Lake Trogitis (Suğla Göl) may be the fittest survival of the Hittite toponym "Tarḫuntašša". The Ugaritic rendition of Tarhunt, Trġnds (Vigo 2009 [1]), together with the Egyptian Trgtts for Tarhu(n)tazziš (Laroche 1986 [2]; Patri 2009 [3]; Simon 2011 [4]: 878-879) allow such a supposition. Besides, I have suggested that contemporary hydronyms such as "Mavi" or "May" might belong to the same linguistic and semantic domain of important rivers such as Maiandros (Thonemann 2011 [5]; Simon Herda 2013 [6]). The closest Hittite witness of what originally should have been a Hattian toponym is Mila (RGTC6/2 104; Forlanini 2017 [7]: 248), located between Ušawala (Elat 1983 [8]; Hawkins 1995 [9]: 51-53; Gurney 1997 [10]; De Martino 1999 [11]; Lebrun 2000 [12]; Melchert 2007 [13]; Forlanini 2017: 248-250 [7]) and the Hulaya River-Land (Cornil 1990 [14]: 103-104). Mila can be equated to *Mail, according to a Hattian sound change observed in tumail=tumil/tumel Soysal 2004 [15]: 833; Girbal 2002 [16]: 280) and waael / waail (weel, wiil) (Soysal 2004 [15]: 320). Considered that the survival of Hattian toponyms has been successfully explored (Forlanini 1987 [17]; Girbal 2007 [18]; Simon 2018 [19]), it would not be far-fetched to think that Mila is the Hattian prototype of many Anatolian hydronyms (KH 98-99) whose basic meaning would be "meandering" (*Mai-el), the same semantic field that may explain the winding river per antonomasia, namely the Maeander, to be reanalysed as *mai-ant-(al)la-, considered that in the Lycian language an alternation between the clusters -tr- and -tl- is attested in atra-/atla- (DLL 6). I would not exclude either that a Luwian term, mantalla/i- (HEG5 126-127; Melchert 1993 [20]: 137-138; EDHIL 555-556; CHD L-N 177-179, s.v. (:)(SISKUR)mantalli-) literally corresponds to *mai-ant-(al)la-. It is a ritual devised against slander (Del Monte 1973 [21]; Del Monte 1987 [22]; van den Hout [23]: 178-181; Haas 2003 [24]: 580-581; Miller 2004 [25]: 30-33; 132), where a red wool thread is cut to dispel the negative effects of a charm: "Elle [= la vieille femme] prend la laine rouge, elle la co[u]pe au-dessus [d'eux [= les antagonistes] a]vec un couteau et elle parle ainsi: 'Du fait qu'en ce jour vous vous êtes querellés, maintenant Andaliya vient de couper les langues de ce jour avec un couteau!' Elle jette cela [=la laine rouge] dans l’âtre." (KBo 39.8 i 33-37; Mouton 2007 [26]: 77-78; Mouton 2009 [27]: 437-438; Mouton 2010 [28]: 120). The proximity of such virtual toponyms, namely Trogitis as Tarhuntassa and Maiel as Maiandros, seems not coincidental at all because the most important narrative where the Anatolian Storm god has a central role is the so-called "Illuyanka myth" (CTH 321, Beckman 1982 [29]; Rizza 2006 [30]; Hoffner 2007 [31]; Gilan 2011 [32]) which is an epical confrontation between a snake and the emblem of the Hittite monarchy. That is what is at stake in the purulli festival, the laborious victory of the king against his enemies, who can use all sorts of strategies to overpower him, magic too, as it becomes evident in the case of Masḫuiluwa, king of Mira throwing a curse against Mursili II. In this context, where it is required a mantalli-ritual to counteract the effects of the spell, the axis along which the semantic poles seem to focus on is provided by two homophones, ḫašša-, "descendant" e ḫaššā- "hearth" (EDHIL 322-324). The snake is the symbol of slander, of the machinations against his person, which can smother his descent too as the snake can suffocate fire in the hearth (De Martino 1991 [33]: 56, 61-62). "Whoever should henceforth carry to the lips of the gods an evil against the king (lit. of the king, his evil) bring the evil word of the gods crashing down on his own head and on his entourage(?). As the snake does not [miss(?)] its hole, may [the evil] word return to <his> own mouth. / As the rear wheel does not catch up with the [fro]nt wheel, (let) the evil word like[wise not catch up with the king and the queen]." (Singer 2002 [34]: 303-304). The mantalli-ritual, whose Arzawan origin is as almost assured as the Luwian features of the word mantalli-, may witness the rehearsal of a foundational myth of the Hittite kingdom, whose safety and prosperity was based on undoing those magical ties which are cut in the Mastigga ritual quoted above. It is noteworthy that a fish named "mighty bull of the sea" is thrown into the hearth (Miller 2004 [25]: 66; Haas 2003 [24]: 493) at the end of Mastigga’s ritual, whose symbolical core consists in severing the hostile threads between two people. I think that from both a semantic and morphological standpoint ma(i)-nt-alli- ­and maiandros can be considered equivalent (for the accepted interpretation, see Rieken 1999 [35]: 42-43). The idea that a river may be under a strict control of Tarhunt is revealed by the Hittite story about the Marassanta River: "The River Marassanta previously flew in another course, but the Weather God turned him and let him flow to the Sun God of the Gods. He let him flow near the city of Nerik." (KUB 36.89: 12-1) The myth narrated by the historian Xanthus, describing the trial of Maeander River for an infringement, as he had devastated the Lydian countryside (Talamo 1979 [36]: 148-151), certainly is the import of the Anatolian milieu expressed in the above mentioned Hittite historiola. I would say that Lake Trogitis (Trggts, "Tarḫuntašša") as the domain of Tarhunt perfectly matches the polje feature of Suğla Göl, which can almost disappear as a lake. The Hittite God can control the course of karstic rivers and hold back the rage of turbulent rivers, imagined as venomous serpents. The Hulaya River-land may be the equivalent of an original Hattian *Maiel, to be compared with the Luwian mai-ant-la- ("Maeander") and the name given to the area is probably the result of the magic worked by Tarhunt on his lake Taruntašša, he can control as any winding river. Another discussion should be devoted to Herakles’ endeavor against Lityerses, son of Midas, who lived in Kelainai (Apamea), where the Maeander Rivers springs forth. I would dare to propose that the Phrygian title modrovanak, applied to Tiyes, probably a divinity (Witczak 1992 [37]), should be interpreted as "lord of the Maeander" (as "Anaximander", Thonemann 2006 [38]), according to the story of the fateful reaper Lityerses, son of Midas. I think that Midas is sufficiently credited by longstanding myths which connect him (in his rivalry with Marsyas, Thonemann [5]: 52-53, 57-67, 68-71) or his sons (such as Anchurus, Munn 2006 [39]: 93 n. 105) with the sources of the Maeander (Chuvin 1991 [40]: 112-125) to admit that he might have cherished the idea of equating himself to a god, such as Tiyes (Zeus?), maybe usurping the musical prowess of one of his paredroi.

Originally Published: May 8, 2021

Last Updated: May 8, 2021

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