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The Hittite myth of Illuyanka and the Weather God

Updated on June 4, 2011

Who were the Hittite's

The Hittite's were Indo-Europeans who live in modern Turkey in the millennium before christ. The Hittite empire controlled a large part of Upper Mesopotania and challenged the Egyptians in Syria and Palestine. The language was originally in Cuneiform and tablets describing the myths were found in archives opened in the capital city, Hattusa.

some stories have been found in more than one version, perhaps the original story was passed from person to person and changes were made on the way or were written down and misread, who knows?

The story of Illuyanka

The following is the story of Illuyanka, which was told at New Year at the celebrations at Nerik, the main shrine of the weather God.

The first story is as follows:

Illuyanka was a dragon like giant who is in combat with the weather God and beats him. The mother God Inata agrees to help and prepares a banquet which has large drinking vessels filled with strong alcoholic drink. She needs help and asks Huspashiya, a human being, to hep, but he wants to makelove with her first, and she agrees. She then takes Huspashiya to the banquet to which Illuyanka and all his family have been invited to attend. Illuyanka and his family get drunk, even the children , so drunk that they cannot leave the banquet. Huspashiya ties them all up using some strong rope he has brought with him and keeps them there until the weather God arrives to kill them all.

Inara takes Huspashiya home to live with her in a far away place and forbids him to look out of her windows. Huspashiya becomes homesick and after 20 days looks out of the window hoping to see his homeland, far away in the distance. Instead he sees his wife and children and so he asks the goddess to let him go home to his family- the ending of the story is cut off so to speak or more likely worn away by time. Traditional theory is that the Goddess kills Hushpashiya because of his disloyalty, I favour the happy ever after theory where he was allowed to return home, but as a eunuch. I am sure, dear reader, you can make up some more entertaining endings for this myth.

The story changes

The second version of the story has the same scenario with Illuyanka beating the weather God in battle and extracting from him his heart and eyes. Despite lacking heart and eyes the God manages to marry and father a son who when mature woos Illuyanka's daughter, The daughter is madly in love and Ulluyanka willingly restores the weather God's heart and lungs as the price of ensuring his daughters happiness.

The Weather God feels better once his organs are restored and time passes whilst he regains his strength. As the father gets better his son falls deeply in love with his wife. Once the weather God is fully well he is able to take his revenge and kills Illuyanka and all his family. The weather God's son begs his father to kill him as he cannot bear to live without his wife, and so, the deed is done

Two versions of the same story, similar to start with different in content, but with the same outcome. Illuyanka and all his family are dead and the weather God is back in power. Lost in translation? Who knows?


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