Hittite mythology and religion

Hittite mythology and Hittite religion were the religious beliefs and practices of the Hittites, who created an empire centered in what is now Turkey from c.1600–1180 BC .

Seated deity, late Hittite Empire (13th century BCE)

Most of the narratives embodying Hittite mythology are lost, and the elements that would give a balanced view of Hittite religion are lacking among the tablets recovered at the Hittite capital Hattusa and other Hittite sites. Thus, "there are no canonical scriptures, no theological disquisitions or discourses, no aids to private devotion".[4] Some religious documents formed part of the corpus with which young scribes were trained, and have survived, most of them dating from the last several decades before the final burning of the sites.[when?] The scribes in the royal administration, some of whose archives survive, were a bureaucracy, organizing and maintaining royal responsibilities in areas that would be considered part of religion today: temple organization, cultic administration, reports of diviners, make up the main body of surviving texts.[5]

The understanding of Hittite mythology depends on readings of surviving stone carvings, deciphering of the iconology represented in seal stones, interpreting ground plans of temples: additionally, there are a few images of deities, for the Hittites often worshipped their gods through Huwasi stones, which represented deities and were treated as sacred objects. Gods were often depicted standing on the backs of their respective beasts, or may have been identifiable in their animal form.[6]