web counter











A.E. Cowley


UNTIL forty years ago, or less, the Hittites were still grouped with Hivites (descendants of Canaan, son of Ham, son of Noah) and Jebusites (a Canaanite tribe who inhabited and built Jerusalem prior to its conquest by King David; the Books of Kings state that Jerusalem was known as Jebus prior to this event) as an insignificant Syrian tribe unknown outside the Bible. It was only beginning to be suspected that they might be identified with the people called Kheta in the Egyptian records, and Khatti in the cuneiform texts of Assyria. The discovery of them began when attention was drawn to some curious engraved stones found at Hamath. The first mention of these ‘Hamath stones’ apparently was by the French traveler La Roque in 1722: “Vis-a-vis du Chateau il y a une belle Mosquée, accompagnée d'un jardin, presque sur le bord de la riviere, au-devant de laquelle est une haute colonne de marbre ornée de bas-reliefs d'une excellente sculpture, qui representent des figures humaines, plusieurs especes d'animaux, des oyseaux et des fleurs”.

A century later (1822) Burckhardt says: "I inquired in vain [at Hamah] for a piece of marble with figures in relief, which La Roque saw; but in the corner of a house in the Bazar is a stone with a number of small figures and signs, which appears to be a kind of hieroglyphical writing, though it does not resemble that of Egypt. In fact no pillar of marble with a Hittite inscription ever has been found at Hamath. All the inscriptions there are on basalt, so that either La Roque saw some monument which was not Hittite, or the marble pillar had disappeared in the interval"

Every one read Burckhardt, but another half century elapsed before any serious attention was paid to the matter. In 1870 two Americans, Johnson and Jessup, succeeded in finding inscribed stones at Hamath, but were prevented from copying them by the usual fanaticism of the natives. They did, however, obtain a very imperfect drawing, by a local artist, of the one known as Hamath V. This was published in the first Quarterly Statement of the American Palestine Exploration Society (1871), which I have not been able to see. Their account was reproduced (without the drawing) in the QS of the PEF 1871, p. 173. The Fund then commissioned Tyrwhitt Drake to get copies of the texts, since they now were known to exist and could be localized. Thanks to his great experience in dealing with the natives, he contrived to take photographs and squeezes.

By this time interest was thoroughly aroused. It was a time of archaeological discovery. The decipherment of the cuneiform texts was beginning to be accepted, and was producing wonders, the Moabite stone had been brought to light, the Cypriote syllabary was being discussed. The learned world was therefore ready to be interested in yet another strange system of writing. The imperfection of the copies, however, made the study of them difficult, if not impossible. Similar signs could not be distinguished, and a list of them was out of the question. The well-known traveler Burton, who was then H.M. Consul at Damascus, saw the stones, and published revised plates of them in his Unexplored Syria, but his account, though full, added little to what was already known, except as to the positions of the stones.


The Mesha Stele (popularized in the 19th century as the "Moabite Stone") is a black basalt stone bearing an inscription by the 9th century BC ruler Mesha of Moab in Jordan. The inscription was set up about 840 BC as a memorial of Mesha's victories over "Omri king of Israel" and his son, who had been oppressing Moab. It is the most extensive inscription ever recovered that refers to ancient Israel (the "House of Omri"). It bears what is generally thought to be the earliest extra-biblical Semitic reference to the name Yahweh , whose temple goods were plundered by Mesha and brought before his own god Kemosh. French scholar André Lemaire has reconstructed a portion of line 31 of the stele as mentioning the "House of David". The text says:

I am Mesha, son of KMSYT (Kemosh-yat), the king of Moab, the Dibonite. My father was king of Moab thirty years, and I reigned after my father. And I built this high-place for Kemosh in QRH ("the citadel"), a high place of salvation because he saved me from all the kings (or "all the attackers"), and because let me be victorious over all my adversaries. Omri was king of Israel and he oppressed Moab for many days because Kemosh was angry with his land. And his son replaced him; and he also said, "I will oppress Moab". In my days he spoke thus: But I was victorious over him and his house. And Israel suffered everlasting destruction, And Omri had conquered the land of Madaba, and he dwelt there during his reign and half the reign of his son, forty years. But Kemosh returned it in my days. So I [re]built Baal Meon, and I the water reservoir in it. And I bu[ilt] Qiryaten. The man of Gad had dwelt in Ataroth from of old; and the king of Israel built Ataroth for him. But I fought against the city and took it. And I slew all the people [and] the city became the property of Kemosh and Moab. And I carried from there the altar of/for its DVD ("its Davidic altar"?) and I dragged it before Kemosh in Qerioit, and I settled in it men of Sharon men of Maharit. And Kemosh said to me, "Go! Seize Nebo against Israel." so I proceeded by night and fought with it from the crack of dawn to midday, and I took it and I slew all of them: seven thousand men and boys, and women and maidens because I had dedicated it to Ashtar Kemosh I took the vessels of Yahweh, and I dragged them before Kemosh. And the king of Israel had built Yahaz, and he dwelt in it while he was fighting with me, but Kemosh drove him out before me. So I took from Moab two hundred men, all his captains. And I brought them to Yahaz, And I seized it in order to add it to Dibon. I (myself) have built the 'citadel', 'the wall(s) of the forest' and the wall of the 'acropolis'. And I built its gates; And I built its towers. And I built a royal palace; and I made the ramparts for the reservo[ir for] water in the midst of the city. But there was no cistern in the midst of the city, in the 'citadel,' so I said to all the people, "Make [for] yourselves each man a cistern in his house". And I hewed the shaft for the 'citadel' with prisoners of Israel. I built Aroer, and I made the highway in the Arnon. I built Beth-Bamot, because it was in ruins. I built Bezer, because it was a ruin [with] the armed men of Dibon because all of Dibon was under orders and I ruled over the hundreds in the towns which I have annexed to the land. And I built Medeba and Beth-Diblaten and Beth-Baal-Meon, and I carried there [my herdsmen] [to herd] the small cattle of the land, and Horonain, in it dwelt the house of [D]VD... [and] Kemosh said to me, "Go down, fight against Horonain". And I went down [and I fought with the city and I took it and] Kemosh [re]turned it in my days. Then I went up from there te[n...] [...a high] place of justice and I [...]




It was William Wright who really began the serious study of the subject. In 1872, being then a missionary at Damascus, he took advantage of an opportunity to visit Hamath in company with the newly appointed Turkish Governor. It was an opportunity not to be lost, for now, if ever, it would be possible to exert authority to overcome fanatical opposition. He gives an excellent account of the expedition in his ‘Empire of the Hittites’ (1884). The result of it was that he obtained casts of the inscriptions, one set of which was sent to the British Museum, and another set to the PEF. He also persuaded the Pasha to send the stones themselves to the museum at Constantinople, where squeezes were afterwards made for Berlin. Wright did far more than this, however, for in his book he dealt with the whole question of the authors of the inscriptions, and with the help of Sayce supplied much of the preliminary research necessary for the study of them. It is largely due to his agreeable presentation of the material that general interest was aroused. A second edition of the book appeared in 1886, and the study of Hittitology, as some people have called it, was fairly started.

I have dwelt at some length on these 'Hamath stones', not because they are intrinsically of greater interest than other Hittite remains, but because they were the starting-point of the whole inquiry. So unmistakable were they in character, that, when once attention was drawn to them, no one could fail to recognize a Hittite inscription. Travellers began to look out for more of them, and as further specimens of the writing, and also of the art connected with it, began to accumulate in various parts of Asia Minor, it became more and more evident that the question of their origin was a very important one. It is unnecessary to enumerate all the travelers who have brought home copies. The chief are: George Smith, who excavated at Jerabis (which is Carchemish) in 1878; Hogarth and Headlam in 1894; Humaun and Puchstein in 1882-3; Ramsay and Hogarth in 1890; Anderson in 1900; Olmstead and others in 1911. These were all (except the last) collected by Messerschmidt in his Corpus. The most recent and most important discoveries are those of Hogarth with Woolley and Lawrence in the excavations at Carchemish in 1911 and after. But above all, the study is indebted to Sayce, who has never ceased from the beginning to forward it with all the resources of his wide learning and brilliant genius.

