Manapa-Tarhunta letter

The Manapa-Tarhunta letter (CTH 191; KUB 19.5 + KBo 19.79) is a tablet in Luwian/Hittite language from the thirteenth century BC, which has come down to us in a fairly good state of conservation. It was discovered in the 1980s.[1]

It was written by a client king called Manapa-Tarhunta, ruler of the Arzawa kingdom called the Seha River Land, between about 1322 and 1280 BC to an unnamed Hittite king who was his overlord. There is general agreement among scholars in identifying the recipient of the letter as King Muwatalli II, on the Hittite throne from 1295 to 1272 BC.


The only datable Manapa-Tarhunta was the one who became undisputed king of Seha River around the time of the death of Arnuwanda II (1322 BCE).

This letter further mentions a Kupanta-Kurunta of the Kingdom of Mira who was born around 1330 BC, and was a faithful Hittite ally. A treaty between Mursili II (1322-1295 BCE) and Kupanta-Kurunta survives which mentions this Manapa-Tarhunta as still alive.

Manapa-Tarhunta had passed on the succession to Manapa-Kurunta (presumably Tarhunta's son) by the time of the treaty between Muwatalli II (1295-1272 BCE) and Alaksandu of Wilusa. The Manapa-Tarhunta letter would then have been written in the later years of Mursili or else the earlier years of Muwatalli II.


The Manapa-Tarhunta letter mentions first an attack on Wilusa, and then how a notorious local troublemaker called Piyama-Radu is harrying the western lands. The Hittite king has apparently ordered Manapa-Tarhunta to drive out Piyama-Radu himself, but Manapa-Tarhunta's attempt has failed, so that a Hittite force is now sent out to deal with the problem. Before marching to Wilusa, the expeditionary force camps at the land near the Seha River, placing Wilusa in the north-west corner of Anatolia.

The letter also mentions Atpa, King of Miletus according to the Tawagalawa letter, and an attack on Hatti's historic ally Wilusa. These figures and events associate the Manapa-Tarhunta letter with an early stage of the events mentioned in the Tawagalawa letter (c. 1250 BCE).

That letter mentions the brother of Ahhiyawa's king, and some suggest this figure to be the legendary Eteocles,[2][3] who lived a generation before the Trojan War. No king of Ahhiyawa is on record before Mursili III's reign (c. 1272 BCE); at most there might have been a "man from Ahhiya" as under Arnuwanda I (1400-1360 BCE).

Piyama-Radu is further mentioned, as a past figure, in the Milawata letter (c. 1225 BCE); which like the other two letters handles the aftermath of events in Wilusa which did not go the Hittites' way.

For Trevor Bryce, this led to the conclusion that the location of Wilusa is related or identical to that of the archeological site of Troy (Illios).[4]: 395 

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sterman, Baruch (2012). The Rarest Blue: The Remarkable Story of an Ancient Color Lost to History and Rediscovered. Globe Pequot Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0762790418.
  2. ^ Hoffner, Beckman. Letters from the Hittite Kingdom, 2009. p. 297.
  3. ^ Cline, Eric H. The Trojan War: a very short introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 64. ISBN 9780199760275.
  4. ^ Bryce, Trevor (1998). The Kingdom of the Hittites. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


  • Eric H. Cline, Gary M. Beckman, Trevor Bryce, eds (2012), The Ahhiyawa Texts. Brill ISBN 9789004219717 (9004219714)
  • Forrer, Forsch. I/1 ('26) 90ff., AU ('32) 170 n.1
  • Houwink ten Cate, JEOL 28 (1985) 33-79;
  • Steph. JAOS 84:27 n. 35

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