HATTUSHA: THE HITTITE CAPITAL
Statue of NiobeAccording to UNESCO: “Hattusha: the Hittite Capital is located in Boğazkale District of Çorum Province, in a typical landscape of the Northern Central Anatolian Mountain Region. It lies at the south end of the Budaközü Plain, on a slope rising approximately 300 meters above the valley, and is divided by the Kızlarkayası creek into the lower city in the north and the upper city in the south. The archaeological site of Hattusha is notable for its urban organization, the types of construction that have been preserved (temples, royal residences, fortifications), the rich ornamentation of the Lions' Gate and the Royal Gate, and the ensemble of rock art at Yazilikaya. The city enjoyed considerable influence in Anatolia and northern Syria in the 2nd millennium B.C. [Source: UNESCO World Heritage Site website =]
“The property consists of the Hittite city area, the rock sanctuary of Yazılıkaya on the north, the ruins of Kayalı Boğaz on the east and the İbikçam Forest on the south. A monumental enclosure wall of more than 8 km in length surrounds the whole city. There are remains of older walls around the lower city and section walls dividing the large city area in separate districts. The ruins of the upper city’s fortification form a double wall with more than a hundred towers and, as far as is known today, five gateways: two in the west, the Lion’s Gate in the south-west, the King’s Gate in the south-east and a procession gate, the Sphinx Gate in the south of the city. The latter is located on top of a high artificial bastion with stone-plastered slopes, with two staircases leading to the gateway at the top and an arched stone tunnel running underneath. The impressive ruins of fortifications, placed on rocky peaks in the centre of the Upper City, bear witness to the complexity of Hittite rock masonry, and the longest known Hittite hieroglyphic inscription from the Hittite Empire can be found in the Upper City at Nişantepe. =
“The best-preserved ruin of a Hittite Temple from the 13th century B.C., known as Great Temple, is located in the Lower City. Other temples of similar date and shape, albeit generally smaller, are situated in the Upper City, which mostly consisted of a temple city for the gods and goddesses of the Hittite and Hurrian pantheon. The remains of a densely inhabited city district were unearthed in the Lower City, where their foundations and arrangement can still be seen in the area north from Great Temple. =
“The famous rock sanctuary of Yazılıkaya, which is an open-air temple with two natural chambers cut into the bedrock, lies 2 km northeast of the capital, on a slope of a mountain barrier. The walls of the rock chambers are covered with the richest and most striking samples of Hittite relief art, featuring gods and goddesses and the figures of the Great King Tuthaliya IV. Kayalı Boğaz, first mentioned in cuneiform inscriptions, is a large fortified settlement located 1.5 km east of the King’s Gate. It may have served as one of the outposts and strongholds, located in the countryside to watch and control the main roads leading to the city. The İbikçam Forest represents one of the last remaining examples of a dense forest covering the mountains south of the capital in Hittite times. =
“Hattusha is an archaeological site remarkable for its urban organization, the types of construction and rich ornamentation that have been preserved and for the ensemble of rock art. Efforts by the German Archaeology Institute, in close cooperation with the Turkish authorities, have uncovered a large variety of buildings such as temples, palaces and dwellings, but also technical and communal installations such as large buried granaries and artificial water ponds. The city’s fortifications, along with the Lions’ Gate, the Royal Gate and the Yazılıkaya rupestral ensemble and its sculptured friezes, represent unique artistic achievements. Hattusha exerted a dominating influence upon the civilizations of the 2nd and 1st millennia B.C. in Anatolia and northern Syria. The palaces, temples, trading quarters and necropolis of this political and religious metropolis provide a comprehensive picture of a Hittite capital and bear a unique testimony to the now extinct Hittite civilization. Several types of buildings or architectural ensembles are perfectly preserved in Hattusha: the royal residence, the temples and the fortifications.” =
Hittite is an Indo-European language like English and French, which is surprising considering that most Middle East languages at that time were Semitic ones like Hebrew and Arabic. Many consider Hittite to be root of most modern European languages. The Hittites had a different words for "put on" depending on what article of clothing was to be worn and their names for alcoholic beverages where based on action verbs. One drink called “walhi” was derived from the verb "to hit hard" and another, “marnuwan” , was related to the word meaning "to disappear." There were even a few similarities to modern languages. The Hittite word for father, for example, was “pappa” .↑
According to Crystal Links: “Hittites seemed to have spoken a language from the Indo-European language family, which includes English, German, Greek, Latin, Persian, and the languages of India. Hittite tablets were excavated from the ruins of the ancient Hittite capital Hattusa located near the modern Turkish town of Boghazkoy about 210 kilometers east of Ankara. Scientific excavation of these ruins by a German expedition began in 1906. About 10,000 clay tablets script were recovered. Although some were written in the Akkadian language and could be read immediately, most were in an unknown language, correctly assumed to be Hittite. [Source: Crystal Links +/]
“Within ten years the language had been deciphered, and a sketch of its grammar published. Gradually, the international community of scholars, led by the Germans, expanded the knowledge of the language. The number of common Hittite words that one could translate with reasonable certainty increased steadily. Glossaries published in 1936 by Edgar Sturtevant (in English) and in 1952 by Johannes Friedrich (in German) admirably served the needs of their contemporaries. Yet today, seventy-five years after the decipherment, there still exists no complete dictionary of the Hittite language.” +/
Hittite was written in cuneiform script like Sumerian and other Mesopotamia written languages and used Babylonian spelling. Much of what we know about the written Hittite language has been ascertained from 30,000 clay tablets and fragments of tablets found in 1906 at Hattuşa near Ankara.
The Hittite written language was discovered by German archeologist Hugo Winckler. In 1906 he was wandering around the Hittite site of Bogazkoi and found a royal library of cuneiform tablets there. The language was undeciphered until 1915. Most of the first words that were figured out "Rosetta Stone fashion" by comparing texts of tablets that were identical except that some had Babylonian words known to scholars and the others had Hittite words. Translating the tablets took about ten years. In 1952 some tablets were discovered in southeastern Turkey that were written in Phoenician and Hittite. These led to better translations of the Hittite language.
