Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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Anatolia II

Anatolia II




Lullubi and Guteans

The Fall of the Akkadian Empire

Assyrian Karum


The Hitties

Early Hittite Period




Hittite Empire



Mycenaean Presence

Bronze Age Collapse

Syro-Hittite States




Neo-Assyrian Empire


Ionian Greeks

Pontic Greeks


Neo-Luwian States












The history of Anatolia (Asia Minor) can be roughly subdivided into prehistory, Ancient Near East (Bronze Age and Early Iron Age), Classical Anatolia, Hellenistic Anatolia, Byzantine Anatolia, the age of the Crusades followed by the gradual Seljuk/Ottoman conquest in the 13th to 14th centuries, Ottoman Anatolia (14th to 19th centuries) and the modern history of the Republic of Turkey.

The prehistory of Anatolia, also known by the Latin name of Asia Minor, considered to be the westernmost extent of Western Asia, stretches from the Paleolithic era through to the appearance of classical civilisation in the middle of the 1st millennium BC.

The region encompasses the central uplands of modern Turkey, from the coastal plain of the Aegean Sea east to the western edge of the Armenian Highlands and from the narrow coast of the Black Sea south to the Taurus mountains and Mediterranean Sea coast.

It is generally regarded as being divided into three ages reflecting the dominant materials used for the making of domestic implements and weapons: Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. The term Copper Age (Chalcolithic) is used to denote the period straddling the stone and Bronze Ages.

Human habitation in Anatolia dates back to the Paleolithic. The earliest representations of culture in Anatolia can be found in several archaeological sites located in the central and eastern part of the region. Stone Age artifacts such as animal bones and food fossils were found at Burdur (north of Antalya). 

Neolithic farming had long ago been developed in this general region around eastern Anatolia (amongst others). It also seems to have been from eastern Anatolia that Neolithic farmers began migrating in the seventh millennium BC towards Europe to create the Sesklo culture and bring farming to Europe.

The first urban centres appear in the region. Neolithic settlements include Çatalhöyük, Çayönü, Nevali Cori, Aşıklı Höyük, Boncuklu Höyük Hacilar, Göbekli Tepe, Norsuntepe, Kosk, and Mersin. Archeological finds include farming tools that suggest both crops and animal husbandry as well as domestication of the dog. Religion is represented by figurines of Cybele, a mother goddess.

Hacilar (Western Turkey) followed Çayönü, and has been dated to 7040 BC. Çatalhöyük (Central Turkey) is considered the most advanced of these, and Çayönü in the east the oldest (c. 7250–6750 BC). We have a good idea of the town layout at Çayönü, based on a central square with buildings constructed of stone and mud.

Straddling the Neolithic and early Bronze Age, the Chalcolithic era (c. 5500–3000 BC) is defined by the first metal implements made with copper. This age is represented in Anatolia by sites at Hacilar, Beycesultan, Canhasan, Mersin Yumuktepe, Elazig Tepecik, Malatya Degirmentepe, Norsuntepe, and Istanbul Fikirtepe. The Bronze Age (c. 3300–1200 BC) is characterised by the use of copper and its tin alloy, bronze, for manufacturing implements. Asia Minor was one of the first areas to develop bronze making.

Because of its strategic location at the intersection of Asia and Europe, Anatolia has been the center of several civilizations since prehistoric times. Neolithic Anatolia has been proposed as the homeland of the Indo-European language family, although linguists tend to favour a later origin in the steppes north of the Black Sea.

The Anatolian hypothesis, first developed by British archaeologist Colin Renfrew in 1987, proposes that the dispersal of Proto-Indo-Europeans originated in Neolithic Anatolia. It is the main competitor to the Kurgan hypothesis, or steppe theory, the more favoured view academically.

Although the first habitation appears to have occurred as early as the 6th millennium BC during the Chalcolithic period, functioning settlements trading with each other occurred during the 3rd millennium BC. A settlement on a high ridge would become known as Büyükkaya, and later as the city of Hattush, the center of this civilization.

Later, still, it would become the Hittite stronghold of Hattusha and is now Boğazköy. Remnants of the Hattian civilization have been found both under the lower city of Hattusha and in the higher areas of Büyükkaya and Büyükkale, Another settlement was established at Yarikkaya, about 2 km to the northeast.

The discovery of mineral deposits in this part of Anatolia allowed Anatolians to develop metallurgy, such as the implements found in the royal graves at Alaca Höyük, about 25 km from Boğazköy, which it preceded, dating from 2400–2200 BC.

Other Hattian centers include Hassum, Kanesh, Purushanda, and Zalwar. During this time the Hattians engaged in trade with city states such as those of Sumer, which needed timber products from the Amanus mountains.

Anatolia had remained in the prehistoric period until it entered the sphere of influence of the Akkadian Empire in the 24th century BC under Sargon of Akkad, particularly in eastern Anatolia. However the Akkadian Empire suffered problematic climate changes in Mesopotamia, as well as a reduction in available manpower that affected trade. This led to its fall around 2150 BC at the hands of the Gutians.

The interest of the Akkadians in the region as far as it is known was for exporting various materials for manufacturing. Bronze metallurgy had spread to Anatolia from the Transcaucasian Kura-Araxes culture in the late 4th millennium BC. While Anatolia was well endowed with copper ores, there was no evidence of substantial workings of the tin required to make bronze in Bronze-Age Anatolia.

Around this time though, 3000 BC, a destruction layer appears in Melid which may coincide with the arrival of Indo-European migrants from the Caucuses. However, it is clear that the Anatolian languages, the earliest attested branch of Indo-European, have been spoken in Anatolia since at least the 19th century BC.

At the origins of written history, the Anatolian plains inside the area ringed by the Kızılırmak River were occupied by the first defined civilization in Anatolia, a non-Indo-European indigenous people named the Hattians (c. 2500 BC – c. 2000 BC).

During the middle Bronze Age, the Hattian civilization, including its capital of Hattush, continued to expand. The Anatolian middle Bronze Age influenced the early Minoan culture of Crete (3400 to 2200 BC) as evidenced by archaeological findings at Knossos.

The Hattians came into contact with Assyrians traders from Assur in Mesopotamia such as at Kanesh (Nesha) near modern Kültepe who provided them with the tin needed to make bronze. These trading posts or Karums (Akkadian for Port), have lent their name to a period, the Karum Period.

The Karums, or Assyrian trading colonies, persisted in Anatolia until Hammurabi conquered Assyria and it fell under Babylonian domination in 1756 BC. These Karums represented separate residential areas where the traders lived, protected by the Hattites, and paying taxes in return. Meanwhile, the fortifications of Hattush were strengthened with construction of royal residences on Büyükkale.

After the Assyrians overthrew their Gutians neighbours (c. 2050 BC) they claimed the local resources, notably silver, for themselves. However the Assyrians brought writing to Anatolia, a necessary tool for trading and business.

These transactions were recorded in Akkadian cuneiform on clay tablets. Records found at Kanesh use an advanced system of trading computations and credit lines. The records also indicate the names of the cities where the transaction occurred.

Although the origins of some of the earliest peoples are shrouded in mystery, the remnants of Bronze Age civilizations, such as the Hattians, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria, and the Hittites, provide us with many examples of the daily lives of its citizens and their trade.

The history of the Hittite civilization is known mostly from cuneiform texts found in the area of their empire, and from diplomatic and commercial correspondence found in various archives in Egypt and the Middle East.

Hattian civilization was also impacted by an invading Indo-European people, the Hittites, in the early 18th century BC, Hattush being burned to the ground in 1700 BC by King Anitta of Kussar after overthrowing King Piyushti. He then placed a curse on the site and set up his capital at Kanesh 160 km south east.

The Hittites absorbed the Hattians over the next century, a process that was essentially complete by 1650 BC. Eventually Hattusha became a Hittite centre by the second half of the 17th century BC, and King Hattusili I (1586–1556 BC) moved his capital back to Hattusha from Neša (Kanesh).

The Old Hittite Empire (17th–15th centuries BC) was at its height in the 16th century BC, encompassing central Anatolia, north-western Syria as far as Ugarit, and upper Mesopotamia. Kizzuwatna in southern Anatolia controlled the region separating the Hittite Empire from Syria, thereby greatly affecting trade routes. The peace was kept in accordance with both empires through treaties that established boundaries of control.

Following the reign of Telipinu (c. 1460 BC) the Hittite kingdom entered a relatively weak and poorly documented phase, known as the Middle Kingdom, from the reign of Telipinu’s son-in-law, Alluwamna (mid-15th century BC) to that of Muwatalli I (c. 1400 BC).

King Tudhaliya I (early 14th century BC) ushered in a new era of Hittite power, often referred to as the Hittite Empire. The Kings took on a divine role in Hittite society and the Hittite peoples, often allied with neighbours such as the Kizzuwatna began to expand again, moving into Western Anatolia, absorbing the Luwian state of Arzawa and the Assuwa League.

It was not until the reign of King Suppiluliumas (c. 1344–1322 BC) that Kizzuwatna was taken over fully, although the Hittites still preserved their cultural accomplishments in Kummanni (now Şar, Turkey) and Lazawantiya, north of Cilicia.

In the 13th century, after the reign of Hattusili III (c. 1267–1237 BC), Hittite power began to wain, threatened by Egypt to the South and Assyria to the East, effectively ending with Suppiluliuma II (c. 1207–1178 BC).

After 1180s BC, amid general turmoil in the Levant associated with the sudden arrival of the Sea Peoples, and the collapse of the Bronze Age the empire disintegrated into several independent Syro-Hittite (Neo-Hittite) city-states, some of which survived until as late as the 8th century BC.

In the West, Greeks were arriving on the Anatolian coast, and the Kaskas along the northern Black Sea coast. Eventually Hattusha itself was destroyed around 1200 BC and the age of Empires shifted to that of regional states as the Bronze Age transitioned into the Iron Age.

After the fall of the Hittites, the new states of Phrygia and Lydia stood strong on the western coast as Greek civilization began to flourish. Only the threat from a distant Persian kingdom prevented them from advancing past their peak of success.

The Iron Age (c. 1300–600 BC) was characterised by the widespread use of iron and steel. It is also an age known for the development of alphabets and early literature. It formed the last phase of Pre-history, spanning the period between the collapse of the Bronze Age and the rise of classical civilisation.

In Anatolia the dissolution of the Hittite Empire was replaced by regional Neo-Hittite powers, including Troad, Ionia, Lydia, Caria and Lycia in the west, Phrygia, centrally and Cimmeria and Urartu in the north east, while the Assyrians occupied much of the south east.


Ancient kingdoms of Anatolia

Ancient Regions of Anatolia

History of Anatolia

Prehistory of Anatolia

Ancient Anatolians

Early European Farmers

1900 BC Near East mass migration

Anatolian languages

Anatolian hypothesis

Classical Anatolia


The earliest historical records of Anatolia stem from the southeast of the region and are from the Mesopotamian-based Akkadian Empire during the reign of Sargon of Akkad in the 24th century BC.

Scholars generally believe the earliest indigenous populations of Anatolia were the Hattians and Hurrians. The region was famous for exporting raw materials, and areas of Hattian- and Hurrian-populated southeast Anatolia were colonised by the Akkadians.

The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in central Anatolia. The group was documented at least as early as the empire of Sargon of Akkad (c. 2300 BC), until it was gradually absorbed c. 2000–1700 BC by the Indo-European Hittites, who were subsequently associated with the “land of Hatti”.

The Hattians were organised in city-states and small kingdoms or principalities. These cities were well organized and ruled as theocratic principalities. They spoke a language of unclear affiliation, and the Hurrian language belongs to a small family called Hurro-Urartian, all these languages now being extinct; relationships with indigenous languages of the Caucasus have been proposed but are not generally accepted.

“Land of the Hatti” is the oldest known name for central Anatolia, albeit as an exonym in extraneous sources, such as the Assyrian hatti matu, found on Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets from the period of Sargon the Great of Akkad c. 2350–2150 BC; on those tablets Assyrian-Akkadian traders implored King Sargon for help. This appellation continued to exist for about 1,500 years until 630 BC, as stated in Assyrian chronicles.

According to later Hittite documents, Sargon the Great had fought with the Luwian king Nurdaggal of Burushanda, while Sargon’s successor Naram-Sin of Akkad had battled Pamba, king of Hatti and 16 other confederates.

Both Hattian and Hurrian regions of Anatolia came to be dominated by East Semitic Mesopotamian polities, in the form the Akkadian Empire (2335-2154 BC) and the succeeding Old Assyrian Empire (2025-1750 BC), both of which set up trading colonies called karum in the region.

The use of the word “Proto-Hittite” to refer to Hattians is inaccurate. Hittite (natively known as Nešili, “[in the language] of Neša”) is an Indo-European language, linguistically distinct from the Hattians. The Hittites continued to use the term Land of Hatti for their new kingdom. The Hattians eventually merged with people who spoke Indo-European languages like Hittite, Luwian, and Palaic.

The Hattian spoke Hattic, a non-Indo-European and non-Semitic language of uncertain affiliation. Hattic is now believed by some scholars to be related to the Northwest Caucasian language group.

Trevor Bryce writes: “Evidence of a ‘Hattic’ civilization is provided by the remnants of one of the non-Indo-European languages found in the later Hittite archives.The language is identified in several of the texts in which it appears by the term hattili- ‘(written) in the language of Hatti.’ The few texts that survive are predominantly religious or cultic in character. They provide us with the names of a number of Hattic deities, as well as Hattic personal and place-names”.

About 150 short specimens of Hattian text have been found in Hittite cuneiform clay tablets. Hattian leaders perhaps used scribes who wrote in Old Assyrian. Ekrem Akurgal wrote, “the Anatolian princes used scribes knowing Assyrian for commerce with Mesopotomia as at Kanesh (Kültepe)” to conduct business with Assyria. From the 21st to the mid-18th centuries BC, Assyria established trade outposts in Hatti, such as at Hattum and Zalpa.

Scholars have long assumed that the predominant population of the region of Anatolia “in the third millennium [BC] was an indigenous pre-Indo-European group called the Hattians.” Another non-Indo-European group were the Hurrians.

But it is thought possible that speakers of Indo-European languages were also in central Anatolia by then. The scholar Petra Goedegebuure has proposed that before the conquest of the Hittites, an Indo-European language, probably Luwian, had already been spoken alongside the Hattic language for a long time.

Hattian became more ergative towards the New Hittite period. This development implies that Hattian remained alive until at least the end of the 14th century BC. Alexei Kassian proposed that the Northwest Caucasian languages (also known as Abkhazo-Adyghe), which are syntactically subject–object–verb, had lexical contacts with Hattian.

Hattian religion traces back to the Stone Age. It involved worship of the earth, which is personified as a mother goddess; the Hattians honored the mother goddess to ensure their crops and their own well-being.

The Hattian pantheon of gods included the storm-god Taru (represented by a bull), the sun-goddess Furušemu or Wurunšemu (represented by a leopard), and a number of other elemental gods. Reliefs in Çatal Höyük show a female figure giving birth to a bull, i.e. the mother-goddess Kattahha (or Hannahanna) was mother to the storm-god Taru.

Later on the Hittites subsumed much of the Hattian pantheon into their own religious beliefs. James Mellaart has proposed that the indigenous Anatolian religion revolved around a water-from-the-earth concept.

Pictorial and written sources show that the deity of paramount importance to the inhabitants of Anatolia was the terrestrial water-god. Many gods are connected with the earth and water. In Hittite cuneiform, the terrestrial water god is generally represented with dIM.

The storm gods of Anatolia were written with about one hundred catalogue variants of dU, mostly described as the Stormgod of Hatti or with a city name. The Hittite legends of Telipinu and the serpentine dragon Illuyanka found their origin in the Hattian civilization.




The Akkadian Empire (2334-2154 BC) was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia, centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region, which the Bible also called Akkad. The empire united Akkadian and Sumerian speakers under one rule.

The Akkadian Empire takes its name from the region and the city of Akkad, both of which were localized in the general confluence area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Although the city of Akkad has not yet been identified on the ground, it is known from various textual sources. Among these is at least one text predating the reign of Sargon. Together with the fact that the name Akkad is of non-Akkadian origin, this suggests that the city of Akkad may have already been occupied in pre-Sargonic times.

The Akkadian Empire exercised influence across Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Anatolia, sending military expeditions as far south as Dilmun and Magan (modern Bahrain and Oman) in the Arabian Peninsula.

During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism. Akkadian, an East Semitic language, gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language somewhere between the 3rd and the 2nd millennia BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate).

The Akkadian Empire, sometimes regarded as the first empire in history, though the meaning of this term is not precise, and there are earlier Sumerian claimants, was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia, centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region, which the Bible also called Akkad.

The empire united Akkadian and Sumerian speakers under one rule. It exercised influence across Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Anatolia, sending military expeditions as far south as Dilmun and Magan (modern Bahrain and Oman) in the Arabian Peninsula.

The empire reached its political peak between the 24th and 22nd centuries BC, following the conquests by its founder Sargon of Akkad. Under Sargon and his successors, the Akkadian language was briefly imposed on neighboring conquered states such as Elam and Gutium.

Trade extended from the silver mines of Anatolia to the lapis lazuli mines in modern Afghanistan, the cedars of Lebanon and the copper of Magan. This consolidation of the city-states of Sumer and Akkad reflected the growing economic and political power of Mesopotamia. The empire’s breadbasket was the rain-fed agricultural system of Assyria and a chain of fortresses was built to control the imperial wheat production.

The economy was highly planned. Grain was cleaned, and rations of grain and oil were distributed in standardized vessels made by the city’s potters. Taxes were paid in produce and labour on public walls, including city walls, temples, irrigation canals and waterways, producing huge agricultural surpluses.

In later Assyrian and Babylonian texts, the name Akkad, together with Sumer, appears as part of the royal title, as in the Sumerian LUGAL KI-EN-GI KI-URI or Akkadian Šar māt Šumeri u Akkadi, translating to “king of Sumer and Akkad”. This title was assumed by the king who seized control of Nippur, the intellectual and religious center of southern Mesopotamia.

By this time, bronze metallurgy spread to Anatolia from the Transcaucasian Kura-Araxes culture in the late 4th millennium BCE. Anatolia remained fully in the prehistoric period until it entered the sphere of influence of the Akkadian Empire in the 24th century BCE under Sargon I.

The interest of Akkad in the region as far as it is known was for exporting various materials for manufacturing. While Anatolia was well endowed with copper ores, there is no trace as yet of substantial workings of the tin required to make bronze in Bronze-Age Anatolia.

During the Akkadian period, the Akkadian language became the lingua franca of the Middle East, and was officially used for administration, although the Sumerian language remained as a spoken and literary language.

The spread of Akkadian stretched from Syria to Elam, and even the Elamite language was temporarily written in Mesopotamian cuneiform. Akkadian texts later found their way to far-off places, from Egypt (in the Amarna Period) and Anatolia, to Persia (Behistun).

Manishtushu’s son and successor, Naram-Sin (2254–2218 BC), due to vast military conquests, assumed the imperial title “King Naram-Sin, king of the four-quarters” (Lugal Naram-Sîn, Šar kibrat ‘arbaim), the four-quarters as a reference to the entire world.

