Luwian language

Luwian /ˈluːiən/, sometimes known as Luvian or Luish, is an ancient language, or group of languages, within the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family.

The ethnonym Luwian comes from Luwiya (also spelled Luwia or Luvia) – the name of the region in which the Luwians lived. Luwiya is attested, for example, in the Hittite laws.[2]

The two varieties of Proto-Luwian or Luwian (in the narrow sense of these names), are known after the scripts in which they were written: Cuneiform Luwian (CLuwian) and Hieroglyphic Luwian (HLuwian). There is no consensus as to whether these were a single language, or two closely related languages.

Hieroglyph Luwian BOS
Luwian hieroglyph
Native toHittite Empire, Arzawa, Neo-Hittite kingdoms
RegionAnatolia, Northern Syria
Extinctaround 600 BC
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
xlu – Cuneiform Luwian
hlu – Hieroglyphic Luwian
xlu Cuneiform Luwian
 hlu Hieroglyphic Luwian
Distribution of the Luwian language (in German)
Luwian Language de
Distribution according to another source (also in German)


Several other Anatolian languages – particularly Carian, Lycian, Lydian and Milyan (also known as Lycian B or Lycian II) – are now usually identified as related to Luwian – and as mutually connected more closely than other constituents of the Anatolian branch.[3] This suggests that these languages formed a sub-branch within Anatolian. Some linguists follow Craig Melchert in referring to this broader group as Luwic,[4] whereas others refer to the "Luwian group" (and, in that sense, "Luwian" may mean several distinct languages). Likewise, Proto-Luwian may mean the common ancestor of the whole group, or just the ancestor of Luwian (Normally, under tree-naming conventions, were the branch to be called Luwic, its ancestor should be known as Proto-Luwic or Common Luwic; in practice, such names are seldom used). Luwic or Luwian (in the broad sense of the term), is one of three major sub-branches of Anatolian, alongside Hittite and Palaic.[3]

As Luwian has numerous archaisms, it is regarded as important to the study of Indo-European languages (IE) in general, the other Anatolian languages and the Bronze Age Aegean. These archaicisms often regarded as supporting the view that the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) had three distinct sets of velar consonants:[5] plain velars, palatovelars, and labiovelars. For Melchert, PIE *ḱ → Luwian z (probably [ts]); *kk; and *kʷku (probably [kʷ]). Luwian has also been enlisted for its verb kalut(t)i(ya)-, which means "make the rounds of" and is probably derived from *kalutta/i- "circle".[6] It has been argued[7] that this derives from a proto-Anatolian word for "wheel", which in turn would have derived from the common word for "wheel" found in all other Indo-European families. The wheel was invented in the 5th millennium BC and, if kaluti does derive from it, then the Anatolian branch left PIE after its invention (so validating the Kurgan hypothesis as applicable to Anatolian). However, kaluti need not imply a wheel and so need not have been derived from a PIE word with that meaning. The IE words for a wheel may well have arisen in those other IE languages after the Anatolian split.

Geographic and chronological distribution

Luwian was among the languages spoken during the 2nd and 1st millennia BC by groups in central and western Anatolia and northern Syria.[8] The earliest Luwian texts in cuneiform transmission are attested in connection with the Kingdom of Kizzuwatna in southeastern Anatolia, as well as a number of locations in central Anatolia. Beginning in the 14th century BC, Luwian-speakers came to constitute the majority in the Hittite capital Hattusa.[9] It appears that by the time of the collapse of the Hittite Empire ca. 1180 BC, the Hittite king and royal family were fully bilingual in Luwian. Long after the extinction of the Hittite language, Luwian continued to be spoken in the Neo-Hittite states of Syria, such as Milid and Carchemish, as well as in the central Anatolian kingdom of Tabal that flourished in the 8th century BC.[10]

A number of scholars in the past attempted to argue for the Luwian homeland in western Anatolia. According to James Mellaart, the earliest Indo-Europeans in northwest Anatolia were the horse-riders who came to this region from the north and founded Demircihöyük (Eskisehir Province) in Phrygia c. 3000 BC. They were allegedly ancestors of the Luwians who inhabited Troy II, and spread widely in the Anatolian peninsula.[11] He cited the distribution of a new type of wheel-made pottery, Red Slip Wares, as some of the best evidence for his theory. According to Mellaart, the proto-Luwian migrations to Anatolia came in several distinct waves over many centuries. The recent detailed review of Mellaart's claims suggests that his ethnolinguistic conclusions cannot be substantiated on archaeological grounds.[12]

