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The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on
Hattusa Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite language, Hittite: URU (Sumerogram), URU''Ḫa-at-tu-ša'', Hattic language, Hattic: Hattush) was the capital of the Hittites, Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazk ...
in north-central
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
around 1650 BC. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under
Šuppiluliuma ISuppiluliuma I () or Suppiluliumas I () was king of the Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian peoples, Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1680–1650 ...
, when it encompassed an area that included most of Anatolia as well as parts of the northern
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
and
Upper Mesopotamia Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain In geography, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in elevation. Plains occur as lowlands along valleys or on the doorsteps of mountai ...
. Between the 15th and 13th centuries BC, the Empire of Hattusa, conventionally called the Hittite Empire, came into conflict with the
New Kingdom of Egypt New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New or NEW may refer to: Music * New, singer of K-pop group The Boyz (South Korean band), The Boyz Albums and EPs * New (album), ''New'' (album), by Paul McCartne ...
, the
Middle Assyrian Empire The Middle Assyrian Empire is the period in the history of Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَ ...
and the empire of
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
for control of the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
. The Middle Assyrian Empire eventually emerged as the dominant power and annexed much of the Hittite Empire, while the remainder was sacked by
Phrygia In classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related ...
n newcomers to the region. After c. 1180 BC, during the
Late Bronze Age collapse The Late Bronze Age collapse was a transition period in a large area covering much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly ac ...
, the Hittites splintered into several independent
Syro-Hittite states The states that are called Syro-Hittite, Neo-Hittite (in older literature), or Luwian-Aramean (in modern scholarly works), were Luwian The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in presen ...
, some of which survived until the eighth century BC before succumbing to the
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disam ...

Neo-Assyrian Empire
. The
Hittite language Hittite (natively / "the language of Kültepe, Neša", or ''nešumnili'' / "the language of the people of Neša"), also known as Nesite (''Nešite'' / Neshite, Nessite), was an Indo-European languages, Indo-European language that was spoken ...
was a distinct member of the Anatolian branch of the
Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...
, and along with the closely related
Luwian language Luwian (), sometimes known as Luvian or Luish, is an ancient language, or group of languages, within the of the . The Luwian comes from ''Luwiya'' (also spelled ''Luwia'' or ''Luvia'') – the name of the region in which the lived. Luwiya i ...
, is the oldest historically attested Indo-European language, referred to by its speakers as "in the language of Nesa". The Hittites called their country the ''Kingdom of
Hattusa Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite language, Hittite: URU (Sumerogram), URU''Ḫa-at-tu-ša'', Hattic language, Hattic: Hattush) was the capital of the Hittites, Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazk ...
'' (Hatti in Akkadian), a name received from the
Hattians The Hattians () were an ancient Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the ...
, an earlier people who had inhabited and ruled the region until the beginning of the second millennium BC and spoke an unrelated language known as Hattic. The conventional name "Hittites" is due to their initial identification with the
Biblical Hittites The Hittites, also spelled Hethites, were a group of people mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. Under the names (''bny-ḥt'' "children of Heth", who was the son of Canaan) and (''ḥty'' "native of Heth") they are described several times as living in ...
in 19th century
archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance theory, substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better underst ...
. The history of the Hittite civilization is known mostly from
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
texts found in the area of their kingdom, and from diplomatic and commercial correspondence found in various archives in
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
,
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
and the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
, the decipherment of which was also a key event in the history of
Indo-European studies Indo-European studies is a field of linguistics and an interdisciplinary field of study dealing with Indo-European languages, both current and extinct. The goal of those engaged in these studies is to amass information about the hypothetical prot ...
. The development of iron
smelting Smelting is a process of applying heat to ore in order to extract a base metal. It is a form of extractive metallurgy. It is used to extract many metals from their ores, including Silver mining#Ore processing, silver, iron-making, iron, copper ...
was once attributed to the Hittites of Anatolia during the Late Bronze Age, with their success largely based on the advantages of a monopoly on
ironworking Ferrous metallurgy is the metallurgy of iron and alloys. It began far back in prehistory. The earliest surviving iron artifacts, from the 4th millennium BC in Egypt, were made from meteorite, meteoritic Iron–nickel alloy, iron-nickel. It is not kn ...
at the time. But the view of such a "Hittite monopoly" has come under scrutiny and is no longer a scholarly consensus. As part of the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age, the Late Bronze Age collapse saw the slow, comparatively continuous spread of ironworking technology in the region. While there are some iron objects from
Bronze Age Anatolia The prehistory of Anatolia stretches from the Paleolithic erahttp://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/science-stone-tool-turkey-02370.html through to the appearance of classical civilisation in the middle of the 1st millennium BC. It is generally regar ...
, the number is comparable to iron objects found in
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
and other places during the period; and only a small number of these objects are weapons. Hittites did not use smelted iron, but rather
meteorite A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object, such as a comet A comet is an icy, small Solar System body that, when passing close to the Sun, warms and begins to release gases, a process that is called outgassing. This produces ...
s. The Hittite military made successful use of
chariots A chariot is a type of carriage driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power. The oldest known chariots have been found in burials of the Sintashta culture in modern-day Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, dated to c. 2000& ...

chariots
. In classical times, ethnic Hittite dynasties survived in small kingdoms scattered around what is now
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
,
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
and the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
. Lacking a unifying continuity, their descendants scattered and ultimately merged into the modern populations of the Levant,
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
. During the 1920s, interest in the Hittites increased with the founding of Turkey and attracted the attention of Turkish archaeologists such as
Halet Çambel
Halet Çambel
and Tahsin Özgüç. During this period, the new field of
HittitologyHittitology is the study of the Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian peoples, Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1680–1650 BCE. This empire reached ...
also influenced the naming of Turkish institutions, such as the state-owned '' Etibank'' ("Hittite bank"),Erimtan, Can. (2008)
Hittites, Ottomans and Turks: Ağaoğlu Ahmed Bey and the Kemalist Construction of Turkish Nationhood in Anatolia
, Anatolian Studies, 58, 141–171
and the foundation of the
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations ( tr, Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi) is located on the south side of Ankara Castle in the Atpazarı area in Ankara Ankara, historically known as Ancyra and Angora, is the list of national capitals, capita ...
in
Ankara Ankara, historically known as Ancyra and Angora, is the list of national capitals, capital of Turkey. Located in the Central Anatolia Region, central part of Anatolia, the city has a population of 4.5 million in its urban centre and over ...

Ankara
, which is 200 kilometers (124 miles) west of the Hittite capital of Hattusa and houses the most comprehensive exhibition of
Hittite art#REDIRECT Hittite art Hittite art was produced by the Hittite civilization in ancient Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernm ...
and artifacts in the world.


