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Lisa Wilhelmi: A Game of Thrones

Bloodshed, Murder and Conspiracy in the Quest for Predominance Preceding the Establishment of the Hittite Kingdom






Thursday 28 April

Norwegian Institute of Philology

/ MF vitenskapelig høyskole

Gydas vei 4, 0636 OSLO


TIME: 13.15

A Game of Thrones 

Bloodshed, Murder and Conspiracy in the Quest for Predominance Preceding the Establishment of the Hittite Kingdom


With the establishment of Ḫattuša (modern Boğazköy) as administrative capital of a large-scale political entity in Central Anatolia around the middle of the 17th century the Hittite kingdom becomes tangible to modern historians. Although no textual records have been recovered from the preceding century, it is clear that the move of the capital does not present a dynastic change and that the Hittite administration that emerges from the textual record of the ruins of Boğazköy was already in place prior to its establishment. A number of texts show that rule over Central Anatolia was characterised by an intricate network of regional centres of power with members of the royal family in strategic geographic strongholds, which not infrequently lead to unrest and political turmoil as the regional governors sought for advantages in throne succession. Our records start at the moment when a certain Ḫattušili I - a name referencing the city he chose as administrative capital - emerges as victorious and is able to unite the warring factions during what appears to have been a long reign. His so-called Political Testament is of particular interest in the reconstruction of the events leading up to and into his reign as first king of the Hittite kingdom at Ḫattuša. The extraordinary and unparalleled document presents a vivid account of conspiracies, uprisings and jealousy within the ruling class and gives a unique insight into the personal qualms and fears of a king in the face of death.


Lisa Wilhelmi – Freie Universität Berlin 

Bloodshed, Murder and Conspiracy in the Quest for Predominance Preceding the Establishment of the Hittite Kingdom


Lisa Wilhelmi studied Assyriology, Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and Comparative Semitic Linguistics at Heidelberg University and the University of London (SOAS). In 2012 she received her doctorate from the University of the London (SOAS) for her PhD thesis entitled “Akkadian of Boğazköy”, a study on the idiosyncrasies of scribal usage of the Akkadian language by Hittite native speakers. After her PhD, she returned to Heidelberg, where she carried out postdoctoral research in the Collaborative Research Council “Material Text Cultures” focusing on the interdependency of the developments of serialised texts and tablet format and layout. Since the beginning of 2017 she works with Prof. Jörg Klinger in the Centre for Advanced Studies “Rethinking Oriental Despotism” that seeks to challenge notions of primitive and oppressive political rule associated with the Ancient Near East rooted in the political climate of the early years of Assyriological research in Western Europe. She has taught a variety of courses on Akkadian and Hittite language and texts as well as on cultural and historical subjects of the Ancient Near East in London, Cambridge, Heidelberg, Oslo and Berlin. 

Babel and Bible

Language and Culture on Biblical Territory


This lecture is a part of the series Babel and Bible, which aims to explore the languages and literatures of the historical cultures in the Near East which had a decisive impact on the Biblical text. The series will also deal with other topics relevant for the study of the Ancient Near East, and explore important traces of the Bible's own impact on other cultures, for instance in the Christian and Islamic traditions of the “Classical Near East”. > Read more here.

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