Kilamuwa and the kings of Sam'al
Kilamuwa's inscription was discovered in 1902 at the entrance to his royal palace. It depicts a regal, long robed figure, presumably king Kilamuwa himself. He holds in his hand a wilting lotus, the symbol of deceased kings. With his other hand he points to several symbols of deities. Beneath these is carved in bas relief the well-preserved sixteen line Phoenician inscription. Though the language and alphabet are Phoenician, the bas relief style of the letters imitates the style of Luwian hieroglyphics.
Fortunately Kilamuwa mentions the names of each of his predecessor's gods. The names of these kings and their gods all seem to be Semitic. Yet they ruled over a territory largely comprised of an older Luwian population. The Luwians were related to the Hittites. Most scholars believe this group is referred to in the inscription as the mshkbm. Kilamuwa, whose name is Anatolian, mentions the name of his mother, also apparently non-Semitic.
He then describes his own achievements by which he outshone his forbears.
He fended off powerful predatory kings on all sides. Only the king of
to the west proved too much for him. Therefore Kilamuwa "hired" the
king of Assyria against this enemy. There is no mention of Kilamuwa by name in
the Assyrian records, but Shalmaneser does claim to have gathered the kings of
the Hittites together with him in his push toward the coast. This shrewd move
resulted in economic prosperity for himself and his subjects, particularly for
the mshkbm. Kilamuwa places special emphasis on his beneficence on behalf of
these people, whom the former kings treated like "dogs." He enriched
them with livestock, gold and textiles such as they had never seen. Furthermore,
Kilamuwa seems to have achieved some sort of leveling status for the
Luwians vis-a-vis the ruling Arameans. The wording of the inscription
a status of unprecedented reciprocal honour between the mshkbm and the b'rrm.
Therefore the curse that will result from defacing his inscription is
to be the undoing of this reciprocal honour. "Now if any of my sons who
shall sit in my place does harm to this inscription, may the mshkbm not honor the b'rrm,
nor the b'rrm honour the mshkbm (Gibson 3.13 lines
13-15, p. 35)." Kilamuwa's
only reference to the gods occurs in the last two lines. Continuing the
curses on inscription vandals, he calls upon the gods of each of his
predecessors and upon Rakkab El, lord of the dynasty, to smash the head
of anyone who
smashes the inscription.
Rainey, Anson. Sacred Bridge.
Commentary by Jeffrey Rose
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