Muršili II.

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Muršili II ( Hurrian birth name: Tašmi-Šarruma) was a Hittite great king . During his reign he expanded the empire to Arzawa , undertook campaigns in Syria and against the Kaškäer . The so militarily strengthened Hittite empire continued to be tormented by an epidemic that slowly subsided during the reign of Muršili. In plague prayers Mursili asked for the end of this plague and showed less and less understanding for this plague.


Approximate extent of the Hittite Empire and other empires / cultures around 1300 BC Chr.

Muršili was the son of the great king Šuppiluliuma I. His exact date of birth is unknown, it is believed that he was around 20 years old when he ascended the throne. As Šuppiluliuma I. around 1321 BC Died, Muršili's brother Arnuwanda II became ruler. As viceroys in Karkemiš and Ḫalpa, his older brothers Šarri-Kušuḫ and Telipinu ensured stability in the empire, but were excluded from the line of succession, probably because of their office. During Arnuwanda's rule, the Assyrians , as they did under Šuppiluliuma I, presumably remained enemies, as they were viewed as hostile even when Muršili took office. During the reign of Arnuwanda, only one action is known from Muršili in the west: The king's son Manapa-Tarḫunta was expelled from the land on the river Šeḫa by his brothers and fled to Karkišša , where his property was taken from him. Arnuwanda and Muršili now sent gifts to the city and thus achieved that Manapa-Tarḫunta protected them.

At the time of Mursili's accession to power, an unknown epidemic raged in the country, from which Šuppiluliuma I had already died, and which Arnuwanda and his son died soon after. The latter was originally intended as heir to the throne, but died before his father. Muršili was now around 1321 BC. BC Great King.

1st – 2nd Government year

“When I had not yet sat on my father's throne, the neighboring enemy countries all became hostile to me. When my father became God (that is, died) my brother Arnuwanda sat on the throne, but afterwards he fell ill. [...] But when Arnuwanda, my brother, became God, all enemy countries that had not yet become hostile also began to become hostile [...] and [...] said: ´ [.. .] But he who has now sat on his father's throne is still young, and he will not preserve the Ḫatti land and the borders of the Ḫatti land! "

- Annals of Muršili II.

The Kaškäer attacked the country of Ḫatti in the first year of Muršili's reign . The liability under Išupitta skillful Ḫannutti had died on the way there. Mursili celebrated festivals in honor of the sun goddess of Arinna , which his father had missed. He then moved north, destroyed the Kaškä towns of Ḫalila and Dudduška and returned to Ḫattuša . Now Kaškäer from Išupitta refused to give the weapons they were obliged to give. During the 2nd year of Mursili's government, Assyria attacked Karkemiš and advanced into the Lower Land. Mursili fought with Sarri-Kušuḫ against Arzawa. Furthermore, Muršili attacked the Kaškäer in Tipiya, which had failed to make mandatory troop transmissions. The city of Katḫaidwa was destroyed by him, after which he again moved to Ḫattuša. Former subjects of Muršili, Pazzanna and Nunnuta , now rebelled in Išupitta. The great king undertook another campaign north and pursued the two rebels. Here he plundered and pillaged Palḫwišša and sent captured grain to the capital. Pazzanna and Nunnuta fled to Kammamma. Mursili demanded their extradition and threatened the city with destruction. Thereupon Pazzanna and Nunnuta were killed and Kammamma submitted. Mursili spent the winter in Ankuwa .

3rd to 4th Government year

Muršili and Šarri-Kušuh conquered Ḫuwaššanašša and another city whose name has not been passed down. However, residents of these cities fled to Arzawa in the west. This had driven out the heir to the throne Mašḫuiluwa under Muršili's father , who was accepted in Ḫattuša. Suppiluliuma had given him his daughter Muwatti as his wife and the promise that he would recapture Arzawa for him. Mursili seems to have intended to keep this promise. Mašḫuiluwa ruled only about half of the area of Mira - Kuwaliya at this time . Muršili demanded from his king Uḫḫaziti , a brother of Mašḫuiluwa, the extradition of the fugitives, which the latter refused. He allied himself with Millawanda , Ḫapalla , Wiluša , the other half of Mira and Kuwaliya and with Manapa-Tarḫunta , who now ruled the land on the Šeḫa . Gulla and Mallaziti led a Hittite army against Milluwanda and defeated it. They then returned to Ḫattuša and Uḫḫaziti attacked the Impaya ruled by Mašḫuiluwa, but an occupation failed, whereupon he fought Ḫapanuwa.

