Teshub (also written Teshup or Tešup) was the Hurrian god of sky and storm. He was equated from the Hattian Taru. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun (with variant stem forms Tarhunt, Tarhuwant, Tarhunta), although this name is from the Hittite root *tarh- “to defeat, conquer”.
Teshub is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt and a weapon, usually an axe (often double-headed) or mace. The sacred bull common throughout Anatolia was his signature animal, represented by his horned crown or by his steeds Seri and Hurri, who drew his chariot or carried him on their backs.
In the Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin he was conceived when the god Kumarbi bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genitals, as such it most likely shares a Proto-Indo-European cognate with the Greek story of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus, which is recounted in Hesiod’s Theogony.
Teshub’s brothers are Aranzah (personification of the river Tigris), Ullikummi (stone giant) and Tashmishu. His son was called Sarruma, the mountain god, an originally Hurrian god who was adopted into the Hittite pantheon.
Sarruma is a son of the weather-god Teshub and the goddess Hebat and brother of the goddess Inara. He is often depicted riding a tiger or panther and carrying an axe (cf. labrys). He is depicted behind his father on the Illuyanka’s relief found in Malatya (dating 1050-850 BC). His wife is the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka, a serpentine dragon slain by Tarhunt, the Hittite incarnation of the Hurrian god of sky and storm.
Illuyanka is probably a compound, consisting of two words for “snake”, Proto-Indo-European *h₁illu- and *h₂eng(w)eh₂-. The same compound members, inverted, appear in Latin anguilla “eel”. The *h₁illu- word is cognate to English eel, the anka- word to Sanskrit ahi. Also this dragon is known as Illujanka and Illuyankas.
In the Hurrian schema, Teshub was paired with Hebat, also transcribed Kheba or Khepat, the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living” and the Queen of the gods. Hebat is the wife of Teshub and the mother of Sarruma and Alanzu, as well mother-in-law of the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka.
The name can be transliterated in different versions – Khebat with the feminine ending -t is primarily the Syrian and Ugaritic version. In the Hurrian language Hepa is the most likely pronunciation of the name of the goddess. The sound /h/ in cuneiform is in the modern literature sometimes transliterated as kh.
Hebat was later assimilated the Hittite sun goddess Arinniti of Arinna, the major cult center of the Hittite sun goddess, (thought to be Arinniti) known as UTU Arinna “sun goddess of Arinna”—a cultus of great antiquity which has similarities with the venerated bulls and mothers at Çatal höyük in the Neolithic era.
A prayer of Queen Puduhepa makes this explicit: “To the Sun-goddess of Arinna, my lady, the mistress of the Hatti lands, the queen of Heaven and Earth. Sun-goddess of Arinna, thou art Queen of all countries! In the Hatti country thou bearest the name of the Sun-goddess of Arinna; but in the land which thou madest the cedar land thou bearest the name Hebat.”
The sun goddess of Arinna is the most important one of three important solar deities of the Hittite pantheon, besides UTU nepisas – “the sun of the sky” and UTU taknas – “the sun of the earth”. She was considered to be the chief deity in some source, in place of her husband. Her consort was the weather god, Teshub. She was perceived to be a paramount chthonic or earth goddess. She becomes largely syncretised with the Hurrian goddess Hebat.
Hebat was venerated all over the ancient Near East. Her name appears in many theophoric personal names. A king of Jerusalem mentioned in the Amarna letters was named Abdi-Heba, possibly meaning “Servant of Hebat”.
In Aramaean times she appears to have become identified with the Goddess Hawwah, according to the creation myth of Abrahamic religions the first woman created by God (Yahweh, the god of Israel). Her husband was Adam, from whose rib God created her to be his companion.
Eve in the Hebrew language is Ḥawwāh, meaning: “living one” or “source of life”, and is related to ḥāyâ, “to live”. The name derives from the Semitic root ḥyw. It has been suggested that the Hebrew name Eve also bears resemblance to an Aramaic word for “snake”.
Hawwah has been compared to the Hurrian Goddess Kheba, who was shown in the Amarna Letters to be worshipped in Jerusalem during the Late Bronze Age. It has been suggested that the name Kheba may derive from Kubau, a woman who reigned as the first king of the Third Dynasty of Kish.
The Goddess Asherah, wife of El, mother of the Elohim from the first millennium BCE was given the title Chawat, from which the name Hawwah in Aramaic was derived, Eve in English.
