Song of Kumarbi
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Song of Kumarbi
Kumarbi
Former king of gods, father of gods, god of prosperity and grain
Wall plate with relief of God, analogous to Kumarbi, Tell Halaf, 9th century BC, 141370.jpg
A possible late depiction from Tell Halaf
AbodeUrkesh, Nippur, Dark Earth (Hurrian underworld)
Personal information
ParentsAlalu
ConsortSertapsuruhi; an unnamed mortal woman (Song of Silver); Shalash (in cult, due to syncretism with Dagan)
ChildrenTeshub, Ta?mi?u, the river Tigris, "Silver," ?edammu, Ullikummi
Equivalents
Greek equivalentCronos
Mesopotamian equivalentEnlil; possibly Ishtaran
Syrian equivalentDagan
Ugaritic equivalentEl
Hittite equivalentHalki

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).[1] His cult city was Urkesh.[2]

Syncretism

God lists from Ugarit equate Kumarbi with the Mesopotamian Enlil and the local El;[3] other sources equate him with the Syrian Dagan as well,[4] and he was even called "the Dagan of the Hurrians."[5] It's also been proposed that a Hurro-Akkadian god list from Emar equates Ishtaran with him for uncertain reasons.[6]

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,[7] though he has other consorts in myths: an unnamed mortal woman[8] and Sertapsuruhi, daughter of the sea god.[9]

Kumarbi cycle

Kumarbi is known from a number of mythological texts, sometimes summarized under the term "Kumarbi Cycle." These texts notably include the Song of Emergence[10] (also known as The Kingship in Heaven, Song of Kumarbi, or the "Hittite Theogony", CTH 344), the Song of Ullikummi (CTH 345),[11] 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.[12]

After his initial defeat he raises a number of challengers (they are often called tarpanalli - "substitute" - in the texts[13]) to destroy Teshub, but the storm god and his allies supposedly manage to defeat all of them.

It's possible that the sea god (called Aruna in Hittite, Kia?e in Hurrian; both meaning "sea") serves as Kumarbi's ally because a separate myth detailed the conflict between him and Teshub.[14]

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;[15] meanwhile Enlil, who appears in an unclear role in the Song of Ullikummi as a separate character from Kumarbi,[12] was equated with him in such sources.[16] Many researchers in the past, for example Gernot Wilhelm, assumed Alalu was the father of Anu while Kumarbi was the son of Anu,[17] but Gary Beckman notes there are two separate "dynasties" of gods involved, with Teshub representing a fusion of them.[18]

Song of Kumarbi

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.

  • tablet A. KUB 33.120 + KUB 33.119 + KUB 36.31 + KUB 48.97
  • tablet B. KUB 36.1
  • tablet C. KUB 48.97

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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] Teshub, presumably aided by Anu, eventually managed to depose Kumarbi, but wasn't granted kingship yet, and seemingly expressed displeasure, cursing the older gods.[22]

Song of LAMMA

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.[12]

Song of Silver

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.[12] 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.[23]

Song of ?edammu

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.[24][12] 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.[25]

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.[26][27][28]

Song of Ullikummi

A possible representation of scenes from the Song of Ullikummi on the bowl of Hasanlu

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.[12]

The decorations visible on the bowl of Hasanlu might represent events from the Kumarbi cycle and the Song of Ullikummi in particular.[29]

Other myths

Some researchers propose that the text Ea and the beast (KUB 36.32, KUB 36.55),[30] a poorly preserved text about the sea (KBo 26.105)[31] and a fragment dealing with the reign of a god named Eltara (KBo 22.87)[32] 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.[33]

In the poorly understood Song of Hasarri(CTH 776.2), Kumarbi appears to advise Shaushka to seek the help of Ea.[34]

A Hittite text records the belief that a spring which "flows under the throne of Kumarbi (...) reaches the head of the Sun-goddess of the Earth."[35]

Cult

Kumarbi was regarded as a cthtonic god and associated with grain.[36] 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.[37]

The worship of Kumarbi is attested in many Hittite and Hurrian documents, and additionally in Ugarit and Mari.[38]

