Altoriental. Forsch.

, Akademie Verlag, 37 (2010) 2, 186–197

Stefano de Martino

Some Questions on the Political History and Chronology of the Early Hittite Empire

This Article offers a critical review of the most recent Hittitological literature on the political history and the chronology of the kingdom of Hatti from Tuthaliya I/II – to Suppiluliuma I. Keywords: Hittite Kingdom, Chronology, Near Eastern Pre-classical History

The period following the assassination of Muwattalli I is one of the most controversial of the Hittite history. Two recent publications, one by J. Freu (2007) and the other by O. Carruba (2008), specifically deal with the events of this period, and even if they go very deep in the analysis of Hittite documents, they do not solve all the questions that scholars have posed and continue to pose. In fact, although Hittite sources on the Early Empire – I prefer to use such a definition for the period starting with Tuthaliya I/II1 – have increased a lot, our knowledge of the last decades of the 15th century and of the first half of the 14th century still remains unsatisfying. There is still no agreement among the scholars about several problems and questions that arise from the analysis of the Hittite documentation on this period, that is for instance whether Tuthaliya son of Kantuzili was in some way related to the previous dynasty, the number of the kings named Tuthaliya, the existence of Hattusili II, the absolute chronology of this period. One hypothesis has gained the consent of many scholars, that is the hypothesis that the king Tuthaliya, follower of Muwattalli I, was son of a person named Kantuzili 2 as the seal impression Bo 99/69 shows 3.



See A. Archi (2005). See now also U.-D. Schoop (2009), 155, for the archaeological evidence: “The pottery evidence points towards the assumption that in an economical sense the Empire Period begins already at this early date” (= around 1400BC). See for example P. Taracha (2004), 634–635; T. Bryce (2005), 122; M. Forlanini (2005), 231–232 n. 10; J. J. Freu (2007), 34; see also B. Dinçol (2006), 23–24 with more literature. See H. Otten (2000); S. Herbordt (2006), 95–96; differently O. Soysal (2003) believes that Bo 99/69 might be attributed to Kantuzili the Priest, father of Tuthaliya TUR; on this see J. Miller (2004), 5 n. 4. See now also D. Groddek (2009), 164 for the fragment KBo 56. 65.

Altoriental. Forsch. 37 (2010) 2


The identity of this Kantuzili and the reconstruction of his career is quite problematic 4. J. Freu 5 distinguishes between two contemporary personages, both called Kantuzili. One Kantuzili would be Tuthaliya’s father and he joined his son in the struggle for the throne (both are mentioned in KUB (23 16). Another Kantuzili would be the high dignitary of the ˇ ˇ ˇ time of Muwattalli I (UGULA LÚ.MES KUS7.GUSKIN in KBo 32. 185 rev. 14) who killed this king together with Himuili (KUB 34 40 + 41, obv. 9′–10′) and who is mentioned with the latter in KBo 16 24 + 256. Two seal impressions from Bog ˘azköy (Bo 78/56; Bo 2002/14), one from Kayalıpınar (Kp 06/13) and one seal preserved in the Sivas Museum (SM 90/2), that have been recently published, add new elements to the discussion: 1) Bo 78/567 preserves a digraphic inscription: (Cun.) Tuthaliya (and) Kantuzili NARA[M] D[U?]8; (Hier.) Kantuzili MAGNUS.HASTARIUS (= GAL ˇ MESEDI), Tuthaliya MAGNUS LITUUS9 and a third personal name (LEO? = Walwa/i?). 2) Bo 2002/1410: Ka(n)tuzili REX.FILIUS MAGNUS.HATTI “Prince of the Great Hatti”. 3) SM 90/211 preserves the name of Kantuzili MAGNUS.HASTARIUS and also the name of another person12. 4) Kp 06/1313 presents a digraphic reading: (Cun.) Ka]ntuzili [ ; (Hier.) Kantuzili MAGNUS. HASTARIUS. Bo 78/56 has been dated by A. Dinçol (2001) to Kantuzili the Priest14, but according to S. Herbordt (2003), 24 it might be also older 15. Kantuzili of Bo 2002/14 has been identified with the Priest by S. Herbordt (2003), 23. SM 90/2 is attributed by S. Herbordt (2003), 23 to Kantuzili the father of Tuthaliya16, whereas O. Soysal (2003), 45 dates it to Kantuzili the Priest. A. Müller-Karpe (2009), 113 proposes to identify Kantuzili of Kp 06/13 with the Priest.
4 5 6 7

