Seal of Ir-Teshup, king of Tunip.(1)
Introductory paragraph — ll. 1–3:
Tablet of the oath by the gods, of Niqmepa, king of the land of Mukish, [and of] Ir-Teshup, king of Tunip. Niqmepa and Ir-Teshup made these [terms] with each other, as follows.
§ 1 — ll. 4–8:
[If ... ,] be they merchants or be they Sutean troops,(2) [ ... ] weapons, [ ... ] not your enemies, [ ... ] my [ ... ] be you not ho[stile(?)], indeed [you must not(?) with]hold barley, emmer wheat, sesame oil, [or ... ], and a sealed tablet [ ... ... you] must give (them).
§ 2 — ll. 9–15:
[If ... ... ] there is found [ ... ... he] complains/conspires against me, [ ... ... ] copper [ ... ... ] you shall seek them out, [ ... ... if(?)] they say [ ... in] the land of Mukish we(?)[would seek refuge(?) ... , indeed] you must kill these troops.
§ 3 — ll. 16–18:
If anyone from within my land [enters your land], you must not listen to him; you must [seize him and] inform me.(3) And if he is resident within your land, you must se[ize him and] hand [him over to me.]
§ 4 — ll. 19–20:
If there is spoil (of war) belonging to my land in your land, which (someone) is selling, you must seize it together with the one who sells it, and [hand it over] to me.
§ 5 — ll. 21–31:
If a fugitive, (or) male (or) female slaves, belonging to my land flees to your land, you must seize and return him. If someone seizes him and brings him to you, then you shall fe[tter(?) him] in your prison; whenever his lord comes, you shall hand him over to him. If he is not found, you shall provide him (= the fugitive's lord) a representative, (and) in whatever town (the fugitive) is found, he may seize him. (In whatever town the fugitive) is not found, the mayor together with his five witnesses shall swear by the gods, (promising the fugitive's lord) as follows: "If my servant dwells among you, then you shall inform me."(4) If they do not agree to (swear) my oath, then they shall return his servant to him (= the fugitive's lord). If he swears them (to the oath, but) afterwards he locates his servant (among them), then they are thieves; their hands shall be severed; 5,000 (shekels of) copper will be paid to the palace for him.
§ 6 — ll. 32–37:
If a man or woman recognizes an ox, ass, or horse at the household of someone [in your land(?)], and (the householder) says, "I purchased it," if he produces the merchant then he is cleared (of wrongdoing). But if he does not produce the [merchant], then the one who recognized it shall take it (= the property) [and thus he(?)] shall swear by the gods: "Truly [ ... (it is my property?)"]. And if he does not agree to (take) the oath, then [he is a thief; ... (penalty).]
§ 7 — ll. 38–46:
If a man whom you keep in custody, with the man whom you [(appointed as guard?)], escapes [his control(?),] if he had [(opened?)] his fetters [and ... and] shaved his abbuttu-lock,(5) and [ ... ... ], and seized him (= the escapee), then he (= the guard?) is a thief; if he say[s, " ... ... "], then they shall swear by the gods thus: "Truly[ ... ...."] If they do not agree to (take) the oath, then they are thieves; as thieves [ ... (penalty).] If a blind(?) man, a woman, or a boy escapes his control, [and his lord(?)] seized him (= the escapee), then he is a thief; thus his lord shall swear: "Truly I did seize him from his hand on the road!"(6)
§ 8 — ll. 47–53:
If a thief from your land commits thievery within my land, breaking into a house or town, and he is caught, [they shall put him] in prison. Whenever his lord arrives, the lord of the house (that was burglarized) shall [swear] by the gods thus: "Truly you did seize him from the breach!"(7) He (= the householder) shall produce his witnesses, they shall convict him (= the thief) of his crime and take him away, and he (shall be) a slave. Should they not swear (the oath), then he is cleared.
§ 9 — ll. 54–58:
[If fo]lk of mine enter your land for sustenance, you must protect them like your (own) land, you must watch over(?) them. Whenever they tu[rn ba]ck(?) to my land, you shall assemble(?) them and return them to [my land], and you shall not retain one single family within your land.
§ 10 — ll. 59–67:
If a man of your land [enters] my land for suste[nance, but] claims, "Truly my town ... [ ... ," that man] is a criminal [ ... ... (remainder too broken for translation)].
§ 11 — ll. 68–71:
If a town [ ... ], if there is [ ... ,] with troop[s within(?)] my town they dwell, [ ... ] ... town to/for [ ... ] ... and in [ ... ] you shall not seize them; from within ... (place) ... [ ... ] you shall not seize them.
