1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hittites
HITTITES, an ancient people, alluded to frequently in the earlier records of Israel, and also, under slightly variant names, in Egyptian records of the XVIIIth, XIXth and XXth Dynasties, and in Assyrian from about 1100 to 700 B.C. They appear also in the Vannic cuneiform texts, and are believed to be the authors of a class of monuments bearing inscriptions in a peculiar pictographic character, and widely distributed over Asia Minor and N. Syria, around which much controversy has raged during the past thirty years.
1. The Bible.—In the Old Testament the name of the race is written Heth (with initial aspirate), members of it being Hitti, Hittim, which the Septuagint renders χέτ, χετταῖος, χεττείν or χεττείμ, keeping, it will be noted, ε in the stem throughout. The race appears in two connexions, (a) In pre-Israelite Palestine, it is resident about Hebron (Gen. xxiii. 3), and in the central uplands (Num. xiii. 29). To Joshua (i. 4) is promised “from the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites.” The term “wilderness” here is of geographical ambiguity; but the promise is usually taken to mean that Palestine itself was part of the Hittite land before the coming of Israel; and an apostrophe of Ezekiel (xvi. 3) to Jerusalem, “thy mother (was) an Hittite,” is quoted in confirmation. Under the monarchy we hear frequently of Hittites within the borders of Israel, but either as a small subject people, coupled with other petty tribes, or as individuals in the Jewish service (e.g. Uriah, in the time of David). It appears, therefore, that there survived in Palestine to late times a detached Hittite population, with which Hebrews sometimes intermarried (Judges iii. 5-6; Gen. xxvi. 34) and lived in relations now amicable, now tyrannical (e.g. Hittites were made tributary bondsmen by Solomon, 1 Kings ix. 20, 21; 2 Chron. viii. 7, 8). (b) An independent and powerful Hittite people was domiciled N. of Palestine proper, organized rather as a confederacy of tribes than a single monarchy (1 Kings x. 28; 2 Kings vii. 6). Presumably it was a daughter of these Hittites that Solomon took to wife. If the emendation of 2 Sam. xxiv. 64, “Tahtim-hodshi,” based on the Septuagint version γὴν χεττεὶμ καδής be accepted, we hear of them at Kadesh on Orontes; and some minor Hittite cities are mentioned, e.g. Luz; but no one capital city of the race is clearly indicated. Carchemish, on the Euphrates, though mentioned three times (2 Chron. xxxv. 20; Isa. x. 9; Jer. xlvi. 2), is not connected explicitly with Hittites, a fact which is not surprising, since that city was no longer under a Hatti dynasty at the epoch of the Old Testament references. So far as the Old Testament goes, therefore, we gather that the Hittites were a considerable people, widely spread in Syria, in part subdued and to some extent assimilated by Israel, but in part out of reach. The latter portion was not much known to the Hebrews, but was vaguely feared as a power in the early days of the monarchy, though not in the later pre-Captivity period. The identification of the northern and southern Hittites, however, presents certain difficulties not yet fully explained; and it seems that we must assume Heth to have been the name both of a country in the north and of a tribal population not confined to that country.
2. Egyptian Records.—The decipherment of the inscriptions of the XVIIIth Theban Dynasty led, before the middle of the 19th century, to the discovery of the important part played in the Syrian campaigns of Tethmosis (Thothmes) III. by the H-t8 (vulgarly transliterated Kheta, though the vocalization is uncertain). The coincidence of this name, beginning with an aspirate, led H. K. Brugsch to identify the Kheta with Heth. That identification stands, and no earlier Egyptian mention of the race has been found. Tethmosis III. found the Kheta (“Great” and “Little”) in N. Syria, not apparently at Kadesh, but at Carchemish, though they had not been in possession of the latter place long (not in the epoch of Tethmosis I.’s Syrian campaign). They were a power strong enough to give the Pharaoh cause to vaunt his success (see also Egypt: Ancient History, § “The New Empire”). Though he says he levied tribute upon them, his successors in the dynasty nearly all record fresh wars with the Kheta who appear as the northernmost of Pharaoh’s enemies, and Amenophis or Amenhotep III. saw fit to take to wife Gilukhipa, a Syrian princess, who may or may not have been a Hittite. This queen is by some supposed to have introduced into Egypt certain exotic ideas which blossomed in the reign of Amenophis IV. The first Pharaoh of the succeeding dynasty, Rameses I., came to terms with a Kheta king called Saplel or Saparura; but Seti I. again attacked the Kheta (1366 B.C.), who had apparently pushed southwards. Forced back by Seti, the Kheta returned and were found holding Kadesh by Rameses II., who, in his fifth year, there fought against them and a large body of allies, drawn probably in part from beyond Taurus, the battle which occasioned the monumental poem of Pentaur. After long struggles, a treaty was concluded in Rameses’s twenty-first year, between Pharaoh and “Khetasar” (i.e. Kheta-king), of which we possess an Egyptian copy. The discovery of a cuneiform tablet containing a copy of this same treaty, in the Babylonian language, was reported from Boghaz Keui in Cappadocia by H. Winckler in 1907. It argues the Kheta a people of considerable civilization. The Kheta king subsequently visited Pharaoh and gave him his daughter to wife. Rameses’ successor, Mineptah, remained on terms with the Kheta folk; but in the reign of Rameses III. (Dyn. XX.) the latter seem to have joined in the great raid of northern tribes on Egypt which was checked by the battle of Pelusium. From this point (c. 1150 B.C.)—the point at which (roughly) the monarchic history of Israel in Palestine opens—Egyptian records cease to mention Kheta; and as we know from other sources that the latter continued powerful in Carchemish for some centuries to come, we must presume that the rise of the Israelite state interposed an effective political barrier.
