The Hurrians – History of Ancient Torkey

The Hurrians enter the orbit of ancient Middle Eastern civilization toward the end of the 3rd millennium BC. They arrived in Mesopotamia from the north or the east, but it is not known how long they had lived in the peripheral regions.

Ruins of the Hittite capitol of Hattusa

There is a brief inscription in Hurrian language from the end of the period of Akkad, while that of King Arishen (or Atalshen) of Urkish and Nawar is written in Akkadian. The language of the Hurrians must have belonged to a widespread group of ancient Middle Eastern languages. The relationship between Hurrian and Subarean has already been mentioned, and the language of the Urartians, who played an important role from the end of the 2nd millennium to the 8th century BC, is likewise closely related to Hurrian. According to the Soviet scholars Igor M. Diakonov and Sergei A. Starostin, the Eastern Caucasian languages are an offshoot of the Hurrian-Urartian group.

It is not known whether the migrations of the Hurrians ever took the form of aggressive invasion; 18th-century-BC texts from Mari speak of battles with the Hurrian tribe of Turukku south of Lake Urmia (some 150 miles from the Caspian Sea’s southwest corner), but these were mountain campaigns, not the warding off of an offensive. Proper names in cuneiform texts, their frequency increasing in the period of Ur III, constitute the chief evidence for the presence of Hurrians. Nevertheless, there is no clear indication that the Hurrians had already advanced west of the Tigris at that time. An entirely different picture results from the 18th-century palace archives of Mari and from texts originating near the upper Khabur River. Northern Mesopotamia, west of the Tigris, and Syria appear settled by a population that is mainly Amorite and Hurrian; and the latter had already reached the Mediterranean littoral, as shown by texts from Alalakh on the Orontes. In Mari, literary texts in Hurrian also have been found, indicating that Hurrian had by then become a fully developed written language as well.

Another depiction of Hittite warriors

The high point of the Hurrian period was not reached until about the middle of the 2nd millennium. In the 15th century, Alalakh was heavily Hurrianized; and in the empire of Mitanni the Hurrians represented the leading and perhaps the most numerous population group.

The Hurrians were one of a people important in the history and culture of the Middle East during the 2nd millennium BC. The earliest recorded presence of Hurrian personal and place names is in Mesopotamian records of the late 3rd millennium; these point to the area east of the Tigris River and the mountain region of Zagros as the Hurrian habitat. From then on, and especially during the early 2nd millennium, there is scattered evidence of a westward spread of Hurrians. An even greater westward migration, probably set in motion by the intrusion of Indo-Iranians from the north, seems to have taken place after 1700 BC, apparently issuing from the area between Lake Van and the Zagros. Evidence indicates that the Hurrians overthrew the Assyrian rulers and subsequently dominated the area. East of the Tigris the flourishing commercial centre of Nuzu was a basically Hurrian community, and Hurrian influence prevailed in many communities of Syria. Hurrians likewise occupied large sections of eastern Anatolia, thereby becoming eastern neighbours and, later, partial dependents of the Hittites.

Yet the Hurrian heartland during this period was northern Mesopotamia, the country then known as Hurri, where the political units were dominated by dynasts of Indo-Iranian origin. In the 15th century BC the Hurrian area ranging from the Iranian mountains to Syria was united into a state called Mitanni. In the middle of the 14th century, the resurgent Hittite Empire under Suppiluliumas I defeated Mitanni and reduced its king, Mattiwaza, to vassalage, while Assyria seized the opportunity to reassert its independence.

Below: The lion gate at Hattusa, the Hittite capitol

Despite political subjection, the continued Hurrian ethnic and cultural presence in Syria and the Cilician region (Kizzuwadna) strongly influenced the Hittites. The carvings at Yazlkaya, for instance, suggest that the official pantheon of the Hittite Empire was thoroughly Hurrianized; Hittite queens had Hurrian names; and Hurrian mythology appears in Hittite epic poems.Except for the principality of Hayasha in the Armenian mountains, the Hurrians appear to have lost all ethnic identity by the last part of the 2nd millennium BC.

The Hittites – Ancient Torkey

History of Ancient Turkey

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

An early Hittite Stela showing a warrior with spear and shield

Their invasion spelled the end of the Old 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 the Old Babylonians 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 about the Hittites, and the Egyptians regarded them as barbarians. In fact, from 1300-1200 BC, the Hittites waged a war 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 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 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 the great traders in the culture built by the Sumerians 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

Ancient Egypt Workers

Ancient Egypt Workers

The great wars brought in thousands of captives workers

Ancient Egypt workers

In general every trade was a caste, as in modern India, and sons were expected to follow and take over the occupations of their fathers.

The great wars brought in thousands of captives workers, making possible the large estates and the triumphs of engineering.

Rameses III presented 113,000 slaves workers to the temples during the course of his reign.

The free artisans were usually organized for the specific undertaking by a “chief workman” or overseer, who sold their labor as a group and paid them individually.

A chalk tablet in the British Museum contains a chief workman’s record of forty-three workers, listing their absences and their causes “ill,” or “sacrificing to the god,” or just plain “lazy.”

Strikes were frequent.

Once, their pay being long overdue, the workmen besieged the overseer and threatened him.

“We have been driven here by hunger and thirst,” they told him; “we have no clothes, we have no oil, we have no food.

Write to our lord the Pharaoh on the subject, and write to the governor” (of the nome) “who is over us, that they may give us something for our sustenance.”

A Greek tradition reports a great revolt in Egypt, in which the slaves workers captured a province, and held it so long that time, which sanctions everything, gave them legal ownership of it; but of this revolt there is no record in Egyptian inscriptions.

It is surprising that a civilization so ruthless in its exploitation of labor should have known or recorded so few revolutions.

Statue of Memi and Sabu

Statue of Memi and Sabu,

Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4, ca. 2575–2465 B.C. E.

The Western Tradition:

Covering the ancient world through the age of technology, this illustrated lecture series by Eugene Weber presents a tapestry of political and social events woven with many strands — religion, industry, agriculture, demography, government, economics, and art. A visual feast of over 2,700 images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art portrays key events that shaped the development of Western thought, culture, and tradition. Below is a list of media presentations by Dr. Weber, each one is approximately thirty-minutes (30) in length. These are being offered to the student as a supplement to other sources presented in this section. The student needs to provide “log-on” information to get access to the presentations; there is no cost to the student. Review Units:

The Ancient Egyptians
Egyptian irrigation created one of the first great civilizations

the Great Sphinx

Facts About the Great Sphinx of Egypt

  • The Sphinx has been a symbol of Egypt from ancient times to the present. It has inspired the imaginations of artists, poets, adventurers, scholars and travelers for centuries and has also inspired endless speculation about its age, its meaning and the secrets that it might hold.

A Description of the Great Sphinx

  • The Great Sphinx of Giza is an immense stone sculpture of a creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. The greatest monumental sculpture in the ancient world, it is carved out of a single ridge of limestone 240 feet (73 meters) long and 66 feet (20 meters) high.
  • The Sphinx sits in a shallow depression to the south of the pyramid of the Pharaoh Khafre (also known as Chephren) at the west bank of the Nile River near the city of Cairo.
  • The rock stratum out of which the Sphinx has been made varies from a soft yellowish to a hard grey limestone. The massive body is made of the softer stone, which is easily eroded, while the head is formed of the harder stone.
  • To form the lower body of the Sphinx, enormous blocks of stone were quarried from the base rock and these blocks were then used in the core masonry of the temples directly in front and to the south of the Sphinx.
  • Despite the hard quality of the stone of the head, the face is badly damaged, and not only by natural erosion. The nose is missing altogether and the eyes and the areas around them are seriously altered from their original state.
  • Some scholars believe that the Great Sphinx originally had a beard. Pieces of this beard discovered by excavation are in the British Museum in London and the Cairo Museum. These pieces, however, may be dated to the New Kingdom times of
    1570-1070 BCE.
  • Napoleon’s artillerymen have been blamed for using the face of the Sphinx for target practice.
  • The Sphinx is part of a complex of structures that also contains the Sphinx temple. This temple, like the Great Pyramid and the Oseiron temple at Abydos in Southern Egypt, may also date from Pre-dynastic times.

