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Šuppiluliuma II

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Suppiluliuma II
Relief of Suppiluliuma II in Hattusa
TitleKing of the Hittites
PredecessorArnuwanda III
SuccessorTudḫaliya V (?)
Chamber 2 built and inscribed by Suppiliuma II at Hattusa

Šuppiluliuma II (/ˌsʌpɪlʌliˈmə/), the son of Tudḫaliya IV, was the last certain great king of the New Kingdom of the Hittite Empire, ruling c. 1207–1178 BC (short chronology), contemporary with Tukulti-Ninurta I of the Middle Assyrian Empire. The name of the king, unlike that of his ancestor Šuppiluliuma I, is usually spelled Šuppiluliama in the contemporary primary sources.

Life and reign[edit]

A younger son of the Hittite great king Tudḫaliya IV, Šuppiluliuma II succeeded his elder brother, Arnuwanda III, on the throne in c. 1207 BC.[1] The new king exacted oaths of allegiance from his court and subjects, advertising his loyalty to his deceased older brother and his own legitimacy in the absence of any heirs of his predecessor. Without providing specifics, the surviving texts suggest a context of disloyalty and potential challenges to the throne by members of the extended royal family.[2]

Šuppiluliuma II inherited what seems to have been a precarious situation inside and outside his kingdom. A royal official (titled "king's son"), Piḫawalwi, was charged with writing to the vassal king of Ugarit, Ibiranu, to chastise him for failing to demonstrate his respects to Šuppiluliuma II.[3] The vassal king of Carchemish, Talmi-Teššub, a member of the Hittite royal house, was apparently bound with a new treaty to the Hittite great king and left in charge of affairs in Syria; he would later supervise a divorce settlement between the great king's daughter Eḫli-Nikkal and King Ammurapi of Ugarit.[4] Šuppiluliuma II corresponded with the contemporary king of Assyria, presumably Tukulti-Ninurta I, but the tablets are not well preserved.[5]

Military campaigns during the reign of Šuppiluliuma II are known from two inscriptions in Hieroglyphic Luwian. They record wars against former vassal Tarḫuntašša, and against Alašiya (Cyprus). One inscription is found at the base of Nişantepe in the Upper City of Hattusa; the other is located on the northern corner of the East Pond (Pond 1), in what is known as Chamber 2. This served as a water reservoir for Hattusa and is described as a symbolic entrance to the Netherworld.[6]

The Chamber 2 reliefs and inscription are historically important since they record the political instability which plagued Hatti during Šuppiluliuma II's reign. The inscriptions relate the great king's conquests of the lands of Wiyanawanda, Tamina, Maša (Mysia?), Lukka (Lycia and/or Lycaonia?), and Ikuna (Konya?), all of them in or near the territory of the Lukka in southwestern Anatolia.[7] Following these successes, the inscription relates that Šuppiluliuma II attacked the hostile regime in Tarḫuntašša, a Hittite city that had briefly served as the Empire's political capital during the reign of Muwatalli II; Tarḫuntašša was defeated, sacked, and annexed by the great king.[8] Inscriptions of an obscure great king Ḫartapu, son of a great king Muršili, with stylistic similarity to those of Tudḫaliya IV, found west of Konya, offer a possible identification for Šuppiluliuma II's enemy in Tarḫuntašša, if the Muršili in question could be equated with Muršili III (Urḫi-Teššub).[9]

Reasserting Hittite central control over southern Anatolia and its coasts might have been more than a matter of pride, as suggested by references to urgent grain shipments from Merneptah, the king of Egypt, and from Mukiš in northern Syria. This and other indicators suggest a famine in Anatolia or more broadly the Eastern Mediterranean region in the late 13th century BC.[10]

Following an earlier invasion of Alašiya (Cyprus) during the reign of his father, a fleet under the command of Šuppiluliuma II defeated either the Cypriots or a group of the so-called Sea Peoples who had established themselves on the island, the first recorded naval battle in history.[11][12] According to some historians (Claude Schaeffer, Horst Nowacki, Wolfgang Lefèvre), this and following victories in Cyprus were probably won by using Ugaritic ships.[13][14]

The Sea Peoples had already begun their advance along the Mediterranean coastline, apparently starting from the Aegean, and continuing all the way to Canaan, some of them settling in Philistia and at Dor.[15] In the process, they seem to have taken Cilicia and Cyprus from the Hittites, cutting off their coveted trade routes. Based on records from Ugarit, the threat had originated in the west, and the Hittite king asked for assistance from Ugarit.

The enemy [advances(?)] against us and there is no number [...]. Our number is pure(?) [. . .] Whatever is available, look for it and send it to me.[16]

Šuppiluliuma II was probably the ruler who abandoned the capital city of Hattusa,[17][18] possibly contributing to the fall or disappearance of the Hittite kingdom. Some sources indicate Šuppiluliuma II's end is unknown or he was simply "vanished",[14] while some claim he was killed during the sack of Hattusa in 1190 BC.[19] The violent end of Hattusa as the Hittite capital is now doubted, and it is suspected that Šuppiluliuma II, like Tudḫaliya III before him, moved his residence and court elsewhere, perhaps to the southwest; unlike Tudḫaliya III, however, neither Šuppiluliuma II nor any of his potential successors ever reestablished themselves at Hattusa, and the Hittie Empire disappeared as such.[20]

The Hittite kingdom collapsed, or at least underwent an irreversible negative transformation at the end of the reign of Šuppiluliuma II. The reasons for this are unclear and might have combined various natural phenomena (including droughts and earthquakes) with internal and external strife or political and military pressures. If Hattusa was not destroyed by violence at this point, but was only partly abandoned, a violent destruction of what remained might have happened a little later. Perhaps the Kaška, the traditional enemies of Hatti in the north took over the old Hittite capital. What was left of Hattusa was destroyed by fire, its site only re-occupied by a Phrygian fortress some 500 years later.[21] Kuzi-Teššub, a ruler of Carchemish, would later assume the title of "Great King" since he was a direct descendant of Šuppiluliuma I.[22]

Possible successors[edit]

Although Šuppiluliuma II is generally considered the last great king of Hatti, it has been suggested that he had at least one successor, possibly his son, Tudḫaliya V. This hypothesis was proposed by Zsolt Simon after analyzing a Luwian inscription on a silver bowl in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, its inscription reading in part

Asamaya, the Hittite, himself offered this bowl before King Maza-Karḫuḫa. When Tudḫaliya, the Labarna, defeated the land of Tarawazi/Tariwiza, that year he did it.[23]

Simon determined that earlier proposals that identified the great king (Labarna) Tudḫaliya with any of the known great kings of that name were mistaken, due to the date of the inscription suggested by the epigraphy. Kings Tudḫaliya I through III were excluded due to the inscription's syllabic spelling, royal titulary formula, character inventory, Kings Tudḫaliya I and II by its language (Luwian), King Tudḫaliya IV by the syllabic spelling, the mention of a vassal king Maza-Karḫuḫa, and the formula Tudḫaliya Labarna, while any King Tudḫaliya of Carchemish was excluded by the title Labarna and the label "man of the Land of Hatti."[24] Accordingly, Simon posited that the Labarna Tudḫaliya of the Ankara silver bowl would be best identified as the successor of Šuppiluliuma II, close in time but later than Tudḫaliya IV, and contemporary to Maza-Karḫuḫa in northern Syria (Carchemish?[25]). As Šuppiluliuma II is known to have had a son (unnamed in the sources), it is natural to suppose that he would be named, or would assume the name, of his grandfather Tudḫaliya IV. Considering and dismissing Ḫartapu and the kings of Carchemish, Simon speculated on the possibility that the line of Hittite great kings survived as the Iron-Age great kings of Tabal.[26]

