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Team Members: Steven, Kristina, Andrea

I. History
No one knows when the Hittites’ origin, but around 1900 BC, the Hittites invaded an area that later came to be known as Hatti. The 17th century marked the beginning of the Hittite Empire and the Old Hittite Kingdom era, founded by Labarna when several Hittite city-states joined together. During his thirty year rule from 1680-1650 BC, Labarna conquered a large area of land. After his death, Mursili I conquered Halab, Syria, and Babylon during his reign from 1620-1590 BC. After Mursili was assassinated, the kingdom fell into a state of turmoil. Finally, in 1525 BC, King Telepinu took control. He established dynastic reign and may have set up the law during his rule.
In 1450 BC, the new Hittite Kingdom was founded. Prince Suppiluliuma defeated the kingdom of Mitanni and attacked Syria.
Egypt and the Hittites struggled over the control of Syria during the last half of the 14th century. Even though the Egyptians won a major battle in Kadesh, Syria, the Hittites continued to have a strong hold on Syria. Finally, the Hittite King Hatusili III made a treaty with the Egyptians and gave his daughter in marriage to Ramses II around 1285 BC.
The nature of the fall of the Hittites in 1200 BC is still a mystery; the best records of the event belonged to the Egyptians, who named the cause as an attack of “the sea people.”

II. Geography
The Hittites lived in Anatolia, a peninsula in present day Turkey. Anatolia is a high plateau, a good area for growing crops. It also is a good source of wood.
During the New Kingdom, the Hittites had expanded to contain an area along the Mediterranean, sections of Mesopotamia and Syria, and at some points occupied parts of Egypt.

III. Culture
A. Government

The Hittites were led by a king making them a monarchial society. Kings were elected by nobles. The king was chief military officer, chief preist, and had supreme judicial authority. Religious ceremonies were most important in a king's role. If a king missed a religious ceremony, it was thought to make the gods bring a wrath upon the king's people. Besides a Hittite king, there was a Hittite queen. The queen was very independent from the king. She could legalize documents by herself and communicate with foreign leaders without the king's premission. The queen was not always married to the king. The queen would remain being queen until her death, even if the king died before her. The Hittite community was made up of towns. Not all towns lived under the king's rule. If they did not live under the king, they lived under a group called "The Council of Elders". This council was in control of land and disputes among citizens. The Hittites based their laws on those of the Amorites. But, the Hittites changed the Amorite law into a more merciful version. Crimes usually did not result to capital punishment. Most crimes, sometimes even murder, resulted to having the criminal pay a large fine.

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Seal a Hittite King Used

B. Economy
The Hittites were known for their cattle, sheep, wheat, and barley. The Hittite area was rich in copper, lead, iron, and silver. The Hittites are thought to be the first people to use iron to make weapons. They did not trade much because they were constantly at war and did not want to trade with enemies. If they needed something, they would go on a conquest to find it. Most of their profits came from agriculture. Hittites were also known for their pottery. The pottery was very plain and had no decoration.

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Hittite Pottery

C. Religion
The Hittites were polytheistic people. There were over a thousand Hittite gods. The gods were organized by importance based on their strength and what they were responsible for. The most important Hittite god was the god of weather. Next in importance came the weather god's wife, the goddess of the sun. Hittites felt that gods had human traits like emotions. Gods were portrayed through animals and weapons even though they acted like humans. Ancient Hittite tablets have shown that the Hittites prayed to their gods and commited their lives to serving the gods. They also believed that sin existed. The Hittites performed daily rituals in temples in which they would offer food and drink to appease their gods. Hittites also believed in magic. Usually old, wise, women were the ones to perform spells.

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Ruins of a Hittite Temple

D. Society
The ruler of the Hittites was their king. The king was the leader of the military, the judicial group, and the religious group. When the king died, the Hittites believed that the king would become a god himself. Nobles, called bankus, were second in rank during the Old Kingdom. Most of the people were the commoners, the artisans, and the slaves. The king was not in charge of the faraway lands that he owed. He put those lands in the hands of sub kings who had signed treaties with the king. Originally, one was allowed to own their own private property, but as the years passed, the new rule became that the king owned all the land he ruled over, and one could only have their own land if they served in the king’s army. For a time, the Hittites battled in rivalry with Egypt over the land of Syria. After many years, the Battle of Qadesh ended their rivalry. Though both sides claimed to win, the Hittites were the true winners. As for the Hittites everyday life, their future was usually decided in the first month of the year, called the month of first fruits. The Hittites believed that during that month, the gods decided what their fate was to be.

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Hittite King
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Click to see video of Hittites vs. Egypt

E. Thoughts and Learning
The Hittites based their judiciary system on the Babylonians influence, except that their punishments were less harsh than the punishments of the Babylonians. They spoke the Indo-European language. They also adopted the Babylonians cuneiform, but they developed their own form of hieroglyphics for their sculptures. The Hittite literature and history was written on clay tablets, which date back to 1700 BC. For mathematics, the Hittites used 10 fractions, like the people of India and unlike the 60 unit fractions that the Babylonians used. The Hittites were very instrumental. Music was used for many different things, such as warning enemies and entertainment during parties. Usually people would sing and play instruments during religious sacrifices. The singing would usually seem to be like whispering or chanting. The Hittites used various instruments from drums to oboes, but the most popular instrument was the lyre.

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F. Arts and Crafts
Hittite art was largely based on the Babylonian and the Sumerian art, such as their gold and bronze artwork. Usually, the Hittites would put pictures of their religious ceremonies and scenes of gods with their king on their art, but other times they would put pictures of animals instead. They also made seals that were also influenced by the Babylonians and the Assyrians. These seals had hieroglyphics and Babylon words engraved on them.The Hittites were also very elaborate in their craftwork. They built large structures such as temples with wood, stone, and brick. The Hittites were known for their new kind of chariots, which were lighter than the normal chariots. They also built things such as walls and gates with carvings in them. They were also the first group of people to make use of iron for items such as weapons and tools. One of their most well-known architecture structures is the lion gate at the Hittite capital.

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Lion Gate
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Hittite Chariot

Andrea- Government, Economy, Religion
Steven- Geography, History
Kristina- Society, Thoughts and Learning, Arts and Crafts, Title


http://i-cias.com/e.o/hittites.htm – society, thoughts and learning, arts and crafts, economy
http://education.yahoo.com/reference/encyclopedia/entry/Hittitea;_ylt=AoW8ht8ExU54k8E0CE.iaUZVt8wF – arts and crafts
http://www.crystalinks.com/hittites.html – society, thoughts and learning
http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/MESO/HITTITES.HTM – thoughts and learning
http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=382590&messageID=1178632#1178632 – thoughts and learning
http://www.sarissa.org/war/qadesh.php - society
http://idcs0100.lib.iup.edu/WestCivI/hittite_government.htm - government
http://www.hinduwebsite.com/general/hittite.asp – thoughts and learning
http://www.answers.com/library/Encyclopedia-cid-414091691 – arts and crafts
http://www.vml.de/e/detail.php?ISBN=3-89646-644-5 – thoughts and learning
http://i-cias.com/e.o/hittite_rel.htm - religion
http://idcs0100.lib.iup.edu/westCivI/hittite_economy.htm - economy
http://www.asor.org/pubs/nea/ba/Henrickson.html - economy
Google Earth-geography images
Microsoft Encarta 2000-geography, history

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