Note: also see Eurasia/Caucasus/Central Asia
From the Historical Chronology of the Amazons site (see below)
[General map of Anatolia with the main prehistoric and Hittite sites]
[Detailed map of Hattusa, the Hittite capital]
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/turkey.jpg: [Updated 12/14/01]
[Excellent of Black Sea (Bulgar-Turkish) regions, & south to Damascus]
[Turkey & the Caucasus to Central Asia & China: Dead 12/14/01 -- search their site from link]
[Central Asian States from Caspian Sea to Mongolia & China: Dead 12/14/01 -- search their site from link]
[The 7 regions of Anatolia with great clickable closeups of regional sites]
[Ethnolinguistic Groups in the Caucasus]
For excellent data on Anatolian geography, see Turkish Odyssey.
Anatolian Neolithic Goddess
[From Focus Multimedia -- see below]
If you have limited time -- or just wish to start with something no-frills and basic, this is a very brief overview on "Asia Minor" from Funk & Wagnall's (via Microsoft Encarta).http://www.focusmm.com/civi_mn1.htm
From Focus Multimedia comes a series of small introductory essays called "Anatolia throughout the Ages." Many of the essays include colorful art. The website covers, specifically: the Neolithic (9000-5000 B.C.); Chalcolithic (5000-3000 B.C.); Bronze Age (3000-2000 B.C.); the Hatti civilization (2500-2000 B.C.); Troy/Troia-II (2500-2000 B.C); the "Hatti & Hittite Principalities Period" (2000-1750 B.C.); the "Great Hittite Kingdom" (1750-1200 B.C.); the Hurri civilization; Troy/Troia-VI (1800-1275 B.C.); Aegean migrations and invasions from the Balkans (1200 B.C.); Iron Age (1200-700 B.C.); the Urartu civilization (900-600 B.C.); Frygia (750-300 B.C.); Lydia, Caria & Lycia (700-300 B.C.); Ion (1050-300 B.C.); Persian conquests (545-383 B.C.); the Hellenistic & Roman period (333 B.C.-395 A.D.); Byzantine period (330-1453 A.D.); Seljuk period (1071-1300 A.D.); and the Ottomans (1299-1923 A.D.). (See directly below for a comparision between this site and the next on "Lydia.")http://www.tcbonnbe.de/de/bibliothek/oezal/firstknowninhabitants.htm: [Dead link 12/14/01]
From a Turkish site in Berlin comes "First known Inhabitants -- the Hattians, the Louvites, the Hurrians," another introductory essay. At the bottom are links to the rest in this series: "Hittites; Urartu; Lydia; Lycia; Caria; Phrygia; Troy and the Aegean Civilization; Crete, the Aegean Islands, and Mainland Greece; and the Influence of Anatolia on the Mediterranean Basin in the Post-Minoan Era."http://www.allaboutturkey.com/frig.htm: [Updated 14 December 2001]
Choosing at random, I decided to do a spot-check on "Lydia" on this site as well as on the one above -- I found this site much more detailed and interesting than Focus Multimedia's; nevertheless, I like the illustrations on the latter and their overviews remain useful. (Note: The website is available in both English and German. If you'd like to hear a reconstruction of a Hurrian hymn, go to my opening Near East page. Note: 12/14/01: if anyone knows what happened to this site, please let me know -- thanks!)
From Burak Sansal in Istanbul comes this excellent page on Phrygia -- but it includes a great number of hypertext links to many of Anatolia's other civilizations and traditions. The pages are thorough, well written, very interesting, and you could pass a few pleasant hours exploring them. (Note: I couldn't find an overall site index, which means that if you don't browse the hypertext, you'll miss much -- i.e., each new page brings you to a different little menu-cluster along with more hypertext.)http://rbedrosian.com/mythint.htm: [Updated 14 December 2001]
Silver Vessel decorated with horned animals, mountains & rivers
North Caucasus, Maikop burial mound, mid 3rd millennium BCE
[Russia's Hermitage Museum --
see Myth*ingLinks' Eurasia/Caucasus/Central Asia for main link]
"Eastern Asia Minor and the Caucasus in Ancient Mythologies" by Dr. Robert Bedrosian (Columbia University, Ph.D. in history, 1979) is a series of four linked pages on the topic. This scholarly work looks at familiar Greek myths and deities (e.g., Hephaestus, Jason, Prometheus) in the context of the Anatolian region:http://www.umr.edu/~gdoty/poems/altaic.html...The Greek myths also reveal a noteworthy consistency regarding their dramatis personae. There is a definite clustering of the deities, heroes, and heroines relating to eastern Asia Minor and the Caucasus into several genealogical lines, all of which derive from the most ancient pre-Olympian gods, the Titans. These are: (1) the line of Cronos, including his descendants Demeter, Poseidon, Hephaestus, Ares, Hebe, Persephone, and Hades; (2) the line of Iapetus, including his descendants Prometheus, Deucalion, Bellerophon, Aeson, Jason, Phrixus and Helle, and Castor and Polydeuces; (3) the line of Hyperion, including his son Helios and his descendants Aeetes, Circe, and Pasiphae; and (4) the Cyclopes, the smiths of Zeus....I especially like Bedrosian's focus on the role of the geography and ecology in the lush natural world that once covered Asia Minor. Here is a passage to give you an idea of how he approaches his work -- it's long but worth repeating here:...This study examines the geographical references and allusions to eastern