The DFG Emmy Noether Junior Research Group “The Hittite Annals: Origins, Purpose, and Afterlife” has as its goal the new edition and analysis of the Hittite annalistic texts as a complete corpus in an interdisciplinary Hittitological and Assyriological setting. The Hittite Kingdom (ca. 1650–1190 BC), which at the height of its power encompassed Central Anatolia and northern Syria, was one of the great trans-regional powers of the Late Bronze Age Ancient Near East.
The Hittite Annals are among the earlier historiographic texts in the Ancient Near East. They document the political and military activities of the Hittite king in a straightforward style and with a level of extensive and detailed description that has made them one of the most used sources in the historical study of the Ancient Near Eastern.
The question of the origins of the Hittite annalistic tradition and its possible dependence on literary and historical predecessors is as yet unanswered. Other pressing desiderata include research into the “Sitz im Leben” of the Annals, the seemingly modest style of the compositions in comparison to other royal inscriptions of the Ancient Near East when describing the feats of the Hittite kings, the diachronic development of the genre and the communicative function of the texts.
In addition, the long-suspected, but not yet proven, influence of the Hittite Annals on the later Assyiran annalistic tradition is still contested. A careful comparison of the Hittite and Assyrian historiography at the historiographic and narratological levels will shed new light on the cultural exchange between the two royal courts at the end of the Bronze Age.
Despite the frequent reference to the text group in historical research, the Hittite Annals have never been edited in one place and to the single standard. The “Hittite Annals” research group, with a planned duration from 2021 to 2027, will produce a complete and contextualized critical edition of the Hittite Annals under the leadership of Dr. James Burgin with the assistance of postdoc Dr. Johannes Bach and the doctoral students Ege Dağbaşı and Henry Lewis. The results of the project will appear in print and as digital editions in the framework of the Hethitologie-Portal Mainz.