Tag Archives: Hittite mythology

HITTITE MYTHOLOGY: THE TOP DEITIES

It’s been awhile since Balladeer’s Blog visited Hittite myths so here we go.

Hittite empireThe Hittite Empire spread throughout Anatolia, covering a large part of what is now Turkey and Syria as well as some parts far eastward and southward of there (accounts vary). The scarce remains of the texts regarding the deities worshipped by the Hittites are tantalizingly fragmentary but reflect and/or influenced myths from Mesopotamia across the west to ancient Greece and south to Canaanite territory.

ARANZAH – The god of the body of water that bore his name – the Aranzah River. The Aranzah is better known as the Tigris, which begins its journey southward from the Taurus Mountains in what is now eastern Turkey. This deity was a brother of the storm god Tarhun (Teshub to the Hurrians) and like him was born in the belly of the god Kumarbi.

ISTUSTAYA and PAPAYA – The Hittite goddesses of destiny. The two deities sat by the shores of the Black Sea where they would spin the threads that are each mortal’s destiny, taking special care with the fates of kings. The two left their seaside location only for special occassions like conferences of all the gods. Collectively the two were called the Gulses by the Hittites and the Hutena by the Hurrians. The ancient Greeks added a third to their number and called them the Morae (Fates).    Continue reading

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HITTITE MYTH OF THE MOUNTAIN GOD AND THE DEER

Hittite empireBalladeer’s Blog takes a look at the Hittite myth involving a mountain god and a deer.

Zaliyanu, the god of the mountain which bears his name, was kind enough to shelter a deer that was fleeing hunters. The pursuit had begun on a neighboring mountain whose god didn’t dare risk the wrath of the hunting god Kurunta by sheltering the terrified creature. Zaliyanu, the greatest of the mountain deities, had no such compunction. Continue reading

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HITTITE MYTHS: THE SECOND VERSION OF TARHUN VERSUS ILLUYANKA

TarhunAs promised here is Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of the second of two different versions of the ancient myth about the Hittite storm god Tarhun battling the supreme serpent Illuyanka. Both versions tie in with the Purulli Festival.

VERSION TWO – Illuyanka, a miles- long serpent, emerged from his lair in the depths of the sea (NOT the Netherworld like in the first version) and unleashed havoc and disorder. Tarhun the storm god clashed with Illuyanka in Kiskilussa and, unexpectedly, the serpent was triumphant. Illuyanka plucked out Tarhun’s eyes and his heart and left him to live blind and helpless (yes, even though he had no heart).

The difference in the two versions centers around the way in which Tarhun eventually gets revenge on Illuyanka. In this version the defeated, blind and “heartless” storm god, seemingly living in exile from his heavenly kingdom following his defeat, marries “the daughter of a poor man”. Neither the name of the daughter or the father is mentioned in the surviving fragments of the myth. Continue reading

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HITTITE MYTHOLOGY: THE STORM GOD VERSUS THE SERPENT DEITY

Tarhun and his vizier Suwaliyut confronting Illuyanka

Tarhun and his vizier Suwaliyut confronting Illuyanka

The readers of Balladeer’s Blog have spoken! You want more Hittite mythology! I’m always responsive to my readers so I will now examine two different versions of the ancient myth about the Hittite storm god Tarhun battling the supreme serpent Illuyanka. Both versions tie in with the Purulli Festival.

VERSION ONE – Illuyanka, a miles- long serpent, emerges from his lair in the Netherworld (making him another ally and possible son of the god Kumarbi) and unleashes havoc and disorder. Tarhun the storm god clashes with Illuyanka in Kiskilussa and, unexpectedly, the serpent is triumphant. Illuyanka plucks out Tarhun’s eyes and his heart and leaves him to live blind and helpless (yes, even though he has no heart now). Continue reading

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HITTITE MYTHOLOGY: THE MOUNTAIN GOD AND THE DEER

Hittite empireHere at Balladeer’s Blog I’m nothing if not responsive to readers! The mania over the Hittite myths I’ve been examining lately shows no signs of abating so here is another look – this time at a didactic tale involving the mountain god.

Zaliyanu, the god of the mountain which bears his name, was kind enough to shelter a deer that was fleeing hunters. The pursuit had begun on a neighboring mountain whose god didn’t dare risk the wrath of the hunting god Kurunta by sheltering the terrified creature. Zaliyanu, the greatest of the mountain deities, had no such compunction. Continue reading

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HITTITE MYTH: THE SUN GOD AND THE COW

 

Love Child: Made fun of in school ...

Love Child: Made fun of in school …

Reaction to my recent examination of Hittite gods and goddesses has been through the roof! To keep up a little with the demand here’s a quick look at another Hittite myth, this one involving the sun god Istanu. 

Istanu, the Hittite sun god was riding his solar chariot across the sky one day and noticed that a cow had brazenly wandered into the area where the shepherd goddess Hapantali tended Istanu’s sheep. The sun god let his chariot continue its course, pulled by two of his prized rams with their shining golden fleeces, as he descended to upbraid Hapantali for her oversight in allowing the bovine intruder to graze with his sheep. Continue reading

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HITTITE DEITY: LELWANI, THE DEATH GODDESS

amdearl002p1LELWANI – The goddess who ruled over the subterranean land of the dead and was thus answerable to Kumarbi, the deity who ruled over all of the undergound realms. Charnel houses and mausoleums were sacred to her. Continue reading

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