Bronze Age in Anatolia starts with the use of bronze, a mixture
of tin and copper. The people of this age made all their weapons,
utensils and ornaments from this alloy. In addition to bronze they
also used copper, gold, silver and electron; an alloy of gold and
A great advance in metallurgy
is notable during this age, especially from the rich finds of
gold, silver, bronze and copper excavated. Various vessels, jewelry,
bull and stag statuettes, ritual standards, sun-dials (as symbols
of the universe) and musical instruments were discovered in the
burial chambers of Alacahoyuk. The bull figure plays an important
role as a link between the Neolithic and the Hittite religions.
Thus, the roots of Hatti and later Hittite religious belief may
be inferred as extending as far back as the Neolithic Age in Anatolia.
Men were buried with weapons, women with
ornaments and toiletry articles as well as domestic vessels and
utensils, many of them in precious metals. The tombs themselves
were rectangular pits enclosed by rough stone walls and roofed
The Hatti or Hattians were a race of
indigenous people who lived in Central Anatolia. As they lived
in the prehistoric age before writing was introduced to Anatolia
their name has come through Hittite sources. The Hatti gave their
name to Anatolia, which was then called the land of the Hatti.
Even the Hittites called their own kingdom the land of the Hatti.
The influence of the Hatti civilization
is apparent in Hittite religious rites, state and court ceremonies
and their mythology. Although they lacked a native written tradition,
these people had reached an advanced intellectual level; a richness
and sophistication of their own Anatolian culture. They developed
true polychrome pottery and also monumental architecture; for
example, the 60-room ground level palace at the Kultepe site.
The bronze Hatti sun-disc, with its radial lobes representing
the planets, shows the complexity of their cosmic views.
This period is also known as the Middle
Bronze Age during which the old Assyrian state in Mesopotamia
established a trading system with Anatolia. In this period Anatolia
was divided into feudal city states ruled by indigenous Hattians.
They established markets out of cities each of which was called
"karum". There were 20 of these karums ruled by one central
market, Kanis, located in Kültepe. They paid tax and rent
and in return, security was granted by local rulers. Caravans
were employed which generally brought tin, perfumes and ornaments
in exchange for goods made of silver and gold.
Written history started in Anatolia with
the introduction of the Assyrian language, the cuneiform script
and the use of cylinder seals by the Assyrian traders.
The tablets which date back to this period
are written in cuneiform script in the language of old Assyria.
They are written, baked, put into envelopes and then sealed by
re-baking; an example of the first use of envelopes in the world.
Most of the tablets are about trading activities with some about
private lives of people of this age.
"The figurative symbolism has been one
of the most revealing aspects of the finds at Kultepe, because
it emphasizes the existence of an authentic and indigenous Anatolian
culture persisting through the vicissitudes of migration and political
change. A fully developed Anatolian iconography persisted into
later centuries, reappearing almost unchanged in the art of the
The Hittites are a people mentioned frequently
in the Bible (Old Testament). They were immigrant people who arrived
in Anatolia in 2000 BC. It took them 250 years to establish a
kingdom in central Anatolia after 1750 BC and their powerful Empire
flourished in the 14-13CBC until it was destroyed in 1200 BC by
the Sea Peoples.
When the Hittites, who lived north of
the Black Sea, migrated into Anatolia that region was already
occupied by native people, the Hattians. Their arrival and diffusion
had been peaceful and accompanied by intermarriage and alliance
with the natives. So well did the Hittites integrate themselves
into the local culture of central Anatolia that they even adopted
the worship of several native deities.
Hittites named their own state as the
land of the Hatti. As Naim Turfan argues, this does not show
the tolerance of the conquering Hittites, but their meeting of
a much higher level of civilization than their own. For approximately
600 years they continued this habit of borrowing from wherever
it suited them.
Another argument by language archeologist,
Renfrew claims in 1987 that Indo-European languages derived not
from the Russian plains but from Anatolia. The Neolithic people
of Anatolia carried their languages together with their plows
to Europe and India. In this case the language of the Hittites
did not need to come from somewhere, on the contrary, Hittites
spoke Anatolian languages. So far Renfrew's argument has been
It is generally accepted that Anitta
founded the Hittite State in the 18CBC. Hattusilis I established
his capital in the fortress city of Hattusha (Bogazkoy), which
remained the principal Hittite administrative center. From a strategic
point, Hattusha formed an easily defensible mountain stronghold.
Hattusilis I's campaigns were into northwestern Syria and eastward
across the Euphrates River to Mesopotamia. Control of that region
was to become a permanent objective of the Hittites in order to
increase their economic power.