He was also for the first time in Sumerian culture, addressed as “the god (Sumerian = DINGIR, Akkadian = ilu) of Agade” (Akkad), in opposition to the previous religious belief that kings were only representatives of the people towards the gods.

To better police Syria, he built a royal residence at Tell Brak, a crossroads at the heart of the Khabur River basin of the Jezirah. This newfound Akkadian wealth may have been based upon benign climatic conditions, huge agricultural surpluses and the confiscation of the wealth of other peoples.

Sargon I



Akkadian Empire

Lullubi and Guteans

Hittite sources claim Naram-Sin of Akkad even ventured into Anatolia, battling the Hittite and Hurrian kings Pamba of Hatti, Zipani of Kanesh, and 15 others. A late (c. 1400 BC) witness to an old tradition includes a king of Kaneš called Zipani among seventeen local city-kings who rose up against Naram-Sin of Akkad (ruled c. 2254-2218 BC).

Pamba is the name of a king of the Hatti in the early 22nd century BC. Pamba’s name is mentioned in a report of Naram-Sin of Akkad regarding a battle against an alliance of 17 kings, including Pamba, king of the Hatti, and Zipani, king of Kanesh.

The text is the earliest known mention of the Hatti people; the extant copy of the report dates to ca. 1400 BC, nearly a millennium later. The chief threat, however, seemed to be coming from the northern Zagros Mountains, from the Lulubis (Lu-lu-bi) and the Guti or Quti, also known by the derived exonyms Gutians or Guteans.

A campaign against the Lullubi, a group of pre-Iranian tribes during the 3rd millennium BC, from a region known as Lulubum, now the Sharazor plain of the Zagros Mountains of modern Iraqi Kurdistan, and the Kermanshah Province of Iran, led to the carving of the “Victory Stele of Naram-Suen”, now in the Louvre.

The Lullubi or Lulubi were a group of pre-Iranian tribes during the 3rd millennium BC, from a region known as Lulubum, now the Sharazor plain of the Zagros Mountains of modern Iraqi Kurdistan, and the Kermanshah Province of Iran. Lullubi was neighbour and sometimes ally with the Simurrum kingdom. Frayne (1990) identified their city Lulubuna or Luluban with the region’s modern Iraqi town of Halabja.

The language of the Lullubi is regarded as an unclassified language due to the complete absence of any literature or written script, meaning it cannot be linked to known languages of the region at the time, such as Elamite, Hurrian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Hattic and Amorite, and the Lullubi pre-date the arrival of Iranian-speakers by many centuries. The term Lullubi though, appears to be of Hurrian origin.

The Guteans were a nomadic people of West Asia, around the Zagros Mountains (Modern Iran) during ancient times. Their homeland was known as Gutium (Sumerian: Gu-tu-umki or Gu-ti-umki). Conflict between people from Gutium and the Akkadian Empire has been linked to the collapse of the empire, towards the end of the 3rd millennium BCE.

The Guti subsequently overran southern Mesopotamia and formed the Gutian dynasty of Sumer. The Sumerian king list suggests that the Guti ruled over Sumer for several generations, following the fall of the Akkadian Empire.

By the 1st millennium BCE, usage of the name Gutium, by the peoples of lowland Mesopotamia, had expanded to include all of western Media, between the Zagros and the Tigris. Various tribes and places to the east and northeast were often referred to as Gutians or Gutium.

For example, Assyrian royal annals use the term Gutians in relation to populations known to have been Medes or Mannaeans. As late as the reign of Cyrus the Great of Persia, the famous general Gubaru (Gobryas) was described as the “governor of Gutium”.


The Fall of the Akkadian Empire

The empire of Akkad fell, perhaps in the 22nd century BC, within 180 years of its founding, ushering in a “Dark Age” with no prominent imperial authority until Third Dynasty of Ur. The region’s political structure may have reverted to the status quo ante of local governance by city-states.

One explanation for the end of the Akkadian empire is simply that the Akkadian dynasty could not maintain its political supremacy over other independently powerful city-states. Akkad suffered problematic climate changes in Mesopotamia, as well as a reduction in available manpower that affected trade. This led to the fall of the Akkadians around 2150 BCE at the hands of the Gutians.

Another theory associates regional decline at the end of the Akkadian period (and of the First Intermediary Period following the Old Kingdom in Ancient Egypt) was associated with rapidly increasing aridity, and failing rainfall in the region of the Ancient Near East, caused by a global centennial-scale drought.

Shu-turul appears to have restored some centralized authority, however, he was unable to prevent the empire eventually collapsing outright from the invasion of barbarian peoples from the Zagros Mountains known as the Gutians.

Little is known about the Gutian period, or how long it endured. Cuneiform sources suggest that the Gutians’ administration showed little concern for maintaining agriculture, written records, or public safety.

They reputedly released all farm animals to roam about Mesopotamia freely and soon brought about famine and rocketing grain prices. The Sumerian king Ur-Nammu (2112–2095 BC) cleared the Gutians from Mesopotamia during his reign.

The period between c. 2112 BC and 2004 BC is known as the Ur III period. Documents again began to be written in Sumerian, although Sumerian was becoming a purely literary or liturgical language, much as Latin later would be in Medieval Europe.

After the fall of the Akkadian Empire, the people of Mesopotamia eventually coalesced into two major Akkadian-speaking nations: Assyria in the north, and, a few centuries later, Babylonia in the south.

Assyrian Karum

After the fall of the Akkadian Empire in the mid-21st century BC, the Assyrians, who were the northern branch of the Akkadian people, colonised parts of the region between the 21st and mid-18th centuries BC and claimed its resources, notably silver.

One of the numerous cuneiform records dated circa 20th century BC, found in Anatolia at the Assyrian colony of Kanesh, an archaeological site in Kayseri Province, Turkey, about 20 km southwest of the modern city of Kayseri, uses an advanced system of trading computations and credit lines.

Kültepe (Turkish: “Ash Hill”) consists of a tell, the actual Kültepe, and a lower town, where an Assyrian settlement was found. Its name in Assyrian texts from the 20th century BC was Kaneš; the later Hittites mostly called it Neša, occasionally Aniša.

In 2014 the archaeological site was inscribed in the Tentative list of World Heritage Sites in Turkey. It is also the site of discovery of the earliest traces of the Hittite language, the earliest attestation of any Indo-European language, dated to the 20th century BC.

Kaneš, inhabited continuously from the Chalcolithic to Roman times, flourished as an important Hattian, Hittite and Hurrian city, containing a large kārum (merchant colony) of the Old Assyrian Empire from c. the 21st to 18th centuries BC.

The quarter of the city that most interests historians is the kārum, a portion of the city that was, during the Chalcolithic, set aside by local officials for the early Assyrian merchants to use without paying taxes as long as the goods remained inside the kārum.

This kārum appears to have served as “the administrative and distribution centre of the entire Assyrian colony network in Anatolia.” The term kārum means “port” in Akkadian, the lingua franca of the time, but its meaning was later extended to refer to any trading colony whether or not it bordered water. The remains of the kārum form a large circular mound 500 m in diameter and about 20 m above the plain (a tell).

Several other cities in Anatolia also had a kārum, but the largest was Kaneš, whose important kārum was inhabited by soldiers and merchants from Assyria for hundreds of years. They traded local tin and wool for luxury items, foodstuffs, spices and woven fabrics from the Assyrian homeland and Elam.

The kārum settlement is the result of several superimposed stratigraphic periods. New buildings were constructed on top of the remains of the earlier periods so there is a deep stratigraphy from prehistoric times to the early Hittite period.

The kārum was destroyed by fire at the end of both levels II and Ib. The inhabitants left most of their possessions behind, to be found by modern archaeologists. The findings have included numerous baked-clay tablets, some of which were enclosed in clay envelopes stamped with cylinder seals.

The documents record common activities, such as trade between the Assyrian colony and the city-state of Assur and between Assyrian merchants and local people. The trade was run by families rather than the state. The Kültepe texts are the oldest documents from Anatolia.

Although they are written in Old Assyrian, the Hittite loanwords and names in the texts are the oldest record of any Indo-European language. Most of the archaeological evidence is typical of Anatolia rather than of Assyria, but the use of both cuneiform and the dialect is the best indication of Assyrian presence.

The Old Assyrian Empire claimed the resources for themselves after the Gutians were vanquished, notably silver. One of the numerous Assyrian cuneiform records found in Anatolia at Kanesh uses an advanced system of trading computations and credit lines.



Old Assyrian Empire



Unlike the Akkadians and their descendants, the Assyrians, whose Anatolian possessions were peripheral to their core lands in Mesopotamia, the Hittites were centred at Hattusa (modern Boğazkale) in north-central Anatolia by the 1700 BC. They were speakers of an Indo-European language, the Hittite language, or nesili (the language of Nesa) in Hittite.

The Hittites originated of local ancient cultures that grew in Anatolia, in addition to the arrival of Indo-European languages. Attested for the first time in the Assyrian tablets of Nesa around 2000BC, they conquered Hattusa in the 1800 BC, imposing themselves over Hattian- and Hurrian-speaking populations.

According to the widely accepted Kurgan theory on the Proto-Indo-European homeland, however, the Hittites (along with the other Indo-European ancient Anatolians) were themselves relatively recent immigrants to Anatolia from the north. However, they did not necessarily displace the population genetically, they would rather assimilate into the former peoples’ culture, preserving the Hittite language.

Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızılırmak River (Hittite: Marashantiya; Greek: Halys). Hattusa was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1986.

The landscape surrounding the city included rich agricultural fields and hill lands for pasture as well as woods. Smaller woods are still found outside the city, but in ancient times, they were far more widespread.

This meant the inhabitants had an excellent supply of timber when building their houses and other structures. The fields provided the people with a subsistence crop of wheat, barley and lentils. Flax was also harvested, but their primary source for clothing was sheep wool. They also hunted deer in the forest, but this was probably only a luxury reserved for the nobility. Domestic animals provided meat.

There were several other settlements in the vicinity, such as the rock shrine at Yazılıkaya and the town at Alacahöyük. Since the rivers in the area are unsuitable for major ships, all transport to and from Hattusa had to go by land.

Before 2000 BC, the apparently indigenous Hattian people established a settlement on sites that had been occupied even earlier and referred to the site as Hattush. The Hattians built their initial settlement on the high ridge of Büyükkale.

The earliest traces of settlement on the site are from the sixth millennium BC. In the 19th and 18th centuries BC, merchants from Assur in Assyria established a trading post there, setting up in their own separate quarter of the city.

The center of their trade network was located in Kanesh (Neša) (modern Kültepe). Business dealings required record-keeping: the trade network from Assur introduced writing to Hattusa, in the form of cuneiform.

A carbonized layer apparent in excavations attests to the burning and ruin of the city of Hattusa around 1700 BC. The responsible party appears to have been King Anitta from Kussara, who took credit for the act and erected an inscribed curse for good measure:

Whoever after me becomes king resettles Hattusas, let the Stormgod of the Sky strike him!” Only a generation later, a Hittite-speaking king chose the site as his residence and capital. The Hittite language had been gaining speakers at the expense of Hattic for some time.

The Hattic Hattush now became the Hittite Hattusa, and the king took the name of Hattusili, the “one from Hattusa”. Hattusili marked the beginning of a non-Hattic-speaking “Hittite” state and of a royal line of Hittite Great Kings, 27 of whom are now known by name.

After the Kaskas arrived to the kingdom’s north, they twice attacked the city to the point where the kings had to move the royal seat to another city. Under Tudhaliya I, the Hittites moved north to Sapinuwa, returning later.

Under Muwatalli II, they moved south to Tarhuntassa but assigned Hattusili III as governor over Hattusa. Mursili III returned the seat to Hattusa, where the kings remained until the end of the Hittite kingdom in the 12th century BC.

At its peak, the city covered 1.8 km² and comprised an inner and outer portion, both surrounded by a massive and still visible course of walls erected during the reign of Suppiluliuma I (circa 1344–1322 BC (short chronology)).

The inner city covered an area of some 0.8 km² and was occupied by a citadel with large administrative buildings and temples. The royal residence, or acropolis, was built on a high ridge now known as Büyükkale (Great Fortress).

To the south lay an outer city of about 1 km2, with elaborate gateways decorated with reliefs showing warriors, lions, and sphinxes. Four temples were located here, each set around a porticoed courtyard, together with secular buildings and residential structures.

Outside the walls are cemeteries, most of which contain cremation burials. Modern estimates put the population of the city between 40,000 and 50,000 at the peak; in the early period, the inner city housed a third of that number. The dwelling houses that were built with timber and mud bricks have vanished from the site, leaving only the stone-built walls of temples and palaces.

The city was destroyed, together with the Hittite state itself, around 1200 BC, as part of the Bronze Age collapse. Excavations suggest that Hattusa was gradually abandoned over a period of several decades as the Hittite empire disintegrated. The site was subsequently abandoned until 800 BC, when a modest Phrygian settlement appeared in the area.

In 1833, the French archaeologist Charles Texier (1802–1871) was sent on an exploratory mission to Turkey, where in 1834 he discovered ruins of the ancient Hittite capital of Hattusa. Ernest Chantre opened some trial trenches at the village then called Boğazköy, in 1893–94. Since 1906, the German Oriental Society has been excavating at Hattusa (with breaks during the two World Wars and the Depression, 1913–31 and 1940–51).

Archaeological work is still carried out by the German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut). Hugo Winckler and Theodore Makridi Bey conducted the first excavations in 1906, 1907, and 1911–13, which were resumed in 1931 under Kurt Bittel, followed by Peter Neve (site director 1963, general director 1978–94).

One of the most important discoveries at the site has been the cuneiform royal archives of clay tablets, known as the Bogazköy Archive, consisting of official correspondence and contracts, as well as legal codes, procedures for cult ceremony, oracular prophecies and literature of the ancient Near East.

One particularly important tablet, currently on display at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, details the terms of a peace settlement reached years after the Battle of Kadesh between the Hittites and the Egyptians under Ramesses II, in 1259 or 1258 BC. A copy is on display in the United Nations in New York City as an example of the earliest known international peace treaties.

Although the 30,000 or so clay tablets recovered from Hattusa form the main corpus of Hittite literature, archives have since appeared at other centers in Anatolia, such as Tabigga (Maşat Höyük) and Sapinuwa (Ortaköy). They are now divided between the archaeological museums of Ankara and Istanbul.

A pair of sphinxes found at the southern gate in Hattusa were taken for restoration to Germany in 1917. The better-preserved was returned to Turkey in 1924 and placed on display in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, but the other remained in Germany where it was on display at the Pergamon Museum from 1934, despite numerous requests for its return.

In 2011, threats by Turkish Ministry of Culture to impose restrictions on German archaeologists working in Turkey finally persuaded Germany to return the sphinx, and it was moved to the Boğazköy Museum outside the Hattusa ruins, along with the Istanbul sphinx – reuniting the pair near their original location.

The Hitties

Unlike the Akkadians and their descendants, the Assyrians, whose Anatolian possessions were peripheral to their core lands in Mesopotamia, the Hittites were centred at Hattusa (modern Boğazkale) in north-central Anatolia by the 1700 BC. They were speakers of an Indo-European language, the Hittite language, or nesili (the language of Nesa) in Hittite.

The Hittites originated of local ancient cultures that grew in Anatolia, in addition to the arrival of Indo-European languages. Attested for the first time in the Assyrian tablets of Nesa around 2000BC, they conquered Hattusa in the 1800 BC, imposing themselves over Hattian- and Hurrian-speaking populations.

While Anatolia was well endowed with copper ores, there is no trace as yet of substantial workings of the tin required to make bronze in Bronze-Age Anatolia. Akkad suffered problematic climate changes in Mesopotamia, as well as a reduction in available manpower that affected trade. This led to the fall of the Akkadians around 2150 BCE at the hands of the Gutians.

The Old Assyrian Empire claimed the resources for themselves after the Gutians were vanquished, notably silver. One of the numerous Assyrian cuneiform records found in Anatolia at Kanesh uses an advanced system of trading computations and credit lines.

The Hittite Old Kingdom emerges towards the close of the Middle Bronze Age, conquering Hattusa under Hattusili I (1700 BC). The Anatolian Middle Bronze Age influenced the Minoan culture on Crete as evidenced by archaeological recovery at Knossos.

According to the widely accepted Kurgan theory on the Proto-Indo-European homeland, however, the Hittites (along with the other Indo-European ancient Anatolians) were themselves relatively recent immigrants to Anatolia from the north. However, they did not necessarily displace the population genetically, they would rather assimilate into the former peoples’ culture, preserving the Hittite language.

The Hittites adopted the cuneiform script, invented in Mesopotamia. During the Late Bronze Age circa 1650 BC, they created a kingdom, the Hittite New Kingdom, which became an empire in the 1400 BC after the conquest of Kizzuwatna in the south-east and the defeat of the Assuwa league in western Anatolia.

The Hittite Empire was at its height in the 14th century BCE, encompassing central Anatolia, north-western Syria as far as Ugarit, and upper Mesopotamia. Kizzuwatna in southern Anatolia controlled the region separating Hatti from Syria, thereby greatly affecting trade routes.

The peace was kept in accordance with both empires through treaties that established boundaries of control. It was not until the reign of the Hittite king Suppiluliumas that Kizzuwatna was taken over fully, although the Hittites still preserved their cultural accomplishments in Kummanni (now Şar, Turkey) and Lazawantiya, north of Cilicia.

The empire reached its height in the 1300 BC, controlling much of Asia Minor, northwestern Syria and northwest upper Mesopotamia. They failed to reach the Anatolian coasts of the Black Sea, however, as a non-Indo-European people, the semi-nomadic pastoralist and tribal Kaskians, had established themselves there, displacing earlier Palaic-speaking Indo-Europeans.

Much of the history of the Hittite Empire concerned war with the rival empires of Egypt, Assyria and the Mitanni. The Egyptians eventually withdrew from the region after failing to gain the upper hand over the Hittites and becoming wary of the power of Assyria, which had destroyed the Mitanni Empire.

After the 1180s BCE, amid general turmoil in the Levant associated with the sudden arrival of the Sea Peoples, the empire disintegrated into several independent “Neo-Hittite” city-states, some of which survived until as late as the 8th century BCE.

The history of the Hittite civilization is known mostly from cuneiform texts found in the area of their empire, and from diplomatic and commercial correspondence found in various archives in Egypt and the Middle East.

The Assyrians and Hittites were then left to battle over control of eastern and southern Anatolia and colonial territories in Syria. The Assyrians had better success than the Egyptians, annexing much Hittite (and Hurrian) territory in these regions.


History of the Hittites

Early Hittite Period

The early history of the Hittite kingdom is known through tablets that may first have been written in the 17th century BC, possibly in Hittite; but survived only as Akkadian copies made in the 14th and 13th centuries BC.

These reveal a rivalry within two branches of the royal family up to the Middle Kingdom; a northern branch first based in Zalpuwa and secondarily Hattusa, and a southern branch based in Kussara (still not found) and the former Assyrian colony of Kanesh.

