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Kumarbi is the chief god of the Hurrians. He is the son of Anu (the sky), and father of the storm-god Teshub. He was identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil, by the Greeks as Chronos and by the Ugaritians with El.
Kumarbi is known from a number of mythological Hittite texts, sometimes summarized under the term "Kumarbi Cycle". These texts notably include the myth of The Kingship in Heaven (also known as the Song of Kumarbi, or the "Hittite Theogony", CTH 344), the Song of Ullikummi (CTH 345), the Kingship of the God KAL (CTH 343), the Myth of the dragon Hedammu (CTH 348), the Song of Silver (CTH 364).
The Kingship in Heaven
The Song of Kumarbi 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 small 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 was overthrown by Anu who was in turn overthrown by Kumarbi. When Anu tried to escape, Kumarbi bit off his genitals and spat out three new gods. In the text Anu tells his son that he is now pregnant with the Teshub, Tigris, and Tašmišu. Upon hearing this Kumarbi spit the semen upon the ground and it became impregnated with two children. Kumarbi is cut open to deliver Tešub. Together, Anu and Teshub depose Kumarbi.
In another version of the Kingship in Heaven, the three gods, Alalu, Anu, and Kumarbi, rule heaven, each serving the one who precedes him in the nine-year reign. It is Kumarbi's son Tešub, the Weather-God, who begins to conspire to overthrow his father.
From the first publication of the Kingship in Heaven tablets scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian creation myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus.
- first published by H.G. Güterbock in 1952.
- Leick, Gwendolyn. Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology. Routledge: 1998. p. 106.
- Hopkins, David, ed. Across the Anatolian Plateau: Readings in the Archaeology of Ancient Turkey. American Schools of Oriental Research: 2001. pg. 112.
- H.G.Güterbock, 1946. Kumarbi: Mythen um churritischen Kronos.
- 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.
- Geoffrey William Bromiley, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 4, ISBN 978-0-8028-3785-1, 1995, p. 81.
- 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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