Sapinuwa (sometimes Shapinuwa; Hittite: Šapinuwa) was a Bronze Age Hittite city at the location of modern Ortaköy in the province Çorum in Turkey. It was one of the major Hittite religious and administrative centres, a military base and an occasional residence of several Hittite kings. The palace at Sapinuwa is discussed in several texts from Hattusa.

Sapinuwa is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
LocationÇorum Province, Turkey
Coordinates40°15′18.03″N 35°14′9.70″E / 40.2550083°N 35.2360278°ECoordinates: 40°15′18.03″N 35°14′9.70″E / 40.2550083°N 35.2360278°E
Site notes
ConditionIn ruins


Sites hittites
Map of Hittite Anatolia showing Ortaköy-Sapinuwa

Ortaköy was identified as the site of ancient Sapinuwa during a survey in 1989, and Ankara University quickly obtained permission from the Ministry of Culture to begin excavation. This commenced in the following year. Building A was excavated first, and then Building B in 1995. The building with the Yazılıkaya-style orthostate and 14th century BC charcoal was excavated after 2000. Aygül Süel has been the head of excavations at this site from 1996 onwards.

In the first excavated region was a Cyclopean-walled building dubbed "Building A". Building A has yielded 3000 tablets and fragments. They were stored in three separate archives on an upper floor, which collapsed when the building was burnt.

At Kadilar Hoyuk, 150 metres southeast of Building A, "Building B" has proven to be a depot filled with earthenware jars. Another building features an "orthostat that looks like the relief of Tudhaliyas at Yazilikaya".


Golden brooch from Sapinuwa, Archaeological Museum Çorum, Central Turkey

The fire which destroyed Sapinuwa also damaged its archive. Most of the tablets are fragmentary, and must be pieced together before interpretation and translation.[1]

Identification of the site as Sapinuwa[2] immediately corrected a misunderstanding in Hittite geography. Due to the archives so far discovered at Hattusas, Sapinuwa had been thought to be a primarily Hurri-influenced city. Scholars of the Hattusas archive therefore positioned Sapinuwa to the southeast of Hattusa. Now Sapinuwa (and therefore the cities associated with it) are known to be to Hattusas's northeast.

The Building A tablets are mostly in Hittite (1500); but also in Hurrian (600), "Hitto-Hurrian", Akkadian, and Hattian.[3] In addition, there are bilingual texts, not heretofore known, in Hittite / Hattian and in Hittite / Hurrian; vocabulary lists in Hittite / Sumerian / Akkadian; and seal impressions in Hieroglyphic Luwian. The Hittite texts include many letters; Hurrian was mostly used for itkalzi (purification) rituals.[3] Several of the letters corresponded with those mentioned in the Maşat Höyük archive. The dialect of Hittite in that correspondence was Middle Hittite, but the site was in use for centuries afterward.[4][5]

The first English-language publication from the excavation was by Aygul Süel, 2002.[6] As of 2014,[7] the archive had not been published. The first English-language publication of any text, a fragmentary vocabulary text listing useful plants, perhaps an advanced school tablet of the 14th century BCE, along with further discussion of the site, appeared in Aygul Süel and Oguz Soysal, "A Practical Vocabulary from Ortakoy";[8] also published is a letter from a queen.[9]


Vase from Sapinuwa. Archaeological Museum Çorum, Central Turkey

Focus on Ortakoy writes, "The strategic location of Shapinuwa is very important. The mountains surrounding the city, the plateau ascending in terraces on the Amasya Plain, and the fortification facilities starting as far as 5 km enable the city to be easily defendable. Since the city has a key location in between Alaca and Amasya plains, as long as the city, which is two-days distance from Hattusas, stands still, the roads to Bogazkoy - Hattusas are under control. As well as there are traces of military and religious architecture of the upper city on the hills to the west, the need for water and timber were being supplied from these hills."[10]

The Hittites commonly invoked the Storm God of Sapinuwa alongside the Storm God of Nerik. Since Hattusa was to the south and Nerik likely further north, both initially Hattic-speaking; given the presence of the Hattic language in the Sapinuwa archive (and apparent paucity of the Palaic language); and given that its name makes sense in Hattic as a theophoric (sapi, "god"; Sapinuwa, "[land] of the god"): it is likely that Hattians founded Sapinuwa as well. In that case, the Nesite-speaking people would have taken over Sapinuwa at the same time they took Nerik and Hattusa, in the 17th century BC.