Asia Minor and the Caucasus in the ancient myths of the Greeks, Sumerians, Hurrians, Iranians, and Indians, and analyzes the images they define.... [T]he works of mythologists such as W. Burkert, G. Dumezil, and K. Kerenyi have at their base comparative analyses of deities, their functions, and the shared themes found in western and eastern mythologies (5). The geographical focus adopted in the present study both expands the volume of pertinent source material and, simultaneously, frees it from the requirement of having to possess some echo in the extant mythologies of the Armenians and Georgians.Before turning to an examination of the relevant myths, two topics must be discussed briefly for the light they shed on the myths themselves: (1) the ecology of the area in antiquity, and (2) difficulties involved with using mythological material for research in general. During the third through first millennia B.C., when most of the myths discussed below evolved, eastern Asia Minor differed in important ways from its modern incarnation. First, many now-extinct or dormant volcanoes were then active. The two Ararats, Aragats, Nemrut, Suphan, Rewanduz, and Savalan were among the more prominent volcanoes spewing molten lava and rocks into the night sky, surely stimulating the awe and imaginations of observers. Second, the flora and fauna were richer in this early period. Large parts of the area were covered with forests so dense that later  Akkadian sources (8th century B.C.) describe Sargon's troops having to literally hack their way in. Herds of wild elephants roamed in the Van-Urmiah area and as far west as the Euphrates river, while throughout eastern Asia Minor there was a profusion of types of birds, fish, bears, and mountain cats no longer found there. Not only were the flora and fauna richer in antiquity relative to the present but, in antiquity, this area was richer relative to its contemporary neighbors. Because of its favorable cool climate, eastern Asia Minor was home to prized varieties of hardwood trees essential for building, trees which did not grow in the hotter Mesopotamian lands to the south (6). According to the naturalist V. Hehn, quite a number of plants and animals passed from or through this area to lands to its west and south (7). In addition to such botanical and biological diversity, eastern Asia Minor and the Caucasus were (and remain) blessed with great mineral wealth. The abundance of copper, iron, gold, silver, lead and zinc, and their presence in outcroppings of rocks which did not require extensive mining, led to the early development of metallurgy here (8)....Finally, from his conclusion:... Eastern Asia Minor and the Caucasus were familiar in varying degrees to the Greeks, Mesopotamians, and Indo-Iranians. The Greeks were familiar with the southeastern corner of the Black Sea and the area to the west of Lake Van; the Mesopotamians with the Diarbekir-Van-Urmia region and perhaps with the Ararat area to the north; the Indo-Iranians with the valley of the Arax river, and the areas around Urmia and south of the Caspian. Not only is there familiarity with these areas, but the images defined by them have striking similarities. All three traditions associate the area with metals and metallurgy, the entrance to the underworld or other world, and hybrid monsters. It was a place of origin and/or salvation of humanity; a place where the Mother Goddess had special sway; where certain non-patriarchal forms of social organization and inheritance obtained; and a place associated with magic potions, medicines, and people knowledgeable in their preparation....If you're looking for good scholarship, don't miss this one.
This is the "Turkish Epic" page -- a fine collection of Altaic and related mythology adapted by Gene Doty at the University of Missouri from the prose translation by Gülten Yener. There is an interesting focus on the role of birds and water in creation -- a focus seen in many other neighboring cultures.http://hcgl.eng.ohio-state.edu/~hoz/myth/myth.html: [Dead link 14 December 2001]
[Annotation partially updated 14 December 2001]: This is an intriguing site from an Ohio State student -- unfortunately, it now seems to have vanished (I've e-mailed the faculty to see if there's a chance they've kept in touch with the student: I'm keeping the annotation below, just in case):http://www.vaa.fak12.uni-muenchen.de/archint.html
One of the site's central points relates to how much of Greek mythology actually originated in Anatolia -- the claim is accurate and it's a tragedy that these two peoples with such interwoven cultures are so often at war.
The website's opening links are in Turkish with no translations. Then come seven Islamic stories translated (with no commentary) from the Book of Dede Korkut (a work with which I'm unfamiliar; some of the imagery in these tales is wonderful). Further down, by clicking randomly on non-loaded graphics, I finally found a link to re-tellings of Greek myths with Anatolian roots: http://hcgl.eng.ohio-state.edu/~hoz/myth/gmyth.html#helles
Except for the quirky opening page (I couldn't get its dark background to load, which made it almost impossible to read the pale text), everything else works well, which is why I'm keeping the link.
