Hirmer Fotoarchiv Muenchen

The earliest Hittite hieroglyphic seal known was found at Tarsus in ancient Cilicia. It belonged to King Ishputahshu of Kizzuwatna (later called Cilicia), the king who made a treaty with the Old Kingdom Hittite ruler, Telepinu (1530–1510 B.C.). The seal of Ishputahshu is simply designed: his name is written in the inner circle in cuneiform and surrounding it, in Hittite hieroglyphs, are the symbols for “life” and “good luck.”

The seal on the bottom belonged to Urhi-Tesûub, a king who ruled briefly during the Empire period. Son to King Muwatalli, the victor at the battle of Kadesh, Urhi-Tesûub was overthrown by his uncle Hòattusûili III, who exiled him to a Syrian province, and then to Egypt. In the center of the seal, under the winged disc, is Urhi-Tesûub’s throne name, Mursûili. We know that this seal belongs to Urhi-Tesûub (Mursûili III) and not to Mursûili II because the seal says that the owner was the son of Muwatalli. On either side of Urhi-Tesûub’s throne name are triangular forms crowned with volutes. The volute stands for “large” and the pyramid for “king.” These signs for “great king” repeatedly appear on the royal seals of Hittite rulers.