History Files


Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia




MapHatti (Hattusa)

Quite possibly an aboriginal people in central Anatolia, the Hatti (Hattians or Hattis) occupied the region inside the arc of the River Kizil Irmak. They spoke a non-Indo-European language called Hattic which was probably related to the Circassian language group. Their eastern neighbours probably spoke a very similar tongue, the Khaldi (Chalybes or Chaldoi - their easternmost groups were later part of Urartu and some of them may also have formed the Halizones).

The Hatti didn't have a written language of their own, but their scribes probably used cuneiform script for trade dealings. Apparently possessing a series of city states and small kingdoms from the mid-third millennium BC, early on they probably participated in trade with the great city states of Sumer, which needed cedar and hardwoods from the Amanus mountains. In the villages of the Amq plain, at the foot of the Amanus, findings of Ubaid Period painted pottery and then the burnished wares of Uruk bear witness to the fact that the timber trade was active even in those early days.

From at least 2500 BC onwards, the Hatti occupied the mountain city state of Hattusa (modern Boğazkale in Turkey), and were probably responsible for the states at Hassum, Kanesh, Purushanda, and Zalwar, among others (rulers of the latter two are shown in corresponding colours below in order to distinguish them). While at their height, they witnessed Luwians settling to their south after around 2300 BC, to emerged in the states of Arzawa and Kizzuwatna. In the eighteenth century BC, their homeland was invaded by the Hittites, and within a century or so they had been conquered and replaced. However, their region of Anatolia was still known as the 'Land of the Hatti' until 630 BC, as described by the Assyrians.

c.2700 BC

Trade routes in the region via Alakhtum are already well established with the cities of Sumer.

c.2500 BC

The Hatti establish a city state centred on Hattousha (Hattusa), one of many such small states in the region which are supported by farming and which produce a distinctive, highly-burnished pottery. Nearby Kanesh is probably also a Hatti state. The Hattian Early Period begins here. Around them are settling newly-arriving waves of Indo-Europeans of the southern group - generally agreed to have been the first group to migrate out of the original Indo-European homeland to the north of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. These are the Luwians, and they form two major regional states, Arzawa and Kizzuwatna.

fl c.2300? BC


King of the Hatti state based at Purushanda (Burushattum).

c.2334 - 2279 BC

The Hittite 'King of Battle' epic relates how Sargon of Akkad campaigns in the region on the invitation of merchants from Purushanda to attack their city (possibly Semites who wanted to initiate trade between the two states). He marches against the city and attempts to break down its walls, but appears to be unsuccessful. While Purushanda later becomes a core Hittite city, at this date it seems to be a significant and independent power of its own, and may not be a Hattian domain.

Cubic stone at Hattusa
The green cubic stone at Hattusa was probably a gift to the later Hittite rulers of the city from the Egyptian pharaoh with whom they signed a peace treay in 1258 BC

late 23rd cent BC


King of the Hatti state based at Hattusa.

Again according to later tradition (from the fifteenth century BC), a king of Akkad campaigns in Anatolia, this time Naram-Sin. He marches against a coalition of seventeen kings, including Pamba and Zipani of Kanesh. While unproven, the legend demonstrates that Anatolian states are able to act in union, although no one state has achieved dominion over any others at this stage.

c.2200 BC

Local art in Hatti (as well as at Troy), while still primitive, has already achieved a level of stylisation in the region which is independent of Sumerian influences, and metalwork is elaborately decorated, as discovered in the royal tombs of Alaca Höyük. However, this point seems to mark the end of a period, as marked by a layer of destruction and the burning of the Hatti citadel. The culture which is illustrated by the tomb's objects does not continue into the next historical phase, that of Kütepe.

c.2000 BC

The Assyrians establish trading colonies at Hattusa and Kanesh (Nesha or Nesa, its local name), which may well be within Hattian territorial boundaries. The local Kütepe period civilisation (2000-1700 BC) which is based at Kanesh is at its height between 1950-1800 BC. This is the start of the Hattian Middle Period.

early 18th cent BC

The arrival of the Hittites sees them invade Hatti territory and conquer the city of Kussara (presently unlocated). This they make the capital of their new kingdom. Later they conquer the city of Kanesh, the centre of the Assyrian trading colonies in Anatolia.

c.1772 - 1769 BC

Anum-Herwa / Anum-Hirbi

King of Zalwar.

Anum-Herwa is a contemporary of Zimri-Lim of Mari, and begins his career as that king's vassal. In years four and five of the latter's reign, Anum-Herwa is mentioned as being king of Zalwar (currently unlocated but possibly Koyuncu Höyük, near the marshes north of the Lake of Antioch). In years seven and eight he appears as king of Hassum of which he has taken control. He now ranks as an important Anatolian king, and may still be alive at the time Anitta leads the Hittites.

c.1769 - ? BC

Anum-Herwa / Anum-Hirbi

King of Hassum after capturing the city.

mid-18th cent BC


King of Hattusa. Defeated by the Hittites.

mid-18th cent BC


King of Purushanda. 'Great Prince'. Defeated by the Hittites.

mid-18th cent BC

Piyusti is defeated twice by the Hittite king, Anitta, and then the capital at Hattusa is stormed, conquered, and destroyed. The cities of Zalpa, Salatiwara, and Purushanda (Burushattum) are also defeated, the latter without even fighting. Purushanda may occupy a position of pre-eminence in the region, and its surrender indicates the end of local resistance to Hittite rule. Anitta's kingdom collapses after his death, however, and Kanesh is destroyed shortly afterwards by a king of Salatiwara. The Hittites remain centred on Kussara for a further century and it is possible that the Hatti recover to some extent, but their city at Hattusa is not rebuilt.

c.1650 BC

Under Hattusili, heir to the throne of Kassura, the Hittites rapidly defeat their enemies in central Anatolia, re-taking Hattusa which becomes their capital. This point marks the definite end of Hattian civilisation as it is totally submerged by that of the Hittites, and the populace are integrated into Hittite society (although their artwork skills survive, and probably their gods too). Hattians still form the majority of the population, however, as can be seen in later images which show long-nosed soldiers and populace, but leaders who look noticeably different.