Teaching Students About Hittite
Integrating the Hittite civilization into teaching curriculums is an excellent way to broaden students’ understanding of ancient world history. The ancient Hittites were a powerful and influential Bronze Age empire, holding sway in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) from around 1600-1178 B.C. Despite their significant contributions to ancient civilization, including advancements in administration, metallurgy, law, and language, the Hittite Empire remains relatively unknown compared to their contemporaries such as Egypt and Mesopotamia. This article explores effective techniques that educators can use to teach students about this fascinating culture.
Make It Relevant
To stimulate student interest in the Hittite Empire, start by making connections to their lives today. For example, you might point out that the Hittites were skilled metallurgists who played a vital role in developing iron smelting processes that helped set the stage for the subsequent Iron Age. This innovation has had far-reaching implications for modern technology.
Delve Into History
Provide a historical overview of the Hittite Empire touching on their origins, political structure, and military conquests. Discuss significant historical events such as the Battle of Kadesh between the Hittites and Egyptians and its ensuing diplomatic resolution through one of history’s first-recorded peace treaties.
Highlight Cultural Achievements
The Hittites’ cultural achievements are vital to understanding their society. Focus on architecture, art, mythology, and government structure to help paint a vivid picture of their way of life. Explore examples like their monumental stone-carved reliefs and how they incorporated aspects of other cultures into their art.
The Importance of Language
Language is central to learning about any civilization. Teach students about Hittite language development and its role in archaeology today – especially since thousands of clay tablets have been found written in the Hittite language. Additionally, explain the significance of their Indo-European linguistic roots, emphasizing how this connection offers insight into early European cultures and languages.
Incorporate engaging, hands-on activities to bring Hittite history to life. Students might be interested in reenacting significant events, creating clay tablets with inscriptions in Hittite cuneiform, or even attempting simple translations of text. These types of experiential learning activities encourage deeper understanding and long-lasting appreciation for the subject matter.
Teaching students about the Hittite Empire can open a window into an often-overlooked but influential ancient civilization. By engaging their curiosity through relevant connections, delving into their history and cultural achievements, and incorporating hands-on learning experiences, students will walk away with a richer understanding of the complexity and diversity of the past.