Notebook, 1993-

Manual of Oriental Antiquities - Babelon, Ernest. Librarian of the Department of Medals and Antiques in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Manual of Oriental Antiquities, including the Architecture, Sculpture, and Industrial Arts of Chaldæ, Assyria, Persia, Syria, Judæ, Phœnicia, and Carthage. London: H. Grevel and Co. 1906.

The Chaldæn -- Assyria -- Elamites (Archeological Discoveries at Souza) -- The Phœnicians & The Cypriots -- The Hittites

The Hittites

The name of Hittites [Khatti, Kheta] appears simultaneously in the Bible, the hieroglyphic documents, and the cuneiform texts. It is given to populations of different origin who inhabited Syria from the Euphrates to the borders of Egypt, and also Cappadocia and the greater part of Asia Minor from the mountains of Armenia to the banks of the Halys and the Hermus. But the country which was particularly the centre of the Hittite dominions, and in which they established a homogenous and lasting empire, is Northery Syria, that is to say, the territory which extends from the great bend of the Euphrates to the Orontes, and from the limits of the Aramæn oases of Palmyra and Damascus to the mountains of the Taurus. On the Euphrates they built the fortress of Carchemish [Jerablus], which remained like a threatening challenge in the face of Nineveh until the day when, about the year B.C. 710, the Assyrians gained possession of it; on the Orontes their chief towns were Kadesh and Hamath. It is among the ruins of these cities or in the neighbouring country, [p. 185] including Cilicia, a geographical appendage of Syria, and also among the sparsely scattered ruins of Cappadocia and Asia Minor, that the remains of Hittite civilization have recently been discovered, and that the works of its peculiar art have been found which we are about to describe in a few words. [p. 187]

Hittite Monuments in Syria
The Hittite art of Syria is derived from Assyrian art; it has nothing original either in the conception of its forms or in its technical execution. To characterize it in one word, we might call it Assyrian art interpreted by barbarians. In all its manifestations it is inferior to its model, like the works of the barbarians who copied Greek and Roman art. In imitation of the Assyrians, the Hittites confined themselves almost exclusively to sculpture in bas-relief . . . . p. 186]

When we leave the regions which lie near the Euphrates, the imitation of Assyria, though equally perceptible, is, perhaps, less servile and more free; a larger number of original elements enter into the composition of the scenes. At Rum-Qalah a bas-relief represents a bearded personage, wearing a cap, and dressed in a long tunic, drawn apart as if in imitation of the form of the drooping wings of [p. 189] Assyrian genii. At his girdle he carries a dagger; in his left hand is a sort of lyre, in his right a palm-branch; the handle of a leathern bag is passed over his arm. The coarseness of the workmanship makes the imitation itself almost unrecognizable. On a basalt stela at Marash [fig. 153] two women, sitting on chairs with backs, are separated by a table similar to those that we have seen in Assyria; the costume of these women has also much analogy to the Ninevite garments; however, their high tiara, under their long veil, seems to be indigenous. The same characteristics of imperfect and coarse imitation are to be observed in other pieces of sculpture from the same place; the only features which are particularly original are the expression of the faces, the diadem, and the arrangement of the hair: the spectator feels that he is in the confines of a territory which is already coming under the direct influence of the Hellenic art of Asia Minor. [Perrot and Chipiez, Hist. de l'art dans l'antiquité, t. iv., p. 559]

According to these examples, two groups of clearly distinguished Hittite monuments may be established in Syria itself: those of Carchemish and the region of the Euphrates, which are colourless copies of Assyrian works; and those of western Syria and especially of Cilicia, which, though also derived from Ninevite art, separate themselves from it to a greater extent, are ruder, and contain elements at once more original and more barbarous. As peculiar characteristics of the Hittites, we will point out the diadem, the high cap of the women, to which a long veil is fitted, and, above all, the shoes with turned-up points. These shoes, worn by men and women, have been described as the chief mark of the Hittite monuments; however, it must not be forgotten that these shoes are still worn, in our own day, not only in Syria but throughout Asia Minor, by the most various races. [p. 191]