A glance at the map will show that remains of this peculiar type are found sporadically from the north of Asia Minor (Eyuk) to Hamath in the south, and from the Euphrates in the east to the coast of Ionia in the west. You do not set up bulky monuments for fun. Evidently the people who did so were a widespread power. They must have occupied a large place in history. Who were they then? and how did they so completely disappear that scarcely a trace of them is to be found in all Greek literature? We now call them Hittites, but it must not be supposed that the identification was self-evident, or that it is entirely satisfactory, or that we know much more when we have agreed to it.

Wright claims to have been the first to apply the name, but it was Sayce who first gave it currency. It did not meet with immediate acceptance, and even today one uses it with a half-apology. It is not the existence of a Hittite power which is in doubt. That is amply proved by the inscriptions of Egypt and Assyria. The question is whether the peculiar hieroglyphic writing discovered in the last fifty years, and the art which accompanies it, are the product of that Hittite power. Wright's arguments are certainly not very convincing, though his conclusion is nearly correct. He says in effect: here was a people powerful enough to leave records of itself throughout Cappadocia, even in Ionia, and down to Syria and Carchemish. They were not Egyptian nor Babylonian. The only power we know which could have done this, and disappeared before Greek history begins, was that called Kheta in Egypt, Khatti in Assyria, and the sons of Heth in the Old Tastament. I need not point out the flaws in this argument, nor the large assumption on which it rests. Yet it has been justified.

Since the publication of Wright's book, monuments have been discovered at MalatiaMarashTyana, Ivriz, Babylon, Carchemish, and many less-known sites. But the next really important stage in the resurrection of this forgotten empire was when Hugo Winckler, in 1906 and after, excavated the mounds of Boghaz-keui. It had long been recognized that these must conceal the remains of an important city, sometimes thought to be the Pteria, beyond the Halys, which was taken by Croesus. Here, as well as at Eyuk, some miles to the north, strange monuments had been discovered and drawings of them were published by Texier in 1839. Great things might therefore be expected from the excavation of the site. The results were beyond all hope. Winckler found what could be nothing less than the state archives, containing about 20,000 documents or fragments, written, after the Babylonian manner, in cuneiform on clay tablets. His deeply interesting and brilliant account of them was published in MDOG, no. 35, in Dec. 1907. Some of the tablets were written in Semitic cuneiform - the diplomatic and international language of the East at that time, as Aramaic was at a later date. These, of course, could be read with comparative ease. Many others, though written in cuneiform, were in what must have been the native language of the country, certainly not Semitic. This is not yet fully interpreted. For the present the important point is that Winckler was able to establish beyond question the fact that the language was that of the Hatti, and the site of Boghaz-keui their capital. He also established the names and succession of the kings to whom the archives belonged. Among them, by good fortune, was Hattusil, whose name had been read in Egyptian as Khetasira. This king made (about 1280 BC) a treaty with Ramses II of which the Egyptian text was already known. Fragments of a copy of it, in Babylonian cuneiform, were found in the Boghaz-keui archives. We thus arrive at the certainty that the Hatti were the Kheta of the Egyptian monuments, and also at a fixed date for the remains at Boghaz-keui. But further, the peculiar style of sculpture found there could only have been produced by the people whose city it was. Wright's or Sayce’s conjecture was thus amply confirmed. The 'Hamath stones' have the same origin as the Boghaz-keui sculptures as we see from the hieroglyphics which are common to both. They are, therefore, the work of the Hatti, who are the Kheta of the Egyptian monuments, who are the Hatti of Assyrian history, who are no doubt the Hittites of the Bible.

The earliest tradition of them is preserved in the Book of Genesis. In 1015 we are told that Canaan begat Zidon his first-born and Heth, which is only a way of saying that in the records on which this chapter is based Hittites were described as settled in north Syria. They next appear at Hebron in south Palestine, when Abraham bought from them the cave of Machpelah as a burial-place for Sarah. If the Amraphel of Gen, 14 was really the great Hammurabi, king of Babylon, whose date is approximately known, this transaction must have taken place somewhere about 2100 BC. The account is, however, much later than the events, and is full of difficulties, which cannot be discussed here. The most we can say is that it seems to indicate that there was a Hittite settlement in south Palestine before the Tell-el-Amarna period and the Egyptian domination of Syria. They had perhaps diverged there from the main body in the course of a migration from north to south. That they were there for trade seems to be indicated by the phrase inch “current money with merchants” (Gen. 23.16). It was therefore a case of peaceful penetration. Their first appearance in a military enterprise is when, in the reign of Samsuditana (1956-26 BC) they ventured to attack Babylon itself - Babylon the great - which had been made powerful by Hammurabi and developed by his successors. The Chronicle merely says that “the men of the land of Hatti marched against the land of Accad”. There is nothing to show what they did at Babylon, nor how long they remained there. They must, at any rate, have captured the city and plundered it, for apparently they carried off the statue of Marduk. It is generally supposed that this invasion or raid weakened Babylon so much that it ended the dynasty and prepared the way for the Kassite occupation. It is hardly probable that the Hittites conducted their expedition against Babylon from so distant a base as Boghaz-keui ('the land of Hatti'). It is more likely that they had already begun to spread southwards, attracted by the wealth and trading possibilities of Mesopotamia. Their presence in south Palestine may then have been due to the same movement. But the chronology of these centuries is so obscure, and our information so scanty, that it is better to record only what is stated by the documents, and for the present to beware of drawing conclusions.

The Kassite dynasty had established itself in Babylon by 1760 BC. Who they were is another of the many problems of this dark period. They appear to have been a non-literary people, and even of their language the only specimen we have is one short vocabulary. The history of their rule in Babylon is very obscure. It is said (in the lists of kings) to have lasted 576 years, i.e. till 1185 BC. One of the kings, Agum II (about 1650 BC), in an important inscription, says that he sent an embassy to the land of Khani to bring back the statue of Marduk, which had been carried off by the men of Khani. This is taken to refer to the Hittite raid mentioned before, so that the men of Khani would be Hittites, or, at any rate, members of a Hittite confederacy. It is to be noted that he sent an embassy, a friendly mission. He did not attempt to take the statue by force, the more usual method in those days. The men of Khani were therefore powerful, and it was prudent to be on good terms with them. Khani is usually taken as meaning Khana on the middle Euphrates, but it may mean Khani-rabbat, which is Mitanni. If so, Hittites, Mitanni, and Kassites are here in close relation. This is merely a suggestion, but where all is so obscure the slightest clue is worth noting.

We do not know for certain on what terms the Hittites were with the early Kassite kings. It is evident, however, that their power, which was first shown in the invasion of Babylon, had not diminished in the next four centuries. Whether they gained by the goodwill of the Kassites, owing to alliance or racial connection, or whether the temporary eclipse of Babylon gave them their opportunity, we cannot say.

By about 1500 BC Egypt had become the dominant power in Asia. Thothmes I had conquered Palestine and marched as far as the frontiers of Mitanni, then a powerful state at the north of Mesopotamia. His grandson Thothmes III, early in the fifteenth century, completed the conquest of Syria, defeated the Hittites there, and exacted tribute from them. Carchemish was taken, as well as Kadesh on the Orontes. There is no evidence to show whether either of these cities was at that time in Hittite possession, as they both were later. In a subsequent campaign Thothmes III developed his success. He broke up the confederacy of which Mitanni was the head, and thus the whole of western Asia from Mesopotamia to the sea became subject to Egypt including, of course, the Hittite states of Syria. This is the condition of things we find still existing when the Tell-el-Amarna letters begin. These are largely concerned with the intrigues of provincial governors in Asia and their difficulties in meeting the attacks of the Hittites. The main general fact which emerges with regard to the Hittites is that when the letters begin they are still settled in the north of Syria, and gradually extend southwards towards the end of the period. It was probably about the middle of the fourteenth century that they took possession of Kadesh on the Orontes. In the later letters, of the time of Amenophis IV, it is evident that the strength of Egypt is declining. Whether owing to troubles caused by that king's heresy, or for any other reason, troops were not sent when required to keep the unruly Syrian states in order. Partly in consequence of the disorganization of the country, the Hittite power began to grow as that of Egypt waned. The king of the Hatti (the dominant element) became the great king of a Hittite confederacy, with his capital at Bogbaz-keui in the north, uniting the minor states represented by Hamath, Aleppo, Marash, Carchemish, Malatia, &c., and probably with more or less control over the rest of Asia Minor. It was a very formidable combination, with the best of reasons for holding together, since they were all threatened by Egypt on the one side and Babylonia on the other.

