THE PREHISTORIC PERIOD
Anatolia was the birthplace of some of the earliest civilizations of mankind. The first traces of agriculture were found in southern Middle Anatolia, to the west of Cappadocia, in the aceramic period at Hacilar, c. 7040 BC. according to carbon 14 dating. The Catalhoyuk settlement, located in the eastern part of the same region and founded in approximately 6500 BC., stands out as an unrivaled prehistoric center of culture. It was here that man created some of the first great works of art. The most important achievements are the mural paintings and painted reliefs which adorned the walls of the houses and cult rooms. Some of these are now exhibited in the Ankara Museum.
The shrines were situated in the center of a complex of four to five houses, usually consisting of one large room. Neither the houses nor the shrines had doors. Access was from the roof by means of wooden ladders. These buildings were built of mud-brick and had small windows set high up under the eaves. Each living room had at least a bench made of mud-brick, which served as a divan, work-table and bed. Beneath this bench, the dead were buried after the flesh had been removed from their bodies. These graves contained beautiful burial gifts, such as the magnificent obsidian mirror found in one of the houses. In a shrine from Level VII a mural painting (c. 6200 BC. by carbon dating) was found which apparently represents the eruption of a volcano, possibly the nearby Hasan Dag, lying in western Cappadocia and superbly dominating the plateau around the Tuz Golu and Aksaray. This is the earliest known landscape painting in history. Particularly favored among the myriad themes of the polychrome mural paintings were hunts, dancers and acrobats and above all paintings of a religious and funerary character. Some houses contained a strikingly large number of bulls’ heads or horns mounted in rows along the walls or attached to the sides of the benches, as can be seen in a restored room in the Ankara Museum.
These with no doubt represented the male deity; for the husbandman of Anatolia, the bull was not only a symbol of strength but, more important still, the progenitor of the horned cattle without which they could not cultivate their land. This explains why, after agriculture first began in Anatolia, the male god was depicted in the shape of a bull. This practice persisted until the Hittite era, as is seen in an orthostat relief from Alacahoyuk in which a king is represented venerating a bull that stands on an altar. The main deity was, however, the great Mother Goddess, who appears in human form on a painted stucco relief from Catalhoyuk. She too is sometimes represented by her wild beasts. The beautiful, richly colored stucco relief of two leopards which adorned the walls of one of the shrines in Level VI at Catalhoyuk (c. 6000 BC.) may be assumed to represent the mighty goddess. A statuette depicting the goddess seated on a throne supported on two felines indicates that leopards were, in fact, her attributive animals. The goddess is about to give birth to a child, a typical posture and frequent motif of the Hacilar clay figurines.
The earliest earthenware vessels in Anatolia were made in the first Catalhoyuk period, c. 6500 BC. Beginning with the simple monochrome articles of the Neolithic period, they gradually evolved into the magnificent pottery of the Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic eras. In the upper two habitation levels at Hacilar (c. 5400-5250 BC. by radiocarbon dating) painted vases have been brought to light which is of unrivaled beauty and appeal.
In Cappadocia, the most important place for the Aceramic Neolithic period is Asiklihoyuk.
THE HATTIAN PERIOD
One of the most important cultures of early Anatolia was created by the people of Hatti, who lived in the central and southern parts of the peninsula during the second half of the 3rd millennium BC. The language of the Land of Hatti, preserved only in fragments and differing from all other Asian, Near Eastern and Indo-European languages, is chiefly recognizable in its extensive use of prefixes. Magnificent works of art in gold, silver, and electrum, dating from between 2500 and 2000 BC. and found in Alacahoyuk and some other places in the northern part of Central Asia Minor may be considered as achievements of the people of Hatti. This Bronze Age finds now form a splendid collection in the Ankara Museum.