These are distinguishable by their names; the northerners retained language isolate Hattian names, and the southerners adopted Indo-European Hittite and Luwian names.

One set of tablets, known collectively as the Anitta text, begin by telling how Pithana the king of Kussara conquered neighbouring Neša (Kanesh). The real subject of these tablets, however, is Pithana’s son Anitta (r. 1745–1720 BC), who continued where his father left off and conquered several northern cities: including Hattusa, which he cursed, and also Zalpuwa.

This was likely propaganda for the southern branch of the royal family, against the northern branch who had fixed on Hattusa as capital. Another set, the Tale of Zalpuwa, supports Zalpuwa and exonerates the later Ḫattušili I from the charge of sacking Kanesh.

Anitta was succeeded by Zuzzu (r. 1720–1710 BC); but sometime in 1710–1705 BC, Kanesh was destroyed, taking the long-established Assyrian merchant trading system with it. A Kussaran noble family survived to contest the Zalpuwan/Hattusan family, though whether these were of the direct line of Anitta is uncertain.

Meanwhile, the lords of Zalpa lived on. Huzziya I, descendant of a Huzziya of Zalpa, took over Hatti. His son-in-law Labarna I, a southerner from Hurma (now Kalburabastı) usurped the throne but made sure to adopt Huzziya’s grandson Ḫattušili as his own son and heir.

Uhna was a king of the ancient Anatolian city of Zalpuwa during the 17th century BC, who conquered the Hittite city of Neša. According to the Text of Anitta, he brought the statue of the god Siusum from Neša to Zalpuwa. Several years later king Anitta brought this statue back to Neša.

Ca. the 17th century BC, Uhna the king of Zalpuwa invaded Neša (Kültepe), after which the Zalpuwans carried off the city’s “Sius” idol. Under Huzziya’s reign, the king of Neša, Anitta, invaded Zalpuwa. Anitta took Huzziya captive, and recovered the Sius idol for Neša. Soon after that, Zalpuwa seems to have become culturally and linguistically Hittite.

Pithana, the king of Kussara, conquered Neša “in the night, by force”, but “did not do evil to anyone in it.” Neša revolted against the rule of Pithana’s son, Anitta, but Anitta quashed the revolt and made Neša his capital. Anitta further invaded Zalpuwa, captured its king Huzziya, and recovered the Šiuš idol for Neša.

In the 17th century BC, Anitta’s descendants moved their capital to Hattusa, which Anitta had cursed, thus founding the line of Hittite kings. The inhabitants thus referred to the Hittite language as Nešili, “the language of Neša”.

Zalpuwa, also Zalpa, was an as-yet undiscovered Bronze Age Anatolian city of ca. the 17th century BC. Its history is largely known from the Proclamation of Anitta, CTH 1. Zalpuwa was by a “Sea of Zalpa”. It was the setting for an ancient legend about the Queen of Kanesh, which was either composed in or translated into the Hurrian language:

“[The Queen] of Kanesh once bore thirty sons in a single year. She said: “What a horde is this which I have born[e]!” She caulked(?) baskets with dung, put her sons in them, and launched them in the river.

The river carried them down to the sea at the land of Zalpuwa. Then the gods took them up out of the sea and reared them. When some years had passed, the queen again gave birth, this time to thirty daughters. This time she herself reared them”.

The river at Kanesh (Sarımsaklı Çayı) drains into the Black Sea. “Zalpuwa” is further mentioned alongside Nerik in Arnuwanda I’s prayer. Nerik was a Hattic language speaking city which had fallen to the Kaskians by Arnuwanda’s time. This portion of the prayer also mentioned Kammama, which was Kaskian as of the reign of Arnuwanda II. 

The best conclusion is that Zalpuwa was in a region of Hattian cities of northern central Anatolia: as were Nerik, Hattusa, and probably Sapinuwa. Zalpuwa was most likely, like its neighbours, founded by Hattians.

Arnuwanda’s prayer implies that Zalpuwa was laid waste by Kaskians, at the same time that Nerik fell to them, in the early 14th century BC. İkiztepe on the Kızılırmak Delta near the Black Sea coast is suggested as a possible location for Zalpuwa.

Hattusili I (Ḫattušili I) was a king of the Hittite Old Kingdom. He reigned ca. 1586–1556 BC. He used the title of Labarna at the beginning of his reign. It is uncertain whether he is the second king so identified, making him Labarna II, or whether he is identical to Labarna I, who is treated as his predecessor in Hittite chronologies.

During his reign, he moved the capital from Neša (Kaneš, near modern Kültepe) to Ḫattuša (near modern Boğazkale), taking the throne name of Ḫattušili to mark the occasion. He is the earliest Hittite ruler for whom contemporary records have been found. In addition to “King of Ḫattuša”, he took the title “Man of Kuššara”, a reference to the prehistoric capital and home of the Hittites, before they had occupied Neša.

A cuneiform tablet found in 1957 written in both the Hittite and the Akkadian language provides details of six years of his reign. In it, he claims to have extended the Hittite domain to the sea, and in the second year, to have subdued Alalakh and other cities in Syria.

In the third year, he campaigned against Arzawa in western Anatolia, then returned to Syria to spend the next three years retaking his former conquests from the Hurrians, who had occupied them in his absence.

The Hittite Old Kingdom emerges towards the close of the Middle Bronze Age, conquering Hattusa under Hattusili I (1700 BC). The Anatolian Middle Bronze Age influenced the Minoan culture on Crete as evidenced by archaeological recovery at Knossos.

The Hittites adopted the cuneiform script, invented in Mesopotamia. During the Late Bronze Age circa 1650 BC, they created a kingdom, the Hittite New Kingdom, which became an empire in the 1400 BC after the conquest of Kizzuwatna in the south-east and the defeat of the Assuwa league in western Anatolia.


Kussara (Kuššar) was a Bronze Age kingdom in Anatolia. The kingdom, though apparently important at one time, is mostly remembered today as the origin of the dynasty that would form the Old Hittite Kingdom.

Kussara is occasionally mentioned in the clay tablets of the old Assyrian trade period of Anatolia (as Ku-ša-ra) and less often in the early Hittite Kingdom (as KUR URU Ku-uš-ša-ra), but the borders of Kussara are unknown, and the old city of Kussara has not been found. Several proposals for its placement have been advanced.

For instance, Massimo Forlanini, an expert in the geography of ancient Anatolia, has stated that Kussara was probably situated southeast of Kanesh, but presumably north of Luhuzzadia/Lahu(wa)zzandiya, between Hurama and Tegarama (modern day Gürün), perhaps on a road which was crossing another road to the north in the direction of Samuha.

Professor Trevor Bryce, meanwhile, says “[t]he city of Kussara probably lay to the south-east of the Kizil Irmak basin in the anti-Taurus region, on or near one of the main trade routes from Assyria and perhaps in the vicinity of modern Şar (Comana Cappadocia).”

Pithana and his son Anitta, forerunners of the later Hittite kings, are the only two recorded kings of Kussara. Their exploits are known chiefly from the so-called ‘Anitta Text,’ one of the earliest inscriptions in the Hittite language as yet discovered.

Pithana took control over Kanesh (Neša) and its important trade centrum in roughly 1780 BC. The people later revolted against the rule of his son, Anitta, but Anitta crushed the revolt and made Kaneš his capital.

Kussara itself, however, appears to have retained ceremonial importance. Anitta also defeated the polities of Zalpuwa and Hattum, after which he took the title of ‘Great King’. Most scholars also accept a further king, Labarna I, to be a member of the Kussaran dynasty.

It is notable that Hattusili I, recognized as one of the first Hittite kings, referred to himself as ‘man of Kussara,’ although his capital (from which he likely took his name) was Hattusa. Again, Kussara seems even then to have retained some importance, since this was where Hattusili called a council on his own succession.

The language or dialect of Kussara is neither found nor described in either the Assyrian or Hittite texts, but from the evidence of Old Assyrian trade tablets, it is known that a palace and an Assyrian trade station, or Karum, existed in the city.

The Kings of Kussara became the Kings of Kanesh in the Karum IB period of Kanesh. Hattusili I and Hattusili III mentioned the origins of the Kings of the land of Hatti as Hattusili I styled himself: “man of Kussara . . . Great King Tabarna, Hattusili the Great King, King of the land of Hatti.” No other town or land was ever mentioned by a King of Hattusa as the origin of the Kings of Hattusa.

Because the Kings of Kussara and their clan formed the base of the Old Kingdom of the Hittites, the Hittite language (known as ‘Nesili’ to its speakers after the city of Kanesh or Nesa) was the language of the ruling officials.

It is assumed that the language of Kussara was Indo-European, because if it were not, many more non Indo-European elements would be expected in its apparent successor, Hittite. Craigh Melchert concludes in the chapter Prehistory of his book The Luwians (2003–17): “Hittite core vocabulary remains Indo-European”.

The Anitta Text records that when Pithana captured Kanesh, he did no harm to it, but made the inhabitants ‘his mothers and fathers.’ Some scholars have taken this unique statement to mean there were cultural and/or ethnic affinities between Kussara and Kanesh.



Nerik (Hittite: Nerik(ka)) was a Bronze Age settlement to the north of the Hittite capitals Hattusa and Sapinuwa, probably in the Pontic region. The Hittites held it as sacred to a Storm-god who was the son of Wurušemu, Sun-goddess of Arinna. The weather god is associated or identified with Mount Zaliyanu near Nerik, responsible for bestowing rain on the city.

Nerik was founded by Hattic language speakers as Narak; in the Hattusa archive, tablet CTH 737 records a Hattic incantation for a festival there. Under Hattusili I, the Nesite-speaking Hittites took over Nerik. They maintained a spring festival called “Puruli” in honor of the Storm-god of Nerik. In it, the celebrants recited the myth of the slaying of Illuyanka.

Under Hantili, Nerik was ruined and the Hittites had to relocate the Puruli festival to Hattusa. As of the reign of Tudhaliya I, Nerik’s site was occupied by the barbarian Kaskas, whom the Hittites blamed for its initial destruction.

During Muwatalli II’s reign, his brother and appointed governor Hattusili III recaptured Nerik and rebuilt it as its High Priest. Hattusili named his firstborn son “Nerikkaili” in commemoration (although he later passed him over for the succession). Seven years after Muwatalli’s son Mursili III became king, Mursili reassigned Nerik to another governor. Hattusili rebelled and became king himself.

Nerik disappeared from the historical record when the Hittite kingdom fell, ca. 1200 BC. Since 2005–2009, the site of Nerik has been identified as Oymaağaç Höyük, on the eastern side of the Kızılırmak River, 7 km (4.3 mi) northwest of Vezirköprü.

In 2005, Rainer Maria Czichon and Jörg Klinger of the Free University of Berlin began excavating Oymaağaç Höyük. Thus far, this is the northernmost place of Anatolia with remains from the Hittite Empire, including “three fragments of tablets and a bulla with stamps of the scribe Sarini.

In addition, mention of the mountains, in which Nerik was located, have been found at the site, as well as features suggestive of monumental Hittite architecture.” The team has published a number of articles related to their excavations.

According to Czichon, who is currently in the archaeology faculty at Uşak University, many stone and loom artifacts were unearthed during the excavations. Mining tools were found for copper deposits situated at nearby Tavşan Mountain field.

The most valuable artifacts are tablets with cuneiform script, which point out the site as Nerik. An inventory list showing tools, including silver trays and golden bullae contained in an unknown shrine, is also among the findings.


The Kaska (also Kaška, later Tabalian Kasku and Gasga) were a loosely affiliated Bronze Age non-Indo-European tribal people, who spoke the unclassified Kaskian language and lived in mountainous East Pontic Anatolia, known from Hittite sources.

They lived in the mountainous region between the core Hittite region in eastern Anatolia and the Black Sea, and are cited as the reason that the later Hittite Empire never extended northward to that area. The Kaska, probably originating from the eastern shore of the Propontis, may have displaced the speakers of the Palaic language from their home in Pala.

The Kaska first appear in the Hittite prayer inscriptions that date from the reign of Hantili II, c. 1450 BC, and make references to their movement into the ruins of the holy city of Nerik. During the reign of Hantili’s son, Tudhaliya II (c. 1430 BC), “Tudhaliya’s 3rd campaign was against the Kaskas.”

His successor Arnuwanda I composed a prayer for the gods to return Nerik to the empire; he also mentioned Kammama and Zalpuwa as cities which he claimed had been Hittite but which were now under the Kaskas. Arnuwanda attempted to mollify some of the Kaska tribes by means of tribute.

Sometime between the reigns of Arnuwanda and Suppiluliuma I (about 1330 BC), letters found in Maşat Höyük note that locusts ate the Kaskas’ grain. The hungry Kaska were able to join with Hayasa-Azzi and Isuwa to the east, as well as other enemies of the Hittites, and burn Hattusa, the Hittite capital, to the ground.

They probably also burned the Hittites’ secondary capital Sapinuwa. Suppiluliuma’s grandson Hattusili III in the mid-13th century BC wrote of the time before Tudhaliya. He said that in those days the Kaska had “made Nenassa their frontier” and that their allies in Azzi-Hayasa had done the same to Samuha.

In the Amarna letters, Amenhotep III wrote to the Arzawan king Tarhunta-Radu that the “country Hattusa” was obliterated, and further asked for Arzawa to send him some of these Kaska people of whom he had heard.

The Hittites also enlisted subject Kaska for their armies. When the Kaska were not raiding or serving as mercenaries, they raised pigs and wove linen, leaving scarcely any imprint on the permanent landscape.

Tudhaliya III and Suppiluliuma (c. 1375–1350 BC) set up their court in Samuha and invaded Azzi-Hayasa from there. The Kaska intervened, but Suppiluliuma defeated them; after Suppiluliuma had fully pacified the region, Tudhaliya and Suppiluliuma were able to move on Hayasa and defeat it too, despite some devastating guerrilla tactics at their rear. Some twelve tribes of Kaska then united under Piyapili, but Piyapili was no match for Suppiluliuma.

Eventually, Tudhaliya and Suppiluliuma returned Hattusa to the Hittites. But the Kaska continued to be a menace both inside and out and a constant military threat. They are said to have fielded as many as 9,000 warriors and 800 chariots.

In the time of ailing Arnuwanda II (around 1323 BC), the Hittites worried that the Kaskas from Ishupitta within the kingdom to Kammama without might take advantage of the plague in Hatti. The veteran commander Hannutti moved to Ishupitta, but he died there. Ishupitta then seceded from Hatti, and Arnuwanda died too. Arnuwanda’s brother and successor Mursili II recorded in his annals that he defeated this rebellion.

Over the ongoing decades, the Kaskans were also active in Durmitta and in Tipiya, by Mount Tarikarimu in the land of Ziharriya, and by Mount Asharpaya on the route to Pala; they rebelled and/or performed egregious banditry in each place. At first, Mursili defeated each Kaska uprising piecemeal.

Then the Kaska united for the first time under Pihhuniya of Tipiya, who “ruled like a king” the Hittites recorded. Pihhuniya conquered Istitina and advanced as far as Zazzissa. But Mursili defeated this force and brought Pihhuniya back as a prisoner to Hattusas. Mursili then switched to a defensive strategy, with a chain of border fortresses north to the Devrez.

Even so, in the early 13th century, when Mursili’s son Muwatalli II was king in Hatti, the Kaskas sacked Hattusa. Muwatalli stopped enlisting Kaska as troops; he moved his capital to Tarhuntassa to the south; and he appointed his brother, the future Hattusili III, as governor over the northern marches. Hattusili defeated the Kaska to the point of recapturing Nerik, and when he took over the kingdom he returned the capital to Hattusa.

The Kaska may have contributed to the fall of the Hittite empire in the Bronze Age collapse, c. 1200 BC. Then they penetrated eastern Anatolia, and continued their thrust southwards, where they encountered the Assyrians.

The Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser I recorded late in the 12th century BC that the Kaska (who he referred to as “Apishlu”) and their Mushki and Urumu (Urumean) allies were active in what had been the Hatti heartland. Tiglath-Pileser defeated them, and the Kaska then disappear from all historical records.

Repulsed by the Assyrians, a subdivision of the Kaska might have passed north-eastwards to the Caucasus, where they probably blended with the Proto-Colchian or Zan autochthons, forming a polity which was known as the Kolkha to the Urartians and later as the Colchis to the Greeks. Another branch might have established themselves in Cappadocia, which in the 8th century BC became a vassal of Assyria and ruled some Anatolian areas.

The Hittite Empire

The Hittite Empire was at its height in the 14th century BCE, encompassing central Anatolia, north-western Syria as far as Ugarit, and upper Mesopotamia. Kizzuwatna in southern Anatolia controlled the region separating Hatti from Syria, thereby greatly affecting trade routes.

The peace was kept in accordance with both empires through treaties that established boundaries of control. It was not until the reign of the Hittite king Suppiluliumas that Kizzuwatna was taken over fully, although the Hittites still preserved their cultural accomplishments in Kummanni (now Şar, Turkey) and Lazawantiya, north of Cilicia.

The empire reached its height in the 1300 BC, controlling much of Asia Minor, northwestern Syria and northwest upper Mesopotamia. They failed to reach the Anatolian coasts of the Black Sea, however, as a non-Indo-European people, the semi-nomadic pastoralist and tribal Kaskians, had established themselves there, displacing earlier Palaic-speaking Indo-Europeans.

The Hittites adopted the cuneiform script, invented in Mesopotamia. During the Late Bronze Age circa 1650 BC, they created a kingdom, the Hittite New Kingdom, which became an empire in the 14th century BC after the conquest of Kizzuwatna in the south-east and the defeat of the Assuwa league in western Anatolia.

The empire reached its height in the 13th century BC, controlling much of Asia Minor, northwestern Syria and northwest upper Mesopotamia. Much of the history of the Hittite Empire concerned war with the rival empires of Egypt, Assyria and the Mitanni.

They failed, however, to reach the Anatolian coasts of the Black Sea, however, as a non-Indo-European people, the semi-nomadic pastoralist and tribal Kaskians, had established themselves there, displacing earlier Palaic-speaking Indo-Europeans. 

Much of the history of the Hittite Empire concerned war with the rival empires of Egypt, Assyria and the Mitanni. The Egyptians eventually withdrew from the region after failing to gain the upper hand over the Hittites and becoming wary of the power of Assyria, which had destroyed the Mitanni Empire.

The Assyrians and Hittites were then left to battle over control of eastern and southern Anatolia and colonial territories in Syria. The Assyrians had better success than the Egyptians, annexing much Hittite (and Hurrian) territory in these regions.

After the 1180s BCE, amid general turmoil in the Levant associated with the sudden arrival of the Sea Peoples, the empire disintegrated into several independent “Neo-Hittite” city-states, some of which survived until as late as the 8th century BCE.

The history of the Hittite civilization is known mostly from cuneiform texts found in the area of their empire, and from diplomatic and commercial correspondence found in various archives in Egypt and the Middle East.

The Assyrians and Hittites were then left to battle over control of eastern and southern Anatolia and colonial territories in Syria. The Assyrians had better success than the Egyptians, annexing much Hittite (and Hurrian) territory in these regions.


