Artemis, in the ancient Greek religion and myth, is the goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, the Moon, chastity. Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, the twin sister of Apollo, she was the patron and protector of young girls, was believed to bring disease upon women and relieve them of it. Artemis was worshipped as one of the primary goddesses of childbirth and midwifery along with Eileithyia. Much like Athena and Hestia, Artemis is sworn never to marry. Artemis was one of the most venerated of the Ancient Greek deities and her temple at Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Artemis' symbols included a bow and arrow, a quiver and hunting knives and the deer and the cypress were sacred to her; the goddess Diana is her Roman equivalent. The name Artemis is of uncertain etymology, although various sources have been proposed. According to J. T. Jablonski, the name is Phrygian and could be "compared with the royal appellation Artemas of Xenophon. According to Charles Anthon the primitive root of the name is of Persian origin from *arta, *art, *arte, all meaning "great, holy," thus Artemis "becomes identical with the great mother of Nature as she was worshipped at Ephesus".
Anton Goebel "suggests the root στρατ or ῥατ, "to shake," and makes Artemis mean the thrower of the dart or the shooter". The name may be related to Greek árktos "bear", supported by the bear cult the goddess had in Attica and the Neolithic remains at the Arkoudiotissa Cave, as well as the story of Callisto, about Artemis, it is believed that a precursor of Artemis was worshipped in Minoan Crete as the goddess of mountains and hunting, Britomartis. While connection with Anatolian names has been suggested, the earliest attested forms of the name Artemis are the Mycenaean Greek, a-te-mi-to /Artemitos/ and, a-ti-mi-te /Artimitei/, written in Linear B at Pylos. R. S. P. Beekes suggested. Artemis was venerated in Lydia as Artimus. Georgios Babiniotis, while accepting that the etymology is unknown states that the name is attested in Mycenean Greek and is of Pre-Greek origin. Ancient Greek writers, by way of folk etymology, some modern scholars, have linked Artemis to ἄρταμος, artamos, i.e. "butcher" or, like Plato did in Cratylus, to ἀρτεμής, artemḗs, i.e. "safe", "unharmed", "uninjured", "pure", "the stainless maiden".
Various conflicting accounts are given in Classical Greek mythology regarding the birth of Artemis and Apollo, her twin brother. However, in terms of parentage, all accounts agree that she was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and that she was the twin sister of Apollo. An account by Callimachus has it that Hera forbade Leto to give birth on either terra firma or on an island. Hera was angry with her husband Zeus because he had impregnated Leto but the island of Delos disobeyed Hera and Leto gave birth there. According to the Homeric Hymn to Artemis the island where Leto gave birth was Ortygia. In ancient Cretan history Leto was worshipped at Phaistos and, in Cretan mythology, Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis on the islands known today as Paximadia. A scholium of Servius on Aeneid iii. 72 accounts for the island's archaic name Ortygia by asserting that Zeus transformed Leto into a quail in order to prevent Hera from finding out about his infidelity, Kenneth McLeish suggested further that in quail form Leto would have given birth with as few birth-pains as a mother quail suffers when it lays an egg.
The myths differ as to whether Artemis was born first, or Apollo. Most stories depict Artemis as born first, becoming her mother's midwife upon the birth of her brother Apollo; the childhood of Artemis is not related in any surviving myth. The Iliad reduced the figure of the dread goddess to that of a girl, having been thrashed by Hera, climbs weeping into the lap of Zeus. A poem by Callimachus to the goddess "who amuses herself on mountains with archery" imagines some charming vignettes. Artemis, while sitting on the knee of her father, asked him to grant her several wishes: to always remain a virgin to have many names to set her apart from her brother Phoebus to have a bow and arrow made by the Cyclops to be the Phaesporia or Light Bringer to have a knee-length tunic so that she could hunt to have sixty "daughters of Okeanos", all nine years of age, to be her choir to have twenty Amnisides Nymphs as handmaidens to watch her dogs and bow while she rested to rule all the mountains any city to have the ability to help women in the pains of childbirth.
Artemis believed that she had been chosen by the Fates to be a midwife since she had assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin brother, Apollo. All of her companions remained virgins, Artemis guarded her own chastity, her symbols included the golden bow and arrow, the hunting dog, the stag, the Moon. Callimachus tells how Artemis spent her girlhood seeking out the things that she would need to be a huntress, how she obtained her bow and arrows from the isle of Lipara, where Hephaestus and the Cyclops worked. Oceanus' daughters were filled with fear, but the young Artemis bravely approached and asked for bow and arrows. Callimachus tells how Artemis visited Pan, the god of the forest, who gave her seven bitches and six dogs, she captured six golden-horned deer to pull her chariot. Artemis practiced with h
Šarruma or Sharruma was a Hurrian mountain god, worshipped by the Hittites and Luwians. The original source and meaning of the name is unknown. In Hittite and Hurrian texts, his name was linked with the Akkadian šarri and could be written with the Sumerogram for King, LUGAL-ma. In Hieroglyphic Luwian, his name was written with a pair of walking legs, transcribed as SARMA. Šarruma is the goddess Ḫepat and brother of the goddess Inara. He is depicted riding a tiger or panther and carrying an axe, he is depicted behind his father on the Illuyanka's relief found in Malatya, on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, Turkey. His wife is the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka. Šarruma was a bull-shaped mountain god of the Anatolian borderlands. Early research suggested that Šarruma was the partner of the goddess Ḫepat and had subsequently been replaced by Teššup and demoted to be the goddess' son. Newer research indicates that Ḫepat was always the partner of the weather god of Aleppo and that early depictions of Ḫepat and Šarruma as a pair understood them as mother and son.
There was a prince named after him: Ašmi-Šarruma, son of king Arnuwanda I. After the Hittite king Šuppiluliuma I installed his son Telipinu as Priest of Aleppo, the cult of Šarruma was adopted and became popular among the Hittites. King Tudḫaliya IV chose him as his personal guardian god, while his father's wife Puduḫepa had a dream in which she vowed to build twelve shrines for him in the mountains; the seal of Mursili III as crown prince depicted him being embraced by Šarruma. In the procession of the Hittite gods at Yazılıkaya, he stands behind his mother on a leopard and is depicted in chamber B as Tudḫaliya's protector. On the Hanyeri relief he is depicted in the form of a bull; as the double god Šarrumanni, Šarruma was invoked as an protector. In the Iron Age, Šarruma continued to be worshipped in Southern Anatolia; the king of Tabal, attested in the Hieroglyphic Luwian inscription of the Topada relief was named after him and records him in second place in his list of the gods behind the weather god Tarhunza.
Hittite mythology Hurrian mythology
Hubris describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous over confidence in combination with arrogance. In its ancient Greek context, it describes behavior that defies the norms of behavior or challenges the gods, which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris; the adjectival form of the noun hubris is "hubristic". Hubris is perceived as a characteristic of an individual rather than a group, although the group the offender belongs to may suffer collateral consequences from the wrongful act. Hubris indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence, accomplishments or capabilities. In ancient Greek, hubris referred to actions that shamed and humiliated the victim for the pleasure or gratification of the abuser; the term had a strong sexual connotation, the shame reflected upon the perpetrator as well. Violations of the law against hubris included what might today be termed battery. Two well-known cases are found in the speeches of Demosthenes, a prominent statesman and orator in ancient Greece.
These two examples occurred when first Midias punched Demosthenes in the face in the theatre, second when a defendant assaulted a man and crowed over the victim. Yet another example of hubris appears in Aeschines' Against Timarchus, where the defendant, Timarchus, is accused of breaking the law of hubris by submitting himself to prostitution and anal intercourse. Aeschines brought this suit against Timarchus to bar him from the rights of political office and his case succeeded. In ancient Athens, hubris was defined as the use of violence to shame the victim. Aristotle defined hubris as shaming the victim, not because of anything that happened to the committer or might happen to the committer, but for that committer's own gratification: to cause shame to the victim, not in order that anything may happen to you, nor because anything has happened to you, but for your own gratification. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries; as for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: naive men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater.
Crucial to this definition are the ancient Greek concepts of shame. The concept of honour included not only the exaltation of the one receiving honour, but the shaming of the one overcome by the act of hubris; this concept of honour is akin to a zero-sum game. Rush Rehm simplifies this definition of hubris to the contemporary concept of "insolence and excessive violence"; the Greek word for sin, hamartia meant "error" in the ancient dialect, so poets like Hesiod and Aeschylus used the word "hubris" to describe transgressions against the gods. A common way that hubris was committed was when a mortal claimed to be better than a god in a particular skill or attribute. Claims like these were left unpunished, so Arachne, a talented young weaver, was transformed into a spider when she said that her skills exceeded those of the goddess Athena. Additional examples include Icarus, Salmoneus, Niobe and Tereus; these events were not limited to myth, certain figures in history were considered to be have been punished for committing hubris through their arrogance.
One such person was king Xerxes as portrayed in Aeschylus's play The Persians, who threw chains to bind the Hellespont sea as punishment for daring to destroy his fleet. What is common to all these examples is the breaching of limits, as the Greeks believed that the Fates had assigned each being with a particular area of freedom, an area that the gods could not breach; the goddess Hybris has been described as having "insolent encroachment upon the rights of others". The word hubris, it represents a sense of false pride that makes a man defy God, sometimes to the degree that he considers himself an equal. In contrast to this, the common word for sin was hamartia, which refers to an error and reflects the complexity of the human condition, its result is guilt rather than direct punishment as in the case of hubris. In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride combined with arrogance. Hubris is associated with a lack of humility. Sometimes a person's hubris is associated with ignorance; the accusation of hubris implies that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and nemesis in Greek mythology.
The proverb "pride goeth before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" is thought to sum up the modern use of hubris. Hubris is referred to as "pride that blinds" because it causes a committer of hubris to act in foolish ways that belie common sense. In other words, the modern definition may be thought of as, "that pride that goes just before the fall." Examples of hubris are found in literature, most famously in John Milton's Paradise Lost, in which Lucifer attempts to compel the other angels to worship him, is cast into hell by God and the innocent angels, proclaims: "Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven." Victor in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein manifests hubris in his attempt to become a great scientist. Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus portrays the eponymous character as a scholar whose arrogance and pride compel him to sign a deal with the Devil, retain his haughtiness
Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, sex, fertility, war and political power. She was worshipped in Sumer and was worshipped by the Akkadians and Assyrians under the name Ishtar, she was known as the "Queen of Heaven" and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, her main cult center. She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star, her husband was the god her sukkal, or personal attendant, was the goddess Ninshubur. Inanna was worshipped in Sumer at least as early as the Uruk period, but she had little cult prior to the conquest of Sargon of Akkad. During the post-Sargonic era, she became one of the most venerated deities in the Sumerian pantheon, with temples across Mesopotamia; the cult of Inanna-Ishtar, which may have been associated with a variety of sexual rites, including homosexual transvestite priests, sacred prostitution and hierogamy between Sumerian kings and her priestesses, was continued by the East Semitic-speaking people who succeeded the Sumerians in the region.
She was beloved by the Assyrians, who elevated her to become the highest deity in their pantheon, ranking above their own national god Ashur. Inanna-Ishtar is alluded to in the Hebrew Bible and she influenced the Phoenician goddess Astarte, who influenced the development of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, her cult continued to flourish until its gradual decline between the first and sixth centuries AD in the wake of Christianity, though it survived in parts of Upper Mesopotamia as late as the eighteenth century. Inanna appears in more myths than any other Sumerian deity. Many of her myths involve her taking over the domains of other deities, she was believed to have stolen the mes, which represented all positive and negative aspects of civilization, from Enki, the god of wisdom. She was believed to have taken over the Eanna temple from An, the god of the sky. Alongside her twin brother Utu, Inanna was the enforcer of divine justice. In the standard Akkadian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar asks Gilgamesh to become her consort.
When he refuses, she unleashes the Bull of Heaven, resulting in the death of Enkidu and Gilgamesh's subsequent grapple with his mortality. Inanna-Ishtar's most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from Kur, the ancient Sumerian Underworld, a myth in which she attempts to conquer the domain of her older sister Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld, but is instead deemed guilty of hubris by the seven judges of the Underworld and struck dead. Three days Ninshubur pleads with all the gods to bring Inanna back, but all of them refuse her except Enki, who sends two sexless beings to rescue Inanna, they escort Inanna out of the Underworld, but the galla, the guardians of the Underworld, drag her husband Dumuzid down to the Underworld as her replacement. Dumuzid is permitted to return to heaven for half the year while his sister Geshtinanna remains in the Underworld for the other half, resulting in the cycle of the seasons. Inanna and Ishtar were separate, unrelated deities, but they were equated with each other during the reign of Sargon of Akkad and came to be regarded as the same goddess under two different names.
Inanna's name may derive from the Sumerian phrase nin-an-ak, meaning "Lady of Heaven", but the cuneiform sign for Inanna is not a ligature of the signs lady and sky. These difficulties led some early Assyriologists to suggest that Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, only accepted into the Sumerian pantheon; this idea was supported by Inanna's youthfulness, as well as the fact that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, she seems to have lacked a distinct sphere of responsibilities. The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not accepted by modern Assyriologists; the name Ishtar occurs as an element in personal names from both the pre-Sargonic and post-Sargonic eras in Akkad and Babylonia. It is of Semitic derivation and is etymologically related to the name of the West Semitic god Attar, mentioned in inscriptions from Ugarit and southern Arabia; the morning star may have been conceived as a male deity who presided over the arts of war and the evening star may have been conceived as a female deity who presided over the arts of love.
Among the Akkadians and Babylonians, the name of the male god supplanted the name of his female counterpart, due to extensive syncretism with Inanna, the deity remained as female, despite the fact that her name was in the masculine form. Inanna has posed a problem for many scholars of ancient Sumer due to the fact that her sphere of power contained more distinct and contradictory aspects than that of any other deity. Two major theories regarding her origins have been proposed; the first explanation holds that Inanna is the result of a syncretism between several unrelated Sumerian deities with different domains. The second explanation holds that Inanna was a Semitic deity who entered the Sumerian pantheon after it was fully structured, who took on all the r
In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the grain, harvest and nourishment, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her cult titles include Sito, "she of the Grain", as the giver of food or grain, Thesmophoros, "Law-Bringer", as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society. Though Demeter is described as the goddess of the harvest, she presided over the sacred law, the cycle of life and death, she and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries, a religious tradition that predated the Olympian pantheon, which may have its roots in the Mycenaean period c. 1400–1200 BC. Demeter was considered to be the same figure as the Anatolian goddess Cybele, in Rome she was identified as the Latin goddess Ceres, it is possible that Demeter appears in Linear A as da-ma-te on three documents, all three dedicated in religious situations and all three bearing just the name. It is unlikely. On the other hand, si-to-po-ti-ni-ja, "Potnia of the Grain", is regarded as referring to her Bronze Age predecessor or to one of her epithets.
Demeter's character as mother-goddess is identified in the second element of her name meter derived from Proto-Indo-European *méh₂tēr. In antiquity, different explanations were proffered for the first element of her name, it is possible that Da, a word which corresponds to Ge in Attic, is the Doric form of De, "earth", the old name of the chthonic earth-goddess, that Demeter is "Mother-Earth". This root appears in the Linear B inscription E-ne-si-da-o-ne, "earth-shaker", as an aspect of the god Poseidon. However, the dā element in the name of Demeter is not so equated with "earth" according to John Chadwick; the element De- may be connected with Deo, an epithet of Demeter derived from the Cretan word dea, Ionic zeia —variously identified with emmer, rye, or other grains by modern scholars—so that she is the Mother and the giver of food generally. Wanax was her male companion in Mycenaean cult; the Arcadian cult links her to the god Poseidon, who substituted the male companion of the Great Goddess.
