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THE TEMPLE OF THE STORM GOD IN ALEPPO DURING THE LATE BRONZE AND EARLY

IRON AGES
Author(s): Kay Kohlmeyer
Source: Near Eastern Archaeology, Vol. 72, No. 4 (DECEMBER 2009), pp. 190-202
Published by: The American Schools of Oriental Research
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25754027
Accessed: 05-12-2017 21:53 UTC

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Travellers are deeply impressed by the citadel hill of Aleppo, which is the most important Islamic medieval military construc
tion in Syria and a national heritage monument. But the hill is not only important for the Islamic period when the fortified
medieval palace town covered its whole surface and its flanks. During the pre-Hellenistic periods it was the seat of the
Storm God of Aleppo (ancient Halab). The natural outcrop with its fantastic view across the region is comparable to other seats
of storm gods, the most famous being Djabal aLAqra, "the throne of Baal," a landmark for sailors on the way from the southern
Anatolian coast or Cyprus to the harbor of Ugarit. The storm god, first venerated as Hadda, then as Addu, Teshub, Tarhunta,
and Hadad, played a supra-regional role in the ancient Near East, which explains the enormous size of his temple at Aleppo and
the brilliance of its relief decoration.

4;

The Storm God of Aleppo played an ~* I


important role in ancient Near Eastern religion,
which explains the enormous size of his temple at Aleppo
and the brilliance of its relief decoration. In this view of the northern
part of the cella, remains of the main periods of the temple's construction
are visible. The Middle Bronze Age wall made of plain orthostats and the Early Bronze ".^
Age cult niche made of roughly hewn blocks are visible at the top. Below this, the "pedestal
wall" with relief decoration lines a platform in front of the Hittite southern facade of the north wall (only
poorly preserved). The reliefs belong to the iron Age, except for three blocks that date to the Hittite Empire.

190 NEAR EASTERN ARCHAEOLOGY 72:4 (2009)

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The temple, which has been excavated
by a Syro-German mission since 1996
(Kohlmeyer 2000; Gonnella, Khayyata,
and Kohlmeyer 2005), can be traced back
to the middle of the third millennium
B.C.E. in the Early Bronze Age. During
this period, the settlement was probably
confined to the high ground where the
sanctuary was situated. The history of
Aleppo's storm god is partly illuminated
by cuneiform texts. Tablets from Ebla (Tall
Mardikh) mention that the ruling house
of Ebla offered sacrifices to Hadda twice
a year, and also carried out restorations
at his temple. During the Middle Bronze
Age (early-second millennium B.C.E.), the
storm god Addu increased in significance
with the rise of the kingdom of Yamhad,
ruled by the Halabean royal dynasty.
Texts from Mari (Tall Hariri) describe
the god's image in the Aleppo temple as
a huge seated sculpture in the round with
a smaller sun god on his knee. During
the Late Bronze Age, the storm god was
known as Teshub, and together with
In this view of the northern and central part of the cella, the ten-meter-wide Middle Bronze
his wife Hepat was worshipped in the
Age northern wall is visible in the far left. The Hittite Storm God and the image of King Taita,
Hittite capital Hattusa, where he served
which was added in the eleventh century, are depicted in relief along the eastern wall at the
as a divine witness (i.e., an oath deity)
top of the photo.
in Hittite international treaties. The
archives of Hattusa also give an account
of the entourage of the Halabean Teshub,
which included other storm gods, several
protective gods, Ninurta, the sun and
the moon god of the heavens, mountains
and rivers, Shaushga, and Shaushga of
Nineveh. The Storm God retained his
pre-eminent position in the early-first
millennium B.C.E., when he was called
Tarhunta (or Tarhunza) by the Luwians.

The entrance chamber to the Middle Bronze


Age temple, facing east. In the foreground
(west) a room adjacent to the entrance
chamber had been destroyed by a medieval
cellar. In the background (east) is another
partially destroyed room, with evidence of a
staircase. A nearly four-meter-wide entrance
opened to the cella from the south (right
center). Sculptures originally lined both sides
of the entrance. Only the western side of the
entrance chamber has survived, the eastern
section having been destroyed completely by
a Byzantine period structure.

NEAR EASTERN ARCHAEOLOGY 72:4 (2009) 191

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The Hittite period renovations to the temple included replacing the plain orthostats with new ones carved in the form of false windows
and bull-men. Bull-men are common in Hittite art. The false windows may have been in imitation of the windows typical of Hittite temple
construction, but which would have been difficult to install in the pre-existing temple in reality.

The Storm God himself


is depicted facing King
Taita on the eastern
wall. The relief may have
served as the cult image,
and indicates that the
temple's orientation
shifted in the Hittite
period so that the east
(rather than the north)
wall was the focal point.

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Three blocks of the northern pedestal wall date
to the Hittite period and depict a mountain
god and two composite monsters (shown
above) with the bodies of winged lions. One
has a human head with horned headdress, and
a small lion head on its breast, while the other
has a bird's head and a small snake's head on its
The Storm God stands two meters high, in a "smiting" posture, and wears the typical breast. Note the more cursory rendering of the
conical cap with two pairs of horns, a rosette-decorated shirt, and rhomb-patterned kilt. monsters and the mountain god compared with
His epigraph, displayed above his head in Hieroglyphic Luwian, identifies him as DEUS the elaborate detail of the depictions of the
TONITRUS GENUFLECTERE-M/, that is, "Storm God of Aleppo." Storm God, the fish-man, and the bull-men.

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mirror image of the western side. Towards the west, a gate 2.13
The Layout of the Middle Bronze Age Temple
Here I focus on the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age temple meters wide opens into a room that is cut by a medieval cellar
complex, but a description of its earlier layout in the late-third and also completely destroyed. The plain orthostats of the
and early-second millennium B.C.E. is necessary first in order to western wall belong to a renovation during the Late Bronze I,
understand the conceptual changes that occurred during the and share technical similarities with buildings at Tilmen Hoyuk
and Alalakh. We found the low steps in the chamber that led to
Hittite Empire period in the Late Bronze Age.
To date, the known parts of the earlier temple layout are its the entrance almost completely destroyed.

cella, the entrance chamber, and parts of two adjacent rooms. The room adjacent to the entrance chamber in the east can
The cella of the early Middle Bronze Age structure forms a only be inferred from parts of foundations of the Early Bronze

"broadroom" of 26.75 by 17.10 meters with a 4.4 by 7.8-meter Age predecessor and of a burnt floor at a higher level. The
deep cult niche in the center of the north wall that is aligned traces of fire in this room probably belong to the conflagration

on a direct axis with the building's entrance on the south. It that destroyed the Middle Bronze Age temple. There are
indications of two subsequent destructions. The architectural
would have been very difficult to roof such a large hall. The
remains suggest a staircase with a wooden stair construction.
only tree suitable for this is the Lebanese cedar, which can
grow to forty meters in height, and paleobotanical evidence
The general layout of the Middle Bronze Age temple, with
its almost square shape, a broad-room cella, and an entrance
has indicated that this was indeed the wood, together with oak,
used for the roofing.
chamber with an adjacent staircase, is comparable to the
contemporary Level VII temple at Alalakh. From the Middle
The temple's northern wall was 10 meters wide. A limited
Bronze Age on, the Aleppo temple undoubtedly had at least
sounding along its outer edge provided a glimpse of its exterior,
one, and perhaps even more, upper stories. This conclusion
preserved to a height of 4.5 meters: a 3-meter-high mudbrick
is supported by the enormous thickness of the walls and
structure on 1.5-meter-high slabs of undecorated but well
the partially preserved staircase. It therefore is not a typical
smoothed limestone. Curiously, in front of the orthostats we
templum in antis (with rectangular cella and portico) but rather
did not find an exterior floor, but instead a stone pavement
appears to belong to the so-called migdol, or tower, temple
covered with thin layers of clay and ash, clearly belonging to
type. The Middle Bronze Age structure was burned to the
some kind of corridor. Mudbricks of lower quality were set
ground, to be restored in altered form in the Late Bronze Age
against the northern wall, thereby preserving large parts of its
under Hittite sovereignty.
plastered surface. We have not been able to date this "corridor"
precisely, but it is comparable to the temple atc Ain Dara, some
Changes in the Hittite Empire Period
forty kilometers northwest of Aleppo, and must date later than During its reconstruction in the Hittite Empire period
the Middle Bronze Age. (specifically the late-fourteenth to thirteenth centuries B.C.E.),
Undecorated limestone orthostats with a height of 1.2 meters the temple's plain slabs were replaced with orthostats carved in
covered the inner facade of the north wall. The construction relief. A majority of the new orthostats were carved in the form
technique of the orthostats is comparable to other examples of "false windows," others depict bull-men, and the Storm
of Middle Bronze Age architecture, such as that found nearby God himself is displayed in the center of the eastern cella
at Ebla.
wall. The plain Middle Bronze Age orthostats remained in
The Middle Bronze Age cella had an Early Bronze Age place at the northernmost part of the temple, although they
predecessor, which dates to the middle of the third millennium were hidden when the inner alignment of the northern wall
B.C.E., and must be the remains of the temple mentioned in was shifted towards the south and the wall's width enlarged
the Ebla archives. It was constructed of roughly hewn stone from 10 to 13.4 meters. The new interior face of the northern
blocks that sit directly on the natural rock, which were reused wall was also constructed of orthostats (see photo on p. 190),
as foundations for the later building. which were placed on a higher level than the Middle Bronze
An entrance 3.8 meters wide opened to the cella from Age orthostats. The builders might have narrowed the cella
the south. Two large pivot stones in the Middle Bronze Age at this time to make it easier to roof. However, an alternative
pavement suggest a two-winged door. Those exiting the explanation is that there was a change in the cult direction,
cella through these doors would have passed between stone from the direct alignment of the entrance and the divine image
sculptures that lined both sides of the entrance. After four to a "bent-axis" scheme, in which the divine image is not
meters, the visitor would then have passed through a portico visible from the entrance. The earlier cult niche would thus
on the south, or, more likely, a room with an outer gate, about have been hidden or "buried." Such a shift in focus would be
8.85 meters wide and at least 6.55 meters in length, before in keeping with Hittite practice, a phenomenon to which I will
leaving the temple structure altogether. Only the western side return below.
of the entrance chamber has survived; apart from the corner The orthostats used for the new interior face of the northern
foundation stone, the eastern part was destroyed completely wall were similar in size and material to their predecessors,
by a Byzantine period structure, but can be reconstructed as a and may have been reused slabs from the western, southern,

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and eastern walls, which were replaced by the new, carved on a famous seal of the Hittite King Mursili III. His body is
orthostats. The surfaces of these new orthostats show clear proportioned according to Hittite artistic convention, with
traces of chiselling, in contrast to the older slabs, which had oversized legs, heads, ears, and eyes. The sides of the relief are
been dressed with a pick axe. This may be due to the need to smoothed, while its rear part is not dressed. This technique
recut their burnt surfaces. The space between the two lines of corresponds exactly to that of the monster and mountain-god
orthostats was filled with stones. At the same time, a platform blocks found in the pedestal wall.
1.7 to 1.8 meters wide was raised to the south of the new north The Storm God's short dagger appears again on a second,
wall with a bas-relief decoration along its front side, which slightly damaged relief of a god with lituus and lance, which was
we call the "pedestal wall." Three carved orthostats of this found in a pit. Its hieroglyphic inscription has unfortunately
decoration were found still in situ. They interrupt a series of broken off. It is a strong possibility that the god with lituus
reliefs of the last renovation that belongs to the end of the belonged to a series of gods that decorated a second, upper tier
tenth century, and were apparently intended to be smoothed of orthostats above the "false windows" and bull-men.
and recut for new depictions. It is also possible that the Storm God's relief was not just a
The three blocks depict a mountain god and two composite divine image, but the focus of the cult and locus of the divine
monsters with the bodies of winged lions. One has a human presence. Either way, with the erection of the Storm God relief
head with horned headdress, and a small lion head on its in the temple's east wall, it is clear that the temple's orientation
breast, while the other has a bird's head and a small snake's shifted, and the east wall became the new focal point of the
head on its breast. Parallels in glyptic art, especially at nearby Storm God cult.
Emar (Tall Maskana), indicate that these figures belong to a In addition to the arguments of style and iconography, which
regional, North Syrian Hittite cultural tradition dating to the suggest a Late Bronze Age date, there are strong indications
Hittite Empire period, with some Hurrian-Mittanian influence for Hittite influence in this change of axis and layout at the
also evident. This specific style should be called "Syro-Hittite." Aleppo temple complex. Both before and after the Hittite
Unfortunately, this designation is already used, rather illogically, period, the cult direction was always straight to the north,
to describe the subsequent Neo-Hittite period, which follows with the entrance directly opposite the cult niche or the Storm
the collapse of the empire. God's depiction on the pedestal wall of the last renovation.
The reliefs along the eastern, southern, and presumably In contrast, Hittite temple cellas had entrances that were
western cella walls also date to the Hittite Empire period, removed from the cult image, and placed at right angles to
with the exception of the relief of King Taita, which was it, necessitating a quarter-turn for anyone entering the cult
added in the eleventh century. These include the orthostats room, and windows that played an important function in the
carved with "false windows" and two bull-men arranged temple cult, which could be opened with lattices or shutters.
symmetrically on either side of the Storm God that decorate At Hattusa, the Hittite capital, they are low above the floor.
the eastern wall (see centerfold), the "false windows" along It seems likely that the shift of the Storm God's seat from
the southern wall, and presumably a matching system of the temple's north wall to the center of its east wall reflects
"false windows" along the west wall. During erection of the adoption of the bent-axis scheme, in keeping with the
the medieval cellar in the western part of the temple, these Hittite way of entering the divine presence. The entrance of
slabs apparently were excavated and reused in the citadel's the temple could not be changed without considerable effort,
Ayyubid mosque, where some of them were found in the nor windows installed, except as mere illusion.
building's foundation and in a wall next to its entrance during Similar changes are seen at Alalakh. In Level III, the cult
restoration in the French Mandate. The lattice pattern of the direction was altered from a direct to a bent-axis approach,
"false windows" is strikingly similar to depictions on Hittite and then later returned to the original direct approach, as
temple models. a "nationalist revival" (according to the excavator Leonard
The tails and lower parts of the bull-mens' bodies recall Woolley [1955: 78]). However, there is no reason to assume
depictions in the Hittite sanctuary at Yazilikaya near Hattusa, the main cult hall of the Alalakh III temple was located on an
but there are also differences, especially in the shapes of their upper floor.
heads, which are more triangular in Hittite art and without The inner entrance of the Storm God temple was
beards. The best parallels are the bull-men depicted on the protected with a limestone bas-relief of a fish-genius, and
so-called Hittite ivory plaque found at Megiddo, who have sphinx and lion basalt portal figures. The lion and the sphinx
beards and similarly curled hair. show similarities to Hittite Empire art. For example, the
The Storm God is also widely represented in Hittite art. The mouth, nose, and shape of the eyes of the sphinx correspond
Aleppo figure stands two meters high, in a "smiting" posture, to Hittite sculptures at Hattusa and Alaca Hoyuk. Most
and wears the typical conical cap with two pairs of horns, a astonishing is the fish genius, which stands two meters high,
rosette decorated shirt and a kilt. His epigraph, displayed above and is of Mesopotamian origin. It therefore may be the
his head in Hieroglyphic Luwian, is identical to one found work of a Kassite sculptor or, more probably, a Hittite artist

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The inner entrance of the Storm God temple was protected with a limestone bas-relief of a fish-genius, and sphinx and lion basalt portal
^^^^J figures. The lion and the sphinx show similarities to Hittite Empire art. A fragmentary Hieroglyphic Luwian inscription obviously mentioning
King Taita was found incised on the lion figure and continues over the head of the adjacent Hittite sphinx.