3. Assyrian Records.—In an inscription of Tiglath Pileser I. (about 1100 B.C.), first deciphered in 1857, a people called Khatti is mentioned as powerful in Girgamish on Euphrates (i.e. Carchemish); and in other records of the same monarch, subsequently read, much mention is made of this and of other N. Syrian names. These Khatti appear again in the inscriptions of Assur-nazir-pal (early 9th century B.C.), in whose time Carchemish was very wealthy, and the Khatti power extended far over N. Syria and even into Mesopotamia. Shalmaneser II. (d. 825 B.C.) raided the Khatti and their allies year after year; and at last Sargon III., in 717 B.C., relates that he captured Carchemish and its king, Pisiris, and put an end to its independence. We hear no more of it thenceforward. These Khatti, there is no reasonable doubt, are identical with Kheta. (For the chronology see further under Babylonia and Assyria.)
4. Other Cuneiform Records.—The name of the race appears in certain of the Tel-el-Amarna letters, tablets written in Babylonian script to Amenophis (Amenhotep) IV. and found in 1892 on the site of his capital. Some of his governors in Syrian districts (e.g. one Aziru of Phoenicia) report movements of the Hittites, who were then pursuing an aggressive policy (about 1400 B.C.). There are also other letters from rulers of principalities in N. Syria (Mitanni) and E. Asia Minor (Arzawa), who write in non-Semitic tongues and are supposed to have been Hittites.
Certain Khatē or Khati are mentioned in the Vannic inscriptions (deciphered partially by A. H. Sayce and others) as attacked by kings of Bianas (Van), and apparently domiciled on the middle Euphrates N. of Taurus in the 9th century B.C. This name again may safely be identified with Khatti-Kheta.
The Khatti also appear on a “prophecy-tablet,” referring ostensibly to the time of Sargon of Agadé (middle of 4th millennium B.C.); but the document is probably of very much later date. Lastly, a fragmentary chronicle of the 1st Babylonian Dynasty mentions an invasion of Akkad by them about 1800 B.C.
From all these various sources we should gather that the Hittites were among the more important racial elements in N. Syria and S.E. Asia Minor for at least a thousand years. The limits at each end, however, are very ill defined, the superior falling not later than 2000 B.C. and the inferior not earlier than 600 B.C. This people was militant, aggressive and unsettled in the earlier part of that time; commercial, wealthy and enervated in the latter. A memorial of its trading long remained in Asia in the shape of the weight-measure called in cuneiform records the maneh “of Carchemish.” These Hittites had close relations with other Asia Minor peoples, and at times headed a confederacy. During the later part of their history they were in continual contact with Assyria, and, as a Syrian power, and perhaps also as a Cappadocian one, they finally succumbed to Assyrian pressure.
The “Hittite” Monuments.—It remains to consider in the light of the foregoing evidence a class of monuments to which attention began to be called about 1870. In that year two Americans, Consul J. A. Johnson and the Rev. S. Jessup, rediscovered, at Hamah (Hamath) on Orontes, five basaltic blocks bearing pictographic inscriptions in relief, one of which had been reported by J. L. Burckhardt in 1812. In spite of their efforts and subsequent attempts made by Tyrwhitt Drake and Richard Burton, when consul at Damascus, proper copies could not be obtained; and it was not till the end of 1872 that, thanks to W. Wright of Beirut, casts were taken and the stones themselves sent to Constantinople by Subhi Pasha of Damascus. As usually happens when a new class of antiquities is announced, it was soon found that the “Hamathite” inscriptions did not stand alone. A monument in the same script had been seen in Aleppo by Tyrwhitt Drake and George Smith in 1872. It still exists, built into a mosque on the western wall of the city. Certain clay sealings, eight of which bore pictographic signs, found by A. H. Layard in the palace of Assur-bani-pal at Kuyunjik (Nineveh), as long ago as 1851 and noticed then as in a “doubtful character,” were compared by Hayes Ward and found to be of the Hamathite class. A new copy of the long known rock-sculpture at Ivriz in S.W. Cappadocia was published by E. J. Davis in 1876, and clearly showed Hamathite characters accompanying the figures. Davis also reported, but did not see, a similar inscription at Bulgar Maden, not far away. Sculptures seen by W. Skene and George Smith at Jerablus, on the middle Euphrates, led to excavations being undertaken there, in 1878, by the British Museum, and to the discovery of certain Hamathite inscriptions accompanying sculptures, a few of which were brought to London. The conduct of these excavations, owing to the death of George Smith, devolved on Consul Henderson of Aleppo, and was not satisfactorily carried out. Meanwhile Wright, Ward and Sayce had all suggested “Hittite” as a substitute for “Hamathite,” because no other N. Syrian people loomed so large in ancient records as did the Hittites, and the suggestion began to find acceptance. Jerablus was confidently identified with Carchemish (but without positive proof to this day), and the occurrence of Hamathite monuments there was held to confirm the Hittite theory.
