February 8, 2023 Editor

Drought doomed this empire

by Adam Taylor with Sammy Westfal (overall of “Today’s WorldView,”1 but article highlighted is by Sarah Kaplan.)

February 8, 2023

image above: Carole Raddato Residential quarters from the period of the Assyrian Trade Colonies (19-18th centuries BC) including ruins of houses and offices of Assyrian merchants, Hattusa, Boğazkale, Turkey

WN: There is an interesting biblical note in the Wikipedia article about the Hittites:

Biblical background

Before the archeological discoveries that revealed the Hittite civilization, the only source of information about the Hittites had been the Old Testament. Francis William Newman expressed the critical view, common in the early 19th century, that, “no Hittite king could have compared in power to the King of Judah…”.[12]

As the discoveries in the second half of the 19th century revealed the scale of the Hittite kingdom, Archibald Sayce asserted that, rather than being compared to Judah, the Anatolian civilization “[was] worthy of comparison to the divided Kingdom of Egypt”, and was “infinitely more powerful than that of Judah”.[13] Sayce and other scholars also noted that Judah and the Hittites were never enemies in the Hebrew texts; in the Book of Kings, they supplied the Israelites with cedar, chariots, and horses, and in the Book of Genesis were friends and allies to AbrahamUriah the Hittite was a captain in King David‘s army and counted as one of his “mighty men” in 1 Chronicles 11.

In any event, the message of the article highlighted below is straightforward:

“Things like climate change, earthquakes, drought — they are of course realities of our lives,” [Müge Durusu-Tanrıöver, an archaeologist at Temple University] said. “But there are human actions that can be taken to foresee what will happen and behave accordingly.”

Please click image to view the following slideshow:

Residential quarters from the period of the Assyrian Trade Colonies (19-18th centuries BC) including ruins of houses and offices of Assyrian merchants, Hattusa, Boğazkale, Turkey


No one knows for sure what happened to the ancient Hittite Empire. For nearly 500 years, its dominion extended across much of modern Turkey and into Syria and Lebanon. Its kings dwelled in massive stone palaces inside a gated capital city. Large-scale farming, sophisticated irrigation systems and far-reaching trade networks filled the imperial coffers.

And then, just after 1200 B.C., it vanished. Archaeological investigations suggest that the royal administration packed up the palace and fled the capital. The city was abandoned and later burned. Few accounts from the fractured kingdom remain to explain exactly why.

But climate data, captured in the rings of long-dead trees, offer a clue. A new analysis published Wednesday in the journal Nature shows that the Hittites endured three consecutive years of extreme drought right around the time that the empire fell. Such severe water shortages may have doomed the massive farms at the heart of the Hittite economy, leading to famine, economic turmoil and ultimately political upheaval, researchers say.

“One year of drought is a problem. Two years — it’s a crisis. By three years in a row, perhaps it’s actually more than a crisis,” said Sturt Manning, an archaeologist at Cornell University and lead author of the Nature study. “Seeing that back-to-back-to-back failure — that’s probably what overthrows a major state.”

The study is the latest from an accumulating field of research linking the fall of civilizations to abrupt shifts in Earth’s climate.

Please click on: Drought doomed this empire

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.