Introductory Hittite (Masters)

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of History

Module overview

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

1. Hittite History and Culture: Short introductions to various topics.

ALPARSLAN, M. and DOĞAN-ALPARSLAN, M. (eds) Hititler/Hittites, Istan bul 2013.

BEAL, R. H. “Hittite Anatolia: A Political History”, in S.R. Steadman and G. MacMahon (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia, Oxford 2011, pp. 579-603

MACQUEEN, J. G. “The History of Anatolia and of the Hittite Empire”, in: J. Sasson (ed.) Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, New York 1995, vol. II, pp. 1085–105

MELCHERT, H.C. (ed.), The Luwians (HdO I/68), Leiden et al., 2003

POPKO, M. Religions of Asia Minor, Warsaw 1995

SEEHER, J. Hattusha Guide. A Day in the Hittite Capital, Istanbul 2002 (ed. 2)

YAKUBOVICH, I. “Luwian and the Luwians”, in S.R. Steadman and G. MacMahon (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia, Oxford 2011, pp. 534-547

WEEDEN, M. “Poetry and War among the Hittites”, in H. Kennedy (ed.) Warfare and Poetry in the Middle East, London 2013, pp. 73-99 (SOAS research online, pre-publication proofs)

WEEDEN, M. “State Correspondence in the Hittite World”, in K. Radner (ed.) State Correspondence in the Ancient World. From New Kingdom Egypt to the Roman Empire, Oxford 2014, pp. 32-63 (SOAS research online – pre-publication proofs).

WILHELM, G. The Hurrians, Warminster 1989

2. Hittite Grammars, Grammatical Sketches, Sign-List

BECKMAN, G. “The Hittite Language: Recovery and Grammatical Sketch”, in S.R. Steadman and G. MacMahon (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia, Oxford 2011, pp. 517-533

MELCHERT, H. C. – HOFFNER, H. A., JR. A Grammar of the Hittite Language (LANE 1),
Winona Lake 2008. Volume 1: Reference Grammar; Volume 2 (Tutorial).

HOUT, Th. VAN DEN Elements of Hittite, Cambridge 2011.

RÜSTER, CHR. and NEU, E. Hethitisches Zeichenlexikon. Inventar und Interpretation der Keilschrifzeichen aus den Boğazköy-Texten, Wiesbaden, 1989.

WATKINS, C., “Hittite”, in: R. D. Woodard (ed.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages, Cambridge 2004, 551–75.

WATKINS, C. “Proto-Indo-European: Comparison and Reconstruction”, in: The Indo-European Languages, ed. A. G. Ramat and P. Ramat, London – New York 1998, 25–73.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules