The states that are called Syro-Hittite
(in older literature), or Luwian-Aramean
(in modern scholarly works), were Luwian
of the Iron Age
, situated in southeastern parts of modern Turkey
and northwestern parts of modern Syria
, known in ancient times as lands of Hatti
. They arose following the collapse of the Hittite New Kingdom
in the 12th century BCE, and lasted until they were subdued by the Assyrian Empire
in the 8th century BCE. They are grouped together by scholars, on the basis of several cultural criteria, that are recognized as similar and mutually shared between both societies, northern (Luwian) and southern (Aramean). Cultural exchange between those societies is seen as a specific regional phenomena, particularly in light of significant linguistic distinctions between two main regional languages, with Luwian
belonging to the Anatolian
group of Indo-European
languages, and Aramean
belonging to the Western Semitic
group of Semitic
languages. Several questions that are related to regional grouping of Luwian and Aramean states are viewed differently among scholars, including some views that are critical towards such grouping in general.
One of the most contested issues within the field is related to the choice of proper terms for this group of states. On that issue, scholars are divided into several categories. Some prefer terms that are derived from endonymic
(native) names for Luwians
, thus using terms like Luwian-Aramean
. Others prefer to use terms that are derived from various exonymic
(foreign) names, thus proposing designations like Syrian-Anatolian
, based on Greek term Anatolia
, combined with anachronistic application of Syrian
labels, in the sense that was introduced much later, by ancient Greeks, as their designation for Arameans and their land (Aram
). Such preference for foreign terms, advocated by some western scholars, is viewed as being culturally biased
, and thus insensitive towards native (endonymic) terminology. Some scholars still use older terms, like Syro-Hittite
, but those terms have several additional meanings in scholarly literature. More precise term Post-Hittite
is also used, as a broad designation for the entire period of Anatolian history spanning from the 12th to the 6th century BCE.
Anachronistic uses of Syrian
labels in modern scholarly literature were additionally challenged after the recent discovery of the bilingual Çineköy inscription
from the 8th century BCE, written in Luwian
languages. The inscription contained references to the neighbouring Assyria
, inscribed in a specific form that renders as Syria
, thus providing additional (and in the same time the oldest) evidence for the dominant scholarly view on the origins and primary meanings of the term Syria
, that originated as an apheretic
form of the term Assyria, and was redefined much later, by ancient Greeks, who introduced a territorial distinction between two names, and started to use term Syria
as a specific designation for western regions (ancient Aram
). For ancient Luwians, Syria
was designation for Assyria
proper, thus revealing the later Greek use of the term Syria
as very different from its original meaning, and also anachronistic if used in modern scientific descriptions of historical realities, related to Luwian and Aramean states of the Iron Age.
Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age transition
The Hittite New Kingdom
and its zone of influence (political and cultural) during the 14th and the 13th centuries BCE
, the Hittite
capital, was completely destroyed. Following this collapse of large cities and the Hittite state, the Early Iron Age in northern Mesopotamia
saw a dispersal of settlements and ruralization, with the appearance of large numbers of hamlets, villages, and farmsteads.
Syro-Hittite states emerged in the process of such major landscape transformation, in the form of regional states with new political structures and cultural affiliations. David Hawkins was able to trace a dynastic link between the Hittite imperial dynasty and the "Great Kings" and "Country-lords" of Melid and Karkamish of the Early Iron Age, proving an uninterrupted continuity between the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age at those sites.
Aside from literary evidence from inscriptions, the uninterrupted cultural continuity of Post-Hittite states in the region, during the transitional period between the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age, is now further confirmed by recent archaeological work at the Temple of the Storm God on the citadel of Aleppo
and Ain Dara temple
where the Late Bronze Age temple buildings continue into the Iron Age without hiatus, with repeated periods of construction in the Early Iron Age.
List of Syro-Hittite states
(orange shades) states in the 8th century BCE
The Syro–Hittite states may be divided into two groups: a northern group where Hittite
rulers remained in power, and a southern group where Aramaeans
came to rule from about 1000 BC. These states were highly decentralised structures; some appear to have been only loose confederations of sub-kingdoms.
The northern group includes:
The southern group includes:
monumental inscriptions in Anatolian hieroglyphs
continue almost uninterrupted from the 13th-century Hittite imperial monuments to the Early Iron Age Syro-Hittite inscriptions of Karkemish, Melid, Aleppo and elsewhere.
Luwian hieroglyphs were chosen by many of the Syro-Hittite regional kingdoms for their monumental inscriptions, which often appear in bi- or tri-lingual inscriptions with Aramaic
versions. The Early Iron Age in Northern Mesopotamia
also saw a gradual spread of alphabetic writing in Aramaic
. During the cultural interactions on the Levantine coast of Syro-Palestine and North Syria in the tenth through 8th centuries BC, Greeks and Phrygians
adopted the alphabetic writing from the Phoenicians.
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- ^ See Wilkinson, Tony J.; 2003. Archaeological landscapes of the Near East. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.
- ^ Hawkins 1995b, p. 75–86.
- ^ See "Karkamish" and "Melid" in Hawkins, John David; 2000. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions. (3 vols) De Gruyter: Berlin.
- ^ Kohlmeyer, Kay; 2000a. Der Tempel des Wettergottes von Aleppo. Münster: Rhema.
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- ^ See the Tayinat Website by the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto
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Last edited on 17 April 2021, at 19:00
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