Many Faces of Ashurnasirpal
The First Known Mitannian King|
The Vassal King in Alalakh
The Melqart Stele
First Tentative Conclusion
The Stratigraphy for Early Alalakh|
The Mitannian Kings in the Bible
The Extent of Ben-Hadad's Kingdom
The Origins of Nefertiti
PARATTARNA (var. Parratarna, Parrattarna) is, according to L. Mitcham, "the first Mitannian king about whom we have any information"  - though he is sometimes preceded by a Shuttarna I (see chart below). Whilst this king Parattarna is conventionally dated to c.1500 BC, I think that (from a revised point of view) he should instead be located to the C10th BC on the basis of his closeness to Tushratta of the mid-C9th BC. M. Van de Mieroop gives this chart for the early Mitannians down to Tushratta :
As is often the case with conventional lists, some of these kings may be duplicates, thereby requiring a degree of shortening of time between Parattarna and Tushratta (who is also Abdi-shirta of the el-Amarna [EA] correspondence and Yuya of the EA era in Egypt). That Parattarna's origins were quite northerly might be suggested by the fact that he ruled in Cilicia, just below the Hittites at the time. Van de Mieroop:
"It is clear that by the first half of the fifteenth century [sic] the Mitannian king, Parrattarna, had control as suzerain over an area including Kizzuwatna [Cilicia] in the west, Nuzi in the east, and Terqa in the south. His state was the most powerful in western Asia, and the only obstacle to early eighteenth-dynasty Egyptian expansion there. The state was made up of several vassal areas under local rulers who owed obedience to the Mitannian king."
If the Mitannians originated in Asia Minor, then it might explain the apparent 'unusual European' appearance of Yuya's (Tushratta's) mummy. Herodotus gave a rather precise location for who appear to be the Mitannians :
"This stream (Halys) which rises in the mountain country of Armenia runs first through Cilicia and afterwards flows for a while with the Matieni on the right, and the Phrygians on the left: then when they are passed, it proceeds with a northern course separating the Cappadocian Syrians from the Paphlagonians who occupy the left bank."
Now there is an incident that occurred during the reign of Parattarna that I should like to mention, in order to propose a suggestion as to how exactly Parattarna might fit chronologically into the revision. Van de Mieroop, continuing on about the vassal arrangement referred to above, introduces the incident of interest :
"This [political arrangement] is most clearly visible in an autobiographical inscription found at Alalakh in southwestern Anatolia. In it the local king, Idrimi, relates how he acquired power in that city. For some unknown reason, he and his brothers fled their hometown Aleppo for the city of Emar on the Euphrates. Unhappy at remaining an underling there, Idrimi decided to leave the city and to roam the countryside of Canaan, where he became a leading habiru warrior, i.e. a leader of semi-nomadic social outcasts."
Does this sound like anyone we know?
Remember that we are now in the 900's BC revised. Does not this description of Idrimi and his brothers as rebels against the crown (habiru) in Canaan fit Solomon's foe Rezin (Rezon) who "gathered followers around him and became leader of a marauding band". He eventually became king of Damascus and "was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon" (1 Kings 11:23, 24, 25), that is, the C10th BC. I had previously identified this Rezin with Zimri-Lim of Mari, linking Zimri-Lim's flight from Shamsi-Adad I, who had probably arranged the murder of Zimri-Lim's father, Iadulim (biblical Eliada), with Rezon's flight from Hadadezer (i.e. Shamsi-Adad I): "Rezin … who had fled from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah" (v.23). [Though I had identified Zimri-Lim's place of asylum as Aleppo (after having fled Mari), whereas Idrimi is described above as having fled from Aleppo (to Emar)].
I had also identified Rezin/Zimri-Lim as the biblical Hezion (following Velikovsky), father of Tab-Rimmon, father of Ben-Hadad.
Now, the Melquart Stele of Ben-Hadad, found at Aleppo - hence again possibly indicating a northern origin for the Mitannians - calls Hezion, Hadyan and Ben-Hadad, Bar-Hadad .
Place of Discovery:
Date of Discovery:
9th-8th century BCE; See here for a source.
Bredge, a village north of Allepo, Syria
National Museum Allepo, Syria
Transliteration Albright 1942: 23-29.
Line 1: The monument which Bar-Hadad, son of Tab-Rimmon|
Line 2: son of Hadyan, king of Aram, set up for
Line 3: his lord, Melqart. He (vowed) this to him
Line 4: and he listened to his voice.
P.S. Hezion of 1.Kings 15:18 is another name of `Hadyan'.
Auf Deutsch: Hesjon/Hesion ist deshalb ein anderer Name für Hadyan.
According to Van de Mieroop , Zimri-Lim was the son-in-law of Yarim-Lim (whom I have previously identified as the biblical Hiram).
Auf Deutsch: Nach der Meinung von Van de Mieroop war Zimri-Lim der Sohn Yarim-Lims (den ich vorher schon als den Biblischen Hiram identifiziert hatte).
Van de Mieroop continues with the story of Idrimi as he advanced from being a mere marauder in the south to ruler of Alalakh :
"With this power behind him [Idrimi] captured the city of Alalakh and its surroundings. Then he contacted the Mitannian king, Parrattarna, who endorsed Idrimi's rule of the city and made him his vassal. The text thus shows how the king of Mitanni was the main power in this area of south-west Anatolia, and how he exercised his control through local rulers who were made his vassals."
This same Idrimi, as Zimri-Lim (if my connection is true), had been less bold though in regard to a proposed treaty with Eshnunna, refusing to present his then overlord Yarim-Lim with a fait accompli that he expected the latter to endorse (as had Idrimi with his seizure of Alalakh). Van de Mieroop  tells of Zimri-Lim's reaction (in a letter to his envoy to Aleppo) to Ibal-pi'el the king of Eshnunna's push for an alliance with him:
"When you find yourself in the presence of Yarim-Lim (king of Aleppo) speak to him as follows about Eshnunna: "(The king of) Eshnunna keeps on sending me messages with respect to an alliance. A first time he sent me a messenger and I sent him back at the border. A second time he sent me a messenger and I sent him back at the border. Then a high official came and I sent him back at the border, stating 'How could I conclude an alliance with Eshnunna without the consent of Yarim-Lim?'."
If Idrimi were Zimri-Lim, grandfather of Ben-Hadad I, was his Mitannian overlord Parattarna then the great Yarim-Lim (Hiram)? Probably not, because Parattarna's approval of Idrimi as king of Alalakh would likely have occurred at a date later than Hiram, after the Syro-Mitannian marauder [Rezin/Zimri-Lim/Idrimi] had already made a name for himself in Canaan. Neither Hiram nor even Solomon would any longer have been alive.
So who was this Mitannian Parattarna who appointed Rezin/Zimri-Lim/Idrimi (who I also believe to have been a Syro-Mitannian) as ruler of Alalakh?
I am going to suggest that Parattarna was a successor (perhaps son) of Yarim-Lim/Hiram's, namely Abbael - thereby making Hiram also of Mitannian origin. Perhaps we could call these Mitannians Syro-Hittites. Firstly, here is Van de Mieroop's relevant chart for the kingdom of Yamkhad, Hamath revised :
All dates are approximate.
Sumu'epuh (?-ca. 1780)|
Yarim-Lim I (ca. 1780-65)
Hammurabi I (ca. 1765-60)
That this Abbael held the same sort of overlord statues as
had Parattarna towards an underling whom he allowed to become ruler of Alalakh may be deduced from Mieroop's statement :|
… texts from the smaller city of Alalakh to the west of Yamkhad indicate that its local ruler had been placed on the throne there by Abba'el of Aleppo, his brother.
The rebel probably seized Mari at about the same time that he seized Alalakh.
|The brief-reigning Hammurabi in the Yamkhad dynastic list above does add a complication. Courville  makes this Hammurabi the father of Yarim-Lim and the brother of Hammurabi of Babylon. Perhaps he was even Hammurabi the Great himself, a dynastic off-shoot? Certainly the name Sumu'epuh that precedes that of Yarim-Lim looks suspiciously Hammurabic too, being close to the name of the founder of Hammurabi's dynasty, Sumu-abum.|
Abbael also corresponds well chronologically (revised) with Parattarna. For, with Yarim-Lim to be re-dated (as Hiram) to the early 900's BC, then Abbael would belong to the 900's BC as I had previously calculated for Parattarna.
King David had done the Yamkhad dynasty a great favour by his defeat of Hadadezer, son of Rekhob (i.e. Shamsi-Adad, son of Ilu-kabkabu, or Uru-kabkabu), opening up valuable geographical space for these kings in the south. This would become most apparent after the actual death of the aggressive Hadadezer/Shamsi-Adad I. Thus Van de Mieroop :
"The first two known rulers of Yamkhad, Sumu'epuh and Yarim-Lim, became involved in wars with Shamsi-Adad, which sucked them and their successors into the volatile politics of the south. The death of Shamsi-Adad created the space for Yarim-Lim of Yamkhad to expand down the Euphrates valley, as far as the Mari kingdom."
|Hickman had suggested Tagu as a variation for To'i. Since Leil has proposed that EA's Tagi (Tagu?) of Gath was the same perhaps as Shuwardata of EA, then we might expect also a Mitannian name (alter ego) for To'i. Though perhaps Tuhi or Tuhe (the name of the vizier assassinated by Tushratta) is more compatible with To'i (the name only, not the actual vizier Tuhi who is later).|
This Van de Mieroop's description of Yarim-Lim's expansion is perfectly compatible with the geography of the expanding Mitannians of which Van de Mieroop has also written :
"The center of the Mittani state was the north Syrian area between the Euphrates bend and the Tigris. At the height of its power it incorporated territories to the east of the Tigris and on the south coast of Anatolia. In the south it had influence along the Middle Euphrates valley and perhaps bordered Babylonia directly. How far north it reached cannot be determined at present. Its capital was Washukanni, but that city has not yet been identified archaeologically. Most likely it was located somewhere in northern Syria near the headwaters of the Habur river."
Could this mysterious Washukanni perhaps be Shamsi-Adad I's best-known city of Shubat-Enlil, "on the upper Khabur". 
The demise of Hadadezer/Shamsi-Adad I probably opened up also for Yarim-Lim (Hiram) the important city of Tyre, whose king he is known as in the Scriptures (Tyre being the closest reference point to Israel in Hiram's vast kingdom).
Parattarna of Mitanni is the same as Abb'ael, descendant of Yarim-Lim (Hiram). The brother(-in-law) whom he placed on the throne of Alalakh was Rezin/Zimri-Lim/Idrimi, whose Mitannian descendants figure so prominently in the EA letters. The latter was ever a vassal king to a greater king, firstly to Shamsi-Adad I, then to Yarim-Lim, then to Parattarna/Abba'el (son of Yarim-Lim/Adoram).
That concludes my account of the earlier Mitannians.
Before proceeding to discuss the all-important later Mitannians, (the second stream ones) the direct descendants of Zimri-Lim, I think it appropriate at this stage to bring into this discussion some stratigraphical perspective, as a further guideline.
Here I shall be dependent upon D. Courville's useful account of the early stratigraphy of the city of Alalakh, to which city I have already made some references above. Courville's explanation is useful because it covers the broad sweep of history from the era of the Dispersion from Babel, sweeping on past the Patriarchs and right down to the Yamkhad dynasty of interest above, thereby enabling for some biblico-historical perspective and cross-checking. It will be necessary though for me to fine tune Courville's scheme where I think there is some misalignment (e.g. his having Joseph in what is in fact Abraham's era).
Here is Courville's scheme in brief outline (for Levels XIV-VI), slightly modified.
Sir Leonard Woolley had, according to Courville, identified 17 levels of occupation at Alalakh (modern Atchana):
Level XIV (from top) contained Jemdet Nasr type pottery. Courville had synchronised this period with Babel and the Dispersion, and the beginnings of the Early Bronze Era.
Level XIII & XII. "We find no basis for controversy with Woolley in his synchronizing levels XIII and XII with the early dynastic period if we do not attempt to be more specific than this". These strata would correspond with the Early Bronze Age dynasties in Palestine and Mesopotamia.
Level IX. "The same may be said with reference to [Woolley's] assignment of level IX to the era of the Third Dynasty at Ur …". Whilst Courville has synchronised this era with Joseph, I believe that a very strong case can be made for Ur III's being contemporaneous with Abram (Abraham); with king Amar-Sin of Ur III being the biblical 'Amraphel of Shinar'. [I have shown elsewhere that, whilst the sophisticated Ur III culture prevailed in Mesopotamia, there was, contemporaneously, a Chalcolithic culture at En-geddi].
Level VII brings us to the level of Yarim-Lim's dynasty where there are to be found numerous tablets inscribed in cuneiform which bear Yarim-Lim's name. It appears that Yarim-Lim's dynasty displaced the previous culture at Alalakh and ruled at Level VII, only for that displaced culture to return at subsequent levels. Here is Courville's description, following Woolley, of the stratigraphic succession at these levels :
"In the reports by Woolley, he indicates the find at Alalakh of two characteristic pottery types which were designated as "White-Slip milk bowls" and "Base-Ring Ware". As the digging proceeded downward, he found that such types of pottery were plentiful in level VI, all but disappeared in level VII, and then reappeared in al levels from VIII to XVI. Level VII, which did not contain the pottery, was the level containing the inscribed tablets of the Yarim-Lim dynasty. The obvious conclusion was that the people of Yarim-Lim (Amorites) had conquered this city and probably also the surrounding territory, ruling it for a period estimated to have been about 50 years. At the end of this time, the original inhabitants were able to reconquer the site and occupy it."