Scholars at the University of Chicago are now putting together an English-Hittite dictionary. As of 1992 they had completed words beginning with M, N, P and finished many of those starting with S, T, U, W and Z. There is no equivalent of O, Q, R, V, X and Y in Hittite. The first half of the Hittite alphabet is being worked on by a German team. [Source: Robert Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly, August 1992 (↑)]
According to Crystal Links: “The Hittites adopted many of the gods of the Sumerians and Old Babylonians. The odd thing about the Hittites, though, is that they seemed to have recognized that all gods were legitimate gods. Whenever they conquered a people, they adopted that people's gods into their religious system. [Source: Crystal Links +/]
“As far as history is concerned, this has tremendous consequences for the history of the Hebrews. The Assyrians seem to have adopted the same tolerance towards other religions, which allowed the Jewish faith to persist after the Jewish state was decimated by the Assyrians. And the Assyrians seem to have adopted the same tendency to adopt the gods of conquered people, so the Assyrian conquerors of Palestine adopted the Hebrew god, Yahweh, into their religion. This eventually led to the only major religious schism in Hebrew history, the schism between Jews and Samaritans. There are still Samaritans alive today.” +/
The Hittites practiced hepatoscopy (liver divination) like the Babylonians and Assyrians. Morris Jastrow said: “Similar models have quite recently been found in one of the centres of Hittite settlements at Boghaz-Kevi, and in view of the close relationship between the Hittites and the Babylonians, which can now be traced to the threshold of the third millennium before our era, there can be no doubt that the Babylonian system of hepatoscopy was carried far into the interior of Asia Minor. Babylonian-Assyrian hepatoscopy also furnishes a strong support for the hypothesis—probable on other grounds—which connects the Etruscan culture with that of the Euphrates Valley. Among the Etruscans we likewise find liver divination not only occupying an important position in the official cult, but becoming a part of it.” As was true with the Etruscans and the Greeks, fleeces has special significance. At Hittite celebrations fleeces were hung to renew royal power. [Source: Morris Jastrow, Lectures more than ten years after publishing his book “Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria” 1911]
ALALUS: Father of Anus. Anus removed him from the throne. [Source: Internet Archive, from AOL-Wiccan Site]
ANUS: Sky God. Removed his father Alalus from the throne, and was, himself, removed by his son Kumarbis. Babylonian = Anu.
ARINNA: Sun Goddess. She sent an Eagle out in search of Telepinus. The effort failed.
EA: He resides in the Apsu, just as he does in Babylonia. What he does in the Hittite pantheon I don't know. He is the one who decided on how to defeat Ulikummis, by using the copper knife that was "used to seperate heaven and earth". Babylonian
ENLIL: Enlil also makes a guest appearance in the Ulikummis myth. He saw Ulikummis as a child and told the gods later, after the child had grown to it's great size, that they could not hope to defeat it.
HEBAT: Wife of Teshub.
HANNAHANNAS: Queen of Heaven. She urges Teshub to do something about Telepinus' disappearance. Teshub went as far as Telepinus' own door, where he banged on the door until he broke his hammer, and thus abandoned the quest.
ILLUYANKAS: A dragon slain by Teshub. There are two versions of this myth. In the old version, they two gods fight and Illuyankas wins. Teshub" then goes to Inaras for advice, and she devises a trap for the dragon. She goes to him with large quantities of liqure, and entices him to drink his fill. Once drunk, the dragon is bound, and Teshub appears with the other gods and kills him. In the later version, the two gods fight and Teshub, again, loses. Illuyankas then takes Teshub's eyes and heart. Teshub then has a son, who grows and marries Illuyankas' daughter. Teshub tells his son to ask for his eyes and heart as a wedding gift, and it is given. Restored, Teshub goes to face Illuyankas once more. At the point of vanquishing the dragon, Teshub's son finds out about the battle; realizing that he had been used for this purpose. He demaned that his father take him along with Illuyankas, and so Teshub killed them both. illuyankas's daughter: See Illuyankas.
IMBALURIS: A messenger of Kumarbis.
INARAS: Goddess who set a trap for Illuyankas in the old version of the myth.
IRSIRRA DEITIES, THE: Either the "Maidens of Heaven" or else they are underworld deities.
ISHTAR: Only appears in Hittite myth in an attempt to lull Ulikummis by undressing and singing to him. Her attempt failed as the creature didn't see or hear her. Babylonian
KAMRUSEPAS: Goddess of healing and magick. She calms and purified Telepinus upon his return.
KUMARBIS: The Hittlte High God (like El of the Canaanites), Father of the Gods. Removed his father, Anus, from the throne. In order to keep his son Teshub from removing him from the throne, he made Ulikummis to oppose him.
MUKISANUS: Vizier of Kumarbis.
sea goddess: Kumarbis went to this goddess for advice on how to stop Teshub from taking the throne. Her advice seems to have lead to the creation of Ulikummis.
SHAUSHKA: a Love Goddess.
TESHUB: Ruler God (like Baal of the Canaanites), son of Kumarbis. He is also a sun God, and a fertility God. He carries a hammer as a weapon. He defeated Ulikummis with the help of Ea. When Kumarbis first attempted to remove his father, Anus, from the throne, he bit off the Anus' loins in the struggle. Thus, Anus' seed was implanted within Kumarbis and Teshub was born. Teshub's son: See Illuyankas.
UBELLURIS: This deity is much like the Greek Atlas, who supports the world on his shoulders. Ulikummis was placed on his right shoulder by the Irsirra deities to grow tall and strong. Ubelluris didn't even notice the presence until Ea pointed it out to him.
ULIKUMMIS: Son of Kumarbis. He was made to oppose Teshub. There is also mention that he destoys some of mankind. However, he is actually described as being blind, deaf, and dumb; as well as immobile. He was made of stone and placed on Ubelluris' shoulder to grow. He grew until he reached heaven itself. When the gods found him, Ishtar removed her clothing and attempted to lull him with music, but he didn't see or hear her (as he was a blind and deaf creature). The gods attempted to destroy him, but had no affect (he didn't even notice). Finally, Ea called for the Copper Knife that had been used in the seperation of heaven and earth. He then used the blade to sever Ulikummis from Ubelluris' shoulder; lopping the creature off at the feet. Teshub was then able to destroy the creature totally. It is interesting to note that this god's name is the same as a pair of twin volcanic mountains in Asia Minor. This may explain why he is said to be destroying mankind, even in his seemingly catatonic state.
