History of Anatolia dates back to the paleolithic age. Because of that, we have always separated history into different parts and studied that way. According to historians, ancient ages are separated into two parts in general. The first one is the unwritten times which we can understand everything through excavations and the paintings on walls, and the second one is regarded as the invention of the writing, which means it can be more certain and understandable than the other.
One of the most important civilizations to us in written history is Hittite. They were immigrant people who arrived in Anatolia in 2000 BC. They were the most powerful and the longest empire and their existence had continued for 800 years until it was destroyed in 1200 BC by the Sea People.
When we look at Hittite sources, we can understand that they accept the Hattians as their ancestor. The Hattians lived in the prehistoric age before writing was found, but the Hittite sources say that the Hattians gave their name to Anatolia which was then called ‘ the land of Hatti, and even the Hittites name their own kingdom after it. Their arrival in Anatolia was so peaceful that this was accompanied by intermarriage and alliances with the natives. They integrated themselves into the local culture of Anatolia. They were known as a community with thousands of Gods. Along with their own deities, they accepted all the other Anatolian Gods. In addition, they embraced every single belief and deity in every place they conquered.
Today we call it a policy of tolerance.
When we look at the pantheon of the Hittite religion,
we see that the state cult was dominated by an Anatolian deity called the Sun-goddess Arinna, protectress of the royal dynasty. Her consort was the Weather god, Hatti, in the later empire, Hepat identified with the Sun Goddess and with Teshub who became identified with the weather God. Zeus’s wife Hera and Adam’s wife Eve are the extensions of the Hittite goddess Hepat. Hittite literature includes historical annals, royal testaments as well as a number of myths and legends. One of the most interesting myths is about God Attis where the cult of the Goddess began to be replaced by the cult of God and that also influenced today’s tradition. No one had known the role of man infertility until the Hittites, so the woman was always sacred. The mother Goddess Arinna, equivalent to the mother Goddes Cybele, entrusts the care of her temple to Attis, but he needs to give his Word to stay a virgin. Unfortunately, after a while, he falls in love with a mortal and soon forgets his promise.
During the wedding ceremony, the moment he sees the Goddess, he feels guilty and cut his genitals and buried them under the ground. In time, he sees that a pine tree has grown at the very place, then informs people to come and see it. Everyone who comes under it begins to make wishes by burying eggs under the tree. So, the mythology tells us the role of man infertility is as important as women’s.
This being the mythology, the pine tree is the symbol of Attis. That’s why two different traditions are rooted in this; the first one is Easter of the Christian world when people put colorful eggs under the pine tree, the second one is circumcision which is still practiced in the Islamic world,
At the head of the Hittite society
Sat the king and queen. The king was the supreme commander of the army, chief judge and supreme priest. He carried out all diplomatic dealings with foreign powers and in times of war personally led the army into the field. The queen, who was highly respected, held a strong, independent position. Below the king and queen were the aristocracies. The relatives of the king constituted a privileged group. Society was divided into two levels; free people and slaves. Free citizens were farmers, artisans, and tradesmen. Slaves could be bought and sold, but they had rights of property and marriage
THE CAPITAL ‘ HATTUSA ‘
Should you ever visit Corum city, you should definitely see Hattusa which was established as the capital city by Hattusili I. Another characteristic of this city is its architecture which is a completely asymmetrical ground plan. An interesting thing is that no columns were used but piers instead. Among the outstanding examples of Hittite architectural art are the Sphinx Gate of the Alacahoyuk and the rock reliefs of Yazilikaya, an outdoor religious shrine in the form of a rock gallery located outside walls of Hattusha, where two converging lines of male and female deities strikingly depict the major gods of the Hittite Empire.
Furthermore, the area could be defended easily as it was and it is covered with mountains like a castle. Hattusili I wanted to take the area between Syria and eastward across the Mesopotamia under control in order to increase his power.
THE PEACE TREATY OF KADESH
According to historians, the most important document of Hittites is The Peace Treaty of Kadesh.
It was a battle between the Hittites and the Egyptians which took place in Kadesh by the Orontes river in 1286 BC. Although there was no real victory in this battle, each side claimed to have won. The battle was one of the first in history in which tactical description survived. it’s regarded as the first recorded international treaty in the world. Another importance of Kadesh was that it was signed between not only two king but two queens also. When the year is taken into consideration, it shows us a civilization which had equality between men and women.
The Hittite culture was an amalgamation of native Anatolian elements in religion, literature, and art. Even if historians say that their languages derived from Indo- Europe origin, it’s accepted that their roots come from Anatolia because of the way they integrated themselves. We can find these details from their cuneiform scripts and hieroglyphs. These texts include their law system such as the laws that prevent fight against the throne or family law to protect women’s rights. Thus we accept that the roots of our traditions derive from that period.
Owing to the fact that the Hittites were the longest civilization to have lived in Anatolia, for approximately 800 years, wherever you go there, you will definitely come across a trace belonging to them.