Assuwa was a confederation (or league) of 22 ancient Anatolian states that formed some time before 1400 BC, when it was defeated by the Hittite Empire, under Tudhaliya I. The league was formed to oppose the Hittites. A successor state, in a similar area, was named Arzawa. The historian H. T. Bossert suggested that Assuwa may have been the origin of the name Asia (which was used initially only in reference to Asia Minor).

Modern scholars have often located Assuwa only in the north-west corner of Anatolia, an area centred north or north-west of the future Arzawa. This has made the inclusion of Caria, Lukka and/or Lycia problematic, as they were clearly located in south-west Anatolia.

Their inclusion would mean that Assuwa included areas both north and south of Arzawa. However, the confederative structure of Assuwa may well have included states in two or more geographically separate, non-contiguous areas, which lacked a common land border.

The member states are said to have included (in the order that they were listed by Tudhaliya I): a name ending in -ugga (or -luqqa), Kišpuwa, Unaliya, an obliterated name, Dura, Ḥalluwa, Ḥuwallušiya, Karakiša, Dunda, Adadura, Parišta, an obliterated name, a name probably ending in -wwa, Waršiya, Kuruppiya, a name ending in -luišša (or the whole name Luišša), a name that is probably Alatra, “the land of Mount Pahurina”, Pasuhalta, an obliterated name, Wilušiya, and T[a]rui[s]ša.

In most cases, these states are never (or seldom) mentioned in the few contemporaneous sources available. However, Karkiya has generally been identified with Caria, Taruisa with the Troas (Troad) peninsula, and Wilusiya with Wilusa – which was apparently the endonym of the city known to the Ancient Greeks as Troy (or Ilios).

The historical Lycia and/or Lukka have frequently been identified with Warsiya and [L]ugga. For instance, in the Iliad, Homer refers to two separate areas as “Lycia”: Sarpedon is a leader of “distant Lycia” (in 2.876-77, 5.479) and Pandarus is the leader of Lycians from around Mount Ida (2.824ff. 5.105). Likewise the Alaksandu Treaty identifies Warsiyalla with the Lukka.

Lycia formed the southernmost settlement in Western Anatolia on what is now the Teke peninsula on the western Mediterranean coast. There many historic Lycian sites include Xanthos, Patara, Myra, Pinara, Tlos, Olympos and Phaselis.

Emerging at the end of the Bronze Age as a Neo-Hittite league of city states whose governance model still influences political systems today. Alternating between Persian and Greek rule it eventually was incorporated into Rome, Byzantium and the Turkish lands.

The confederacy is mentioned only in the fragmentary tablets making up Laroche’s CTH 142/85. Since Tudhaliya IV was known to have had frontier trouble between 1250 and 1200 BC, and since the text lists rebel nations in much the way Ramesses II does, the first consensus dated this text and, therefore, Assuwa to Tudhaliya IV.

This dating appears in all older literature on the fall of the Hatti, and crops up every now and then to this day. However the consensus has since then come around to dating Assuwa to an earlier Tudhaliya, which means prior to Suppiluliuma and so prior to 1350 BC.

A number of fragmentary Hittite records imply that the anti-Hittite rebellion of the Assuwa league received a certain degree of support from Mycenaean Greece (Ahhiyawa in Hittite). The Iliad’s depiction of Ajax the Great’s military equipment, Heracles sacking Troy prior to the Trojan War and Bellerophon’s deeds in Anatolia may have been inspired by Mycenaean warriors who participated in this rebellion.

Assuwa League



The term Lukka lands (sometimes Luqqa lands), in Hittite language texts from the 2nd millennium BC, is a collective term for states formed by the Lukka people in south-west Anatolia. The Lukka were never subjected long-term by the Hittites, who generally viewed them as hostile. It is commonly accepted that the Bronze Age toponym Lukka is cognate with the Lycia of classical antiquity (8th century BC to 5th century AD).

There are two somewhat different hypotheses with regard to the extent of the Lukka lands. The maximalist hypothesis is upheld by Trevor Bryce, who discusses the occurrences of Lukka in Bronze Age texts.

“From these texts we can conclude the Lukka, or Lukka lands, referred to a regions extending from the western end of Pamphylia, through Lycaonia, Pisidia and Lycia. “The minimalist hypothesis is upheld by Ilya Yakubovich, who concludes based on the analysis of textual evidence: “[W]e have positive philological arguments for the presence of Bronze Age Lukka settlements in classical Lycia, but not anywhere else in Asia Minor or beyond it.”

Soldiers from the Lukka lands fought on the Hittite side in the famous Battle of Kadesh (c. 1274 BC) against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II. A century later, the Lukka had turned against the Hittites. The Hittite king Suppiluliuma II tried in vain to defeat the Lukka. They contributed to the collapse of the Hittite Empire. The Lukka are also known from texts in Ancient Egypt as one of the tribes of the Sea Peoples, who invaded Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean in the 12th century BC.


Arzawa was the name of a region and a political entity (a “kingdom” or a federation of local powers) in Western Anatolia in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC (roughly from the late 15th century BC until the beginning of the 12th century BC).

The core of Arzawa is believed to be along the Kaystros River (now known as Küçük Menderes River), with its capital at Apasa, later known as Ephesus. According to Hittite sources, the capital of the Kingdom of Arzawa was Apasa (or Abasa), corresponding with later Greek Ephesus.

Arzawa is mentioned as a major power in Egyptian accounts of the Amarna period (14th century BC). According to Hittite accounts, it formed an alliance with Ahhiyawa, generally identified by modern scholars with Mycenaean Greece, in various periods. 

When the Hittites conquered Arzawa it was divided into three Hittite provinces: a southern province called Mira along the Maeander River, which would later become known as Caria; a northern province called the Seha River Land, along the Gediz River, which would later become known as Lydia; and an eastern province called Hapalla.

It succeeded the Assuwa league, which also included parts of western Anatolia, but was conquered by the Hittites c. 1400 BC. Arzawa was the western neighbour and rival of the Middle and New Hittite Kingdoms.

On the other hand, it was in close contact with the Ahhiyawa of the Hittite texts, which corresponds to the Achaeans of Mycenaean Greece. Moreover, Achaeans and Arzawa formed a coalition against the Hittites in various periods.

The languages spoken in Arzawa during the Bronze Age and early Iron Age cannot be directly determined due to the paucity of indigenous written sources. It was previously believed that the linguistic identity of Arzawa was predominantly Luwian, based, inter alia, on the replacement of the designation Luwiya with Arzawa in a corrupt passage of a New Hittite copy of the Laws.

However, it was recently argued that Luwiya and Arzawa were two separate entities, because Luwiya is mentioned in the Hittite Laws as a part of the Hittite Old Kingdom, whereas Arzawa was independent from the Hittites during this period.

The geographic identity between Luwiya and Arzawa was rejected or doubted in a variety of recent publications, although the ethnolinguistic implications of this analysis remain to be assessed. One scholar suggested that there was no significant Luwian population in Arzawa, but instead that it was predominantly inhabited by speakers of Proto-Lydian and Proto-Carian.

The difference between the two approaches need not be exaggerated since the Carian language belongs to the Luwic branch of the Anatolian languages. Thus, the Luwic presence in Arzawa is universally acknowledged, but whether the elites of Arzawa were Luwian in the narrow sense remains a matter of debate.

The zenith of the kingdom was during the 15th and 14th centuries BC. The Hittites were then weakened, and Arzawa was an ally of Egypt. This alliance is recorded in the correspondence between the Arzawan ruler Tarhundaradu and the Pharaoh Amenophis III called the Arzawa letters, part of the archive of the Amarna letters, having played a substantial role in the decipherment of the Hittite language in which they were written.

According to Hittite records, in c. 1320 BC Arzawa joined an anti-Hittite alliance together with the region of Millawanta (Miletus) under the king of the Ahhiyawa (the latter widely accepted as Mycenaean Greece or part of it). As a response to this initiative, the Hittite kings Suppiluliuma I and Mursili II finally managed to defeat Arzawa around 1300 BC.

The king of Arzawa managed to escape to Mycenaean-controlled territory. Arzawa was then split by the Hittites into vassal kingdoms. These were called: Kingdom of Mira, Hapalla (transcriptions vary), “Seha river land”. “Seha river” is now believed to be the present-day Gediz River, although some scholars said it was the Bakırçay river. Also, Mursili’s son Muwatalli added Wilusa (Troy) as a vassal.

In 1998, J. David Hawkins succeeded in reading the Karabel relief inscription, located at the Karabel pass, about 20 km from Izmir. This has provided evidence that the kingdom of Mira was actually south of the ‘Seha river land’, thus locating the latter along the Gediz River. These kingdoms, usually termed simply as “lands” in Hittite registers, could have formed part of the Arzawa complex already during the existence of the Arzawa kingdom.

Known western Anatolian late-Bronze Age regions and/or political entities which, to date, have not been cited as having been part of the Arzawa complex are: Land of Masa/Masha (associable with Iron Age “Mysia”), Karkiya (associable with Iron Age “Caria”), and Lukka lands (associable with Iron Age “Lycia”).

After the collapse of the Hittite Empire from the 12th century, while Neo-Hittite states partially pursued Hittite history in southern Anatolia and Syria, the chain seems to have broken as far as the Arzawa lands in western Anatolia were concerned and these could have pursued their own cultural path until unification came with the emergence of Lydia as a state under the Mermnad dynasty in the 7th century BC.

The inscription of the Karabel rock-carved prince-warrior monument in Mount Nif was read as attributing it to “Tarkasnawa, King of Mira”, a part of the Kingdom of Arzawa.

There has been evidence from a British expedition in 1954 to Beycesultan in inner western Anatolia which suggests that the local king had central heating in his home. Nothing more was heard from this invention until Gaius Sergius Orata reinvented it in Ancient Rome around 80 BC.


Mycenaean Presence

There is very little information about early Mycenaean presence in Anatolia. Milet was clearly a center of Mycenaean presence in Asia Minor in the period c. 1450–1100 BC. The zone of intense Mycenaean settlement extends as far as Bodrum/Halicarnassus.

Intense Mycenaean settlement is to be found in the archaeological records only for the region between the Peninsula of Halicarnassus in the south and Milet in the north (and in the islands off this coastline, between Rhodes in the south and Kos – possibly also Samos – in the north).

Attarsiya was a 15th–14th century BC military leader who was probably Greek. He conducted the first recorded Mycenaean military activity on the Anatolian mainland. His activities are recorded in the Hittite archives of c. 1400 BC. British archaeologist J.M. Cook studied the Greek historical tradition about the Carians, and drew attention to the many similarities between the Carians and the Mycenaeans.


Bronze Age Collapse 

1200 BCE was a turning point in European and Near-Eastern history. In Central Europe, the Urnfield culture evolved into the Hallstatt culture, traditionally associated with the classical Celtic civilization, which was to have a crucial influence on the development of ancient Rome. In the Pontic Steppe, the Srubna culture make way to the Cimmerians, a nomadic people speaking an Iranian or Thracian language.

The Iron-age Colchian culture (1200-600 BCE) starts in the North Caucasus region. Its further expansion to the south of the Caucasus correspond to the first historical mentions of the Proto-Armenian branch of Indo-European languages (circa 1200 BCE). In the central Levant the Phoenicians start establishing themselves as significant maritime powers and building their commercial empire around the southern Mediterranean.

But the most important event of the period was incontestably the destruction of the Near-Eastern civilizations, possibly by the Sea Peoples. The great catastrophe that ravaged the whole Eastern Mediterranean from Greece to Egypt circa 1200 BCE is a subject that remains controversial.

The identity of the Sea Peoples has been the object of numerous speculations. What is certain is that all the palace-based societies in the Near-East were abruptly brought to an end by tremendous acts of destruction, pillage and razing of cities.

The most common explanation is that the region was invaded by technologically advanced warriors from the north. They could have been either Indo-Europeans descended from the Steppe via the Balkans, or Caucasian people (G2a, J1, J2a, T1a) linked with the expansion of the earlier Kura-Araxes culture to eastern Anatolia and the Levant.

The Hittite capital Hattusa was destroyed in 1200 BCE, and by 1160 BCE the empire had collapsed, probably under the pressure of the Phrygians and the Armenians coming from the Balkans. The Mycenaean cities were ravaged and abandoned throughout the 12th century BCE, leading to the eventual collapse of Mycenaean civilization by 1100 BCE. The kingdom of Ugarit in Syria was annihilated and its capital never resettled.

Other cities in the Levant, Cyprus and Crete were burned and left abandoned for many generations. The Egyptians had to repel assaults from the Philistines from the East and the Libyans from the West – two tribes of supposed Indo-European origin. The Lybians were accompanied by mercenaries from northern lands (the Ekwesh, Teresh, Lukka, Sherden and Shekelesh), whose origin is uncertain, but has been placed in Anatolia, Greece and/or southern Italy.

The devastation of Greece followed the legendary Trojan War (1194-1187 BCE). It has been postulated that the Dorians, an Indo-European people from the Balkans (probably coming from modern Bulgaria or Macedonia), invaded a weakened Mycenaean Greece after the Trojan War, and finally settled in Greece as one of the three major ethnic groups. The Dorian regions of classical Greece, where Doric dialects were spoken, were essentially the southern and eastern Peloponnese, Crete and Rhodes, which is also the part of Greece with the highest percentage of R1b-Z2103.

Another hypothesis is that the migration of the Illyrians from north-east Europe to the Balkans displaced previous Indo-European tribes, namely the Dorians to Greece, the Phrygians to north-western Anatolia and the Libu to Libya (after a failed attempt to conquer the Nile Delta in Egypt). The Philistines, perhaps displaced from Anatolia, finally settled in Palestine around 1200 BCE, unable to enter Egypt.


The Late Bronze Age collapse involved a Dark Age transition period in the Near East, Asia Minor, the Aegean region, North Africa, Caucasus, Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age, a transition which historians believe was violent, sudden, and culturally disruptive.

The palace economy of the Aegean region and Anatolia that characterised the Late Bronze Age disintegrated, transforming into the small isolated village cultures of the Greek Dark Ages. The half-century between c. 1200 and 1150 BC saw the cultural collapse of the Mycenaean kingdoms, of the Kassite dynasty of Babylonia, of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia and the Levant, and of the Egyptian Empire; the destruction of Ugarit and the Amorite states in the Levant, the fragmentation of the Luwian states of western Asia Minor, and a period of chaos in Canaan.

The deterioration of these governments interrupted trade routes and severely reduced literacy in much of this area. In the first phase of this period, almost every city between Pylos and Gaza was violently destroyed, and many abandoned, including Hattusa, Mycenae, and Ugarit.

According to Robert Drews: Within a period of forty to fifty years at the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the twelfth century almost every significant city in the eastern Mediterranean world was destroyed, many of them never to be occupied again.

Only a few powerful states, particularly Assyria, Egypt (albeit badly weakened), and Elam, survived the Bronze Age collapse – but by the end of the 12th century BC, Elam waned after its defeat by Nebuchadnezzar I, who briefly revived Babylonian fortunes before suffering a series of defeats by the Assyrians.

Upon the death of Ashur-bel-kala in 1056 BC, Assyria went into a comparative decline for the next 100 or so years, its empire shrinking significantly. By 1020 BC Assyria appears to have controlled only the areas in its immediate vicinity; the well-defended Assyria itself was not threatened during the collapse.

Gradually, by the end of the ensuing Dark Age, remnants of the Hittites coalesced into small Syro-Hittite states in Cilicia and the Levant, the latter states being composed of mixed Hittite and Aramean polities.

Beginning in the mid-10th century BC, a series of small Aramaean kingdoms formed in the Levant and the Philistines settled in southern Canaan where the Canaanite-speaking Semites had coalesced into a number of defined polities such as Israel, Moab, Edom and Ammon.

From 935 BC Assyria began to reorganise and once more expand outwards, leading to the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC), which came to control a vast area from the Caucasus to Egypt, and from Greek Cyprus to Persia. Phrygians, Cimmerians and Lydians arrived in Asia Minor, and a new Hurrian polity of Urartu formed in eastern Asia Minor and the southern Caucasus, where the Colchians (Georgians) also emerged.

Iranian peoples such as the Persians, Medes, Parthians and Sargatians first appeared in Ancient Iran soon after 1000 BC, displacing earlier non-Indo-European Kassites, Hurrians and Gutians in the northwest of the region, although the indigenous language isolate-speaking Elamites and Manneans continued to dominate the southwest and Caspian Sea regions respectively. After the Orientalising period in the Aegean, Classical Greece emerged.

A range of explanations for the collapse have been proposed, without any achieving consensus; several factors probably played a part. These include climatic changes (including the results of volcanic eruptions), invasions by the Sea Peoples and others, the effects of the spread of iron-based metallurgy, developments in military weapons and tactics, and a variety of failures of political, social and economic systems.

Late Bronze Age Collapse

Bronze Age collapse

Syro-Hittite States

The Iron Age (c. 1300–600 BC) was characterised by the widespread use of iron and steel. It is also an age known for the development of alphabets and early literature. It formed the last phase of Pre-history, spanning the period between the collapse of the Bronze Age and the rise of classical civilisation.

In Anatolia the dissolution of the Hittite Empire was replaced by regional Neo-Hittite powers, including Troad, Ionia, Lydia, Caria and Lycia in the west, Phrygia, centrally and Cimmeria and Urartu in the north east, while the Assyrians occupied much of the south east.

After the fall of the Hittites, the new states of Phrygia and Lydia stood strong on the western coast as Greek civilization began to flourish. Only the threat from a distant Persian kingdom prevented them from advancing past their peak of success.

After 1180 BC, during the Late Bronze Age collapse, the Hittite empire disintegrated into several independent Syro-Hittite states, subsequent to losing much territory to the Middle Assyrian Empire and being finally overrun by the Phrygians, another Indo-European people who are believed to have migrated from the Balkans.

Arameans encroached over the borders of south central Anatolia in the century or so after the fall of the Hittite empire, and some of the Syro-Hittite states in this region became an amalgam of Hittites and Arameans.

These became known as Syro-Hittite states. Another Indo-European people, the Luwians, rose to prominence in central and western Anatolia circa 2000 BC. Their language belonged to the same linguistic branch as Hittite.

The Assyrians eventually emerged as the dominant power and annexed much of the Hittite empire, while the remainder was sacked by Phrygian newcomers to the region. After c. 1180 BC, during the Bronze Age collapse, the Hittites splintered into several independent “Neo-Hittite” city-states, some of which survived until the 8th century BC before succumbing to the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

The states that are called Neo-Hittite or, more recently, Syro-Hittite were Luwian-, Aramaic- and Phoenician-speaking political entities of the Iron Age in northern Syria and southern Anatolia that arose following the collapse of the Hittite Empire in around 1180 BC and lasted until roughly 700 BC.

The term “Neo-Hittite” is sometimes reserved specifically for the Luwian-speaking principalities, like Milid and Carchemish. However, in a wider sense the broader cultural term “Syro-Hittite” is now applied to all the entities that arose in south-central Anatolia following the Hittite collapse, such as Tabal and Quwê, as well as those of northern and coastal Syria.

