Teshub / Tar
The Hurrians were an ancient people, who spoke a Hurro-Urartian language of the Ancient Near East, living in Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia. The name Hurri is also spelled Harri, the root word for Aryan.
Resurrection (anglicized from Latin resurrectio) is the concept of a living being coming back to life after death. It is a religious concept, where it is used in two distinct respects: a belief in the resurrection of individual souls that is current and ongoing (Christian idealism, realized eschatology), or else a belief in a singular “Resurrection of the Dead” event at the end of the world.
In comparative mythology, the related motifs of a dying god and of a dying-and-rising god (also known as a death-rebirth-deity) have appeared in diverse cultures. In the more commonly accepted motif of a dying god, the deity goes away and does not return. The less than widely accepted motif of a dying-and-rising god refers to a deity which returns, is resurrected or is reborn, in either a literal or symbolic sense.
Beginning in the 19th century, a number of gods who would fit these motifs were proposed. Male examples include the ancient Near Eastern, Greek, and Norse deities Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Tammuz, Ra the Sun god with its fusion with Osiris/Orion, Jesus, and Dionysus. Female examples include Inanna/Ishtar, Persephone, and Bari.
The methods of death can be diverse. Some gods who die are also seen as either returning or bringing about life in some other form, in many cases associated with a vegetation deity related to a staple.
The Thunder God
Polytheistic peoples of many cultures have postulated a Thunder God, the personification or source of the forces of thunder and lightning; a lightning god does not have a typical depiction, and will vary based on the culture. In Indo-European cultures, the Thunder God is frequently known as the chief or king of the gods, e.g. Indra in Hinduism, Zeus in Greek mythology, and Perun in ancient Slavic religion; or a close relation thereof, e.g. Thor, son of Odin, in Norse mythology.
In Greek mythology, The Elysian Fields, or the Elysian Plains, the final resting places of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous, evolved from a designation of a place or person struck by lightning, enelysion, enelysios. This could be a reference to Zeus, the god of lightning/Jupiter, so “lightning-struck” could be saying that the person was blessed (struck) by Zeus (/lightning/fortune).
Labrys is the term for a symmetric doubleheaded axe originally from Crete in Greece, one of the oldest symbols of Greek civilization; to the Romans, it was known as a bipennis.
The double-bitted axe remains a forestry tool to this day, and the labrys certainly functioned as a tool and hewing axe before it was invested with symbolic function. Labrys symbolism is found in Minoan, Thracian, and Greek religion, mythology, and art, dating from the Middle Bronze Age onwards, and surviving in the Byzantine Empire.
A thunderbolt or lightning bolt is a symbolic representation of a lightning when accompanied by a loud thunderclap. In ancient Hellenic and Roman religious traditions, the thunderbolt represents Jupiter (etymologically “Right Father”), thence the origin and ordaining pattern of the universe, as expressed in Heraclitus’ fragment describing “the Thunderbolt that steers the course of all things”. It is the same in other Indo-European traditions, for example the Vedic Vajra.
In its original usage the word may also have been a description of the consequences of a close approach between two planetary cosmic bodies.
As a divine manifestation the thunderbolt has been a powerful symbol throughout history, and has appeared in many mythologies. Drawing from this powerful association, the thunderbolt is often found in military symbolism and semiotic representations of electricity.
The bull is somewhat unique in the world of symbolism in that he is both a solar and a lunar creature. His male fertility, his fiery temperament, and his role as father of the herd make him the masculine sun-god in many cults. Just as the lion is the king and terror of the beasts of the forest, the bull is the king of the farm and the personification of brute strength and power. The lion, the bull, and the sun are popular symbols of life and resurrection. The bull’s crescent shaped horns link him to moon worship and symbolism although, in some areas, the sun is a bull while the moon is a cow. Sin, the moon-god of ancient Ur, was often pictured as a bull.
Its association with the sun makes this animal a god of the heavens, resurrection, and fire, while its association with the moon makes it a god of earth, water, night, and death. This animal’s masculinity is not diminished by its feminine lunar connections. However, when ridden by moon-goddesses such as Astarte, its masculine powers are said to be tamed or domesticated.