Woolley had estimated that a local rebellion, rather than a violent overthrow, was the likely reason for the cultural changeover (was this in fact Idrimi's seizure of Alalakh?) at Level VII, since "Aleppo, the chief city of the kingdom of which Alalakh formed part, continued to enjoy its `great Kingship' …". Courville himself thought "this theory hardly provides an adequate explanation for the relatively total shift in culture within the city … and the notable revival of this earlier culture following the fall of the [Yarim-Lim] dynasty".
The Mitannian (Syro-Hittite) Kings in the Bible
The various activities of which I have written above do not even come into consideration in the Old Testament, all having occurred too far to the north to attract the interest of the biblical scribes. The Bible's historical books tend to focus entirely on events that had a direct relation upon Israel and Judah. For instance, we know of Hiram only as a king of Tyre, yet we have seen above that he was considerably more than that. Leil bids us:"Remember--the Bible is a didactic history. Its goal is to teach ideas, not political science". The Bible will also present the C10th BC Mitannians as if they were Syrians; Mitanni proper again being presumably too far out of Israel's ambit to be of special interest.
1 Kings 15:18 introduces us to a potent king in the time of king Asa of Judah (early C9th BC):"King Ben-Hadad son of Tab-rimmon son of Hezion of Aram"; a succession attested also by the Melq'art Stele. Since I have already given an account of Hezion/Rezin (i.e. Zimri-Lim) in the first part of this article, I can now move on to consider his little-known son, Tab-rimmon, before discussing the more important Ben-Hadad I.
Tab-rimmon, meaning "Good is Rimmon" (Tab evidently corresponding to Hebrew Tov, as in Ebed Tov, "Good Servant"), apparently gained the mastery over Ahab's father, Omri, because a defeated Ben-Hadad promised Ahab that he could place his bazaars in Damascus, just as Ben-Hadad's father had placed his in Samaria (1 Kings 20:34).
Since Ben-Hadad I was the best-known of the Mitannian kings, Tushratta/Dushratta - through his EA name Abdi-ashirta as I have suggested, though K. Gajendra Singh would see the name Tushratta as Vedic - his father Tab-rimmon must have been Tushratta's father, Shuttarna, who gave his daughter to Amenhotep III (as Tushratta would also do).
It must have been during this approximate era that Mitanni took control of Assyria. I wonder then if - following my tendency (perhaps not always reliable) to look for an underlying Semitic name in these Mitannian names (e.g. Dushratta = Abdu-ashratta) - the name Shuttarna is to be found in Assyria in a name such as Ashur- (or Assur)-dan; a name associated with a revival of Assyrian power after a period of weakness. (Assyrian genealogies would of course need to be considered here). I had previously identified Tab-rimmon with Assur-rim-nishesu; but multiple naming may not be a problem since, for example, Esarhaddon is known to have had more than one Assyrian name.
I now move on to the ubiquitous Ben-Hadad I.
Ben-Hadad I had apparently been an ally of Baasha of Israel, son of Jeroboam I, but was swung over to Judah's side by the offer of much gold and silver by Asa (1 Kings 15:18), according to whom Ben-Hadad's father had been an ally of Asa's father, i.e. Abijam (v.19). I have discussed previously Ben-Hadad I's (especially as Tushratta) insatiable desire for gold, and how he had provided harems (including his sisters and daughters) for Amenhotep III 'the Magnificent', whose desire was for women, not gold, which was as plentiful as dust in Egypt. The pharaoh's abundant gold was his means of acquiring beautiful foreign women. One of these would be the legendary Nefertiti herself.
We are informed that Ben-Hadad I's father (Tab-rimmon) had taken "towns" from Israel, including his apparent occupation of Samaria (1 Kings 20:34). Ben-Hadad I himself would, on behalf of Asa of Judah, conquer "Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all Chinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali" (1.Kings 15:20). This must have been covetted territory, for it is virtually identical to the region conquered by Tiglath-pileser III/Pul (2 Kings 15:29) about 150 years later. But this was only a 'tip of the iceberg' of the land controlled by these Syro-Mitannians, as we have seen. Though the Bible does not detail the extent of Ben-Hadad I's kingdom, seeming to confine him basically to Damascus (1 Kings 15:18) - again the closer reference point to Israel - it does provide us with an important clue as to his immense power: namely, that he was followed by 32 kings (1 Kings 20:1).
Now this is an immense power!
