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Abstract

This dissertation proposes an alternative explanation to the oft-cited Balkan migration narrative of the Early Iron Age as described in Herodotus. The multi-causal narrative presented argues that the Hittite Empire sought to secure resources to maintain its economy from the Aegean region. In the Aegean region, the Hittites faced their rival, the Kingdom of Aḫḫiyawa and its Arzawan allies, who prevented Hittite access to Western Anatolia, the Aegean and Europe. Muwatalli II’s move of the capital to Tarḫuntašša rectified this problem in tandem with the annexation of Troy. I argue that his actions created a supply route from the Balkans and Central Europe on one end into Anatolia and Cilicia, allowing European influences into Anatolia once the Hittite Empire collapsed. I argue that the Hittite Empire’s collapse came in part from the opening of this route, isolating the old Hittite heartland in Central Anatolia from the riches of Europe and shifting the economic center of gravity to Cilicia, Phrygia, and the Dardanelles.

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