It survived in Neo-Assyrian times in the city Taite (Taidi).[39] As a god of that location Kumarbi appears in an Assyrian takultu text, alongside two other Hurrian deities, Nabarbi and Samanuha.[40]

Comparative mythology

From the first publication of the Kingship in Heaven tablets[41] scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus.[42] The account of Teshub's birth from Kumarbi's split skull is regarded as similar to the myth of Athena's birth.[43]

See also

Citations

  1. ^ G. Beckman, Primordial Obstetrics. "The Song of Emergence" (CTH 344) [in:] Hethitische Literatur. Überlieferungsprozesse, Textstrukturen, Ausdrucksformen und Nachwirken, 2011, p. 27-28
  2. ^ H. A. Hoffner, Hittite myths (2nd ed.), 1998, p. 41
  3. ^ H. G. Güterbock, Kumarbi [in:] Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol. 6, 1983, p. 325-326
  4. ^ A. Archi, The West Hurrian Pantheon and Its Background [in:] Beyond Hatti. A tribute to Gary Beckman, 2013, p. 12
  5. ^ A. Archi, The West Hurrian Pantheon and Its Background [in:] Beyond Hatti. A tribute to Gary Beckman, 2013, p. 15
  6. ^ F. Simons, A New Join to the Hurro Akkadian Version of the Weidner God List from Emar (Msk 74.108a + Msk 74.158k), Altorientalische Forschungen 44, 2017, p. 85-86
  7. ^ A. Archi, The West Hurrian Pantheon and Its Background [in:] B. J. Collins, P. Michalowski, (eds.) Beyond Hatti. A tribute to Gary Beckman, 2013, p. 14-15
  8. ^ H. A. Hoffner, Hittite myths (2nd ed.), 1998, p. 49
  9. ^ H. A. Hoffner, Hittite myths (2nd ed.), 1998, p. 51
  10. ^ Rutherford, I. (2011) "Ea and the Beast. The Hittite text and its relation to the Greek poetry" [in:] Hethitische Literatur. Überlieferungsprozesse, Textstrukturen, Ausdrucksformen und Nachwirken, p. 218
  11. ^ first published (1952) by H.G. Güterbock
  12. ^ a b c d e f Hoffner, H.A. (1998). Hittite Myths (2nd ed.).
  13. ^ Rutherford, I. (2011) "Ea and the Beast. The Hittite Text and its Relation to the Greek Poetry" [in:] Hethitische Literatur. Überlieferungsprozesse, Textstrukturen, Ausdrucksformen und Nachwirken, p. 218
  14. ^ Rutherford, I. (4-8 Oktober 1999) "The Song of the Sea (SA A-AB-BA SIR3). Thoughts on KUB 45.63" [in:] Akten des IV. International Kongresses für Hethitologie, Würzburg, p. 604-605, publ. 2001
  15. ^ Güterbock, H.G. (1983) "Kumarbi" [in: Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol. 6, p. 328
  16. ^ Archi, A. (2013) "The west Hurrian pantheon and its background" [in:] Beyond Hatti. A tribute to Gary Beckman, p. 1
  17. ^ Wilhelm, G. (1989) The Hurrians, p. 50
  18. ^ Beckman, G. (2011) "Primordial Obstetrics. The Song of Emergence" (CTH 344) [in:] Hethitische Literatur. Überlieferungsprozesse, Textstrukturen, Ausdrucksformen und Nachwirken, p. 28
  19. ^ Hopkins, David, ed. 2001. Across the Anatolian Plateau: Readings in the Archaeology of Ancient Turkey. American Schools of Oriental Research: pg. 112.
  20. ^ Leick, Gwendolyn. 1998. Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology. Routledge: p. 106.
  21. ^ Beckman, G. 2011. Primordial Obstetrics. "The Song of Emergence" (CTH 344) [in:] Hethitische Literatur. Überlieferungsprozesse, Textstrukturen, Ausdrucksformen und Nachwirken, p. 29-30
  22. ^ Beckman, G. 2011. Primordial Obstetrics. "The Song of Emergence" (CTH 344) [in:] Hethitische Literatur. Überlieferungsprozesse, Textstrukturen, Ausdrucksformen und Nachwirken, p. 31
