Friday, September 21, 2007

Archaeology Series 6: The Hittites

The earliest reference to the Hittites in the Bible is Genesis 15: 18-21:

"In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite,
and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim,
and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite. "(ASV)

The Hittites are mentioned in at least 50 other occassions in the Bible that i've counted.

Outside of the Bible, however, there was no mention of this Civilisation in the written or archaeological record until little over a century ago. Hence many ignoramuses thought it was just some made up fantasy or they had somehow mistaken them for the Assyrians

We know know the Hittites were established from at least the 18th century BCE, inhabiting parts of Asia minor and Syria.

In the 14th century BC, the Hittite empire was at its height, encompassing Anatolia, north-western Syria about as far south as the mouth of the Litani River (a territory known as Amqu), and eastward into upper Mesopotamia. After 1180 BC, the empire disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some surviving until as late as the 8th century BC.

The first archeological vindication was made when Hittite monuments were discovered in the 1870s at Carchemish on the Euphrates River in Syria. In 1906, excavations at Boghazkoy in Turkey uncovered thousands of Hittite documents.

Left: The maximum extent of the Hittite empire in c. 1300 BCE

Sculpture found at Carchemish:

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