It remained for Suppiluliumas I (1380-1346
BC), an energetic and successful campaigner, to restore Hittite
control in Anatolia and effectively extend the borders of his
kingdom to the south and east. His major accomplishments were
the defeat of Mitanni and conquests in Syria, including the capture
of the powerful city-state of Kargamis. His period saw the Empire
at its peak, but even so during that time the Hittite Empire was
never a single, political unit. Hittite penetration into Syria
brought the newly revived state into conflict with Egypt. A major
battle between the Hittites under Muwattalis and the Egyptian
King Ramses II was fought at Kadesh on the Orontes River c.1286BC
with victory going to the Hittites. They were realistic enough
to recognize the limits of their power and far-sighted enough
to appreciate the value of peace and an alliance with Egypt. Although
there was no real victor in this battle, each side claimed to
The battle was one of the first in history
of which a tactical description has survived. The Hittite specialist
O. R. Gurney summarizes the Egyptian text as follows:
"The Hittite army based on Kadesh succeeded
in completely concealing its position from the Egyptian scouts
and as the unsuspecting Egyptians advanced in marching order towards
the city and started to pitch their camp, a strong detachment
of Hittite chariotry passed round unnoticed behind the city, crossed
the river Orontes and fell upon the center of the Egyptian column
with shattering force. The Egyptian army would have been annihilated,
had not a detached Egyptian regiment arrived most opportunely
from another direction and caught the Hittites unawares as they
were pillaging the camp. This lucky chance enabled the Egyptian
king to save the remainder of his forces and to represent the
battle as a great victory."
The Peace Treaty of Kadesh between Hattusilis
III and Ramses II insured peace between the Hittites and Egypt
on the southern border of the Empire (1284BC). It is accepted
as the first recorded international treaty in the world. The ratification
of the treaty was followed by a cordial exchange of letters, not
only between the two kings but also from one queen to another.
Thirteen years later a daughter of Hattusilis was married to the
In Anatolia, the old pattern of unrest
and revolt presented continuing dangers for the Hittite state,
as vassals sought to reassert their independence. Beset by both
internal and external pressures, the Hittites were unable to resist
the onslaught of the Sea Peoples, who overran Anatolia about 1200BC.
In addition to the cuneiform script imported
from Mesopotamia, the Hittites also used a picture writing form
(hieroglyphs) which can be seen on their seals and public monuments.
Their rapid adoption of a new cuneiform script made the Hittites
the first known literate civilization of Anatolia.
Hittite culture was an amalgamation of
native Anatolian and Hurrian elements in religion, literature
and art. The scribes of imperial Hattusha were familiar with Sumerian,
Assyrian and Babylonian texts and perhaps to some extent with
Egyptian materials as well. Hittite culture thus drew to itself
a representative sampling of the cosmopolitan perspectives of
the ancient Near East. This is reflected in the thousands of cuneiform
tablets uncovered in the ruins of the Hittite capital.
The pantheon of Hittite religion included
thousands of deities many of them associated with various Anatolian
localities. The state cult was dominated by an Anatolian deity
called the Sun-goddess Arinna, protectress of the royal
dynasty. Her consort was the Weather god Hatti. In the
later empire, strong Hurrian influence in Hittite religion appeared
with the introduction of the goddess, Hepat, identified
with the Sun-goddess and with Teshub, who became identified
with the Weather-god. "Zeus's wife Hera and Adam's wife Eve are
the extensions of Hittite goddess Hepat."
Hittite literature includes historical
annals, royal testaments as well as a number of myths and legends.
Many of the latter appear to be of Hurrian origin.
They created the best military architecture
of the Near East. Their system of offensive defense works, handed
down from the Old Kingdom, grew into a unique type of fortification
under the Empire.
The major characteristic of Hittite architecture
is its completely asymmetrical ground plan. They employed square
piers as supports and had neither columns nor capitals.
Outstanding among examples of Hittite
art are the Sphinx Gate of Alacahoyuk and the rock reliefs of
Yazilikaya, an outdoor religious shrine in the form of a rock
gallery located outside the walls of Hattusha, where two converging
lines of male and female deities strikingly depict the major gods
of the Hittite Empire.
First seen in a relief of 12 gods in
Yazilikaya, the number twelve has been repeated often throughout
historic and prehistoric times with 12 Gods of Olympus, 12 Apostles,
12 Imams in Islamic mysticism, 12 in a dozen and 12 months in
Finally, a significant feature of Hittite
culture is to be observed in the Hittite Law Code, which appears
to be more humane than others in the ancient Near East and in
the Hittite practice of treaty relations with allies and vassals
during the empire period.
A number of major Anatolian sites have
now been excavated that have yielded objects or inscriptions of
the Hittite period. Among these, in addition to Hattusha, are
Alisar, Alacahoyuk and Kultepe, all in the central Anatolian plateau;
Karahoyuk, near Konya in the southwest; and Tarsus and Mersin
in the Cilician plain of southern Anatolia.
There is no certain typical tradition
with regards to their burial customs, but cremation and inhumation
can be seen together. What is interesting is that people were
buried with their animals, mostly horses.