Bible History Online
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
hit'-its (bene cheth, chittim; Chettaioi): One of the seven nations conquered by Israel in Israel.
I. OLD TESTAMENT NOTICES
1. Enumeration of Races
3. Later Mention
3. Egyptian Invasions: XVIIIth Dynasty
4. "The Great King"
5. Egyptian Invasions: XIXth Dynasty
6. Declension of Power: Aryan Invasion
7. Second Aryan Invasion
8. Assyrian Invasions
9. Invasion by Assur-nasir-pal
10. Invasions by Shalmaneser II and Rimmonnirari III
11. Revolts and Invasions
12. Break-up of Hittite Power
13. Mongols in Syria
1. Mongol Race
2. Hittire and Egyptian Monuments
3. Hair and Beard
4. Hittite Dress
5. Hittite Names
6. Vocabulary of Pterium Epistles
7. Tell el-Amarna Tablet
1. Polytheism: Names of Deities
2. Religious Symbolism
1. Cuneiform and Hieroglyphic
2. Description of Signs
3. Interpretation of Monuments
I. Old Testament Notices.
1. Enumeration of Races:
The "sons of Heth" are noticed 12 times and the Hittites 48 times in the Old Testament. In 21 cases the name Occurs in the enumeration of races, in Syria and Canaan, which are said (Gen 10:6 f) to have been akin to the early inhabitants of Chaldea and Babylon. From at least 2000 BC this population is known, from monumental records, to have been partly Semitic and partly Mongolic; and the same mixed race is represented by the Hittite records recently discovered in Cappadocia and Pontus. Thus, while the Canaanites ("lowlanders"), Amorites (probably "highlanders"), Hivites ("tribesmen") and Perizzites ("rustics") bear Semitic titles, the Hittites, Jebusites and Girgashites appear to have non-Sem names. Ezekiel (16:3,15) speaks of the Jebusites as a mixed Hittite-Amorite people.
The names of Hittites noticed in the Old Testament include several that are Semitic (Ahimelech, Judith, Bashemath, etc.), but others like Uriah and Beeri (Gen 26:34) which are probably non-Sem. Uriah appears to have married a Hebrew wife (Bathsheba), and Esau in like manner married Hittite women (Gen 26:34; 36:2). In the time of Abraham we read of Hittites as far South as Hebron (Gen 23:3 ff; 27:46), but there is no historic improbability in this at a time when the same race appears (see ZOAN) to have ruled in the Nile Delta (but see Gray in The Expositor, May, 1898, 340 f).
3. Later Mention:
In later times the "land of the Hittites" (Josh 1:4; Jdg 1:26) was in Syria and near the Euphrates (see TAHTIM-HODSHI); though Uriah (2 Sam 11) lived in Jerusalem, and Ahimelech (1 Sam 26:6) followed David. In the time of Solomon (1 Ki 10:29), the "kings of the Hittites" are mentioned with the "kings of Syria," and were still powerful a century later (2 Ki 7:6). Solomon himself married Hittite wives (1 Ki 11:1), and a few Hittites seem still to have been left in the South (2 Ch 8:7), even in his time, if not after the captivity (Ezr 9:1; Neh 9:8).
The Hittites were known to the Assyrians as Chatti, and to the Egyptians as Kheta, and their history has been very fully recovered from the records of the XVIIIth and XIXth Egyptian Dynasties, from the Tell el-Amarna Letters, from Assyrian annals and, quite recently, from copies of letters addressed to Babylonian rulers by the Hittite kings, discovered by Dr. H. Winckler in the ruins of Boghaz-keui ("the town of the pass"), the ancient Pterium in Pontus, East of the river Halys. The earliest known notice (King, Egypt and West Asia, 250) is in the reign of Saamsu-ditana, the last king of the first Babylonian Dynasty, about 2000 BC, when the Hittites marched on the "land of Akkad," or "highlands" North of Mesopotamia.
