Saturday, April 2, 2016

Hittite Religion

Alice C. Linsley

The Hebrew priests of the archaic world served at the Sun temples built by the early kingdom builders known in Genesis as the mighty men of old. They served rulers in Egypt, Arabia, Canaan, Mesopotamia, and Anatolia in southern Turkey. The Hebrew ruler-priests were kin to the ruler-priests of many peoples as they shared common ancestors before Noah's time (c.5000-4500 B.C.) The term Hittite is related to the name Heth, a descendant of Noah.

Ḫattuša (modern Boğazkale in Turkey) was the administrative center of a people as early as 2500 B.C. It was a shrine city with more than 30 temples. (Interactive map of HattusaThe kingdom of Hatti was a powerful Near Eastern kingdom in the late 14th and 13th centuries B.C. The kings of Egypt, Babylon, and Assyria were received in Hattusa's reception hall located in the royal citadel, known as Büyükkale, or “Big Castle”. Vassal rulers came to Hattusa to reaffirm their loyalty and pay tribute to the Hittite king.

More than 232 letters of state correspondence have been found at Hattusa. One is a letter from the ruler of Išuwa to the "Chief of the Charioteers." Hattusa's administrative center had many scribes who were schooled in Akkadian. Ancient Akkadian is the oldest known Semitic language and the language of the territory of Nimrod, a Kushite kingdom builder (Gen.10).

Hittite Empire (c. 2000–1200 B.C.).

Many of the priests of the ancient world, including the priests of ancient Hatti, were devotees of Horus. The shrine centers of the greater region reflect this: Horoztepe (Horus Hill); Kültepe (Ash Hill, place of sacrifice) and Išuwa (Yeshua/Yesu). Yesu is an ancient ruler-priest name found among the early Egyptians.

The name "Jesus" (Yeshua/Yesu) is derived from the ancient Egyptian name Yesu (shown above) which is associated with royal authority. The feather represents the letter Y and stands for one who judges, measures, or weights. The next symbol represents horns. The idea of God's presence "between the horns" predates Judaism. Then there is the sedge plant which represents a king, and finally the falcon, the totem of HR (Horus), the patron of kings. HR in ancient Egyptian means "Most High One". (Source: Bill Manley, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, 2012, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London)

At the Hittite capital in Ḫattuša there was a shrine dedicated to Horus. It is marked by a large green stone.

Green cube at Ḫattuša.

This green stone is believed to be a gift from the Egyptian king with whom the Hatti signed a treaty in 1258 B.C. Among the early Nilotes and later Egyptians green malachite was associated with Horus whose animal totem was the falcon. The Book of the Dead speaks of how the deceased will become a falcon "whose wings are of green stone" (chapter 77). The green stone may have symbolized the hope of resurrection. The land of the blessed dead was described as the "field of malachite." The Ancient Pyramid Texts speak of Horus as the Lord of the green stone (Utterance 301).

Bronze statue of mother and nursing infant found at Horoztepe (Horus Hill).

The Hittites called themselves the Nes and their language was called Nesli (Nesian, Nesite, or Neša). The word Nuzi is derived from the words Nes and Nuz. Nuzi was a Horite/Hurrian administrative center on the Tigris. The Horites were devotees of Horus and his mother Hathor, the patroness of metal workers. Documents from the household of a Nuzi official named Tehiptilla record grants of food, clothing, and shelter to a number of Habiru/Hebrew/Abrutu in his service. One who likely served in a military role received a horse.

The Hittite also were known for silver work. The Ugaritic word for silver - ḥtt - appears in the name of the people and Hittite place names. Hittite scribes often used the word sign for silver in their names: Ḥatti and Ḥattuša are examples.

The Hittites were famous for their metal work. HT is the Hebrew and Arabic root for copper - nahas-het. The mountains near the Hittite center of Isuwa had rich deposits of copper which were mined in antiquity.

Hittite Henotheism

The religion of the Hittites was henotheistic. They believed in a supreme Creator who was served by lesser "gods" or assisting divine powers. The deification of righteous rulers followed logically from the idea that divinely appointed powers on earth were also lesser gods (Allohi in Arabic and Hausa, Elohiym in Hebrew).

The Hittites conceived of the cosmos as God's sacred temple. Elevated sites were the preferred locations for their shrines and temples. These "high places" were fortified settlements near permanent water sources. Some place names reflect the Horite Hebrew presence among the Hittites. Such is the case of the Horite shrine on Mt. Silpius overlooking the Orontes (Draco) in Turkey. This ancient site was called Meroe. It hieroglyphic symbol was IO, representing a pillared sun temple. IO had a twin settlement designated as Ant-IO (Antioch).

Solar images abound in Hittite culture. These metal artifacts are found in the royal tombs or on the standards of rulers. One example is the long horns of bulls and deer, such as appear on this bronze standard found at Horoztepe (shown right). The horns of the bull were a solar cradle that indicated divine appointment by overshadowing. Images of Hathor, the mother of Horus, show her overshadowed by the Sun resting in the long horns of a bull. Divine appointment of the ruler was indicated by the solar cradle Y at the beginning of the ruler's name: Yishmael, Yitzak, Yacob, Yeshua, etc. and by the ili/itti suffix in the Akkadian and Nilotic languages.

The dispersed Hebrew and their descendants living in Anatolia viewed the high king as the High God's earthly representative. This is clearly evident with King Hattusili I who claimed that he was divinely appointed, and that the prosperity of his people depended on his intercessions on their behalf. He moved his administrative center from Neša (near modern Kültepe) to Ḫattuša.

The March/April 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review shows a statue found at the principal temple in Hattusa. The mother of the king wears the Sun as a sign of divine appointment. This is a Hittite version of ancient Nilotic images of Hathor holding Horus on her lap (shown below)

The divine son was a ruler-priest associated with the heavens and thunder. He was regarded as the High God and was known throughout the ancient world by different names: An, Ra, El, Yahweh, etc. The Hittites believed that the High God has a son. The son was known by different names also: Horus, Enki, Yehu, Hesus, etc. This is the only European bull deity that is celebrated in the middle of the Leo sign and he is often referred to as "the Giving God." The Giving God, sometimes shown as a bull between two lions, expresses the same idea as Aker among the early Nilotes. Aker is an image of the sun between two lions. The sun was the symbol or emblem of the High God among many peoples of the Fertile Crescent and Ancient Near East.

The Giving God, sometimes called Hesus, was crucified on an oak tree. The hope of his third-day resurrection was enacted by the sowing of grain in the fields. In antiquity, this annual ritual was overseen by Horite Hebrew priests who led the people in procession to the fields.

Related reading: Twin Cities of the Ancient WorldHistorical Relationship Between Sanskrit and HittiteAbraham and the HittitesThe High Places; Horned Altars and Horned Sacred Vessels; Solar Imagery of the Proto-Gospel; The Last Days of Hattusa


Unknown said...

Is it possible that the name Hazor, derived from the Goddes Hathor-Meri?
The Amulet of Hathor-Meri found at Hazor, is similar to the two photos, you gave in this article.
Reuven Galili

Alice C. Linsley said...

Hazor (H'- zr) likely refers to a city of refuge, a shrine city where people sought help and/or forgiveness. Horite Hebrew/Habiru priests were there and they were devotees of Ra-Horus-Hathor. This sheds light on the nature of the conflict between the Hebrew warriors under Joshua who attacked Hazor. It appears it may have been a conflict between Habiru and Habiru over control of the fortified shrine city.