Hittite Goddess and Child
15th-13th CenturyBC The Hittite state was set up like a military organization. People live under strict laws. Prices of goods and wages were fixed. Crimes like murders were punished with crippling fines paid by the family of the murderer.
Hittites planted olives, barely, wheat and grapes. They raised horses, cattle, goats and sheep. The were said to be very good at beekeeping. The Hittites liked hunting with spears. They used shoes with ski-like extensions when they went into the snowy mountains.
The Hittite were regarded as savvy businessmen. They conducted trade with coin-like weighted pieces of metal. Based a large number of loom weighs and spindle whorls found at Hittite sites it is believed that they manufactured cloth. There goods were traded on caravans that extended throughout Asia Minor and the Middle East.
Hittites cleaned themselves with the oil of the soapwart plant suspended in water. The Sumerians washed themselves in an alkali solutions. The first true soap, made of boiled goat fat water and ash with a lot of potassium carbonate, was developed by the Phoenicians around 600 B.C.
TELEPINUS is a fertility god, He is like Tammuz, He becomes enraged for reasons unknown and storms off into the stepp lands where he falls asleep. Draught and famine ensue. He was brought back by a Bee, after extensive searching by the gods had failed. Son of Teshub.
Hittite Food: Lard, Bread and Olive Oil
The Hittites left behind numerous texts on food and food preparation and had many laws related to how certain foods were prepared, cooked and served. The main ingredients of Hittite cuisine were dairy products, meat, grain products and other natural products such as honey. Hittites loved bread and had recipes for as many as 180 types of bread in different shapes and with varying ingredients as well as skewered meat like present-day shish kebab. Hittite food recipes were generally similar to that of contemporary civilizations, especially in regard to meat and dairy dishes, but were unique with regard to the plants used in cooking, as Anatolia has its own unique vegetation. Wine was consumed by the Hittites on regular basis and used for religious festivals and rituals. [Source: Wikipedia]
Harry A. Hoffner, Jr wrote in “Oil in Hittite Texts”: “In an instructions text in Old Hittite handwriting, "high-quality lard" is mentioned at the head of a list of foodstuffs: cheeses, rennet, wheat flour, and bread. Lard was considered a tasty dish even for gods and humans as can be seen from its inclusion alongside of honey, cheese, rennet, sweet milk, and other foodstuffs in two other Old Hittite rituals specifying offerings to the gods. [Source: Harry A. Hoffner, Jr., “Oil in Hittite Texts,” Internet Archive, from Emory/Biblical Archaeology /=/]
“That animal fat was valuable is clearly indicated by No. 90 of the Hittite law code which specifies that, if a dog eats lard (í SAH "oil/fat of a pig"), the owner of the lard is justified in killing the animal and retrieving the lard from the dog's stomach. This same law also proves that Ì SAH was solid and durable enough to have value even after having been subjected to partial digestion in the stomach of a dog. Furthermore, according to the wording of the law, the dog does not lap up the lard, but eats or devours it. [Swine Fat = Lard] /=/
“Butter or ghee (Ì.NUN) was used in the analogical speeches in the Old Hittite incantations: "As (this) honey is sweet, as (this) butter is soft/mild, so may the mind of Telipinu likewise be sweet and mild!". The relative price of butter or ghee is considered below under "Fine Oil;" while its use is noted under "Anointing/Rubbing Horses" and "Burning Oil."
“When olive oil is mentioned alongside breads on lists, the latter are "thin breads" (i.e., pita). In some passages a sample (anahi) of "thin bread" is dipped in olive oil and placed on the hearth .The same verb (suniya-) for "dipping" the bread in olive oil is used in the Hurro-Hittite bilingual in a passage about a dog who steals a freshly baked loaf of bread from an oven, dips it in oil, sits down, and eats it (Hoffner 1994). In a prayer of Muwatalli II, the cult officiant breaks successively three loaves for the Sun goddess of Arinna, for the Storm god pihassassi, for Hebat, and for the Storm god of the Sky, dips them in honey and í.DôG.GA, and places them on the offering table of the respective deity (KUB 6.46 i 40-56; cf. Pritchard 1969 and Lebrun 1980). When used in rituals, olive oil is associated with "fine/good oil" (í.DôG.GA) and honey (KBo 5.2 i 12).
“Oil was used in the preparation of many foods, especially the breads and pastries. Among these foods we may mention NINDA.í and NINDA.í.E.Dƒ.A. The latter was a special delicacy made from a wide spectrum of sweet and oily ingredients: oil, sheep fat, milk, butter, and honey. It has been compared to Turkish helva. A stew or thick soup flavored with oil was considered a particular delicacy and was often served to the king. Olive oil and honey were also poured on top of roasted mutton as a kind of sauce. Singer (1987) thinks this was done to make it tender.” /=/ Book: "Hittite Cuisine", published by Alpha Publishing (08-2008) in Turkey. Various books are written in Turkish about the Hittite cuisine and the Hittite University in Çorum in Turkey has published articles about Hittite cuisine recently.
