Attested in the cuneiform sources of the Hittite Empire, the term tapariya- has the general meaning “to rule, to order, to govern, or to decide.” This term and others related to it have typically been understood to connote central, official, and royal command. It has been suggested, for instance, that some instances of tapariya- in specific contexts have the extended meaning of a provincial administrative district established by royal command, or that its derivative tapariyalli- denotes a governor appointed by royal command. Our paper challenges this view through a reexamination of tapariya- and related terms, suggesting instead that some occurrences of tapariya- might instead refer to local government, and that tapariyalli- is better understood as the representative of a local community rather than an appointee of the Hittite court in the periphery. This interpretation of tapariya- and tapariyalli- leads to a new understanding of the agency of local communities and their representatives not only during the Hittite period, but also and especially during the post-Hittite period. While the terms related to tapariya- occur in Luwian Hieroglyphic texts in both southern Anatolia and northern Syria, tapariyalli- is the only official title that appears both in Hittite and post-Hittite sources in south-central Anatolia. In our discussion of the post-Hittite period, we contrast the agency of the tapariyalli- as representatives of local communities in the sociopolitical landscape of south-central Anatolia to the top-down dynastic continuity represented by the Upper Euphrates courts of Carchemish and Malatya, which were very influential in defining authority and its representation in the Iron Age Syro-Hittite city-states.
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