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Kirta or Keret is a legendary Hurrian king. He is thought to have founded the dynasty of Mitanni, but no contemporary inscriptions from his time are known to exist. He may have lived around 1500 BC. His offsprings included Suttarna I and Barattarna, who was noted for his participation in the battle of Megiddo between 1479 and 1426 BCE. Late Bronze Age literary and ritual Ugarit texts described him as a warrior hero raised among the "shades of the earth" in the gathering of Didanu. It is suggested that these references indicated the king's nomadic ancestry as they possibly alluded to an affinity with the Amorite tribe. The Epic of Kirta from the clay tablets of Ugarit tells the story of the near-extinction of the royal house of Keret, though it was written much later and by a country hostile to the descendants of the king. The text goes thus. All of his children died and his wife "departed." In a dream, the creator god, El, instructs him to appeal for help from the rain god, Baal, and then launch an expedition to find a new wife. He journeys and on the way comes to the shrine of the mother goddess Asherah. He promises to give the goddess an offering of a golden statue if he finds a wife. Kirta finds a wife and has several children, but forgets his promise to Asherah. Asherah punishes Kirta with a debilitating illness, but El once again comes to the rescue. His other children are happy to have him back on the throne, but his eldest son, Yassib, had gained popularity while Kirta was ill and attempts to overtake the throne. Kirta curses Yassib, and there the text ends.
Mitanni's rise under Kirta might have been facilitated by the disappearance of the Babylonian kingdom. One of the earliest references that mentioned his kingdom was a Theban stele of Amenemhat, an Egyptian astronomer. Some scholars argue that the texts containing Kirta were popular literary narratives that served as anti-royal critique.
- Buck, Mary E. (2020). The Amorite Dynasty of Ugarit: Historical Implications of Linguistic and Archaeological Parallels. Leiden: BRILL. p. 180. ISBN 978-90-04-41510-2.
- Espín, Orlando O.; Nickoloff, James B. (2007). An Introductory Dictionary of Theology and Religious Studies. Liturgical Press. p. 1309. ISBN 978-0-8146-5856-7.
- Huddleston, Jonathan (2012). Eschatology in Genesis. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck. p. 91. ISBN 978-3-16-151983-3.
founder of the Mitanni kingdom
| Mitanni king
fl. 1500 BC