The myth of Telepinu is one of the most fascinating tales from ancient times. It tells the story of a god who was responsible for the growth and fertility of crops, but who became angry and disappeared, causing a great drought.
The story ends with his eventual return and the restoration of life to the land. But which ancient civilization produced this myth?
The most well-known version of the myth comes from the Hittites, an ancient civilization that existed in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Hittite version dates back to around 1600 BCE and is one of the earliest known versions of the tale.
The Myth Itself
According to the Hittite version, Telepinu was a god who had control over the growth and fertility of crops. He grew angry with humanity because they were not properly honoring him and, as a result, he disappeared. After he disappeared, there was a great drought that lasted for years.
Eventually, other gods decided that something needed to be done to bring Telepinu back so that life could return to the land. They searched for him everywhere but could not find him. Finally, they discovered that he had gone into hiding in a deep sleep.
The gods then created a bee out of clay and placed it on Telepinu’s nose. The bee stung him, causing him to wake up and return to his duties.
While the Hittites are perhaps best known for their version of the myth, there are also versions that come from other ancient civilizations. One such civilization is the Hurrians.
The Hurrian Version
In the Hurrian version of the myth, Telepinu is known as Telipinu or Telipinus. In this version, he is angry because his wife has left him and taken their children with her. As a result, he disappears and causes a great drought.
The other gods eventually decide to send a messenger to find Telipinu and bring him back. The messenger is successful, and Telipinu returns to his duties as the god of fertility.
While the Hittites and Hurrians are perhaps the most well-known ancient civilizations associated with the myth of Telepinu, there are versions of the tale that come from other cultures as well. For example, there are versions from the Luwians and the Kizzuwatna.
Regardless of which civilization produced it, however, the myth remains a fascinating tale that speaks to humanity’s relationship with nature and the importance of honoring the gods who control it.