Olive Oil and Cyprus Oil
Harry A. Hoffner, Jr wrote in “Oil in Hittite Texts”: “Olive oil did not need to be imported, since a Middle Hittite land grant text mentions vineyards, olive trees, and fig trees on the estate of a man named Purlisari in the town of Sayanuwanda. Another text describes a certain area in Kizzuwatna as containing thirty IKU of fields, two vineyards, and three hundred olive trees. Much earlier in an Old Hittite incantation, there is an appeal to the analogy of the olive holding oil in its heart, the grape holding wine in its heart, and the god holding goodness in his heart toward the king and his land. Olives, figs, and grapes (or raisins) are often mentioned together among materials for rituals. [Source: Harry A. Hoffner, Jr., “Oil in Hittite Texts,” Internet Archive, from Emory/Biblical Archaeology /=/]
“Olives were trodden or crushed with a large stone and the pulp transferred to wicker baskets and shaken. The baskets acted as strainers, and the oil was collected in jars. The top layer, skimmed off, was called "pure" or "beaten" oil. Pittalwan olive oil is most likely this first, cold extraction, which is lighter, of higher quality. The first extraction is unlike the second and third extractions, which routinely require additives such as salt. For this reason it is called "plain" or "unadulterated." The Hebrew and Ugaritic expression for this first extraction was smn ktt usually translated as "beaten oil." Today "virgin olive oil" is the highest quality and draws the highest price. /=/
“Cypress (or juniper) oil/resin is an ingredient in a medical ritual to cure someone who has been seized by the demon. Since the demon, the treatment, and the Hurrian words pronounced as a spell point to Syria or Northern Mesopotamia, the particular type of oil/resin may have been chosen for this purpose. This logogram has generally been taken to represent "fine oil," in the sense of sweet-smelling oil or perfume. In general, this interpretation is well supported by references to the cosmetic use of í.DôG.GA. In the myth "Song of Hedammu," the goddess ISTAR bathes, anoints herself with í.DôG.GA, and then goes to meet and seduce Hedammu. In the price lists of the Old Hittite laws one zipattani of Ì.DÙG.GA costs two shekels of silver, while the same amount of í SAH or í.NUN costs one shekel. This obviously establishes Ì.DÙG.GA as the most expensive of the oils. Two shekels of silver was also the price of two sheep, six goats, or one unweaned calf. Singer 1987 notes that in the same law one zipattani of fine oil was equivalent in price to eight minas (= 320 shekels) of copper. /=/
In some rituals wine and Ì.DÙG.GA are mixed together. Since the Hittite word for "wine" (wiyana-, Sumerogram GESTIN) sometimes denotes a cheap wine or vinegar, we can compare the combination of vinegar and oil even today in the seasoning of salads. One ritual text informs us that Ì.DÙG.GA was kept in horns. It mentions six small ox horns of Ì.DÙG.GA, three belonging to the king and three to the queen.” /=/
Hittites and Oil
Harry A. Hoffner, Jr wrote in “Oil in Hittite Texts”: “Oil was one of the minimal essentials in ancient Near Eastern life. This has been noted in connection with ancient Israel, but it is also true in Hittite Anatolia. That being the case, oil is included among the elementary needs of the poor which compassionate people are enjoined to meet. Several texts whose composition goes back to the Old Hittite period mention this: to the hungry give bread, to the thirsty water, to the naked clothes, to the dried out/desiccated. The same situation is reflected in a passage from the new Hurro-Hittite bilingual, where the god Teshub is poor and must be helped by his fellow deities. They give food to the hungry god, clothes to the naked god, and oil to the hurtant- god. [Source: Harry A. Hoffner, Jr., “Oil in Hittite Texts,” Internet Archive, from Emory/Biblical Archaeology /=/]
“Oil in Hittite texts can be from an animal or a vegetable source. Oil from plants includes olive oil, sesame oil, cypress (or juniper) oil/resin, and oil extracted from nuts. Oil from animals includes lard (i.e., oil/fat from pigs) and sheep fat. Güterbock enumerated the various oil-bearing plants known to the Hittites, which included the olive, sesame, and several plants which are probably nuts. /=/
“Sheep fat or tallow, is placed in or on a KUSkursa-, which has been interpreted as either a "hunting bag" or a "fleece," which in turn is suspended from an evergreen eya-tree as a symbol of the prosperity given by the gods. That Ì.UDU was a solid substance is also clear from the fact that it is used alongside wax to make magic figurines. The purpose of making the figurines out of wax and sheep tallow is that they will represent evil and will be destroyed in the course of the subsequent ritual. The exact manner of destroying the symbols is unclear. The verb in the ritual text is arha sallanu-, which probably means "to melt down". /=/
Hittite Uses of Oil
Harry A. Hoffner, Jr wrote in “Oil in Hittite Texts”: “In a prayer of King Mursili II, the king asks that the sweet cedar oil may "call" or "summon" the god Telipinu. As part of this concept that the gods were attracted or "lured" by sweet oil, the rituals sometimes mention sprinkling "paths" of sweet oil (Ì.DÙG.GA) to attract the deities: "See, I have sprinkled your paths, O Telipinu, with sweet oil. So set out, O Telipinu, on the path which has been sprinkled with sweet oil!" (KUB 17.10 ii 28-30). In another ritual, the "seer-exorcist" (LÚHAL) takes oil, honey, thick bread, and libation and goes to appease the mountain gods (KUB 30.36 ii 1-2). [Source: Harry A. Hoffner, Jr., “Oil in Hittite Texts,” Internet Archive, from Emory/Biblical Archaeology /=/]
“In a "wisdom" text originating in Babylonia and translated into Hittite, we read of a prostitute who wears a borrowed garment and anoints herself with oil taken as a wage. As part of a vow to a deity, a Hittite queen gave three harsiyalli-vessels (large storage vessels, pithoi) containing respectively oil, honey, and fruit (KUB 15.1 iii 14-16; de Roos 1984). In the "Song of Hedammu," another myth of the Kumarbi cycle, a fragmentary passage describing the creation and raising of the monster Hedammu seems to say: "They place him/it in oil É they place him/it in water." Perhaps this is a method for rendering him invulnerable. One is reminded of the Greek legend of Achilles' heel. /=/
“Two interesting uses of Ì.DÙG.GA are found in the funerary ritual for deceased royalty. After the deceased's body was burned on the funeral pyre, his bones were collected and placed to soak in a large silver vessel filled with fine oil (Ì.DÙG.GA). After they had soaked in the oil, the bones were removed, wrapped in a fine linen cloth, and placed on a chair or stool. There follow various rites, including animal sacrifices, and then the bones are brought to the mausoleum (called the "Stone House"). It is here that we see the second interesting use of the oil. The text reads: "In the inner room of the mausoleum they spread bedding, take the bones from the chair, and put them on the spread bedding. They place a lamp [weighing É] shekels, filled with fine oil (Ì.DÙG.GA) in front of the bones." This is a rare example of Ì.DÙG.GA used as fuel for a lamp. If it is "perfumed oil," the odor might have been considered appropriate, as would incense, in a funerary setting.
