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The Milawata letter (CTH 182) is an item of diplomatic correspondence from a Hittite king at
Hattusa Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite: URU''Ḫa-at-tu-ša'', Hattic language, Hattic: Hattush) was the capital of the Hittites, Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop ...
to a client king in western
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
around 1240 BC. It constitutes an important piece of evidence in the debate concerning the historicity of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year s ...
's
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, ', ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Usually considered to have been written down cir ...
. The reason for its title "Milawata letter" is that it mentions that both parties to the letter had campaigned on the borders of ''Milawata''; it also mentions the city Atriya, elsewhere known as a dependent of "Millawanda". Millawanda and Milawata are accepted as ancient names for
Miletus Miletus (; gr, Μῑ́λητος, Mīlētos; Hittite transcription ''Millawanda'' or ''Milawata'' ( exonyms); la, Miletus; tr, Milet) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greec ...
. The letter demands that the client resolve a dispute over hostages, turn over fugitives from Hittite justice, and turn over a pretender from
WilusaWilusa, ( hit, ) or Wilusiya, was a major city of the late Bronze Age in western Anatolia. It was described in 13th century BC Hittite language, Hittite sources as being part of a confederation named Assuwa. The city is often identified with the T ...
to a Hittite envoy so that the Hittites can reinstall him as king there. The letter reminds the recipient that the recipient's father had turned against the Hittite king. The Hittite king then installed the recipient as king in place of that one's father. It also mentions that the recipient's domain is on the coast. However, since it covers events from Wilusa to Milawata, and since the current understanding is that this implies
Troy Troy ( grc, Τροία, ''Troía'', , ''Ī́lion'' or , ''Ī́lios''; la, Troia, also ;''Troia'' is the typical Latin name for the city. ''Īlium'' is a more poetic term: Hittite language, Hittite: 𒌷𒃾𒇻𒊭 ''Wilusa'' or 𒋫𒊒𒄿 ...
to the north, down to Miletus in the south, it must be deduced which domain this should be. Both the Kingdom of Mira and the Seha River Land were carved out of the coastal state and alliances of Arzawa, and both had rulers in the late 14th century BC which rebelled against Hattusa, Hatti. Of what is known of Mira and the Seha River Land, the best match is Kupanta-Kurunta of Mira. When Manapa-Tarhunta of the Seha River Land joined Uhha-Ziti's revolt against Mursili II around 1320 BC, he did rather little himself; and Manapa-Tarhunta remained quiet after Mursili forgave him. By contrast, Mashuiluwa of Mira rebelled and incited Pitassa into revolt in c. 1310. After this, Mursili deposed Mashuiluwa and elevated Mashuiluwa's nephew and adopted son Kupanta-Kurunta (who was Mursili's nephew as well). In a subsequent treaty, Mursili agreed to cede Kuwaliya to Kupanta-Kurunta, which had as a border the Astarpa (Meander?) river — which Mursili mentioned in his annals as close to "Millawanda"; the Milawata border also features in the Milawata letter. Lastly, although this is an "argument from convenience", Kupanta-Kurunta is known to have lasted as monarch into the reign of Hattusili III (1265–1235 BC), which allows for multiple candidates for authorship on the Hittite side; assuming that the treaty between Muwatalli II (1295–1272 BC) and Alaksandu of Wilusa has not erred (but note Beckman's footnote in ''Hittite Diplomatic Texts''), Manapa-Tarhunta died before that treaty (that is, before c. 1280 BC). Like the Manapa-Tarhunta letter (c. 1295 BC) and the Tawagalawa letter (c. 1250 BC), the Milawata letter mentions the infamous adventurer Piyama-Radu; but as a figure of the past. The very name "Milawata" seems to be a later development, on its way to becoming the "Mil[w]atos" of the Linear B / Helladic period, LHIIIB tablets of Pylos and Thebes, Greece, Thebes. The scholarly consensus places the Milawata letter at the tail of this series of letters. Burney (''Historical Dictionary of the Hittites'', 2006) and Bryce (''Kingdom of the Hittites'', 2005) attribute the Milawata letter to Tudhaliya IV writing to a ''later'' king of Mira. If so, the letter's references to the events in which Kupanta-Kurunta and Mursili II participated are meant to evoke their dynasties rather than the actual characters, or else parallel events from a later period (which would however remove some of the above arguments for placing the letter at Mira).


See also

* * Tawagalawa letter * Manapa-Tarhunta letter


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Milawata Letter 13th-century BC works Hittite texts Miletus Archaeological sources on Greek mythology Diplomatic correspondence Priam