Archaeological discovery


Biblical background

Before the archeological discoveries that revealed the Hittite civilization, the only source of information about the Hittites had been the Old Testament.
Francis William Newman Francis William Newman (27 June 1805 – 4 October 1897) was an English classical scholar and moral philosopher, miscellaneous writer and vegetarianism Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat Meat is ...
expressed the critical view, common in the early 19th century, that, "no Hittite king could have compared in power to the
King of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda''; arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt Dāwīḏ' ...
...". As the discoveries in the second half of the 19th century revealed the scale of the Hittite kingdom,
Archibald Sayce The Rev. Archibald Henry Sayce (25 September 18454 February 1933), was a pioneer British Assyriologist and linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, ...

Archibald Sayce
asserted that, rather than being compared to Judah, the Anatolian civilization "
as
as
worthy of comparison to the divided Kingdom of Egypt", and was "infinitely more powerful than that of Judah". Sayce and other scholars also noted 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, and in the
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including th ...

Book of Genesis
were friends and allies to
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenan ...

Abraham
.
Uriah the Hittite Uriah the Hittite ( – ''ʾŪriyyāh haḥittī'') is a minor character in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. T ...
was a captain in King
David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...

David
's army and counted as one of his "mighty men" in 1 Chronicles 11.


Initial discoveries

French scholar
Charles TexierFélix Marie Charles Texier (22 August 1802, Versailles (city), Versailles – 1 July 1871, Paris) was a French historian, architect and archaeologist. Texier published a number of significant works involving personal travels throughout Asia Minor an ...
found the first Hittite ruins in 1834 but did not identify them as such. The first archaeological evidence for the Hittites appeared in tablets found at the ''
karumKarum may refer to: *Karum (trade post), ancient Assyrian trade posts in Anatolia from 20th to 18th centuries BC *Lake Karum, lake in the Afar Region of Ethiopia {{Disambiguation ...
'' of Kanesh (now called
Kültepe Kültepe ( Turkish: "Ash Hill" and fa, کل تپه ''koltape''), also known as Kanesh or Nesha, is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either p ...
), containing records of trade between Assyrian merchants and a certain "land of ''Hatti''". Some names in the tablets were neither Hattic nor Assyrian, but clearly
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
. The script on a monument at Boğazkale by a "People of Hattusas" discovered by William Wright in 1884 was found to match peculiar
hieroglyphic Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt, used for writing the Egyptian language. Hieroglyphs combined logographic, syllabary, syllabic and alphabetic elements, with a total of some 1,000 distinct characters.Th ...
scripts from
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
and
Hama Hama ( ar, حَمَاة ', ; syr, ܚܡܬ, Ḥmṭ, lit=fortress; Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew language, Hebrew, a language in the Can ...

Hama
in Northern
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
. In 1887, excavations at
Amarna Amarna (; ar, العمارنة, al-ʿamārnah) is an extensive Egyptian archaeology, archaeological site that represents the remains of the capital city newly established (1346 BC) and built by the Pharaoh Akhenaten of the late Eighteenth dynasty ...

Amarna
in
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
uncovered the diplomatic correspondence of Pharaoh
Amenhotep III Amenhotep III ( egy, imn-ḥtp(.w) "Amun Amun (; also ''Amon'', ''Ammon'', ''Amen''; egy, jmn, ''reconstructed'' ; Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ámmōn'', ''Hámmōn'') was a major ancient Egyptian deities, ancient Egyptian deity who appears ...

Amenhotep III
and his son,
Akhenaten Akhenaten (pronounced ), also spelled Echnaton, Akhenaton, Ikhnaton, and Khuenaten ( egy, wikt:ꜣḫ-n-jtn, ꜣḫ-n-jtn, meaning "Effective for the Aten"), was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh reigning or 1351–1334 BC, the tenth ruler of the Ei ...

Akhenaten
. 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, but in an unknown language; although scholars could interpret its sounds, no one could understand it. Shortly after this, Sayce proposed that ''Hatti'' or ''Khatti'' in Anatolia was identical with the "kingdom of ''Kheta''" mentioned in these
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
ian texts, as well as with the biblical Hittites. Others, such as
Max Müller Friedrich Max Müller (; 6 December 1823 – 28 October 1900) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizen ...

Max Müller
, agreed that ''Khatti'' was probably ''Kheta'', but proposed connecting it with Biblical
Kittim Kittim was a settlement in present-day Larnaca Larnaca ( el, Λάρνακα ; tr, Larnaka) is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus and the capital of the Larnaca District, district of the same name. It is the third-largest city in the count ...
rather than with the
Biblical Hittites The Hittites, also spelled Hethites, were a group of people mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. Under the names (''bny-ḥt'' "children of Heth", who was the son of Canaan) and (''ḥty'' "native of Heth") they are described several times as living in ...
. 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 (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite language, Hittite: URU (Sumerogram), URU''Ḫa-at-tu-ša'', Hattic language, Hattic: Hattush) was the capital of the Hittites, Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazk ...
) that began in 1906, the archaeologist Hugo Winckler 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 The German Archaeological Institute (german: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, ''DAI'') is a research institute in the field of archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis A ...
, excavations at Hattusa have been under way since 1907, with interruptions during the
world war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newsp ...
s. Kültepe was successfully excavated by Professor Tahsin Özgüç from 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:'' Yazılıkaya, Eskişehir, also called Midas City, is a village with Phrygian ruins.'' Yazılıkaya ( Turkish; ''inscribed rock'') was a sanctuary of Hattusa Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite: URU''Ḫa-at-tu-ša'', Hattic langu ...
, which contains numerous
rock relief A rock relief or rock-cut relief is a relief sculpture Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term ''relief Relief is a sculptural technique wh ...
s portraying the Hittite rulers and the gods of the Hittite pantheon.


Writings

The Hittites used a variation of cuneiform called
Hittite cuneiform Hittite cuneiform is the implementation of cuneiform script Cuneiform is a logo- syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age The Bronze Age ...
. Archaeological expeditions to
Hattusa Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite language, Hittite: URU (Sumerogram), URU''Ḫa-at-tu-ša'', Hattic language, Hattic: Hattush) was the capital of the Hittites, Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazk ...
have discovered entire sets of royal archives on cuneiform tablets, written either in
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

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


Museums

The
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations ( tr, Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi) is located on the south side of Ankara Castle in the Atpazarı area in Ankara Ankara, historically known as Ancyra and Angora, is the list of national capitals, capita ...
in
Ankara Ankara, historically known as Ancyra and Angora, is the list of national capitals, capital of Turkey. Located in the Central Anatolia Region, central part of Anatolia, the city has a population of 4.5 million in its urban centre and over ...

Ankara
,
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
houses the richest collection of Hittite and Anatolian artifacts.


Geography

The Hittite kingdom was centred on the lands surrounding
Hattusa Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite language, Hittite: URU (Sumerogram), URU''Ḫa-at-tu-ša'', Hattic language, Hattic: Hattush) was the capital of the Hittites, Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazk ...
and Neša (Kültepe), known as "the land Hatti" (). After Hattusa was made capital, the area encompassed by the bend of the
Kızılırmak River The Kızılırmak (, Turkish language, Turkish for "Red River"), also known as the Halys River ( grc, Ἅλυς), is the longest river entirely within Turkey. It is a source of hydroelectric power and is not used for navigation. Geography The ...