In 1876 Sayce pointed out the resemblance between certain Hittite signs and characters in the lately deciphered Cypriote syllabary, and suggested that the comparison might lead to a beginning of decipherment; but the hope has proved vain. To this scholar, however, is owed the next great step ahead. In 1879 it first occurred to him to compare the rock-monuments at Boghaz Keui (see Pteria) and Euyuk in N. Cappadocia, discovered by Texier and Hamilton in 1835 and subsequently explored by G. Perrot and E. Guillaume. These, he now saw, bore Hittite pictographs. Other rock-sculptures at Giaur Kalessi, in Galatia, and in the Karabel pass near Smyrna, he suspected of belonging to the same class; and visiting the last-named locality in the autumn, he found Hittite pictographs accompanying one of the two figures. He announced his discoveries in 1880, and proclaimed the fact that a great Hittite empire, extending from Kadesh to Smyrna, had risen from the dead. A month later he had the good fortune to recover copies of a silver boss, or hilt-top, offered to various museums about 1860, but rejected by them as a meaningless forgery and for a long time lost again to sight. Round the rim was a cuneiform legend, and in the field a Hittite figure with six Hittite symbols engraved twice over on either hand of it. Reading the cuneiform as Tarqu-dimme sar mat Erme (i.e. “T. king of the country E.”), Sayce distributed phonetic values, corresponding to the syllables of the two proper names, among four of the Hittite characters, reserving two as “ideograms” of “king” and “country,” and launched into the field of decipherment. But he subsequently recognized that this was a false start, and began afresh from another basis. Since then a number of other monuments have been found, some on new sites, others on sites already known to be Hittite, the distribution of which can be seen by reference to the accompanying map. It will be observed that, so far as at present known, they cluster most closely in Commagene, Cappadocia and S. Phrygia.
The following notes supplement the map:—
A. West Asia Minor.—“Niobe” (Suratlu Tash) and Karabel (two); rock-cut figures with much defaced hieroglyphs in relief. Remains of buildings, not yet explored, lie near the “Niobe” figure. Nothing purely Hittite has been found at Sardis or in any W. Asian excavation; but small Hittite objects have been sold in Smyrna and Aidin.
B. Phrygia.—Giaur-Kalessi; rock-cut figures and remains of a stronghold, but no inscriptions. Doghanlüdere and Beikeui in the Phrygian rock-monument country; at the first is a sculptured rock-panel with a few pictographs in relief; at the latter a fragment of an inscription in relief was disinterred from a mound. Kolitolu Yaila, near Ilghin; block inscribed in relief, disinterred from mounds apparently marking a camp or palace-enclosure. Eflatun Bunar (= Plato’s Spring), W. of Konia; megalithic building with rude and greatly defaced reliefs, not certainly Hittite: no inscription. Fassiler, W. of Konia; gigantic stela, or composite statue (figure on animals), not certainly Hittite; no inscription. Konia; relief of warrior, drawn by Texier in 1835 and since lost; of very doubtful Hittite character. A gold inscribed Hittite ring, now at Oxford, was bought there in 1903. Emirghazi (anc. Ardistama?); three inscriptions in relief (two on altars) and large mounds. Evidently an important Hittite site. Kara-Dagh; hill-sanctuary with incised carving of seated figure and inscriptions, found by Miss G. L. Bell and Sir W. M. Ramsay in 1907 (see their Thousand and One Churches, 1909).
C. North Cappadocia.—Boghaz Keui (see Pteria); large city with remains of palace, citadel, walls, &c. Long rock-cut inscription of ten lines in relief, two short relief inscriptions cut on blocks, and also cuneiform tablets in Babylonian and also in a native language, first found in situ in 1893, and showing the site to be the capital of Arzawa, whence came two of the Tell el-Amarna letters. Near the site are the rock reliefs of Yasili Kaya in two hypaethral galleries, showing, in the one, two processions composed of over sixty figures meeting at the head of the gallery; in the other, isolated groups of figures, fifteen in number (see for detailed description Murray’s Guide to Asia Minor, 1895, pp. 23 ff.). Pictographs accompany many of the figures. The whole makes the most extensive group of Hittite remains yet known. Boghaz Keui was never thoroughly explored until 1907, the survey of Perrot and Guillaume having been superficial only and the excavations of E. Chantre (1894) very slight. In 1906 a German expedition under Professor H. Winckler undertook the work, and great numbers of cuneiform tablets were found. These refer to the reigns of at least four kings from Subbiluliuma (= Saplel, see above) to Hattusil II. or Khartusil (= Khetasar, see above). The latter was an ally of Katashmanturgu of Babylon, and powerful enough to write to the Babylonian court as a sovereign of equal standing. His letter shows that he considered the rise of Assyria a menace to himself. Winckler claims to read Hatti as the name of the possessors of Boghaz Keui, and to find in this name the proof of the Hittite character of Syro-Cappadocian power and of the imperial predominance of the city. But it remains to be proved whether these tablets were written there, and not rather, being in a foreign script, abroad, like most of the Tell el-Amarna archives. O. Puchstein has cleared and studied important architectural remains. Euyuk; large mound with remains of palace entered between sphinxes. Sculptured wall-dados, but no Hittite inscriptions. Cuneiform tablets; some Babylonian, others in a native language. Also inscriptions in early Phrygian character and language, found in 1894. The most famous of Hittite reliefs is here—a double-headed eagle “displayed” on the flank of one of the gateway sphinxes. This is supposed to have suggested to the Seljuks of Konia their heraldic device adopted in the 13th century, which, brought to Europe by the Crusaders, became the emblem of Teutonic empire in 1345. This derivation must be taken, however, cum grano, proof of its successive steps being wanting. Kara-Euyuk; a mound near Dedik, partially excavated by E. Chantre in 1894. Cuneiform tablets and small objects possibly, but not certainly, Hittite. A colossal eagle was found on a deserted site near Yamuli on the middle Halys, in 1907 by W. Attmore Robinson.