8 9

10 11

12 13 14 15 16

See lastly M. Marizza (2007), 17–24. J. Freu (2007), 36–37, 39, 60–64. See lastly O. Carruba (2008), 113–114. See A. Dinçol (2001); A. Dinçol – B. Dinçol (2008), 27–28; see also O. Soysal (2003), 45–48; O. Carruba (2005), 258–259. See A. Dinçol – B. Dinçol (2008), 27. ˇ ˇ According to A. Dinçol – B. Dinçol (2008), 26–27, = GAL LÚMES GISPA; for a different interpretation of this title see now Hawkins (in print), 142. See S. Herbordt (2003), 21–24. See S. Herbordt – M. Alkan (2000), 89–98; O. Soysal (2003), 41–45; O. Carruba (2005), 259, who reads the title of Kantuzili not as MAGNUS.HASTARIUS but MAGNUS.ESSEDARIUS, that is UGULA ˇ LÚ.MES ˇ ˇ KUS 7.GUSKIN. See O. Soysal (2003), 44–45. See A. Müller-Karpe (2009), 112–113. See also O. Soysal (2003), 48. So also O. Carruba (2005), 260. So also O. Carruba (2005), 259.


de Martino, Some Questions on the Political History and Chronology of the Early Hittite Empire

D. Hawkins has recently examined all these seals17 and proposed that the three seals ˇ of Kantuzili GAL MESEDI might belong to the same official: Kantuzili the father of Tuthaliya. Following Hawkins’ s suggestion – and differently from the reconstruction ˇ offered by Freu18 – we might suppose that Kantuzili, after having been UGULA LÚ.MES ˇ ˇ KUS7.GUSKIN under king Muwattalli I, then revolted against him and brought his own ˇ son to the throne19. He might have obtained the position of GAL MESEDI after Muwa, ˇEDI in the land-grant of Muwattalli I LSU Bo 90/671 (Obv. 7) 20. mentioned as GAL MES This hypothesis presents one point of weakness: in Bo 78/56 Kantuzili is already GAL ˇ MESEDI when Tuthaliya is not yet king, but only MAGNUS LITUUS. We might suppose ˇ that Kantuzili became GAL MESEDI already in the time of Muwattalli I and in this same time also Tuthaliya hold a position at court 21. Then Kantuzili and Himuili revolted against Muwattalli and killed him; Tuthaliya became king and confirmed Kantuzili as GAL ˇ MESEDI. We do not know why the same Muwattalli would have given to Kantuzili the position that had been held by Muwa. Muwa seems to be deeply involved in the events of this period; according to KUB 34 40 + 41 Obv. 12′, Muwa would have been responsible of having killed the Hittite queen22. After Muwattalli’s death Muwa obtained support from the Hurrians and fought against Kantuzili and Tuthaliya as the historiographical text KUB 23 16, that can be dated to the time of Tuthaliya I/II 23, shows. We might suppose that Muwattalli I had chosen Muwa as his heir; this would explain Muwa’s strong opposition to Kantuzili and Tuthaliya. At the same time, Muwattalli might have tried to gain the favor of people, as Kantuzili and Tuthaliya, whom he presumably feared 24, involving them in the government (only as a very speculative reconstruction: Muwa became tukhanti; Kantuzili ˇ became GAL MESEDI;Tuthaliya was MAGNUS LITUUS). Going back to KUB 23 16, Mittani is not mentioned in this text, but only the generic ˇ ˇ expression LÚMES Hurlas (III 4′, 8′, 12′, [14′], 15′) 25 appears here. O. Carruba (2008), 27–28 ˘ writes that the Hurrians of KUB 23 16 are mercenaries resorted by Kizzuwatna; Kartasura, ˇ who leads these troops, might be, according to Carruba, either a military chief or a Hurrian king of Kizzuwatna. In my opinion we cannot exclude that Muwa asked the same King of Mittani for help 26, who was a powerful sovereign and who surely might have had an interest in interfering with the internal affairs of Hatti. J. Freu (2003), 56 puts forward the hypothesis that Kartasura might have been a member of the royal family of Mittani, since ˇ