The chronology of the Hittites has been made clear by the notices of contemporary rulers in Babylonia, Matiene, Syria and Egypt, found by Winckler in the Hittite correspondence above noticed, and is of great importance to Bible history, because, taken in conjunction with the Tell el-Amarna Letters, with the Kassite monuments of Nippur, with the Babylonian chronicles and contemporary chronicles of Babylon and Assyria, it serves to fix the dates of the Egyptian kings of the XVIIIth and XIXth Dynasties which were previously uncertain by nearly a century, but which may now be regarded as settled within a few years. From the Tell el-Amarna Letters it is known that Thothmes IV was contemporary with the father of Adad-nirari of Assyria (Berlin number 30), and Amenophis IV with Burna-burias of Babylon (Brit. Mss. number 2); while a letter from Chattu-sil, the Hittite contemporary of Rameses II, was addressed to Kadashman-Turgu of Babylon on the occasion of his accession. These notices serve to show that the approximate dates given by Brugsch for the Pharaohs are more correct than those proposed by Mahler; and the following table will be useful for the understanding of the history--Thothmes III being known to have reigned 54 years, Amenophis III at least 36 years, and Rameses II, 66 years or more. The approximate dates appear to be thus fixed.
3. Egyptian Invasions: XVIIIth Dynasty:
The Hyksos race having been expelled from the Delta by Aahmes, the founder of the XVIIIth (Theban) Dynasty, after 1700 BC, the great trade route through Israel Syria was later conquered by Thothmes I, who set up a monument on the West bank of the Euphrates. The conquests of Aahmes were maintained by his successors Amenophis I and Thothmes I and II; but when Thothmes III attained his majority (about 1580 BC), a great league of Syrian tribes and of Canaanites, from Sharuhen near Gaza and "from the water of Egypt, as far as the land of Naharain" (Aram-naharaim), opposed this Pharaoh in his 22nd year, being led by the king of Kadesh--probably Kadesh on the Orontes (now Qedes, North of Riblah)--but they were defeated near Megiddo in Central Israel; and in successive campaigns down to his 31st year, Thothmes III reconquered the Israel plains, and all Syria to Carchemish on the Euphrates. In his 29th year, after the conquest of Tuneb (now Tennnib, West of Arpad), he mentions the tribute of the Hittites including "304 lbs in 8 rings of silver, a great piece of white precious stone, and zagu wood." They were, however, still powerful, and further wars in Syria were waged by Amenophis II, while Thothmes IV also speaks of his first "campaign against the land of the Kheta." Adad-nirari I wrote to Egypt to say that Thothmes IV had established his father (Bel-tiglat-Assur) as ruler of the land of Marchasse (probably Mer'ash in the extreme North of Syria), and to ask aid against the "king of the land of the Hittites." Against the increasing power of this race Thothmes IV and his son Amenophis III strengthened themselves by marriage alliances with the Kassite kings of Babylon, and with the cognate rulers of Matiene, East of the Hittite lands of Syria, and Cappadocia. Dusratta of Matiene, whose sister Gilukhepa was married by Amenophis III in his 10th year, wrote subsequently to this Pharaoh to announce his own accession (Am Tab, Brit. Mus. number 9) and his defeat of the Hittites, sending a two-horse chariot and a young man and young woman as "spoils of the land of the Hittites."
4. "The Great King":
About this time (1480 BC) arose a great Hittite ruler bearing the strange name Subbiliuliuma, similar to that of Sapalulmi, chief the Hattinai, in North Syria, mentioned by Shalmaneser II in the 9th century BC. He seems to have ruled at Pterium, and calls himself "the great king, the noble king of the Hatti." He allied himself against Dusratta with Artatama, king of the Harri or North Syrians. The Syrian Hittites in Marchassi, North of the land of the Amorites, were led shortly after by Edugamma of Kinza (probably Kittiz, North of Arpad) in alliance with Aziru the Amorite, on a great raid into Phoenicia and to Bashan, South of Damascus. Thus it appears that the Amorites had only reached this region shortly before the Hebrew conquest of Bashan. Amenophis III repelled them in Phoenicia, and Subbiliuliuma descended on Kinza, having made a treaty with Egypt, and captured Edugamma and his father Suttatarra. He also conquered the land of Ikata which apparently lay East of the Euphrates and South of Carehemish. Some 30 years later, in the reign of Amenophis IV, Dusratta of Matiene was murdered, and his kingdom was attacked by the Assyrians; but Subbiliuliuma, though not a friend of Dusratta with whom he disputed the suzerainty of North Syria, sent aid to Dusratta's son Mattipiza, whom he set on his throne, giving him his own daughter as a wife. A little later (about 1440 BC) Aziru the Amorite, who had been subject to Amenophis III, submitted to this same great Hittite ruler, and was soon able to conquer the whole of Phoenicia down to Tyre. All the Egyptian conquests were thus lost in the latter part of the reign of Amenophis III, and in that of Amenophis IV. Only Gaza seems to have been retained, and Burna-burias of Babylon, writing to Amenophis IV, speaks of the Canaanite rebellion as beginning in the time of his father Kuri-galzu I (Am Tab, British Museum number 2), and of subsequent risings in his own time (Berlin number 7) which interrupted communication with Egypt. Assur-yuballidh of Assyria (Berlin number 9), writing to the same Pharaoh, states also that the relations with Assyria, which dated back even to the time of Assur-nadin-akhi (about 1550 BC), had ceased. About this earlier period Thothmes III records that he received presents from Assyria. The ruin of Egypt thus left the Hittites independent, in North Syria, about the time when--according to Old Testament chronology--Israel was conquered by Joshua. They probably acknowledged Arandas, the successor of Subbiliuliuma, as their suzerain.
