The founding of the Hittite Kingdom is attributed to either Labarna I
or Hattusili I
(the latter might also have had Labarna as a personal name), who conquered the area south and north of Hattusa. Hattusili I campaigned as far as the Semitic Amorite
kingdom of Yamkhad
, where he attacked, but did not capture, its capital of Aleppo
. Hattusili I did eventually capture Hattusa and was credited for the foundation of the Hittite Empire. According to The Edict of Telepinu
, which dates back to the 16th century BC, "Hattusili was king, and his sons, brothers, in-laws, family members, and troops were all united. Wherever he went on campaign he controlled the enemy land with force. He destroyed the lands one after the other, took away their power, and made them the borders of the sea. When he came back from campaign, however, each of his sons went somewhere to a country, and in his hand the great cities prospered. But, when later the princes’ servants became corrupt, they began to devour the properties, conspired constantly against their masters, and began to shed their blood.” This excerpt from the edict is supposed to illustrate the unification, growth, and prosperity of the Hittites under his rule. It also illustrates the corruption of "the princes" who are believed to be his sons. The corruption is dealt with, however, the lack of sources leads to uncertainty with how the corruption was dealt with. On Hattusili I's deathbed, he chose his grandson, Mursuli I, as his heir. Mursili I
conquered that city in a campaign conducted against the Amorites
in 1595 BC (middle chronology).
Also in 1595 BC, Mursili I (or Murshilish I) conducted a great raid down the Euphrates River, bypassing Assyria
and captured Mari
, ejecting the Amorite
founders of the Babylonian state in the process. However, the Hittite campaigns caused internal dissension which forced a withdrawal of troops to the Hittite homelands. Throughout the remainder of the 16th century BC, the Hittite kings were held to their homelands by dynastic quarrels and warfare with the Hurrians
—their neighbours to the east. Also the campaigns into Amurru (modern Syria) and southern Mesopotamia may be responsible for the reintroduction of cuneiform
writing into Anatolia, since the Hittite script is quite different from the script of the preceding Assyrian Colonial period. Read more...