An essay on the astronomical knowledge and the calendar of the Hittites
Gaye Şahinbaş Erginöz
Ancient societies, in order to record natural phenomena and social events, observed the motions of the celestial bodies. The Anatolian Hittites followed this tradition which they inherited from Mesopotamian culture. They developed certain ideas to explain the natural phenomena they could not fully comprehend. They observed the various natural phenomena including celestial bodies which they believed to reflect the 'opinions' of the Gods.
The primary sources providing information on the Hittite astrology are the texts on fortune telling and the feast rituals inscribed on the clay tablets excavated at Hattusha, the capital city of the Hittites in Asia Minor. These cuneiform tablets contain astrological omens of Mesopotamian origin regarding the Moon, the Sun and the stars. Celestial observations were important for the Hittites, and they regarded their celestial observations as messages sent by the Gods. The astrological tablets witness that Hittites studied solar and lunar eclipses and interpreted these celestial events as connected to the future of their land and society. Despite the lack of sufficient information on the Hittite calendar, it has been established that it is generally in compliance with those used in Mesopotamia. The Hittite lunar calendar was closely related with seasonal changes and the agricultural life.
Key words: Hittites, astronomy, astrology, calendar, festival rituals, agriculture; Anahtar kelimeler: Hititler, astronomi, astroloji, takvim, bayram rituelleri, tarım.