The collapse of the Hittite Empire is usually associated with the gradual decline of Eastern Mediterranean trade networks and the resulting collapse of major Late Bronze Age cities in the Levant, Anatolia and the Aegean.

At the beginning of the 12th century BC, Wilusa (Troy) was destroyed and the Hittite Empire suffered a sudden devastating attack from the Kaskas, who occupied the coasts around the Black Sea, and who joined with the Mysians.

They proceeded to destroy almost all Hittite sites but were finally defeated by the Assyrians beyond the southern borders near the Tigris. Hatti, Arzawa (Lydia), Alashiya (Cyprus), Ugarit and Alalakh were destroyed.

Hattusa, the Hittite capital, was completely destroyed. Following this collapse of large cities and the Hittite state, the Early Iron Age in northern Mesopotamia saw a dispersal of settlements and ruralization, with the appearance of large numbers of hamlets, villages, and farmsteads.

Syro-Hittite states emerged in the process of such major landscape transformation, in the form of regional states with new political structures and cultural affiliations. David Hawkins was able to trace a dynastic link between the Hittite imperial dynasty and the “Great Kings” and “Country-lords” of Melid and Karkamish of the Early Iron Age, proving an uninterrupted continuity between the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age at those sites.

Aside from literary evidence from inscriptions, the uninterrupted cultural continuity of Neo-Hittite states in the region from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age is now further confirmed by recent archaeological work at the Temple of the Storm God on the citadel of Aleppo, and Ain Dara temple, where the Late Bronze Age temple buildings continue into the Iron Age without hiatus, with repeated periods of construction in the Early Iron Age.

The Syro–Hittite states may be divided into two groups: a northern group where Hittite rulers remained in power, and a southern group where Aramaeans came to rule from about 1000 BC. These states were highly decentralised structures; some appear to have been only loose confederations of sub-kingdoms.

The northern group includes Tabal, which may have included a group of city states called the Tyanitis (Tuwana, Tunna, Hupisna, Shinukhtu, Ishtunda), Kammanu (with Melid), Hilakku, Quwê (with a stronghold at modern Karatepe), Gurgum, Kummuh and Carchemish.

The southern group includes Palistin (whose capital was probably Tell Tayinat), Bit Gabbari, Bit-Adini (with the city of Til Barsip), Bit Bahiani (with Guzana), Pattin (also Pattina or Unqi; with the city of Kinalua, maybe modern Tell Tayinat), Ain Dara, which was a religious center, Bit Agusi (with the cities of Arpad, Nampigi, and (later on) Aleppo), Hatarikka-Luhuti (the capital city of which was at Hatarikka) and Hamath.

Luwian monumental inscriptions in Anatolian hieroglyphs continue almost uninterrupted from the 13th-century Hittite imperial monuments to the Early Iron Age Syro-Hittite inscriptions of Karkemish, Melid, Aleppo and elsewhere.

Luwian hieroglyphs were chosen by many of the Syro-Hittite regional kingdoms for their monumental inscriptions, which often appear in bi- or tri-lingual inscriptions with Aramaic, Phoenician or Akkadian versions.

The Early Iron Age in Northern Mesopotamia also saw a gradual spread of alphabetic writing in Aramaic and Phoenician. During the cultural interactions on the Levantine coast of Syro-Palestine and North Syria in the tenth through 8th centuries BC, Greeks and Phrygians adopted the alphabetic writing from the Phoenicians.




Kizzuwatna (or Kizzuwadna; in Ancient Egyptian Kode or Qode), is the name of an ancient Anatolian kingdom in the 2nd millennium BC. It was situated in the highlands of southeastern Anatolia, near the Gulf of İskenderun in modern-day Turkey. It encircled the Taurus Mountains and the Ceyhan river. The center of the kingdom was the city of Kummanni, situated in the highlands.

The country possessed valuable resources, such as silver mines in the Taurus Mountains. The slopes of the mountain range are still partly covered by woods. Annual winter rains made agriculture possible in the area at a very early date (see Çatalhöyük). The plains at the lower course of the Ceyhan river provided rich cultivated fields.

In a later era, the same region was known as Cilicia, a geographical region extending inland from the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea. It is at the south-center of the modern Turkey and known locally as Çukurova.

Cilicia has been a crossroad for cultures, religions and ethnicities throughout its history. Anatolian civilizations, Romans, Greeks, Armenians, Arabs and Turks resided and built civilizations at the region. Cilicia existed as a political entity from the Hittite era until the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, during the late Byzantine Empire.

The region was continued to be called Cilicia internationally, during the Ramadanid Emirate and Ottoman Empire. After World War I, Cilicia again appeared as a political entity during the three years’ of French rule.

The name was unused after the foundation of the Turkish Republic, together with other regional names like Cappadocia and Lycia. It has been getting attention in the last few decades, as Cilicia has now been used in many brand names in the Adana and Mersin provinces. Historically many people considered it as a part of the Levant, and during what is called the Rashidun Caliphate, a large part of the area was called “Ath-Thugur As-Shamiyya” meaning the Levantine outskirts.

Several ethnic groups coexisted in the Kingdom of Kizzuwatna. The Hurrians inhabited this area at least since the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. The Hittite expansion in the early Old Kingdom period (under Hattusili I and Mursili I) was likely to bring the Hittites and the Luwians to southeastern Anatolia.

The Luwian language was part of the Indo-European language group, with close ties to the Hittite language. Both the local Hittites and the Luwians were likely to contribute to the formation of independent Kizzuwatna after the weakening of the Hittite Old Kingdom.

The toponym Kizzuwatna is possibly a Luwian adaptation of Hittite *kez-udne ‘country on this side (of the mountains)’, while the name Isputahsu is definitely Hittite and not Luwian (Yakubovich 2010, pp. 273–4).

Hurrian culture became more prominent in Kizzuwatna once it entered the sphere of influence of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni, with whom they shared various degrees of kinship. Puduhepa, queen of the Hittite king Hattusili III, came from Kizzuwatna, where she had been a priestess.

King Sargon of Akkad claimed to have reached the Taurus Mountains (the silver mountains) in the 23rd century BC. However, archaeology has yet to confirm any Akkadian influence in the area. The trade routes from Assyria to the karum in the Anatolian highlands went through Kizzuwatna by the early 2nd millennium BC.

The kings of Kizzuwatna of the 2nd millennium BC had frequent contact with the Hittites to the north. The earliest Hittite records seem to refer to Kizzuwatna and Arzawa (Western Anatolia) collectively as Luwia.

In the power struggle that arose between the Hittites and the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni, Kizzuwatna became a strategic partner due to its location. Isputahsu made a treaty with the Hittite king Telepinu. Later, Kizzuwatna shifted its allegiance, perhaps due to a new ruling dynasty.

The city state of Alalakh to the south expanded under its new vigorous leader Idrimi, himself a subject of the Mitannian king Barattarna. King Pilliya of Kizzuwatna had to sign a treaty with Idrimi. Kizzuwatna became an ally of Mitanni from the reign of Shunashura I, until the Hittite king Arnuwanda I overran the country and made it a vassal kingdom.

Due to the exceedingly rough and unfavorable terrain of the Tarsus Mountains, it is likely that in order to remain in a position of prominence among their Hurrian and Luwian speaking neighbors, favorable terms were requested by the Kizzuwanta and subsequently granted.

Kizzuwatna rebelled during the reign of Suppiluliuma I, but remained within the Hittite empire for two hundred years. In the famous Battle of Kadesh (c. 1274 BC), Kizzuwatna supplied troops to the Hittite king.

As master equestrians, some of the first in the areas south of the Caucasus region, they provided the horses, later favored by King Solomon, which allowed the more aggressive use of the Hittite chariot in contrast to their Egyptian and Assyrian rivals.

The Kizzuwatna were master craftsman, mining experts and blacksmiths. Being the first to work “black iron” which is understood to have been iron of meteoric origin, into weapons such as maces, swords and warheads for spears. Their location in the mineral rich Tarsus Range gave them ample materials with which to work.

Around 1200 BC an invasion by the Sea Peoples is believed to have temporarily displaced the people of the Cilician plain, though many among the entourage of said peoples were likely to have been composed of Luwian and Hurrians. Possibly to ensure that they had a stake in how the invasions ended for their people, and not be simple victims of them. After the fall of the Hittite empire, the Neo-Hittite kingdom Quwe or Hiyawa emerged in the area of former Kizzuwatna.



Isuwa (transcribed Išuwa and sometimes rendered Ishuwa) was the ancient Hittite name for one of its neighboring Anatolian kingdoms to the east, in an area which later became the Luwian Neo-Hittite state of Kammanu.

The land of Isuwa was situated in the upper Euphrates river region. The river valley was here surrounded by the Anti-Taurus Mountains. To the northeast of the river lay a vast plain stretching up to the Black Sea mountain range.

The plain had favourable climatic conditions due to the abundance of water from springs and rainfall. Irrigation of fields was possible without the need to build complex canals. The river valley was well suited for intensive agriculture, while livestock could be kept at the higher altitudes. The mountains possessed rich deposits of copper which were mined in antiquity.

The Isuwans left no written record of their own, and it is not clear which of the Anatolian peoples inhabited the land of Isuwa prior to the Luwians. They could have been Indo-Europeans like the Luwians, related to the Hittites to the west, Hattians, Hurrians from the south, or Urartians who lived east of Isuwa in the first millennium BC.

The area was one of the places where agriculture developed very early in the Neolithic period. Urban centres emerged in the upper Euphrates river valley around 3000 BC. The first states may have followed in the third millennium BC.

The name Isuwa is not known until the literate Hittite period of the second millennium BC. Few literate sources from within Isuwa have been discovered and the primary source material comes from Hittite texts.

To the west of Isuwa lay the hostile kingdom of the Hittites. The Hittite king Hattusili I (c. 1600 BC) is reported to have marched his army across the Euphrates river and destroyed the cities there. This corresponds with burnt destruction layers discovered by archaeologists at town sites in Isuwa at roughly this date.

The Hittite king Suppiluliuma I records how in the time his father, Tudhaliya II (c. 1400 BC), the land of Isuwa became hostile. The enmity was probably aggravated by the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni to the south.

Mitanni tried to form an alliance against the Hittites. According to a fragmentary Hittite letter, the king of Mitanni, Shaushtatar, seems to have waged war against the Hittite king Arnuwanda I with support from Isuwa. These hostilities lasted into Suppiluliuma’s own reign when c. 1350 BC he crossed the Euphrates and entered the land of Isuwa with his troops. He claims to have made Isuwa his subject.

Isuwa continued to be ruled by kings who were vassals of the Hittites. Few kings of Isuwa are known by names and documents. One Ehli-sharruma is mentioned as being king of Isuwa in a Hittite letter from the thirteenth century BC. Another king of Isuwa called Ari-sharruma is mentioned on a clay seal found at Korucutepe, an important site in Isuwa.

After the fall of the Hittite empire in the early twelfth century BC a new state emerged in Isuwa. The city of Melid became the center of a Luwian state, Kammanu, one of the so-called Neo-Hittite states. With the demise of the Hittites the Phrygians settled to the west, and to the east the kingdom of Urartu was founded.

The most powerful neighbour was Assyria to the south. The encounter with the Assyrian king of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BC) resulted in Kammanu being forced to pay tribute to Assyria. Kammanu continued to prosper however until the Assyrian king Sargon II (722–705 BC) sacked the city in 712 BC.

At the same time the Cimmerians and Scythians invaded Anatolia from the Caucasus to the northeast. The movement of these nomadic people may have weakened Kammanu before the final Assyrian invasion, which probably caused the decline of settlements and culture in this area from the seventh century BC until the Roman period.

The ancient land of Isuwa has today virtually disappeared beneath the water from several dams in the Euphrates river. The Turkish Southeastern Anatolia Project which started in the 1960s resulted in the Keban, Karakaya and Atatürk Dam which entirely flooded the river valley when completed in the 1970s. A fourth dam, Bireçik, was completed further south in 2000 and flooded the remainder of the Euphrates river valley in Turkey.

A great salvage campaign was undertaken in the upper Euphrates river valley at instigation of the president of the dam project Kemal Kurdaş. A Turkish, US and Dutch team of archaeologists headed by Maurits van Loon began the survey.

Work then continued downstream where the Atatürk Dam was being constructed. Also, the Keban Dam flooded some sites. Especially the Murat River valleys, and the Altınova plain (Elazig Province) had many early settlements.

The excavations revealed settlements from the Paleolithic down into the Middle Ages. The sites of Ikizepe, Korucutepe, Norşuntepe and Pulur around the Murat (Arsanias) river, a tributary of the Euphrates to the east, revealed large Bronze Age settlements from the fourth to the second millennium BC. The center of the kingdom Isuwa may have lain in this region which would equate well with the Hittite statements of crossing the Euphrates in reaching the kingdom.

The important site of Arslantepe near the modern city of Malatya luckily remained safe from the rising water. Today an Italian team of archaeologists led by Marcella Frangipane are working at the site and studying the surrounding area. The site of Arslantepe was settled from the fifth millennium BC until the Roman period. It was the capital of the Neo-Hittite kingdom of Malatya.

The earliest settlements in Isuwa show cultural contacts with Tell Brak to the south, though not being the same culture. Agriculture began early due to favorable climatic conditions. Isuwa was at the outer fringe of the early Mesopotamian Uruk period culture.

The people of Isuwa were also skilled in metallurgy and they reached the Bronze Age in the fourth millennium BC. Copper were first mixed with arsenic, later with tin. The Early Bronze Age culture were linked with Caucasus in the northeast.

In the Hittite period the culture of Isuwa show great parallels to the Central Anatolian and the Hurrian culture to the south. The monumental architecture was of Hittite influence. The Neo-Hittite state show influences both from the Phrygia, Assyria and the eastern kingdom of Urartu. After the Scythian people movement there appear some Scythian burials in the area.


Hayasa-Azzi or Azzi-Hayasa was a Late Bronze Age confederation formed between two kingdoms of Armenian Highlands, Hayasa located South of Trabzon and Azzi, located north of the Euphrates and to the south of Hayasa. The Hayasa-Azzi confederation was in conflict with the Hittite Empire in the 14th century BC, leading up to the collapse of Hatti around 1190 BC.

Hittite inscriptions deciphered in the 1920s by the Swiss scholar Emil Forrer testify to the existence of a mountain country, the Hayasa and/or the Azzi, lying around Lake Van. Several prominent authorities agree in placing Azzi to the north of Ishuwa. Others see Hayasa and Azzi as identical.

Records of the time between Telipinu and Tudhaliya III are sketchy. The Hittites seem to have abandoned their capital at Hattusa and moved to Sapinuwa under one of the earlier Tudhaliya kings. In the early 14th century BC, Sapinuwa was burned as well.

Hattusili III records at this time that the Azzi had “made Samuha its frontier.” It should be borne in mind that people who view themselves as great civilizations are not always too particular about which group of so-called “Barbarians” they are fighting. Also at times multiple atrocities are blamed on one group as a rallying cry for a current war.

Tudhaliya III chose to make the city of Samuha, “an important cult centre located on the upper course of the Marassantiya river” as a temporary home for the Hittite royal court sometime after his abandonment of Hattusa in the face of attacks against his kingdom by the Kaska, Hayasa-Azzi and other enemies of his state. Samuha was, however, temporarily seized by forces from the country of Azzi.

At this time, the kingdom of Hatti was so besieged by fierce attacks from its enemies that many neighbouring powers expected it to soon collapse. The Egyptian pharaoh, Amenhotep III, even wrote to Tarhundaradu, king of Arzawa: “I have heard that everything is finished and that the country of Hattusa is paralysed.”

However, Tudhaliya managed to rally his forces; indeed, the speed and determination of the Hittite king may have surprised Hatti’s enemies including the Kaska and Hayasa-Azzi. Tudhaliya sent his general Suppiluliuma, who would later serve as king himself under the title Suppiluliuma I, to Hatti’s northeastern frontiers, to defeat Hayasa-Azzi. The Hayasans initially retreated from a direct battle with the Hittite commander.

The Hittitologist Trevor R. Bryce notes, however, that Tudhaliya and Suppiluliuma eventually: invaded Hayasa-Azzi and forced a showdown with its king Karanni (or Lanni) near the city of Kumaha. The passage (in the ‘Deeds of Suppiluliuma’) recording the outcome of this battle is missing. But almost certainly, the Hittite campaign resulted in the conquest of Hayasa-Azzi, for subsequently Suppiluliuma established it as a Hittite vassal state, drawing up a treaty with Hakkana, its current ruler.

The Hayasans were now obliged to repatriate all captured Hittite subjects and cede “the border [territory] which Suppiluliuma claimed belonged to the Land of Hatti.” Despite the restrictions imposed upon Hakkani, he was not a completely meek and submissive brother-in law of the Hittites in political and military affairs. As a condition for the release of the thousands of Hittite prisoners held in his domain, he demanded first the return of the Hayasan prisoners confined in Hatti.

During their reigns, the cuneiform tablets of Boğazköy begin to mention the names of three successive kings who ruled over a state of Hayasa and/or Azzi. They were Karanni, Mariya, and Hakkani (or Hukkana). Hakkani, married a Hittite princess. When Suppiluliuma had become king himself, Hakkani proceeded to marry Suppiluliuma’s sister.

In a treaty signed with Hakkani, Suppiluliuma I mentions a series of obligations of civil right: My sister, whom I gave you in marriage has sisters; through your marriage, they now become your relatives. Well, there is a law in the land of the Hatti. Do not approach sisters, your sisters-in law or your cousins; that is not permitted.

In Hatti Land, whosoever commits such an act does not live; he dies. In your country, you do not hesitate to marry your own sister, sister-in law or cousin, because you are not civilized. Such an act cannot be permitted in Hatti.

The kingdom of Hayasa-Azzi remained a loyal Hittite vassal state for a time, perhaps hit by the same plague which claimed Suppiluliuma and his son Arnuwanda II. But, in Mursili’s seventh year (three years before Mursili’s eclipse – so, 1315 BC), the “lord of Azzi” Anniya took advantage of Pihhuniya’s unification of the Kaskas and raided the Land of Dankuwa, a Hittite border region, where he transported its population back to his kingdom.

Cavaignac wrote of that period that Anniya “had sacked several districts and refused to release the prisoners taken.” Anniya’s rebellion soon prompted a Hittite response. The Hittite King Mursili II, having defeated Pihhuniya, marched to the borders of Hayasa-Azzi where he demanded Anniya return his captured subjects. When Anniya refused, Mursili immediately attacked the Hayasa’s border fortress of Ura.

In the following spring, he crossed the Euphrates and re-organized his army at Ingalova which, about ten centuries later, was to become the treasure-house and burial-place of the Armenian kings of the Arshakuni Dynasty. One of the captured fortresses lay on the west side of Lake Van.

Despite Mursili’s Year 7 and probable Year 8 campaigns against Hayasa-Azzi, Anniya was still unsubdued and continued to defy the Hittite king’s demands to return his people at the beginning of Mursili’s Ninth year. Then, in the latter’s Year 9, Anniya launched a major counter-offensive by once again invading the Upper Land region on the Northeast frontier of Hatti, destroying the Land of Istitina and placing the city of Kannuwara under siege.

