The Hittite language is the earliest preserved member of the Indo-European family of languages. It was written on clay tablets in central Asia Minor over a five hundred year span (ca. 1650-1180 B.C.) which witnessed the rise, the floruit, and the decline of many political powers in the Near East. It is studied today for a wide variety of reasons. Historical linguists seek information in Hittite texts to elucidate the relationships between the various member languages of the Indo-European family, as well as the probable structure of their common parent, Proto-Indo-European. Historians find in Hittite annals, treaties, royal edicts, and political correspondence information of great value in reconstructing the sequence of events on the international scene of mid-second-millennium Western Asia. Anthropologists, mythographers, and students of comparative religion mine the riches of Hittite religious texts: myth, magic rituals to cure ailments, festivals to worship the gods of the empire. Students of the history of law discover ancient precedents for legal procedures which have survived to this day. All of these interested researchers share a dependence upon the written texts. None can penetrate further than our limited understanding of this language allows. [From the Preface, CHD L–N, p. ix].
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