Mitanni problem

S.Kalyanaraman kalyan99 at NETSCAPE.NET
Sat Oct 31 16:02:12 UTC 1998

MC Vidal wrote:> One would expect such a migration to have been noticed and
recorded> by the Sumerians and Akkadians of Mesopotamia.  (Unless it happened>
in the 50 years or so of Gutian rule, between tha fall of Sargon's> Akkadian
empire and the "Sumerian revival" of Gudea of Lagash and Ur> III).> > The
Hurrians themselves, when they appear in the neighbourhood of> Mesopotamia c.
2200, are said to do so from the north and east.

Vidal is right; the migration has not been recorded by Sumerians and
Akkadians. But, does the absence of a Sumerian/Akkadian record, rule out the
sea-route for the migration? The identification of Dilmun, Makan and Meluhha
is also an open question (cf. Kramer identifying Dilmun with IVC); though the
substantial bronze age trade contacts across the Gulf are emphatically
recorded; the glyptic evidence on cylinder seals is compelling; though the
glyphs have not been fully deciphered, excepting for statements such as
'battle scenes', 'lion hunts', 'banquet scenes'... With the possibility of IVC
glyphs being bronze-age weapons, there is a possibility that the enigma of the
Mesopotamian glyphs may also be resolved... The recorded interactions (and
transfers of goods and ideas) among people across Dilmun, Makkan and Meluhha
(assuming they are Bahrain, Akkadia and IVC) are stronger than those with

Shouldn't a distinction be made between Hurrians (?Subarians) and the Mitanni
kings or royal lineage? As Thieme notes, the list of gods and goddesses listed
as witnesses in the Mitanni treaties include only 5 vedic gods; there are
scores of divinities of the Hurrian and Hatti pantheon... "The intention in
enumerating them obviously is to name as many divinities as there are: 'the
male gods, the female gods, one and all, from the country Hatti; the male
gods, the female gods from the country Kizzuatni; the gods of the nether
world.' (KBo I 1 rev 51)...But in concluding a treaty it was essential to
invoke as many gods as possible in order to cover the vastest area without
leaving, perchange, a gap where a fugitive might obtain immunity." Each name
in the treaty is preceded by the determinative (written, hardly spoken)
ideogram dingir 'god' or dingir-mes' 'gods'.

The toponymy (cf. Mayrhofer and Burrow) is vivid; the Mitanni prince was
Mattiuaza, his father Tus'ratta and many more names which are meaningful
Sanskrit compounds; the vedic gods might have been added in to connote the
gods'list of the nobility, while the Hurrian gods were those of the 'Hurri


More than just email--Get your FREE Netscape WebMail account today at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list