Friday, September 25, 2015

Fact-Checking -- The Goddess on the Throne

Now, about this lady Kug Bau.
She was king in Mesopotamia, she’s in the kings list, and her grandson defeated Eannatum who at one point had control of all Sumero-Akkad.
But her name is not Mesopotamian in origin.  Her name is the Sumerian version of Cubebe, also known as Cybele, the mother goddess of Anatolia.
Why a queen of Mesopotamia would have the name of an Anatolian goddess is a mystery, unless there was heavy Anatolian influence on Sumero-Akkad before her reign, which was in the middle of the 2500s BCE and which the kings list said lasted 100 years.
Remember, cultura non facit saltus.  For Kug Bau to be named after an Anatolian goddess suggests long-term infiltration of Anatolian culture into Mesopotamia, or else a takeover of Mesopotamia by Anatolians before her reign that the archaeological record hasn’t uncovered yet. 
We now know that there was an Anatolian takeover in Mesopotamia.
Sumer spoke Sumerian, a language isolate with no relationship to any language on earth.
By 2500 BCE, there was no Sumer any more; there was Sumero-Akkad.  The Akkadians spoke a Semitic language. 
According to 21st century genetic and linguistic data, the Semitic language arose among people living in eastern Anatolia, south of the Caucasus mountains.  This happened between 5000 and 3500 BCE.
By 2600 BCE Akkadian, the oldest known Semitic language, produced texts that survived until today.  On the principle that cultura non facit saltus, we can say that their language originated centuries before 2600 BCE and so did their adaption to it, of Sumerian cuneiform.
Akkadian names turn up in Mesopotamian finds after the city states arose to ensure irrigation of the fields.
The source of Anatolian influence in Mesopotamia, therefore, came from the Semitic speakers who became the Akkadians.  Kug Bau was their descendant.  And she had the name of their original fertility goddess, not of the Mesopotamian fertility goddess, Ishtar.  Her reign marks the high-water point of Anatolian influence in Mesopotamia.
The Kings List puts Kug Bau on the cusp of an event that affected a huge region including Anatolia.  That’s next week.

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