"Whoever after me becomes king resettles Hattusas; let the Stormgod of the Sky strike him!" (A Hittite inscription found at the capital city of Hattusa)
World history textbooks contain a litany of "lost" empires and civilizations, but usually, upon further review, it is revealed that these so-called lost empires are often just lesser-known cultures that had a less apparent impact on history than other more well-known civilizations. When one scours the annals of history for a civilization that was inexplicably lost, but had a great impact during its time, very few candidates can be found, but the Hittites are a notable example.
In fact, the Hittites are an ancient people who remain somewhat enigmatic, and perhaps little known to most people, but their influence on the ancient Near East is undeniable. From high in their capital of Hattusa in central Anatolia, the Hittites were able to conquer and control a kingdom that roughly comprised the area of modern Turkey, Syria, and parts of Iraq and Lebanon through a combination of brute military force and shrewd diplomatic machinations.
Compared to some of their contemporaries - including the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Babylonians - the Hittites were somewhat distant both culturally and geographically. The Hittites were an Indo-European speaking people in an ocean of Afro-Asiatic and Semitic groups; their homeland was to the north of Mesopotamia, and it contained no major river like the Nile, Tigris, or Euphrates Rivers. The Hittite empire was also far less enduring than its neighbors, as it only existed from about 1800-1200 BC (van de Mieroop 2007, 156), which was considerably shorter than most of the other major kingdoms of the Near East.
©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors