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. Another possible location is the mound of Karahöyük near Konya.
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 King" (rubā'um rabi'um) whereas other rulers are merely "kings". A separate text known as the "King of 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 apparently portrays the 23rd-century Sargon in an anachronistic 19th-century BC setting. Some modern scholars consider it a work of fiction, although the Akkadian language version was also found among the Amarna letters (Egypt), and it may have some basis in historical fact.
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.
Purushanda features again in the stories of the campaigns of the 17th century BC Hittite ruler Anitta. 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:
- 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.
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.
- Bryce, Trevor (2005). The kingdom of the Hittites. Oxford University Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-19-927908-1.
- Kuhrt, Amélie (1995). The ancient Near East, c. 3000-330 BC. Routledge. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-415-16763-5.
- Studevent-Hickman, Benjamin; Morgan, Christopher (2006). "Old Akkadian Period Texts". In Chavalas, Mark William (ed.). The ancient Near East: historical sources in translation. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 24–27. ISBN 978-0-631-23580-4.
- Bryce, p. 39
- Anitta Text, 73-9. Quoted in Bryce, p. 39