There is a general agreement among scholars that the name Lycaonia derives from Luwian *Luka-wani, i. e. "inhabitant of Lukka". This interpretation was introduced by Goetze (1954 [1]) and accepted by Laroche (1976 [2]: 17) and later put under scrutiny by Melchert (2003 [3]: 14) and Simon (2019 [4]). Also Carruba (1996 [5]), Durnford (2013 [6]: 62-63), Schürr (2016 [7]) have accepted what is reported by the chronicles of the Hittite kings: invaders from Lukka (Bryce 1992 [8]) would push towards the Konya Plain. Of course, these records (Hawkins 1995 [9]: 29) are very distant from the first mention of Lycaonia in Cyropaedia by Xenophon around 370 B.C. Another impending problem is how they might be reflected in Genesis, whose historical background is not easy to pinpoint. Paradoxically, some light might come from what seems at first most uncertain. First, because in the rarefied picture of Biblical proto‑history, Lamech is the only Cainite to deserve a full-fledged myth after Adam: he is the son of Methushael, husband of Adah and Zillah, father of four children: Jabal, Jubal, Tubal-Cain and Naamah. From its name – not traceable to a Hebrew root – it would not be possible to derive anything if the interpretation adopted by Albright (1950) for the Neo-babylonian toponym Hume – the Assyrian Que did not come to help. Assuming that Hebrew lmq stays for luq, because /m/ might be pronounced /u/ (Mayer 1992 [10]: 48ff.), then Luq would account for a late Babylonian designation of Hittite Luqqa (Lu-uk-ka-a, RGTC6/1 249ff. and RGTC6/2 96). This would be unheard of, but just as Hume is synonymous with Quwe (Cilicia), Lamech might be the eponymous of a people mainly known through LBA Hittite chronicles (Gander 2010 [11]) and the Amarna letters, where the ethnic Lukka/Lukki is used by the king of Cyprus who complains to Pharaoh about piracy against his territory: "... Lukki's men take a small town in my land every year!" (Liverani 1999 [12]: 420), (Bryce 1979 [13]). Certainly, the form lwkk,"of Lukka" has a long tradition in ANE history because it has already been used in Byblos between c. 1700 and 1550 (De Vos 2014 [14]: 143-144). Lamech may candidate to be the Biblical counterpart of classical Lykos by means of an Anatolian root, *lwk (Börker-Klähn 1994 [15]: 317 no. 318), about which something more will be said in a specific entry. At the moment, the consistent spelling of Lu-uk-ka-a in cuneiform sources, also those from Ugarit (Singer 2011 [16]: 182 n. 29), can only be compared with the Hieroglyphic Luwian Luka (Lu-ka) (Poetto 1993 [17]: 47-48, 53, 75, 92-93; Hawkins 1995 [9]: 22, 29, 68, 77; Gander 2010 [11]: 6, 56-57).

Originally Published: April 31, 2021

Last Updated: May 27, 2021

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  2. Laroche, E., Lyciens et termiles. Revue Archéologique, 1976(1): p. 15-19.
  3. Melchert, H.C., Prehistory, in The Luwians, H.C. Melchert, Editor. 2003, Brill: Leiden. p. 5-26.
  4. Simon, Z., The Origins of Lycaonia, Ç. Maner, Editor. 2019, Ege Yayınları: Istanbul. p. 107-119.
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  10. Mayer, W.R., Ein Hymnus auf Ninurta als Helfer in der Not. Orientalia, 1992. 61(2): p. 17-57.
  11. Gander, M., Die geographischen Beziehungen der Lukka-Länder. 2010: Universitätsverlag Winter.
  12. Liverani, M., Le lettere di el-Amarna. Le lettere dei "Grandi Re". 1999, Brescia: Paideia.
  13. Bryce, T., The Role of the Lukka People in Late Bronze Age Anatolia. Antichthon, 1979. 13: p. 1-11.
  14. De Vos, J., Les marins anatoliens et leurs divinités guérisseuses dans les sources égyptiennes, in Deus Medicus: Actes du Colloque organisé à Louvain-la-Neuve les 15 et 16 juin 2012 par le'Centre d'Histoire des Religions Cardinal Julien Ries', R. Lebrun and A. Degrève, Editors. 2014, Brepols: Turnhout, Belgium. p. 141-182.
  15. Börker-Klähn, J., Neues zur Geschichte Lykiens. Athenaeum, 1994. 82: p. 315-330.
  16. Singer, I., The Calm Before The Storm. Selected Writings of Itamar Singer on The Late Bronze Age in Anatolia and The Levant. 2011, Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature.
  17. Poetto, M., L’iscrizione luvio-geroglifica di Yalburt. 1993, Pavia: Gianni Iaculano Editore.