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Before 1380-after 1200 BCE


Ancient World /
Ahhiyawa


Ancient kingdom lasting from before 1380 BCE until later than 1200 BCE, in lands that may have corresponded with modern western Turkey; but is a case where even this basic knowledge may be questioned. The reason for this confusion comes from them being known through records of other peoples, then mainly from the Hittites. It is also not clear wchat people group they were of, hence also not known who may be their descendants.
One theory says they were the Sea People, a conjecture that is among the most likely, even if it has weaknesses, or limitations. On the positive side, there are many congruences between the Ahhiyawa and the Sea People, both in geography and time. But on the negative side, while it is quite possible that the Sea People stemmed from the Ahhiyawa, only parts of the Ahhiyawa can have become Sea People. Additionally, the Sea People were probably formed by more than just the Ahhiyawa. One proof toward establishing a connection is that there are indications that the Sea People were formed by a group called Ekmesh, which was the name the Hittites used for Ahhiyawa.
Another theory says they were the Achaeans of Homer, early Mycenaean Greeks.
A third theory says they were the ancestors of the Trojans. This is the least likely theory, as Troy is believed to have been destroyed at a later time in history than the rise of the Ahhiyawa.

What we know
What we know for certain about the Ahhiyawa is precious little. And as mentioned, sources are indirect, most from the Hittites, the neighbour people. Another neighbour of the Ahhiyawa were the Lukka people, a fact that only helps us in locating the Ahhiyawa geographically.
The Ahhiyawa origin is believed to have been in mainland Greece, Thrace (similar to European Turkey and southern Bulgaria) and Rhodes. The Ahhiyawa must have inhabited western Anatolia or one of the islands in the Aegean Sea, or both. Sources tell us that their main base in Anatolia was Millawanda.
They were most likely a powerful seafaring nation, and since their rulers were called "Great King" by Hittite kings, they are believed to have enjoyed great freedom and independence. Still the Ahhiyawa belonged to the Assuwan League that extended from Lycia to the Troad,an alliance that didn't necessarily make them less independent: they had allies when they needed them.
Yet they lived through long periods in peace with their neighbours, especially the Hittites, and there were many direct and friendly relations. This is best illustrated by the story of the Ahhiyawa bringing a statue of their main god to the Hittite king Mursilis 2 to cure his illness.
The harmony between the Ahhiyawa and the Hittites was broken around 1230 BCE, when king Attarissiya led several attacks on Hittite vassals and main villages.
When the Ahhiyawa disappeared as a power or as an independent power is not possible to discern from any sources. It is possible that they were peacefully assimilated into another kingdom — a definite defeat would most probably have been recorded.




By Tore Kjeilen