Other Archaeological Sites / The Neolithic of the Levant (500 Page Book Online)
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The Indo-European Presence in Anatolia
..... the Land of Hatti, which later became the Kingdom of the Hittites, was one of the great powers of the Late Bronze Age, rivalling and eventually surpassing in the fourteenth century its two most powerful contemporaries, the Kingdom of Mitanni and Egypt. From their capital Hattusas in central Anatolia the Indo-European Kings of the Land of Hatti controlled a vast network of vassal states, which at the height of Hittite political and military development in the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries extended from the Aegean coast of Anatolia in the west to the Euphrates River in the East.
Hittite history presents us with no easily distinguishable phases. In the first place throughout the 500 years of its existence the Kingdom of Hatti remained under the rule of kings who came from a single small group of closely related families. From the beginning to the end of this Late Bronze Age kingdom there was no demonstrable change of dynasty.
The Land of Hatti was known of from at least the time of the Akkadian Empire of Sargon I. The predominant population of this region in Anatolia in the third millennium was an indigenous group not of Indo-European origin. Evidence of a civilization pre-existing the arrival of the Hittites is provided by the remnants of one of the non Indo-European languages found in the later Hittite archives. The dominant culture therefore of central Anatolia in the Early Bronze Age was that of a non Indo-European population called the Hattians. We can be certain of an Indo-European presence in central Anatolia by the end of the third millennium. Whether they arrived initially as invaders or as peaceful settlers the new elite ruling class adopted many elements of their culture.
Ethnicity in the Middle Bronze Age
In the Middle Bonze Age (twentieth - eighteenth centuries) the Assyrians established a number of merchant colonies in the eastern half of Anatolia for the purpose of trading with the towns and palaces belonging to the various local kingdoms. Most of these kingdoms had already been established during the Early Bronze Age. The headquarters of the colony network was the city of Nesa (Kanes). In the Assyrian texts found in this city the great majority of names are of Indo-European origin. Nesa therefore was the main centre of Indo-European settlement in central Anatolia during the colony period; other sites were supposedly inhabited by the indigenous Hattian people. And the conflicts between a dynasty established at Nesa and the rulers of other central Anatolian kingdoms have been seen as ethnically based conflicts between Indo-Europeans and Hattians leading to the eventual triumph of the former over the latter.
Already in this period the Indo-European language spoken at Nesa was becoming established as the Anatolian language used for written records and communications. Nesite was to remain the language of royalty throughout the period of the Hittite kingdom.
NOTE: This need not indicate continuing political supremacy by a particular ethnic group. Rather it reflects the retention of an important dynastic tradition.
The Hittite kingdom was founded in the early or middle years of the seventeenth century. Its capital was established at Hattusas which was located 150 kilometres east of Ankara. The kingdom lasted some five centuries throughout the period known as the Late Bronze Age.
As a result of marriage alliances, adoptions and coups during the Dynastic Period several ethnic elements -- Hattian, Luwian and Hurrian amongst them -- were intermingled in the small number of families which provided the occupants of the Hittite throne. Membership in the elite ruling class was not based on any sense of ethnic exclusivity. But once they were admitted to the ranks of royalty all members conformed with and perpetuated its established traditions including the use of Nesite as the chief oficial language of the court .....
Continue Reading at Library of Congress # DS 66 B75 1998 (Page 21)
The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium