Between 1400 and 1200 BC the Hittites established one of the great empires of the ancient Middle East. At its height, the empire encompassed central Turkey, north western Syria, and Upper Mesopotamia (north eastern Syria and northern Iraq). Although they spoke an Indo-European language, the Hittites adopted many of the traditions of Mesopotamia, including the cuneiform writing system.
At the capital, Hattusa, Archaeologists have excavated royal archives written in cuneiform on clay tablets.The Hittites were famous for their skill in building and using chariots. They also pioneered the manufacture and use of iron. The Hittites may have been among the first to work meteoric iron for use as a precious metal in such things as thrones and ceremonial daggers. There is no evidence that they know how to produce iron cost-effectively enough, and to make it hard enough, to use as weapons of war. Their mythology has taken several elements from Hurrian and Babylonian religions.
We hear of several generations of gods who ruled the cosmos and who were challenged by a monster. The greatest Hittite capital was at Hattusas, outside the modern Turkish town of Bogazkoy in north central Turkey, inland from the Black Sea. This city had previously been the capital of the Hatti, a local kingdom that was conquered by the Hittites around 1900 BC. The name Hittite derives from the name of the Hatti. The capital was moved to Hattusas around 1500 BC and the city was noted for its massive walls and placement in rugged terrain.
eligion is often characterized by the expression, “1000 gods of Hatti. ” The gods that were incorporated into the Hittite pantheon (the system of gods) were arranged and classified according to their strength and function. More over, the gods were arranged genealogically.
At the centre of the gods was the male storm god, Teshuba, and his wife, the sun goddess, Hebut. One clear principle of the Hattite religion was that the pantheon could always be extended.The discovery of the Hittite capital city of Hattusha was an important event in archaeology of the near east, because it increased our understanding of the Hittite Empire as a powerful, sophisticated civilization of the 13th through 17th centuries BC. While the Hittites may have been immigrants to the land of Hatti, they peacefully adapted to the language, custom and religion of the aboriginal Hattians with whom they enjoyed a mutually profitable and amicable relationship.The Hittite imperial boundaries encompassed a diverse geography, including expansive grassy plains, mountains, sea coast, river valleys, and desert. Their economy was based mainly on grain and sheep raising, but they also possessed large deposits of silver, copper, and lead ore. They were adept metalworkers and among the earliest makers of iron, although during their time iron was more valuable than gold and not available in any quantity. They were an important provider of copper and bronze to Mesopotamia.
When they attempted to control the trade to and from that area by extending their influence into Syria, the Levant, and upper EHittite Empire Map. ” Hittite Empire. N. p. , n. d.
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