given rise to many civilizations in the course of history.
Although not as advanced as Egypt or Mesopotamia, the Hatti, who
spoke a language characterized by prefixes,were nevertheless one
of the more advanced societies of their age(3000-2000B.C.). The
objects on display at the Ankara Museum of Anatolian
Civilizations constitute the finest Bronze Age collection in the
world next to the Ur Treasure in the British Museum. The Ankara
collection, dated at 2000-1900B.C., comes from tumuli at
Alacahoyuk, Horoztepe and Mahmatlar, and includes artifacts in
gold silver, electrum bronze and ceramic.
Outpost Against Invasion From The Balkans : Troy
During the time of the Hatti, Troy I (3000-2500) and Troy II
(2500-2200) represented the Bronze Age in northwestern Anatolia,
that is to say at Canakkale.Both fell within the sphere of
Aegean culture, and Troy II had a particularly brilliant age.
The gold vessels unearthed by Heinrich Schliemann, and kept in
the Berlin Völkerkunde Museum, unfortunately vanished during
World War II. The riches of Troy are now represented by the gold
jewellery on display in the Istanbul museum of Archaelogy. Troy
III-V (2200-1800B.C.) is a continuation of Troy II.
Migration Of Indo-European Peoples Into Anatolia The Hatti-Hittite
The Indo-European migrations, which took place over a vast
territory extending from Western Europe to India, brought some
peoples over the Caucasus into Anatolia. The Nesi people settled
in Central Anatolia, the Pala in Paphlygonia, and the Luwians in
Southern Anatolia. In the course of these migrations the new
arrivals gradually captured the Hatti princedoms to form first
the Old Hittite Kingdom (1660-1460 B.C.), and than the Great
Hittite Kingdom(1460-1190 B.C.).
The Hittite Empire (1660-1190 B.C.)
The Hittites founded a federative feudal state, and during their
final two centuries constituted one of the two superpowers of
the age, the other being Egypt. Indo-European in origin, the
Hittites recognized equality between men and women,and indeed
their law incoporated rights even for slaves. No other legal
system in the world at that time was so advanced. Although the
monarchy passed from father to son, this was a kingship based on
the idea of "primus inter pares",first among equals, for the
ruler was required to bring many matters before the senate,
which was made up of aristocrats known as the Pankus class.
At a time in the Near East when the flaying and impaling of
enemies was the rule, when heads and hands would be lopped off
and pyramids made of them, the Hittites were astonishingly
humane, almost like civilized of nations today
The Hittites adopted the Hatti religion, mythology, language and
customs, as well as their names for places, mountains, rivers
and persons. Because the Mesopotamians called Anatolia "the Land
of the Hatti", the newcomers were mistakenly given the name "Hittite".
Hittite architecture was highly original, and included the
strongest city walls of the Near East in the second millenium
B.C. They also built the most magnificent temples, and developed
a figurative art that was to be widespread in Anatolia.
Ilium of Homer's Iliad Troy VI (1800-1275 B.C.)
As the Hittites were settling in Central Anatolia, another Indo-European
people were flourishing in the Canakkale region at Troy VI,
which today is one of Turkey's finest ruins, with a city wall
preserved to a height of four meters, and a number of well
preserved megaron type houses.
The Ilium of King Priam, in Homer's epic, corresponds to layer
VIh(1325-1275 B.C.), and was destroyed in an earthquake, while
the city captured by the Achaeans was Troy VIIe (1275-1240/1200
B.C.). When Troy VIh was destroyed in an earthquake in 1275
B.C., followed by the pillaging of Troy VIIa in 1240/1200 at the
hands of The Achaeans, a staunch outpost against incursions from
the nortwest- an outpost which had stood for two thousand years
was gone. And indeed, the crude hand-made pottery discovered in
Troy VIIb2 / 1240-1190 B.C.),like the Buckelceramic pots found
in Troy VIIb2 (1190-110), are of Balkan Origin. Having captured
Troy in 1200, the Balkan peoples proceeded to occupy Anatolia in
waves; around 1190 they destroyed the Hittite capital of
Hattusas and penetrated as far south as the Assyrian border.
Civilizations Which Influenced The Hellens The Urartu Kingdom(860-580
B.C.) and The Phrygians(750-300 B.C.)
In southeastern and eastern Anatolia, which seem not to have
been much affected by the migrations of the Balkan peoples, the
Late Hittite Princedoms(1200-700 B.C.) and the Urartu Kingdom
(860-580 B.C.)produced a high level of culture.
In the 8th century B.C. the Hellenes came in contact with the
rich two-thousand-year-old heritage of Mesopotamia through the
intermediary of the Late Hittite Princedoms living in
southeastern Anatolia. The Hellenes acquired the Phoenician
alphabet from Al Mina, and the mythology and figurative art
which we see in Homer and Hesiod, from such Late Hittite cities
as Kargamish and Malatya. The helmet of a Hellene in the 8th
century, along with his shield, various belts and different hair
styles, were just like Those of the Hittites. Hellenic
figurative and decorative art in the 8th and 7th centuries
followed Hittite styles and iconography.
Although the Urartus were strongly influenced in their art by
Assyrian and Late Hittite example, they produced fine artifacts
which they were able to export to Hellas and Etruscan cities.
