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Hittitology today: Studies on Hittite and Neo-Hittite Anatolia in Honor of Emmanuel Laroche’s 100th Birthday

Alice Mouton

III. Histoire et géographie historique

The Hurrian Language in Anatolia in the Late Bronze Age

Stefano de Martino

Texte intégral


1The question of how extensively Hurrian was spread in Syria as a spoken language has already been assessed on several occasions mostly concerning the core of Mittani and the more western kingdoms of Alalaḫ, Ugarit and Qatna.

2The different answers to this question depend on the written evidence available for each of these areas, but also on the views of the scholars who have dealt with this problem.

  • 1 On these texts lastly see von Dassow 2014.
  • 2 See Wilhelm 1996: 180.

3Letters exchanged between Mittanian state officials, legal acts, administrative texts and royal grants, such as the tablets from Tell Brak (TB 6002; TB 7035, TB 8001), Tell Bazi (Bz 51/23:21; Bz 50/23:32) and Tell Umm el-Marra (UEM T1)1, all written in Akkadian, clearly show that the Akkadian was the administrative language also used in the regions either inside or close to the core of Mittani and not only in the more peripheral areas such as the kingdoms of Arrapha, Terqa and Alalaḫ2.

  • 3 Also see Giorgieri 2013: 163.

4However, the letter found at Tell Brak TB 1102 (Wilhelm 1991a) is in Hurrian and was presumably exchanged between two Mittanian state officials. This proves that both languages, Hurrian and Akkadian, were used in the state administration. As G. Wilhelm (1996: 180) wrote, this letter shows that “la lettre mitannienne de Tušratta n’est pas une pièce unique, mais qu’à la cour du Mittani, on écrivait aussi en hourrite à certaines occasions”3.

5According to E. von Dassow (2008: 75) “Hurrian was one of the main languages spoken at Alalaḫ during the period of Level IV, the other being a local West Semitic dialect”. The increase in the diffusion of the Hurrian language at Alalaḫ at the time of the phase Alalaḫ IV cannot be attributed to the arrival of larger groups of Hurrians. Supposedly, it was due to the incorporation of Alalaḫ into the kingdom of Mittani, although not the result of the imposition of a Mittanian ruling élite over the native population. In fact – as E. von Dassow (2008: 76) observed – Hurrian personal names were borne by people belonging to different social levels.

6J. P. Vita (2009) recently presented a summary on the linguistic situation of Ugarit: according to Dietrich and W. Mayer (1999: 74-75) Hurrian was no longer a spoken language at Ugarit in the 13th century BC. J. Sanmartín (1999-2000: 121-123) and W.H. van Soldt (2003: 682) considered the use of Hurrian at Ugarit only limited to small circles of people and never for administrative purposes. Differently, D. Pardee (1996) and J. P. Vita (2009: 225-227) tried to demonstrate that some of the scribes in the palace administration might have been Hurrian speakers.

7The recently published letters of the archive of Idadda king of Qatna (Richter/Lange 2012), where the Akkadian text is full of Hurrian words and expressions, show that there were at least some people belonging to the Qatna social élite and involved in the state administration who were bilingual and competent in both Hurrian and a western Semitic idiom (Richter 2005).

8As for Anatolia, the studies on the use of Hurrian are mostly concentrated in the documentation related to Kizzuwatna. We may for example quote the opinions of two scholars who have dealt with the written evidence of this region: J. Miller (2004: 256), after having examined the Kizzuwatna rituals, reached the conclusion that the scribes of Kizzuwatna produced “texts in Hurrian and Luwian, probably the spoken languages of the region”. Differently, I. Yakubovich (2010: 275) assumed a more restricted use of the Hurrian language:

“the educated elites of Kizzuwatna likewise gravitated toward the high culture of Syria and Mesopotamia and preserved Akkadian as their main chancellery language. It is also possible that some of the Kizzuwatna scribes wrote in Hurrian, the language of the social elites of the Mittani kingdom, although this language must have been reserved for special kinds of composition…”.

9The examination of the Hurrian and Luwian invocations to Ištar-Šaušga and Piringir led I. Yakubovich (2010: 266) to conclude that the diffusion of the Hurrian language in central Anatolia was even more limited; he wrote: “the scribe did not expect the Hurrian language to be widely known in the educated Hittite milieu”.