The roar of the bull, his windy breath, the sound of his hooves, and his wild nature were likened to thunder, wind, the crash of the ocean, and mighty tempests. Because of these associations, bulls were sacrificed to sea gods such as Poseidon. Along with the thunderbolt, bulls are symbols of thunder, sky, and storm gods such as Adad, Thor, and Ishkur. These gods may also be pictured riding bulls.
The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. The word is derived from Latin serpens, a crawling animal or snake. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind and represent dual expression of good and evil.
Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The ouroboros is a symbol of eternity and continual renewal of life.
In the Abrahamic religions, the serpent represents sexual desire. According to the Rabbinical tradition, in the Garden of Eden, the serpent represents sexual passion. In Hinduism, Kundalini is a coiled serpent, the residual power of pure desire.
Occasionally, serpents and dragons are used interchangeably, having similar symbolic functions. The venom of the serpent is thought to have a fiery quality similar to a fire spitting dragon. The Greek Ladon and the Norse Níðhöggr (Nidhogg Nagar) are sometimes described as serpents and sometimes as dragons. In Germanic mythology, serpent (Old English: wyrm, Old High German: wurm, Old Norse: ormr) is used interchangeably with the Greek borrowing dragon (OE: draca, OHG: trahho, ON: dreki).
Bellerophon or Bellerophontes is a hero of Greek mythology. The name of Bellerophon is translated to “the slayer of the serpent” (ahihán), “snake”, directly comparable to Hittite ellu-essar- “snake pit”. He was “the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, alongside Cadmus and Perseus, before the days of Heracles”, whose greatest feat was killing the Chimera, a monster that Homer depicted with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail: “her breath came out in terrible blasts of burning flame.”
This myth likely came to Greece via Anatolia, and in the Hittite version, the dragon is called Illuyanka, the illuy- part being cognate to the illa word, and the -anka part being cognate to the angu word for “snake”. As designations for “snake” (and similarly shaped animals) are often liable to taboo in many Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages, no unambiguous Proto-Indo-European form for the eel word can thus be reconstructed, it could have been *ēl(l)-u-, *ēl(l)-o-, or similar.
In the early Vedic religion, Vritra (“the enveloper”), is an Asura and also a serpent or dragon, the personification of drought and enemy of Indra. Vritra was also known in the Vedas as Ahi (“snake”). He appears as a dragon blocking the course of the rivers and is heroically slain by Indra.
Teshub in the Hurrian Mythology
In Hurrian mythology Teshub (Hittite: Taru) was the god of sky and storm. 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.
The Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin – he was conceived when the god Kumarbi, is the chief god of the Hurrians, 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 Tigris (personification of the river), Ullikummi (stone giant) and Tashmishu.
In the Hurrian schema, Teshub was paired with Hebat the mother goddess; in the Hittite, with the sun goddess Arinniti of Arinna – a cultus of great antiquity which has similarities with the venerated bulls and mothers at Çatalhöyük in the Neolithic era. His son was called Sarruma, the mountain god.
According to Hittite myths, one of Teshub’s (Tarhunt’s) greatest acts was the slaying of the serpentine dragon Illuyanka. Myths also exist of his conflict with the sea creature (possibly a snake or serpent) Hedammu (CTH 348). It is known from Hittite cuneiform tablets found at Çorum-Boğazköy, the former Hittite capital Hattusa.
The context is a ritual of the Hattian spring festival of Puruli, held at Nerik, a Bronze Age city to the north of the Hittite capitals Hattusa and Sapinuwa, dedicated to the earth goddess Hannahanna, a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat.
Nerik was founded by Hattic language speakers as Narak; in the Hattusa archive, tablet CTH 737 records a Hattic incantion for a festival there. Under Hattusili I, the Nesian-speaking Hittites took over Nerik. They maintained a spring festival called “Puruli” in honor of its storm god. In it, the celebrants recited the myth of the slaying of Illuyanka. Nerik disappeared from record when the Hittite kingdom fell, ca. 1200 BC.
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, a spring festival in ancient Mesopotamia, of the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation mythos (named after its opening words). Also compared are the Canaanite Poem of Baal and Psalms 93 and 29.
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.
The English name “eel” descends from Old English ǽl, Common Germanic *ǣlaz. Also from the common Germanic are German Aal, Middle Dutch ael, Old High German âl, and Old Norse áll.