5. Egyptian Invasions: XIXth Dynasty:
The XVIIIth Dynasty was succeeded, about 1400 BC, or a little later, by the XIXth, and Rameses I appears to have been the Pharaoh who made the treaty which Mursilis, brother of Arandas, contracted with Egypt. But on the accession of Seti I, son of Rameses I, the Syrian tribes prepared to "make a stand in the country of the Harri" against the Egyptian resolution to recover the suzerainty of their country. Seti I claims to have conquered "Kadesh (on the Orontes) in the Land of the Amorites," and it is known that Mutallis, the eldest son of Mursilis, fought against Egypt. According to his younger brother Hattusil, he was tyrant, who was finally driven out by his subjects and died before the accession of Kadashman-Turgu (about 1355 BC) in Babylon. Hattusil, the contemporary of Rameses II, then seized the throne as "great king of the Hittites" and "king of Kus" ("Cush," Gen 2:3), a term which in the Akkadian language meant "the West." In his 2nd year Rameses II advanced, after the capture of Ashkelon, as far as Beirut, and in his 5th year he advanced on Kadesh where he was opposed by a league of the natives of "the land of the Kheta, the land of Naharain, and of all the Kati" (or inhabitants of Cilicia), among which confederates the "prince of Aleppo" is specially noticed. The famous poem of Pentaur gives an exaggerated account of the victory won by Rameses II at Kadesh, over the allies, who included the people of Carchemish and of many other unknown places; for it admits that the Egyptian advance was not continued, and that peace was concluded. A second war occurred later (when the sons of Rameses II were old enough to take part), and a battle was then fought at Tuneb (Tennib) far North of Kadesh, probably about 1316 BC. The celebrated treaty between Rameses II and Chattusil was then made, in the 21st year of the first named. It was engraved on a silver tablet having on the back the image of Set (or Sutekh), the Hittite god of heaven, and was brought to Egypt by Tar-Tessubas, the Hittite envoy. The two "great kings" treated together as equals, and formed a defensive and offensive alliance, with extradition clauses which show the advanced civilization of the age. In the 34th year of his reign, Rameses II (who was then over 50 years of age) married a daughter of Chattusil, who wrote to a son of Kadashman-Turgu (probably Kadashman-burias) to inform this Kassite ruler of Babylon of the event. He states in another letter that he was allied by marriage to the father of Kadashman-Turgu, but the relations between the Kassite rulers and the Hittites were not very cordial, and complaints were made on both sides. Chattusil died before Rameses II, who ruled to extreme old age; for the latter (and his queen) wrote letters to Pudukhipa, the widow of this successful Hittite overlord. He was succeeded by Dudhalia, who calls himself "the great king" and the "son of Pudukhipa the great queen, queen of the land of the city of the Chatti."
6. Declension of Power: Aryan Invasion:
The Hittite power began now, however, to decline, in consequence of attacks from the West by hostile Aryan invaders. In the 5th year of Seti Merenptah II, son of Rameses II, these fair "peoples of the North" raided the Syrian coasts, and advanced even to Belbeis and Heliopolis in Egypt, in alliance with the Libyans West of the Delta. They were defeated, and Merenptah appears to have pursued them even to Pa-Kan'-ana near Tyre. A text of his 5th year (found by Dr. Flinders Petrie in 1896) speaks of this campaign, and says that while "Israel is spoiled" the "Hittites are quieted": for Merenptah appears to have been on good terms with them, and allowed corn to be sent in ships "to preserve the life of this people of the Chatti." Dudchalia was succeeded by his son "Arnuanta the great king," of whom a bilingual seal has been found by Dr. Winckler, in Hittite and cuneiform characters; but the confederacy of Hittite tribes which had so long resisted Egypt seems to have been broken up by these disasters and by the increasing power of Assyria.