Other arguments were advanced for the extensive Luwian presence in western Anatolia in the late second millennium BC. In the Old Hittite version of the Hittite Code, some, if not all, of the Luwian-speaking areas were called Luwiya. Widmer (2007) has argued that the Mycenaean term ru-wa-ni-jo, attested in Linear B, refers to the same area.[13] but the stem *Luwan- was recently shown to be non-existent.[14] In a corrupt late copy of the Hittite Code the geographical term Luwiya is replaced with Arzawa[15] a western Anatolian kingdom corresponding roughly with Mira and the Seha River Land.[16] Therefore, several scholars shared the view that Luwian was spoken—to varying degrees—across a large portion of western Anatolia, including Troy (Wilusa), the Seha River Land (Sēḫa ~ Sēḫariya, i.e., the Greek Hermos river and Kaikos valley), and the Mira-Kuwaliya kingdom with its core being the Maeander valley.[17] In a number of recent publications, however, the geographic identity between Luwiya and Arzawa was rejected or doubted.[18] In the post-Hittite era, the region of Arzawa came to be known as Lydia (Assyrian Luddu, Greek Λυδία), where the Lydian language was in use. The name Lydia has been derived from the name Luwiya (Lydian *lūda- < *luw(i)da- < luwiya-, with regular Lydian sound change y > d).[19] The Lydian language, however, cannot be regarded as the direct descendant of Luwian and probably does not even belong to the Luwic group (see Anatolian languages). Therefore, none of the arguments in favour of the Luwian linguistic dominance in Western Asia Minor can be regarded as compelling, although the issue continues to be debated.

Script and dialects

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations057 kopie1
Stele of Sultanhan, Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara, Turkey.

Luwian was split into many dialects, which were written in two different writing systems. One of these was the Cuneiform Luwian which used the form of Old Babylonian cuneiform that had been adapted for the Hittite language. The other was Hieroglyphic Luwian, which was written in a unique native hieroglyphic script. The differences between the dialects are minor, but they affect vocabulary, style, and grammar. The different orthographies of the two writing systems may also hide some differences.

Cuneiform Luwian

Cuneiform Luwian is the corpus of Luwian texts attested in the tablet archives of Hattusa; it is essentially the same cuneiform writing system used in Hittite.[20] In Laroche's Catalog of Hittite Texts, the corpus of Hittite cuneiform texts with Luwian insertions runs from CTH 757–773, mostly comprising rituals.[21] Cuneiform Luwian texts are written in several dialects, of which the most easily identifiable are Kizzuwatna Luwian, Ištanuwa Luwian, and Empire Luwian.[22] The last dialect represents the vernacular of Hattusan scribes of the 14th–13th centuries BC and is mainly attested through Glossenkeil words in Hittite texts.

Compared to cuneiform Hittite, logograms (signs with a set symbolic value) are rare. Instead, most writing is done with the syllabic characters, where a single symbol stands for a vowel, or a consonant-vowel pair (either VC or CV). A striking feature is the consistent use of 'full-writing' to indicate long vowels, even at the beginning of words. In this system a long vowel is indicated by writing it twice. For example, īdi "he goes" is written i-i-ti rather than i-ti, and ānda "in" is written a-an-ta rather than an-ta.

Hieroglyphic Luwian

Hieroglyphic Luwian is the corpus of Luwian texts written in a native script, known as Anatolian hieroglyphs.[23][24] Once thought to be a variety of the Hittite language, "Hieroglyphic Hittite" was formerly used to refer to the language of the same inscriptions, but this term is now obsolete. The dialect of Luwian hieroglyphic inscriptions appears to be either Empire Luwian or its descendant, Iron Age Luwian.

The first report of a monumental inscription dates to 1850, when an inhabitant of Nevşehir reported the relief at Fraktin. In 1870, antiquarian travellers in Aleppo found another inscription built into the south wall of the Al-Qaiqan Mosque. In 1884, Polish scholar Marian Sokołowski discovered an inscription near Köylütolu, in western Turkey. The largest known inscription was excavated in 1970 in Yalburt, northwest of Konya. Luwian hieroglyphic texts contain a limited number of lexical borrowings from Hittite, Akkadian, and Northwest Semitic; the lexical borrowings from Greek are limited to proper nouns, although common nouns borrowed in the opposite direction do exist.[25]


The reconstruction of the Luwian phoneme inventory is based mainly on the written texts and comparisons with the known development of other Indo-European languages. Two series of stops can be identified, transliterated as geminate in the cuneiform script. These fortis and lenis stops may have been distinguished by either voicing or gemination. The contrast was lost initially and finally, suggesting that any voicing only appeared intervocalically.[26]

The following table provides a minimal consonant inventory, as can be reconstructed from the script. The existence of other consonants, which were not differentiated in writing, is possible.

  Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular
Nasal fortis *m: <mm> *n: <nn>      
lenis *m <m> *n <n>
Plosive fortis *p <pp> *t <tt> *k <kk>
lenis *b <p> *d <t>   *ɡ <k>  
Fricative fortis   *s <šš>   *x~χ <ḫḫ>
lenis   *z <š>   *ɣ~ʁ <ḫ>
Affricate fortis *t͡s <zz>
lenis *d͡z <z>
Trill   *r      
Approximant *w  *l *j  

There are only three vowels, a, i, and u, which could be short or long. Vowel length is not stable but changes with the stress and word position. For example, annan occurs alone as an adverb as ānnan ('underneath') but as a preposition, it becomes annān pātanza ('under the feet').

In transcriptions of Luwian cuneiform, š is traditionally distinguished from s, since they were originally distinct signs for two different sounds, but in Luwian, both signs probably represented the same s sound.

