The Luwians

The Luwians

The Luwians

The Luwians

Synopsis

The Luwians played at least as important a role as the Hittites in the history of the Ancient Near East during the second and first millennia BCE, but for various reasons they have been overshadowed by and even confused with their more famous relatives and neighbours. Redressing this imbalance, the present volume by an international team of scholars offers a comprehensive, state-of-the-art appraisal of the Luwians, the first of its kind in English. A brief introduction sets the context and confronts the problem of defining the Luwians. Following chapters describe their prehistory, history, writing and language, religion, and material culture.

Excerpt

Since their rediscovery in the early twentieth century the Luwians have hardly become a household word. Nevertheless, references to the Luwians, to their language, or to other aspects of their culture do occur with some regularity in discussions of their better known neighbors and 'relatives' the Hittites and in comprehensive works on the Ancient Near East in the second and first millennia BCE. An internet search of 'Luwian' by any of the standard search engines produces more than a thousand 'hits'. Even when one has eliminated those that are totally extraneous and the many duplications, the number of serious references is remarkably high.

Predictably, the accuracy and currency of the information presented on the various web sites just mentioned is quite variable. Rather more disturbing is that this remark applies also to information found in some standard printed reference works. The article on 'Anatolian languages' in the Sixth Edition (2000) of The Columbia Encyclopedia speaks of Cuneiform Hittite, Hieroglyphic Hittite and Luwian. It goes on to specify that Hittite was written in both scripts, while Luwian was written in cuneiform. One is less startled by this misinformation in a work of the year 2000 when one notes that the only bibliographical references given are to books of 1951 and 1957.

This example provides eloquent testimony that the Luwians need and deserve an up-to-date reference work of their own. Therefore when Albert Hoffstadt of Brill first approached me at the meeting of American Oriental Society in New Orleans in April, 1998, with the idea of a handbook on the Luwians for the prestigious Handbook of Oriental Studies, I could only heartily second his suggestion. After some hesitation I agreed to serve as editor and to write at least the chapter on language. Given the inevitable problem of previous commitments, assembling the necessary collective expertise for the volume as a whole required some time. I feel most fortunate to have secured the assistance of colleagues Sanna Aro, Trevor Bryce, David Hawkins, and Manfred Hutter.

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