7. Second Aryan Invasion:
A second invasion by the Aryans occurred in the reign of Rameses III (about 1200 BC) when "agitation seized the peoples of the North," and "no people stood before their arms, beginning with the people of the Chatti, of the Kati, of Carchemish and Aradus." The invaders, including Danai (or early Greeks), came by land and sea to Egypt, but were again defeated, and Rameses III--the last of the great Pharaohs--pursued them far north, and is even supposed by Brugsch to have conquered Cyprus. Among the cities which he took he names Carchemish, and among his captives were "the miserable king of the Chatti, a living prisoner," and the "miserable king of the Amorites."
8. Assyrian Invasions:
Half a century later (1150 BC) the Assyrians began to invade Syria, and Assur-ris-isi reached Beirut; for even as early as about 1270 BC Tukulti-Ninip of Assyria had conquered the Kassites, and had set a Semitic prince on their throne in Babylon. Early in his reign (about 1130 BC) Tiglath- pileser I claims to have subdued 42 kings, marching "to the fords of the Euphrates, the land of the Chatti, and the upper sea of the setting sun"--or Mediterranean. Soldiers of the Chatti had seized the cities of Sumasti (probably Samosata), but the Assyrian conqueror made his soldiers swim the Euphrates on skin bags, and so attacked "Carchemish of the land of the Hittites." The Moschians in Cappadocia were apparently of Hittite race, and were ruled by 5 kings: for 50 years they had exacted tribute in Commagene (Northeastern Syria), and they were defeated, though placing 20,000 men in the field against Tiglath-pileser I. He advanced to Kumani (probably Comana in Cappadocia), and to Arini which was apparently the Hittite capital called Arinas (now Iranes), West of Caesarea in the same region.
9. Invasion by Assur-nacir-pal:
The power of the Hittites was thus broken by Assyria, yet they continued the struggle for more than 4 centuries afterward. After the defeat of Tiglath-pileser I by Marduk-nadin-akhi of Babylon (1128-1111 BC), there is a gap in Assyrian records, and we next hear of the Hittites in the reign of Assur-nacir-pal (883-858 BC); he entered Commagene, and took tribute from "the son of Bachian of the land of the Chatti," and from "Sangara of Carchemish in the land of the Chatti," so that it appears that the Hittites no longer acknowledged a single "great king." They were, however, still rich, judging from the spoil taken at Carchemish, which included 20 talents of silver, beads, chains, and sword scabbards of gold, 100 talents of copper, 250 talents of iron, and bronze objects from the palace representing sacred bulls, bowls, cups and censers, couches, seats, thrones, dishes, instruments of ivory and 200 slave girls, besides embroidered robes of linen and of black and purple stuffs, gems, elephants' tusks, chariots and horses. The Assyrian advance continued to `Azzaz in North Syria, and to the Afrin river, in the country of the Chattinai who were no doubt Hittites, where similar spoils are noticed, with 1,000 oxen and 10,000 sheep: the pagutu, or "maces" which the Syrian kings used as scepters, and which are often represented on Hittite monuments, are specially mentioned in this record. Assur-nacir-pal reached the Mediterranean at Arvad, and received tribute from "kings of the sea coast" including those of Gebal, Sidon and Tyre. He reaped the corn of the Hittites, and from Mt. Amanus in North Syria he took logs of cedar, pine, box and cypress.