18 19 20 21 22 23


25 26

J. D. Hawkins (in print), 139–144; I thank David Hawkins for having allowed me to read the manuscript of his forthcoming work. Cfr. n. 5. So R. Beal (2000), 60–61; I. Singer (2002), 309; O. Carruba (2008), 26–27. See J. D. Hawkins (in print), 143. For a similar reconstruction see F. Pecchioli Daddi (2003), 91. See lastly J. Freu (2007), 65–66. See J. Freu (1995), 138; J. Klinger (1995), 95; R. Beal (2000), 60; I. Singer (2002), 309; T. Bryce (2005), 121; M. Forlanini (2005), 234–235; P.Taracha (2007), 660; O. Carruba (2008), 17–29. We can presume, as we will say, that Kantuzili might have been related to Huzziya II (see ultra); as M. Marizza (2007), 23 observes, the expression NARA[M] D[U?] of Bo 78/56 is unusual on official’s seals and it speaks in favor of the appartenance of Kantuzili and Tuthaliya to the royal family. See O. Carruba (2008), 18–21. So M. Forlanini (2005), 234; J. Freu (2007), 64.

Altoriental. Forsch. 37 (2010) 2


his name might be interpreted as Indo-Aryan. Kizzuwatna was probably the region where Tuthaliya, on one side, and Muwa with the Hurrian troops, on the other side, fought each other. O. Carruba (2008), 116 is in my opinion right, when he supposes that KUB 23 16 refers to the first phase of the Hittite conquest of Kizzuwatna. J. Freu supposes that the intervention of Mittani in support of Muwa might have caused a strong reaction on the part of Tuthaliya, who moved also against Syria 27. ˇ The treaty with Sunassura of Kizzuwatna (KBo 1 5) might date to about this period 28, ˇˇ since it can be attributed to the Hittite king Tuthaliya (I/II) thanks to the reading of the first line done by G. Wilhelm (1988). The events that brought to the incorporation of Kizzuwatna into the Kingdom of Hatti are not well known. Ph. Houwink ten Cate (1998) has advanced the hypothesis that this was the result of a pacific agreement between the royal families of the two countries. Diplomatic marriages, that would have strictly bound these royal families, would have been part of such an agreement. Even if it is possible that the royal house of Hatti and that of Kizzuwatna had been bound by family relations, I believe that Kizzuwatna was conquered by the Hittites in the phase of the conflicts, which opposed Tuthaliya I/II to the Hittite party sustained by Mittani, and that eventually it was annexed by Tuthaliya I/II and Arnuwanda I 29. ˇ A passage of the treaty with Sunassura is at the centre of another debate; in the Historiˇˇ cal Introduction of this treaty (§ 2) it is written: “Formerly, in the time of my grandfather, Kizzuwatna came in possession of Hatti …” 30. If the Hittite king who has stipulated this treaty is Tuthaliya I/II, the alliance between Hatti and Kizzuwatna mentioned here might refer to a previous treaty of Zidanza II with Pilliya of Kizzuwatna. But, if Tuthaliya was the son of Kantuzili, in which way was he related to Zidanza II and Huzziya II? It is hard to give a sure answer to this question31; if we just want to mention the most recent literature, P.Taracha (2004), 631–638 has reaffirmed that Tuthaliya I was the founder of a new dynasty originating from Kummani in Kizzuwatna (P. Taracha (2008a), 750; (2009), 33); this scholar ˇ dates the treaty with Sunassura to Tuthaliya II, grandchild of Tuthaliya I (P. Taracha (2004)). ˇˇ O. Carruba (2008), 112 and J. Freu (2007), 24, who analogously with Taracha distinguish between two kings Tuthaliya, maintain that Tuthaliya I was the son of Walanni 32; according to O. Carruba (2008), 112, 115, Walanni would have been the daughter of Huzziya II; according to J. Freu (2007), 24 she would have been Zidanza II’s daughter. M. Giorgieri (2008), 365, 374 thinks that Kantuzili was Huzziya II’s brother; F. Pecchioli Daddi (2005) puts forward the hypothesis that two parallel dynastic lines ruled: one with Zidanza II and Muwattalli I and the other with Huzziya II, Kantuzili and Tuthaliya I/II. Also T. Bryce
27 28

