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Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 140

The Hittites who entered Babylon about 1800 B.C., and overthrew the last king of the Hammurabi Dynasty, may have been plundering raiders, like the European Gauls of a later age, or a well-organized force of a strong, consolidated power, which endured for a period of uncertain duration. They were probably the latter, for although they carried off Merodach and Zerpanitum, these idols were not thrust into the melting pot, but retained apparently for political reasons.

These early Hittites are "a people of the mist". More than once in ancient history casual reference is made to them; but on most of these occasions they soon vanish suddenly behind their northern mountains. The explanation appears to be that at various periods great leaders arose who were able to weld together the various tribes, and make their presence felt in Western Asia. But when once the organization broke down, either on account of internal rivalries or the influence of an outside power, they lapsed back again into a state of political insignificance in the affairs of the ancient world. It is possible that about 1800 B.C. the Hittite confederacy was controlled by an ambitious king who had dreams of a great empire, and was accordingly pursuing a career of conquest.

Judging from what we know of the northern worshippers of the hammer god in later times, it would appear that when they were referred to as the Hatti or Khatti, the tribe of that name was the dominating power in Asia Minor and north Syria. The Hatti are usually identified with the broad-headed mountaineers of Alpine or Armenoid type--the ancestors of the modern Armenians. Their ancient capital was at Boghaz-Köi, the site of Pteria, which was destroyed, according to the Greeks, by Croesus, the last King of Lydia, in the sixth century B.C. It was strongly situated in an excellent pastoral district on the high, breezy plateau of Cappadocia, surrounded by high mountains, and approached through narrow river gorges, which in winter were blocked with snow.

Hittite civilization was of great antiquity. Excavations which have been conducted at an undisturbed artificial mound at Sakje-Geuzi have revealed evidences of a continuous culture which began to flourish before 3000 B.C.[282] In one of the lower layers occurred that particular type of Neolithic yellow-painted pottery, with black geometric designs, which resembles other specimens of painted fabrics found in Turkestan by the Pumpelly expedition; in Susa, the capital of Elam, and its vicinity, by De Morgan; in the Balkan peninsula by Schliemann; in a First Dynasty tomb at Abydos in Egypt by Petrie; and in the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age (Minoan) strata of Crete by Evans. It may be that these interesting relics were connected with the prehistoric drift westward of the broad-headed pastoral peoples who ultimately formed the Hittite military aristocracy.

According to Professor Elliot Smith, broad-headed aliens from Asia Minor first reached Egypt at the dawn of history. There they blended with the indigenous tribes of the Mediterranean or Brown Race. A mesocephalic skull then became common. It is referred to as the Giza type, and has been traced by Professor Elliot Smith from Egypt to the Punjab, but not farther into India.[283]


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