knowledgeable of Babylonian mythology. The genius holds a pinecone


and small bucket for purification, and faces toward the entrance of the
temple. The carved detail of the faces of both the Storm God and genius,
their ears, eyes, noses, and beards, is identical.
More generally, there is an important stylistic difference between the
elaborate detail reserved for the Storm God, the fish-man, and the bull
men reliefs, and the more cursory rendering of the monsters and the
mountain god represented on the northern pedestal wall. Despite the
possibility that the three Hittite reliefs in the pedestal wall were carved later
in the Hittite Empire period, or
that their sculptors belonged
to a less-skilled workshop, it is
important to note?on a smaller
scale?the distinction in Emar
glyptic art between the more
elaborate main scenes with gods
and the more cursory scenes
with monsters. Maybe there was
a comparable emphasis in detail
that distinguished the depictions
of the Storm God and the god
with lituus from the monsters
and animals in Aleppo.
In summary, the style and
iconography of the Storm God
temple, during its Late Bronze
The fish genius is a Mesopotamian motif, indicatinlg Age Hittite manifestation,
that the Hittite artist was familiar with Babylonian reveals an intriguing amalgam
mythology. The genius holds a pinecone and small Close-up view of the upper part of the of Hittite, Mesopotamian,
bucket for purification, and faces toward the entrance sphinx portal figure that guarded the and Late Bronze Age Syrian
of the temple. entrance to the temple. traditions.

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Chronology of Aleppo and the Temple of the Storm God

History of Aleppo Archaeological Evidence

first temple (roughly hewn


restorations and offerings
blocks with mudbricks); foundation
2500 b.c.e. Early Bronze Age in the temple by the kings
of Ebla deposit of late Early Dynastic-early
Akkadian periods

kingdom of Yamhad; renovation of temple with limestone


description of the cult orthostats and floor of lime and
2000 b.c.e. Middle Bronze Age
image in cuneiform texts mortar; second floor with large
from Mari limestone and basalt slabs

Aleppo under the rule of renovation with basalt orthosts


Hurri-Mittani

temple destroyed by fire


1500 b.c.e. Late Bronze Age Aleppo conquered
by Suppiluliuma I temple rebuilt with change of cult
and afterwards under direction to a bent-axis scheme; relief
Hittite rule decoration with "false windows," bull
men, and depiction of the Storm God

in northern Syria: Luwian


Aramaean minor states
after the decline of the temple destroyed by fire

Hittite Empire

eleventh century b.c.e.:


reconstruction of the temple,
1200 b.c.e. Iron Age Aleppo belonging to the
exchange of sculptures; re-establishing
kingdom of Taita ruling
of the old cult direction (in axis)
Padasatini/Palistin

ninth century b.c.e.:


900 b.c.e.: exchange of reliefs of the
Aleppo belonging to
pedestal wall; temple destroyed by fire
Bit (A)gusi

that this altered configuration also changed the meaning of


Renovation in the Eleventh Century b.ce.
At some later date, the east wall of the Late Bronze Age the scene to one of dedication, and the orientation of the cult

temple underwent a further alteration. The portion of the wall focus back to its earlier direct-axis approach.
south of and immediately adjacent to the Storm God relief The style of the inserted relief follows post-Hittite Empire
was replaced with a sculpted orthostat bearing the image of stylistic principles, and is comparable with the later figures
King Taita. The smoothing of this reliefs surface resembles of the pedestal wall. Due to the orthostat's long, narrow
that of the Storm God's, but the shape of the block, which rectangular shape, and the rather realistic proportions of human
has a well-worked reverse, is comparable to the later reliefs features that are typical for post-Hittite artistic conventions,
of the "pedestal" wall. The stone block protrudes somewhat the king raises his eyes above the Storm God's head. However,
from the alignment of the Storm God orthostat, and must he does not wear the normal long robe of rulers of the post
have replaced an older stone. With the insertion of this kingly Hittite minor states, but rather the short tunic and conical cap
figure directly facing the Storm God, it is reasonable to assume associated with divinity. This mirrors the Hittite tradition that

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The image of King Taita is accompanied by a lengthy
Hieroglyphic Luwian inscription. The inscription appears to be
dedicatory in nature, with instructions for the cult of the Aleppo
Storm God temple, and it identifies the depicted king as Taita,
"King and Hero of the Land of Palistin." David Hawkins has
dated the inscription on palaeographic and historical grounds
to the eleventh century b.c.e. It is clear that Taita renovated,
or embellished, the Aleppo temple. He also inserted his own
image vis-a-vis the Storm God, repurposing it as a dedicatory
monument.

