The story of Hurrian thunder god Teshub fighting his father Kumarbi and Greek god Zeus fighting Cronus has many similarities. Those similarities concern specific details which makes unlikely the possibility of random coincidence. Two possibilities can be envisaged for explaining this situation.
Thursday, July 13, 2023
The story of Hurrian thunder god Teshub fighting his father Kumarbi and Greek god Zeus fighting Cronus has many similarities.
- That all similarities are due to Greeks influenced by Hurrian and Near Eastern myths.
- That at last part of similarities are due to IE influence on Hurrians.
According to Gary Beckman these similarities are not a sign that the conflict over kingship in heaven was a narrative of Indo-European origin, but rather instead an indication that it was what he deems a “theological ‘areal feature’” known across Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the Mediterranean.
Beckman do not discuss the possibility that the Hurrian themselves could have been in contact with an IE group and the story of thunder god fighting his father and a monster dragon is an introgression in to Hurrian religion from an IE source in particular the Proto Armenian. But this possibility should be envisaged given the geographic proximity of Hurrian and Armenian homelands.
This possibility is supported by many lines of evidence presented in various papers of Armen Petrosyan.
- The Hurrian snake dragon Ullikumi has an IE etymology. Derived from a reconstructed *wel. The root wel is found in Etiuni and an indirect evidence suggests that prior the term vishap Armenians did have a term wel for the dragon.
- The name of Teshub has no Hurrian etymology. But it has a good etymology in Armenian. From the IE root *teks meaning "to weave," also "to fabricate," especially with an ax. In Armenian t'eshi/t'eshik meaning spindle derives from this root. Both the meaning spindle and ax are attested in Germanic languages derived from this root. In other IE languages the meaning ax is prevalent. Thus Teshub could have mean ax holder/keeper in old Armenian. *teks + *hep > teshub
- Armenian god Vahagn and vishap are loanwords from the Iranian. The thunder god killing a dragon is present virtually in all PIE derived groups. Thus Armenians also should have their own terms. Teshub/Teisheba and Welik attested in Hurro-Urartian texts are good candidates for those terms.
- Teshub initially was not the most important deity in Hurrian gods pantheon. It is first attested at around 2200/2100 bc. But it becomes prominent only in 2-nd millennium BC. So timing do not contradict to this theory.
- Teshub is not the only thunder god having the IE root *teks as a root. In Hayasa there was a thunder god U.taksana were taksan means carpenter in Sanskrit while the U is the ideogram for thunder gods. The apparition of this god in Hayasa pantheon might be related to Mitanni Aryans presence in that region. The reason why Teshub can't have Aryan origin is that phonetic shift corresponds to Armenian. And the timing will not fit.
This were the main arguments. You can read the others in the A. Petrosyan's paper in Russian.