An informal bibliography of scholarly but accessible books about Troy and the Hittites.
Recipe for poached figs and lamb sausages with ingredients from ancient Mediterranean, Hittite and Greek world.
An excerpted article from the Oriental Institute gives an overview of the Hittite Empire, its modern discovery, and the central role the Chicago Hittite Dictionary plays in Hittitology today.
In a guest post Laura Gill argues against the matrilineal tradition of kingship among the Mycenaeans. “In the absence of solid documentary evidence, proponents of the matrilineal tradition of kingship turn to the legends themselves to support their theory, and point to royal heiresses such as Helen of Sparta and Penelope, wife of Odysseus, as kingmakers. Let us look at the same legends, as well as further examples where Mycenaean royal women seem to hand power to men, to demonstrate that those women were the instruments rather than the wielders of political power.”
The late archaeologist of the Troia Project, Manfred Korfmann, suggested that there probably was either one or several “Trojan wars.” The archaeological dig at Troy certainly supports the idea of a large, powerful city that underwent a long period of attack.
“You are a woman and think like one. You know nothing at all.” So, in a Hittite myth, says a very grouchy husband to his wife when she has asked yet again about his inability to get her pregnant. Does this show that Hittite men had a decidedly low view of women?
The Hittite law codes offer more protection for a woman than, if I’m remembering correctly, Victorian England, in the sense that a Hittite woman could both initiate a divorce and keep her inheritance and half her husband’s estate if she divorced. On the other hand, the expressions used in Hittite for marriage—there is no one abstract word for “to marry”—reflect the control men exercised over women, “to take a wife” “to take as his own wife” “to make her your wife.” (Imparati, 572) A woman is never described as “taking a husband.” The laws of adultery and rape present a similarly mixed bag.
In the Hittite world the hasawa served many essential roles. Using the sacred stories of myth, she brought the human and divine worlds back into harmony. She performed rites to “cure” family quarrels, disease, and injury. She made divinations to read the will of the gods and she delivered babies.
One way to see how a society views women is to examine its leaders. Are women included and, if they are, to what extent? Both the Hittite and Mycenaean world had powerful queens, in particular: Queen Puduhepa and Queen Helen of Sparta
This article discusses the lives of Hittite and Mycenaean women and the wide range of work they performed, including powerful landowning priestesses and skilled artisans. It also examines the relative wages of men and women in the Hittite and Mycenaean worlds.