Kubaba (in the Weidner or Esagila Chronicle; 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. 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 a tavern-keeper.
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 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)
Shrines in her honour spread throughout Mesopotamia. 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-Kheba (= the servant of Kheba), was the palace mayor, ruling Jerusalem at the time of the Amarna letters (1350 BC).
A Roman sculpture dedicated to "Cybebe", but interpreted by modern scholars instead as Cybele.
Kubaba became the tutelary goddess who protected the ancient Syrian city of Carchemish on the upper Euphrates, in the late Hurrian – Early Hittite period. Relief carvings, now at the Museum of Anatolian Antiquities, Ankara, show her seated, wearing a cylindrical headdress like the polos and holding a circular mirror in one hand and the poppy capsule or pomegranate in the other. She plays a role in Luwian texts, and a minor role in Hittite texts, mainly in Hurrian religious rituals.
According to 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 whose image with inscriptions appear in rock-cut sculptures.
Her Lydian name was Kuvav or Kufav which Ionian Greeks transcribed Kybêbê, not Kybele; Jan Bremmer notes in this context the seventh-century Semonides, who calls one of her Hellene followers a kybêbos, and he observes that in the following century she has been further Hellenized by Hipponax as "Kybêbê, daughter of Zeus". The Phrygian goddess otherwise bears little resemblance to Kubaba, who was a sovereign deity at Sardis, known to Greeks as Kybebe.