Hittite Texts 1

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Religions and Philosophies

Module overview

This module offers a general overview of the Hittite text corpus and its different cultural layers. Students read texts selected to illustrate the important genres of the Hittite corpus: historical texts, letters, tales and legends, myths, rituals and hymns and prayers.

Key skills to be acquired include the reconstruction of cuneiform texts from multiple manuscripts, a deepened understanding of the diachronic development of the Hittite language and of Hittite palaeography. The actual selection of texts to be read in class takes into account current research in Hittite history and culture and introduces the student to the sources underlying the important current scholarly debates within the field.


The module is suited to the second year of the study of Hittite. Introductory Hittite is a prerequisite.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module the student should have acquired competence in the reading of intermediate-level cuneiform texts in Hittite; should have made progress in the reading, translation and interpretation of cuneiform texts in the genres studied; should have a better understanding of the written legacy of ancient Anatolia; and should have gained appropriate knowledge of the philological and methodological issues with which Hittitologists engage.


The module will normally entail two hours in the classroom each week and comprises mainly the reading and discussion of a selection of set texts in cuneiform. Preparation for classes will include the study of passages from the set texts for reading in class.

Scope and syllabus

The syllabus of the module comprises a selection of Hittite texts which can be adapted to the individual needs of students in a given year. This is a typical syllabus:

Term 1:
  1. Historical text (e.g. extracts from Deeds of Suppiluliuma, Anitta-Text, Annals of Hattusili I, parts of an international treaty)
  2. Letters (samples from Egyptian-Hittite correspondence, administrative Masat-letter)
  3. (Historical) story, legend (e.g. parts of Zalpa tale, Story of Appu)
Term 2:
  1. Hittite myths (e.g. Illuyanka myth, parts of Telipinu myth, extracts from the Kumarbi cycle)
  2. Hittite ritual texts (e.g. Purification ritual for the army, Execration ritual for enemy cities, Palace building ritual, various therapeutic rituals, sample of a festival text)
  3. Hittite hymns & prayers (e.g. one of Mursili's plague prayers, the prayer of Kantuzzili and related texts)

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (70%); an exercise to be submitted day 5 after reading week, term 1 (5%); an exercise to be submitted day 5, week 1, term 2 (10%); an exercise to be submitted day 5 after reading week, term 2 (5%); an exercise to be submitted day 5, week 1, term 3 (10%).

Suggested reading

  • Kosak, S., Konkordanz der hethitischen Keilschrifttafeln, Online-Datenbank ,
  • Marazzi, M. e. a., Hethitische Bibliographie, http://www.hethport.uni-wuerzburg.de/hetbib/
  • Beckman, G., Hittite Diplomatic Texts (SBL Writings from the Ancient World 7), Atlanta 2nd edn 1999
  • Bernabé, A., Textos literarios hetitas, Madrid 1987
  • Bryce, T., Life and Society in the Hittite World, Oxford 2002
  • Bryce, T., The Kingdom of the Hittites. New Edition, Oxford 2005
  • Del Monte, G. F., L'Annalistica ittita (Testi del Vicino Oriente Antico 4), Brescia
  • Edel, E., Die ägyptisch-hethitische Korrespondenz aus Boghazköi in babylonischer und hethitischer Sprache I-II (Abhandlungen der Rheinisch-Westfälischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 77), Opladen 1994
  • Goetze, A., Kleinasien (Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft: Kulturgeschichte des Alten Orients III/1), München 2nd edn 1957
  • Gurney, O. R., Some Aspects of Hittite Religion, Oxford 1977
  • Gurney, O. R., The Hittites, Harmondsworth 4th edn 1990
  • Güterbock, H. G., Perspectives on Hittite Civilization: Selected Writings of Hans Gustav Güterbock (Assyriological Studies 26), ed. H.
  • HOFFNER, Jr., Chicago 1997
  • Güterbock, H. G., The Deeds of Suppiluliuma as Told by his Son, Mursili II, JCS 10 (1956) 41–68, 75–85, 90–98, 107–108
  • Güterbock, H. G., The Song of Ullikummi. Revised Text of the Hittite Version of a Hurrian Myth, JCS 5 (1951) 135-161.
  • Güterbock, H. G., The Song of Ullikummi. Revised Text of the Hittite Version of a Hurrian Myth (Continued), JCS 6 (1952) 8-42.
  • Haas, V., Geschichte der hethitischen Religion (HdO I/15), Leiden e. a. 1994
  • Hawkins, J. D., Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions I.1–I.3 (UISK NF 8.1–8.3), Berlin – New York 2000
  • Hoffmann, I., Der Erlaß Telipinus (THeth 11), Heidelberg 1984
  • Hoffner, H. A., Jr., The Laws of the Hittites. A Critical Edition (DMOA 23), Leiden 1997
  • Hoffner, H. A., Jr., Hittite Myths (SBL Writings from the Ancient World 2), Atlanta 2nd edn 1998
  • Klengel, H., Geschichte des hethitischen Reiches (HdO I/34), Leiden e. a. 1999
  • Klinger, J., Untersuchungen zur Rekonstruktion der hattischen Kultschicht (StBoT 37), Wiesbaden 1996
  • Kümmel, H.M., Ersatzrituale für den hethitischen König (StBoT 3), Wiesbaden 1967
  • Lebrun, R., Hymnes et Prières Hittites (Homo Religiosus 4), Louvain-la-Neuve 1980
  • Melchert, H. C. – Hoffner, H. A., Jr., A Grammar of the Hittite Language (LANE 1), Winona Lake 2007
  • Melchert, H.C. (ed.), The Luwians (HdO I/68), Leiden e. a. 2003
  • Neu, E., Der Anitta-Text (StBoT 18), Wiesbaden
  • Neu, E., Ein althethitisches Gewitterritual (StBoT 12), Wiesbaden
  • Oettinger, N., Die militärischen Eide der Hethiter (StBoT 22), Wiesbaden 1976
  • Otten, H., Die Apologie Hattusilis III. Das Bild der Überlieferung (StBoT 24), Wiesbaden 1981
  • Otten, H., Die Bronzetafel aus Bogazköy: Ein Staatsvertrag Tuthalijas IV. (StBoT Beiheft 1), Wiesbaden 1989
  • Otten, H., Eine althethitische Erzählung um die Stadt Zalpa (StBoT 17), Wiesbaden 1973
  • Popko, M., Religions of Asia Minor, Warsaw 1995
  • Singer, I., Hittite Prayers (SBL Writings from the Ancient World 11), Atlanta 2002
  • Singer, I., Muwatalli’s Prayer to the Assembly of Gods through the Storm-God of Lightning (CTH 381), Atlanta 1986
  • Wilhelm, G., The Hurrians, Warminster 1989


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules