The Bible
  NT Background
  NT Studies
  NT Books
  OT Background
  OT Studies
  OT Books
  Bible Study
  British Museum
  Museums
  Historical Documents
  Life Questions
  How to Preach
  Teaching

Examples of Hittite Suzerainty Treaties

This page contains copies of two different Hittite Suzerainty Treaties, made between the Hittites, as the suzerain and a vassal king. Both have similar sections to the Book of Deuteronomy, including a preamble, a historial introduction, clauses of the treaty, invocation of the gods. The first also has a section of curses and blessings.

1. Treaty Between Mursilis And Duppi-Tessub Of Amurru [a]

Preamble

I. These are the words of the Sun[1] Mursilis, the great king, the king of the Hatti land, the valiant, the favourite of the Storm- god, the son of Suppiluliumas, the great king, the king of the Hatti land, the valiant.

Historical Introduction

2. Aziras[2] was the grandfather of you, Duppi-Tessub. He rebelled against my father, but submitted again to my father. When the kings of Nuhassi land[3] and the kings of Kinza[4] rebelled against my father, Aziras did not rebel. As he was bound by treaty, he remained bound by treaty. As my father fought against his enemies, in the same manner fought Aziras. Aziras remained loyal toward my father [as his overlord] and did not incite my father's anger. My father was loyal toward Aziras and his country; he did not undertake any unjust action against him or incite his or his country's anger in any way. 300 (shekels of) refined and first- class gold, the tribute which my father had imposed upon your father, he brought year for year; he never refused it.

3. When my father became god [5] and I seated myself on the throne of my father, Aziras behaved toward me just as he had behaved toward my father. It happened that the Nuhassi kings and the king of Kinza rebelled a second time against me. But Aziras, your grandfather, and DU- Tessub,[6] your father, [did not take their side]; they remained loyal to me as their lord. [When he grew too old] and could no longer go to war and fight, DU-Tessub fought against the enemy with the foot soldiers and the charioteers of the Amurru land just as he had fought with foot soldiers and charioteers against the enemy. And the Sun destroyed them.
(gap in which the reign of DU-Tessub was dealt with)

6*.(DU-Tessub recommends his son as his successor:) " [ . . . When I die, accept my son] Duppi-Tessub as your vassal."

7*. When your father died, in accordance with your father's word I did not drop you. Since your father had mentioned to me your name with great praise, I sought after you. To be sure, you were sick and ailing, but although you were ailing, I, the Sun, put you in the place of your father and took your brothers (and) sisters and the Amurru land in oath for you.

Future Relations of the Two Countries

8*. When I, the Sun, sought after you in accordance with your father's word and put you in your father's place, I took you in oath for the king of the Hatti land, the Hatti land, and for my sons and grandsons. So honour the oath (of loyalty) to the king and the king's king And I, the king, will be loyal toward you, Duppi- Tessub. When you take a wife, and when you beget an heir, he shall be king in the Amurru land likewise. And just as I shall be loyal toward you, even so shall I be loyal toward your son. But you, Duppi-Tessub, remain loyal toward the king of the Hatti land, the Hatti land, my sons (and) my grandsons forever! The tribute which was imposed upon your grandfather and your father— they presented 300 shekels of good, refined first-class gold weighed with standard weights—you shall present them likewise. Do not turn your eyes to anyone else! Your fathers presented tribute to Egypt; you [shall not do that!]

(gap)

Military Clauses

9**.[7] [With my friend you shall be friend, and with my enemy you shall be enemy. If the king of the Hatti land is either in the Hurri land,[8] or in the land of Egypt, or in the country of Astata[9] or in the country of Alset[10]—any country contiguous to the territory of your country that is friendly with the king of the Hatti land— (or in) any country contiguous to the territory of your country that is friendly with the king of the Hatti land— (as) the country of Mukis,[11] the country of Halba [l2] (and) the country of Kinza[l3]—but turns around and becomes inimical toward the king of the Hatti land while the king of the Hatti land is on a marauding campaign—if then you, Duppi-Tessub, do not remain loyal together with your foot soldiers and your charioteers and if you do not fight wholeheartedly; or if I should send out a prince (or) a high officer with foot soldiers and charioteers to re-enforce you, Duppi- Tessub, (for the purpose of) going out to maraud in an]other c[ountry—if then you, Duppi-Tessub, do not fight wholehea]rtedly (that) enemy with [your army and your charioteers] and speak as follows: "I am under an oath of loyalty, but [how am I to know] whether they will beat the enemy, or the enemy will beat them?"; or if you even send a man to that enemy and inform him as follows: "An army and charioteers of the Hatti land are on their way; be on your guard!"—(if you do such things) you act in disregard of your oath.

