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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 site has been added to UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List and the Karatepe inscriptions to UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

The fortress is bordered on the west by the caravan road that leads connects the southern plains to the Central Anatolian plateau and on the east by the Ceyhan River (antique Pyramos) – now the Aslantaş dam lake. In the north and south side of the fortress walls, there are two monumental T-shaped gateways flanked by high towers that give access to the citadel. At both gateways an entrance between the two towers leads up to a doorway that used to have double-leafed wooden door which swung on basalt pivot-stones, and behind the doorway there are two chambers on the right and left. At the inner entrance of the south gate, presumably in a sacred area, 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. At both gateways, the walls of the passage ways and the left and right chambers were adorned with sculptures of lions and sphinxes, inscriptions and reliefs, depicting cultural, mythological and daily-life scenes carved on basalt orthostats. A bilingual text in Phoenician and Hieroglyphic Luwian, the longest known texts in these languages, is inscribed on the orthostats and sculptures of each gate, and the same text is repeated in Phoenician on the Storm-God statue. The bilingual text was instrumental in advanced decipherment of the Hieroglyphic Luwian.

The text reveals that the fortress was founded by a person named Azatiwada, who named it after himself as Azatiwadaya. Azatiwada does not bear any titles but he is apparently a subordinate of the king of Adanawa, which is the same as or lies within the Neo-Hittite Kingdom of Hiyawa, also known as Que/Quwe in the Assyrian sources. The text names a king Awariku, whose name is also attested in the Hasanbeyli inscription. His name is also compared with that of Warika the king of Hiyawa/Que, mentioned in the inscriptions of Çineköy, İncirli and Cebelireis, but which of these names refer to the same individuals remains debated. The Karatepe inscriptions probably date to the very last years of the 8th century BCE. The kingdom of Hiyawa/Que was already a vassal of Assyria during that time and at the latest by the reign of the Assyrian king Esharhaddon (680-669 BCE) the area permanently had become an Assyrian province.


Click on the pictures for larger images.

The site
Site plan - after Çambel & Özyar, 2003 Satellite image and site plan - Google Earth, 2008

South Gate
South Gate Plan - after Çambel ve Özyar, 2003 South gate view from south - T. Bilgin, 2009 South gate view from north - B. Bilgin, 2009

South Gate - Right Wall
South Gate Right Wall - T. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Right Wall, SVR 7 - E. Anıl, 2009 South Gate Right Wall, SVR 5–6 - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Right Wall, SVR 4 - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Right Wall, SVR 3 - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Right Wall, SVR 2 - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Right Wall, SVR 1 - T. Bilgin, 2009

South Gate - Left Wall
South Gate Left Wall - T. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Left Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Left Wall, SVL 2 - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Left Wall, SVL 3 - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Left Wall, SVL 4–5 - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Left Wall, SVL 7 - B. Bilgin, 2009

South Gate - Right Room
South Gate Right Room - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Right Room, SKR 19 - E. Anıl, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 18 - E. Anıl, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 17 - B. Bilgin, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 15 - B. Bilgin, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 14 - B. Bilgin, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 17 - B. Bilgin, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 10–13 - T. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Right Room, SKR 13 - B. Bilgin, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 12 - B. Bilgin, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 11 - B. Bilgin, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 10 - B. Bilgin, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 9 - B. Bilgin, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 8 - B. Bilgin, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 3–7 - T. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Right Room, SKR 7 - B. Bilgin, 2015 South Gate Right Room, SKR 6 - B. Bilgin, 2015

South Gate - Left Room
South Gate Left Room - T. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Left Room - E. Anıl, 2009 South Gate Left Room, SKL 1–7 - E. Anıl, 2009 Engravers' Inscription (KARATEPE 4), South Gate Left Room - T. Bilgin, 2009 KARATEPE 3 inscription, South Gate Left Room - E. Anıl, 2015 South Gate Left Room, SKL 7 - E. Anıl, 2015 South Gate Left Room, SKL 8–14 - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Left Room, SKL 8 - C. Süer, 2015 Güney Kapısı, Sol Oda, SKL 9 - E. Anıl, 2015 South Gate Left Room, SKL 10 - C. Süer, 2015 South Gate Left Room, SKL 11 - C. Süer, 2015 South Gate Left Room, SKL 12 - C. Süer, 2015 South Gate Left Room, SKL 13–14 - B. Bilgin, 2009 South Gate Left Room, SKL 15–21 - E. Anıl, 2015 South Gate Left Room, SKL 15–17 - E. Anıl, 2015, 2009 South Gate Left Room, SKL 21 - E. Anıl, 2015 South Gate Left Room, SKL 21 - E. Anıl, 2009 South Gate Left Room, SKL 21 - T. Bilgin, 2009

Storm God Statue and Phoenician Inscription
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 Plan - after Çambel & Özyar, 2003 North Gate - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate - B. Bilgin, 2009

North Gate - Left Wall
North Gate Left Wall, NVL 0–1 - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate Left Wall - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Left Wall, NVL 1 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Left Wall, NVL 2 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Left Wall, NVL 3–5 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Left Wall, NVL 5–6 - C. Süer, 2015 North Gate Left Wall, NVL 7 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Left Wall, NVL 8–9 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Left Wall, NVL 10 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Left Wall, NVL 11–12 - B. Bilgin, 2009

North Gate - Right Wall
North Gate Right Wall - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Wall, NVR 11–13 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Wall, NVR 11–13 - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate Right Wall, NVR 10–11 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Wall, NVR 9 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Wall, NVR 7–8 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Wall, NVR 5–6 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Wall, NVR 2–4 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Wall, NVR 1 - B. Bilgin, 2009

North Gate - Left Room
North Gate Left Room - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Left Room, NKL 1 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Left Room, NKL 2 - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate Left Room, NKL 3–4 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Left Room, NKL 5 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Left Room, NKL 6–8 - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Left Room, NKL 10 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Left Room, NKL 11 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Left Room, NKL 12 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Left Room, NKL 9–12 - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate Left Room, NKL 12 base block - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Left Room, NKL 12 and base blocks  - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Left Room, NKL 12 and base blocks - T. Bilgin, 2009

North Gate - Right Room
North Gate Right Room - E. Anıl, 2009 North Gate Right Room - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Room, NKR 21 - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Room, NKR 21 - T. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Room, NKR 21 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 21 base block - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 20 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 18–19 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 17 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 16 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 15 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 13 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 12 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 11 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 10 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 9 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 7 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 6 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 5 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, NKR 3 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Room, NKR 2 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Room, NKR 1 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, base blocks of NKR 3 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, base block of NKR 3 & 2 - B. Bilgin, 2015 North Gate Right Room, base block of NKR 2 & 1 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Room, base block of NKR 1 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Room, base block of NKR 1 - B. Bilgin, 2009 North Gate Right Room, base block of NKR 1 - T. Bilgin, 2009



Literature:
Bossert, Th. et al, Karatepe Kazıları / Die Ausgrabungen auf dem Karatepe, TTK V no 9, Ankara, 1950.
Çambel, H. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Vol. 2: Karatepe-Aslantaş, Berlin, 1999.
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," Identifying Changes, 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," Lag Troia in Kilikien?, 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.
(List of Abbreviations)

Image sources:
Google Earth, 2008.
Tayfun Bilgin, 2009.
Bora Bilgin, 2009, 2015.
Ertuğrul Anıl, 2009, 2015.
Cuneyt Süer, 2015.


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!