The great Yarim-Lim, most potent king of his region, could boast only 20 kings following him; whilst Hammurabi of Babylon had only half this number again (10 kings). One might presume that, by the time of Ben-Hadad I, the secondary (or vassal) line of Syro-Mitannians (line of Zimri-Lim) had by now attained to pre-eminence in the region. Even the warlike Hittites were kept in check, with Suppiluliumas only really coming to the fore after the death of Ben-Hadad I (as Tushratta). Perhaps Ben Hadad even had at that early stage of his career some Hittite kings amongst the 32 following him, though the Mitannians and Hittites were generally in opposite camps. "Most of the time the Mitannis had adverse relations with Indo-European Hittites in Bogazkoy, nearly 250 km north east of Turkey's capital Ankara. They generally had close familial relations with the Egyptian Pharaohs", writes Singh (op. cit.), who goes on to give an account of the origins of the Mitannians, Hurrians and Hittites:
Mitannis perhaps came to this region [Balikh and Khabur] through the Caucasus and had splintered off in the Eurasian steppes from the main stream of Aryan tribes, who had continued on to Iran and then to India. They became the ruling chariot riding aristocracy among the confederation of Hurrian, Hanigalbat and other states of the region which extended from the Zagros mountains in Iran through Assyria, upper Mesopotamia and Syria to the Mediterranean. Information on Mitannis and their kingdoms first surfaced at the end of the 19th century when letters from a Mitanni King sent to his Pharaoh son-in-law were discovered at El Amarna and deciphered. The Egyptians called the Mitannis Naharinas. The other extensive and important source material was discovered in early 20th century at Bogazkoy 250 km north east of Ankara, the stronghold of Hittites.
Among the documents discovered were treaties between the Hittites and Mitannis in which reference was made to the Indo-Iranian gods Indra, Natasya, Mitra and Varuna and a treatise on horse training and chariotry in Hittite written by Kikkuli, a Mitanni who used ancient Vedic Sanskrit technical terms. This also confirmed Mitannian superiority in matters of horsemanship. The Egyptian Pharaohs had requested the Mitannis time and again for horses and chariots. Other places where cuneiform documents in Akkadian and other languages throw light on Mitannis are Arraphka, Nuzi (near Kirkuk), Alalakh, a river port on Orontes (on the Turkish-Syrian border near Antioch), Ugarit (Ras Shamra in Syria) on the Mediterranean, Mari on the river Euphrates. Antioch (Antakya in Turkey) was the capital of Selucus Nikator's empire, Alexander's infantry commander against Porus in India, but when he tried to reclaim Alexander's domains he was defeated and fobbed off with 500 elephants by Chandra Gupta Maurya.
Ugarit was perhaps one of the greatest international sea ports of that time for, owing to its location, it controlled trade between Syria, its hinterland and the East with the Aegean and the Mediterranean, with merchants and sailors from Egypt, Cyprus, Crete, Mycene and other places mingling here for trade and commerce.
Documents from Nuzi describe certain social and religious traditions which are reflected in Hebrew legends recorded in the Old Testament.
The fact that the gods in the Treaties are Hindu Vedic Daivya gods, Indra and Natasya along with Assura Iranian gods Mitra and Varuna, shows that the Aryan division into Iranians and Indians had not yet taken place. Later on most of Daivya worshipping Aryans continued on to India and most of Assura worshipping Aryans stayed behind in Iran after some recriminations, each calling the others gods devils. Limiting the use of Indo-Aryan gods to the Treaties perhaps indicates that only the rulers were of Indo-Aryan origin. There is also some evidence that the Royals were cremated. The chariot riding shock troops were called Marijannina linked with old Indian Vedic i.e. Marya=youngman, old Avestan= a member of a group. Later this land owning aristocratic group became hereditary, i.e. even without owning chariots. The technical terms used in horse training and chariotry like aika wartanna, navartanna etc (one turn, nine turns) are like ek vartanam, nava vartanam as in Vedic Sanskrit. A Hurrian text from Yorgan Tepe uses Indo-Aryan words to describe the colour of horses, i.e. babru (brown ) parita (grey), pinkara (reddish) etc.
The beginnings of the Mitannis arrival are shrouded in mystery …. Shaustatar ruled around the same time as Pharaoh Thuthmosis III [or, others say, Amenhotep II]. In fact he made Thuthmosis's drive to conquer Syria, very difficult by supporting the small states there. This led to mutual respect for each other. Later the Mitannis signed a peace treaty with the Pharaohs in order to counteract the Hittite threat from the North West. This state relationship was cemented with a Mitanni princess being married to a Pharaoh, but only after 7 requests had been received. Shaustatar's son Artatama sent his daughter Mutema as wife to Pharaoh Thuthmosis IV, grandson of Thutmosis III. Artatarna's successor Shutarna's daughter Gilukhepa was married to Amunhotep III. She went to her husband in style accompanied by 317 Mitannian maidens.
