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Marta Pallavidini Diplomazia e propaganda in epoca imperiale ittita: forma e prassi.

The dissertation aims to examine formal and practical aspects of diplomacy and propaganda in the period of the Hittite empire in order to provide a fuller picture of the cultural and ideological history of the Near East in the Late Bronze Age. In addition, the study is meant to lead to a better understanding of societal and economic aspects of political developments during the period.


The sources consist of three groups of texts: state treaties, the "international instructions" or decrees and edicts, and letters. Historical reports, including the Annals of Mursilis II, the Deeds of Suppiluliumas I, and the Apology of Hattusili III, provide additional evidence for propagandistic aspects. Each textual genre is examined for its own characteristics (struture, components, aspects of terminology and formula, contents as well as find spots and paleography) in order to establish its role in the diplomatic process. The texts are examined as propagandistic narrative, with a particular focus on stilistic aspects such as the use of rhetorical tropes, particular topics, and imagery. The study leads to three concrete results:


  • The conclusion, that the diplomatic process was particularly complex. This conclusion is particularly valid for the treaties, as several texts have demonstrably foreign origin, as well as for the letters, which include several draft copies.

  • The complexity of the texts in structure, content, and redaction, which were based not only on legal premises, but also determined by other techniques. The division of themes, parts, and contents, each closely tied to the goals of the text, were not defined by a single textual category, but could be selected individually for each individual text.

  • Aspects related to the various types of public addressed by the text were connected to the representation of the king. The king represents himself through the text, and this representation is based both on the ideology of kingship and on various aspects defined by the textual category, addresse, and goal.

  • The definition of a personalization of the representation of individual kings, and the relationship between this personalization and the political circustances.

Defense: 20.01.2012 (Co-Tutelle Università degli Studi di Pavia –
Freie Universität Berlin)