Hurrian Civilization

The Hurri civilization was established toward the end of the 3rd millennium BC around Eastern Anatolia and ruled by the Mitanni kingdom. The king had an Indian descendency. The Hurrians, descended from the mountains south of the Caspian Sea, occupied the land between the Hittites and Assyria, east of the Tigris River and in the Zagros mountain region. From there, they spread into the areas of northern Mesopotamia and Syria as well, even to the Mediterranean coast. All of these areas were known as the "Land of the Hurri". With their huge spread, the Hurrians became a rival and a threat to both Babylon and Egypt.

In the late 15th century B.C. the Hittite Empire's beginning is marked by an influx of Hurrian names into the royal family. All of the Hurrian lands between the Iranian mountains, Syria and Anatolia was united under the control of a military aristocracy called Mitanni. They had an important role in the history and culture of the Middle East during the 2nd millennium BC.

In the middle of the 14th century, the Hittite Empire lead by Suppiluliumas I defeated Mitanni and Assyria declared its independence. But the Hurrian ethnic and cultural presence in Syria and the Cilicia (ancient Kizzuwadna) strongly influenced the Hittites; Hittite queens had Hurrian names and Hurrian mythology was used in Hittite literature, many of the Hittite gods are suspected to have Hurrian origin.

The general idea is that this non-Semitic and also non-Indo-European ethnic group had come from the Armenian mountains. Their most important centers were Tell Feheriye, Tell Brak, Shagar, Nuzi (or Nuzu), Urkesh (or Urkish) and Bazar.

The Hurri language was a totally separate entity from the others. The culture and the language of Hurri civilization was used or at least utilized extensively by Urartus and Hittites during the following centuries. Hurrian texts were found in Urkish (Mardin area, 2,300 BC), in Mari (around middle Euphrates, 1,700 BC), in Amarna (Egypt, 1,400 BC), in Hattusha (Bogazkoy, 1,700-1,200 BC), and in Ugarit (northern Syrian coast, 1,300 BC). Today, the Russian scholars believe that the Eastern Caucasian languages are an offshoot of the Hurrian-Urartian group.