It is just at this point that the archives of Boghaz-keui take up the story. The city must have been hitherto the head-quarters of one tribe or section of the confederacy. When the king of it became the 'Great King' of all the Hittites, his city became the capital of an empire and the repository of records of dealings with his widespread dependencies. So we find the earliest of the kings whose archives are preserved there is the first of the Great Kings, named Subbiluliuma. His father Hattusil is called only 'King of the city of Kussar', a name otherwise unknown. It is evident, therefore, that he was a king in a small way, one of the kings of the confederacy. His son Subbiluliuma must have been a man of great force of character, since he succeeded in uniting the Hittite tribes into a really powerful state, and founded a dynasty. His reign was long, and though we cannot yet date the beginning and end of it precisely, we know from Tell-el-Amarna that he lived in the reign of Amenophis III and overlapped into that of Amenophis IV. He belongs, therefore, to the early part of the fourteenth century BC. A letter shows that the Hatti had been at war with Mitanni under Tushratta and had been defeated for Mitanni was then a powerful state. But friendly relations must have been established since the Boghaz-keui records show that Subbiluliuma, as a sort of suzerain, supported Tushratta’s son Mattiuaza on his accession after his father's death. Having thus secured himself on the east, Subbiluliuma was strong enough to encroach on the Egyptian sphere of influence, and was acknowledged as overlord by the Amorites of Syria under Azir. He contrived at the same time to remain on good terms with Egypt, but writes to Amenophis IV as an equal. The TA letters present a pathetic picture of the misery of the Egyptian provinces in Syria at this time, constantly subject to intrigue and war in which Hittites took a large part, much to their own advantage. It is not improbable that Carchemish became Hittite about this time.




SYRIA lies at the crossroads of the Near East between Mesopotamia in the east, Anatolia in the north and Egypt in the south. Both Mesopotamia and Anatolia are lacking in indispensable raw materials which they must acquire by trade.

For them, then, Syria means access to world trade. Through Syria pass the overland communications that lead from one to the other.

More significant still, Syria possesses ports where merchandise from far-away countries is received and exchanged for whatever Asia has to offer. By land and by sea Syria is also linked to Egypt, another important centre of ancient civilization. For these reasons all political development in the Near East tends toward the domination of Syria by its neighbors. In antiquity possession of this key position assured supremacy in the world as it then existed. The fourteenth century, a period of intensive interrelations among all parts of the world, was no exception. In fact, the struggle for the domination of Syria was never more marked than during this period.

The efforts of the various powers involved in the struggle were facilitated by the ethnic and social conditions which they encountered when they invaded Syria. The Amorite rule over the country had created a large number of small city-states which were organized along feudalistic lines. This had become more accentuated when the Hurrians, revitalized by Indo-Aryan dynasts, had expanded from Upper Mesopotamia toward the west. Hurrian knights had then replaced the Amorite princes, taken over the best parts of the land for themselves and their liegemen (mariyanna), and now formed a caste of their own. Thus the rift between the rulers and the ruled was not only economic and social, it was ethnic as well. Anyone who gained the co-operation of the upper class could easily dominate their countries.

Egyptian power had been omnipotent in Syria in the days of the great Tuthmosis III. During the reigns of his successors it was definitely on the decline, until under Amenophis III (1417—1379) Egyptian domination was only nominal. The most important source illustrating these conditions is the Amarna letters, the remnants of the political archives of Amenophis III and IV. Found in the ruins of Amenophis IV’s palace at Amarna they have given the name ‘Amarna Age’ to the whole period which they cover. The Amarna letters consist of the messages, mostly composed in Akkadian and all of them written in cuneiform script on clay tablets, which had been sent to the Egyptian court by the contemporary rulers of the great powers in neighboring Asia and by the numerous independent princes of Palestine and Syria. At the period in question Egyptian officers, appointed to supervise and control the local princes and to collect the tribute which these had to pay to the pharaoh, still resided in the area. The Akkadian sources call such an officer rabisuliterally ‘watcher, observer’, the corresponding word in the Semitic vernacular of the country being sakinu (Canaanite sokinu). During our period, the cities of Kumidu and Sumura served as residences for these 'commissioners' or 'regents' of Syria. Both these cities are strategically located. The former blocks the passage through the Biqa, the narrow plain between the Lebanon in the west and the Anti-Lebanon and the Hermon in the east; it is close enough to Damascus to control it as well. The latter is situated on the coastal highway, near the mouth of the Eleutheros River, and also dominates the road which leads eastward along that river to the Orontes Valley. Along the coast Egyptian control was firmer than inland. When roads were disrupted there was always the sea route to maintain communications with Egypt.

The Mitanni kings ruled in Upper Mesopotamia with their capital Washshuganni probably near the Upper Khabur River, and the influence which they exercised upon Syria no doubt depended on the fact that since the days of the Hurrian expansion many, if not most, of the small states there had passed into the hands of Hurrian princes. In the days of Egyptian weakness, the Mitannian kings used this circumstance to create a kind of Hurrian confederacy which was controlled from their capital. Mitannian power was at its height at the beginning of the fourteenth century.

It had then taken the place of the Hittites as the dominating factor. With the decline of Egyptian might after the death of Tuthmosis III the Hittites had, with considerable success, tried to re-establish themselves in Syria where they had ruled during their ‘Old Kingdom’. But when their homeland on the Anatolian plateau had been attacked from all sides in the times of Tudkhaliash III, they had been forced to withdraw from Syria. Yet their power continued to loom in the background as a factor with which to reckon.

The interplay of all these forces—the Egyptians, the Mitannians with their Hurrian partisans and finally the Hittites—determined the fate of Syria in the fourteenth century.

Since the middle of the second millennium the dynasty which called itself ‘kings of Mitanni’ (Maitani) had become dominant among the Hurrians. From Washshuganni it exercised power eastward over Assyria and the East Tigris regions, northward over the country which later became Armenia, and westward into Syria.

Within the Hurrian realm there existed a rivalry between the kings of Mitanni and those who called themselves 'kings of the Khurri Land'. This must refer to a Khurri Land in the narrower sense of the term. The border dividing this Khurri Land from the Mitanni kingdom apparently ran along the River Mala, i.e. the Euphrates (Murad Su?). It seems that the Khurri Land had been the older of the two, but that Mitanni had overtaken it in power and political importance. Tushratta, the younger son of a Shuttarna who had been an older contemporary of Amenophis III, had acquired kingship over Mitanni in irregular fashion. Shuttarna had first been succeeded by his son Artashuwara. He was slain, however, by a certain Utkhi (UD-hi), a high officer of the state, and Tushratta (Tuiseratta), a younger brother, then still a minor, was installed on the throne. Artatama of Khurri apparently did not recognize Tushratta as his overlord; on the contrary he seems to have claimed at least independence if not more. Judgement on the situation is rendered difficult by the circumstance that the earlier relations of the two rivalling states are not known to us. According to the beliefs of the time, the struggle which ensued between Tushratta and Artatama was conceived as a lawsuit between the two opponents pending before the gods.

The date of Tushratta’s accession to the throne falls within the reign of Amenophis III (1417-1379), more precisely into its second half. The Amarna archive has yielded seven letters from Tushratta to Amenophis III, an indication that their friendly relationship was maintained over a number of years. We may esti­mate that Tushratta's reign is to be counted from about 1385.

