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Karatepe

The Late Hittite fortress of Karatepe (also named as Aslantaş) is in the province of Osmaniye and in the district of Kadirli. Upon tips from Erol Kuşçu, a local teacher in Saimbeyli, the site was discovered in 1946 by archaeologists Helmut Bossert and Halet Çambel. Excavations between 1947 and 1951 were conducted by a team under Helmut Bossert, and from 1952 on intermittently continued by teams headed by Halet Çambel until 1990s. The fortress and the surrounding area was declared a national park in 1958. After the building of the Aslantaş Dam the site sits on a peninsula within the park. The fort itself has been turned into an open air museum.

The fortress was founded in the 8th century BCE by Azatiwada, ruler of the plain of Adana. The fortress was named after the ruler as Azatiwadaya. A caravan road leading from the southern plains up-to the Central Anatolian plateau skirted it in the west and the Ceyhan River (antique Pyramos) – now the Aslantaş dam lake – in the east. Two monumental T-shaped gate-houses flanked by high towers gave access to the citadel. An entrance passage between the two towers led up to a double-leafed wooden gate which swung on basalt pivot-stones, and from there to two lateral chambers and further on into the citadel. In a holy precinct at the inner entrance of the south gate stood the monumental statue of the Storm-God on its double bull socle. The statue has been restored and set upright in its original position. The inner walls of the gate-houses were adorned with sculptures of lions and sphinxes, inscriptions and reliefs, depicting cultural, mythological and daily-life scenes carved on blocks of basalt. A bilingual text in Phoenician and Hieroglyphic Luwian, the longest known texts in these languages, was inscribed on slabs of each gate and a third time in Phoenician on the Storm-God statue. The bilingual text was instrumental in advanced decipherment of the Hieroglyphic Luwian.

After the fall of the Hittite Empire, small Hittite states such as those at Malatya (Arslantepe), Maraş, Karkamış, and Zincirli, sprang up south of the Taurus mountain range. They were eventually conquered and destroyed by Assyria in the course of various campaigns. The reign of Azatiwata coincides with this period. His citadel was probably looted and burnt down to the ground by Shalmaneser V around 720 BCE or by Esarhaddon around 680 BCE.


Click on the pictures for larger images.

The site
Site plan - adapted from Çambel nd Özyar, 2003 Satellite image and site plan - Google Earth, 2008

South Gate
South Gate - T. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate - B. Bilgin, 2009

South Gate - East Wall
South Gate East Wall - T. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate East Wall - E. Anıl, 2009 South Gate East Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate East Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate East Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate East Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate East Wall - T. Bilgin, 2009

South Gate - West Wall
South Gate West Wall - T. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009

South Gate - East Court
South Gate West Court - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009

South Gate - West Court
South Gate West Court - E. Anıl, 2009 Engravers' Inscription (KARATEPE 4) - South Gate West Court South Gate West Court - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Court - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Court - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate West Court - E. Anıl, 2009 South Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009

Storm God Heykeli ve Fenikece Yazıt
Storm God - B. Bilgin, 2009 Storm God - B. Bilgin, 2009 Storm God - E. Anıl, 2009 Storm God - B. Bilgin, 2009 Storm God - E. Anıl, 2009 Phoenician inscription - T. Bilgin, 2009 Phoenician inscription - E. Anıl, 2009 Phoenician inscription - T. Bilgin, 2009 Phoenician inscription - T. Bilgin, 2009 Phoenician inscription - T. Bilgin, 2009 Phoenician inscription - B. Bilgin, 2009 Phoenician inscription - T. Bilgin, 2009 Phoenician inscription - T. Bilgin, 2009

North Gate
North Gate - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate - B. Bilgin, 2009

North Gate - East Wall
North Gate East Wall - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate East Wall - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009

North Gate - West Wall
North Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Wall - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009

North Gate - East Court
North Gate East Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Court - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate East Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Court - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate East Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Court - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate East Court - T. Bilgin, 2009

North Gate - West Court
North Gate West Court - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate West Court - T. Bilgin, 2009