Hittite Monuments in Cappadocia
A canton of ancient Cappadocia, the Pteria of Herodotus, on the Halys, where the first meeting between Cyrus and Croœsus took place, contains a considerable number of Hittite ruins which have been particularly explored by MM. Perrot and Guillaume, and form a group by themselves in the history of oriental art. The village of Boghaz-Keui, the ancient capital of the Pterians has still, besides its fortifications 3 3/4 miles in circumference, bas-reliefs carved upon rocks which are called Iasili-Kaïa, "The inscribed stone," and remains of buildings not completely indistinguishable. The royal palace, almost raised to the level of the ground, is a parallelogram 136 Ft by 185 ft. In the blocks which compose the wall, holes are observed for iron clamps, as in the Ach¾emenid edifices; as in the latter also, the stones are large but irregular; the upper portion of the wall was of brickwork, [p. 191] as at Nineveh and Persepolis; lastly, the palace of Boghaz-Keui was built on an artificial terrace. In the arrangement of the rooms, details peculiar to princely residences in all oriental countries are to be recognized. The principal door forms an independent structure, to be compared to that of the palace at Khorsabad: it is 58 Ft. high; two lions' heads, original in style, project on each side of the aperture, above monolithic doorposts.

The palace of Euyuk, as well as that of Boghaz-Keui, presents striking features of resemblance to those of Nineveh; its terrace, 812 ft. square, sill rises to the height of 39 ft. The corners are turned towards the four cardinal points. The principal doorway is 11 ft. broad, [Perrot and Guillaume, Exploration archéol. de la Galatie, etc., pl. Lxv.] and on each side stand two sphinxes, in place of the human-headed bulls. Next to these, along the façade, was a series of bas-reliefs, the arrangement of which was the same as that upon the façades of Khorsabad and Kouyunjik; [p. 192] only, the sphinx, which is not Assyrian, discloses another foreign influence--that of Egypt. Cappadocian art was able to interpret the Egyptian type, and, on this occasion, did not limit itself to a dull copy. "In Egypt," observes M. Perrot, "the sphinx, to whatever variety of the type it belongs, is always represented in the reclining posture, never standing as here; instead of being treated as a bas-relief and placed in front of the doorway, it is sculptured in the round and set on both sides of the entrance, perpendicular to the path, towards the axis of which it looks." [Hist. de l'art dans l'antiquitŽ, t. iv. p. 667.] Besides, in the sphinxes on the banks of the Nile, the extremities of the hair, on each side of the head, fall straight without forming the curls which we see here. At Euryuk, the Egyptian sphinx is treated in the Assyrian style; the place which it occupies on the sides of the doorway, and the position of its paws, turn it into a sort of compromise between Egypt and Assyria, which vied with one another in the land of Cappadocia, in artistic influence as in political preponderance.

This double tendency is also observed at Iasili-Kaïa. Here a rectangular chamber has been found 81 ft. by 37 1/2 ft., hewn in the rock on three sides; the walls are covered with bas-reliefs forming a plinth. [p. 193] Another smaller chamber and a corridor contain similar sculptures; the height of the figures varies from 4 ft. 6 in. to 2 ft. 3 in. Two processions of figures go round the larger chamber and meet one another: on the right, women dressed in long robes with trains, their hair falling upon their shoulders, wearing a round tiara like the women at Marash; on the left the men, with the conical cap assigned by Herodotus to the Cimmerians, and a short tunic reaching no lower than the knees in front, but longer behind. In each group the figures grow larger in proportion to their nearness to the centre. Many of them are not human beings, but winged genii, satyrs with goats' feet, dog-headed monsters. Nearly all hold in their hands scepters, curved staves, two-edged hatchets; some stand upon quadrupeds. Two are seen perched upon a two-headed [p. 194] eagle; another, accompanied by a kid, stands on the shoulders of two porters.

Close to the entrance of this vast hall, a separate relief represents a giant standing on two mountains. This personage holds in his right hand a shrine, and in his left hand has a sort of long staff, the lower end of which is curved like a crosier; he wears a hemispherical skull-cap, and is dressed in a long robe open at the side. The shrine which this deity holds is provided with two Ionic columns supporting the winged disk; beneath the disk is a figure between two bulls seen in full face. At some distance a group of two figures is observed. One of them, of colossal proportions, is found elsewhere standing upon a quadruped. Here, he wears a highly decorated conical tiara, and is armed with a sword and clothed in a short tunic. He stretches out his right hand as if to carry or to seize a child standing before him. The second figure, protected by the deity, [p. 195] who passes his left arm round his neck and holds his hand, is the same as he whom we noticed just before.

