HITTITE MYTHS

http://www.emory.edu/COLLEGE/CLASSICS/Resources98/myth01.html

 

(These myths originally come from the Hurrians, a people of N. Syria, who rivalled the Hittites of Asia Minor in the 16th and 15th centuries B.C. The Hurrians were conquered by the Hittites during the reign of Suppiluliumas I (1375-1335 B.C.), and many of their traditions were absorbed by them. The texts come from clay tablets of the 13th cent. B.C. found at the Hittite capital of Hattussas, which was destroyed at the end of the 13th cent. B.C., after which Hittite power permanently waned).

 

Kingship in Heaven

Edited by Carl Lenze (Jan 2004)

 

Once in the olden days Alalus (As long as) was king in heaven.  When Alalus was seated on the throne, the mighty Anu, first among the gods, was standing before him. He would sink at Alalus’ feet and set the drinking cup in Alalus’ hand.

Nine in number were the years that Alalus was king in heaven. In the ninth year Anu gave battle to Alalus and he vanquished Alalus. Alalus fled before him and went down to the dark earth. Anu took his seat upon the throne. Whenever Anu was seated upon the throne, the mighty Kumarbi would give him his food. He would sink at Anu’s feet and set the drinking cup in Anu’s hand.

Nine in number were the years that Anu was king in heaven. In the ninth year Anu gave battle to Kumarbi and like Alalus, Kumarbi gave battle to Anu. When he could no longer withstand Kumarbi's eyes, Anu, he struggled forth from the hands of Kumarbi. Anu fled; like a bird he moved in the sky. After him rushed Kumarbi, he seized Anu, by his feet and dragged him down from the sky.

Kumarbi bit Anu’s "knees" and Anu’s manhood went down into Kumarbi’s stomach. When it lodged there Kumarbi rejoiced and laughed. Anu turned back to him, to Kumarbi he began to speak: "Thou rejoicest because thou hast swallowed my manhood. Rejoice not! In thee I have planted a heavy burden. First, I have impregnated thee with the noble Storm-god. Second, I have impregnated thee with the river Tigris, not to be endured. Third, I have impregnated thee with the noble Tasmisus. Three dreadful gods have I planted in thy belly as seed. Thou shalt go and end by striking the rocks of thine own mountain with thy head!" When Anu had finished speaking, he went up to heaven and hid himself.

Out of his mouth Kumarbi spat. The wise king’s spit and that which Kumarbi spat out fell on Mt. Kanzuras: an awesome god therein.

Filled with fury Kumarbi went to Nippur and settled down while he counted the months of his pregnancy. The seventh month came and Anu called to the Storm-god who was still unborn inside Kumarbi and advised him of the various parts of Kumarbi's body through which he might come forth. The Storm-god answered from within Kumarbi:

“Long life to thee! Lord of the well-spring of wisdom! The earth shall give me it's strength, the sky will give me its valor, Anu will give me his manliness, Kumarbi will give me his wisdom.”

As Kumarbi walked along he took his place before Ayas. Kumarbi became dizzy and collapsed. Kumarbi began to speak to Ayas: "Give me my son, I want to devour my son!"

Ayas gave Kumarbi something to eat. However it hurt Kumarbi’s mouth and he began to moan. Ayas advised him to call in “experts”.

The “experts” worked magic on him. They kept bringing sacrifices of meal to him, they kept the Storm-god from the "tarnassas".  This made Kumarbi's "tarnassas" secure. Thus from the "good place" came forth the valiant Storm-god.

Anu ploted to destroy Kumarbi with the help of the Storm-god. The Storm-god prepares for battle. The Storm-god defeated Kumarbi and took over the kingship in heaven.

 

Song of Ullikummi

Kumarbi thinks out wise thoughts in his mind. He nurses the thought of creating Misfortune and an evil being. he plots evil against the Storm-god. He nurses the thought of raising up a rival for the Storm-god.

Kumarbi thinks out wise thoughts in his mind and strings them together like beads.

When Kumarbi had thought out the wise thoughts in his mind, he instantly rose from his seat. He took his staff in his hand, put swift shoes on his feet. He set forth from Urkis, his city.

In the water a great rock lies. Her length us three double hours, her width is double and a half. Kumarbi’s desire was aroused and he slept with the rock. His manhood flowed into her; ten times he took her.

When night stood in the vigil, stone moved stone. They (the stones) attended her when she gave birth. ...] the Rock and Kumarbi's son made his appearance.

The Good-women brought him into the world; the Good-women and the Mother goddesses lifted the child and placed him upon Kumarbi's knees. Kumarbi let him dance up and down. He proceeded to give the child a propitious name!

Kumarbi began to say to his soul: "What name shall I give him? The child which the Good-women and the Mother-goddesses presented me, For the reason that he shot forth from her body as a shaft, let him go and his name be Ullikummi! Let him ascend to heaven for kingship! Let him vanquish Kummiya, the beautiful city! Let him attack the Storm-god and tear him to pieces like a mortal! Let him tread him under foot like an ant! Let him crush Tasmisus like a reed in the brake! Let him shot down all the gods from the sky like birds and let him break them to pieces like empty pots!"

When Kumarbi had finished speaking these words, he began to say to his soul: "To whom shall I give him, this child? Who will take him upon himself and treat him as a gift?

When the Irsirra deities heard the words, they took the child...The Irsirra deities lifted the child and pressed it to their breasts like a cloth. They lifted him and placed him upon Ellil's knees. They lifted his eyes and beheld the child as it stood in his divine presence. His body was made of diorite.

Ellil began to speak to his mind: "Who is that child whom the Good-women and the Mother-goddesses reared? No one among the great gods will see mightier battles. no one's vileness equals Kumarbi's. Just as Kumarbi raised the Storm-god, he has now raised this awesome diorite man as his rival."

When Ellil had finished his words, the Irsirra deities took the child and placed it - a shaft - upon the right shoulder of Ubelluris (a giant carrying the world on his shoulders, like Atlas).

The diorite grows, the strong waters make him grow. In one day he increases one cubit, in one month he increases one acre. The stone which is added to his stature presents an amazing spectacle.

When the 15th day came, the stone had grown high. he was standing in the sea with his knees as a shaft. It stood out above the water, the stone, and in height it was like a pillar. The sea reached up to its belt like a loin cloth. Like a tower the stone is raised up and reaches up to the temples and the dwelling of the gods in heaven.

The Storm-god sat down on the ground, while tears streamed from his eyes as in water courses. With tears streaming from his eyes the Storm-god speaks the word: "Who can bear to look upon so vexatious a sight? Who will dare go and battle against the monster? Who can bear seeing his terrifying features?" Ishtar replies to the Storm-god, her brother: "My brother! Is there really not a single god to whom sufficient courage has been given? Dost thou really not know the son whom Kumarbi has begotten?"

After an indecisive battle against Ullikummi, the Storm-god is defeated. However, the Storm-god rallies the other gods and is able to finally defeat Ullikummi.