3 That Changed The World – Boghazkoi Clay Tablets

Posted in Current Affairs, History, India, Media, politics, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on December 25, 2007

Egyptian temple complex of Abu Simbel, Southern Egypt. (Photograph by David S. Boyer, Courtesy - National Geographic).

Egyptian temple complex of Abu Simbel, Southern Egypt. (Photograph by David S. Boyer, Courtesy - National Geographic). Click for larger photograph.

Ramesses-II goes to war

1301 BC. An Egyptian land army, numbering more than 20,000, (divided in 4 divisions), set out on a campaign, lead by Pharoah Ramesses-II of the XIX Dynasty.

Ramesses-II, lived for more than 90 years, was probably the Pharaoh at the time of Exodus of Hebrews under Moses.

Ramesses-II is known in history for the construction during his reign. Most notably, the Temple Of Abu Simbel, Temple Of Nefertari. How would Abu Simbel read in Sanskrit – ‘abu’ is elephant, ‘simba’ is sinh i.e. lion and ‘bal’ is strength.

Cause of War Of Kadesh

Of the two warring sides, one was the Egyptian Pharoah RamessesII (1279-1212 BCE). With a land army of 20,000, and a naval Egyptian force set sail, in ships, to reach Byblos and squeeze the Hittites in the world’s first pincer movement. Ramesses-II set out to punish a small kingdom. Of Hittites, for trying to lure the Amurrus, Egyptian vassals, to the Hittite side.

Bedoiun Slaves Being Beaten - Battle Of Kadesh

Bedouin Slaves Being Beaten - Battle Of Kadesh

A lesser known (to modern history) element, were the Hittites led by Muwutalli-II, who had cobbled an alliance of small kingdoms.

Both these kingdoms were interested in the Syria and Palestine areas through which trade was carried out with India. Syriac and Palestinian lands were controlled by the Amurru – who were Egyptian vassals. The Hittites were a liberalising element in the Middle East /West Asia and possibly the Amurrus had defected to protect their political identity.

The campaign

During the march, leading to the Kadesh battle, the Egyptian army captured two Bedouin “spies”. These “spies”, after being sufficiently beaten, “revealed” to the Pharoah important information – giving confidence to the Pharoah that the Hittites feared the approaching Egyptian army. The truth was the opposite.

Battle Of Kadesh

Battle Of Kadesh

The Greatest Chariot Battle In History

What followed was a historic chariot battle.

The awaiting Hittites ambushed the Egyptian army. These spies, in fact, were Hittites – sent to misinform the Egyptians!! An estimated 2500 Hittite (Ramesses’ estimate) chariots saw action. For two days the battle of Kadesh raged. Fought on the banks of the Orontes River in Syria.

The Egyptian king was saved at the last minute by the appearance of his reserve troops.

The Historic Treaty

After this battle, the Egyptians and the Hittites sat down and wrote their versions of this battle – which makes it rather unique. One of the few times in ancient history, where we get both versions of the battle. Two copies of the treaty were made. One, in Egyptian hieroglyphics and the other, in Hittite-Akaddian, and both survived. Only one difference in both the copies – the Egyptian version (recorded on a silver plaque) states that the Hittite king who wanted peace. In the Hittite copy, it was Ramesses-II who sent emissaries.

Queen Nefertari (Photograph by Kenneth Garrett 1997, NGM, From Treasures of Egypt, 2003.).

Queen Nefertari (Photograph by Kenneth Garrett 1997, NGM, From Treasures of Egypt, 2003.).

The two queens – critical factor

Peace broke when the queens of Hatti and Egypt, Puduhepa and Nefertari, sent one another congratulatory gifts and letters. Over the next 15 years, they arrived at modus vivendi and drafted a peace treaty. Puduhepa continued to be an active diplomat, co-signatory to the treaty of  Ulmi-Teshub treaty.

This peace treaty is the first in recorded history. A replica of this peace pact, in cuneiform tablet, found at Hattusas, Boghazkoi, hangs above the Security Council Chamber, United Nations, in New York, – a demonstration to modern nations the power of peace through international treaties. At Boghazkoi other Hiitite treaties have been found.

Another Treaty

The second discovery in the West Asian history, is the Treaty between the Mitannis and Hittites. In 1450 BC, Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites entered into a treaty with the Mitannis. The Mittanis of the Amarna Tablets fame were linked to the significant power in the region – Egypt. As already outlined, the Mittanis were the closely associated with the Egyptian Pharaohs by marriage. And the Mittanis were also Indo-Aryans.Treaty Of Kadesh

What Is Special About This Treaty

In this treaty, Vedic Gods like Indra, Varuna, The Ashwini twins were invoked to bless and witness the treaty. The Hittites who had become past masters at treaties did not invoke these Gods with any other kingdom – except the Mitannis. Hittites and Mitannis were Indo- Aryan kingdoms – in full presence, with their Vedic Gods and culture.

The Zannanzas Puzzle

The 3rd interesting link between the Mitannis and the Hittites was the Zannanzas affair. After the death of Tutankhamen, (The Boy King) the XVIIIth Dynasty of Egypt was without a ruler. Tutankhamen’s queen, Ankhesenamun, a princess of Mitanni descent, needed a husband to continue the dynasty and protect the throne. She sent some urgent missives to the Hittite King, Suppiluliuma – asking him to send his son, to her as a husband, and become the King Of Egypt. The suspicious Hittite king ignored the missive. A second missive followed – and then a young prince was sent to Thebes (the capital was moved from Amarna back to Thebes).

The young prince never reached Egypt. He was possibly killed en route. And Tutankhamen’s Queen? Never been heard of since then.

How Do We Know All This

In 1906-07, an Turkish archeologist , Theodore Makridi-Bey, started excavations at Boghazkoi, (now identified as the ancient city of Hattusas) in Cappadocia, 150-200 kms from Ankara, Turkey. The name of the Hittite city, Hattusas, is possibly derived from the Sanskrit word, hutashan, हुताशन meaning ‘”sacred sacrificial fire.”

He was joined by Hugo Winckler, a German archaeologist, specialising in Assyria. They unearthed more than 10,000 clay tablets which proved to be of tremendous interest. A Czech cryptographer, born in Poland, working in Germany, Friedrich (or Bedrich) Hrozny, working in Germany cracked this code over the next 15 years – and that set off a furore amongst archaeologists.

What do the Boghaz koi tablets show

Deciphered cuneiform tablets show Hittite worship of Varuna, Mitra and Indra – Gods worshipped by Indo-Aryans. Rulers and Kings had names likes Shutruk (Shatrughna), Tushrutta meaning “of splendid chariots” (similar to Dashratha; Master of Ten Chariots) Rama-Sin (Assyrian Moon Good was Sin; in Hindi Ramachandra), Warad (Bharat). One of the Hittite allies against Ramesses II was Rimisharrinaa, रामशरण the King of Aleppo. (One of my grand uncles is also named as रामशरण – a common Indian name 4000 years later, 4000 kilometers apart).

These Hittites ruled immediately before and after Hammurabi – the much proclaimed western world’s first law giver. Hammurabi’s legal concepts of vengeful laws and retributive justice are the basis of laws in the 3 ‘desert religions.’

The Elam culture had a language which is similar to Dravidian languages. The Mitannite, Kikkuli, wrote on how to manage chariot horses. Egyptian king, Amenhotep I, married a Mittanite princesses. Elamites were founders of the first kingdom in the Iranian geography.

Some archaeologists await the discovery of tombs to establish the identity of kings. They may never find them. In Vedic cultures, there are no tombs – like the Pyramids, or the Catacombs, or Mausoluems. Vedic Indo Aryans cremate their dead. They do not build memorials or mausoluems.

Religious freedom

The Hittite kingdom came to be known as the “kingdom of thousands of gods.” Like the Mittani, the Hittites too, added the gods of the conquered people to their own list of gods – instead of imposing the Hittite religion on the conquered peoples.

Why does this sound familiar?

This is significant as the Western concept of slavery was to deprive the captured of their religions (for instance, The Wends and their religion). This is another display of slave reform by Indics 3000 years ago.

