Hershel Shanks

A panel of 12 armed gods is carved on a wall of the 13th-century B.C. Hittite religious sanctuary of Yazilikaya, a couple of miles from the site of the ancient Hittite capital of Hattusa. Until a century ago, no one knew anything about this Late Bronze Age (17th-13th century B.C.) empire. Now, Egyptian records along with archives excavated at Hittite sites tell us that during the Late Bronze Age the Land of Hatti stretched across Anatolia and northern Syria—forming a northern, as opposed to Egypt’s southern, Near Eastern superpower.