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The Kingdom of the Hittites Paperback – May 13, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0199240104 ISBN-10: 0199240108

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 13, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199240108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199240104
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,925,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"One of those rare books that successfully fills a gap in scholarship....This will be the standard resource on Anatolia in the second millennium BCE for decades to come. An outstanding work that belongs in all university libraries."--Choice


"Bryce's volume represents an authoritative, comprehensive, up-to-date treatment of the political and military history of the Hittite kingdom....it is...imperative reading for any serious inquiry on the Hittites by scholars of the ancient Near East."--Religious Studies Review


"Beyond its full coverage of the course of events in second-millennium Anatolia, the real strength of The Kingdom of the Hittites is that Bryce looks at the world of the Hittites with the eye of a true historian....he puts forward interpretations of events and rationales for the decisions of Hittite monarchs....This book will be of great value to the Hittite specialist and to his/her students, as well as to the scholar of other regions and periods of the ancient world who wishes to become acquainted with the story of the first masters of Anatolia."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review


About the Author

Trevor Bryce, Fellow, Australian Academy of the Humanities.

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Customer Reviews

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Highly recommended as the single clearest history of this that I have read.
John W. Connelly
The main core of the book is the last century and a half of Hittite rule because that is the period for which we have the most sources.
Arch Stanton
Professor Bryce's book has by far been the best information available in english.
Evelyn Sue Coon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Big Dave on November 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
For starters, these are not the Hittites of the Bible (who are later, located in Syria and/or Canaan and are only to an unclear extent influenced by the earlier Hittites). No, these are the Indo-European speaking Hittites of second millennium B.C. (1700 to 1200) Anatolia. So if you're not a budding Hittitologist yourself, you can be forgiven for wondering why you should care.
Well, here's why: context. The Hittites were a superpower, and without knowing something about them, you can't get a clear picture of any of their neighbors. The history recounted in _The Kingdom of the Hittites_ interacts with and impacts upon the death of pharaoh Tutankhamen, the Trojan War and the migration of the Sea Peoples, for instance and just for starters.
Beyond that, their history is interesting reading in its own right. The sources available reveal an astonishing wealth of detail, and Bryce is able to recount all kinds of bloody family squabbles and intrigue, quoting from contemporary records and correspondence. Different Hittite monarchs emerge with clearly distinct personalities and character, and the book is an entertaining read.
I can't give it five stars, though, because I think a few small additions would immensely improve it. The book needs more maps. Some illustrations would also be useful. Bryce himself suggests that "a comprehenive, up-to-date treatment of Hittite civilization and society might well provide a valuable complement to the present work." Fair enough: Bryce is writing a history, not an anthropological treatise. Nevertheless, the history would be more accessible and sometimes more interesting if preceded by an introductory chapter on Hittite culture -- marriage patterns, for instance, and religion, are points that recur in the history but are never thoroughly explained.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent read. It's principal strength lies in the use by the author of the ancient sources within the main body of the text, with good translations permitting the reader to see the evidence for the authors interpretations. This puts the reader in a better position to critically assess these interpretations and agree or disagree with them. Normally, access to any ancient sources other than Greek and Roman ones is difficult. In this book they are placed within the main text and so the reader does not even have to keep flipping forwards to appendices. Overall this is an excellent book on Hittite history.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Fabian Boudville on September 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
Trevor Bryce's book is the best English language book that one can find on the Ancient Hittites. Bryce gives a comprehensive update on the Hittite kingdom and the historical context for the reattribution of certain important Hittite texts and documents to certain Hittite kings. Bryce notes new evidence which shows that the Assyrian conquest of Hanigalbat must be dated to the reign of the Hittite king Urhi-Teshub--who is called Mursilis III in the historical texts. This event significantly undermined his authority as king and helped to partly bring about his eventual downfall.

The author also documents the plotting and mass paranoia that afflicted the Hittite Empire where brothers and uncles competed violently with each other for the throne. Even a great Hittite ruler such as Mursilis I--who destroyed the Babylonian kingdom of Hammurabi's ancestors by seizing Babylon--was eventually assassinated in a palace coup while Suppiluliuma I, who established Hatti as the greatest Empire in the Ancient Near East through his 2 Syrian wars against Mitanni and Carchemish, murdered his older brother Tudhaliya the Younger in order to assume the throne after being passed over in the succession by Tudhaliya III, his father. Hattusilis III, who made peace with Ramses II, was forced to depose his nephew Urhi-Teshub after the latter tried to seize his own domestic bases of support in the Hittite Empire. The result of this turbulent political culture was that few Hittite kings dared to leave their capital of Boghazkoy for fear of a palace coup being hatched in their abscence. In addition, few Hittite vassals kings placed much weight upon the promises of a weak ruler who might be deposed in the blink of an eye.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By "tdg75" on October 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
425 Pages of Text, 8.5H x 5.25W (inches). I bought this book because I wanted to read about the Hittites of the Bible. Fortunately, however, this book is about the Kingdom of the Hittites in Asia Minor from about 1650-1200 B.C. The references to the Hittites of the Bible were either to a local Canaanite tribe or to neo-Hittite kingdoms of Syria. This book deals with relations of the Hittite Kingdom with its neighbors, who included the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Mitanni, and the Assyrians among others. It also examines Hittite internal politics and dealings with its vassal states. The book is organized according to the reign of the Hittite kings, but also explores the Kingdom's formation and it's demise. Although it doesn't focus on culture or archeology this book could have used some pictures of artifacts or stelae. How about some computer renderings of Hatti or other major cities based on archeological digs? How about some artist recreations? It certainly could have used a more detailed and a greater number of maps. There are only four black and white maps. Because of the lack of visuals I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5. Some of the high points in the book are Mursili I's conquest of Babylon, the Battle of Kadesh between Muwatalli II and Ramesses II, and the overthrow of Urhi-Tesub.
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