Kızılırmak River
(Hittite ''Marassantiya'') 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 escaped 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 A territory is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic names ...

territory
lay the region known as ''
Luwiya The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in present-day Turkey, during the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. They spoke the Luwian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian languages ...
'' in the earliest Hittite texts. This terminology was replaced by the names
Arzawa Arzawa was the name of a region and a political entity (a " kingdom" or a federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regio ...
and
Kizzuwatna 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 Tu ...
with the rise of those kingdoms. Nevertheless, the Hittites continued to refer to the language that originated in these areas as
Luwian The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in present-day Turkey, in the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. They spoke the Luwian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian languages, ...
. Prior to the rise of
Kizzuwatna 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 Tu ...
, the heart of that territory in
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
was first referred to by the Hittites as . Upon its revolt from the Hittites during the reign of
Ammuna Ammuna was a King of the Hittites ca. 1486–1466 BC (short chronology timeline The short chronology is one of the chronologies of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 1728–1686 BC and the sack of ...
, it assumed the name of
Kizzuwatna 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 Tu ...
and successfully expanded northward to encompass the lower
Anti-Taurus Mountains The Anti-Taurus Mountains (from el, Αντίταυρος, tr, Aladağlar) are a mountain range in southern and eastern Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and ...
as well. To the north, lived the mountainous people called the
Kaskians The Kaska (also Kaška, later Tabal Tabal (c.f. biblical '' Tubal'') was a Luwian The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in present-day Turkey, in the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. ...
. To the southeast of the Hittites lay the Hurrian empire of
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
. At its peak, during the reign of
Muršili IIMursili II (also spelled Mursilis II) was a king of the Hittite Empire (New kingdom) c. 1321–1295 BC (short chronology). King of the Hittites Mursili assumed the Hittite throne after the premature death of Arnuwanda II who, like their father, fe ...
, the Hittite empire stretched from
Arzawa Arzawa was the name of a region and a political entity (a " kingdom" or a federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regio ...
in the west to
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
in the east, many of the Kaskian territories to the north including
Hayasa-Azzi Hayasa-Azzi or Azzi-Hayasa ( hit, URUḪaiaša-, hy, Հայասա) was a Late Bronze Age confederation in the Armenian Highlands and/or Pontic Mountains, Pontic region of Asia Minor. The Hayasa-Azzi confederation was in conflict with the Hitt ...
in the far north-east, and on south into
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
approximately as far as the southern border of
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
, incorporating all of these territories within its domain.


History


Origins

It is generally assumed that ancestors of the Hittites came into
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
some time before 2000 BC, as Hittite language is known to have taken place in Anatolia between 20th and 12th centuries BC. While their earlier location is disputed, it has been speculated by scholars for more than a century that the
Yamnaya culture The Yamnaya culture (/ˈjamnaja/), from Russian Я́мная культу́ра, or Yamnaya Horizon, (mistakenly) Yamna culture, (translated) Pit Grave culture, or Ochre Grave culture, was a late Copper Age to early Bronze Age archaeological cul ...

Yamnaya culture
of the
Pontic–Caspian steppe The Pontic–Caspian steppe, formed by the Caspian steppe and the Pontic steppe, is the steppe File:Steppe of western Kazakhstan in the early spring.jpg, Steppe in Kazakhstan In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion cha ...
, in present-day
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
, around the
Sea of Azov The Sea of Azov ( la, Palus Maeotis ; gr, Μαιῶτις λίμνη or Propontis or now la, mare Asoviense; russian: Азовское море, Azovskoye more; uk, Азовське море, Озівське море, Azovske more, Ozivske ...

Sea of Azov
, spoke an early Indo-European language during the third and fourth millennia BC. The arrival of the Hittites in Anatolia in the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
was one of a
superstrate In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
imposing itself on a native culture (in this case over the pre-existing
Hattians The Hattians () were an ancient Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the ...
and
Hurrians The Hurrians (; cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by th ...
), either by means of conquest or by gradual assimilation.. In archaeological terms, relationships of the Hittites to the
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 (archaeology), Tell-settlement of Ezero. Ezero follows the chalcolithic, copper age cultures of ...

Ezero culture
of the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
and
Maykop culture The Maykop culture (, , scientific transliteration: ''Majkop,''), c. 3700 BC–3000 BC, was a major Bronze Age archaeological culture in the western Caucasus region. It extends along the area from the Taman Peninsula at the Kerch Strait to nea ...
of the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
have been considered within the migration framework. The
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
element at least establishes Hittite culture as intrusive to Anatolia in the scholarly mainstream. According to David W. Anthony, steppe herders, archaic Proto-Indo-European speakers, spread into the lower Danube valley about 4200–4000 BC, either causing or taking advantage of the collapse of Old Europe. Their languages "probably included archaic Proto-Indo-European dialects of the kind partly preserved later in Anatolian." Their descendants later moved into Anatolia at an unknown time but maybe as early as 3000 BC. According to
J. P. Mallory James Patrick Mallory (born October 25, 1945) is an American archaeologist and Indo-Europeanist. Mallory is an emeritus professor at Queen's University, Belfast; a member of the Royal Irish Academy The Royal Irish Academy (RIA; ga, Acad ...
it is likely that the Anatolians reached the Near East from the north either via the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
or the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
in the 3rd millennium BC. According to Parpola, the appearance of Indo-European speakers from Europe into Anatolia, and the appearance of Hittite, is related to later migrations of Proto-Indo-European speakers from the Yamnaya culture into the Danube Valley at c. 2800 BC, which is in line with the "customary" assumption that the Anatolian Indo-European language was introduced into Anatolia sometime in the third millennium BC. However, Petra Goedegebuure has shown that the Hittite language has borrowed many words related to agriculture from cultures on their eastern borders, which is strong evidence of having taken a route across the Caucasus and against a route through Europe. Their movement into the region may have set off a Near East mass migration sometime around 1900 BC. The dominant indigenous inhabitants in central Anatolia at the time were
Hurrians The Hurrians (; cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by th ...
and
Hattians The Hattians () were an ancient Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the ...
who spoke non-
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or o ...
. Some have argued that Hattic was a
Northwest Caucasian language The Northwest Caucasian languages, also called West Caucasian, Abkhazo-Adyghean, Abkhazo-Circassian, Circassic, or sometimes ''Pontic languages'' (as opposed to ''Caspian languages'' for the Northeast Caucasian languages), are a group of languages ...