Some of the objects found in the royal tombs of Alacahoyuk include metal drinking vessels executed in a highly accomplished technique, various articles of jewelry and works of cast bronze inlaid with gold and silver. The ritual standard, a bronze stag with a silver head and antlers and silver inlay patterns on its body, must have made a deep impression on the worshippers at their religious ceremonies. As we can deduce by analogy with the succeeding Anatolian period, the stag was a theriomorphic representation of Wurusenu, the chief goddess of the land of Hatti. Her consort, the weather god, was worshipped exclusively in the shape of a bull, just as at Catalhoyuk four thousand years earlier. Several bull statuettes were found at Alacahoyuk which were produced in similar form and by means of the same process as the stag standard mentioned above. These theriomorphic images were presumably fixed to a baldachin or throne-like seat. Typical features of these animal figures are the sloping shoulders, elongated hindquarters, and long tapering muzzle. Although the body has a stylized, abstract form, the rendering is essentially naturalistic. The attractive ornamental decoration gives these works a naive charm and fascination.
From the same tombs at Alacahoyuk curious standards in the form of solar discs were brought to light. These discs, mounted on poles and fixed by means of straps or cords, were carried by priests at religious ceremonies. With their impressive aura of mystery, these standards are symbols of the cosmos which still cast a strange and powerful spell on the beholder. Large bulls’ horns frame and support the standards in exactly the same way that bull-men carry the celestial sign on the Yazilikaya reliefs. These bulls’ horns recall the Turkish legend which says that the world rests on the horns of an ox. According to the legend, the earth trembles whenever the ox shakes its head. These precious standards of the Hattian priest-kings may be the earliest symbolic representations of this belief.
The royal tombs of Alacahoyuk and the recently discovered tombs at Mahmatlar and Horoztepe have yielded an abundance of excellent artworks which can be regarded, without doubt, as the most beautiful products of the prehistoric age. These precious treasures were made of gold, silver, and bronze. It is astonishing to find that over a thousand years before the Iron Age one of the sword blades found was made of iron. This proves that during the last quarter of the 3rd millennium Central Anatolia enjoyed a highly developed and homogeneous civilization which, although it did not yet have a writing system, played a leading role in the mining and working of precious metals.
THE HITTITE PERIOD
The most significant culture in Anatolian history was created by the Indo-European Hittites (2000-1200 BC.) who, probably coming from the northern part of Europe, established themselves in Anatolia at the end of the third millennium BC. The newcomers adopted the Hattian culture and continued to call Anatolia the Land of Hatti. For this reason, they were also called the people of the Land of Hatti by their neighbors. The term Hittite is modern and is derived from the word Hatti. In the 15th and 14th centuries, BC the Hittites created one of the three most important states in the Near East. In the 13th century, they shared with the Egyptians the hegemony of the Near Eastern world and developed a civilization of great originality and distinction.
The history of the Hittites can be classified into the following periods:
- Early Hittite Period (2000-1750 BC)
- Assyrian Colonies Period (1950 -1750 BC)
- Old Hittite Kingdom (1750-1450 BC)
- Hittite Empire (1450-1200 BC)
- Neo-Hittite city-states (1200-700 BC)
- The Early Hittite Period (2000-1750 BC)
The influx of Indo-European tribes into Asia Minor towards the end of the 3rd millennium halted the impressive growth of the Hattian civilization. There is an exact parallel for this period of stagnation in Troy, where the unimportant building phases III-V follow the golden age of the second settlement. The break in development which occurred in both regions of the peninsula at the same time suggests that there is a causal relationship between this cultural impoverishment and the disorder which probably resulted from the Indo-European invasions.
We have records of a number of Central Anatolian city-states in the first quarter of the 2nd millennium which were ruled by minor potentates: Kanes (Nesa), Kussar, Hattusha, Zalpa, and Purushanda. Like many other so far undiscovered cities, they began life as principalities of the native peoples, i.e. minor Hattian states. Then, following the Indo-European immigrations, they fell gradually into the hands of the Hittite rulers.