Mother-goddess seated on a throne flanked by two leopards
(14 December 2001: from a now-defunct page)
This is Archäologie im Internet, a German site with a well chosen selection of links to many Anatolian and other Near Eastern archaeological sites; many of these are in English but other languages are represented as well. (Note: this site is also listed elsewhere in my Near East pages.)http://archaeology.about.com/education/archaeology/library/atlas/blturkey.htm
[Added 20 March 2000]: From About.com's archaeology guide, K. Kris Hirst, comes this lengthy page of links to archaeology in Turkey; many time periods and sites are represented; quality of content varies (e.g., some links are just vitae of archaeologists) but if you have time to dig, there is good material here.Archaeological Neolithic Sites near Konya in Central Anatolia
This is a fairly specialized account of 27 excavation sites near Konya in Central Anatolia, including the famous Çatalhöyük East, one of the largest Neolithic sites in the Konya Plain.http://www.med.abaco-mac.it/issue001/articles/doc/014.htm: [Updated link 14 December 2001]
This is "The Neolithic In Anatolia: A Review Of The Archaeological Data" by archaeologist, Dr. Pilar Pardo Mata. The report, also fairly specialized, looks at various sites near Konya and offers excellent attachments with plans and artwork.http://catal.arch.cam.ac.uk/catal/catal.html
This is Cambridge University's home page for Catal Huyuk -- here's where you'll find all the latest archaeological news and excavation updates. There's also a discussion group -- an excerpt follows in the next link.....http://catal.arch.cam.ac.uk/catal/goddess.html
.....again, from Cambridge University, this is an intelligent, informed discussion between a woman connected with the Goddess movement and Ian Hodder, a major archaeologist working in the Catal Huyuk region:http://catal.arch.cam.ac.uk/catal/Newsletter8/news8.htmlThere are many communities with an interest in Catalhoyuk. These include those seeking the origins of kilims, or those that wish to emphasise links between Anatolia and Europe. One of the most active groups is formed by those who believe the site is important in the emergence of the Goddess. The following is a discussion (via e-mail) between Anita Louise and Ian Hodder about some of the questions raised by the Goddess movement....
[Added 23 December 2001]:This is the mid-December 2001 Newsletter from the Çatalhöyük Research Project:http://catal.arch.cam.ac.uk/catal/Newsletter8/turning01.html... This newsletter's aim is to keep you informed of the activities of the project and of the different aspects of the research being conducted at Catalhöyük. This is the first opportunity to pass on information about the discoveries that were made during the 2001 season....There's a good deal of information here (also many photos) on this Neolithic site. I found especially moving (and sobering) a report, Archaeo-Anthropology at Çatalhöyük 1995-2001, by David Shankland. Here's an excerpt:...And these results? It is early days to digest the final, intense periods of field study. Briefly, though, I think that I shall suggest that the Republican nationalist insistence on the multi-period exploration of Anatolian archaeological heritage coincided and has interacted with a traditional fom of tolerant village Islam that was partially dependant on the same brotherhoods, the tarikat, that are now banned. As a result, there has developed a curious, rather unstated arrangement by which mystical folk Islam of the Mevlana and of Yunus Emre is lauded for its pluralism, its humanism, and its universalism whilst the social structures (the brotherhoods) that engendered that same thought system in Anatolia remained proscribed.
Where does this leave the remains of the past - the mounds, the stones, the graves scattered in the village landscape? I think somewhere in the middle - they are protected by the state, kindly regarded by most villagers, the occasional object of suspicion by the pious, and sadly (leaving ideological matters momentarily aside) the innocent victims of a massive mechanisation and intensification of farming methods....
[Added 23 December 2001]: This is "Turning Through Time: Communication with the distant past at Çatalhöyük," a fascinating process created under the auspices of the above Çatalhöyük Research Project by Dr. Adrienne Momi (a friend, former student of mine, and a graduate of Pacifica Graduate Institute). She writes:http://home.vicnet.net.au/~focus/civcty/cathyk00.htm: [Dead link 14 December 2001]How can we learn about the religious impulse of preliterate cultures? One way is to allow the images made in that culture to speak. The wall paintings at Çatalhöyük appear to describe mythic stories, and religious practices of the people who settled in that area, and have tantalized me from my first viewing of them. Not only do these paintings offer clues to the rituals associated with hunting at Çatalhöyük, but they also suggest that myth-making may extend back at least 8,000 years.I find her words and photos rich and tantalizingly evocative. (FYI: for those who would like to tour this region, she has created a company, Mythic Travel -- see final category on my page.)
One way to understand the meaning of art is to make art about that art. Because of my previous work at Neolithic sites in Central Europe, I was invited to add my voice as a professional artist and mythologist to the multidisciplinary interpretation of Çatalhöyük during the season of 2001....
This is Catal Huyuk from Focus Online Magazine. Of all the introductory, popular-level Catal Huyuk sites I've explored, this richly illustrated series of nine linked pages is the most complete and interesting. It covers such issues as settlement data, history, architecture, excavations, implications of the many goddess sculptures, and weaving (see below). It also includes a fine map at: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~focus/trmap/trm_d3.jpg: [Dead link 14 December 2001]http://kroeber.anthro.mankato.msus.edu/offices/alpha/classes/book/farming/catalhuyuk.html
This site gives a very brief introduction to Catal Huyuk; a small, somewhat blurred map of the region is included (for links to more maps, check near the top of my page).http://kroeber.anthro.mankato.msus.edu/offices/alpha/classes/book/states/catalhuyuk.html
Although obscured by images at times, this site has exactly the same text as the above link but instead of the map there's a sketch of a reconstruction of part of the city and a good wall painting of a bull.http://users.hol.gr/~dilos/prehis/prerm5.htm
This is another page with fairly minimal text on Catal Huyuk -- there's an artist's sketch of how it might have looked and a good color photo of a wall mural depicting a hunt for red deer, boar and onagers.http://www.stockton.edu/~gilmorew/consorti/1anear.htm#PART 1.
