The Hittites – Ancient Torkey

of Ancient Turkey

Roaring into history mysterious origins, the Hittites would rule a great empire that stretched 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, , 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 literature of Babylonians thus continuing the long heritage of .

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 about the Hittites, and the Egyptians regarded them as barbarians. In fact, from 1300-1200 BC, the Hittites waged a against Egypt 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 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 civilizations 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 Greece. So the Hittites are traders in the culture built by the and adopted and modified by later peoples. Because of the Hittites, when the migrated to Canaan under Moses they found a people, the Canaanites, who were, culturally speaking, Mesopotamian

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