The Hurrian Tasmisu and The Hellenic Hermes: Brothers of Another… Er… Parent?

In the book Hittite Myths as translated by Harry A. Hoffner, Jr. (second edition) there is a section on Hurrian Myths. In tablet one of “The Song of Ullikummi” it says:

“When Kumarbi [had formed] a clever plan [in his mind], he promptly arose from his chair. In his hand he took a staff; [on his feet] like winged [shoes] he put the winds” (4.Ai 11-15).

And later in tablet 3:

“When Tasmisu heard Tessub’s words, he quickly arose, [took] a staff in hand, put the winds on his feet – like winged shoes, and went up on the hightowers” (48.Aii 1-2).

Kumarbi is trying to dethrone Tessub (sometimes translated as Teshub), who is currently king of the gods. Tasmisu is Tessub’s vizier (he and Tessub are both “sons,” of a sort, of Kumarbi). Actually, the Anu, Kumarbi, Tessub storyline has a lot of parallels to the Kronos, Ouranos, Zeus story… Ahem. Anyway. That would be for a different day. We’re going to set aside Kumarbi for right now and look at the vizier, Tasmisu.


Kumarbi is on the left, Tessub on the right

Tasmisu is acting as a messenger. He grabs his staff and puts the wind on his feet, or, basically, his winged shoes. Who else has a staff and winged shoes? Specifically, in the Hellenic world? But of course! Hermes! Tasmisu also, later on in the story, leads Tessub to visit Allani, “the lady” who ruled the underworld (known as Lelwani to the Hittites, and possibly connected to the Sumerian Ereshkigal ). Hermes is also a cthonic deity who is able to go freely from the underworld and back and acts as a psychopomp, leading people safely to the underworld.

It makes me wonder if all of these stories of gods putting winged shoes on their feet and wandering around to the underworld eventually morphed into the Hellenic Hermes? There seems to be some sort of kinship there.


Tasmisu on the left, Hermes on the right

(to see the inspiration for Teshub click HERE.) There is also more information about Hittite/Hurrian mythology. Just remember that mythology is not always kid friendly, as it were.

To read The Story of Laodike Click HERE.

Hittite Prayers & Terror and Panic

A few Mondays ago I got a book in the mail entitled Hittite Prayers by Itamar Singer, as part of the Writings From the Ancient World Series. (Which was very exciting. I almost stopped breathing trying to explain to my mum how excited I was because, yes, I am that much of a nerd.) While reading it today (in between editing pictures, because my editing program is so ridiculously slow) I came across this line:

“You stride through the four eternal corners. The Fears run on your right, the Terrors run on your left” (No. 4c, 6.i-61).

This, of course, reminding me of The Iliad  when the Trojans and Achaeans are facing off to battle after Menelaus is wounded:

“Behind them, Ares, as behind the Greeks/ The goddess Athena with sea-grey eyes,/ And on both sides Terror and Panic” (Lombardo, 4.471-3).


I doubt that there’s any true connection there between the Hittite equivalent of Shamash (a sun god) striding around with Terror and Panic and two Greek gods running around with Terror and Panic, but it intrigues me, especially because I am interested in the Hittite underlining of this Greek epic.IMG_2898.jpg

*Those on the right should be recognizable as Panic, Terror, Athena, and Ares. On the left we have Shamash wearing his epic hat and holding something that I’m sure is important in his hands. Next to him are the two viziers Bunene and Misharu both of whom I want to do more research on.