Imágenes de páginas

whence he came,' Herodotus continues, is not known in Lydia, though it has become clear to me in Egypt,' where the Greek historian had been listening to the tales told of Sesostris or Ramses II., the great antagonist of the Hittite princes, and of the sculpture Sesostris had engraved on the rocks of the valley of the Lycus in Syria.

The accuracy of the description of the figure given by Herodotus has, however, been called in question. The figure of the pseudoSosostris discovered by Renouard holds the spear in the left hand, not in the right, and the inscription does not run across the breast, but is at the side above the left arm. Moreover, the second figure was long sought in vain; the paths that led from Ephesus to Phokaa were all examined, and the search proved a fruitless one.

But at last all difficulties have been cleared away. The second pseudo-Sesostris has been discovered, not indeed where it was sought, but in the pass of Karabel itself, not twenty yards to the north of the first and better-known figure. It is the old story over again: we never find what we seek where we expect it to be; discoveries always come upon us where we least looked for them.

The second figure is the double of the first. But instead of being carved high above the road, it is sculptured out of a huge monolith that stands on the edge of the old path, traces of which I was still able to follow for some distance. Here it has been exposed to mutilation of all kinds; the face and part of the body are quite gone, and it has been soiled by the smoke of a Yuruk's fire, whose tent was pitched under the shelter of the stone when it was seen by Mr. Spiegelthal, three or four years ago. It looks the reverse way to the other figure, the spear being held in the right hand and pointing towards the north. In fact there can be no doubt that this is the very figure described by Herodotus, whose chariot may have helped to wear away the ruts I detected in the old road at its side. În the days of the Greek traveller it was far more conspicuous than the other sculpture more than seventy feet above him. The inscription may well have been carved across the breast, since this part of the figure is now totally destroyed, and there are no characters anywhere else on the stone. The two figures must have served as sign-posts, standing as they did at the junction of the two main roads from east to west and south to north, and the direction in which they looked served to point the way.

But they were more than this. They were a visible sign of Hittite conquest and empire. The power which caused them to be sculptured held the pass that led to the great cities of the extreme west. Ephesus, Smyrna, and Sardes must all have been in Hittite hands. Here were the centres to which the art and civilisation of the Euphrates were brought, and from whence they could be spread over the islands of the Ægean and into the still barbarous Grecian world.

An echo of this Hittite dominion survives, I believe, in the legends of the Amazons. The Amazons are to be found wherever the Hittites have left memorials of their presence. The Thermodon,

where their kingdom was supposed to be, flowed in the near neighbourhood of the Hittite sculptures of Eyuk and Boghaz Keui. The foundation of Ephesus was ascribed to them; Smyrna and Myrine, varying forms of the same name, were given an Amazonian origin; and though no legend has survived which connects the Lydian capital with the name of the warrior-maidens, the Assyrian art and mythology, that flourished there, must have been brought by Hittites rather than by Phoenicians, while there is much to show that Omphalê, the bride of the Lydian Herakles, was but the Hittite name of the Asiatic goddess. This Asiatic goddess, indeed, though of Babylonian origin, had one of her chief seats at Carchemish, where she was worshipped in later days under the title of Atargatis or Derketo, and the Amazons of Greek story, the handmaids of the Ephesian Artemis, were her Hittite priestesses. The rocks of Boghaz Keui have already taught us that the mural crown of Artemis or Kybêlê was of Hittite descent.

The faint echo of Greek tradition has been confirmed by the contemporaneous records of Egypt. From the sixteenth to the twelfth centuries B.C., as we learn from them, the Hittites were at the zenith of their strength and glory. They held the balance of power between Egypt and Assyria, and were long the most formidable foe the Egyptians had to confront in Asia. Time after time did the Egyptian armies besiege their southern capital of Kadesh on an island of the Orontes, from which they were subsequently driven by the encroachments of the Semitic tribes, and once, at least, their northern capital of Carchemish was seriously threatened. But whether it were Kadesh or Carchemish that was attacked, the allies of the Hittites thronged to their aid from the most distant regions of the empire at the first sound of alarm. Colchians from the far north, Mysians from the far west, alike sent their contingents. In the reign of Thothmes III. we find the Hittites summoning to their aid the Masu or Mysians and the Dardanians of the Troad with their towns of Ilion (Iluna) and Pedasus (Pidasa). Two centuries later the Tekkri or Teukrians come to their help against that very Sesostris whose monuments Herodotus believed he saw in the records of the empire of his foes. And Sesostris, after twenty weary years of fighting, had to confess that the mighty people' of the Hittites were of equal power with himself.

