voice of El - the Logos - and so he was able to affect the world nearby him by wielding El's power.

El was unsure what to do with this development, and tried to teach this group as his chosen people, but they were vulnerable and outnumbered by the followers of other gods. So El sought to create a storm in the desert so great it would drown the rest of humanity, while his people would be protected on arks. However, a coalition of champions of those other gods found out what El was planning, and they struck and averted the great deluge.

One champion slew El's Logos and shouted to the sky that if El did not grant him the same power, then he would order the death of all of El's chosen people, leaving El once again without a voice. El submitted, thinking perhaps he could wield power over this group instead. But one of the first decrees the new Logos made was that the Logos would speak for El, and El would not speak for himself. And so mortals had stolen the power of the most powerful god in the world. Once each day, the Logos could make a commandment that would affect the world within his vicinity, with basically god-like power.

In the following centuries, a series of Logos have used their power to create laws in a great city, and to rule a civilization around it. While the power came from El, the civilization treated him as basically a power source, while it was the other gods -- the ones whose champions defeated him long ago -- which decided how to run things. At times this civilization was noble, at times wicked, and recently it grew decadent, and threatened to impose its will across the whole world. But then, El vanished, and the last Logos no longer had the power to alter reality with a decree. The great city and its lands still benefit from the miracles already spoken into existence, but they are vulnerable, and other nations wish to be free of their dominion.

---

Another element of the setting is that the high priest of the old god who oversaw the sun and moon abused his power and was threatening the whole nation, and so the high priestess of the same god sacrificed her own deity to sap the high priest of his power. Since then there are a lot of sun and moon cults, but none has been recognized as 'the' god of the heavens.

Nasda is the one who 'adorns the night sky with legends,' and is credited with creating constellations. I suppose there could be some element of timekeeping there. There's also Chebas and her concern with the timing of floods, planting, and harvests. I might add a note of Jetwan overseeing the calendar, since I have given him a bit of the same vibe as the Roman god Janus, being master of thresholds, from doorways to the transition between years.
 

Thinking that a god of Home and Hearth might go well. Then perhaps one of written knowledge? Written language would be a fairly recent development. Or perhaps that's folded into "higher learning"?
I read an explanation of traditions of this era, and one thing they mentioned was that in ancient Greek culture, families would keep their own hearth fire burning as a way to maintain the presence of their ancestors, who in a way became family gods, so everyone had their own hearth gods. I'm not sure if that's legit, but I sorta like it.

But some type of helper deity who is sort of a general hearth god - one whom you appeal to when your own hearth is having trouble, or when you feel like you might have gained the disfavor of your ancestors - would be neat.

As for writing, I'm riffing on the code of Hammurabi and the Ten Commandments by having lots of clay tablets around the city and delivered out to villages and towns to demonstrate the rule of the palace hill. So writing is used by a lot of gods. But maybe a god of gathering clay, or making vellum for scrolls, or even just making ink.

Thanks!
 

Does one of them deal with the Dead? Childbirth?
Is the three (Badb, Fates, Norns, etc...) a kind of universal thing, or too cliche?
The afterlife is an interesting topic. People generally don't believe in a unitary afterlife, but rather a bunch of different things that can happen to you when you die, depending on which god you are closest to, though it's possible for a person to snag your soul when they kill you. But yeah, a variety of psychopomps would make sense.

Similarly, with birth there are a lot of different folks to pray to. I've set it up where Sica has a lot of influence over protecting pregnant mothers and childbirth, but because she's so strongly vilified by the Palace Hill that there are a bunch of myths that claim she'll curse your kid or whatever.
 

Regarding the three, good point. I think they work better in a culture to the north. My idea is for them to have more 'hero-gods' like Hercules and Perseus, so battling against fate would fit that flavor better. But I'm generally going to avoid prophecy and destiny as concepts in the story. People might believe in them, but they won't be major parts of the narrative.

I really do appreciate the extra perspective. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm shooting down the ideas.
Does hunting come under "animal domestication" or "wild beasts"? If not, I think a god(dess) of "The Hunt" would be a good fit.
I was going to have Allatu have multiple children. Splitting off hunting from a warfare god could be nice.
Also, is this a setting where the gods are demonstrably real, or is it more like the real world where faith is a matter of, well, faith?
It's both. It is belief that creates the gods, but then those gods have real power. Over the ages, people have basically invented gods by caring about things, and then appealing to someone to help them regarding that thing. Only a few gods predate the world (and perhaps even they were created on other worlds).
EDIT TO ADD: You can really fill out the roster by anthropomorphizing various natural phenomena: the sun, the moon, the north, east, west, and south winds. Any given geographical feature (rivers, lakes, mountains, etc.) might have its own minor deity association. If there are any specific crops that have particular significance, they might have their own patron (either independently or as part of the portfolio of one of the more major gods).
Great idea. It gives me another excuse to research ancient Mesopotamian cuisine. I think half the reason I am so excited about this setting is that I love seeing what people have discovered about history.
 

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