Suppiluliuma II…Hittite Ruler Who Saved Anatolia From Famine…
II. Shuppiluliuma was the last known king of the Great Kingdom period of the Hittite Empire, thought to have reigned in 1207-1178 BC. He ascended the throne at a time of increasing conflicts and internal turmoil. The navy under his command defeated the Cypriots, and this was also the first recorded naval battle in history. He reunited the disintegrating Hittite Kingdom and backed together satellite states and demanded a vow of allegiance to him. During his reign, there was a great shortage in the country. To deal with this problem, King Shuppiluliuma II wrote a letter to Merenptah, who passed to the pharaoh of Egypt at that time, and saved his country from this great hardship thanks to 450 tons of wheat sent by ships. He took his place in history as the ruler who saved Anatolia from famine. However, the internal conflict that took place during this period grew into a civil war. Upon this, he conquered the cities of Viennavanda, Tamina, Masa, Lukka and Ikuna. These campaigns kept the country under control for a period of time and delayed the collapse process.
In 2012, a statue of King Shuppiluliuma II was found during excavations at the Tell Tayinat mound in the Reyhanli district of Hatay province in Turkey. This statue, which is 3,000 years old, is 1.5 meters high and weighs about a ton. It’s a long inscription on the back that identifies him as the king. A raised relief carved in Hieroglyphic Luwian, extols the military campaigns and many accomplishments of King Suppiluliuma II. The Statue of Shuppiluliuma, bearded, with curled hair and wristbands in his arms, The figure’s right hand holds a spear, and in its left is a shaft of wheat. These symbolizes his acceptance of both fighting and producing as a principle for his own people. In Hittite settlements, it is commonly used lion, Sphinx or monumental human statues at the gates of the city entrances to protect the city from the enemies and to decorate the monumental road. The statues of the King were also placed in the entrances of the city for this purpose in the role of a godly guard or ‘keeper’ of the community. Apart from its size and weight, one of the great features that distinguishes this statue from other statues is the fact that its eyes have survived to the present day without disappearing.