Family tree[edit]

  • (1) = 1st spouse
  • (2) = 2nd spouse
  • Small caps indicates a Great King (LUGAL.GAL) of the Land of Hatti; italic small caps indicates a Great Queen or Tawananna.
  • Dashed lines indicate adoption.
  • Solid lines indicate marriage (if horizontal) or parentage (if vertical).
  • Trevor Bryce (1997). The Kingdom of the Hittites. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  • Trevor Bryce (2005). The Kingdom of the Hittites (new edition). Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  • Trevor Bryce (2012). The World of the Neo-Hittite Kingdoms. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  • Jacques Freu (2007). Les débuts du nouvel empire hittite. Paris, France: L'Harmattan.
  • Volkert Haas (2006). Die hethitische Literatur. Berlin, Germany: de Gruyter.
  1. ^ Scholars have suggested that Tudhaliya I/II was possibly a grandson of the Hittite king Huzziya II; the first Tudhaliya is now known to be the son of Kantuzzili (Bryce 1997, p. 131 suggested Himuili, but the new edition, Bryce 2005, p. 122, indicated Kantuzzili).
  2. ^ Bryce (1997) does not consider it clear whether Tudhaliya I/II was one king or two (p. 133); the link points to Tudhaliya II. Among those who identify distinct kings Tudhaliya I and Tudhaliya II, Freu (2007) has Kantuzzili—his son Tudhaliya I—his son Hattusili II—his son Tudhaliya II (p. 311).
  3. ^ a b c Bryce (1997), p. 139.
  4. ^ The existence of Hattusili II is doubted by many scholars (Bryce 1997, pp. 153–154; Bryce 2005, p. 141). Among those who accept the existence of Hattusili II, Freu (2007), p. 311, has Tudhaliya I—his son Hattusili II—his son Tudhaliya II.
  5. ^ Bryce (1997), p. 158.
  6. ^ Bryce (1997), p. 172.
  7. ^ a b c d Bryce (1997), p. 174.
  8. ^ a b Bryce (1997), p. 168.
  9. ^ Also known as Malnigal; daughter of Burnaburias II of Babylonia (Bryce 1997, p. 173).
  10. ^ ‘Great priest’ in Kizzuwadna and king (lugal) of Aleppo (Bryce 1997, p. 174).
  11. ^ a b c d King (lugal) of Carchemish.
  12. ^ Bryce (1997), pp. 174, 203–204.
  13. ^ Zannanza died on his way to Egypt to marry a pharaoh's widow, probably Ankhesenpaaten, the widow of Tutankhamun (Bryce 1997, pp. 196–198).
  14. ^ Bryce (1997), p. 227.
  15. ^ a b c Bryce (1997), p. 230.
  16. ^ Bryce (1997), p. 220.
  17. ^ Bryce (1997), p. 222.
  18. ^ Haas (2006), p. 91.
  19. ^ Massanauzzi married Masturi, king of the Seha River Land (Bryce 1997, p. 313).
  20. ^ Bryce (1997), p. 296.
  21. ^ Puduhepa was the daughter of the Kizzuwadnan priest Pentipsarri (Bryce 1997, p. 273).
  22. ^ Bryce (1997), pp. 346, 363.
  23. ^ King (lugal) of Tarhuntassa (Bryce 1997, p. 296); apparently later Great King of Hatti (Bryce 1997, p. 354).
  24. ^ Nerikkaili married a daughter of Bentesina, king of Amurru (Bryce 1997, p. 294).
  25. ^ Two daughters of Hattusili III were married to the pharaoh Ramesses II; one was given the Egyptian name Ma(hor)nefrure. Another, Gassuwaliya, married into the royal house of Amurru. Kilushepa was married to a king of Isuwa. A daughter married into the royal family of Babylon. A sister of Tudhaliya IV married Sausgamuwa, king of Amurru after his father Bentesina. From Bryce (1997), pp. 294 and 312.