  23. ^ Archi, A. 2013. The West Hurrian Pantheon and Its Background [in:] Beyond Hatti. A tribute to Gary Beckman, p. 5-6
  24. ^ Frantz-Szabó, G. 1983. "Kulitta, Ninatta und" [in:] Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol. 6, p. 304
  25. ^ Polvani, A.M. 2008. "The god Eltara and the Theogony", Studi micenei ed egeo-anatolici 50, p. 623
  26. ^ Ayali-Darshan, N. 2015. "The other version of the story of the storm-god's combat with the sea, in the light of Egyptian, Ugaritic, and Hurro-Hittite texts", Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 15, p. 32-35
  27. ^ Dijkstra, M. 2011. "Ishtar seduces the sea-serpent. A new join in the Epic of Hedammu (KUB 36, 56+95) and its meaning for the battle between Baal and Yam in Ugaritic tradition", Ugarit-Forschungen 43, p. 57-59
  28. ^ Smith, M. 2014. 'Athtart in late Bronze Age Syrian texts" [in:] D.T. Sugimoto [ed], Transformation of a Goddess. Ishtar - Astarte - Aphrodite, p. 66-68
  29. ^ Archi, A. 2013. "The west Hurrian pantheon and its background" [in:] Beyond Hatti. A tribute to Gary Beckman, p. 8
  30. ^ I. Rutherford, Ea and the Beast. The Hittite Text and its Relation to the Greek Poetry [in:] Hethitische Literatur. Überlieferungsprozesse, Textstrukturen, Ausdrucksformen und Nachwirken, 2011, p. 217
  31. ^ I. Rutherford, The Song of the Sea (SA A-AB-BA SIR3). Thoughts on KUB 45.63 [in:] Akten des IV. International Kongresses für Hethitologie, Würzburg, 4.-8. Oktober 1999, 2001, p. 603
  32. ^ A. M. Polvani, The god Eltara and the Theogony, Studi micenei ed egeo-anatolici 50, 2008, p. 617
  33. ^ A. M. Polvani, The god Eltara and the Theogony, Studi micenei ed egeo-anatolici 50, 2008, p. 623-624
  34. ^ M. Dijkstra, The Hurritic Myth about Sausga of Nineveh and Hasarri (CTH 776.2), Ugarit-Forschungen 45, 2014, p. 67
  35. ^ A. Archi, Translation of Gods: Kumarpi, Enlil, Dagan/NISABA, ?alki, Orientalia NOVA SERIES, Vol. 73, No. 4, 2004, p. 332
  36. ^ D. Schwemer, The Storm-Gods of the Ancient Near East: Summary, Synthesis, Recent Studies: Part II, Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 8(1), 2008, p. 5-6
  37. ^ A. Archi, Translation of Gods: Kumarpi, Enlil, Dagan/NISABA, ?alki, Orientalia NOVA SERIES, Vol. 73, No. 4, 2004, p. 332
  38. ^ H. G. Güterbock, Kumarbi [in:] Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie vol. 6, 1983, p. 326-327
  39. ^ G. Wilhelm, The Hurrians, 1989, p. 52
  40. ^ V. Haas, Geschichte der hethitischen Religion, 2015, p. 543
  41. ^ H.G.Güterbock, 1946. Kumarbi: Mythen um churritischen Kronos.
  42. ^ M.L. West, Hesiod Theogony (1966:18-31); G.S. Kirk, Myth: Its Meaning and Function in Ancient and Other Cultures (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1970:214-20.
  43. ^ G. Beckman, Primordial Obstetrics. "The Song of Emergence" (CTH 344) [in:] Hethitische Literatur. Überlieferungsprozesse, Textstrukturen, Ausdrucksformen und Nachwirken, 2011, p. 29

References

  • Güterbock H. G. (1948), The Hittite Version of the Hurrian Kumarbi Myth: Oriental Forerunners of Hesiod, American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 52, No. 1, 123-34.
  • Laroche E. (1971), Catalogue des textes hittites, Paris

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