A noteworthy phonological development in Luwian is rhotacism; in some cases, d, l, and n becomes r. For example, *īdi ('he gets') becomes īri and wala- '(die') becomes wara-. Additionally, a d in word final position can be dropped, and an s may be added between two dental consonants and so *ad-tuwari becomes aztuwari ('you all eat') (ds and z are phonetically identical).



There were two grammatical genders: animate and inanimate/neuter. There are two grammatical numbers: singular and plural; some animate nouns could also take a collective plural in addition to the regular numerical plural. Luwian had six cases: nominative, genitive, dative/locative, accusative, ablative/instrumental, and vocative. The vocative case occurs rarely in surviving texts and only in the singular.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative animate -s -anzi, -inzi
Accusative animate -n, -an
Nominative/accusative inanimate -Ø, -n -a, -aya
Genitive -s, -si
Dative/locative -i, -iya, -a -anza
Ablative/instrumental -ati

In the animate gender, an -i- is inserted between the stem and the case ending. In hieroglyphic Luwian, the particle -sa/-za is added to the nominative/accusative inanimate case ending. In the genitive case, cuneiform and hieroglyphic Luwian differ sharply from each other. In cuneiform Luwian, however, the possessive suffix -assa for the genitive singular and -assanz- for the genitive plural are used. In hieroglyphic Luwian, as in Hittite, the classical Indo-European suffixes -as for the genitive singular and -an for the plural are used as well.[28] The special form of possessive adjectives with a plural possessor is restricted to Kizzuwatna Luwian and probably represents a calque from Hurrian.[29]

Because of the prevalence of -assa placenames and words scattered around all sides of the Aegean Sea, the possessive suffix was sometimes considered evidence of a shared non-Indo-European language or an Aegean Sprachbund preceding the arrivals of Luwians and Greeks. It is, however, possible to account for the Luwian possessive construction as a result of case attraction in the Indo-European noun phrase.[30]


Case Singular Plural
Nominative animate -asis -asinzi
Accusative animate -asin
Nominative/accusative inanimate -asanza -asa
Dative/locative -asan -asanza
Ablative/instrumental -asati

Adjectives agree with nouns in number and gender. Forms for the nominative and the accusative differ only in the animate gender and even then, only in the singular. For the sake of clarity, the table includes only the endings beginning with -a, but endings can also begin with an -i. The forms are largely derived from the forms of the nominal declension, with an -as- before the case ending that would be expected for nouns.


In addition to personal pronouns typical of Anatolian languages, Luwian also has demonstrative pronouns, the which are formed from apa- and za-/zi-. The case endings are similar those of Hittite, but not all cases are attested for personal pronouns. In the third person, the demonstrative pronoun apa- occurs instead of the personal pronoun.

  Personal pronoun Possessive pronoun
independent enclitic independent
Singular 1st person amu, mu -mu, -mi ama-
2nd person tu, ti -tu, -ti tuwa-
3rd person (apa-) -as, -ata, -an, -du apasa-
Plural 1st person anzas, anza -anza anza-
2nd person unzas, unza -manza unza-
3rd person (apa-) -ata, -manza apasa-

Possessive pronouns and demonstrative pronouns in apa- are declined as adjectives. All known forms of the personal pronouns are given, but it is not clear how their meanings differed or how they changed for different cases.

In addition to the forms given in the table, Luwian also had a demonstrative pronoun formed from the stem za-/zi-, but not all cases are known, and also a relative pronoun, which was declined regularly: kwis (nominative singular animate), kwin (accusative singulad animate), kwinzi (nominative/accusative plural animate), kwati (ablative/instrumental singular), kwanza (dative/locative plural), kwaya (nominative/accusative plural inanimate). Some indefinite pronouns whose meanings are not entirely clear are also transmitted.


Like for many other Indo-European languages, two numbers (singular and plural) and three persons are distinguished. There are two moods: indicative and imperative but no subjunctive. Only the active voice has been attested, but the existence of a mediopassive is assumed. There are two tenses: the present, which as used to express future events as well, and the preterite.

Present Preterite Imperative
Singular 1st person -wi -ha
2nd person -si, -tisa -ta Ø
3rd person -ti(r), -i, -ia -ta(r) -tu(r)
Plural 1st person -mina -hana
2nd person -tani -tan -tanu
3rd person -nti -nta -ntu

The conjugation is very similar to the Hittite ḫḫi conjugation.

A single participle can be formed with the suffix -a(i)mma. It has a passive sense for transitive verbs and a stative sense for intransitive verbs. The infinitive ends in -una.


The usual word order is subject-object-verb, but words can be moved to the front of the sentence for stress or to start a clause. Relative clauses are normally before the antecedent, but they sometimes follow the antecedent. Dependent words and adjectives are normally before their head word.

Various conjunctions with temporal or conditional meaning are used to link clauses. There is no coordinating conjunction, but main clauses can be coordinated with the enclitic -ha, which is attached to the first word of the following clause. In narratives, clauses are linked by using the prosecutive conjunctions: a- before the first word of the following clause means 'and then', and , can be an independent conjunction at the start of a clause and the enclitic -pa indicates contrast or a change of theme.

Vocabulary and texts

The known Luwian vocabulary consists mostly of words inherited from Proto-Indo-European. Loan words for various technical and religious concepts derive mainly from Hurrian, and were often subsequently passed on through Luwian to Hittite.

