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Picture Credit: “The Sphinx Gate standing above the Yerkapi Rampart, Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age, Boğazkale, Turkey” by Following Hadrian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

One of the great civilisations of the Ancient World

The Hittites were an ancient group of Indo-Europeans who moved into Asia Minor and formed an empire at Hattusa in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) around 1600 BCE. The Hittite Empire reached great heights during the mid-1300s BCE, spreading across Asia Minor, into the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia. They manufactured advanced iron goods, ruled over their Kingdom through government officials with independent authority over various branches of government, and worshipped storm gods. The Hittites’ ongoing conflicts with Egypt produced the world’s first known peace treaty.[1]

The Hittites created one of the great civilisations of the ancient world, although it remained almost unknown until excavations in the early 20th century revealed the extent and importance of its culture. They controlled vast areas of Anatolia for nearly five centuries by direct or indirect rule, engaging in almost constant warfare and, at the same time, making significant contributions to the culture and religion of the region. 


It is generally assumed that ancestors of the Hittites came into Anatolia[3] at some time before 2000 BC, as the Hittite language is known to have taken place in Anatolia between the 20th and 12th centuries BC.[4] The Hurrian language is better understood than Hattic, but as the number of Hurrian words that can be translated is not large, it is impossible to interpret many Hurrian divine names. The influence of Sumerian and Akkadian religious vocabulary and divine epithets is obvious. Aya, Ishhara, Ellil (Enlil), Anu, and Alalu were originally Mesopotamian deities[5]. The Hittites existed as early as the time of Abraham in the Old Testament, and by 1340 BC, they had become one of the dominant powers of the Middle East. While their earlier location is disputed, scholars have speculated for more than a century that the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic–Caspian steppe, in present-day Ukraine, around the Sea of Azov[6], spoke an early Indo-European language during the third and fourth millennia BC.[7]

Like many Indo-Europeans, the Hittites were able to travel long distances and migrate to other lands due to the domestication of horses. The spread of ‘technologies’ like the wheel and wagon, which were also used in ancient Mesopotamia and other early civilizations in the region, assisted pastoralists and agricultural societies[8].

The arrival of the Hittites in Anatolia during the Bronze Age[9] was one of a superstrate[10] imposing itself on a native culture (in this case over the pre-existing Hattians and Hurrians).[11] In archaeological terms, relationships of the Hittites to the Ezero culture (a Bronze Age archaeological culture occupying most of present-day Bulgaria) and the Maykop culture (a major Bronze Age archaeological culture c. 3700 BC–3000 BC, in the western Caucasus region) have been considered within the migration framework.[12]

The Hittites 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 centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1650 BC.[13]

This Empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Šuppiluliuma I (King of the Hittites (c. 1370–1330 BC (middle chronology) or 1344–1322 BC (short chronology)) when it encompassed an area that included most of Anatolia and parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia. 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, the Middle Assyrian Empire and the Empire of Mitanni for control of the Near East.

Picture Credit: “Fraktin Hittite rock relief, detail of middle scene, Queen Puduhepa pouring libation to the Goddess Hebat, mid-13th century BC, district of Kayseri, Turkey” by Following Hadrian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Middle Assyrian Empire eventually emerged as the dominant power and annexed much of the Hittite Empire, while the remainder was sacked by Phrygian[14] newcomers to the region. After c. 1180 BC, during the Late Bronze Age collapse, the Hittites splintered into several independent Syro-Hittite states, some of which survived until the 8th century BC before succumbing to the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

In classical times, ethnic Hittite dynasties survived in small kingdoms scattered around what is now Syria, Lebanon and the Levant. Lacking a unifying continuity, their descendants scattered and ultimately merged into the modern populations of the Levant, Turkey and Mesopotamia.[15]

Early History[16]

The early history of the Hittite kingdom is known through four “cushion-shaped” tablets, not made in Ḫattuša, but probably created in Kussara, Nēša, or another site in Anatolia, that may first have been written in the 18th century BC,[17] in Hittite[18], although most of the tablets survived only as Akkadian copies made in the 14th and 13th centuries BC.  These Akkadian copies show a rivalry within two branches of the royal family up to the Middle Kingdom; a northern branch first based in Zalpuwa 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[19]:

  • the northerners retained language-isolated Hattian names; and
  • the southerners adopted Indo-European Hittite and Luwian names.

Zalpuwa first attacked Kanesh under Uhna in 1833 BC.[20] 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, the following local Kings reigned in Kaneš:

  • Ḫurmili (before 1790 BC);
  • Paḫanu (a short time in 1790 BC);
  • Inar (c. 1790–1775 BC); and
  • Waršama (c. 1775–1750 BC).[21]

One set of tablets, known collectively as the Anitta text,[22] tells how Pithana, the King of Kussara, conquered neighbouring Neša (Kanesh)[23] around 1750 BC.[24] However, the real subject of these tablets is Pithana‘s son Anitta (r. 1745–1720 BC), who continued where his father left off and conquered several northern cities: including Hattusa and Zalpuwa.

Anitta was succeeded by Zuzzu (r. 1720–1710 BC)[25], but sometime in 1710–1705 BC, Kanesh was destroyed, taking the long-established Assyrian merchant trading system with it.[26] A Kussaran noble family survived to contest the Zalpuwan/Hattusan family, though whether these were of the direct line of Anitta is uncertain.[27]

Meanwhile, the lords of Zalpa lived on and Huzziya I, a descendant of a Huzziya of Zalpa, took over Hatti. His son-in-law Labarna I, a southerner from Hurma, usurped the throne but made certain to adopt Huzziya’s grandson Ḫattušili as his son and heir. Hurma is believed to be in the mountains south of Kussara.[28]

The Academics’ View

Picture Credit: “neo hittites” by peretzp is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

David W. Anthony (an American anthropologist), who is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Hartwick College (Oneonta, New York), specialises in Indo-European migrations. He is a proponent of the Kurgan hypothesis. Anthony is well known for his award-winning book The Horse, the Wheel, and Language (2007).  He says 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.[29] Their languages “probably included archaic Proto-Indo-European dialects of the kind partly preserved later in Anatolian”[30], and their descendants later moved into Anatolia at an unknown time but maybe as early as 3000 BC.[31]

