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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…

Uḫḫamuwa’s Ritual Against Plague (1.63)  a 

(453 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Uḫḫamuwa’s Ritual Against Plague (1.63)  a  Subject: Lev 16 §1 Thus says Uḫḫamūwa, man of Arzawa. If in the land there is continual dying and if some god of the enemy has caused it, then I do as follows: §2 They bring in one wether and they combine blue wool, red wool, yellow–green wool, black wool and white wool and they make it into a wreath and they wreathe the one wether and they drive the wether forth on the road to the enemy an…

Apology of Ḫattušili III (1.77)

(5,113 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 so-called “Apology” of Ḫattušili III (1267-ca. 1240 BCE) is one of the major Hittite historical texts that have come down to us. At least eight different manuscripts must have existed among which were one-tablet and two-tablet versions, thus illustrating the relative importance the Hittites must have attached to it. All fragments have been found in the eastern storer…

Crossing of the Taurus (1.73)

(773 words)

Author(s): Hoffner, Harry A., Jr.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Crossing of the Taurus (1.73) Subject: Num 16:15; 1 Sam 12:3; Gen 27:40; Lev 26:13; Deut 28:48; 1 Kgs 12:4–14; Isa 14:25; Jer 27:8; Jer 5:22; Deut 33:17; Pss 22:22; 92:11 §1 Thus (says) Puḫanu, the servant of Šarmaššu […] A person to him […] is dressed in a colorful tunic/garment. On his head a basket1 has been placed. He holds his bow (variant: a bow). He has called for help, (saying:) “What have I done? What?” §2 “I haven’t taken anything from anyone. I haven’t t…

Purifying A House: A Ritual for the Infernal Deities (1.68)

(3,266 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Incantations Commentary This text offers a tantalizing glimpse into Hurro–Hittite mythology. The underworld deities, referred to as the Primordial or Ancient Gods, are solicited on behalf of a house possessed of various types of uncleanness, to come up from below the earth and carry the uncleanness back down into the underworld with them. The ritual is completed over two days, the location alternating between the house and various outdoor locales, including,…

Excerpt From the Hurro-Hittite Bilingual Wisdom Text (1.82)

(1,069 words)

Author(s): Beckman, Gary
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Other Wisdom Literature Commentary The recent discovery at Bogazköy/Ḫattuša of a multi-tablet composition in Hurrian with Hittite translation is very important for the study of the former language, which is still poorly understood. This text is also of significance because the genre of wisdom literature was previously only scantily represented at the Hittite capital. This translation is based primarily on the Hittite text. Excerpt From the Hurro-Hittite Bilingu…

The First Soldiers’ Oath (1.66)

(1,990 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary The following is the second tablet1 of a two-tablet text of a military oath, known as the first soldiers’ oath. The language of the composition indicates that it was composed in the Middle Hittite period (late 15th century BCE), although the copies that survive were inscribed in the Empire period. The text is especially interesting for its parallels in the literature of other cultures, including Indian, Mesopotamian, Greek and Israelite. The First Soldiers’…

Instructions to Priests and Temple Officials (1.83)

(4,206 words)

Author(s): McMahon, Gregory
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary This text is preserved in at least eight copies, several of which have been reconstructed through multiple joins of tablet fragments. The tablets are to be found in both the Istanbul and Ankara tablet collections. The copies date to the Empire period, but the text itself seems to go back to the pre–New Hittite period, before the reign of Šuppiluliuma I. The main text is KUB 13.4, a large well preserved four column tablet with the tops of colu…

Fragment of A Wisdom Text (?) (1.81)

(211 words)

Author(s): Beckman, Gary
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Other Wisdom Literature Commentary The type of composition to which this small piece of a tablet belongs is uncertain. Fragment of A Wisdom Text (?) (1.81) [If a city is in ruins (?)], then [the builders] will build [it a second time]. If a rhyton [is cracked (?), then] the artisans [will cast] it a second time, [and] they will renew it a second time. [If someone damages] a plated horse chariot, then its owner [will repair] it [a second time]. [If] a flood carries off an orchard (!…

The Storm-god and the Serpent (illuyanka) (1.56)

(1,258 words)

Author(s): Beckman, Gary
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary The conflict between the Storm-god and the forces of chaos represented by the serpent (illuyanka- in Hittite) was the focus of two different tales known in second-millennium Anatolia, both of which served as etiological cult myths of the important Hittite festival called purulli, a term whose precise meaning remains unknown. The Storm-god and the Serpent (illuyanka) (1.56) Subject: Esth 4:7; 9:26 (A i 1–4) (This is) the text of the purulli (festival) for the […

Establishing A New Temple for the Goddess of the Night (1.70)

(3,748 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Incantations Commentary This is a four column tablet composed in the period of the Hittite Empire. It is the first of two tablets.1 The second tablet is not preserved, although the first tablet has survived in four recensions. The main tablet describes the procedure for establishing a satellite temple for the Goddess of the Night. Her cult was centered in Kizzuwatna in southeastern Anatolia, and thus many Hurrian offering term…
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