This is how I find the seeds of a new novel…as well as fodder for my theory that the jinn once dwelt more fully on earth. Crazy? Maybe not. As you know from reading my blog, I frequently reference the scholarly and religious sources for the existence of the race of jinn. Here’s an article in my favorite magazine, Biblical Archaeology Review, that discusses the mysterious destruction of the city of Hattusa. Before the city was engulfed in a “consuming conflagration”, there was a frenzied spate of construction. According to legend, the jinn were the consummate builders, able to erect massive monuments that could last millenia. Were they the contractors on the Hattusa job? As so many contractors are, were they dissatisfied with their compensation and therefore destroyed their work and the city?? Who knows. But I have a theory…. I’ll let you know when that book is ready. Meanwhile, read about Hattusa and what happened to it. This excerpt sums it up.
The evidence of widespread destruction by fire on the royal acropolis, in the temples of both the Upper City and Lower City, and along stretches of the fortifications, suggests a scenario of a single, simultaneous, violent destruction in an all-consuming conflagration.
[Keep in mind that the jinn are creatures of fire..."forged from flame" according to the Quran.]
The Last Days of Hattusa
The Mysterious Collapse of the Hittite Empire
Trevor Bryce • 02/08/2013
**This article by Trevor Bryce appears as it was printed in Archaeology Odyssey. Full citation below. The BAS Library includes the complete version of every article published in Archaeology Odyssey.**
A helmeted god stands guard over one of the principal entrances to ancient Hattusa. From the 17th to the early 12th century B.C., Hattusa served as the capital of the Hittite empire. Credit: Gianni Dagli Orti/Corbis
From his capital, Hattusa, in central Anatolia, the last-known Hittite king, Suppiluliuma II (1207 B.C.-?), ruled over a people who had once built a great empire—one of the superpowers (along with Egypt, Mittani, Babylon and Assyria) of the Late Bronze Age. The Kingdom of the Hittites, called Hatti, had stretched across the face of Anatolia and northern Syria, from the Aegean in the west to the Euphrates in the east. But now those days were gone, and the royal capital was about to be destroyed forever by invasion and fire.Did Suppiluliuma die defending his city, like the last king of Constantinople 2,600 years later? Or did he spend his final moments in his palace, impassively contemplating mankind’s flickering mortality?
Neither, according to recent archaeological evidence, which paints a somewhat less dramatic, though still mysterious, picture of Hattusa’s last days. Excavations at the site, directed by the German archaeologist Jürgen Seeher, have indeed determined that the city was invaded and burned early in the 12th century B.C. But this destruction appears to have taken place after many of Hattusa’s residents had abandoned the city, carrying off the valuable (and portable) objects as well as the city’s important official records. The site being uncovered by archaeologists was probably little more than a ghost town during its final days.1
From Assyrian records, we know that in the early second millennium B.C. Hattusa was the seat of a central Anatolian kingdom. In the 18th century B.C., this settlement was razed to the ground by a king named Anitta, who declared the site accursed and then left a record of his destruction of the city. One of the first Hittite kings, Hattusili I (c. 1650–1620 B.C.), rebuilt the city, taking advantage of the region’s abundant sources of water, thick forests and fertile land. An outcrop of rock rising precipitously above the site (now known as Büyükkale, or “Big Castle”) provided a readily defensible location for Hattusili’s royal citadel.
Although Hattusa became the capital of one of the greatest Near Eastern empires, the city was almost completely destroyed several times. One critical episode came early in the 14th century, when enemy forces launched a series of massive attacks upon the Hittite homeland, crossing its borders from all directions. The attackers included Arzawan forces from the west and south, Kaskan mountain tribes from the north, and Isuwan forces from across the Euphrates in the east. The Hittite king Tudhaliya III (c. 1360?-1350 B.C.) had no choice but to abandon his capital to the enemy. Tudhaliya probably went into exile in the eastern city of Samuha (according to his grandson and biographer, Mursili II, Tudhalia used Samuha as his base of operations for reconquering lost territories). Hattusa was destroyed, and the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III (1390–1352 B.C.) declared, in a letter tablet found at Tell el-Amarna, in Egypt, that “The Land of Hatti is finished!”