Whatever territory Artatama of Khurri may have controlled, Tushratta was able to maintain himself in the Mitanni kingdom for the time being. This included, in addition to Assyria and the adjoining provinces in the east, Upper Mesopotamia and parts of Syria. There, more specifically, the following territories were under his overlordship. Farthest north, in Cilicia and bordering on the Mediterranean lay Kizzuwadna. For a long time it had shifted its allegiance back and forth between Khatti and Mitanni. The collapse of Hittite power under Tudkhaliash III had driven it again into the arms of the Mitannians. Something similar may have happened to Ishuwa, farther east, although nothing precise is known about it. In Syria proper the kingdoms of Carchemish and Aleppo were most important; in the circumstances, neither can have been independent of Mitanni. For the first this is confirmed by the role it played in the later Hittite war of conquest; for Aleppo there is documentary proof that it once formed part of the Hurrian system of states. Further to the south were located the countries of Mukish (with its capital at Alalakh) and Ugarit. Formal relations with the Mitanni state are assured for the former; for Ugarit this remains doubtful. Its position on the coast may well have resulted in conditions different from those which prevailed inland; under the protection of Egypt, Ugarit may have maintained a precarious kind of independence. The Nukhash Lands, between the bend of the Euphrates and the Orontes, definitely belonged to Tushratta's realm. In the Orontes valley we find Neya (Ne'a), Arakhtu, and Ukulzat ruled by Hurrian dynasties which no doubt maintained friendly relations with the Mitanni king. Finally there are, in the far south of Syria, QatnaKinza (Kidsa=Qadesh on the Orontes), and Amurru. Here Mitannian influence was counterbalanced by the Egyptians, and local princes found it necessary to play the dangerous game of aligning themselves on one side or the other, as circumstances required.

Tushratta at first experienced no unpleasantness in his relations with the Hittite kingdom. As long as the Hittites remained recoiled upon their Anatolian homeland and maintained themselves with difficulties, there was no opportunity for friction.

The relations of Mitanni with Egypt were friendly. Friendship with Egypt had been a traditional policy of the Mitanni kings for several generations. A number of marriages had taken place between the royal houses. ArtatamaTushratta's grandfather, had sent one of his daughters to the pharaoh, and Shuttarna, his father, had given his daughter Gilu-Kheba in marriage to Amenophis III (an event which falls into that king's tenth year, i.e. about 1408). Tushratta himself was to continue this policy by sending one of his daughters, Tadu-Kheba, for the pharaoh's harem.

The inactivity of the Egyptians in Syria made it possible for Tushratta to remain on friendly terms with Amenophis III during all of the latter's reign. When it is realized that this was so in spite of the expansionist tendencies of Mitanni in Syria, one is led to assume that a formal understanding must have existed by which the coast of Syria and all of Palestine, including the region of Damascus, was recognized as an Egyptian sphere of influence, the rest of Syria being considered as Mitannian domain. During the later part of Tushratta’s reign, good relations with Egypt became more and more a necessity, because a powerful personality had in the meantime ascended the Hittite throne and had initiated a period of Hittite renascence.

Probably not long after the events which brought Tushratta to the throne of Mitanni (c. 1385), a shift of rulership also took place in the Hittite country. Under Tudkhaliash III the previously mighty kingdom had shrunk into insignificance from which it had only partially recovered before the king's death. If some of the lost territory, especially along the eastern border had been regained, this had been due to the military leadership of the king's son, Shuppiluliumash.

Upon his father's death Shuppiluliumash became king as the next in line. In him there came to the throne a powerful man who was destined to restore the might of his country and to secure for it a position second to none. The ambitions which must have spurred Shuppiluliumash from the outset made him cast his eyes almost automatically upon Syria, where earlier Hittite kings had won glory. Hence an armed conflict with Tushratta became inevitable. It was postponed for some time only because Shuppiluliumash had to reorganize his homeland before he could think of embarking on a war of conquest in Syria.

This was done with comparative ease, for the Hittite system of government was more firmly knit than that of the Mitannians. The ruling class among the Hittites had long since become amalgamated with the Anatolian population. Strong feudalistic tendencies still lingered on, but as a whole the Khatti Land proper was now governed by officials who were appointed by the king, preferably members of the royal family. Around this inner core of the kingdom an outer ring of vassal states had been formed. Their rulers had concluded formal treaties with the 'Great King' and received back their lands from his hands. They had surrendered to him part of their sovereignty, above all the right to conduct an independent foreign policy. There was a marked trend toward assuring the loyalty of these vassals by tying them to the royal house of Khatti by intermarriage.

The accession of Shuppiluliumash to the Hittite throne can be dated only approximately. It falls within the reign of Amenophis III (c. 1417—1379), and probably later than the beginning of Tushratta’s reign which was estimated above as having taken place c. 1385. It can be set at approximately 1380.

The first clash between the two adversaries must have occurred soon after Shuppiluliumash ascended the throne. Tushratta, in one of his letters to Amenophis III, tells about a victory in which he claims to have crushed an invading Hittite army. The letter in which the report is contained is very likely the first of the letters directed to that pharaoh which have been preserved. It seems, then, that Shuppiluliumash failed in his early attempts at expansion toward the south. One may well doubt, however, that it was anything more than a testing raid.

The military situation was not yet such as to encourage Shuppiluliumash to conduct operations on a larger scale. At the beginning of his reign, the Khatti Land and the country of Mitanni had only a comparatively short border in common. It became more extended when Shuppiluliumash recovered Ishuwa which his father had lost. But even then, for the larger part of the distance between the Upper Euphrates and the Mediterranean Sea, the two countries were separated by Kizzuwadna. It must have been one of the first tasks of the young king to come to terms with this buffer state. The result of his efforts is contained in the treaty which he concluded with Shunashshura, the king of Kizzuwadna.

Large parts of an Akkadian version and parts of a parallel Hittite version have survived. The salient fact in the treaty is that Kizzuwadna renounced its affiliation with the Mitanni kingdom and forthwith returned to the Hittite sphere of influence. Shunashshura was treated by Shuppiluliumash with some consideration and granted certain privileges. This does not alter the fact that he had to surrender essential parts of his sovereignty, especially the right to maintain such relations with foreign countries as suited himself. The common frontier was revised.

Shuppiluliumash also reached an agreement with Artatama, the king of the Khurri Land. In view of the enmity that existed between Tushratta and Artatama—their law-suit was still pending before the gods—this must have been comparatively easy. From Artatama's point of view, Tushratta was a rebel and a usurper. The text of the treaty has not come down to us, but there is every reason to believe that Shuppiluliumash treated Artatama as a ‘Great King’, i.e. his equal; there is certainly no doubt that the treaty was directed against Tushratta. In all likelihood, Artatama promised at least benevolent neutrality in the impending conflict. This relieved Shuppiluliumash of the fear that the Hurrian might try to interfere in favor of the Mitannian; it thus enabled him to concentrate all his might against the latter. No wonder then that Tushratta considered the conclusion of the treaty as a casus belli.

The relations of Shuppiluliumash with Egypt at that moment conformed with the diplomatic customs of the time, but were rather cool. The Hittite had good reason for keeping them correct. He had exchanged courteous messages with Amenophis III; we possess the letter which he wrote to Amenophis IV (1379-1362) when the latter assumed kingship. It betrays a certain tension between the two countries. This is easily understandable when it is recalled that family ties existed between the pharaoh and TushrattaTadu-Kheba his daughter having been given in marriage to Amenophis III from whose harem she was transferred to that of Amenophis IV. Furthermore, the Egyptians must gradually have grown apprehensive of the Hittite's intentions. One may rather feel surprised that relations between Khatti and Egypt remained as undisturbed as they apparently did for so long. The situation suggests that Amenophis IV had no desire whatever to become involved in what he considered the internal affairs of Syria and to provide Tushratta with more than nominal support. Tushratta may have hoped for more active assistance, and, when none was forth­coming, his feelings toward the pharaoh became increasingly cool. His three extant letters to Amenophis IV show a growing animosity, and it may well be that after the third the correspondence was actually discontinued.




When the Hittite attack finally came, Tushratta proved unable to keep his hold on Syria. Shuppiluliumash moved at will, and all the country between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean Sea as far south as the Lebanon fell prey to the invader. One may assume that see-sawing battles took place before a firm frontier was finally established. As a matter of fact, existing reports—if they belong here—suggest that Tushratta conducted a counter-campaign in Syria. He is said to have reached Sumura (which had been before, and was later, an Egyptian stronghold) and to have tried to capture Gubla (Byblos), but to have been forced to retreat by lack of water. Was this a mere show of force or was it an attempt at creating a line which made it possible for him to maintain contact with the Hurrian princes in southern Syria and ultimately with Egypt? If so, it was of no avail; the Hittite king's might proved overpowering. The most loyal partisan whom the pharaoh had in Syria, Rib-Adda of Gubla, sums up the result of the campaign in the following words: 'The king, my lord, should be advised that the Hittite king has taken over all the countries affiliated(?) with the king of the Mita(nni) land, i.e.(?) the king of Nakh(ri)ma' (probably meaning Naharina, the name under which the Mitanni country was known in Egypt).

