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Denyen (D-y-n-yw-n)

Based on New Kingdom Egyptian text, the Denyen are considered one of the major groups of the Sea Peoples and they were outstanding seamen, and warriors. The Denyen are known from Egyptian, Hittite, and classical sources. In the historical sources, the Denyen are known by many different names such as Danuna, Danunites, Danaoi, Danaus, Danaids, Dene, Danai, Danaian. The earliest Egyptian text is the El-Amarna letters (mid 14th c. BC), which tells of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV's vassal, the king of the Phoenician City of Tyre, Abimilki. The el-Amarna letter (no. 151) tells of the king of Denyen’s death and that his brother became king and his land is at peace. The Denyen next appear during the reign of Ramesses III eighth year (about 1191 or 1184 BC) at his mortuary temple of Medinet Habu. The relief tells that their was a confederation of Peleset, Tjekker, Shelelesh, Denyen, and Weshesh that united to attack Egypt.

The Denyen are also mentioned in the Papyrus Harris (where Ramesses III himself tell us about his victory over the Sea People), and in the text of the Onomasticon of Amenope which mentions the Dene and Gardiner suggests identifiying the Dene with the Danuna or Danaoi that may refer to a tribe living in the plain of Argos. 

There are several theories on where the Denyen came from: 1) Eastern Cilicia, 2) Mycenae, 3) Canaan. The first theory is that the Denyen came from Cilicia is based on the name of Adana, a city in the eastern part of Cilicia. Under the name Adaniya which, was named by Telepinus whose reign is now dated at 1525-1500 BC. According to Barnett, the Denyen lived in Cilicia in the ninth century BC, and caused alarm to their neighbors Amanus, Kalamu of Sam’al. Not only the Denyen of el-Amarna, but the Dan of the Egyptian sources as well were the inhabitants of the Cilician Adana. The Denyen are also known from the Karatepe inscription, which mentions the legendary Greek hero named Mopsus. Mopsus is said to have found Aspendos, which is identical to the town, that Azitawadda in Cilicia. The event according to the Greeks are supposed to happen after the fall of Troy in 1180 BC. A second theory associated with the Achaean world equating the Denyen with the Danaoi from mainland Greece.

The third theory that suggest the Denyen origins come from Canaan. The Denyen and other Sea Peoples return to the Levant as a counter migration. While many of the Denyen, went to the Aegean and Mycenae and became known as the Danaans. Others went to Asia Minor and some of the Sea Peoples return to the Levant. The Denyen were accepted into the confederation of the tribes of Israel called Dan. The Denyen were part of a confederation in the Levant with other groups of Sea People especially the Peleset. They were part of the sea battle against the Egyptians, which is depicted on the relief at Medinet Habu. The Biblical data shows that at a certain stage of its settlement the Tribe of Dan was very close to the People of the Sea. From the historical and mythological sources, it is possible to ascertain the following facts. The tribe of the Danai originated in the east, and the introduction of the alphabet to Greece is attributed to it. Its members were outstanding seamen. In conclusion, although the Denyen are known from many different sources, they were a major part of the confederation that attacked Egypt with the other group of Sea People.


Followed by; Dardani Sherden


A place called Adana is mentioned by name in a Sumerian epic, the Epic of Gilgamesh, but the geography of this work is too imprecise to identify its location.
According to the Hittite inscription of Kava, found in Hattusa (Boğazkale), Kizzuwatna was the first kingdom that ruled Adana, under the protection of the Hittites by 1335 BC. At that time, the name of the city was Uru Adaniyya, and the inhabitants were called Danuna.

According to numerous sources, the name Adana is derived from the Hittite URUAdaniya of Kizzuwatna, while others assert that it is related to the legendary character Danaus, or to the Danaoi, a mythological Greek tribe who came from Egypt and established themselves in the Greek city Argos. The earlier Egyptian texts for a country Danaja are inscriptions from Thutmosis II (1437 BC) and Amenophis III (1390–1352 BC). After the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization (1200 BC) some refugees from the Aegean area went to the coast of Cilicia. The inhabitants Dananayim or Danuna are identified as one group of the Sea Peoples who attacked Egypt in 1191 BC during the reign of Ramesses III. Denyen are identified as inhabitants of the city Adana. It is also possible that the name is connected with the PIE da-nu (river) Da-na-vo (people living by the river) water demons in Rigveda (Danavas).

