After the Hittite Empire

Phrygian Identities and the Political History of Central Anatolia in the Early First Millennium BCE

Lorenzo d'Alfonso


When historians and archaeologists try to define who the Phrygians were, they have to face the existence of a complex, often contradictory body of information deriving from the many ancient Phrygian identities. This is particularly true if we examine the formation and development of the Phrygian kingdom. While the main discourse on the Phrygian kingdom derives from the classical Greek and Roman authors, the formation of this kingdom is deeply linked with the new political situation generated in Central Anatolia by the fall of the Hittite empire. As a matter of fact, the history of the Phrygian kingdom has never been discussed in connection with the formation of the post-Hittite polities of South-Central Anatolia (SCA), traditionally labeled the Neo-Hittite states. This is due to both the regional segmentation in archaeological study of Anatolia during the Iron Ages, but also to the specific linguistic competences required: Phrygian and old-Greek on the one hand; Hierolgyphic Luwian, and Phoenician and Assyrian on the other. A reconsideration of specific groups of finds from the pre-destruction and destruction Levels at Gordion connected with the representation and practice of political power will show that the Early Phrygian kingdom was strongly influenced by the Neo-Hittite polities of South-Central Anatolia. Moreover, new readings of the Hieroglyphic Luwian monument of TOPADA provide completely new evidence to reconstruct episodes of confrontations between Phrygians and SCA polities that contributed in shaping the new political landscape of the post-Hittite early first millennium BCE.

Lorenzo d'Alfonso is Associate Professor of Western Asian Archaeology and History at ISAW. Professor d'Alfonso earned his MA in Ancient Civilizations from the University of Pavia (1997) and his PhD in Ancient Anatolian and Aegean Studies from the University of Florence (2002). He has worked as a post-doctoral fellow and adjunct professor at the Universities of Mainz, Konstanz, and Pavia. His main research interests concern the social, juridical, and political history of Syria and Anatolia under the Hittite Empire and during its aftermath (16th-7th centuries BC). On these themes he has published a monograph on the judicial procedures of the Hittite administration in Syria (2005), a website of textual references (The Emar Online Database), more than 30 articles in volumes and journals, and co-edited two volumes. From 2006 to 2009 he was the director of an archaeological survey in Southern Cappadocia, and since 2010 he has concentrated his efforts on the site of Kinik Höyük (Niğde, Turkey).

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