10The recent discovery of some Hurrian texts at Kayalıpınar/Šamuḫa re-opened the question of how widely the Hurrian language was diffused in central Anatolia. As E. Rieken (2009: 134) wrote, these Hurrian texts clearly show that Hurrian must have been used, at least locally, by state officials of the Hittite kingdom.

11In my opinion a picture of the diffusion of the Hurrian language in Anatolia can only be drawn through a cross-analysis to compare Hurrian written documentation, by taking into consideration the chronology, content, typology and find-spot of every important Hurrian tablet, with the Hurrian onomasticon of Anatolia by examining the chronological and social distribution of Hurrian personal names.

The Old Kingdom

  • 4 Cfr. ChS I/7 12, see Wilhelm 2010: 623 n. 2.
  • 5 Differently M. Salvini (1994: 78) dated ChS I/7 24 to the Old Kingdom.

12No tablet in Hurrian found in an Anatolian archaeological excavation, dates back to the Hittite Old Kingdom (Klinger 2001: 202). The oldest texts arrived to us are some Hurrian liver omina: KBo 32.223 (danānu omina, Wilhelm 1987; ChS I/7 4), KUB 47.93 (ChS I/7 24), KUB 8.47 (gall bladder omina, ChS I/7 6), KBo 49.60 (gall bladder omina?4), Bo 2002/08 (gall bladder omina, Wilhelm 2010). These tablets, according to the sign-forms, can be dated to the 15th century (Wilhelm 1987: 232; Klinger 2001: 202 n. 22; 2003: 240 n. 15; Wilhelm 2010, 623-629; Giorgieri 2013: 164)5. The texts ChS I/7 4, 6 and Bo 2002/08 show common formal elements, such as the sign DIŠ at the beginning of every omen, interpreted by G. Wilhelm (1987: 233) as “eine Art Zählhilfe oder Textordnungsymbol (§)”, similarly to what can be seen in some Old Babylonian omina.

13G. Wilhelm (2010: 630) stressed the importance of these texts, the knowledge of which reached Ḫattuša at a time when Kizzuwatna had not yet been annexed to Ḫatti. Nevertheless, Kizzuwatna might, also at that time, have been the link between the Hittites and the Hurrian world; in fact we might advance the hypothesis that the political tie between Ḫatti and Kizzuwatna, when the Hittite king Zidanza II concluded a treaty with Pilliya (Beal 1986: 430-431), might have led to an exchange of scribes and texts.

14There are no Hurrian personal names borne either by members of the Hittite court or by state officials during the Old Kingdom (de Martino 2011: 9, 25). This supports the hypothesis that the Hurrian tradition and language did not in any way influence the Hittites, although Ḫattušili I and Muršili I conquered several eastern Anatolian and Syrian states and principalities, which the Hittites labelled as “Hurrian”.

The Early Imperial Age

  • 6 The treaty concluded by Tutḫaliya I with Šunaššura king of Kizzuwatna established the Hittite polit (...)
  • 7 Also see de Martino 2011: 9 n. 8 with more literature.

15The situation completely changed in the last decades of the 15th century, starting with the reign of King Tutḫaliya I. Three factors caused this change: the annexation of Kizzuwatna, which became an integral part of the Hittite Kingdom6; the marriage of Tutḫaliya I to Nikkal-Madi, who presumably was a princess of the royal family of Kizzuwatna (Houwink ten Cate 1998: 43-50)7; and the Syrian campaigns of Tutḫaliya I, who conquered Aleppo and other western Syrian municipalities.

16M. Giorgieri (2013: 164-165) already listed and put in chronological order the most important Hurrian texts found in Hittite archives. None of the texts collected by Giorgieri explicitly mentions either Tutḫaliya I or Arnuwanda I, but a date to their reign is supported by several elements.

  • 8 Only a small fragment, ABoT 2.247 (Soysal 2011: 30) is to be dated to the 13th century.

