Found the alleged kingdom of the disappeared Hittites. What have archaeologists found?

Who are the Hittites?

it Indo-European people of the Bronze Age who lived in Asia Minor, where he founded the Hittite

kingdom (Hattie). It competed on equal terms with Egypt and Babylon.

Another feature is their language. When the archives were found and deciphered, it turned out that the language there was completely new for these places. Hittite is the first written Indo-European language. And the Hittites themselves are the first known representatives of this family of peoples. In Syria and Asia Minor, they turned out to be strangers.

They reached their greatest power precisely inAsia Minor. In the 18th century BC. e. the first unified state, founded by King Anitta, appears. From this time begins the history of one of the most powerful empires of antiquity. Three periods are distinguished: ancient, middle and new.

Where the Hittites came from is not exactly known. Two hypotheses are currently the most popular:

  • from the Balkan Peninsula, in the west;
  • from the Armenian Highlands, in the east.

Some of their features are very structure. Nowhere in the ancient world did women enjoy such freedom and equality as in the Hittite kingdom, where queens ruled on an equal footing with kings. There were significant elements of democracy in the state structure, which the Greeks later took up and developed.

In the last centuries of their existence, the Hittites created the powerful New Hittite state, which under Suppilulium I significantly expanded its influence in the Middle East.

What is known about the city of Tarhuntassa?

In the Bronze Age, the central part of the modernTurkey was occupied by the Hittite kingdom - a great empire, equal to Ancient Egypt and Assyria. Its capital, Hattusu, located in the heart of the country, was protected from the north by the Black Sea. From there, the kings decided the fate of the subordinate peoples, determined domestic and foreign policies.

Tarhuntassa is first mentioned in the Hittitedocuments during the reign of Muwatalli II (about 1295-1272 BC), who transferred the royal court there from the former capital, the city of Hattusa. Perhaps this move was due to tactical considerations, since at that time Hattusa was threatened by invading helmets from the north, as well as the fact that Tarhuntassa was removed from Syria, where the main hostilities were taking place at the time. Perhaps, considerations of a religious nature also played a role, since the personal deity of Muwatalli was the god of thunder and lightning, who at the same time patronized Tarhuntasse.

At the beginning of the XIII century BC, the kingdom of the Hittitesreached the pinnacle of power, actively expanded to the south, east and west. As it became known from the documents that have come down to us, in about 1280 the ruler of Muwatalli II moved the capital from Hattusa to Tarhuntassa, to the recently annexed "lower lands".

The king's decision was criticized, and after three dozenyears, the court, ruled by the eldest son of Muwatalli Mursili III, returned. The reasons for the sudden and strange move of the capital are still unknown. There is a hint of a religious background in the texts: Hattusa was considered a cursed place. Perhaps political and strategic considerations played a role - all in a complex.

What did you find at the alleged location of the city?

On the Konya plain - now there is the province of the same name in modern Turkey - discovered more than 100 promising sites for excavation, including the huge mound Turkmen-Karaguyuk.

Its area is 125 hectares, which is comparable toHattusa. Around - a fertile plain, capable of feeding many people. During archaeological exploration, Hittite-style pottery was found there. Scientists believethat this is Tarhuntassa.

Not far from the mound, in an irrigation canal, alongOn a tip from local residents, the archelogues discovered a stone stele. The inscription on it, inscribed in Luwian hieroglyphs, tells about the Great King Hartapu, who conquered the country of Mushka (Phrygia) and conquered 13 more kingdoms. His name is mentioned in several Luwian texts carved into the rocks of the Kyzildag and Karadag mountain ranges near Turkmen-Karaguyuk. Perhaps these are ritual complexes that were often arranged near ancient capitals.

Hartapu is a mysterious character for historians. Judging by the inscriptions, he could have ruled at the beginning of the XII century BC, when the Hittite kingdom was rolling into decline. The throne name Mursili speaks of belonging to the Hittite royal dynasty. However, on the bas-relief he is depicted in the guise of the New Assyrian king, which points to the 8th century BC. Osborne and his colleagues are inclined towards this date, given the peculiarities of the writing on the found stele. The name of the country over which Hartapu ruled is not mentioned anywhere. But in one of the rock texts there is a hieroglyph denoting the god of thunder Tarkhunt - the patron saint of Tarkhuntassa.

Why did the Hittites disappear?

Early Iron Age Hittite Empireliterally evaporated. This time is called the bronze collapse. The crisis began throughout the Middle East, the peoples were removed from their homes in search of a better life. The rulers with their retinue left Hattusa, taking the most valuable. Soon the Sea Peoples appeared, plundered and set fire to the empty city.

Scientists believe that the Hittite kingdom in the lastsuffered from hunger for decades of its existence. We know that the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah (1213-1203 BC) sent grain to the Hittite king "to support the land of Hatti." Tudhaliya himself sent an urgent letter to King Ugarit asking him to send 450 tons of grain. The letter ends with an exhortation to Tudhaliya that this is a matter of life or death.

The annual Hittite military campaigns took away all able-bodied young people from domestic labor and farming. Because of this, there was simply no one to work in the fields.

Increasingly, the Hittites became dependent on externalsources of grain supplied by vassal states in northern Syria and elsewhere. When imports were stable, there was enough grain to compensate for the deficit, but the situation changed dramatically when trade routes were threatened. The sea at that time was almost completely controlled by pirates, who inflicted significant attacks on land.

Most likely, the Hittites fled to northern Syria. In any case, three "dark ages" after the disappearance of the empire, kingdoms were formed there, whose population called themselves Hittites and wrote in Luwian hieroglyphs. From this point of view, the excavations of Tarhuntassa - apparently the capital of some Luwian internal state - are very interesting.

Maria Molina, specialist in the Hittite language, employee of the Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences

In the coming seasons, archaeologists plan to conductgeophysical scanning and drilling of the Turkmen-Karaguyuk mound in order to more accurately assess the size of the city and its structure, as well as to outline the site of future excavations.

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