The surviving corpus of Luwian texts consists principally of cuneiform ritual texts from the 16th and 15th centuries BC and monumental inscriptions in hieroglyphs. There are also some letters and economic documents. The majority of the hieroglyphic inscriptions derive from the 12th to 7th centuries BC, after the fall of the Hittite empire.

Another source of Luwian are the hieroglyphic seals which date from the 16th to the 7th centuries BC. Seals from the time of the Hittite empire are often digraphic, written in both cuneiform and hieroglyphics. However, the seals nearly always are limited to logograms. The absence of the syllabic symbols from the seals makes it impossible to determine the pronunciation of names and titles that appear on them, or even to make a certain attribution of the text to a specific language.

History of research

After the decipherment of Hittite, cuneiform Luwian was recognised as a separate, but related language by Emil Forrer in 1919. Further progress in the understanding of the language came after the Second World War, with the publication and analysis of a larger number of texts. Important work in this period was produced by Bernhard Rosenkranz, Heinrich Otten and Emmanuel Laroche. An important advance came in 1985 with the reorganisation of the whole text-corpus by Frank Starke.

The decipherment and classification of Hieroglyphic Luwian was much more difficult. In the 1920s, there were a number of failed attempts. In the 1930s some individual logograms and syllabic signs were correctly identified. At this point the classification of the language was not yet clear and, since it was believed to be a form of Hittite, it was referred to as Hieroglyphic Hittite. After a break in research due to the Second World War, there was breakthrough in 1947 with the discovery and publication of a Phoenician-Hieroglyphic Luwian bilingual text by Helmuth Theodor Bossert. The reading of several syllabic signs was still faulty, however, and as a result it was not realised that the cuneiform and hieroglyphic texts recorded the same language.

In the 1970s, as a result of a fundamental revision of the readings of a large number of hieroglyphs by John David Hawkins, Anna Morpurgo Davies, and Günter Neumann, it became clear that both cuneiform and hieroglyphic texts recorded the same Luwian language. This revision resulted from a discovery outside the area of Luwian settlement, namely the annotations on Urartian pots, written in the Urartian language using the hieroglyphic Luwian script. The sign Hieroglyph luwian za.jpg, which had hitherto been read as ī was shown to be being used to indicate the sound za, which triggered a chain reaction resulting in an entirely new system of readings. Since that time, research has concentrated on better understanding the relationship between the two different forms of Luwian, in order to gain a clearer understanding of Luwian as a whole.

Trojan hypothesis

Luwian has been deduced as one of the likely candidates for the language spoken by the Trojans.[31]

After the 1995 finding of a Luwian biconvex seal at Troy VII, there has been a heated discussion over the language that was spoken in Homeric Troy. Frank Starke of the University of Tübingen demonstrated that the name of Priam, king of Troy at the time of the Trojan War, is connected to the Luwian compound Priimuua, which means "exceptionally courageous".[32] "The certainty is growing that Wilusa/Troy belonged to the greater Luwian-speaking community," but it is not entirely clear whether Luwian was primarily the official language or it was in daily colloquial use.[33]

See also


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Luvian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Law number 21 of the Code of the Nesilim says, "If anyone steal a slave of a Luwian from the land of Luwia, and lead him here to the land of Hatti, and his master discover him, he shall take his slave only."
  3. ^ a b Anna Bauer, 2014, Morphosyntax of the Noun Phrase in Hieroglyphic Luwian, Leiden, Brill NV, pp. 9–10.
  4. ^ Melchert 2012, p. 14
  5. ^ Melchert 1987
  6. ^ Melchert 1993, p. 99
  7. ^ Melchert, p.c., reported in Rieken 2012, p. 5
  8. ^ Melchert 2003.
  9. ^ Yakubovich 2010:307
  10. ^ Melchert 2003, pp. 147-51
  11. ^ Christoph Bachhuber (2013), James Mellaart and the Luwians: A Culture-(Pre)history,
  12. ^ Christoph Bachhuber (2013), James Mellaart and the Luwians: A Culture-(Pre)history, p. 284
  13. ^ P. Widmer, "Mykenisch ru-wa-ni-jo „Luwier", Kadmos 45 (2007), 82-84, cited on Palaeolexicon: Word study tool of ancient languages,
  14. ^ Gander 2015: 474
  15. ^ See, e.g., Bryce in Melchert 2003:29–31; Singer 2005:435; Hawkins 2009:74.
  16. ^ Although Yakubovich (2010) has argued that a chain of scribal error and revision led to this substitution, and that Luwiya was not coterminous with Arzawa, but was further east in the area of the Konya Plain; see Yakubovich 2010:107–17.
  17. ^ Watkins 1994; id. 1995:144–51; Starke 1997; Melchert 2003; for the geography Hawkins 1998.
  18. ^ Hawkins 2013, p. 5, Gander 2017, p. 263, Matessi 2017, fn. 35
  19. ^ Beekes 2003; cf. Melchert 2008b:154.
  20. ^ Luwian cuneiform texts are collected in Starke 1985
  21. ^ Laroche 1971, pp. 35-9
  22. ^ Yakubovich 2010, pp. 68-73
  23. ^ Melchert, H. Craig (2004), "Luvian", in Woodard, Roger D. (ed.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-56256-2
  24. ^ Melchert, H. Craig (1996), "Anatolian Hieroglyphs", in Daniels, Peter T.; Bright, William (eds.), The World's Writing Systems, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-507993-0
  25. ^ Yakubovich 2010, pp. 140-57
  26. ^ Kloekhorst, Alwin. "The Proto-Anatolian consonant system: An argument in favor of the Indo-Hittite hypothesis?".
  27. ^ Simon, Zsolt. "Der phonetische Wert der luwischen Laryngale".
  28. ^ Melchert 2003 p. 171
  29. ^ Yakubovich 2010, pp. 45-53
  30. ^ Yakubovich 2008
  31. ^ Watkins 1994; Watkins 1995:144–51; Melchert 2003, pp. 265-70 with ref.
  32. ^ Starke, Frank (1997). "Troia im Kontext des historisch-politischen und sprachlichen Umfeldes Kleinasiens im 2. Jahrtausend". Studia Troica. 7: 447–87.
  33. ^ Latacz 2004, p. 116

