The Hittites: The Story of a Forgotten Empire, by A.H. Sayce

The book is available for free online:

This thesis has too many assumptions and so few references. The book also lacks illustrations, maps and pictures. This work is more of a religious-fiction than scientific; the author is very biased and shies not, as a scholar, from referring to his ‘white and Christian faith’ in a desperate attempt of finding a historical link to his identity with the latest discoveries of his time. He advances his assumption, that the Amorites are no Semites, as a valid assertion without pointing at the contra-theories to his own; for example, John Courtenay on page 156 of his book The Language of Palestine says: The Babylonian, Egyptian and Hebrew usage was to call the pre-Israelite Semites collectively ‘Amorites’.

This book’s name makes you think all what you need to know about Hittities has been presented to you, but this is not the case! For example, even though that A.H.Sayce presented his theory earlier, nonetheless, the theory of de Cara -proposed in 1891- which connects the Hyksos with the Hittites and these with the Pelasgi and Tyrseni is not mentioned here, nor would I expect that a new edition of the book will be modified by some interested future researcher for the purpose of treating Sayce’s theory objectively.


“Hettites appeal to us not alone because of the influence they once exercised on the fortunes of the Chosen People, not alone because a Hittite was the wife of David and the ancestress of Christ, but also on account of the debt which the civilisation of our own Europe owes to them. Our culture is the inheritance we have received from ancient Greece, and the first beginnings of Greek culture were derived from the Hittite conquerors of Asia Minor … The Hittites carried the time-worn civilisations of Babylonia and Egypt to the furthest boundary of Asia, and there handed them over to the West in the grey dawn of European history.”

“Prominent among the Hettite priests were the Galli or eunuchs, who on the days of festival cut their arms and scourged themselves in honour of their deities. Such actions remind us of those priests of Baal who ‘cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.”

“The Hittites were intruders in Syria as well as in Western Asia Minor.”

“The Hittites, in fact, must be regarded as the first teachers of the rude populations of the West. They brought to them a culture the first elements of which had been inspired by Babylonia;”

“At all events, we find elsewhere that the Hittites and Amorites are closely interlocked together.”

“The Hittites and Amorites were therefore mingled together in the mountains of Palestine like the two races which ethnologists tell us go to form the modern Kelt.”

“It is clear, then, that the Amorites of Canaan belonged to the same white race as the Libyans of Northern Africa, and like them preferred the mountains to the hot plains and valleys below. The Libyans themselves belonged to a race which can be traced through the peninsula of Spain and the western side of France into the British Isles.” This assertion is refuted in the book ‘السوريون والحضارة السريانية’ which clearly distinguishes Amorites as a Semitic race from Arabia based on their culture and language.

“In Palestine also we still come across representatives of a fair-complexioned blue-eyed race, in whom we may see the descendants of the ancient Amorites.”

Contrary to Sayce’s thesis, Archaeology nowadays tell us a lot about the Hittites—and the Neo-Hittites too. And it’s hard to reconcile this with the Hittites of the Bible.

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