Purushanda

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Purushanda (also variously Purushkanda, Purushhattum or Burushattum) was an ancient city-state in central Anatolia, lying south of the Kızılırmak River in what is now modern Turkey. Its site has yet to be discovered. It may have been situated south-east of Lake Tuz, possibly on the mound of Acemhöyük (located at the village of Yeşilova, Aksaray) approximately 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) north-west of the city of Aksaray.[1] Another possible location is the mound of Karahöyük near Konya.[2]

The city is prominently mentioned in the Cappadocian Texts, a collection of Hittite writings unearthed at Kanesh. They depict it as a major seat of power in the region, describing its ruler as "great prince" (rubā'um rabi'um) whereas other rulers are merely "kings". A separate text known as the "King of the Battle" (šar tamhāri), dating to the 14th century BC, recounts a heavily embellished account of the Akkadian king Sargon carrying out an expedition against Purushanda's ruler Nur-Dagan (or Nur-Daggal). The story is ahistorical, as it portrays the 23rd-century Sargon in an anachronistic 19th-century BC setting. It appears to be a work of fiction, though it may have some basis in historical fact.[3]

In the story, Sargon yearns for battle but is advised against it by his generals. Nonetheless, when a message arrives from a group of Akkadian merchants in Purushanda pleading for help from Sargon against the oppressive Nur-Dagan, the king mobilises his army and marches off through difficult terrain. Nur-Dagan is hopeful that flooding and the terrain will thwart Sargon, but the Akkadian launches a lightning attack which captures Purushanda. Nur-Dagan is taken prisoner and grovels before Sargon, declaring him to be a peerless mighty king and perhaps swearing allegiance as a vassal. After three years the Akkadians leave, taking with them the fruits of the land as spoils of war.[3]

Purushanda features again in the stories of the campaigns of the 17th century BC Hittite ruler Anitta.[4] The Purushandan kingdom appears to have been a significant rival of Kanesh, the kingdom ruled by Anitta. The Hittite king launched a war against Purushanda but according to the Anitta Text, a Hittite account of later date, the Purushandan king surrendered to the Hittite army:[4]

When I ... went into battle, the Man of Purushanda brought gifts to me; he brought to me a throne of iron and a sceptre of iron as a gift. But when I returned to Nesa [Kanesh] I took the Man of Purushanda with me. As soon as he enters the chamber, that man will sit before me on the right.[5]

The text indicates that the right to rule over Purushanda's territory – symbolised by the regalia of office, the throne and sceptre – was surrendered to Anitta. Its king was reduced to the status of a privileged vassal, entitled to join Anitta at the court in Kanesh in recognition of his voluntary surrender and his high-born status. The kingdom itself probably ceased to exist at this point and was absorbed into Hittite-ruled territory.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bryce, Trevor (2005). The kingdom of the Hittites. Oxford University Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-19-927908-1. 
  2. ^ Kuhrt, Amélie (1995). The ancient Near East, c. 3000-330 BC. Routledge. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-415-16763-5. 
  3. ^ a b Studevent-Hickman, Benjamin; Morgan, Christopher (2006). "Old Akkadian Period Texts". In Chavalas, Mark William. The ancient Near East: historical sources in translation. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 24–27. ISBN 978-0-631-23580-4. 
  4. ^ a b c Bryce, p. 39
  5. ^ Anitta Text, 73-9. Quoted in Bryce, p. 39

Coordinates: 38°24′41″N 33°50′09″E / 38.41139°N 33.83583°E / 38.41139; 33.83583