An alternative Proto-Indo-European etymology comes through Potnia and Despoina, where Des- represents a derivative of PIE *dem, Demeter is "mother of the house". Demeter was associated with images of the harvest, including flowers and grain, she was sometimes pictured with her daughter Persephone. Demeter is not portrayed with any of her consorts. Demeter is assigned the zodiac constellation Virgo the Virgin by Marcus Manilius in his 1st century Roman work Astronomicon. In art, constellation Virgo holds Spica, a sheaf of wheat in her hand and sits beside constellation Leo the Lion. In Arcadia, she was known as "Black Demeter", she was said to have taken the form of a mare to escape the pursuit of Poseidon, having been raped by him despite her disguise, dressed all in black and retreated into a cave to mourn and to purify herself. She was depicted with the head of a horse in this region. A sculpture of the Black Demeter was made by Onatas. In epic poetry and Hesiod's Theogony, Demeter is the Corn-Mother, the goddess of cereals who provides grain for bread and blesses its harvesters.
This was her main function at Eleusis, became panhellenic. In Cyprus, "grain-harvesting" was damatrizein; the main theme in the Eleusinian mysteries was the reunion of Persephone with her mother Demeter, when new crops were reunited with the old seed, a form of eternity. According to the Athenian rhetorician Isocrates, Demeter's greatest gifts to humankind were agriculture of cereals, the Mysteries which give the initiate higher hopes in this life and the afterlife; these two gifts were intimately connected in Demeter's myths and mystery cults. In Hesiod, prayers to Zeus-Chthonios and Demeter help the crops grow strong. Demeter's emblem is a bright red flower that grows among the barley. Demeter was zeidoros arοura, the Homeric "Mother Earth arοura" who gave the gift of cereals. In addition to her role as an agricultural goddess, Demeter was worshiped more as a goddess of the earth. In Arcadia, she was represented as snake-haired, holding a dove and dolphin to symbolize her power over the underworld, the air, the water.
In the cult of Flya, she was worshiped as one who sends up gifts from the underworld. There was a temple of Demeter under this name in Phlius in Attica. In Sparta, she was known as Demeter-Chthonia; the Athenians called the dead "Demetrioi", this may reflect a link between Demeter and ancient cult of the dead, linked to the agrarian-belief that a new life would sprout from the dead body, as a new plant arises from buried seed. This was a belief shared by initiates in Demeter's mysteries, as interpreted by Pindar: "Happy is he who has seen what exists under the earth, because he knows not only the end of life, but his beginning that the Gods will give". In the mysteries of P
Hittite mythology and religion
Hittite mythology and Hittite religion were the religious beliefs and practices of the Hittites, who created an empire centered in what is now Turkey from c. 1600 BCE to 1180 BCE. Most of the narratives embodying Hittite mythology are lost, the elements that would give a balanced view of Hittite religion are lacking among the tablets recovered at the Hittite capital Hattusa and other Hittite sites. Thus, "there are no canonical scriptures, no theological disquisitions or discourses, no aids to private devotion"; some religious documents formed part of the corpus with which young scribes were trained, have survived, most of them dating from the last several decades before the final burning of the sites. The scribes in the royal administration, some of whose archives survive, were a bureaucracy and maintaining royal responsibilities in areas that would be considered part of religion today: temple organization, cultic administration, reports of diviners, make up the main body of surviving texts.
The understanding of Hittite mythology depends on readings of surviving stone carvings, deciphering of the iconology represented in seal stones, interpreting ground plans of temples: additionally, there are a few images of deities, for the Hittites worshipped their gods through Huwasi stones, which represented deities and were treated as sacred objects. Gods were depicted standing on the backs of their respective beasts, or may have been identifiable in their animal form. Though drawing on ancient Mesopotamian religion, the religion of the Hittites and Luwians retains noticeable elements of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion. For example, the god of thunder and his conflict with the serpent Illuyanka resembles the conflict between Indra and the cosmic serpent Vritra in Vedic mythology, or Thor and the serpent Jörmungandr in Norse mythology; this myth bears a resemblance to the daily struggle between Re and the serpent Apophis in Egyptian mythology. Hittite mythology was influenced more directly by the Hurrians, a neighboring civilization close to Anatolia, where the Hittites were located.