Next, Tushratta gave his daughter Tadukhepa to Amunhotep IV, who also married Gilukhepa, youngest in his father's harem. It is generally believed [sic] that Gilukhepa was no other than the beautiful and famous Nefertiti. It is known that Nefertiti fully supported her husband's efforts to bring in monotheism [sic]. It was from Egypt, where Moses was born and brought up that he led out the Jews with the idea of one God Jehovah. The last semi-independent King was Mattiuzza, who was installed on the throne following a palace coup after the murder of Tushratha. He became a vassal of the Hittite king Shuppiluliuma who gave his daughter Mursil in marriage to Mattiuza. Thus the Mitanni dynasty came to be connected with both the Pharaohs and the Hittites. But after the alliance with the Hittites, the Mitannis were reduced to a smaller state with limited independence.
As the Mitanni power declined relations with the Pharaohs withered away. Some of its later kings were Shattwara and Wasasatta. Small Mitanni states lingered on for years. The Assyrians took advantage of the situation to assert their independence. They even raided the Mitanni capital Wassukkanni and took back the golden and silver gates which the Mitannis had brought from Assyria 200 years ago. Assyrian king Ashur Uballit I (1365 BC to1338 BC) ended the Mittani independence completely by defeating Shuttarna II. Over 14,000 Mitannis were blinded. After this defeat, the Mitannis either got absorbed in the region or some of them went up north to form part of the Urartu Kingdom. Something like that had perhaps also happened to another Indo Aryan people the Kassites, who had ruled earlier over Assyria for nearly 5 centuries, but apart from 300 words of their language and 30 odd gods not much is known about them.
In the Kingdom of Mitannis, also known that of Hurrians, the latter probably formed the majority, ie the other backward classes of those days. The Hurrians, whose language is neither Indo-European nor Semitic, were a non-Indo-European people and are believed to have come from Armenia and present day north east of Turkey. They were well distributed in the region, even in the Hittite areas. They were culturally well developed and their religion and other practices were adopted by the Hittites. The Hurrians also transmitted the Assyrian culture to the Hittites. Perhaps it was too early for the castes to emerge, but the Mitannis certainly appeared to be like the Kshatriyas; a word which comes from ratharias charioteers (Rath chariot), having superimposed themselves over the Hurrians. The Mitannis used Hurrian language but inducted into it Indo-Aryan vocabulary, as the Turks did in Persia, India in a way and elsewhere, ie using the language of the subjects, but retaining the military terms.
The Hittites were an Indo-European people, the first to break away from the proto Indo-Europeans, who probably originated from the Black Sea coast of Russia and Ukraine. They had reached Asia Minor at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC via the straits of the Bosporus and established a magnificent and impregnable capital at Hattusa, ie Bogazkoy next to Cappadocia (with its mysterious honeycombed underground cities and lunar landscape with eerie tall chimneys in which the earliest Christian communities had built their churches). The name Hittites (referred as such in the Bible) is taken from Hattis, an indigenous people, whom the Hittites had displaced and who then formed the lower sub-strata. The Hittites called themselves Nes and their language Nesiti.
Back now to Ben-Hadad and his 32 allied kings.
However, this arrangement of having 32 kings in tow proved militarily unwieldy, understandably, and Ben-Hadad, when defeated by Ahab of Israel, was advised to replace these 32 kings with that many captains (presumably men of genuine military skill and experience, like Naaman). Ben-Hadad I's kingdom at its peak may actually have extended in length from Asia Minor into northern Israel.
And in width?
Previously I had traced Ben-Hadad I's kingdom eastwards even as far as Babylon (Karduniash).
[We recall that Yarim-Lim's influence had extended from Aleppo even to Elam, to which far distant place he actually sent his forces].
And Ben-Hadad (as Yuya) was highly respected (or should that be highly valued) in Amenhotep III's Egypt, due to his provision of harems. Now, Lisa Leil has noted from the addu- principle that a king might vary the theophoric part of his name according to his geographical location, e.g. adopting Baal in Phoenicia, Hadad in Syria, and so on. Ben-Hadad I, we have found, followed this pattern, being named (Ben-)Hadad in Syria, Ashur(-nasirpal) in Assyria, (Kadashman-)Enlil in Babylonia.
And no doubt he also had an Egyptian name for Egypt (to go with the seemingly Palestinian 'nickname', Yuya, by which he was also known there). Historians have failed to realise that this great range of names, whilst seemingly unrelated, actually belongs to the one mighty king.
