A New Interpretation of the Old Hittite Zalpa-Text (CTH 3.1) Nēša as the Capital under Ḫuzzii̯ a I, Labarna I, and Ḫattušili I

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Alwin Kloekhorst



This article discusses one of the main problems of the Zalpa-text, namely that its mythological part deals with the relations between Zalpa and Nēša, but leaves Ḫattuša unmentioned, whereas its historical part deals with the relations between Zalpa and Ḫattuša, but contains no reference to Nēša. Following Martínez’ 2016 suggestion that in the text’s historical part Ḫattuša does not have the function of capital of the kings who feature in this story, but is merely used as a military base for the campaigns against Zalpa, it will be argued that during the historical events described in the Zalpa-text these kings in fact ruled from Nēša. A major consequence of this interpretation is that Nēša was the capital during the reigns of the early Hittite kings Ḫuzzii̯a I and Labarna I and also that Ḫattušili I ascended the throne there before he moved his court to Ḫattuša.

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