Joe Baker
A new (modern?) hieroglyphic Luwian stone inscription
Sun Oct 15, 2017 06:54

Hi All

Reports on the net mention that Fred Woudhuizen and Eberhard Zangger are about to publish a major Luwian inscription having very significant historical information. See for example
which gives the following historical information said to be in the inscription.

The stone inscription, which was 95 feet (29 meters) long, describes the rise of a powerful kingdom called Mira, which launched a military campaign led by a prince named Muksus from Troy ... The inscription tells of how King Kupantakuruntas ruled a kingdom called Mira that ... controlled Troy ... the inscription ... additionally described Trojan prince Muksus leading a naval expedition that succeeded in conquering Ashkelon ... and constructing a fortress there ... The inscription details King Kupantakuruntas' storied path to the throne of Mira: His father, King Mashuittas, took control of Troy after a Trojan king named Walmus was overthrown. Soon after that, King Mashuittas reinstated Walmus on the Trojan throne in exchange for his loyalty to Mira ... Kupantakuruntas became king of Mira after his dad died. He then took control of Troy, although he wasn't the actual king of Troy ... Kupantakuruntas describes himself as a guardian of Troy, imploring future rulers of Troy to "guard Wilusa (like) the great king (of) Mira (did)."

My heart would like to think this is great discovery but my brain is sceptical. Any enthusiasm I may have to accept this at face value is severely hampered by what the article says about the actual source.

The inscription itself no longer exists, having been destroyed in the 19th century, but records of the inscription, including a copy of it, were found in the estate of James Mellaart ... According to Mellaart's notes, the inscription was copied in 1878 by an archaeologist named Georges Perrot near a village called Beyköy in Turkey. Shortly after Perrot recorded the inscription, villagers used the stone as building material for a mosque ... In the aftermath of the inscription being used as building material for the mosque, Turkish authorities searched the village and found three inscribed bronze tablets that are now missing. The bronze tablets were never published and it is not certain exactly what they say. A scholar named Bahadır Alkım (who died in 1981) rediscovered Perrot's drawing of the inscription and made a copy, which Mellaart, in turn, also copied and which the Swiss-Dutch team has now deciphered.

Given this description it is no wonder that the article says “Some scholars (not Zangger and Woudhuizen's team) have raised concerns that the inscription could be a modern-day forgery created by Mellaart or someone else”. Furthermore it states that Mellaart notes say that he “was part of a team that who ... worked to decipher and publish Perrot’s copy of the inscription, along with the now-missing bronze tablets” and that his “notes state that the team he was part of was unable to publish its work before most of the team members died”.

The article says that “Live Science talked to several scholars not affiliated with the research. Some of them expressed concern that the inscription is a modern-day forgery. They said that until records of the inscription are found that are not left behind by Mellaart, they can't be sure the inscription existed”.

Now Woudhuizen and Zangger are independent researchers not mainstream academic scholars. Problem I see with this inscription (and not just the uniqueness of such an extremely large hieroglyphic Luwian stone inscription) is that what it says is either in agreement with what the existing Hittite and Greek sources tell us or, whatever new information it records, is well within the realm of reasonable extrapolation (including the son of Mashuitta being named Kupanta-Kurunta and his taking control over Troy and guarding Wilusa).

This is all too neat for me. So, before accepting it, I would like to see the views of academic scholars, especially since Woudhuizen and Zangger hold several controversial opinions about the Luwians and their translation of the inscription tends to lend support to these opinions.

Regards Joe

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