“Oil, fat, or grease may also have been used to seal the interstices of baskets to make them waterproof. In the famous story of the Queen of Kanesh who set her seventy infant sons adrift in baskets to float down the river to the Black Sea, where they were recovered by the gods and raised, the queen first prepares the baskets by "filling" them, i.e., their interstices, with oil/grease. Students of the Bible will recall the waterproofing of the basket in which the baby Moses was placed in the shallow water of the Nile according to the story in chapter one of the Book of Exodus.18 Moses' mother smeared the basket with bitumen. Oil or grease (Akkadian samnu) are used to caulk boats. Since until recently it was not known that the crucial word sa-g‡n-da could be interpreted other than a form of sakkar "dung," the passage was thought either 1) to attest the use of dung in waterproofing the baskets (a very implausible procedure), 2) a filling of the baskets with dung as a cushioning bed for the infants, or 3) as a symbolic action implying that the Queen of Kanesh was undoing a curse upon herself manifested by her ominous birth of seventy boys. None of these options seems now as plausible as the possible interpretation given above. Oil, grease, or perhaps even resin (sagn-) was used to caulk the baskets and prevent them from sinking before they could carry their human cargos down the river to their divinely intended destination. This understanding also fits the parallels in the other ancient Near Eastern stories much more closely.
Hittite Anointing Oil
Harry A. Hoffner, Jr wrote in “Oil in Hittite Texts”: “The toilet of the upper classes must be reflected in the treatment of the cult statues of the deities. One text tells how eight representations of the Sun goddess of Arinna-three statues and five solar disks-were bathed and then anointed with oil. In a letter of the Hittite king to his mother, he complains that he has no Ì.DÙG.GA for anointing himself. In the text of a legal deposition, a man named mdISTAR-LÚ gives testimony in which he mentions that a woman gave him oil and instructed him to anoint himself with it when he worshipped the deity.(15) In a letter from the Pharaoh to the King of Arzawa, written in Hittite, the Egyptian monarch speaks of having his servant anoint with oil the head of the woman chosen to become a wife of the king (VBoT 1 obv. 14). The Hittite king was also anointed with oil as part of the ritual of accession to the throne and the priesthood of the Sun goddess of Arinna. This custom is also reflected in the rite of the substitute king, who consequently is anointed with the "oil of kingship". Singer (1987) also quotes an Akkadian letter written by Hattusili III to the Assyrian king in which Hattusili complains that the Assyrian monarch failed to send him the traditional coronation gifts, which included ceremonial garments and fine oil for anointing (Goetze 1940:27ff.). [Source: Harry A. Hoffner, Jr., “Oil in Hittite Texts,” Internet Archive, from Emory/Biblical Archaeology /=/]
“An entry in a tablet catalogue describes a ritual performed by a woman physician named Azzari. On the occasion when a commander was going to lead troops into battle, the physician consecrated í.DôG.GA by pronouncing a spell over it and then used it to anoint the commander, his horses, his chariot(s), and all his weapons. In an oracle inquiry, it was determined that the deity was angry because the temple personnel had neglected or omitted to give to the deity í.GIS and í.DôG.GA.
“In the first tablet of the Kikkuli horse-training manual, trainers are described as anointing/rubbing horses with í.NUN (butter, ghee) on the fifth day, after four days of daily washing. The use of "butter" or "ghee" for this purpose seems strange. In the "Song of Ullikummi," a myth of the Kumarbi cycle, oil (Ì.DÙG.GA) is used to anoint the horns of the bulls which draw the cart of the god Teshub. Apparently the horns of male animals were also anointed with oil prior to sacrificing the animals. This practice is clearly documented in the case of goats and rams. “Similarly, in a ritual text, oil is brought to the deity so that he may lubricate his chariot with it. In a purification ritual, animal-shaped vessels16 are overturned in the river and washed, then oil is dripped into the river, and finally the washed vessels are anointed (isk-) with oil. Applying oil to the vessels after they have been washed is analogous to the practice of humans anointing themselves after bathing. In another text, oil is smeared on a door.
Burning Oil, Cooking and Oil in Daily Life
“One of the principal uses of oil in ancient times was as a fuel for lamps or torches. The texts, however, offer little evidence for this. Only recently, with the discovery of the syllabic writing of the principal Hittite word for "oil," sagn-, has it become possible to recognize that the meaning of the adjective sakuwant- frequently modifying torches (GISzuppari) is "oil-soaked" (Hoffner 1994). The construction of a Hittite torch is unclear. It might have consisted of a stick with the upper end wrapped in cloth, in which case the cloth would have been soaked in oil as fuel. [Source: Harry A. Hoffner, Jr., “Oil in Hittite Texts,” Internet Archive, from Emory/Biblical Archaeology /=/]
“Lamps were called (DUG)sasanna, It is possible that the wick was called lappina-. Only two passages give any indication of lamp fuel:"two measuring vessels of butter/ghee for lamps" and "They set out in front of the bones a lamp[É] of [x] shekels (filled) with fine oil." There are other references to the burning of oil. A mixture of honey and oil was burned to produce a pleasant odor for the gods which by smelling the same they could be said to eat and drink. Another ritual text also mentions burning cedar, í.NUN, honey, and other materials to produce a sweet odor. In still another passage, honey and olive oil are poured into a clay cup and a tiny chip of wood floating on the surface is ignited and burns, perhaps absorbing the oil in which it floats like a wick.”/=/
Robert C. Henrickson wrote: “Hittite pottery varies widely in quality, with publication usually directing more attention to the finer types. Late Bronze Age Gordion in western central Anatolia has recently yielded several probable pieces of Hittite pottery. The most striking was a zoomorphic vessel, a barrel rhyton, found on the floor of a Late Bronze Age structure. Its distinctive micaceous reddish color and well-burnished finish suggest that it was probably an import. Other possible imports included a jar rim and jar shoulders with stamp seal impressions, although the recovery of a clay stamp seal indicates some local use. The great majority of Hittite pottery, however, is plain ware with simple, standardized shapes, cursory finishes, and no decoration.1 Study of vessel and rim shapes and stylistic analysis of finer pieces document links among sites, thus delineating the broad distribution of Hittite Late Bronze Age pottery, including Gordion. [Source: Robert C. Henrickson, “Hittite Pottery and Potters: The View from Late Bronze Age Gordion”, Internet Archive, from Emory/Biblical Archaeology /||]
“The Gordion Late Bronze Age assemblage is notable for its standardization and overall simplicity. Standardization is pronounced in the distinctive repetition of production sequences for individual vessel types and sizes and in the clustering of vessel sizes. The simplicity and limited number of vessel forms, rim profiles, and generally rather cursory finishing all suggest that ease and speed of production were important considerations. [Source: Robert C. Henrickson, “Hittite Pottery and Potters: The View from Late Bronze Age Gordion”, Internet Archive, from Emory/Biblical Archaeology /||]
“Three broad ware (fabric) categories may be distinguished. Variation among them primarily involves differences in clay preparation and methods of manufacture and finishing. Color ranges from creamy-white through tan or buff to reddish-orange to brown. Common ware (87-90 percent of all sherds recovered) has a rather dense paste with variable amounts of medium grit temper (usually less than 0.2 mm in diameter). Fine ware (1-5 percent) has no visible temper. Cooking ware (5 percent) has a less dense paste with large amounts of medium grit and voids from burnt-out chaff temper. Red slip or paint is found on 3-4 percent of the common and fine wares. /||\
“The Late Bronze Age potters used the potter's wheel, turntable, and a variety of hand-forming methods, in varied combinations. Production sequences for individual vessel types varied with vessel size. Most vessels thrown on a potter's wheel, aside from shallow rounded bowls, tended to be small, with a maximum diameter 20 cm. Forming larger vessels usually involved various combinations of hand-building techniques, often coiling. /||\
“Secondary forming, mostly on a turntable, was common. The bodies of medium and large vessels were altered, such as by scraping, then regularized and smoothed on a turntable. Rim forming and finishing were simple. Bowl rims were usually simply rounded and smoothed. Jar and pot rims were formed either by everting and folding down the lip or by adding some clay to thicken and strengthen it. The base of most small and medium bowls and jars was rounded by trimming, probably on a turntable. /||\
“Overall finishing usually consisted of simple smoothing; few true slips are identifiable. Most of the "slips" are actually "self-slips" resulting from wet-smoothing which concentrates fine clay particles on the surface. Decoration usually consists of red slip or painted bands. Some jars have rather inconspicuous, isolated vertical burnish strokes. /||\
“The common and fine ware pottery was well-fired, yielding a hard fabric which tends to fracture along sharp linear breaks. Experimental refiring of YHSS 8 sherds indicate that the common and fine buff wares were fired at 800-1000¡C, a temperature high enough to imply use of kilns. Cooking ware was fired at a lower temperature (less than 700¡C), perhaps in the open (Rye 1981:96-122). /||\
“Although the limited area of Late Bronze Age architecture excavated is modest, the pottery assemblage does suggest some economic complexity at Gordion. Simple profiles, limited number of vessel types, tight clustering of sizes, cursory finish, and general simplicity of most attributes-in short, its standardization-all suggest large-scale production by specialist potters. Two jars had "potter's marks" incised on their shoulders before firing, although their meaning remains unclear (cf. Gunter 1991:pl. 26.493, 28.517-521). /||\
“Neutron activation analysis of both Gordion Late Bronze Age pottery samples and clays from the Sakarya River banks adjacent to the site has demonstrated that most have very similar chemical compositions. Therefore, much of the Late Bronze Age pottery must have been made at or near Gordion; it clearly is not imported from another area (Henrickson and Blackman n.d.). Since the nature of the assemblage suggests professional potters and relatively large-scale production, output would have far exceeded the modest needs of the small Late Bronze Age settlement at Gordion. Contemporary settlements in the area were also small, so the potters must have been supplying at least several of them as well. Pottery thus provides the best evidence for some regional economic complexity at present.” /||\
Vessel Types Found at Gordion
Robert C. Henrickson wrote: “Let us now turn to how some of the common vessel types were made and what this information has to offer. Although no complete examples of the medium to large types were recovered, pieces were adequate to determine methods of manufacture. All have parallels at Hittite sites. [Source: Robert C. Henrickson, “Hittite Pottery and Potters: The View from Late Bronze Age Gordion”, Internet Archive, from Emory/Biblical Archaeology /||]
“Small fine ware bowls. In YHSS 8 [a Late Bronze Age strata at Gordion], small shallow bowls with a rounded bottom and slightly carinated or rounded profile were thrown on a potter's wheel using a fine paste. When leather-hard, the exterior of the base was shaved and smoothed to yield a rounded bottom and uniform wall thickness. Sagging or flexing due to thin walls often resulted in slightly irregular shapes. Many have a rim diameter of 17±1 cm, standard within the margin of error for measuring diameters from sherds. Parallels, which seem to have been thrown but may not be as fine in ware, are found at Masüat Höyük and Bogazköy. /||\
“Small fine ware 'Welt Bowls'. In YHSS 9, fragments of at least several small rounded bowls embodied a unique method of decoration. Small cylindrical pellets (diameter 2-3 mm) of clay were forced into the sides of the bowl from the exterior. On the interior, these pellets produced bumps or welts, while on the exterior their flat ends were concealed by smoothing. /||\
“Small conical bowls. Small, shallow conical bowls with flat bases were thrown using a common ware paste. The base retains marks left by the string used to free the bowl from the potter's wheel. /||\
“Medium bowls with rounded base. The forming sequence for medium-sized shallow, rounded bowls (diameter 26-32 cm, with diameters tending to cluster at 26 and 32 cm) is similar to that for fine ware. Each was thrown, dried to leather-hardness, inverted, and the base trimmed on a turntable to yield a rounded exterior profile. Careful examination of the exterior surface usually identifies residual scraping scars in the basal area, although final smoothing has usually removed most; near the rim ridges left by throwing survive. Breaks tend to spiral outward from the center to the rim, suggesting throwing on the potter's wheel. Rim forms tend to become even simpler from YHSS 8 to YHSS 9. /||\
“Alternative forming methods were occasionally used. Distinctively different patterns of breakage indicate that one rounded base bowl made with a slightly coarser fabric than usual was molded and the rim finished by the addition of a single strip or coil of clay its perimeter. /||\
“Medium conical bowls with flat bases. Although the same general size and only slightly deeper than the previous type, medium sized conical bowls (diameter 26-32 cm) were handbuilt rather than thrown. Relatively thick sides were butted onto a heavy slab base; adding coils or strips of clay which were drawn them upward and outward completed the sides. The rim, entire interior, and upper exterior were smoothed, probably on a turntable. The base exterior remained poorly finished, sometimes retaining grit or chaff impressions from the surface on which it had rested. These flat-base bowls were thus not simply rounded profile bowls whose bases had not been trimmed but rather the product of entirely different forming approach. /||\
“Jars. Jars have narrow necks, heavy rounded or slightly triangular folded rims, rounded sloping shoulders, and handles attached at the neck and shoulder. Two types are common at Gordion: 1) thin-walled jars of small to moderate size and 2) larger jars with tapered cylindrical bodies and pointed bases. /||\