10**. As I, the Sun, am loyal toward you, do you extend military help to the Sun and the Hatti land. If an evil rumour originates in the Hatti land that someone is to rise in revolt against the Sun and you hear it, leave with your foot soldiers and your charioteers and go immediately to the aid of the king of the Hatti land! But if you are not able to leave yourself, dispatch either your son or your brother together with your foot soldiers (and) your charioteers to the aid of the king of the Hatti land! If you do not dispatch your son (or) your brother with your foot soldiers (and) your charioteers to the aid of the king of the Hatti land, you act in disregard of the gods of the oath.

11**. If anyone should press you hard, Duppi-Tessub, or (if) anyone should revolt against you, (if) you then write to the king of the Hatti land, and the king of the Hatti land dispatches foot soldiers and charioteers to your aid—(if you treat them in an unfair manner [14], you act in disregard of the gods of the oath.

12**. If they take Hittites—foot soldiers and charioteers—through Duppi-Tessub's territory and Duppi-Tessub provides them while passing through (his) towns with food and drink—(if that army) engages in any misconduct—pilfering in his country or his towns or in an attempt at deposing Duppi-Tessub from his kingship—it acts in disregard of the oath.

Dealings with Foreigners etc.

13**. If anyone of the deportees from the Nuhassi land or of the deportees from the country of Kinza whom my father removed and myself removed escapes and comes to you, (if) you do not seize him and turn him back to the king of the Hatti land, and even tell him as follows: "Go! Where you are going to, I do not want to know," you act in disregard of your oath.

14**. If anyone utters words unfriendly toward the king of the Hatti land before you, Duppi-Tessub, you shall not withhold his name from the king. Or if the Sun (iii) gives you an order in secrecy (saying): "Do this or that!" (if) that order cannot be executed, petition about it on the spot (stating): "This order I cannot execute and will not execute" and the king will reconsider it then and there. But if you do not execute an order which can (well) be executed and deceive the king, or (if) you do not keep to yourself the word which the king told you in secrecy, you act in disregard of the oath.

15**. If a country or a fugitive takes to the road and while betaking themselves to the Hatti land pass through your territory, put them on the right way, show them the way to the Hatti land and speak friendly words to them! Do not send them to anyone else If you do not put them on the right way, (if) you do not guide them on the right way to the Hatti land, but direct them into the mountains or speak unfriendly words before them, you act in disregard of the oath.

16**. Or if the king of the Hatti land is getting the better of a country and puts them to flight, and they come to your country, if then you desire to take anything from them, ask the king of the Hatti land for it You shall not take it on your own If you lay hand on it by yourself or conceal it, (you act in disregard of the oath).

I7**.. Furthermore, if a fugitive comes to your country, seize him ! . . .

(gap)

Invocation of the Gods [15]

18**. [The Sun-god of Heaven, the Sun-goddess of Arinna, the Storm-god of Heaven, the Hattian Storm-god, Seris (and) Hurris[16] Mount Nanni (and) Mount Hazzi,[17] the Storm-god of [ . . . ], the Storm-god of Halab, the Storm-god of Zippalanda, the Storm-god of Nerik, the Storm-god of Lihzina, the Storm-god of Hissashapa, the Storm-god of Sabina, the Storm-god of Tahaya, the Storm-god of Bettiyarik, the Storm-god of Samuha, the Storm-god of Hurma, the Storm-god of Saressa, the Storm-god of . . ., the Storm-god of Uda, the Storm- god of Kizzuwatna, the Storm-god of Ishupitta, the Storm-god of Nuhassi; the Patron-god, the Hattian Patron-god, Zithariyas, Hapantalliyas, the Patron-god of Karahna, the Patron-god of the shield, Ea, Allatum, Telepinus of Durmitta, Telepinus of Tawiniya, Telepinus of Hanhana, Ishtar the Mighty, Askasepas; Sin, lord of the oath, Ishara, queen of the oath, Hebat, queen of heaven, Ishtar, Ishtar of the battlefield, Ishtar of Nineveh, Ishtar of Hattarina, Ninatta (and) ] Kulitta, the Hattian Warrior-god, the Warrior-god of Ellaya, the Warrior- god of Arziya, Yarris, Zampanas; Hantidassus of Hurma, Abaras of Samuhas, Katahhas of Ankuwa, the Queen of Katapa, Ammammas of Tahurpa, Hallaras of Dunna, Huwassanas of Hupisna, Tapisuwa of Ishupitta, the "Lady" of Landa, Kunniyawannis of Landa, NIN.PISAN.PISAN of Kinza, Mount Lablana,[18] Mount Sariyana,[19] Mount Pisaisa, the Lulahhi gods (and) the Hapiri[20] gods, Ereskigal, the gods and goddesses of the Hatti land, the gods and goddesses of Amurru land, all the olden gods, Naras, Napsaras, Minki, Tuhusi, Ammunki, Ammizadu, Allalu, Anu, Antu, Apantu, Ellil, Ninlil, the mountains, the rivers, the springs, the great Sea, heaven and earth, the winds (and) the clouds—let these be witnesses to this treaty and to the oath.