An older legend relates the city's name to Adad (also known as Tesup or Ishkur), the Thunder God in the Akkadian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian and Hittite mythologies, who was believed to live in the nearby forest, and whose name was given to the region. The Hittites' names and writings have been found in the area, evidencing this possibility. The theory goes that since the Thunder God brought so much rain and this rain in turn brought such great abundance in this particular region, this god was loved and respected by its inhabitants and, in his honor, the region was called the "Uru Adaniyya"; in other words "the Region of Ada".



Cilicia was settled from the Neolithic period Middle Chalcolithic (correlated with Halaf and Ubaid developments in the east): c. 5400–4500 BC.

The area had been known as Kizzuwatna in the earlier Hittite era (2nd millennium BC). The region was divided into two parts, Uru Adaniya (flat Cilicia), a well-watered plain, and "rough" Cilicia (Tarza), in the mountainous west.

The Cilicians appear as Hilikku in Assyrian inscriptions, and in the early part of the first millennium BC were one of the four chief powers of Western Asia. Homer mentions the plain as the "Aleian plain" in which Bellerophon wandered, but he transferred the Cilicians far to the west and north and made them allies of Troy. The Cilician cities unknown to Homer already bore their pre-Greek names: Tarzu (Tarsus), Ingira (Anchiale), Danuna-Adana, which retains its ancient name, Pahri (perhaps Mopsuestia), Kundu (Kyinda, then Anazarbus) and Karatepe.

In the 13th century BC a major population shift occurred as the Sea Peoples overran Cilicia. The Hurrians that resided there deserted the area and moved northeast towards the Taurus Mountains, where they settled in the area of Cappadocia.

In the 8th century BC, the region was unified under the rule of the dynasty of Mukšuš, whom the Greeks rendered Mopsos and credited as the founder of Mopsuestia, though the capital was Adana. Mopsuestia's multicultural character is reflected in the bilingual inscriptions of the ninth and eighth centuries, written both in Indo-European hieroglyphic Luwian and West Semitic Phoenician.



Luwian language

Mopsuestia (Greek: Μοψουεστία Mopsou(h)estia. The founding of this city is attributed in legend to the soothsayer Mopsus, who lived before the Trojan war.

In the 8th century BC, the region was unified under the rule of the dynasty of Mukšuš, whom the Greeks rendered Mopsos and credited as the founder of Mopsuestia, though the capital was Adana. Mopsuestia's multicultural character is reflected in the bilingual inscriptions of the ninth and eighth centuries, written both in Indo-European hieroglyphic Luwian and West Semitic Phoenician.


Adana - Jadran

Cilicia, Adana Trajan Decius 251 – 253 A.D. Obv.: Laur. bust of emperor Crown, Rev.: Zeus seated with eagle below.

Hadrian coin - Aegyptos (Mopsus)

  • Hadrian (Adad-Anu) - Adrian - Jadran
  • Adria (Tyrsenian.) - Adriatic


Çineköy inscription

The Çineköy inscription is a Hieroglyphic Luwian-Phoenician bilingual inscription, uncovered in 1997 in Çineköy, Adana Province, Turkey (ancient Cilicia). The village of Çineköy lies 30 km south of Adana.

The inscription is dated to the 8th century BC. It was originally published by Tekoglu and Lemaire (2000). Another important inscription of the same type is known as the 'Karatepe inscription', which was known earlier. Both of these inscriptions trace the kings of ancient Adana from the "house of Mopsos" (given in Hieroglyphic Luwian as Moxos and in Phoenician as Mopsos in the form mps). He was a legendary king of antiquity.

The object on which the inscription is found is a monument to the Storm God Tarhunza.

