Kizzuwatna (or Kizzuwadna; in Ancient Egyptian Kode or Qode), is the name of an ancient Anatolian kingdom in the 2nd millennium BC. It was situated in the highlands of southeastern Anatolia, near the Gulf of İskenderun, in modern-day Turkey. It encircled the Taurus Mountains and the Ceyhan River. The centre of the kingdom was the city of Kummanni, in the highlands. In a later era, the same region was known as Cilicia.
The country possessed valuable resources, such as silver mines in the Taurus Mountains. The slopes of the mountain range are still partly covered by woods. Annual winter rains made agriculture possible in the area at a very early date (see Çatalhöyük). The plains at the lower course of the Ceyhan River provided rich cultivated fields.
Several ethnic groups coexisted in the Kingdom of Kizzuwatna. The Hurrians inhabited this area at least since the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. The Hittite expansion in the early Old Kingdom period (under Hattusili I and Mursili I) was likely to bring the Hittites and the Luwians to southeastern Anatolia. The Luwian language was part of the Indo-European language group, with close ties to the Hittite language. Both the local Hittites and the Luwians were likely to contribute to the formation of independent Kizzuwatna after the weakening of the Hittite Old Kingdom. The toponym Kizzuwatna is possibly a Luwian adaptation of Hittite *kez-udne 'country on this side (of the mountains)', while the name Isputahsu is definitely Hittite and not Luwian (Yakubovich 2010, pp. 273–4). Hurrian culture became more prominent in Kizzuwatna once it entered the sphere of influence of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni, with whom they shared various degrees of kinship.
Puduhepa, queen of the Hittite king Hattusili III, came from Kizzuwatna, where she had been a priestess. Their pantheon was also integrated into the Hittite one, and the goddess Hebat of Kizzuwatna became very important in Hittite religion towards the end of the 13th century BC. A corpus of religious texts called the Kizzuwatna rituals was discovered at Hattusa. Believed to be at present the earliest Indo-European ritual corpus discovered to date.
King Sargon of Akkad claimed to have reached the Taurus Mountains (the silver mountains) in the 23rd century BC. However, archaeology has yet to confirm any Akkadian influence in the area. The trade routes from Assyria to the karum in the Anatolian Highlands went through Kizzuwatna by the early 2nd millennium BC.
The kings of Kizzuwatna of the 2nd millennium BC had frequent contact with the Hittites to the north. The earliest Hittite records seem to refer to Kizzuwatna and Arzawa (Western Anatolia) collectively as Luwia.
In the power struggle that arose between the Hittites and the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni, Kizzuwatna became a strategic partner because of its location. Isputahsu made a treaty with Hittite King Telepinu. Later, Kizzuwatna shifted its allegiance, perhaps because of a new ruling dynasty. The city-state of Alalakh, to the south, expanded under its new vigorous leader, Idrimi, himself a subject of the Mitannian king Barattarna. King Pilliya of Kizzuwatna had to sign a treaty with Idrimi. Kizzuwatna became an ally of Mitanni from the reign of Shunashura I to that of Hittite King Arnuwanda I, who overran the country and made it a vassal kingdom. The exceedingly rough and unfavourable terrain of the Tarsus Mountains made it likely that to remain in a position of prominence among their Hurrian- and Luwian- speaking neighbours, the Kizzuwanta requested favourable terms and that they were subsequently granted.
Kizzuwatna rebelled during the reign of Suppiluliuma I but remained in the Hittite Empire for 200 years. In the famous Battle of Kadesh (c. 1274 BC), Kizzuwatna supplied troops to the Hittite king. As master equestrians, some of the first in the areas south of the Caucasus region, they provided the horses, which were later favoured by King Solomon and allowed the more aggressive use of the Hittite chariot than their Egyptian and Assyrian rivals were able.
The Kizzuwatna were master craftsman, mining experts and blacksmiths. Being the first to work "black iron", which is understood to have been iron of meteoric origin, into weapons such as maces, swords and warheads for spears. Their location in the mineral-rich Tarsus Range gave them ample materials from which to work.
Around 1200 BC, an invasion by the Sea Peoples is believed to have temporarily displaced the people of the Cilician plain, bur many among the entourage of the Sea peoples were likely to have been composed of Luwian and Hurrians, possibly to ensure that they had a stake in how the invasions ended for their people, rather than being simple victims of them.
† Š represents a "s" sound (as in "sun") in Hittite and Luwian transliteration ([s] in the International Phonetic Alphabet) although š usually represents "sh" (as in "shun") in other languages [ʃ] in the IPA.