The first woman is created to be ezer kenegdo, a term which is notably difficult to translate, to the man. Kenegdo means “alongside, opposite, a counterpart to him”, and ezer means active intervention on behalf of the other person.
God’s naming of the elements of the cosmos in Genesis 1 illustrated his authority over creation; now the man’s naming of the animals (and of Woman) illustrates his authority within creation.
The woman is called ishah, Woman, with an explanation that this is because she was taken from ish, meaning “man”; the two words are not in fact connected. Later, after the story of the Garden is complete, she will be given a name, Hawwah, Eve. This means “living” in Hebrew, from a root that can also mean “snake”.
A long-standing exegetical tradition holds that the use of a rib from man’s side emphasizes that both man and woman have equal dignity, for woman was created from the same material as man, shaped and given life by the same processes. In fact, the word traditionally translated “rib” in English can also mean side, chamber, or beam.
Ninti, the title of Ninhursag, also means “the mother of all living”, and was a title given to the later Hurrian goddess Kheba. This is also the title given in the Bible to Eve, the Hebrew and Aramaic Ḥawwah, who was made from the rib of Adam, in a strange reflection of the Sumerian myth, in which Adam — not Enki — walks in the Garden of Paradise.
The cosmogenic myth common in Sumer was that of the hieros gamos, a sacred marriage where divine principles in the form of dualistic opposites came together as male and female to give birth to the cosmos.
In the epic Enki and Ninhursag, Enki, as lord of Ab or fresh water (also the Sumerian word for semen), is living with his wife in the paradise of Dilmun, but the place had no water and Enki heard the cries of its Goddess, Ninsikil, and orders the sun-God Utu to bring fresh water from the Earth for Dilmun. As a result it became fertile.
This mingling of waters was known in Sumerian as Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically NAMMA = ENGUR), a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat in Babylonian mythology, and was identified as the mother of Enki. Ma is a Sumerian word meaning “land” that in Sumerian mythology was also used to designate the primeval land.
Nammu was the Goddess sea (Engur) that gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) and the first gods, representing the Apsu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall. According to the Neo-Sumerian mythological text Enki and Ninmah, Enki is the son of An and Nammu.
Nammu is not well attested in Sumerian mythology. She may have been of greater importance prehistorically, before Enki took over most of her functions. Nammu is the goddess who “has given birth to the great gods”. It is she who has the idea of creating mankind, and she goes to wake up Enki, who is asleep in the Apsu, so that he may set the process going.
The Atrahasis-Epos has it that Enlil requested from Nammu the creation of humans. And Nammu told him that with the help of Enki (her son) she can create humans in the image of gods. Reay Tannahill in Sex in History (1980) singled out Nammu as the “only female prime mover” in the cosmogonic myths of antiquity.
The subsequent tale, with similarities to the Biblical story of the forbidden fruit, repeats the story of how fresh water brings life to a barren land. Enki, the Water-Lord then “caused to flow the ‘water of the heart” and having fertilised his consort Ninhursag, also known as Ki or Earth, after “Nine days being her nine months, the months of ‘womanhood’… like good butter, Nintu, the mother of the land, …like good butter, gave birth to Ninsar, (Lady Greenery)”.
When Ninhursag left him, as Water-Lord he came upon Ninsar (Lady Greenery). Not knowing her to be his daughter, and because she reminds him of his absent consort, Enki then seduces and has intercourse with her. Ninsar then gave birth to Ninkurra (Lady Fruitfulness or Lady Pasture), and leaves Enki alone again. A second time, Enki, in his loneliness finds and seduces Ninkurra, and from the union Ninkurra gave birth to Uttu (weaver or spider, the weaver of the web of life).
A third time Enki succumbs to temptation, and attempts seduction of Uttu. Upset about Enki’s reputation, Uttu consults Ninhursag, who, upset at the promiscuous wayward nature of her spouse, advises Uttu to avoid the riverbanks, the places likely to be affected by flooding, the home of Enki. In another version of this myth Ninhursag takes Enki’s semen from Uttu’s womb and plants it in the earth where eight plants rapidly germinate.
