The Inside Assyria Discussion Forum #5

=> Rollinger Article on the Turkey Tablet

Rollinger Article on the Turkey Tablet
Posted by pancho (Moderator) - Tuesday, May 1 2012, 1:51:41 (UTC)
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The Çineköy inscription
introduces Warikas/Urikki not only as a successful king, but also as an ally of
his Assyrian overlord and characterizes this special relationship in terms that hint at some
close bond.18 The Luwian version has Warikas/Urikki proclaim:
sVI And then, the/an Assyrian king (su+ra/i-wa/i-ni-sa(URBS))and the whole Assyrian
“House” (su+ra/i-wa/i-za-ha(URBS)) were made a fa[ther and a mo]ther for me,
sVII and Hiyawa and Assyria (su+ra/i-wa/i-ia-sa-ha(URBS)) were made a single “House.”19

The Terms “Assyria” and “Syria” Again 285
The Phoenician version reads as follows:
Line 7: And the king [of Assur and (?)]
Line 8: the whole “House” of Assur (ªSR) were for me a father [and a]
Line 9: mother, and the DNNYM and the Assyrians (ªSRYM)
Line 10: were a single “House.”20

These lines both offer a glimpse of the ideology of an Assyrian vassal kingdom on the
fringes of the empire and are an essential aid for any attempt at explaining the linguistic
relationship of the terms “Assyria” and “Syria.” Luwian “su+ra/i-wa/i-ni-sa(URBS)” and
“su+ra/i-wa/i-za-ha(URBS)” are equivalent to Phoenician “ ªSR” and “ ªSRYM”: the Luwian
forms are clearly truncated versions—by way of aphesis—of the Phoenician ones. The observation
that the loss of A-mobile is a characteristic phenomenon in nomina propria of
the Anatolian milieu was first made by Paul Kretschmer,21 who, of course, could not have
known the inscription of Çineköy.22 He also did not focus on this particular problem—
rather, he attempted to demonstrate that Hittite Ahhiyava has to be equated with the Cilician
ÔUpacaioÇ of Herodotus 7.91.23 The inscription of Çineköy may also shed new light on this
intractable problem—although it is not our concern here24—since the land of Cilicia is called
“Hiyawa,” which seems in some way related not only to ÔUpacaioÇ, but also to Ahhiyava.25
More important in the context of the present study, however, is the fact that the inscription
of Çineköy provides incontrovertible proof that the Luwians used to pronounce “Assyria”
without the initial aleph.26 Since a second Luwian inscription presents the toponym in the
form “a-sú+ra/i(REGIO)-wa/i-na-ti(URBS),”27 it is evident that “Sura/i” and “Asura/i” are
simply variant versions of one and the same name; however, we should see this conclusion
in a broader context. As demonstrated by Nöldeke and others, the Greek usage of “Assyria”
and “Syria” was almost interchangeable. Furthermore, Simo Parpola has recently shown
that in late seventh-century b.c. Aramaic documents from Assyria the name Assur (pronounced
Assur and generally written ªsr) could also appear as “Sur” (written sr).28 If we

286 Journal of Near Eastern Studies
add this material to our considerations, it becomes clear that the inscription of Çineköy does
not only represent another argument in favor of the derivation of “Syria” from “Assyria,”
but also points to the origins of this development. It may seem surprising, therefore, that the
significance of the Çineköy inscription concerning this question has not yet been recognized.
It is true that Tekoglu saw the close parallel between the two forms “Sura/i” and
“Asura/i,” but he used it only to show the meaning of the term “Sura/i” in Luwian inscriptions.
29 The inscription of Cineköy, however, contains much more information. It testifies
to the fact that the abbreviation was already current in the last third of the eighth century
b.c., and it demonstrates that the original linguistic and historical context was not a Greek
or an Assyrian one but the multilingual milieu of southern Anatolia and northern Syria at the
beginning of the Iron Age.30 This milieu was characterized by several small kingdoms where
Luwians, Phoenicians, and Arameans played a dominant role.31 In the eighth century b.c.
they came increasingly under Assyrian political pressure.32 It was about the same time that
It is true that,
in light of Çineköy, “su-ra/i-za” should now be understood
as “Assyria” in other Luwian inscriptions and
not as “Urartu” as in Hawkins, Corpus, p. 126. This is
also true for the inscriptions Karkamis A 6, 3. s 6
(ibid., p. 124). But it remains doubtful whether this
“Sura/i” may be regarded as identical with the toponym
written “sù-ra/i” in Karkamis A15b, 4. s 19 (ibid.,
p. 131) because it is immediately followed by a second
toponym, which obviously refers to Assyria: “a-sú-ra/i.”
Since both terms point to two distinct systems of writing,
they must represent different toponyms. This explanation seems rather improbable.
It is far more plausible to assume that the characters
“su” and “sù” are not homophonous. Thus only “su-ra/i”
should be taken as an abbreviation for “Assyria” but
not “sù-ra/i.” This is also true for Assur letter e 4. s 27
(Hawkins, Corpus, pp. 536, 549). One may, of course,
ask how best to explain the meaning of “sù-ra/i.”
Hawkins’s suggestion of taking it to represent the
Hieroglyphic Luwian version of Urartu seems best.
See John David Hawkins, “Assyrians and Hittites,”
Iraq 36 (1974): 68, n. 6. Cf. also Gernot Wilhelm,
“sura/i in Kargamis und das urartäische Gentiliz surele,”
SMEA 31 (1993): 135–41. To foreign ears “su-ra/i” and
“sù-ra/i” may have sounded similar, and this may be the
reason for the existence of the “Cappadocian Syrians” in
Greek sources. See now, in detail, my article “Assyrios,
30 Parpola, in “National and Ethnic Identity,” p. 17,
argued for a Neo-Assyrian origin of the “abbreviation.”
31 Cf. Wolfgang Röllig, “Asia Minor as a Bridge
between East and West: The Role of the Phoenicians
and the Aramaeans in the Transfer of Culture,” in Günter
Kopcke and Isabelle Tokumaru, eds., Greece between
East and West: 10th–8th centuries BC (Mainz, 1992),
pp. 93–102; 33 See my article “The Ancient Greeks and the
Impact of the Ancient Near East: Textual Evidence
and Historical Perspective,” in Robert M. Whiting,
ed., Mythology and Mythologies: Methodological
Approaches to Intercultural Influences, Melammu
Symposia 2 (Helsinki, 2001), pp. 233–64.
34 See again the important study by Parpola,
“National and Ethnic Identity,” pp. 5– 40. Cf. also
Wolfhart Heinrichs, “The Modern Assyrians—Name
and Nation,” in Riccardo Contini, ed., Semitica: Serta
Philologica Constantino Tsereteli dicata (Turin, 1993),
pp. 99–114, and John Joseph, “Assyria and Syria:
Synonyms?,” JAAS 11/2 (1997): 37–43.


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