This move had brought Shuppiluliumash right to the border of the territory over which Egypt not only claimed, but in some fashion also exercised sovereignty. Shuppiluliumash halted here. He could not wish to antagonize the pharaoh unnecessarily at a time when Tushratta was far from completely defeated. To be sure, the Mitanni king was no longer undisputed ruler of Syria. But he may still have held open a line of communication with Egypt by way of Kinza. At any rate, Kinza defied the Hittites for a long time to come and was considered by them, even after Tushratta's downfall, as part of Egypt's sphere of influence. At the present moment Tushratta still ruled over his homeland in Upper Mesopotamia as well as all his eastern provinces.

Moreover, there existed a treaty of long standing between the Hittites and Egypt. It had been concluded when people of the Anatolian town of Kurushtama had been transferred (in a somewhat mysterious way) to Egyptian territory to become subjects of the pharaoh. It is unknown who precisely had been the contractants, but the political situation suggests that on the Egyptian side it must have been one of the pharaohs who still controlled Syria, and on the Hittite side a king who still held at least the Taurus frontier, i.e. a king reigning before the rebellion against Tudkhaliash, father of Shuppiluliumash. It must go back to the time before the Mitannians had come on to the scene and separated the two great western powers. The treaty had almost been forgotten; it acquired new actuality only when conquest reconstituted a common frontier between them.

It is difficult to assign an exact date to this first great success of the Hittite king. It seems clear, however, from the sources that the event took place during the lifetime of Abdi-Ashirta of Amurru whose death occurred late in the reign of Amenophis IV, perhaps about 1365.

The Hittite victory upset the order in Syria; it destroyed Mitannian control, but it did not replace it as yet with an equally firm Hittite rule. Some of the Syrian states became Hittite vassals, a development which made them susceptible to Mitannian vengeance. Others were freed from their old obligations and thus enabled to follow their own particularistic ambitions.

To safeguard access to his Syrian dependencies Shuppiluliumash installed, perhaps at this time, his son Telepinush as the local ruler ('priest') in the holy city of Kumanni (Comana Cappadociae). The pertinent decree has come down to us in the name of the great king, his second queen Khenti, and the crown prince Arnuwandash.

The Syrian states in the north, the territories of which were contiguous with former Hittite possessions, were reduced to vassalage. The most important among them was the state of Aleppo (Khalap). So far we have no direct testimony for a treaty between Shuppiluliumash and the king of Aleppo. We may take it for granted, however, that such a treaty must have existed. The same can be assumed for Mukish (Alalakh). The treaty between Shuppiluliumash and Tunip, remnants of which have survived, may belong to this period. As far as Ugarit on the coast is concerned, it is unlikely that it submitted at that time. Protected as it is by mountain ranges toward the plains of the north, it could feel reasonably safe .There are indications that Ammishtamru remained true to his obligations toward Egypt. His son Niqmaddu who later had to submit to Shuppiluliumash still corresponded with the pharaoh and even seems to have married an Egyptian princess. A treaty between Shuppiluliumash and the Nukhash Lands, the territories south of Aleppo, is definitely attested; the ruler of that region was at that time Sharrupsha.

It goes without saying that Tushratta could not accept without a fight the loss even of northern Syria. In fact, we know that he reacted violently. He could not but regard the conclusion of a treaty with the Hittites on the part of the king of the Nukhash Lands as a treasonable action. Aided by a local pro-Mitannian party, an armed invasion of Nukhash by a Mitannian army was temporarily successful, but was ultimately repulsed.

In other countries, e.g. in Neya and Arakhtu, partisans of the Mitannians must also have existed. After all, the ruling class was largely Hurrian in origin. Shuppiluliumash proved his deep mistrust of them when later, after his final conquest, he exiled most of these families to Anatolia. He probably had experienced difficulties with them. Of course, the position in which these dynasts found themselves was in no way enviable. They were caught between the three parties to the conflict: Tushratta, Egypt, and now the Hittites. The bolder among them tried to exploit the situation for their own ends and avoided commitments and eventual submission to any of the great powers. Such men were to be found particularly in southern Syria. There Mitannian supremacy had been broken, Egyptian domination was an empty claim, but Hittite influence was still too weak to demand unquestioned recognition. The princes of Amurru in particular took advantage of the opportunity that presented itself.

The kings of Amurru, Abdi-Ashirta and his son Aziru after him, were easily the most restive personalities in Syria at this time. A country Amurru had existed there at least since the Mari Age; it apparently lay west of the middle Orontes. Reactivated by Hapiru people it now showed a marked tendency to expand toward the Mediterranean coast; gradually it gained a foothold between Sumura in the south and Ugarit in the north. This had happened before Shuppiluliumash appeared on the scene. Already Amenophis III had had to recognize Abdi-Ashirta as the Amurrite chief; he had even tried to use him as a tool of Egyptian policy in order to check Tushratta's Syrian schemes. Rib-Adda of Gubla (Byblos), who was to become the foremost victim of the Amurrite, dates the beginning of his troubles from a visit that Amenophis III had paid to Sidon. The Hittite conquest of northern Syria did not make Rib-Adda's situation any less dangerous. On the contrary it removed every restraint that had held back Abdi-Ashirta. Egyptian control had ceased for all practical purposes. Pakhamnate, the Egyptian ‘commissioner’, had to give up his residence Sumura and probably returned to Egypt. Abdi-Ashirta stepped into the gap thus created; in doing so he seems to have obtained the official sanction of the pharaoh. He used his enhanced position to expand inland toward Damascus and to get a firmer hold on the coast, to the dismay of Rib-Adda of Gubla. The territory controlled by this tragic champion of Egyptian rule began to dwindle; his ever-repeated complaints and his incessant demands for help were not taken seriously by the pharaoh. Neither did his southern neighbors comply with his calls for help. In consequence, Sumura fell. Then the rulers of the town of Irqata and Ambi were murdered at the instigation of Abdi-Ashirta, and these places, together with Shigata and Ardata, were taken by the Amurrite. The appointment of Kha'ip (Ha'aptas the new Egyptian commissioner did not arrest this development. Abdi-Ashirta, Rib-Adda says, acted as though he were the Mitanni king and the Kassite king all in one. Gubla itself was seriously threatened. It was saved at the last moment when, after Bit-Arkha and Batruna, the last possessions of the prince of Gubla, had fallen, the Egyptian general Amanappa finally appeared with some troops.

Sumura and the other towns just mentioned are later in Egyp­tian hands again. Their recapture perhaps took place in connection with the events that led to Abdi-Ashirta’s death. This fierce fighter, whose activities in the interest of Amurru, his country, had been troublesome for many of his contemporaries, was at last slain, no matter in what way. His death did not, however, change the situation materially. After a temporary set-back, the people of Amurru, now led by Aziru, Abdi-Ashirta’s son, resumed their activities with renewed vigour. Very soon IrqataAmbiShigata and Ardata were reoccupied by them. Sumura did not fall at once; it was besieged and could for some time be reached only by boat. The Egyptians made an effort to hold it, and the commissioner of Sumura was killed in the fight. But the Egyptians finally had to evacuate their troops from the city. Rib-Adda, now left alone, faced a hopeless situation, particularly when Zimredda of Sidon allied himself with Aziru. Finally Gubla alone was left in his possession, and it too fell when intrigues compelled Rib-Adda to flee his hometown; he met a—probably violent—death in exile. At the same time Aziru took possession of Neya. All this seems to have taken place shortly before, or at the very beginning of, the second war in Syria.