D. South Cappadocia.—Karaburna; long, incised rock-inscription. Bogja, eight hours west of Kaisariye; four-sided stela with incised inscription. Assarjik, on the side of Mt. Argaeus; incised rock-inscription. Ekrek; a fragmentary inscription in relief and an incised inscription on a stela of very late appearance. Fraktin or Farakdin (probably anc. Das-tarkon); sculptured rock-panel showing two groups of figures in act of cult, with hieroglyphs in relief. Arslan Tash, near Comana (Cappadocia), on the Soghan Dagh; two colossal lions, one with incised inscription. Tashji in the Zamanti valley; rock-relief with rudely incised inscription. Andaval and Bor; inscriptions incised on sculptured stelae of kings (?), probably from Tyana (Ekuzli Hissar). All are now in Constantinople. A silver seal with hieroglyphs, now at Oxford, came also from Bor. Nigdeh; basalt drum or altar with incised inscription. Ivriz; rock-sculpture of king adoring god, with three inscriptions in relief. A second sculpture, similar in subject but smaller and much defaced, was found hard by in 1906. Bulgar Maden; long incised rock inscription, near silver-mines. Gorun (Gurun); two rock-inscriptions in relief, much damaged. Arslan-Tepe, near Ordasu (two hours from Malatia); large mound whence two sculptured stelae or wall-blocks with inscriptions in relief have been unearthed (now in Constantinople and the Louvre). Four other reliefs, reported found near Malatia and published by J. Garstang in Annals Arch. and Anthrop., 1908, probably came also from Arslan Tepe. Palanga; lower aniconic half of draped statue with incised inscription, now in Constantinople. Also a small basalt lion. Arslan Tash, near Palanga; two rude gateway lions, uninscribed. Yapalak; defaced inscription, reported by J. S. Sterrett but never copied. Izgin; obelisk with long inscription in relief on all four faces, now in Constantinople. These last four places seem to lie on a main road leading from Cappadocia to Marash and the Syrian sites. The expedition sent out by Cornell University in 1907 found several Hittite inscriptions on rocks near Darende in the valley of the Tokhma Su.
E. North Syria.—Marash; several monuments (stelae, wall-blocks and two lions) with inscriptions, both in relief and incised (part are now at Constantinople, part in Berlin and America); evidently one of the most important of Hittite sites. Karaburshlu, Arbistan, Gerchin, Sinjerli; mounds about the head-waters of the Kara Su. The last-named mound, brought to O. Puchstein’s notice in 1882 by the chance discovery of sculptured wall-dados, now in Constantinople, was the scene of extensive German excavations in 1893–1894, directed by F. v. Luschan and K. Koldewey, and was found to cover a walled town with central fortified palace. Hittite, cuneiform and old Aramaean monuments were found with many small objects, most of which have been taken to Berlin; but no Hittite inscriptions came to light. Sakchegeuzu (Sakchegözu), a site with several mounds between Sinjerli and Aintab; series of reliefs, once wall-dados, now in Berlin and Constantinople. This site is in process of excavation by Professor J. Garstang of the University of Liverpool. A sculptured portico has come to light in the smallest of the five mounds, and much pottery, with incised and painted decoration, has been recovered. Aintab; fragment of relief inscription. Samsat (Samosata); sculptured stela with incised inscription much defaced. Jerablus; see above. Several Hittite objects sent from Birejik and Aintab to Europe probably came from Jerablus, others from Tell Bashar on the Sajur. Kellekli, near Jerablus; two stelae, one with relief inscription. Iskanderun (Alexandretta); source of a long inscription cut on both sides of a spheroidal object of unknown origin. Kirchoglu, a site on the Afrin, whence a fragmentary draped statue with incised inscription was sent to Berlin. Aleppo; inscription in relief (see above). Tell Ahmar (on left bank of Euphrates); large stela with sculpture and long relief inscription, found in 1908 with several sculptured slabs and two gateway lions, inscribed in cuneiform. Two hours south, a lion and a fragment of a relief inscription were found in 1909 by Miss G. L. Bell. Tell Halaf in Mid-Mesopotamia, near Ras el-Ain; sculptures on portico of a temple or palace; cuneiform inscriptions and large mounds, explored in 1902 by Oppenheim. Hamah; five blocks inscribed in relief (see above).
F. Outlying Sites.—Erzerum; source of an incised inscription, perhaps not originally found there. Kedabeg; metal boss or hilt-top with pictographs, found in a tomb and stated by F. Hommel to be Hittite, but doubtful. Toprak Kaleh; bronze fragments with two pictographs; doubtful if Hittite. Nineveh; sealings, see above. Babylon; a bowl and a stela of storm-god, both with incised inscriptions; doubtless spoil of war or tribute brought from Syria. The bowl is inscribed round the outside, the stela on the back.
(For a detailed description of the subjects of the reliefs, &c., with the necessary illustrations, see the works indicated in the bibliography.)
Structures.—The structural remains found as yet on Hittite sites are few, scanty and far between. They consist of: (a) Ground plans of a palatial building and three temples and fortifications with sculptured gate at Boghaz Keui. The palace was built round a central court, flanked by passages and entered by a doorway of three battants hung on two columns. The whole plan bears more than a superficial resemblance to those of Cretan palaces in the later Minoan period. Only the rough core of the walls is standing to a height of about 3 ft. The fortifications of the citadel have an elaborate double gate with flanking towers, (b) Fortifications, palace, &c., at Sinjerli. The gates here are more elaborate than at Boghaz Keui, but planned with the same idea—that of entrapping in an enclosed space, barred by a second door, an enemy who may have forced the first door, while flanking towers would add to his discomfiture. The palace plan is again rectangular, with a central pillared hall, and very similar in plan to that of Boghaz Keui. The massive walls are also of similar construction. Dados of relief-sculpture run round the inner walls; this feature seems to have been common to Hittite buildings of a sumptuous kind, and accounts for most of the sculptured blocks that have been found, e.g. at Jerablus, Sakhchegeuzu, Euyuk, Arslan Tepe, &c. Columns, probably of wood, rested on bases carved as winged lions, (c) Gate with sculptured approach at Euyuk. The ground plan of the gate is practically the same in idea as that at Sinjerli. Structures were found at Jerablus, but never properly uncovered or planned, (d) Sculptured porticoes of temples or palaces uncovered at Sakchegeuzu and Tell Halaf (see above). On other sites, e.g. Arslan Tepe (Ordasu), Arbistan, Marash (above the modern town and near the springs), Beikeui, mounds, doubtless covering structures, may be seen, and sculptured slabs have been recovered. The mounds, probably Hittite, in N. Syria alone are to be counted by hundreds. No tombs certainly Hittite have been found, though it is possible that some of the reliefs (e.g. at Fraktin) are of funerary character.