With his two-faced servant and steward Isimud, “Enki, in the swampland, in the swampland lies stretched out, ‘What is this (plant), what is this (plant). His messenger Isimud, answers him; ‘My king, this is the tree-plant’, he says to him. He cuts it off for him and he (Enki) eats it”. And so, despite warnings, Enki consumes the other seven fruit. Consuming his own semen, he falls pregnant (ill with swellings) in his jaw, his teeth, his mouth, his hip, his throat, his limbs, his side and his rib. The gods are at a loss to know what to do, chagrinned they “sit in the dust”. As Enki lacks a womb with which to give birth, he seems to be dying with swellings. The fox then asks Enlil King of the Gods, “If i bring Ninhursag before thee, what shall be my reward?” Ninhursag’s sacred fox then fetches the goddess.
Ninhursag relents and takes Enki’s Ab (water, or semen) into her body, and gives birth to gods of healing of each part of the body. Abu for the Jaw, Nintul for the Hip, Ninsutu for the tooth, Ninkasi for the mouth, Dazimua for the side, Enshagag for the Limbs. The last one, Ninti (Lady Rib), is also a pun on Lady Life, a title of Ninhursag herself.
The story thus symbolically reflects the way in which life is brought forth through the addition of water to the land, and once it grows, water is required to bring plants to fruit. It also counsels balance and responsibility, nothing to excess.
Hebat is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubeleyan Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”), an originally Anatolian mother goddess; she has a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatal höyük (in the Konya region) where the statue of a pregnant goddess seated on a lion throne was found in a granary dated to the 6th millennium BCE.
Comana was a city of Cappadocia and later Cataonia, frequently called Comana Chryse or Aurea, i.e. “the golden”, to distinguish it from Comana in Pontus. The Hittite toponym Kummanni is considered likely to refer to Comana, but the identification is not considered proven. Its ruins are at the modern Turkish village of Şar, Tufanbeyli district, Adana Province.
According to ancient geographers, Comana was situated in Cappadocia (and later Cataonia). Another epithet for the city, found in inscriptions, is Hieropolis ‘sacred city’, owing to a famous temple of the Syrian Moon goddess Enyo or, in the local language: Ma (cf. Men, the moon goddess of Caria). Strabo and Julius Caesar visited it; the former enters into long details about its position in a deep valley on the Sarus (Seihoun) river.
The temple and its fame were in ancient times, as the place where the rites of Ma-Enyo, a variety of the great west Asian nature-goddess, celebrated with much solemnity. The service was carried on in a sumptuous temple with great magnificence by many thousands of hieroduli (temple slaves). To defray expenses, large estates had been set apart, which yielded a more than royal revenue.
The city, a mere apanage of the temple, was governed directly by the chief priest, who was always a member of the reigning Cappadocian family, and took rank next to the king. The number of persons engaged in the service of the temple, even in Strabo’s time, was upwards of 6000, and among these, to judge by the names common on local tomb-stones, were many Persians.
Kummanni was the major cult center of the Hurrian chief deity, Tešup. Its Hurrian name Kummeni simply translates as “The Shrine.” The city persisted into the Early Iron Age, and appears as Kumme in Assyrian records. It was located on the edge of Assyrian influence in the far northeastern corner of Mesopotamia, separating Assyria from Urartu and the highlands of southeastern Anatolia.
There was a tradition that Orestes, with his sister, brought from Tauric Scythia the sacred rites of this temple, which were those of Tauropolos Artemis. Here Orestes deposited the hair that he cut from his head to commemorate the end of his sufferings, and hence, according to a folk etymology of the Greeks, came the name of the place, Comana.
The corpulent, fertile Mother Goddess appears to be giving birth on her throne, which has two feline-headed hand rests. In Phrygian art of the 8th century BCE, the cult attributes of the Phrygian mother-goddess include attendant lions, a bird of prey, and a small vase for her libations or other offerings.
She was Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably its state deity. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread from there to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies from around the 6th century BCE. In Greece, Cybele is associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions.
In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. She was partially assimilated to aspects of the Earth-goddess Gaia, her Minoan equivalent Rhea, and the Harvest-Mother goddess Demeter. Some city-states, notably Athens, evoked her as a protector, but her most celebrated Greek rites and processions show her as an essentially foreign, exotic mystery-goddess who arrives in a lion-drawn chariot to the accompaniment of wild music, wine, and a disorderly, ecstatic following. Uniquely in Greek religion, she had a transgender or eunuch mendicant priesthood.
Roman mythographers reinvented her as a Trojan goddess, and thus an ancestral goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas. With Rome’s eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanised forms of Cybele’s cults spread throughout the Roman Empire. The meaning and morality of her cults and priesthoods were topics of debate and dispute in Greek and Roman literature, and remain so in modern scholarship.