17The tablets of the “Song of Release”, a composition that narrates the fall of Ebla happened at the time of Ḫattušili I and Muršili I, and those of the “Parables” (Neu 1996) might indeed have reached the Hittite capital at the time of either Tutḫaliya I or Arnuwanda I, although the original Hurrian composition is much older and can be dated either to the end of the 17th century or to the beginning of the 16th century (Neu 1996: 5-7). In fact, the Hurro-Hittite bilingual edition discovered at Ḫattuša can be dated about to the Early Imperial Age, if we consider the paleographic and linguistic features8. Since these two compositions are not documented in older tablets, we can exclude the assumption that the original Hurrian texts might have been brought to Ḫattuša when Ḫattušili I and Muršili I conquered eastern Anatolia and western Syria.

18Unfortunately we do not know where the “Song of Release” was originally composed. G. Wilhelm (2008: 192-193) convincingly put forward the hypothesis that this “poem”, that belongs to the tradition of the city of Igingalliš, might have been written and preserved in a Syrian center, such as Haššum, where the Hurrian language was already spoken in the Middle Bronze Age. Then, the knowledge of the Song might also have reached other centers such as Aleppo, Ugarit and Kizzuwatna. The Hurrian fragment RS 19.148, recently published by M. Giorgieri (2013: 177-178) and seemingly part of the “Song of Release”, might support the supposition that this text was also known in Syria, although at a later time. Going back to the problem of how these Hurrian tablets reached Ḫattuša, we might advance two hypotheses: they were either taken to the Hittite capital as part of the booty after Tutḫaliya I had conquered and sacked Aleppo and the other Western Syrian regions, or else they had arrived at the Hittite court together with all the other texts taken from the archives of Kummani, after the annexation of Kizzuwatna and the marriage of the Hittite king to Nikkal-Madi.

  • 9 See de Martino 2014 concerning the other tablets and material stored in these two temples.

19All the tablets of the “Song of Release” and those of the Parables, with the only exception of ABoT 2.247 (see n.8) the find-spot of which is unknown, have been found in Ḫattuša, in the Temples 15 and 16 of the Upper City9. Their exclusive location and the lack of tablets of these two compositions in the main archives of the Hittite capital, such as Büyükkale (Building A), the “Haus am Hang” and the Temple I, lead us to believe that the interest in these texts was limited to the erudite priests active in these two temples. Despite this, the high number of duplicates of some parts of the “Song of Release” (de Martino 2012) shows how great the interest was in these Hurrian texts from the small community active in the Temples 15 and 16. These duplicates might also have been used for scholarly purposes, for example for teaching the Hurrian language and traditions either to priests or scribes.

20The point about the scribes being native Hurrian speakers and their competence in translating into Hittite the Hurrian text has already been assessed in some essays, although no exhaustive analysis has been done of all the tablets and the fragments of the “Song of Release” and the Parables. The most veritable hypothesis seems to be that a team of scribes, some of them speaking Hittite and others Hurrian, maybe both with a double linguistic competence although at different degrees, might have carried out the translation (de Martino 1999). In fact, since some of the mistakes recognizable in the Hittite version can be interpreted as due to interference from the Hurrian language, the translator of these passages must have been a Hurrian speaker (Wilhelm 1997: 281 n. 26, 283-284 n. 36). Despite this, the translator has not well understood the Hurrian text of other passages and this might only have happened to a scribe who was not a native Hurrian (Wilhelm 1992: 128).

  • 10 A person by the name Hubidi is the sender of a letter found at Šapinuwa, but we cannot say if he is (...)

21Hubidi might be a good example of a bilingual scribe active in the Early Imperial Age and with a double linguistic competence. In fact Hubidi, who bears a Hurrian name (de Martino 2011: 53), is the scribe not only of the prayer in Hurrian ChS I/1 41 (see ultra), but also of the Hittite fragment KBo 22.129 (+) KBo 22.129a (Groddek 2008: 120-121). According to Sh. Gordin (2014: 65) Hubidi might be a second or third generation scribe in Ḫattuša; his presence in the Hittite capital “might reflect an earlier influx of the Hurrians from Kizzuwatna, during the 15th century BCE.” In my opinion he might also be a Kizzuwatean scribe, able to write texts in both languages, having moved from south-eastern Anatolia at the time of either Arnuwanda I or Tutḫaliya II10.