We also know from the Bible and from the EA letters (especially those of Rib-Addi) that Ben-Hadad/Abdi-ashirta/Tushratta had even invaded Israel (Naphtalian region) and the Phoenician coast, from Sidon towards Byblos. E. Campbell (The Chronology of the Amarna Letters) writes in various places about Abdi-ashirta's activity along the Phoenician coast. For example, he refers, in connection with Rib-Addi's EA letters, to the king's progressive march:
"The first criterion by which the Rib-Adda letters may be arranged is the role played by Abdi-Aširta of Amurru and his sons, the most prominent of who is Aziru. Rib-Adda and his small area of land are constantly under the threat of these troublemakers, who conspire, according to Rib-Adda's version of the story, with anyone who will help them gain more power. The impression given by the letters which mention these men by name is that Abdi-Aširta advances step by step towards Byblos, taking one outlying city after another."[Emphasis added]
His now legendary illness apparently prevented the aggressor from actually taking Byblos : "Abdi-Aširta never seems to have taken Byblos (Gubla) itself. Presumably his rebellious subjects interrupted this plan (101) from which he had withdrawn because of sickness".
All this would correspond with the western coastal activity of Ashurnasirpal of Assyria (alter ego of Abdi-ashirta/Ben-Hadad I), who had boasted :
"The tribute of the sea-coast - from the inhabitants of Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Mahallata, Maiza, Kaiza, Amurru, and (of) Arvad which is (an island) in the sea: gold, silver, tin, copper, copper containers, linen garments with multi-coloured trimmings, large and small monkeys, ebony, boxwood, ivory from walrus tusk - (thus ivory) a product of the sea - (this) their tribute I received and they embraced my feet."
Ashurnasirpal's son Shalmaneser III (one of those many troublesome "sons of Abdi-ashirta") would later emulate this feat.
Ben-Hadad I, though ostensibly a vassal of Egypt, apparently followed the methodology of the former Idrimi (his grandfather?): i.e. seize a city, then get the overlord to endorse the fait accompli. It is highly possible that Ben-Hadad I's EA name, Abdi-ashirta, "slave of [the goddess] Asherath" (Ashtarte), was a name associated with these his Phoenician activities around Tyre, Sidon and Byblos, since the goddess Asherath was integral to the Baal Mel'quart cult. One even has to consider at this point whether this ambitious Syro-Mitannian ever actually became a king of Tyre, as Hiram had.
I suggest that he did, and that he is to be found as the fourth of the Tyrian kings (second after Hiram) by his name meaning "slave of Asherath". Here I give the late Bronson Feldman's list :
The dates given here for Hiram and Abd-Ashtart (Abdi-ashirta) are somewhat high. Feldman arrived at them from a mixture of 4 different sources. Obviously much work still needs to be done on Tyrian chronology; but I propose that the far-ranging Ben-Hadad was, at the peak of his power, a king of that important region, and known as Abdi-ashirta. Now one would also expect, following Leil, that Ben-Hadad I would also have a Baal name for his kingship in Phoenicia.|
Can we identify that Baal name in the EA letters?
It is certainly not to be found in EA's Abi-milki of Tyre or Zimrida of Sidon. The latter, however, was apparently a servant of Abdi-ashirta. "In 83:25 Rib-Adda threatens to make an alliance with Abdi-Aširta, as have Zimręda and Yapa(h)-Adda" . I think that there is even the possibility that Zimrida of Sidon was one of those nuisance 'sons of Abdi-ashirta'. Leil has discussed the name 'Zimrida', most interestingly, in the context of Zimri-Lim (Abdi-ashirta's grandfather in this reconstruction). Most likely Abdi-ashirta was the overlord of the Sidonians, whom he ruled via his vassal kings. Though himself thought to be one of the vassal kings of EA, he has now come to be understood, through his various alter egos, as a Great King in his own right, having ruled Assyria, Babylonia, and perhaps - as I shall soon suggest - even Arzawa.
I certainly believe that we can identify Ben-hadad I as ruler of Sidon - or at least a ruler "over the Sidonians" which he indeed was - in the Bible. He is Ethbaal (or Itto-Baal), his Phoenician name, father-in-law of king Ahab of Israel. According to Josephus, this Ethbaal was a priest-king of Tyre. Ben-Hadad too (as Ashurnasirpal) was a pagan high-priest. Cf.