10. Invasions by Shalmaneser II and Rimmonnirari III:
His son Shalmaneser II (858-823 BC) also invaded Syria in his 1st year, and again mentions Sangara of Carchemish, with Sapalulmi of the Chattinai. In Commagene the chief of the Gamgums bore the old Hittite name Mutallis. In 856 BC Shalmaneser II attacked Mer'-ash and advanced by Dabigu (now Toipuk) to `Azzaz. He took from the Hattinai 3 talents of gold, 100 of silver, 300 of copper, 1,000 bronze vases and 1,000 embroidered robes. He also accepted as wives a daughter of Mutallis and another Syrian princess. Two years later 120,000 Assyrians raided the same region, but the southward advance was barred by the great Syrian league which came to the aid of Irchulena, king of Hamath, who was not subdued till about 840 BC. In 836 BC the people of Tubal, and the Kati of Cappadocia and Cilicia, were again attacked. In 831 BC Qubarna, the vassal king of the Chattinai in Syria, was murdered by his subjects, and an Assyrian tartanu or general was sent to restore order. The rebels under Sapalulmi had been confederated with Sangara of Carchemish. Adad-nirari III, grandson of Shalmaneser II, was the next Assyrian conqueror: in 805 BC he attacked `Azzaz and Arpad, but the resistance of the Syrians was feeble, and presents were sent from Tyre, Sidon, Damascus and Edom. This conqueror states that he subdued "the land of the Hittites, the land of the Amorites, to the limits of the land of Sidon," as well as Damascus, Edom and Philistia.
11. Revolts and Invasions:
But the Hittites were not as yet thoroughly subdued, and often revolted. In 738 BC Tiglath-pileser II mentions among his tributaries a chief of the Gamgums bearing the Hittite name Tarku-lara, with Pisiris of Carchemish. In 702 BC Sennacherib passed peacefully through the "land of the Chatti" on his way to Sidon: for in 717 BC Sargon had destroyed Carchemish, and had taken many of the Hittites prisoners, sending them away far east and replacing them by Babylonians. Two years later he in the same way took the Hamathites as captives to Assyria. Some of the Hittites may have fled to the South, for in 709 BC Sargon states that the king of Ashdod was deposed by "people of the Chatti plotting rebellion who despised his rule," and who set up Azuri instead.
12. Breakup of Hittite Power:
The power of the Hittites was thus entirely broken before Sennacherib's time, but they were not entirely exterminated, for, in 673 BC, Esar-haddon speaks of "twenty-two kings of the Chatti and near the sea." Hittite names occur in 712 BC (Tarchu-nazi of Meletene) and in 711 BC (Mutallis of Commagene), but after this they disappear. Yet, even in a recently found text of Nebuchadnezzar (after 600 BC), we read that "chiefs of the land of the Chattim, bordering on the Euphrates to the West, where by command of Nergal my lord I had destroyed their rule, were made to bring strong beams from the mountain of Lebanon to my city Babylon." A Hittite population seems to have survived even in Roman times in Cilicia and Cappadocia, for (as Dr. Mordtman observed) a king and his son in this region both bore the name Tarkon-dimotos in the time of Augustus, according to Dio Cassius and Tacitus; and this name recalls that of Tarku-timme, the king of Erine in Cappadocia, occurring on a monument which shows him as brought captive before an Assyrian king, while the same name also occurs on the bilingual silver boss which was the head of his scepter, inscribed in Hittite and cuneiform characters.
13. Mongols in Syria:
The power of the Mongolic race decayed gradually as that of the Semitic Assyrians increased; but even now in Syria the two races remain mingled, and Turkoman nomads still camp even as far South as the site of Kadesh on the Orontes, while a few tribes of the same stock (which entered Syria in the Middle Ages) still inhabit the plains of Sharon and Esdraelon, just as the southern Hittites dwelt among the Amorites at Jerusalem and Hebron in the days of Abraham, before they were driven north by Thothmes III.
1. Mongol Race:
The questions of race and language in early times, before the early stocks were mixed or decayed, cannot be dissociated, and we have abundant evidence of the racial type and characteristic dress of the Hittites. The late Dr. Birch of the British Museum pointed out the Mongol character of the Hittite type, and his opinion has been very generally adopted. In 1888 Dr. Sayce (The Hittites, 15, 101) calls them "Mongoloid," and says, "They had in fact, according to craniologists, the characteristics of a Mongoloid race." This was also the opinion of Sir W. Flower; and, if the Hittites were Mongols, it would appear probable that they spoke a Mongol dialect. It is also apparent that, in this case, they would be related to the old Mongol population of Chaldea (the people of Akkad and Sumir or "of the highlands and river valley") from whom the Semitic Babylonians derived their earliest civilization.
