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Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia


MapKizzuwatna / Kizzuwadna (Luwia)

This was a poorly attested state which was situated in south-eastern Anatolia's Cilician Plain, extending northwards into south-eastern Cappadocia beyond Comana in Cataonia. The area had been home to some of the earliest agricultural settlements, such as that at Çatal Hüyük, and was rich in cultivated fields and silver mines. Sargon of Akkad claimed to have reached the nearby Taurus Mountains in the twenty-fourth century BC, although this is unproven, and early Assyrian trade routes to Anatolia passed through the region.

FeatureKizzuwatna emerged from the 'land of Adaniya' (modern Adana) near the coast during the dark age of the sixteenth century BC, and was dominated by a mixture of Indo-European East Luwian-speakers, Hittites from the north, and Hurrians from the east. The Luwian/Hittite language group seems to have been the first to begin a migration away from the original Indo-European homeland, to the north of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, so they were well settled by the time they entered the historical record. The earliest Hittite records refer both to Kizzuwatna and neighbouring Arzawa as Luwia, so it is possible that they emerged from a single territorial association. (See feature link, right, for an examination of the origins of the Luwians.)

Luwian, unlike Hittite, was not influenced by the indigenous Hattic speakers, suggesting that their settlements lay outside the influence of the Hatti city states. Other regional peoples, such as the Teucri, also included Luwian elements amongst their make-up, showing how far they spread. Primarily a Hurrian state, with a capital at Kummanni, Kizzuwatna remained an independent power until the late fifteenth century BC, when it was conquered by Mitanni.

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information by Edward Dawson, from The Horse The Wheel and Language: How Bronze Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World, David W Anthony, from The Excavations at Korucutepe, Turkey, 1968-70: Preliminary Report. Part I: Architecture and General Finds, Maurits van Loon (Journal of Near Eastern Studies Vol 32, No 4, Oct, 1973, pp357-423), and from External Links: Indo-European Chronology - Countries and Peoples, and Indo-European Etymological Dictionary, J Pokorny.)

c.2300 BC

Some time after this point, Luwian-speakers settle in Anatolia, just to the south of the (probably indigenous) Hatti. The Luwians are Indo-Europeans of the southern group - generally agreed to have been the first group to migrate out of the original Indo-European homeland to the north of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. The route they have taken in their migration is open to interpretation (and guesswork!), but a route through the Caucuses seems most likely, followed by a more easterly route around the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea.

Once in the region of north-eastern Anatolia they will have settled into a semi-nomadic existence for a couple of millennia, before migrating westwards during an intense dry spell into Anatolia itself and settling permanently from about 2300 BC onwards. Once there, the Luwians form two major regional states, Arzawa and Kizzuwatna (possibly a single state or region initially, which only later divides into two states).

Map of proto-Anatolian migration 3000-2000 BC
This map attempts to illustrate in basic terms the separate paths taken by the Luwians, Hittites, and Pala during their westwards migration and their progress from proto-Anatolians to kingdom-builders (click or tap on map to view full sized)

It seems more than coincidental that 'barbarians from the north' are causing problems in cities within Syria such as Ebla at the same time as the Gutians are first mentioned. These are possible Indo-European tribes who inhabit the Zagros Mountains. In the same period, the Luwians are settling across southern Anatolia, making it likely that one of these groups is responsible for probing expeditions farther south. They could be testing the waters to see whether territory could be acquired there.

c.1600 BC

Hurrians begin migrating into Kizzuwatna from Urkesh and Nawar in this period, settling in the coastal region of Adaniya.

Pilliya / Pelliya I


16th cent BC

Ishputakhshu / Ishputashu / Išputahšu†

Suzerain of Tarsus area. (New low chronology dating.)

late 16th cent BC

Kizzuwatna occupies a wide oval of territory between the Hittites to the north and west, and the increasingly powerful state of Mitanni to the south and east. The state concludes a treaty with the weakened Hittites (with King Telipinu, although some sources say Tudhaliya II (I), which with the dating used here place that king at least fifty years later than this event). Kizzuwatnan pottery around this time is fairly primitive, but by the end of the fifteenth century or so it has spread to the neighbouring Ishuwan folk to dominate there too.

fl c.1500 BC


Tied in with Hittite Tahurwaili, he may have ruled c.1480 BC.