The sculptures which decorate the walls of the vestibule in the palace of Euyuk have so great an analogy to those of Iasili-Kaïa that it is impossible not to recognise their common style and origin. We observe among them a woman, seated upon a throne, with her hair flowing down upon her shoulders, decorated with a necklace and bracelets, who reminds us of the Assyrian queen sharing the banquet of Assurbanipal; she raises a goblet to her lips, and holds a flower in her hand.

All these scenes are priestly and religious, and not, as in Assyria, devoted to the glory of the king and to the memory of his warlike exploits. They refer to the worship of the god Men or of the goddess Mâ or Enio, the Cappadocian name of Anaïtis or Astarte, [p. 196] whose rites Strabo describes as performed in the two towns of Comana.

To this Cappadocian civilization, again, purely oriental and anterior to Greek influence as it is, the sculpture of tombs observed at Gherdek-Kaïasi, near Boghaz-Keui and Euyuk, must be referred. The principal of these caves hewn in the rock, like those of Phœnicia and Nakhsh-i-Rustam, has a façe;ade adorned with a portico with three low colonnades, the style of which closely resembles the Greek Doric order [fig. 161]. At the extremities of this portico are the doors of two chambers intended to contain sarcophagi. Both of them have windows opened in the wall of rock; the sepulchral couches are hewn in the wall like alcoves. There is something in these monuments which partakes of the character both of the Phrygian tombs and of those of Nakhsh-i-Rustam, and perhaps they are not anterior to the destruction of Pteria by Crœsus in B.C. 549.

To sum up: we must conclude, with M. Perrot, [Perrot and Chipiez, op. cit., t. iv., p. 697] that the monuments of Boghaz-Keui and Euyuk, witnesses of primitive Cappadocian civilization, underwent Assyrian influence as well as those of Northern Syria. The palaces look like "a reduced copy of the great royal edifices on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates." The winged figures, the monsters with eagles' and lions' heads, are Assyrian, and so are the deities borne on the backs of different quadrupeds, the flowers in the hands of the figures and the winged disk, the symbol of the deity. Various elements of the Cappadocian sculptures seem, upon no less evidence, to have [p. 197] been borrowed from Egypt, Persia, and even from the Greeks of Asia Minor, but this is exceptional. In any case there is nothing original and individual in this Hittite art of Pteria, except the eagle with two heads [fig. 162.], which is evidently connected with the most ancient Asiatic worship, and suggests reminiscences of the Sirens; except also the long curved lituus, the robe cut in the form of a chasuble, the peaked tiara, the pointed shoes; details of dress more interesting for the history of costume than for that of art.

The connection of the sculptures of Pteria with those of Hittite Syria is quite clear; there are the same hieroglyphs, the same short tunic, the same long robe, the same shoes, the same peaked tiara, and the same round skull-cap. The female garments are almost identical at Marash and Iasili-Kaïa; the deities have similar attributes; the lion and the bull are the animals which both regions prefer to represent. We must conclude that the same semi-barborous race, powerless to free itself, whether in art or politics, from the yoke of Egypt and Assyria, inhabited both the slopes of the Taurus; we will now examine how far this Hittite race extended its branches towards the west, and what monuments it left in Asia Minor beyond the Hays. [p. 198]

Hittite Monuments in Asia Minor
To the north of the Taurus and beyond the Hays, the monuments belonging to Hittite civilization are, as in Cappadocia, bas-reliefs carved on the sides of rocks or not.

At Kalaba, near Ancyra, in Galatia, M. Perrot discovered a large slab [4 ft. 4 in. by 2 ft. 6 in. ] on which is carved a lion, analogous in style to those which we have met in Syria or in Cappadocia. [Perrot and Chipiez, op cit., t. iv. p. 713] A nine hours' journey south-west of Ancyra, among the ruins called Ghiau-Kalesi, the same scholar found two large figures, cut this time on the side of the rock. These are warriors, like several of those at boghaz-Keui; both [p. 199] wear a conical helmet or tiara, to which a piece of stuff is attached behind, which covers the nape of the neck; they are clothed in a short tunic, drawn in at the waist by a sash; their feet are shod with curved boots.