At first, the most important of these towns was Kanes -identical with present-day Kultepe, near Kayseri in Cappadocia. The excavations directed by Tahsin and Nimet Ozguc, have yielded excellent results. It is in Kultepe that we can discern the first concrete traces of the Hittites, whose presence there was established by Sedat Alp. He demonstrated convincingly that the suffixes ala, ili, ula, found in native proper names mentioned in the Kultepe writings, are Hittite transformations of the Hattic suffixes al, il and ul. Recently, moreover, continuing the work of H. G. Guterbock and using new arguments, he has virtually proved that Kanes and Nesa were one and the same. Since the Hittites called their tongue Nesian, Nesa (now Kultepe) was most probably their capital. A large building of megaron type uncovered on the main mound at Kultepe and dated to c. 2000 BC. is also clear evidence proving the arrival of the Indo-European Hittites in this formerly Hattian city.
The Assyrian Colonies Period (1950 -1750 BC)
The writing was first employed in Anatolia in the days of the city states. Thousands of Assyrian cuneiform tablets have been found in the Assyrian colony of Kultepe which throw light on many contemporary matters. Even early Hittite rulers like Anitta, king of Kussar, seem to have already been using Assyrian cuneiform in the 18th century BC.
The unique art of the Hittites developed from a happy cross-fertilization of the cultures of the indigenous Hattian and immigrant Indo-European peoples. In the main, the conquerors respected the religion and customs of the natives and adapted themselves to local conditions. The Hittites’ adoption of Hattian place names and proper names shows clearly how the two ethnic elements fused together.
The advanced artistic level of this early period can best be judged by its monochrome pottery, found at Kultepe, Acemhoyuk, Bogazkoy and Alisar, i.e. ancient cities located in Cappadocia. The hallmark of the period is the characteristic long-spouted jug. The abrupt inversion of the form below the belly of the jug and the precise contours display an attractive and tectonic sculpture. Other vessels of this period also exhibit similar sharp inversions of form, hard contours and boldly elongated spouts. The advanced cultural level of this early historical period is also evident in seals with excellent figurative scenes, inhuman and animal-shaped rhyta, in figurines made of clay, lead, ivory and other materials and in painted pottery.
In the excavations at Kultepe and Karahoyuk (near Konya) impressive remains have been discovered which indicate the presence of palaces and temples at that time.
Cappadocia was the most prosperous part of Anatolia during the Early Hittite period, for Kultepe was, as already noted, the main center of artistic and commercial activities. The trading colonies which Assyrian merchants created at Kultepe, Bogazkoy and at many other places mentioned in the records but not yet identified were commercial centers where a very significant exchange of products and artifacts took place. Assyrian merchants bartered mainly textiles and costly garments for copper, which was abundant and inexpensive in Asia Minor. The basic currencies were gold and especially silver. The proportion of the value of gold to silver was 1:8. Copper of good quality was worth 46 to 70 times its weight in silver. A metal called “amutum” was 40 times the price of silver; this must have been iron which was, as already mentioned, produced in Anatolia by the Hattian period. Since no roads existed for four-wheeled transport, goods were conveyed by donkeys, to which the adjective “black” was regularly attached. On a mold found at Kultepe, a donkey is represented along with two divinities as the most important animal of the period. Trading was carried out on a very large scale. Assyrian merchants made a profit of more than 100 percent from their transactions.
The Old Hittite Kingdom (1750-1450 BC)
From the outset, the new state was so strong that a few generations later Mursili I (c. 1620-1590 BC.) was able to conquer first Aleppo and then Babylon, thus causing the downfall of Hammurabi’s dynasty. The Hittites used the cuneiform script imported from Mesopotamia in the 18th and 17th centuries. They also had a picture-writing system which can be seen on their seals and public monuments.
The art of the Old Kingdom is closely linked with that of the earlier age. Some of the pottery art from Alaca imitates the design and boldly elongated spouts of the burnished monochrome vessels of the preceding period. However, we can trace the beginnings of a new aesthetic concept in the slender proportions of many vessels from Alaca, Alisar, and Acemhoyuk. The high standard of living in the Old Kingdom is reflected in the numerous handsome earthenware hip-baths discovered at Alisar, Bogazkoy and elsewhere.