mortals can adopt divine attributes when they are in the


presence of gods, as seen, for example, with Hattusili III at
Firaktin and on a royal seal of Tudhaliya IV found at Ugarit.
The sculpture is accompanied by a lengthy Hieroglyphic
4L
Luwian inscription, incised literally so that it emanates from
the mouth of the worshipping king and overflows onto an
adjacent block. The inscription appears to be dedicatory in
nature, with instructions for the cult of the Aleppo Storm
God temple, and it identifies the depicted king as Taita,
"King and Hero of the Land of Palistin," according to David
Hawkins, who has undertaken the analysis and translation
of the inscription. Hawkins has dated the inscription on
palaeographic and historical grounds to the eleventh century
B.C.E., which corresponds well with radiocarbon dating
of the site (Kohlmeyer 2008: 122). The toponym, which
occurs in several other Luwian inscriptions, previously was
read Padasatini.
IF,
Typical of Taita's image is a wide-open eye with the top of
Ax.
the eye socket depicted close to the nose. These eyes also
occur on sculptures in cAin Dara, and on a fragmentary lion

The orthostat blocks lining the pedestaWaM of tto^ren Age temple (900
b.c.e.) are decorated with depictions of the Storm God and his entourage.

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On the left side of the central block is
a god with a seven-tiered conical horned
cap. He wears a kilt with a decorated
vertical border and is carrying a spear
and bow. An accompanying hieroglyphic
epigraph identifies him as Kurunti(ya), the
tutelary god of wild animals.

figure in the temple entryway. With a


reconstructed height of 2.6 meters, the
lion sculpture is comparable to a Hittite
lion on the eastern side of the entrance,
which only survives in fragments. The
western, "Taita" lion clearly must have
replaced an earlier, matching Hittite
figure and was carved to match its
eastern counterpart.
A second Hieroglyphic Luwian
inscription was found incised on this lion
figure. It makes reference to Karkamish
and horses from Egypt. The inscription,
A Some figures along the pedestal wal thus far only partially preserved,
show no specific attributes and cannot be continues over the head of the adjacent
identified, for example, a god wearing a Hittite sphinx, and we hope to find
horned cap and short kilt with tassels, with
more fragments when we expand the
a raised hand carrying a double rod and
excavation area in preparation for the
the other shouldering a bow. The figure's
future on-site museum.
hair falls in a long curl down his back, and
he has a short cheek-to-chin beard. In summary, it is clear that Taita
renovated, or embellished, the Aleppo
temple. He appears to have rebuilt
parts of the architectural decoration,
either because the original no
/ mm. longer existed, or to impose his own
ideological program. In at least one
instance, a sculpture was reproduced as
a replacement for an earlier broken (or
missing) lion figure. Taita also inserted
his own image vis-a-vis the Storm God,
A Another god figure, similarly coiffed, as a dedicatory monument, reorienting
wears a pointed helmet and stands on the temple's ancient cult axis in the
a ribbon possibly symbolizing water. process. Our reconstruction of the
The pair of thunderbolts in his left hand Aleppo temple building sequence also
identifies him as a storm god, while the
helps us understand the historical
crook in his right hand establishes his role
development of the famous cAin
as a tutelary god. Although he resembles
Dara temple, as there are sculptures
the preceding figure, his kilt is much more
in that structure that are now clearly
elaborate, and his feet (both depicted as
right feet) are adorned with sandals and
attributable to the Hittite period and
portrayed from a top view perspective. others to the period of Taita's rule.2
The figure of Taita, mysterious ruler
A A two-legged composite monster, notable for its Mesopotamian origin, is equipped with of the "Dark Age," has become much
a human head, the body of a bird or a scorpion, the tail of a scorpion, and lion claws with a more tangible through recent studies.
small lion-head on its breast. The creature is depicted walking across a stylized mountain; He appears to have ruled over an area
notice especially the dented tiara with three horns, which belongs to the circle of scorpion that covered the cAmuq plain, with
demons (girtabfullu) that appear in Mesopotamian mythic iconography. They were believed Tell Ta'yinat (possibly the site of his
to have an apotropaic function in the Neo-Assyrian period. capital), and northern Syria south as

