Academic journal article The Journal of the American Oriental Society

Hittite Menahhanda

Academic journal article The Journal of the American Oriental Society

Hittite Menahhanda

Article excerpt

The Hittite preverb or postposition menahhanda 'opposite, against, vis-a-vis, facing, toward', sometimes spelled Sumerographically as IGI-an-da, is well attested from OS on. Examples are now readily available in CHD (L-N: 274-88) and HED (6: 145-46); (1) here is a selection:

  nu=ssi LU.KUR zahhiya menahhanda namma UL kuiski mazzasta
  "No enemy dared any longer (to go) against him in battle."
  (KBo 5.6 i 7-8)
  manahhanda[(=ya=sa)n k(urakki)] tapuwas ZAG-ni GUB-li
  nu kuwapiya QATAMMA 4 wallu[s dai]
  "Opposite the pillar, alongside, on the right, on the left--
  everywhere in the same way [he deposits] four wallus."
  (KBo 4.1 rev. 3-4)
  nu=smas=za ziqqa assus es tuqq=at ICI-an-da assawes asandu
  "You be good to them, and let them be good toward you."
  (KBo 12.30 ii 10-11)
  1 (LU) DAM.GAR-ma=kan LUGAL-i menahhanda arta
  "One merchant stands before/facing the king."
  (KUB 57.95 iv 5-6)
  mahhan=ma=mu=kan LU.MES (URU) Duqqamma menahhanda awer
  "When the men of D. saw me coming"
  (KBo 4.4 iv 18-19)
  kuedani=wa=za menahhanda ishamiskesi
  "To whom are you singing?"
  (KUB 36.12 ii 9)
  nu=mu MUNUS-TUM kuit menahhanda uet
  n=as=mu GIR.MES-as kattan haliyattat
  "Because the woman came to meet me, and prostrated herself at my feet"
  (KUB 14.15 iv 28-29)

The word menahhanda has traditionally been compared with menali- n. (pl. tant.), mena-c. 'face, cheek", and this comparison is hard to deny. (2) The second part of menahhanda is, however, problematic. The word has been parsed into mena and hant-. The latter is a frequent Hittite word meaning 'forehead, front' and the usual assumption has been that menahhanda is a compound of two nouns in allative case, 'face' and 'forehead'. (3)

Such segmentation appears questionable on several counts; first of all, this analysis fails to provide a principled explanation of the meaning: it is a priori not clear how a compound 'face-forehead' came to mean 'facing'. Since hant- (c. and n.) never means 'face', but only 'forehead' or 'front", (4) English "face-to-face" and French "vis-a-vis" are not real parallels.

The nature of the relationship between the two members of this alleged compound is unclear, too. Hittite has a few endocentric determinative compounds, tatpurusaa and karmadharayas (e.g., pappaneknes 'brothers having the same father' from pappa 'father' + negna- 'brother"; tuzziyasessar 'settlement of an army' from tuzzi 'army' + asessar 'settlement' (5)), but even under the assumption that hant- (as nomen regens) is used in its lexical meaning 'forehead, front', the meaning 'into the forehead/front of the face' simply does not make a lot of sense. Neither does menahhanda easily lend itself to an analysis in terms of a copulative compound 'into the face and into the front". Although Hittite has a few compounds of this type (e.g., hassahanzassa- 'grand- and great-grandsons'), (6) one has a hard time perceiving virtual (*) menahhand- as a partes-pro-toto synecdoche (so HED 6: 147), since the original meaning of menali- is already 'face'! In fact, Hittite itself provides an example of how a name for a body part can be construed through a synecdochical combination of two parts, namely, a copulative compound sakuissa- that likely means 'face' and is formed from saku- 'eye' and ass-liss- 'mouth'. (7)

A different solution involving hant- has been proposed: it has been maintained that hant-or, rather handa, is used here not in the meaning 'front', but rather in its adverbialized locative meaning 'in front of (so prominent among other descendants of Indo-European *[h.sub.2]ent-). (8) However, this theory does not solve the problem at hand either. While Hittite hanti 'opposite, against' has a good chance of being an inherited adverb (cf. Greek [alpha]v[tau]i 'in front of", Latin ante 'before', Sanskrit anti 'id.' (9)), there is no reason or comparative evidence that would allow us to make the same assumption in the case of other adverbial offshoots of hant -'forehead', namely, handas, hanza(n), hantaz, or handa, all of which are best accounted for as later lexicalizations of inflected forms of the base noun hant-. …

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