The Old Kingdom architecture continued in the native Anatolian tradition; nevertheless, there are unmistakably original features, both technical and formal. One example is the appearance of the cyclopean wall system, previously unknown in Anatolia. On the citadel of Hattusha, the seat of the Hittite rulers, there must have been palaces similar to those recently discovered in the cities of the early historical period. The latest German excavations at Bogazkoy have revealed that the stone-vaulted subterranean passages which were used for defensive sorties in the Empire period were also known in the Old Hittite Kingdom.
The Hittite Empire (1450-1200 BC)
Hittite art reached its peak during the Empire. Monumental sculpture and architecture began to flourish at this time. Representational art, fostered by the building of the huge palaces and temples of the Hittites, held an eminent position in the Eastern world. The Hittites created the best military architecture of the Near East. Their system of offensive defense works, handed down from the Old Kingdom, grew into a unique type of fortification under the Empire. The impressive cyclopean walls at Hattusha and Alaca display a high level of craftsmanship. From the point of view of their strategic contouring in a very difficult terrain and of the layout of their offensive defense works, the walls of ancient Hattusha ax an unrivaled masterpiece.
At the German excavations in Hattusha (Bogazkoy), five temples have been uncovered whose size and architectural design place them among the finest monuments of their time. The largest of them, consecrated to the weather god of Hatti and the sun goddess of Arinna, is reasonably well-preserved and still gives a vivid impression of its time. The whole complex, storerooms included, is 160 m. long and 135 m. wide. The temple itself is a rectangular building with an inner court. On the north-eastern side, there is an additional wing containing nine rooms where the actual places of worship were located. In the two largest rooms stood the statues of the weather god and the sun goddess of Arinna. These, unfortunately, are no longer in existence.
The major characteristic of Hittite architecture is its completely asymmetrical ground plan. The Hittites employed square piers as supports and had neither columns nor capitals. Both unique and typical are the large windows with low parapets which were set into the outer walls of the temple but not into the walls of the courtyard.
It is unfortunate that not a single cult statue has survived; in fact, we have no free-standing sculpture at all from the Empire period. On the other hand, a great number of impressive reliefs have been preserved. The outstanding reliefs of the period are carved on the face of a rock formation at Yazilikaya, a holy place 2 km. to the north-east of Hattusha. The large open gallery with its reliefs of male and female deities formed the shrine of the adjacent temple, the foundations of which have since been uncovered. Whereas in Hattusha the religious rites were carried out in closed rooms in front of the cult statue, in Yazilikaya they were performed in the open air before the reliefs of deities. These reliefs present a collective picture of all the Hittite gods.
The side chamber was devoted to the royal cult, and the statue of King Tudhaliya IV once stood at the north-eastern end. The pedestal of this statue and a cartouche relief on the wall have been preserved. The remaining reliefs in the chamber represent King Tudhaliya being embraced by the god Sarruma, and also the sword god and a procession of twelve other gods. Like the mountain god represented on the king’s cartouche, all these reliefs face north, i.e. towards the statue. Anyone entering the now inaccessible south entrance to the side-chamber would be faced with the dominating presence of the king’s statue at the north end.
Despite marked Anatolian-Hattian, Mesopotamian and Hurrian influences, the Hittites developed their own individual culture in Anatolia. It is astonishing that a people as strongly and continuously influenced by the Mesopotamians as the Hittites could have formed such very different characteristics from their Oriental neighbors in several aspects of their cultural life and have developed a truly Western way of thinking. One of the most important traits of the Hittites was their sense of loyalty to a state governed by law. Although he ruled by right of heredity, the king was merely primus inter pares. The Hittites of the Empire showed no interest in the ideas of Oriental absolutism and the divine right of kings. It was only towards the end of the Empire that they became inclined to tolerate some Oriental ideas. However, this brief appearance of an orientalization of basic concepts could not really affect the basic character of Hittite culture. We see in the Testament of Hattusili I that the court functions of the king among the nobles were taken away from him. Nobles had to be referred to the pankus or community of nobles. In the law of succession passed by Telepinu the rights of nobles were carefully respected. The king was warned You shall not kill one of the kinsmen, that is not right; or He who becomes king and plans evil against his brothers or sisters must have a care: you who sit in the pankus must say to him: ‘How deeds of blood shall be dealt with, see from the tablet.’ Whoever commits evil among brothers and sisters answers for it with the royal head. Call the Assembly, and if the things come to a decision he shall pay with his head.
