Horizon TV - Lost Worlds of the Bible: The Hittites TV - Tessa Dunlop - Thomas Zimmerman - Richard Miles TV - Troy: The Truth Behind the Legend TV - Robin Lane Fox TV - Lost Cities of the Ancients TV -
In May this year Hollywood releases its latest epic. It’s the story of the Trojan war. But is any of it more than just a myth? Tonight Horizon can reveal the latest scientific evidence about the real Troy. The evidence comes from the written tablets of a lost civilisation, a lost shipwreck and treasure uncovered at Troy itself. Horizon: The Truth of Troy, BBC 2004
The story was composed by the Greek poet Homer almost three thousand years ago. It’s so compelling that for centuries people wondered whether any of it was true. Was there a war fought for love? Did a coalition of Greeks set sail? Did Troy even exist? ibid.
The first breakthrough was made by Heinrich Schliemann in 1870. He was something of an amateur but he had other qualities ... They placed Troy in the north-west corner of what is now Turkey ... Fifteen metres down he found a walled palace with a paved ramp leading to a gate. Schliemann thought he had found Homer’s Troy. The rest of the world wasn’t so sure. But in this trench he answered the doubters with a breathtaking discovery: treasure. ibid.
These jewels could never have been worn by Helen. They were more than a thousand years too old. Schliemann had dug down too deep. ibid.
Perhaps there was more to Troy than had so far been uncovered. Outside the city walls [Manfred] Korfmann’s team began to excavate ... A city of the late Bronze Age was now revealed. Korfmann believes it was a sizeable city with a population between four and eight thousand. ibid.
After three thousand years the legendary city of Troy seemed to have become a reality. It seemed there was some historical truth in the myth. But there was still no evidence that Troy had been destroyed as Homer said by an enemy army ... Soon they began to find evidence of violence. ibid.
But were the Greeks capable of mounting an expedition together? ibid.
Another possible motivation for a war began to emerge from the stones of Mycenae. That motivation was greed. ibid.
Korfmann believes that Troy became a wealthy city because of its strategic position as a gateway between two continents. So it seems Troy was a very desirable city, desirable to the Mycenaeans because of its wealth. ibid.
The late Bronze Age was a time of rich trade, of great wealth being moved across the high seas. ibid.
The Hittites ... A superpower of the late Bronze Age ... The tablets described festering conflicts involving the Mycenaeans all along the coast ... Conflicts spread over two hundred years. The tablets stated Mycenaean warriors had once fought at the gates of Troy to win Helen back. That it was a war of love and vengeance. It makes a wonderful story but it has never seemed very likely. ibid.
The tablets show that Troy was an ally of the Hittites. If Troy was attacked the Hittites were likely to come and fight alongside them. So Homer’s legend appears to have been based on a real conflict between two superpowers of the Late Bronze Age – the Mycenaeans and the Hittites. ibid.
So there was no face that launched by a thousand ships. The war or wars were not fought for love but more likely for gold and loot. And what of the Trojan Horse? ibid.
The name of the Hittites has come down to us from the oldest stories in the Bible, where they appear as a ferocious tribe inhabiting the fringes of the Holy Land. Almost nothing more was known about them until the 19th century when explorers travelling the empty expanse of Central Turkey found a lost city … This was Hattusa, the capital city of a forgotten empire, the construction of which was centuries ahead of its time. It was perched on a high plateau and surrounded by an impregnable wall ... A network of subterranean tunnels and an extensive temple complex ... a citadel ... Why did such an advanced and mighty empire suddenly vanish? Lost Worlds of the Bible: The Hittites, History 2007
The Hittites had an evolving legal system that was more concerned with practicality than punishment. The most significant aspect of Hittite law was treaty making ... Shrewd diplomacy was their best secret weapon. ibid.
Archaeologists have found no evidence the walls were breached by a foreign enemy ... The Hittites turned on each other ... Rival factions tore the empire apart ... The entire region was plunged into chaos ... Remnants of Hittite civilisation persisted. ibid.
For three thousand years, all we had on the Hittites was a few references in the Bible. That was it. Tessa Dunlop, Hittite researcher
For the first time in old world history, we have a major battle that was fought between nations, not only rivalling chiefdoms or rivalling cities, but the Hittites on the one side, and the Egyptians on the other. Thomas Zimmerman
By the middle of the second millennium B.C. there was a new game to play – Diplomacy. The Hittite Kings of Anatolia were the pioneers of this new form of war by other means. Richard Miles, Ancient Worlds: Come Together, BBC 2010
The Hittites: this powerful people ruled large areas of Anatolia and Syria in the second millennium B.C. They were on equal footing with the great Egyptian empire ... This was probably the first east/west conflict in world history. Troy: The Truth Behind the Legend, 2011
Mount Cassius was a holy mountain for the Hittites. The Hittites’ old empire had fallen around 1,200 B.C. four centuries before Nubians settled here. At its peak it had ruled over a vast swathe of land. Professor Robin Lane Fox, Greek Myths: Tales of Travelling Heroes, 2010
The stories we know from other Hittite texts about the many battles and fights of the Hittite gods for control in Heaven. Most remarkably, these Hittite myths share many details with the Greek myths of how their ruling gods came to power. The myths are so similar. Did the Hittite one influence the Greeks? ibid.
One of the stories we have of the Hittite snake monster is that at first it defeated the storm god Tarhunta then stole his eyes and heart, which he hid in a cave. In later Greek myth, Zeus too is defeated at first by the snaky monster – in Greek Typhon. On Mount Cassius itself we’re told. ibid.
Babylon 1595 B.C. A mysterious new army has struck Babylon without warning. Spreading terror throughout the city. With ruthless efficiency these dark warriors of Hattusa would go on to destroy anything in their way. Their mission: to become the greatest empire the world had ever seen. Yet once they had succeeded this ruthless army and the vast empire they had created simply disappeared as mysteriously as they had emerged. Lost Cities of the Ancients: The Dark Side of Hattusha, BBC 2012
Fragments from this lost world began to emerge. ibid.
A fourth great empire of which there was no trace. ibid.
Only the kings of the three great empires, of Egypt, Syria and Babylon were referred to as ‘great king’ ... The peace treaty dated 1259 B.C. was proof there had indeed been a missing fourth empire. ibid.
Hundreds of miles from the sea and perched up on the barren hills where the climate is harsh. ibid.
Every detail of their city was deliberately planned ... They built into the most extreme places. ibid.
The Hittites then turned every part of Hattusa into an impregnable fortress. They were clearly obsessed with their own security. ibid.
An inner wall even thicker than the first. ibid.
Hattusa was home to more than fifty thousand people. ibid.
They devised an ingenious way to provide themselves with continuous fresh water even if they were under siege. ibid.
This strange remote place. ibid.
They designed monuments to be the envy of the world. ibid.
A massive pyramid ... In the centre a gateway adorned with Sphinxes. ibid.
The Hittite language was written in a series of triangular shaped signs called cuniform, one of the world’s oldest writing systems. ibid.
An Indo-European language just like English .. The Hittites must have migrated to Turkey. ibid.
The population was tightly controlled by harsh penalties. ibid.
The Hittites now threatened Egypt itself ... War between the world’s two great superpowers was inevitable. ibid.
A new super-weapon ... Moving the wheels from the rear to the centre of the car made the chariot stronger. ibid.
In fact the Hittites had won the war. ibid.
This mighty empire vanished from history. ibid.
One by one the hieroglyphs were deciphered. ibid.
That could only mean civil war. ibid.
The great king was desperately suppressing a rebellion deep inside Hittite territory. ibid.
Their history died with the city. ibid.