  • 11 The tablets ChS I/5 1, 2, 40 show a MS ductus, see ChS I/5 pp. 7, 13; concerning the ritual of Aštu (...)

22The ritual of Allaituraḫḫi (ChS I/5 1-2), the ritual of Šalašu (ChS I/5 40) and the ritual of Aštu (ChS I/5 50-67) might also have been known at the Hittite court in this same period11. The supposition that these rituals have reached Ḫattuša at the time of either Tutḫaliya I or Arnuwanda I has already been advanced by V. Haas and H. J. Thiel (1978: 65-66) and more recently reaffirmed by J. Miller (2004: 506; 2005: 130-131) and M. Giorgieri (2013: 164).

23The provenance of these three ritualists is well documented: Allaituraḫḫi came from Mukiš, Aštu was a Hurrian “Old Woman” (Görke 2010: 273-276) and Šalašu came from Kizzuwatna; the names they bear are Hurrian (de Martino 2011: 66, 67, 70).

24The knowledge of these rituals must date to a period when the relations between Ḫattuša, on the one hand, and Kizzuwatna and north western Syria, on the other, were close. Such a political and cultural contingency must have happened only starting with the later phase of the kingdom of Tutḫaliya I and the annexation of Kizzuwatna (Miller 2004: 355-356). Tutḫaliya I adplanted the Deity of the Night of Kizzuwatna in Šamuḫa (Miller 2004: 312, 355) and this is a sure sign of his interest in the religious and cultural traditions of Kizzuwatna; moreover rituals of Kizzuwatnean and Syrian traditions were copied and stored in the archives of the Hittite capital by the king’s command. It is hard to say in which way these rituals became known to the Hittites, whether some Hittite scribes, who joined the king and his army during the military expedition of Tutḫaliya I, could have possibly interviewed “the practitioners of the oral ritual arts” active in Syria. Otherwise these same ritual experts might have been resident in Kizzuwatna and they could have been interviewed there. Lastly it is also possible that the tablets of these rituals had once be kept in the archives of Kummani and from there taken to Ḫattuša (Miller 2004: 506).

  • 12 Differently, according to Yakubovich (2010: 274 n. 81), this text does not give any indication that (...)

25As the possibility of recognizing original Kizzuwatnean tablets inside the Hittite archives, we may quote KUB 47.41 (ChS I/2 80, an AZU Ritual); it shows an unusual ductus, which J. Klinger (2001: 200) and J. Miller (2004: 526-527) labeled as Middle Assyrian. According to these two scholars, it might be the only surviving evidence of an imported original text from Kizzuwatna12.

26J. Klinger (2001: 200) assumed an oral transmission of the Hurro-Kizzuwatnean rituals, but in this case the registration of long Hurrian rituals might have been possible only on condition that some Kizzuwatnean scribes resided and worked at the Hittite court.

  • 13 A passage of this text (III 20’) documents that he had been ordained as a priest.
  • 14 Also see ChS I/8 7, see Giorgieri 2013: 164.

27The texts ChS I/1 39 and 40 are labeled as “edicts” (Haas 1984: 5). They can be dated to Arnuwanda I. In fact, ChS I/39 mentions Queen Ašmu-Nikkal (III 22’) and Tašmi-Šarri13; the name of prince Tulbi-Tešob, one of Arnuwanda’s sons or grandsons (Marizza 2007: 24-33), occurs in ChS I/1 40, 12. These texts are original tablets of the Early Imperial Age. The use of either Hurrian (ChS I/1 39) or both Hurrian and Hittite (ChS I/1 40) for acts that had a political purpose proves that the members of the royal family and the court of that time were familiar with the Hurrian language14.

  • 15 Among the Hurrian tablets found in Šapinuwa, we may also quote the Hurrian offering ritual for Tutḫ (...)

