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    Hittites against Greeks!


    Several Hittite texts confirm that the Achaeans undertook a series of military campaigns along the coast and the islands of Anatolia.

    Moreover, it is clear that at least at the time of King Hittite Hattusili II (c.1265-c.1240 BC), the Ahhyawa, as the Achaeans are called in the Hittites texts, were a political and military force to be reckoned with.

    But the conflict between the two powers had begun long before.

    The first incident is recorded in the so-called Madduwata Index which dates from the early 14th century BC. BC (during the reign of Arnuwanda I, around 1400-1375 BC or Tudhalija II, circa 1375-c.1355 BC) and tells the Hittite relationships with a certain Madduwata, forced to flee his country by a certain Attarsiya, whom the Hittites called the man of Ahhiya (wa).

    Madduwata was installed as a vassal by the Hittites somewhere in southwestern Anatolia.

    However, Madduwata proved to be an ungrateful and over-ambitious man, who caused serious problems to his new Hittite lord by attacking the possessions of other Hittites that appears in Lycia and Caria.

    Later, he even invaded Cyprus in alliance with his former enemy Attarsiya!

    The next reference to military activities with Ahhiyawa comes from the time of King Hittite Mursili II (circa 1310-c 1290 BC).

    Mursili II had conquered the land of Arzawa, situated in Lydia, with its capital Apasa (Ephesus).

    Relying on the king of Ahhiyawa, Arzawa engaged in hostilities against the Hittites and had incited the country of Millawanda to rebel, but he had been defeated and his prince had probably handed the king of Ahhiyawa to the Hittites …

    In the 13th century BC. AD, the king of Ahhiyawa is placed on the same level as the kings of Egypt, Babylon, Assyria and the Hittite king himself.

    According to some Hittite tablets, Ahhiyawa’s operations center in Anatolia was the town of Millawanda-Milawata (future Miletus), where an Achaean-style citadel as well as pottery, weapons and other Achaean objects were discovered.

    On the basis of the above-mentioned Hittites documents and recent archaeological excavations, this colony was attacked and sacked about 1315 BC. BC by Mursili II then by Hattusili II around 1250 BC. AD

    In those periods the Achaean colonies on the Anatolian coast and the relevant diplomatic relations with the Hittite empire seemed to be ruled by the Achaeans of Thebes, indicating that it was the most powerful of the Achaean civilization that time.

    Clear evidence can be found in a letter from the king of Ahhiyawa to Hittite King Hattusili II.

    In this document (written in Hittite, but the linguistic features of the text confirm that the writer spoke Greek, rather than Hittite, as a mother tongue), the king of Ahhiyawa is called the heir of Kadmos, who is traditionally the founder of the Achaean city of Thebes.

    It is archaeological evidence that the city of Thebes, before its destruction (around 1250 BC), was comparable in size, in military power and therefore politically to that of Mycenae.

    Numerous references to raids in Homer’s writings show “the raiders” of the sea, as well as warlike characters from the end of the Achaean period.

    The Trojan wars and raids of the Peoples of the Sea in Egypt are also important examples of this type of operations …

    Another version of the Achaean contacts with the Hittites relates that the Achaean influence extended to Crete, and an Achaean state was probably established there after the native organization was disturbed by the explosion of Santorini.

    It is also possible that there was military intervention in Western Anatolia before the Trojan War.

    The rise of the Achaeans coincided with the appearance of the state of Ahhiyawa, or Ahhiya, in the Hittites archives.

    This state was clearly a major power whose head could be considered equal to that of Hatti, Egypt and Assyria.

    It was also a maritime power and extended in western Anatolia and even further west.

    It was certainly far from its vassal state of Millawanda (Miletus), and there is archaeological evidence for Mycenaean colonies among the islands and on the southwestern coast of Anatolia.

    It is difficult to adequately explain this state as anything other than the Achaean or Achaean state.

    If we accept another possible location such as Rhodes or Troy, then the great Mycenaean civilization will seem to have no impact on its neighbors in the political, diplomatic and military spheres.

    But this seems unlikely given the well-documented commercial contact.

    The Hittite Archives deserves to be re-mentioned because there may have really been military contact between the Hittites and the Achaeans.

    So the relations were initially friendly and the parents of the king of Ahhiyawa were sent to Hatti, the land of the Hittites, to learn how to drive the tanks of war.

    Later, around 1300 BC. The Hittites demanded Ahhiyawa’s leader to prevent his vassal from Millawanda (usually regarded as Miletus) from attacking Tawaglawas, the Hittite vassal in Lycian territory.

    Under the reign of Tuthalias IV (crowned in 1265 BC), an Ahhiyawa ruler began to interfere seriously in the affairs of the states of Western Anatolia.

    Attarsiyas was he Atreus, the father of the legendary Agamemnon.

    Madduwatas was a fugitive from Attarsiyas who fled to the king of the Hittites.

    He was established as a vassal prince Hittite in the territory of Zippasla.

    Then the army of Attarsiyas, with 100 tanks of war and an infantry force, attacked Madduwattas in his new stronghold.

    But a Hittite force, sent under an unknown general, encountered the army of Attarsiyas in battle and forced him to withdraw.

    Later, Madduwatas began to plot again against the Hittites by trying to regroup the States of Western Anatolia into a new confederation!

    Later, he will reconcile even with Attarsiyas to attack Alashiya …

    In conclusion, one day, we will see a Hittite version of the story of the Trojan war.

    Shall we excavate from the ruins of a city of Anatolia a tablet of clay embellished with elegant cuneiforms, and recounting the siege by the Greeks of the great city of Asia Minor?

    It is not absurd to believe it.

    First, because the Hittites maintained diplomatic relations with the first Greeks.

    Then, because the philologists note disturbing concordances between certain documents discovered in the Hittite capital, Hattusa, and the story told by Homer.

    The earliest written mention of the Greeks of Mycenaean culture, those of the Heroic Age, those whose society will be brushed a few centuries later in the Iliad, is Hittite.

    It is a long text baptized – The Sins of Madduwatta – in which the king of Hattusa, Arnuwanda – the grandfather of Suppiluliuma, who reigns around 1,400 BC. J.-C., drew up the long list of the felonies of one of his vassals, one called Madduwatta.

    He reminds him that he is the debtor of the Hittites, since they have saved him and protected him, when he was driven out of his lands and was pursued by Atariiya, the Ahhiya man who wanted ardently inflict a bad death on him.

    For the neophytes, history in itself is of little interest.

    The important thing is in the onomastics, that is to say, this branch of lexicology whose object is the study of proper names: their etymology, their formation, their use through languages and societies.

    Ahhiya is indeed only the transcription in Hittite of the Greek word Akhaioi rendered in French by the term Achaeans.

    Thus Homer designates the Greeks assembled before Troy – the famous Agamemnon, Ulysses, Patroclus, Achilles, etc.

    This interpretation has long been the subject of discussion and debate, but it is now accepted that Ahhiya and his later declension, Ahhiyawa, actually refer to the Achaeans.

    The philologists bring several elements of proof to this reading.

    First, there is in the Sins of Madduwatta, the brief relation of a battle between Hittites and Achaeans in which only one man is killed in each camp.

    This reminds us of the custom commonly reported in the Homeric narratives, whereby two champions of each army are confronted to decide the outcome of the battle.

    As for the so-called Atarssiyya, who according to the Hittites is an Achaean sovereign who ruled around 1400 BC. It would be none other than Atreus, the mythical king of Mycenae, the father of the no less famous Agamemnon, the one who leads the Greeks before Troy.

    However, this bold approach is still being discussed.

    Whether Atarssiyya is, or not, Atreus, the Greeks are there.

    As for Troy, the question is more delicate.

    And remains largely open.

    In the annals of King Hittite Tuthaliya II, who reigns about 1430 BC. BC, the sovereign says that he went westward and that he conquered twenty-two countries, which he lists.

    The last two names he cites are Taruisa and Wilusa.

    Some have thus said: Taruisa, it is Troy and Wilusa, it is Ilios or Ilion another denomination of Throe in the Iliad.
    Other facts are even more troubling.

    Muwatalli II, grandson of Suppiluliuma, signed shortly before 1300 BC. BC, a treaty with the sovereign of this famous Wilusa.

    The name of this king?


    No doubt possible, we have here an Alexander.

    And in the Iliad we remember that the name of the son of Priam, sovereign of Troy, is none other than Paris, that his subjects also call him Alexander.

    Another tablet found in the Hittites archives brings an additional element.

    Between 1,300 and 1,250 BC. A king of Hattusa – Muwatalli II or Hattusili III, the question is discussed – addresses a letter to the Achaean sovereign, who no doubt reigns in Mycenae.

    In this long letter, the king of Hattusa recalls the city of Wilusa, about which they were hostile towards each other, before acknowledging his wrongs in this affair-unfortunately without specifying them further.

    Alas, the letter does not give the details of this conflict any more than it delivers the name of the recipient Achaean king.

    Only the name of one of his brothers appears in the text, which the Hittites call Tawagalawa.

    This is very close to what should have been the pronunciation, in the archaic dialect of the Mycenaean, of the Greek name Eteocles, which was almost to say Etewoklewes …

    Must we believe in the thesis of a war opposing, in connection with Troy, the Greeks to the Hittites?

    Some think so, others including me doubt because the excavations undertaken in Troy have not delivered a single tablet.

    And the correspondence between Hattusa and Mycenae certainly mentions a conflict, but not explicitly a war, with the siege of a city, etc.

    Moreover, the fact that, in Homer’s account, the Hittites do not appear at any moment is hardly explicable …

    Mike Headden

    “Moreover, the fact that, in Homer’s account, the Hittites do not appear at any moment is hardly explicable …”

    Various non-Trojan forces assist Troy. Are they Trojan allies answering the call or Hittite vassals ordered to help out?

    Mesopotamian and Egyptian archives are full of vassal kings protesting that they have sent troops and tribute but now, in their time of trial, their overlord and his army are nowhere to be seen.

    “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” 🙂

    Nice summary of the historical evidence by the way.

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!


    The Hittites made peace with the Egyptians because the Assyrian threat grew … They also did not want to, to commit something against the Mycenaean …

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