This page on Catal Huyuk was created for a college history course by William J. Gilmore-Lehne, Associate Professor of History at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey. The page has fascinating bits of information tucked into various mini-essays; there are also good links, including a 3D Quick Time movie, if you have the right plug-in [note: not all the links work but keep trying -- there are some good ones here]. Dr. Gilmore-Lehne puts Catal Huyuk into a clear historical context when he writes:http://www.csuchico.edu/~cheinz/syllabi/anth239/fall97/mim-god.htm:...More than thirty-five hundred years before Sumeria in Mesopotamia, the traditional beginning of "civilization" in earlier world history texts, new patterns of collective life had emerged to the north and west, in the Anatolian highlands of what is now Turkey....
This is "Catal Huyuk: Neolithic Non-Patriarchal Civilization" by Mim Roeder, a flawed but still interesting, well researched & illustrated paper done for a college anthropology course.http://www2.hawaii.edu/~edaniel/visuals/catalhoy.htm
This Catal Huyuk page offers a brief but useful text accompanying excellent color photos, sketches, and hypothetical reconstructions of shrines. The photos include a shot of the archaeological mound in the distance; there's also a shot of Hasan Dag, the volcanic mountain from which came the city's chief export: glassy black obsidian (worked into projectile points, blades, and highly polished mirrors). [Note: the site offers a Quick Time movie if you have the right plug-in -- I don't -- and didn't feel like downloading the plug-in so I can't comment on its quality.]http://www.telesterion.com/catal1.htm
Catal Huyuk's Hasan Dag: Volcano Goddess?
[see directly below]
The theme of obsidian continues with this series of three pages on Catal Huyuk written in 1990 by William Carl Eichman. The first page is well written and gives quite an evocative sense of the city. The next two pages move into the heart of Eichman's interests -- he calls it "The Religion of Obsidian." Eichman is writing for a popular audience but the material is solidly grounded in Mellaart's work on Catal Huyuk:...A remarkable wallpainting [see above]uncovered at Catal Hiiyiik throws an interesting light on the city's economic and religious foundations. "Painted on the north and east wall of a shrine... soon after 6,200 B.C .... it represents that rarest of all genres of early painting, a landscape, and needless to say it is unique," writes Mellaart. The painting consists of a stylized portrayal of the terraced houses of the city itself, with a geologically perceptive rendition of an erupting, twin-peaked volcano, The painting clearly represents an actual eruption of Hasan Dag, a twin-peaked, then active volcano eight miles to the east of the city, which dominated the skyline on a clear day.This speculation is unique and it certainly caught my attention -- considering how many Near Eastern male deities began as mountain gods (including El-Shaddai of the Hebrews), Eichman's argument in favor of a Volcano Goddess in this same region has an appealing resonance. I invite you to take a look at an intriguing site (the long pages tend to load slowly so be patient).
Looking at the erupting volcano with the eyes of an art historian, several features suggest that the painting is not simply a landscape, but is an icon of the Volcano Goddess....
http://www.weavingartmuseum.org/ex1_main.htm: [Updated 14 December 2001]
Important Correction[14 December 2001]: in the nearly two years since I wrote the annotation below, I have become more aware of some of the larger dimensions of the controversy swirling around claims that Kelim designs can be traced back into the far reaches of antiquity. I am now convinced that some degree of chicanery, conscious or otherwise, exists in such claims. I'm keeping the site online because the art is lovely, but please read all historical commentary and/or claims with great caution.
http://www.rugreview.com/132marl.htm: [Link originally annotated February 2000]This is from the Weaving Art Museum's series of exhibits on Turkish tapestry weavings, "Archaeology and Anatolian Slit-Tapestry [Kelim] Weaving" (August 1998); there are clickable thumbnails along the left that will take you to enlargements -- all are lovely.What I found most interesting in these images is the claim (based on James Mellaart's work at Catal Huyuk) that many of the designs come from archaic motifs found millennia earlier:Note: for more insight into this unpleasant situation, don't miss the following group of three links to Marla Mallett's careful work.........Actually these designs are woven representations of prehistoric idols, first sculpted in stone and later modeled in fired clay. Their form has been influenced by the progressive developments in figurine sculpture which occurred throughout Europe and the eastern Mediterranean from the late Paleolithic, c.30,000BC, through the late Bronze Age, c.500BC. The earliest known effigy figurines are female representations.... (Note: insert figures will show you the original goddess images upon which many of these designs are allegedly based. )
This is "An Updated View of the Çatal Hüyük Controversy" by Marla Mallett; it comes from the Oriental Rug Review, Vol. 13/2, December-January 1993. Being a dyed-in-the-wool romantic (pun intended <smile>), I've loved thinking that kilim designs stretched all the way back to Catal Huyuk. This lucid, carefully reasoned (and illustrated) paper was therefore quite an eye-opener. Lest this site ever vanish from the web, here are some samples:...Mellaart first suggested a possible Neolithic "kilim connection" at the 1983 International Conference on Oriental Carpets in London, prompting many of us to eagerly study his earlier articles, reports, and 1967 book, Çatal Hüyük: A Neolithic Town in Anatolia.4 The Turkish archaeological site of Çatal Hüyük, excavated by Mellaart in the early 1960s, was fascinating; the possibility of Neolithic roots for kilim design was intriguing. Mellaart's basic theory held that large paintings on some interior walls of this complex were copies of actual woven kilims used in other, more important buildings. The paintings were less expensive substitutes. Pegs were said to be positioned for suspending some of the hangings. Although no actual remains of 8,000-year-old tapestry weavings were found, motifs that Mellaart claimed to have sketched from fragmented paintings were surprisingly like those on kilims of today!....The lengthy report is hard-hitting and brilliantly argued. I am saddened by Mallaart's role; unfortunately, such things happen.