Worse still, Mursili II was forced to face another crisis in the same year with the death of his brother Sarri-Kusuh, the Hittite viceroy of Syria. This prompted a revolt by the Nuhašše lands against Hittite control.

Mursili II took decisive action by dispatching his general Kurunta to quell the Syrian rebellion while he sent another general, the able Nuwanza (or Nuvanza) to expel the Hayasa-Azzi enemy from the Upper Land. After consulting some oracles, the king ordered Nuwanza to seize the Upper Land territory from the Hayasan forces.

This Nuwanza did by inflicting a resounding defeat against the Hayasa-Azzi invaders; henceforth, Upper Land would remain “firmly in Hittite hands for the rest of Mursili’s reign under the immediate authority of a local governor appointed by the king.” While Mursili II would invade and reconquer Hayasa-Azzi in his tenth year, its formal submission did not occur until the following year of the Hittite king’s reign.

The Annals of Mursili describe the campaigns of Mursili against Hayasa-Azzi below: The people of Nahasse arose and besieged” (name indecipherable). “Other enemies and the people of Hayasa likewise. They plundered Institina, blockaded Ganuvara with troops and chariots. And because I had left Nuvanzas, the chief cup-bearer, and all the heads of the camp and troops and chariots in the High Country, I wrote to Nuvanzas as follows; ‘See the people of Hayasa have devastated Institina, and blockaded the city of Ganuvara.’

And Nuvanza led troops and chariots for aid and marched to Ganuvara And then he sent to me a messenger and wrote to me; ‘Will you not go to consult for me the augur and the foreteller? Could not a decision be made for me by the birds and the flesh of the expiatory victims? And I sent to Nuvanza this letter: ‘See, I consulted for you birds and flesh, and they commanded, Go! because these people of Hayasa, the God U, has already delivered to you; strike them!

And as I was returning from Astatan to Carchemish, the royal prince Nana-Lu came to meet me on the road and said, ‘The Hayasan enemy having besieged Ganuvara, Nuvanza marched against him and met him under the walls of Ganuvara. Ten thousand men and seven hundred chariots were drawn up in battle against him, and Nuvanza defeated them. There are many dead and many prisoners.

(Here the tablets are defaced, and 15 lines lost.)

And when I arrived in Tiggaramma, the chief cup-bearer Nuvanza and all the noblemen came to meet me at Tiggaramma. I should have marched to Hayasa still, but the chiefs said to me, ‘The season is now far advanced, Sire, Lord! Do not go to Hayasa.’ And I did not go to Hayasa.

Mursili, himself, could now take satisfaction in the reduction of the hostile and aggressive kingdom of Hayasa-Azzi once more to a Hittite vassal state. After Anniya’s defeat, Hayasa-Azzi never appears again in the Hittite (or Assyrian) records as a unified nation. Hayasa as a fighting power was practically eliminated by the expedition of Mursili II.

The similarity of the name Hayasa to the endonym of the Armenians, Hayk or Hay and the Armenian name for Armenia, Hayastan has prompted the suggestion that the Hayasa-Azzi confederation was involved in the Armenian ethnogenesis, or perhaps had been an Armenian-speaking state. One theory suggests that Hay derives from the Proto Indo-European word *h₂éyos (or possibly *áyos), meaning “metal.”

According to this theory, Hayasa meant “land of metal,” referring to the early metallurgy techniques developed in the region. The term Hayastan bears resemblance to the ancient Mesopotamian god Haya (ha-ià) and another western deity called Ebla Hayya, related to the god Ea (Enki or Enkil in Sumerian, Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian).

Thus, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia of 1962 posited that the Armenians derive from a migration of Hayasa into Shupria in the 12th century BC. This is open to objection due to the possibility of a mere coincidental similarity between the two names.

The region covered by Hayasa-Azzi would later constitute Lesser Armenia, as well as the western and south-western regions of Ancient Armenia. The main temples of many pre-Christian Armenian gods such as Aramadz, Anahit, Mher, Nane, and Barsamin were located in Hayasa. The treasury and royal burials of the Arsacid (Arshakuni) dynasty would be located in this region as well during the 1st millennium BCE.

The mentioning of the name Armenia can only be securely dated to the 6th century BC with the Orontid kings and very little is known specifically about the people of Hayasa-Azzi per se. Nevertheless, some scholars believe that Armenians were native to the Hayasa region, or perhaps moved into the Hayasa region from nearby northern or eastern regions (such as modern southern Georgia or northern Armenia).

A minority of historians theorize that after the Phrygian invasion of Hittites, the hypothetically named Armeno-Phrygians would have settled in Hayasa-Azzi, and merged with the local people, who were possibly already spread within the western regions of Urartu, however, there is almost no evidence of an Armenian-Phrygian connection.


Chaldia was a historical region located in mountainous interior of the eastern Black Sea, northeast Anatolia (modern Turkey). Its name was derived from a people called the Chaldoi (or Chalybes) that inhabited the region in antiquity.

Chaldia was used throughout the Byzantine period and was established as a formal theme, known as the Theme of Chaldia by 840. During the Late Middle Ages, it formed the core of the Empire of Trebizond until its fall to the Ottoman Empire in 1461.

Anthony Bryer traces the origin of its name not to Chaldea, as Constantine VII had done, but to the Urartian language, for whose speakers Ḫaldi was the Sun God. Bryer notes at the time of his writing that a number of villages in the Of district were still known as “Halt”.

Other scholars, however, reject the Urartian connection. Χάλυψ, the tribe’s name in Greek, means “tempered iron, steel”, a term that passed into Latin as chalybs, “steel”. Sayce derived the Greek name Chalybe from Hittite Khaly-wa, “land of Halys”. More than an identifiable people or tribe, “Chalybes” was a generic Greek term for “peoples of the Black Sea coast who trade in iron”.

Initially, the name Chaldia was consigned to the highland region around Gümüşhane, in northeast Anatolia, but in the middle Byzantine period, the name was extended to include the coastal areas, and thus the entire province around Trapezus (Trebizond, modern Trabzon).

Forming the easternmost area of the Pontic Alps, Chaldia was bounded to the north by the Black Sea, to the east by Lazica, the westernmost part of Caucasian Iberia, to the south by Erzincan, Erzurum and what the Romans and Byzantines called Armenia Minor, and to the west by the western half of Pontus.

Its main cities were the two ancient Greek colonies, Kerasus (modern Giresun) and Trapezus, situated in the coastal lowlands. The mountainous interior to the south, known as Mesochaldia (“Middle Chaldia”), was more sparsely inhabited and described by the 6th-century historian Procopius as “inaccessible”, but rich in mineral deposits, especially lead, but also silver and gold. The mines of the region gave the name Argyropolis (“silver town”, modern Gümüşhane) to the principal settlement.

Byzantine sources provide evidence that the people of Chaldia and Tzanicha were descended from the indigenous inhabitants of the historical area of Chaldia. Strabo identifies them with the ancient people of Chalybia and describes them as rough and warlike.

The first local inhabitants, the Chalybes, were counted among the earliest ironsmith nations by Classical writers. Indeed, the Greek name for steel is chalybas, possibly deriving from them.

The first Greek colony was that of Trapezus, founded by Greek traders from Miletus, traditionally dated to 756 BC. Greek colonization was restricted to the coast, and in later ages Roman control remained likewise only nominal over the tribes of the interior.

Ionian Greeks

The Troad, on the Biga peninsula, was the northernmost of the Aegean settlements in this period, best known for the legendary and historical city state of Troy. There were probably settlements in this region dating back to 3000 BC and the various archeological layers representing successive civilisations are referred to as Troy I (3000–2600 BC) to Troy IX (1st century BC). Iron Age Troy corresponds to Troy VII-VIII, and coincides with the Homeric account of Troy and the Trojan Wars.

Aeolis was an area of the north western Aegean coast, between Troad and Ionia, from the Hellespont to the Hermus River (Gediz), west of Mysia and Lydia. By the 8th century BC the twelve most important cities formed a league. In the 6th century the cities were progressively conquered by Lydia, and then Persia.

Ionia was part of a group of settlements on the central Aegean coast bounded by Lydia to the east, and Caria to the south, known as the Ionian league. Ionians had been expelled from the Peloponnesus by the Dorians, and were resettled on the Aegean coastline of Anatolia by the Athenians to whose land they had fled.

The north-western coast of Anatolia was inhabited by Greeks of the Achaean/Mycenaean culture from the 20th century BC, related to the Greeks of south eastern Europe and the Aegean.

Beginning with the Bronze Age collapse at the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the west coast of Anatolia was settled by Ionian Greeks, usurping the area of the related but earlier Mycenaean Greeks.

Over several centuries, numerous Ancient Greek city-states were established on the coasts of Anatolia. Greeks started Western philosophy on the western coast of Anatolia (Pre-Socratic philosophy).

The Ionians were one of the four major tribes that the Greeks considered themselves to be divided into during the ancient period; the other three being the Dorians, Aeolians, and Achaeans. The Ionian dialect was one of the three major linguistic divisions of the Hellenic world, together with the Dorian and Aeolian dialects.

When referring to populations, “Ionian” defines several groups in Classical Greece. In its narrowest sense, the term referred to the region of Ionia in Asia Minor. In its broadest sense, it could be used to describe all speakers of the Ionic dialect, which in addition to those in Ionia proper also included the Greek populations of Euboea, the Cyclades, and many cities founded by Ionian colonists. Finally, in the broadest sense it could be used to describe all those who spoke languages of the East Greek group, which included Attic.

The foundation myth which was current in the Classical period suggested that the Ionians were named after Ion, son of Xuthus, who lived in the north Peloponnesian region of Aigialeia, sometimes transliterated from Greek as Akhaia, one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Western Greece and is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.

The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of Ancient Greece to explain the replacement of pre-classical dialects and traditions in southern Greece by the ones that prevailed in Classical Greece. The latter were named Dorian by the ancient Greek writers, after the Dorians, the historical population that spoke them.

Greek legend asserts that the Dorians took possession of the Peloponnesus in an event called the Return of the Heracleidae, the descendants of Heracles, who were exiled at his death and returned in later generations to reclaim the dominion that Heracles had held in the Peloponnesus. The Greece to which the tradition refers is the mythic one is now considered to be Mycenaean Greece. 

Despite nearly 200 years of investigation the historicity of a mass migration of Dorians into Greece has never been established, and the origin of the Dorians remains unknown. Some have linked them with the emergence of the equally mysterious Sea Peoples.

The meaning of the concept has changed several times, as historians, philologists and archaeologists used it in attempts to explain the cultural discontinuities expressed in the data of their fields. The pattern of arrival of Dorian culture on certain islands in the Mediterranean, such as Crete, is also not well understood. The Dorians colonised a number of sites on Crete such as Lato.

The meaning of the phrase “Dorian invasion” as an explanation for the cultural and economic breakdown after the Mycenaean period has become to some degree amorphous. Investigations into it have served mainly to rule out various speculations, though the possibility of a real Dorian invasion remains open.

When the Dorians invaded the Peloponnese they expelled the Achaeans from the Argolid and Lacedaemonia. The displaced Achaeans moved into Aigialeia (thereafter known as Achaea), in turn expelling the Ionians from Aigialeia. The Ionians moved to Attica and mingled with the local population of Attica, and many later emigrated to the coast of Asia Minor founding the historical region of Ionia.

Unlike the austere and militaristic Dorians, the Ionians are renowned for their love of philosophy, art, democracy, and pleasure – Ionian traits that were most famously expressed by the Athenians.

Beginning with the Bronze Age collapse at the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the west coast of Anatolia was settled by Ionian Greeks, usurping the related but earlier Mycenaean Greeks. Over several centuries, numerous Ancient Greek city-states were established on the coasts of Anatolia. Greeks started Western philosophy on the western coast of Anatolia (Pre-Socratic philosophy).

Unlike “Aeolians” and “Dorians”, “Ionians” appears in the languages of different civilizations around the eastern Mediterranean and as far east as the Indian subcontinent. They are not the earliest Greeks to appear in the records; that distinction belongs to the Danaans and the Achaeans. The trail of the Ionians begins in the Mycenaean Greek records of Crete.

A fragmentary Linear B tablet from Knossos bears the name i-ja-wo-ne, interpreted by Ventris and Chadwick as possibly the dative or nominative plural case of *Iāwones, an ethnic name. The Knossos tablets are dated to 1400 or 1200 B.C. and thus pre-date the Dorian dominance in Crete, if the name refers to Cretans.

The name first appears in Greek literature in Homer as iāones, used on a single occasion of some long-robed Greeks attacked by Hector and apparently identified with Athenians, and this Homeric form appears to be identical with the Mycenaean form but without the *-w-. This name also appears in a fragment of the other early poet, Hesiod.

In the Book of Genesis of the English Bible, Javan is a son of Japheth. Javan is believed nearly universally by Bible scholars to represent the Ionians; that is, Javan is Ion. The Hebrew is Yāwān, plural Yəwānīm. Additionally, but less surely, Japheth may be related linguistically to the Greek mythological figure Iapetus, also Japetus, a Titan, the son of Uranus and Gaia and father of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius.

The first recorded Greek colony, established on the northern shores of ancient Anatolia, was Sinope on the Black Sea, circa 800 BC. The settlers of Sinop were merchants from the Ionian Greek city state of Miletus. After the colonization of the shores of the Black Sea, known until then to the Greek world as Pontos Axeinos (Inhospitable Sea), the name changed to Pontos Euxeinos (Hospitable Sea).

In time, as the numbers of Greeks settling in the region grew significantly, more colonies were established along the whole Black Sea coastline of what is now Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, and Romania.

By the time of the last Lydian king, Croesus (560–545 BC) Ionia fell under Lydian, and then Persian rule. With the defeat of Persia by the Greeks, Ionia again became independent until absorbed into the Roman province of Asia.

Pontic Greeks

The Pontic Greeks are an ethnically Greek group who traditionally lived in the region of Pontus, on the shores of the Black Sea and in the Pontic Mountains of northeastern Anatolia. Many later migrated to other parts of Eastern Anatolia, to Kars in the Transcaucasus, and to Georgia in various waves between the Ottoman conquest of the Empire of Trebizond in 1461 and the second Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29.

Pontic Greeks have Greek ancestry and speak the Pontic Greek dialect, a distinct form of the standard Greek language which, due to the remoteness of Pontus, has undergone linguistic evolution distinct from that of the rest of the Greek world. The Pontic Greeks had a continuous presence in the region of Pontus (modern-day northeastern Turkey), Georgia, and Eastern Anatolia from at least 700 BC until 1922.

Similar to most modern Greek dialects, Pontic Greek is mainly derived from Koine Greek, which was spoken in the Hellenistic and Roman times between the 4th century BC and the 4th century AD. Following the Seljuk invasion of Asia Minor during the 11th century AD, Pontus became isolated from many of the regions of the Byzantine Empire.

The Pontians remained somewhat isolated from the mainland Greeks, causing Pontic Greek to develop separately and distinctly from the rest of the mainland Greek. However, the language has also been influenced by the nearby Persian, Caucasian and Turkish languages.




Pontus or Pontos (Póntos, “Sea”) is a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region and its mountainous hinterland (rising to the Pontic Alps in the east) by the Greeks who colonized the area in the Archaic period and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Eúxinos Póntos (“Hospitable Sea”), or simply Pontos as early as the Aeschylean Persians (472 BC) and Herodotus’ Histories (c. 440 BC).

Having originally no specific name, the region east of the river Halys was spoken of as the country En Póntō (lit. “on the [Euxinos] Pontos”), and hence it acquired the name of Pontus, which is first found in Xenophon’s Anabasis (c. 370 BC).

The extent of the region varied through the ages but generally extended from the borders of Colchis (modern western Georgia) until well into Paphlagonia in the west, with varying amounts of hinterland.

Pontus remained outside the reach of the Bronze Age empires, of which the closest was Great Hatti. The region went further uncontrolled by Hatti’s eastern neighbors, Hurrian states like Azzi and (or) Hayasa.

In those days, the best any outsider could hope from this region was temporary alliance with a local strongman. The Hittites called the unorganized groups on their northeastern frontier the Kaška. As of 2004 little had been found of them archaeologically.

In the wake of the Hittite empire’s collapse, the Assyrian court noted that the “Kašku” had overrun its territory in conjunction with a hitherto unknown group whom they labeled the Muški.

Iron Age visitors to the region, mostly Greek, noted that the hinterlands remained disunited, and they recorded the names of tribes: Moskhians (often associated with those Muški), Leucosyri, Mares, Makrones, Mossynoikoi, Tibarenoi, Tzans and Chalybes or Chaldoi.

The Armenian language went unnoted by the Hittites, the Assyrians, and all the post-Hittite nations; an ancient theory – first conjectured by Herodotus – is that its speakers migrated from Phrygia, past literary notice, across Pontus during the early Iron Age.

The Greeks, who spoke a closely related Indo-European tongue, followed them along the coast. The Greeks are the earliest long-term inhabitants of the region from whom written records survive. During the late 8th century BCE, Pontus further became a base for the Cimmerians, another Indo-European speaking people; however, these were defeated by the Lydians, and became a distant memory after the campaigns of Alyattes.

Since there was so little literacy in northeastern Anatolia until the Persian and Hellenistic era, one can only speculate as to the other languages spoken here. Given that Kartvelian languages remain spoken to the east of Pontus, some are suspected to have been spoken in eastern Pontus during the Iron Age: the Tzans are usually associated with today’s Laz.

The first travels of Greek merchants and adventurers to the Pontus region occurred probably from around 1000 BC, whereas their settlements would become steady and solidified cities only by the 8th and 7th centuries BC as archaeological findings document. This fits in well with a foundation date of 731 BC as reported by Eusebius of Caesarea for Sinope, perhaps the most ancient of the Greek colonies in what was later to be called Pontus.

The epical narratives related to the travels of Jason and the Argonauts to Colchis, the tales of Heracles’ navigating the Black Sea, and Odysseus’ wanderings into the land of the Cimmerians, as well as the myth of Zeus constraining Prometheus to the Caucasus mountains as a punishment for his outwitting the Gods, can all be seen as reflections of early contacts between early Greek colonists and the local, probably Caucasian, peoples. The earliest known written description of Pontus, however, is that of Scylax of Korianda, who in the 7th century BC described Greek settlements in the area.

By the 6th century BC, Pontus had become officially a part of the Achaemenid Empire, which probably meant that the local Greek colonies were paying tribute to the Persians. When the Athenian commander Xenophon passed through Pontus around a century later in 401-400 BC, in fact, he found no Persians in Pontus.

The peoples of this part of northern Asia Minor were incorporated into the third and nineteenth satrapies of the Persian empire. Iranian influence ran deep, illustrated most famously by the temple of the Persian deities Anaitis, Omanes, and Anadatos at Zela, founded by victorious Persian generals in the 6th century BCE.

The Kingdom of Pontus extended generally to the east of the Halys River. The Persian dynasty which was to found this kingdom had during the 4th century BC ruled the Greek city of Cius (or Kios) in Mysia, with its first known member being Ariobarzanes I of Cius and the last ruler based in the city being Mithridates II of Cius. Mithridates II’s son, also called Mithridates, would proclaim himself later Mithridates I Ktistes of Pontus.

