The early history of the Hittite kingdom is known through tablets that may first have been written in the 17th century BC, possibly in Nesian; but 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 Zalpa and secondarily Hattusa, and a southern branch based in Kussara (still not found) and Kanesh. SONY VAIO PCG-7192V battery
These are distinguishable by their names; the northerners retained Hattian names, and the southerners adopted Nesian and Luwiyan names.
Zalpa first attacked Kanesh under Uhna in 1833 BC.One set of tablets, known collectively as the Anitta text, begin by telling how Pithana the king of Kussara conquered neighbouring Neša (Kanesh). SONY VAIO PCG-71111M battery
However, the real subject of these tablets is Pithana's son Anitta (r. 1745-20), who continued where his father left off and conquered several northern cities: including Hattusa, which he cursed, and also Zalpuwa (Zalpa). This was likely propaganda for the southern branch of the royal family, against the northern branch who had fixed on Hattusa as capital. Sony VAIO VGN-FW31Z battery
Another set, the Tale of Zalpa, supports Zalpa and exonerates the later Hattusili I from the charge of sacking Kanesh.Anitta was succeeded by Zuzzu (r. 1720-10); but sometime in 1710-05, 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. Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery
Meanwhile, the lords of Zalpa lived on. Huzziya I, descendent of a Huzziya of Zalpa, took over Hatti. His son-in-law Labarna I, a southerner (of Hurma) usurped the throne but made sure to adopt Huzziya's grandson Hattusili as his own son and heir.
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), SONY VAIO PCG-21211M battery
who conquered the area south and north of Hattusa. Hattusili I campaigned as far as the Amorite kingdom of Yamkhad in Syria, where he attacked, but did not capture, its capital of Aleppo. His heir, Mursili I, conquered that city in a campaign conducted in 1595 BC. Also in 1595 BC, Mursili I (or Murshilish I) conducted a great raid down the Euphrates River and captured Mari and Babylon, ejecting the Amorite founders of the Babylonian state in the process. SONY VAIO PCG-21212M battery
However, the Hittite campaigns caused internal dissension which forced a withdrawal of troops to the Hittite homelands. Throughout the remainder of the sixteenth century BCE, the Hittite kings were held to their homelands by dynastic quarrels and warfare with the Hurrians—their neighbours to the east. SONY VAIO PCG-21212V battery
Also the campaigns into Syria and Mesopotamia may be responsible for the reintroduction of cuneiform writing into Anatolia, since the Hittite script is quite different from the script of the preceding Assyrian Colony period.
Mursili continued the conquests of Hattusili I. Mursili's conquests reached southern Mesopotamia and even ransacked Babylon itself in 1531 BC. Sony VGN-NR11S Battery
Rather than incorporate Babylonia into Hittite domains, Mursili seems to have instead turned control of Babylonia over to his Kassite allies, who were to rule it for the next four centuries. This lengthy campaign, however, 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. SONY VAIO PCG-21213V battery
The Hurrians (under the control of an Indo-European Mitanni ruling class), a people living in the mountainous region along the upper Tigris and Euphrates rivers 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). SONY VAIO PCG-21214V battery
Following this, the Hittites entered a weak phase of obscure records, insignificant rulers, and reduced area of control. This pattern of expansion under strong kings followed by contraction under weaker ones, was to be repeated over and over again throughout the Hittite Kingdom's 500-year history, making events during the waning periods difficult to reconstruct with much precision. Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M battery
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 period prior to 1400 BC, the king of the Hittites was not viewed by the Hittite citizenry as a "living god", like the Pharaohs of Egypt, but rather as a first among equals. Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery
Only in the later period of the Hittite Empire, from 1400 BC until 1200 BC, did the kingship of the Hittites become more centralized and powerful. Also in earlier years the succession was not legally fixed, enabling the "war of the Roses" rivalries between northern and southern branches. Sony VGN-CR42S Battery
The next monarch of any note following Mursili I was Telepinu (ca. 1500 BC), who won a few victories to the southwest, apparently by allying himself with one Hurrian state (Kizzuwatna) against another (Mitanni). Telepinu also attempted to secure the lines of succession.