Meanwhile, Palḫwišša was rebuilt by Pišuru and burned down again by Mursili. An attack by the Kaškäer on Kuzaštarina was answered by the reconquest of the same and the occupation of Anziḫiša by Muršili.

After the Kaškäer were temporarily defeated in this way, Mursili took part in the war against Arzawa . When he reached the Lawaša mountain with his army, an omen occurred :

“The mighty weather god , my lord, showed his divine power and hurled a thunder bolt. All my troops saw the thunder bolt. The whole land of Arzawa saw the thunder bolt. The thunder bolt passed (us) and struck the land of Arzawa. It struck Uḫḫazitis (Capital) Apaša . He got down on Uḫḫaziti's knees and he got sick. " (Annals of Muršili §17)

In Šallapa Muršili united with Šarri-Kušuḫ, who brought support from Karkemiš, in Aura he met Mašḫuiluwa. Uhḫḫzitis son Piyama-Kurunta was beaten near Walma on the Aštarpa River and fled to Apaša, where Uḫḫaziti was staying. From there the two fled to Aḫḫiyawa . Uḫḫaziti died the next year.

Muršili defeated other refugees after a siege in the Arinnanda Mountains because he could not use his chariots there. He is said to have brought 15,500 prisoners to Hattuša from this place. After the city of Puranda refused to hand it over, he spent the winter on the Aštarpa and celebrated a festival. The following year Mursili besieged the refugees in Puranda, whose water supply was cut off. In the spring, Uḫḫaziti's son Tapalazunauli had returned to this city from exile. After Purunda had also been conquered and Mursili had taken 65,000 prisoners (the number is not certain), Tapalazunauli fled with his children and others, whereupon the great king pursued them. The Hittites managed to capture his children while Tapalazunauli escaped to Aḫḫiyawa. Mursili demanded his extradition from the king of Aḫḫiyawa and was successful. Tapalazunauli was brought to Ḫatti .

Muršili now marched into the land on the river Šeḫa to war against Manapa-Tarḫunta . The latter asked for protection in a letter, but Muršili ignored him. Only when Manapa-Tarḫunta sent his old mother and other old women to him so that Mursili would accept him as a vassal, he gave in. He incorporated the conquered countries. In Mira, Mašḫuiluwa, who exercised a kind of supremacy over the other vassals, became ruler. Ḫapalla went to Targašnalli and Manapa-Tarḫunta got the land on the Šeḫa and Appawiya . He also signed a contract with Alakšandu von Wiluša. Troops were stationed in Ḫapalla.

It is estimated that Mursili resettled 100,000 people in his first years of reign, who were probably settled in sparsely populated areas or integrated into the army as a result of the epidemic. The Hittite heartland in particular needed people, as the epidemic had still not subsided.

5th-6th Government year

Muršili moved again against the Kaškäer, who had occupied Ašharpaya and thereby blocked the way to Pala . This land was conquered and the great king stayed temporarily in Samuḫa . The land of Arawanna , which Muršili accused of attacking Kiššiya, was also conquered. Again he took many prisoners. The following year Mursili defeated the Kaškäer in Ziḫarriya and Tarikarimu, who had carried out raids since his father's time, and carried off the population.

7th year of government

Mursili fought Piḫḫuniya, the first and last known king of the Kaškäer. This had united different Kaškean tribes and attacked the Lower Country and the city of Ištitina. Mursili demanded Pihhunija's withdrawal in a letter, which the latter refused. Therefore Mursili expelled him from the Lower Country and burned towns in Tipiya, whereupon Piḫḫuniya submitted. Mursili went to the Lower Land and rebuilt some of the cities destroyed by the Kaškaers , including Ištitina .

The great king then demanded from the ruler of Azzi-Ḫajaša , Anniya , the extradition of some of the people who had fled under his father to this person and, after Anniya's refusal, attacked the country of Azzi-Absajaša.

In the 16th year of the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh Haremhab , an uprising broke out in the Karkemiš area . Haremhab took advantage of this situation and moved his troops to the crisis area. Muršili was able to repel the Egyptian attack in a battle near Karkemiš , so that northern Syria remained under Hittite control.

That year, Šarri-Kušuḫ defeated an enemy who was likely related to Nuḫašše . While Mursili led campaigns in the north, Tette , king of Nuḫašše, tried to shake off the Hittite suzerainty. He found help at EN-urta von Barga , while Abi-radda von Barga supported the Hittites. The Egyptians may also intervene in favor of Nuḫaššes, but were defeated. Due to his military ties, Muršili proposed a coup d'état against Tette's brother, Šummittara , which should be linked to his recognition as King of Nuḫašše. Summittara agreed and threw his brother in prison. The remaining insurgents were defeated. However, since Tette had not been brought to Ḫattuša, as would have been customary, he removed Summittara after the Hittite withdrawal and continued the uprising. General Kantuzzili was sent to help the viceroy of Karkemiš, Muršilis brother Šarri-Kušuḫ, who should put down the uprising. The king of Ugarit , however, refused to support him

8th year of government

Mursili moved towards the border town of Ura, which is why the residents of Azzis offered him the surrender of the wanted people. He made the same proposal to Anniya repeatedly. However, this refused again. Meanwhile, Ḫutupiyama, the governor of Pala , was at war with the city of Wašumana . Mursili sent Nuwanza to support him and the latter burned the Wašumana down. Muršili now traveled to Kizzuwatna and left Nuwanza the northern operations, which Azzi caused to destroy the city of Ištitina and to besiege Kannuwara.

9-11 Government year

In the 9th year of reign (18th year of the haremhab ) Niqmepa succeeded the throne of Ugarit . His politically most striking document is the renewal of the peace treaty with Muršili, which continued to guarantee Ḫatti's supremacy over Ugarit. In the same year, despite a phone call from the underworld deity Lelwani , his first wife died. Mursili accused his stepmother Tawananna , the third wife of Šuppiluliumas I and also after his death, still lawful Great Queen ( Tawananna ), to have killed her through witchcraft and questioned the oracles. They confirmed the accusation and stated that the gods would approve if he let them kill. The Tawananna was brought before a court and found guilty, dismissed from office and banished because of this and because of her alleged extravagance and other accusations. In any case, Mursili still married the Danuḫepa . Although only Gaššulawiya is known as Muršili's wife, after the discovery of a cross seal, it is doubtful whether Gaššulawiya was actually the wife who died in the 9th year, because on this seal impression she bears the title of Great Queen. It is therefore believed that Muršilis married a total of three times and that the name of his first wife has not yet been recorded. In that case, Mursili would have married Gaššulawiya and later Danuḫepa after her death.

At the beginning of his 10th year of reign, Mursili II mentions a solar eclipse . A total solar eclipse on January 8, 1340 BC was considered. Or an annular solar eclipse on March 13, 1334 BC. BC and on June 14, 1312 or April 13, 1308 BC. In research, the date is June 14, 1312 BC. BC (total solar eclipse, easy to see over northern Anatolia in the afternoon), partly also the date April 13th 1308 BC. BC ( partially , which was observed in Anatolia at sunrise). He also held a festival in honor of the goddess Ḫepat of Kummanni in Kizzuwatna . On the way to Kizzuwatna Mursili II received the news that his brother Sarri-Kušuḫ had died in Kummanni. Sarri-Kušuḫs descendants followed him in Karkemiš as viceroys. From Kummanni, Mursili charged Kurunta with negotiations with Nuhasse and the destruction of his grain. Since renounced Etakkama of Kadesh the Hittites and Kurunta besieged Kadesh. During this siege, Niqmaddu murdered his father Aitakama and submitted to the Hittites. Nuwanza, who was supposed to terrify Kannuwara, had meanwhile concerns about bad omens and so messages were exchanged between him and the great king through Prince Nanaziti , who had good omens about Kannuwara. After the problem was solved, Nuwanza defeated the attacking Kaškäer.

Muršili himself conquered Karkemiš, put Šarri-Kušuḫs son Šaḫurunuwa as governor and Sarruwa as ruler of Ḫalap . He also moved to Aštata , founded the city of Emar , which controlled the routes from Syria to Mesopotamia, and left a garrison there. He destroyed Yaḫrešša after a nighttime surprise attack and defeated the Kaškäer in the country Piggainarešša. Then he went to Ḫattuša and Ḫakpiš .

The following year he conquered the cities of Aripša and Tukkama in Azzi and celebrated a festival in Ḫattuša. In the 11th year of reign he organized Azzi.

12th year of government

Mursili may have signed a contract with Haremhab and accepted Aziru's son Duppi-Teššup as governor of the Amurru .

