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Hittite Myths * Harry A. Hoffner jr. (1998)

In the last Heidnisches Jahrbuch I read about the Hittites. The article caught my attention because we are supposedly speaking about an Indo-European near-Eastern peoples of which texts remain older than the Vedas, usually regarded the oldest Indo-European texts. In fact the ages of both writings are about the same, from 1500 BCE as oldest text going well further towards the beginning of the era. The Hittite myths are closely akin to the more famous Sumerian myths of the same area and Sumerian Gods and Goddesses are mentioned frequently. There are said to be many texts that survived, yet Hoffner made a book of only about 90 pages with myths. The texts are left on stone tablets in different languages. The tablets are often heavily damaged, so the translations contain a lot of gaps, some parts are even unreadable. What is left are enjoyable myths about Gods and Goddesses, about Gods and men and here and there about some hero. There are storm gods, sky gods and earth gods, some have names, some do not. The myths go from very simple to very elaborate and also the lengths differ greatly. Hoffner sometimes give different versions of the same myth or uses different versions to come to a better result. The myths are nice to read. They are sometimes indeed Indo-European, but overall remind me more of the Sumerian kind of mythology. I have also two books about the Hittites which I will review when I finished them. I usually prefer to read the texts themselves, so I started with this little book. In the same series there are other kinds of Hittite texts available.

[The Storm God of the Sky set out towards the steppe], the meadow, [and the moor(?). He carried off plenty, prosperity, and abundance. The Storm God departed], and barley [and wheat] no longer [ripened. Cattle, sheep], and hmand did not [become pregnant]. And those wo [were pregnant did not give birth] from that time.

1998 (2nd edition, the first edition is of 1990) society of biblical literature, isbn 0788504886


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