Did you happen to see the movie
The Emperor’s Club?
In it, Kevin Kline plays a classic’s professor that uses king
Shutruk-Nahhunte (circa 1158 BC) as an example of someone who did not
contribute to history and as a result is in no history books. He
challanges his students to think about what their contribution will be.
The fact that Shutruk-Nahhunte is not in any history book is a key plot
element later on in the movie.
I got to thinking about this, but not the way Kevin Kline envisioned, I
am sure. If Shutruk-Nahhunte is not in any history books, then how did
his character find out about him? Is the king part of a long line of
oral history, passed from one generation of classsics professors to the
next to be used as an example for students throughout the ages?
I had supposed that since the filmmakers needed a king that was not in
any history books, that they would simply make him up. However, I
supposed wrongly. Shutruk-Nahhunte was indeed a real king, just as
described in the movie, with the exception that he does appear in the
And all of this sort of negates what Kevin Kline’s character said. Even
if he is not in the books, the king is still remembered. How many others
that made greater contributions at that time are not remembered at all
in the books? I would say that to have your name know 3100 years later
is fame of a pretty lasting order, wouldn’t you?