It is quite likely that already at that time some understanding had been reached between Shuppiluliumash and Aziru. It need not necessarily have consisted of a formal treaty. At repeated times Aziru calls the pharaoh's attention to the fact that the Hittite stands in the Nukhash Lands, as though to remind him he might be forced to throw in his lot with the northerners. But, at the height of the threatening crisis, and before Shuppiluliumash was able to advance further to the south, the pharaoh called the Amurrite to Egypt. The correct interpretation of this act is probably an attempt at removing from the scene at the decisive moment the potentially most dangerous man. The pharaoh may even have hoped to draw Aziru over to his side, assigning him a role in a scheme for the preservation of Egyptian influence in Syria. Be this as it may, Aziru complied and, once there, played his ambiguous game with political skill and cleverness. His son, left at home, had to listen to accusations that he had sold his father to Egypt. But Aziru eventually returned from the court of the pharaoh unharmed. His treaty with Niqmaddu of Ugarit, which greatly strengthened his position in Syria, may have looked as though inspired by Egypt. It revealed its real import only when shortly thereafter, it seems, he also entered into a formal pact with Shuppiluliumash. Thereby he took finally his place in the Hittite system of states.

At about the same time Shuppiluliumash took another step of a highly political nature: he married a Babylonian princess. Assuming the name Tawannannash, a name which the first queen of the Hittites had borne in the old days, she also became reigning queen. The purpose is clear: in anticipation of the attack on Tushratta of Mitanni, Shuppiluliumash sought protection of his rear.  Burnaburiash must then have been king in Babylon.




His rival's earlier successes had alerted Tushratta to the things to come. Naturally he had tried to reassert his power. We know of two counter-measures he took. He interfered in the Nukhash Lands deposing Sharrupsha; he also initiated an anti-Hittite action further toward the north in Ishuwa. This gave Shuppiluliumash the pretext for his final attack. He declared that the Nukhash Lands were ‘rebels’—neighboring Mukish and Neya were likewise involved—and that the Mitannian had acted with arrogant presumptuousness.

At the same time he had prepared himself with circumspection. Approaching Ugarit beforehand he proposed a treaty of mutual peace which, in the circumstances, can only have been favorable to the small country where Niqmaddu, the son of Ammishtamru, then reigned. In this way he kept his right flank secure; sending a detachment to the Nukhash Lands, he himself crossed the Euphrates into Ishuwa where Tushratta had threatened him. Having obtained King Antaratal's permission he passed through Alshe and appeared on the north-western border of the Mitanni land proper. Having there captured the forts of Kutmar and Suta, he made a swift stab at Washshuganni, the Mitannian capital. When he reached it, he found, however, that Tushratta had fled.

He did not bother to pursue him, but turned westward; Syria was of much greater importance to him. He entered it recrossing the Euphrates from east to west, probably south of the strongly fortified Carchemish. Once on Syrian soil, one country after another fell to him. Everywhere he removed the Hurrian city-rulers who had been the mainstay of Mitannian domination and replaced them with men of his own choice. The list of the rebellious countries which Shuppiluliumash gives himself includes Aleppo, MukishNeyaArakhtuQatnaNukhash and Kinza, the sequence most likely indicating the order in which he defeated them. The campaign ended in Apina (Damascus), i.e. in clearly Egyptian territory. The negative fact is noteworthy that the report does not mention Carchemish, Ugarit and Amurru. The first probably remained independent; the two others were already bound by treaty to the Hittites.

This war had profoundly changed the overall political picture. Above all it meant the end of Tushratta and his empire. He himself may have held on for a while after his flight from Washshuganni; in the end he was murdered by conspirators among whom was his own son Kurtiwaza. In accordance with the beliefs of the times, his death was interpreted as the final decision of Teshub (the Mitanni Land's highest god) in the long-pending lawsuit between him and the king of the Khurri Land. It was now considered proven that Tushratta had usurped a throne which had not been rightfully his.

To be sure, the immediate advantage of Tushratta's downfall was not Artatama’s, but went to Alshe and above all to Assyria. These two countries, freed by the Hittite victory from Mitannian overlordship, divided most of the Mitannian territory between themselves, Alshe taking the north-western part and Assyria the north-eastern. The liberation of Assyria, where Ashur-uballit was then king, was an event which, unwished for and of little consequence at the moment, became of great significance later on. However, the Mitanni kingdom, although greatly reduced in area, did not entirely cease to exist; Kurtiwaza remained its ruler. A serious rival to him arose in the person of Shutatarra (Shuttarna), apparently son and successor of Artatama, who maintained, so it seems, that the Mitanni Land was now a vacant fief of the Khurri king. Kurtiwaza, expelled by Shutatarra (Shuttarna) sought refuge in Kassite Babylonia; finally he appeared at the court of Shuppiluliumash and tried to enlist the help of the Hittite king for the recovery of his throne.

Of greater immediate significance for the Hittites was the new order which Shuppiluliumash, after the destruction of the Mitanni Empire, created in Syria. It was based on the system of vassal states. In northern Syria some treaties already existed, with the successors to the vanquished rebels new ones were concluded. Soon the south was also reorganized. This time Ugarit was firmly included in this system. Niqmaddu came to Alalakh, the capital of Mukish, to pay homage to Shuppiluliumash. He received his country back as a fief, the frontier toward Mukish being regulated in detail, and assumed, as usual in vassal treaties, the duty of furnishing troops in wartime and paying a yearly tribute to his overlord. The documents written out then and handed to Niq­maddu bear the seal of Shuppiluliumash and sometimes that of the Great King and his third queen Tawannannash.

The treaty with Aziru of Amurru was confirmed; parts of a copy have survived. Aziru proved a loyal vassal of the Hittite king for the rest of his life which lasted into the reign of Murshilish, the son of Shuppiluliumash. The treaties no doubt concluded with Mukish and Neya have not come to light. Further inland and in the south the reorganization seems to have taken somewhat longer. At first Shuppiluliumash merely removed the reigning families to Hittite territory. Eventually, however, he brought them back; probably a few years later.

Thus in the Nukhash Lands, where Tushratta had started his last war, he replaced Sharrupsha, who had lost his life in the upheaval, by his grandson Tette. The treaty concluded with him is partly preserved. In Kinza Shuppiluliumash had not wanted to interfere. However, attacked by the local king, Shutatarra, and his son, he had been forced to engage himself. Defeated, they were deported, but the son, Aitakama, was eventually brought back. No doubt a formal treaty, not recovered as yet, was concluded also with him. Abi-milki of Tyre reports to Amenophis IV the fact of his restoration with obvious misgivings; he may have had good reasons. For Aitakama, backed by Hittite power and seconded by Aziru, immediately sought to extend his own borders by attacking the nominally Egyptian territory on his southern frontier. Not far east from Kinza, in QatnaAitakama found another target for his attempt at expansion. In a way not clear to us a certain Akizzi had gained possession of the small kingdom which had been listed only a short while ago as conquered by Shuppiluliumash; this Akizzi, as his letters show, recognized Egyptian overlordship. He reports to the pharaoh that Aitakama had tried to persuade him to take part in an anti-Egyptian conspiracy. He also reports that Aitakama's advances had been more successful with Teuwatti of Lapana and Arzawiya of Ruh-hizzi. Indeed, reinforced by Hittite troops, he attacked Qatna, apparently capturing it and compelling Akizzi to flee. Aitakama was even able to attack Apina (Damascus) where Piryawaza, the 'commissioner' of Kumidu, represented the pharaoh.

The advance of Hittite partisans as far south as the Biqa, the valley between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, and further east as far as Damascus ought not to have left the Egyptians indifferent; this was undisputed Egyptian territory. However, they either were unwilling or unable to help their friends in southern Syria. The letters of Akizzi—like those of Rib-Adda—are vivid testimony to Egyptian impotence.

A word remains to be said on chronology. The precise date of Tushratta's downfall is not ascertainable. Tushratta once mentions that friendship had prevailed between Amenophis IV and himself for four years. All his letters keep the memory of Amenophis III alive as though he had passed away only a short while ago. On the other hand, all of Aziru's struggle with Rib-Adda of Gubla must fall before the victory of Shuppiluliumash. The latter occurred early in the reign of Ashur-uballit of Assyria and certainly before Kurigalzu became king of Babylon, i.e. during the reign there of Burnaburiash. Therefore, one will be inclined to propose a date about 1360 or a little later.





