Hani-Rabbat as the Semitic name of Mitanni
Miguel Valerio (University of Barcelona, mfg_valerio@yahoo.com)
Journal of Language Relationship, № 6, 2011 - p.173-184
This article argues in favor of (re­)reading the Semitic name of Mitanni as Hani-Rabbat against the presently consensual Hanigalbat. In connection with this, an etymology (so far lacking) for this geographical name is proposed. It is argued that Hani-Rabbat is a West-Semitic (Amorite) compound meaning ‘Great Hani’, in contrast with the Middle-Euphratean country of Hana. Hence, Rabbat marks the opposition between two Hanaean lands set off by the Euphrates. Hani / Hana ought also to be linked with Akkadian hanû and Hurrianizing haniahhe, all being designations of probable West-Semitic origin used for certain human groups that followed a (semi­)nomadic lifestyle on both sides of the river. The scenario is one of linguistic contact between Amorite, Akkadian and Hurrian. Finally, the toponym Hanu AN.TA ‘Upper Hanu’, attested in a Middle-Assyrian letter, is examined as a possible Sumerographic spelling of Hani-Rabbat.
Keywords: Hani-Rabbat, Hanigalbat, Mitanni, Hana, Amorrite, West Semitic languages, Assyrians, Middle Assyrian, Akkadian language, Middle Euphrates, nomads