Hittites

Hittites

Overview
The Hittites were a Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 people of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

.
They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa
Hattusa
Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was located near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızıl River ....

 in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c. the 14th century BC, encompassing a large part of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

, north-western Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 about as far south as the mouth of the Litani River
Litani River
The Litani River is an important water resource in southern Lebanon. The river rises in the fertile Beqaa Valley valley, west of Baalbek, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea north of Tyre. Exceeding 140 km in length, the Litani River is the longest river in Lebanon and provides an average...

 (in present-day Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

), and eastward into upper Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

.
The Hittite military made successful use of chariots.
By the mid-14th century BC (under king Suppiluliuma I
Suppiluliuma I
Suppiluliuma I was king of the Hittites . He achieved fame as a great warrior and statesman, successfully challenging the then-dominant Egyptian empire for control of the lands between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates....

) carving out an empire that included most of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 as well as parts of the northern Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 and Upper Mesopotamia.
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Encyclopedia
The Hittites were a Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 people of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

.
They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa
Hattusa
Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was located near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızıl River ....

 in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c. the 14th century BC, encompassing a large part of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

, north-western Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 about as far south as the mouth of the Litani River
Litani River
The Litani River is an important water resource in southern Lebanon. The river rises in the fertile Beqaa Valley valley, west of Baalbek, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea north of Tyre. Exceeding 140 km in length, the Litani River is the longest river in Lebanon and provides an average...

 (in present-day Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

), and eastward into upper Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

.
The Hittite military made successful use of chariots.
By the mid-14th century BC (under king Suppiluliuma I
Suppiluliuma I
Suppiluliuma I was king of the Hittites . He achieved fame as a great warrior and statesman, successfully challenging the then-dominant Egyptian empire for control of the lands between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates....

) carving out an empire that included most of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 as well as parts of the northern Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 and Upper Mesopotamia. After c. 1180 BC, the empire disintegrated
Bronze Age collapse
The Bronze Age collapse is a transition in southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age that some historians believe was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive...

 into several independent "Neo-Hittite
Neo-Hittite
The states that are called Neo-Hittite, or more recently Syro-Hittite, were Luwian, Aramaic and Phoenician-speaking political entities of the Iron Age northern Syria and southern Anatolia that arose following the collapse of the Hittite Empire around 1180 BC and lasted until roughly 700 BC...

" city-states, some surviving until the 8th century BC.

Their Hittite language
Hittite language
Hittite is the extinct language once spoken by the Hittites, a people who created an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia...

 was a member of the Anatolian branch
Anatolian languages
The Anatolian languages comprise a group of extinct Indo-European languages that were spoken in Asia Minor, the best attested of them being the Hittite language.-Origins:...

 of the Indo-European language
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 family.
Natively, they referred to their land as Hatti
Hatti
Hatti may refer to*Hatti in Bronze Age Anatolia:**the area of Hattusa, roughly delimited by the Halys bend**the Hattians of the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC**the Hittite Empire of ca 1400 BC–1200 BC...

, and to their language as Nesili (the language of Nesa). The conventional name "Hittites" is due to their initial identification with the Biblical Hittites
Biblical Hittites
The Hittites and children of Heth are a people or peoples mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. They are listed in Book of Genesis as second of the twelve Canaanite nations, descended from one Heth...

 in 19th century archaeology.
Despite the use of "Hatti", the Hittites should be distinguished from the Hattians
Hattians
The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in present-day central part of Anatolia, Turkey, noted at least as early as the empire of Sargon of Akkad , until they were gradually displaced and absorbed ca...

, an earlier people who inhabited the same region until the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC, and spoke a non-Indo-European language known as Hattic
Hattic language
Hattic was a language spoken by the Hattians in Asia Minor between the 3rd and the 2nd millennia BC. Scholars call this language 'Hattic' to distinguish it from the Hittite language--the Indo-European language of the Hittite Empire....

.

Although belonging to the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, the Hittites were forerunners of the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, developing the manufacture of iron artifacts from as early as the 14th century BC, when letters to foreign rulers reveal the latter's demand for iron goods.

