Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


5 January 2014

Minoan-Anatolian relations and the Ahhiyawa question: A re-assessment of the evidence

Kostas Georgakopoulos in Papadopoulos, A. (ed), Recent research and perspectives on the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean, Talanta XLIV (2012) [2013]: 137-156.


A new approach to the question of Minoan-Anatolian relations through the reevaluation of the existing archaeological and textual evidence and an alternative suggestion concerning the origin of the first Ahhiyawa people from Crete are presented in this paper. More specifically, the agents of Minoan culture were, especially during the Neopalatial period, active participants in important commercial and cultural networks that had been developed between the Aegean world and various regions of the eastern Mediterranean. They had established their cultural influence in the eastern Aegean, whereas traces of their presence can also be identified in some sites in the coastal zone of western Anatolia. Some aspects of their activities were evidently recorded by the Egyptians and Syrians and, as I suggest, they can all be argued to appear in the Hittite archives of the second half of the 15th century BC under the name of ‘Ahhiyawa’, a name that was given by the Hittites to the inhabitants of the Aegean region in general. Intense commercial enterprises and cultural exchanges took place during this period, whilst possible military ventures and interference by the Minoans in the western Anatolian-Hittite conflict cannot be ruled out. This was probably one of the last resurgences of Minoan power as a political entity before the Mycenaeans took over dominance in the Aegean.


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