Many of her Greek cults included rites to a divine Phrygian castrate shepherd-consort Attis, who is described by ancient Greek and Roman sources and cults as her youthful consort. His priests were eunuchs, the Galli, as explained by origin myths pertaining to Attis and castration. Attis was also a Phrygian god of vegetation, and in his self-mutilation, death, and resurrection he represents the fruits of the earth, which die in winter only to rise again in the spring.
In Phrygia, “Attis” was both a commonplace and priestly name, found alike in casual graffiti, the dedications of personal monuments and several of Cybele’s Phrygian shrines and monuments. His divinity may therefore have begun as a Greek invention based on what was known of Cybele’s Phrygian cult.
Hannahannah (from Hittite hanna- “grandmother”), identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat, is a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna.
Puruli (EZEN Puruliyas) was a Hattian spring festival, held at Nerik, dedicated to the earth goddess Hannahanna, who is married to a new king. The central ritual of the Puruli festival is dedicated to the destruction of the dragon Illuyanka by the storm god Teshub.
The corresponding Assyrian festival is the Akitu of the Enuma Elish. Also compared are the Canaanite Poem of Baal and Psalms 93 and 29. Biblical Hannah has been suggested as a Hebrew version of Hannahanna.
Christopher Siren reports that Hannahannah is associated with the Gulses, the goddesses of fate in Hurrian mythology. They are similar to the Norns of Norse mythology or the Moirai of ancient Greece.
The Telepinu Myth is an ancient Hittite myth about Telepinu, the Hittite god of farming and a son of the weather and fertility god, whose disappearances causes all fertility to fail, both plant and animal.
After Telepinu disappears, his father, the Storm-god Tarhunt (also called Teshub), complains to Hannahannah in order to stop the havoc and devastation. She then sends him out to search for his son, and when he gives up, she dispatches a bee, charging it to find Telepinu.
The bee does that, and then purifies and strengthens him by stinging his hands and feet and wiping his eyes and feet with wax, the god grew angry and began to wreak destruction on the world.
Finally, Kamrusepa, goddess of healing, medicine and magic, and mother of Aruna, a sea god in Hittite mythology, calmed Telepinu by giving his anger to the Doorkeeper of the Underworld. In other references it is a mortal priest who prays for all of Telepinu’s anger to be sent to bronze containers in the underworld, of which nothing escapes.
According to Hittite Mythology, she enlisted the help of a human to perform a ritual to remove the anger of an angry god, Telepinu. She used the following ingredients during her ritual: ceder essence, sap, chaff, grain, sesame, figs, olives, grapes, ointment, malt, honey, cream and oil. Upon completion of the ritual she sacrificed 12 rams of the sun gods and directed Telepinu’s anger into the Underworld.
Hannahannah also recommends to the Storm-god that he should pay the Sea-god the bride-price for the Sea-god’s daughter, so she can wed Telipinu. Aruna is also the Hittite word for “sea”, and like Kamrusepa may also refer to the god of the sea. Various origins of this name are proposed. It was highy possible that it has a same origin as the name of the Vedic god Varuna.
It could also be a reconstruction of the Indo-European mori or Greek words for Black Sea. A Hattic origin through the place name Arianna has also been suggested. A connection with Indo-European er-, or- (‘stir, move’), and thus the Hittite name is believed to have a same origin as Sanskrit arṇava.
After Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt, consulted with Hannahannah, she gave her a man and land. Soon after, Inara is missing and when Hannahannah is informed thereof by the Storm-god’s bee, she apparently begins a search with the help of her female attendant.
Apparently like Demeter, Hannahanna disappears for a while in a fit of anger and while she is gone, cattle and sheep are stifled and mothers, both human and animal take no account of their children.
After her anger is banished to the Dark Earth, she returns rejoicing, and mothers care once again for their kin. Another means of banishing her anger was through burning brushwood and allowing the vapor to enter her body. Either in this or another text she appears to consult with the Sun god and the War god, but much of the text is missing.
Inara corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis. In the first version, the two gods fight and Illuyanka wins. After the dragon Illuyanka wins an encounter with the storm god, the latter asks Inara to give a feast, most probably the Purulli festival.
Inara decides to use the feast to lure and defeat Illuyanka, who was her father’s archenemy, and enlists the aid of a mortal named Hupasiyas of Zigaratta by becoming his lover. The dragon and his family gorge themselves on the fare at the feast, becoming quite drunk, which allows Hupasiyas to tie a rope around them. Inara’s father can then kill Illuyanka, thereby preserving creation.
Inara built a house on a cliff and gave it to Hupasiyas. She left one day with instructions that he was not to look out the window, as he might see his family. But he looked, and the sight of his family made him beg to be allowed to return home.
It is not known what happened next, but there is speculation that Inara killed Hupasiyas for disobeying her, or for hubris, or that he was allowed to return to his family. The mother goddess Hannahannah promises Inara land and a man during a consultation by Inara. Inara then disappears. Her father looks for her, joined by Hannahannah with a bee.
Inanna, who resides in Aratta, probably somewhere in modern Iran or Armenia, has a central role in the myth of Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, a legendary Sumerian account, of preserved, early post-Sumerian copies describing the conflicts between Enmerkar, king of Unug-Kulaba (Uruk), and the unnamed king of Aratta, composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. 21st century BC).
A major theme in the narrative is the rivalry between the rulers of Aratta and Uruk for the heart of Inanna. Ultimately, this rivalry results in natural resources coming to Uruk and the invention of writing. Inanna (Akkadian: Ištar), considered the most prominent female deity in ancient Mesopotamia, thereby becomes the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre.
As early as the Uruk period (ca. 4000–3100 BC), Inanna was associated with the city of Uruk. The famous Uruk Vase (found in a deposit of cult objects of the Uruk III period) depicts a row of naked men carrying various objects, bowls, vessels, and baskets of farm produce, and bringing sheep and goats, to a female figure facing the ruler.
This figure was ornately dressed for a divine marriage, and attended by a servant. The female figure holds the symbol of the two twisted reeds of the doorpost, signifying Inanna behind her, while the male figure holds a box and stack of bowls, the later cuneiform sign signifying En, or high priest of the temple. Especially in the Uruk period, the symbol of a ring-headed doorpost is associated with Inanna.
Seal impressions from the Jemdet Nasr period (ca. 3100–2900 BC) show a fixed sequence of city symbols including those of Ur, Larsa, Zabalam, Urum, Arina, and probably Kesh. It is likely that this list reflects the report of contributions to Inanna at Uruk from cities supporting her cult.
A large number of similar sealings were found from the slightly later Early Dynastic I phase at Ur, in a slightly different order, combined with the rosette symbol of Inanna, that were definitely used for this purpose. They had been used to lock storerooms to preserve materials set aside for her cult. Inanna’s primary temple of worship was the Eanna, located in Uruk (c.f. Worship).
The Sumerian mythological epic lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (Akkad), and the Martu land (the Amorites). Similarly, the earliest references to the “four quarters” by the kings of Akkad name the four quarters around Akkad, as Subartu, Martu, Elam, and Sumer.
Because it gives a Sumerian account of the “confusion of tongues”, and also involves Enmerkar constructing ziggurats at Eridu and Uruk, it has, since the time of Samuel Kramer, been compared with the Tower of Babel narrative in the Book of Genesis.
Inanna’s name derives from Lady of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-an-ak). The cuneiform sign of Inanna; however, is not a ligature of the signs lady (Sumerian: nin; Cuneiform: SAL.TUG) and sky (Sumerian: an; Cuneiform: AN).
These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that originally Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess, possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, accepted only latterly into the Sumerian pantheon, an idea supported by her youthfulness, and that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, at first she had no sphere of responsibilities The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not widely accepted by modern Assyriologists.
Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna. The House of Heaven (Sumerian: e2-anna; Cuneiform: E2.AN) temple in Uruk was the greatest of these, where sacred prostitution was a common practice.
In addition, according to Leick (1994) persons of asexual or hermaphroditic bodies and feminine men were particularly involved in the worship and ritual practices of Inanna’s temples. The Gala (Akkadian: kalû) were priests of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, significant numbers of the personnel of both temples and palaces, the central institutions of Mesopotamian city states, individuals with neither male nor female gender identities.
The deity of this fourth-millennium city was probably originally An. After its dedication to Inanna the temple seems to have housed priestesses of the goddess. The high priestess would choose for her bed a young man who represented the shepherd Dumuzid, consort of Inanna, in a hieros gamos or sacred marriage, celebrated during the annual Akitu (New Year) ceremony, at the spring Equinox.
According to Samuel Noah Kramer in The Sacred Marriage Rite, in late Sumerian history (end of the third millennium) kings established their legitimacy by taking the place of Dumuzi in the temple for one night on the tenth day of the New Year festival.