External links

Aksaray Museum

Aksaray Museum is a museum in Aksaray, Turkey

The museum is on the state highway connecting Aksaray to South Turkey at 38°21′40″N 33°59′37″E. The first museum collection was established in Zinciriye Medrese in 1969. In 2014 the new museum was opened in its new building. The museum has 10,200 square metres (110,000 sq ft) open and 2,400 square metres (26,000 sq ft) closed area. The general appearance of the 3 storey building resembles that of Seljukid cupolas in the city and the fairy chimneys lying to the east of Aksaray. There are 15639 items in the museum. One of the most important items exhibited in the open area of the museum is the lower half of a stele with a relief of Hittite Storm God. Its dimensions are 88x99x39 cm3. The inscription is in Luwian language. Another group of interesting items is the group of 12 mummies from the Byzantine era. Two of these mummies are cat mummies.

Anatolian Hieroglyphs (Unicode block)

Anatolian Hieroglyphs is a Unicode block containing Anatolian hieroglyphs, used to write the extinct Luwian language.

Anatolian hieroglyphs

Anatolian hieroglyphs are an indigenous logographic script native to central Anatolia, consisting of some 500 signs. They were once commonly known as Hittite hieroglyphs, but the language they encode proved to be Luwian, not Hittite, and the term Luwian hieroglyphs is used in English publications. They are typologically similar to Egyptian hieroglyphs, but do not derive graphically from that script, and they are not known to have played the sacred role of hieroglyphs in Egypt. There is no demonstrable connection to Hittite cuneiform.


Antiphellus or Antiphellos (Ancient Greek: Ἀντίφελλος) was city that acted as the port of Phellus (Phellos) in Lycia. It was at the head of a bay on the south coast. Sir Francis Beaufort, the discoverer of this ancient site, gave the contemporary name of Vathy to the bay at the head of which Antiphellus stands.Pliny says that its ancient (i.e. pre-Hellenic) name was Habessus; he also remarks on the quality of its sponges. Strabo (14:666) incorrectly places Antiphellus among the inland towns.

The Lycian settlement here left hillside tombs, among which is a sarcophagus on a high base with a long inscription in "Lycian B", now generally identified as Milyan, a Luwian language. Native inscriptions in Lycian language are dated as late as the fourth century BCE. As Antiphellus the site is first recorded in Greek inscriptions of the same century. An inscription copied by Sir Charles Fellows at this place in 1840, contains the ethnic name ΑΝΤΙΦΕΛΛΕΙΤΟΥ. The well-preserved little Hellenistic theater overlooking the sea is complete, with the exception of the proscenium.

As Phellos declined im importance during the Hellenistic period, Antiphellus grew to be the major city of the region. Coins of Antiphellus of the Roman imperial period bear the legend Ἀντιφελλειτων. The site of Antiphellus is now in the municipality of Kaş, Turkey, which before the forcible Population exchange between Greece and Turkey of 1922-23 was Andifili and in the 19th century AndiffeloAntiphellus, all but deserted by 1828 and built up in the following decades, became known during the mid-19th century, both to scholars and travelers. Fellows (1841) gave a page of drawings of specimens of ends of sarcophagi, pediments, and doors of tombs, and there is a ground-plan of Antiphelius in Thomas Abel Brimage Spratt's Travels in Lycia, Milyas, and the Cibyratis, 1847.


Apaliunas is the name of a god, attested in a Hittite language treaty as a protective deity of Wilusa. Apaliunas is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo, which may also be surmised from comparison of Cypriot Ἀπείλων with Doric Ἀπέλλων.Apaliunas is among the gods who guarantee a treaty drawn up about 1280 BCE between Alaksandu of Wilusa, interpreted as "Alexander of Ilios" and the great Hittite king, Muwatalli II. He is one of the three deities named on the side of the city. In Homer, Apollo is the builder of the walls of Ilium, a god on the Trojan side. A Luwian etymology suggested for Apaliunas makes Apollo "The One of Entrapment", perhaps in the sense of "Hunter".Further east of the Luwian language area, a Hurrian god Aplu was a deity of the plague – bringing it, or, if propitiated, protecting from it – and resembles Apollo Smintheus, "mouse-Apollo" worshiped at Troy and Tenedos, who brought plague upon the Achaeans in answer to a Trojan prayer at the opening of Iliad. Aplu, it is suggested, comes from the Akkadian Aplu Enlil, meaning "the son of Enlil", a title that was given to the god Nergal, who was linked to Shamash, Babylonian god of the Sun, and with the plague.


