The Kingdom of the Hittites

The Kingdom of the Hittites

The Kingdom of the Hittites

The Kingdom of the Hittites

Synopsis

In the 14th century BC the Hittites became the supreme political and military power in the Near East. How did they achieve their supremacy? How successful were they in maintaining it? What brought about their collapse and disappearance? This comprehensive history of the Hittite kingdom seeks to answer these questions. It takes account of important recent advances in Hittite scholarship, including some major archaeological discoveries made in the last few years. It also features numerous translations from the original texts, so that on many issues the ancient Hittites are given the opportunity to speak to the modern reader for themselves. The revised edition contains a substantial amount of new material, as well as numerous other revisions to the first edition.

Excerpt

In my Introduction to the first edition of this book, published in 1998 (paperback 1999), I remarked that probably for many years to come we could hope to write no more than a provisional history of the Hittite world, taking stock of information available to us at the time of writing, and recognizing that parts of this history might already be in need of revision by the time it appeared in print. I wrote those words in 1996, just prior to dispatching the manuscript of the book to the publisher. Since then, there have been many new contributions to the field of Hittite scholarship, reflecting both new discoveries as well as reassessments and updates of material brought to light in earlier years.

To begin with written records, the most important document to be published in recent years is a letter composed by one of the first Hittite kings, Hattusili I, to a man called Tuniya, ruler of the northern Mesopotamian kingdom of Tikunani. the letter has considerable significance for early Hittite history, but unfortunately it came to my attention too late for incorporation in my original manuscript. the new edition provides a welcome opportunity to make good the omission (see Ch. 4). Hieroglyphic inscriptions like that recently discovered on the rockface at Hatip near Konya, or the recently deciphered Karabel inscription (see Ch. 12 for both of these), also make valuable contributions, despite their brevity, to our attempts to fill some of the gaps in our knowledge of the Hittite world. More is yet to come. We still await a full publication of the archives with over 3,000 tablets discovered at Sapinuwa (mod. Ortaköy) during the excavations conducted on the site from 1990 onwards. the tablets will undoubtedly cast important light on the administration of one of the Hittite kingdom’s major provincial centres, as well as on regional administration in the kingdom in general.

In the Hittite capital Hattusa, ongoing excavations under the current director Jürgen Seeher have provided new information about the capital’s practical facilities, as well as its overall ceremonial and administrative character, illustrated particularly by the recently unearthed grain-storage complexes. Information extracted from these and other . . .

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