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To the right of Kurunti(ya) is the Storm God himself, shown shouldering a pointed club
and about to enter a two-wheeled chariot drawn by a bull. The crossbar-styled wheel of
the chariot represents an antiquated form. A hieroglyphic epigraph identifies him with a
mace symbol, which seems to designate a special role for the Storm God of Aleppo. An
early-second millennium b.c.e. text from Mari, for example, mentions the weapons used
by the Storm God of Aleppo in his fight against the sea god Temtu. This forerunner
of the Ugaritic myth about the fight between Ba'al and the Temtu Sea might also
date back to the third millennium b.c.e., since the fighting Storm God of Aleppo motif
has also been found at Ebla. The weapons?two maces?also play a major role in the
Ugaritic myth. The victorious weapons represent attributes of the god, but also serve as
cult objects. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that this particular motif served as
the hieroglyphic sign for symbolizing the Storm God of Aleppo.

far as the neighborhood of Hama, where his wife was buried. As far as we can see
from his temples, Taita's cultic revival evidently followed traditional lines, both in A winged genius with a bird's head represents
his visual representation and in his use of the Luwian language for his inscriptions. another exceptional creature. He holds a bucket
On the other hand, his title "king of Palistin" suggests strong connections with in one hand and a purifier in the form of a
pinecone in the other. His rear wing is raised,
the Philistines, or perhaps more generally with the Sea Peoples, which may be
while the front one is lowered. This type of
corroborated by the presence of eastern Mediterranean-style ceramics and other
"griffin" demon is well-known from Neo-Assyrian
material cul-ture in northern Syria at this time.
depictions, in particular on reliefs in the palace of
Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. Like the girtablullu,
A Final Renovation at the End of the Tenth Century b.ce. these apkallu were believed to have apotropaic
The final restoration of the Storm God temple took place around 900 B.C.E. powers, and were buried in the form of figurines
The reliefs that lined the front of the platform, or pedestal wall, were exchanged, under household thresholds in protective rituals.

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A Three bull-men figures are also pictured on the pedestal wall, two of which are
visible in this photo,. One is depicted with strong horns and no cap, the second
with a pointed cap and two horns, and the third with a several-tiered horned cap.
While the earlier figures of the Hittite bull-men clearly had a supporting function,
these later bull-men were apotropaic figures and therefore go well with the
other protective demons in the relief sequence. Another god is depicted wearing
a short kilt, carrying a crook in one hand and a torch in the other. The crook
identifies him as a tutelary god. Finally, two well-executed antithetical lions,
shown leaping at each other, resemble similar depictions on North Syrian ivories.

Detail of the god with the torch, perhaps the"Storm God of the torch"
already mentioned in the Hittite period.

except for the three blocks described earlier. Unlike these earlier reliefs,
the new orthostats were erected on earth debris over the ancient burnt
pavement. The new decorative program corresponds to the orientation
of the temple to its direct-axis approach, positioning the Storm God,
together with his entourage, which included other deities, demons, and
monsters, in a direct line with the temple entrance. However, during
the restoration and before the new temple floor had been laid, the
entire complex burned to the ground and was abandoned. Remains of
at least five wooden posts in the entryway give evidence of a provisional
support for the ceiling during this last renovation.
The basalt reliefs on the renovated pedestal wall encompass a variety
of styles, but were surely executed at the same time, during this final
stage in the temple's life. It is clear that different artists, some traditional
and others more progressive, were involved in their production. Not all
of the details were rendered with the same precision and craftsmanship,

