Telepinu King of the Hittites

Telepinu or (Telepinus) was the name of a king of the Hittites c. 1500 BC. At the beginning of his reign, the Hittite Empire had contracted to its core territories, having long since lost all of its conquests, made in the former era under Hattusili I and Mursili I -- to Arzawa in the West, Mitanni in the East, the Kaskas in the North, and Kizzuwatna in the South. Telepinu was able to recover a little ground from the Hurrians of Mitanni, by forming an alliance with the Hurrians of Kizzuwatna; however, with the end of his reign, the Hittite Empire enters a temporary "Dark Ages", the Middle Kingdom, lasting around 70 years, when records become too scanty to draw many conclusions.

He was the Son-in-Law of Ammuna

  • Titles Tabarna, Great King

  • Name Hattic

  • Queen Ištapariya, wife, first-rank sister of Huzziya I. She preserved the royal blood rather than Telipinu. She was killed in a political intrigue. See The Telipinu Proclamation. (See also Otten (1987) Abb. 3).

  • Family Ammuna, son: Killed in a political intrigue sometime after the murder of his mother, Ištapariya.

  • Harapšili, daughter: Also written Harapšeki. Married to Alluwamna. Both Alluwamna and Harapšili were banished for being associated with a man called Šanku, who had committed the crime of withholding a tribute of grain and wine. Tahurwaili is mentioned in this same fragmentary text (CTH #23).

Telipinu becomes king: Huzziya I tried to have Telipinu and Ištapariya killed, but Telipinu received word of the attempt, drove out Huzziya and his accomplices, and took the throne.

The death of Huzziya I and his five brothers: Huzziya I had five brothers whom Telipinu exiled to estates for supporting Huzziya when he attempted to kill Telipinu. During Telipinu’s reign, Huzziya I and his five brothers were killed by Tanuwa the Staff Bearer, supposedly without Telipinu’s knowledge. Tanuwa, Tahurwaili, and Taruhšu (all of whom had killed sons of Ammuna at one point or another) were condemned by the pankuš (the assembly), but Telipinu overruled the decision and made them into farmers instead (Telipinu, after all, benefited greatly from their neferious activities).

The Telipinu Proclamation: He drew up his Proclamation in an attempt to end the constant assassinations and to secure the means of succession in the Hittite realm. See The Telipinu Proclamation.

The empire during the reign of Telipinu. Telipinu is the first king to make a treaty with another state, namely Kizzuwatna.

Military Exploits: He appears to have solidified the Hittite territorial position and even expanded it a little. He destroyed the city of Haššuwa. The losses of Arzawa, the lands beyond the Taurus (principally Kizzuwatna), and Syria were accepted. He is the first king to make a treaty with a foreign state, that of Kizzuwatna (CTH #21). The Kizzuwatnan king Išputahšu claimed the title of Great King, and the kingdom was powerful for the next century. He defeated Luhha.

The Hittite Laws: Hoffner (1995) p. 214 considers the first attestation of the Laws to have been compiled by Telipinu. His reasoning is that the script matches and that Telipinu’s proclamation includes laws at the end of it, and is a legal document itself.

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