Skip to main content

Hittite Cuneiform Tablet

Hittite Cuneiform Tablet

Letter from thousands of years ago:

Hittite cuneiform is the implementation of cuneiform script used in writing the Hittite language. The surviving corpus of Hittite texts is preserved in cuneiform on clay tablets dates to the 2nd millennium BC (roughly spanning the 17th to 12th centuries).



Hittite orthography was directly adapted from Old Assyrian cuneiform.

Cuneiform script is the earliest known writing system in the world. Cuneiform writing emerged in the Sumerian civilization of southern Iraq around the 34th century BC during the middle Uruk period, beginning as a pictographic system of writing. Cuneiform was the most widespread and historically significant writing system in the Ancient Near East.

The development of cuneiform writing was an evolution of an earlier Mesopotamian accounting system that had been used for five thousand years before. Clay tokens had been used for some form of record-keeping in Mesopotamia since as early as 8,000 BC. Cuneiform documents were written on clay tablets, by means of a reed stylus. The impressions left by the stylus were wedge shaped, thus giving rise to the name cuneiform ("wedge shaped," from the Latin cuneus, meaning "wedge").

The original Sumerian script was adapted for the writing of the Akkadian, Eblaite, Elamite, Hittite, Luwian, Hattic, Hurrian, and Urartian languages, and it inspired the Ugaritic and Old Persian alphabets. Cuneiform writing was gradually replaced by the Aramaic alphabet during the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and by the second century of the Common Era, the script had become extinct.

More about Anatolian hieroglyphs...

PHOTO: Hittite Cuneiform Tablet, originally uploaded by voyageAnatolia.blogspot.com.

Popular posts from this blog

Hattians - First Civilizations in Anatolia

The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in Asia Minor in the 3rd to 2nd millennia BC. They spoke a non-Indo-European language of uncertain affiliation called Hattic (now believed by some to be related to the Northwest Caucasian language group). They eventually merged with or were replaced by the Hittites, who spoke the Indo-European Hittite language.

Galatia: Celtic Anatolia

Ancient Galatia was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Galatia was bounded on the north by Bithynia and Paphlagonia, on the east by Pontus, on the south by Lycaonia and Cappadocia, and on the west by the remainder of Phrygia, the eastern part of which the Gauls had invaded. The modern capital of Turkey, Ankara (ancient Ancyra), was also the capital of ancient Galatia.

Hittite Guitar of 3300 Years Ago

Hittite relief showing a figure holding an animal follows another figure that a bard plays a guitar-like instrument with a tassle. The left part is unfinished.

This is the earliest relief of guitar, andesit orthostat of imperial Hittite period, ca. 1430–1180 BC, found at Alaca, Çorum. Exhibited in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations at Ankara.

Alacahöyük was inhabited since the Chalcolithic Age. Excavations show there were four layers of cultures of Chalcolithic, Old Bronze, Hittite and Phrygian ages. More on Hittites...

More on ancient music and cithara.