Hittites


Hittites
c.1740-1190 BC.
    In the second millennium BC, the 'Land of Hatti' emerged first as a state and then as an empire, created by kings who ruled from a mountainous homeland in the north of Asia Minor (Anatolia). The name 'Hittite' has been applied to these people by modern scholarship; they established their power over a wide area, coming into contact and conflict with other great states of the area, particularly Egypt and *Assyria. Although they are mentioned in the Old Testament, the extent of their influence is most clearly expressed in the *Assyrian cuneiform inscriptions, and in such Egyptian records as the historical inscriptions which recount the battles and campaigns, and the royal archive at Tell el Amarna. Excavation of the capital city of the Hittites—Boghazkoy—and the discovery there of the state archive of cuneiform tablets has increased knowledge of their civilisation, so that it is evident that they excelled in military matters, in political and legal organisation, and in the administration of justice.
    During the reign of *Akhenaten, because the Egyptians then paid less attention to their northern empire and vassal states, the Hittites were able to push forward their own conquests in Syria, but the Ramesside kings, *Sethos I and *Ramesses II, renewed Egypt's military ambitions in Syria/Palestine and thus came into direct conflict with the Hittites. Eventually, their hostilities were brought to an end by the Egypto-Hittite Treaty, and thereafter the two royal families entered into cordial relations, exchanging letters and gifts. *Ramesses II's marriage to a Hittite princess further strengthened this alliance.
    The revitalisation of *Assyria heralded a new conflict, and the Hittite lands were ultimately subdued and became provinces of the *Assyrian Empire.
BIBL. Gurney, O.R. The Hittites. Harmondsworth: 1964; Mercer, S.A.B. The Tell el-Amarna Tablets. Toronto: 1939.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
* * *
   An Indo-European-speaking people who established a kingdom in central Anatolia, modern Turkey, which in the second millennium BC gradually built up an empire that included much of Anatolia and Syria. The Hittites helped destroy the kingdom of Mitanni and sought to inherit their overlordship in Syria, leading them into conflict with Egypt during the reign of Akhenaten. The Hittite king Suppiluliuma I managed to detach the Egyptian vassal kingdom of Amurru from Egyptian control. Upon the death of Tutankhamun, his widow, Ankhesenamun, sought a Hittite husband, but this plan proved abortive.
   Sety I and Ramesses II sought to restore Egyptian control in Syria, but the Egyptians were driven back at the battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC. Apeace treaty was eventually signed between the two powers in 1258 BC, whereby the border between the two empires in Syria was recognized with the loss of Amurru to the Hittites. Around 1245 BC, a marriage was arranged by Ramesses II with the daughter of the Hittite king, who was known in Egypt as Maathorneferure, and he later appears to have married a second daughter. Relations between the two powers remained friendly until the destruction of the Hittite kingdom around 1195 BC, probably as a result of the movement of the Sea Peoples perhaps aided by local tribesmen.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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