The summaries of the Hittite conqueror's reign list—allegedly after twenty years of war against the Kaska (Gasga) people—six years of campaigning in the Khurri Lands, i.e. in northern Syria. The combined evidence from various surviving sources makes at least a tentative reconstruction possible.

The first link in the series of campaigns is probably a Hittite attack on Amqa, the land between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon which was considered an Egyptian dependency. The attack was commanded not by the king himself, but by one of his generals. The second year of this campaign saw serious fighting on the Euphrates frontier; the main adversary there was Carchemish which—surprisingly—had so far not been conquered. The city must have had helpers from further east. The military leader on the Hittite side was Telepinush, the king's son, who held the position of the 'priest' in Kumanni. His quick success resulted in the submission of the countries of Arziya and Carchemish; only that city itself continued to resist. The victorious army took up winter camp in Khurmuriga (or Murmuriga). When Telepinush had to go home in order to attend to urgent religious duties, the command was entrusted to the general Lupakkish. The prince’s departure precipitated an attack of Hurrian troops on Khurmuriga, which was enveloped and besieged. At the same time, Egyptian troops—probably reacting to the Hittite raid on Amqa which had just been mentioned—invaded Kinza. It was probably then that Kinza and Nukhash, as other sources relate, 'revolted' against ShuppiluliumashAziru of Amurru, however, remained loyal to his overlord.

Shuppiluliumash prepared his counter-stroke carefully. He gathered a new army in Tegarama and with the arrival of spring (this then is the third year of this series of campaigns) he sent it to Syria under the joint command of the crown-prince Arnuwandash and Zidash, the major-domo. Before he could join this army himself, it defeated the Hurrians and lifted the siege of Khurmuriga. He could at once proceed to laying siege to the city of Carchemish, and still had sufficient troops at hand to send a column under Lupakkish and Tarkhunda-zalmash against the Egyptians. They promptly drove the Egyptians from Kinza and re-entered Amqa, the Egyptian border province.

While Carchemish was under siege and this second army stood in Amqa, news reached Shuppiluliumash that a pharaoh, whom our source calls Piphururiyashad died. His identity has been much discussed; the publication of a new fragment in which the name is given as Niphururiyas finally decides the issue in favor of Tutankhamun, Akhenaten's son-in-law. According to the chronology followed in this work his death occurred c. 1352. A remarkable message from the pharaoh’s widow was conveyed to Shuppiluliumash. It deserves to be quoted here in full: 'My husband has died, and I have no son. They say about you that you have many sons. You might give me one of your sons, and he might become my husband. I would not want to take one of my servants. I am loath to make him my husband.' This offer was so surprising to the Great King that he called together his noblemen into council and decided first to investigate whether the request was sincere. A high official, Khattusha-zitish was sent to Egypt. During his absence in Egypt, Carchemish was taken by storm more quickly than anyone expected.

At the beginning of the following year—the fourth—Khattusha-zitish returned with a second message from the Egyptian queen, who bitterly complained about distrust and hesitancy. She added: “I have not written to any other country, I have written only to you... He will be my husband and king in the country of Egypt”. This time Shuppiluliumash complied with her wish. He sent Zannanzash to Egypt, but the prince never reached the goal of his journey. He was murdered on the way, probably by the 'servants' of the queen who did not wish a foreigner to ascend the throne of the pharaohs. Thus, by over-cautious hesitation Shuppiluliumash missed the chance of making one of his sons pharaoh of Egypt. All that he was able to do then was to send Hittite troops on a new expedition against Amqa. This seems to be counted as the fifth campaign in the series. On their return they carried home to the Hittite country a plague which harassed the people for a long time to come.

After the fall of Carchemish Shuppiluliumash reorganized northern Syria: he elevated his two sons Piyashilish and Telepinush (until then 'priest' of Kumanni) to kingship in Carchemish and Aleppo respectively. Thereby he assured firm control of the Taurus and Amanus passes and Hittite domination of the two most important states in northern Syria.

The downfall of Tushratta had set free Assyria, a result which was not altogether desirable from the Hittite point of view. Shuppiluliumash was not oblivious of the danger inherent in this development. To counteract it, he decided to make use of the presence of Kurtiwaza, the Mitannian prince, at his court. Piyashilish, the new king of Carchemish—now known as Sharre-Kushukh—was entrusted with the task of re-establishing him as king in Washshuganni. This may be counted as the sixth Hurrian campaign; it involved a serious armed expedition. The two princes set out from Carchemish, crossed the Euphrates, and attacked Irrite. The people of this city and the surrounding country, after some fighting, recognized that resistance was useless and surrendered. The next objective was Harran, which was quickly overrun. Further advance toward Washshuganni brought about some interference from the Assyrian, i.e. Ashur-uballit, and from the king of the Khurri Land. But the Hittite troops, acclaimed by the populace, were able to enter the former capital. The advance east of Washshuganni, however, proved to be difficult, mainly for lack of supplies. Nevertheless, the Assyrians did not risk battle and withdrew. Shuttarna retired beyond the Upper Euphrates and only insignificant skirmishing took place beyond that line. It became the north-eastern boundary of Kurtiwaza's new kingdom. The two versions of the treaty which Shuppiluliumash concluded with the new king are preserved. By taking one of the overlord's daughters in marriage, Kurtiwaza had previously been made a member of the royal family.

Either simultaneously with this campaign in the Mitanni country or in the following year, Arnuwandash, the crown prince, was sent out against 'Egypt'. Nothing beyond the mere fact is known.

When the reign of Shuppiluliumash drew toward its end—he must have died soon afterward, i.e. about 1346, the victim of the plague which Hittite soldiers had imported from Amqa—he was the undisputed master of Syria and wielded more power than any one of his contemporaries. The Egyptians, at the end of the Amarna period, were for internal reasons in no position to challenge the Hittites, and remained unable to do so for the next fifty years. The Assyrians, still in process of reorganization after their liberation from Mitannian overlordship, were not yet ready to oppose them seriously. Thus the struggle for Syria had ended for the time being and a balance of power had been established. Despite the efforts of the pharaohs of the Nineteenth Dynasty, and also despite the intermittent resurgence of Assyrian might, this remained essentially unchanged down to the great migrations toward the end of the thirteenth century.




Subbiluliuma was succeeded by his son Arandas, of whom there are no records, and then by another son, Mursil, read as Maurasira in Egyptian. In an interesting chronicle he mentions his father's conquest of Mitanni, and speaks of his own relations with various allied or subject states, mostly not yet identified. He also maintained control over the Amorites of Syria. But Egypt had now recovered from its weakness and its new king, Seti I, regained possession of south Syria. This serious blow seems to have roused Mutallu (or Mutallis), who succeeded his father Mursil, to make a great effort to re-establish the Hittite power over unhappy Syria. He resumed the war with Egypt, and fought a great battle against Ramses II (the successor of Seti) near Kadesh on the Orontes, which was still a Hittite stronghold. The Egyptian account of this battle is a well-known piece of literature. Things were going badly for Pharaoh:

“My warriors and my chariots had deserted me; not one of them stood by me. Then I prayed, Where art thou, my father Amon? And Amon heard me and came at my prayer. He stretched out his hand to me and I shouted for joy. I was changed. I became like a god, like a god in his strength, I slew the hosts of the enemy: not one escaped me. Alone I did it!”

But apart from its Homeric setting, the account is historically important because it indicates the extent of the Hittite confederacy. To oppose Ramses they had summoned contingents from Syria and Phoenicia, from Aleppo and Carchemish, Dardani, and Masu, and others whose identity is uncertain. It was probably the greatest effort they ever made, and it nearly succeeded. Evidently both sides suffered severely, for Mutallu found it safer to shut himself up in Kadesh and Rameses did not follow up the victory he claimed. In consequence of his failure Mutallu appears to have been deposed, and no doubt murdered, by a military conspiracy after a short reign.