It was the duty of the king to attend to the welfare of his realm, to wage war and, as high priest, to conduct religious ceremonies. We know from the text of Telepinu’s law that the name of the founder of the Hittite dynasty was Tabarna (also written Labarna). This is a Hattian word, which was adopted as a title by later kings, as was Caesar by the Romans.
In time, however – as we can see from a study of royal seals – the Hittite kings felt obliged to adopt grandiloquent titles in accordance with Oriental custom. This was inevitable if their prestige was not to be diminished at the hands of their vassals. However, these were only the initial steps in a process of orientalization which rapidly developed in the late Hittite period. Albrecht Gotze says that royalty had become theocratic in the Hittite Empire and cites a text which states: The land belongs to the weather god; heaven and earth and the people belong to the weather god. He made Labarna, the king, his regent and gave him the whole Hittite land. Thus Labarna shall rule the entire land with his hand. In this, we see an essentially Oriental idea introduced into the Hittite conception of kingship.
We know of no text in which the Hittite king was deified during his lifetime, as was the case among Oriental peoples. The Hittites only knew of the deification of deceased kings. The texts say of a dead king: He has become a god. Yet, it seems that at the end of the Empire the Oriental custom of deifying the king in his lifetime was introduced in Hattusha. In the large cult room of the shrine at Yazilikaya Tudhaliya IV had had himself represented as a god standing on a mountain. As this relief was probably carved during his reign, it appears to point to an Oriental conception of apotheosis at this time. It is also striking that on one of his seals found at Ras Shamra this same king is wearing a sacred cap with horns. A limestone stele found in the shrine at Buyukkale, with the name of Tudhaliya in hieroglyphs (probably Tudhaliya IV), is yet another instance of this king’s predilection for placing his picture or cartouche in cult rooms. We thus see clear indications of the process of orientalization towards the end of the Hittite Empire.
One of the most important features of the Hittites, which distinguishes them from their Oriental neighbors, is the humane character of their laws. Of great importance to them, as Albrecht Gotze has pointed out, was a high valuation of human lives and the rights of the individual. Humiliating punishments like mutilation, which were practiced under Assyrian law, were almost completely absent. The killing and burning of the enemy, the erection of skull pyramids, the impaling, and flaying of the enemy – all atrocities common to the Assyrians – were unthinkable in Hittite Asia Minor. Neither the texts nor the art monuments give evidence of such acts. In addition, the treatment of slaves was very humane. Albrecht Gotze writes: The law gave a slave permission to marry a free woman legally without depriving her of the rights of her free birth. The only condition was that the slave must pay the price of his bride. If such a marriage was dissolved, the fortune and the children were to be distributed according to the same principles as applied to marriage between free men. Slavery did not hinder the amassing of a private fortune, and the possession of such wealth began to dissolve the barrier between slaves and free men.
Marriage between brother and sister, frequent in the Oriental world, was punishable by death among the Hittites. This is conveyed by the unequivocal words of Suppiluliuma I in the treaty of Hukkanas: My sister, whom I, the Sun, have given to you in marriage, has many sisters of various degrees. They have now become your sisters too because you have married their sister. There is one important law in the Land of Hatti: the brother may not have sexual intercourse with his own sister or his cousin. This is the rule. He who disobeys it shall not live in Hattusha but shall be killed. But in your country, which is immoral, it is the custom to allow sexual relations between the brother and his sister or cousin. This is not permitted in Hattusha. If a sister of your wife, or a half-sister or a cousin of hers, comes to stay with you, give her to eat and drink. Eat and be merry. But do not allow yourself to desire her. That is not permitted; that is punishable by death.
