Somewhere in the last bit (the quote) you say ”an heroic king.“ Thought you might want to know.I'll take a look at those guys. Neither the Byzantines nor Justinian are my best area... when you said Solomon I thought you meant the Biblical king. Although there is a case to be made that Saul, David and Solomon etc were historical figures. I am more skeptical of anything in the Bible prior to that.
By the way did anyone end up reading my post about Suppiluliumas? I was going to put it in my blog, maybe include a map if I can find or make one. But also I was planning to follow it up by making posts about his son Mursili II and grandson Muwatallis II, possibly even his other grandson Hattusili II (commonly referred to as Hattusili III but in my opinion this is incorrect numbering).
The Reign of Murshili II (or Mursilis)
The short version is that after Suppiluliumas died in 1322, he was succeeded by his eldest son Arnuwanda II, he also succumbed to the plague the next year. Somehow this led to his other son Mursili II gaining the throne, not sure how since his other two sons were still alive, perhaps it was stipulated in their contract when they were made kings of Carchemish and Aleppo that they could not become King of Hatti. Early in his reign the new king put down various rebellions by the Kaska people in the north. Mursili II faced many challenges including the plague killing many of the people in Anatolia, a famine probably brought about by over-farming and overpopulation, but also wars against the Luwian kings in Anatolian, who were themselves supported by the Ahhiyawans (presumably the Mycenaean Greeks), more raids by the Kaskan tribes, the threat of the growing Assyrians Empire, and eventually an Egyptian attempt to invade Syria, during the middle of his reign Mursili II also fell ill and maybe became incapacitated. It was believed that the Hittite Empire was having its death throes, Mursili II begged the gods to forgive him for the great sins of his father (namely usurping and killing his brother, breaking treaties and raiding and burning Syria), which to us these prayers have become valuable sources. But in spite of all of this Mursili II recovered his health, managed to prevent the empire from collapsing and defeated the Luwian coalitions, bringing West Anatolia over to his control. He was also able to defeat Pharaoh Horemheb in battle and force him to give up most of his claims in Syria. It seems that the Assyrians did not dare to challenge Mursili II and so they quietly grew in power in their corner of the Tigris and would become a major threat in later generations.
As in his second year the Assyrians attempted to besiege Carchemish, Mursili II brought an army in support of his brother Sharri-Kushuh and the Assyrians withdrew. In his third year he defeated the Arzawans in the west, defeated their army in battle and took Uhha-ziti's capital at Ephesus. The next year he took Mira and the Seha River Land, completing the conquest of Anatolia. In his seventh year a man called Pihhuniya declared himself king of all the Kaskan tribes, however Mursili II defeated and captured him, putting a quick end to his massive revolt. The Assyrians returned again in the ninth year taking advantage of the king's absence on a campaign in Anatolia and a revolt in Nuhassi and Kadesh (in Syria). This was his most dangerous year but the Hittites held out on all fronts, Mursili II personally defeated the King of Kadesh, relieved Carchemish, and marched into Mesopotamia as far as Harran, where he increased the defenses, then marched up through eastern Anatolia and attacked the Kaskans. Then the next year he invaded Azzi in the east and besieged their mountain citadels, truly these were his finest campaigns.
Mursili II was not like his father at all; he was not a great conqueror, he was not militant, he was extremely pious, his general demeanor was very mild rather than wrathful. Perhaps he was someone who felt more at home carrying out administrative duties and giving offerings to the gods than campaigning in the field, in spite of that he was able to keep the empire together and defeat his enemies.
The Arzawan enemy king Uhha-ziti said of Mursili II:
"You are a child; you know nothing and instill no fear in me. Your land is now in ruins, and your infantry and chariotry are few. Against your infantry, I have many infantry; against your chariotry, I have many chariotry. Your father had many infantry and chariotry. But you, who are a child, how can you match him?"
Mursili first prayed to the gods, then he declared his intentions to the Arzawan King Uhha-ziti:
“Concerning what servants of mine came to you - because I repeatedly requested them from you, and you did not send them back to me, and you kept calling me a child and belittling me; now, come! We will do battle! May the Storm God, My Lord, judge our case!"