29 30 31 32

J. Freu (2007), 64. The proposal advanced by Ph. Houwink ten Cate (1998) of attributing this treaty to Tuthaliya III cannot be accepted, since with Kantuzili the “Priest” (at the time of Arnuwanda I) Kizzuwatna is ruled by the Hatti. J. Freu (2007), 87–96 dates KBo I 5 to Tuthaliya II; the King of Kizzuwatna partner of this ˇ ˇ Hittite king would be Sunassura II; a previous king of the same name, Sunassura I, would be contemˇˇ ˇˇ porary of Tuthaliya I. See O. Carruba (2008), 79–80. See G. Beckman (1996), 14. See the literature quoted by P.Taracha (2004), 632, n. 6, and M. Forlanini (2005), 232 n. 11. On this Hittite queen see F. Fuscagni (2000), 289–297.


de Martino, Some Questions on the Political History and Chronology of the Early Hittite Empire

(2000), 60–61 and I. Singer (2002), 309 believe that Tuthaliya (I/II) belonged to the same dynasty of his predecessors; according to Singer Tuthaliya might be Walanni’s son and through her Tuthaliya would be linked to the previous dynasty. Unfortunately we do not have real evidence of Tuthaliya’s appartenance to the dynastic line of Huzziya II; anyway, since in the kingdom of Hatti quite all the politically influent people directly or indirectly (through marriages, adoptions, etc.) belonged to the same enlarged clan, as M. Giorgieri (2008) has recently shown, it is highly presumable that also Kantuzili and Tuthaliya were in some way related to the royal family and to Huzziya II 33. As for the issue of how many kings named Tuthaliya reigned at this time, both the books that we have often quoted, the one by Freu and the other one by Carruba, reaffirm the existence of two Tuthaliya: Tuthaliya I, who would have been followed by Hattusili II, and Tuthaliya II, father and predecessor of Arnuwanda I. P. Taracha (2004), who argues for the existence of Tuthaliya I and Tuthaliya II as we have already said, considers Hattusili II an “enigmatic” figure. According to M. Forlanini, Hattusili would have been either son of Tuthaliya (2005), 238 or son of Himuili (the one who together with Kantuzili killed Muwattalli I) and in this case also brother in law of Tuthaliya (2005), 240 n. 57. In both cases Tuthaliya would have chosen Hattusili as his heir; Hattusili would have fought aside his father, until he lost his position in favor of Arnuwanda. In this way Forlanini tries to explain ˇ the mention of Hattusili King of Hatti in the treaty of Muwattalli II with Talmi-Sarruma of Aleppo (§§ 6,9), without being obliged to accept a king of Hatti Hattusili II, who is ignored by all other Hittite sources. The existence of Hattusili II can be inferred quite exclusively from the introduction of this treaty with Aleppo. Unfortunately the problems that this introduction present cannot be solved neither attributing all the mentions of Hattusili in this text to the king Hattusili I, nor supposing the existence of Hattusili II 34. The title “King” that this text attributes to Hattusili in Obv. 32, instead of “Great King”, cannot be explained. According to M. Forlanini (2005), 238, 24235 this might become understandable, if Hattusili had been tukhanti or the coregent of Tuthaliya. In my opinion, the hypothesis of a co-regency does not account for the choice of attributing the title of “King” to Hattusili. In fact, the only two other Hittite kings who reigned in co-regency, Tuthaliya I/II and Arnuwanda I, both appear in the Annals of Arnuwanda with the title “Great King” 36. And if Hattusili had been only the crown prince, he would have not been called by the royal title. If we imagine that the passage of the historical introduction of the treaty with Aleppo, that mentions Hattusili, refers to a real event (that is the affair concerning the boundaries of Astata and Nuhasse) happened at the time of Hattusili I 37, we face the problem of the ˇ ˇˇ existence of the kingdom Mittani and of its rule on Western Syrian regions at the end of the 17th century or at the beginning of the 16th century. In fact, even if the date and the political

33 34 35

36 37

See now also D. Groddek (2009), 165 n. 41. See now W. Sallaberger – B. Einwag – A. Otto (2006), 101. M. Forlanini follows Cornelius’s suggestion (1973), 128, 315 n. 6 who considered Hattusili of the Aleppo treaty as a king subordinate to Hatti or a prince who bore the royal title. See O. Carruba (2008), 68–73. Called here “King” and not “Great King”.