Northwest Caucasian language
, but its affiliation remains uncertain, whilst the
Hurrian language Hurrian is an extinct Hurro-Urartian language spoken by the Hurrians (Khurrites), a people who entered northern Mesopotamia around 2300 BC and had mostly vanished by 1000 BC. Hurrian was the language of the Mitanni kingdom in northern Mesopotamia ...
was a near- isolate (i.e. it was one of only two or three languages in the Hurro-Urartian family). There were also
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
n colonies in the region during the
Old Assyrian Empire The Old Assyrian Empire was the second stage of Assyrian history, covering the history of the city of Assur Aššur (; Sumerian language, Sumerian: AN.ŠAR2KI, Assyrian cuneiform: ''Aš-šurKI'', "City of God Ashur (god), Aššur"; syr, ܐܫ ...
(2025–1750 BC); it was from the Assyrian speakers of
Upper Mesopotamia Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain In geography, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in elevation. Plains occur as lowlands along valleys or on the doorsteps of mountai ...
that the Hittites adopted the
cuneiform script Cuneiform is a - that was used to write several languages of the . The script was in active use from the early until the beginning of the . It is named for the characteristic wedge-shaped impressions (: ) which form its . Cuneiform was origi ...

cuneiform script
. It took some time before the Hittites established themselves following the collapse of the Old Assyrian Empire in the mid-18th century BC, as is clear from some of the texts included here. For several centuries there were separate Hittite groups, usually centered on various cities. But then strong rulers with their center in Hattusa (modern Boğazkale) succeeded in bringing these together and conquering large parts of central Anatolia to establish the Hittite kingdom.


Early period

The early history of the Hittite kingdom is known through tablets that may first have been written in the 18th century BC, in Hittite; but most of the tablets survived only as Akkadian copies made in the 14th and 13th centuries BC. These reveal a rivalry within two branches of the royal family up to the Middle Kingdom; a northern branch first based in
Zalpuwa Zalpuwa, also Zalpa, was a still-undiscovered Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronz ...
and secondarily Hattusa, and a southern branch based in Kussara (still not found) and the former Assyrian colony of Kanesh. These are distinguishable by their names; the northerners retained language isolate Hattian names, and the southerners adopted Indo-European Hittite and Luwian names. Zalpuwa first attacked Kanesh under Uhna in 1833 BC. And during this kārum period, when the merchant colony of the Old Assyrian Empire was flourishing in the site, and before the conquest of
Pithana Pithana (Pythanas) was a Bronze Age king of the Anatolian city of Kussara, and forerunner of the later Hittites, Hittite dynasty. Pithana reigned during the 17th century BC (Short chronology). During his reign he conquered the city of Kanesh, he ...
, the following local kings reigned in Kaneš: Ḫurmili (prior to 1790 BC), Paḫanu (a short time in 1790 BC), Inar (c. 1790–1775 BC), and Waršama (c. 1775–1750 BC). One set of tablets, known collectively as the
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 Hittite (natively / "the language of Kültepe, Neša", or ''nešumnili'' / "th ...
text, begin by telling how
Pithana Pithana (Pythanas) was a Bronze Age king of the Anatolian city of Kussara, and forerunner of the later Hittites, Hittite dynasty. Pithana reigned during the 17th century BC (Short chronology). During his reign he conquered the city of Kanesh, he ...
the king of Kussara conquered neighbouring Neša ( Kanesh), this conquest took place around 1750 BC. However, the real subject of these tablets is
Pithana Pithana (Pythanas) was a Bronze Age king of the Anatolian city of Kussara, and forerunner of the later Hittites, Hittite dynasty. Pithana reigned during the 17th century BC (Short chronology). During his reign he conquered the city of Kanesh, he ...
's son Anitta ( BC), who continued where his father left off and conquered several northern cities: including Hattusa, which he cursed, and also Zalpuwa. This was likely propaganda for the southern branch of the royal family, against the northern branch who had fixed on Hattusa as capital. Another set, the Tale of Zalpuwa, supports Zalpuwa and exonerates the later Ḫattušili I from the charge of sacking Kanesh. Anitta was succeeded by Zuzzu ( BC); but sometime in 1710–1705 BC, Kanesh was destroyed, taking the long-established Assyrian merchant trading system with it. A Kussaran noble family survived to contest the Zalpuwan/Hattusan family, though whether these were of the direct line of Anitta is uncertain. Meanwhile, the lords of Zalpa lived on. Huzziya I, descendant of a Huzziya of Zalpa, took over Hatti. His son-in-law Labarna I, a southerner from Hurma (now Kalburabastı) usurped the throne but made sure to adopt Huzziya's grandson Ḫattušili as his own son and heir.


Old Kingdom

The founding of the Hittite Kingdom is attributed to either Labarna I or Hattusili I (the latter might also have had Labarna as a personal name), who conquered the area south and north of Hattusa. Hattusili I campaigned as far as the Semitic Amorite kingdom of Yamkhad in
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
, where he attacked, but did not capture, its capital of
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
. Hattusili I did eventually capture Hattusa and was credited for the foundation of the Hittite Empire. According to ''The Edict of Telepinu'', dating to the 16th century BC, "Hattusili was king, and his sons, brothers, in-laws, family members, and troops were all united. Wherever he went on campaign he controlled the enemy land with force. He destroyed the lands one after the other, took away their power, and made them the borders of the sea. When he came back from campaign, however, each of his sons went somewhere to a country, and in his hand the great cities prospered. But, when later the princes' servants became corrupt, they began to devour the properties, conspired constantly against their masters, and began to shed their blood." This excerpt from the edict is supposed to illustrate the unification, growth, and prosperity of the Hittites under his rule. It also illustrates the corruption of "the princes", believed to be his sons. The lack of sources leads to uncertainty of how the corruption was addressed. On Hattusili I's deathbed, he chose his grandson, Mursili I (or Murshilish I), as his heir. Mursili continued the conquests of Hattusili I. In 1595 BC (middle chronology) or 1531 BC (short chronology), Mursili I conducted a great raid down the Euphrates River, bypassing
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
, and sacking Mari, Syria, Mari and Babylon, ejecting the Amorite founders of the Babylonian state in the process. Rather than incorporate
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
into Hittite domains, Mursili seems to have instead turned control of Babylonia over to his Kassites, Kassite allies, who were to rule it for the next four centuries. This lengthy campaign strained the resources of Hatti, and left the capital in a state of near-anarchy. Mursili was assassinated shortly after his return home, and the Hittite Kingdom was plunged into chaos. The
Hurrians The Hurrians (; cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by th ...
(under the control of an Indo-Aryan Mitanni ruling class), a people living in the mountainous region along the upper Tigris River, Tigris and Euphrates River, Euphrates rivers in modern south east Turkey, took advantage of the situation to seize Aleppo and the surrounding areas for themselves, as well as the coastal region of Adaniya, renaming it
Kizzuwatna 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 Tu ...
(later
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
). Throughout the remainder of the 16th century BC, the Hittite kings were held to their homelands by dynastic quarrels and warfare with the Hurrians. Also the campaigns into Amurru (modern Syria) and southern Mesopotamia may be responsible for the reintroduction of
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
writing into Anatolia, since the Hittite script is quite different from that of the preceding Assyrian Colonial period. The Hittites entered a weak phase of obscure records, insignificant rulers, and reduced domains. This pattern of expansion under strong kings followed by contraction under weaker ones, was to be repeated over and over through the Hittite Kingdom's 500-year history, making events during the waning periods difficult to reconstruct. The political instability of these years of the Old Hittite Kingdom can be explained in part by the nature of the Hittite kingship at that time. During the Old Hittite Kingdom prior to 1400 BC, the king of the Hittites was not viewed by his subjects as a "living god" like the Pharaohs of Egypt, but rather as a first among equals. Only in the later period from 1400 BC until 1200 BC did the Hittite kingship become more centralized and powerful. Also in earlier years the succession was not legally fixed, enabling Wars of the Roses, "War of the Roses" style rivalries between northern and southern branches. The next monarch of note following Mursili I was Telepinu (c. 1500 BC), who won a few victories to the southwest, apparently by allying himself with one Hurrian state (
Kizzuwatna 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 Tu ...
) against another (
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
). Telepinu also attempted to secure the lines of succession.


