The Hittites

2003 ,    »  -   10 Comments
Ratings: 8.34/10 from 74 users.

Narrated with the characteristically soothing lilt of Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons, The Hittites is a sprawling and ambitious portrait of a hugely influential empire unknown by many. Exhaustive in scope and excitingly cinematic in its execution, the film breathes vital life into ancient history.

The journey begins over 3,500 years ago in the war-torn regions around what is now known as Turkey. From the blood-drenched struggles for territorial dominance rose the Hittites, a military power renowned for their effectiveness in defeating even the most ardent opponents. They continued to rule over the next 500 years until their eventual fall in 1200 BCE.

For many throughout the world, exposure to the Hittite legacy was limited to their inclusion in sections of the Old Testament. That all changed with one of the most remarkable discoveries in archaeological history. In the early 1900's, excavators uncovered thousands of clay tablets on which contained a series of communications written in the oldest recorded Indo-European language. Researchers quickly decoded this language, and deciphered a detailed military history of the Hittites.

The pearls of wisdom they gleaned from these tablets work to inform the content of the film. The filmmakers provide insights into the Hittite culture, its people, their string of successful battles, and the personalities of its hierarchy. We learn their strategies of combat; the mercy they granted to those who surrendered to their power, and their savage response to those who didn't. We gain knowledge of their rituals and customs, and recognize how certain tenants of their legal system still echo in modern society. The film also spends a generous amount of time in examining how the empire ascended and faltered under the guidance of various military leaders. Collectively, these revelations deepen our appreciation of the period and - in some cases - its connections to the world we live in today.

The Hittites contains polished production values, interviews with noted scholars of the period, and impressive re-enactments of key events, including the infamous Battle of Kadesh led by Pharaoh of Ramesses II and King Muwatalli II. Whether you're an expert in this period of history or a newcomer, the film provides a dense and satisfying understanding of its subject.

Directed by: Tolga Ă–rnek

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10 Comments / User Reviews

  1. eduard

    Regretfully the background music is overbearing and makes the dialogue difficult to follow.

  2. David

    Absolutely excellent, an enlightening work, highly informative and long over due. I must though agree with "eduard" on his music comment, but that said overall a great presentation.

  3. Attai

    2 minutes into this....and I quit watching, Esau is the Devil, he sours and lies about everything and all cultures.....Edomite Caucasian Images he is profiling......Please, the Hittites are Hamitic, meaning African and NO writings precedes the Bible..Stop with the Garbage prove it or shut the Hell Devils

  4. Clovis

    I could really do without Jeremy Iron's hammy narration and, as eduard says, the overbearing music.
    Otherwise, good documentary - plenty of info well presented.

  5. Terrence

    The earlier negative comments almost persuaded me not to watch this video. I'm glad I didn't allow that to happen. I actually liked the music and narration, but mostly am immensely grateful for this wonderful panorama that is also in-depth and personal. I am only informally and eclectically self-educated. As such I am curious about the human experience, and would love to see more productions like this. As a believer in Jesus Christ I want to see how his words and times are framed by the cultures and empires before, during and after his time on earth.

  6. SharonH

    I recall this being shown on cable several years ago. It is an excellent program and helps us to understand the Hitties in a comprehensive yet clear manner. Recommended!

  7. BenP

    Just a minor note: the video said the Hittites King's son was killed by the Egyptian Queen's rivals. We do not technically know this, the King got a letter from a General who took the crown saying the King's son did not make it to Egypt but that the General claims he did not kill him.
    The General was campaigning in the region where the son died so most people assume he killed him but yeah thought I'd throw that info out there!

  8. Ayush

    All is fine, except that blue. werent that colour dye till bout 1500 AD.

  9. Bilbz

    @Attai - Clay tablets... over million of them, all of them preceded the bible. That's also just one example. Then there's that place... what was the name of it? Oh... yea Egypt... you might have heard of it.

  10. Kenneth Caruthers

    @Bilbz - Unless you have information not provided anywhere in the scientific world, perhaps you can enlighten us as to how you claim those tablets preceded the Bible? Accordingly, the Hittites were between the 17th - 12th centuries BC, whereas Moses (who wrote the first 5 books of the Bible) was around the 16th - 15th century BC. You cannot assume anything; but it seems you have a certain agenda against the Bible? You do know that the Hittites were considered non-existent except for their reference in the Bible, UNTIL the tablets were discovered? You then throw in Egypt into the mix? Did Egypt make mention of the Hittites? No. So, your point in throwing in Egypt as some sort of your validating point? Leave the real science and history to the professionals, because you fail at it miserably.

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