The most illustrious phase in the existence of Hattusa itself, however, did not come during the floruit of the Hittite empire under Suppiluliuma, his son Mursili II (c. 1321–1295 B.C.) or grandson Muwatalli II (c. 1295–1272 B.C.). At this time Hattusa was no match, in size or splendor, for the great Egyptian cities along the Nile—Thebes, Memphis and the short-lived Akhetaten, capital of the so-called heretic pharaoh Akhenaten (1352–1336 B.C.). Indeed, during Muwatalli’s reign Hattusa actually went into decline when the royal seat was transferred to a new site, Tarhuntassa, near Anatolia’s southern coast. Only later, when the kingdom was in the early stages of its final decline, did Hattusa become one of the great showplaces of the ancient Near East.
This renovation of the city was the inspiration of King Hattusili III (c. 1267–1237 B.C.), though his son and successor, Tudhaliya IV (c. 1237–1209 B.C.), did most of the work. Not only did Tudhaliya substantially renovate the acropolis; he more than doubled the city’s size, developing a new area lying south of and rising above the old city. In the new “Upper City,” a great temple complex arose. Hattusa could now boast at least 31 temples within its walls, many built during Tudhaliya’s reign. Though individually dwarfed by the enormous Temple of the Storm God in the “Lower City,” the new temples left no doubt about Hattusa’s grandeur, impressing upon all who visited the capital that it was the religious as well as the political and administrative heart of the Hittite empire.
Tudhaliya also constructed massive new fortifications. The main casemate wall was built upon an earthen rampart to a height of 35 feet, punctuated by towers at 70-foot intervals along its entire length. The wall twice crossed a deep gorge to enclose the Lower City, the Upper City and an area to the northeast; this was surely one of the most impressive engineering achievements of the Late Bronze Age.
What prompted this sudden and dramatic—perhaps even frenetic—surge of building activity in these last decades of the kingdom’s existence?
One is left with the uneasy feeling that the Hittite world was living on the edge. Despite outward appearances, all was not well with the kingdom, or with the royal dynasty that controlled it. To be sure, Tudhaliya had some military successes; in western Anatolia, for instance, he appears to have eliminated the threat posed by the Mycenaean Greeks to the Hittite vassal kingdoms, which extended to the Aegean Sea.3 But he also suffered a major military defeat to the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta, which dispelled any notion that the Hittites were invincible in the field of battle. Closer to home, Tudhaliya wrote anxiously to his mother about a serious rebellion that had broken out near the homeland’s frontiers and was likely to spread much farther….
There’s more to the article in the Biblical Archaeology Review. Read the rest of it here.
What do you think?
Read more about the world of the jinn in The Genie Ignites from Boroughs Publishing Group.
Legends of the Fire Spirits by Robert Lebling is next on my TBR list. I’ve learned a lot of these same things in my research, but it’s always good to get clarification. And this looks like a good read.
The following is reprinted from Arab News, November 10, 2010.
Author Examines Lore of the Jinn
by Stephen L. Brundage, firstname.lastname@example.org
“In many parts of the world the mere mention of the jinn will draw shivers, while in other places the jinn, or genies, will be placed among myth and folklore. In “Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar,” author Robert Lebling traces the story of this supernatural race of beings from the dawn of history to the present day.English readers may be surprised by how many words associated with the jinn have become a part of their own language, from Satan and devils to ghouls and even genies, the jinn permeate into contemporary thought.The jinn have their beginnings in pharaonic Egypt, Sumeria and ancient Persia. King Solomon, the son of David, was said to have control of the jinn, and centuries later, the jinn were described in the Qur’an and associated Sunnah. This connection with Islam not only provided some credence to the concept but helped to spread it through Africa and Asia as the religion spread in the first millennium after the birth of Christ. The beliefs hold that there are three types of beings, including angels, man and the jinn. Some contend the jinn held sway in the world before the dawn of man and were made subservient to man at the time of Adam.