The inscription was authored by the man known as Urikki in Assyrian texts, which is equivalent to Warika, or Awariku in Luwian. He was the vassal king of Quwê (Assyrian name), the modern Cilicia. In Luwian this region was known as 'Hiyawa'.

In this monumental inscription, Urikki made reference to the relationship between his kingdom and his Assyrian overlords.

The Çineköy inscription was the subject of a 2006 paper published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, in which the author, Robert Rollinger, lends support to the age-old debate of the name "Syria" being derived from "Assyria".

The Luwian inscription reads "Sura/i" whereas the Phoenician translation reads ’ŠR or "Ashur" which, according to Rollinger (2006), "settles the problem once and for all".

The examined section of the Luwian inscription reads:

§VI And then, the/an Assyrian king (su+ra/i-wa/i-ni-sa(URBS)) and the whole Assyrian "House" (su+ra/i-wa/i-za-ha(URBS)) were made a fa[ther and a mo]ther for me,

§VII and Hiyawa and Assyria (su+ra/i-wa/i-ia-sa-ha(URBS)) were made a single “House.”

The corresponding Phoenician inscription reads:

And the king [of Aššur and (?)]the whole “House” of Aššur (’ŠR) were for me a father [and a]mother, and the DNNYM and the Assyrians (’ŠRYM)were a single “House.”

Part of Çineköy inscription in Adana Archaeology Museum


Karatepe Bilingual

I am really Azatiwada, Man of my Sun, the servant of Thunder God, Rendered superior by Avaricus, and the ruler of Adanava, Thunder God rendered me Mother and Father of Adanava city, and I am the one, who developed Adanava city, And I expanded Adanava country, both westward and eastward, And during my reign, I made Adanava city tastes prosperity, satiety and comfort, and I filled the grain warehouses, I added horse to horse, shield to shield, army to army, everything for Thunder God and the deities, I defeated the feint of the feinters, I expelled country's bad men, I built palaces for myself, made my family comfortable, and ascended my father's throne, I made peace with all the kings, Also the kings respected me as ancestor for my justice, my wisdom and my kind heart, I built strong fortifications at all my borders, where bad men and gang leaders are, I, Azatiwada, trod all the people, who did not obey the House of Mopsus, I destroyed the fortifications there, I built fortifications so that people of Adanava can live in peace and comfort, I bet strong kingdoms in the west my predecessors were not able to, I, Azatiwada, bet them, made them vassal to me, and resettled them within my borders in the east, And during my reign, I expanded the borders of Adanava both westward and eastward, So that women nowadays wander spindling on the isolated trails, where men in the past feared to go, And during my reign, there was prosperity, satiety, peace and comfort, And Adanava and Adanava country were living in peace, And I built this fortress, and named it Azatiwadaya, Thunder God and the deities directed me to do this so that this fortress becomes protector of Adana Plains and the House of Mopsus, During my reign, there was prosperity and peace in the territory of Adana Plains, no one of Adanava people was sabred during my reign, And I built this fortress, and named it Azatiwadaya, I placed Thunder God there, and offered it sacrifices, I sacrificed an ox every year, a sheep in the ploughing time and a sheep in the fall, I blessed Thunder God, it endowed me long days, countless years and huge power over all kings, And the folk, which settled in this country, owned ox, herd, food and drink, had plenty issue, and became servant to Azatiwada and the House of Mopsus thanks to Thunder God and the deities, When a king among the kings, a prince among the princes or a nobleman among the noblemen erases the name of Azatiwada from this gate, carves any other name; furthermore covets this city, destroys this gate built by Azatiwada, builds another gate in its place, and carves his own name on it, destroys this gate with the purpose of greed, hatred or insult then Sky deity, Nature deity and Sun of the universe and generations of all deities will wipe out this king, this prince or this nobleman from the earth, Only the name Azatiwada is eternal, forever like the name of the Sun and the Moon.

Phoenician script

Luwian hieroglyphs

Danites - Tribe of Dan

Hathor / Qetesh


Ain Dara temple

Ain Dara

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