The History of the Sphinx

  • According to orthodox Egyptology the Sphinx was constructed in the 4th Dynasty (2575 – 2467 BCE) by the Pharaoh Khafre. However, an accumulating body of evidence, both archaeological and geological, indicates that the Sphinx is far older than the 4th Dynasty and was only restored by Khafre during his reign.
  • There are no inscriptions on the Sphinx, or on any of the temples connected to it that, that offer evidence of construction by Khafre. The so-called ‘Inventory Stele’ (uncovered on the Giza plateau in the 19th century) tells that the Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops) – Khafre’s predecessor – ordered a temple built alongside the Sphinx, meaning of course that the Sphinx was already there, and thus could not have been constructed by Khafre.
  • A much greater age for the Sphinx has been suggested by R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, based upon geological considerations. Schwaller de Lubicz observed, and recent geologists (such as Robert Schoch, Professor of Geology at Boston University) have confirmed, that the extreme erosion on the body of the Sphinx could not be the result of wind and sand, as has been universally assumed, but rather was the result of water.
  • Geologists agree that in the distant past Egypt was subjected to severe flooding. Wind erosion cannot take place when the body of the Sphinx is covered by sand, and the Sphinx has been in this condition for nearly all of the last five thousand years – since the alleged time of its 4th Dynasty construction.
  • If wind-blown sand were responsible for the deep erosion of the Sphinx, we would expect to find evidence of such erosion on other Egyptian monuments built of similar materials and exposed to the wind for a similar length of time. Yet the fact of the matter is, that even on structures that have had more exposure to the wind-blown sand, there are minimal effects of erosion, the sand having done little more than scour clean the surface of the dressed stones.
  • The purpose of the Sphinx is not known. Some orthodox archaeologists assume that it was a memorial to a Pharaoh or that it functioned as some sort of talisman or guardian deity. Other scholars, however, believe the Sphinx functioned as an astronomical observation device that marked the position of the rising sun on the day of the spring equinox in the time of Leo the Lion, which lasted from 10,970 to 8810 BCE. This interpretation is given support by the leonine shape of the Sphinx.
  • In 1798, when Napoleon came to Egypt the Sphinx was buried in sand up to its neck. Between 1816 and 1858, a series of adventurers and antiquarians, including Giovanni Caviglia, Auguste Mariette and Gaston Maspero, attempted to clear the sand from around the body of the Sphinx but were each forced to abandon the project due to the enormous amount of sand. Finally, between 1925 and 1936, the French engineer Emil Baraize was successful in clearing the sand to reveal the base of the Sphinx.

The Mystery of the Sphinx

  • Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) the ‘sleeping prophet’ had the ability to put himself into a deep trance. He stated in some of his trances that Egypt was the repository for records of the alleged civilization of Atlantis, about 10,500 B.C. This repository was an underground library, called the Hall of Records,” that contained the wisdom of Atlantis. Cayce claims that the Sphinx points in the direction of the “Hall of Records.” His reading states: “There is a chamber or passage from the right forepaw of the [Sphinx] to this entrance of the Hall of records, or chamber.”
  • In the 1980’s and 1990’s the Edgar Cayce Foundation conducted research in Egypt around the Sphinx to verify Cayce’s reading. Although researchers from all over the world have begun to look for this chamber with very sophisticated instruments, they have not found the Hall of Records.”
  • There are three passages into or under the Sphinx, two of them of obscure origin. The one of known cause is a short dead-end shaft behind the head drilled in the nineteenth century. No other tunnels or chambers in or under the Sphinx are known to exist. A number of small holes in the Sphinx body may relate to scaffolding at the time of carving.

The Pre-Dynastic era age of the Sphinx

  • Evidence suggesting a construction period for the Sphinx – greatly predating the 4th Dynasty – may perhaps be indicated by the astronomical significance of its shape, being that of a lion. Roughly every two thousand years (2160 to be exact), and because of the precession of the equinoxes, the sun on the spring equinox rises against the stellar background of a different constellation. For the past two thousand years that constellation has been Pisces the Fish, symbol of the Christian age. Prior to the age of Pisces it was the age of Aries the Ram, and before that it was the age of Taurus the Bull. It is interesting to note that during the first and second millennia BC, approximately the Age of Aries, ram-oriented iconography was common in Dynastic Egypt, while during the Age of Taurus the Bull-cult arose in Minoan Crete. Perhaps the builders of the Sphinx likewise used astrological symbolism in designing their monumental sculpture. Geological findings indicate that the Sphinx may have been sculpted sometime before 10,000 BC, and this period coincides with the Age of Leo the Lion, which lasted from 10,970 to 8810 BC.
  • Further support for this vast age of the sphinx comes from a surprising sky-ground correlation proven by sophisticated computer programs such as Skyglobe 3.6. These computer programs are able to generate precise pictures of any portion of the night sky as seen from different places on earth at any time in the distant past or future. Graham Hancock explains in Heaven’s Mirror that, “computer simulations show that in 10,500 BC the constellation of Leo housed the sun on the spring equinox – i.e. an hour before dawn in that epoch Leo would have reclined due east along the horizon in the place where the sun would soon rise. This means that the lion-bodied Sphinx, with its due-east orientation, would have gazed directly on that morning at the one constellation in the sky that might reasonably be regarded as its own celestial counterpart.”