The Hittites' enemy at that frontier during the 15th century BC were the Kaskas.

Oguz Soysal wrote, "The excavators of Ortaköy believe that this city was a second capital of the Hittites or a royal residence, for a specific period, namely during the Middle Hittite Kingdom, ca. late 15th century B.C."[5] However, "Most of the epigraphic finds are dated to the last phase of the Hittite Middle Kingdom (ca. 1400-1380 B.C.)", contemporary with Tudhaliya I and the archive at Maşat Höyük.

It is presumed that the Kaska were responsible for the 14th century BC burnings which turned some of the building materials into coal. The Hittite court moved away, probably to Samuha, and did not rebuild Sapinuwa.

See also


  1. ^ Süel (2002), pp. 157–166, 163.
  2. ^ Aygul Süel, M. Süel (K. Kamborian, tr.) "Sapinuwa : Découverte d'une ville hittite", Archaeologia (1997:68-74).
  3. ^ a b Süel (2002), p. 163.
  4. ^ Süel (2002), p. 165.
  5. ^ a b Oguz Soysal, on behalf of the Ortaköy-Sapinuwa Epigraphical Research project, summarizes the contents that the documents include as "letters, lists of persons, tablet-catalogs, oracular texts, prayers, rituals and festival descriptions". Description of the Ortaköy-Sapinuwa Epigraphical Research project Archived August 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Süel (2002); see review by Billie Jean Collins in Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 337 (February 2005):96), called the only English-language report to date.
  7. ^ Mark Weeden (2014). "State Correspondence in the Hittite World". In Karen Radner (ed.). State Correspondence in the Ancient World. Oxford University Press. pp. 32–63, 215–222. Also Trevor Bryce (2006). "Preface". The Kingdom of the Hittites, new ed. Oxford University Press. pp. xvii. ISBN 978-0-19-928132-9.
  8. ^ Süel, Aygul; Soysal, Oguz (2003). "A Practical Vocabulary from Ortakoy". In G. Beckman, R. Beal, and G. McMahon (eds.) (eds.). Hittite Studies in Honor of Harry A. Hoffner Jr. on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns. pp. 349–365.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  9. ^ Süel (2002), p. 158, figure 1
  10. ^ Focus on Ortakoy ...


  • Süel, Aygul (2002). "Ortaköy-Sapinuwa". In Hans Gustav Güterbock, K. Aslihan Yener, Harry A. Hoffner, and Simrit Dhesi (eds.) (eds.). Recent developments in Hittite archaeology and history. Eisenbrauns. pp. 157–166.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)

External links


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Hattic language

Hattic (Hattian) was a non-Indo-European agglutinative language spoken by the Hattians in Asia Minor between the 3rd and the 2nd millennia BC. Scholars call the language "Hattic" to distinguish it from Hittite, the Indo-European language of the Hittite Empire.The form "Hittite" in English originally comes from Biblical Heth, quite possibly connected to common Assyrian and Egyptian designations of "Land of the Hatti" (Khatti) west of the Euphrates. It is unknown what the native speakers of "hattili" called their own language.

The heartland of the oldest attested language of Anatolia, before the arrival of Hittite-speakers, ranged from Hattusa, then called "Hattus", northward to Nerik. Other cities mentioned in Hattic include Tuhumiyara and Tissaruliya. Hittite-speakers conquered Hattus from Kanesh to its south in the 18th century BC. They eventually absorbed or replaced the Hattic-speakers (Hattians) but retained the name Hatti for the region.


Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite: URUḪa-at-tu-ša) was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızılırmak River (Hittite: Marashantiya; Greek: Halys).

Hattusa was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1986.


Hayasa-Azzi or Azzi-Hayasa (Hittite: URUḪaiaša-, Armenian: Հայասա) was a Late Bronze Age confederation formed between two kingdoms of Armenian Highlands, Hayasa located South of Trabzon and Azzi, located north of the Euphrates and to the south of Hayasa. The Hayasa-Azzi confederation was in conflict with the Hittite Empire in the 14th century BC, leading up to the collapse of Hatti around 1190 BC.

Hittite mythology and religion

Hittite mythology and Hittite religion were the religious beliefs and practices of the Hittites, who created an empire centered in what is now Turkey from c. 1600 BCE to 1180 BCE.