As the Encyclopaedia Iranica states, the most famous member of the family, Mithradates VI Eupator, although undoubtedly presenting himself to the Greek world as a civilized philhellene and new Alexander, also paraded his Iranian background: he maintained a harem and eunuchs in true Oriental fashion; he gave all his sons Persian names; he sacrificed spectacularly in the manner of the Persian kings at Pasargadae (Appian, Mith. 66, 70); and he appointed “satraps” (a Persian title) as his provincial governors.

Iranica further states, and although there is only one inscription attesting it, he seems to have adopted the title “king of kings.” The very small number of Hellenistic Greek inscriptions that have been found anywhere in Pontus suggest that Greek culture did not substantially penetrate beyond the coastal cities and the court.

During the troubled period following the death of Alexander the Great, Mithridates Ktistes was for a time in the service of Antigonus, one of Alexander’s successors, and successfully maneuvering in this unsettled time managed, shortly after 302 BC, to create the Kingdom of Pontus which would be ruled by his descendants mostly bearing the same name, until 64 BC. Thus, this Persian dynasty managed to survive and prosper in the Hellenistic world while the main Persian Empire had fallen.

This kingdom reached its greatest height under Mithridates VI or Mithridates Eupator, commonly called the Great, who for many years carried on war with the Romans. Under him, the realm of Pontus included not only Pontic Cappadocia but also the seaboard from the Bithynian frontier to Colchis, part of inland Paphlagonia, and Lesser Armenia.

Despite ruling Lesser Armenia, King Mithridates VI was an ally of Armenian King Tigranes the Great, to whom he married his daughter Cleopatra. Eventually, however, the Romans defeated both King Mithridates VI and his son-in-law, Armenian King Tigranes the Great, during the Mithridatic Wars, bringing Pontus under Roman rule.

Several states and provinces bearing the name of Pontus or variants thereof were established in the region in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods, culminating in the late Byzantine Empire of Trebizond. Pontus is sometimes considered as the original home of the Amazons, in ancient Greek mythology and historiography (e. g. by Herodotus and Strabo).

From the Classical and Hellenistic periods into the Byzantine and Ottoman, Pontus became important as a bastion of ancient Greek, Byzantine and Greek Orthodox civilization and attracted Greeks from all backgrounds (scholars, traders, mercenaries, refugees) from all over Anatolia and the southern Balkans. These Greeks of Pontus are generally referred to as Pontic Greeks.

Pontus (region)


The Doric or Dorian Hexapolis was a federation of six cities of Dorian foundation in southwest Asia Minor and adjacent islands, largely coextensive with the region known as Doris or Doris in Asia and included: Cos, on the island of Cos, Cnidus and Halicarnassus in Caria, and Lindus, Ialysus and Camirus on the island of Rhodes.

The members of this hexapolis celebrated a festival, with games, on the Triopian promontory near Cnidus, in honour of the Triopian Apollo; the prizes in those games were brazen tripods, which the victors had to dedicate in the temple of Apollo; and Halicarnassus was struck out of the league, because one of her citizens carried the tripod to his own house before dedicating it in the temple of Apollo. The hexapolis thus became the Doric Pentapolis. (Herod. i. 144.)

Pliny (v. 28) says, Caria mediae Doridi circumfunditur ad mare utroque latere ambiens, by which he means that Doris is surrounded by Caria on all sides, except where it is bordered by the sea. He makes Doris begin at Cnidus. In the bay of Doris he places Leucopolis, Hamaxitus, etc. An attempt has been made among scholars to ascertain which of two bays Pliny calls Doridis Sinus, the more probable being the Ceramic Gulf.

This Doris of Pliny is the country occupied by the Dorians, which Thucydides (ii. 9) indicates, not by the name of the country, but of the people: Dorians, neighbours of the Carians. Ptolemy (v. 2) makes Doris a division of his Asia, and places in it Halicarnassus, Ceramus, and Cnidus. The term Doris, applied to a part of Asia, does not appear to occur in other writers.

Doris (Asia Minor)

Neo-Luwian States

The general consensus amongst scholars is that Luwian was spoken across a large area of western Anatolia, including (possibly) Wilusa (Troy), the Seha River Land (to be identified with the Hermos and/or Kaikos valley), and the kingdom of Mira-Kuwaliya with its core territory of the Maeander valley. From the 9th century BC, Luwian regions coalesced into a number of states such as Lydia, Caria and Lycia, all of which had Hellenic influence.



Lydia, or Maeonia as it was called before 687 BCE, Lydia was an ancient kingdom in western Anatolia during the first millennium BC. It was situated to the west of Phrygia and east of the Aegean settlement of Ionia. The Lydians were Indo-European, speaking an Anatolian language related to Luwian and Hittite.

It may have originated as a country in the second millennium BC and was possibly called Maeonia at one time, given that Herodotus says the people were called Maeonians before they became known as Lydians.

It began with the Atyad dynasty, who first appeared around 1300 BCE. The succeeding dynasty, the Heraclids, managed to rule successively from 1185-687 BCE despite a growing presence of Greek influences along the Mediterranean coast.

Herodotus and other sources refer to three dynasties: the Maeoniae, Heracleidae (Heraclids) and Mermnadae. The first two are legendary, though later members of the Heraclid dynasty are at least semi-legendary. The Mermnadae are historical.

Lydia was a major part of the history of western Anatolia, beginning with the Atyad dynasty, who first appeared around 1300 BCE. There was a severe famine during the reign of Atys and half of the citizens, led by Atys’ son Tyrrhenus, emigrated to Italy as the Tyrrhenians.

Other sources, such as Strabo, name Tmolus and his son Tantalus as kings of the region about the same time, supposedly ruling from the land about Mount Sipylus, but it is asserted that these two were the same people as Manes and Atys, especially as Omphale is a member of both families.

Herodotus says that Lydus gave his name to the country and its people. The line of Lydus continued through an unstated number of generations until they, as Herodotus says, “turned over the management of affairs to the Heraclids”.

He adds that the Heraclids in Lydia were the descendants of Heracles and a slave-girl belonging to Iardanus; the line was from Heracles through Alcaeus, Belus and Ninus to Agron who was the first Heraclid king of Lydia.

The Heraclids, managed to rule successively from 1185-687 BCE despite a growing presence of Greek influences along the Mediterranean coast. As Greek cities such as Smyrna, Colophon, and Ephesus rose, the Heraclids became weaker and weaker. The last king, Candaules, was murdered by his friend and lance-bearer named Gyges, and he took over as ruler.

Gyges waged war against the intruding Greeks, and soon faced by a grave problem as the Cimmerians began to pillage outlying cities within the kingdom. It was this wave of attacks that led to the incorporation of the formerly independent Phrygia and its capital Gordium into the Lydian domain. It was until the successive rules of Sadyattes and Alyattes, ending in 560 BCE, that the attacks of the Cimmerians ended for good.

Gyges died in battle c.652, fighting against the Cimmerians, and was succeeded by Ardys. The most successful king was Alyattes, under whom Lydia reached its peak of power and prosperity. It was not until the successive rules of Sadyattes and Alyattes, ending in 560 BC, that the attacks of the Cimmerians ended for good.

Under the reign of the last Lydian king Croesus, Lydia reached its greatest expansion. Persia was invaded first at the Battle of Pteria ending without a victor. Progressing deeper into Persia, Croesus was thoroughly defeated in the Battle of Thymbra at the hands of the Persian Cyrus II, also known as Cyrus the Great, in 546 BC.

Following Croesus’ defeat, Cyrus annexed Lydia after the Siege of Sardis which ended in early 546 BC, but the fate of Croesus himself is uncertain. Lydia fell under the hegemony of Persia, Greece, Rome and Byzantium until finally being absorbed into the Turkish lands.

Anatolia is known as the birthplace of minted coinage (as opposed to unminted coinage, which first appears in Mesopotamia at a much earlier date) as a medium of exchange, some time in the 7th century BC in Lydia. The use of minted coins continued to flourish during the Greek and Roman eras.

The relationship between the Etruscans (of northern Italy) and the Lydians has long been a subject of conjecture. While the Greek historian Herodotus stated that the Etruscans originated in Lydia, he may have meant a people who preceded the Lydians proper. The claim that Lydia was the homeland of the Etruscans was repeated in Virgil’s epic poem the Aeneid.

In modern times, linguists have identified an Etruscan-like language in a set of inscriptions on the island of Lemnos, in the Aegean Sea. Since the Etruscan language was a non-Indo-European language, it was not closely related to Lydian, which was a part of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European languages. Research into the genetics of, respectively, ancient human and animal remains from northern Italy and western Anatolia have been somewhat contradictory.

A 2013 study suggested that the maternal lineages – as reflected in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) – of western Anatolians and the modern population of Tuscany had been largely separate for 5,000 to 10,000 years (with a 95% credible interval); the mtDNA of Etruscans was most similar to modern Tuscans and Neolithic populations from Central Europe. This was interpreted as suggesting that the Etruscan population were descended largely from the Villanovan culture.

However, mtDNA, by its very nature has never been a reliable indicator of overall, long-term dynamics in human population genetics; that is, mtDNA could be considered limited and reliable only with regard to maternal lineages (i.e. not the historical dynamics of the population as a whole). By comparison, autosomal DNA (aDNA) is a comprehensive indicator of archaeogenetics and its interaction with modern populations.

More recently (2015), genetic studies of livestock have found evidence that proto-Etruscan settlers may have brought with them cattle from Anatolia, which contributed to modern cattle breeds from north-central Italy, such as the Chianina and Romagnola. By comparison, both of these breeds were less closely related to some breeds from other parts of northern Italy (Trentino and Liguria), Switzerland, Iberia and North-West Europe.






Mysia was a region in the northwest of ancient Asia Minor (Anatolia, Asian part of modern Turkey). It was located on the south coast of the Sea of Marmara. It was bounded by Bithynia on the east, Phrygia on the southeast, Lydia on the south, Aeolis on the southwest, Troad on the west and by the Propontis on the north. In ancient times it was inhabited by the Mysians, Phrygians, Aeolian Greeks and other groups.

The precise limits of Mysia are difficult to assign. The Phrygian frontier was fluctuating, while in the northwest the Troad was only sometimes included in Mysia. The northern portion was known as “Lesser Phrygia” or, while the southern was called “Greater Phrygia” or “Pergamene Phrygia”. Mysia was in later times also known as Hellespontine Phrygia or “Acquired Phrygia”, so named by the Attalids when they annexed the region to the Kingdom of Pergamon.

Under Augustus, Mysia occupied the whole of the northwest corner of Asia Minor, between the Hellespont and the Propontis to the north, Bithynia and Phrygia to the east, Lydia to the south, and the Aegean Sea to the west.

The chief physical features of Mysia are the two mountains—Mount Olympus at (7600 ft) in the north and Mount Temnus in the south, which for some distance separates Mysia from Lydia and is afterwards prolonged through Mysia to the neighbourhood of the Gulf of Adramyttium.

The major rivers in the northern part of the province are the Macestus and its tributary the Rhyndacus, both of which rise in Phrygia and, after diverging widely through Mysia, unite their waters below the lake of Apolloniatis about 15 miles (24 km) from the Propontis. The Caïcus in the south rises in Temnus, and from thence flows westward to the Aegean Sea, passing within a few miles of Pergamon.

The most important cities were Pergamon in the valley of the Caïcus, and Cyzicus on the Propontis. The whole sea-coast was studded with Greek towns, several of which were places of considerable importance; thus the northern portion included Parium, Lampsacus and Abydos, and the southern Assos, Adramyttium. Further south, on the Eleatic Gulf, were Elaea, Myrina and Cyme.

Mysians were the inhabitants of Mysia. Their first mention is by Homer, in his list of Trojans allies in the Iliad, and according to whom the Mysians fought in the Trojan War on the side of Troy, under the command of Chromis and Ennomus the Augur, and were lion-hearted spearmen who fought with their bare hands.

Herodotus in his Histories wrote that the Mysians were brethren of the Carians and the Lydians, originally Lydian colonists in their country, and as such, they had the right to worship alongside their relative nations in the sanctuary dedicated to the Carian Zeus in Mylasa.

He also mentions a movement of Mysians and associated peoples from Asia into Europe still earlier than the Trojan War, wherein the Mysians and Teucrians had crossed the Bosphorus into Europe and, after conquering all of Thrace, pressed forward till they came to the Ionian Sea, while southward they reached as far as the river Peneus. He adds an account and description of later Mysians who fought in Darius’ army.

Strabo in his Geographica informs that, according to his sources, the Mysians in accordance with their religion abstained from eating any living thing, including from their flocks, and that they used as food honey and milk and cheese. Citing the historian Xanthus, he also reports that the name of the people was derived from the Lydian name for the oxya tree.

Little is known about the Mysian language. Strabo noted that their language was, in a way, a mixture of the Lydian and Phrygian languages. As such, the Mysian language could be a language of the Anatolian group. However, a passage in Athenaeus suggests that the Mysian language was akin to the barely attested Paeonian language of Paeonia, north of Macedon.


Caria forms a region in Western Anatolia, south of Lydia, east of Ionia and north of Lycia. Partially Greek (Ionian and Dorian), and possibly partially Minoan. Caria became subject to Persia, Greece and Rome before being absorbed into Byzantium. Remnants of the Carian civilisation form a rich legacy in the south western Aegean.

Caria managed to maintain a relative degree of independence during successive occupation, and its symbol, the double headed axe is seen as a mark of defiance and can be seen inscribed on many buildings.

The mausoleum at Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum), the tomb of the Persian Satrap Mausolus, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Other important relics include that of Mylasa (Milas) at one time capital of Caria and administrative seat of Mausolus, Labranda in the mountains high above Mylasa and Euromos (Herakleia) near Lake Bafa.




Lycaonia was a large region in the interior of Asia Minor, north of the Taurus Mountains. It was bounded on the east by Cappadocia, on the north by Galatia, on the west by Phrygia and Pisidia, while to the south it extended to the chain of Mount Taurus, where it bordered on the country popularly called in earlier times Cilicia and in the Byzantine period Isauria; but its boundaries varied greatly at different times.

The name is not found in Herodotus, but Lycaonia is mentioned by Xenophon as traversed by Cyrus the Younger on his march through Asia. That author describes Iconium as the last city of Phrygia; and in Acts 14:6 Paul, after leaving Iconium, crossed the frontier and came to Lystra in Lycaonia.

Ptolemy, on the other hand, includes Lycaonia as a part of the province of Cappadocia, with which it was associated by the Romans for administrative purposes; but the two countries are clearly distinguished both by Strabo and Xenophon and by authorities generally.

There is a theory that the name “Lycaonia” is a Greek-adapted version (influenced by the Greek masculine name Lycaon) of an original Lukkawanna, which would mean “the land of the Lukka people” in an old Anatolian language related to Hittite.

The Lycaonians appear to have been in early times to a great extent independent of the Persian empire, and were like their neighbors the Isaurians a wild and lawless race of freebooters; but their country was traversed by one of the great natural lines of high road through Asia Minor, from Sardis and Ephesus to the Cilician gates, and a few considerable towns grew up along or near this line.

The most important was Iconium, in the most fertile spot in the country, of which it was always regarded by the Romans as the capital, although ethnologically it was Phrygian. It is still called Konya, and it was the capital of the Seljuk Turkish sultane for several centuries.

A little farther north, immediately on the frontier of Phrygia, stood Laodicea Combusta (Ladik), surnamed Combusta, to distinguish it from the Phrygian city of that name; and in the south, near the foot of Mount Taurus, was Laranda, now called Karaman, which has given name to the province of Karamania.

Derbe and Lystra, which appear from the Acts of the Apostles to have been considerable towns, were between Iconium and Laranda. There were many other towns, which became bishoprics in Byzantine times. Lycaonia was Christianized very early; and its ecclesiastical system was more completely organized in its final form during the 4th century than that of any other region of Asia Minor.

After the defeat of Antiochus the Great, Lycaonia was given by the Romans to Eumenes II, king of Pergamon. About 160 BC, part of it, the Tetrarchy of Lycaonia, was added to Galatia; and in 129 BC the eastern half (usually called during the following 200 years Lycaonia proper) was given to Cappadocia as an eleventh strategia.

In the readjustment of the Provinces, 64 BC, by Pompey after the Mithridatic Wars, he gave the northern part of the tetrarchy to Galatia and the eastern part of the eleventh strategia to Cappadocia. The remainder was attached to Cilicia. Its administration and grouping changed often under the Romans. In 371, Lycaonia was first formed into a separate province.

The Lycaonians appear to have retained a distinct nationality in the time of Strabo, but their ethnical affinities are unknown. The mention of the Lycaonian language in the Acts of the Apostles (14:11) shows that the native language was spoken by the common people at Lystra about 50; and probably it was only later and under Christian influence that Greek took its place.

It is notable though that in the Acts of the Apostles Barnabas was called Zeus, and Paul was thought to be Hermes by Lycaonians, and this makes some other researchers to believe that Lycaonian language was actually a Greek dialect,[citation needed] the remnant of which can still be found in the Cappadocian Greek language which is classified as a distinct Greek dialect.



Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus and the Black Sea. It bordered Mysia to the southwest, Paphlagonia to the northeast along the Pontic coast, and Phrygia to the southeast towards the interior of Asia Minor.

Bithynia was an independent kingdom from the 4th century BC. Its capital Nicomedia was rebuilt on the site of ancient Astacus in 264 BC by Nicomedes I of Bithynia. Bithynia was bequeathed to the Roman Republic in 74 BC, and became united with the Pontus region as the province of Bithynia et Pontus.

Bithynia is named for the Thracian tribe of the Bithyni, mentioned by Herodotus (VII.75) alongside the Thyni. The “Thraco-Phrygian” migration from the Balkans to Asia Minor would have taken place at some point following the Bronze Age collapse or during the early Iron Age. The Thyni and Bithyni appear to have settled simultaneously in the adjoining parts of Asia, where they expelled or subdued the Mysians, Caucones and other minor tribes, the Mariandyni maintaining themselves in the northeast.

Herodotus mentions the Thyni and Bithyni as settling side by side. No trace of their original language has been preserved, but Herodotus describes them as related to the tribes of Thracian extraction like the Phrygians and Armenians, whose languages may form part of the Paleo-Balkan group (although this is not certain and the theory is not universally accepted).

Later the Greeks established on the coast the colonies of Cius (modern Gemlik); Chalcedon (modern Kadıköy), at the entrance of the Bosporus, nearly opposite Byzantium (modern Istanbul) and Heraclea Pontica (modern Karadeniz Ereğli), on the Euxine, about 120 miles (190 km) east of the Bosporus.

The Bithynians were incorporated by king Croesus within the Lydian monarchy, with which they fell under the dominion of Persia (546 BC), and were included in the satrapy of Phrygia, which comprised all the countries up to the Hellespont and Bosporus.



Neo-Assyrian Empire

Assyria, one of the great powers of the Mesopotamia region, had a long history from the 25th century BC (Bronze Age) until it final collapse in 612 BC at the end of the Iron Age. Assyria’s Iron Age corresponds to the Middle Period (resurgence) and the Neo-Assyrian Empire in its last 300 years, and its territory centered on what is modern day Iraq.