Restoration of the Sphinx

  • Repairs to the Sphinx have been made over the centuries by the Pharaohs Tuthmosis IV and Ramesses II, and also during the Roman era. Restoration attempts have continued to the present time yet the Sphinx continues to deteriorate because of the relentless wind, humidity and the ever-increasing smog from nearby Cairo.
  • In the 1980’s, during a six-year period, more than 2000 limestone blocks were added to the body of the Sphinx and various chemicals were injected in the hopes of preventing its further deterioration. This treatment was not successful and in fact contributed to the deterioration. In 1988 the left shoulder crumbled and blocks fell off. Present attempts at restoration are under the control of the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ archaeologists.

Napoleon at the Sphinx in 1798

The Sphinx in the early 1900’s

Chinese Pyramids

“Great White Pyramid” of “Xian,China” is the “Worlds Largest Pyramid”. It is reported to be about 300 meters high.

It is found in Tibet – located in the Qin Ling Shan mountains, about100 km southwest of the city of Xi’an, in the People’s Republic of China.

Life Magazine had a picture of this Tibetan Pyramid taken in 1957. The first picture to be seen here was taken from a C-54 in world war II by a pilot who flew supplies through the Himalaya Mountain terrain as a volunteer helping the Chinese.

Hartwig Hausdorf, a researcher in Germany, sent over photographs from his collection, taken during his 1994 trip to the Forbidden Zone in The Shensi Province in China.

Estimates for an age are 4,500 years old. Hausdorf mentions the diaries of two Australian traders who, in 1912, met an old Buddhist monk who told them these pyramids are mentioned in the 5,000 year old records of his monastery as being “very old.”

Hausdorf reports: There are over 100 pyramids, made of clay, that have become nearly stone hard over the centuries. Many are damaged by erosion or farming. One pyramid is as large as the Pyramid of the Sun of Teotihuacan in Mexico (which is as large as the Great Pyramid of Giza). Most are flat topped, some have small temples on top. There is a stone pyramid in Shandong, about 50 feet tall. Some incorporate the golden proportion.

Pyramid Built 5000 years ago Found in Inner MongoliaJuly 7, 2001 – People’s Daily

A three-story pyramid dating 5000 years back has been discovered in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The pyramid, which looks like a trapezoidal hill from afar, is located on a hill one kilometer north of Sijiazi Town, Aohan County. The pyramid is about 30 meters long and 15 meters wide at its base.

This is considered the best-preserved pyramid built during the Hongshan Culture period that has been found so far, said Guo Dasun, an archaeologist in charge of the excavation.

Seven tombs and one altar were also found on the top of the pyramid. Archaeologists also discovered a number of pottery pieces with the asterisk character inscribed on the inner wall. The asterisk character is believed to be related to the understanding of ancient people on astrology.

Among the culture relics excavated from one of the seven tombs are a bone flute and a stone ring and a full- sized stone statue of Goddess unearthed from another tomb.

What astonished the archeologists is a one palm-sized stone genital found on the inner wall of a tomb with a small stone statue of Goddess below.

Guo Dasun said that most of these relics are found for the first time and will shed light on studying the origin of Chinese civilization.

The Burma Tibetian PyramidThe Burma Tibetian Pyramid is called ‘The Pyramid of Gathering’.

It is a bright white pyramid that is well preserved in the Buhtan Province.

The limestone is still preserved beyond imagination. It supposedly glows under light.

This pyramid was spotted by U.S. pilots in China in WWll flying over the hump in Burma.

It is mentioned much by an Irish author Mona Rolf.

It same size as the Khufu Pyramid in Egypt.

These images were taken by Hartwig Hausdorf, a researcher in Germany.