Tarhunza of Aleppo


Tarḫunz (stem: Tarḫunt-) was the weather god and chief god of the Luwians, a people of Bronze Age and early Iron Age Anatolia. He is closely associated with the Hittite god Tarḫunna and the Hurrian god Teshub.

The name of the Proto-Anatolian weather god can be reconstructed as *Tṛḫu-ent- (“conquering”), a participle form of the Proto-Indo-European root *terh2, “to cross over, pass through, overcome”. It has cognates in Hittite tarḫu-Latin trans-, Dutch doorGerman durch, and English through. The same name was used in almost all Anatolian languages: Hittite TarḫunnaCarian Trquδ-Milyan Trqqñt-, and LycianTrqqas (A), Trqqiz (B), who has been identified with Zeus.

Norbert Oettinger has argued that the functions of the Anatolian weather god ultimately come from the Proto-Indo-European god Perkwunos, but that they did not preserve the old name to coin instead the new epithet *Tṛḫu-ent- (“conquering”), which sounded close to the name of the Hattian Storm-god Taru.

In Luwian cuneiform of the Bronze Age, his name appears as Tarḫunt- (Tarḫuwant- in the oldest texts). He is also named using the Sumerograms dU (“God 10”) or dIM (“God Wind”). In hieroglyphic Luwian, his name was written as Tarhunza- and Tarhunta- or with the ideograms (DEUS) TONITRUS (“God Thunder”).

The god’s name often appears in personal names. The oldest example is “Tarḫuan”, known from a 19th-century BC Hittite text from Kültepe. Among the Luwians, it was customary for people to bear a simple god’s name, but names were often combined. In the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, these names are very common. The latest examples derive from Hellenistic southern Anatolia, like Tarkumbios (Ταρκυμβίος, luw. *Tarhun-piya- “Tarhun-Gift“) or Trokombigremis (Τροκομβίγρεμις; *Tarhun-pihra-mi- “Shining Tarhun”) which are attested in Cilicia.

Additionally, the Hittite city of Tarhuntassa was named after the Luwian weather god.

According to scholarship, the name Tarhunt- is also cognate to present participle turvant-, also meaning “vanquishing, conquering”, an epithet of Vedic deity Indra.

  • Site: Tell Ahmar (*)

  • Date: 900 BC (*)

  • Material:

  • Item Dimensions:

  • Archaeological Mission:

  • National Museum Of Aleppo (2011) – Museum Number: Aleppo

  • Index Code: Alp 0151

Excavation Site Location

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