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Kubaba holding a poppy capsule (possibly a pomegranate) and a tympanum (hand drum) (or perhaps a mirror)
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara, Turkey
Title Queen of Sumer
Children Puzur-Suen
Relatives Ur-Zababa (grandson)

Kubaba (in the Weidner or Esagila Chronicle;[1] Sumerian: Kug-Bau) is the only queen on the Sumerian King List, which states she reigned for 100 years – roughly in the Early Dynastic III period (ca. 2500-2330 BC) of Sumerian history. She is one of very few women to have ever ruled in their own right in Iraqi history. Most versions of the king list place her alone in her own dynasty, the 3rd Dynasty of Kish, following the defeat of Sharrumiter of Mari, but other versions combine her with the 4th dynasty, that followed the primacy of the king of Akshak. Before becoming monarch, the king list says she was an alewife.

The Weidner Chronicle is a propagandistic letter, attempting to predate the shrine of Marduk there to an early period, and purporting to show that each of the kings who had neglected its proper rites had lost the primacy of Sumer. It contains a brief account of rise of "the house of Kubaba" occurring in the reign of Puzur-Nirah of Akshak:

"In the reign of Puzur-Nirah, king of Akšak, the freshwater fishermen of Esagila were catching fish for the meal of the great lord Marduk; the officers of the king took away the fish. The fisherman was fishing when 7 (or 8) days had passed [...] in the house of Kubaba, the tavern-keeper [...] they brought to Esagila. At that time BROKEN[4] anew for Esagila [...] Kubaba gave bread to the fisherman and gave water, she made him offer the fish to Esagila. Marduk, the king, the prince of the Apsû, favored her and said: "Let it be so!" He entrusted to Kubaba, the tavern-keeper, sovereignty over the whole world." (lines 38-45)

Her son Puzur-Suen and grandson Ur-Zababa followed her on the throne in Sumer as the fourth Kish dynasty on the king list, in some copies as her direct successors, in others with the Akshak dynasty intervening. Ur-Zababa is also known as the king said to be reigning in Sumer during the youth of Sargon the Great of Akkad, who militarily brought much of the near east under his regime shortly afterward.


Shrines in honour of Kubaba spread throughout Mesopotamia.[2][3] In the Hurrian area she may be identified with Kebat, or Hepat, one title of the Hurrian Mother goddess Hannahannah (from Hurrian hannah, "mother"). Abdi-Heba was the palace mayor, ruling Jerusalem at the time of the Amarna letters (1350 BC).

Kubaba became the tutelary goddess who protected the ancient city of Carchemish on the upper Euphrates, in the late Hurrian – Early Hittite period.[4] Relief carvings, now at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi), Ankara, show her seated, wearing a cylindrical headdress like the polos and holding probably a tympanum (hand drum) or possibly a mirror in one hand and a poppy capsule (or perhaps pomegranate) in the other. She plays a role in Luwian texts and a minor role in Hittite texts, mainly in Hurrian rituals.

According to Emanuel Laroche (Laroche 1960), Maarten J. Vermaseren (Vermaseren 1977), and Mark Munn (Munn 2004), her cult later spread and her name was adapted for the main goddess of the Hittite successor-kingdoms in Anatolia, which later developed into the Phrygian matar (mother) or matar kubileya[5] Cybele whose image with inscriptions appear in rock-cut sculptures.[6]


Preceded by
En-shag-kush-ana of Uruk
Queen of Sumer
ca. 25th century BC
Succeeded by
King of Akshak
Preceded by
Ruler of Kish
ca. 25th century BC
Succeeded by
  • "The Weidner 'Chronicle' mentioning Kubaba". From Grayson, A. K. (1975). Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles.
  • Munn, Mark (2004). "Kybele as Kubaba in a Lydo-Phrygian Context": Emory University cross-cultural conference "Hittites, Greeks and Their Neighbors in Central Anatolia" (Abstracts)
  • Laroche Emmanuel, "Kubaba déesse anatolienne, et le problème des origines de Cybèle", Eléments orientaux dans la religion grecque ancienne, Paris 1960, p. 113-128.
  • Vermaseren, Maarten J., Cybele and Attis; the Myth and the Cult, A.M.H. Lemmers, Trans., Thames and Hudson, London. (1970)


  1. ^ The Weidner Chronicle (ABC 19) or Esagila Chronicle.
  2. ^ The Weidner "Chronicle" mentioning Kubaba from Grayson, A.K. (1975) "Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles"
  3. ^ Munn, Mark (2004). "Kybele as Kubaba in a Lydo-Phrygian Context": Emory University cross-cultural conference "Hittites, Greeks and Their Neighbors in Central Anatolia" (Abstracts)
  4. ^ F. Graf, Nordionische Kulte (Rome) 1985:111, noted by Jan N. Bremmer, "Attis: A Greek God in Anatolian Pessinous and Catullan Rome" Mnemosyne, Fourth Series, 57.5 (2004:534-573) p. 539.
  5. ^ Munn, 2004
  6. ^ C.H.E. Haspels, The Highlands of Phrygia 1971, I 293 no 13, noted in Walter Burkert, Greek Religion, 1985, III.3.5 notes 17 and 18.
  7. ^ Bremmer 2004:539 notes Semonides Fr 39 (West).
  8. ^ Bremmer 2004:539 notes Hipponax Fr 125 Degani equivalent to Fr 127 West.
  9. ^ Herodotus 5.102.1, noted by Munn 2004


[9], known to Greeks as Kybebe.Sardis The Phrygian goddess otherwise bears little resemblance to Kubaba, who was a sovereign deity at [8]".Zeus as "Kybêbê, daughter of Hipponax and he observes that in the following century she has been further Hellenized by [7]

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