The Hittites – Ancient Torkey

of Turkey

Roaring into history from mysterious origins, the Hittites would a great empire that stretched from Mesopotamia to and Palestine. The Hittites are shrouded in fog and mystery; we don’t where they came from, and for a long time the they spoke was undecipherable. In the end, it turns out they were Indo-European, that is, they spoke a from the Indo-European family, which includes English, German, Greek, Latin, Persian, and the languages of India.

An early Stela showing a warrior with spear and shield

Their invasion spelled the end of Babylonian empire in Mesopotamia (1900-1600 BC), and like so many others before them, the invaders adopted the ways of the conquered; after the conquest of Mesopotamia, the Hittites adopted the laws, religion, and the of the Old thus continuing the long heritage of Sumerian culture.

Their empire was at its greatest from 1600-1200 BC, and even after the Assyrians gained control of Mesopotamia after 1300 BC, the Hittite cities and territories thrived independently until 717 BC, when the territories were finally conquered by Assyrians and others.

The Hebrew scriptures have little to say the Hittites, and the Egyptians regarded them as barbarians. In fact, from 1300-1200 BC, the Hittites waged a against that drained both empires tragically. The Hittites themselves seem to have left few accounts of their history, so until this century no-one really knew their culture or the greatness of their political ascendacy

Above: The Hittites from an egyptian relief

But the Hittites are perhaps one of the most significant peoples in Mesopotamian history. Because their empire was so large and because their primary activity was commerce, trading with all the and peoples of the Mediterranean, the Hittites were the people primarily responsible for transmitting Mesopotamian thought, law, political structure, economic structure, and ideas around the Mediterranean, from Egypt to . So the Hittites are traders in the culture built by and adopted and modified by later peoples. Because of the Hittites, when the Hebrews migrated to Canaan under Moses they found a people, the Canaanites, who were, culturally speaking, Mesopotamian

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