Hunting lion with chariot; 850-800 BC.
Limestone relief with a long hieroglyphic Luwian inscription. 53½ x 113½ cm.
It was found in 1894 by a peasant at Arslantepe (7 km northeast of modern Malatya). The linguist Hawkins reads the inscription as: "These shootings (are) of Halpasulupi, grandson of Tara(?) the Hero, the lord of the city Malizi, son of Wasu(?)-runtiya(?), the King(?)." The relief is dated around 11th-10th century BC by Hawkins and 850-800 BC by the Anatolian Civilizations Museum.
Luwian is an ancient language or group of languages of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family. The two varieties of Luwian are named for the scripts that they were written in: Cuneiform Luwian (CLuwian) and Hieroglyphic Luwian (HLuwian). As to whether these were one language or two, there is no consensus. Luwian is closely related to Hittite.
Luwian hieroglyphs are an indigenous logographic script native to central Anatolia, consisting of some 500 signs. They are typologically similar to Egyptian hieroglyphs, but do not derive graphically from that script. As in Egyptian, characters may be logographic or phonographic - that is, they may be used to represent words or sounds. The number of phonographic signs is limited; they are predominantly from the CV-type (consonant sound followed by a vowel sound). A large number of these are ambiguous as to whether the vowel is a or i. Words may be written logographically, phonetically, mixed (that is, a logogram with a phonetic complement), and may be preceded by a determinative. Unlike Egyptian hieroglyphs, the lines of Luwian hieroglyphs are written alternately left-to-right and right-to-left. This practice was called by the Greeks boustrophedon, meaning "as the ox turns" (as when plowing a field).
Correspondent: J.M.Criel, Antwerpen
Sources: ‘Inscriptions of the Iron Age’ (J.D.Hawkins), Website of ‘hittitemonuments.com’ & Wikipedia.