The last monarch of the Old kingdom, Telepinu, reigned until about 1500 BC. Sony VGN-CR42E Battery
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 BCE 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, Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery
mainly from the Kaska, a non 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 ca. 1430 BC. Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/P Battery
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. Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/W Battery
With the reign of Tudhaliya I (who may actually not have been the first of that name; see also Tudhaliya), the Hittite Kingdom re-emerges 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. Sony Vaio VGN-CR11Z/R Battery
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". Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/B Battery
The kings of the Empire period began acting as a high priest for the whole kingdom—making 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, then vanquished the Hurrian states of Aleppo and Mitanni, and expanded to the west at the expense of Arzawa (a Luwian state). Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/L Battery
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 Suppiluliuma I (c. 1350 BC), who again conquered Aleppo, reduced Mitanni to tribute under his son-in-law, and defeated Carchemish, another Syrian city-state. Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/P Battery
With his own sons placed over all of these new conquests, Babylonia still in the hands of the Kassites, this left Suppiluliuma 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. Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M battery
Unfortunately, that son was evidently murdered before reaching his destination, and this alliance was never consummated. However, Assyria began to grow in power also, with the ascension of Ashur-uballit I in 1365 BC. Ashur-uballit I attacked and defeated Mattiwaza the Mitanni king despite attempts by the Hittite king Suppiluliumas I, SONY VAIO PCG-81212M battery
now fearful of growing Assyrian power, attempting to preserve his throne with military support. The lands of the Mitanni andHurrians were duly appropriated by Assyria, enabling it to encroach on Hittite territory in Asia Minor, and Adad-nirari Iannexed Carchemish from the control of the Hittites. Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/R Battery
After Suppiluliumas I, and a very brief reign by his eldest son, another son, Mursili II became king (c. 1330). 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 in the coastal land of Ahhiyawa. Many recent scholars have surmised that Millawanda SONY PCG-8113M battery
in Ahhiyawa is likely a reference to Miletus and Achaea known to Greek history, though there is a small number who has disputed this connection.
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 with Mesopotamia, SONY PCG-8112M battery
defense of this area was crucial, and was soon put to the test by Egyptian expansion under Pharaoh Rameses 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. SONY VAIO PCG-81111V battery
This battle took place in the 5th year of Rameses (c.1274 BC by the most commonly used chronology).
After this date, the power of both the Hittites and Egyptians began to decline yet again because of the rising power of the Assyrians. The Assyrian king Shalmaneser I had seized the opportunity to vanquish Hurria and Mitanni, occupy their lands, SONY VAIO PCG-81211V battery
and expand up to the head of the Euphrates in Anatolia and into Babylonia, Iran, Aram (Syria), while Muwatalli was preoccupied with the Egyptians. The Hittites had vainly tried to preserve the Mitanni kingdom with military support. Assyria now posed just as great a threat to Hittite trade routes as Egypt ever had. Muwatalli's son, SONY VAIO PCG-51111V battery
Urhi-Teshub, took the throne and ruled as king for 7 years as Mursili III before being ousted by his uncle, Hattusili III after a brief civil war. In response to increasing Assyrian encroachments into Hittite territory, he concluded a peace and alliance with Rameses II, presenting his daughter's hand in marriage to the Pharaoh. SONY VAIO PCG-51111M battery
The "Treaty of Kadesh", one of the oldest completely surviving treaties in history, fixed their mutual boundaries in 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 the Pharaoh Rameses.
Hattusili's son, Tudhaliya IV, was the last strong Hittite king able to keep the Assyrians out of the Hittite heartland to some degree, SONY VAIO PCG-51112M battery
though he lost territory to them, and was heavily defeated by Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria in the Battle of Nihiriya. He even temporarily annexed the island of Cyprus, before that too fell to Assyria. The very last king, Suppiluliuma II also managed to win some victories, including a naval battle against Alashiya off the coast of Cyprus. But it was too little and too late. SONY VAIO PCG-51211M battery
The Assyrians, under Ashur-resh-ishi I had by this time annexed much Hittite territory in Asia Minor and Syria, driving out 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 all the way to Philistia—taking SONY VAIO PCG-51212M battery
Ciliciaand 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 was burnt to the ground sometime around 1180 BC following a combined onslaught from new waves of Indo-Europeans, the Kaskas, SONY PCG-7134M battery
Phrygians and Bryges. The Hittite Kingdom thus vanished from historical records. The end of the kingdom was part of the larger Bronze Age Collapse.