The childless Mašḫuiluwa , who had adopted his nephew Kubantakurunta , tried to persuade the city of Pitašša to join, but was unsuccessful. From Šallapa , Muršili proposed an amicable settlement, but Mašḫuiluwa instead fled to the land of Maša . Muršili devastated it and received from it, upon request, Mašhuiluwa. The latter became ruler of a city on the Šiyanta River . Mursili addressed the following to Kubantakurunta:

"Don't you know, Kubantakurunta, that if someone commits a crime of rebellion in the land of Hatti, the son of every father who commits a crime is also a criminal? And that they take his father's house from him and either someone else's house give it or take it for the palace? Now because your father, Mašḫuiluwa, committed a crime, and because you, Kubantakurunta, are Mašḫuiluwa's son, although you were in no way a criminal, they would not have your father's house and your land take away from you and give it to someone else? I could have made someone else lord of the land! "

(translated from English)

Nevertheless Kubantakurunta became viceroy in Mira. Muršili probably moved against the Kaškäer several times, but could not finally subdue them.

He deposed the Great Queen Tawananna , a Babylonian princess, whose name, however, is not sufficiently secured, as she only signed her title on seals. She had been co-regent of two great kings and, according to Muršili, indulged in an extravagant lifestyle. Muršili accused her of harassing her daughter-in-law, terrorizing the population and seizing temple property. Mursili stressed that despite these allegations, he had not behaved badly towards her and did not curtail her powers.

13-19 Government year

The events during the years 13-18 of Muršili's reign are unknown. In the 19th year, the annals report that Muršili mobilized new troops and invaded the Taggašta country because it had invaded the Šadduppa, Karaḫna and Marišta countries . Furthermore, the people of Taggašta are said to have received reinforcements and Muršili is said to have been warned of an ambush by an omen on the way to Taggašta. The text ends with the words: "When I heard this, I waited."

Remaining reign and death

The annals of the last years of Muršili's reign have not yet been found.

Muršili died around 1290 BC. He was succeeded by his son Muwattalli and later by his youngest Ḫattušili . Muršili had another son named Ḫalpa-šulupi , who was possibly the commander of the chariots.

Muršili's speech impairment

Mursili had a speech impediment, probably stuttering. Muršili probably attributed this to a shock.

“Then a storm broke out, the weather god thundered terribly in the distance. And I was frightened. The word in my mouth didn't get a lot and the word came up a bit hesitantly ... "(quoted from Lehmann)

Muršili's plague prayers

Muršili's reign was marked by the never-ending epidemic. It is not certain which disease it was, since epidemics were then generally referred to by the same term ( called plague in modern translation ). Muršili tried to determine the reason for the outbreak of the epidemic through oracle inquiries.

1. Oracle request

And because the country is dying, I remembered the matter of Tutḫalija, the boy , the son of Tutḫalija , who was murdered by Suppiluliuma ..... Then you came, you gods, gentlemen, and avenged this matter of Tuthalija the younger her now retrospectively.

Mursili made offerings and hoped for an end to the plague. Since the prayers and sacrifices had no effect, the next oracle request followed.

2. Oracle request

You brought a plague into Hattiland in the days of my father and brother. This is now the 20th year, but death has not yet been taken from Hattiland. In view of the plague, I made the rites for the Euphrates the subject of this oracle request.

As a possible cause of the plague, Muršili now cited the vengeance attack of his father Šuppiluliuma I on the Egyptian vassal state Amqa , which followed the murder of his son Zananza .

Effects of plague prayers

Mursili begs the gods for many years in his prayers, but seems to understand less and less why this punishment must be so severe, because in his opinion a punishment must be fair.

My gods, gentlemen, it is like this: One sins. And my father also sinned and transgressed the word of the weather god my lord; but I have not sinned in anything ... And because I confessed to the sin of my father ... the plague is driving out of the land of Hattuša again.

Muršili's plague prayers, comparable to the book of Job , are certainly part of world literature and show an astonishingly modern view of the relationship between guilt and punishment.


The main sources for the government of Muršili are the annals of his government (Ten-Year Annals (CTH # 61.I); Extended Annals (CTH # 61.II)), which of course represent the official view of things. The texts relating to the years 1–7, 9–12 and the year 19 of his reign have survived, while the years 7–9 are incomplete and the years 13–18 and the end of his reign have not survived. The linguistic level of the annals with quotations and verbatim speech is in places comprehensive, but also partly consisting of pure sequences of events, compared to the annals of other great kings.

