History of the Hittites

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  • Topic: Hittites, Hittite language, Assyria
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  • Published : December 12, 2012
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HISTORY OF THE HITTITES

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 Bogazköy 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. religion 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...
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