Life and Society in the Hittite World

By Trevor Bryce | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 13
The Capital

On its site I sowed weeds. May the Storm God strike down
anyone who becomes king after me and resettles Hattusa!

In these words King Anitta condemned to oblivion the city he had just destroyed—Hattusa, the chief obstacle to his expanding empire in central Anatolia during the pre-Hittite Assyrian Colony period. It now lay in ruins, never again to be resettled! But its destroyer's curse had short-lived effect. Some 150 years later, a new city arose on the abandoned, weed-covered site. Its founder, very likely, was King Hattusili I. Whether or not he knew of the curse, it was clearly incompatible with his developing vision of a brave new world, a powerful new kingdom, of which this derelict place would be the focal point. Its natural advantages were obvious. The thickly forested surrounds provided ample quantities of timber for the predominantly wooden buildings to be constructed in the city. There was good soil for agricultural purposes in the nearby valleys. Seven springs guaranteed an abundant all-year-round water supply. The site was well located in relation to communication routes, from both north to south and east to west. And the natural rocky outcrop jutting above the site provided a ready-made, easily defensible location for a royal citadel.


Hattusa's Main Phases

There were five main phases to the city's existence. The first marked the transition between Early and Middle Bronze Age around the beginning of the second millennium. The second belonged to the Assyrian Colony period, and ended with its destruction by Anitta. The fifth belonged to the post-Hittite Phrygian period, during which the city was rebuilt, on a more modest scale, following its destruction at the end of the Bronze Age. Our concern will be with the third and fourth phases, when Hattusa was the seat of the royal Hittite dynasty, capital of the Land of Hatti.

-230-

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Life and Society in the Hittite World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations viii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • List of Hittite Kings xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Synopsis of Hittite History 8
  • Chapter 1 - King, Court, and Royal Officials 11
  • Chapter 2 - The People and the Law 32
  • Chapter 3 - The Scribe 56
  • Chapter 4 - The Farmer 72
  • Chapter 5 - The Merchant 87
  • Chapter 6 - The Warrior 98
  • Chapter 7 - Marriage 119
  • Chapter 8 - The Gods 134
  • Chapter 9 - The Curers of Diseases 163
  • Chapter 10 - Death, Burial, and the Afterlife 176
  • Chapter 11 - Festivals and Rituals 187
  • Chapter 12 - Myth 211
  • Chapter 13 - The Capital 230
  • Chapter 14 - Links Across the Wine-Dark Sea 257
  • Notes 269
  • Bibliography 293
  • Index 302
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