Anatolia, the land of sun and history, is one of the rare places in the world which have been inhabited ever since the first man was seen on the earth.
The Palaeolithic Age, which we call the Stone Age, reigned between the years 600.000-10.000 B.C. in Anatolia and was followed by the Mesolithic and Neolithic Ages. The men began to leave their caves between the years 8000-5500 B.C. during the Neolithic Age, and to establish villages on the meadows. We can conduct studies on this culture in ancient localities of habitation such as Diyarbakir, Catalhoyuk, Konya and Burdur Hacilar.
The men lived the Chalcolithic age, which we call the metal-stone, after Neolithic Age. The early Bronze Age followed the metal-stone age and it was lived through very gloriously in Anatolia. An indigenous tribe called Hatti lived in central Anatolia during this age. We see the golden works of art of this magnificent civilization belonging to the years 2300-2000 B.C., in the royal tombs in Alacahoyuk. A civilization similar to this one was lived in Troy II during the same age in Anatolia.
The Hittites who came to Anatolia in the ears of 2000 B.C. lived in principalities for a while, and then in the years of 1800 B.C., they, established a state and made Hattusas the capital. We can study the art of the Hittite people who created a great civilization in Anatolia between the years 1800-1200 B.C. in the localities such as Hattusas (Bogazkoy), Yazilikaya and Alacahoyuk.
From Hittites to Persians
The Hittites were destroyed by the unceasing attacks of the sea tribes during the years 1200 B.C., But their usage and customs survived until 650 B.C. in the south Anatolian cities such as Malatya, Maras, Kargamis, Zincirli, which are called the late Hittite city-states. When the Hittite State ceased to exist, the Urartu people founded a state in eastern Anatolia, made Van the capital city and stepped on the scene of history (860-580 B.C.). The works of art made of ivory and bronze which showed their master workmanship were discovered as a result of the excavations carried on in the Fortress of Van, in Urartu cities such as Toprakkale, Altintepe and Cavustepe. When the Urartus were utterly destroyed by the Ischits in the year 580 B.C., the Phrygians founded a state in central Anatolia, with Gordion as the capital, but they also disappeared from the scene of history at the beginning of the 8th century B.C. by reason of the raids of the Kimmers. The Phrygian works of art found in the tomb of their legendary King Midas, are exhibited at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. The Lydians succeeded the Phrygians by founding a state in western Anatolia and made Sardes the capital. When the Lydians were defeated by the Persians in the year 546 B.C., the whole Anatolia was conquered by the Persians.
Alexander the Great
Anatolia was taken over by Alexander the Great when he defeated the Persians in 333 B.C., and by his inheritors after his death. So, Anatolia was the site of the Hellenistic period between the years 330 and 30 B.C. We observe that the Kingdom of Pergamum developed and became more powerful during this period. Many works of art created during the Hellenistic Period were inspired by the style of art, called the Pergamum style. Since Attolos III. the king of Pergamum, had no inheritors, he ceded his territory to Rome in 133 B.C., and Anatolia was wholly integrated to Roman territory in this way. Anatolia was furnished with magnificent structures during the Roman period, too. The structures of the Hellenistic Period and those of the Roman Period are seen to exist in an intermingled manner with each other in antique cities.
When Rome was divided into two as the Eastern Rome and Western Rome in the year 395 A.D., Anatolia was left in the possession of the Eastern Roman Empire. The most important works of art belonging to this empire. briefly called Byzantium, are the magnificent works in such as Hagia Sophia, Chora and Hagia Irene. The exquisitely beautiful Anatolia mosaics are seen here. In many localities of ruins, the works of art belonging to the Anatolia period are seen to have succeeded the works of art belonging to the Roman period.
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