Inscribed Rocks of Anatolian Civilizations: Hattusa, Midas and Topada

Inscribed rock of Hattusa

Yazılıkaya (Turkish; inscribed rock) was a sanctuary located about 1.5 km northeast of Hattuša, the capital city of the Hittite Empire, today in the Çorum Province, Turkey. This was a holy site for the Hittites within walking distance of the gates of the city. The sanctuary may have served as a place for the celebration of the arrival of the new year each spring, the New Year’s celebrations ceremonies. It consists of two open-air chambers surrounded by natural rock formations, the top of the chambers were not covered. This sancturary was in use at least since late 16th century BC, but most of the rock carvings date to the reign of the Hittite kings Tudhaliya IV and Suppiluliuma II in the late 13th century BC.

 

Subjects Historical Period Location – Coordinates
Subjects
Images
Archaeological sites
Stone carving
Stone carving
Inscriptions
Hittites
Late Bronze Age (circa 1,600 BC – 1,200 BC) / Hittite Empire (1,600 BC – 1,178 BC) Hattusa Lat: 40 01 11 N degrees minutes Lat: 40.0190 decimal degrees Long: 034 36 55 E degrees minutes Long: 34.6150 decimal degrees

Yazılıkaya Chamber B, procession of gods of the underworld

Yazılıkaya Chamber B, procession of gods of the underworld Chamber B of Yazılıkaya sanctuary is about 18 m long. The reliefs in this chamber are much better preserved because it was parly filled with earch until the mid of the 19th century. It is thought that this chamber was erected by Shupiluliuma II as a memorial to his father the Great King Tudhaliya IV. On the wall right of the entrance to this chamber there is a carving depicting a procession of 12 gods of the underworld.

The procession of gods, Yazılıkaya Chamber A

The procession of gods, Yazılıkaya Chamber AThe p
Yazılıkaya Chamber A reliefs. Yazılıkaya (Turkish; inscribed rock) was a sanctuary located about 1.5 km northeast of Hattuša, the capital city of the Hittite Empire, today in the Çorum Province, Turkey. This was a holy site for the Hittites within walking distance of the gates of the city. The sanctuary may have served as a place for the celebration of the arrival of the new year each spring, the New Year’s celebrations ceremonies. It consists of two open-air chambers surrounded by natural rock formations, the top of the chambers were not covered. This sancturary was in use at least since late 16th century BC, but most of the rock carvings date to the reign of the Hittite kings Tudhaliya IV and Suppiluliuma II in the late 13th century BC.

God relief with the winged sun disk symbol, Yazılıkaya Chamber A

God relief with the winged sun disk symbol, Yazılıkaya Chamber A. The winged sun disk was associated with divinity, royalty and power.

Altar at Yazılıkaya sanctuary

Rock-cut altar at Yazılıkaya. Yazılıkaya (Turkish; inscribed rock) was a sanctuary located about 1.5 km northeast of Hattuša, the capital city of the Hittite Empire, today in the Çorum Province, Turkey. This was a holy site for the Hittites within walking distance of the gates of the city. The sanctuary may have served as a place for the celebration of the arrival of the new year each spring, the New Year’s celebrations ceremonies.

Arcosolium (?) at Yazılıkaya Chamber B with the relief of procession of gods of the underworld

Rock carvings similar to arcosolium, an arched recess used as a place of entombment, at Yazılıkaya sanctuary Chamber B near the relief of procession of gods of the underworld. This section is thought to have been served as a mortuary mausoleum or memorial for the Hittite king Tudhaliya IV.

Yazılıkaya sanctuary, Chamber B depicting god Sharruma and King Tudhaliya

Yazılıkaya sanctuary, rock carving in Chamber B depicting god Sharruma and King Tudhaliya dated to around 1250 – 1220 BC.Yazılıkaya

Yazılıkaya sanctuary, Hattusa

Yazılıkaya (Turkish; inscribed rock) was a sanctuary located about 1.5 km northeast of Hattuša, the capital city of the Hittite Empire, today in the Çorum Province, Turkey. This was a holy site for the Hittites within walking distance of the gates of the city. The sanctuary may have served as a place for the celebration of the arrival of the new year each spring, the New Year’s celebrations ceremonies. It consists of two open-air chambers surrounded by natural rock formations, the top of the chambers were not covered. This sancturary was in use at least since late 16th century BC, but most of the rock carvings date to the reign of the Hittite kings Tudhaliya IV and Suppiluliuma II in the late 13th century BC.

The gods of the Hittite pantheon, Yazılıkaya

Yazılıkaya sanctuary illustrates rock-cut relief of 64 deities in procession. The left wall shows a procession of male deities, wearing the traditional kilts, pointed shoes and horned hats. The processions lead to a central scene of the supreme couple of the pantheon: the storm-god Teshub and the sun-goddess Hebat. Teshub stands on two mountain gods whilst Hebat stands on a panther. Behind Hebat are shown their son Sharruma, daughter Alanzu and a grand daughter.

Storm-god Teshup and Sun-goddess Hepat, Yazılıkaya Chamber A reliefs

The rock-cut reliefs of Chamber A at Yazılıkaya sanctuary portray the gods of the Hittite pantheon. The male deities on the left side of the walls and the females on the right are headed by Storm-god Teshup and Sun-goddess Hepat, who meet at the center of the scene.

Source

Beckman, Gary. 2007. “From Hattusa to Carchemish: The latest on Hittite history”. In Chavalas, Mark W. Current Issues in the History of the Ancient Near East. Claremont, California: Regina Books. pp. 97–112. Seeher, Jürgen. 1995. “Forty Years in the Capital of the Hittites: Peter Neve Retires from His Position as Director of the Ḫattuša-Boğazköy Excavations” The Biblical Archaeologist 58.2, “Anatolian Archaeology: A Tribute to Peter Neve” (June 1995), pp. 63-67.