Middle Kingdom

The last monarch of the Old kingdom, Telepinu, reigned until about 1500 BC. Telepinu's reign marked the end of the "Old Kingdom" and the beginning of the lengthy weak phase known as the "Middle Kingdom". The period of the 15th century BC is largely unknown with very sparse surviving records. Part of the reason for both the weakness and the obscurity is that the Hittites were under constant attack, mainly from the Kaskians, Kaska, a non-Proto-Indo-Europeans, Indo-European people settled along the shores of the Black Sea. The capital once again went on the move, first to Sapinuwa and then to Samuha. There is an archive in Sapinuwa, but it has not been adequately translated to date. It segues into the "Hittite Empire period" proper, which dates from the reign of Tudhaliya I from c. 1430 BC. One innovation that can be credited to these early Hittite rulers is the practice of conducting treaties and alliances with neighboring states; the Hittites were thus among the earliest known pioneers in the art of international politics and diplomacy. This is also when the Hittite religion adopted several gods and rituals from the Hurrians.


New Kingdom

With the reign of Tudhaliya I (who may actually not have been the first of that name; see also Tudhaliya), the Hittite Kingdom re-emerged from the fog of obscurity. Hittite civilization entered the period of time called the "Hittite Empire period". Many changes were afoot during this time, not the least of which was a strengthening of the kingship. Settlement of the Hittites progressed in the Empire period. However, the Hittite people tended to settle in the older lands of south Anatolia rather than the lands of the Aegean. As this settlement progressed, treaties were signed with neighboring peoples. During the Hittite Empire period the kingship became hereditary and the king took on a "superhuman aura" and began to be referred to by the Hittite citizens as "My Sun". The kings of the Empire period began acting as a high priest for the whole kingdommaking an annual tour of the Hittite holy cities, conducting festivals and supervising the upkeep of the sanctuaries. During his reign (c. 1400 BC), King Tudhaliya I, again allied with
Kizzuwatna 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 Tu ...
, then vanquished the Hurrian states of
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
and Mitanni, and expanded to the west at the expense of
Arzawa Arzawa was the name of a region and a political entity (a " kingdom" or a federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regio ...
(a Luwian state). Another weak phase followed Tudhaliya I, and the Hittites' enemies from all directions were able to advance even to Hattusa and raze it. However, the Kingdom recovered its former glory under
Šuppiluliuma ISuppiluliuma I () or Suppiluliumas I () was king of the Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian peoples, Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1680–1650 ...
(c. 1350 BC), who again conquered
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
, Mitanni was reduced to vassalage by the Assyrians under his son-in-law, and he defeated Carchemish, another Amorite city-state. With his own sons placed over all of these new conquests,
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
still in the hands of the allied Kassites, this left Šuppiluliuma the supreme power broker in the known world, alongside
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
and
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
, and it was not long before Egypt was seeking an alliance by marriage of another of his sons with the widow of Tutankhamen. Unfortunately, that son was evidently murdered before reaching his destination, and this alliance was never consummated. However, the
Middle Assyrian Empire The Middle Assyrian Empire is the period in the history of Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَ ...
(1365–1050 BC) once more began to grow in power also, with the ascension of Ashur-uballit I in 1365 BC. Ashur-uballit I attacked and defeated Shattiwaza, Mattiwaza the
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
king despite attempts by the Hittite king
Šuppiluliuma ISuppiluliuma I () or Suppiluliumas I () was king of the Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian peoples, Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1680–1650 ...
, now fearful of growing Assyrian power, attempting to preserve his throne with military support. The lands of the
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
and
Hurrians The Hurrians (; cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by th ...
were duly appropriated by Assyria, enabling it to encroach on Hittite territory in eastern Asia Minor, and Adad-nirari I annexed Carchemish and north east Syria from the control of the Hittites. After
Šuppiluliuma ISuppiluliuma I () or Suppiluliumas I () was king of the Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian peoples, Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1680–1650 ...
, and a very brief reign by his eldest son, another son, Mursili II became king (c. 1330 BC). Having inherited a position of strength in the east, Mursili was able to turn his attention to the west, where he attacked Arzawa and a city known as Millawanda (Miletus), which was under the control of Ahhiyawa. More recent research based on new readings and interpretations of the Hittite texts, as well as of the material evidence for Mycenaean contacts with the Anatolian mainland, came to the conclusion that ''Ahhiyawa'' referred to Mycenaean Greece, or at least to a part of it.


Battle of Kadesh

Hittite prosperity was mostly dependent on control of the trade routes and metal sources. Because of the importance of Northern Syria to the vital routes linking the Cilician Gates, Cilician gates with Mesopotamia, defense of this area was crucial, and was soon put to the test by Egyptian expansion under Pharaoh Ramesses II. The outcome of the battle is uncertain, though it seems that the timely arrival of Egyptian reinforcements prevented total Hittite victory. The Egyptians forced the Hittites to take refuge in the fortress of Kadesh, but their own losses prevented them from sustaining a siege. This battle took place in the 5th year of Ramesses (c. 1274 BC by the most commonly used chronology).