The Hurrians are so related that Oxford University Press published a guide to mythology and categorized them together as “Hittite-Hurrian”. Much of the knowledge about the Hittites has come from artistic, rather than textual, making it difficult to be certain about specific details on this topic. Hittite tablets regarding mythology date back toward the end of the Old Hittite Kingdom, with fewer sources beyond that. Groups of Hittite documents that are found are called “cult-inventories” and are valuable in learning about how Hittite myth and practice was included in daily life; the liminal figure mediating between the intimately connected worlds of gods and mankind was the king and priest. The Hittites did not perform scheduled ceremonies to appease the gods, but instead conducted rituals in answer to hard times or to mark occasions. Myth and ritual were related, as many rituals were based on myth, involved performing the stories. Many of the rituals were performed at pits, sites that were created to represent a closeness between man and the gods those that were chthonic, or related to the earth.
This type of pit ritual is known as "necromantic,” because they were attempting to commune with gods of the Underworld and summon them to the living world. The city of Arinna, a day's march from Hattusa, was the major cult center of the Hittites, of their major sun goddess, known as dUTU URUArinna "sun goddess of Arinna". Records found in cult-inventories show that local cults and practices were active. Traditions and the status of local cults were changing due to the lack of a national standard for ritual practice. Smaller festivals and times of worship did not always require the priest-king's presence, so local places had more leeway when it came to worshiping the gods, however the king did make a point to observe every cult site and temple on his lands, since, his duty to the gods and to his people. Once the king died, he was deified, having worshiped the gods faithfully. Responsibilities placed upon the priest-king were not one-sided: the gods had to provide for the people if they were being worshiped properly.
Gods held much of the obvious power, but without dedicated practice and ritual from mortals, they couldn't function. King Mursili II made a plea to the gods on behalf of his subjects, at a time when their agricultural livelihoods were struggling: "All of the land of Hatti is dying, so that no one prepares the sacrificial loaf and libation for you; the plowmen who used to work the fields of the gods have died, so that no one works or reaps the fields of the gods any longer. The miller-women who used to prepare sacrificial loaves of the gods have died, so that they no longer make the sacrificial loaves; as for the corral and the sheepfold from which one used to cull the offerings of sheep and cattle- the cowherds and shepherds have died, the corral and sheepfold are empty. So it happens that the sacrificial loaves and animal sacrifices are cut off, and you come to us, o gods, hold us culpable in this matter!" The preservation of good relationships with deities that were affiliated with nature and agriculture, such as Arinna, would have been essential.
If the balance between respect and criticism was shifted, it could mean disfavor in the eyes of the gods, a unlucky harvest season at the ver
The Hurrians were a people of the Bronze Age Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language lived in Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia; the largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni, the Mitanni being Indo-Iranian speakers who formed a ruling class over the Hurrians. The population of the Indo-European-speaking Hittite Empire in Anatolia included a large population of Hurrians, there is significant Hurrian influence in Hittite mythology. By the Early Iron Age, the Hurrians had been assimilated with other peoples, their remnants were subdued by a related people. According to a hypothesis by I. M. Diakonoff and S. Starostin, the Hurrian and Urartian languages shared a common ancestor and were related to the Northeast Caucasian languages; the present-day Armenians are an amalgam of the Indo-European groups with the Hurrians and Urartians. The Hurrians spoke an ergative, agglutinative language conventionally called Hurrian, unrelated to neighbouring Semitic or Indo-European languages, may have been a language isolate.