“The small to medium size thin-walled jars were probably thrown on a potter's wheel, judging from the thin walls, throwing ridges on the interior of the shoulder, and sometimes diagonal compression ridges on the interior of the neck resulting from constricting the shoulder to form the neck. Their overall thinness yields relatively small pieces, with lower bodies and rounded bases difficult to identify and reconstruct. /||\
“The large tapered cylindrical jars with pointed base, usually have strong "throwing marks" on their interior. They were, however, built from at least three separate components: 1) rim/neck/upper shoulder; 2) main body; and 3) lower body and base. The general forming sequence is reasonably clear. Patterns of breaks and texture variations and voids in the fabric demonstrate the use of coiling or piecemeal construction, on a turntable, for primary forming of the walls of the main and lower body. Parallel breaks correspond to joins between clay elements in the wall. The upper shoulder/neck piece was perhaps formed separately and attached to the main body, or built onto the upper edge of body. The shoulder was consolidated and the neck diameter reduced on a turntable, leaving "wheelmarks" inside the shoulder and compression ridges inside the neck, and the handle added finally. /||\
“Bringing the base to a point must have been one of the very last steps in the entire vessel production sequence. Two techniques seem to have been used. Vertical ridges left by compression indicate that squeezing or "choking" brought the bottom of the jar to a point. The absence of any evidence for smoothing over the interior compression ridges indicates pointing the base was a very late stage in production. A second forming technique, also used for somewhat more rounded bases, involved successive additions of small strips or coils of clay to gradually close the open base. /||\
“Cooking pots. Cooking pots were rather baggy wide-mouthed handmade vessels with rounded bases, slightly enlarged rounded rims, and vertical loop handles. The fabric was noticeably coarser and somewhat more friable than for other vessels, due to use of much greater amounts of chaff temper. The lower body may be been formed in a mold, but the sides were built by coiling. As might be expected with a cooking pot, the interior surface is better smoothed than the outer, probably on a turntable. /||\
“"Vats" and large storage vessels. Given the relatively small size of sherds recovered relative to vessel size, the overall shapes remain uncertain. The long, parallel, horizontal breaks, and joins visible in broken edges of sherds, demonstrate that coiling was the primary forming method. Surface marks again suggest secondary forming and finishing on a turntable. The base of a large jar clearly shows the construction method using layers or slabs of clay.” /||\
Hittite objects, excavated by archeologists include an 36-inch-high terra-cotta bulls, Apelta, circa 1500 B.C., unearthed from Hattusas. Hittites were skilled potters. They produced beautiful cups, jars and pitchers with well-crafted hands and spouts
In 2012, Live Science reported: “Two sculptures of life-size lions, each weighing about 5 tons in antiquity, have been discovered in what is now Turkey, with archaeologists perplexed over what the granite cats were used for. One idea is that the statues, created between 1400 and 1200 B.C., were meant to be part of a monument for a sacred water spring, the researchers said. The lifelike lions were created by the Hittites who controlled a vast empire in the region at a time when the Asiatic lion roamed the foothills of Turkey.” [Source: Live Science, July 26, 2012]
Hittite Legal System
According to Crystal Links: “The Hittites greatly modified the system of law they inherited from the Old Babylonians. The most extensive literature that the Hittites have left us is, in fact, decrees and laws. [Source: Crystal Links +/]
“These laws were far more merciful than the laws of the Old Babylonians, perhaps because the Hittites were less concerned about maintaining a rigid, despotic central authority. While you could lose your life for just about everything under the Old Babylonian system of laws, including getting rowdy in a tavern, under the Hittites only a small handful of crimes were capital crimes. Even premeditated murder only resulted in a fine - a large fine, to be sure, but far preferable than losing your head. They modified the role of the monarch in that they gave the king ownership of all the land under his control. +/
“Previously, under the Sumerians and Amorites, private property was allowed and the monarch only owned his own private property. Individuals were allowed control over land, which belong to the king, only by serving in the king's army. So the bulk of the population became tenant farmers.” +/
Code of the Nesilim (Hittites, c. 1650-1500 B.C.) on Murder and Other Crimes
According to the Code of the Nesilim (c.1650-1500 B.C., Nesilim is the Hittites' name for themselves): 1. If anyone slay a man or woman in a quarrel, he shall bring this one. He shall also give four persons, either men or women, he shall let them go to his home. [Source: Oliver J. Thatcher, ed., The Library of Original Sources (Milwaukee: University Research Extension Co., 1901), Vol. III: The Roman World, pp. 9-11]
If anyone smite a free man or woman and this one die, he shall bring this one and give two persons, he shall let them go to his home.
If anyone slay a merchant of Hatti, he shall give one and a half pounds of silver, he shall let it go to his home.
If anyone blind a free man or knock out his teeth, formerly they would give one pound of silver, now he shall give twenty half-shekels of silver.
If anyone injure a man so that he cause him suffering, he shall take care of him. Yet he shall give him a man in his place, who shall work for him in his house until he recovers. But if he recover, he shall give him six half-shekels of silver. And to the physician this one shall also give the fee.
If anyone cause a free woman to miscarry, if it be the tenth month, he shall give ten half-shekels of silver, if it be the fifth month, he shall give five half-shekels of silver.
If a soldier disappear, and a vassal arise and the vassal say, This is my military holding, but this other one is my tenancy,and lay hands upon the fields of the soldier, he may both hold the military holding and perform the tenancy duties. If he refuse the military service, then he forfeits the vacant fields of the soldier. The men of the village shall cultivate them. If the king give a captive, they shall give the fields to him, and he becomes a soldier.
If a free man set a house ablaze, he shall build the house, again. And whatever is inside the house, be it a man, an ox, or a sheep that perishes, nothing of these he need compensate.
If anyone oppose the judgment of the king, his house shall become a ruin. If anyone oppose the judgment of a lord, his head shall be cut off. If a slave rise against his master, he shall go into the pit.
Code of the Nesilim (c. 1650-1500 B.C.) on Economic Matters
According to the Code of the Nesilim (c.1650-1500 B.C., Nesilim is the Hittites' name for themselves): 158. If a man go for wages, bind sheaves, load it into carts, spread it on the straw barn and so forth "till they clear the threshing floor, for three months his wages are thirty pecks of barley. If a woman go for wages in the harvest, for two months he shall give twelve pecks of barley.
