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From lugal.Gal to wanax?

  • Willemijn Waal
  • John Bennet
  • Olivier Dickinson
  • K. Kopanias
  • Guy D. Middleton
  • Sofia Voutsaki
  • Frans Wiggermann
Friday 14 October 2016
Attendance is free, but you are requested to register by contacting the organisers.
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden
AG 1

Kingship and State Formation in the Late Bronze Age Aegean

From the early 14th century BC onwards, Hittite texts refer to a land Ahhiya(wa). The exact geographic position of this land has been the focus of academic debate for more than a century, but most specialists nowadays agree that it must have been a Hittite designation for a land within the Mycenaean world. Many questions remain, however, most importantly regarding the precise political status and geographical layout of Ahhiyawa

The 13th century BC attribution of the Sumerogram LUGAL.GAL to the Ahhiyawan King in two of these Hittite texts is especially problematic, for this title suggests a degree of parity between the (unnamed) Ahhiyawan ruler and a select group of important kings in the orient (such as the kings of Egypt, Assyria, Mitanni, Babylon and Hatti itself), and thus implies that there must have been a ruler of similar supra-regional importance in the Mycenaean world. Such as concept, however, is at odds with the currently prevalent view of the Mycenaean world as a collection of culturally similar, yet politically independent, palatial states.

Fresh look on Mycenaean political structure

In recent years, various attempts have been made to explain this apparent dichotomy. Although there has been a growing acceptance that there must have been some sort of collaboration between various (often unspecified) palatial states, there is no consensus as to its specific nature: what this collaboration entailed, which palaces were involved, whether it had a permanent or ad-hoc character, and whether or not there was a clear hierarchy of palaces and rulers. This workshop aims to give a fresh look on the organization and political structure of the Mycenaean world, combining Near Eastern (especially Hittite) and Aegean textual and archeological evidence.

Key Questions that will be addressed include

  1. Can we establish a more or less fixed ‘value’ for the title of LUGAL.GAL in the Late Bronze Age Near East and how must we consider the title in the Ahhiyawa texts?
  2. Can we establish a clear 'job description' (areas of influence, activities, properties) of the wanax and lawagetas in Mycenaean society?
  3. To what extent does the archeological evidence plead for or against the existence of a larger Mycenaean state?
  4. To what extent does the textual evidence plead for or against the existence of a larger Mycenaean state?
  5. Can the archeological and textual data be satisfactorily reconciled?

The aim of this workshop is not to give the definite answers to these questions or to reach complete consensus (although this would of course be a nice outcome!), but rather to candidly discuss the different points of view and to have all arguments out in the open. This way, it will become clear where there is common ground, what questions remain open and what further research may help to contribute to a better the understanding –on both sides of the Aegean- of the Mycenaean palatial world.

Programme & Abstracts

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