The Iron Age Urartian language is related to or a direct descendant of Hurrian. Several notable Russian linguists, such as S. A. Starostin and V. V. Ivanov, have claimed that Hurrian and Hattic were related to the Northeast Caucasian languages. From the 21st century BCE to the late 18th century BCE, Assyria controlled colonies in Anatolia, the Hurrians, like the Hattians or Lullubis, adopted the Assyrian Akkadian cuneiform script for their own language about 2000 BCE. Texts in the Hurrian language in cuneiform have been found at Hattusa, Ugarit, as well as in one of the longest of the Amarna letters, written by King Tushratta of Mitanni to Pharaoh Amenhotep III, it was the only long Hurrian text known until a multi-tablet collection of literature in Hurrian with a Hittite translation was discovered at Hattusa in 1983. Hurrian names occur sporadically in northwestern Mesopotamia and the area of Kirkuk in modern Iraq by the Middle Bronze Age, their presence was attested at Nuzi and other sites.
They infiltrated and occupied a broad arc of fertile farmland stretching from the Khabur River valley in the west to the foothills of the Zagros Mountains in the east. I. J. Gelb and E. A. Speiser believed East Semitic speaking Assyrians/Subarians had been the linguistic and ethnic substratum of northern Mesopotamia since earliest times, while Hurrians were late arrivals; the Khabur River valley became the heart of the Hurrian lands for a millennium. The first known Hurrian kingdom emerged around the city of Urkesh during the third millennium BCE. There is evidence that they were allied with the east Semitic Akkadian Empire of Mesopotamia, indicating they had a firm hold on the area by the reign of Naram-Sin of Akkad; this region hosted other rich cultures. The city-state of Urkesh had some powerful neighbors. At some point in the early second millennium BCE, the Northwest Semitic speaking Amorite kingdom of Mari to the south subdued Urkesh and made it a vassal state. In the continuous power struggles over Mesopotamia, another Amorite dynasty had usurped the throne of the Old Assyrian Empire, which had controlled colonies in Hurrian and Hittite regions of eastern Anatolia since the 21st century BCE.
The Assyrians made themselves masters over Mari and much of north east Amurru in the late 19th and early 18th centuries BCE. Shubat-Enlil, was made the capital of this Old Assyrian empire by Shamshi Adad I at the expense of the earlier capital of Assur; the Hurrians migrated further west in this period. By 1725 BCE they are found in parts of northern Syria, such as Alalakh; the mixed Amorite–Hurrian kingdom of Yamhad is recorded as struggling for this area with the early Hittite king Hattusilis I around 1600 BCE. Hurrians settled in the coastal region of Adaniya in the country of Kizzuwatna, southern Anatolia. Yamhad weakened vis-a-vis the powerful Hittites, but this opened Anatolia for Hurrian cultural influences; the Hittites were influenced by both the Hurrian and Hattian cultures over the course of several centuries. The Indo-European Hittites continued expanding south after the defeat of Yamhad; the army of the Hittite king Mursili I sacked the city. The destruction of the Babylonian kingdom, the presence of unambitious or isolationist kings in Assyria, as well as the destruction of the kingdom of Yamhad, helped the rise of another Hurrian dynasty.
The first ruler was a legendary king called Kirta who founded the kingdom of Mitanni around 1500 BCE. Mitanni grew from the region around the Khabur valley and was the most powerful kingdom of the Near East in c. 1475–1365 BCE, after which it was eclipsed and destroyed by the Middle Assyrian Empire. Some theonyms, proper names and other terminology of the Mitanni exhibit an Indo-Aryan superstrate, suggesting that an Indo-Aryan elite imposed itself over the Hurrian population in the course of the Indo-Aryan expansion. Another Hurrian kingdom benefited from the demise of Babylonian power in the sixteenth century BCE. Hurrians had inhabited the region northeast around the modern Kirkuk; this was the kingdom of Arrapha. Excavations at Yorgan Tepe, ancient Nuzi, proved this to be one of the most important sites for our knowledge about the Hurrians. Hurrian kings such as Ithi-Teshup and Ithiya ruled over Arrapha, yet by th