Friday, October 2, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- The Anatolian Crossroads

They were turbulent times.  In Mesopotamia itself, the downfall of Eannatum at the hands of Kug Bau’s grandson was closely followed by the rise of Sharru-kinu, who is described in the kings list as the cupbearer of Kug Bau’s grandson.  He is better known as Sargon of Akkad.
One of the things Sargon undertook was a war against Ebla.  At the time, Ebla was the hub of a vast economic region from Arabia “Felix” in the southeast to Afghanistan in the northeast, from Egypt in the southwest to the northwestern outpost of Wilusa, a wealthy city in Anatolia near the Black Sea.
You know Wilusa, but you probably know it as Troy.  The Troy destroyed by the “Greeks” in the Iliad has been labeled “Level VIIb.”  The Wilusa that traded with Ebla was “Level II.”  At the time Anatolia had large numbers of settlements all over, especially in the southeast toward the rich Fertile Crescent.  But right after 2400 BCE, things were changing.
Sargon wanted control of the trade routes and the coast of the Mediterranean, which would let him send ships to Wilusa and Egypt.  His wars made Akkadian the common language of the entire area for trade and diplomacy.
But the conquered areas of Mari and Nuzu rebelled, and his son had to fight the same battles over again.  His grandson, Naram-Sin, finally completed both projects, and destroyed Ebla about 2350 BCE.  (Remember that date.)  I believe that abandonment of towns in the southeast of Anatolia was an effect of the resulting trade vacuum. 
What Naram-Sin didn’t know killed him.  Indic peoples from Anatolia had been filtering into Mesopotamia for centuries; they included the Gutians, who originated in Anatolian Tukri.  They probably crossed the mountains into Mesopotamia over the centuries before Naram-Sin, just one more set of immigrants or traders from Anatolia, and Mesopotamia probably ignored them believing that the Anatolian Semites would remain in control.
After a century or two in Mesopotamia, the Gutians destroyed Naram-Sin and his army, and for the next century or two threw up some 70 rulers in Mesopotamia.  Then they were pushed out by Utu-Hengel, who commissioned creation of the kings list of 2000 BCE, and the Gutians apparently migrated east to the Tarim Basin, now in China.
The descendants of the Gutians were called Tochari.  Their language, of which they left written texts, is fully Indo-European.  Tukri, the name of their homeland, also contributed to the name “Teucrians,” and King Teucer in Greek myth was an Anatolian king and the ancestor of Ilus after whom Ilion was named.  Ilion is the Greek version of Wilusa.
It gets even better from here, but let’s get back to the list of genealogies in Genesis.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

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