This book focues on the Kaska people of the Black Sea region and their interactions with the Hittite Empire. A population group attested primarily in Hittite records from the Early Empire and Empire Periods (1450-1200 BCE), the Kaska are portrayed in Hittite sources (especially historiography) as a hostile, uncontrollable people who represented a permanent menace to the Hittite state. Modern works typically characterize the Kaska as a distinct ethnic group with a predominantly pastoralist, semi-nomadic way of life and tribal social organization. It has been suggested that they came to the central Black Sea region as invaders, instigating a perennial conflict on the empire's northern frontier. Based on a comprehensive study of the primary sources (i.e., Hittite texts and archaeological data from the Black Sea region), the present study undertakes a reevaluation of the Kaska and their role in Hittite history, questioning the prevalent view that the designation "Kaska" corresponded to an ethnic group under that name. It suggests instead that in Hittite sources the name "Kaska" denoted diverse groups of people who inhabited the northern frontier of Hittite territory, and whose definitive characteristic was that they withdrew from the state and were never subject to direct Hittite imperial control.
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