Ku-Bau (also called Kug-Bau or Ku-Baba) was the first recorded woman ruler in history. She was a former tavern-keeper, one of many occupations that were open to women in ancient Mesopotamian society.
Referencing the Sumerian King List which was compiled circa 2100 B.C.E., Ku-Bau was the only ruler of the Third Dynasty of Kish. It says she “made firm the foundations of Kish” and that she reigned as king, or lugal the Sumerian word for king, in the Sumerian city-state of Kish for 100 years around 2450 B.C.E
As Kubaba then she became a widely acclaimed Goddess in terms of matar kubileya or Cybele, her Sumerian title Kug-Bau simply meant King-Bau.
Shrines in honour of Kubaba spread throughout Mesopotamia. In the Hurrian area she may be identified with Kebat, or Hepat, Kubaba became the tutelary goddess who protected the ancient city of Carchemish on the upper Euphrates.
Relief carvings 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. 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 or matar kubileya
So a remarkable tradition then and we must examine the secret of her success, accounts of her rule are rare and sketchy but there is this;
“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 days had passed in the house of Kubaba, the tavern-keeper fish they brought to 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.”
So Marduk grants Kubaba sovereignty over the whole world for giving bread to fishermen, not the best of explanations, but that’s what’s confirmed in the King lists, in Kish Ku-Ba’u, the woman tavern keeper, who made firm. the foundations of Kish, became King for 100 years.
What must be noted with Kug-Bau is that she only has one name that of Bau, normally one would expect a personal name and that of their personal Deity, Kug-Bau is simply the Goddess Bau, that barmaid was a member of the Anunnaki, as can be confirmed in a hymn to the Goddess Bau;
the barmaid’s beer is sweet. Like her beer her genitals are sweet, her beer is sweet. Like her mouth her genitals are sweet, her beer is sweet. Her diluted beer, her beer is sweet
So in terms of Bau offering bread that was an aspect of her cult, but also so much more than bread;
Good woman, prayerful lady for whom has been decreed the creation of life — each day as she goes about, conversing, from early in the morning she is to be …… at her side with honour. Your name fills the mouth like cakes, butter and cream. Whatever she brings from the street and the beer she brews are of the best quality. She instructs people to provide her with the best produce of her orchards. As a daily task, she inspects the shrine Jirsu. Daily she passes before you in radiance
Bau could also serve up cakes and cream as well as beer, she was a very good Goddess indeed, she brought down something called the Tablet of Life, perhaps her recipe book;
Beneficent Protective Goddess of Bau, the lady who …… food and drink and …… in abundance, who from the dwelling place of the abzu’s abundance speaks in a noble voice
I shall praise the good woman, the Utu of the Land, my goddess. Mother Bau’s august minister, who creates life for the king! Holy messenger who brings the tablet of life down from the interior of heaven, who sets rain on its way from heaven, and brings forth abundance!
Protective Goddess of those who pray to Bau, …… — because you love mankind and rejoice at its gifts, let us forever praise you, the Beneficent Protective Goddess of Bau.
So that certain barmaid of Kish that became King can only be understood as the very incarnation of the Goddess Bau, the young woman that had a Temple cult at Nippur and was understood as the wife of Ningirsu or Ninurta, and daughter of Anu.
Child of An, he has chosen you in his holy heart in the great sky and on the great earth and made you worthy of the ladyship of the Land.
Bau, Enlil has looked at you with favour, young woman, mother Bau, from the shining E-kur, and made you eminently fit for lord Ning̃irsu.
We see also Bau given authority over all countries again in the hymn;
Bau, in the E-tar-sirsir, founded for you by An, you decide the fate of all the countries; you, Bau, render verdicts and decree judgments. The protective genius directs your black-headed people before you in your courtyard in Iri-kug
So a curious case of the local barmaid being in fact the Goddess Bau who on account of her excellent cream buns was proclaimed ruler of the world and a true story.