Born of smokeless fire, the jinn play a variety of roles from prankster to eater of human flesh and tormenter of men, women or children. They can take a variety of forms or shape shift; they can be Christian, Jewish or Muslim or a variety of other religions depending upon whom you ask. They can marry humans and have hybrid children and can be stopped by invoking the name of God.In Legends of the Fire Spirits, Lebling examines how the jinn have been adopted by many cultures and adapted to pre-existing belief systems from the Berbers of North Africa to the Malays of South Asia. Nowhere is belief in the jinn stronger than the Arabian Peninsula and the heart of Islam. Bedouins today avoid certain desert areas for fear of them, and in Saudi Arabia with its obedience to the word of the Qur’an, curses, spells and possession by the jinn are taken very seriously.
As mankind’s perception of the jinn evolves it also presents new challenges for Islam. In Nigeria, Lebling notes a pending criminal case in which the defendant is asserting jinn possession as a defense in a Shariah court.
Legends of the Fire Spirits is a long overdue compendium of the knowledge and history of the jinn and details the literary impact it has had from Arabic poetry to English 19th century Arabian Romanticism. Although the author maintains the book is not intended as a scholarly work, readers will find it rich with footnotes and citations to various books and manuscripts that would help those wishing to explore the subject with more detail.
Although the book’s focus is on the Arabian traditions and stories, an unintended audience may be found among young people fascinated with demons, vampires and werewolves that have resurfaced recently in pop culture.
Legends of the Fire Spirits is not a lazy read, but it will enrich the reader’s knowledge of human history more than one might imagine based on the subject. With its index and divisions, the book also can serve as a lifelong reference to the mysteries of the Middle East and their influence on both Western and Eastern cultures.
In a brilliant introduction to the book, author Tahir Shah notes that when he moved to Morocco he had to perform an exorcism at his new house. It was in part a response to his new community, but he notes that the ritual didn’t do any harm other than the associated expense.
Are the jinn real or imagined? Are they merely folklore or a supernatural race inexorably linked to mankind? Perhaps on one level it doesn’t matter because they are so involved with human history and superstition. Even the tradition of the groom carrying the bride over the threshold on their wedding night goes back to the belief that the jinn stay near the doorways of residences, so they already may have influenced us in so many ways as to make the question moot.”
You can connect to the Facebook page for Legends of the Fire Spirits here.
Learn more about the jinn in THE GENIE IGNITES, from Boroughs Publishing Group
How do you listen to your music? Stereo, CDs, ear buds, iPod, satellite, television as receiver? I jam, tap, and hum in time (well, not always in time) via all those methods. And I’d like to thank one man today for that privilege. Thomas Alva Edison first demonstrated the hand-cranked phonograph on this date in 1877. A mere 135 years later and we are surrounded by reproduced strains of music and voice that were all first cranked into possibility on that day.
Edison’s device was the first that was able to reproduce recorded sound. Other predecessors had only been able to record. And what good is that? (It’s like writing a book that you keep in drawer.) Using a cylinder covered in a tinfoil sheet, Edison’s phonograph scratched wavy lines into the sheet as the cylinder rotated. Thus, the cranking. The result was the magical release of sound. This didn’t just apply to music but also to spoken recordings. Here was the birth of the first audio book. As a music fan, I thank Mr. Edison. As a writer, I thank Mr. Edison. As a reader, I thank Mr. Edison. My genie characters thank him, too. Zipping through the atmosphere on waves of energy are something they can appreciate.
I constantly have a book on CD playing in the car as I drive. And I realize that even that technology is becoming antiquated. CDs will soon go the way of the phonograph. I have pieces of furniture anchored to my wall that are dedicated to storing these vehicles of sound. All they do now is collect dust. Satellite and iPod downloads are fast capturing and storing sound on the cloud. The good thing about this cloud is that it doesn’t take up any space on my wall. I don’t have to dust! Another chore discarded. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.
