History Of Anatolia 

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History starts in Anatolia...

The history of Anatolia goes back to the Paleolithic ages. The cave Karain 30km north of Antalya gives us evidence of mankind in Anatolia dated back to 10.000B.C. The houses found in Archeological excavations in Catalhoyuk near Konya dated 6800-5700B.C and  in Hacilar near Burdur dated 5700-5600B.C. shows us the examples of the fists settlements of mankind. The foundings in Alisar(in Yozgat), Alacahoyuk (in Corum), Tilkitepe (in Van), Canhasan (in Konya), Horoztepe (in Tokat) ,İkiztepe (in Samsun) gives a detailed overview of the people and live style of prehistoric ages. After mankind started to settle  Anatolia has given rise to many civilizations in the course of history. Although not as advanced as Egypt or Mesopotamia, the Hatti, who spoke a language characterized by prefixes, were nevertheless one of the more advanced societies of their age(3000-2000B.C.). The objects on display at the Ankara Museum of Anatolian Civilizations constitute the finest Bronze Age collection in the world next to the Ur Treasure in the British Museum. The Ankara collection, dated at 2000-1900B.C., comes from tumuli at Alacahoyuk, Horoztepe and Mahmatlar, and includes artifacts in gold silver, electrum bronze and ceramic.



During the time of the Hatti, Troy I (3000-2500) and Troy II (2500-2200) represented the Bronze Age in northwestern Anatolia, that is to say at Canakkale. Both fell within the sphere of Aegean culture, and Troy II had a particularly brilliant age. The gold vessels unearthed by Heinrich Schliemann, and kept in the Berlin Völkerkunde Museum, unfortunately vanished during World War II. The riches of Troy are now represented by the gold jewellery on display in the Istanbul museum of Archaeology. Troy III-V (2200-1800B.C.) is a continuation of Troy II.


Migration Of Indo-European Peoples Into Anatolia
The Hatti-Hittite Princedoms

The Indo-European migrations, which took place over a vast territory extending from Western Europe to India, brought some peoples over the Caucasus into Anatolia. The Nesi people settled in Central Anatolia, the Pala in Paphlygonia, and the Luwians in Southern Anatolia. In the course of these migrations the new arrivals gradually captured the Hatti princedoms to form first the Old Hittite Kingdom (1660-1460 B.C.), and than the Great Hittite Kingdom(1460-1190 B.C.).


The Hittite Empire (1660-1190 B.C.)

The Hittites founded a federative feudal state, and during their final two centuries constituted one of the two superpowers of the age, the other being Egypt. Indo-European in origin, the Hittites recognized equality between men and women, and indeed their law incorporated rights even for slaves. No other legal system in the world at that time was so advanced. Although the monarchy passed from father to son, this was a kingship based on the idea of "primus inter pares", first among equals, for the ruler was required to bring many matters before the senate, which was made up of aristocrats known as the Pankus class.

At a time in the Near East when the flaying and impaling of enemies was the rule, when heads and hands would be lopped off and pyramids made of them, the Hittites were astonishingly humane, almost like civilized of nations today.

The Hittites adopted the Hatti religion, mythology, language and customs, as well as their names for places, mountains, rivers and persons. Because the Mesopotamians called Anatolia "the Land of the Hatti", the newcomers were mistakenly given the name "Hittite".

Hittite architecture was highly original, and included the strongest city walls of the Near East in the second millennium B.C. They also built the most magnificent temples, and developed a figurative art that was to be widespread in Anatolia.


The Ilium of Homer's Iliad Troy VI (1800-1275 B.C.)

As the Hittites were settling in Central Anatolia, another Indo-European people were flourishing in the Canakkale region at Troy VI, which today is one of Turkey's finest ruins, with a city wall preserved to a height of four meters, and a number of well preserved megaron type houses.

The Ilium of King Priam, in Homer's epic, corresponds to layer VIh(1325-1275 B.C.), and was destroyed in an earthquake, while the city captured by the Achaeans was Troy VIIe (1275-1240/1200 B.C.). When Troy VIh was destroyed in an earthquake in 1275 B.C., followed by the pillaging of Troy VIIa in 1240/1200 at the hands of The Achaeans, a staunch outpost against incursions from the northwest- an outpost which had stood for two thousand years was gone. And indeed, the crude hand-made pottery discovered in Troy VIIb2 / 1240-1190 B.C.), like the Buckelceramic pots found in Troy VIIb2 (1190-110), are of Balkan Origin. Having captured Troy in 1200, the Balkan peoples proceeded to occupy Anatolia in waves; around 1190 they destroyed the Hittite capital of Hattusas and penetrated as far south as the Assyrian border.


