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Deeds of Suppiluliuma (1.74)

(6,788 words)

Author(s): Hoffner, Harry A., Jr.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary Among the Hittite kings Šuppiluliuma I was the greatest conqueror. To him was due the destruction of the great and powerful rival kingdom of Mitanni and the eastward expansion of the Hittite state into North Syria during the first half of the 14th Century bce. The story of his reign has often been told. Among the more recent attempts Güterbock 1960, Kitchen 1962, Bryce 1989, and Kempinski 1993 may be named. Letters from Šup…

Excerpt From An Oracle Report (1.78)

(1,989 words)

Author(s): Beckman, Gary
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Oracles Commentary Since the Hittites believed that divine displeasure was the ultimate source of most evils, they developed a science of divination in order to communicate with their gods, ascertain the reasons for their anger, and bargain about required restitution. The Hittite diviners carefully researched the problems referred to them, making sure both to determine the exact aspect of a situation which ha…

The Proclamation of Telipinu (1.76)

(4,246 words)

Author(s): Hout, Th. P. J. van den
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Biography and Autobiography Commentary The Proclamation or Decree of King Telipinu (ca. 1500 BCE) is an attempt to put an end to the inner-dynastic strife and bloodshed which seems to have held the Hittite Empire in its grip since Ḫattušili I (ca. 1600 BCE). In order to do so, Telipinu refrained from killing his own opponents, sending them away unharmed, and firmly established rules of succession (§28) and of…

Assuring the Safety of the King During the Winter (1.79)

(4,683 words)

Author(s): Beal, Richard H.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Oracles Commentary The purpose of the texts comprising this selection is to assure the safety of the king while he is cooped up through the cold central Anatolian winter, by discovering ahead of time any problems that the gods foresee arising, and by ascertaining the correct method of correcting these. The selection is made up of two texts containing parallel sets of questions. The translation follows the bet…

Instructions to the Royal Guard (Mešedi Protocol) (1.85)

(4,425 words)

Author(s): McMahon, Gregory
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary The royal bodyguard of the Hittite court are denoted by the Akkadogram MEŠEDI. One extant tablet contains instructions for them, primarily detailing their duties as they assume responsibility for the king’s safety from the palace staff and as they escort him while he travels. Areas of responsibility are clearly delineated among the officials who see to guarding the palace and the…

The Storm God At LiḫzinaThe name of the town in this text is twice spelled Li ḫzina and twice Ziḫzina. An explanation for this alternation of consonants is not easily forthcoming. (1.69)

(1,085 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Incantations Commentary This is a mythological text belonging to the group of Anatolian myths known as the missing deity myths. The original composition dates to the period of the Hittite Old Kingdom. The supreme Storm God is the deity whose absence is the focus of this particular narrative. Presumably the Storm God absented himself in the first column of the tablet, after which chaos ensued for man and live…

Ritual and Prayer to Ishtar of Nineveh (1.65)

(1,057 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary The beginning of this text, containing a ritual for the goddess, is broken. In §4, where the text becomes legible, the officiant is reciting an invocation. Ritual and Prayer to Ishtar of Nineveh (1.65) Subject: Deut 18:9–12; 22:5; 1 Sam 28:8–15; Isa 8:19; 29:4 §3 […] they cover [her?] with a cloth […] all the singers play [the … –instruments] and sin[g]. […] outside on seven paths […] they go to […] and […]. The diviner [sets (?)] do…

Appu and His Two Sons (1.58)

(1,212 words)

Author(s): Hoffner, Harry A., Jr.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary This text has been translated here as an independent story. According to Güterbock (1946), the text is continued in the tale of the Sun God, the Cow, and the Fisherman. Although the extant copies of the Appu story are New Hittite, archaic language indicates an archetype composed in the Old or Middle Hittite period. The story has a moral, which is stated in the proemium. The unnamed deity wh…

Hittite Proverbs (1.80)

(507 words)

Author(s): Beckman, Gary
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Proverbs Commentary The sayings and generalizing anecdotes by which the Hittites expressed the received wisdom of their civilization were not collected for use in scribal instruction as was the practice in earlier Mesopotamia, but are rather to be found scattered throughout texts of various types. The following is a selection of proverbs and proverbial allusions: Hittite Proverbs (1.80) Subject: Jer 31:29; Ezek 18:2 1. [ In a prayer, a queen addresses the chief godd…

Plague Prayers of Muršili II (1.60)

(4,269 words)

Author(s): Beckman, Gary
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Prayers Commentary When he came to the throne, the Great King Muršili II was confronted with both the fragmentation of the Hittite empire and the raging of an epidemic of uncertain character which had carried off in short succession both his father Šuppiluliuma I and his brother Arnuwanda II. Innumerable ordinary Hittites had perished as well. While Muršili mastered the political situation within the firs…

The Hittite Conquest of Cyprus: Two Inscriptions of Suppiluliuma II (1.75)

(1,785 words)