Literature:
Bossert, Th. et al, Karatepe Kazilari / Die Ausgrabungen auf dem Karatepe TTK V no 9, Ankara, 1950.
Çambel, H. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Vol. 2: Karatepe-Aslantaş, Berlin, 2000.
Çambel, H. and A. Özyar Karatepe-Aslantaş, Azatiwataya, die Bildwerke, Mainz am Rhein, 2003.
Hawkins, J. D. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Vol 1, Berlin, 2000: 38–71.
Hawkins, J. D. and A. Morpurgo Davies, "On the Problems of Karatepe: The Hieroglyphic Text," AnSt 28, 1978: 103–19.
Orthmann, W. Untersuchungen zur späthethitischen Kunst, Bonn, 1971.
Özyar A., "Architectural Reliefs in Anatolia through Time: Contextualizing the Gate Sculptures of Karatepe-Aslantaş/Azatiwataya," in: Identifying Changes, Istanbul, 2003: 107–15.
Payne, A. Iron Age Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Atlanta, 2012: 20–42.
Röllig, W., "'Und ich baute starke Festungen an allen Enden auf den Grenzen…': Zur Bedeutung der Inschriften und Reliefs vom Karatepe-Aslantaş," in: Lag Troia in Kilikien?
     Darmstadt 2011: 115–33.
Winter I. J. "On the Problems of Karatepe: The Reliefs and their Context," AnSt 29, 1979: 115–51.
Deshayes, J., M. Sznycer, and P. Garelli. "Remarques sur les monuments de Karatepe," RA 75, 1981: 31–60.
Younger, Jr., K. L. "The Phoenician Inscription of Azatiwada: an Integrated Reading," JSS 43, 1998: 11–47.

Image sources:
Google Earth, 2008.
Tayfun Bilgin, 2009.
Bora Bilgin, 2009.
Ertuğrul Anıl, 2009.


AZATIWADAS SPEAKS
(Translation of the Luwian inscription; A. Payne, 2012)

I am Azatiwadas, the Sun God’s man, servant of Tarhunzas, whom Awarikus, king of Adanawa, made great. Tarhunzas made me mother and father to Adanawa, and I caused Adanawa to prosper. I extended the plain of Adanawa on the one hand towards the west and on the other hand towards the east, and in my days Adanawa had all good things, plentiness, and luxury. I filled the Paharean granaries, and I made horse upon horse, and I made army upon army, and I made shield upon shield, all with (the help of) Tarhunzas and the gods.

Thus I broke up the proud, and the evils which were inside the land, I moved them out of the land. And I benefitted the house of my lord, and I did all good things for the family of my lord. I caused them to sit on their father’s throne. And every king made me his father because of my justice and wisdom and goodness.

And I built strong fortresses on the frontiers, wherein bad men were: robbers, who had not fought(?) under the house of Muksas. And I, Azatiwadas, put them under my feet, and in those places I built fortresses so that Adanawa should dwell peacefully. And I smote strong fortresses towards the west, which former kings had not smitten, who were before me. But I, Azatiwadas, smote them, and I brought them down, and on my frontiers towards the east I made them settle down. Thus I made Adanaweans settle down there.

In my days, I extended the Adanawean frontiers, on the one hand towards the west and on the other hand towards the east, and even in those places which formerly were feared, where a man fears to walk the road, so in my days even women walk with spindles. In my days, there was plentiness and luxury and good living, and Adanawa and the Adanawean plain dwelt peacefully.

I built this fortress, and I named it Azatiwadaya. So Tarhunzas and Runtiyas were after me to build this fortress, and I built it [with (the help of) Tarhunzas …] in my days […]. And I built [this] fortress, and therein I made Tarhunzas […] dwell. And every river land will begin to honor him (with) one ox a year, and a sheep at the time of harvesting and a sheep at the time of winemaking. Let him bless Azatiwadas with health and life, and let him be elevated above all kings. May the much blessed Tarhunzas and the gods of this fortress give to him, Azatiwadas, long days and many years and good abundance, and let them give him victory over all kings. Thus let this fortress become (the home) of the Grain-God and the Wine-God. And so the nations which dwell in (it) / which he shall make dwell in (it), let them have sheep, oxen, food, and wine. Much let them beget for us, and much let them make great for us, and much let them be in service to Azatiwadas and the house of Muksas with (the help of) Tarhunzas and the gods.

If anyone from the kings, or (if) he (is) a man, and he has a manly name, speaks this: “I shall delete the name of Azatiwadas from these gates here, and I shall carve in my name,” or (if) he desires this fortress, and blocks up these gates, which Azatiwadas made, and speaks thus: “I shall make these gates mine, and I shall write my own name (on them).” Or (if) from desire he shall block them up, or from badness or from evil he shall block up these gates, may celestial Tarhunzas, the celestial Sun, Ea and all the gods delete that kingdom and that king and that man! In future, may Azatiwadas’ name continue to stand for all ages, as the name of the Moon and of the Sun stands!