James Patrick Mallory[32] says it is likely that the Anatolians reached the Near East from the north either via the Balkans or the Caucasus in the 3rd millennium BC.[33]  Asko Parpola, a Finnish Indologist and current professor emeritus of South Asian studies at the University of Helsinki, believes the appearance of Indo-European speakers from Europe into Anatolia and the emergence of the Hittite is related to later migrations of Proto-Indo-European speakers from the Yamnaya culture into the Danube Valley at c. 2800 BC[34], which is in line with the “customary” assumption that the Anatolian Indo-European language was introduced into Anatolia sometime in the third millennium BC.[35] However, Petra Goedegebuure (an Associate Professor of Hittitology, Oriental Institute, NELC, and the College, University of Chicago) has shown that the Hittite language has borrowed many words related to agriculture from cultures on their eastern borders, which is strong evidence the Hittites took a route across the Caucasus.[36]

Language and Writing[37]

Picture Credit: [With cropped border] “Berlin – Pergamonmuseum – Keilschrift – Cuneiform from Uruk” by Daniel Mennerich is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

It is generally assumed that the Hittites entered Anatolia before 2000 BC, and when they did, it took some time to establish themselves. Hittite Online[38], by Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum, says:

“While their earlier location is disputed, there has been strong evidence for more than a century that the home of the Indo-Europeans in the fourth and third millennia was in what is now southern Russia and Ukraine. The Hittites and other members of the “Anatolian” language-speaking people, came from the north, possibly along the Caspian Sea but perhaps more likely via the Balkans. The dominant inhabitants in central Anatolia at the time were the Hatti (from whom the word “Hittite” was later derived). There were also Assyrian colonies in the country; it was from these that the Hittites adopted cuneiform script.”

Hittite is the oldest recorded Indo-European language, but it had remained completely unknown during the period in which Indo-European linguistics developed because its records are on clay tablets that were excavated only at the end of the 19th century AD. The dominant indigenous inhabitants in central Anatolia were Hurrians and Hattians, who spoke non-Indo-European languages. Some have argued that Hattic was a Northwest Caucasian language, but its affiliation remains uncertain, whilst the Hurrian language was a near-isolate (i.e. it was one of only two or three languages in the Hurro-Urartian family).

There were also Assyrian colonies in the region during the Old Assyrian Empire (2025–1750 BC); it was from the Assyrian speakers of Upper Mesopotamia that the Hittites adopted the 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. For several centuries there were separate Hittite groups, usually centred on various cities. But then, strong rulers with their centre in Hattusa (modern Boğazkale[39]) succeeded in bringing these together and conquering large parts of central Anatolia to establish the Hittite Kingdom.[40]

The Hittite language is recorded fragmentarily from about the 19th century BC and remained in use until around 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.

The language of the Hattusa tablets was eventually deciphered by a 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.[41]  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.”

Picture Credit: “The Hittite version of the Egyptian–Hittite peace treaty (Treaty of Kadesh), discovered at Boğazköy (Turkey), 1258 BC, Istanbul Archeology Museum” by Following Hadrian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The decipherment famously confirmed the laryngeal theory[42] in Indo-European linguistics, which had been predicted several decades before. Due to its marked differences in structure and phonology, some early philologists[43], most notably Warren Cowgill, had 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.[44]

According to Craig Melchert[45], 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.”[46] Hittite and its Anatolian cousin languages split off from Proto-Indo-European early on, thereby preserving archaisms – later lost in the other Indo-European languages.[47]

In Hittite, many loanwords, particularly in religious vocabulary, come from the non-Indo-European Hurrian and Hattic languages. The latter was the language of the Hattians, the local inhabitants of the land of Hatti, before being subsumed or displaced by the Hittites. The Hittite language was a distinct member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family. Along with the closely related Luwian language, it is the oldest historically attested Indo-European language, referred to by its speakers as nešili “in the language of Nesa“. The Hittites called their country the Kingdom of Hattusa (Hatti in Akkadian), a name received from the Hattians, 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.[48] The conventional name “Hittites” is due to their initial identification with the Biblical Hittites in 19th century archaeology.

The history of the Hittite civilization is known mostly from cuneiform texts[49] found in the area of their Kingdom and from diplomatic and commercial correspondence found in various archives in Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt and the Middle East, the decipherment of which was also a key event in the history of Indo-European studies. The Hittites used a variation of cuneiform called Hittite cuneiform. Archaeological expeditions to Hattusa have discovered entire sets of royal archives on cuneiform tablets, written either in Akkadian, the diplomatic language of the time, or in the various dialects of the Hittite confederation.[50]

Iron Smelting and Iron Working[51]

Picture Credit: “File: Museum of Anatolian Civilizations091.jpg” by Georges Jansoone (JoJan) is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The development of iron smelting 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 at the time. But the view of such a “Hittite monopoly” has come under scrutiny and is no longer a scholarly consensus.[52] 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 number is comparable to iron objects found in Egypt and other places during the period – and only a small number of these objects are weapons.[53] Hittites did not use smelted iron but rather meteorites.[54] The Hittite military made successful use of chariots.[55]

During the 1920s, interest in the Hittites increased with the founding of Turkey and attracted the attention of Turkish archaeologists such as Halet Çambel and Tahsin Özgüç. During this period, the new field of Hittitology also influenced the naming of Turkish institutions, such as the state-owned Etibank (“Hittite bank”)[56] and the foundation of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, 200 kilometres (124 miles) west of the Hittite capital of Hattusa. It houses the most comprehensive exhibition of Hittite art and artefacts in the world.

Archaeological Discoveries[57]

Before the archaeological discoveries that revealed the existence of the Hittite civilization, the only source of information about them had been the Old Testament in the Bible. Francis William Newman (the 19th century English classical scholar and moral philosopher, prolific miscellaneous writer and activist for vegetarianism and other causes) expressed the critical and common view that: “no Hittite king could have compared in power to the King of Judah…”.[58]

As the discoveries in the second half of the 19th century revealed the scale of the Hittite Kingdom, Archibald Sayce[59] asserted that, rather than being 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”.[60] 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 were friends and allies to Abraham. Uriah the Hittite was a captain in King David‘s army and counted as one of his “mighty men” in 1 Chronicles 11.