Inscribed rock of Midas

Midas Valley near a village in Eskişehir, Turkey known for its Phrygian archaeological remains and inscription mentioning Midas. The monument, discovered by W. M. Leake in 1800, has been studied by many travelers as an artifact unique to Phrygian architecture. Engraved by Charles Texier in 1834, it is called “Yazılıkaya” because of the long inscription on it. Texier describes the monument as follows: “It is located three miles away from the plateau and on the west side, in a large valley that stretches north and south and has all hills covered with forests. It is hard to describe the effect that this rock has on the spectators, supposedly to have occurred in the nature serendipitously in order to preserve these ancient writings that philology cannot solve. Everything around him is in harmony, and the harsh and wild image of the place, the pleasant picture of the rocks, emerge through the green ground of the plain..”

 

Subjects Historical Period Location – Coordinates
Images
Archaeological sites
Stone carving
Yazılıkaya Site (Turkey)
Relief (Sculpture), Hittite
Iron Age (circa 1,200 BC – 700 BC) / Phrygian Period Eskişehir Lat: 39 40 00 N degrees minutes Lat: 39.6667 decimal degrees
Long: 031 10 00 E degrees minutes Long: 31.1667 decimal degrees

 


Midas monument

The Midas monument and inscriptions in Yazılıkaya. The most outstanding part of the Midas Monument is a high rock-cut facade with an incised decoration pointing out a pedimented temple front with acroteria, faced with terra cotta and with a niche at the bottom center. The niche’s walls were inscibed “Matar,” meaning “Mother”, the goddess Cybele. It is belived that it held a statue of Cybele, the cult. The monument carries a dedication in Old Phrygian by Ates son of Arkias to Midas (ΜΙΔΑΙ ϜΑΝΑΚΤΕΙ), and probably dates from the 7th or 6th century BC.

Yazılıkaya, Midas Monument

Probably used as altar, one of the many thrones and rock-cut stairways one finds on the top of the acropolis plateau of Midas City. There is no clear theory as to the exact purpose of these enigmatic rock-cut structures although they are thought to have been used as altars or some kind of devotinal purposes.

Phrygian tomb, Midas, Yazılıkaya

The rock-cut Phrygian tomb in the archaeological site of the City of Midas which is located in the province of Eskişehir in Central Anatolia, near the village of Yazılıkaya (which in Turkish means something like “rock inscription”). With a few exceptions, most of the Phrygian rock-cut monuments for which the site has become famous, date back to the sixth century BC.

Yazılıkaya Midas Monument

Rock monuments where the Yazılıkaya is located. The Midas monument and inscriptions in Yazılıkaya. The most outstanding part of the Midas Monument is a high rock-cut facade with an incised decoration pointing out a pedimented temple front with acroteria, faced with terra cotta and with a niche at the bottom center. The niche’s walls were inscibed “Matar,” meaning “Mother”, the goddess Cybele. It is belived that it held a statue of Cybele, the cult. The monument carries a dedication in Old Phrygian by Ates son of Arkias to Midas (ΜΙΔΑΙ ϜΑΝΑΚΤΕΙ), and probably dates from the 7th or 6th century BC.

Inscribed altar of Cybele, Midas

The magnificent Phrygian altar dedicated to Cybele, the Mother-Goddess, at the highest point of the acropolis in the City of Midas. During religious festivities, a statue of a seated Cybele was probably placed on this throne.


Inscribed rock of Topada

The monument, written in Luwian hieroglyphics of the Late Hittite period, is located near the village of Ağıllı in the district of Acıgöl (previously Topada) of Nevşehir. The inscription engraved on the leveled surface of a rock standing outward on the east side of a low plateau, surrounded by cliffs about 5 meters. high.

 

Subjects Historical Period Location – Coordinates
Images
Hittites
Hittite inscriptions
Luwian language
Hieroglyphics
Hittite relief (Sculpture)
Nevşehir İli (Turkey)
Iron Age (circa 1,200 BC – 700 BC) / Phrygian Period Acigöl Lat: 38 33 00 N degrees minutes Lat: 38.5500 decimal degrees
Long: 034 31 00 E degrees minutes Long: 34.5167 decimal degrees

 

 


Neo-Hittite rock monument with inscription at Topada

Consisting of 8 lines, all separated by drawn lines, this Neo-Hittite period hieroglyphic Luwian rock inscription is located near the Ağıllı village of Acıgöl (formerly Topada) in Nevşehir province and the inscription is carved on the flattened surface of a rock that sticks out from the eastern face of a rocky wall of about 5-meter high plateu. Historical evidences indicate that the monument can be dated to the second half of the 8th century BC. The inscription mentions the Neo-Hittite era kingdom of Tabal beginning with the text as: “[Great K]ing Wasusarma Great King, the Hero, Son of the Great King Tuwati, the Hero” and this commemorative inscription is about Wasusarma the King of Tabal, describing political and military events as well as a fight against the city of Parzuta.

Topada rock monument with Luwian hieroglyphs

Detail from the inscribed rock

The hieroglyphs on the Neo-Hittite Topada rock monument

Frontal view of the inscribed rock

Source

Hawkins, J. D. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Vol 1, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2000: 451-61, Plts 250-3.
Weeden, M. “Tuwati and Wasusarma: Imitating the Behavior of Assyria,” Iraq 72, 2010: 39-61.
Woudhuizen, F. C. “Great King Wasusarmas’ Victory Memorial at Topada,” Ancient West & East 6, 2007: 23-41.