It is probably about this period that the figures of Karabel were carved, and the Hittites began to aid the Phoenicians in carrying the torch of Eastern culture to the Greek world. Already in the nineteenth century B.C. the astrological reports, preserved in the library of the Babylonian monarch Sargon I., speak of the Hittites as dangerous rivals in the West, and, if Mariette-Pasha is right, they had led one at least of the dynasties of shepherd-kings who had conquered Egypt some centuries before. As we have seen, their influence extended as far as the Hellespont in the age of Thothmes III. (B.C. 1600-1560), and this influence was still strong four centuries later. About B.C. 1130 the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser I. states that they

were in possession of Syria, having subjected the Semitic Aramæans to their sway, and Pethor, the city of Balaam, at the junction of the Sajur and the Euphrates, continued to belong to them until its capture by the Assyrians several centuries afterwards. It is possible that their occupation of Lydia may explain the statement of Herodotus, which derives the dynasty of the Herakleidæ from Ninus, the son of Belus, whose date is placed by the Greek historian about B.C. 1200. We now have monumental evidence that the Assyrians never penetrated beyond the Halys, or even knew the name of Lydia itself, until Gog or Gyges sent an embassy and a present of two captive Kimmerian chiefs to Nineveh in the year 665 B.C. But just as the legend of Herakles was brought by Hittites to Lydia from Assyria and Babylonia, so, too, the names of Ninus, or Nineveh, and BelMerodach of Babylon may well have been distorted reminiscences of Hittite supremacy.

The objects and forms of early art are surer evidences than these doubtful names of the westward extension of Hittite power. The art of Assyria, which was itself derived from that of Babylonia, came to Greece along two different channels. One of these channels were the Phoenicians with their trading ships and colonies, the other the Hittites moving along the high-roads of Asia Minor. The influence exercised by the Phoenicians was essentially commercial; it was at first purely maritime, subsequently colonial. The influence of the Hittites, on the other hand, was that of a conquering race; consequently it chiefly affected the mainland of Asia Minor, and only indirectly the islands of the Egean and the shores of Greece. Of this we have good proof in the fact that the first system of writing known in Greece was that introduced by the Phoenicians, whereas in Asia Minor and the adjacent islands the Phoenician alphabet had been preceded by another mode of writing, which I believe can be traced back to the hieroglyphics of Carchemish. But the very circumstance that the Hittites were a conquering race, not a body of merchants and sailors, caused the culture they brought with them to sink all the more deeply into the spirit of the nations of the West. Early Lydia became impressed by it in a way that early Greece never was impressed by the culture of Phoenicia. And the influence and impression were handed on to the feudal principalities of Achæan Greece. On the one hand the coasts of Asia Minor were occupied by Æolian and Ionic and Doric colonies; on the other hand the inhabitants of Asia Minor took possession of the islands and founded dynasties in the Peloponnese. The Karians, according to Thucydides, once dwelt in the Cyclades and buried their dead on the sacred isle of Delos, and tradition brought Pelops, the eponym of the Peloponnesus, with all his wealth and luxury, from the golden sands of the Paktôlos. Nay, Greek mythology itself was inextricably intertwined with that of Asia Minor. Omphalê and the Amazons, Midas and Gordius, Tantalus and the Khimæra, not to speak of the tale of Troy divine,' were all integral parts of old Greek story. Greek

mythology and Greek art were equally indebted to the Phoenicians of Canaan and the natives of Asia Minor.

The fact becomes self-evident if we turn to the treasures of ancient Hellenic life and art which have been recovered from Mykenæ. The lions that guard the gate of the Akropolis are the counterpart of those discovered by Perrot on a rock-tomb at Kumbet, in Phrygia. The tombstones disinterred by Dr. Schliemann are wholly Hittite in their style and conception. So, too, the lion and bull made of goldleaf, and excavated from one of the tombs, remind us of the lion and bull sculptured at Eyuk. Among the patterns, again, met with at Mykenæ are several which go back to a Hittite original. Thus the palm-leaf is not only common on the terra-cotta dishes excavated by Dr. Schliemann at Hissarlik, but is embroidered on the robe of the figure found at Carchemish, and may be seen in its earliest form engraved upon Babylonian cylinders. A certain class of early Greek vases, as is well known, present us with a type of drawing which cannot be referred to a Phoenician model, but which has much in it that suggests Hittite inspiration. The thick round limbs and tall helmets come from Asia Minor, not from Canaan, like the Hittite tiara on the ivory head discovered in the prehistoric tombs of Spata.