Most of the narratives embodying Hittite mythology are lost, and the elements that would give a balanced view of Hittite religion are lacking among the tablets recovered at the Hittite capital Hattusa and other Hittite sites. Thus, "there are no canonical scriptures, no theological disquisitions or discourses, no aids to private devotion". Some religious documents formed part of the corpus with which young scribes were trained, and have survived, most of them dating from the last several decades before the final burning of the sites. The scribes in the royal administration, some of whose archives survive, were a bureaucracy, organizing and maintaining royal responsibilities in areas that would be considered part of religion today: temple organization, cultic administration, reports of diviners, make up the main body of surviving texts.The understanding of Hittite mythology depends on readings of surviving stone carvings, deciphering of the iconology represented in seal stones, interpreting ground plans of temples: additionally, there are a few images of deities, for the Hittites often worshipped their gods through Huwasi stones, which represented deities and were treated as sacred objects. Gods were often depicted standing on the backs of their respective beasts, or may have been identifiable in their animal form.

Hurrian language

Hurrian is an extinct Hurro-Urartian language spoken by the Hurrians (Khurrites), a people who entered northern Mesopotamia around 2300 BC and had mostly vanished by 1000 BC. Hurrian was the language of the Mitanni kingdom in northern Mesopotamia and was likely spoken at least initially in Hurrian settlements in modern-day Syria. It is generally believed that the speakers of this language originally came from the Armenian Highlands and spread over southeast Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC.

List of ancient settlements in Turkey

Below is the list of ancient settlements in Turkey. There are innumerable ruins of ancient settlements spread all over the country. While some ruins date back to Neolithic times, most of them were settlements of Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Ionians, Urartians, and so on.


Lyrbe (spelled Lyrba in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia; Ancient Greek: Λύρβη) was a city and episcopal see in the Roman province of Pamphylia Prima and is now a titular see.


Nerik (Hittite: Nerik(ka)) was a Bronze Age settlement to the north of the Hittite capitals Hattusa and Sapinuwa, probably in the Pontic region. The Hittites held it as sacred to a Storm-god who was the son of Wurušemu, Sun-goddess of Arinna. The weather god is associated or identified with Mount Zaliyanu near Nerik, responsible for bestowing rain on the city.

Nerik was founded by Hattic language speakers as Narak; in the Hattusa archive, tablet CTH 737 records a Hattic incantation for a festival there. Under Hattusili I, the Nesite-speaking Hittites took over Nerik. They maintained a spring festival called "Puruli" in honor of the Storm-god of Nerik. In it, the celebrants recited the myth of the slaying of Illuyanka.

Under Hantili, Nerik was ruined and the Hittites had to relocate the Puruli festival to Hattusa. As of the reign of Tudhaliya I, Nerik's site was occupied by the barbarian Kaskas, whom the Hittites blamed for its initial destruction.During Muwatalli II's reign, his brother and appointed governor Hattusili III recaptured Nerik and rebuilt it as its High Priest. Hattusili named his firstborn son "Nerikkaili" in commemoration (although he later passed him over for the succession). Seven years after Muwatalli's son Mursili III became king, Mursili reassigned Nerik to another governor. Hattusili rebelled and became king himself.

Nerik disappeared from the historical record when the Hittite kingdom fell, ca. 1200 BC. Since 2005–2009, the site of Nerik has been identified as Oymaağaç Höyük, on the eastern side of the Kızılırmak River, 7 km (4.3 mi) northwest of Vezirköprü.

Ortaköy, Çorum

Ortaköy is a town and district of Çorum Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey, located at 57 km from the city of Çorum. The mayor is Taner İsbir (AKP).


Šamuḫa (possibly sited at Kasanlı Pıran) was a city of the Hittites, a religious centre and for a few years military capital for the empire. Samuha's faith was syncretistic. Rene Lebrun in 1976 called Samuha the "religious foyer of the Hittite Empire".

In the treaty between the Hittite king Mursili II and Duppi-Tessub of Amurru (c. 1315 BC), the Hittites swear by the god Abara whose sanctuary was in Samuha. The treaty further mentions a Storm God in classic Anatolian style. It is unknown if Abara and this Storm God were equivalent.

CTH 480 is a ritual ascribed to Samuha, which Melchert has dated on linguistic grounds to the Late Hittite period (1350-1200 BC). It shows Hurrian influence. Middle Hittite Revisited The treaty between Suppiluliuma I and Shattiwaza of Mitanni further names the Storm God of Samuha as the Hurrian Teshub, but this could be for the sake of diplomacy.