Arzawa was the name of a region and a political entity (a "kingdom" or a federation of local powers) in Western Anatolia in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC (roughly from late 15th century BC until the beginning of the 12th century BC). The core of Arzawa is believed to be along the Kestros River (Küçük Menderes), with its capital at Apasa, later known as Ephesus. When the Hittites conquered Arzawa it was divided into three Hittite provinces: a southern province called Mira along the Maeander River, which would later become known as Caria; a northern province called the Seha River Land, along the Gediz River, which would later become known as Lydia; and an eastern province called Hapalla.A successor of the Assuwa league, which also included parts of western Anatolia, but was conquered by the Hittites in c. 1400 BC. Arzawa was the western neighbour and rival of the Middle and New Hittite Kingdoms. On the other hand, it was in close contact with the Ahhiyawa of the Hittite texts, which corresponds to the Achaeans of Mycenaean Greece. Moreover, Achaeans and Arzawa formed a coalition against the Hittites, in various periods.

Crook-staff (Luwian hieroglyph)

The Luwian hieroglyphs include a representation of a crook staff, by convention named lituus (Latin for "crooked staff"). It is encoded as Unicode U+145AB (𔖫, ANATOLIAN HIEROGLYPH A378).

It is comparable to the crook-staff hieroglyph or heqa-sceptre (Gardiner's list S38, S39) used in Egypt.


Cuneiform or Sumerian cuneiform, one of the earliest systems of writing, was invented by the Sumerians. It is distinguished by its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets, made by means of a blunt reed for a stylus. The name cuneiform itself simply means "wedge shaped".Emerging in Sumer in the late fourth millennium BC (the Uruk IV period) to convey the Sumerian language, which was a language isolate, cuneiform writing began as a system of pictograms, stemming from an earlier system of shaped tokens used for accounting. In the third millennium, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract as the number of characters in use grew smaller (Hittite cuneiform). The system consists of a combination of logophonetic, consonantal alphabetic and syllabic signs.

The original Sumerian script was adapted for the writing of the Semitic Akkadian (Assyrian/Babylonian), Eblaite and Amorite languages, the language isolates Elamite, Hattic, Hurrian and Urartian, as well as Indo-European languages Hittite and Luwian; it inspired the later Semitic Ugaritic alphabet as well as Old Persian cuneiform. Cuneiform writing was gradually replaced by the Phoenician alphabet during the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–612 BC). By the second century AD, the script had become extinct, its last traces being found in Assyria and Babylonia, and all knowledge of how to read it was lost until it began to be deciphered in the 19th century.

Geoffrey Sampson stated that Egyptian hieroglyphs "came into existence a little after Sumerian script, and, probably [were], invented under the influence of the latter", and that it is "probable that the general idea of expressing words of a language in writing was brought to Egypt from Sumerian Mesopotamia". There are many instances of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations at the time of the invention of writing, and standard reconstructions of the development of writing generally place the development of the Summerian proto-cuneiform script before the development of Egyptian hierogplyphs, with the suggestion the former influenced the latter.Between half a million and two million cuneiform tablets are estimated to have been excavated in modern times, of which only approximately 30,000–100,000 have been read or published. The British Museum holds the largest collection (c. 130,000), followed by the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin, the Louvre, the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, the National Museum of Iraq, the Yale Babylonian Collection (c. 40,000) and Penn Museum. Most of these have "lain in these collections for a century without being translated, studied or published", as there are only a few hundred qualified cuneiformists in the world.

Fred Woudhuizen

Frederik Christiaan Woudhuizen (born 13 February 1959) is an independent scholar who studies ancient Indo-European languages, hieroglyphic Luvian/Luwian, and Mediterranean protohistory. He is the former editor of Talanta, Proceedings of the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society.

Hieroglyphic Luwian

Hieroglyphic Luwian (luwili) is a variant of the Luwian language, recorded in official and royal seals and a small number of monumental inscriptions. It is written in a hieroglyphic script known as Anatolian hieroglyphs.A decipherment was presented by Emmanuel Laroche in 1960, building on partial decipherments proposed since the 1930s.

Corrections to the readings of certain signs as well as other clarifications were given by David Hawkins, Anna Morpurgo Davies and Günther Neumann in 1973, generally referred to as "the new readings".


The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Suppiluliuma I, when it encompassed an area that included most of Anatolia as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia.