The Phrygians were among the Balkan peoples who came into
Anatolia around the year 1200 B.C., but they first appear on the
scene as a political entitiyafter the year 750 B.C. The Hellenic
world knew of the Phrygian King Midas as a legendary figure with
long ears who turned to gold everything that the touched. The
Assyrians, on the other hand , record that he qas king in 717,
715, 712 and 709 B.C. Although the powerful kingdom which Midas
founded was swept away by the Cimmerians in the First quarter of
the 7th century, scattered groupings of the Phrygians continued
to evolve their civilization in Central Anatolia though the 6th
century B.C. The Phrygian rock temples and treasures in the
vicinity of Eskisehir and Afyon are quite well preserved, and
among the finest works produced by their age.
Three Intriguing Anatolian Peoples: Lydia, Caria and Lycia
The Lydians and Lycians spoke languages that were fundamentally
Indo-European, but both languages had acquired non-Indo-European
elements prior to the Hittite and Hellenic periods. Both
alphabets closely resembled that of the Hellenes. During the
reign of Creosus, fabled for his wealth (575-545 B.C.) the
Lydian capital of Sardes was one of the most brilliant cities of
the ancient world.
Although the Carian alphabet resembles the Lycian, the Carian
language has not been deciphered to date. Herodotus says that
according to a cretan legend the Carians were called Leleges and
lived on the islands during the time of the Minoan Kingdom, that
is, in the mid-2nd millenium B.C. The Carians themselves,
however, claimed to be native Anatolians, related to the Lydians
The archaelogical finds pertaining to all three cultures show
strong Hellenic influence. Of the three, the Lycians best kept
their own character. Their monuments hollowed out of the rock
are among the most interesting works of art in ancient Anatolia.
The Ionian Civilization (1050-1030 B.C.)
Following the destruction of Troy, the Hellenes established
cities all along the Western Anatolian shore. In the 9th century
B.C. they produced the first masterpiece of Western
Civilization, the Iliad of Homer.
During the era of the natural philosophers, i.e. 600-545 B.C.,
Anatolian culture was of a brilliance unmatched in the world of
its time, superceding Egypt and Mesopotamia Rejecting the idea
of djinns, fairies and mythological causes, the natural
philosophers investigated natural phenomena in a free spirit;
Thales, son of the Carian Hexamyes, using the same methods we
would today, predicted an eclipse of the sun for May 28, 585
B.C. This was the first prediction of a natural event in
During the occupation of the Persians (545-333 B.C.), Anatolia
relinguished its leadership, but regained it in the Hellenistic
Age (333-30 B.C.).
Throughout these centuries, Milletus, Priene, Ephesus and Teos
were among the finest cities in the world, and the Anatolian
architecture of this era greatly influenced Rome.
Roman Age (30 B.C. - 595 A.D.)
The Romans developed the technique of mortaring bricks together,
thereby producing arches, vaults and domes of large volume.
These were the first major feats of enineering in history, and
although the very first were at Rome, it soon became the turn of
Anatolia Fine cities sprang up not only in the south and west of
the peninsula, but also in its heartland. In all of these cities
there were such monumental works as an agora, gymnasium,
stadium, theater, baths and foundations, and many of them were
of marble. The roads, too, were paved with marble and lined with
colonnades, thus protecting the citizens from sun and dust in
the summer, and from cold and mud in the winter. Water
channeledinto the cities via aquedects sprang from the
fountains, and a fine, well maintained network of roads and
stone bridges connected the cities on the peninsula. Dozens of
ancient cities in Western and Southern Anatolia, portions of
them almost as they were in Roman times, fill visitors with awe.
Christian State in the World
The Byzantine Empire (330-1453 A.D.)
Byzantine art was born in Anatolia at the end of the Roman era.
As the Roman art of sculpture and architectural decoration
entered a period of decline toward the end of the 3rd century,
new life was breathed into them by early Christian practitioners
of both arts. One might say that early Christian and Byzantine
art were an expressionistics rendering of Roman themes; where
architectural space was concerned, they represented a whole new
For two and a half centuries, from 300 to 565 A.D.,
Constantinople (Istanbul) was the leading city of the world in
art and culture. The most brilliant time for the early Christian
era was the reign of Justinian (527-565). Hagia Sophia, a
centrally domed basilica, was built perior to this (532-539),
and is the masterpiece of Byzantine art, one of the most famous
works in the entire world.
The best preserved Byzantine religious buildings are Hagia Irini
Church (6th and 8th centuries), the Basilica of St. John (Justinian's
reign) and the Church of Mary (4th and 6th centuries), both in
Ephesus, and the Alahan Church (5th and 6th centuries) in
Southeastern Anatolia. From the Late Byzantine era the best
preserved and finest works are St. Mary Pammakaristos (1310)
next to Fethiye Mosque, and Kariye Mosque, that is to say the
Chora Church, both in Istanbul. In the latter two buildings, the
multidomed ceiling harmonizes beautifully with the walls and
their three-staged arches.
The first people to dwell in all of Anatolia were the Turks. The
Hittites, Phrygians and Greeks lived in only part of the
The Turks arrived in Anatolia from Central Asia by way of
continual migrations and incursions, and through their policy of
tolerance in government earned the love of the Indo-European
peoples living on the peninsula.It was the Turks who adopted
Islam, and on this basis mingled with the local peoples starting
in 1071. The passage of nine centuries has resulted in present-day
Until recently it was thought that contemporary Western
civilization was based on the Greeks, but archaelogy and history
now show that it goes back rather to beginnings in western and
Source : Ministry of
Tourism & Culture