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and some of the reliefs had not been finished. Differences in Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, especially
dress help to characterize the various gods, as do the weapons the Directors General Prof. Sultan Muhesen and Dr. Bassam
and objects in their hands. Illustrations of the one-meter-high Jamous, and the Director of Excavations and Scientific
dado demonstrate their high quality. Researches Dr. Michel al-Maqdissi (Damascus) for permitting
The iconography of the pedestal wall reliefs, especially its us to excavate on this important national monument. We
central figures, is greatly indebted to Anatolian traditions are also greatly indebted to Muhammad Miftah, our field
and the Hittite sculptural style specifically. The traditional director, and to Adli Qudsi, former representative of the
Anatolian pantheon included deities with attributes of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. My special thanks go to Julia
weather/storm, protective gods, a warrior god and Shaushga. Gonnella, David Hawkins, and Rachel Ward for their help
All of these deities are recorded on offering lists in Hattusa as with the English version of this article, and to the guest editor
belonging to the Aleppo pantheon already in the late-second of this issue of Near Eastern Archaeology, Timothy Harrison,
millennium B.C.E. for his patience with me.
However, as we have noted, a number of figures indicate
Syro-Mesopotamian origins, including the winged genii, and
Notes
1. This date differs from that first proposed in Gonnella, Khayyata, Kohlmeyer
such protective spirits as the scorpion demon and the lion
2005: 93; see Kohlmeyer 2008 for the justification of this new dating.
demon. It was common practice in the ancient Near East to
2. Kohlmeyer 2008; please note that due to a technical mistake pi. 5 right
adorn temples with these protective winged creatures, as, does not show the quoted illustration but a Taita period sphinx.
for example, in the Temple of Solomon, with its gold-plated
cherubim, or the cella of the Assyrian state god Assur, with its References
apotropaic lahmu figures and cherubim in shining red-gold. Gonnella, J.; Khayyata, W.; and Kohlmeyer, K.

As mentioned, there were clearly different sculptors working 2005 Die Zitadelle von Aleppo und der Tempel des Wettergottes: Neue
on the reliefs at the same time. To date this last renovation phase, Forschungen und Entdeckungen. Munster: Rhema.

we have to look at the work of the most progressive of these Kohlmeyer, K.

artists, who executed the god with the bundled thunderbolts 2000 Der Tempel des Wettergottes von Aleppo. Ed. Gemeinsame
Kommission der Nordrhein-Westfalischen Akademie der
and crook. This relief has strong similarities to the Karkamish
Wissenschaften und der Gerda Henkel Stiftung. Munster:
group of orthostat reliefs dated to the rulers Suhi and Katuwa,
Rhema.
and therefore can be dated like them to around 900 B.C.E.
2008 Zur Datierung der Skulpturen von c Ain Dara. Pp. 119-30 in
The most traditional sculptors worked on the central group
Fundstellen: Gesammelte Schriften zur Archdologie und Geschichte
comprised of the warrior god, Shaushga, Kuruntiya, and the Altvorderasiens ad honorem Hartmut Kuhne, eds. D. Bonatz, R.
Storm God himself. Perhaps these important figures required a M. Czichon, and F. J. Kreppner. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
more conservative representation as well as their hieroglyphic Woolley, L.
names. Some of the older reliefs, such as the Hittite bull 1955 Alalakh. An Account of the Excavations at Tell Atchana in the
men with their specific hairstyles and headdress, were copied Hatay, 1939-1949. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
by later sculptors with details sometimes misunderstood or
even changed. Altogether, the pedestal wall reliefs provide
important new insights into Luwian Neo-Hittite culture, its
Syrian, Hittite, and Mesopotamian roots, and its influence on
Neo-Assyrian art.
The large quantity and high quality of the Storm God
temple reliefs at Aleppo is astounding. Equally interesting is
the unique mixture of styles and dates represented. Despite
their diverse origins, the various reliefs clearly decorated the ABOUT THE AUTHOK~|
temple together at one time. Kay Kohlmeyer is a professor of Field
Archaeology at the HTW University of
Aknowledgments Applied Sciences Berlin (since 1994). His
The Aleppo excavations are directed by Wahid Khayyata current excavations include the Citadel
(National Museum Aleppo), Hussein Zeineddin (Museum of Aleppo (Syria) and Anuradhapura
Soueida), and Kay Kohlmeyer (HTW Berlin), and have (Sri Lanka). He is also a participant in
been funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung (Diisseldorf), the Conana survey project (Turkey). He
the German Research Society DFG (Bonn), and the World is author of several books and articles
Monuments Fund/Kaplan Fund (New York). Our sincere about Syrian and Anatolian art and a co-editor of the final
thanks are due to all these institutions for the financial publications of the excavations in Habuba Kabira and Tall
resources they have provided that have allowed us to perform BVa/Tuttul in Syria.
our investigations. We are deeply grateful to the Syrian

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