Monday, October 7, 2013

Katuwas, Son of Suhis

Even most specialists of the ancient Near East have probably not heard of Katuwas, son of Suhis. He was the ruler of Carchemish about the end of the tenth century BC. Katuwas was one of the rare rulers of the ancient world to admit to defeats and setbacks in an official inscription, this one on the city gates no less. He begins his inscription with a short genealogy noting that his father was Suhis and his grandfather Astuwalamanzas. He emphasizes his justice, but then notes:
But my relatives(?) revolted against me, and therefore they caused the lands to break away from under me. (Karkamish A11a, translation from Annick Payne, Iron Age Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptrions [Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012], 68.)
Katuwas then states that in spite of the loss of the lands and revenue, he was blessed that the lands still under his control were able to bring in surpluses so that he could build a temple.

Katuwas was a Neo-Hittite ruler. As the Hittite rulers before him, he learned that greedy relatives (or subordinates) are only too happy to usurp power and wealth. Fortunately, he also knew how to count his blessings.