His brother Hattusil, who followed him, had a long and eventful reign, largely occupied by his dealings with Egypt. As most of the Boghaz-keui documents belong to him, we may hope for a good deal of information when the language of them is better understood. He was a powerful and resourceful king, a worthy grandson of Subbiluliuma. His policy was the same as that of his grandfather, and was in fact the only possible policy for a state situated as the Hittites were, with an equally powerful rival on either side. He maintained his friendship with Babylon (still Kassite) and his alliance with Mitanni, so protecting himself against the growing power of Assyria on the east, and at the same time kept a hold on the Amorites in the west. He was thus in a strong position to deal with Egypt. Ramses, in spite of his boastful record of the battle of Kadesh was content in his twenty-first year (c. 1280 BC) to make a treaty with the Hatti, leaving to them Syria and all western Asia from the Euphrates to the sea. The treaty was a great event. The fragments found at Boghaz-keui evidently belong to a draft of it, and the terms were much discussed by letter before it was finally presented to Ramses for ratification.

But in spite of Hattusil’s diplomacy, the Hittite power from this time began steadily to decline. His reason for making the treaty with Egypt may have been that he foresaw danger from the increasing power of Assyria. At any rate it must have been soon after 1280 (the chronology is not quite certain) that Shalmaneser I in his great stone inscription records with pride how he conquered the land of Khani (rabbat), or Mitanni, and “slaughtered the army of the Hittite and the Aramaeans, his allies, like sheep”. This was the end of Mitanni power, and of any help it might give to the Hittites in their struggle.

The kings after Hattusil were his son Dudhalia, who mentions Carchemish as a vassal state under Eni-Tesup (a Hittite name), and his grandson Arnuanta neither of them apparently of much importance. The Boghaz-keui records then cease about 1200 BC. It is probable that the city was losing its dominant position by this time (owing to pressure from the west?) and that the Hittite centre was being gradually transferred to Carchemish in the south. Assyria was temporarily eclipsed after the death of Tukulti-ninib, and as Egypt was also weak, it was a time of unusual peace, with no power able to restrict the southward expansion of the Hittites and their trade. Unfortunately we have in consequence very little external information for the years just after Boghazkeui stops. From Egyptian sources we learn that the Hittites took part in an invasion of Egypt from the sea in the reign of Ramses III (twelfth century). They were no longer, however, the leading power among the allies. They merely joined in an attack which was organized from the west. It failed, and this is the last time they came in contact with Egypt. It is from Tiglath-Pileser I, under whom Assyria again became powerful, that we next hear of changes in the Hatti state. He broke up their federation, about 1120 BC, and was recognized by Egypt as the conqueror of Syria and north Palestine, which the Assyrians called Hatti-land. He did not, however, take Carchemish, and this continued to be their chief centre, though we get no more news of it for more than two centuries. In his time we begin to hear of the Muski (Hebrew), a powerful tribe who seem to take the place of the Hittites as head of the confederacy.

It has been suggested that the Kassite conquest of Babylon may have been facilitated by the Hittite invasion which preceded it. Whether or not the Hittites were racially connected with the Kassites, or had a particular interest in their fortunes, it is at least striking that we hear of them again at the end of the Kassite dynasty. That came to an end in 1181 BC, and was succeeded by the Semitic dynasty of Isin, and some thirty years later the Hittites ventured to invade Babylon again. But this time they encountered Nebuchadrezzar I, a very different person from Samsuditana. They succeeded in taking the city, but not in holding it. In thirteen days Nebuchadrezzar drove them out and pursued them westward as far as Syria. It was merely a raid, which cannot have had any serious political effect, and never again did Hittites attack Babylon. In fact their glory was departed.

In all this long story, largely concerning Syria since the time of Hammurabi, there has been no mention of the people with whom we naturally associate it the Israelites. Indeed, their entry into the promised land can have happened only a short time before the events just narrated. The Hittite control of Syria had been broken, and the Amorites, who had shared their ascendancy, shared also their downfall. This does not mean that no Hittites or Amorites were left in the country. On the contrary the books of Joshua and Judges mention both specially. The population remained, but the land was without a government, and therefore an easier object of attack to the Israelites under Joshua. That the invaders amalgamated with the native population is stated in Judges III. 5-6, and Ezekiel's taunt (XVI. 3 -45) of Jerusalem (some centuries later) is no doubt founded on historical fact: 'The Amorite was thy father, and thy mother was an Hittite.' The basis of the population must have remained largely Hittite, and when we can read the language we may find that their influence was fundamental. Indeed the Hittites were so closely associated with Syria that it continued to be called Hatti-land long after they had lost their hold on it. Similarly the name was applied vaguely to members of the confederacy, irrespective of race. It was a great name, and the Assyrians did not forget it. After Tiglath-Pileser I there is a blank in our sources of information for about two centuries, during which Assyrian records give very little information at all. This interval must have witnessed the rise of Carchemish, and also the growth of Aramaean power.

The rest of the story of the Hittites now centres round Carchemish, and is a record of continual struggle against Assyria, with varying success, but always tending to the inevitable end. The Assyrian accounts are very full, and I can only indicate here the main features of the history. Assurnazirpal I (884-858), in his campaigns to the north and north-west, to strengthen his hold on the provinces there, after savagely crushing many small states, received tribute from Milid and Kurhi, members of the Hittite confederacy. He had already subdued Kummuh. His constant attacks on the Aramaean states along the Euphrates show the importance which these had attained, probably at the expense of the Hittites. In 1877 he took Carchemish. Owing to its position the city had become a rich commercial centre, under its king Sangara. It was for this reason that Assurnazirpal attacked it, and a large tribute was exacted. He then went on to the neighbouring and allied state of Hattin (capital Kunulua, under Labarna), through which the trade passed to the Orontes, and so on to the Lebanon and the sea. Here also a large tribute was exacted.

His son Shalmaneser III (858-824) carried out the same plan still further. He again had to deal with the Aramaeans, but his main object was to crush the Hittite confederacy. There could in fact be no peace for Assyria until these troublesome states were reduced to Assyrian provinces. They must have rebelled again, for he took tribute (to name only places of interest here) from Carchemish (King Sangara), Kummuh (King Kundashpi), Milid (King Lulli), Hattin (King Kalparuda), Pitru and Aleppo (whose god was Adad). He also fought a great battle at Karkar, near the Orontes, against an army of allies from Hamath (Irhuleni), Damascus (Bir-idri), and Israel (Ahab), with others. Though he claims a great victory, he was unable to follow it up. The alliance was powerful, and if it could have held together it might have maintained its independence, but it had too many incompatible interests to last. Adadnirari IV (810-781) took tribute from Damascus and Syria, which was now only traditionally called Hatti-land. While the Hittite power was thus being gradually broken by Assyria, it also had to contend with the new kingdom of Van, as we learn from the Vannic inscriptions. This kingdom had risen to importance soon after the death of Shalmaneser III. One of its kings, Sarduris III, about 750, overran north Syria and compelled the Hittite states of Milid (King Sulumal), Gurgum (Tarkhulara), Kummukh (Kushtashpi), and probably Carchemish (Pisiris), to form an alliance with him against Assyria. This bold adventure was crushed by Tiglath-Pileser IV (746-727), who took tribute from all the allies, as well as (or including) Damascus (Bezin), Kue (Urikki), Hamath (Enilu), Samal (Panammu), Tabal (Uassurme), Tyana, and many others.

The end of this ‘strange eventful history’ came with Sargon II (722-705). Hamath had again become a centre of opposition to Assyria, under its king Yaubidi or Ilubidi (successor of Enilu), who is called a Hittite. He was killed and the city was taken. Carchemish had managed to remain independent, and its king, Pisiris, was called sar mat Haiti, as though his city was now the capital of Hatti-land. He now joined with Mita of Muski in an attempt to withstand Assyria. But the unity of the Hittite states had been broken and they were powerless except in a large combination. Pisiris was defeated and taken prisoner, together with large booty from the prosperous city. In order to guard against any trouble from it in the future, Sargon reduced Carchemish to the status of a province of the empire under an Assyrian governor in 717 BC. Revolts of some minor states, such as Milid (Tarhunazi) and Gurgum (Mutallu), had to be suppressed in the next few years, but this may be said to be the end of the Hittite power. Owing to its position Carchemish remained an important place for some centuries. It is now a mound whose identity has only recently been established by archaeological evidence.