Sculptures and other Objects of Art.—The sculptures hitherto found consist of reliefs on rocks and on stelae, either honorific or funerary; reliefs on blocks forming parts of wall-dados; and a few figures more or less in the round, though most of these (e.g. the sphinxes of Euyuk and the lions of Arslan Tash and Marash) are not completely disengaged from the block. The most considerable sculptured rock-panels are at Boghaz Keui (see Pteria); the others (Ivriz, Fraktin, Karabel, Giaur Kalessi, Doghanlüdere), it should be observed, all lie N. of Taurus—a fact of some bearing on the problem of the origin and local domicile of the art, since rock-reliefs, at any rate, cannot be otherwise than in situ. Sculptured stelae, honorific or funerary, all with pyramidal or slightly rounded upper ends, and showing a single regal or divine figure or two figures, have come to light at Bor, Marash, Sinjerli, Jerablus, Babylon, &c. These, like most of the rock-panels, are all marked as Hittite by accompanying pictographic inscriptions. The wall-blocks are seldom inscribed, the exceptions (e.g. the Arslan Tepe lion-hunt and certain blocks from Marash and Jerablus) being not more certainly wall-dados than stelae. The only fairly complete anthropoid statue known is the much-defaced “Niobe” at Suratlu Tash, engaged in the rock behind. The aniconic lower part of an inscribed statue wholly in the round was found at Palanga, and parts of others at Kirchoglu and Marash. Despite considerable differences in execution and details, all these sculptures show one general type of art, a type which recalls now Babylonian, now Assyrian, now Egyptian, now archaic Ionian, style, but is always individual and easily distinguishable from the actual products of those peoples. The figures, whether of men or beasts, are of a squat, heavy order, with internal features (e.g. bones, muscles, &c.) shown as if external, as in some Mesopotamian sculptures. The human type is always very brachycephalic, with brow receding sharply and long nose making almost one line with the sloping forehead. In the sculptures of the Commagene and the Tyana districts, the nose has a long curving tip, of very Jewish appearance, but not unlike the outline given to Kheta warriors in Egyptian scenes. The lips are full and the chin short and shaven. The whole physiognomy is fleshy and markedly distinct from that of other Syrians. At Boghaz Keui, Euyuk and Jerablus, the facial type is very markedly non-Semitic. But not much stress can be laid on these differences owing to (1) great variety of execution in different sculptures, which argues artists of very unequal capacity; (2) doubt whether individual portraits are intended in some cases and not in others. The hair of males is sometimes, but not always, worn in pigtail. The fashions of head-covering and clothes are very various, but several of them—e.g. the horned cap of the Ivriz god; the conical hat at Boghaz Keui, Fraktin, &c; the “jockey-cap” on the Tarkudimme boss; the broad-bordered over-robe, and the upturned shoes—are not found on other Asiatic monuments, except where Hittites are portrayed. Animals in profile are represented more naturalistically than human beings, e.g. at Yasili Kaya, and especially in some pictographic symbols in relief (e.g. at Hamah). This, however, is a feature common to Mesopotamian and Egyptian, and perhaps to all primitive art.
The subjects depicted are processions of figures, human and divine (Yasili Kaya, Euyuk, Giaur Kalessi); scenes of sacrifice or adoration, or other cult-practice (Yasili Kaya, Euyuk, Fraktin, Ivriz, and perhaps the figures seated beside tables at Marash Sakchegeuzu, Sinjerli, &c.); of the chase (Arslan Tepe, Sakchegeuzu); but not, as known at present, of battle. Both at Euyuk and Yasili Kaya reliefs in one and the same series are widely separated in artistic conception and execution, some showing the utmost naïveté, others expressing both outline and motion with fair success. The fact warns us against drawing hasty inductions as to relative dates from style and execution.
Besides sculptures, well assured, Hittite art-products include a few small objects in metal (e.g. heavy, inscribed gold ring bought by Sir W. M. Ramsay at Konia; base silver seal, supported on three lions’ claws, bought by D. G. Hogarth at Bor; inscribed silver boss of “Tarkudimme,” mentioned above, &c. &c.); many intaglios in various stones (chiefly in steatite), mostly either spheroidal or gable-shaped, but a few scarabaeoid, conical or cylindrical, bearing sometimes pictographic symbols, sometimes divine, human or animal figures. The best collection is at Oxford. The majority are of very rude workmanship, bodies and limbs being represented by mere skeleton lines or unfilled outlines; a few vessels (e.g. inscribed basalt bowl found at Babylon) and fragments of ware painted with dark ornament on light body-clay, or in polychrome on a cream-white slip, or black burnished, found on N. Cappadocian sites, &c. The bronzes hitherto claimed as Hittite have been bought on the Syrian coast or come from not certainly Hittite sites in Cappadocia (see E. Chantre, Mission en Cappadocie). A great many small objects were found in the excavations at Sinjerli, including carved ivories, seals, toilet-instruments, implements, &c., but these have not been published. Nor, except provisionally, has the pottery, found at Sakchegeuzu.
