"To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism, to "steal" ideas from many is research."
American Mythology-=*=- Aesop's Fables-=*=- Arthurian Mythology-=*=- Australian Mythology-=*=- Aztec Mythology-=*=- Celtic Mythology-=*=- Chinese Mythology-=*=- Christian Mythology-=*=- Egyptian Mythology-=*=- Etruscan Mythology-=*=- Finnish Mythology-=*=- Folklore Mythology-=*=- Greek and Roman Mythology-=*=- Haitian Mythology-=*=- Hindu Mythology-=*=- Hittite Mythology-=*=- Incan Mythology-=*=- Indo-European Mythology-=*=- Japanese Mythology-=*=- Korean Mythology-=*=- Latvian Mythology-=*=- Mayan Mythology-=*=- Mesopotamian Mythology-=*=- Native American Mythology-=*=- Norse Mythology-=*=- Persian Mythology-=*=- Polynesian Mythology-=*=- The Zodiac
The Hittites--long thought to have never existed--were an early Indo-European people, whose language is one of the oldest Indo-European language recorded. They are thought to have swept down from the Volga in ca. 2000 BCE, down into Anatolia (modern Turkey) and throughout the Black Sea and Middle East. They are mentioned in Assyrian records, and the Bible makes reference to a Uriah the Hittite. There is some (unproven) speculation that they were involved in the Trojan war.
Their mythology--and thus their language--is found on a few clay tablets, inscribed in a simplified cuneiform, presumably borrowed from the Akkadians, with whom they had strong trade and cultural ties; the Hittites even adopted some Akkadian gods, and there is a version of the Epic of Gilgamesh in Hittite. I have done my best to note which gods are indigenous to the Hittites, and which are Akkadian. Otherwise, there are unfortunately few records of Hittite Mythology.
There are some similiarities, not suprisingly, between some Hittite gods and other Indo-European gods: for instance, the Storm-god, called Taru or Teshub, who fights the dragon Illuyankas--this is similiar to Thor (thunder-god of the Norse) fighting Jormungand. Then there is his son Telepinus the agricultural god, who goes missing, and must be found in order for the crops to grow--not unlike Persephone, but also not unlike many Middle Eastern gods (Attis, Tammuz, etc).*
*There may be a connection to Mabon ap Modron here, too.
Anus: Akkadian in origin--Anu
Aranzahas: Akkadian in origin
Irsirra:Group of gods; possibly Akkadian
Kubaba: Later Cybebe/Cybele?
Shaushka: Akkadian import--Ishtar/Inanna
Tasmisus: probably Akkadian in origin
It is also worth noting this odd cup, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
The cup, a product of the Hittite Empire, is decorated with scenes depicting the Hittite God Telepinu. However, it also contains all the elements of the traditional depictions of Santa Claus: a pine tree, a bag full of gifts and vehicle draw by deer.
Associate Professor Sedat Erkut, an expert on the history of the Hittites, said that the story told on the cup was that of Telepinu, the Storm God, losing his son. Erkut said that in an old text from the Hittite era there was a legend that the God hung a sack of gifts as an offering for good health and prosperity on a tree, beneath which there was a sacrificed deer.
This practice was adopted as a regular ritual with trees being cut down and placed behind a statue of the God and with the sacrificing of a deer according to Erkut. In the Hittites’ tradition he said that then a type of bread called Labka was broken into pieces to decorate the tree and then place gifts in a skin bag.
“All of these cannot be a coincidence,” Erkut said, comparing it to later practices to commemorate Christmas.
He went on to say that Saint Nicholas of what is now the southern Turkish town of Demre, who is widely acknowledged as being the founder of the story of Santa Claus for giving gifts of money to young women who could not afford their dowry, could have revived the Telepinu myth.
“Not every part of the Santa Claus story and the myth match each either,” he said. “One is a myth the other a saint that is known to lived there,” Erkut said.
Actually, the proto-Santa god would have been Taru/Teshub--who is also identifiable with Thor, who also is thought to have contributed to our concept of Santa Claus. Telepinu was the son who was lost.
With apologies to dem bones