Initial Archaeological Discoveries

  • The first Hittite ruins were found by French scholar Charles Texier in 1834, but he did not identify them as such.[61]
  • The first archaeological evidence for the Hittites appeared in tablets found at the Karum (the name given to ancient Assyrian trade posts) of Kanesh (now called Kültepe), containing records of trade between Assyrian merchants and a certain “land of Hatti“. Some names in the tablets were neither Hattic nor Assyrian but Indo-European.[62]
  • The script on a monument at Boğazkale (Turkey) by the “People of Hattusas” discovered in 1884 by William Wright (an Irish missionary in Damascus and the author of The Empire of the Hittites (1884)) was found to match peculiar hieroglyphic scripts from Aleppo and Hama in Northern Syria.
  • In 1887, excavations at Amarna in Egypt uncovered the diplomatic correspondence of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and his son, Akhenaten. Two of the letters from a “Kingdom of Kheta“—apparently located in the same general region as the Mesopotamian references to the “land of Hatti“—were written in standard Akkadian cuneiform but in an unknown language; although scholars could interpret its sounds, unfortunately, no one could understand it. Shortly after 1887, Archibald Sayce proposed that Hatti or Khatti in Anatolia was identical to the “Kingdom of Kheta” mentioned in these Egyptian texts and the biblical Hittites. Others, such as Max Müller, agreed that Khatti was probably Kheta but proposed connecting it with Biblical Kittim rather than the Biblical Hittites. Sayce’s identification came to be widely accepted over the early 20th century; the name “Hittite” has become attached to the civilization uncovered at Boğazköy.[63]
  • During sporadic excavations at Boğazköy (Hattusa) (begun 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.[64]
  • Under the direction of the German Archaeological Institute, excavations at Hattusa have been carried out since 1907, with interruptions during the world wars. Kültepe was successfully excavated by Professor Tahsin Özgüç from 1948 until he died in 2005. Smaller-scale excavations have also been carried out in the immediate surroundings of Hattusa, including the rock sanctuary of Yazılıkaya, which contains numerous rock reliefs portraying the Hittite rulers and the gods of the Hittite pantheon.[65]

Location of the Hittite Kingdom[66]

The Hittite Kingdom was centred on the lands surrounding Hattusa and Neša (Kültepe), known as “the land Hatti.” After Hattusa was made the capital, the area encompassed by the bend of 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”.

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 and Kizzuwatna with the rise of those Kingdoms.[67] Nevertheless, the Hittites continued to refer to the language that originated in these areas as Luwian. Before the rise of Kizzuwatna, the heart of that territory in Cilicia was first referred to by the Hittites as Adaniya.[68]

Upon its revolt from the Hittites during the reign of Ammuna,[69] it assumed the name of Kizzuwatna and successfully expanded northward to also encompass the lower Anti-Taurus Mountains. To the north lived the mountainous people called the Kaskians. To the southeast of the Hittites lay the Hurrian empire of Mitanni.

Old Kingdom[70]

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),[71] who conquered the areas south and north of Hattusa. Hattusili I campaigned as far as the Semitic Amorite kingdom of Yamkhad in Syria, where he attacked but did not capture its capital of Aleppo. Eventually, Hattusili I captured 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 campaigned, 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 returned from his campaign, however, each of his sons went somewhere else, and the great cities prospered in his hand. But, when later the princes’ servants became corrupt, they began to devour the properties, constantly conspired 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 about how the corruption was addressed. On Hattusili I’s deathbed, he chose his grandson, Mursili I (or Murshilish I), as his heir.[72]

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 and sacking Mari and Babylon ejecting the Amorite founders of the Babylonian state in the process. Rather than incorporate Babylonia into Hittite domains, Mursili seems to have chosen to turn control of Babylonia over to his 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 he returned home, and the Hittite Kingdom was plunged into chaos. The Hurrians (under the control of an Indo-Aryan Mitanni ruling class), a people living in the mountainous region along the upper Tigris and Euphrates rivers in modern southeast 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 (later 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.[73] Also, the campaigns into Amurru (modern Syria) and southern Mesopotamia may be responsible for the reintroduction of cuneiform writing into Anatolia since the Hittite script is quite different from 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 nature of the Hittite kingship can partly explain the political instability of the Old Hittite Kingdom years at that time. During the Old Hittite Kingdom before 1400 BC, the king of the Hittites was not viewed by his subjects as a “living god” like the Pharaohs of Egypt but as a first among equals.[74]  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 “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) against another (Mitanni). He also attempted to secure the lines of succession.[75]

Middle Kingdom[76]

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”.[77] The period of the 15th century BC is largely unknown, with few surviving records.[78]  Part of the reason for both the weakness and the obscurity is that the Hittites were under constant attack, mainly from the Kaska, a non-Indo-European people settled along the shores of the Black Sea. The capital 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 neighbouring states; the Hittites were thus among the earliest known pioneers in the art of international politics and diplomacy. This was also when the Hittite religion adopted several gods and rituals from the Hurrians.

New Kingdom[79]

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 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.[80] 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 neighbouring 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 high priest for the whole Kingdom – making an annual tour of the Hittite holy cities, conducting festivals and supervising the upkeep of the sanctuaries.[81]

During his reign (c. 1400 BC), King Tudhaliya I, again allied with Kizzuwatna, defeated the Hurrian states of Aleppo and Mitanni and expanded to the west at the expense of Arzawa (a Luwian state).

Another weak period followed Tudhaliya I, and the Hittites’ enemies from all directions could advance even to Hattusa and raze it. However, the Kingdom recovered its former glory under Šuppiluliuma I (c. 1350 BC), who again conquered Aleppo. Mitanni was reduced to vassalage by the Assyrians under his son-in-law, and he defeated Carchemish, another Amorite city-state. With his sons placed over all of these new conquests, Babylonia still in the hands of the allied Kassites, this left Šuppiluliuma the supreme power broker in the known world, alongside Assyria and 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, before reaching his destination, the intended groom was evidently murdered, and this alliance was never consummated. However, the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1050 BC) again began to grow in power with the ascension of Ashur-uballit I in 1365 BC. Ashur-uballit I attacked and defeated Mattiwaza the Mitanni King – despite efforts by the Hittite king Šuppiluliuma I, now fearful of growing Assyrian power, attempting to preserve his throne with military support. The lands of the Mitanni and Hurrians were duly appropriated by Assyria, enabling it to encroach on Hittite territory in eastern Asia Minor, and Adad-nirari I annexed Carchemish and northeast Syria from the control of the Hittites.[82]  

After Šuppiluliuma I, and a short reign by his eldest son, another son, Mursili II, became King (c. 1330 BC). He turned 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, and the material evidence for Mycenaean contacts with the Anatolian mainland, concluded that Ahhiyawa referred to Mycenaean Greece or at least to a part of it.[83]

Battle of Kadesh[84]

Hittite prosperity depended mostly on control of the trade routes and metal sources. Because of the importance of Northern Syria to the vital routes linking the Cilician gates with Mesopotamia, defence of this area was crucial and was soon put to the test by Egyptian expansion under Pharaoh Ramesses II. The battle’s outcome is uncertain, though it seems that the timely arrival of Egyptian reinforcements prevented total Hittite victory.[85] 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 occurred in the 5th year of Ramesses (c. 1274 BC by the most commonly used chronology).

Downfall and Demise of the Kingdom[86]

The Egypto-Hittite Peace Treaty (c. 1258 BC) between Hattusili III and Ramesses II, the earliest known surviving peace treaty, was sometimes called the Treaty of Kadesh after the Battle of Kadesh.

After this date, the power of both the Hittites and Egyptians began to decline yet again because of the power of the Assyrians.[87] The Assyrian King Shalmaneser I had seized the opportunity to conquer Hurria and Mitanni, occupy their lands, and expand up to the head of the Euphrates, while Muwatalli was preoccupied with the Egyptians.

The Hittites had vainly tried to preserve the Mitanni Kingdom with military support.[88] 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, presenting his daughter’s hand in marriage to the Pharaoh.[89] The “Treaty of 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). The terms of this treaty included the marriage of one of the Hittite princesses to Ramesses.[90]

Hattusili’s son, Tudhaliya IV, was the last strong Hittite king able to keep the Assyrians out of the Hittite heartland, although he too lost much territory to them and was heavily defeated by Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria in the Battle of Nihriya. He temporarily annexed the Greek island of Cyprus before that too fell to Assyria. The last King, Šuppiluliuma II, also won some victories, including a naval battle against Alashiya off the coast of Cyprus.[91] 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 Babylonian 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 and continuing to Canaan, founding the state of Philistia – taking Cilicia and Cyprus away from the Hittites en route and cutting off their coveted trade routes. It left the Hittite homelands vulnerable to attack from all directions, and Hattusa was burnt to the ground sometime around 1180 BC following a combined onslaught from new waves of invaders: the Kaskas, Phrygians and Bryges. The Hittite Kingdom thus vanished from historical records, much of the territory being seized by Assyria.[92] Alongside these attacks, many internal issues also led to the end of the Hittite Kingdom and were part of the larger Bronze Age Collapse.[93]

Post-Hittite period[94]

By 1160 BC, the political situation in Asia Minor looked vastly different from that of only 25 years earlier. 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 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 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, several so-called Syro-Hittite states in Anatolia and northern Syria emerged. 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 (911–608 BC). Carchemish and Melid were made vassals[95] 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 Tibarenoi, their language may have been Luwian,[96] testified to by monuments written using Anatolian hieroglyphs.[97] Tabal was also conquered and incorporated into the vast Neo-Assyrian Empire.

Ultimately, both Luwian hieroglyphs and cuneiform were rendered obsolete by the alphabet, which seems to have entered Anatolia simultaneously from the Aegean (with the Bryges, who changed their name to Phrygians) and from the Phoenicians and neighbouring peoples in Syria.


The Hittites developed the earliest known Constitutional Monarchy.[99] 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, and a high priest. However, some officials exercised independent authority over various branches of the government. One of the most important posts in the Hittite society was that of the gal mesedi (Chief of the Royal Bodyguards).[100]  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.

Religion in Early Hittite Government[101]

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 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 legitimising their authority and avoiding 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.[102] Hittite religion and mythology were heavily influenced by their Hattic, Mesopotamian, and Hurrian counterparts, whereas in earlier times, Indo-European elements may still be clearly discerned. The Hittites were a pagan nation obsessed with worshipping many gods related to nature like wind, fire, ice, the sky, thunder, the earth and dozens of other nature entities[103].

The religion of the Hittite people was concerned primarily with ensuring the favour of the local deity – in most cases, he was a fertility god controlling the weather. In most shrines, he had a family and wife, and the note of a mother-goddess suggests an early matrilineal society. With the unification of the country under the Kings of Hattush, a centralised religion developed in which the numerous local deities were combined into a complicated pantheon. It became the kings’ duty to tour the country and officiate at the most important festivals, chiefly during the winter months. A King who allowed his military duties to override that of the gods would lead to dire consequences for the Hittite state. Mursilis II is particularly notable for his duty to religion.[104]

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. 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.[105]  Teshub was also known for his conflict with the serpent Illuyanka.[106]

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 gatehouse where images of the Storm God and up to thirty other idols were paraded through the streets.[107]

Hittite religion and mythology were the religious beliefs and practices of the Hittites, who created an empire centred in what is now Turkey from c. 1600–1180 BC.

Most narratives embodying Hittite mythology are lost, and the elements that would give a balanced view of Hittite religion are lacking among the tablets recovered at the Hittite capital Hattusa and other Hittite sites. Thus, “there are no canonical scriptures, no theological disquisitions or discourses, no aids to private devotion”.[108] 

Some religious documents forming part of the corpus with which young scribes were trained, have survived. The scribes in the Royal administration, some of whose archives survive, were a bureaucracy, organising and maintaining royal responsibilities in areas that would be considered part of religion today: such as temple organisation, cultic administration, and reports of diviners, make up the main body of surviving texts.

The understanding of Hittite mythology depends on readings of surviving stone carvings, the deciphering of the iconology represented in seal stones, and interpreting ground plans of temples: Additionally, there are a few images of deities, for the Hittites often worshipped their gods through Huwasi stones, which represented deities and were treated as sacred objects. Gods were often depicted standing on the backs of their respective beasts or may have been identifiable in their animal form.[109]

Though drawing on ancient Mesopotamian religion, the religion of the Hittites and Luwians retains noticeable elements of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European mythology. For example, Tarhunt, the god of thunder, and his conflict with the serpent Illuyanka resembles the conflict between Indra and the cosmic serpent Vritra in Vedic mythology, or Thor and the serpent Jörmungandr in Norse mythology. This myth also resembles the daily struggle between Ra and the serpent Apophis in Egyptian mythology.

Hittite mythology was also influenced more directly by the Hurrians, a neighbouring civilization close to Anatolia, where the Hittites were located. Hurrian mythology was so closely related that Oxford University Press published a guide to mythology and categorised Hittite and Hurrian mythology together as “Hittite-Hurrian”.[110]  Unfortunately, much of the knowledge about the Hittites has come from artistic, rather than textual, sources, making it difficult to ascertain specific details on this topic.[111]

Hittite mythology is a mixture of Hattian, Hurrian and Hittite influences. Mesopotamian and Canaanite influences enter the mythology of Anatolia through Hurrian mythology. There are no known details of what the Hittite creation myth may have been, but scholars speculate that the Hattian mother goddess, who is believed to be connected to the “great goddess” concept known from the Neolithic site Çatal Hüyük may have been a consort of the Anatolian storm god (who is believed to be related to comparable deities from other traditions like Thor, Indra and Zeus).[112]


Much like other records of the Empire, Hittite laws are recorded on 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 collection of practiced laws from across the early Hittite Kingdom.[114]  In addition to the tablets, monuments bearing Hittite cuneiform inscriptions can be found in central Anatolia describing the government and law codes of the Empire.[115] The cuneiform tablets and monuments date from the Old Hittite Kingdom (1650–1500 BC) to the New Hittite Kingdom (1500–1180 BC).[116]  Between these dates, different translations can be found that modernise the language[117] and create a series of legal reforms in which many crimes[118] are given more humane punishments.

