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the hittite civilization

Unraveling the Mystery of the Hittite Civilization: History and Culture

Explore the enigmatic realm of the Hittite civilization – from its ancient origins to its enduring legacy. Delve into their rich history, remarkable culture, and lasting impact on the ancient world.

Unveiling the Mysteries of the Hittite Civilization

 the hittite civilization

the hittite civilization

The Hittite civilization stands as a captivating enigma of the ancient world, shrouded in mystery yet possessing profound historical significance. Originating in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) around the 17th century BCE, the Hittites forged a powerful empire that rivaled contemporaneous civilizations like Egypt and Mesopotamia.

At the heart of the Hittite civilization lay a complex society characterized by advancements in governance, law, and military strategy. Their capital, Hattusa, boasted impressive fortifications and grand temples, reflecting their cultural and architectural prowess.

The Hittites were also pioneers in diplomacy, engaging in treaties and alliances with neighboring states. Their contributions to metallurgy and chariot warfare revolutionized ancient warfare, leaving an indelible mark on military history.

Despite their eventual decline around the 12th century BCE, the legacy of the Hittite civilization endures through archaeological discoveries and deciphered cuneiform texts. Through exploration and study, we continue to unlock the secrets of this fascinating civilization, shedding light on its enduring impact on the ancient world.

What were the Hittites known for?

The Hittites are remembered for several things, including:

  • Pioneering the use of iron: They were among the first to develop ironworking technology, ushering in the Iron Age.
  • Skilled chariot warfare: Their mastery of chariots played a crucial role in their military success.
  • Sophisticated diplomacy: They established treaties with other powers, like the famous treaty with Egypt after the Battle of Kadesh.
  • Rich cultural and religious traditions: Their unique mythology and artwork offer insights into their beliefs and worldview.


Hittite Timeline: A Glimpse into Their Rise and Fall

The Hittites built a powerful civilization in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) that left a lasting mark on history. Here’s a timeline highlighting their key milestones:

Early Period (Before 1650 BCE):

c. 1700 BCE: The Hittites first appear in historical records, establishing settlements in central Anatolia.
c. 1650 BCE: Formation of the kingdom of Hattusa, marking the beginning of the Hittite Empire.

Old Kingdom (1650-1450 BCE):

16th-15th centuries BCE: Expansion and consolidation of power, establishing trade networks and engaging in warfare with neighboring states.
1595 BCE: Sacking of Babylon by King Mursilis I, marking a significant victory.

Middle Kingdom (1450-1380 BCE):

14th century BCE: Internal struggles and external pressures create instability.
c. 1380 BCE: The capital, Hattusa, is sacked by the Kaska raiders.

New Kingdom (1380-1180 BCE):

14th-13th centuries BCE: Recovery and renewed expansion under powerful kings like Suppiluliuma I.
c. 1275 BCE: Treaty with Egypt after the Battle of Kadesh, marking a period of peace and diplomacy.
12th-11th centuries BCE: Gradual decline due to internal strife, external attacks, and natural disasters.
c. 1180 BCE: Hittite Empire collapses, leaving behind a rich legacy.


What did the Hittites believe in?

The Hittites held a rich and complex belief system centered around a vast pantheon of deities, intricate rituals, and a strong emphasis on maintaining cosmic order. Here’s a deeper dive into what

the Hittites believed in:

Gods and Goddesses:

  • Polytheistic: The Hittites worshipped numerous gods and goddesses, each with their own domain and associated myths.
  • Syncretism: They readily adopted deities from conquered lands, leading to a diverse pantheon.

Key Deities:

  • Storm God (Taru): Supreme deity, associated with weather, war, and kingship.
  • Sun Goddess (Arinna): Mother goddess, embodying fertility and cosmic order.
  • Telepinus: Vegetation god, his myth symbolizing renewal and the cycle of life.
  • Emphasis on Rituals: Rituals played a vital role in appeasing the gods and maintaining cosmic balance. Priests performed elaborate ceremonies for various purposes, from ensuring good harvests to seeking victory in war.

Beliefs and Practices:

  • Maintaining Maat: Similar to Egyptian Ma’at, the Hittites believed in upholding “Maat,” a concept of cosmic order and justice.
  • Divination: Priests practiced various methods of divination, like interpreting omens or animal sacrifices, to understand the gods’ will.
  • Magic and Rituals: Magic played a role in Hittite society, with individuals using spells and rituals for protection, healing, and other purposes.
  • Afterlife: While details are unclear, Hittites likely believed in an afterlife, but not necessarily a paradise. Kings and queens might receive special treatment in the afterlife.

Our understanding of Hittite beliefs comes mainly from:

  • Religious texts: Prayers, rituals, and myths inscribed on clay tablets.
  • Treaty texts: These often invoked deities and referenced religious beliefs.
  • Art and archaeological finds: Depictions of gods, temples, and ritual objects offer insights into their beliefs.

Remember, Hittite religion was complex and evolved over time. This is just a brief overview, and further research can provide a deeper understanding of their fascinating beliefs and practices.

Unraveling the Mystery of the Hittite Civilization: History and Culture - Frequently asked questions:

The Hittite civilization was a major power in the ancient Near East, known for its military prowess, diplomatic achievements, and contributions to cultural and technological advancements.
The Hittite civilization flourished primarily in Anatolia, modern-day Turkey, with its capital located at Hattusa in central Anatolia.
The exact reasons for the decline of the Hittite civilization are debated, but factors such as invasions by Sea Peoples, internal unrest, and possibly climate change are believed to have played a role in its eventual collapse around the 12th century BCE.

1 Comment

  1. sheila kessler

    on said  

    This article provides a fascinating glimpse into the mysterious and influential Hittite civilization. I am intrigued by their advancements in governance, diplomacy, and warfare. I look forward to learning more about their lasting impact on the ancient world through further exploration and study.

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