By 1160 BC, the political situation in Asia Minor looked vastly different from that of only 25 years earlier. In that year, SONY PCG-7131M battery
the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser Iwas defeating the Mushku (Phrygians) who had been attempting to press into Assyrian colonies in southern Anatolia from the Anatolian highlands, and the Gasgapeople, the Hittites' old enemies from the northern hill-country between Hatti and the Black Sea, seem to have joined them soon after. Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/W Battery
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 Neo-Hittite kingdoms in Anatolia and northern Syria. They were the successors of the Hittite Kingdom. Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G Battery
The most notable Syrian Neo-Hittite kingdoms were those at Carchemish and Milid (near the later Melitene). These Neo-Hittite Kingdoms gradually fell under the control of the Neo Assyrian Empire (911- 608 BC). Carchemish and Milid were made vassals of Assyria underShalmaneser III (858–823 BC), and fully incorporated into Assyria during the reign of Sargon II (722-705 BC). Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/B Battery
A large and powerful state known as Tabal occupied much of southern Anatolia. Known as Gk. Τιβαρηνοί Tibarenoi, Lat. Tibareni, Thobeles in Josephus, their language may have been Luwian, testified to by monuments written using Luwian hieroglyphics. This state too was conquered and incorporated into the vastAssyrian Empire. Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/L Battery
Ultimately, both Luwian hieroglyphs and cuneiform were rendered obsolete by an innovation, 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 neighboring peoples in Syria.
The head of the Hittite state was the king, followed by the heir-apparent. Sony VAIO PCG-5N1M battery
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 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. Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M battery
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.
The Hittite language (or Nesili) is recorded fragmentarily from about the 19th century BC (in the Kültepe texts, seeIshara). It remained in use until about 1100 BC. Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/W Battery
Hittite is the best attested member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family.
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. Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/P Battery
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, Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/R Battery
and to decipher this language [...] It will be shown that Hittite is in the main an Indo-European language.
For this reason, the language came to be known as the Hittite language, even though that was not what its speakers had called it. Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/L Battery
The Hittites themselves apparently called their language nešili "(in the manner) of (the city of) Neša" and hence it has been suggested that the more technically correct term, "Nesite", be used instead. Nonetheless, convention continues and "Hittite" remains the standard term used.
Due to its marked differences in its structure and phonology, some early philologists, Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/P Battery
most notably Warren Cowgill, 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. Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/R Battery
The population of most of the Hittite Empire by this time spoke Luwian dialects, another Indo-European language of the Anatolian family that had originated to the west of the Hittite region.
Hittite religion and mythology were heavily influenced by their Hattic, Mesopotamian, and Hurrian counterparts. In earlier times, Indo-European elements may still be clearly discerned. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M battery
"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. Sony VAIO PCG-7171M battery
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 Hebrew Bible refers to "Hittites" in several passages, ranging from Genesis to the post-Exilic Ezra-Nehemiah. Genesis 10 (the Table of Nations) links them to an eponymous ancestor Heth, a descendant of Ham through his son Canaan. Sony VAIO PCG-7186M battery
The Hittites are thereby counted among the Canaanites. The Hittites are usually depicted as a people living among the Israelites — Abraham purchases the Patriarchal burial-plot of Machpelah from "Ephron HaChiti", Ephron the Hittite; and Hittites serve as high military officers in David's army. In 2 Kings 7:6, however, Sony VAIO PCG-81112M battery
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; 2) their Indo-European conquerors (Nesili), Sony VAIO PCG-31111M battery
who retained the name "Hatti" for Central Anatolia, and are today referred to as the "Hittites" (the subject of this article); or 3) a Canaanite group who may or may not have been related to either or both of the Anatolian groups, and who also may or may not be identical with the later Neo-Hittite (Luwian) polities. Sony VAIO PCG-31311M battery
Other biblical scholars 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" (Chittim), a people said to be named for a son of Javan. Sony VAIO PCG-81113L battery,Sony VAIO PCG-81114L battery, Sony VAIO PCG-81115L battery
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