"The palace of Ashurnasirpal, chief priest of Ashur, the chosen one of Enlil and Ninurta, the favorite of Anu and Dagan, the divine weapon of the Great ... http://www.miho.or.jp/booth/html/doccon/00001231e.htm
Ashurnasirpal Relief Wall Hanging from Angels & Earthly Things Online Store. ... The king is in his role as high priest and he is lifting his hand in ... http://www.angelsandearthlythings.com/m3.html
And Ethbaal's daughter was none other than Jezebel, whom I have identified with Queen Nefertiti in "The Shattering Fall of Queen Nefertiti" [SFQN].
According to the Excel Higher School Certificate (Australia's) current Ancient History Book 1 :
"Jezebel's father was Ethbaal, 'man of (the god) Baal', King of Tyre and Sidon, known biblically as Ethbaal of the Sidonians (1 Kings). He was a priest of the goddess Asherah, and Jezebel's mother was a priestess. Ethbaal usurped the throne from his brother, Phelles [?], by a religious coup during a period of political upheaval, and is reported by some to be a grandson of Hiram I."
More likely, Hiram's g/grandson-in-law.
"Tyre was also the principal seat of Ba'al (Melqart) worship. Ba'al was the great cosmic nature god, his wife or mother was Asherah, the mother goddess of fertility, love and sex.
In my article "The Shattering Fall of Queen Nefertiti" [SFQN], in which I identified Nefertiti with Queen Jezebel the notorious wife of Ahab of Israel, I simply accepted the Scriptural information that Jezebel's father was Ethbaal, ruler over the Sidonians. Hence I presumed that she was a Phoenician princess. Naturally, though, one would want to know more about this king Ethbaal, whom some suggest may have been a Tyrian king ruling over Sidon. The names given to the king of Tyre and the king of Sidon in the EA correspondence, respectively Abimilki (Abimelech) and Zimrida, do not contain the Baal element.
But we have now seen that the Mitannians ruled a vast empire, including the Phoenician coast, and that a king, otherwise known elsewhere, might take a Baal name as ruler of this region. The most likely candidate for Ethbaal now becomes the multi-named Ben-Hadad I/Abdi-ashirta, who, as we saw above, did at least take tribute from Tyre and Sidon. It is quite plausible that he took the Phoenician name Ethbaal (Ittobaal) as conqueror of Phoenicia. And it is made even more possible considering that a Tyrian ruler was called Abd-Ashtart.
Further, we know that this ubiquitous king, as Tushratta, was in the habit of selling Mitannian women to the pharaohs. This makes it now most likely that, as Petrie had fondly argued, Nefertiti was the Tadu-hepa whom Tushratta gave to Amenhotep III towards the end of the pharaoh's life, who disappears from the scene just as Nefertiti arises.
But if Nefertiti were Jezebel, as I maintain, then how did Ahab get hold of her before the pharaohs, considering that Ahab and Ben-Hadad I were enemies? I think the answer lies in Mitannian duplicity. Ben-Hadad and his father had apparently been on the side of Israel during the reign of Baasha, but then Ben-Hadad was lured to the side of Judah, against Israel, by Asa, with a huge gold payment, 1Ki. 15:18. One would get the impression that Ben-Hadad then continued as foe of Israel for most of Ahab's rule (and certainly well after the latter had married Jezebel), but, upon reading the Scriptures more deeply, it seems that a marriage alliance had been struck up earlier. For after Ben-Hadad had suffered 2 terrible defeats at the hands of Israel, he comes crawling to Ahab reminding him that he is his "brother" (as Tushratta also does with pharaoh), meaning a marriage alliance. Jezebel/Nefertiti/Tadu-hepa was no doubt the go-between.
On an earlier occasion, when Ben-Hadad had Ahab in trouble, he had demanded from him his wives. No doubt including at least one Mitannian, Jezebel.
I have identified Ahab in EA with Lab'ayu, who, we are told (EA 32), travelled as far as Arzawa (in Anatolia) to negotiate a wife. Historians are astounded at this and try to translate this letter differently. But Ahab well might travel this far to secure a wife as beautiful as Jezebel. And we now know that Arzawa was part of the Mitannian empire. This would explain certain things about Nefertiti, namely her European (Hittite) appearance and the Hepa (Hurrian-Hittite) element in her EA name.
Ben-Hadad I would now also become Tarhundaraba, EA's Arzawan correspondent with Amenhotep III, to whom he gave his daughter in marriage. Tarhundaraba is Telmi Teshub in Luwian, and Teshub (Hadad) is an element in the names of Ben-Hadad's grandson, DU-Teshub, and g/grandson, Duppi-Teshub.
Notes & References
 Mitcham, L., "The End of Mitanni And Some Related Problems", Catastrophism & Ancient History, January 1981, p.5.
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