Confronted with an illness and other disconcerting signs shortly before his royal inauguration, the Hittite Great King Tuth̬aliya IV (ca. 1240-1210 B.C.) looks for past affairs of rebellion within the royal family. Members of the ruling dynasty up to three generations back have taken recourse to black magic in their search for power. Their curses are felt to be still effective and have contaminated the institution of Kingship. The King conducts an extensive series of oracle inquiries in order to find ways to reconcile the (for the most part deceased) family members and to render their curses ineffective. The texts of these inquiries shed light on daily life in the Hittite empire, and, in this case, daily life of the King of the Hittites. The reconstruction of these oracle inquiries forms the subject of the underlying volume. The author offers not only a full edition of the texts (now first brought together), but also introductory chapters on topics of wider importance such as text constitution, techniques for recording oracles, and the persons involved and historical setting of the composite text.
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