Hittites

   An important ancient Near Eastern people who spoke an Indo-European language and established a powerful kingdom - called Hatti - centered in Anatolia in the early second millennium b.c. By the late eighteenth century B.C., the Hittites had built a capital city at Hattusas, in the highlands near the upper reaches of the Halys River. under the leadership of King Mursilis I (reigned ca. 1620-1590 b.c.), they began campaigns of expansion toward the southeast. Mursilis conquered much of Syria, then suddenly followed the Euphrates southeastward and delivered a surprise attack on Babylon. It appears that the Hittites were aided in this venture by the Kassites, a tribal people who had entered Mesopotamia from the northeast about a century or so before. Instead of consolidating their gains and trying to rule Babylonia, the Hittites departed, leaving the Kassites in control. It may be that Mur-silis and other Hittite leaders felt they were too far from home and had too few soldiers to impose direct rule on Mesopotamia. In any case, the power vacuum thus created allowed the Hurrians, who originally hailed from the region near the Caspian sea, to sweep through the area. The Hurrians established the kingdom of Mi-tanni, centered on the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; the Mitan-nian state then acted as a sort of buffer between Hatti and Mesopotamia.
   The largest imperial gains by the Hit-tites came about two centuries later. under King Suppiluliumas I (reigned ca. 13701330 b.c.), they subdued most of northern Mitanni, created an alliance with the Kassite rulers of Babylonia, and imposed their will on a number of cities in Syria-Palestine. The latter intrusion raised the ire of the Egyptians, who had recently established their own influence in Syria-Palestine. Tensions between the two peoples came to a head in the Battle of Kadesh in Syria in 1274 b.c., in which the Hittite king Muwatallis II (reigned ca. 1295-1272 b.c.) fought the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II (ca. 1279-1213 b.c.) to an apparent draw. Shortly thereafter another Hittite ruler, Tuthaliyas (or Tudhaliya) IV (ca. 1237-1209 b.c.), further expanded the Hittite empire by conquering the Mediterranean island of cyprus. Soon afterward, however, that empire collapsed suddenly and permanently, and Hattusas was destroyed. The reasons are still uncertain and disputed by scholars, but a large-scale invasion of Greece, Anatolia, and Syria-Palestine by tribal peoples migrating from the region west of the Black Sea seems probable.

Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary. . 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Hittites — • One of the many peoples of North Western Asia, styled Hittim in the Hebrew Bible, Khuti or Kheta on the Egyptian monuments, and Hatti in the cuneiform documents Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

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  • Hittites — For the people of the Hebrew Bible, see Biblical Hittites. The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia. They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its… …   Wikipedia

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