A Sacred Marriage to Inanna may have conferred legitimacy on a number of rulers of Uruk. Gilgamesh is reputed to have refused marriage to Inanna, on the grounds of her misalliance with such kings as Lugalbanda and Damuzi.
Inanna’s symbol is an eight-pointed star or a rosette. She was associated with lions – even then a symbol of power – and was frequently depicted standing on the backs of two lionesses. Her cuneiform ideogram was a hook-shaped twisted knot of reeds, representing the doorpost of the storehouse (and thus fertility and plenty).
Demeter and Persephone
The story resembles that of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth, and her daughter Persephone, an old chthonic deity of the agricultural communities, who received the souls of the dead into the earth, and acquired powers over the fertility of the soil, over which she reigned, in Greek myth. Demeter and Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon.
In the second version, after the two gods fight and Teshub loses, Illuyanka takes Teshub’s eyes and heart. To avenge himself upon the dragon, the Sky God Teshub marries the goddess Hebat, daughter of a mortal, named Arm. They have a son, Sarruma, who grows up and marries the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka.
The Sky God Teshub tells his son to ask for the return of Teshub’s eyes and heart as a wedding gift, and he does so. His eyes and heart restored, Teshub goes to face the dragon Illuyanka once more. At the point of vanquishing the dragon, Sarruma finds out about the battle and realizes that he had been used for this purpose. He demands that his father take his life along with Illuyanka’s, and so Teshub kills them both with thundery rain and lightning.
The Hittite texts were introduced in 1930 by W. Porzig, who first made the comparison of Teshub’s battle with Illuyankas with the sky-god Zeus’ battle with serpent-like Typhon, told in Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke (I.6.3); the Hittite-Greek parallels found few adherents at the time, the Hittite myth of the castration of the god of heaven by Kumarbi, with its clearer parallels to Greek myth, not having yet been deciphered and edited.
In Greek mythology, Persephone, also called Kore (“the maiden”), is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest goddess Demeter, and is the queen of the underworld. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic queen of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead.
Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation. Similar myths appear in the Orient, in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.
Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon and promised to the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus, usually in orphic tradition.
Persephone was commonly worshipped along with Demeter and with the same mysteries. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion. In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed, often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the act of being carried off by Hades.
In the mystical theories of the Orphics and the Platonists, Kore is described as the all-pervading goddess of nature who both produces and destroys everything and she is therefore mentioned along or identified with other mystic divinities such as Isis, Rhea, Ge, Hestia, Pandora, Artemis, and Hecate. The Orphic Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysos, Iacchus, Zagreus, and the little-attested Melinoe.
The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities. In a Linear B (Mycenean Greek) inscription on a tablet found at Pylos dated 1400–1200 BC, John Chadwick reconstructs the name of a goddess *Preswa who could be identified with Persa, daughter of Oceanus and finds speculative the further identification with the first element of Persephone.
The existence of so many different forms shows how difficult it was for the Greeks to pronounce the word in their own language and suggests that the name has probably a pre-Greek origin.
Another mythical personage of the name of Persephione is called a daughter of Minyas and the mother of Chloris, a nymph of spring, flower and new growth. The Minyans were a group considered autochthonous, but some scholars assert that they were the first wave of Proto-Greek speakers in the 2nd millennium BC.
In Roman mythology, she is called Proserpina, an ancient Roman goddess whose cult, myths and mysteries were based on those of Greek Persephone and her mother Demeter, the Greek goddess of grain and agriculture, and her mother, Ceres, a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships.
The Romans first heard of her from the Aeolian and Dorian cities of Magna Graecia, who used the dialectal variant Proserpinē. Hence, in Roman mythology she was called Proserpina, a name erroneously derived by the Romans from proserpere, “to shoot forth” and as such became an emblematic figure of the Renaissance.
The myth of the abduction of the vegetation goddess is Pre-Greek as evident in the Syro-Mesopotamian mythology of the abduction of the goddess of fertility and harvest, Ishtar (also Ashtar, Astarte and Inanna). The place of the abduction is different in each local cult.
The Homeric Hymn to Demeter mentions the “plain of Nysa”. The locations of this probably mythical place may simply be conventions to show that a magically distant chthonic land of myth was intended in the remote past. Demeter found and met her daughter in Eleusis, and this is the mythical disguise of what happened in the mysteries.