Archaeological discovery



The Hittites used cuneiform letters
Cuneiform script
Cuneiform script )) is one of the earliest known forms of written expression. Emerging in Sumer around the 30th century BC, with predecessors reaching into the late 4th millennium , cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs...

. Archaeological expeditions have discovered in Hattushash entire sets of royal archives in cuneiform tablets, written either in Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

, the diplomatic language of the time, or in the various dialects of the Hittite confederation.

Before the discoveries, the only source of information about Hittites had been the Old Testament (see Biblical Hittites
Biblical Hittites
The Hittites and children of Heth are a people or peoples mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. They are listed in Book of Genesis as second of the twelve Canaanite nations, descended from one Heth...

). Francis William Newman expressed the critical view common in the early 19th Century, that if the Hittites existed at all "no Hittite king could have compared in power to the King of Judah...". As archaeological discoveries revealed the scale of the Hittite kingdom in the second half of the 19th Century, Archibald Henry Sayce postulated, rather than to be compared to Judah, the Anatolian civilization "[was] worthy of comparison to the divided Kingdom of Egypt", and was "infinitely more powerful than that of Judah". Sayce and other scholars also mention that Judah and the Hittites were never enemies in the Hebrew texts; in the Book of Kings, they supplied the Israelites with cedar, chariots, and horses, as well as being a friend and allied to Abraham in the Book of Genesis.

The first archaeological evidence for the Hittites appeared in tablets found at the Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n colony of Kültepe
Kültepe
Kültepe is a modern village near the ancient city of Kaneš or Kanesh , located in the Kayseri Province of Turkey's Central Anatolia Region...

 (ancient Karum Kanesh), containing records of trade between Assyrian merchants and a certain "land of Hatti
Hattians
The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in present-day central part of Anatolia, Turkey, noted at least as early as the empire of Sargon of Akkad , until they were gradually displaced and absorbed ca...

". Some names in the tablets were neither Hattic nor Assyrian, but clearly Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

.

The script on a monument at Boğazköy by a "People of Hattusas" discovered by William Wright
William Wright (missionary)
William Wright was an Irish missionary in Damascus and the author of The Empire of the Hittites , which introduced the history of the recently discovered Hittite civilization to the general public.-References:...

 in 1884 was found to match peculiar hieroglyphic
Logogram
A logogram, or logograph, is a grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme . This stands in contrast to phonograms, which represent phonemes or combinations of phonemes, and determinatives, which mark semantic categories.Logograms are often commonly known also as "ideograms"...

 scripts from Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 and Hamath in Northern Syria. In 1887, excavations at Tell El-Amarna
Amarna
Amarna is an extensive Egyptian archaeological site that represents the remains of the capital city newly–established and built by the Pharaoh Akhenaten of the late Eighteenth Dynasty , and abandoned shortly afterwards...

 in Egypt uncovered the diplomatic correspondence of Pharaoh Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty. According to different authors, he ruled Egypt from June 1386 to 1349 BC or June 1388 BC to December 1351 BC/1350 BC after his father Thutmose IV died...

 and his son Akhenaton. Two of the letters from a "kingdom of Kheta"—apparently located in the same general region as the Mesopotamian references to "land of Hatti"—were written in standard Akkadian cuneiform script, but in an unknown language; although scholars could read it, no one could understand it. Shortly after this, Archibald Sayce
Archibald Sayce
The Rev. Archibald Henry Sayce , was a pioneer British Assyriologist and linguist, who held a chair as Professor of Assyriology at the University of Oxford from 1891 to 1919.- Life :...

 proposed that Hatti or Khatti in Anatolia was identical with the "kingdom of Kheta" mentioned in these Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian texts, as well as with the biblical Hittites. Others such as Max Müller
Max Müller
Friedrich Max Müller , more regularly known as Max Müller, was a German philologist and Orientalist, one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of comparative religion...

 agreed that Khatti was probably Kheta, but proposed connecting it with Biblical Kittim
Kittim
Kittim in the genealogy of Genesis 10 in the Hebrew Bible, is the son of Javan, the grandson of Japheth, and Noah's great-grandson....

, rather than with the "Children of Heth". Sayce's identification came to be widely accepted over the course of the early 20th century; and the name "Hittite" has become attached to the civilization uncovered at Boğazköy.

During sporadic excavations at Boğazköy (Hattusa
Hattusa
Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was located near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızıl River ....

) that began in 1906, the archaeologist Hugo Winckler
Hugo Winckler
Hugo Winckler was a German archaeologist and historian who uncovered the capital of the Hittite Empire at Boğazkale, Turkey....

 found a royal archive with 10,000 tablets, inscribed in cuneiform Akkadian and the same unknown language as the Egyptian letters from Kheta—thus confirming the identity of the two names. He also proved that the ruins at Boğazköy were the remains of the capital of an empire that at one point controlled northern Syria.

Under the direction of the German Archaeological Institute
German Archaeological Institute
The German Archaeological Institute is an institution of research within the field of archaeology , and a "scientific corporation", with parentage of the federal Foreign Office of Germany-Origin:...

, excavations at Hattusa have been underway since 1907, with interruptions during both wars. Kültepe has been successfully excavated by Professor Tahsin Özgüç
Tahsin Özgüç
Tahsin Özgüç, was an eminent Turkish field archaeologist. His long career, began after the World War II and lasted up to the present, made him doyen of Anatolian archaeology....

 since 1948 until his death in 2005. Smaller scale excavations have also been carried out in the immediate surroundings of Hattusa, including the rock sanctuary of Yazılıkaya
Yazilikaya
Yazılıkaya was a sanctuary of Hattusa, the capital city of the Hittite Empire, today in the Çorum Province, Turkey....

, which contains numerous rock-cut relief's portraying the Hittite rulers and the gods of the Hittite pantheon.

Museums


The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is located on the south side of Ankara Castle in the Atpazarı area in Ankara, Turkey. It consists of the old Ottoman Mahmut Paşa bazaar storage building, and the Kurşunlu Han...

 in Ankara
Ankara
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 houses the richest collection of Hittite and Anatolian artifacts.

Geography


The Hittite kingdom was centred on the lands surrounding Hattusa
Hattusa
Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was located near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızıl River ....

 and Neša
Nesa
Nesa may refer to:* Neša, ancient city in Anatolia* Nisa, Turkmenistan, also transliterated as Nesa* Nesa , a genus of gossamer-winged butterfliesThe acronym NESA can stand for:* NESA, the National Eagle Scout Association...

, known as "the land Hatti
Hattians
The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in present-day central part of Anatolia, Turkey, noted at least as early as the empire of Sargon of Akkad , until they were gradually displaced and absorbed ca...

" . After Hattusa was made capital, the area encompassed by the bend of the Halys River
Halys River
The Kızılırmak , also known as the Halys River , is the longest river in Turkey. It is a source of hydroelectric power and is not used for navigation.- Geography :...

  was considered the core of the Empire, and some Hittite laws make a distinction between "this side of the river" and "that side of the river", for example, the reward for the capture of an eloped slave after he managed to flee beyond the Halys is higher than that for a slave caught before he could reach the river.

To the west and south of the core territory lay the region known as Luwiya in the earliest Hittite texts. This terminology was replaced by the names Arzawa
Arzawa
Arzawa in the second half of the second millennium BC was the name of a region and a political entity in Western Anatolia, the core area of which was centered on the Hermos and Maeander river valleys, corresponding with the Late Bronze Age kingdoms of the...

 and Kizzuwatna
Kizzuwatna
Kizzuwatna , is the name of an ancient Anatolian kingdom in the second 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 center of the kingdom was the city of...

 with the rise of those kingdoms. Nevertheless, the Hittites continued to refer to the language that originated in these areas as Luwian. Prior to the rise of Kizzuwatna
Kizzuwatna
Kizzuwatna , is the name of an ancient Anatolian kingdom in the second 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 center of the kingdom was the city of...