28Moving onto the time of Tutḫaliya II, the rituals itkahi and itkalzi can be dated to the royal couple Tutḫaliya II/Tašmi-Šarri and Tadu-Ḫeba, who are the ritual patrons. Some tablets of these rituals have been found in Ḫattuša (ChS I/1 1-4, 5-38), whilst others come from Šapinuwa (Süel 1998: 554-555). The tablets of the itkalzi ritual belong to two different series: the original Hurrian long edition of 22 tablets and a Hurro-Hittite reduced series of only 10 tablets (de Martino/Murat/Süel 2013: 132). The text documented in the long Hurrian edition is a purification ritual presumably performed on the occasion of the marriage of Tutḫaliya to Tadu-Ḫeba; the shorter edition is an adaptation of this same ritual transformed in a more general “fill in the blank” ritual, which theoretically might have been performed for any other ritual patron (de Martino/Süel 2015: 17). The Šapinuwa manuscripts of the 3rd and the 11th tablets date to the time of Tutḫaliya II; the several tablets of this ritual found in the Hittite capital are in part original texts of the early imperial age and in part copies of a later time (Haas 1984: 11-14). The choice of such a long purification ritual in Hurrian is clearly a sign that Tutḫaliya II and Tadu-Ḫeba were familiar with the Hurrian language15.

  • 16 Also see the prayer ChS I/1 42.
  • 17 We can presume that Kantuzili was a priest in Kizzuwatna even during the reign of his brother Tutḫa (...)

29Further proof that Hurrian was spoken by the members of the royal family at this time can be seen in the Hurrian prayer ChS I/1 41, which Queen Tadu-Ḫeba addressed to the god Tešob (Wilhelm 1991b; Singer 2002: 43-44)16. In fact the prayer is a kind of text that is usually recited in the native language of the speaker and we can presume that the queen, when reciting this prayer, could understand its meaning. We may also quote the tablet ChS I/1 11, which is an invocation to the gods in Hurrian, attributed in the colophon to Kantuzili, son of Arnuwanda I and a priest in Kizzuwatna (Marizza 2007: 17-24)17.

30As previously mentioned, Hurrian tablets have also been found in the excavations of the Anatolian site Kayalıpınar/Šamuḫa; the fragmentary tablet Kp 05/226 is particularly interesting, because, presumably, it is an account of military enterprises undertaken in Syria (Wilhelm 2006; Wilhelm apud Rieken 2009: 130-133; Rieken 2009: 133-135; Giorgieri 2013: 166) during the reign of Tutḫaliya II (de Martino 2010: 135). It is written in Hurrian, but with the Hittite ductus in use at the Hittite capital during the Early Imperial Age (Wilhelm apud Rieken 2009: 130). This historical narrative is another important piece of evidence in support of the hypothesis that Hurrian was spoken at the Hittite court of that time.

31Tutḫaliya II resided in both Šapinuwa and Šamuḫa; he built the huge royal palace of Šapinuwa and the archive discovered there proves that he indeed ruled the country from that city (Süel 2009). About 650 tablets in Hurrian have been found in the archive of Šapinuwa and this proves that Hurrian was written and understood in that city. Tutḫaliya II also spent some time in Šamuḫa (de Martino 2008: 134-138). The existence of Hurrian texts in Šapinuwa and Šamuḫa could be the consequence of Tutḫaliya’s presence together with his court in both of these cities (Rieken 2009: 133-134; Giorgieri 2013: 166).

32The important role gained by the use of Hurrian during the Early Imperial Age finds confirmation in the spreading of Hurrian names among the members of the royal family. All the queens have Hurrian names (Nikkal-Madi, Ašmu-Nikkal, Šadandu-Ḫeba, Tadu-Ḫeba); King Tutḫaliya II had a Hurrian second name (Tašmi-Šarri). Several other members of the royal family also bear Hurrian names (de Martino 2011: 9-13). Differently Hurrian personal names are not widespread among the inhabitants of Ḫatti. Hurrian names are only borne by foreign experts, such as the ritualists Allaituraḫḫi, Giziya, Ašdu, Madi, Šalašu etc., the physicians Agiya and Hudubi, the diviner Eḫal-Tešob (de Martino 2011: 26-27). These experts might have been called to move from Kizzuwatna and eastern Syria to reside at the Hittite court. The case of Šapinuwa differs from what we know about the rest of the country. In fact the tablets of Šapinuwa mention several people bearing Hurrian names. They could be either functionaries who had moved from Kizzuwatna or else members of a local Hurrian community documented in the Hittite written documentation for the first time during this period (de Martino 2011: 27-28). Lastly, Hurrian names are borne by the inhabitants of Išmeriga, a region close to Kizzuwatna (de Martino 2011: 27).

The Imperial Age

  • 18 Also see KBo 33.10 (ChS I/6 3), part of the Poem of Gilgameš.
  • 19 For example see Hoffner 1988: 162 concerning the Song of the Sea; also see Archi 2007: 197.

33Hurrian mythological texts have come down to us either in Hurrian or Hittite. The mythological texts in Hurrian (ChS I/6) comprehend the series of Kumarbi, the Tale of Kešše, and other compositions. Moreover fragments in Hurrian of the poem of Gilgameš are also documented. Very few of the Hurrian mythological tablets can be dated either to the Early Imperial Age or to the second half of the 14th century, such as KUB 47.3 (ChS 1/6 29, Tale of Kešše) and KUB 45.64 (ChS I/6 64, “Song of the Sea”)18. All the other tablets date to the 13th century; the texts in Hittite language of the Hurrian mythological compositions also date to that time (Haas 2006: 130). Despite this, it is possible that some of these texts might have been written earlier, for example during the reign of Šuppiluliuma I19. His conquest of the kingdom of Mittani presumably also brought wider knowledge of the Hurrian literary tradition.

34The relationship between the Hurrian version and the Hittite edition of these mythological texts is very complex. M. Giorgieri (2001) demonstrated that KUB 45.61 – a Hurrian fragment of the “Song of Ullikummi” narrating the birth of Ullikummi – cannot be compared with the analogous passage of the Hittite version, since the latter is only an adaptation of the original Hurrian text. The same can be said for the tale of Kešše, documented by tablets in Hurrian, Hittite and Akkadian (EA 341). The relationship between the Hurrian and the Hittite versions “is more like the complex relationship between the Hurrian, Hittite and Akkadian versions of Gilgameš” (Dijkstra 2008: 2015). V. Haas (2006: 208) also considered the Hittite version to be an adaptation of the original Hurrian tale.

  • 20 I.e. the Song of Release.

35The lack of any exact correspondence between the two versions – one in Hurrian and the other in Hittite – of the Hurrian myths led A. Archi (2007: 197-198) to conclude that the archetype of every Hurrian mythological composition written in Hittite was an oral text: “When a scriptorium felt the need to acquire a written Hurrian version, they turned to a ‘singer’: a bard who dictated his version….. There was no longer a Hurrian text with the Hittite translation opposite, as in the Epic of Freeing20, but an orally dictated text, that is to say, one that has been reformulated in Hittite, dictated possibly with the help of memories of a Hurrian manuscript”. M.R. Bachvarova (2014) has very recently supported Archi’s hypothesis with more arguments; she assumed that

“the tablets represent textualizations of flexible narratives, and that the works, whether dictated by singers, composed by scribes, or involving scribal modification or redacting of previously existing texts, should be considered to be ‘oral derived’.”

36Accepting Archi’s hypothesis, Hurrian bards might have been present at the Hittite court in the 13th century. However, they did not play any significant role in spreading the Hurrian language. The Hurrian myths, for sure, were appreciated as pieces of literature; indeed several of these texts were kept either in Temple 1 or in the “Haus am Hang” (Archi 2007: 200). Despite this, the Hurrian mythological compositions were freely translated into Hittite and the Hittite translations are more numerous than the original Hurrian poems. We may assume that the members of the Hittite court preferred the Hittite translations because they were no more familiar with the Hurrian language.

  • 21 The ritual ChS I/5 47 and 48 shows passages similar to those of ChS I/5 46, but, as G. Wilhelm (199 (...)

37Muršili II might also have been interested in Hurrian rituals. A passage of the ritual of Ummaya (ChS I/5 46) mentions (IV 38’) a person by the name Muršili, who is thought to be King Muršili II; it contains passages in Hurrian as well in Hittite and was transmitted on a “Sammeltafel” (together with the ritual of Puliša)21.

