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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. The site was discovered by Prof. Helmut Bossert and Dr. Halet Çambel in 1946. Bossert and Prof. Bahadır Alkım did the initial excavations and Çambel continued after them. The fortress was founded in the 8th century BCE by Azatiwata, ruler of the plain of Adana as a frontier castle against the wild hordes lurking in the north. He named it Azatiwataya. A caravan road leading from the southern plains up-to the Central Anatolian plateau, skirted it on the west, the Ceyhan river (antique Pyramos)- now the Aslantaş dam lake-on the east. Two monumental T shaped gate-houses, flanked by high towers, gave access to the citadel. An entrance passage between two towers led up to a double-leafed wooden gate, which swung on basalt pivot-stones, from there to two lateral chambers and further on into the citadel. In a holy precinct at the inner entrance of the southwest 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 statue, constituting the key for the final decipherment of the Hieroglyphs, (known in Anatolia since the 2nd mill BCE), being thus reminiscent of the famous Rosetta Stone.

After the fall of the Hittite Empire due to the invasion of the "Sea People" (around 1200 BCE), small Hittite states such as those of Malatya (Arslantepe), Sakçagözü, Maraş, Kargamış, Zincirli, sprang up south of the Taurus mountain range. They were conquered and destroyed in the course of various Assyrian campaigns. The reign of Asatiwata 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 pictures for larger images.

South Gate
South Gate South Gate
South Gate - East Wall
South Gate East Wall South Gate East Wall South Gate East Wall South Gate East Wall South Gate East Wall South Gate East Wall South Gate East Wall
South Gate - West Wall
South Gate West Wall South Gate West Wall South Gate West Wall South Gate West Wall South Gate West Wall South Gate West Wall
South Gate - East and West Court
South Gate East Court South Gate West Court South Gate West Court South Gate West Court South Gate West Court South Gate West Court South Gate West Court
Statue of Storm God
Storm God Storm God Storm God Storm God Storm God Storm God
North Gate
North Gate North Gate
North Gate - East Wall
North Gate East Wall North Gate East Wall North Gate East Wall North Gate East Wall North Gate East Wall North Gate East Wall North Gate East Wall North Gate East Wall
North Gate - West Wall
North Gate West Wall North Gate West Wall North Gate West Wall North Gate West Wall North Gate West Wall North Gate West Wall North Gate West Wall
North Gate - East Court
North Gate East Court North Gate East Court North Gate East Court
North Gate - West Court
North Gate West Court North Gate West Court North Gate West Court North Gate West Court North Gate West Court North Gate West Court North Gate West Court North Gate West Court North Gate West Court North Gate West Court



Literature:
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.
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: 115-51.
Deshayes, J., M. Sznycer, and P. Garelli. "Remarques sur les monuments de Karatepe," RA 75: 31-60.
Younger, Jr., K. L. "The Phoenician Inscription of Azatiwada: an Integrated Reading," JSS 43, 1998: 11-47.
Payne, A. Iron Age Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Atlanta, 2012: 20-42.

Image sources:
Tayfun Bilgin, Bora Bilgin, Ertuğrul Anıl, 2009.


AZATIWATAS 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!