Altoriental. Forsch. 37 (2010) 2


context of the formation of Mittani still remains a controversial problem, I do not think that Mittani, if it already existed at that time, dominated Western Syria38. In my opinion, the reliability of the historical introduction of the treaty with Aleppo has been overestimated. A good example that shows how partial our understanding of some events can be, if based only on the historical prologues of the treaties, is provided by the comparison between the prologue of the Alaksandu treaty and the Annals of Tuthaliya I/II. If we knew only the treaty with Alaksandu we would not have any information about Tuthaliya I/II’s campaign against North-Western Anatolia and Wilusa, that is witnessed by the Annals of this king, since the treaty does not mention this event and poses the conflict between Hatti and Wilusa in a forgotten past39. We may also mention the account of events ˇ concerning Sarrupsi that is traded by treaty of Suppiluliuma with Tette of Nuhasse and that ˇ ˇˇ ˇ is different from the one in the treaty of Suppiluliuma with Sattiwaza40. We may suppose that also in the treaty with Aleppo the part concerning Hattusili and the borders of Aleppo, Astata and Nuhasse was inserted just in order to quote a precedent (not necessary ˇ ˇˇ happened in the way it is described), that could strengthen the right of Hatti to intervene in the definition of the boundaries of these Syrian states, even if the fragmentary paragraphs 11–12 do not allow us to say how Suppiluliuma I – and perhaps later also Mursili II – had solved this problem. This event might have been deliberately posed in the remote time of Hattusili I, who had remained in the memory of later generations for having fought against the Hurrians and conquered many Syrian regions. Also the only other text that might be taken as proof of the existence of a king Hattusili 41 II , KUB 36 109, is very fragmentary; it only shows that, in the time probably of Tuthaliya I/II, Hattusili was an important state official or a member of the royal family. As J. Klinger (1995), 89 has proposed, Hattusili of KUB 36 109 might be the same dignitary who is mentioned also in KBo 32 145 and KBo 32 224. The identity of this Hattusili with the one known by the letters of Tapigga cannot be proved42. So the existence of a king Hattusili II still appears very doubtful. If we do not believe in the existence of Hattusili II, the hypothesis of two kings Tuthalya (Tuthaliya I and Tuthaliya II) becomes weaker. The historigraphic text KBo (50 65), that mentions both Piyama-Kurunta (that is, the ruler defeated by Tuthaliya in the Assuwa campaign) and “my father Ka[ntuzili]”, clearly speaks in favor of only one king Tuthaliya (I/II) 43. Attributing the campaigns in Syria and those in Western Anatolia to the same king Tuthaliya I/II, instead of splitting them between Tuthaliya I and Tuthaliya II, allows us to put the activity of this king into a more precise and articulate picture; in fact Tuthaliya I/II strongly operated in order to reaffirm Hatti as an international power and this task required the expansion of Hittite influence in both directions, to South-East and to West with a coordinate political and military project.
38 39

40 41 42 43

See St. de Martino (in print). See St. de Martino (1996), 33–38; on this passage of the treaty see now also Th. van den Hout (2009), 79–80. See A.Altman (2004), 256–263; G.Wilhelm (2005), 122. See Ph. Houwink ten Cate (1995–1996), 61–62; O. Carruba (2008), 107–108. See M. Marizza (2007), 122–123. See D. Groddek (2009), 164–168.


de Martino, Some Questions on the Political History and Chronology of the Early Hittite Empire