, the heart of that territory in Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

 was first referred to by the Hittites as Adaniya
Adana
Adana is a city in southern Turkey and a major agricultural and commercial center. The city is situated on the Seyhan River, 30 kilometres inland from the Mediterranean, in south-central Anatolia...

. Upon its revolt from the Hittites during the reign of Ammuna
Ammuna
Ammuna was a King of the Hittites ca. 1486–1466 BC . The land seems to have suffered badly during his reign, and he lost a considerable amount of territory.- Biography :...

, it assumed the name of Kizzuwatna
Kizzuwatna
Kizzuwatna , is the name of an ancient Anatolian kingdom in the second 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 center of the kingdom was the city of...

 and successfully expanded northward to encompass the lower Anti-Taurus mountains as well. To the north lived the mountainous people called the Kaskians. To the southeast of the Hittites lay the Hurrian empire of Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

. At its peak during the reign of Mursili II
Mursili II
Mursili II was a king of the Hittite Empire ca. 1321–1295 BC .-Family:Mursili II was the younger son of Suppiluliuma I, one of the most powerful rulers of the Hittite Empire...

, the Hittite empire stretched from Arzawa
Arzawa
Arzawa in the second half of the second millennium BC was the name of a region and a political entity in Western Anatolia, the core area of which was centered on the Hermos and Maeander river valleys, corresponding with the Late Bronze Age kingdoms of the...

 in the west to Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

 in the east, many of the Kaskian
Kaska
The Kaska or Kaska Dena are a First Nations people living mainly in northern British Columbia and the southeastern Yukon in Canada. The Kaska language originally spoken by the Kaska is an Athabaskan language....

 territories to the north including Hayasa-Azzi
Hayasa-Azzi
Hayasa-Azzi or Azzi-Hayasa was a Late Bronze Age confederation formed between two petty kingdoms of Anatolia, Hayasa located South of Trabzon and Azzi, located North of the Euphrates and to the South of Hayasa...

 in the far north-east, and on south into Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 approximately as far as the southern border of Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, incorporating all of these territories within its domain.

History



The Hittite kingdom is conventionally divided into three periods, the Old Hittite Kingdom (ca. 1750–1500 BC), the Middle Hittite Kingdom (ca. 1500–1430 BC) and the New Hittite Kingdom (the Hittite Empire proper, ca. 1430–1180 BC).

The earliest known member of a Hittite speaking dynasty, Pithana
Pithana
Pithana was a Hittite Bronze Age king of the Anatolian city Kussara. He reigned ca. the 17th century BC. During his reign he conquered the city of Kanesh, heart of the Assyrian trading colonies network in Anatolia and core of the Hittite speaking territories....

, was based at the city of Kussara
Kussara
Kussara was a city of Bronze Age south-eastern Anatolia. The rulers of Kuššara extended their authority over central Anatolia, conquering Hittite-speaking Kanesh, destroying the future Hittite capital of Hattusa, and subjugating territories as far north as the Black Sea.A man named Pithana is the...

. In the 18th century BC Anitta
Anitta
Anitta, son of Pithana, was a king of Kussara, a city that has yet to be identified. He is the earliest known ruler to compose a text in the Hittite language.- Biography :...

, his son and successor, made the Hittite speaking city of Neša into one of his capitals and adopted the Hittite language for his inscriptions there. However, Kussara
Kussara
Kussara was a city of Bronze Age south-eastern Anatolia. The rulers of Kuššara extended their authority over central Anatolia, conquering Hittite-speaking Kanesh, destroying the future Hittite capital of Hattusa, and subjugating territories as far north as the Black Sea.A man named Pithana is the...

 remained the dynastic capital for about a century until Labarna II adopted Hattusa
Hattusa
Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was located near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızıl River ....

 as the dynastic seat, probably taking the throne name of Hattusili, "man of Hattusa", at that time.

The Old Kingdom, centred at Hattusa, peaked during the 16th century BC. The kingdom even managed to sack Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 at one point, but made no attempt to govern there, enabling the Kassite
Kassites
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who gained control of Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after ca. 1531 BC to ca. 1155 BC...

 to rise to prominence and rule for over 400 years.