In the Near eastern myth of the primitive agricultural societies, every year the fertility goddess bore the “god of the new year”, who then became her lover, and died immediately in order to be reborn and face the same destiny.
Some findings from Catal Huyuk since the Neolithic age, indicate the worship of the Great Goddess accompanied by a boyish consort, who symbolizes the annual decay and return of vegetation. Similar cults of resurrected gods appear in the Orient in the cults of Attis, Adonis and Osiris,
In Minoan Crete, the “divine child” was related to the female vegetation divinity Ariadne who died every year. The Minoan religion had its own characteristics. The cult was aniconic, the principal deities were female, and they appeared in epiphany called chiefly by ecstatic sacral dances, by tree–shaking and by baetylic rites.
In ancient Greek religion and myth, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death.
Her cult titles include Sito, “she of the Grain”, as the giver of food or grain and Thesmophoros (thesmos: divine order, unwritten law; “phoros”: bringer, bearer), “Law-Bringer,” as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.
In the Linear B Mycenean Greek tablets of circa 1400–1200 BC found at Pylos, the “two mistresses and the king” may be related with Demeter, Persephone and Poseidon.
Demeter’s virgin daughter Persephone was abducted to the underworld by Hades. Demeter searched for her ceaselessly, preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die.
Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back. Hades agreed to release her, but gave her a pomegranate. When she ate the pomegranate seeds, she was bound to him for one third of the year, either the dry Mediterranean summer, when plant life is threatened by drought, or the autumn and winter.
There are several variations on the basic myth. In the Homeric hymn to Demeter, Hecate assists in the search and later becomes Persephone’s underworld attendant. In another, Persephone willingly and secretly eats the pomegranate seeds, thinking to deceive Hades, but is discovered and made to stay.
In all versions, Persephone’s time in the underworld corresponds with the unfruitful seasons of the ancient Greek calendar, and her return to the upper world with springtime. Demeter’s descent to retrieve Persephone from the underworld is connected to the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Demeter and her daughter Persephone were usually called the goddesses (often distinguished as “the older” and “the younger” in Eleusis), Demeters (in Rhodes and Sparta), the thesmophoroi, “the legislators” (in the Thesmophoria), the Great Goddesses (in Arcadia) and the mistresses (in Arcadia). In Mycenaean Pylos, Demeter and Persephone were probably called “queens” (wa-na-ssoi).
In the Greek version Ploutos (wealth) represents the wealth of the corn that was stored in underground silos or ceramic jars (pithoi). Similar subterranean pithoi were used in ancient times for funerary practices is fused with Persephone, the Queen of the underworld.
At the beginning of the autumn, when the corn of the old crop is laid on the fields she ascends and is reunited with her mother Demeter, for at this time the old crop and the new meet each other.
According to the personal mythology of Robert Graves, Persephone is not only the younger self of Demeter, she is in turn also one of three guises of the Triple Goddess — Kore (the youngest, the maiden, signifying green young grain), Persephone (in the middle, the nymph, signifying the ripe grain waiting to be harvested), and Hecate (the eldest of the three, the crone, the harvested grain), which to a certain extent reduces the name and role of Demeter to that of group name. Before her abduction, she is called Kore; and once taken she becomes Persephone (‘she who brings destruction’).
A triple deity (sometimes referred to as threefold, tripled, triplicate, tripartite, triune or triadic, or as a trinity) is a deity associated with the number three. Various female deities and mythological figures in Europe show the influence of pre-Indo-European goddess-worship, and triple female fate divinities, typically “spinners” of destiny, are attested all over Europe and in Bronze Age Anatolia.
Demeter’s search for her daughter Persephone took her to the palace of Celeus, the King of Eleusis in Attica. She assumed the form of an old woman, and asked him for shelter. He took her in, to nurse Demophon and Triptolemus (also known as Indra in Hinduism), his sons by Metanira.
To reward his kindness, she planned to make Demophon immortal; she secretly anointed the boy with ambrosia and laid him in the flames of the hearth, to gradually burn away his mortal self. But Metanira walked in, saw her son in the fire and screamed in fright.
Demeter abandoned the attempt. Instead, she taught Triptolemus the secrets of agriculture, and he in turn taught them to any who wished to learn them. Thus, humanity learned how to plant, grow and harvest grain. The myth has several versions; some are linked to figures such as Eleusis, Rarus and Trochilus. The Demophon element may be based on an earlier folk tale.