2. Hittite on Egyptian Monuments:
The Hittite type is represented, not only on their own monuments, but on those of the XVIIIth and XIXth Egyptian Dynasties, including a~ colored picture of the time of Rameses III. The type represented has a short head and receding forehead, a prominent and sometimes rather curved nose, a strong jaw and a hairless face. The complexion is yellow, the eyes slightly slanting, the hair of the head black, and gathered into a long pigtail behind. The physiognomy is like that of the Sumerians represented on a bas-relief at Tel-loh (Zirgul) in Chaldea, and very like that of some of the Kirghiz Mongols of the present time, and of some of the more purely Mongolic Turks. The head of Gudea at Zirgul in like manner shows (about 2800 BC) the broad cheek bones and hairless face of the Turkish type; and the language of his texts, in both grammar and vocabulary, is closely similar to pure Turkish speech.
3. Hair and Beard:
Among Mongolic peoples the beard grows only late in life, and among the Akkadians it is rarely represented--excepting in the case of gods and ancient kings. The great bas-relief found by Koldewey at Babylon, and representing a Hittite thunder-god with a long pigtail and (at the back) a Hittite inscription, is bearded, but the pigtailed heads on other Hittite monuments are usually hairless. At Iasili-Kaia--the rock shrine near Pterium--only the supreme god is bearded, and all the other male figures are beardless. At Ibreez, in Lycaonia, the gigantic god who holds corn and grapes in his hands is bearded, and the worshipper who approaches him also has a beard, and his hair is arranged in the distinctive fashion of the Semitic Babylonians and Assyrians. This type may represent Semitic mixture, for M. Chantre discovered at Kara-eyak, in Cappadocia, tablets in Semitic Babylonian representing traders' letters perhaps as old as 2000 BC. The type of the Ibreez figures has been said to resemble that of the Armenian peasantry of today; but, although the Armenians are Aryans of the old Phrygian stock, and their language almost purely Aryan, they have mixed with the Turkish and Semitic races, and have been said even to resemble the Jews. Little reliance can be placed, therefore, on comparison with modern mixed types. The Hittite pigtail is very distinctive of a Mongolic race. It was imposed on the Chinese by the Manchus in the 17th century, but it is unknown among Aryan or Semitic peoples, though it seems to be represented on some Akkadian seals, and on a bas-relief picturing the Mongolic Susians in the 7th century BC.
4. Hittite Dress:
The costume of the Hittites on monuments seems also to indicate Mongolic origin. Kings and priests wear long robes, but warriors (and the gods at Ibreez and Babylon) wear short jerkins, and the Turkish shoe or slipper with a curled-up toe, which, however, is also worn by the Hebrew tribute bearers from Jehu on the "black obelisk" (about 840 BC) of Shalmaneser II. Hittite gods and warriors are shown as wearing a high, conical head-dress, just like that which (with addition of the Moslem turban) characterized the Turks at least as late as the 18th century. The short jerkin also appears on Akkadian seals and bas-reliefs, and, generally speaking, the Hittites (who were enemies of the Lycians, Danai and other Aryans to their west) may be held to be very clearly Mongolic in physical type and costume, while the art of their monuments is closely similar to that of the most archaic Akkadian and Babylonian sculptures of Mesopotamia. It is natural to suppose that they were a branch of the same remarkable race which civilized Chaldea, but which seems to have had its earliest home in Akkad, or the "highlands" near Ararat and Media, long before the appearance of Aryan tribes either in this region or in Ionia. The conclusion also agrees with the Old Testament statement that the Hittites were akin to the descendants of Ham in Babylonia, and not to the "fair" tribes (Japheth), including Medes, Ionians and other Aryan peoples.
5. Hittite Names:
As early as 1866 Chabas remarked that the Hittite names (of which so many have been mentioned above) were clearly not Semitic, and this has been generally allowed. Those of the Amorites, on the other hand, are Semitic, and the type represented, with brown skin, dark eyes and hair, aqui-line features and beards, agrees (as is generally allowed) in indicating a Semitic race. There are now some 60 of these Hittite names known, and they do not suggest any Aryan etymology. They are quite unlike those of the Aryan Medes (such as Baga-datta, etc.) mentioned by the Assyrians, or those of the Vannic kings whose language (as shown by recently published bilinguals in Vannic and Assyrian) seems very clearly to have been Iranian--or similar to Persian and Sanskrit--but which only occurs in the later Assyrian age. Comparisons with Armenian and Georgian (derived from the Phrygian and Scythian) also fail to show any similarity of vocabulary or of syntax, while on the other hand comparisons with the Akkadian, the Kassite and modern Turkish at once suggest a linguistic connection which fully agrees with what has been said above of the racial type. The common element Tarku, or Tarkhan, in Hittite names suggests the Mongol dargo and the Turkish tarkhan, meaning a "tribal chief." Sil again is an Akkadian word for a "ruler," and nazi is an element in both Hittite and Kassite names.