Downfall and demise of the Kingdom

After this date, the power of both the Hittites and Egyptians began to decline yet again because of the power of the
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
ns. The Assyrian king Shalmaneser I had seized the opportunity to vanquish Hurrians, Hurria and
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
, occupy their lands, and expand up to the head of the Euphrates in
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
and into
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
, Ancient Iran, Aram Damascus, Aram (
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
),
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
(Palestine (region), Palestine) and Phoenicia, while Muwatalli II, Muwatalli was preoccupied with the Egyptians. The Hittites had vainly tried to preserve the
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
kingdom with military support. Assyria now posed just as great a threat to Hittite trade routes as Egypt ever had. Muwatalli's son, Urhi-Teshub, took the throne and ruled as king for seven years as Mursili III before being ousted by his uncle, Hattusili III after a brief civil war. In response to increasing Assyrian annexation of Hittite territory, he concluded a peace and alliance with Ramesses II (also fearful of Assyria), presenting his daughter's hand in marriage to the Pharaoh. The "Treaty of Kadesh (Syria), Kadesh", one of the oldest completely surviving treaties in history, fixed their mutual boundaries in southern Canaan, and was signed in the 21st year of Rameses (c. 1258 BC). Terms of this treaty included the marriage of one of the Hittite princesses to Ramesses. Hattusili's son, Tudhaliya IV, was the last strong Hittite king able to keep the Assyrians out of the Hittite heartland to some degree at least, though he too lost much territory to them, and was heavily defeated by Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria in the Battle of Nihriya. He even temporarily annexed the Ancient Greece, Greek island of Cyprus, before that too fell to Assyria. The last king, Šuppiluliuma II also managed to win some victories, including a naval battle against Alashiya off the coast of Cyprus.Horst Nowacki, Wolfgang Lefèvre ''Creating Shapes in Civil and Naval Architecture: A Cross-Disciplinary Comparison'' Brill, 2009 But the Assyrians, under Ashur-resh-ishi I had by this time annexed much Hittite territory in Asia Minor and Syria, driving out and defeating the
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
n king Nebuchadnezzar I in the process, who also had eyes on Hittite lands. The Sea Peoples had already begun their push down the Mediterranean coastline, starting from the Aegean Sea, Aegean, and continuing all the way to Canaan, founding the state of Philistiataking
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
and Cyprus away from the Hittites en route and cutting off their coveted trade routes. This left the Hittite homelands vulnerable to attack from all directions, and
Hattusa Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite language, Hittite: URU (Sumerogram), URU''Ḫa-at-tu-ša'', Hattic language, Hattic: Hattush) was the capital of the Hittites, Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazk ...
was burnt to the ground sometime around 1180 BC following a combined onslaught from new waves of invaders: the Kaskians, Kaskas, Phrygians and Bryges. The Hittite Kingdom thus vanished from historical records, much of the territory being seized by Assyria. Alongside with these attacks, many internal issues also led to the end of the Hittite kingdom. The end of the kingdom was part of the larger Bronze Age Collapse.


Post-Hittite period

By 1160 BC, the political situation in Asia Minor looked vastly different from that of only 25 years earlier. In that year, the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser I was defeating the ''Mushki'' (Phrygians) who had been attempting to press into Assyrian colonies in southern Anatolia from the Anatolian highlands, and the Kaskians, Kaska people, the Hittites' old enemies from the northern hill-country between Hatti and the Black Sea, seem to have joined them soon after. The Phrygians had apparently overrun Cappadocia from the West, with recently discovered epigraphic evidence confirming their origins as the Balkan "Bryges" tribe, forced out by the Macedonians. Although the Hittite kingdom disappeared from Anatolia at this point, there emerged a number of so-called
Syro-Hittite states The states that are called Syro-Hittite, Neo-Hittite (in older literature), or Luwian-Aramean (in modern scholarly works), were Luwian The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in presen ...
in Anatolia and northern Syria. They were the successors of the Hittite Kingdom. The most notable Syro-Hittite kingdoms were those at Carchemish and Melid. These Syro-Hittite states gradually fell under the control of the
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disam ...

Neo-Assyrian Empire
(911–608 BC). Carchemish and Melid were made vassals of Assyria under Shalmaneser III (858–823 BC), and fully incorporated into Assyria during the reign of Sargon II (722–705 BC). A large and powerful state known as Tabal occupied much of southern Anatolia. Known as Greek ''Tibareni, Tibarenoi'' ( grc, Τιβαρηνοί), Latin ''Tibareni'', ''Thobeles'' in Josephus, their language may have been Luwian, testified to by monuments written using Anatolian hieroglyphs. This state too was conquered and incorporated into the vast Neo-Assyrian Empire. Ultimately, both Luwian hieroglyphs and cuneiform were rendered obsolete by an innovation, the alphabet, which seems to have entered Anatolia simultaneously from the Aegean civilization, Aegean (with the Bryges, who changed their name to
Phrygia In classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related ...
ns), and from the Phoenicians and neighboring peoples in Syria.


Government

The earliest known Constitutional Monarchy was developed by the Hittites. The head of the Hittite state was the king, followed by the heir-apparent. The king was the supreme ruler of the land, in charge of being a military commander, judicial authority, as well as a high priest. However, 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 (Chief of the Mesedi, Royal Bodyguards). It was superseded by the rank of the gal gestin (Chief of the Wine Stewards), who, like the ''gal mesedi'', was generally a member of the royal family. The kingdom's bureaucracy was headed by the gal dubsar (Chief of the Scribes), whose authority didn't extend over the ''Lugal Dubsar'', the king's personal scribe. Egyptian monarchs engaged in diplomacy with two chief Hittite seats, located at Kadesh (a city located on the Orontes River) and Carchemish (located on the Euphrates river in Southern Anatolia).


Religion in Early Hittite Government to establish control

In the Central Anatolian settlement of Ankuwa, home of the pre-Hittite goddess Kattaha and the worship of other Hattic deities illustrates the ethnic differences in the areas the Hittites tried to control. Kattaha was originally given the name Hannikkun. The usage of the term Kattaha over Hannikkun, according to Ronald Gorny (head of the Alisar regional project in Turkey), was a device to downgrade the pre-Hittite identity of this female deity, and to bring her more in touch with the Hittite tradition. Their reconfiguration of Gods throughout their early history such as with Kattaha was a way of legitimizing their authority and to avoid conflicting ideologies in newly included regions and settlements. By transforming local deities to fit their own customs, the Hittites hoped that the traditional beliefs of these communities would understand and accept the changes to become better suited for the Hittite political and economic goals.


Political dissent in the Old Kingdom

In 1595 BC, King Mursili I () marched into the city of Babylon and sacked the city. Due to fear of revolts at home he did not remain there long, quickly returning to his capital of Hattusa. On his journey back to Hattusa, he was assassinated by his brother-in-law Hantili I, who then took the throne. Hantili was able to escape multiple murder attempts on himself, however, his family did not. His wife, Harapsili and her son were murdered. In addition, other members of the royal family were killed by Zidanta I, who was then murdered by his own son, Ammunna. All of the internal unrest among the Hittite royal family led to a decline of power. This led to surrounding kingdoms, such as the Hurrians, to have success against Hittite forces and be the center of power in the Anatolian region.


The Pankus

King Telipinu (reigned BC) is considered to be the last king of the Old Kingdom of the Hittites. He seized power during a dynastic power struggle. During his reign, he wanted to take care of lawlessness and regulate royal succession. He then issued the ''Edict of Telipinus''. In this edict, he designated ''the Pankus'', which was a 'general assembly' that acted as a high court. Crimes such as murder were observed and judged by ''the Pankus''. Kings themselves were also subject to jurisdiction under the Pankus. The Pankus also served as an advisory council for the king. The rules and regulations set out by the edict, and the establishment of the Pankus proved to be very successful and lasted all the way through to the new Kingdom in the 14th century BC. The Pankus established a legal code where violence was not a punishment for a crime. Crimes such as a murder and theft, which at the time were punishable by death, in other southwest Asian Kingdoms, were not capital crimes under the Hittite law code. Most criminal penalties involved restitution. For example, in cases of thievery, the punishment of that crime would to be to repay what was stolen in equal value.


