Tawagalawa letter

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Moyen Orient Amarna 1

The Tawagalawa letter[1] (CTH 181) was written by a Hittite king (generally accepted as Hattusili III) to a king of Ahhiyawa around 1250 BC. This letter, of which only the third tablet has been preserved, concerns the activities of an adventurer named Piyama-Radu against the Hittites, and requests his extradition to Hatti under assurances of safe conduct. It is so named because it mentions a brother of the king of Ahhiyawa named Tawagalawa, a name suggested by numerous scholars to be a Hittite representation of the Greek name Eteocles (Etewoklewes).[2][3]

Originally, it was assumed that the beginning of this letter concerned the activities of Tawagalawa. After Itamar Singer and Suzanne Heinhold-Krahmer stated their preferences for Piyama-Radu in 1983, most scholars relegated Tawagalawa to a minor role in the letter. There are technical difficulties, however, with accepting Piyama-Radu as the man who asked to become the Hittite king's vassal.[4]

Piyama-Radu is also mentioned in the Manapa-Tarhunta letter (c. 1295 BC) and, in the past tense, in the Milawata letter (c. 1240 BC). The Tawagalawa letter further mentions Miletus (as Millawanda) and its dependent city Atriya, as does the Milawata letter; and its governor Atpa, as does the Manapa-Tarhunta letter (although that letter does not state Atpa's fiefdom).

The letter bears a conversational style which has commonly been associated with Hattusili III (1265–1235 BC). However, Oliver Gurney in "The authorship of the Tawagalawas Letter" (Silva Anatolica, 2002, 133–41) argues that the letter belongs to his older brother Muwatalli II (1295–1272 BC). But if the Milawata letter postdates this letter, and if that letter is taken as a letter of Mursili II (1322–1295 BC), then the Tawagalawa letter might belong to Mursili in the late 14th century BC, but after the end of his annals.

In this letter, the Hittite king refers to former hostilities between the Hittites and the Ahhiyawans over Wilusa, which had now been resolved amicably:

"Now as we have come to an agreement on Wilusa over which we went to war..."

As most scholars identify Wilusa with Troy, this reference has been said to provide "a striking background for Homeric scholars researching the origin of the tradition of the Achaean attack on Ilios."[5] The letter also makes reference to a city called Waliwanda.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [Ferdinand, Die Ahhijava-Urkunden: Mit 9 Tafeln, Hildesheim, 1975, 2ff] Archived 2013-10-21 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Hoffner, Beckman. Letters from the Hittite Kingdom, 2009. p. 297.
  3. ^ Cline, Eric H. The Trojan War : a very short introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 64. ISBN 9780199760275.
  4. ^ F. Schachermeyer, Mykene und das Hethiterreich, Vienna, 1986. p. 227.
  5. ^ Hawkins, J.D. (May 2004). "Evidence from Hittite Records". archaeology.org. Archaeological Institute of America. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  6. ^ [1]


  • S. Heinhold-Krahmer, StBoT 45, 2001, 192.
  • F. Starke, StBoT 31, 1990, 127, 377.
  • I. Singer, Anatolian Studies 33, 1983, 211
  • H.G. Guterbock, Orientalia, Nova Series, 59, 1990, 157–165