6. Vocabulary of Pterium Epistles:
It has also been remarked that the vocabulary of the Hittite letters discovered by Chantre at Pterium recalls that of the letter written by Dusratta of Matiene to Amenophis III (Am Tab number 27, Berlin), and that Dusratta adored the Hittite god Tessupas. A careful study of the language of this letter shows that, in syntax and vocabulary alike, it must be regarded as Mongolic and as a dialect of the Akkadian group. The cases of the noun, for instance, are the same as in Akkadian and in modern Turkish. No less than 50 words and terminations are common to the language of this letter and of those discovered by M. Chantre and attributed to the Hittites whose territory immediately adjoined that of Matiene. The majority of these words occur also in Akkadian.
7. Tell el-Amarna Tablet:
But in addition to these indications we have a letter in the Tell el-Amarna Letters (Berlin number 10) written by a Hittite prince, in his own tongue and in the cuneiform script. It is from (and not to, as has been wrongly supposed by Knudtzon) a chief named Tarchun-dara, and is addressed to Amenophis III, whose name stands first. In all the other letters the name of the sender always follows that of the recipient. The general meaning of this letter is clear from the known meanings of the "ideograms" used for many words; and it is also clear that the language is "agglutinative" like the Akkadian. The suffixed possessive pronouns follow the plural termination of the noun as in Akkadian, and prepositions are not used as they are in Semitic and Aryan speech; the precative form of the verb has also been recognized to be the same as used in Akkadian. The pronouns mi, "my," and ti, "thy," are to be found in many living Mongolic dialects (e.g. the Zyrianian me and te); in Akkadian also they occur as mi and zi. The letter opens with the usual salutation: "Letter to Amenophis III the great king, king of the land of Egypt (Mizzari-na), from Tarchun-dara (Tarchundara-da), king of the land of Arzapi (or Arzaa), thus. To me is prosperity. To my nobles, my hosts, my cavalry, to all that is mine in all my lands, may there be prosperity; (moreover?) may there be prosperity: to thy house, thy wives, thy sons, thy nobles, thy hosts, thy cavalry, to all that is thine in thy lands may there be prosperity." The letter continues to speak of a daughter of the Pharaoh, and of a sum of gold which is being sent in charge of an envoy named Irsappa. It concludes (as in many other instances) with a list of presents, these being sent by "the Hittite prince (Nu Chattu) from the land Igait" (perhaps the same as Ikata), and including, besides the gold, various robes, and ten chairs of ebony inlaid with ivory. As far as it can at present be understood, the language of this letter, which bears no indications of either Semitic or Aryan speech, whether in vocabulary or in syntax, strongly favors the conclusion that the native Hittite language was a dialect of that spoken by the Akkadians, the Kassites and the Minyans of Matiene, in the same age.
1. Polytheism: Names of Deities:
The Hittites like their neighbors adored many gods. Besides Set (or Sutekh), the "great ruler of heaven," and Ishtar (Ashtoreth), we also find mentioned (in Chattusil's treaty) gods and goddesses of "the hills and rivers of the land of the Chatti," "the great sea, the winds and the clouds." Tessupas was known to the Babylonians as a name of Rimmon, the god of thunder and rain. On a bilingual seal (in Hittite and cuneiform characters), now in the Ashmolean Museum, we find noticed the goddess Ischara, whose name, among the Kassites, was equivalent to Istar. The Hittite gods are represented--like those of the Assyrians--standing erect on lions. One of them (at Samala in Syria) is lion-headed like Nergal. They also believed in demons, like the Akkadians and others.
