MITANNI
   A kingdom in northern Syria, centered around the Habur valley. It was called Hanigalbat by the Assyrians and Naharina by the Babylonians. The population of Mitanni was predominantly Hurrian, but the ruling elites were Indo-European warriors who called themselves Mariannu and who worshipped deities with Vedic names such as Indar, Uruwana, and the collective Devas. This elite was to intermarry with the local population, as the names of their children testify.
   Not much is known about the historical circumstance of the early Mitanni kings of the 16th century B.C., such as Kirta, Shuttarna, and Barratarna. Shaushtatar (fl. c. 1430) was a major figure. He greatly extended the territory of Mitanni by his conquest of Alalakh, Nuzi, Assur, and Kizzuwatna (Cilicia).
   The Mitanni kings were in direct competition with Egypt’s pharaohs of the XVIII Dynasty over the fertile lands in western Syria. Tuthmosis III defeated the Mitanni forces at Aleppo and Karkemish, but his successors preferred to make treaties with the Mitanni kings; Tushratta’s daughter Taduhepa was given in marriageto Amenophis III, establishing a balance of Mitanni and Egyptian influence. Trouble came from within, when a civil war broke out over the succession of Shuttarna, who had been assassinated. A usurper acceded to the throne but was soon dislodged by Shuttarna’s younger son, Tushratta (II). The Hittite king Suppiluliuma I backed another descendant of the murdered king, Artatama II, and later his son, Shuttarna III, while the sons of Tushratta found support from Egypt. Suppiluliuma’s forces invaded the north of Mitanni and plundered the capital, Washshukanni. Tushratta was murdered by his own son.
   The Assyrians, who had by this time become a new political player under their king, Ashur-uballit I (reigned 1365–1330), also concluded a treaty of mutual support with Shuttarna III. These rival factions, backed by military support from their allies, plunged the country into internal warfare and political chaos. In the end, it was the Assyrians who gained from this situation; Adad-nirari I (reigned 1307–1275) marched against Washshukanni, took King Shattuara I prisoner to Assyria, and quelled a subsequent revolt by destroying various towns and deporting parts of the population. Mitanni was reduced to vassal status, and during the reign of Tukulti-Ninurta I (c. 1244–1208), it became an integral part of Assyria as the province of Hanigalbat.

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. . 2012.

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