  26. ^ Bryce (1997), p. 332.
  27. ^ Bryce (1997), p. 363. Tudhaliya IV probably married a Babylonian princess, known by her title of Great Princess (dumu.sal gal) (Bryce 1997, pp. 294, 331).
  28. ^ Bryce (1997), p. 363.
  29. ^ a b Bryce (1997), p. 361.
  30. ^ Last documented Great King of the Land of Hatti.
  31. ^ King and then Great King of Carchemish (Bryce 1997, pp. 384–385).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bryce 2005: xv, 327; Freu 2010: 178 gives the accession year as c. 1210, but notes that it is very approximate.
  2. ^ Bryce 2005: 327-328; Freu 2010: 179-180.
  3. ^ Bryce 2005: 238.
  4. ^ Bryce 2005: 238; Freu 2010: 180-184, 189-193.
  5. ^ Freu 2010: 209.
  6. ^ Bryce 2005: 329.
  7. ^ Bryce 2005: 329, 482, n. 17; Freu 2010: 201-205.
  8. ^ Bryce 2005: 329; Freu 2010: 205.
  9. ^ Bryce 2005: 351-353; Simon 2009: 263; Freu 2010: 206-209 is skeptical of this dating of Ḫartapu and his father Muršili, and prefers to place them slightly later.
  10. ^ Bryce 2005: 331-332.
  11. ^ Bryce 2005: 332-333; Freu 2010: 199-201.
  12. ^ Battle at Sea: 3,000 Years of Naval Warfare. R. G. Grant. 2008. Accessed 10 August 2010
  13. ^ Bryce 2005: 332.
  14. ^ a b Horst Nowacki, Wolfgang Lefèvre Creating Shapes in Civil and Naval Architecture: A Cross-Disciplinary Comparison BRILL, 2009 ISBN 9004173455
  15. ^ Bryce 2005: 333-340; Freu 2010: 215-226.
  16. ^ Astour, 1965: 256.
  17. ^ Jürgen Seeher, (2001), Die Zerstörung der Stadt Hattusa, in G. Wilhelm, 623–34.
  18. ^ Simon 2009: 260.
  19. ^ Robert Drews The Coming of the Greeks: Indo-European Conquests in the Aegean and the Near East Princeton University Press, 1994 ISBN 0691029512
  20. ^ Bryce 2012: 9-13.
  21. ^ Bryce 2005: 340-346; Freu 2010: 226-263.
  22. ^ Bryce 2005: 350.
  23. ^ Simon 2009: 247-248.
  24. ^ Simon 2009: 258.
  25. ^ Weeden 2013, who sees Maza-Karḫuḫa as king of Carchemish under the great king Tudḫaliya, but placing the latter also at Carchemish: 7-9.
  26. ^ Simon 2009: 262-264.


  • Astour, Michael, "New Evidence on the Last Days of Ugarit," American Journal of Archaeology 69 (1965) 253-258.
  • Bryce, Trevor, The Kingdom of the Hittites, Oxford, 2005.
  • Bryce, Trevor, The World of the Neo-Hittite Kingdoms, Oxford, 2012.
  • Freu, Jacques, and Michel Mazoyer, Le déclin et la chute du nouvel empire Hittite, Paris, 2010.
  • Güterbock, H.G., "The Hittite Conquest of Cyprus Reconsidered," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 26 (1967) 73-81.
  • Haas, Volkert, Die hethitische Literatur, Berlin, 2006.
  • Weeden, Mark, "After the Hittites: the kingdoms of Karkamish and Palistin in northern Syria," Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 56:2 (2013) 1-21.
  • Zsolt, Simon, "Die ANKARA-Silberschale und das Ende des hethitischen Reiches," Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 99 (2009) 247-269.

External links[edit]

Regnal titles
Preceded by Hittite king
ca. 1207–1178 BC
Kingdom collapsed