These changes could be attributed to the rise of new and different Kings throughout the Empire or to the new translations that changed 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[119] and have many similarities to Biblical laws found in the Bible’s books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.[120]

Picture Credit: “Original Hittite Laws” by alex.lovelltroy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Use of laws[121]

The law articles used by the Hittites most often outline very specific crimes or offences, either against the state or against other individuals, and provide a sentence for these transgressions. 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. Specific punishments or compensations for men and women are listed in many cases. Free men most often received more compensation for offences 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 the 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 often receive more 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 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.

Overall, The Hittite laws bear a strong similarity to the laws of Hammurabi, the sixth King of the First Babylonian dynasty of the Amorite tribe, reigning from c. 1792 BC to c. 1750 BC.

Picture Credit: “cuneiform” by mizmareck is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

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 intended to preserve the authority of the state. Additionally, punishments had the goal of crime prevention and the protection of individual property rights. The purposes 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 from 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 punishment, such as fines. Where the old law system was based on retaliation and retribution for crimes, the new system had less severe punishments – favouring 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, before these major reforms, the payment to be made for the theft of an animal was 30 times the animal’s value; after the reforms, the penalty was reduced to half the original fine. Simultaneously, attempts to modernise the language and change the vocabulary used in the law codes can be seen during this reform period.[122]  

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 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 is 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 before 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.[123]

Actions at the expense of other individuals usually saw the offender paying compensation, either in the form of 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 under 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.[124]

Not all laws prescribed in the tablets dealt with criminal punishment. For example, the instructions on the marriage of slaves and the 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 the breaking of engagements for marriage was to be handled.

The Pankus[125]

King Telipinu (reigned c. 1525 – c. 1500 BC) is considered the last King of the Old Kingdom of the Hittites. He seized power during a dynastic power struggle. During his reign, he wanted to deal with 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 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 very successful and lasted through to the new Kingdom in the 14th century BC.[126] The Pankus established a legal code where violence was not a punishment for a crime. Crimes such as 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 for that crime would be to repay what was stolen in equal value.[127]

Political dissent in the Old Kingdom[128]

In 1595 BC, King Mursili I (r. c. 1620 – c. 1590 BC) marched into and sacked the city of Babylon. 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 escaped multiple murder attempts on himself, but his family did not. His wife, Harapsili and her son were murdered. Other members of the royal family were killed by Zidanta I, who his son (Ammunna) then murdered. All of the internal unrest among the Hittite royal family led to a decline of power, which filtered to surrounding Kingdoms, such as the Hurrians, to succeed against Hittite forces and the centre of power in the Anatolian region.[129] 

Given the size of the Empire, there are relatively few remains of Hittite art. These include some impressive monumental carvings, several rock reliefs, and metalwork, particularly the Alaca Höyük bronze standards, carved ivory, and ceramics, including the Hüseyindede vases.

The Sphinx Gates of Alaca Höyük and Hattusa, with the monument at the spring of Eflatun Pınar, are among the largest constructed sculptures, along with several large recumbent lions, of which the Lion of Babylon statue at Babylon is the largest (assuming it is indeed Hittite). Unfortunately, nearly all are notably worn or damaged. Rock reliefs include the Hanyeri relief and Hemite relief. The Niğde Stele from the end of the 8th century BC is a Luwian monument from the Post-Hittite period, found in the modern Turkish city of Niğde.

List of Biblical references[131]

There are multiple references to the Hittites, with occurrences of the words “Heth”, “Hittite”, or “Hittites” in the King James Bible[132]. The information is available in book form in Jones.[133] See also Strong’s Concordance. The Hittites are repeatedly mentioned throughout the Hebrew Tanakh as the adversaries of the Israelites and their god. According to Genesis 10, they were the descendants of Heth, son of Canaan, the son of Ham, born of Noah (Genesis 10: 1-6).

The Hittites play a prominent role in key places recorded in the Hebrew Bible – some references[134] are:

  • Ephron the Hittite sells Abraham the family burial ground (Genesis 23);
  • Esau married Hittite women, and Rebecca despised them (Genesis 26:34);
  • frequently they are listed as one of the inhabitants of Canaan (e.g., Exodus 13:5; Numbers 13:29; Joshua 11:3);
  • King David had Uriah the Hittite killed to acquire Uriah’s wife (2 Samuel 11);
  • King Solomon had Hittites among his many wives (1 Kings 10:29–11:2; 2 Chronicles 1:17); and
  • the prophet Ezekiel degrades Israel with the metaphor of a Hittite mother (Ezekiel 16:3, 45).

Fall of the Hittite Kingdom[135]

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

“ Under Tudhaliya IV (r. 1245–1215 BC), Hattusha was further strengthened, and the king completed the construction of a nearby religious sanctuary. However, during his reign, the Empire began to suffer setbacks. The Assyrians launched attacks against the eastern borders of the Empire as well as in Syria, reducing Hittite territory in these regions. At the same time, Hittite dependencies in the west were being lost. Sometime around 1200 B.C., Hattusha was violently destroyed and never recovered. Who destroyed the capital is unknown, but it was apparently part of the wider collapse of Hittite power. The reasons for the rapid disappearance of the Hittites, who had dominated Anatolia for centuries, remain unexplained. However, Hittite traditions were maintained in northern Syria by a number of dynasties established under the empire, such as at Carchemish, which continued to flourish through the early centuries of the first millennium BC.“

Picture Credit: “Relief orthostat (stone slab at base of wall) depicting two bird-headed, winged figures and human body called ‘Winged Griffin Demons’, from Carchemish (Turkey), Basalt; Late Hittite period, 9-7th cent BC, Museum of Anatolian Civilizatio” by Following Hadrian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Sources and Further Reading

[1] Source:

[2] Main sources:, and

[3] Explanation: Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It constitutes the major part of modern-day Turkey. The region is bounded by the Turkish Straits to the northwest, the Black Sea to the north, the Armenian Highlands to the east, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Aegean Sea to the west. The Sea of Marmara forms a connection between the Black and Aegean seas through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits and separates Anatolia from Thrace on the Balkan peninsula of Southeast Europe. Today, Anatolia is sometimes considered to be synonymous with Asian Turkey.