Art and myth, however, were not the only means whereby Hittite influence made itself felt in the distant West. Mr. Head has pointed out that the Babylonian silver mina of 8,656 grains troy, which formed the standard for the money coined in Lydia and other parts of Asia Minor, as well as in Thrace, is identical with what the Assyrians called 'the mina of Carchemish.' It was received by the Hittites from Babylonia, and was carried by them to the nations of the distant West. Gyges and Kræsus struck electron and silver coins according to its standard, and in times long before them the Trojans of Hissarlik had used it for purposes of exchange. Six wedges of silver, about seven inches long by two broad, were discovered in what Dr. Schliemann has christened the Treasure of Priam,' and each of these wedges weighs about a third of the Babylonian maund. The hope of procuring silver seems to have been one of the main attractions of the Hittites to Asia Minor; at all events it is almost always in the neighbourhood of silver mines that their memorials are found.


But the chief debt owed by the Western world to the Hittites still remains unsaid. They were distinguished as a writing people; KirjathSepher, or book-town,' was the primitive name of one of their cities in Palestine; Khilip-sar, the Prince of Aleppo,' is specially mentioned on the Egyptian monuments as the writer of books of the vile Kheta,' and the hieroglyphics they used show that they were what it has fallen to the lot of but a chosen few among mankind to be, the inventors of a system of writing. This system of writing they carried with them to Lydia, and it is, I believe, the source of that curious syllabary generally called Cypriote, from the number of

2 Academy for November 22, 1879.

Cyprian inscriptions found written in it, but which was employed throughout Asia Minor before the introduction of the simpler Ionic alphabet. Conservative Cyprus alone retained this syllabary long after it had passed out of use elsewhere; though most of the alphabets of Asia Minor kept certain of its characters to express sounds not represented by the Greek letters, and a short inscription found by Hamilton at Eyuk, in the close vicinity of the memorials of the Hittites, almost entirely consists of letters that belong to it.

And now who were these Hittites who played so important a part in the history of Western Asia, and whose very name had been well nigh forgotten until but the other day? Unfortunately that is a question, the answer to which we can for the present only guess at. The inscriptions they have left behind them are still undeciphered, and more are needed before the key that will unlock them can be found. We must therefore be content with the evidence of the proper names that occur on the monuments of Egypt and Assyria. These point unmistakably to the fact that the language of the Hittites was neither Semitic nor Aryan, but belonged to a group of dialects spoken in early times by Cilicians, Comagenians, Moschians, proto-Armenians, and other neighbouring tribes, and of which Georgian is probably a living representative. It is among this group that we must include the language of the cuneiform inscriptions of Van, which are still but partially deciphered.

Whatever may have been their language, however, the Hittites had very marked physical characteristics, peculiar dress and arms, and a spirit and policy that clearly separated them from their neighbours. Their peaked shoes indicate that they originally came from a cold country such as the highlands of Armenia, and this indication is confirmed by our finding the inhabitants of this very country represented on the Assyrian monuments in the same costume as the Hittites. They must have established themselves on the Euphrates at an early date, and spread from thence southward and westward. Their westward extension brought them into contact with the Lydians and Greeks, their southward extension with the Egyptians and Hebrews. To this is due the prominent place they hold in the Old Testament, but for which the scholars of Europe would have been as ignorant even of their name as were the writers of Greece and Rome. Ezekiel declares that Jerusalem was born of an Amorite father and a Hittite mother, and Uriah the Hittite was one of the officers of David. It was for the kings of the Hittites that Solomon imported horses from Egypt, and from among their princesses he sought himself wives, like the Egyptian monarchs before him. Israel and Heth, indeed, long continued in alliance against the common Syrian enemy, and when Benhadad broke up the siege of Samaria it was because he thought that the King of Israel had hired against him the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians.' Hamath, too, which at one time was included within the Hittite territory, was the ally of David, and at a later day, as we learn from the records of Assyria, of

« AnteriorContinuar »