Eels are an order of fish which consists of four suborders, 20 families, 111 genera and approximately 800 species. Most eels are predators. The term “eel” is also used for some other similarly shaped fish, such as electric eels and spiny eels, but these are not members of the Anguilliformes order.
The daylight passage in the spring of elvers upstream along the Thames was called “eel fare”, and the word ‘elver’ is thought to be a corruption thereof.
The myth of Illuyanka is found in Catalogue des Textes Hittites 321, which gives two consecutive versions. In the first version, the two gods fight and Illuyanka wins. Teshub then goes to the Hattian goddess Inaras for advice. Having promised her love to a mortal named Hupasiyas in return for his help, she devises a trap for the dragon. She goes to him with large quantities of food and drink, and entices him to drink his fill. Once drunk, the dragon is bound by Hupasiyas with a rope. Then the Sky God Teshub appears with the other gods and kills the dragon.
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.
This version is illustrated on a relief which was discovered at Malatya (dating from 1050-850 BC) and is on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, Turkey.
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.
Thor in the Norse Mythology
In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing and fertility. The cognate deity in wider Germanic mythology and paganism was known in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar, stemming from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning “thunder”).
Tanngrisnir (Old Norse “teeth-barer, snarler”) and Tanngnjóstr (Old Norse “teeth grinder”) are the goats who pull the god Thor’s chariot in Norse mythology.
In Norse mythology, Mjölnir is the hammer of Thor. Mjölnir is depicted as one of the most fearsome weapons, capable of leveling mountains. In his account of Norse mythology Snorri Sturluson relates how the hammer was made by the dwarven brothers Sindri and Brokkr, and how its characteristically short handle was due to a mishap during its manufacture.
Jörmungandr, alternately referred to as the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent, is a sea serpent of the Norse mythology, the middle child of Loki and the giantess Angrboða.
According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki’s three children by Angrboða, Fenrisúlfr, Hel and Jörmungandr. He tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard. The serpent grew so big that he was able to surround the Earth and grasp his own tail, and as a result he earned the alternate name of the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent. When he lets go, the world will end. Jörmungandr’s arch-enemy is the god Thor.
In the poem Völuspá, a dead völva recounts the history of the universe and foretells the future to the disguised god Odin, including the death of Thor. Thor, she foretells, will do battle with the great serpent during the immense mythical war waged at Ragnarök, and there he will slay the monstrous snake, yet after he will only be able to take nine steps before succumbing to the venom of the beast.
Afterwards, says the völva, the sky will turn black before fire engulfs the world, the stars will disappear, flames will dance before the sky, steam will rise, the world will be covered in water, and then it will be raised again; green and fertile. Thor’s sons will survive, and return after these events with Thor’s hammer.
In the poem Grímnismál, the god Odin, in disguise as Grímnir, and tortured, starved and thirsty, imparts in the young Agnar cosmological lore, including that Thor resides in Þrúðheimr, and that, every day, Thor wades through the rivers Körmt and Örmt, and the two Kerlaugar. There, Grímnir says, Thor sits as judge at the immense cosmological world tree, Yggdrasil.
In the prologue to his Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson euhemerises Thor as a prince of Troy, and the son of king Memnon by Troana, a daughter of Priam. Thor, also known as Tror, is said to have married the prophetess Sibyl (identified with Sif). Thor is further said here to have been raised in Thrace by a chieftain named Lorikus, whom he later slew to assume the title of “King of Thrace”, to have had hair “fairer than gold”, and to have been strong enough to lift ten bearskins.
The name of the aesir is explained as “men from Asia,” Asgard being the “Asian city” (i.e., Troy). Odin is a remote descendant of Thor, removed by twelve generations, who led an expedition across Germany, Denmark and Sweden to Norway.
Tyr and Tir
Týr is a 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 *Tîwaz (*Tē₂waz). The Latinised name is Tius or Tio.
In the late Icelandic Eddas, Tyr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while 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. 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.
Tir is the Armenian god of literature, science and art, god of wisdom, culture, science and studies, he also was an interpreter of dreams. Tir was a messenger of the gods. He was a fortune-teller and a guide of dead persons soul.
In 21 of September is celebrated a Holiday in honor of Tir. The first day was dedicated in memory of ancestors. In this day people were glorifying ancestors. In other day people were show theatre, told about their voyages over the world. Tir’s holiday is celebrated at the beginning of September as a day of knowledge.