Kaskafor the First Nationspeople in the Yukon and British Columbia, Canada":"For "kas-kas", or poppy seeds, refer to poppy seeds.":"For Spanish motorcycle manufacturer, refer to Gas Gas."
The Kaska (also Kaška, later
Tabalian Kasku) ["š" is the convensional rendering of /s/ sound in Hittite; an unrelated "kaska" in cuneiform texts found at Kirkuk, in Hurrianwritten in Akkadiancuneiform, apparently referred to the first cutting of a moiety of the grain, which a debtor might not remove from a harvested field in the temporary possession of a creditor: E. A. Speiser, "New Kirkuk Documents Relating to Security Transactions" "Journal of the American Oriental Society" 52.4 (December 1932:350-367), esp. pp 362ff. Also, "Kašku" was the name of a moon god in Hattic, which was spoken at the site of their first known conquest, at Nerik. This Hattic ethnonymneed not reflect the language or self-identification of the Kaska themselves.] were the loosely-affiliated Bronze Agetribal people of mountainous Pontic Anatolia, known from Hittite sources. ["Although attested historically, the Kaska are virtually unknown archaeologically," Roger Matthews has observed, "Landscapes of Terror and Control: Imperial Impacts in Paphlagonia" "Near Eastern Archaeology" 67.4 (December 2004:200-211) esp. pp202f.] They lived in the mountainous region between the core Hittite region in eastern Anatoliaand the Black Sea, and are cited as the reason that the later Hittite Empire never extended northward to that area. The Kaska tribes may have displaced the speakers of the Palaiclanguage from their home in Pala.
When the Kaska were not raiding or serving as mercenaries, they raised pigs and wove linen, [ [http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article-9044804/Kaska "Concise Britannica", "s.v." "Kaska"] ] leaving scarcely any imprint on the permanent landscape. [Matthews 2004:esp. pp 202f.]
In the first Hittite references to the Kaska in prayer inscriptions that date from the reign of
Hantili II, ca 1450 BC, the Kaska had moved into the ruins of the holy city of Nerik. [Matthews 2004:206.] As of the reign of his son, Tudhaliya II(about 1430 BC), "Tudhaliya's 3rd campaign was against the Kaskas." [ [http://hittites.info/history.aspx?text=history%2fMiddle+Empire.htm Information about the Hittites - Hittite History ] ] His successor Arnuwanda Icomposed a prayer for the gods to return Nerik to the empire; he also mentioned Kammamaand Zalpuwaas cities which he claimed had been Hittite but which were now under the Kaskas. Arnuwanda attempted to mollify some of the Kaska tribes by means of tribute.
Some time between the reigns of Arnuwanda and
Suppiluliuma I(about 1330 BCE), letters found in Maşat Höyüknote that locusts ate the Kaskas' grain. The hungry Kaska were able to join with Hayasa-Azziand Isuwato the east, as well as other enemies of the Hittites, and burn Hattusa, the Hittite capital, to the ground. It is probable that they also burned the Hittites' secondary capital Sapinuwa. Suppiliuma's grandson Hattusili IIIin the mid-13th century BC wrote of the time before Tudhaliya. He said that in those days the Kaska had "made Nenassatheir frontier" and that their allies in Azzi-Hayasa had done the same to Samuha.
Amarnaletters, Amenhotep IIIwrote to the Arzawan king Tarhunta-Raduthat the "country Hattusa" was obliterated, and further asked for Arzawato send him some of these Kaska people of whom he had heard. The Hittites also enlisted subject Kaska for their armies. Tudhaliya IIIand Suppiluliuma(c. 1375-1350 BC) set up their court in Samuhaand invaded Azzi-Hayasafrom there. The Kaska intervened, but Suppiluliuma defeated them; after Suppiluliuma had fully pacified the region, Tudhaliya and Suppiluliuma were able to move on Hayasa and defeat it too, despite some devastating guerrilla tactics at their rear. Some twelve tribes of Kaska then united under Piyapili, but Piyapili was no match for Suppiluliuma.
Eventually Tudhaliya and Suppiluliuma returned Hattusa to the Hittites. But the Kaska continued to be a menace both inside and out. At one point they fielded 800 chariots.Fact|date=February 2007
In the time of ailing
Arnuwanda II(around 1323 BC), the Hittites worried that the Kaskas from Ishupittawithin the kingdom to Kammamawithout might take advantage of the plague in Hatti. The veteran commander Hannuttimoved to Ishupitta, but he died there. Ishupitta then seceded from Hatti, and Arnuwanda died too.
Arnuwanda's brother and successor
Mursili IIrecorded in his annals that he defeated this rebellion. Over the ongoing decades the Kaskans were also active in Durmittaand in Tipiya, by Mount Tarikarimuin the land of Ziharriya, and by Mount Asharpayaon the route to Pala; they rebelled and/or performed egregious banditry in each place. At first Mursili defeated each Kaska uprising piecemeal.
Then the Kaska united for the first time under
Pihhuniyaof Tipiya, who "ruled like a king" the Hittites recorded. Pihhuniya conquered Istitinaand advanced as far as Zazzissa. But Mursili defeated this force and brought Pihhuniya back as a prisoner to Hattusas.
Mursili then switched to a defensive strategy, with a chain of border fortresses north to the
Devrez. ["To the north and west of the Devrez-Dahara very few Hittites sites were detected," Matthews reported of the thorough Project Paphlagonia field survey (Matthews 2004:204).] . Even so, in the early 13th century, when Mursili's son Muwatalli IIwas king in Hatti, the Kaskas sacked Hattusa. Muwatalli stopped enlisting Kaska as troops; he moved his capital to Tarhuntassato the south; and he appointed his brother, the future Hattusili III, as governor over the northern marches. Hattusili defeated the Kaska to the point of recapturing Nerik, and when he took over the kingdom he returned the capitol to Hattusa.
The Hittite kingdom fell in the
Bronze Age collapse. The Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser Irecorded late in the 12th century BC that the Kaska and their Mushkiallies were active in what had been the Hatti heartland. Tiglath-Pileser defeated them, and the Kaska then disappear from all historical records.
* [http://membres.lycos.fr/hatti/texts/mursili1-8.html Annals of Mursilis II]
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