Both J. Freu (2007), 27–28 and O. Carruba (2008), 86–87, 96–98 stress the importance of the “Cruciform Seal” 44 in order to demonstrate that two kings Tuthaliya existed, since here, according to these scholars we would find: Tuthaliya II and Nikalmati in the bottom wing, [Arnuwanda I] and Asmunikal in the left wing, Tuthaliya I in the top wing, [Tuthaliya III] and Taduhepa in the right wing. Freu and Carruba contest the supposition, recently reaffirmed by J. Miller (2004), 7–9 and M. Forlanini (2005), 239 n. 30, that Tuthaliya, who appears alone in the top wing, might be Tuthaliya TUR. We have to consider that unfortunately the right wing still presents problems of reading; traces of writing might be inferred only by the fact that the surface is here not as smooth as the blank left part of the top wing and in any case if there were impressions of signs they are not legible 45. So we do not know if Taduhepa was quoted alone nor which was the person mentioned with her. A third Tuthaliya is here only fruit of a restoration and therefore this is a very weak evidence despite the arguments of Freu and Carruba. Lastly we have the mention the recent hypothesis of Hawkins 46: according to this scholar, the name of Suppiluliuma might be read in the right wing where Taduhepa would be paired with him. Concluding, I still prefer the hypothesis of reducing the numbers of the kings who reigned between Muwattalli I and Suppiluliuma I to only three:Tuthaliya I/II,Arnuwanda I,Tuthaliya III. Let us see now if this hypothesis is in agreement with what we know about the relative and absolute chronology of Ancient Near East and Egypt for this period. As well known the Annals of Arnuwanda I (KUB 23 14 Rev. II 1)47 offer a sure synchronism: Tuthaliya I/II is contemporary of Saustatar of Mittani; from the Alalah text AlT 14 we know also that ˇ ˇ Saustatar was contemporary of Niqmepa of Alalah and Sunassura of Kizzuwatna48. With ˇ ˇˇ the latter, as already said, Tuthaliya I/II stipulated a treaty. More problematic is trying to connect the Syrian expeditions of Tuthaliya I/II to other events linked to the History of Mittani and Egypt. J. Klinger (1995b), 246 has proposed that the period of Hittite political and military influence on Syria, corresponding to the campaigns of Tuthaliya I/II, might be dated between the 32nd and the 44th year of reign of Thutmose III (1479–1425) 49. The stipulation of the treaty among Hatti and Egypt, the so called “Treaty of Kurustama”, has been placed by several scholars into this political frame and has been attributed to Tuthaliya I/II50. Already Klinger (1995b), 247 had pointed out that, if really Tuthaliya I/II had lived in the third quarter of the 15th century, the time span between Tuthaliya I/II and Suppiluliuma I would be too long for three kings51, since the dates of Suppiluliuma I’s reign, that are generally accepted, are those established by G.Wilhelm and J. Boese (1987)52: 1344–1322.

44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52

See A. Dinçol – B. Dinçol – J. D. Hawkins – G.Wilhelm (1993), 87–106. See A. Dinçol – B. Dinçol – J. D. Hawkins – G.Wilhelm (1993), 91–92. J. D. Hawkins (in print), 145. See O. Carruba (2008), 74–75. See J. Klinger (1995), 235–248. See E. Hornung – R. Krauss – D.A.Warburton (2006), 492. See lastly J. Klinger (2006), 316; J. Freu (2007), 51–53. See also St. de Martino (2004), 38–39. See also G.Wilhelm (2004), 72–75.

Altoriental. Forsch. 37 (2010) 2


The difficulties arising from the chronological reconstruction that considers Tuthalya I/II contemporary of the second half of the reign of Thutmosis III have been stressed by P. Taracha (2004), 636, who considers too long one century for the reign of only three kings and uses this as an argument in favor of the existence of both Tuthaliya I and Tuthaliya II. M. Forlanini (2005), 241, in order to solve this problem, proposes that Tuthaliya I/II reigned for about 45 years and quotes other Near Eastern kings famous for their longevity, as ˇ ˇ Hammurabi and Samsi-Adad. I. Singer (2004), 591–607; (2006), 27, conscious of the difficulties caused also by attributing the “Kurustama Treaty” to Thutmose III (2004), 606, has proposed that this treaty was concluded between Tuthaliya I/II and Amenhotep II 53 (1425–1400) 54; so Tuthaliya would be contemporary of this pharaoh and his reign could be placed at the end of the 15th century. Unfortunately, we do not have absolute dates for the Hittite chronology 55. As well known, the date of the death of Suppiluliuma I and that of Mursili II’s accession to the throne are generally considered fixed points of the Hittite chronology. In fact they can be put in relation with a solar phenomenon thanks to the text KUB 14 4 IV 25–37: it speaks of a solar eclipse visible when Mursili II was in the region of Azzi, that is in the 10th year of his reign, according to the “Extensive Annals” 56. Since this solar phenomenon has been generally recognized in the eclipse of June 24, 1312, Mursili II would have become king in 1321 and Suppiluliuma would have died in 1322 57. Recently J. Miller (2007), 252–293; (2008) has expressed doubt about these dates on the basis of his reconstruction of the historical text KUB 19 15 + KBo 50 24. In this Hittite tablet a personage by the name of mAr-ma-a is mentioned in relation with a conflict among ˇˇ Hatti and Egypt; in this conflict also Tette of Nuhasse is involved; according to Miller the ˘ events narrated in the col. I of KUB 19 15 + KBo 50 24 might correspond to the campaign conducted by Mursili II in Syria during his 7th year, while the following part of the text (col. II) might refer to the 9th year of Mursili’s reign (J. Miller (2008), 544). J. Miller (2007), 253–256; (2008), 545–546 proposes that Ar-ma-a is to be equated with Haremhab 58. <Arma<a/Haremhab is mentioned here not yet as pharaoh, but as an Egyptian general fighting in Syria between the 7th and the 9th year of Mursili II 59; this leads Miller to exclude the date of 1322 as the beginning of the reign of Mursili II, since Haremhab (1319–1292) 60 would have become pharaoh some nine years after the beginning of Mursili’s reign 61.
53 54 55 56 57





See also Z. Simon (2007), 373–385. See E. Hornung – R. Krauss – D.A.Warburton (2006), 492. For an absolute date of Mursili I’s expedition against Babylon see lastly J. Boese (2008). See St. de Martino (1998), 30–31, 38–39, 47. See J. Klinger (2006), 319 and n. 77 for a discussion on this; see also J. Miller (2008), 288; P. Taracha (2008a), 22–23. As R. Stefanini (1964) had already proposed; this equation has been recently rejected by Z. Simon (2009), 340–348. See G. Wilhelm (2009), 113, for the hypothesis that Haremhab might have become king at the beginning of the 9th year of Mursili II. See E. Hornung – R. Krauss – D. A. Warburton (2006), 493; on the dates of Haremhab’s reign see also G.Wilhelm (2009), 115–116 with more literature. So J. Miller (2007), 289. As a consequence of Miller’s historical reconstruction the identification of


de Martino, Some Questions on the Political History and Chronology of the Early Hittite Empire

Archaeological evidence of the time of Suppiluliuma I and Mursili II, unfortunately, do not offer more precise information on the absolute dates of these two Hittite kings. D. Niemeier 62 – who believes that the fragmentary passage of the “Comprehensive Annals” of Mursili II concerning the expeditions of the third year in Western Anatolia and specifically in the region of Milawanda 63 might refer to the conquest of this city by the Hittite king 64 – puts this event in connection with the end by destruction of the second building period of the Late Bronze Age Miletus. As Niemeier has written, evidence from the excavations of Miletus show that the end of the second building period can be dated either to the transition from LHA:2 to LHB:165 or to the end of LHA:2 66. Mycenaean pottery dating to the transition LHA:2 to LHB:1 was in the cargo that sank at Uluburun; dendrochronology provides the date of 1316 for the construction of this ship 67. This evidence supports a later date of the end of LHA:2 pottery than previously thought (that is, 1340/30, or 1360/25 according to different chronologies) 68. Niemeier, who dates Mursili II’s third year in 1316, stresses the dendrochronological evidence in order to support his hypothesis in opposition to traditional chronology of Mycenaean pottery that would give a higher date. In reality, at the present state of research, since the pottery horizon of the destruction level of second building period of Miletus is still uncertain – either end LHA:2, or transition from LHA:2 to LHB:1 – and since precise absolute dates for both these periods cannot be given, archaeological evidence from Miletus neither confirms nor denies the date of 1321 for the accession of Mursili II. Going back to the solar eclipse of the 10th year of Mursili II’s reign, J. Miller (2007), 288, 290 does not deal with the problem of the identification of the eclipse described by Mursili II “in the light of the myriad difficulties with the interpretation of the solar omen” 69. A new proposal comes from P. Taracha (2008b), 23, who writes that the only (total) sun eclipse compatible with Miller’s scenario is that of June 4, 1320. On the contrary G. Wilhelm (2009), 114–116 reaffirms that the solar omen of Mursili’s 10th year can be equated with the eclipse of June 24, 1312, even if in this way the first year of Haremhab (= the 8th or 9th year of Mursili II, see G. Wilhelm (2009), 113) would correspond either to 1314/13 or 1313/1312, that is to dates lower (about five/six years) than those generally accepted for the beginning of Haremhab’s reign (G.Wilhelm (2009), 115). Lastly, concerning the length of Suppiluliuma’s reign, P. Taracha (2009), 82 maintains that Suppiluliuma reigned for about 30 years, from 1360 until 1332. A reign longer, than
Nibhururiya with Tutankhamun has been excluded by him and by other scholars, see the literature quoted by Z. Simon (2009), 340 n. 3. The identification with Tutankhamun has been reaffirmed by R. Lebrun – A. Degrève (2008), 126. See lastly W.-D. Niemeier (2008), 315, with previous literature. See G. del Monte (1993), 77. J. D. Hawkins (1998), 28 is more cautious: “This event has been identified archaeologically with a destruction of Miletos (level II), which is not impossible, though it infers much more than the text records”. W.-D. Niemeier (1998), 38. W.-D. Niemeier (1999), 150. See P. A.Kuniholm et al. (1996), 780–783. See W.-D. Niemeier (1998), 38 with previous literature. J. Miller (2008), 288.