...The written version of Mellaart's conference presentation was published in Bertram Frauenknecht's book, Early Turkish Tapestries.5 Major flaws in the argument immediately became apparent. We saw significant problems glossed over, and hypotheses treated as established facts. No documentation was offered. No photos supported the small sketches of supposed Neolithic kilim motifs: a figure holding two bird, winged deities, globular goddesses stacked in niches, and many others (Figure 1). No clues indicated how these images fit into the larger scheme of things at the Çatal Hüyük site; the shrines from which they supposedly had come were not identified. The visual presentation itself was confusing, since sketches of tangible clay artifacts, motifs from modern kilims, and undocumented wall painting motifs were all mixed together.
In retrospect, this Mellaart article sucked us in and set us up. Unable to evaluate the material for years, many readers accepted it on faith....
...Isolated from the public debate, I could only react to the book itself. I was stunned by overwhelming stylistic incongruities between Mellaart's new "reconstructed" paintings and the obviously genuine wall paintings appearing in photos in the 1960s Çatal Hüyük excavation reports.8 Subject matter in the new drawings was completely different too. Goddesses and their animal entourages were now everywhere. Most extraordinary of all were "reconstruction" drawings placed alongside strikingly similar modern kilim: "reconstruction" drawings with kilim motifs, but garbled warp/weft directions! They would have been impossible to weave. Something was definitely wrong. But how could it be so terribly wrong? Again, documentation was missing....
... He [Mellaart] has discounted the most recent, sophisticated and conclusive tests on the fibers found in Çatal Hüyük graves -- fibers unsuitable for tapestry. Although Josephine Powell twice brought forth pertinent research findings by Michael Ryder and others,19 Mellaart has failed to counter this expert's opinion that wool available in the seventh millennium B.C. was too hairy, kempy and pigmented to be suitable for spinning and dyeing.
Mellaart still has not begun to reconcile the requirements of large scale tapestry production with Neolithic warp-weighted loom technology. In arguing that kilims similar to modern ones were woven in Neolithic times (and in producing drawings of them) he has totally disregarded the normal impact of technological advances on textile production. Mellaart apparently failed to realize that differences in weaving mechanics are reflected in distinctive kinds of patterning, weave balance and fabric structure. Although slit tapestry is easy and natural to produce on most two-beam looms with good warp tension, it is extremely difficult to produce on unstable, weighted warps. This problem is so severe that it dwarfs other relevant questions of loom technology, but Mellaart has conveniently ignored them all....
A Hittite Mountain God
[From Karum Trading -- link updated 12/23/01]
This well researched site (with full bibliographic data) is "Hittite/Hurrian Mythology" by Christopher B. Siren. From his introduction:http://www.asor.org/HITTITE/HittiteHP.htmlDuring the second millennium B.C. the Indo-European people known as the Hittites ruled over the 'Land of Hatti', in central and eastern Anatolia, that peninsula which is modern Turkey. They had displaced the previous occupants, the non-Indo-European Hattians, and ruled from the city of Hattusas near the modern Boghazkoy in northern central Turkey, possibly as early as 1900 B.C....Following this, Siren gives great data on the gods, goddesses, and demons of these patriarchal peoples, carefully placing them within their cultural and mythological contexts.
This is "The Hittite Home Page" with an assortment of academic links to the Hittites, ancient Anatolia, excavations in the region, institutes & museums, and much more.http://www.infoplease.com/ce5/CE024045.html
This site from the Columbia Encyclopedia looks at Hittite art and architecture -- it's well done although surprisingly unillustrated. Hypertext will take you to more good data on Hittite history and environs.http://www.atamanhotel.com/history/hittite.html:
This site is the best of the non-specialist sites on the Hittites although I found the small, heavy fonting difficult to read. The quality of information is excellent, however. For example:http://www.arthistory.sbc.edu/ancient/reports/melvinhittites.html:...Despite marked Anatolian-Hattian, Mesopotamian and Hurrian influences, the Hittites developed their own individual culture in Anatolia. It is astonishing that a people as strongly and continuously influenced by the Mesopotamians as the Hittites could have formed such very different characteristics from their Oriental neighbors in several aspects of their cultural life and have developed a truly Western way of thinking. One of the most important traits of the Hittites was their sense of loyalty to a state governed by law. Although he ruled by right of heredity, the king was merely primus inter pares. The Hittites of the Empire showed no interest in the ideas of Oriental absolutism and the divine right of kings....The unnamed author of the page offers many more examples of the differences between the Indo-European Hittites and their non-Indo-European "oriental" neighbors. On this site, by the way, hypertext is simply in blue, not underlined, so keep your eyes open for this. I clicked on several words and was pleasantly surprised to find pages filled with great illustrations, maps, sketches, detailed text, and bibliographies. This is a good place to browse.
This student report by Elizabeth Melvin is for an art history course on Hittite art. The page opens with a Hittite chronology and map. The text then cites various specialists (not always identified but a brief bibliography is offered at the end) who give an interesting perspective on these ancient peoples:http://www.multimania.com/hatti/The Hittites have been described as people of `sluggish emotions', 'intellectually unpretentious' and `devoid of the finer graces'. But if we look in detail at those Hittite art we can notice that it displays just the opposite. "There is a command of form and material, and a feeling of lively vigour, which gives them an attractive and immediatly recognizable character of their own."The page has a handful of clickable illustrations, mostly black & white.
[Annotation partially updated 23 December 2001]: This is a minimal, basic entry site in English and French -- I'm including it because if offers a small collection of links to information on Hatti, the homeland of the Hittites; most of the links are already on my own page, but the others mentioned here are also worthwhile. From the site's introduction:http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/anthro/lost_tribes/cities/hattusas.htmlHATTI, homeland of the Hittites, was one of the most powerful near-eastern empire of the second millennium B.C. The heart of HATTI-land and Hittite power was located in central Anatolia. From terrible wars to peaceful and prosperous trade, the Assyrians and the Egyptians learned to respect the Hittites.....
This paper by Jaime Stine is "Hattusas or Bogazkoy," the Hittite capital. Stine looks at history, religion, social structure, the role of women, and much more. The text is useful but, unfortunately, none of the images will load. A list of sources is given at the end.http://www.realshades.com/history/ap-hittites-001.html
This is a fairly brief but useful (albeit unreferenced) survey of Hittite history by "Russ." Here is his summary of Hittite religion:...The pantheon of Hittite religion included thousands of deities -- many of them associated with various Anatolian localities. The state cult was dominated by the Sun-goddess Arinna, protectress of the royal dynasty. Her consort was the Weather-god Hatti. In the later empire, strong Hurrian influence in Hittite religion appeared with the introduction of the goddess Hepat, the Sun-goddess, and with Teshub, the Weather-god....
[Courtesy of Tohum Travel via Time Travel]
From Dr. Sanderson Beck's monumental Ethics of Civilization project comes this section on the Hittites (note: earlier on the same page you'll find lengthy passages on Sumer and Babylonia). Sanderson is a former colleague of mine from a time when we both taught at World University in Ojai, CA. He is an intense, brilliant, deeply thoughtful man. His scholarship is pure but he writes in a style that will appeal to a general reader. Here, for example, is his retelling of an ancient & delightful Hittite myth on springtide:http://www.tulumba.com/storeItem.asp?ic=zBK422170HQ661A favorite Hittite story told how the god Telepinu got angry because of the evil in the world and stalked off with his sandals on the wrong feet, causing the earth to dry up, plant life to wither, animals to become barren, and humans to die of hunger. Seeing the desolation the sun god called together the gods to search for Telepinu but in vain. The queen of heaven suggested they send a bee to find Telepinu. The other gods laughed, but the bee nearly exhausted finally found Telepinu asleep. When the bee stung him and woke him up, Telepinu was even more angry and began to destroy everything he saw. The bee returned and asked for an eagle to carry Telepinu back while the queen arranged for a magic spell to drive out Telepinu's evil spirit. Kamrusepa, the goddess of magic, soothed Telepinu's mind with cream, sweetened his disposition with honey, cleansed his body with oil, and eased his soul with ointment to put him in harmony with people, gods, and the world. Telepinu's anger left him, and the earth came to life again. People cleaned their homes and prepared for the new year, as they hung the fleece of a lamb on a pole in the court of the temple. This archetypal story of the annual renewal of spring also shows how loving care can heal the spell of anger.
[Added 26 July 2007]: This webpage and those immediately following it are from Tulumba, a United States-based Turkish site offering scholarly books on the Hittites, many of which are unavailable elsewhere. This link goes to Hittite and Hurrian Cuneiform Tablets from Ortaköy (Çorum) Central Turkey (with two Excursuses on the Man of the Storm God and a full edition of Kbo 23.27) by Ahmet Ünal (published in Istanbul, 1998). Price is under $20. US.http://www.tulumba.com/storeitem.asp?ic=zBK887986TR543
[Added 26 July 2007]: This 78 page booklet is The Old Assyrian List of Year Eponyms from Karum Kanish and Its Chronological Implications by Klaas R. Veenhof (published in Ankara, 2003). Price is under $11. US.http://www.tulumba.com/storeItem.asp?ic=zBK999851YU213
[Added 26 July 2007]: This 129 page book by the renowned Samuel Noah Kramer is Sumerian Literary Tablets and Fragments in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul (published in Ankara, 1976). Price is under $20. US. (Note: two other books by Kramer on Sumerian history and mythology are available through links at the above link -- I am not listing them here because they are Sumerian, not Anatolian. I'm only including the above Sumerian book because the tablets and fragments are in Istanbul.)
