Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The Heaven / the Sun / Mars and the Earth / the Moon / Venus (the dawn) – Tyr and Hel – Justice, creation and transformation

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 7, 2017

The Sun goddess of Arinna is the chief goddess and wife of the weather god Tarḫunna in Hittite mythology. She protected the Hittite kingdom and was called the “Queen of all lands.” Her cult centre was the sacred city of Arinna.

In addition to the Sun goddess of Arinna, the Hittites also worshipped the Sun goddess of the Earth and the Sun god of Heaven, while the Luwians originally worshipped the old Proto-Indo-European Sun god Tiwaz. It appears that in the northern cultural sphere of the early Hittites, there was no male solar deity.

The Sun goddess of Arinna and the weather god Tarḫunna formed a pair and together they occupied the highest position in the Hittite state’s pantheon. The pair’s daughter is Mezulla, by whom they had the granddaughter Zintuḫi. Their other children were the Weather god of Nerik, the Weather god of Zippalanda, and the corn god Telipinu. The eagle served as her messenger.

In myths, she plays a minor role. A Hattian mythic fragment records the construction of her house in Liḫzina (de). Another myth fragment refers to her apple tree:

An apple tree stands at a well and is covered all over with a blood-red colour. The Sun goddess of Arinna saw (it) and she decorated (it) with her shining wand. (KUB 28.6 Vs. I 10’-13’ = II 10’-13’).

The Sun goddess of Arinna was originally of Hattian origin and was worshipped by the Hattians at Eštan. One of her Hattian epithets was Wurunšemu (“Mother of the land”?).

From the Hittite Old Kingdom, she was the chief goddess of the Hittite state. The “Gods’ city” of Arinna was the site of the coronation of the first Hittite kings and one of the empire’s three holy cities. The Hattian name of the goddess was transcribed by the Hittites as Ištanu and Urunzimu.

They also invoked her as Arinitti (“The Arinnian”). The epithet “of Arinna” only appears during the Hittite Middle Kingdom, to distinguish the Sun goddess from the male Sun god of Heaven, who had been adopted by the Hittites from interaction with the Hurrians.

During the Hittite New Kingdom, she was identified with the Hurrian-Syrian goddess Ḫepat and the Hittite Queen Puduḫepa mentions her in her prayers using both names:

Sun goddess of Arinna, my lady, queen of all lands! In the Land of Ḫatti, you ordained your name to be the “Sun goddess of Arinna”, but also in the land which you have made the land of the cedar, you ordained your name to be Ḫepat.

From the Hittite Old Kingdom, the Sun goddess of Arinna legitimised the authority of the king, in conjunction with the weather god Tarḫunna. The land belonged to the two deities and the established the king, who would refer to the Sun goddess as “Mother”. King Ḫattušili I would hold the Sun goddess in his lap. Several queens dedicated cultic solar discs to the Sun goddess in the city of Taḫurpa.

During the Hittite New Kingdom, the Sun goddess was said to watch over the king and his kingdom, with the king as her priest and the queen as her priestess. The Hittite king worshiped the Sun goddess with daily praters at sun set. The Hittite texts preserve many prayers to the Sun goddess of Arinna: the oldest is from Arnuwanda I, while the best known is the prayer of Queen Puduḫepa, cited above.

The most important temple of the Sun goddess was in the city of Arinna; there was another on the citadel of Ḫattuša. The goddess was depicted as a solar disc.In the city of Tarḫurpa, several such discs were venerated, which had been donated by the Hittite queens. King Ulmi-Teššup von Tarḫuntašša donated a Sun disc of gold, silver and copper to the goddess each year, along with a bull and three sheep. She was also often depicted as a woman and statuettes of a sitting goddess with a halo may also be depictions of her.

The deer was sacred to the Sun goddess and Queen Puduḫepa promised to give her many deer in her prayers. Cultic vessels in the shape of a deer presumably ere used for worship of the Sun goddess. It is also believed that the golden deer statuettes from the Early Bronze Age, which were found in the middle of the Kızılırmak River and belong to the Hattian cultural period, ere associated with the cult of the Sun goddess.

The name Ištanu is the Hittite form of the Hattian name Eštan and refers to the Sun goddess of Arinna. Earlier scholarship understood Ištanu as the name of the male Sun god of the Heavens, but more recent scholarship has held that the name is only used to refer to the Sun goddess of Arinna. Volker Haas (de), however, still distinguishes between a male Ištanu representing the day-star and a female Wurunšemu who is the Sun goddess of Arinna and spends her nights in the underworld.

Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known as Tiwaz or Tijaz. He was a god of judgement, and was depicted bearing a winged sun on his crown or head-dress, and a crooked staff.

Týr is a Germanic god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is rendered as Tius or Tio and also formally as Mars Thincsus.

In the late Icelandic Eddas, Týr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda). It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

The origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon, since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion.

Distinguishing the various solar deities in the texts is difficult since most are simply written with the Sumerogram dUTU (Solar deity). As a result, the interpretation of the solar deities remains a subject of debate.

Utu (Akkadian rendition of Sumerian dUD 𒀭𒌓 “Sun”, Assyro-Babylonian Shamash “Sun”) is the Sun god in Sumerian mythology, the son of the moon god Nanna and the goddess Ningal, a goddess of reeds in the Sumerian mythology, daughter of Enki and Ningikurga and the consort of the moon god Nanna by whom she bore Utu the sun god, Inanna, and in some texts, Ishkur.

Utu is the god of the sun, justice, application of law, and the lord of truth. He is usually depicted as wearing a horned helmet and carrying a saw-edged weapon not unlike a pruning saw.

It is thought that every day, Utu emerges from a mountain in the east, symbolizing dawn, and travels either via chariot or boat across the Earth, returning to a hole in a mountain in the west, symbolizing sunset.

Every night, Utu descends into the underworld to decide the fate of the dead. He is also depicted as carrying a mace, and standing with one foot on a mountain. Its symbol is “sun rays from the shoulders, and or sun disk or a saw”.

The sun god is only modestly mentioned in Sumerian mythology with one of the notable exceptions being the Epic of Gilgamesh. In the myth, Gilgamesh seeks to establish his name with the assistance of Utu, because of his connection with the cedar mountain.

Gilgamesh and his father, Lugalbanda were kings of the first dynasty of Uruk, a lineage that Jeffrey H. Tigay suggested could be traced back to Utu himself. He further suggested that Lugalbanda’s association with the sun-god in the Old Babylonian version of the epic strengthened “the impression that at one point in the history of the tradition the sun-god was also invoked as an ancestor”.

Aya (or Aja) in Akkadian mythology was a mother goddess, consort of the sun god Shamash. She developed from the Sumerian goddess Sherida, consort of Utu.

Sherida is one of the oldest Mesopotamian gods, attested in inscriptions from pre-Sargonic times, her name (as “Aya”) was a popular personal name during the Ur III period (21st-20th century BCE), making her among the oldest Semitic deities known in the region.

As the Sumerian pantheon formalized, Utu became the primary sun god, and Sherida was syncretized into a subordinate role as an aspect of the sun alongside other less powerful solar deities (c.f. Ninurta) and took on the role of Utu’s consort.

When the Semitic Akkadians moved into Mesopotamia, their pantheon became syncretized to the Sumerian. Inanna to Ishtar, Nanna to Sin, Utu to Shamash, etc. The minor Mesopotamian sun goddess Aya became syncretized into Sherida during this process.

The goddess Aya in this aspect appears to have had wide currency among Semitic peoples, as she is mentioned in god-lists in Ugarit and shows up in personal names in the Bible (Gen 36:24, 2 Sam 3:7, 1 Chr 7:28).

Aya is Akkadian for “dawn”, and by the Akkadian period she was firmly associated with the rising sun and with sexual love[2]:173 and youth. The Babylonians sometimes referred to her as kallatu (the bride), and as such she was known as the wife of Shamash. In fact, she was worshiped as part of a separate-but-attached cult in Shamash’s e-babbar temples in Larsa and Sippar.

By the Neo-Babylonian period at the latest (and possibly much earlier), Shamash and Aya were associated with a practice known as Hasadu, which is loosely translated as a “sacred marriage.”

A room would be set aside with a bed, and on certain occasions the temple statues of Shamash and Aya would be brought together and laid on the bed to ceremonially renew their vows. This ceremony was also practiced by the cults of Marduk with Sarpanitum, Nabu with Tashmetum, and Anu with Antu.

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