Paddatisu / Paddatišu

c.1490 BC

Paddatisu renews a treaty of peace with Hittite king Hantili II.

Yilanlikale Castle
Yilanlikale, more colourfully known as Snake Castle, is east of Misis, on the steep southern bank of the Ceyha, and is home to this Armenian stronghold and Crusader castle, but the terrain offered similar defensive qualities to the Kizzuwatnans

fl c.1470s BC

Pilliya / Pelliya II

c.1480 - 1475 BC

Although relations with the weakened Hittite king, Zidanta II, are initially rocky, with both kingdoms grabbing territory from each other, a new parity treaty is agreed between Zidanta and Pilliya - the last between the two states.

c.1470 BC

Kizzuwatna is in a weaker position with the expanding state of Alakhtum, and Pillya has to sign a treaty with its powerful ruler, Idrimi, shortly before the increasingly powerful Mitanni state (under Paratarna, although the sequence of rule in early Mitanni is confused) conquers Kizzuwatna. With the state of Ishuwa existing on Kizzuwatna's north-eastern border, the cities of northern Syria are therefore rendered inaccessible to the Hittite armies, except through the south-eastern Taurus passes.

Sunassura / Syunassura / Šunaššura I

Existence of Sunassura I debatable. Not in all lists.

fl c.1460 BC

Talzu / Talzush

Contemporary with Hittite Huzziya II.

fl c.1430 - 1400 BC

Sunassura / Syunassura / Šunaššura II

c.1430 BC

Although Ishuwa is defeated by the Hittite king, Tudhaliya II (I), it sides with Mitanni. Tudhaliya is unable to effect a conquest of Ishuwa, so he successfully attacks Kizzuwatna instead.

c.1400 BC

Sunassura is a contemporary of the Hittite king, Tudhaliya II (I), and then his successor, Arnuwanda I. Allegiance is shifted back to the Hittites in this period, as the state becomes a battleground between them and Mitanni, but Arnuwanda overruns and conquers the state, making Sunassura a vassal.

c.1392 BC

The Hittites wrest control of the Assyrians from Mitanni, possibly annexing the territory to Kizzuwatna along with the Mitanni capital, which appears to fall briefly into Hittite hands. Governors are placed in charge of Kizzuwatna after Sunassura's reign ends.

c.1370 BC

Kizzuwatna rebels against Hittite rule under the reign of Suppiluliuma I, attempting to secede to Mitanni, and has to be re-conquered.

c.1300/1286 BC

The state supplies troops to various Hittite armies, including the one which now fights against Egypt at the battle of Kadesh/Qadesh. At some point in the late Hittite period, a people called the Danuna settle in Adaniya (with a possible relation to the Danya).

c.1275 BC

Pudu-Hepa (Puduḫepa), formerly a Kizzuwatnan priestess, becomes Hittite Hattusili III's queen upon his accession. A highly influential figure of her time, she aids the integration of the Kizzuwatnan pantheon into the Hittite equivalent, with the goddess Hebat becoming very important.

Queen Pudu-Hepa of Kizzuwatna
Puda-Hepa, Hattusili III's queen (on the right), proved highly influential in bringing Kizzuwatnan culture into the Hittite court in the thirteenth century BC - only for everything the two of them held dear to be swept away within two generations of their reign

c.1200 BC

Following the fall of the Hittite empire, the region appears to fragment to an extent, being settled in parts by Greeks from Pamphylia, while other areas come under the control of neo-Hittite states. Eventually, by the ninth century BC, the Kizzuwatnan city of Hattina is occupied by Aramaeans to form a small state. By the eighth century BC, two kingdoms emerge in the west of former Kizzuwatna: Que and Khilikku, while Gurgum and Kummukhi emerged in the eastern section, and Tabal exists to the north.