SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Introductory Hittite (Masters)

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2018/2019
Year of study:
Taught in:
Full Year

An introduction to Hittite language and grammar in the cuneiform script through reading elementary and more complex texts. In the course of this text-reading the student will be introduced to historical, geographical and cultural issues surrrounding the study of Hittite civilisation.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Hittite grammar, mastery of essential Hittite vocabulary and competence in the reading of cuneiform texts in Hittite
  2. demonstrate competence in the translation and interpretation of cuneiform texts in the genres studied
  3. demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the written legacy of the Hittites
  4. demonstrate appropriate knowledge of the philological and methodological issues with which Hittitologists engage


This course will be taught over 22 weeks with 2 hours classroom contact per week in language classes.  

Scope and syllabus

  • Term 1 to Reading Week: grammar, vocabulary and script
  • Term 1 after Reading Week: further grammar and a variety of short  texts in transliteration and cuneiform.
  • Term 2: engagement with one or two longer texts with multiple manuscripts, typically the Apology of Hattusili III. 

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (70%);  language learning portfolio to be submitted on Friday, week 1, term 3 (30%).

Suggested reading

  • Rüster, C., and E. Neu: Hethitisches Zeichenlexikon. StBoT Beiheft 2. Wiesbaden, 1989
  • Hoffner, J.A. and Melchert, H.C. A Grammar of the Hittite Language. Part I: Reference Grammar, Part 2: Tutorial, Winona Lake, Indiana, 2008.
  • Friedrich, J., and A. Kammenhuber: Hethitisches Wörterbuch. 2nd edition. Heidelberg, 1975-, in progress
  • Güterbock, H. G., H. A. Hoffner and Th. van den Hout: The Hittite Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, ("Chicago Hittite Dictionary", abbr. CHD), Chicago, 1984, in progress.
  • Kammenhuber, A.: Materialien zu einem hethitischen Thesaurus, Lief. 1-11. Heidelberg, 1973-89 (contents: (1)ak(k)-/ek(k)-; (2)su; (3)ta; (4)-a-; (5)eku-/aku-; (6)da-; (7)sak(k)-/sek(k)-; (8)handai-), in progress
  • Puhvel, J.: Hittite Etymological Dictionary. Vols. 1-2 (A, E-I); Berlin, New York, Amsterdam, 1984. Vol. 3 (H); 1991, in progress
  • Tischler, J.: Hethitisches etymologisches Glossar, Teil 1, a-k; Innsbruck, 1983. Teil II, l-n; 1990-1. Teil III/8-10, t/d; 1993-4


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules