October 8, 2017 at 7:30 pm #19028
Hattusa is an ancient city located in the present-day Turkey (previously Anatolia), the earliest traces of which has been recorded back in sixth millennium BC.
In 2500 BC, the Hatti established their capital Hattusa on the site, and then later on around 1650 BC, the city was fully conquered by the Hittites, an Indoeuropean tribe that arrived in Anatolia around 3000 BC.
Map of the Hittite empire
While court records of the Hittite were written in Akkadian, other tablets found in Hattusha were in a language now referred to as Hittite. After many years of study, the Czech linguist Bedřich Hrozný deciphered Hittite. He confirmed in 1915 that Hittite was the oldest Indo-European language which has been preserved in writing.
While Hittites assimilated some of the culture and religious beliefs from the people they conquered, their traditions centered mainly around their solar dieties, especially the Sun-goddess of Arinna. She formed the supreme coupling of Hittite religion with the Storm-god of Hatti, although she is usually listed before the Storm-god in the dedicatory lists. In addition to the sun Goddess, Hittites also worshipped the male sun-god called Ishtanu.
Hittite kings referred to themselves as “My Sun”, while a winged solar-disk was used to crown the eadicula for royal names in monumental inscriptions and royal seals. In contrast, Tawanana, the Hittite queen, identified herself with the Sun-goddess of Arinna.
This male and female personification of the sun is also traced in the original sources, such as the following paragraph:
“Thus says tabarna Muwatalli, Great King, King of Hatti, son of Mursili, GreatKing, King of Hatti, the Hero: if some problem burdens a man’s conscience, he makes a plea to the gods. He places on the roof, facing the sun, two covered wickerwork tables: he places one table for the Sun-Goddess of Arinna, and for the male gods one table. On them there are: thirty-five thick breads of a handful of moist flour, a thin bowl of honey mixed with fine oil, a full pot of flat-bread, full bowl of groats, thirty pitchers of wine. And when he prepares these, the king goes up to the roof and he bows before the Sun God of Heaven.”
Different solar-related artefacts have been found at the site:
An artifact from around 3000 BC, attributed to the Hatti
Symbol of Hittite male god
More on the solar-oriented culture of the Hittites can be found in this study.
The archaeological site of Hattusa consists of the Hittite city area (Upper city and Lower city), the rock sanctuary of Yazılıkaya on the north, the ruins of Kayalı Boğaz on the east and the İbikçam Forest on the south. A monumental enclosure wall of more than 8 km in length surrounds the whole city. There are remains of older walls around the lower city and section walls dividing the large city area in separate districts. The ruins of the upper city’s fortification form a double wall with more than a hundred towers and, as far as is known today, five gateways: two in the west, the Lion’s Gate in the south-west, the King’s Gate in the south-east and a procession gate, the Sphinx Gate in the south of the city.
One of the most remarkable monuments of the “Upper city” is a large oblong pyramid some 250 by 70 meters wide and 30 meters high at the southern end of the citadel. This huge enigmatic structure is usually called a “fortress” or a “rampart” but it is at very least, a pyramid shaped structure (without defensive features). A large stairways leads up to the summit and a long thin tunnel pierces it from side to side over a length of 69 meters leading into the middle of the complex.
Four temples have been located in the complex, the best preserved being The Great Temple in the Lower city.
Close to The Great Temple one also finds a large green cubic stone (probably nephrite or jadeite) which has been the subject of much speculation. The stone has a perfectly smooth touch and an almost mirror-polish.
Another interesting feature of this site is the so-called “cyclopean style” of some stone walls, which can be found at the lowest levels of the foundation blocks of the great walls. This, similarly to other ancient monuments, suggests a different, much older civilisation that has originally resided in the area.
And the last but not least, many stones of the complex contain perfectly circular drill-holes cut deep into the rock, as if by means of some tube drill capable of drilling perfectly clear holes in a stone as hard as granite. There is no conclusive explanation as to the real purpose of these holes. There are hundreds of them and they are in some cases so closely fitted together that they almost entirely cover the surface of a stone block.
More info on the Hattusa complex can be found in the following links:
http://www.academia.edu/1008520/THINKING_HATTUSHA_ASTRONOMY_AND_LANDSCAPE_IN_THE_HITTITE_LANDSOctober 9, 2017 at 5:58 am #19038
Thanks for sharing that Lucia. It’s fascinating learning more about ancient cultures and civilizatons. I had never heard of the Hatti before and only knew the Hittites by name, but nothing else about them. One of the first impressions I get, particularly when looking at the image of the ‘cyclopean’ style walls and the drill holes, is that they must have been a very advanced culture at one point.
I have to admit, looking back at history with a view of the solar religion seems to add another layer of depth to it, like you can truly start to appreciate those cultures for what they were.October 9, 2017 at 9:44 am #19040
Thats my feeling as well Nathan. I also heard about these cultures before (like Hittites or Sumer, etc), but didn’t feel compelled to find out more about them. With the religion of the Sun being a common denominator though, one can see these cultures in a different light, where everything starts making sense.October 10, 2017 at 4:32 am #19067
Thank you, Lucia. It’s interesting to me that they had a sun goddess as well as a sun god. And it’s lovely that she was the sun goddess of the earth, and he the sun god of heaven.
I was wondering why she is called a sun goddess? Something that’s been puzzling to me is that in the old Norse religion the sun is considered female, and I’ve been wondering why.
Also wondering what those “drill holes” could mean. They seem to show up a lot of places.October 11, 2017 at 5:44 am #19103
That’s a very interesting culture, but it seems strange to me that they would ‘invade and conquer’ other cultures if they were still practicing the religion of the Sun.. Perhaps by then, other ideas had come in and corrupt the society of that time, and they no longer were drawn or acted in accordance with the simple tenets found in the religion of the sun (i.e. respect for free will), yet still used some of the symbolism found in the religion of the sun as part of their traditions?
Or perhaps, there could be some misconstrued idea about them, like the vikings have been portrayed as blood thirsty conquerors when it is becoming more obvious that this was not the case.October 12, 2017 at 9:28 am #19123
I found this today, on the facebook page of Maria Kvilhaug:
“When Snorri Sturlusson wrote his Prose Edda and his Ynglinga saga, he made a surprising claim; namely that the Aesir, led by an Odin who was descended from the Thunder god, came out of Troy in Anatolia, and moved northwest from there into the northern lands where the men of his people married the local women and influenced the languages and the customs there (but also adopted local gods, words and customs).
This medieval theory is usually regarded as nothing but fancy, but it is not as far-fetched as it seems.
We do know that Indo-European speakers indeed entered the northern lands sometime between 2000-1000 B.C., and they seem to have entered from the southeast, although nobody knows exactly where (a good case is now made for the Yamnaya culture in what is today Russia – but even the Yamnaya people came from further south (the Caucasus region – exactly from the same region as the Anatolian people who spoke Indo-European back in the days).
Although these latecomers adapted and blended with local culture, they held strong enough positions in their new regions to change the languages of Europe to the point where most of them may be regarded as fundamentally Indo-European, and we know from genetic research that elements of West-Eurasian Y-DNA (father-to-son) are quite considerable among our male populations, suggesting that Snorri´s idea that the sons of the “Aesir” married local women may be ultimately based on some historical truth.
Anatolia is the land that today is known as Turkey, but back in ancient days, the peoples of Anatolia did not speak a Turcic language. They were different tribes speaking different languages, and some of those tribes did indeed speak Indo-European languages, tribes who had come down into Anatolia from the Caucasus mountains from around 3000 B.C.
Around 1800 B.C., one of these tribes came to conquer all the other tribes in Anatolia, quickly adapting to their more civilized cultures and adopting their writing systems among other things. They called themselves the Hittites, and their language is the earliest recorded (written down) Indo-European language that we have access to, older even than the Sanscrit Vedic texts and the Iranian Avestan texts.
The Hittites adopted the gods and customs of earlier Anatolian as well as surrounding civilizations (Mesopotamian etc.) cultures, but also maintained a few distinctly Indo-European gods in their pantheon: Such as Tarhunt, the god of thunder and his wife Arinna the Sun goddess.
About Tarhunt we know that the Hittites knew a story of his conflict with the serpent Illuyanka, a story which resembles the conflict between Vedic god Indra and the cosmic serpent Vritra in Vedic mythology, and the conflict between Norse thundergod Thor and the serpent Jörmungandr in Norse mythology.
We also know that Hittite kings and queens were always also priests and priestesses, just as Snorri describes the Aesir customs. So who knows, maybe Snorri´s tale is not just fancy after all, but carries some elements of reason and ancient transmission?”October 12, 2017 at 6:13 pm #19127
@Geraldine, the thing about them “conquering” the other cultures struck me as well, and as you say there may be many explanations for that. In any case, it looks like the civilisations in 1600 BC were most likely less spiritual than those around 10 000 or 5 000 BC, so I would just see the Hittite culture as one of the descendants, but not necessarily as pure as some previous ones. Even the beautiful artefact from Hatti culture (the people that lived in the area before Hittites) suggests a solar-oriented culture, and in the same time the culture that built the cyclopean walls there was even older, so it looks like Hattusa city may have been inhabited by these different solar cultures with maybe different levels of “purity” since at least 6000 BC (the officially recored age that may in reality be much older).
@Anne Linn – what an interesting piece of information you have found, connecting the Hittites of Anatolia with the northern lands, and possibly tracing things back to Odin.
What caught my attention in all this is the “storm god” or “Thunder god”, wondering why would Odin be called a descendant of this deity, and why it was so important for the Hittites (and other cultures). I mean, why not to simply have a Sun-God? What is so important about the Thunder/Storm from a spiritual point of view?
Also regarding the sun-goddesses, I have been wondering about them too… They seem to be especially popular in the asian countries like the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu or Chinese sun goddess Xihe.October 13, 2017 at 7:29 am #19129
Yes. I’ve also been wondering why there are thunder gods. I know there is that special energy in the air when there’s thunder, – when there’s a storm coming. There’s a lot of power in it.
That’s a lovely picture of the goddess Sól. Makes me even more curious about her. I also like the name Sól. I still remember a story I read about a girl who was given that name as protection against darkness 🙂October 13, 2017 at 10:44 pm #19165
I agree about power. A storm with its lightenings and thunders is indeed one of the most impressive spectacles of nature. And when its gone, the sun shines even more beautiful afterwards and everything is purified. 🙂October 17, 2017 at 3:24 am #19217
Very interesting Lucia, thanks for sharing. That green cubic stone is quite enigmatic.
I think like you mentioned that although the Hittites were Indo-European and appear to have preserved the religion of the sun within their society, they may not have upheld the ideal of spirituality by conquering other lands.
You only have to look at other examples in history such as the ancient Egyptians to see how a civilization can carry the religion of the sun in one way and yet be fighting its neighbors for dominance. The ruling elite may just participate in religious life for purely ceremonial purposes while in practicality be living as megalomaniacs.
On the other hand there’s always the need for military defense so I wouldn’t want to overly criticize any past civilization without researching and knowing more details on what they truly did. I think things also changed greatly depending on the ruler at the time and whether they were more peaceful or warlike.October 19, 2017 at 4:00 am #19263
Hi Anne Linn
I noticed that too with ancient Georgians who also worshipped a sun goddess named Nana (perhaps similar to the Norse goddess Nanna?).October 20, 2017 at 9:27 am #19288
Oh, that’s interesting. Must be a reason why there’s a sun goddess.
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