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The Shadows of a Distant Past

The Historical Introduction of the Aleppo Treaty (CTH 75)

Amir Gilan

Abstract

The historical Introductions to the Hittite State Treaties usually portray a relatively recent history. Two compositions pertain, however, to depict a more distant past, going back all the way to the founders of the Old Hittite Kingdom. The two, the historical introduction to the treaty with Wiluša (CTH 76) and especially the historical introduction of the Aleppo Treaty (CTH 75) are the subject of this study. It is certainly not a coincidence that both historical excursions into the distant past, pose many historical problems and give rise to incredulity regarding their historicity. It will be suggested that by reviewing the historical sources available to the ancient author, one may better understand how he came to assert certain historical statements that seem exaggerated or false to the modern historian. This approach may shed new light on some of the historical riddles posed by the introduction to the Talmi-Šarruma treaty, suggesting that its problematic narrative may have resulted from its ancient author’s unsuccessful attempt to weave several stories into one coherent historical account. It will also reveal the profound historical consciousness of the ancient author of CTH 75, his knowledgeability of ancient texts, such as the Old Hittite political wisdom literature, and his didactic use of history.

Acknowledgment

I thank Max Gander, Ilya Yakubovich and especially Yoram Cohen for sharing and discussing their unpublished work with me. I also thank Joost Hazenbos for his most helpful comments. The study was supported by the ISRAEL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (grant No. 440/16, “The Hittites and Their Past – Forms of Historical Consciousness in Hittite Anatolia”).

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Published Online: 2017-7-7
Published in Print: 2017-7-6

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