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Unearthed: The Humble Origins Of World Diplomacy (Hittites)
Independent (UK) ^ | 1-19-2003 | David Keys

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.


TOPICS: Egypt; Israel; News/Current Events; Syria
KEYWORDS: 18thdynasty; 19thdynasty; 25thdynasty; aegean; akkadian; alphabet; amarna; anatolia; ancient; aramaic; archaeology; arzawa; arzawan; boghazkoy; book; carian; carians; catastrophism; clay; cuneiform; diplomacy; discovery; ebony; egypt; eltanin; emilforrer; empire; epigraphyandlanguage; galilee; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; gold; hatti; hattusa; hattusas; history; hittite; hittites; hurrian; hurrians; idanda; israel; king; lapislazuli; library; lydia; lydian; napshiabi; old; origins; palice; past; qatna; sepphoris; syria; tablet; unearthed; world; yehudahanasi
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1 posted on 01/18/2003 2:51:59 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
The Hittites
2 posted on 01/18/2003 2:53:47 PM PST by blam
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To: All

It's Time To Shut Little Tommy Up !


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3 posted on 01/18/2003 2:54:08 PM PST by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: blam
read later
4 posted on 01/18/2003 3:02:10 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: blam
Bump
5 posted on 01/18/2003 3:03:02 PM PST by Fiddlstix (Tag Line Service Center: FREE Tag Line with Every Monthly Donation to FR. Get Yours. Inquire Within)
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To: blam
Thanks for the great link!
6 posted on 01/18/2003 4:19:35 PM PST by Domestic Church
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To: blam
Velikovsky, in Ages in Chaos, says the Hittites never exisitied. ("the history of the 'Hittitie Empire' is entirely invented.") When I first read this, I thought, "This is lunacy." So I went to my bookshelf where I found Durant's Our Oriental Herritage (Story of Civilization Vol I). Durant doesn't say that the Hittites never exisited, but he does say, "The Hittites disappeared from history almost as mysteriously as they entered it." Lines like this intrigue me.

ML/NJ

7 posted on 01/18/2003 5:43:12 PM PST by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj

8 posted on 01/18/2003 6:03:20 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

Hittite Empire ...Revolving map.

9 posted on 01/18/2003 6:08:30 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Did they find all the letters from those diplomats who wondered "Why do the Hittites hate us?"

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.

10 posted on 01/18/2003 6:15:12 PM PST by Henk
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To: blam
I'm not sure what this picture is, or what your point is in posting it here. If it is something attributed to the Hittites, I would just point out that even Velikovsky would agree that many things have been attributed to the Hittites. His suggestion is that the Hittites are actually part of other civilizations (the Babylonians, I think) and so these items are misattributed.

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.

ML/NJ

11 posted on 01/19/2003 6:34:56 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj
"I'm not sure what this picture is, or what your point is in posting it here. "

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.

12 posted on 01/19/2003 8:13:46 AM PST by blam
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To: ml/nj
Velikovsky is generally regarded as a crackpot, I think. I remember one of his claims, that a comet turned into the planet Venus, which is scientific nonsense. Will Durant was not an expert on this period of history either. There are a lot of good books dealing with the ancient Near East which cover the Hittites. Their kingdom did collapse rather suddenly, about the same time several other states were destroyed.

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.

13 posted on 01/19/2003 12:25:25 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Verginius Rufus
"Their kingdom did collapse rather suddenly, about the same time several other states were destroyed."

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.')

14 posted on 01/19/2003 12:33:30 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
"....written in a previously unknown language...."

So how were they translated?

15 posted on 01/19/2003 8:10:40 PM PST by Buffalo Head
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To: ml/nj
Velikovsky being a Jew would know the Jewish perspective on the Hittites.
The Hebrews..who became the nation of Israel knew several Hittite kingdoms.
Abraham purchases a field near Hebron from Ephron the Hittite.
Joshua has encounters with the Hittites in the hill country and the north during the city wrecking thingy that historians know about but still waffle on attributing to Israel coming up out of Egypt.
King David has Hittites in his Army...one named Uriah is like his personal boby guard..or Vanguard.
The Hittites are a patchwork of tribes which unified then went to a greek style republic/confederacy.
Operating under one common Law..but responsible for their environs.
The Hebrews from way back called them the Khit-tee...Cheth..or Heth,...one of the Sons of Canaan.
But they also knew the other Hittite clans further North..near present day Turkey.
They called them the Gimmiria...we know the name as the Cimmerians.
The became your Hittites on paper..but this Hittite group was family via Noah another way..thru Japheth and His sons.
Canaan interacted with Japheths line...this is the sweeping arc from Turkey to Iran.
All family clans..yet all not getting along.
Historians record a Hittite Kingdom of 7 Languages...maybe they should call it Hittite 5 or 6...but either way..it seems the came together when they needed..but where independent and regional..and very combative..hence the attempt to unify via a code of law and a federation.
Your Turks..Syrians ..Kurds,Armenians,Persians.and Iraqi's are a good Kodak of that ancient time.
The Hebrews called them Heth..meaning Terrible...and they were.
But the Hebrews mopped up on them in Joshuas time...latter the Hittites were doing deals with David.
But that does not mean the entire swath from Turkey to Iran was doing deals...maybe just the local "Ethnic" Hittite.
Can you imagine the arguments today..if we plucked Hitties from Turkey ,Iran,Canaan.,Syria..
Bet they would go on each other just like the present day crowd do...each group Passionate that his tribe is the leader.
I suspose they do know...the Apache Indians had several tribes..but one was pre-eminent and special..the Cherikowa.
Oh well...one of the reasons there is so much fighting in the mid-east...
all family.
16 posted on 01/19/2003 9:35:35 PM PST by Light Speed
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To: Verginius Rufus
Velikovsky is generally regarded as a crackpot, I think.

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.

ML/NJ

17 posted on 01/20/2003 5:54:16 PM PST by ml/nj
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To: Light Speed
Velikovsky being a Jew would know the Jewish perspective on the Hittites.

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.

ML/NJ

18 posted on 01/20/2003 6:07:23 PM PST by ml/nj
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To: blam
Around the time of the Sea Peoples, there was a massive migration around 1025 BC +/- and the Hittites went south, overwhelmed from the North and the West.
19 posted on 01/20/2003 6:47:20 PM PST by Little Bill (No Rats!)
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To: Little Bill; ml/nj; Light Speed
"Their empire was at its greatest from 1600-1200 BC."

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.

20 posted on 01/20/2003 7:41:37 PM PST by blam
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