[4] Source: Kroonen, Guus, et al., (2018). “Linguistic supplement to Damgaard et al. 2018: Early Indo-European languages, Anatolian, Tocharian and Indo-Iranian”, in Zenodo 2018, p. 3: “…The Anatolian branch is an extinct subclade of the Indo-European language family attested from the 25th century BC onwards that consists of Hittite (known 20th–12th centuries BC), Luwian (known 20th–7th centuries BC), and a number of less well-attested members, such as Carian, Lycian, Lydian, and Palai…”

[5] Source:

[6] Explanation: The Sea of Azov is a sea in Eastern Europe connected to the Black Sea by the narrow (about 4 km or 2.5 mi) Strait of Kerch, and is sometimes regarded as a northern extension of the Black Sea.It is bounded by Russia on the southeast and by Ukraine on the northwest.

[7] Source: Mallory, J.P.; Adams, D.Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. pp 4-6. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-884964-98-5.

[8] Source:

[9] The Bronze Age was the time from around 2,000 BC to 700 BC when people used bronze. In the Stone Age, flint was shaped and used as tools and weapons, but in the Bronze Age, stone was gradually replaced by bronze. Bronze was made by melting tin and copper, and mixing them together.

[10] Superstrate: the language of a later invading people that is imposed on an indigenous population and contributes features to their language.

[11] Sources: (1) Puhvel, J. (1994). “Anatolian: Autochton or Interloper”. Journal of Indo-European Studies. 22 (3 & 4): 251–264, and (2) Steiner, G. (1990). “The Immigration of the First Indo-Europeans into Anatolia Reconsidered”. Journal of Indo-European Studies. 18 (1 & 2): 185–214.

[12] Source: Mallory, J. P. (1989). In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology, and Myth. New York: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-05052-1.

[13] Sources:  (1)  Kloekhorst, Alwin; Waal, Willemijn (2019). “A Hittite Scribal Tradition Predating the Tablet Collections of Ḫattuša?”. Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie. 109 (2): 189–203. doi:10.1515/za-2019-0014. hdl:1887/3199128. S2CID 208141226 and (2) Kloekhorst, Alwin (2020). “The Authorship of the Old Hittite Palace Chronicle (CTH 8): A Case for Anitta”. Journal of Cuneiform Studies. 72: 143–155.

[14] In classical antiquity, Phrygia (also known as the Kingdom of Muska) was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now Asian Turkey, centered on the Sangarios River. After its conquest, it became a region of the great empires of the time. Stories of the heroic age of Greek mythology tell of several legendary Phrygian kings: Gordias, whose Gordian Knot would later be cut by Alexander the Great, Midas, who turned whatever he touched to gold, and Mygdon, who warred with the Amazons

[15] Sources: (1) Ancient History Encyclopedia. “Sea Peoples.” September 2009. Sea Peoples Archived 18 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine, and

[16] Main sources:, and

[17] Sources (1) Kloekhorst, Alwin; Waal, Willemijn (2019). “A Hittite Scribal Tradition Predating the Tablet Collections of Ḫattuša?”. Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie. 109 (2): pp 189–203, and (2) Kloekhorst, Alwin (2020). “The Authorship of the Old Hittite Palace Chronicle (CTH 8): A Case for Anitta”. Journal of Cuneiform Studies. 72: 143–155. doi:10.1086/709313. S2CID 224830641.

[18] Source: Kloekhorst, Alwin; Waal, Willemijn (2019). “A Hittite Scribal Tradition Predating the Tablet Collections of Ḫattuša?”. Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie. 109 (2): pp 189–203,

[19] Source: Forlanini, Massimo (2010). “An Attempt at Reconstructing the Branches of the Hittite Royal Family of the Early Kingdom Period”. Pax Hethitica: Studies on the Hittites and Their Neighbours in Honour of Itamar Singer. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 115–135. ISBN 9783447061193.

[20] Ibid

[21] Source: Kloekhorst, Alwin, (2021). “A new interpretation of the Old Hittite Zalpa-text (CTH 3.1): Nēša as the capital under Ḫuzzii̯a I, Labarna I, and Ḫattušili I”, in Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol.141, No. 3, p. 564.

[22] Source: Studien zu den Bogazköy-Texten (abbreviated StBoT; lit. Studies in the Bogazköy (Hattusa) Texts) edited by the German Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur (Academy of Sciences and Literature), Mainz, since 1965, is a series of editions of Hittite texts and monographs on topics of the Anatolian languages. The series was intended to publish the Hittite texts that were excavated at Hattusa.

[23] Source: Kuhrt, Amélie (1995). The Ancient Near East, Volume I. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 226–27. ISBN 978-0-415-16763-5.

[24] Source: Forlanini, Massimo (2010). “An Attempt at Reconstructing the Branches of the Hittite Royal Family of the Early Kingdom Period”. Pax Hethitica: Studies on the Hittites and Their Neighbours in Honour of Itamar Singer. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. P 122. ISBN 9783447061193.

[25] Ibid

[26] Source: Ibid, P121.

[27] Source: Bryce, Trevor R. (2005) [1998]. The Kingdom of the Hittites (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199279081.

[28] Joost Blasweiler (2020), The kingdom of Hurma during the reign of Labarna and Hattusili. Part I.

[29] Source: Anthony, David W. (2007), The Horse, the Wheel and Language. How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World, Princeton University Press, P133.

[30] Source: Ibid, p229.

[31] Source: Ibid, p262.

[32] J. P. Mallory is an American archaeologist and Indo-Europeanist. Mallory is an emeritus professor at Queen’s University, Belfast; and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

[33] Source: Mallory, J.P.; Adams, D.Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. pp. 12–16. ISBN 978-1-884964-98-5.

[34] Sources: (1) Parpola 2015, pp. 37–38, and (2) Anthony 2007, pp. 345, 361–367.

[35] Sources: (1)“Anatolian languages”. Encyclopædia Britannica Online and (2)

[36] Source: Petra Goedegebuure | Anatolians on the Move: From Kurgans to Kanesh, video at:

[37] Main sources:, and

[38] Source:

[39] Explanation: Boğazkale (“Gorge Fortress”) is a district of Çorum Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey, located 87 kilometres (54 mi) from the city of Çorum.

[40] Source: Lehmann, Winfred P.; Slocum, Jonathan. “Hittite Online”. Linguistics Research Center. University of Texas at Austin: College of Liberal Arts.

[41] Source: Hrozný, Bedřich, Die Sprache der Hethiter: ihr Bau und ihre Zugehörigkeit zum indogermanischen Sprachstamm: ein Entzifferungsversuch (Leipzig, Germany: J.C. Hinrichs, 1917).

