We begin our series on the Hittites by looking at what came before the Hittites. This episode is a survey of the geography, cultures, and history of Eastern Asia Minor prior to the arrival of the newest player on our stage, the Hittites. The Anatolians have been on the fringes of our story from the conquests of Sargon of Akkad to the trading colonies of Assyria, but until now we have been pretty vague about the conditions and people in the northwest extreme of the Mestopotamian world. Also, we will take a brief look at points west to round out our understanding of the late bronze age world.
So, archeology is definitely not my thing, and the early origins part of this show is very heavily skimming over quite a lot of detail. However, if you are interested, I have come across the most amazing book, called the Cambridge World Prehistory, a 2000 page, three volume set from 2014 that covers the pre-history of every region on earth. I am cribbing heavily from the two Anatolian chapters here and recommend the book to literally everyone.
Also, the Hittites and Luwians, and some other groups, are Indo-European! Some people get very excited about Indo-European and proto-Indo-European reconstructions and speculations. I am not one of those people, and haven’t got the patience to wade through all that nonsense. And so, while there will be a few mentions here and there I am sure, I am going to mostly skip over all that stuff. There are other places you can go to find it, I am sure.
|Anatolian in-migrations, circa 3000-2000 BCE|
|Major locations circa 1800 BCE|
|This is what we are working towards, the height of the Hittite empire.|