The Great King Hattushili I built an empire through the military campaigns he directed at sites in
Central Anatolia and further south over the Taurus Mountains into northern Syria. His successor
Murshili continued his efforts to the south in hopes of vanquishing the citystates in Syria and gaining control
of the trade routes to Mesopotamia. Aleppo fell into the hands of the Hittites, and the army pressed onward as
far as Babylon (as the crow flies, I ,200 km from Hattusha!), where it toppled the dynasty of l-Iammurabi. A period
of unrest followed the murder of Murshili, and in these troubled times the lands south of the
Taurus as well as distant regions in the south and east of Anatolia were soon snatched from Hittite control by the Hurrian
l(ingdom of the Mitanni.
It would make too long a diversion to follow all the waning and waxing of Hittite power over the following decades of Anatolian history. The armies remained active in many regions and advanced again to Aleppo in the north of Syria. Only too often would the conquered cities and states, adopted as tax-paying vassals, soon become unfaithful. Meanwhile, the attacks of marauding Kashkan tribes living in the mountains of north-Central Anatolia had become a direct threat to the Hittite capital. One cuneiform text from around 1400 BC during the reign of the Great l(ing Tudhaliya Ill reports that "... Hattusha, the city, was burned to the ground and only [ . . . I and the Heshti-House of [ . . remained standing. By the end of this period the domain under direct Hittite control had shrunk once more to limits within the Central Anatolia plateau and the city found itself in a period of deep crisis.
The Old Hittite city comprised the same area as that of its Hattian predecessor; on the high ridge of Buyukkale was the residence of the Great King, and the city lay on the slope below to the northwest, reaching to the valley below and protected to the west by a massive fortification wall. It would appear that the northern section of the settlement and the rocky crest of Büyükkaya were also relatively soon enclosed by fortifications and incorporated into the city. The enclosed city would then have boasted dimensions of approximately 0.9 x 1.2 kin, and there may well have been further residential quarters just outside the city walls.
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|The End of The Hittite Empire >|