[42] Explanation: The laryngeal theory is a generally accepted theory of historical linguistics which proposes the existence of a set of three (or more) consonant sounds that appear in most current reconstructions of the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE). These sounds have since disappeared in all existing Indo-European languages, but some laryngeals are believed to have existed in the Anatolian languages, including Hittite.

[43] Explanation: Philology isthe study of language in oral and written historical sources. Source:

[44] Source: Hawkins, David (February 1986). “Writing in Anatolia: Imported and Indigenous Systems”. World Archaeology. 17 (3): 363–376. doi:10.1080/00438243.1986.9979976. JSTOR 124701.

[45] Harold Craig Melchert is an American linguist known particularly for his work on the Anatolian branch of Indo-European.

[46] Source: Melchert 2012, p. 7, “The Position of Anatolian” (PDF).

[47] Source: Jasanoff 2003, p. 20 with footnote 41. Hittite and the Indo-European Verb. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-924905-3.

[48] Source: Ardzinba, Vladislav. (1974): Some Notes on the Typological Affinity Between Hattian and Northwest Caucasian (Abkhazo-Adygian) Languages. In: “Internationale Tagung der Keilschriftforscher der sozialistischen Länder”, Budapest, 23–25. April 1974. Zusammenfassung der Vorträge (Assyriologica 1), pp. 10–15.

[49] Explanation: Cuneiform  is a logosyllabic 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 named for the characteristic wedge-shaped impressions (Latin: cuneus) which form its signs. Cuneiform was originally developed to write the Sumerian language of southern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). Cuneiform is the earliest writing system.

[50] Source: The Hittite Empire. Chapter V. Vahan Kurkjian

[51] Main sources:, and

[52] Source: Muhly, James D. ‘Metalworking/Mining in the Levant’ in Near Eastern Archaeology ed. Suzanne Richard (2003), pp. 174–183

[53] Source; Waldbaum, Jane C. From Bronze to Iron. Gothenburg: Paul Astöms Förlag (1978): 56–58.

[54] Source: ‘Irons of the Bronze Age’ (2017), Albert Jambon.

[55] Source: “Hittites”. British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum.

[56] Source: Erimtan, Can. (2008). Hittites, Ottomans and Turks: Ağaoğlu Ahmed Bey and the Kemalist Construction of Turkish Nationhood in Anatolia Archived 22nd September 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Anatolian Studies, 58, 141–171

[57] Main sources:, and

[58] Source: Francis William Newman (1853). A history of the Hebrew monarchy: from the administration of Samuel to the Babylonish Captivity (2nd ed.). London: John Chapman. p. 179 note 2.

[59] Archibald Sayce (1845 – 1933), was a pioneer British Assyriologist and linguist, who held a chair as Professor of Assyriology at the University of Oxford from 1891 to 1919.

[60] Source: The Hittites: the story of a forgotten empire By Archibald Henry Sayce Queen’s College, Oxford. October 1888. Introduction

[61] Sources: (1) Erimtan, Can. (2008). Hittites, Ottomans and Turks: Ağaoğlu Ahmed Bey and the Kemalist Construction of Turkish Nationhood in Anatolia Archived 22 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Anatolian Studies, 58, 141–171, and (2) Texier, Charles (1835). “Rapport lu, le 15 mai 1835, à l’Académie royale des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres de l’Institut, sur un envoi fait par M. Texier, et contenant les dessins de bas-reliefs découverts par lui près du village de Bogaz-Keui, dans l’Asie mineure” [Report read on 15th May 1835 to the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belle-lettres of the Institute, on a dispatch made by Mr. Texier and containing drawings of bas-reliefs discovered by him near the village of Bogaz-Keui in Asia Minor]. Journal des Savants (in French): 368–376.

[62] Source: Kloekhorst, Alwin (19 June 2014). Personal names from Kaniš: the oldest Indo-European linguistic material. Farewell symposium Michiel de Vaan. Leiden.

[63] Sources: (1)  Rediscovery of the Hittites”., and (2)

[64] Source: Güterbock, Hans Gustav (1st January 2002). Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History: Papers in Memory of Hans G. Güterbock. Eisenbrauns. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-57506-053-8.

[65] Source: Hatır, Ergün; Korkanç, Mustafa; Schachner, Andreas; İnce, İsmail (1st September 2021). “The deep learning method applied to the detection and mapping of stone deterioration in open-air sanctuaries of the Hittite period in Anatolia”. Journal of Cultural Heritage. 51: 38–39. ISSN 1296-2074.

[66] Main sources:, and

[67] Source: John Marangozis (2003) A Short Grammar of Hieroglyphic Luwian

[68] Source: Beal, Richard H (1986). “The History of Kizzuwatna and the Date of the Šunaššura Treaty”. Orientalia. Vol. 55. pp. 424ff.

[69] Source: Beal, Richard H (1986). “The History of Kizzuwatna and the Date of the Šunaššura Treaty”. Orientalia. Vol. 55. pp. 424ff.

[70] Main sources:, and

[71] Source: Forlanini, Massimo (2010). “An Attempt at Reconstructing the Branches of the Hittite Royal Family of the Early Kingdom Period”. Pax Hethitica: Studies on the Hittites and Their Neighbours in Honour of Itamar Singer. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 115–135. ISBN 9783447061193.

[72] Source: Mark, Joshua (28th April 2011). “The Hittites”. World History Encyclopedia.

[73] Source: Roebuck, Carl (1966). The World of Ancient Times, p 93. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

[74] Ibid, p 94

[75] Source: Forlanini, Massimo (2010). “An Attempt at Reconstructing the Branches of the Hittite Royal Family of the Early Kingdom Period”. Pax Hethitica: Studies on the Hittites and Their Neighbours in Honour of Itamar Singer. pp115-116. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 115–135. ISBN 9783447061193.

[76] Main sources:, and

[77] Source: Gurney, O.R. (1966). The Hittites. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-020259-5.

[78] Ibid, pp 25-26

[79] Main sources:, and

[80] Source: Roebuck, Carl (1966). The World of Ancient Times. p 94. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

[81] Ibid

[82] Ibid

[83] Sources: (1) Windle, Joachim Latacz (2004). Troy and Homer: Towards a Solution of an Old Mystery. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 121–122. ISBN 978-0-19-926308-0, (2) Bryce 2005, pp. 57–60 and (3) Beckman, Gary M.; Bryce, Trevor R.; Cline, Eric H. (2012). “Writings from the Ancient World: The Ahhiyawa Texts” (PDF). Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature: 6. ISSN 1570-7008.

[84] Main sources:, and

[85] Source: Gurney, O.R. (1966). The Hittites. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-020259-5.

