Former king of gods, father of gods, god of prosperity and grain
|Abode||Urkesh, Nippur, Dark Earth (Hurrian underworld)|
|Consort||Sertapsuruhi; an unnamed mortal woman (Song of Silver); Shalash (in cult, due to syncretism with Dagan)|
|Children||Teshub, Ta?mi?u, the river Tigris, "Silver," ?edammu, Ullikummi|
|Mesopotamian equivalent||Enlil; possibly Ishtaran|
Kumarbi was an important god of the Hurrians, regarded as "the father of gods." He was also a part of the Hittite pantheon. According to Hurrian myths he was a son of Alalu, and one of the parents of storm-god Teshub, the other being Anu (the Mesopotamian sky god). His cult city was Urkesh.
God lists from Ugarit equate Kumarbi with the Mesopotamian Enlil and the local El; other sources equate him with the Syrian Dagan as well, and he was even called "the Dagan of the Hurrians." It's also been proposed that a Hurro-Akkadian god list from Emar equates Ishtaran with him for uncertain reasons.
Due to particularly close syncretism between Dagan and Kumarbi due to their shared role as "fathers of gods" in Syria, Dagan's wife Shalash was also viewed as his spouse, though he has other consorts in myths: an unnamed mortal woman and Sertapsuruhi, daughter of the sea god.
Kumarbi is known from a number of mythological texts, sometimes summarized under the term "Kumarbi Cycle." These texts notably include the Song of Emergence (also known as The Kingship in Heaven, Song of Kumarbi, or the "Hittite Theogony", CTH 344), the Song of Ullikummi (CTH 345), the Kingship of the God KAL (or LAMMA; CTH 343), the Myth of the dragon Hedammu (CTH 348), the Song of Silver (CTH 364).
The entire cycle purposely creates a contrasting image of the allies of the two combatants, Kumarbi and Teshub: the former is aided by chthonic and marine gods and monsters, such as the sea god, the fate goddesses (who seem to reside in the underworld), Alalu, the sea serpent ?edammu and the diorite monster Ullikummi grown in the underworld, while the latter is assisted by his sister Shaushka, his other siblings, his wife Hebat, the sun god ?imige and the moon god Ku?u?, all of them either celestial or earthly gods.
After his initial defeat he raises a number of challengers (they are often called tarpanalli - "substitute" - in the texts) to destroy Teshub, but the storm god and his allies supposedly manage to defeat all of them.
The myths of the Kumarbi cycle differ slightly from the content of god lists - Alala (Alalu) is usually regarded as an ancestor of Anu in them; meanwhile Enlil, who appears in an unclear role in the Song of Ullikummi as a separate character from Kumarbi, was equated with him in such sources. Many researchers in the past, for example Gernot Wilhelm, assumed Alalu was the father of Anu while Kumarbi was the son of Anu, but Gary Beckman notes there are two separate "dynasties" of gods involved, with Teshub representing a fusion of them.
The Song of Kumarbi, "Song of Emergence" or Kingship in Heaven is the title given to a Hittite version of the Hurrian Kumarbi myth, dating to the 14th or 13th century BC. It is preserved in three tablets, but only a fraction of the text is legible.
The song relates that Alalu, a primordial king of the gods, was overthrown by his cupbearer Anu after a symbolic period of 9 years. Anu was in turn overthrown by Kumarbi, a descendant of Alalu, under similar circumstances. When Anu tried to escape to heaven, Kumarbi bit off his genitals. Anu told him that he was now pregnant with Teshub, Tigris, and Ta?mi?u, the storm god's vizier, whereupon Kumarbi spat the semen upon the ground, causing it to become impregnated with two children. Kumarbi's head was then split apart by the god Ea to deliver Teshub; it seems Kumarbi was then tricked into devouring a stone instead of his newborn son. Teshub, presumably aided by Anu, eventually managed to depose Kumarbi, but wasn't granted kingship yet, and seemingly expressed displeasure, cursing the older gods.
Under unclear circumstances Ea and Kumarbi agree to make a god whose name is written with the sumerogram LAMMA the new king of gods. LAMMA battles Teshub and his siblings and initially wins. However, he neglects his duties despite the advice of the goddess Kubaba and as a result Kumarbi and Ea grow displeased with him, which seemingly leads to his downfall.
Silver, a human boy raised by a single mother, learns that his father is the god Kumarbi, and that his half-siblings are the Teshub and Shaushka. Following the advice of his mother he leaves his home to seek Kumarbi in his cult city, Urkesh. He learns that the god is currently absent and he should seek him in the nearby mountains. The rest of the myth is poorly preserved, but evidently Silver confronts the heavenly gods and despite initial success is eventually defeated by them. A ritual text addresses both him and ?edammu as "kings" (ewri, ordinary Hurrian term for rulers) and explains Kumarbi created them to serve as ?arra - an epithet of Teshub as king of gods; a related term, ?arrena, referred to deified historical and legendary rulers.
After meeting with the sea god, Kumarbi decides to have a child with his daughter Sertapsuruhi. The result of this union, ?edammu, is seemingly subsequently defeated by Shaushka, who seduced and drugged him. This part of the cycle also marks a change in Ea's attitude. He initially supported Kumarbi, but in the tale of ?edammu he instead points out his disregard for the safety of humans, who maintain the temples of all gods involved in the conflict.
This myth is of particular interest to researchers due to a number of similarities between it, other Hurrian compositions dealing with combat with the sea or sea monsters, the Ugaritic Baal cycle, and the Egyptian Astarte papyrus, and between the role played by Shaushka, Ashtart and Astarte in them.
In what's generally agreed to be the final section of the myth, Kumarbi engenders the most powerful challenger yet, an enormous stone giant named Ullikummi ("Destroy Kummiya" - Kummiya being the city of Teshub), whose mother is an enormous boulder rather than a goddess or mortal woman. He grows hidden in the underworld, attached to the shoulders to the primordial entity Ubelluris. As it turns out, he cannot be defeated by conventional means by Teshub and his allies, and due to being an unfeeling stone monster cannot be seduced by Shaushka like ?edammu either. He blocks the access to the temple of Teshub's wife Hebat, trapping her inside. Seemingly the gods only manage to defeat the creation of Kumarbi with the help of Ea, now firmly on their side, who consults Ubelluris, the "former gods" residing in the underworld and Enlil and recovers a primordial tool which was used to separate earth from heaven long ago. He either servers the connection between Ullikummi and Ubelluris himself, or makes it possible for Teshub to do so. The final fate of Kumarbi is unspecified in the surviving fragments, though the myth obviously ends with Teshub's kingship being confirmed once and for all.
Some researchers propose that the text Ea and the beast (KUB 36.32, KUB 36.55), a poorly preserved text about the sea (KBo 26.105) and a fragment dealing with the reign of a god named Eltara (KBo 22.87) were a part of the Kumarbi cycle. It is also possible more than one version of the cycle existed, or there were multiple cycles of myths featuring Kumarbi and similar themes.
In the poorly understood Song of Hasarri(CTH 776.2), Kumarbi appears to advise Shaushka to seek the help of Ea.
Kumarbi was regarded as a cthtonic god and associated with grain. However, he wasn't a purely agricultural god, but rather one regarded as a source of prosperity in general, similar to his Syrian equivalent Dagan.
The worship of Kumarbi is attested in many Hittite and Hurrian documents, and additionally in Ugarit and Mari.
From the first publication of the Kingship in Heaven tablets scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus. The account of Teshub's birth from Kumarbi's split skull is regarded as similar to the myth of Athena's birth.