Valued 3000 years later

These inscriptions were held sacred by the locals, 3000 years later and William Wright, an European investigator, had difficulty in noting these inscriptions. In 1870 The Hittites were named, by William Wright and Oxford University linguist A. H. Saycebased on Biblical short references, as one of the tribes of Palestine in the first millennium BC. It was a “son of Heth—a Hittite—who sold the Prophet Abraham the land to bury his much-loved wife, Sarah”. Modern view is Hattusas-Hittites (Yazilikaya/Boghazkoi/Carchemish) have nothing to do with the Biblical Hittites.

The Boghazkoi tablets changed modern history. From a completely Greco-Roman (read Euro-centric) history, the pendulum had swung to the other end. Boghazkoi showed Indian presence in the thick of West Asia in the year 2000BC with their culture and technology. This has pushed Indian history back by at least by 2000 years – to 4000 BC.

The Amarna letters and the Boghazkoi tablets have given archaeological proof of the Indo Aryan spread. Earlier, theories were retro-fitted, based on Biblical dates (Max Mueller’s, (specialist in “Compartive Theology”); main aim – “save” Indian pagans; make them see “the light” of Christian belief), colonial propaganda (Max Mueller, though a German, was a British employee) and racism. Hazy systems like philology, linguistics, comparative linguistics were used to define history. Now hard archaeological proof shows something else. Written texts, deciphered and decrpyted give us a new theory.

These discoveries and their implications have been buried under a mound of silence. Although well known in academic circles, these discoveries have not been used to update popular history. In the next (and last instalment of this series) I will trace how DNA testing is the third major tool used to reveal history!

PS – One of the big hits in Japan is the manga comic series “Red River” by Chie Shinohara. The entire series is based on this interaction between the Hittites and The Egyptians. The Red River is a work of fiction – so it cannot be taken as history – but the intrigue, silence, drama obviously inspired the author.

Another Egyptian force set sail, in ships, to reach Byblos and squeeze the Hittites in the world’s first pincer movement.
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14 Responses

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  1. Parag Tope said, on December 26, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Absolutely fascinating. Interesting how the etymology of Eknathan was transformed in the translation as the “n” from “nathan” became part of the “eka” (Eka + Nathan, One + God) became (Ekan + Athan or Aken + Aten)

  2. […] than 10,000 clay seals and tablets at Boghaz-koi, unearthed in 1907-08 by Makridi Bey and Hugo Winckler and deciphered by Bedrich Hrozny during […]

  3. […] and a spread which taken India deeper than any other civilisation in the world. While the previous history was along the uttarapath, this story lies along the दक्षिनपथ […]

  4. annapurna said, on March 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    hey this was amazing.

  5. T P Verma said, on June 27, 2010 at 4:51 am

    It is really a wonderful exposition. I am delighted to read the article. that Hattush is derivable from a Sanskrit word Hutashana is new to me. Now about fourteen names of Mitanni kings are known. The mention of Vedic deities in the treaty proves that the antiquity of the Vedas cannot be 1200 BCE as many European and American scholars still profess. I congratulate the author for his bold exposition.
    T P Verma

  6. farang said, on April 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Priam: King of Troy.

    Piyama-Radu, (Wikipedia): “Piyamaradu (also spelled Piyama-Radu, Piyama Radu, Piyamaradus, Piyamaraduš) was a warlike personage whose name figures prominently in the Hittite archives of the middle and late 13th century BC in western Anatolia. His history is of particular interest because it appears to intertwine with that of the Trojan War. Some scholars assume that his name lives forth in that of King Priam of Troy.”

    Do these “experts” struggle, or what? He is called “Priam” because his city was Pi-Ramesses. And then this:

    “The name appears to be a compound with Luwian piyama “gift” as its first part. Other Luwian names containing the same word are attested, such as Piyama-Kurunta.
    The second part of the word was earlier believed to be an unknown theonym *Radu,[1] but since Luwian words do not start with an r, it must be aradu, which may be a noun meaning “devotee”, derived “from *arada- ‘religious community (vel sim.)’, itself a derivative of *ara- ‘associate’ (cf. Hitt. ara- ‘id.’) [2]”

    Anyone reading this think the correct answer might be “Rudra?” “The Gift of Rudra/Shiva?”
    The Hindu god Shiva shares several features with the Rudra: the theonym Shiva originated as an epithet of Rudra” Incredible…or intentional? Hard to tell.