Meanwhile, I have transitioned to more modern methods of sound reproduction. An effort that was instigated by my niece asking, “What’s a CD.” Pandora, Spotify, and Sirius XM are all services that have taken Edison’s original concept and sent it flying into the ether. Eighty years after the phonograph, Max Mathews of Bell Telephone Laboratories developed a process to digitally record sound via computer. I think Edison would be impressed by what we’ve done with his invention.
Sound has always been waves of energy, but our scientific pioneers have found ways to lasso and pen those waves. There are bound to be improvements in the near future. Keep listening.
Pick up the digital book The Christmas Bottle today.
At 75 cents, it’s cheaper than a light bulb and more entertaining.
Faced with the external threat of invasion from its more established neighbors, this small Middle Eastern nation began to build. They controlled the trade routes of the Persian Gulf, accumulating wealth and resources. Their construction established them as a major force in the region. Who are they? This upstart nation was known as the Chaldean tribe of southern Babylonia and first appeared in historical accounts around 3,000 years ago.
Accounts of ancient intrigue are a great source of literary inspiration for me. Who were these Chaldeans and why were they able to make a mark in history? Who really knows? All the players are dead and written accounts are scarce. I’m going to tap a reliable though fabricated resource: my imagination. My answer to who the Chaldeans were will be incorporated into my new novel, another romance about the rule of the jinn. Genies are described in folklore as being great builders. Could they have helped a tiny kingdom establish a temple and shrine that became known as the Foundation of Heaven and Earth? Sure, they could have. At least that’s the narrative I”m going to use in my novel.
The actual answer to how the Chaldeans rose to power can be partly found in history. My primary resource for this novel will be the Biblical Archaeology Society library. According to historical accounts, the Chaldeans benefited from the fact that their more powerful neighbors had weakened. With a strong ruler at the helm, the Chaldeans simply outmaneuvered the competition. Eriba-Marduk was the first ethnic Chaldean monarch of Babylonia. He must have been a bold risk-taker. Was he ruthless? Who knows. But if he were, he’d be a great villain. That’s where I’m heading with this. “The King who built an empire at any cost…using mercenaries and magic.” Whaddya think?
The real Eriba-Marduk’s reign lasted only nine years, but it set the stage for Chaldean resistance to the Assyrians for the next century and a half. King Nebuchadnezzar (much better known than his Chaldean predecessor) made his reputation off the construction projects that Eriba-Marduk started. As a matter of fact, the ziggurat called Etemenanki, which Eriba-Marduk started and Nebuchadnezzar restored, was believed to be the Biblical Tower of Babel. And who better to build a mammoth tower that reaches into the heavens than the jinn. Stay tuned for their exploits in my next novel.
Meanwhile, you can check out THE GENIE IGNITES from Boroughs Publishing Group…the story of a genie bound to the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the woman who would win his heart and maybe his freedom.
(Historical information for this blog was drawn from the Biblical Archaeology Society library, Nebuchadnezzar & Solomon: Parallel Lives Illuminate History by Bill T. Arnold: Jan/Feb 2007.)
Look for THE CHRISTMAS BOTTLE, a new Lunchbox Romance from Boroughs Publishing Group about a mystical night that unites a brutal man, his hopeful wife, and an alluring jinni. To be released November 25th, 2012.
Where do writers get the ideas for stories? I find inspiration in news accounts, magazine articles, and other blogs. Here’s a fascinating story I came across this morning about a break-in at the Tower of London. The blogger hearkens back to another infamous trespass at this historic site. It got me to thinking: That’s something a genie could do…in and out with never a whisper of its presence. Look for a bandit jinni in an upcoming novel. Meanwhile, read about this audacious breach.
THE GENIE IGNITES now available from Boroughs Publishing Group.