|Formation||fl. 1400 BC|
|Type||Confederation or league comprising several states.|
Assuwa was a confederation (or league) of 22 ancient states of western Asia Minor that formed sometime before 1400 BC to oppose the Hittite Empire, which defeated it under Tudhaliya I. A successor state, in a similar area, was named Arzawa by the Hittites and was probably a name for Troad. The name Assuwa may have been the etymon for the Ancient Greek Asia (Ἀσία).
Modern scholars have often located Assuwa only in the north-western corner of Anatolia, an area centred north or north-west of the future Arzawa. That has made the inclusion of Caria, Lukka and/or Lycia problematic, as they were clearly located in south-western Anatolia. Their inclusion would mean that Assuwa included areas both north and south of Arzawa. However, the confederative structure of Assuwa may well have included states in two or more geographically-separate areas that lacked a common land border.
The Hitite names of the member states are said to have included the following, which are in the order listed by Tudhaliya I:
In most cases, the states are mentioned in the no or few contemporaneous sources available. However, Karkiya has generally been identified with Caria, Taruisa with the Troas (Troad) peninsula, and Wilusiya with Wilusa, which was apparently the Hitite name for the city of Troy (or Ilios). The historical Lycia and/or Lukka have frequently been identified with Warsiya and [L]ugga. For instance, in the Iliad, Homer refers to two separate areas as "Lycia": Sarpedon is a leader of the "distant Lycia" (in 2.876-77, 5.479) and Pandarus is the leader of Lycians, from around Mount Ida (2.824ff. 5.105). Likewise, the Alaksandu Treaty identifies Warsiyalla with the Lukka.
The confederacy is mentioned only in the fragmentary tablets making up Laroche's CTH 142/85. Since Tudhaliya IV was known to have had frontier trouble between 1250 and 1200 BC, and since the text lists rebel nations in much the way Ramesses II does, the first consensus dated that text and therefore Assuwa to Tudhaliya IV. That dating appears in all older literature on the fall of the Hatti and continues to appear every now and then. However, the consensus has since then come around to dating Assuwa to an earlier Tudhaliya, which was prior to Suppiluliuma and so was prior to 1350 BC.
A number of fragmentary Hittite records imply that the anti-Hittite rebellion of the Assuwa League received a certain degree of support from Mycenaean Greece (Hittite: Ahhiyawa). The depiction of the Iliad of Ajax the Great's military equipment, Heracles sacking Troy prior to the Trojan War and Bellerophon's deeds in Anatolia may have been inspired by Mycenaean warriors who participated in the rebellion.
It was political instability of this kind, not just in Assuwa but all along the Aegean coast, that the Mycenaeans were able to exploit. One fragmentary letter mentions Assuwa and Ahhiyawa together, implying that the rebellion of Assuwa may have been supported by the Mycenaeans. Another (ambiguous) letter says ‘the king of Ahhiyawa withdrew or retreated’ or someone ‘relied on the king of Ahhiyawa’, so the Mycenaean king was either leading his army in Anatolia or supporting rebellion from afar.