27 Kasım 2013 Çarşamba


The Lion Gate of Hattusha
Simin Uysal

About 200 kilometers to the east of Ankara lay the remains of an ancient city within the great loop of the Kızılırmak river. It is also the north edge of ancient region of Cappadocia. The earliest traces of settlement on the site are from the 6th millennium BC and late in the 3rd millennium BC, a Hatti settlement developed here. The Hattians were the native Anatolians and called their town Hattush. Later, during the Middle Bronze Age, the city grew in such importance that a Karum or a trading post of the Assyrian merchants who come from Assur were established in the 19th and 18th centuries BC.  Archeologists say that these Assyrian traders were the ones who first introduced writing to Anatolia.

During the first centuries of the 2nd millennium BC, there has been a frequent strife in Anatolia between the local Hattians and the immigrant Hittite groups who were trying to consolidate their power. Around 1700 BC, the great city of Hattush was burned down in a devastating fire. The destruction of city was recorded in cuneiform script on clay tablets. On the tablet, King Anitta of Kushar reports that he has defeated King Piyushti of Hattush and destroyed his city: “At night I took the city by force, I have sown weeds in its place. Should any king after me attempt to resettle Hattush, may the Weather God of Heaven strike him down!” King Anitta cursed the city of Hattush and chose the city of Nesha/Kanesh (some 150 km southeast of Hattush) as his capital. However, the Hittites were slowly coming into central Anatolia. The curse was not respected for long because the advantages of the site were too attractive for the Hittite King to resist and by the second half of the 17th century, he made the city his capital and Hattush became Hattusha.

Twelve Gods of the Underworld
Not much is known about the origins of Hittites. Their language belongs to Indo-European family and archeologists assume that they came to Central Anatolia via the Caucasus around the second half of the 3rd millennium BC. They came in small groups and mingled with the native Hatti population. It was not only the Hittites moving into Anatolia at this time but other Indo-Europeans were also arriving. The Luvians were moving into the south and west, and the Palaians into the north and north east. The Hittites were strong and established a great empire in Anatolia and remained “Hatti” as the name of their land but called their language as Neshian after the former capital of Nesha/Kushar.

The first Hittite king of Hattusha came from Nesha and took the name “Hattushili” meaning “one from Hattusha.” Cuneiform writing which has fallen out of tradition due to breaking down of the Assyrian trade network was introduced again during the reign of Hattushili and writing developed into a tradition leaving us vast archives of clay tablets containing detailed accounts of official correspondence, contracts, laws, literature and The Treaty of Kadesh, the earliest peace treaty known, which was made between the two big political and military powers of the 13th century BC, the Hittite and Egyptian empires. The clay tablet containing the text of this treaty sealed by Hattusili III, the king of the Hittite empire and the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II was found during excavations at Hattusha in 1906. It is in the Archeology Museum of Istanbul now.

However, what interests me most amongst these are the oracular prophecies, procedures and details of cult ceremonies and of course dreams. Hattusha, after all, was not only the political capital of the Hittite state but also their religious center, the residence of the “Thousand Gods of the Hatti Land” where their mythology was heavily influenced by native Hattians as well as the Mesopotamians and the Hurrians. 

One early Hittite god was Sius, god of heaven and light, a term later used as the general Hittite word for god. This is cognate with Indo-European "dieu-s which is found in the Greek word Zeus and Latin deus (god).


Tarhun (Luwian name Tarhun and Hurrian name Teshub), the god of sky and storm, who was derived from Hattian Taru was considered a great deity. He is depicted holding thunderbolts in one hand and an axe on the other and his animal is the bull which is sacred throughout Anatolia. His bulls, Hurri and Seri (Day and Night) sometimes seen carrying him.

Equally important figure with the Storm/Sky God is the Sun Goddess of Arinna. The name of the goddess is not known though some say it is Arinniti and her major cult center, Arinna was near Hattusha. Pairing of Tarhun with the Sun Goddess of Arinna makes me think of Çatalhöyük of the Neolithic era with its venerated bulls and mothers.

The rest of the story which is about Hittite dreams is on my next blog. 

Sun Goddess of Arinna

Hiç yorum yok:

Yorum Gönder