38No Hurrian text can be dated with any certainty to Muwattalli II, although this king bore a Hurrian second name, Šarri-Tešob (Hawkins 2011: 94), and reintroduced, after a long while, Hurrian names into the royal family. In fact, Hurrian personal names had felt into disuse at the time of Šuppiluliuma I and Muršili II (de Martino 2011: 13-14). If there were any Hurrian text of Muwattalli II, they would be in the archives of Tarhuntašša.

  • 22 Concerning Pudu-Ḫeba’s exact provenance see de Roos 2006: 19.
  • 23 On this name see de Martino 2011, 65-66.

39As is well known, the wife of Ḫattušili III, Pudu-Ḫeba came from Kizzuwatna22. She had a Hurrian name and her father Pendib-Šarri also bore a Hurrian name23, a priest of Ištar. The Queen’s name is composed with the divine name Ḫebat as those of the Queens of the early imperial age, whose relationship with Kizzuwatna also was very close.

40Hurrian personal names came into fashion during the reign of Ḫattušili III among members of the royal families and members of the élite in the Hittite society at that time. Hurrian names were no longer limited to the people closely related to the royal couple, as in the Early Imperial Age, but they were also borne by high officials, scribes, priests etc. (de Martino 2011). The cause of this phenomenon cannot be fully explained. We can guess that Pudu-Ḫeba might have led her husband to adopt Hurrian names for some of their children; the members of the court, but also people working in the state administration might have followed this trend in a spirit of emulation for the royal family. It is also possible that the presence at the Hittite court of people coming from Kizzuwatna might have contributed to the diffusion of the Hurrian names.

41Pudu-Ḫeba had a great interest in the Hurro-Kizzuwatnean religious tradition. She ordered the Chief Scribe Walwaziti to collect the tablets of the ḫišuwa-festival stored in Kizzuwatna (Wegner/Salvini 1991). The scribe Hulanabi, one of Walwaziti’s sons wrote some of the tablets of this festival (Wegner/Salvini 1991: 3-4).

42Walwaziti was son of the Chief Scribe Mittanna-muwa who carried out his activity at the time of both Muršili II and Muwattalli II (Gordin 2014: 73). His Hurrian name refers to Mittani, presumably his native land (de Martino 2011: 30); differently M. Salvini (1980) suggested that he came from Kizzuwatna, because his children and grandchildren have either Hurrian or Luwian names, but, in my opinion, this only reflects the eclectic taste of the period, well documented by the names of the members of the royal family at the time of Ḫattušili III (de Martino 2011: 30-31). According to Sh. Gordin (2014: 73) Mittannamuwa and his scribal circle might have contributed to transmit and diffuse the Assyro-Mittanian script to Ḫattuša. Mittannamuwa and his descendants are an example of a school of scribes who might have known Hurrian.

43The tablets of the ḫišuwa-festival are written in Hittite, whereas Hurrian is only used in some stereotyped “Spruche”. Differently from the rituals of the Early Imperial Age, these sentences are not introduced by the expression “he/she (= the performer of the ritual) speaks in Hurrian” (Wegner/Salvini 1991: 3). The Hurrian sentences are only recited on the occasion of particular ritual actions; as M.-Cl. Trémouille (2000: 131) observed

“Cet emploi, réservé apparemment au moment des rites sacramentels, confère au hourrite le caractère d’une véritable langue sacrée, destinée exclusivement au dialogue entre les prêtres et la divinité. Dès que le culte devient public, hors des murs du temple ou de l’édifice sacré, l’usage du hourrite semble aboli”.

44Moreover, the Hurrian sentences of the ḫišuwa-festival show several peculiarities that do not fit the rules of the Hurrian grammar, such as the often recurring verbal form kel=o=ž used here with a transitive meaning (Giorgieri 2000: 235 n. 189; 2012: 144-145 n. 28).

45It is hard to say whether these expressions reflect either a Hurrian idiom used in Kizzuwatna or incorrect usage of the Hurrian language, but other elements support the hypothesis that the Hurrian language was no longer well known. The most recent edition of the Allaituraḫḫi ritual (ChS I/5 25-27) was performed for a king named Šuppiluliuma (ChS I/5 25 I 7’, IV 3’), who is generally identified with Šuppiluliuma II. This adaptation of the ritual lacks of any passage and sentence in Hurrian, whereas the older edition of the Early Imperial Age included long parts in Hurrian (Haas/Wegner 1988: 5).


46The collected available sources show that the Hurrian culture and tradition exercised a great influence over the Hittite royal family, which started with Tutḫaliya I and increased during the reign of Tutḫaliya II. The annexation of Kizzuwatna and the direct contact with western Syria might have been the reason for that influence. This phenomenon seems to be limited to the court and did not affect other components of the Hittite society. It is probable that the Hurrian language was spoken at the court of Kizzuwatna and Nikkal-Madi might have taught it to her children, even though Hittite remained the official and most widely used written language in the Hittite kingdom. Hurrian was also read and written among small circles of erudite persons, such as those who collected the tablets of the “Song of Release” and of the Parables in the temples 15 and 16. The provenance of these people is unknown and we cannot exclude that they were priests or scribes of Kizzuwatnean origin. No element supports the hypothesis that the Hurrian language was also widespread among the population of central Anatolia. The linguistic situation in the more eastern areas of Anatolia, such as Išmeriga, might have been different, but the lack of written documentation from these countries prevents us from reaching any definite conclusion.

47In the second half of the 13th century Hurrian culture, myths of Hurrian tradition and Hurrian personal names gained a great popularity, mostly from the influence exercised by Queen Pudu-Ḫeba, but several clues support the hypothesis that Hurrian was no longer widely used during this same period.


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1 On these texts lastly see von Dassow 2014.

2 See Wilhelm 1996: 180.

3 Also see Giorgieri 2013: 163.

4 Cfr. ChS I/7 12, see Wilhelm 2010: 623 n. 2.

5 Differently M. Salvini (1994: 78) dated ChS I/7 24 to the Old Kingdom.

6 The treaty concluded by Tutḫaliya I with Šunaššura king of Kizzuwatna established the Hittite political control over this region that eventually was annexed to Ḫatti, see Wilhelm 1988.

7 Also see de Martino 2011: 9 n. 8 with more literature.

8 Only a small fragment, ABoT 2.247 (Soysal 2011: 30) is to be dated to the 13th century.

9 See de Martino 2014 concerning the other tablets and material stored in these two temples.

10 A person by the name Hubidi is the sender of a letter found at Šapinuwa, but we cannot say if he is the already mentioned scribe (de Martino 2011: 27-28).

11 The tablets ChS I/5 1, 2, 40 show a MS ductus, see ChS I/5 pp. 7, 13; concerning the ritual of Aštu almost all the manuscripts belong to the imperial age and only ChS I/5 59 has an MS ductus (Görke 2010: 25-26). Concerning the manuscripts of the Allaituraḫḫi ritual also see Miller 2004: 506 n. 924.

12 Differently, according to Yakubovich (2010: 274 n. 81), this text does not give any indication that it was extracted from the archives of Kizzuwatna.

13 A passage of this text (III 20’) documents that he had been ordained as a priest.

14 Also see ChS I/8 7, see Giorgieri 2013: 164.

15 Among the Hurrian tablets found in Šapinuwa, we may also quote the Hurrian offering ritual for Tutḫaliya II/Tašmi-Šarri (Or 97/1), recently published (Wilhelm/Süel 2013).

16 Also see the prayer ChS I/1 42.

17 We can presume that Kantuzili was a priest in Kizzuwatna even during the reign of his brother Tutḫaliya II; in fact his follower, Telipinu, was appointed to that position by Šuppiluliuma I (de Martino 2013: 69).

18 Also see KBo 33.10 (ChS I/6 3), part of the Poem of Gilgameš.

19 For example see Hoffner 1988: 162 concerning the Song of the Sea; also see Archi 2007: 197.

20 I.e. the Song of Release.

21 The ritual ChS I/5 47 and 48 shows passages similar to those of ChS I/5 46, but, as G. Wilhelm (1999: 413 and n. 8) demonstrated, the name Tašmi-Šarruma cannot be read in the fragmentary passages ChS I/5 47 III 5 and ChS I/5 48 III 17’.

22 Concerning Pudu-Ḫeba’s exact provenance see de Roos 2006: 19.

23 On this name see de Martino 2011, 65-66.


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