Ancient History 101, pt. 3 : Hittites.

(remember, we’re still talking about the early Mesopotamian kingdoms)


(Mediterranean kingdom)

Ah, the lovely and gentle Hittites. They formed a quiet commune in what was then Anatolia.

By “quiet commune” I mean “fearsome warriors.” They swept down and plundered Babylon (*spoiler alert* they plunder Babylon in 1595, but don’t annihilate it completely) with their nifty two-wheeled chariots. None of those slow-moving four-wheelers. After sacking Babylon, they use that booty to pile up an empire in what is now Turkey and go on to create a fearsome empire. Perhaps the world’s first. They live hard, fight hard, and eventually die hard.

But first, things they were good at and why they’re important:

  1. They made things with iron using advanced techniques. This is a big deal because they help pioneer the use of iron (replacing bronze) to forge all kinds of weapons and tools.

  2. Along with other civilizations, they used horses to travel and migrate, which in turn helped spread technologies around such as the wagon and wheel.

  3. They were half of the world’s peace treaty. Them and Egypt, following the Battle of Kadesh in 1274. The long version is that both sides claimed victory. Ramses II because Egypt sort of prevailed in the actual battle. Muwatalli because, well...because the Hittites didn’t lose. Different ways to frame the same event.

“I won.” and “I didn’t lose.”

This was important because it showed the idea that big civilizations could agree to formally decide whether they were or were not at war.

Good times end though, and less than a century later, around 1200 BC, the Hittite empire ended by a different bloody sword when northern seafarers defeated them, scattering them into different city-states.

We don’t know a whole lot about the Hittites because the cuneiform records largely deal with kings and war and winning battles, rather than day-to-day existence and culture.

When the Hittites went down, there was a void. And where there is a void, there is a power-hungry country ready to fill it. But before we move to the Assyrians...first, one more Mediterranean civilization: Babylon. We’ll have to back up a little, because remember, these are overlapping histories we’re talking about. They didn’t happen in a vacuum, and they didn’t happen one after another.

So let’s jump back 700 years or so.

(jump to next post below)


Introduction to Ancient History, from the Paleolithic Era to the fall of Rome, and how the lives, cultures, decisions, and actions of these periods affects our modern lives.

Education for most ages and for all curious people.
Written by Joseph Ivan Long with curiosity, humbleness, and a big grin.