A good omen was seen when Mursili II marched out for war, which appears to have come to pass as Mursili not only defeated the Arzawans in battle, took their city and then Uhha-ziti died from illness the next year:
"The mighty Storm God, My Lord, showed his divinely righteous power and hurled a thunderbolt. All of my troops saw the thunderbolt. All the land of Arzawa saw the thunderbolt. The thunderbolt passed (us) and struck the land of Arzawa. It struck Uhha-ziti’s (capital) city Apaša. It settled in Uhha-ziti’s knees, and he became ill."
Manapa-Tarhunta the King of Seha River Land had taken arms alongside Uhha-ziti, but seeing the Hittite victory he panicked:
“My lord, do not kill me! My lord, take me in subjugation! I will give back to my lord the men who came in to me (as fugitives)!”
... and Mursili responded to him, however at the end of it all Manapa-Tarhunta sent his old mother to beg on his behalf, this appears to have worked and Mursili accepted him as a vassal:
“Formerly, when your brothers expelled you from your land, I commended you to the men of Karkiša. I paid off the men of Karkiša for you. But you did not support me in Šeha River Land! You supported Uhha-ziti, my enemy! Now will I take you in subjugation?”
*I like to think that if this were Suppiluliumas, he would have just killed all of them.
After rebelling several times the Kaskan tribes changed strategy and accepted the rule of one man as king, such that Mursili remarked:
“Pihhuniya did not rule in the Kaškan manner. Suddenly, even though the rule of one man did not exist in Kaška, that Pihhuniya ruled in the manner of kingship.”
But the Kaskan menace was so great that they began to invade Hittite lands, conquering the city of Ishtitina, Pihhuniya said to the Hittites:
“I will give back nothing to you! If you should come for battle, I will certainly not wait here for you in order to fight in my own field and fallow! I will approach you for battle in the midst of your land!”
Pihhuniya was soundly defeated and captured, most likely executed.
Mursili would thus declare near the end of his reign, and in many regards this shows the contrast with his father:
"Thus speaks My Sun Mursilis, Great King, King of Hatti, the Valiant, son of Suppiluliumas, Great King, the Valiant.
Even before I sat on my father's throne, all the enemy lands were hostile to me. When my father became a god, my brother Arnuwandas sat on his father's throne. Afterwards, he too became ill. When the enemy lands heard Arnuwandas ill, the enemy lands began to be hostile.
When my brother Arnuwandas became a god, the enemy lands who had not been hostile, but now these enemy lands also were hostile. The surrounding enemy lands spoke as follows. "His father who was Great King of Hatti before him: he was an heroic king, he had conquered enemy lands. He has become a god; and his son, who sat on his father's throne after him, he also was a warrior. Now it has afflicted him, and he too has become a god. But he who has now sat on his father's throne, he is a child. The borders of Hatti, and the land of Hatti he will not save."
Because my father was garrisoning in Mitanni, he stayed over in garrison, and they neglected the feasts of my lady Sun Goddess of Arinna. When I My Sun sat on my father's throne the surrounding enemy lands which were hostile to me even before I went to any enemy land, I went back to the regular feasts of the Sun Goddess of Arinna, my lady, and I celebrated them. I took up my hand to the Sun Goddess of Arinna, my lady, and I spoke the following: "O Sun Goddess of Arinna, my lady, the surrounding enemy lands which have called me a child, and they have made small of me, secondly they have made to attack your borders. O Sun Goddess of Arinna, my lady, stand with me: forward and smite the aforementioned surrounding enemy lands!" And the Sun Goddess of Arinna, my lady, heard my word, and she stood with me, and while I sat on my father's throne, I conquered these surrounding enemy lands in ten years, and I destroyed them."
In my earlier post I did not mention Mundus and Germanus. I don’t know how much information about them is available but they are also worth checking out. Witigis and Gelimer did not win their most famous campaigns (those against Belisarius) but they served as commanders before that (both seem to have one at least one campaign, Gelimer reportedly won decisively against the Moors).
I don’t know wether he has been mentioned yet (this thread has become very big, I don't remember all of it) but Quintus Ceacilius Metellus Pius was one of the best commanders of his era. He won many battlefield victories and heavily contributed to Sulla’s victory in his Civil War(s) and victory over Sertorius.