2. Religious Symbolism:
Their pantheon was thus also Mongolic, and the suggestion (by Dr. Winckler) that they adored Indian gods (Indra, Varuna), and the Persian Mithra, not only seems improbable, but is also hardly supported by the quotations from Semitic texts on which this idea is based. The sphinx is found as a Hittite emblem at Eyuk, North of Pterium, with the double-headed eagle which again, at Iasili-kaia, supports a pair of deities. It also occurs at Tel-loh as an Akkadian emblem, and was adopted by the Seljuk Turks about 1000 AD. At Eyuk we have a representation of a procession bringing goats and rams to an altar. At Iflatun-bunar the winged sun is an emblem as in Babylonia. At Mer'-ash, in Syria, the mother goddess carries her child, while an eagle perches on a harp beside her. At Carchemish the naked Ishtar is represented with wings. The religious symbolism, like the names of deities, thus suggests a close connection with the emblems and beliefs of the Kassites and Akkadians.
1. Cuneiform and Hieroglyphic:
In the 16th century BC, and down to the 13th century, the Hittites used the cuneiform characters and the Babylonian language for correspondence abroad. On seals and and mace-heads they used their own hieroglyphics, together with the cuneiform. These emblems, which occur on archaic monuments at Hamath, Carchemish and Aleppo in Syria, as well as very frequently in Cappadocia and Pontus, and less frequently as far West as Ionia, and on the East at Babylon, are now proved to be of Hittite origin, since the discovery of the seal of Arnuanta already noticed. The suggestion that they were Hittite was first made by the late Dr. W. Wright (British and Foreign Evangelical Review, 1874). About 100 such monuments are now known, including seals from Nineveh and Cappadocia, and Hittite gold ornaments in the Ashmolean Museum; and there can be little doubt that, in cases where the texts accompany figures of the gods, they are of a votive character.
2. Description of Signs:
The script is quite distinctive, though many of the emblems are similar to those used by the Akkadians. There are some 170 signs in all, arranged one below another in the line--as among Akkadians. The lines read alternately from right to left and from left to right, the profile emblems always facing the beginning of each line.
The interpretation of these texts is still a controversial question, but the most valuable suggestion toward their understanding is that made by the late Canon Isaac Taylor (see ALPHABET, 1883). A syllabary which was afterward used by the Greeks in Cyprus, and which is found extensively spread in Asia Minor, Egypt, Israel, Crete, and even on later coins in Spain, was recognized by Dr. Taylor as being derived from the Hittite signs. It was deciphered by George Smith from a Cypriote-Phoenician bilingual, and appears to give the sounds applying to some 60 signs.
3. Interpretation of Monuments:
These sounds are confirmed by the short bilinguals as yet known, and they appear in some cases at least to be very clearly the monosyllabic words which apply in Akkadian to similar emblems. We have thus the bases of a comparative study, by aid of a known language and script--a method similar to that which enabled Sir H. Rawlinson to recover scientifically the lost cuneiform, or Champollion to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.
See also ASIA MINOR, ARCHAEOLOGY OF; PALESTINE EXPLORATION.
The Egyptian notices will be found in Brugsch's A History of Egypt under the Pharaohs, 1879, and the Assyrian in Schrader's Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament, English Translation, 1885. The discoveries of Chantre are published in his Mission en Cappadoce, 1898, and those of Dr. H. Winckler in the Mitteilungen der deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft, number 35, December, 1907. The researches of Humann and Puchstein, Reisen in Kleinasien und Nordsyrien, 1890, are also valuable for this question; as is also Dr. Robert Koldewey's discovery of a Hittite monument at Babylon (Die hettische Inschrift, 1900). The recent discovery of sculpture at a site North of Samala by Professor Garstang is published in the Annals of Archaeology, I, number 4, 1908, by the University of Liverpool. These sculptures are supposed to date about 800 BC, but no accompanying inscriptions have as yet been found. The views of the present writer are detailed in his Tell Amarna Tablets, 2nd edition, 1894, and in The Hittites and Their Languages, 1898. Dr. Sayce has given an account of his researches in a small volume, The Hittites, 1888, but many discoveries by Sir C. Wilson, Mr. D.G. Hogarth, Sir W. Ramsay, and other explorers have since been published, and are scattered in various periodicals not easily accessible. The suggestions of Drs. Jensen, Hommel, and Peiser, in Germany, of comparison with Armenian, Georgian and Turkish, have not as yet produced any agreement; nor have those of Dr. Sayce, who looks to Vannic or to Gr; and further light on Hittite decipherment is still awaited. See, further, Professor Garstang's Land of the Hittites, 1910.
C. R. Conder
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'hittites'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE
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