Language

The Hittite language is recorded fragmentarily from about the 19th century BC (in the
Kültepe Kültepe ( Turkish: "Ash Hill" and fa, کل تپه ''koltape''), also known as Kanesh or Nesha, is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either p ...
texts, see ''Ishara''). It remained in use until about 1100 BC. Hittite is the best attested member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family, and the Indo-European language for which the earliest surviving written attestation exists, with isolated Hittite loanwords and numerous personal names appearing in an Akkadian language, Old Assyrian context from as early as the 20th century BC. The language of the Hattusa tablets was eventually deciphered by a Czechs, Czech linguist, Bedřich Hrozný (1879–1952), who, on 24 November 1915, announced his results in a lecture at the Near Eastern Society of Berlin. His book about the discovery was printed in Leipzig 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." The decipherment famously led to the confirmation of the laryngeal theory in Indo-European linguistics, which had been predicted several decades before. Due to its marked differences in its structure and phonology, some early philology, philologists, most notably Warren Cowgill, had even argued that it should be classified as a sister language to Indo-European languages (Indo-Hittite), 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, another Indo-European language of the Anatolian family that had originated to the west of the Hittite region. According to Craig Melchert, the current tendency is to suppose that Proto-Indo-European evolved, and that the "prehistoric speakers" of Anatolian became isolated "from the rest of the PIE speech community, so as not to share in some common innovations." Hittite, as well as its Anatolian cousins, split off from Proto-Indo-European language, Proto-Indo-European at an early stage, thereby preserving archaisms that were later lost in the other Indo-European languages. In Hittite there are many loanwords, particularly religious vocabulary, from the non-Indo-European Hurrian language, Hurrian and Hattic languages. The latter was the language of the
Hattians The Hattians () were an ancient Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the ...
, the local inhabitants of the land of Hattians, Hatti before being absorbed or displaced by the Hittites. Sacred and magical texts from
Hattusa Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite language, Hittite: URU (Sumerogram), URU''Ḫa-at-tu-ša'', Hattic language, Hattic: Hattush) was the capital of the Hittites, Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazk ...
were often written in Hattic, Hurrian, and Luwian, even after Hittite became the norm for other writings.


Art

Given the size of the empire, there are relatively few remains of Hittite art. These include some impressive monumental carvings, a number of
rock relief A rock relief or rock-cut relief is a relief sculpture Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term ''relief Relief is a sculptural technique wh ...
s, as well as metalwork, in particular the Alaca Höyük bronze standards, carved ivory, and ceramics, including the Hüseyindede vases. The Sphinx Gates of Alaca Höyük and
Hattusa Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite language, Hittite: URU (Sumerogram), URU''Ḫa-at-tu-ša'', Hattic language, Hattic: Hattush) was the capital of the Hittites, Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazk ...
, with the monument at the spring of Eflatun Pınar, are among the largest constructed sculptures, along with a number of large recumbent lions, of which the Lion of Babylon (statue), ''Lion of Babylon'' statue at Babylon is the largest, if it is indeed Hittite. Unfortunately, nearly all are notably worn. Rock reliefs include the Hanyeri relief, and Hemite relief. The Niğde Stele from the end of the 8th century BC is a Luwians, Luwian monument, from the Post-Hittite period, found in the modern Turkish city of Niğde.


Religion and mythology

Hittite religion and mythology were heavily influenced by their Hittite empire, Hattic, Mesopotamian mythology, Mesopotamian, and Hurrians#Religion, Hurrian counterparts. In earlier times, Indo-European mythology, Indo-European elements may still be clearly discerned. Weather god, 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. The Hittite gods are also honoured with festivals, such as Puruli in the spring, the ''nuntarriyashas'' festival in the autumn, and the KI.LAM festival of the gate house where images of the Storm God and up to thirty other idols were paraded through the streets.


Law

Hittite laws, much like other records of the empire, are recorded on Cuneiform script, cuneiform tablets made from baked clay. What is understood to be the Hittite Law Code comes mainly from two clay tablets, each containing 186 articles, and are a Codification (law), collection of practiced laws from across the early Hittite Kingdom. In addition to the tablets, monuments bearing Hittite cuneiform inscriptions can be found in central
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
describing the government and law codes of the empire. The tablets and monuments date from the Old Hittite Kingdom (1650–1500 BC) to what is known as the New Hittite Kingdom (1500–1180 BC). Between these time periods, different translations can be found that modernize the language and create a series of legal reforms in which many crimes are given more humane punishments. These changes could possibly be attributed to the rise of new and different kings throughout the history empire or to the new translations that change the language used in the law codes. In either case, the law codes of the Hittites provide very specific fines or punishments that are to be issued for specific crimes and have many similarities to Biblical laws found in the books of Exodus and Book of Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy. In addition to criminal punishments, the law codes also provide instruction on certain situations such as inheritance and death.


Use of laws

The law articles used by the Hittites most often outline very specific crimes or offenses, either against the state or against other individuals, and provide a sentence for these offenses. The laws carved in the tablets are an assembly of established social conventions from across the empire. Hittite laws at this time have a prominent lack of equality in punishments in many cases, distinct punishments or compensations for men and women are listed. Free men most often received more compensation for offenses against them than free women did. Slaves, male or female, had very few rights, and could easily be punished or executed by their masters for crimes. Most articles describe destruction of property and personal injury, to which the most common sentence was payment for compensation of the lost property. Again, in these cases men oftentimes receive a greater amount of compensation than women. Other articles describe how marriage of slaves and free individuals should be handled. In any case of separation or estrangement, the free individual, male or female, would keep all but one child that resulted from the marriage. Cases in which capital punishment is recommended in the articles most often seem to come from pre-reform sentences for severe crimes and prohibited sexual pairings. Many of these cases include public torture and execution as punishment for serious crimes against religion. Most of these sentences would begin to go away in the later stages of the Hittite Empire as major law reforms began to occur.


