The Hittites

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the empire that flourished in the Late Bronze Age in what is now Turkey, and which, like others at that time, mysteriously collapsed. For the next three thousand years these people of the Land of Hatti, as they called themselves, were known only by small references to their Iron Age descendants in the Old Testament and by unexplained remains in their former territory. Discoveries in their capital of Hattusa just over a century ago brought them back to prominence, including cuneiform tablets such as one (pictured above) which relates to an agreement with their rivals, the Egyptians. This agreement has since become popularly known as the Treaty of Kadesh and described as the oldest recorded peace treaty that survives to this day, said to have followed a great chariot battle with Egypt in 1274 BC near the Orontes River in northern Syria.

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  • Claudia Glatz No other episodes
    Professor of Archaeology at the University of Glasgow
  • Ilgi Gercek No other episodes
    Assistant Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and History at Bilkent University
  • Christoph Bachhuber No other episodes
    Lecturer in Archaeology at St John's College, University of Oxford

Reading list

  • Hittite Diplomatic Texts
    Gary M. Beckman (Society of Biblical Literature, 2nd ed., 1999) Google Books →
  • Life and Society in the Hittite World
    Trevor Bryce (Oxford University Press, 2002) Google Books →
  • The Kingdom of the Hittites
    Trevor Bryce (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed., 2006) Google Books →
  • The Trojans and their Neighbours
    Trevor Bryce (Routledge, 2006) Google Books →
  • Letters of the Great Kings of the Ancient Near East: The Royal Correspondence of the Late Bronze Age
    Trevor Bryce (Routledge, 2014) Google Books →
  • Warriors of Anatolia: A Concise History of the Hittites
    Trevor Bryce (Tauris, 2018) Google Books →
  • The Hittites and their World
    Billie-Jean Collins (Society of Biblical Literature, 2007) Google Books →
  • Hittites: An Anatolian Empire
    M. Dogan-Alparslan and M. Alparslan (Yayinlari, 2014)
  • Insights into Hittite History and Archaeology
    Hermann Genz and Dirk Paul Mielke (eds.) (Peeters, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Kaska and the Northern Frontier of Hatti
    Ilgi Gercek (De Gruyter, 2021)
  • The Making of Empire in Bronze Age Anatolia: Hittite Sovereign Practice, Resistance, and Negotiation
    Claudia Glatz (Cambridge University Press, 2020) Google Books →
  • Hittite Myths
    Harry A. Hoffner (Society of Biblical Literature, 2nd ed., 1998)
  • Letters from the Hittite Kingdom
    Harry A. Hoffner (Society of Biblical Literature, 2009) Google Books →
  • Ancient Turkey: A Traveller's History
    S. Lloyd (British Museum Press, 1992) Google Books →
  • Ancient Turkey
    A. Sagona and P. Zimansky (Routledge, 2009) Google Books →
  • Hattusha Guide: A Day in the Hittite Capital
    J. Seeher (Ege Yayinlari, 2011) Google Books →
  • Hittite Prayers
    Itamar Singer (Society of Biblical Literature, 2002) Google Books →
  • The Elements of Hittite
    Theo van den Hout (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed., 2013) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m0012q5n

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Auto-category: 930 (Ancient history)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Around 1274 BC, there was a mighty chariot battle at Kadesh in modern Syria, to be followed by what's often called the first known peace treaty, the Treaty of Kadesh.