    So, Piyama-Radu: “Piyamaradu’s renegade activities are remarkable for their duration, having spanned at least 35 years,[3] during which time he posed a considerable threat to three Hittite kings: Muwatalli II, Hattusili III, and Tudhaliya IV.
    Popular conjecture proposes that Piyamaradu was the legitimate heir of Uhha-Ziti, a previous king of Arzawa who was dethroned by the Hittite king Mursili II, and probably the son of his son Piyama-Kurunta,[4] although this is entirely speculative, and he is nowhere referred to as a prince.”

    Look closely, I am going to prove the pharaoh of Egypt named Seti I was the king of Arzawa named Uhha-Ziti. And the father of Piyama-Radu, a Yama/Rudra worshiping Indo-Aryan. Aka “Ramses II.

    “Early in his life, Ramesses II embarked on numerous campaigns to return previously held territories back from Nubian and Hittite hands and to secure Egypt’s borders.”
    “The Battle of Kadesh in his fifth regnal year was the climactic engagement in a campaign that Ramesses fought in Syria, against the resurgent Hittite forces of Muwatallis. The pharaoh wanted a victory at Kadesh both to expand Egypt’s frontiers into Syria and to emulate his father Seti I’s triumphal entry into the city just a decade or so earlier. He also constructed his new capital, Pi-Ramesses where he built factories to manufacture weapons, chariots, and shields, supposedly producing some 1,000 weapons in a week, about 250 chariots in 2 weeks, and 1,000 shields in a week and a half. After these preparations, Ramesses moved to attack territory in the Levant which belonged to a more substantial enemy than any he had ever faced before: the Hittite Empire.”

    Is there anyone that can possibly entertain the notion that there were TWO people, one named Piyama-Radu/Priam, another called Ramses II with a city called Pi-Ramesses, fighting the the same kings for 35 years in the same locations? Not with a straight face.

    These were battles of the Mahabharata.

  7. farang said, on April 9, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    If one goes to Wikipedia, and enters “children of ramses II”, you will discover that he had two sons, #’s 26 & 28. (27 is unknown)

    “Siptah” is one of them (26th), and his mummy exhibits a curious birth defect: his leg is drawn up and his heel exposed. (historyembalmed.org): “The mummy of Siptah has revealed that he was about 18 years old when he died, he was tall and his hair was a red-brown color. He clearly had suffered with different health problems and his left foot was severely deformed possibly due to polio.” Achilles.

    So why is this curious? Look at the name of his brother, #28: “Mentuenheqau.” Hector.

    This was a dual fought for succession rights. Seems Mentuenhequa was the “Crown Prince” of “Troy” (Wilusa), of a different mother queen then Siptah, Crown Prince of Egypt.

    I’d guess when you have hundreds of wives, and some of them of powerful rulers expecting their daughters to be “queens”…you need “lots of kingdoms” with lots of ALIASES to mask your “adventures” from the various regions ruled….And old “Priam” had to go beg his son, the pharaoh of Egypt now, to please give back the body of another son Siptah had just killed. Note well: As Piyama-radu, he had “Ahhiyawan” Greek allies. They came to his rescue, not to invade. Twisted history, difficult to unravel. But not impossible.

  8. John Nevere said, on September 14, 2014 at 3:16 am

    This is kinda funny. If there was so much relations between the Indo-Aryans why are there no swastikas or Hindu symbols unearthed by archaeologists in Egypt? This symbol was pervasive among the Indo-Aryans. And I don’t mean any such later additions by the Romans or any other conqueror.

    • Vinod said, on April 25, 2020 at 4:33 pm

      Really funny.

  9. Gerald said, on March 15, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    War is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

  10. Kumar Danish said, on May 21, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    The name Asia itself comes from Info Aryan word asset kingdom (related to horses) which was there at what became troy later on.
    Aswaa was a small kingdom at time of hittites .

    • Kumar Danish said, on May 24, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      I meant to write Aryan word ” Asswa” kingdom at near later site of troy.
      Asia comes from that Aswa kingdom near hittites .

  11. Ashutosh said, on September 24, 2018 at 10:05 am

    It seems like, I found something which I was searching .And the facts which are given are quiet related,I mean much related to each other.

  12. Vinod k said, on April 25, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Bible has hundreds of references about Hittites.

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