If anyone harness a yoke of oxen, his wages are one-half peck of barley.
If a smith make a copper box, his wages are one hundred pecks of barley. He who makes a copper dish of two-pound weight, his wages are one peck of emmer.
If anyone come for borrowing, then make a quarrel and throw down either bread or wine jug, then he shall give one sheep, ten loaves, and one jug of beer. Then he cleanses his house by the offering. Not until the year has elapsed may he salute again the other's house.
If anyone buy an artisan's apprentice, buy either a potter, a smith, a carpenter, a leatherworker, a tailor, a weaver, or a lace-maker, he shall give ten half-shekels.
A plow-ox costs fifteen half-shekels of silver, a bull costs ten half-shekels of silver, a great cow costs seven half-shekels of silver, a sheep one half-shekel of silver, a draft horse twenty half-shekels of silver, a mule one pound of silver, a horse fourteen half-shekels of silver.
181-182. Four pounds of copper cost one half-shekel of silver; one tub of lard, one half-shekel of silver; two cheese one half-shekel of silver; a gown twelve half-shekels of silver; one blue woolen garment costs twenty half-shekels of silver; breeches cost ten half-shekels of silver. . .
- If anyone give a son for instruction, be it a carpenter, or a potter, or a weaver, or a tailor, or a smith, he shall give six half-shekels of silver for the instruction.
Code of the Nesilim (c. 1650-1500 B.C.) on Slaves
According to the Code of the Nesilim (c.1650-1500 B.C.): 2. If anyone slay a male or female slave in a quarrel, he shall bring this one and give two persons, either men or women, he shall let them go to his home. [Source: Oliver J. Thatcher, ed., The Library of Original Sources (Milwaukee: University Research Extension Co., 1901), Vol. III: The Roman World, pp. 9-11]
If anyone smite a male or female slave, he shall bring this one also and give one person, he shall let him or her go to his home.
If anyone blind a male or female slave or knock out their teeth, he shall give ten half-shekels of silver, he shall let it go to his home.
If anyone cause a female slave to miscarry, if it be the tenth month, he shall give five half-shekels of silver.
If any man of Hatti steal a Nesian slave and lead him here to the land of Hatti, and his master discover him, he shall give him twelve half-shekels of silver, he shall let it go to his home.
If anyone steal a slave of a Luwian from the land of Luwia, and lead him here to the land of Hatti, and his master discover him, he shall take his slave only.
If a male or female slave run away, he at whose hearth his master finds him or her, shall give fifty half-shekels of silver a year.
If a free man and a female slave be fond of each other and come together and he take her for his wife and they set up house and get children, and afterward they either become hostile or come to close quarters, and they divide the house between them, the man shall take the children, only one child shall the woman take.
If a slave take a woman as his wife, their case is the same. The majority of the children to the wife and one child to the slave.
If a slave take a female slave their case is the same. The majority of children to the female slave and one child to the slave.
If a slave convey the bride price to a free son and take him as husband for his daughter, nobody dare surrender him to slavery.
If a slave convey the bride price to a free son and take him as husband for his daughter, nobody dare surrender him to slavery.
If a slave set a house ablaze, his master shall compensate for him. The nose of the slave and his ears they shall cut off, and give him back to his master. But if he do not compensate, then he shall give up this one.
If a free man kill a serpent and speak the name of another, he shall give one pound of silver; if a slave, this one shall die.
Code of the Nesilim (c. 1650-1500 B.C.) on Sex Issues
According to the Code of the Nesilim (c.1650-1500 B.C.): 187. If a man have intercourse with a cow, it is a capital crime, he shall die. They shall lead him to the king's hall. But the king may kill him, the king may grant him his life. But he shall not approach the king. [Source: Oliver J. Thatcher, ed., The Library of Original Sources (Milwaukee: University Research Extension Co., 1901), Vol. III: The Roman World, pp. 9-11]
If a man have intercourse with his own mother, it is a capital crime, he shall die. If a man have intercourse with a daughter, it is a capital crime, he shall die. If a man have intercourse with a son, it is a capital crime, he shall die.
If a man and a woman come willingly, as men and women, and have intercourse, there shall be no punishment. And if a man have intercourse with his stepmother, there shall be no punishment; except if his father is living, it is a capital crime, the son shall die.
If a free man picks up now this woman, now that one, now in this country, then in that country, there shall be no punishment if they came together sexually willingly.
If the husband of a woman die, his wife may take her husband's patrimony.
If a free man pick up female slaves, now one, now another, there is no punishment for intercourse. If brothers sleep with a free woman, together, or one after the other, there is no punishment. If father and son sleep with a female slave or harlot, together, or one after the other, there is no punishment.
If a man sleep with the wife of his brother, while his brother is living, it is a capital crime, he shall die. If a man have taken a free woman, then have intercourse also with her daughter, it is a capital crime, he shall die. If he have taken her daughter, then have intercourse with her mother or her sister, it is a capital crime, he shall die.
If a man rape a woman in the mountain, it is the man's wrong, he shall die. But if he rape her in the house, it is the woman's fault, the woman shall die. If the husband find them and then kill them, there is no punishing the husband.
If anyone have intercourse with a pig or a dog, he shall die. If a man have intercourse with a horse or a mule, there is no punishment. But he shall not approach the king, and shall not become a priest. If an ox spring upon a man for intercourse, the ox shall die but the man shall not die. One sheep shall be fetched as a substitute for the man, and they shall kill it. If a pig spring upon a man for intercourse, there is no punishment. If any man have intercourse with a foreign woman and pick up this one, now that one, there is no punishment.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons, The Louvre, The British Museum, Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara
Text Sources: Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Mesopotamia sourcebooks.fordham.edu , National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, especially Merle Severy, National Geographic, May 1991 and Marion Steinmann, Smithsonian, December 1988, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Discover magazine, Times of London, Natural History magazine, Archaeology magazine, The New Yorker, BBC, Encyclopædia Britannica, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Time, Newsweek, Wikipedia, Reuters, Associated Press, The Guardian, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “History of Warfare” by John Keegan (Vintage Books); “History of Art” by H.W. Janson Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated September 2018