The Hittites were perhaps the most spectacular casualties of the Bronze Age collapse, which swept away the major powers of the Near East in the 12th century BCE. Its triggers are disputed, but this seems to have been a time of widespread population displacement, including the marauding, mysterious ‘Sea People’. One of the (many) candidates for the ‘Sea People’ are the Phrygians, who appear to have invaded the Hittite territories from the Balkans. A century before, the Hittities had been a major power. Suppiluliuma I had subjugated the Mittani, Ugarit and Byblos, and in 1274 BCE, they still had the military might to repulse the Egyptians at Kadesh. But their heartland of Asia Minor was never secure for long: the Ahhiyama (Achaean Greeks?), Arzawa and Luwians were always restive, and their uncouth northern ‘nightmare neighbours’, the Kaska, participated in the final destruction of Hattusas (c.1180 BCE).
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