During the 15th century BC, Hittite power fell into obscurity, re-emerging with the reign of Tudhaliya I
Tudhaliya I
Tudhaliya I was a king of the Hittite empire ca. the early 14th century BC .- Identity :...

 from ca. 1400 BC. Under Suppiluliuma I
Suppiluliuma I
Suppiluliuma I was king of the Hittites . He achieved fame as a great warrior and statesman, successfully challenging the then-dominant Egyptian empire for control of the lands between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates....

 and Mursili II
Mursili II
Mursili II was a king of the Hittite Empire ca. 1321–1295 BC .-Family:Mursili II was the younger son of Suppiluliuma I, one of the most powerful rulers of the Hittite Empire...

, the Empire was extended to most of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 and parts of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

, so that by 1300 BC the Hittites were bordering on the Egyptian
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 sphere of influence, leading to the inconclusive Battle of Kadesh
Battle of Kadesh
The Battle of Kadesh took place between the forces of the Egyptian Empire under Ramesses II and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh on the Orontes River, in what is now the Syrian Arab Republic....

 in 1274 BC.

Civil war and rivalling claims to the throne, combined with the external threat of the Sea Peoples
Sea Peoples
The Sea Peoples were a confederacy of seafaring raiders of the second millennium BC who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean, caused political unrest, and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty and especially during year 8 of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty...

 weakened the Hittites and by 1160 BC, the Empire had collapsed. "Neo-Hittite
Neo-Hittite
The states that are called Neo-Hittite, or more recently Syro-Hittite, were Luwian, Aramaic and Phoenician-speaking political entities of the Iron Age northern Syria and southern Anatolia that arose following the collapse of the Hittite Empire around 1180 BC and lasted until roughly 700 BC...

" post-Empire states, petty kingdoms under Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n rule, may have lingered on until ca. 700 BC, and the Bronze Age Hittite and Luwian dialects evolved into the sparsely attested Lydian
Lydian language
Lydian was an Indo-European language spoken in the region of Lydia in western Anatolia . It belongs to the Anatolian group of the Indo-European language family....

, Lycian
Lycian language
Lycian language refers to the inscriptional language of ancient Lycia, populated by Lycians, as well as its presumed spoken counterpart.-The speakers:...

 and Carian
Carian language
The Carian language is an extinct language of the Luwian subgroup of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family. The Carian language was spoken in Caria, a region of western Anatolia between the ancient regions of Lycia and Lydia, by the Carians, a name possibly first mentioned in...

 languages.

Remnants of these languages lingered into Persian times (6th–4th centuries BC) and were finally extinguished by the spread of Hellenism
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 which followed Alexander the Great's conquest of Asia Minor in the 4th century BC.

Government


The head of the Hittite state was the king, followed by the heir-apparent, although some officials exercised independent authority over various branches of the government. One of the most important of these posts in the Hittite society was that of the Gal Mesedi
Gal Mesedi
The Gal Mesedi was a Hittite military and administrative title literally meaning Chief of the Royal Bodyguards It is considered to be one of the most important and prestigious posts of the Hittite Kingdom.- History :...

 (Chief of the Royal Bodyguards). It was superseded by the rank of the Gal Gestin
Gal Gestin
The Gal Gestin was a Hittite military and administrative title literally meaning Chief of the Wine Stewards. It is considered to be one of most important and prestigious posts of the Hittite Kingdom.- History :...

 (Chief of the Wine Stewards), who like the Gal Mesedi most times was a member of the royal family. The kingdom's bureaucracy was headed by the Gal Dubsar
Gal Dubsar
The Gal Dubsar was a Hittite administrative title literally meaning Chief of the Scribes. It is considered to be one of most important and prestigious posts of the Hittite Kingdom as the Gal Dubsar was the head of the government.- History :...

 (Chief of the Scribes), whose authority didn't extend only over the 'Lugal Dubsar, the king's personal scribe.

Language


The Hittite language (or Nesili) is recorded fragmentarily from about the 19th century BC (in the Kültepe
Kültepe
Kültepe is a modern village near the ancient city of Kaneš or Kanesh , located in the Kayseri Province of Turkey's Central Anatolia Region...

 texts, see Ishara
Ishara
Ishara is the Hittite word for "treaty, binding promise", also personified as a goddess of the oath.In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar...

). It remained in use until about 1100 BC. Hittite is the best attested member of the Anatolian
Anatolian languages
The Anatolian languages comprise a group of extinct Indo-European languages that were spoken in Asia Minor, the best attested of them being the Hittite language.-Origins:...

 branch of the Indo-European language family.

The language of the Hattusa tablets was eventually deciphered by a Czech linguist, Bedřich Hrozný
Bedrich Hrozný
Bedřich Hrozný was a Czech orientalist and linguist. He deciphered the ancient Hittite language, identified it as an Indo-European language and laid the groundwork for the development of Hittitology. Though of Czech origin, he published his work in German or French.Hrozný was born in Lysá nad...

 (1879–1952), who on 24 November 1915 announced his results in a lecture at the Near Eastern Society of Berlin. His book about his discovery was printed in Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 in 1917, under the title The Language of the Hittites; Its Structure and Its Membership in the Indo-European Linguistic Family. The preface of the book begins with:
The present work undertakes to establish the nature and structure of the hitherto mysterious language of the Hittites, and to decipher this language [...] It will be shown that Hittite is in the main an Indo-European language.


For this reason, the language came to be known as the Hittite language
Hittite language
Hittite is the extinct language once spoken by the Hittites, a people who created an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia...

, even though that was not what its speakers had called it. The Hittites themselves apparently called their language nešili "(in the manner) of (the city of) Neša
Nesa
Nesa may refer to:* Neša, ancient city in Anatolia* Nisa, Turkmenistan, also transliterated as Nesa* Nesa , a genus of gossamer-winged butterfliesThe acronym NESA can stand for:* NESA, the National Eagle Scout Association...

" and hence it has been suggested that the more technically correct term, "Nesite", be used instead. Nonetheless, convention continues and "Hittite" remains the standard term used.

Due to its marked differences in its structure and phonology, some early philologists
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

, most notably Warren Cowgill
Warren Cowgill
Warren Cowgill was a professor of linguistics at Yale University and the Encyclopædia Britannica’s authority on Indo-European linguistics. He was unusual among Indo-European linguists of his time in believing that Indo-European should be classified as a branch of Indo-Hittite, with Hittite as a...

 even argued that it should be classified as a sister language to Indo-European languages (Indo-Hittite
Indo-Hittite
In Indo-European linguistics, the term Indo-Hittite refers to Sturtevant's 1926 hypothesis that the Anatolian languages may have split off the Proto-Indo-European language considerably earlier than the separation of the remaining Indo-European languages...

), rather than a daughter language. By the end of the Hittite Empire, the Hittite language had become a written language of administration and diplomatic correspondence. The population of most of the Hittite Empire by this time spoke Luwian dialects, another Indo-European language of the Anatolian family that had originated to the west of the Hittite region.

Religion and mythology


Hittite religion and mythology were heavily influenced by their Hattic
Hattians
The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in present-day central part of Anatolia, Turkey, noted at least as early as the empire of Sargon of Akkad , until they were gradually displaced and absorbed ca...

, Mesopotamian, and Hurrian counterparts. In earlier times, Indo-European elements may still be clearly discerned.

"Storm gods" were prominent in the Hittite pantheon. Tarhunt (Hurrian's Teshub) was referred to as 'The Conqueror', 'The king of Kummiya', 'King of Heaven', 'Lord of the land of Hatti'. He was chief among the gods and his symbol is the bull. As Teshub he was depicted as a bearded man astride two mountains and bearing a club. He was the god of battle and victory, especially when the conflict involved a foreign power. Teshub was also known for his conflict with the serpent Illuyanka
Illuyanka
In Hittite mythology, Illuyanka was a serpentine dragon slain by Tarhunt , the Hittite incarnation of the Hurrian god of sky and storm. It is known from Hittite cuneiform tablets found at Çorum-Boğazköy, the former Hittite capital Hattusa...

.

Biblical Hittites


The Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 refers to "Hittites" in several passages, ranging from Genesis to the post-Exilic Ezra-Nehemiah
Ezra-Nehemiah
Ezra-Nehemiah is the combined biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah - the two were originally one, but were divided by Christians in the 3rd century CE, and in Jewish circles in the 15th century...

. Genesis 10 (the Table of Nations) links them to an eponymous ancestor Heth, a descendant of Ham
Ham, son of Noah
Ham , according to the Table of Nations in the Book of Genesis, was a son of Noah and the father of Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan.- Hebrew Bible :The story of Ham is related in , King James Version:...

 through his son Canaan
Canaan (Bible)
Canaan, according to the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible, was a son of Ham and grandson of Noah.- Descendants of Canaan:According to the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 , Canaan was the ancestor of the Canaanite tribes who occupied the ancient Land of Canaan: all the territory from Sidon to...

. The Hittites are thereby counted among the Canaanites. The Hittites are usually depicted as a people living among the Israelites — Abraham purchases the Patriarchal burial-plot of Machpelah from "Ephron HaChiti", Ephron the Hittite, and Hittites serve as high military officers in David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

's army. In 2 Kings 7:6, however, they are a people with their own kingdoms (the passage refers to "kings" in the plural), apparently located outside geographic Canaan, and sufficiently powerful to put a Syrian army to flight.

It is a matter of considerable scholarly debate whether the biblical "Hittites" signified any or all of: 1) the original Hattites of Hatti
Hattians
The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in present-day central part of Anatolia, Turkey, noted at least as early as the empire of Sargon of Akkad , until they were gradually displaced and absorbed ca...

; 2) their Indo-European conquerors (Nesili), who retained the name "Hatti" for Central Anatolia, and are today referred to as the "Hittites" (the subject of this article); or 3) a Canaanite group who may or may not have been related to either or both of the Anatolian groups, and who also may or may not be identical with the later Neo-Hittite
Neo-Hittite
The states that are called Neo-Hittite, or more recently Syro-Hittite, were Luwian, Aramaic and Phoenician-speaking political entities of the Iron Age northern Syria and southern Anatolia that arose following the collapse of the Hittite Empire around 1180 BC and lasted until roughly 700 BC...

 (Luwian) polities.

Other biblical scholars have argued that rather than being connected with Heth, son of Canaan, instead the Anatolian land of Hatti was mentioned in Old Testament literature and apocrypha as "Kittim
Kittim
Kittim in the genealogy of Genesis 10 in the Hebrew Bible, is the son of Javan, the grandson of Japheth, and Noah's great-grandson....

" (Chittim), a people said to be named for a son of Javan
Javan
Javan was the fourth son of Noah's son Japheth according to the "Table of Nations" in the Hebrew Bible...

.

Origins


The Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 element at least establishes Hittite culture as intrusive to Anatolia in scholarly mainstream

(excepting the opinion of Colin Renfrew, whose Anatolian hypothesis
Anatolian hypothesis
The Anatolian hypothesis is also called Renfrew's Neolithic Discontinuity Theory ; it proposes that the dispersal of Proto-Indo-Europeans originated in Neolithic Anatolia...

 assumes that Indo-European is indigenous to Anatolia)

The arrival of the Hittites in Anatolia in prehistoric times was one of a superstrate imposing itself on a native culture, either by means of
conquest or by gradual assimilation. In archaeological terms, relationships of the Hittites to the Ezero culture
Ezero culture
The Ezero culture, 3300—2700 BC, was a Bronze Age archaeological culture occupying most of present-day Bulgaria. It takes its name from the Tell-settlement of Ezero....

 of the Balkans and Maikop culture of the Caucasus have been considered within the migration framework.