[86] Main sources:, and

[87] Source: Gurney, O.R. (1966). The Hittites. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-020259-5.

[88] Source: Roux, Georges (1993). Ancient Iraq. Penguin (Non-Classics). ISBN 978-0140125238.

[89] Source: Gurney, O.R. (1966). The Hittites. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-020259-5.

[90] Sources: Gurney 1966, p. 36 and “The peace treaty between Ramses II and Hattusili III”. Ancient Egypt: an introduction to the history and culture. December 2006.

[91] Source: Horst Nowacki, Wolfgang Lefèvre: Creating Shapes in Civil and Naval Architecture: A Cross-Disciplinary Comparison Brill, 2009, ISBN 9004173455

[92] Source: Gurney, O.R. (1966). The Hittites. p.39 Penguin. ISBN 0-14-020259-5.

[93] Source: Spielvolgel, Jackson (2011). Western Civilization. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. p. 30. ISBN 978-1111342142.

[94] Main sources:, and

[95] Vassal: one in a subservient or subordinate position

[96] Source: Barnett, R.D., “Phrygia and the Peoples of Anatolia in the Iron Age”, The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. II, Part 2 (1975) p. 422

[97] The Georgian historian Ivane Javakhishvili considered Tabal, Tubal, Jabal and Jubal to be ancient Georgian tribal designations, and argued that they spoke Kartvelian languages, a non-Indo-European language

[98] Main sources:, and

[99] Sources: (1) The Hittites,, 12th September 2008, and (2) Akurgal 2001, p. 118.

[100] Source: Bryce, Trevor R. (2002). Life and Society in the Hittite World, p.22, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199241705.

[101] Main sources:, and

[102] Source: Gorny, Ronald (August–November 1995). “Hittite Imperialism and Anti-Imperial Resistance As Viewed from Alișar Höyük”. The Archaeology of Empire in Ancient Anatolia (299/300): 69–70.

[103] Source:

[104] Source:

[105] Source: Siren, Christopher B. “‘Hittite/Hurrian Mythology REF 1.2’, Myths and Legends”.

[106] Source: Kershaw, Stephen P. (2013). A Brief Guide to the Greek Myths. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 978-1472107541.

[107] Source: i (2002). Life and Society in the Hittite World. p. 135. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199241705.

[108] Source: Beckman (1989),[1] who cites Laroche (1971),[2] and Bittel (1970).[3]

[109] Source: Lebrun, R. (1985) “Le zoomorphisme dans la religion hittite,” L’Animal, l’homme, le dieu dans le Proche-Orient ancien, pp 95–103, Leuven; cited in Beckman (1989).

[110] Source: Leeming, David (2005) “Hittite-Hurrian mythology”. The Oxford Companion to World Mythology. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press. pp 185–187.

[111] Source: Ünal, Ahmet (2001) “The Power of Narrative in Hittite Literature.” Across the Anatolian Plateau, pp 99–121. Boston, MA: American Schools of Oriental Research.

[112] Source: Leeming, David A. Creation Myths of the World. p. 39.

[113] Main sources:, and

[114] Source: Taş, İlknur; Dinler, Veysel (1st  January 2015). “Hittite Criminal Law in the Light of Modern Paradigms: Searching for the traces of Modernday Criminal Law in the Past”. Aramazd Armenian Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 9: 73–90.

[115] Source: Sayce, A. H. (1905). “The Hittite Inscriptions”. The Biblical World. 26 (1): 30–40.

[116] Source: Roth, Martha. “Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor” (PDF). Writings from the Ancient World Society of Biblical Literature. 6: 213–246.

[117] Source: Hoffner, Harry A. (1981). “The Old Hittite Version of Laws 164–166”. Journal of Cuneiform Studies. 33 (3/4): 206–209.

[118] Sources: (1) Taş, İlknur; Dinler, Veysel (1st January 2015). “Hittite Criminal Law in the Light of Modern Paradigms: Searching for the traces of Modernday Criminal Law in the Past”. Aramazd Armenian Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 9: 73–90, and (2) Roth, Martha. “Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor” (PDF). Writings from the Ancient World Society of Biblical Literature. 6: 213–246.

[119] Sources: (1) Roth, Martha. “Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor” (PDF). Writings from the Ancient World Society of Biblical Literature. 6: 213–246, and (2) David., Coogan, Michael (2013). A reader of ancient Near Eastern texts : sources for the study of the Old Testament. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195324921.

[120] Source: David., Coogan, Michael (2013). A reader of ancient Near Eastern texts : sources for the study of the Old Testament. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195324921.

[121] Sources: (1)Taş, İlknur; Dinler, Veysel (1st January 2015). “Hittite Criminal Law in the Light of Modern Paradigms: Searching for the traces of Modern-day Criminal Law in the Past”. Aramazd Armenian Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 9: 73–90, (2) Sayce, A. H. (1905). “The Hittite Inscriptions”. The Biblical World. 26 (1): 30–40. doi:10.1086/473607. JSTOR 3140922. S2CID 143295386, (3) Roth, Martha. “Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor” (PDF). Writings from the Ancient World Society of Biblical Literature. 6: 213–246, and (4) Hoffner, Harry A. (1981). “The Old Hittite Version of Laws 164–166”. Journal of Cuneiform Studies. 33 (3/4): 206–209. doi:10.2307/1359903. JSTOR 1359903. S2CID 159932628    

[122] Sources: (1) Taş, İlknur; Dinler, Veysel (1st January 2015). “Hittite Criminal Law in the Light of Modern Paradigms: Searching for the traces of Modern-day Criminal Law in the Past”. Aramazd Armenian Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 9: 73–90, and (2) Roth, Martha. “Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor” (PDF). Writings from the Ancient World Society of Biblical Literature. 6: 213–246.

[123] Source: Ibid, and David., Coogan, Michael (2013). A reader of ancient Near Eastern texts : sources for the study of the Old Testament. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195324921. OCLC 796081940

[124] Source: Ibid, and David., Coogan, Michael (2013). A reader of ancient Near Eastern texts : sources for the study of the Old Testament. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195324921. OCLC 796081940

[125] Main sources:, and

[126] Source: “Telipinus Hittite king”. Britannica. 5th May 2017.

[127] Source: Eduljee, K.E. (5th May 2017). “Hittites”. Heritage Institute.

[128] Main sources:, and

[129] Source: “The Hittites – Resources of Ancient Anatolia”. Pericles Press. May 2017.

[130] Main source:, and

[131] Main source:

[132] See:,,

[133] See: Jones, Alfred (1990) [1856]. Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names. Kregel Publications, available at: .

[134] Source:

[135] Source: Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art. “The Hittites”, Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2002, and


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