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Re: "Hittites" Re: SV: [ANE-2] pulling down houses

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  • E. Adams
    ... Dierk van den Berg seemed puzzled by this claim that the Hittites called themselves, as opposed to the written ... Daniels, Whiting, and Del Monte make it
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 28 8:50 AM
      On Sun, 8 Jul 2007, P. T. Daniels wrote:

      >We call those Anatolian folks who wrote in cuneiform "Hittites"
      >because of a mistaken guess (likely by A. H. Sayce?) that they
      >were the people known in the Bible as "Hittites." In fact they
      >called themselves (what in English would be) "Nesians" or
      >"Nesites," so the "Hittite" Laws have nothing to do with Uriah
      >the Hittite.

      To which R. Whiting replied:

      >Which is true, of course, only as long as "Hittites" wasn't
      >what the rest of the world called the people who called
      >themselves "Nesians".

      G. Del Monte added this remark:

      > at the beginning of the Iron Age no one Hittite
      >(that is, Nesite) walked on the dark earth any more,
      >as far as our evidence suggests.

      Dierk van den Berg seemed puzzled by this claim that
      the Hittites called themselves, as opposed to the written
      language they used,"Nesites" and asked:

      >Chattusil, the great King, the King of the Land (of) Chatti"
      >might have spoken Nesian, but that's probably already all, IMO.
      >The very first self-designation would be "Man of Chatti", isn't it?

      Daniels, Whiting, and Del Monte make it sound as if the
      "nation"? "dynasty"? we call "Hittites" actually called
      themselves "Nesites" (Nesumnes, LU URU Nesa) as their

      I can't remember any instance of this term being used for
      anything but an inhabitant of the city of Nesha; the expression
      LU URU- Nesha would apply only to an actual resident of that town.
      After the decline of this once major center, we find the reference to
      the language mostly in some ritual texts describing singers, no?
      (except of course for the EA correspondence where the king of
      Arzawa begs the king of Egypt to write him in neshumnili,
      "the language of the people of Nesha".) And when the gods of
      Nesha are mentioned they are not at all the gods of the royal
      dynasty at Hattusha or Kushshar, but fairly obscure local gods
      of Nesha, no? [q.v. in V. Haas on Hitt Religion).

      Where is the royal inscription or the seal of any king after the
      immediate series of Anitta and his successor(s?) who called
      themselves kings of Nesha or Lu- Nesha? As Melchert
      remarked in his 1995 CANE article (p 2152):
      "Hittite was the chief administrative language of the Hittite Empire.
      To what extent it functioned as a spoken language at various
      places and times in the empire is impossible to determine. It is
      noteworthy that the Hittites themselves called the language ne$ili
      -- that is, "of Nesha" [Kanesh]."

      I thought Gerd Steiner had dealt with all this long ago in his
      article in J. Indo-European Studies 9, 1981:
      p 161: "The use of the language of Ne$a-Kane$ as one of the
      official languages of the kingdom of Hatti cannot be explained
      by the assumption that it was the language of the 'ruling class'
      who had retained by that name the memory of their former abode.
      For in the tradition of the kingdom of Hatti there is no reference
      whatever to the origin of the ruling dynasty of the 'Old Kingdom'
      or of a larger part of the population from the country of Kane$-
      Ne$a. Nor is there any evidence that the city of Ku$$ara, where
      the dynasty of the 'Old Kingdom' claims to have come from, was
      situated in the country of Kane$ or in a territory with a population
      speaking the same language as ne$(umn)ili but the very use of
      "Nesite" as official language in Hattu$a. This is, however, a
      circular argument.
      ."...And though Babylonian was well known in Hatti, it was not
      used alone as the official language as in other parts of the ANE,
      or as Old Assyrian had been used in the time of the trading
      colonies... there was apparently the need for an official languge of
      Anatolian kind. And the reason why the language of Kane$-Ne$a
      was chosen for that purpose may simply have been the same
      why it was used later in the correspondence with the countries
      in southern and western Anatolia, namely because it was and
      had been used and understood by a large part of the multilingual
      population of Central Anatolia and the adjacent recions as a
      language of communication.... or 'lingua franca'. " [end quote]
      -i.e.dating back to the period when Kanesh was the central
      karum of the Assyrian trading network in Anatolia, just as
      Swahili became the E. African lingua franca in the era of
      the Arab slave trading networks extending all the way inland
      to the Lakes region.

      He goes on to make the point that one cannot judge the
      language spoken by the scribe or his patron on the basis
      of the language they use to write, or we should find the
      Elamites or Ka$$ites to be Akkadians [or the Persians
      to be Elamites for that matter!] So when the Nesite language
      suddenly dies out of the surviving texts at the end of the
      Bronze Age, just as when Urartean [Biainili?] also suddenly
      died out when the dynasty of the Children of Khaldi fell,
      is it not because neither language was a major vox populi
      in the kingdom at large, but rather the written language of
      the central bureaucracy?

      The Neshili language must have evolved in the town of Nesha
      during the long period when cuneiform writing Old Assyrian
      scribes resided in the karum. At this time no one had yet
      struggled to adapt the Hattic/ Hattili language to the medium
      of cuneiform writing, nor had Luwian yet been transcribed.
      So once the local Neshite language had been so adapted and
      used to communicate with the locals, it was convenient for the
      new administration from Kushshara, when they conquered other
      cities in the north, west, and south, to continue to use this Neshan
      language as the official written language. Conversely, if the language
      later called "the language of the Kaneshites," kaneshumnili , in
      some ritual instructions was in fact also the original language of the
      prestigious conquering dynasty of Kushshara, wouldn't it ever have
      been called Kushsharili, and associated with the dynastic gods
      of Kushshara?. Hattushili I never identified himself as a man of Nesha ,
      did he? but as a man of Kushshar. And it was in Kushshar that he
      called the assembly when he wanted to appoint Murshili as his
      successor, etc.

      E. Adams

      PS: as to the ancestral language of Urijah the Hethite, I have
      long wondered if he might not be a descendant of the men of
      URU Kurustama, "men of Khatti", who were sent to Egypt
      (or Egyptian territory in S. Syria or Palestine) in the 15th c.?
      Probably they were send as mercenaries or as hostage/ colons
      to help keep the peace between Egypt and Hatti-- unless we
      fall back on the idea that Egyptians wanted Anatolian
      metallurgists; Kurustama might have harbored "proto-Chalybes",
      NE/Pontic metalsmiths of Greek fame. In any case since
      Kurustama later falls to the Kaskans, it is not unlikely
      that its NE location would indicate that its local language
      was hattili . [How about modern Horoztepe on the Yesil Irmak
      of 3rd mil. metallurgical fame, judging by the archaeological
      artifacts recovered?]

      If Uri-Jah descended from 2nd mil. deported hattili speakers,
      we might interpret his name as Hattic Yahsu = heaven,
      and uril- mighty, powerful in Hattic [cf. ura/ big, great in
      Hieroglyphic Hittite/Luwian [ cf. also wr- big, chief, big man,
      foreign king in Egyptian, & Mahass & Old Nubian ur/head,
      uru, king, chief.] So the PN Uriyahsu might have originally
      meant the Great One of Heaven, or the Ruler of Heaven,
      (cf. Bel Shamayim) with the foreign Anatolian sibilant suffix
      eventually dropped, just as some now write Kashtilia instead
      of Kashtiliashu, or Mursili for Mursilis, etc.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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