Between the 15th and 13th centuries BC, the Empire of Hattusa, conventionally called the Hittite Empire, came into conflict with the Egyptian Empire, Middle Assyrian Empire and the empire of the Mitanni for control of the Near East. The Assyrians eventually emerged as the dominant power and annexed much of the Hittite empire, while the remainder was sacked by Phrygian newcomers to the region. After c. 1180 BC, during the Bronze Age collapse, the Hittites splintered into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some of which survived until the 8th century BC before succumbing to the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

The Hittite language was a distinct member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family, and along with the related Luwian language, is the oldest historically attested Indo-European language. Hittites referred to their native language as nešili "in the language of Nesa" but called their native land as Kingdom of Hattusa (Hatti in Akkadian). The conventional name "Hittites" is due to their initial identification with the Biblical Hittites in 19th century archaeology. Despite their use of the name Hattusa for their state, the Hittites should be distinguished from the Hattians, an earlier people who inhabited the region of Hattusa (until the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC) and spoke an unrelated language known as Hattic.The history of the Hittite civilization is known mostly from cuneiform texts found in the area of their kingdom, and from diplomatic and commercial correspondence found in various archives in Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt and the Middle East, the decipherment of which was also a key event in the history of Indo-European linguistics. The Hittite military made successful use of chariots, and, although belonging to the Bronze Age, the Hittites were the forerunners of the Iron Age, developing the manufacture of iron artifacts from as early as the 18th century BC; at this time, gifts from the "man of Burushanda" of an iron throne and an iron sceptre to the Kaneshite king Anitta were recorded in the Anitta text inscription. The Hittites were the first of the Indo-European people to make use of iron. Due to the widespread availability of iron ore, this allowed them to create weapons that were much stronger and cheaper. The Hittite empire fell victim to the Bronze Age Collapse around the beginning of the 12th century BC. Ethnic Hittite dynasties survived in small kingdoms scattered around modern Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Lacking a unifying continuity, their descendants are scattered and ultimately have merged into the modern populations of the Levant, Turkey and Mesopotamia.During the 1920s, interest in the Hittites increased with the founding of the modern Republic of Turkey and attracted the attention of Turkish archaeologists such as Halet Çambel and Tahsin Özgüç. During this period, the new field of Hittitology also influenced the naming of institutions, such as the state-owned Etibank ("Hittite bank"), and the foundation of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, located 200 kilometers west of the Hittite capital and housing the most comprehensive exhibition of Hittite art and artifacts in the world.


Konacık is a town in Bodrum district of Muğla Province, Turkey. At 37°03′N 27°24′E the town is almost merged to Bodrum to the south east. The population of the Konacık is 11104 as of 2011. Konacık was an ancient settlement named Pedesa meaning pathway in Luwian language (a language spoken in Anatolia before the 10th century BC.) Konacık was declared a seat of township in 1999.


The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Asia Minor as well as the northern part of western Levant in the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. They spoke the Luwian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian sub-family, which was written in cuneiform imported from Mesopotamia, and a unique native hieroglyphic script, which was sometimes used by the linguistically related Hittites also.


Miletus (; Ancient Greek: Μίλητος, translit. Milētos; Hittite transcription Millawanda or Milawata (exonyms); Latin: Miletus; Turkish: Milet) was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria. Its ruins are located near the modern village of Balat in Aydın Province, Turkey. Before the Persian invasion in the middle of the 6th century BC, Miletus was considered the greatest and wealthiest of Greek cities.Evidence of first settlement at the site has been made inaccessible by the rise of sea level and deposition of sediments from the Maeander. The first available evidence is of the Neolithic.

In the early and middle Bronze age the settlement came under Minoan influence. Legend has it that an influx of Cretans occurred displacing the indigenous Leleges. The site was renamed Miletus after a place in Crete.

The Late Bronze Age, 13th century BC, saw the arrival of Luwian language speakers from south central Anatolia calling themselves the Carians. Later in that century other Greeks arrived. The city at that time rebelled against the Hittite Empire. After the fall of that empire the city was destroyed in the 12th century BC and starting about 1000 BC was resettled extensively by the Ionian Greeks. Legend offers an Ionian foundation event sponsored by a founder named Neleus from the Peloponnesus.

The Greek Dark Ages were a time of Ionian settlement and consolidation in an alliance called the Ionian League. The Archaic Period of Greece began with a sudden and brilliant flash of art and philosophy on the coast of Anatolia. In the 6th century BC, Miletus was the site of origin of the Greek philosophical (and scientific) tradition, when Thales, followed by Anaximander and Anaximenes (known collectively, to modern scholars, as the Milesian School) began to speculate about the material constitution of the world, and to propose speculative naturalistic (as opposed to traditional, supernatural) explanations for various natural phenomena.

Miletus is the birthplace of the Hagia Sophia's architect (and inventor of the flying buttress) Isidore of Miletus and Thales, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher (and one of the Seven Sages of Greece) in c. 624 BC.

Name of Syria

The name Syria is latinized from the (Greek Συρία Suría).

Herodotus used it loosely to refer to Cappadocia.

In Greek usage, Συρία Suría and Ασσυρία Assuría were used almost interchangeably, but in the Roman Empire, Syria and Assyria came to be used as distinct geographical terms. "Syria" in the Roman Empire period referred to the region of Syria (the western Levant, "those parts of the Empire situated between Asia Minor and Egypt"), while Asōristān was part of the Sasanian Empire and only very briefly came under Roman control (AD 116–118, marking the historical peak of Roman expansion).

