Thursday, August 24, 2006

And My Mouth Went Sideways

In Bryce, 2002, page 167, we find Mursili's own description of the events leading to his mysterious affliction: Thus speaks My Sun Mursili, the Great King: I travelled to Til-Kunnu...A storm burst forth and the Storm God thundered terrifyingly. I was afraid. Speech withered in my mouth, and my speech came forth somewhat haltingly. I neglected this plight entirely. But as the years followed one another, the cause of my plight began to hound me in my sleep. And in my sleep the god's hand fell upon me, and my mouth went sideways. I consulted the oracles, and the Storm God of Manuzziya was ascertained (as responsible for my plight).

Many people have suspected that the phrase, my mouth went sideways, indicates that Mursili suffered from a minor stroke, and afterward suffered from partial speech paralysis. Although, van den Hout, 2000, claims that the Hittite phrase, tapusa pai-, to go sideways, is used in a figurative sense, to cease to function.


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