In addition, the Hattusa tablets CTH 710-2 preserve festival rites to a goddess whom the scribes equated to Akkadian Ishtar. Mursili appointed his youngest son Hattusili III priest of the goddess of Hurrian name Sausga / Shaushka in Samuha, and when Hattusili was governing on behalf of the throne then sited at Tarhuntassa he adopted "the Ishtar of Samuha" as protector. It is thought that the Ishtar and Sausga are equivalent.[1]

Mursili II also wrote KUB 32.133. According to Ada Taggar-Cohen, KUB 32.133 tells of this time:

King Tudhaliya III "ordered a new cult for the [Kizzuwatnan] Deity of the Night to be established in Samuha. However, a short while after “the wooden-tablet-scribes and the temple-men (=priests) came, and they falsified the ceremonies and the cultic obligations (ishhiules), which he had mandated for the temple of the Deity of the Night. Mursili, the great king, [after hearing about the incident] rewrote the cultic obligations on the spot.”)

Tudhaliya III introduced a new deity to the cult of Samuha. He did it by entrusting the priesthood with written tablets (in cuneiform), which are tablets of i�hi¹l. By these tablets the priests are obliged to fulfill the worship of that deity. But the priests did not like the change in their cultic procedure and they rewrote the tablets. Mur�ili II, who learned of their conduct, rewrote the tablets anew and imposed the laws and regulations of the new cult, which was transferred from Kizzuwatna to Samuha. We learn three things from the Hittite text: 1) the introduction of a new cult is formalized through tablets of ishhiul upon which the regulations and laws of the cult are written; 2) the introduction of a new cult is initiated by the king and carried out by cult professionals, in our case the priests; 3) the priests tend to reject changes to their familiar cult practice and adhere to their old ways, unless forced by the leadership to change them.

Stratonicea (Lydia)

Stratonicea – (Greek: Στρατoνικεια, or Στρατονίκεια) also transliterated as Stratoniceia and Stratonikeia, earlier Indi, and later for a time Hadrianapolis – was an ancient city in the valley of the Caicus river, between Germe and Acrasus, in Lydia, Anatolia; its site is currently near the village of Siledik, in the district of Kırkağaç, Manisa Province, in the Aegean Region of Turkey.


Zalpuwa, also Zalpa, was an as-yet undiscovered Bronze Age Anatolian city of ca. the 17th century BC. Its history is largely known from the Proclamation of Anitta, CTH 1.

Zalpuwa was by a "Sea of Zalpa". It was the setting for an ancient legend about the Queen of Kanesh, which was either composed in or translated into the Hurrian language:

[The Queen] of Kanesh once bore thirty sons in a single year. She said: "What a horde is this which I have born[e]!" She caulked(?) baskets with dung, put her sons in them, and launched them in the river. The river carried them down to the sea at the land of Zalpuwa. Then the gods took them up out of the sea and reared them. When some years had passed, the queen again gave birth, this time to thirty daughters. This time she herself reared them. [1]

The river at Kanesh (Sarımsaklı Çayı) drains into the Black Sea, not (for example) Lake Tuz. "Zalpuwa" is further mentioned alongside Nerik in Arnuwanda I's prayer. Nerik was a Hattic language speaking city which had fallen to the Kaskians by Arnuwanda's time. This portion of the prayer also mentioned Kammama, which was Kaskian as of the reign of Arnuwanda II. The best conclusion is that Zalpuwa was in a region of Hattian cities of northern central Anatolia: as were Nerik, Hattusa, and probably Sapinuwa. Zalpuwa was most likely, like its neighbours, founded by Hattians.

Ca. the 17th century BC, Uhna the king of Zalpuwa invaded Neša, after which the Zalpuwans carried off the city's "Sius" idol. Under Huzziya's reign, the king of Neša, Anitta, invaded Zalpuwa. Anitta took Huzziya captive, and recovered the Sius idol for Neša. Soon after that, Zalpuwa seems to have become culturally Hittite and Nesian-speaking.

Arnuwanda's prayer implies that Zalpuwa was laid waste by Kaskians, at the same time that Nerik fell to them, in the early 14th century BC.

İkiztepe on the Kızılırmak Delta near the Black Sea coast is suggested as a possible location for Zalpuwa.

Üçayaklı ruins

The Üçayaklı ruins are in Mersin Province, Turkey.

Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia


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