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Telepenusova pravila (zametki zakonodaje)

Obtožba Madduwatte



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Telepenusova pravila (zametki zakonodaje)

(Telepenus' rules)

The Telepenus of this text was a real Hittite king, unlike the Hattic god of the Telepenus myth from whom the king took his name. King Telepenus ruled toward the end of the Old Kingdom period (1525-1500 B.C.E.) and apparently composed this document as a way of providing a solution to the bloody chaos that prevailed in the royal family around the question of succession to the throne. The Hittite royal family (salli hassātar, literally 'great family') was composed not only of the king and his immediate family but also of numerous relatives who made up the kingdom's nobility. The nobility made up the king's advisory council, or pankus, the body Telepenus enjoins to warn off those who would harm members of the nobility. It would be comforting to think that they always acted nobly, but like modern people they often acted in their own, short-sighted interest, and they were keenly interested in the kingship. The Hittite king might have several wives, a primary wife, wives of the "second rank" (or tān pēdas), and, in addition, a number of recognized mistresses. Such a family structure had the potential to create a volatile situation, since the king's wives and mistresses would inevitably bear him sons who, as they grew to manhood, might harbor royal ambitions, and as the history of the Hittite monarchy attests might act ruthlessly in their pursuit of power.

The text itself, which is preserved in a number of copies in Neo-Hittite writing, including a version in Akkadian, begins with an account of Hittite dynastic history from the reign of the first Hittite king, Labarna I, and covers events through the reign of Telepenus himself. In it, history is used skillfully to support the argument that rules for the succession need to be codified. The text begins by claiming that in the reigns of the earlier kings the royal family, the people, and the army were united, and the Hittite kingdom prospered and was victorious in battle. It then goes on to account various assassinations of Hittite kings and palace intrigues that, according to Telepenus, provoked divine disfavor and left the kingdom weak and vulnerable to its enemies. Telepenus himself was involved in such intrigues. He and his wife, the sister of the Hittite king, Huzziyas, were targets of an assassination plot which Telepenus attributes to his brother-in-law, and later both Telepenus' wife, Isparariyas, the queen, and his son Ammunas were apparently murdered. Interestingly, although Telepenus apparently deposed Huzziyas and exiled his brothers to the country, he describes his own ascension to the throne with the formulaic phrase "when I seated myself on the throne of my father."

The extracts provided below give Telepenus' account of his ascension to the kingship and his codification of the rules of succession. The former gives a flavor of the internal violence of the Old Kingdom, while the latter provides the conclusions Telepenus drew from that bloody history. The institution of the L/Uantiyant- (from anda 'in(to)' plus tiyant-, participle of tiya- 'step', literally 'the man who steps in') involved the adoption of a son-in-law as heir to the family fortune. It is described in the Hittite law code as recourse for common folk who had no sons, and similar institutions are attested in other ancient and modern societies. No doubt Telepenus, an in-law himself, regarded this custom with a certain amount of self interest. It would be reassuring to think that Telepenus' rules for the royal succession were followed by subsequent generations, but later Hittite historical texts suggest that Telepenus' rules were often disregarded.


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©2005 Igor H. Pirnovar
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