Civilizations Which Influenced The Hellens
The Urartu Kingdom(860-580 B.C.) and The Phrygians(750-300 B.C.)

In southeastern and eastern Anatolia, which seem not to have been much affected by the migrations of the Balkan peoples, the Late Hittite Princedoms(1200-700 B.C.) and the Urartu Kingdom (860-580 B.C.) produced a high level of culture.

In the 8th century B.C. the Hellenes came in contact with the rich two-thousand-year-old heritage of Mesopotamia through the intermediary of the Late Hittite Princedoms living in southeastern Anatolia. The Hellenes acquired the Phoenician alphabet from Al Mina, and the mythology and figurative art which we see in Homer and Hesiod, from such Late Hittite cities as Kargamish and Malatya. The helmet of a Hellene in the 8th century, along with his shield, various belts and different hair styles, were just like Those of the Hittites. Hellenic figurative and decorative art in the 8th and 7th centuries followed Hittite styles and iconography.

Although the Urartus were strongly influenced in their art by Assyrian and Late Hittite example, they produced fine artifacts which they were able to export to Hellas and Etruscan cities.

The Phrygians were among the Balkan peoples who came into Anatolia around the year 1200 B.C., but they first appear on the scene as a political entitiyafter the year 750 B.C. The Hellenic world knew of the Phrygian King Midas as a legendary figure with long ears who turned to gold everything that the touched. The Assyrians, on the other hand , record that he was king in 717, 715, 712 and 709 B.C. Although the powerful kingdom which Midas founded was swept away by the Cimmerians in the First quarter of the 7th century, scattered groupings of the Phrygians continued to evolve their civilization in Central Anatolia though the 6th century B.C. The Phrygian rock temples and treasures in the vicinity of Eskisehir (Gordion) and Afyon are quite well preserved, and among the finest works produced by their age.


Three Intriguing Anatolian Peoples:
Lydia, Caria and Lycia

The Lydians and Lycians spoke languages that were fundamentally Indo-European, but both languages had acquired non-Indo-European elements prior to the Hittite and Hellenic periods. Both alphabets closely resembled that of the Hellenes. During the reign of Creosus, fabled for his wealth (575-545 B.C.) the Lydian capital of Sardes was one of the most brilliant cities of the ancient world.

Although the Carian alphabet resembles the Lycian, the Carian language has not been deciphered to date. Herodotus says that according to a Cretan legend the Carians were called Leleges and lived on the islands during the time of the Minoan Kingdom, that is, in the mid-2nd millennium B.C. The Carians themselves, however, claimed to be native Anatolians, related to the Lydians and Mysians.

The archaeological finds pertaining to all three cultures show strong Hellenic influence. Of the three, the Lycians best kept their own character. Their monuments hollowed out of the rock are among the most interesting works of art in ancient Anatolia.


The Ionian Civilization (1050-1030 B.C.)

Following the destruction of Troy, the Hellenes established cities all along the Western Anatolian shore. In the 9th century B.C. they produced the first masterpiece of Western Civilization, the Iliad of Homer.

During the era of the natural philosophers, i.e. 600-545 B.C., Anatolian culture was of a brilliance unmatched in the world of its time, superceding Egypt and Mesopotamia Rejecting the idea of djinns, fairies and mythological causes, the natural philosophers investigated natural phenomena in a free spirit; Thales, son of the Carian Hexamyes, using the same methods we would today, predicted an eclipse of the sun for May 28, 585 B.C. This was the first prediction of a natural event in history.

During the occupation of the Persians (545-333 B.C.), Anatolia relinguished its leadership, but regained it in the Hellenistic Age (333-30 B.C.). 

Throughout these centuries, Milletus, Priene, Ephesus and Teos were among the finest cities in the world, and the Anatolian architecture of this era greatly influenced Rome.


Anatolia in Chronology

Prehistoric Ages










Troy VI


Dark Period












Hellenistic Age






The Turks 

Turks in Anatolia 





From Empire to Democratic Republic