Inscriptions.—These, now almost sixty in number (excluding seals), are all in a pictographic character which employed symbols somewhat elaborately depicted in relief, but reduced to conventional and “shorthand” representations in the incised texts. So far, the majority of our Hittite inscriptions, like those first found at Hamah, are in relief (cameo); but the incised characters, first observed in the Tyana district, have since been shown, by discoveries at Marash, Babylon, &c., to have had a wider range. It has usually been assumed that the incised inscriptions, being the more conventionalized, are all of later date than those in relief; but comparison of Egyptian inscriptions, wherein both incised and cameo characters coexisted back to very early times, suggests that this assumption is not necessarily correct. The Hittite symbols at present known show about two hundred varieties; but new inscriptions continually add to the list, and great uncertainty remains as to the distinction of many symbols (i.e. whether mere variants or not), and as to many others which are defaced or broken in our texts. The objects represented by these symbols have been certainly identified in only a few instances. A certain number are heads (human and animal) detached from bodies, in a manner not known in the Egyptian hieroglyphic system, with which some of the other symbols show obvious analogies. Articles of dress, weapons, tools, &c., also appear. The longer inscriptions are disposed in horizontal zones or panels, divided by lines, and, it seems, they were to be read boustrophedon, not only as regards the lines (which begin right to left) but also the words, which are written in columnar fashion, syllable below syllable, and read downwards and upwards alternately. The direction of reading is towards any faces which may be shown among the pictographs. The words are perhaps distinguished in some texts by punctuation marks.
Long and patient efforts have been made to decipher this script, ever since it was first restored to our knowledge; and among the would-be decipherers honourable mention must be made, for persistence and courage, of Professor A. H. Sayce and of Professor P. Jensen. Other interpretations have been put forward by F. E. Peiser (based on conjectures as to the names on the Nineveh sealings), C. R. Conder (based largely on Cypriote comparisons and phonetic values transferred from these) and C. J. Ball (based on Hittite names recorded on Egyptian and Assyrian monuments, and applied to word-groups on the Hittite monuments). These, however, as having arbitrary and inadequate foundations, and for other reasons, have not been accepted. F. Hommel, J. Halévy and J. Menant have done useful work in distinguishing word-groups, and have essayed partial interpretations. No other decipherers call for mention. A. H. Sayce and P. Jensen alone have enlisted any large body of adherents; and the former, who has worked upon his system for thirty years and published in the Proceedings of the Society for Biblical Archaeology for 1907 a summary of his method and results, has proceeded on the more scientific plan. His system, however, like all others, is built in the main upon hypotheses incapable at present of quite satisfactory verification, such, for example, as the conjectural reading “Gargamish” for a group of symbols which recurs in inscriptions from Jerablus and elsewhere. In this case, to add to the other obvious elements of uncertainty, it must be borne in mind that the location of Carchemish at Jerablus is not proved, though it is very probable. Other conjectural identifications of groups of symbols with the place-names Hamath, Marash, Tyana are bases of Sayce’s system. Jensen’s system may be said to have been effectually demolished by L. Messerschmidt in his Bemerkungen (1898); but Sayce’s system, which has been approved by Hommel and others, is probably in its main lines correct. Its frequent explanation, however, of incompatible symbols by the doctrines of phonetic variation and interchange, or by alternative values of the same symbol used as ideograph, determinative or phonetic complement, and the occasional use of circular argument in the process of “verification,” do not inspire confidence in other than its broader results. Sayce’s phonetic values and interpretations of determinatives are his best assured achievements. But the words thus arrived at represent a language on which other known tongues throw little or no light, and their meaning is usually to be guessed only. In some significant cases, however, the Boghaz Keui tablets appear to give striking confirmation of Sayce’s conjectures.
Writing in 1903 L. Messerschmidt, editor of the best collection of Hittite texts up to date, made a tabula rasa of all systems of decipherment, asserting that only one sign out of two hundred—the bisected oval, determinative of divinity—had been interpreted with any certainty; and in view of this opinion, coupled with the steady refusal of historians to apply the results of any Hittite decipherment, and the obvious lack of satisfactory verification, without which the piling of hypothesis on hypothesis may only lead further from probability, there is no choice but to suspend judgment for some time longer as to the inscriptions and all deductions drawn from them.
Are the Monuments Hittite?—It is time to ask this question, although a perfectly satisfactory answer can only be expected when the inscriptions themselves have been deciphered. Almost all “Hittitologues” assume a connexion between the monuments and the Kheta-Khatti-Hittites, but in various degrees; e.g. while Sayce has said roundly that common sense demands the acceptance of all as the work of the Hittites, who were the dominant caste throughout a loosely-knit empire extending at one time from the Orontes to the Aegean, Messerschmidt has stated with equal dogmatism that the Hittites proper were only one people out of many in N. Syria and Asia Minor who shared a common civilization, and that therefore they were authors of a part of the monuments only—presumably the N. Syrian, Commagenian and Cataonian groups. O. Puchstein has denied to the Hittites some of the N. Syrian monuments, holding these of too late a date (judged by their Assyrian analogies) for the flourishing period of the Kheta-Khatti, as known from Egyptian and Assyrian records. He would ascribe them to the Kummukh (Commagenians), who seem to have succeeded the Khatti as the strongest opponents of Assyria in these parts. He was possibly right as regards the Sinjerli and Sakchegeuzu sculptures, which are of provincial appearance. The following considerations, however, may be stated in favour of the ascription of the monuments to the Hittites:—
(1) The monuments in question are found frequently whereever, from other records, we know the Hittites to have been domiciled at some period, i.e. throughout N. Syria and in Cataonia. (2) It was under the Khatti that Carchemish was a flourishing commercial city; and if Jerablus be really Carchemish, it is significant that apparently the most numerous and most artistic of the monuments occur there. (3) Among all the early peoples of N. Syria and Asia Minor known to us from Egyptian and Assyrian records, the Kheta-Khatti alone appear frequently as leading to war peoples from far beyond Taurus. (4) The Kheta certainly had a system of writing and a glyptic art in the time of Rameses II., or else the Egyptian account of their copy of the treaty would be baseless. (5) The physiognomy given to Kheta warriors by Egyptian artists is fairly representative of the prevailing type shown in the Hittite sculptures.
