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DBAS AQ - Ahhiyawa Question

L. Warbinek, M. Marino
C. Faralli
(technical support)



The database of Ahhiyawa in the Hittite texts (in collaboration with Portal Mainz)

The aim of this database is to build up a fully comprehensive tool of investigation on the complex issue of the "Ahhiyawa question". In 1924 Emile Forrer claimed to have found in the Bogazköy's archives proof of the historical existence of Homeric Achaeans. Since then, most of the countless number of studies published on this issue have tried to demonstrate or to deny the correspondence between the word Ahhiya(-wa) with an ethnic or place-name value, as it appears in Hittite documents, and the Greek terms Acaia e Acaioi.

The attempt of identification and location of the land of Ahhiyawa raises many structural problems: the available sources on the issue come from references in the Hittite texts, even if there are a lot of scanty gaps and therefore difficult to be interpreted. From these data it is possible to result, with a certain degree of likelihood, that Ahhiyawa was westward area as to Hittite kingdom, in relation with Arzawa and all the lands (Mira, Seha e Wilusa) that stemmed from its later disappearance caused by Muršili II.

Furthermore, it is possible to infer that Ahhiyawa had an easy access to the sea, what should induce to locate it on the islands facing central and south Anatolia, rather than on the Anatolian mainland. Nevertheless, there is a complete lack of references to any real Ahhiyawa territory on the mainland, with defined borders related to Hittite direct and indirect control in the region: apart from sporadic hints to a presumed authority on Millawanda and, partially, on the Lukka's lands, the presence of Ahhiyawa in western Anatolia seems to be due to a series of raids from outside aimed at exploiting temporary lacks of power in the region. Such a situation had the consequence of a continue destabilization of the order the Hittite kings tried to impose during the age of the New Kingdom.

This fact, along with the archaeological evidences which testify the presence - or at least a cultural influence - of the Mycenaeans in central and south Anatolian coasts, southern Sporades and Dodecanese, represents a starting point that allows us to suppose that the identification of the land of Ahhiyawa with a Mycenaean kingdom - with its main centre in Greece (Mycenae or Thebes). Nevertheless, some studies suggest a different solution: Ahhiyawa was a kingdom developed mainly on the islands in eastern Aegean, with some outposts on the Anatolian coasts, characterized by a strong cultural influence from the Mycenaean world. This hypothesis is based on the material culture, that should give a kind of uniformity to this region while should distinguish it from continental Greece.

Summarizing, both textual and archaeological data on disposal, don't allow us to reach definite conclusions about this matter; nonetheless, the "Ahhiyawa question" is still an interesting theme of research in Anatolian and Aegean studies. Moreover, recent archaeological excavations and some new readings and analysis of the written sources are opening new and very interesting perspectives.

  • Onomastics: a list of the personages who were in some relation with the kingdom of Ahhiyawa (Hittite Kings, Attaršiya, Piyamaradu, etc.). By a simple click on every name it will be possible to get information and details for each one of them and the links to the related references sorted by three lists: Geography, Texts, Bibliography.
  • Geography (in progres): a map will show the historic geography of western Anatolia during the Late Bronze Age with all the sites mentioned in Hittites texts relating with the land of Ahhiyawa (Lukka, Millawanda, Wilusa, etc.). By a simple click on every site on the map it will be possible to visualize a brief historical presentation and the links to the related references sorted by three lists: Onomastics, Texts, Bibliography.

Moreover, the database will offer two tools (with a direct access from the Bibliographies page too):

  • Texts: Hittite documents are available on-line. A collaboration with Portal Mainz allows a direct link to Hittite texts on Ahhiyawa, hosted in the Konkordanz der hethitischen Texte database by Silvin Košak, which will lead, eventually, to the original pictures of the cuneiform tablets themselves in the Mainzer Photoarchiv.
  • Bibliography: the bibliography will include all the references sorted by the main themes related to Ahhiyawa and Hatti, historical reconstructions on the identity of the kingdom of Ahhiyawa, linguistic studies on the anthroponomies and toponyms, archaeological excavations in the region where, presumably, the Ahhiyawa Land was located (i.e. the South-Eastern Aegean-West Anatolian area), and others. The final search will be possible by a suitable database.
    In this section it is also possible to access to on-line sources: News, which offer an introduction to congresses on this topic and a review of recent publications of particular interest; On-line publications, with links to the articles published on the web.
    ultimo aggiornamento: 06-Mar-2017
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