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Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia


MapTarhuntassa (Kode)

Seized from the Luwian state of Arzawa, and possibly named after one of its kings, towards the later days of the Hittite empire, this southern section of the state nearest the Mediterranean coast began to emerge as a sub-kingdom in its own right with the name of Tarhuntassa. To the Egyptians it was Kode. It became more and more independent until, towards the last days of the Hittite empire, it was probably a kingdom in its own right, outside general Hittite authority.

Tarhuntassa's capital has never been discovered by archaeologists, and there is little documentary evidence to describe its existence. Speculation as to the site of the capital city includes various areas in modern southern Turkey, with perhaps Kilise Tepe ('city of Tarhunt', the Luwian storm god in the Luwian language) being the favourite.

Like other Luwians, the Arzawans chiefly worshipped the storm god (Teshub in Hurrian, and later the Greek Zeus took on the storm god's role). They called him 'Tarhun' but this was rendered as 'Tarhunta' in theophoric names. When the Arzawans made treaties with the Hittites, they also called the river and mountain gods to witness. Another element that appears in the personal names is 'Kurunta', often under the Sumerograms KAL and LAMMA. 'Kurunta' alone became a personal name (used at least once by a later prince of the kingdom of Tarhuntassa around 1275 BC - see below) which, as mentioned, was originally a Luwian territory, so it seems likely that Kurunta was a local hero as much as a god (like Heracles).

(Additional information by Edward Dawson.)

c.1350 BC

During the reign of Suppiluliuma I, the Hittites solidify their control over the south and east of Anatolia, including in Tarhuntassa, which had formerly been part of Arzawa.

c.1300 BC

Hittite king Muwatalli II moves his capital to the previously obscure city of Tarhuntassa in southern Anatolia (possibly due to the Kaskan sacking of Hattusa). He leaves his brother, the future Hattusili III, in charge of the northern areas, from where he reconquers Hattusa and the cult centre of Nerik, allowing the capital to be returned to the north.

c.1282 - 1275 BC

In the north of Anatolia, the future Hattusili III uses his powerbase to undermine current Hittite king, Mursili III, eventually deposing him. He makes Mursili's son, Karunta, 'king of Tarhuntassa' in the south. However, the surviving treaty which refers to Tarhuntassa more often refers to the appointed king as 'Ulmi-Tessup', for which reason some scholars believe that Ulmi-Tessup and Kurunta are two different rulers of Tarhuntassa.

fl c.1275 BC


Senior ruler, or same person as Karunta?

c.1275 - ? BC

Karunta / Kuruntiya

Son of the exiled Mursili III. Hittite sub-king. Junior ruler?

c.1241 - 1240 BC

Karunta may temporarily depose his cousin, Tudhaliya V (IV), but the latter appears to be restored a year later, when he re-ratifies Karunta as king of Tarhuntassa while the latter is at war with Parha. The treaty implies that Tarhuntassa now wields power enough to make it an important player in regional politics, as well as suggesting that it is perhaps only nominally under centralised Hittite control.

c.1215? BC

Tarhuntassa attacks the weak Hittite state, but no further details are known.

c.1200 BC

The Hittite empire is looted and destroyed by the Kaskans and the Sea Peoples, and Tarhuntassa disappears from the historical record, also a victim of the regional instability of this period (as noted by Egypt). The region is partially occupied by Ĉolian and Achaean Greeks and becomes known as Pamphylia, while the neo-Hittite state of Que later emerges on its eastern border.