Suppiluliuma I

Suppiluliuma I

Suppiluliuma I was king of the Hittites (ca. 1344 – 1322 BC (short chronology)). He achieved fame as a great warrior and statesman, successfully challenging the then-dominant Egyptian empire for control of the lands between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates.

Suppiluliuma began his career as the chief advisor and general to Tudhaliya II, then based at Samuha. In this capacity, he defeated the Hittites' enemies among the Azzi-Hayasa and the Kaskas. Both enemies then united around charismatic leaders to counter him; of these Karanni founded a semblance of a royal court in Hayasa, and Piyapili failed to do likewise for the Kaska. Suppiluliuma and Tudhaliya defeated these threats in turn, to the extent that the Hittite court could settle in Hattusa again.

When Tudhaliya II died, Tudhaliya III ('the Younger') succeeded to the throne. Soon afer his accession, however, he was overthrown and succeeded by Suppiluliuma I who was the younger brother of Tudhaliya III. Some of the Hittite priests later reported this to Suppiluliumas's son, successor, and biographer Mursili II, holding it out as an outstanding crime of the whole dynasty.

Suppiluliuma married a sister to the Hayasan king Hukkana, and his daughter Muwatti to Maskhuiluwa of the Arzawan state Mira. He retook Arzawan territory as far as Hapalla. His most permanent victory was against the Mitanni kingdom, which he reduced to a client state under his son-in-law Shattiwazza. He was also a master builder of large stone structures decorated with stone reliefs. It was during his reign that concepts of the sacred nature of royal leaders developed.

Suppiluliuma then took advantage of the tumultuous reign of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, and seized control of Egyptian territory in Syria, inciting many Egyptian vassals to revolt.

His success encouraged the widow (who is called Dakhamunzu in the annals) of the Egyptian king "Nibhuruyira" (usually identified with Tutankhamun, but it's also possible he was Akhenaten) to write to him, asking him to send one of his sons to be her husband and rule Egypt, since she had no heir and was on the verge of being forced to marry "a servant", usually thought to be the general Horemheb or her late husband's vizier Ay. Suppliluliuma dispatched an ambassador to Egypt to investigate; he reported that the situation was accurately described, and the king decided to take advantage of this windfall; unfortunately, Prince Zannanza was murdered on the way, and the marriage alliance never was consummated.

Suppililiuma was furious at this turn at events and unleashed his armies against Egypt's vassal states in Canaan and Northern Syria capturing much territory.

Unfortunately, many of the Egyptian prisoners carried a plague which would eventually ravage the Hittite heartland and lead to the deaths of both Suppiluliuma I and his successor, Arnuwanda II.

The "Deeds of Suppiluliuma", compiled after his death by his son Mursili II, is an important primary source for the king's reign. One of Suppiluliuma's letters, addressed to Akhenaten, was preserved in the Amarna letters (EA 41) archive at Akhetaten. It expresses his hope that the good relations which existed between Egypt and Hatti under Akhenaten's father-(Amenhotep III) would continue into Akhenaten's new reign.

ee also

* Piyashshili
* Suppiluliuma II

External links

* [http://www.hittites.info/history.aspx?text=history%2fEarly+Late+Empire.htm Reign of Suppiluliuma I]
* [http://www.hittites.info/translations.aspx?text=translations/historical%2fDeeds_of_Suppiluliuma.html Translation of the Deeds of Suppiluliuma]


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