Etymologically, the name Syria is connected to Assyria, ultimately from the Akkadian Aššur. Theodor Nöldeke in 1881 was the first to give philological support to the assumption that Syria and Assyria have the same etymology, a suggestion going back to John Selden (1617). Current academic opinion favours the connection.

Modern Syria (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية‎ "Syrian Arab Republic", since 1961) inherits its name from the Ottoman Syria Vilayet, established in 1865. The choice of the ancient Latin name for the Ottoman province reflects a growing historical consciousness among the local intellectuals at the time.

The Classical Arabic name for the region is بلاد اَلشَّأم‎ bilād aš-ša'm ("land to the north", Modern Standard Arabic اَلشَّام‎ aš-šām) from شأم‎ š'm "left hand; northern".In contrast, Baalshamin or Ba'al Šamem (Aramaic: ܒܥܠ ܫܡܝܢ‎, translit. Lord of Heaven(s)), was a Semitic sky-god in Canaan/Phoenicia and ancient Palmyra. Hence, Sham refers to (heaven or sky).

Register (art)

In art and archaeology, in sculpture as well as in painting, a register is a horizontal level in a work that consists of several levels arranged one above the other, especially where the levels are clearly separated by lines. Modern comic books typically use similar conventions. It is thus comparable to a row, or a line in modern texts. In the study of ancient writing, such as cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs, "register" may be used of vertical compartments like columns containing writing that are arranged side by side and separated by lines, especially in cylinder seals, which often mix text and images. Normally, when dealing with images it only refers to row compartments stacked vertically.

Among many other cultures, the use of registers is common in Ancient Egyptian art, from the Narmer Palette onwards, and in medieval art in large frescos and illuminated manuscripts. Narrative art, especially covering the lives of sacred figures, is often presented as a sequence of small scenes arranged in registers.

Sculpted Luwian language hieroglyphs were also usually arranged in registers one above the other. The direction of reading ran from one of the top corners, and reversed direction in each lower register, so that the reader did not have to start at the other end of each new row. Other examples, in the art of Mesopotamia, are Kudurru, or boundary stones, which often had registers of gods on the upper registers of the scenes.

Sidetic language

The Sidetic language is a member of the extinct Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family known from legends of coins dating to the period of approx. the 5th to 3rd centuries BCE found in Side at the Pamphylian coast, and two Greek–Sidetic bilingual inscriptions from the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE respectively. The Greek historian Arrian in his Anabasis Alexandri (mid-2nd century CE) mentions the existence of a peculiar indigenous language in the city of Side.

Sidetic was probably closely related to Lydian, Carian and Lycian.

The Sidetic script is an alphabet of the Anatolian group. It has 25 letters, only a few of which are clearly derived from Greek. It is analysed from coin legends in what is possibly Sidetic. The script is essentially undeciphered.

Stele of Ördek-Burnu

An undeciphered alphabetic stele found in Ördek-Burnu, 20 km south of Sam'al (8 miles south of Zinjirli) in what is now northern Syria, dates to the 9th century BCE. The language of the inscription is difficult to interpret. It contains Semitic words but is not grammatically Semitic, and may be a mixture of Luwian and a Semitic language. It is kept in Istanbul.


Tarhuntassa is a Hittite Bronze Age city in Asia Minor mentioned in Hittite documents. Its location is unknown; various proposed locations include Konya, Rough Cilicia, the Göksu valley, the vicinity of Kayseri, the site of Kilise Tepe (near Mut, formerly known as Maltepe), and Kızıldağ, north of Karaman.

Others speculate that Tarhuntassa may be a Kaskan name for the city the Greeks called Troy. Its name means "City of Tarhunt (the Luwian storm god)" in the Luwian language, and likely had a Luwian-speaking majority when it was named.In the early 13th century BC, Muwatalli II moved the Hittite capital from Hattusa to Tarhuntassa, officially as the result of an omen. His son Mursili III later moved the capital back to Hattusa. After Hattusili III deposed Mursili, the new king appointed Muwatalli's son Kurunta as king in Tarhuntassa. The treaty which survives mostly refers to the appointed king as "Ulmi-Tessup", and so some scholars believe that Ulmi-Tessup and Kurunta are two different rulers of Tarhuntassa.

Tudhaliya IV re-ratified Kurunta as king in a treaty inscribed in bronze. At this time, Kurunta was leading his forces to war with Parha. This treaty, unlike previous treaties involving Tarhuntassa, calls to witness the Hittites' vassal kings of Mira and the Seha River Land on the Aegean coast. This implies that Tarhuntassa's stature was now a matter of importance for all western Anatolia.

Kurunta later claimed the title of Great King for himself. Whether or not this claim extended to the whole domain of Hatti, the court in Hattusa contested it (and buried the treaty).Toward the end of the Hittite empire, Suppiluliuma II recorded in a Hieroglyphic Luwian inscription that Hatti had attacked and sacked the city of Tarhuntassa. Other Hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions from the late 13th century BC also mention a certain great king Hartapu, son of the great king Mursili (III), who likely ruled Tarhuntassa. It may be possible that Suppiluliuma II's campaign was directed against Hartapu.

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