62 63 64

65 66 67 68 69

Altoriental. Forsch. 37 (2010) 2


Wilhelm and J. Boese (1987) have supposed, and a higher date for its beginning have been proposed also by other scholars, as for example Parker (2002), J. Freu (2002); T. Bryce (2005), 154. A higher date for the beginning of Suppilulium’a reign clearly offers the advantage of shortening the chronological distance between Tuthaliya I/II and Suppiluliuma I.Anyway the problem of the chronology of Suppiluliuma I exceeds the purpose of my paper and it requires a much deeper and articulated investigation, since it involves the chronology of the Amarna letters, that of the Egyptian kings of the late 18th dynasty70 and the identification of the solar eclipse of KUB14 4. Moreover it has necessary to deal also with the methodology that has brought Wilhelm and Boese to fix the length of Suppiluliuma’ s reign71. This last aspect has not been touched by the scholars who disagree with the results of Wilhelm and Boese’ s analysis, with the exception of the newly published considerations of J. Miller (2007), 275–277) 72. In conclusion the sequence Tuthaliya I/II – Arnuwanda I – Tuthaliya III is for the moment the preferable hypothesis for all the considerations here exposed, even if the absolute dates of these three kings remain at the moment matter of doubt, until new evidence and the continuous work of the scholars will allow us to better know this period of the Hittite history.

Altman,A.,The Historical Prologue of the Hittite Vassal Treaties, Ramat-Gan 2004 Archi,A., Remarks on the Early Empire Documents,AoF 32 (2005), 225–229. Beal, R., The Hurrian Dynasty and the Double Names of Hittite Kings, in: St. de Martino – F. Pecchioli Daddi (eds.),Anatolia Antica (Eothen 11), Firenze 2000, 55–70. Beckman, G., Hittite Diplomatic Texts,Atlanta 1996. ˇ Boese, J.,‘Harbasipak’,‘Tiptakzi’ und die Chronologie der älteren Kassitenzeit, ZA 98 (2008), 201–210. ˘ Bryce,T.,The Kingdom of the Hittites, Oxford 2005. Carruba, O.,Annali Etei del Medio Regno (Studia Mediterranea 18), Pavia 2008. Cornelius, Geschichte der Hethiter, Darmstadt 1973. Dinçol, A., Ein interessanter Siegelabdruck aus Bog ˘azköy und die damit verknüpften historischen Fragen, in: G.Wilhelm (ed.),Akten des IV. Internationalen Kongresses für Hethitologie (StBoT 45),Wiesbaden 2001, 89–97. ˇ Dinçol, A. – Dinçol, B., Die Prinzen- und Beamtensiegel aus der Oberstadt von Bog ˘azköy-Hattusa vom ˘ 16. Jahrhundert bis zum Ende der Grossreichszeit, Mainz 2008. Dinçol, A. – Dinçol, B. – Hawkins, J. D. – Wilhelm, G., The ‘Crucifrom Seal’ from Bog ˘azköy-Hattusa, IM 23 (1993), 87–106. Dinçol, B., Über die Probleme der absoluten Datierung der Herrschaftperioden der hethitischen Könige nach den philologischen und glyptischen Belegen, Byzas 4 (2006), 19–32. Forlanini, M., Hattusili II. – Geschöpf der Forscher oder vergessener König?,AoF 32 (2004), 230–245. ˇ Freu, J., De l’ancien royame au nouvel empire: les temps obscures de la monarchie Hittite, in: O. Carruba – M. Giorgieri – C. Mora (eds.),Atti del II Congresso Internazionale di Hittitologia, Pavia 1995, 133–148.



On this last topic see now R. Krauss (2007), 294–318; J. Miller (2007), 271–275; M. Gabolde (2009), 100–101; Z. Simon (2009), all with other references. For example we should try to understand why some years of the reign of Suppiluliuma I would have been treated very briefly in the Annals; J. Freu (2002), 89, only stresses the bad state of conservation of the Annals. See now G.Wilhelm (2009), 110 n. 13.


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