From the 10th to late 7th centuries BC, much of Anatolia (particularly the southeastern regions) fell to the Neo-Assyrian Empire, including all of the Syro-Hittite states, Tabal, Kingdom of Commagene, the Cimmerians and Scythians and swathes of Cappadocia.

Assyria influenced Anatolian politics and culture from when its traders first came into contact with Hattians in the late Bronze Age. By the 13th century BC Assyria was expanding to its north west at the expense of the Hittites, and to the north at the expense of Urartu. Assyrian expansion reached its height under Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244–1208 BC), following which it was weakened by internal dissent.

The collapse of the Hittie Empire at the end of the Bronze Age coincided with an era of renewed Assyrian expansion under Ashur-resh-ishi I (1133–1116 BC) and soon Assyria had added the Anatolian lands in what is now Syria to its empire. Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BC) then commenced incursions against the Neo-Hittite Phrygians, followed by the Luwian kingdoms of Commagene, Cilicia and Cappadocia.

With the death of Tiglath-Pileser I Assyria entered a period of decline during what is referred to as the Ancient Dark Ages (1075–912 BC) in the region that corresponded to the collapse of the Bronze Age. The last 300 years of the Assyrian Empire (Neo-Assyrian Empire) from 911–627 BC saw a renewed expansion including attacks on the Neo-Hittite states to its north and west.

Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BC) extracted tribute from Phrygia while his successor Shalmaneser III (858–823 BC) also attacked Urartu forcing his Anatolian neighbours to pay tribute. After his death the land was torn by civil war.

Assyrian power continued to wax and wane with periodic incursions into the Anatolian lands. Sennacherib (705–681 BC) encountered and drove back a new force in the region, the Greeks who attempted to settle Cilicia.

His successor Esarhaddon (680–669 BC) was responsible for the final destruction of Urartu. Ashurbanipal (669-627 BC) then extended Assyrian influence still further placing Caria, Cilicia, Lydia and Cappadocia into vassalage.

However Assyria found its resources stretched to maintain the integrity of its vast empire and civil war again erupted following the death of Ashurbanipal. Vassal states stopped paying tribute, regaining independence.

The weakened Assyrian state was now faced by a new threat, a coalition of Iranian peoples to its east and north, including Medes, Persians, Scythians and the Anatolian Cimmerians, who attacked Assyria in 616 BC. Ninevah, the capital, fell in 612 BC and the Assyrian Empire was finally swept away in 605 BC.

With the collapse of Assyria, ended not only the Iron Age, but also the era referred to as Pre-History, to make way for what has been variously described as Recorded History, or more specifically late Ancient History or Classical Civilisation. However these terms are not precise or universal and overlap.

The Neo-Assyrian empire collapsed due to a bitter series of civil wars followed by a combined attack by Medes, Persians, Scythians and their own Babylonian relations. The last Assyrian city to fall was Harran in southeast Anatolia.

This city was the birthplace of the last king of Babylon, the Assyrian Nabonidus and his son and regent Belshazzar. Much of the region then fell to the short-lived Iran-based Median Empire, with the Babylonians and Scythians briefly appropriating some territory.

Classical Antiquity

In classical antiquity, Anatolia was described by Herodotus and later historians as divided into regions that were diverse in culture, language and religious practices. The northern regions included Bithynia, Paphlagonia and Pontus; to the west were Mysia, Lydia and Caria; and Lycia, Pamphylia and Cilicia belonged to the southern shore. There were also several inland regions: Phrygia, Cappadocia, Pisidia and Galatia.

Languages spoken included the late surviving Anatolic languages Isaurian and Pisidian, Greek in Western and coastal regions, Phrygian spoken until the 7th century CE, local variants of Thracian in the Northwest, the Galatian variant of Gaulish in Galatia until the 6th century CE, Cappadocian and Armenian in the East, and Kartvelian languages in the Northeast.

During the 6th century BC, all of Anatolia was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid Empire, the Persians having usurped the Medes as the dominant dynasty in Iran. In 499 BC, the Ionian city-states on the west coast of Anatolia rebelled against Persian rule.

The Ionian Revolt, as it became known, though quelled, initiated the Greco-Persian Wars, which ended in a Greek victory in 449 BC, and the Ionian cities regained their independence. By the Peace of Antalcidas (387 BC), which ended the Corinthian War, Persia regained control over Ionia.


Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in the Nevşehir, Kayseri, Kırşehir, Aksaray, and Niğde Provinces in Turkey. According to Herodotus, in the time of the Ionian Revolt (499 BC), the Cappadocians were reported as occupying a region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine (Black Sea).

Cappadocia, in this sense, was bounded in the south by the chain of the Taurus Mountains that separate it from Cilicia, to the east by the upper Euphrates, to the north by Pontus, and to the west by Lycaonia and eastern Galatia.

The name, traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history, continues in use as an international tourism concept to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage.

The earliest record of the name of Cappadocia dates from the late 6th century BC, when it appears in the trilingual inscriptions of two early Achaemenid kings, Darius I and Xerxes, as one of the countries (Old Persian dahyu-) of the Persian Empire. In these lists of countries, the Old Persian name is Katpatuka. It was proposed that Kat-patuka came from the Luwian language, meaning “Low Country”.

Subsequent research suggests that the adverb katta meaning ‘down, below’ is exclusively Hittite, while its Luwian equivalent is zanta. Therefore, the recent modification of this proposal operates with the Hittite katta peda-, literally “place below” as a starting point for the development of the toponym Cappadocia. The earlier derivation from Iranian Hu-aspa-dahyu ‘Land of good horses’ can hardly be reconciled with the phonetic shape of Kat-patuka. A number of other etymologies have also been offered in the past.

Herodotus tells us that the name of the Cappadocians was applied to them by the Persians, while they were termed by the Greeks “Syrians” or “White Syrians” Leucosyri. One of the Cappadocian tribes he mentions is the Moschoi, associated by Flavius Josephus with the biblical figure Meshech, son of Japheth: “and the Mosocheni were founded by Mosoch; now they are Cappadocians”.

The Cappadocians were named as one group hearing the Gospel account from Galileans in their own language on the day of Pentecost shortly after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Acts 2:5 seems to suggest that the Cappadocians in this account were “God-fearing Jews”. See Acts of the Apostles. The region is also mentioned in the Jewish Mishnah, in Ketubot 13:11, and in several places in the Talmud, including Yevamot 121a.

Under the later kings of the Persian Empire, the Cappadocians were divided into two satrapies, or governments, with one comprising the central and inland portion, to which the name of Cappadocia continued to be applied by Greek geographers, while the other was called Pontus. This division had already come about before the time of Xenophon.

As after the fall of the Persian government the two provinces continued to be separate, the distinction was perpetuated, and the name Cappadocia came to be restricted to the inland province (sometimes called Great Cappadocia), which alone will be the focus of this article.

The kingdom of Cappadocia still existed in the time of Strabo (c. 64 BC – c. AD 24 ) as a nominally independent state. Cilicia was the name given to the district in which Caesarea, the capital of the whole country, was situated. The only two cities of Cappadocia considered by Strabo to deserve that appellation were Caesarea (originally known as Mazaca) and Tyana, not far from the foot of the Taurus.

Cappadocia lies in central Anatolia, in the heartland of what is now Turkey. The relief consists of a high plateau over 1000 m in altitude that is pierced by volcanic peaks, with Mount Erciyes (ancient Argaeus) near Kayseri (ancient Caesarea) being the tallest at 3916 m. The boundaries of historical Cappadocia are vague, particularly towards the west.

To the south, the Taurus Mountains form the boundary with Cilicia and separate Cappadocia from the Mediterranean Sea. To the west, Cappadocia is bounded by the historical regions of Lycaonia to the southwest, and Galatia to the northwest.

Due to its inland location and high altitude, Cappadocia has a markedly continental climate, with hot dry summers and cold snowy winters. Rainfall is sparse and the region is largely semi-arid.

Cappadocia was known as Hatti in the late Bronze Age, and was the homeland of the Hittite power centred at Hattusa. After the fall of the Hittite Empire, with the decline of the Syro-Cappadocians (Mushki) after their defeat by the Lydian king Croesus in the 6th century, Cappadocia was ruled by a sort of feudal aristocracy, dwelling in strong castles and keeping the peasants in a servile condition, which later made them apt to foreign slavery. It was included in the third Persian satrapy in the division established by Darius but continued to be governed by rulers of its own, none apparently supreme over the whole country and all more or less tributaries of the Great King.

After ending the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great tried to rule the area through one of his military commanders. But Ariarathes, a Persian aristocrat, somehow became king of the Cappadocians. As Ariarathes I (332–322 BC), he was a successful ruler, and he extended the borders of the Cappadocian Kingdom as far as to the Black Sea.

The kingdom of Cappadocia lived in peace until the death of Alexander. The previous empire was then divided into many parts, and Cappadocia fell to Eumenes. His claims were made good in 322 BC by the regent Perdiccas, who crucified Ariarathes; but in the dissensions which brought about Eumenes’s death, Ariarathes II, the adopted son of Ariarathes I, recovered his inheritance and left it to a line of successors, who mostly bore the name of the founder of the dynasty.

Persian colonists in the Cappadocian kingdom, cut off from their co-religionists in Iran proper, continued to practice Zoroastrianism. Strabo, observing them in the first century BC, records (XV.3.15) that these “fire kindlers” possessed many “holy places of the Persian Gods”, as well as fire temples.

Strabo furthermore relates, were “noteworthy enclosures; and in their midst there is an altar, on which there is a large quantity of ashes and where the magi keep the fire ever burning.”

According to Strabo, who wrote during the time of Augustus (r. 63 BC–14 AD), almost three hundred years after the fall of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, there remained only traces of Persians in western Asia Minor; however, he considered Cappadocia “almost a living part of Persia”.

Under Ariarathes IV, Cappadocia came into relations with Rome, first as a foe espousing the cause of Antiochus the Great, then as an ally against Perseus of Macedon. The kings henceforward threw in their lot with the Republic as against the Seleucids, to whom they had been from time to time tributary.

Ariarathes V marched with the Roman proconsul Publius Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus against Aristonicus, a claimant to the throne of Pergamon, and their forces were annihilated (130 BC). The imbroglio which followed his death ultimately led to interference by the rising power of Pontus and the intrigues and wars which ended in the failure of the dynasty.






Galatia (Ancient Greek: Galatía, “Gaul”) was an ancient area in the highlands of central Anatolia, roughly corresponding to the provinces of Ankara and Eskişehir, in modern Turkey. Galatia was bounded on the north by Bithynia and Paphlagonia, on the east by Pontus and Cappadocia, on the south by Cilicia and Lycaonia, and on the west by Phrygia. Its capital was Ancyra (i.e. Ankara, today the capital of modern Turkey).

Galatia was named after the Gauls from Thrace (cf. Tylis), who settled here and became its ruling caste in the 3rd century BC, following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC.  It has been called the “Gallia” of the East, Roman writers calling its inhabitants Galli (Gauls or Celts).

By the 4th century BC the Celts had penetrated into the Balkans, coming into contact with the Thracians and Greeks. In 380 BC they fought in the southern regions of Dalmatia (present day Croatia), and rumors circulated around the ancient world that Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II of Macedonia had been assassinated by a dagger of Celtic origins. Arrian writes that “Celts established on the Ionic coast” were among those who came to meet Alexander the Great during a campaign against the Getae in 335 BC.

Several ancient accounts mention that the Celts formed an alliance with Dionysius I of Syracuse who sent them to fight alongside the Macedonians against the Thebans. In 279 BC two Celtic factions united under the leadership of Brennus and began to push southwards from southern Bulgaria towards the Greek states. According to Livy, a sizable force split off from this main group and head toward Asia Minor.

For several years a federation of Hellespontine cities, including Byzantion and Chalkedon prevented the Celts from entering Asia Minor but this changed when Nikomedes I of Bithynia allied with some of the Celtic leaders in a war against his brother Zipoetes and the Seleucid king Antiochus I.

When the Celts finally entered Asia Minor chaos ensued until the Celts were briefly routed by Antiochus’ army in the Battle of Elephants. In the aftermath of the battle the Celts withdrew to Phrygia, eventually settling in Galatia. The territory of Celtic Galatia included the cities of Ancyra (present day Ankara), Pessinus, Tavium, and Gordion.

By the 1st century BC the Celts had become so Hellenized that some Greek writers called them Hellenogalatai. The Romans called them Gallograeci. Though the Celts had, to a large extent, integrated into Hellenistic Asia Minor, they preserved their linguistic and ethnic identity. The terms “Galatians” came to be used by the Greeks for the three Celtic peoples of Anatolia: the Tectosages, the Trocmii, and the Tolistobogii.

Although originally possessing a strong cultural identity, by the 2nd century AD, the Galatians had become assimilated (Hellenization) into the Hellenistic civilization of Anatolia. The Galatians were still speaking the Galatian language in the time of St. Jerome (347–420 AD), who wrote that the Galatians of Ancyra and the Treveri of Trier (in what is now the Rhineland) spoke the same language.

Adana is a major city in southern Turkey. The city is situated on the Seyhan river, 35 km (22 mi) inland from the Mediterranean, in south-central Anatolia. It is the administrative seat of the Adana Province. The Adana-Mersin metropolitan area encompass the cities of Mersin, Tarsus and Adana.

Adana lies in the heart of Cilicia, a distinct geographical region alternatively known as Çukurova. Cilicia is one of the largest population concentrations in Turkey, as well as the most agriculturally productive area, owing to its large stretch of flat, fertile land. The region includes the provinces of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye and Hatay.

Throughout the history, Adana were a market town at the Cilicia plain and one of the gateways from Europe to the Middle East, as it provided the only access on the wide Seyhan river. Adana is located at the northeastern edge of the Mediterranean, where it serves as the gateway to the Cilicia plain. This large stretch of flat, fertile land lies southeast of the Taurus Mountains.

From Adana, crossing the Cilicia westwards, the road from Tarsus enters the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, eventually reaching an altitude of nearly 4,000 feet (1,200 m). It goes through the famous Cilician Gates, the rocky pass through which armies have coursed since the dawn of history, and continues to the Anatolian plain.

The history of the Tepebağ tumulus in the middle of Adana dates to the Neolithic Period, 6000 BC., and the time of the first human settlements. It is considered to be the oldest city of Cilicia. A place called Adana is mentioned by name in a Sumerian epic, the Epic of Gilgamesh, but the geography of this work is too imprecise to identify its location.

First known people living in Adana and area were the Luwians. They controlled the Mediterranean coasts of Anatolia roughly from 3000BC to around 1600BC. Hittites took over the region which came to be known as Kizzuwatna. Inhabited by Luwians and Hurrians, Kizzuwatna had an autonomous governance under the Hittites protection, but they had a brief independent period from 1500s to 1420s.

According to the Hittite inscription of Kava, found in Hattusa (Boğazkale), Kizzuwatna was the kingdom that ruled Adana, under the protection of the Hittites by 1335 BC. At that time, the name of the city was Uru Adaniyya, and the inhabitants were called Danuna. Beginning with the collapse of the Hittite Empire c. 1191–1189 BC, relatively unknown Sea Peoples took control of the plain until around 900BC.

Then after, Neo-Hittite States founded in the region and Adana was the center of Quwê state. Quwê and other states were protected by the Neo-Assyrian Empire, though they had independent periods. After the Greek migration to Cilicia in the 8th century BC, the region was unified under the rule of the dynasty of Mopsos and Adana was established as the capital.

Bilingual inscriptions of the ninth and eighth centuries founded in Mopsuestia were written both in Indo-European hieroglyphic Luwian and West Semitic Phoenician. Assyrians took the control of the regions several times until their collapse in 612BC. The region appeared in Assyrian inscriptions as Hilikku, in which the Cilicia name derived from. Cilicians founded the Kingdom of Cilicia by the efforts of Syennesis I.

The kingdom were independent until the invasion of Achaemenid Empire in 549, then after became an autonomous satrapy of Achaemenids and Macedonians. After Alexander’s death, for a time, Adana fell under Ptolemaic dominion, but finally came to the Seleucid Empire. Seleucids ruled Adana until the Kingdom of Armenia made Cilicia their vassal state in 83BC.



From the rule of Augustus onwards until that of Constantine I, Anatolia enjoyed relative peace that allowed itself to grow as a region. The emperor Augustus removed all debts owed to the Roman Empire by the provinces and protectorates there, making advanced progress possible. Roads were built to connect the larger cities in order to improve trade and transportation, and the abundance of high outputs in agricultural pursuits made more money for everyone involved.

Settlement was encouraged, and local governors did not place a heavy burden upon the people with regards to taxation. The wealth gained from the peace and prosperity prevented great tragedy as powerful earthquakes tore through the region, and help was given from the Roman government and other parties.

Through it all was produced some of the most respected scientific men of that period- the philosopher Dio of Bithynia, the medical mind of Galen from Pergamon, and the historians Memnon of Heraclea and Cassius Dio of Nicaea.

By the middle of the 3rd century, everything that had been built by peace was being threatened by a new enemy, the Goths. As the inroads to central Europe through Macedonia, Italy, and Germania were all defended successfully by the Romans, the Goths found Anatolia to be irresistible due to its wealth and deteriorating defenses.

Using a captured fleet of ships from the Bosphorus and flat-bottomed boats to cross the Black Sea, they sailed in 256 around the eastern shores, landing in the coastal city of Trebizond. What ensued was a huge embarrassment for Pontus — the wealth of the city was absconded, a larger number of ships were confiscated, and they entered the interior without much to turn them back.

A second invasion of Anatolia through Bithynia brought even more terror inland and wanton destruction. The Goths entered Chalcedon and used it as a base by which to expand their operations, sacking Nicomedia, Prusa, Apamea, Cius, and Nice in turn. Only the turn of the weather during a fall season kept them from doing any more harm to those outside the realm of the province.

The Goths managed a third attack upon not only the coastline of western Anatolia, but in Greece and Italy as well. Despite the Romans under their emperor Valerian finally turning them away, it did not stop the Goths from first destroying the Temple of Diana in Ephesus and the city itself in 263.



PALEOLITHIC AGE – Early Stone Age ( 600000 – 10000 B.C.)

MESOLITHIC AGE – Mid Stone Age ( 10000 – 8500 B.C.)

NEOLITHIC AGE – Late Stone Age ( 8500 – 5000 B.C.)

CALCOLITHIC AGE – Copper Age ( 5000 – 3000 B.C.)

BRONZE AGE ( 3000 – 2000 B.C.)


HATTI CIVILIZATION ( 2500 – 2000 B.C.)

TROY-II SETTLEMENT ( 2500 – 2000 B.C.)




TROY-VI CIVILIZATION ( 1800 – 1275 B.C.)






ION CIVILIZATION ( 1050 – 300 B.C.)

PERSIAN CONQUEST ( 545 – 333 B.C.)

HELLENISTIC and ROMAN AGE ( 333 B.C.-395 A.D.)



OTTOMANS ( 1299 – 1923 A.D.)


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