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Episode 62 - Hittite 6 The Man Who Changed The World, Mursili I

 Mursili I destroyed two empires, plundering Aleppo and Babylon, and ruled for thirty of the best years in Hittite history. His conquests would pave the way for the great battles of the late bronze age. And yet he is almost completely obscure, despite being the singular catalyst for everything that was to come. Today I want to focus in on a man who has failed to receive the immortality he deserved, and to look at the military machine that helped him achieve these things. There are sadly no pictures of the sack of Babylon or Mursili I But this is how Mursili I looked in the video game Civilization III.
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Episode 61 - Hittite 5 The Conqueror's Triumph and Death

 Hattusili I has already shown himself to be a cut above the Anatolian kings that have come before him, but like all the most ambitious of men he has set his sights far higher than just Greatest Anatolian King. Today he marches eastward to challenge the Syrian kingdom of Yamhad, where he will campaign for the rest of his life in an effort to outdo the great Sargon of Akkad. Then he will die after a pretty good showing, but the drama doesn't end there. On his deathbed, the family squabble over succession will force the ill and aged king to re-order dynastic politics. Map time? I think it is map time. Click to enlarge for some glorious detail. This is really from the new kingdom, but the general region stays pretty stable, plus or minus some territory.

Episode 60 - Hittite 4 Telipinu, the Vanishing God

 A god is furious, and in his fury he has abandoned the people and the kingdom to suffer one catastrophe after another. Today we look at the myth, the ritual, and the theological understanding of why bad things happened and what to do about them, according to ancient Anatolian traditions that pre-date the Hittites themselves. Through looking at this story, we get a window into the mindset and lifestyle of the people over whom the Hittites rules, a mindset that was almost certainly shared at least in part by the rulers themselves. Will the missing god be found and the natural order restored? Yes, he will, but it is in the manner that this is accomplished that quite a lot is revealed.  The god Telipinu is sometimes spelled Telepinu, or even once Telepenu, not completely sure here again if there is a difference, but it is probably just a shift in the spelling convention. It is very hard to find good online sources for Hittite stuff, but there is a print book called Hittite Myths, 2nd Edit

Episode 59 - Hittite 3 The Conquering Lion, Hattusili I

The first king of the Hittites, Hattusili I, thought of himself as a conquering lion. Given his military record, this isn't a completely inappropriate boast. His accomplishments in establishing the Old Hittite Kingdom are far beyond the merely military, but this episode we are going to focus primarily on the parts of his career he was most proud of, his early conquests. Starting from nothing, he builds up a kingdom to rival his grandfather Labarna and his great ancestor Anitta, then goes beyond what they had ever hoped to achieve. Then has his entire kingdom fall apart, rebuilds it from nothing, and goes even farther. He will deal with the Curse of Hattusa in characteristic manner, and show us how Hittite kings throughout history will handle diplomacy and warfare. A busy episode, and we aren't even half done with Great King Hattusili I. Some more maps of Anatolia for reference, click to expand. I am following Gary Beckman's translation of the Siege of Urshu Text (1995) for

Episode 58 - Hittite 2 Rise of the Hittites

The legendary, and partly mythological, rise of the Hittite kingdom out of the mess of the warring kingdoms of Anatolia is our subject today. Quite a few intertwined stories lead up to our first properly Hittite King, Hattusili I, and we will hear about famous figures such as the Queen of Kanesh, Anitta, and Labarna and the will stars align to allow one kingdom to rise above all the others. Kanesh is also sometimes called Nesa. Hattusa is sometimes called Hattus. I am not completely sure how much of this is the old way of doing things vs new and more correct ways among modern scholars, and how much represents individual cities having multiple names across different ethnic groups. I am going with the most common names for each, for sake of simplicity. I think it may have to do with case endings in the Nesite language, but still, I have gone with the most common versions. Anatolia around Labarna and Anitta's time World situation around now, according to Wikipedia

Episode 57 - Hittite 1 Ancient Anatolia

We begin our series on the Hittites by looking at what came before the Hittites. This episode is a survey of the geography, cultures, and history of Eastern Asia Minor prior to the arrival of the newest player on our stage, the Hittites. The Anatolians have been on the fringes of our story from the conquests of Sargon of Akkad to the trading colonies of Assyria, but until now we have been pretty vague about the conditions and people in the northwest extreme of the Mestopotamian world. Also, we will take a brief look at points west to round out our understanding of the late bronze age world. So, archeology is definitely not my thing, and the early origins part of this show is very heavily skimming over quite a lot of detail. However, if you are interested, I have come across the most amazing book, called the Cambridge World Prehistory, a 2000 page, three volume set from 2014 that covers the pre-history of every region on earth. I am cribbing heavily from the two Anatolian chapters here

Episode 56 - Assyria 3 Obscure Struggles in Assyria

Assyria is deep in a dark age following the fall of Babylon. Struggling to hold on and fighting over its identity, the Assyrians didn't appear to have a whole lot of time for writing stuff down. And so we are going to zoom through from 1740 to the mid 1400's BCE, some three hundred years or so, through some of the vaguest and poorly documented periods that we have encountered so far. It is an important time for defining Assyria's later culture, which makes it all the more tragic that we have so little to say here. Still, I will say what I can because it is important that we keep abreast of developments in this little town. Seriously, now. This may be my most speculative episode yet, and everything from the timeline to the interpretations are subject to change as more evidence gets dug up. But if I had to bet on all the various interpretations, the one I have presented seems most likely.