The superior social position of women is another Hittite characteristic which distinguishes them from Oriental peoples. We see an instance of this feature in the story of Queen Tawannana, who remained queen even as a widow throughout the reign of her son. It was only after her death that her daughter-in-law inherited the title of Tawannana. As Tawannana is a Hattian word, the superior position of the queen, almost equal to that of the king, might be a custom of indigenous Hattian origin. Only the reigning king had a harem: the ordinary people do not appear to have practiced polygamy. Family life was organized along patriarchal lines.
These characteristics and basic conceptions grant the Hittites a special place in the history of the world. For over 500 years these people stood for a humane outlook going far beyond their Oriental neighbors. In this lies their greatest merit. The Hittites, like so few other peoples in history, successfully combined the arts of war and of diplomacy. Because of their extraordinary abilities and exemplary powers of adaptation, based on a sense of reality and tolerance, they were able, for half a millennium, to unite numerous races of different languages and cultures under a common rule.
THE SIXTH SETTLEMENT OF TROY
During the Hittite period, there were also other states in Anatolia. Of special importance were the sixth settlement of Troy and the Kingdom of Mitanni.
The Middle Bronze Age foundation of Troy VI, which followed the Early Bronze Age settlement of Troy II, occurred at about the same time as the foundation of the first city-states by the immigrant Indo-European tribes. It is perhaps no mere accident that the Early Bronze Age ends and the Middle Bronze Age begins in Hellas at exactly the same time. The rise of these new and contemporaneous civilizations in three neighboring areas of the ancient world must be connected with the great Indo-European immigrations which began towards the end of the 3rd millennium and probably continued until the beginning of the 2nd millennium. Blegen has demonstrated the original relationship between the people of Troy VI and the Middle Helladic states of the Greek mainland. A similar but much less obvious affinity originating from the same source can be discerned between the Hittites and Troy VI. Although the Hittites had always been under the strong Oriental influence, their civilization had certain basic features in common with Mycenae and Troy VI, especially in architecture and town planning. However, there seems to have been very little direct contact between Troy and Hattusha. Not even the minutest fragment of Hittite pottery has been found at Troy. The similar traits which can be observed in the architecture and pottery of the two cultures do not imply any direct contact: they are more probably due to local Anatolian influences which reached Troy by various circuitous routes. Overland communications were unsafe, and Troy was linked to the West by tradition and by her geopolitical position. Matt-painted pottery, of Helladic and Cycladic origin, and Mycenaean ware are predominant among the imported pottery. Moreover, Cretan works of art and sherds of Cypriot pottery have been found, which are further indications that Troy VI had established relations with the outside world by means of maritime routes. The best products are the pieces of Minyan ware found in large quantities in the older habitation levels of the sixth settlement. Like their contemporaries who lived on the Greek mainland, the Trojans had brought this type of pottery with them from their common homeland.
THE KINGDOM OF MITANNI
The most important Anatolian state contemporaneous with the Hittite Empire was the kingdom of Mitanni, situated in the east and south-east of the peninsula, which was the most powerful Hurrian state in the middle of the 2nd millennium (c. 1650-1450 BC.). The Hurrian tongue is one of the strangest languages of the ancient world. It has an agglutinative character and is quite unlike Semitic, Indo-European and the prefixing Hattic language. It is interesting that the Hurrian culture reveals Indo-Aryan influences, and all the rulers of Mitanni had Indian names. The Hurrians were thus ruled by an aristocracy of Indo-Aryan origin. The members of this apparently a very sparse group of nobles were charioteers and mounted knights. It was undoubtedly due to them that horse-breeding and the use of war chariots became known in the Near East.
ANATOLIA’S DARK AGE
At the time of the Aegean immigration, about 1200 BC., many Anatolian cities were devastated. The settlement of Troy VIIa, which is to be identified with the Homeric city of King Priam, father of Paris or Alexander, was destroyed first. In this invasion, the Thracian peoples doubtless played a great part. Soon after the destruction of Troy VIIa Hattusha, the capital of the Hittite Empire, was burned by the same invaders (c. 1180 BC.). The Aegean immigration caused a Dark Age in Anatolia which in several areas and especially in the central regions of the peninsula lasted until 750 BC.