Furthermore, the Boghaz Keui tablets, though only partially deciphered as yet, go far to settle the question. They show that whether Boghaz Keui was actually the capital of the Hatti or not, it was a great city of the Hatti, and that the latter were an important element in Cappadocia from very early times. Before the middle of the 16th century B.C. the Cappadocian Hatti were already in relations, generally more or less hostile, with a rival power in Syria, that of Mitanni; and Subbiluliuma (= Saplel or Saparura), king of these Hatti, a contemporary of Amenophis IV. and Rameses I., seems to have obtained lasting dominion in Syria by subduing Dushratta of Mitanni. Carchemish thenceforward became a Hatti city and the southern capital of Cappadocian power. Since all the Syrian monuments of the Hittite class, so far known, seem comparatively late (most show such strong Assyrian, influence that they must fall after 1100 B.C. and probably even considerably later), while the North Cappadocian monuments (as Sayce, Ramsay, Perrot and others saw long ago) are the earlier in style, we are bound to ascribe the origin of the civilization which they represent to the Cappadocian Hatti.
Whether the Mitanni had shared in that civilization while independent, and whether they were racially kin to the Hatti, cannot be determined at present. Winckler has adduced evidence from names of local gods to show that there was an Indo-European racial element in Mitanni; but none for a similar element in the Hatti, whose chief god was Teshub. The majority of scholars has always regarded the Hittites proper as, at any rate, non-Semitic, and some leading authorities have called them proto-Armenian, and believed that they have modern descendants in the Caucasus. This racial question can hardly be determined till those Hatti records, whether in cuneiform or pictographic script, which are couched in a native tongue, not in Babylonian, are read. In the meantime we have proper names to argue from; and these give us at least the significant indication that the Hittite nominative ended in s and the accusative in m. In any case the connexion of the Hatti with the peculiar class of monuments which we have been describing, can hardly be further questioned; and it has become more than probable that the Hatti of Cappadocia were responsible in the beginning for the art and script of those monuments and for the civilization of which they are memorials. Other peoples of north Syria and Asia Minor (e.g. the Kummukh or Commagenians and the Muski or Phrygians) came no doubt under the influence of this civilization and imitated its monuments, while subject to or federated with the Hatti. Through Phrygia and Lydia (q.v.) influences of this same Cappadocian civilization passed towards the west; and indeed, before the Greek colonization of Asia Minor, a loosely knit Hatti empire may have stretched even to the Aegean. The Nymphi (Kara Bel) and Niobe sculptures near Smyrna are probably memorials of that extension. Certainly some inland Anatolian power seems to have kept Aegean settlers and culture away from the Ionian coast during the Bronze Age, and that power was in all likelihood the Hatti kingdom of Cappadocia. Owing perhaps to Assyrian aggression, this power seems to have begun to suffer decay about 1000 B.C. and thereafter to have shrunk inwards, leaving the coasts open. The powers of Phrygia and Lydia rose successively out of its ruins, and continued to offer westward passage to influences of Mesopotamian culture till well into historic times. The Greeks came too late to Asia to have had any contact with Hatti power obscured from their view by the intermediate and secondary state of Phrygia. Their earliest writers regarded the latter as the seat of the oldest and most godlike of mankind. Only one Greek author, Herodotus, alludes to the pre-historic Cappadocian power and only at the latest moment of its long decline. At the same time, some of the Greek legends seem to show that peoples, with whom the Greeks came into early contact, had vivid memories of the Hatti. Such are the Amazon stories, whose local range was very extensive, and the myths of Memnon and Pelops. The real reference of these stories, however, was forgotten, and it has been reserved to our own generation to rediscover the records of a power and a civilization which once dominated Asia Minor and north Syria and occupied all the continental roads of communication between the East and the West of the ancient world. The credit of having been the first to divine this importance of the Hittites should always be ascribed to Sayce.