OTHER ANATOLIAN WOMEN
This wonderful site on the Amazons offers 46 black and white images of Amazons from ancient art (I took the liberty of tinting the above image for dramatic effect). More pages follow.......http://www.myrine.at/Amazons/texts_e.html
From the same site come texts from Homer, Herodotus, Diodorus, & Justinus on Amazons from the ancient world.http://www.myrine.at/Amazons/aretias.html
This page from the same site looks at the "Island of the Amazons" in the Black Sea; its existence is based upon ancient texts from the Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius (late 3rd century - early 2nd century BCE). Maps are included.http://www.myrine.at/Amazons/phtermee.html
This is a photo tour of Amazon territory in a rough, inaccessible mountain range near the headwaters of the Thermodon river, today Terme Çay in Turkey. The handful of photos are lovely. A link to maps is also included.http://www.myrine.at/Amazons/themiske.html
More lovely photos are on this page, "Vestiges of Themiskyra," situated on the fertile plain at the river Thermodon - where the ancient writers assumed the Amazons had their home, midway between the Black Sea coast and the inaccessible mountain area beyond.http://www.speakeasy.org/~music/history.html
This is the "Historical Chronology of the Amazons" with references from classical literature. This site also includes the map I've used at the top of my page.
Two Amazons Together
[See above for Amazon Gallery]
From Archaeology comes this fine abstract for a 1997 paper, "Warrior Women of the Eurasian Steppes" by Jeannine Davis-Kimball. From the opening:http://www.csen.org/WomenWarriors/Statuses_Women_Warriors.html:The warrior women known to ancient Greek authors as Amazons were long thought to be creatures of myth. Now 50 ancient burial mounds near the town of Pokrovka, Russia, near the Kazakhstan border, have yielded skeletons of women buried with weapons, suggesting the Greek tales may have had some basis in fact. Nomads known as the Sauromatians buried their dead here beginning ca. 600 B.C.; according to Herodotus the Sauromatians were descendants of the Amazons and the Scythians, who lived north of the Sea of Azov....
This is again by Jeannine Davis-Kimball, this time for The Center for the Study of the Eurasian Nomads (CSEN). The fascinating, illustrated paper is "Statues of Sauromatian and Sarmatian Women." Here are several passages:http://www.archaeology.org/9709/abstracts/gold.htmlNumerous myths and legends grew up around women or tribes of women in ancient times, who either fought alongside or alone against men. The Greeks and Romans called some of these Amazons. The Scythian word for these women is Oiorpata, meaning "to kill man."....
...The women's occupations during their lifetime run the gamut from housewife, to herder, to priestess, to warrior horsewoman. These are the remains of a society lost to history, where gender roles were not defined according to sex and women more often than not were tribal leaders with power and status....
...Because they are located much further to the east of the north Black Sea region where the ancient Herotodus gathered his information, the female warriors at Pokrovka were most probably not the Amazons that this ancient Greek historian wrote about in the 5th century B.C. He probably had heard of "fighting women" and connected them to the Amazons that the Greeks mythologized. The Amazons have many provenances including North Africa, Anatolia, and Colchis east of the Black Sea. Other women warriors belonged to the Sauromatian and Sarmatian tribes living between the Don and Volga rivers and whose lifestyle was very similar to that of the women at Pokrovka in the southern Urals....
"Chieftan or Warrior Priestess?" is a tantalizingly brief 1997 abstract from Archaeology, again by Jeannine Davis-Kimball. She looks at a 1969 discovery [also see my page on Eurasia/Caucasus/Central Asia Portal Page, since boundaries in these regional categories constantly shift]:http://www.arzu.com/turknet/ninethousand/index.html...Although the burial was said to be of a man, the headdress reminded the Kazakh excavators of hats worn by brides in traditional wedding ceremonies....
This is a lovely site covering a Turkish exhibit from December 1993 to February 1994 at the Topkapi Museum in Istambul -- "9000 Years of Anatolian Woman: An Exhibition by the Ministry of Culture." Some of the art is excellent; all of the little essays are well done. From the opening essay:Within the context of the history of mankind over the several million years of human evolution, the story of the Anatolian woman illustrates woman's creativity, productivity and prominence in all the civilizations which have flourished in this peninsula....
Head of Medusa surrounded by vines
From the oracular Temple of Apollo in Didyma (Didim)
[From Explore Turkey]
http://www.doaks.org/byzdiss.html[12/23/01: CAUTION -- the first 2 links above have been swallowed by the site's home page, from which it's nearly impossible to escape. Please first bookmark my own page if you wish to return to it. I'm keeping the 2 "dead" URLs for those who might need them as a reference if you contact "Explore Turkey's" webmaster for further information]
This is "Byzantine Dissertations in North America," a lengthy page updated in late December 1999:
http://eurasianews.com/erc/002cam.htmThis listing of dissertations, in progress or recently completed, resumes a survey published between 1982 and 1986 in Byzantine Studies/Études Byzantines which lapsed when the journal ceased publication....The dissertations are not on the web, but enough data is provided so that other scholars can track down the authors.
[Annotation expanded 23 December 2001]: From the Eurasia Research Center's (ERC) Turko-Iranian Monography & Paper Series comes this specialized paper by Peter B. Golden. It focuses on the medieval linguistics of the 13th century Turkic Codex Cumanicus. From Golden's introduction:http://www.khazaria.com/turkic/From the time of the appearance of the "European" Huns until the collapse of the Cinggisid khanates, the Ponto-Caspian steppe zone and as a consequence, to varying degrees, the neighboring sedentary societies, have been dominated by or compelled to interact intimately with a series of nomadic peoples. Although Scythian and Sarmatian tribes of Iranian stock had held sway here for nearly a millenium before the coming of the Huns and Iranian elements both in their own right and as substratal influences continued to have an important role in the ethnogenesis of the peoples of this region, the majority, or at least politically dominant element, of the nomads who became masters of these rich steppelands were Turkic....
This is "Turkic Republics and Communities," a huge collection of hundreds of links to the Turkic world, ranging from Turkey north to the Baltic, and from Turkey east to China. It is a treasure trove (it even has a well deserved award from the Encyclopaedia Britannica). Near the bottom of the page you'll find links to environmental issues, history, culture, religion, archaeology, history, costume, linguistics, music, lore, publications (scholarly & general), and much more.http://users.pandora.be/orientaal/turkcestan.html
This impressive linguistic site is "Oriëntaal's links to Turkic languages":http://www.weavingartmuseum.org/bibliography.htmlKnowing Turkish, you only have to make a relatively small effort to understand other Turkic languages such as Azeri, Turkmen, Tatar, Uzbek, Kazakh, Kyrgyz. The best way to achieve this is by reading (and listening to) documents in these languages. This page wants to provide you with the opportunity to get in contact with Turkic languages on the Web. Documents are selected solely from a linguistic point of view.
This is a small bibliography of books on Anatolian, Hittite, and related peoples' ancient art and archaeology.http://www.mythic-travel.com/
2nd century A.D. Theatre details from Myra
[From Explore Turkey -- see directly below]
[Annotation updated 23 December 2001]: This is Mythic Travel -- it has several photos, a brief page on the Hittites, and a great re-telling of a Sufi tale (perfectly chosen for would-be travelers). The tours are mythologically focused by artist (and my friend and former mythology student), Dr. Adrienne Momi. If I wanted to tour Turkey with a group of like-minded, deliciously alive humans, I'd sign up with Adrienne <smile>. (Also see above under "Archaeology" for her Turning through Time work with the Çatalhöyük Research Project.)http://www.asu.net/turkiye/trgn0006.htm:
This is an intriguing, albeit too brief, essay on old Turkish cities:http://www.sacredtravel.com/content/text%20frames/sacred%20tours/turkeycontents.htmThe traditional Turkish city is typically situated along historical trade routes, notably the silk and spice routes. Built on lands unfavorable for cultivation, traditional Turkish cities display unique vernacular architectural styles reflecting regional conditions and an urbane and sophisticated building tradition....
...The popular theater tradition, with its comedians, storytellers and marionette and shadow puppeteers evolved in the provincial cities. Performances were given in public squares, at national and religious festivals, at weddings and fairs, at the inns, coffee houses and private residences. All shows, including wrestling matches, were accompanied by music, with conjurors performing to the sound of the tambourine. Performances were often interspersed with songs and dances or both. The dramatic instinct of the Turkish people and the role it played in daily affairs can be found in the Turkish commedia dell'arte, "orta oyunu", and the shadow puppet theater, "Karagoz", which dates from the 15th century....
This is another travel organization, Time Travel. The site has a few good photos (including the Hittite Priestesses, which I've used on this page); descriptions here are also evocative. A link that offers more photos in Turkey sometimes works and sometimes gives you a "404" dead-link notice.http://www.ExploreTurkey.com/
Finally, from Explore Turkey comes a total of 750 thumnail images, each clickable for larger versions of splendid photography. Be patient -- the pages load very slowly but they're well worth it. They cover everything from ancient to modern Turkey -- temples, museums, mosques, churches, cities, landscape, people. Unfortunately, data is minimal for each photo. [CAUTION, 12/23/01: as far as I can tell, this site has now reduced all URLs and redirected everything to the home page, from which it's nearly impossible to escape. If you wish to return to my own page, I'd suggest that you bookmark it before going here.]
Mything Links' General Reference Pages:
* MythingLinks Search Engine
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Other Myth*ing Links pages of relevance:
Index of Myth*ing Links pages relating to 11 September 2001
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NEAR EAST Portal Page
Tigris-Euphrates River Valley: (Mesopotamia, Sumer, Babylonia, Assyria)
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Anatolia & Central Asia: (modern Turkey & beyond to the Eurasian steppes)
The Three Desert-Born Monotheisms:
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What Can We Do About Terrorism? by Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret.
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© This text is copyright 1998-2007 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
Page created 11 February 2000
(portions transplanted from the original 1998 Near Eastern page).
20 February 2000 (finally began adding links);
21-29 February + 1-2 & 3 March 2000; 20 March 2000;
14 December 2001 (redesigned page; checked & updated all links down to the Hittite section);
18-19 December 2001 (Nedstat 3 & shifted Caucasus & Huns to Eurasia/Caucasus/Central Asia page);
22-23 December 2001: misc. + finished Hittite & Amazon link-check; 23 December 2001: added Adrienne's links and finished link-check.
26 July 2007: added Hittite book links from US Turkish firm; removed italics from all quoted passages (too hard on eyes) and lightened color to distinguish quotes from my own text; no time for a links check.
Note: Bar-separators are a detail I took from the famous Standard of Ur (c.2600-2400 BCE), found in Time/Life's series, MYTH AND MANKIND: Epics of Early Civilization:
Middle Eastern Myth, 1998:54.