Skip to comments.Unearthed: The Humble Origins Of World Diplomacy (Hittites)
Posted on 01/18/2003 2:51:58 PM PST by blam
Unearthed: the humble origins of world diplomacy
By David Keys, Archaeology Correspondent
19 January 2003
Archaeologists have discovered evidence of an invasion of the Middle East by one of the world's first superpowers, which destroyed much of the region 33 centuries ago.
Under the ruins of a 3,800-year-old royal palace in western Syria they have found part of an ancient diplomatic and administrative library, the most important archaeological discovery of its kind for more than 20 years.
Accounts on clay tablets describe the region's conquest by one of the Bronze Age's superpowers, the Hittite Empire, in 1340BC. This helped to reduce Egyptian power in neighbouring Palestine and played a key part in creating biblical-era Israel. The invasion also led, in effect, to the invention of the concept of the international treaty.
The clay tablets discovered at the site of the ancient city of Qatna, 200km north of Damascus appear to tell the whole story of the Hittite conquest of the region. What seems to be one of the first letters in the sequence probably from a diplomatic or intelligence officer in northern Syria describes how the Hittites invaded with a large army and great numbers of chariots and destroyed many towns, including one 100km north of Qatna. The diplomat implores the King of Qatna a ruler called Idanda to reinforce his defences.
Another letter from a fellow king, also somewhere in northern Syria described to Idanda how the Hittite general was on the march again, laden with war booty, presumably from the sacked cities.
The clay tablets then go on to record Idanda's reaction. One text is an instruction to make 40,000 mud bricks, perhaps to strengthen the city wall. Another orders workshops to make 18,600 swords, while yet another names the 25 military captains who are to receive the weapons.
Apparently the Hittite army arrived and captured Qatna, despite the defenders' new weapons. The palace, and probably the town too, were destroyed. But the destruction, ironically, preserved the library. For when the Hittites set fire to the palace, the wooden floors collapsed and the library's clay tablets fell four metres into a basement corridor and were buried in rubble.
As well as diplomatic letters and intelligence documents, the library included reports and instructions on economic and legal matters. One tablet reveals, for instance, that a lady of the palace, called Napshi-Abi, was very rich and owned 200 gold-hilted knives, ebony chairs and knives inlaid with lapis lazuli.
The letters and reports are unique, not only for their subject matter but also because they are written in a previously unknown language, a mixture of Akkadian (the Semitic lingua franca of the ancient world) and Hurrian (which originated in what is now eastern Turkey and the Caucasus).
Also buried for 33 centuries were the tombs of Qatna's royal family, containing ivory, royal insignia, alabaster vases, gold and silver bowls and gold rosettes. So far archaeologists have found a funerary complex (complete with entrance statues) that served up to 15 generations of royalty.
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Hittite Empire ...Revolving map.
Was there evidence of massive peace rallies against the ruler's reckless provocation of the Hittites?
Surely they were a few "Not In Our Name" tablets being chiseled with famous actors' names at the time the city fell.
I confess I don't really know very much about ancient history. I do find it interesting though that the history of the Hittites seems to contain many more mysteries and contradictions than say Egyptian history. Somebody wise once said: When contradictions exist, examine your premesis.
It's just something attributed to the Hittites, that's all. I know zero about the Hittites and came across it while looking for more info.
I heard a lecture once by an archaeologist about a Hittite site in Syria or Turkey. The speaker described how they had found some sculptures and that they knew immediately that they had to be Hittite, because they were so ugly.
Can you give me a 'ballpark' date? I'll look and see what the tree ring record shows for that time. (We've had a number of 'Dark Ages.')
So how were they translated?
And Reagan is "generally regarded" as a moron. So what?
When Albert Einstein died the book by his bed was Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision. He was rereading it. This is the book that talks about the comet that became the planet Venus, so it would seem that you are suggesting that Einstein would spend his time with "scientific nonsense," and then return to it.
If you take a look at the correspondence between Einstein and Velikovsky I think you will find (I haven't looked at it in a long time.) that Einstein initially rejected Worlds in Collision and suggested to Velikovsky that he should have published Ages in Chaos first.
Ages in Chaos is where Velikovsky suggests that the Hittites never existed.
Will Durant was not an expert on this period of history either.
I'm sure you have great credentials, but I wonder why you resort to an ad hominem here. Do you have reason to object to the sentence I quoted from Durant's history. If so, bring it forward. If not, maybe you would be wiser to lurk when these matters are being discussed.
Velikovsky was quite familiar with all the ancient writings, not just the Jewish ones. And I'm reasonably familiar with the Torah myself. The word "Hittite" is just a tranlsiteration from the Torah of hay-tav-yud. There is no mention of it in English literature prior to the early Bible translations (according to the OED). There are many tribes mentioned in the Torah, e.g. the Amalekites. The fact that the Hittite of the Torah has become associated with the Hittites of ancient history proves nothing.
The tree rings have recorded worldwide catastrophic events at 1628BC (I believe the date for the Exodus, Santorini) and 1159BC. The Hittites appear to have thrived between these two catastrophies.
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