ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Vladimir Shelestin1, Alexandre Nemirovsky2, Anastasia Iasenovskaia3

1Lomonosov Moscow State University, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Department of Ancient Orient, Moscow/RUSSIA
2Lomonosov Moscow State University, Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Department of Comparative Studies of Ancient Civilizations; National Research University Higher School of Economics, Faculty of Humanities, Moscow/ RUSSIA
3Lomonosov Moscow State University, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Department of the Ancient Orient, Moscow/RUSSIA,

Keywords: Neo-Hittite reliefs, Malatya-Arslantepe, Kültepe, serpent-fighting, Storm-God.


The present work deals with serpent-fighting motifs from Anatolia of the second millennium BC reconsidered in the light of recently discovered composition with a serpent-fighting scene on an Old Assyrian seal impression from Kültepe kept at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (I 2 б 1591). Besides this sealing, the famous representation at the Malatya Relief H (the orthostat AMM 12250) and myths of Illuyanka and Hedammu are compared to each other according to various criteria of depicting the hero, the monster and the fighting scene itself. The scholars often regarded Malatya Relief H as representing the plot of Illuyanka myth, but the discovery of dragon-slaying scene on the Pushkin Museum’s sealing gives grounds for its re-analyzing. It is revealed that the pictorial monuments from Anatolia in contrast to the textual ones depict the hero acting alone; most of Anatolian dragons have front paws.

The ultimate fighting is shown in iconography as a close combat struggle while in the narratives the close combat seems to give more advantage to the serpent. The composition similarity of Malatya Relief and the Pushkin Museum’s sealing is demonstrated in general as well as in concrete details. This fact allows to trace the development of the Neo-Hittite dragon-slaying imagery and plots to pre-Hittite times (the dragon-slaying motif as depicted in the orthostat AMM 12250 roots back at least to the 18th century BC when similar features were reflected at the Old Assyrian sealing from the Pushkin Museum I 2 б 1591) and to solve some problems of interpretation for the Malatya Relief H (number of monster’s heads, identification of monster’s parts stretched up to the hero’s figure, possible role of the dagger, etc.).