§ 12 — ll. 72–74:
[The king] of the Hurrian people is my lord. If you become hostile to the king of the Hurrian people, then I shall not myself break the oath of the king of the Hurrian people, my lord; these terms (i.e., of this treaty) would be released from the oath.(8)
Seal of Niqmepa, king of Alalakh.
Inscription on the seal used by Niqmepa:
Abban, mighty king,
son of Sharran,
servant of (the god) Addu,
beloved of (the god) Addu,
of (the goddess) Hepat.(9)
Curses — ll. 75–77, on left edge of tablet:
Whoever should transgress these terms, may Teshup, l[ord of divina]tion, Shimigi, lord of judgment, Kushukh, and (all) the great gods destroy him, remove his name and his seed from the lands, and overturn his throne and scepter.
By [X-Te]shup(?) the scribe.
Notes:<br />(1) The name of Tunip’s ruler is composed of a Hurrian element, ir-, and the storm god’s name, which is written with a logogram. Some scholars read the divine name in Hurrian, thus rendering the king’s name as Ir-Teshup, while others read it as West Semitic, thus Ir-Addu. Since a ruler of Tunip during the Amarna period, a century later, had the Hurrian name Aki-Teshup, and since Hurrian is known to have been spoken at Tunip (based on the Hurrian glosses in EA 59, for which see W. Moran, The Amarna Letters [Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992], pp. 130–1), the Hurrian reading Ir-Teshup is adopted here.<br />Ir-Teshup’s seal was impressed on the tablet immediately below the seal caption, and above the introductory paragraph.<br />(2) The Suteans were pastoral nomads, who were sometimes regarded as a threat by sedentary folk and their governments.<br />(3) “You must not listen to him,” i.e., to his request for asylum. This stipulation envisions subjects of one state fleeing to the other state and petitioning its ruler to grant them permission to remain (perhaps also protection); heeding such a request would harm the interests of the state whose subjects the fugitives were.<br />(4) The oath is phrased from the standpoint of the fugitive’s lord, who would administer it to the mayor and the witnesses. The purpose of this procedure is to hold each town in the kingdom accountable for fugitives from the other kingdom that is party to this treaty: the townspeople may not harbor such fugitives, and in particular they may not keep fugitive slaves belonging to people of the other kingdom, since to do so would constitute theft.<br />(5) The abbuttu was a hairstyle distinctive of enslaved persons. To shave it off signified freeing the person from slavery. This clause of the treaty evidently concerns cases in which a person in the ruler’s custody gets free of someone responsible for guarding him, and the problem is to determine whether the guard deliberately allowed him to escape, perhaps having been hired to do so by the escaped man’s former “lord” or patron. The breaks in the tablet make comprehension very difficult, however, and it is hard to tell what this clause has to do with inter-state relations.<br />(6) Apparently the “lord” (of the person who escaped custody) is to exonerate himself by swearing that he seized the person from the culpable guard in the open, rather than, perhaps, hiring the guard to extract the person from royal custody. In the case of blind men, women, and youths, the culpability of the guard need not be proven (as it must be in the case of adult men who are not blind), but is assumed.<br />(7) As in § 5 above, the oath is formulated from the standpoint of the man’s lord, to whom it is sworn, not the standpoint of the householder who swears it. In the case that a man of Alalakh accuses a man of Tunip (or vice versa) of burglarizing his residence, the accuser is required to swear that he caught the man “in the breach,” that is, in the act of breaking in. False allegations of cross-border thievery would result in the fraudulent acquisition of persons subject to one state by persons subject to the other state (the type of situation envisioned in § 5).<br />(8) “These terms” are the terms of the treaty between Niqmepa of Alalakh and Ir-Teshup of Tunip, which would be null and void if either of the two parties were to rebel against the king of Mittani, here designated “king of the Hurrian people.” The word rendered “people” also has the basic meaning “troops,” i.e., the people called to arms (comparable to Greek laos).<br />(9) The name of the storm god is written logographically on the seal as well as on the treaty tablet, but while it is rendered in Hurrian, as Teshup, in the translation of the tablet, it is rendered in Semitic, as Addu, in the translation of the inscription on the seal. The reason for this is that the seal was made in an earlier period, before the Mittani Empire existed and before the thorough Hurrianization of Syria, at a time when West Semitic dialects predominated in the region. The storm god Addu and the goddess Hepat, named on the seal as the patron deities of King Abban, were the principal deities worshipped at Aleppo.
This translation has not hitherto been published.
D. J. Wiseman, The Alalakh Tablets (London: British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, 1953), pp. 26-31 and Pls. I-III
c. 1425 BCE
Alalakh (Tell Atchana)