See also


  • History of the Hittites
    History of the Hittites
    Hittites were an ancient people who spoke an Indo-European language and established a kingdom centered in Hattusa in northern Anatolia from the 18th century BC. In the 14th century BC, the Hittite Kingdom was at its height, encompassing central Anatolia, south-western Syria as far as Ugarit, and...

  • List of Hittite kings
  • List of artifacts significant to the Bible
  • Short chronology timeline
    Short chronology timeline
    The short chronology is one chronology of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 1728 BC – 1686 BC and the sack of Babylon to 1531 BC....


Literature


  • Akurgal, Ekrem
    Ekrem Akurgal
    Ekrem Akurgal was a Turkish archaeologist. During a career that spanned more than fifty years, he conducted definitive research in several sites along the western coast of Anatolia such as Phokaia , Pitane , Erythrai and old Smyrna Ekrem Akurgal (March 30, 1911 – November 1, 2002) was a ...

     (2001) The Hattian and Hittite Civilizations, Publications of the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture, ISBN 975-17-2756-1
  • Bryce, Trevor R.
    Trevor R. Bryce
    Trevor Robert Bryce is a Hittitologist specializing in ancient and classical Near-eastern history. He lives in Brisbane in a small unit where he is semi retired. He has two children and five grand kids. His son is a widely acclaimed Doctor who has produced documentaries associated with Aboriginal...

     (2002) Life and Society in the Hittite World, Oxford.
  • Bryce, Trevor R. (1999) The Kingdom of the Hittites, Oxford.
  • Ceram, C. W.
    C. W. Ceram
    C. W. Ceram was the pseudonym of German journalist and author Kurt Wilhelm Marek, known for his popular works about archaeology. He chose to write under a pseudonym to distance himself from his earlier work as a propagandist for the Third Reich.Ceram was born in Berlin. During World War II, he...

     (2001) The Secret of the Hittites: The Discovery of an Ancient Empire. Phoenix Press, ISBN 1-84212-295-9.
  • Güterbock, Hans Gustav (1983) “Hittite Historiography: A Survey,” in H. Tadmor and M. Weinfeld eds. History, Historiography and Interpretation: Studies in Biblical and Cuneiform Literatures, Magnes Press, Hebrew University pp. 21–35.
  • Macqueen, J. G. (1986) The Hittites, and Their Contemporaries in Asia Minor, revised and enlarged, Ancient Peoples and Places series (ed. G. Daniel), Thames and Hudson, ISBN 0-500-02108-2.
  • Mendenhall, George E. (1973) The Tenth Generation: The Origins of the Biblical Tradition, The Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0-8018-1654-8.
  • Neu, Erich (1974) Der Anitta Text, (StBoT 18), Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden.
  • Orlin, Louis L. (1970) Assyrian Colonies in Cappadocia, Mouton, The Hague.
  • Hoffner, Jr., H.A (1973) “The Hittites and Hurrians,” in D. J. Wiseman Peoples of the Old Testament Times, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
  • Gurney, O.R.
    Oliver Gurney
    Oliver Robert Gurney was an English Assyriologist and a leading scholar of the Hittites.- Early life :Gurney was born in London in 1911, the son of Robert Gurney, a zoologist, and a nephew of the archaeologist John Garstang...

     (1952) The Hittites, Penguin, ISBN 0-14-020259-5
  • Kloekhorst, Alwin (2007), Etymological Dictionary of the Hittite Inherited Lexicon, ISBN 90-04-16092-2O
  • Patri, Sylvain (2007), L'alignement syntaxique dans les langues indo-européennes d'Anatolie, (StBoT 49), Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, ISBN 978-3-447-05612-0

  • J. Freu et M. Mazoyer,

Des origines à la fin de l'ancien royaume hittite, Les Hittites et leur histoire 1, Paris, 2007 ;
Les débuts du nouvel empire hittite, Les Hittites et leur histoire 2, Paris, 2007 ;
L'apogée du nouvel empire hittite, Les Hittites et leur histoire 3, Paris, 2008.

External links