Author(s): Hoffner, Harry A., Jr.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary The present text derives from a single tablet found in the 1961 season of excavations at Boğazköy in the area of the House on the Slope. It was published in cuneiform copy by Heinrich Otten in 1963 in Keilschrifttexte aus Boghazköi, Heft XII, No. 38, and was partially transliterated and translated in the same year by Otten (1963a). The definitive edition was by Hans Güterbock in 1967 (see also Carruba 1968), who cites all anterior literature. The tablet …

Instructions to Commanders of Border Garrisons (Bel Madgalti) (1.84)

(2,980 words)

Author(s): McMahon, Gregory
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary An essential element in Hittite administration of provinces was the auriyaš išḫaš, literally “lord of the watch tower/ guard post,”1 often written with the Akkadogram BEL MADGALTI. This was the officer in charge of garrisons and administration in sensitive frontier provinces of the empire. The Hittite term is often translated “border governor”; Hoffner has proposed “margrave,” which implies the idea of governors assigned to fr…

Zarpiya’s Ritual (1.64)

(1,316 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary The Ritual of Zarpiya  a is the second of three scapegoat rituals contained on a single Sammeltafel. The author of the text is from Kizzuwatna and as a result the text is laden with Luwian words and incantations, often rendering translation difficult. The first half of the ritual involves an oath–taking on the part of the participants; the second half is a scapegoat ritual of sorts. The human …

The Second Soldiers’ Oath (1.67)

(733 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary This text is of New Hittite date and shows many developments from the older example translated above. Among other things, there are marked Hurrian influences.1 The Second Soldiers’ Oath (1.67) §1´ [… If you transgress these oaths …] may they […], may they […], may they […]. §2´ But [if you keep them], for you (pl.). […] he says: […] §3´ [He] h[olds] out torches [to them, and says,] “[…] these torches […], if [you transgress] these [words,] may Umpa2 and Šarruma3 […

The Wrath of Telipinu (1.57)

(1,927 words)

Author(s): Beckman, Gary
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary In the Hittite view, the operation of the universe required that each deity and human conscientiously perform his or her proper function within the whole. Calamity manifested in some sector of the cosmos was an indication that the god or goddess responsible for it had become angry and had abandoned his or her post. The remedy for this evil situation was the performance by both human and divi…

Puliša’s Ritual Against Plague (1.62)

(775 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary Puliša’s Ritual  a was recorded on a Sammeltafel. It is one of a handful of Hittite scapegoat rituals, all of which were performed to counteract plague. This particular ritual uses human beings as the scapegoats, both belonging to the enemy population and therefore expendable. They act as substitutes for the king, with whom responsibility for divine disfavor and the welfare of the populatio…

Proclamation of Anitta of Kuššar (1.72)

(1,690 words)

Author(s): Hoffner, Harry A., Jr.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Proclamation of Anitta of Kuššar (1.72) Subject: Deut 13:16; Josh 6:26; 1 Kgs 16:34; Isa 25:2; Ezek 26:14; Ezra 4:12–22; 1 Sam 4–6; Judg 6:1; 13:1; 2 Kgs 18–19; Isa 36–37; Jer 12:7; 21:10; Judg 9:45; Josh 8:19 Reign of Pitḫana of Kuššar §1 ( lines 1–4) (Thus speaks) Anitta, son of Pitḫana, king of Kuššar. Say:1 (Pitḫana) was dear to the Stormgod of the Sky.2 When (Pithana) was dear to the Stormgod of the Sky, the king of Neša3 was …4 to the king of Kuššar (…

The Sun God and the Cow (1.59)

(989 words)

Author(s): Hoffner, Harry A., Jr.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths The Sun God and the Cow (1.59) [Güterbock believes that this story is a continuation of Appu and his Two Sons. Beginning of the preserved portion is too broken for connected translation.] The cow thrived and … -ed. The Sun God looked down from the sky, and his desire leaped forward upon the cow. [He became] a young man, came down from the sky, and began to speak to the cow: “Who do you think you are, that you continually graze on o…

The “Ritual Between the Pieces” (1.61)

(333 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary This ritual is written on a Sammeltafel, which, judging by the use of double paragraph dividers, contains at least ten separate compositions. The final composition is a lustration ritual to performed in the event of military defeat. It has been dated to the Middle Hittite period. The tablet itself, however, was copied in the Empire period. The “Ritual Between the Pieces” (1.61) Subject: Isa 66:3–4a; Gen 15:7–18; Jer 34:18–20 If the troops are defeated by th…

Elkunirša and Ašertu (1.55)

(719 words)

Author(s): Beckman, Gary
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary Although the particular events of this tale are not known from the mythological tablets recovered at Ugarit, the story certainly belongs to the corpus of northern Syrian myths which they represent. This composition has come down to us in a number of fragments which originally belonged to two or three separate manuscripts, but only two portions of the text are well-enough preserved for connec…
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