Curses and Blessings

20**. The words of the treaty and the oath that are inscribed on this tablet—should Duppi-Tessub not honour these words of the treaty and the oath, may these gods of the oath destroy Duppi-Tessub together with his person, his wife, his son, his grandson, his house, his land and together with everything that he owns.

21**. But if Duppi-Tessub honours these words of the treaty and the oath that are inscribed on this tablet, may these gods of the oath protect him together with his person, his wife, his son, his grandson, his house (and) his country.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Sun is the tide with which the Hittite king is addressed.
[2] The king of Amurru who is well known from the Amarna letters.
[3] The region between Halba (Aleppo) and the Orontes River.
[4] Qadesh on the Orontes, today Tdl Nebi Mendo.
[5] i.e. died.
[6] The first part of the name is an ideogram, the Hurrian pronunciation of which is not known; in this case even the meaning of the ideogram is obscure.
[7] The bracketed first part of the section is here restored from the treaty between Mursilis and Tette of Nuhassi (KBo, 1, 4 etc. in Akkadian, translated by Weidner, loc. cit., 58 ff.). It is possible that not all the geographical names were the same here.
[8] Upper Mesopotamia between the Euphrates and Assyria.
[9] The region at the bend of the Euphrates south of Jerablus.
[10] The region on the upper Tigris.
[11] Its capital is Alalha, the ancient name of Atchana (Tell Acana) east of Antakya.
[12] Aleppo.
[13] Qadesh on the Orontes, today Tell Nebi Mendo.
[14] Inadvertently omitted by the scribe.
[15] The bracketed part is again taken from the treaty with Tette of Nuhassi, see n.7.
[16] The two bulls of the Storm-god.
[17] Mons Casius near Ugarit.
[18] The Lebanon.
[19] The Hermon.
[20] Much discussed in connection with the question as to whether the Hapiru (widely quoted as Habiru), who are ubiquitous in cuneiform texts of the tunes, are to be equated with the Hebrews.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[a] ANET p. {548}.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. A Hittite Treaty with Wilusa [13th c. BC]

Treaty between Muwattalli II of Hatti and Alaksandu of Wilusa [Extracts]

[Full text published in Gary Beckman, Hittite Diplomatic texts, Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996, 2nd ed. 1999.

Preamble

Thus says My Majesty, Muwattalli, Great King, [King] of Hatti, beloved of the Storm-god of Lightning; son of Mursili. Great King. Hero:

Historical Background

Formerly, when my forefather Labarna had conquered all the lands of Arzawa and the land of Wilusa, thereafter the land of Arzawa began war, and the land of Wilusa defected from Hatti -but because the matter is long past, E do not know from which King. [And] when the land of Wilusa [ defected] from Hatti, its people were indeed at peace with the Kings of Hatti from afar, [and] they regularly sent [them messengers]. But when Tudhaliya came [ ...] against the land of Arzawa, he did not enter [the land of Wilusa. It was] at peace [with him] and regularly sent [him messengers. ...] and Tudhaliya [ ...] forefathers in the land [of ...]

The Alliance

[ ...When your] day of death arrives, Alaksandu, then [ ...] In regard to the [son] of yours whom you designate for kingship -[whether he is by] your wife or by your concubine, and even if he is still a child- if the population of the land refuses him and says as follows: He is the progeny [ ...]" - I, My Majesty. will not agree. Later my son and my grandson, to the first and second generation, will protect that one alone. You, Alaksandu, benevolently protect My Majesty. And later protect my son and my grandson, to the first and second generation. And as E, My Majesty, protected you, Alaksandu, in good will because of the word of your father, and came to your aid, and killed your enemy for you, later in the future my sons and my grandsons will certainly protect your descendant for you, to the first and second generation. If some enemy arises for you, I will not abandon you, just as I have not now abandoned you, I will kill your enemy for you. But if your brother or someone of your family revolts against you, Alaksandu, or later someone revolts against your son or your grandsons, and they seek the kingship of the land of Wilusa, I, My Majesty, will absolutely not depose you, Alaksandu.

[Divine Witnesses]

Abara of Samuha. Hantitassu of Hurma, Katahha of Ankuwa, the Queen of Katapa, Ammamma of Tahurpa, Hallara of Dunna, Huwassanna of Hupisna, the mountain-dweller gods, the mercenary gods, all the male and female deities, all the primeval deities -Nara, Namsara, Ammunki, Tuhusi, Minki, Ammizzadu, Alalu, Kumarbi, AcE?E, Ninlil - Mount Hulla, Mount Zaliyanu, Mount Taha, the mountains, the rivers, and the springs of Hatti, the great sea, heaven and earth, the winds, the clouds, all the [deities] of the land of Wilusa: the Storm-god of the Army. E ...]appaliuna, the male deities, the female deities, the mountains, [the rivers, the springs], and the underground watercourse(?) of the land of Wilusa, E, My Majesty, IGreat] King, beloved of the Storm-god of Lightning, have summoned them to assembly in witness.