philjennings at philjennings at
Fri Mar 30 23:08:37 UTC 2001

I refer to Ian Russell Lowell's translation of the Annals of Mursilis II,
and especially to the events of the third year.  Here is the background:
Mursilis II's father died of disease during an excursion away from the
Hittite homeland, and the next in line to the throne hardly took
possession before he also succumbed to disease.  Mursilis II was young,
the Hittites were troubled by strife during times of succession, and the
satellite polities of the Hittite Empire were quick to take advantage of
this interregnum and throw off the yoke.  The Hittites had enemies anyhow.
The treachery of conquered "friends" merely added to the young Mursilis's

Year by year with great vigor, Mursilis undertook campaigns to restore and
extend the Hittite claims.  He was concerned in Year 3 with fallen-away
subjects who had gone for protection to Uhhazitis, King of Arzawa.
"These men of mine _ the troops Attarimma, the troops of Huwarsanassa, the
troops of Suruda _ have come over to you: give them back to me!"  This is
the only time he refers to these groups as troops, later he uses terms
translated as 'subjects,' 'deportees' and 'displaced persons.'

Due to illness/injury, King Uhhazitis of Arzawa failed to confront
Mursilis II in battle.  (Remarkably, some people theorize he was struck by
a meteor as the Hittites advanced.  Mursilis calls it a thunderbolt.  Talk
about bad omens!)  There was a battle, the Arzawans lost, and remnant
Arzawans, and particularly the Hu(wa)rsanassan, Suduran and Attarimman
'displaced persons,' were obliged to take refuge in one of three places.
The first, with the King himself, was on an island, the second, on Mt.
Arinnandas, a peninsula with access to the sea, and the third, a
landlocked city called Purandas.

In describing this situation, The Annals of Mursilis II mention the
Ahhiyawans (Achaeans) whose King was associated with Milawanda (Miletos),
and who were apparently responsible for supporting the enfeebled King of
Arzawa in his island retreat.  Mursilis II was able to beseige and reduce
Mt. Arinnandas in the first year of battle, and took Purandas in what
reads like a second year campaign.  In neither of these cases did he need
or use a navy.  People who have studied this era deny that the Hittites
could have fielded a naval force, especially in Achaean waters.
Nevertheless, there is this confusing passage: "(...). (...). (...) he was
in the sea/on an island. (...). Piyama-Kurundas (logogram:
mSUM--ma-dKAL-as), the son of Uhhazitis (...). And he came out of the sea
and he (...) and he came in with the King of Ahhiyawa. My Sun(-god) sent
(man's name) by ship (...). (...). And they brought him out. With him
(were) deportees whom they also brought out. And they, with the deportees
of (city name) and with the deportees of Lipa altogether were x0,x00

This seems to refer to another defeated attack on the mainland by diehard
Arzawan resisters, and does not imply that Mursilis II dealt with the
island retreat as well as the two others, in subduing the Kingdom of
Arzawa to vassalage.  He simply could not have done so.  King Uhhazitis's
island was out of reach.

As regards all these deportees, the Annals consistently report twofold
statistics: "I alone brought 15,500 deportees to my house, but it is
impossible to number the deportees whom the Hittite troops,
horse(-troop)s, and sarikuwas-troops brought."  In this case I theorize
that the 15,500 were military-age men capable of fighting, ie, troops,
while the larger number included women, children, the aged, and almost
always sheep and cattle thrown in.   Given anything like a reasonable
ratio, an army of 15,500 implies a total population of 60,000 or more,
perhaps much more.  To quote again from a summary of the whole campaign:
"As I conquered the whole of the land of Arzawa, the deportees whom My Sun
brought to the palace they were in total (Hit.: anda 1-etta) 66,000; the
deportees, cattle and sheep which the Hittite lords, troops and
horse(-troop)s brought it is impossible to number."  Here we see a captive
population of perhaps 200,000 people, not going home to whatever satellite
polities they'd occupied before these wars began, but rather being taken
to the capital, where they can expect nothing good to happen.

