Neo-Hittite states

The states that are called Neo-Hittite, or more recently Syro-Hittite, or Aramean (after the Arameans and the Aramaic language), were Luwian, Aramaic and Phoenician-speaking political entities of the Iron Age in northern Syria and southern Anatolia that arose following the collapse of the Hittite Empire around 1180 BC and which lasted until roughly 700 BC. The term "Neo-Hittite" is sometimes reserved specifically for the Luwian-speaking principalities like Milid and Carchemish, although in a wider sense the broader cultural term "Syro-Hittite" is now applied to all the entities that arose in south-central Anatolia following the Hittite collapse — such as Tabal and Quwê — as well as those of northern and coastal Syria.[1]

Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age transition

Further information: Bronze Age collapse

The collapse of the Hittite Empire is usually associated with the gradual decline of Eastern Mediterranean trade networks and the resulting collapse of major Late Bronze Age cities in the Levantine coast, Anatolia and the Aegean.[2] In the middle of the 13th century BC great groups of Greeks speaking ancient Dorian dialects moved from the north through the Balkan region to the south. The Thracians who occupied this region, and northern Greece, were forced to move to the western coasts, and later to the inland, of Anatolia, where they became known as Phrygians and Mysians. At the end of the 13th century BC the Mycenean palaces in inland Greece were destroyed by invaders and almost simultaneously sea-raiders devastated the palace at Pylos. [3] [4] A few decades later, at the beginning of the 12th century BC, Homeric Troy was destroyed[5] and the Hittite Empire suffered a sudden devastating attack from the Kaskas, who occupied the coasts around the Black Sea, and who were joined with the Mysians. They proceeded to destroy almost all Hittite sites but they were finally defeated by the Assyrians beyond the south borders near Tigris[6] These great population movements in the Eastern-Meditterannean are documented in the records of Ramesses III (1186-1155 BCE) as an invasion by the so-called sea peoples.[7] Mentioned as being among them are the people of Adana (Dnnym or Danuna) in Cilicia and probably the Troyans. Hatti, Arzawa (Lydia), Alashiya (Cyprus), Ugarit and Alalakh were destroyed.[8] The invaders were defeated near the borders of Egypt.

It seems that the sea-peoples contributed to the collapse of the Empire, although they are only mentioned in the Egyptian records and the archaeological evidence is insufficient. Their invasion caused the movement, by both land and sea, of large populations seeking new land to settle.[9] In fact it is recorded that the foreign countries made a conspiracy in their islands and that no land could stand before their arms. The Hittites were strong enough to survive the first stream of emigrations but they didn't escape the second, where they were surrounded by enemies. The Caska were a continuous trouble, the borders with Arzawa were never considered safe, Mitanni at the south was always an enemy and a few decades earlier the Hittites suffered a great defeat against the Assyrians beyond the borders.[10]

Hattusa, the Hittite capital was completely destroyed. Following this collapse of large cities and the Hittite state, the Early Iron Age in northern Mesopotamia saw a dispersal of settlements and ruralization, with the appearance of large numbers of hamlets, villages, and farmsteads.[11] Syro–Hittite states emerged in the process of such major landscape transformation, in the form of regional states with new political structures and cultural affiliations. David Hawkins was able to trace a dynastic link between the Hittite imperial dynasty and the "Great Kings" and "Country-lords" of Melid and Karkamish of the Early Iron Age, proving an uninterrupted continuity between the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age at those sites.[12]

Aside from literary evidence from inscriptions, the uninterrupted cultural continuity in the region of Neo-Hittite states from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age is now further confirmed by the recent archaeological work at the sites of Aleppo (Temple of the Storm God on the Citadel)[13] and Ain Dara (Temple of Ishtar-Shawushka),[14] where temples built in the Late Bronze Age continue into the Iron Age without hiatus, and those temples witness multiple rebuildings in the Early Iron Age.

List of Syro-Hittite states

The Syro–Hittite states may be divided into two groups: a northern group where Hittite rulers remained in power, and a southern group where Aramaeans came to rule from about 1000 BC. Although these states are considered somewhat unified, they were though to actually be disunified, even in separate kingdoms.[15][16]

The northern group includes:

The southern, Aramaic, group includes:


Luwian monumental inscriptions in Anatolian hieroglyphs continue uninterrupted from the 13th-century Hittite imperial monuments to the Early Iron Age Syro-Hittite inscriptions of Karkamish, Melid, Aleppo and elsewhere.[18] Luwian hieroglyphs was chosen by many of the Syro-Hittite regional kingdoms for their monumental inscriptions, which often appear in bi or tri-lingual inscriptions with Aramaic, Phoenician or Akkadian versions. The Early Iron Age in Northern Mesopotamia also saw a gradual spread of alphabetic writing in Aramaic and Phoenician. During the cultural interactions on the Levantine coast of Syro-Palestine and North Syria in the tenth through 8th centuries BCE, Greeks and Phrygians adopted the alphabetic writing from the Phoenicians.[19]


See also

Ancient Near East portal

External links

  • Neo-Hittite Monuments
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.