The sculpture at Ibriz, in Lycaonia, consists of an inscription in Hittite hieroglyphs and two colossal figures, one 19 ft 9 in. h igh, the other 11 ft. 9 in. A priest is standing in adoration before his deity. The god holds in his left hand an ear of corn, and in his right hand the branches of a vine which grows from the ground behind him. His tiara is provided with several pairs of horns, and his beard and hair are curled in the Assyrian fashion. The pontiff is thoroughly Assyrian in appearance and costume; his robe edged with fringes is decorated with square or lozenge-shaped designs, which remind us of the tunic of Marduk-nadin-akhi [fig. 22], and also of the ornaments of the Phrygo-Hellenic tomb called that of Midas.

The ruins of Eflatoun, in Lycaonia, scarcely consist of anything more at present day than the façade of [p. 200] a ruined edifice; it is adorned with a bas-relief in which the winged solar disc is to be distinguished, the symbol of the diety in Egypt and in Assyria; below are two other smaller disks; then come two rows of figures with their arms raised above their head, as if to support an entablature.

Hittite monuments grow more rare as we leave Cilicia, Lycaonia, Cappadocia and Phrygia to penetrate into more western regions. However, fresh monuments are met with every day in Lydia and even on the coast of Ionia, accompanied by hieroglyphs which do not allow us to doubt of the origin of the people who carved them on the rocks. Herodotus attributed to Sesostris two Hittite bas-reliefs, near Smyrna, which are to be seen at the present day. One, at the village of Nymphio, on the side of a rock which overhangs a branch of the river Hermus, rises at least 162 ft. above the ravine. In a niche, 8 ft. high, a warrior is seen wearing the conical tiara and clothed in a short tunic; he carries a lance and a bow; he is shod with the pointed boots. The second monument alluded to by Herodotus has been lately discovered by HM. Humann; it is less well preserved, [p. 2 01] and represents an almost exactly similar warrior . [Perrot and Chipiez, op. cit ., t. iv., p. 750.] Besides traces of Hittite inscriptions, the style of these rock sculptures, the costume and attitude of the figures connect them inevitably with the bas-reliefs of Cilicia, Lycaonia, Cappadocia and Syria; there is the same indistinct outline and the same lack of modelling. Wherever the Hittite people went, they remained feeble imitators; the works of art which they have left us can be referred to two or three types, copied from Assyrian and sometimes from Egyptian sculpture, but always much inferior to the model.

Less mediocre is the manufacture of models in serpentine which have come down to us, and which were employed by Hittite or Lydo-Phrygian goldsmiths in making metal ornaments or talismanic figures. The two most curious of these matrices are that which is preserved in the Cabinet de Médailles under the name of Baphomet, and another, found a few years ago near Thyatira in Mæonia. [S. Reinach, Rev. Archeol., 1885 [3 se. t. v.], p. 54. ff.] The latter, which is 3 1/2 in. high by 4 1/2 in. broad and 1/2 in. thick, shows us a naked woman, with her hands upon her breasts like the Babyloniain Istar; next a man, perhaps Bel-Marduk, clothed in the Chaldæn robe with a series of fringes one above the other. Farther on there is a lion with a ring, intended to hang the ornament when it came out of the mould; a sort of altar; and, finally, the planetary symbols found on a large number of Assyrian monuments.

In the glyptic art, Hittite engravers surpassed themselves, and showed themselves worthy of their Ninevite masters. Far be it from us to treat with disdain the [p. 203] seal-impressions on terra-cotta, the seals of precious stone and the cylinders, the inscriptions and figures upon which have only recently attracted the attention of arch¾ologists. The silver seal, now lost, of the king Tarkudimme, bears a bilingual inscription in Hittite hieroglyphs and in Assyrian cuneiform. A cylinder at the Louvre, found at Aïdin, in Lydia, shows a scene of presentation to a deity [fig. 167]. Three figures walk in the same direction, with their hand upon their mouth, carrying the curved scepter which we noticed in the rock sculptures of Iasili-Kaïa; a large table, supported by two lions, is laden with offerings. Then comes an Assyrian genius with two faces, a deity sitting upon a throne, and some secondary figures. M. Heuzey [Gazette archéol. 1887 [t. xiii. p. 60].] has observed that tough the subject is almost entirely Assyrian, there is, nevertheless, a national element in it; this is the decorative part of the cylinder. The ornamental design occupies, indeed, a considerable place on the surface; it is composed of a double border of interlacing lines and symmetrical scrolls, which are never met with except in monuments of the Hittite glyptic art. [p. 203]



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