The history of the Hatti and their civilization, then, would appear to have been, very briefly, this. They belonged to an ethnic scattered widely over Eastern Asia Minor and Syria at an early period (Khatti invaded Akkad about 1800 B.C. in the reign of Samsuditana); but they first formed a strong state in Cappadocia late in the 16th century B.C. Subbiluliuma became their first great king, though he had at least one dynastic predecessor of the name of Hattusil. The Hatti now pushed southwards in force, overcame the kingdom of Mitanni and proceeded partly to occupy and partly to make tributary both north Syria and western Mesopotamia where some of their congeners were already settled. They came early into collision with Egypt, and at the height of their power under Hattusil II. fought the battle of Kadesh with Rameses II., on at least equal terms. Both now and previously the diplomatic correspondence of the Hatti monarchs shows that they treated on terms of practical equality with both the Babylonian and the Egyptian courts; and that they waged constant wars in Syria, mainly with the Amorite tribes. At this time the Hatti empire or confederacy probably included, on the west, both Phrygia and Lydia. The Boghaz Keui correspondence ceases to be important with the generation following Hattusil II., and in the Assyrian records, which begin about a couple of centuries later, we find Carchemish the chief Hatti city and N. Syria called the Hatti-land. It is possible therefore that a change of imperial centre took place after the Hatti had ceased to fear Egypt in north Syria. If so, the continuation of Hittite history will have to be sought among the remains at Jerablus and other middle Euphratean sites, rather than in those at Boghaz Keui. The establishment of the Hatti at Carchemish not only made them a commercial people and probably sapped their highland vigour, but also brought them into closer proximity to the rising North Semitic power of Assyria, whose advent had been regarded with apprehension by Hattusil II. (see above). One of his successors, Arnaunta (late 13th century?), was already feeling the effect of Assyrian pressure, and with the accession of Tiglath Pileser I., about a century later, a long but often interrupted series of Assyrian efforts to break up the Hatti power began. A succession of Ninevite armies raided north Syria and even south-east Asia Minor, and gradually reduced the Hatti. But the resistance of the latter was sturdy and prolonged. They remained the strongest power in Syria and eastern Asia Minor till well into the first millennium B.C., and their Syrian seat was not lost finally till after the great extension of Assyrian power which took place in the latter part of the 9th century. What had been happening to their Cappadocian province meanwhile we do not yet know; but the presence of Phrygian inscriptions at Euyuk and Tyana, ancient seats of their power, suggests that the client monarchy in the Sangarius valley shook itself free during the early part of the Hittite struggle with Assyria, and in the day of Hatti weakness extended its dominion over the home territory of its former suzerain. “White Syrians,” however, were still in Cappadocia even after the Cimmerians had destroyed the Phrygian monarchy, allowing Lydia to become independent under the Mermnad dynasty. Croesus found them centred at Pteria in the 6th century and dealt them a final blow. But much of their secular or religious custom lived on to be recorded by Greek writers, and regarded by modern scholars as typically “Anatolian.”
Bibliography.—General summaries: L. Messerschmidt, The Hittites (“Ancient East” series, vi., 1903); A. H. Sayce, The Hittites (“Bypaths of Biblical Knowledge” series, xii., 2nd ed. 1892); G. Perrot and C. Chipiez, History of Art in Sardinia, Judaea, Syria and Asia Minor (Eng. trans., vol. ii., 1890); L. Lantsheere, De la race et de la langue des Hétéens (1891); P. Jensen, Hittiter und Armenier (1898); M. Jastrow, final chapter in H. V. Hilprecht, Exploration in Bible Lands (1903); W. Wright, Empire of the Hittites (1884); F. Hommel, Hettiter und Skythen (1898); D. G. Hogarth, Ionia and the East (1909); W. Max Müller, Asien und Europa, chap. xxv. (1893). See also authorities for Egyptian and Assyrian history.
Inscriptions: L. Messerschmidt, “Corpus inscr. Hettiticarum,” Zeitsch. d. d. morgenländ. Gesellschaft (1900, 1902, 1906, &c.), and “Bemerkungen zu d. Heth. Inschriften,” Mitteil. d. vorderasiat. Gesellschaft (1898); P. Jensen, “Grundlagen für eine Entzifferung der (Hat. oder) Cilicischen Inschriften,” Zeitschr. d. d. morgenländ. Gesellschaft (1894); F. E. Peiser, Die Hettitischen Inschriften (1892); A. H. Sayce, “Decipherment of the Hittite Inscriptions,” Proc. Soc. of Bibl. Archaeology (1903), and “Hittite Inscriptions, translated and annotated,” ibid. (1905, 1907); J. Menant, “Études Hétéennes,” Recueil de travaux rel. à la philologie, &c., and Mém. de l’Acad. Inscr., vol. xxxiv. (1890); J. Halévy in Revue sémitique, vol. i. Also divers articles by A. H. Sayce, F. Hommel and others in Proc. and Trans. Soc. Bibl. Arch. since 1876, and in Recueil de travaux, &c., since its beginning.
Exploration: G. Perrot and E. Guillaume, Exploration arch. de la Galatie, &c. (1862–1872); E. Chantre, Mission en Cappadocie (1898); Sir W. M. Ramsay, “Syro-Cappadocian Monuments,” in Athen. Mitteilungen (1889), with D. G. Hogarth, “Pre-Hellenic Monuments of Cappadocia,” in Recueil de travaux, &c. (1892–1895); and with Miss Gertrude Bell, The Thousand and One Churches (1909); C. Humann and O. Puchstein, Reisen in Nord-Syrien, &c. (1890). J. Garstang in Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology, i. (1908) and following numbers. Reports on excavations at Sinjerli in Berl. Philol. Wochenschrift (1891), pp. 803, 951; and F. von Luschan, and others, “Ausgrabungen in Sendschirli” in Mitteil. Orient-Sammlungen (Berlin Museum, 1893 ff.); and on excavations at Boghaz-Keui, H. Winckler in Orient. Literaturzeitung (Berlin, 1907); Mitteil. Orient-Gesellschaft (Dec. 1907). See also s.v. Pteria. (D. G. H.)
- ↑ First described by the Turk, Hajji Khalifa, in the 17th century; first seen by the Swedish traveller Otter in 1736, and first published in 1840 in Ritter’s Erdkunde, iii., after a drawing by Major Fischer, made in 1837.
- ↑ The “Niobe” statue near Manisa was not definitely known for “Hittite” till 1882, when G. Dennis detected pictographs near it.
- ↑ The “pseudo-Sesostres” of Herodotus, already demonstrated non-Egyptian by Rosellini. The second figure was unknown, till found by Dr Beddoe in 1856.
- ↑ Five intramural graves were explored at Sinjerli, but whether of the Hittite or of the Assyrian occupation is doubtful.
- ↑ The Assyrian records, as well as the Egyptian, distinguish many peoples in both areas from the Kheta-Khatti; and the most we can infer from these records is that there was an occasional league formed under the Hittites, not any imperial subjection or even a continuous federation.
- ↑ Pseudo-Hethitische Kunst (Berlin, 1890).