Other sources are:

  • Contract with Duppi-Teššup of Amurru (CTH # 62)
  • Barga Contract (CTH # 63.a)
  • Agreement with Duppi-Tešub of Amurru (CTH # 63.b: Akkadian and Hittite versions)
  • Edicts confirming Niqmaddu of Ugarit within his boundaries (CTH # 64: Akkadian)
  • Edict regulating a conflict between Ugarit and Šiyannu (CTH # 65: Akkadian)
  • Contract with Niqmaddu of Ugarit (CTH # 66: Akkadian)
  • Contract with Targašnalli from Ḫapalla (CTH # 67)
  • Contract with Kubanta-Kurunta by Mira and Kuwaliya (CTH # 68)
  • Contract with Manapa-Tarḫunta from the countryside on the Šeḫa River (CTH # 69)
  • Text about the Tawananna Affair (CTH # 70)
  • Text about the "Mother of God" priestess affair (CTH # 71)

(translated from English)

In addition, during the reign of Muršilis, annals were written regarding the reign and campaigns of his father (also under Tudḫaliya II ).

family tree

The following family tree was created after publications by Volkert Haas and Jörg Klinger .

Tudḫaliya I.
Arnuwanda I.
Tudḫaliya II
Tudḫaliya III.
Šuppiluliuma I.
1. Ḫinti
2. Tawananna
Arnuwanda II
Muršili II.
1./2. Gaššulawiya
2nd / 3rd Danuḫepa
Mrs. Šattiwazzas
Muwattalli II.
Ḫattušili III.
Muršili III.
Tudḫaliya IV.
Ramses ii
Mrs. Ammistamrus II.
Arnuwanda III.
Šuppiluliuma II.

Source collections


  • Horst Klengel: History of the Hittite Empire (BTE I / XXXIV). Brill, Leiden / Boston / Cologne 1998, ISBN 90-04-10201-9 , pp. 170ff. (with indication of the relevant sources)
  • Jörg Klinger: The Hittites. Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 3-406-53625-5 , pp. 7, 37, 52-54, 64, 68, 77 f., 95-101, 105, 109
  • Johannes Lehmann: The Hittites. People of a thousand gods . Pawlak, Herrsching 1986, ISBN 3-88199-269-3 .

Web links


  1. Jörg Klinger: Die Hittiter , p. 95.
  2. The mention of the haremhab's 16th year of reign sparked controversial discussions about the date of Muršili's reign. Redfort refers to the solar eclipse of 1335 BC. In the 10th year of Muršili's reign and sets his accession to the throne on 1344 BC As well as Haremhab's beginning in 1353 BC. Chr .; In contrast, Wente mentions in 1332 BC As Haremhab's accession year and 1317 BC. For the campaign in the 16th year of reign; for Muršilis beginning 1323 BC Chr .; TUAT 1 (old series) indicates the year 1338 BC. For the 7th year of reign and also 1344 BC For Muršilis to take office. Based on the inscription, the 10th year of the Haremhab's reign can be equated to the 1st year of the Muršili.
  3. Dietz-Otto Edzard and a .: Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Aräologie , Vol. 9 , de Gruyter, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-11-017296-8 , pp. 568-569.
  4. see Metin Alparslan: Die Gattinnen Muršili II. A consideration of the current state of research. Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatoloici 69, 2007, pp. 31-37. - online at
  5. Peter J. Huber : The Solar Omen of Muršili II. Journal of the American Oriental Society 121/4, 2001, pp. 640-644
  6. Volkert Haas : History of the Hittite Religion (= Handbook of Oriental Studies Volume 15). Brill, Leiden, 1994, p. 27.
  7. z. B. Trevor R. Bryce : The Kingdom of the Hittites. Oxford University Press, revised new edition 2005, including p. XV chronology table
  8. ^ So Frank Starke : Chronological overview of the history of the Hittite Empire. In: The Hittites and their empire. The people of 1000 gods. Exhibition catalog of the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany (2002), p. 314.
  9. The full text can be read in: A. Götze ANET , p. 394 ff., Cf. also TUAT II p. 803 ff.
  10. The full text can be found in: TUAT II p. 808 ff.
  11. This assessment can be found in Jörg Klinger: Die Hittiter. Munich 2007, p. 78
  12. Volkert Haas: The Hittite literature. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-11-018877-6 , page 91.
  13. Jörg Klinger: The Hittites. CH Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-53625-0
predecessor Office successor
Arnuwanda II Hittite great king
1321 BC Until about 1294 BC Chr.
Muwattalli II.