We can only speculate regarding the work that the Hursanassans, the
Surudans, and the Attarimmans were made to do in captivity, but all these
200,000 people must have been aware that some fraction of their number
were still free on an Aegean island or islands.  Whether the vaunted
freedom of this remnant galled the Hittites or not, there was nothing they
could do about it.  Even when they forged occasional alliances with the
Achaeans over the next 150 years (before the fall of Troy), the Achaeans
lost nothing by maintaining their island relationship.  This is probably
more true as they had not discommoded themselves in the first place by
giving King Uhhazitis one of their own islands, but rather settled the
Arzawan refugees on a Pelasgian island, such as Lemnos.  (The Pelasgians
were too weak to protest at being forced to share.)

In the situation outlined here, it seems probable that a continous small
flux of escapees from Hittite rule, would have sought refuge on the island
in question, until the problem of new arrivals became troubling, and new
settlements had to be provided.  As the Mycenaeans were a power in the
region and an ally, these settlements had to be located to complement and
not compete with Greek-dominant enterprises.   At this time, one of the
Mycenaean trade routes led up the Adriatic, and so refugee settlements
along the shores of the Italian Adriatic might have seemed a reasonable

As these refugees arrived by a constant trickle, and not a flood, their
memories of the homeland were memories of hunger and mistreatment
stretched out over decades, not the more dramatic memories of defeat and
shame in war.  By Herodotus's time, the names of the principal figures
involved in battle from so long ago meant nothing and connected to

It needs to be pointed out that in a period of general illiteracy there
were no emigrant letters home, and the flow of refugees would have
diminished after the first or second decade, if not for a conscious effort
of nation re-building on someone's part, leading to the commissioning of
troublemakers willing to enter the Hittite realm and pass words of
encouragement.  Anyone reading the Annals will see that the ardor was
there.  A passion to fight until Arzawa was utterly defeated, might well
be converted into a passion to found a daughter nation beyond reach of
the Hittites.

A mixed group of refugees; Hursanassans, Surudans, Attarimmans, Arzawan
royals, et cetera, living on part of an island like Lemnos, would not
necessarily have imposed a group-name on themselves; but the Pelasgians,
their neighbors, would have done so, ignoring precise distinctions.
Pelasgians spoke an "Anatolian" language.  They would have recognized
"-assos" as a geopolitical suffix, and dropped its inappropriate use,
therefore the Hursanassans would have become Hursana(pl) or 'Rsana(pl).
If the dominant language among the refugees was distinctive and
incomprehensible, as it surely was, those who spoke as the Hursana did
might have been called the "ta-'rsana(pl)."  The Greeks also needed a
group name for these people, and might have turned "ta-'rsana(pl)" into
"Tyrsennoi."  With time, the refugees themselves would have acceded to the
need for a single name, minus the Pelasgian prefix: and pronounced their
own way: eventually Ras'na.

Against this whole "Etruscan origins" story and all its props and
gimmicks, lies the fact that no proto-Etruscan-like language has been
preserved in the extensive Hittite archives, which generously cite
diplomatic and liturgical passages in Hattic, Palaic, Luwian, Akkadian,
and Hurrian.  However, as far as I know, the Hittites also ignored Achaean
Greek, Minoan, and the Northwest Semite language of Canaan, and even Egyptian.

The period 1330bce - 1180bce for the gradual settlement of a proto-Etruria
near the classical Etruria is so far not ruled out by archeological
evidence.  Anything much later than 1180 bce seems to be discouraged.
Anything much earlier than 1330 strains credulity as regards the long
endurance of the small Lemnos enclave, and the long memories of the
eventual Etruscans, unsupported by written records until 700bce.

In this view, the Etruscan pioneers were succoured by people with a
national consciousness and would have retained concepts of civic duty,
offices to be performed, et cetera.  This would have put them immediately
at a higher level than the natives of central-northern Italy.

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