Law reform

While different translations of laws can be seen throughout the history of the empire, the Hittite outlook of law was originally founded on religion and were intended to preserve the authority of the state. Additionally, punishments had the goal of crime prevention and the protection of individual property rights. The goals of crime prevention can be seen in the severity of the punishments issued for certain crimes. Capital punishment and torture are specifically mentioned as punishment for more severe crimes against religion and harsh fines for the loss of private property or life. The tablets also describe the ability of the king to pardon certain crimes, but specifically prohibit an individual being pardoned for murder. At some point in the 16th or 15th century BC, Hittite law codes move away from torture and capital punishment and to more humanitarian forms of punishments, such as fines. Where the old law system was based on retaliation and retribution for crimes, the new system saw punishments that were much more mild, favoring monetary compensation over physical or capital punishment. Why these drastic reforms happened is not exactly clear, but it is likely that punishing murder with execution was deemed not to benefit any individual or family involved. These reforms were not just seen in the realm of capital punishment. Where major fines were to be paid, a severe reduction in penalty can be seen. For example, prior to these major reforms, the payment to be made for the theft of an animal was thirty times the animal's value; after the reforms, the penalty was reduced to half the original fine. Simultaneously, attempts to modernize the language and change the verbiage used in the law codes can be seen during this period of reform.


Examples of laws

Under both the old and reformed Hittite law codes, three main types of punishment can be seen: Death, torture, or compensation/fines. The articles outlined on the cuneiform tablets provide very specific punishments for crimes committed against the Hittite religion or against individuals. In many, but not all cases, articles describing similar laws are grouped together. More than a dozen consecutive articles describe what are known to be permitted and prohibited sexual pairings. These pairings mostly describe men (sometimes specifically referred to as free men, sometimes just men in general) having relations, be they consensual or not, with animals, step-family, relatives of spouses, or concubines. Many of these articles do not provide specific punishments but, prior to the law reforms, crimes against religion were most often punishable by death. These include incestuous marriages and sexual relations with certain animals. For example, one article states, "If a man has sexual relations with a cow, it is an unpermitted sexual pairing: he will be put to death." Similar relations with horses and mules were not subject to capital punishment, but the offender could not become a priest afterwards. Actions at the expense of other individuals most often see the offender paying some sort of compensation, be it in the form money, animals, or land. These actions could include the destruction of farmlands, death or injury of livestock, or assault of an individual. Several articles also specifically mention acts of the gods. If an animal were to die by certain circumstances, the individual could claim that it died by the hand of a god. Swearing that what they claim was true, it seems that they were exempt from paying compensation to the animal's owner. Injuries inflicted upon animals owned by another individual are almost always compensated with either direct payment, or trading the injured animal with a healthy one owned by the offender. Not all laws prescribed in the tablets deal with criminal punishment. For example, the instructions of how the marriage of slaves and division of their children are given in a group of articles, "The slave woman shall take most of the children, with the male slave taking one child." Similar instructions are given to the marriage of free individuals and slaves. Other actions include how breaking of engagements are to be handled.


Biblical Hittites

The Bible refers to "Hittites" in several passages, ranging from Genesis to the post-Exilic Ezra–Nehemiah. The Hittites are usually depicted as a people living among the IsraelitesAbraham purchases the Patriarchal burial-plot of Machpelah from "Ephron HaChiti", Ephron the Hittite; and Hittites serve as high military officers in
David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...

David
'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
Hattians The Hattians () were an ancient Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the ...
; 2) their Indo-European conquerors, 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
Syro-Hittite states The states that are called Syro-Hittite, Neo-Hittite (in older literature), or Luwian-Aramean (in modern scholarly works), were Luwian The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in presen ...
. Other biblical scholars (following
Max Müller Friedrich Max Müller (; 6 December 1823 – 28 October 1900) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizen ...

Max Müller
) have argued that, rather than being connected with Heth, son of Canaan, the Anatolian land of ''Hatti'' was instead mentioned in Old Testament literature and apocrypha as "
Kittim Kittim was a settlement in present-day Larnaca Larnaca ( el, Λάρνακα ; tr, Larnaka) is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus and the capital of the Larnaca District, district of the same name. It is the third-largest city in the count ...
" (Chittim), a people said to be named for a son of Javan.


See also

* List of Hittite kings * List of artifacts significant to the Bible * Short chronology timeline


References


Sources

* * * * * * * G Brinkman, ''Hittite Diplomatic Texts'', Scholars Press, 1999,

Bryce, T., 'The 'Eternal Treaty' from the Hittite perspective', BMSAES 6, pp. 1–11, 2006 * * * * * * C. W. Ceram, Ceram, C. W. (2001) ''The Secret of the Hittites: The Discovery of an Ancient Empire''. Phoenix Press, . * * * * * * * * 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. * Hoffner, Jr., H.A (1973) "The Hittites and Hurrians," in D. J. Wiseman ''Peoples of the Old Testament Times'', Clarendon Press, Oxford. * ''Hittite Studies in Honor of Harry A. Hoffner Jr. on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday''. Eisenbrauns, 2003, * * * * * * * 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, . * * * * Mendenhall, George E. (1973) ''The Tenth Generation: The Origins of the Biblical Tradition'', The Johns Hopkins University Press, . * Neu, Erich (1974) ''Der Anitta Text'', (StBoT 18), Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden. * Orlin, Louis L. (1970) ''Assyrian Colonies in Cappadocia'', Mouton, The Hague. *

Sürenhagen, D., 'Forerunners of the Hattusili-Ramesses treaty'], BMSAES 6, pp. 59–67, 2006 * Patri, Sylvain (2007), ''L'alignement syntaxique dans les langues indo-européennes d'Anatolie'', (StBoT 49), Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, * * *


Further reading

* Jacques Freu et Michel Mazoyer, Des origines à la fin de l'ancien royaume hittite, Les Hittites et leur histoire Tome 1, Collection Kubaba, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2007 * Jacques Freu et Michel Mazoyer, Les débuts du nouvel empire hittite, Les Hittites et leur histoire Tome 2, Collection Kubaba, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2007 * Jacques Freu et Michel Mazoyer, L'apogée du nouvel empire hittite, Les Hittites et leur histoire Tome 3, Collection Kubaba, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2008 * Jacques Freu et Michel Mazoyer, Le déclin et la chute de l'empire Hittite, Les Hittites et leur histoire Tome 4, Collection Kubaba, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2010 * Jacques Freu et Michel Mazoyer, Les royaumes Néo-Hittites, Les Hittites et leur histoire Tome 5, Collection Kubaba, L'Harmattan, Paris, 2012 * Imparati, Fiorella. "Aspects De L'organisation De L'État Hittite Dans Les Documents Juridiques Et Administratifs." Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 25, no. 3 (1982): 225–67.


External links


Video lecture at Oriental Institute – Tracking the Frontiers of the Hittite Empire





Pictures of Boğazköy, one of a group of important sites

Pictures of Yazılıkaya, one of a group of important sites



Tahsin Ozguc

Hittites.info



Hethitologieportal Mainz, by the Akademie der Wissenschaften, Mainz, corpus of texts and extensive bibliographies on all things Hittite

Uşaklı Höyük

Trevor Bryce, Life and Society in the Hittite World

Map of Hittite Anatolia
{{Authority control Hittites, States and territories established in the 17th century BC States and territories disestablished in the 12th century BC Anatolian peoples Ancient peoples of Anatolia Ancient Syria Ancient history of Turkey Ancient Near East History of the Mediterranean