NEO-HITTITE PERIOD (1200-700 BC)
As a result of the dissolution of the Hittite Empire there emerged in the southern and south-eastern parts of Anatolia a great number of small Hittite states which developed, during the 9th and 8th centuries BC, a Neo-Hittite culture strongly influenced and modified by the Assyrian, Aramaean, and Phoenician civilizations. The art and architecture of the Neo-Hittite states had a profound effect on Greek and Etruscan centers of the 8th and 7th centuries.
THE PHRYGIAN, LYDIAN, CARIAN AND LYCIAN CIVILIZATIONS
In the 8th to 6th centuries Anatolia saw the rise of the Phrygian, Lydian, Carian and Lycian civilizations, which greatly contributed to forming the phenomenal Greco-Anatolian civilization of the 6th century BC. The Phrygian King Midas (c. 725-690 BC.), whose tomb has recently been discovered at Gordion near Ankara, and the Lydian King Croesus, whose capital city is being excavated at Sardis, were two Anatolian rulers who enjoyed a legendary popularity in the Greek world. The well-preserved Lycian tombs (6th to 4th centuries BC) can be counted as some of the most attractive monuments ever created.
THE AGE OF GRECO-ANATOLIAN CIVILIZATION
The Greeks of the Mycenaean period, called Achaeans by Homer, had established commercial factories on the west coast of Anatolia as early as the second half of the 2nd millennium BC. It seems that the Achaeans tried in vain to conquer lands in Asia Minor, and Homer’s Iliad could be considered as a poetic account of these unsuccessful operations. However, not long after the destruction of the Trojan kingdom and the dissolution of the Hittite Empire, the Anatolian peoples were no longer in a position to withstand Greek expansion. By the 11th century, therefore, as recent excavations have revealed, the Greeks had founded Miletus, Ephesus, Smyrna and many other cities on the western shores of Asia Minor.
When the Milesians began to colonize the Mediterranean and the Black Sea coasts about the middle of the 7th century BC the Eastern Greek or Ionian world reached its zenith. The wealth accruing from trade and industrial production was the basis for the prosperity which developed during the 6th century in Anatolia. The originality of Eastern Greek art and culture owes a considerable debt to its long-standing contacts with the Phrygian, Lydian, Lycian and Carian cultures of Anatolia. With the help of many Near Eastern influences (Assyrian, Hittite, Urartian, Babylonian, Syrian, Aramaean, Phoenician and Egyptian) the Ionian cities produced in the 6th century BC not only a magnificent body of poetry and a unique art but also laid the foundations of the exact sciences. The Milesian Thales, whose father Hexamyes was a Carian, founded abstract geometry and succeeded, for the first time in the world, in predicting a total eclipse of the sun, identified by many modern astronomers with that of 28th May, 585 BC. The discovery of a positive way of thinking and research entirely independent from superstitious belief and wholly based on the objective observation of nature is the most important achievement of mankind. As a result of these scientific activities in the 6th century BC. the cultural leadership of the world passed from the Near East to the Ionian cities of Anatolia.
THE HELLENISTIC AGE
The year 334 BC., when Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont, heralded a new era of Greek civilization which was of importance not only for Greece and Anatolia but also for the whole world. In this period Anatolia was again a leading country. This historical epoch, known by the term Hellenistic Age applied to it by the German historian Droysen, which ended with the beginning of the reign of Augustus (30 BC.), saw the expansion of Greek civilization as far as India (Gandhara) in Asia and Ethiopia in Africa. Alexander’s cultural policy respected the Near Eastern mentality. Through the mingling of the Iranian spirit, which was a continuation of the Akkadian and Assyrian philosophy of life, with Greek civilization, a world culture came into being which was Hellenic in outward appearance but Near Eastern in essence. Alexander was worshipped in Egypt as the son of the god Ammon. In Persia, he wore an Achaemenid costume and introduced the practice of proskynesis (prostration) by those approaching his person. This compromise between two radically different mentalities ended in the triumphal advance of the Near Eastern religions in Europe.
