Cilicia (Hume) (Albright 1950 [1]) has been a producer of iron, and in Hittite mythology it is said that the king's head is iron, to endorse his celestial nature. "Sie machten ihm die Gestalt aus Zinn, sein Haupt machten sie aus Eisen" (CTH 414.1, § 30.137-138; see Haas 2003 [2]: 220; Francia 2012 [3]: 100-102). It is a belief shared with the Egyptians: "I am pure, I take to myself my iron bones [I] stretch out [for myself] my imperishable limbs which are in the womb of my mother Nūt" (Faulkner 1969 [4]: §§ 530-531). In what the translator calls "Resurrection text", iron is clearly a symbol of immortality: "O King, raise yourself upon your iron bones and golden members, for this body of yours belong to a god; it will not grow mouldy, it will not be destroyed, it will not putrefy. The warmth which is on your mouth is the breath which issued from the nostrils of Seth" (Faulkner 1969 [4]: §§ 2244-2247). "Ich habe deinen Leib aus Gold gebildet und deine Knochen aus Bronze, deinen Arm aus Erz" (Assmann 2004 [5]: 90). Finally, it is noteworthy that in Egypt iron is called "Seth bones". (Graindorge-Héreil 1994 [6]: 317; Shonkwiler 2014 [7]; Almansa-Villatoro 2019 [8]) and that the Egyptian god was sibling to the Storm-god of Hatti. From the standpoint of this wide ANE cultural milieu, the special skill of ironworking would make out of Cilicia an ideal candidate to take part in the story of "original sin". Anyone busy with the metal considered heavenly may easily be charged of arrogance in the eyes of God. At this point I should deal with the question of meteoric iron (Eisler 1926 [9]: 112-113; Maxwell-Hyslop 1972 [10] Muhly & Maddin [11], et al. 1985; Yalçın 1999 [12]) and with the reputation of the Hittites and the Cilicians in the field of metallurgy (Zaccagnini 1970 [13]; Košak 1986 [14]; Yener 2000 [15]; Jean 2001 [16]; Vanséveren 2012 [17]), but there is something important to point out in this entry devoted to Eve and her search for a divine and forbidden knowledge. After tracing some Anatolian elements in the descendants of Cain, a decisive detail about Eve went unheeded, even if everybody knows she was created from Adam's rib. The Sumerian logogram for "rib" is KAK.TI (Couto Ferreira 2009 [18]: 224ff.), which corresponds to the Akkadian sikkat ṣēli (CAD S: 246-247; Schramm 2010 [19]: 49), that is the "nail of the rib" (Ahw 1042, s.v. sikkatu(m)), where ṣelu corresponds to Hebrew ṣela' ("side", HALOT: 1030), the word used in Genesis. In Ancient Babylonian divination texts, the expression is proxy for "sheep's ribs" most of the times (Mayer & van Soldt 1991 [20]: 114). It would be a nice pun, in the genuine ANE literary style, to imagine the rib made into a woman changed into an iron tip. The imagination would be easier were that woman truly Cilician or somehow connected to sheep: a Cilician woman, who was originally meant to be a "sheep's rib" (sikkat ṣēli) would try to become an iron tip (sikkat). In the entry hawa- (Cuneiform Luvian for "sheep"), I will provide some support to the idea that in Eve’s name Genesis explicitly followed the Anatolian thread I have tried to unravel so far.

Originally Published: April 10, 2021

Last Updated: May 12, 2021

  1. Albright, W.F., Cilicia and Babylonia under The Chaldaean Kings. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 1950(120): p. 22-25.
  2. Haas, V., Betrachtungen zu CTH 343, einem Mythos des Hirschgottes. Altorientalische Forschungen, 2003. 30(2): p. 296-303.
  3. Francia, R., Storia degli studi sulla poesia ittita e una nuova chiave di lettura di un testo'classico': CTH 414. SMEA Supplemento, 2012. 1: p. 79-105.
  4. Faulkner, R.O., The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts. 1969, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  5. Assmann, J., Ägyptische Geheimnisse. 2004, München: Fink.
  6. Graindorge-Héreil, C., Le dieu Sokar à Thèbes au Nouvel Empire. 1994, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  7. Shonkwiler, R.L., The Behdetite. A study of horus the behdetite from the old kingdom to the conquest of Alexander. 2014, University of Chicago.
  8. Almansa-Villatoro, M.V., The Cultural Indexicality of the N41 Sign for bjȝ: The Metal of the Sky and the Sky of Metal. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 2019. 105(1): p. 73-81.
  9. Eisler, R., Die chemische Terminologie der Babylonier. Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie, 1926. 37(1-2): p. 109-131.
  10. Maxwell-Hyslop, R., The Metals amūtu and aši'u in the Kültepe Texts. Anatolian Studies, 1972. 22: p. 159-162.
  11. Muhly, J.D., et al., Iron in Anatolia and The Nature of The Hittite Iron Industry. Anatolian Studies, 1985. 35: p. 67-84.
  12. Yalçın, Ü., Early iron metallurgy in Anatolia. Anatolian studies, 1999. 49: p. 177-187.
  13. Zaccagnini, C., KBo I 14 e il «monopolio» hittita del ferro. Rivista degli studi orientali, 1970. 45(Fasc. 1/2): p. 11-20.
  14. Košak, S., “The Gospel of Iron”, H.A. Hoffner and G. Beckman, Editors. 1986, The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago: Chicago. p. 125-135.
  15. Yener, K.A., Swords, Armor, and Figurines: A Metalliferous View from the Central Taurus. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 2000. 57: p. 35-42.
  16. Jean, E., Le fer chez les Hittites: un bilan des données archeologiques. Mediterranean Archaeology, 2001: p. 163-188.
  17. Vanséveren, S., Noms de métaux dans les textes hittites. Anatolica, 2012. 38: p. 203-219.
  18. Couto Ferreira, M.É., Etnoanatomía y partonomía del cuerpo humano en sumerio y acadio. El léxico Ugu-mu. 2009, Universitat Pompeu Fabra: Barcellona.
  19. Schramm, W., Akkadische Logogramme. 2010, Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen.
  20. Mayer, W.R. and W.H. van Soldt, Akkadische Lexikographie: CAD S. Orientalia, 1991. 60(2): p. 109-120.