Myra was one of the six most important cities of Lycia, after Xanthos, Patara, Olympus, Pinara, and Tlos. The old site is a few kilometers from the present town of Demre, in southwestern Turkey. Was she the former capital city of Mira, reported by some Hittite tablets, during the 2nd millennium BC?
The discovery of a Luwian language inscription mentioning a king of Mira, Tarkasnawa, at the Karabel path, near the ancient city of Ephesus, would give to this country an sizeable territorial, difficult to accept by specialists of the ancient history of this region. Especially, the presence north of the town of Myra of the Taurus mountains in particularly steep terrain should not help communication with goshawks territories. Yet, now, we discover that habitat places of men of the Bronze Age were not always plains. On the contrary, probably for defensive reasons, the men of the Bronze Age have appreciated the rugged locations.
This king is confirmed by seals of Tarkondemos found during excavations of Hattusa. Other tablets of the capital of the Hittites mention that country of Mira as one of the countries of Arzawa. The cities names appear there, especially under the reign of Kupanta-Kuranta king of Mira. Kupanta-Kuranta is known to have sent letters to Ramses II of Egypt.
Today, historians approach the ancient Anatolian city names of those known in the Greco-Roman period. This implies a continuity of human occupation from the 3rd to the 1st millennium BC, far from being universally accepted. Yet on this site, this is the criterion mainly put forward in relation to the following additional argument: the stabilization of names through the use of writing in the region since the 3rd millennium BC.
It should reflect the action of rivers over time. Miletus and Ephesus were Greco-Roman ports, while today these two cities are far from the sea. This reality two thousand years ago was even more accentuated there three or four millenium years ago. So some current plains near the sea, should not exist.
Meanwhile, water levels were much higher in the mountain lakes. For example, it was observed that the old Kibyra was on an island, it is now in a plain. In addition, on the Anatolian sites, we have to consider the effects of frequent earthquakes, due to the movement of tectonic plates.
These natural phenomena, the change of level of lakes and agricultural levies have changed the course and the importance of certain rivers mentioned by tablets. This statement is seen on the ground: many rivers of current valleys are little worked by erosion, while ancient riverbeds appear abandoned.
Also the use of same names are the main criteria that I hold.
CTH 68 is a tablet found in Hattusa. It describes the borders of the Mira country : "On this side, towards the city of Maddunassa, the fortified camp of Tuthaliya be your border. And on the other hand the hole of the city of Wiyanawanda be your border. You do not cross towards the city of Aura. On this side towards the Astarpa River, the country of Kuwaliya be your border. This country will be yours, protect it! You will found no city on the Astarpa river or on the Siyanta river ... "
Wiyanawanda appears in many other texts, it was admitted being the Greco-Roman city of Oenoanda along the Xanthos River.
I think Astarpa is a distortion of Isparta. The river is well known to be born at Isparta and heads southeast to Kastariya (Kestros, Aksu). Or it is another designation of the Kastariya river. Suppiluliama and Mursili II fought a war against the city of Walma, on the river Astarpa. The city of Walma is mentioned as a border of the country of river Hulaya or Tarhuntassa. The city was near the Pitassa. Usawala the city, or Usaula, which appears attached to the country of Walma may be the Osia classic. However there is two Walama and Usaula names are also found near the present city of Silifke. Which maintains a doubt about the extension of the eastern coast of the country of Mira: it may be extended, at times, to the south of Tarhuntassa.
The country of Mira appears to be maritime.
Many historians consider the Siyanta river as being the Meandre.
Moreover, the country of Kuwaliya is likely the Greco-Roman Kabalis. Kuwaliya has distorted to Kuvali then Kabalis.
This correspondence of names confime the reconciliation.
The text CTH 68 announced the annexation of new territory of the country of Mira. Its territorial dimension fluctuate over time. However. The country of Mira seems to have always been part of two larger countries, but more ephemeral, those of Arzawa and of Lukka. Note that the Hittite tablets never mention together the countries of Mira and the land of Lukka. One is a subset of the other, or its equivalent. The country of Lukka is identified, during the next millennium, with the Lycia Greco-Roman.
For an explanation on the colors of text, click here.
For French language, click here.
My notes of veracity :
Myra in Lycia is Myra of the ancient Hittites : 4/5