THE ROMAN AGE
The Greco-Anatolian tradition continued almost uninterrupted in Roman times (30 BC.-AD. 395). This is primarily reflected in the originality of the local architecture of Asia Minor. Nevertheless, the new building techniques and engineering methods employed in Anatolian architecture in this period were entirely Roman in character. The building material (bricks bound with mortar) enabled the Romans to construct functional structures of huge dimensions; but the Roman architects were also masters in the use of marble, which now became the dominant material for building. The Romans were the first in the world to build solid, permanent roads with paved surfaces and monumental bridges. Especially significant are the architectural elements and forms they developed under the inspiration of Near Eastern models, such as arches, barrel, and groined vaults and also domes, which were used to build monuments of incomparable engineering mastery. The huge stadiums and theatres which rest on vaulted substructures, the amphitheaters, colonnaded streets, triumphal arches and especially the baths with central heating, in addition to a variety of multi-storied structures with rich ornamental decoration, are innovations and achievements of Roman architects and engineers. Anatolia was, during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, one of the most important cultural and artistic centers of the Roman Empire. The cities of Ephesus, Sardis, Aphrodisias, and Hierapolis, as well as Side, Perge, Aspendos, and Termessus, are the most superb and imposing ruins in Anatolia dating from the Roman period.
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE PERIOD
Early Christian and Byzantine art (AD 30-1453) emerged from the Roman centers of Anatolia. The architectural elements and forms as well as the ornaments, with the impressive play of light and shadow characteristic of Byzantine art, were first developed during Roman times in Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Hierapolis, Side, Perge, Antioch and many other cities in Anatolia. The figurative and mythological motifs of Near Eastern origin encountered in Byzantine art were partly transmitted by towns in Eastern and Southern Anatolia. The cultural center of Early Christian and Byzantine art became Constantinople, founded in AD 330 by the Emperor Constantine the Great. This capital of Eastern Christendom was the most brilliant city in the world from the 4th to the 6th centuries AD Early Christian art reached its climax in the reign of the great Justinian (A.D. 527-565). The culmination of centralized architecture was achieved in Constantinople during this magnificent period. The church of St. Sophia, a domed basilica (A.D. 532-537), is the masterpiece of Byzantine art and constitutes one of the most important architectural achievements in the world. Two well-preserved funerary chapels, the Fethiye Camii (St. Mary Pammakaristos) (A.D. 1310) and the Kariye Camii (St. Saviour in Chora) (A.D. 1315), are among the most fascinating monuments in Istanbul. The multiple small domes, the articulated facades decorated with many-tiered blind arcading, and the attractive arrangement of the bricks are typical features of later Byzantine architecture. The latter chapel, especially, is adorned with magnificent mosaics and frescoes in a very good state of preservation. Fine and important works of Early Christian, as well as Byzantine art, were also created in different regions of Anatolia. This period is discussed separately in the following chapters.
While the Hittites, Phrygians, Greeks and Romans each inhabited only certain parts of Anatolia, the Turks were the first to occupy and dominate the peninsula in its entirety. The Turks, who came from the steppes between the Ural and Altay mountains in Central Asia, began by developing, along with the Arabs and Iranians, a common Muslim culture which flourished in the Near Eastern world from the 9th to 14th centuries AD In this common culture, which was based on ancient Greek traditions, the Islamic communities created the first “Renaissance” long before the European Renaissance. By the 13th century, however, the Islamic world, under the strong influence of mystic philosophy, abandoned the methods of the exact sciences and entered a period of stagnation which lasted until modern times.
The Seljuks (1071-1300) developed an original art and architecture, forming it with Iranian and Arab elements and also the Turkish elements which they had brought from Central Asia. They built attractive monuments of fascinating beauty, which display a common spirit with a homogeneous style although they were produced in regions of the peninsula widely distant from one another.
The Ottoman Turks (1299-1923), who formed a huge empire and became the leaders of the whole Islamic world, adhered strictly to Seljuk tradition and created a national art of high quality which also influenced other Muslim countries.