. Annual report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Institution; Smithsonian Institution. Archives; Discoveries in science. THE ANCIENT HITTITES. 691 close attention, have been In vain. The cause of faihire is the meager t)r indefinite information concerning the Hittites on the part of their neighbors or successors, and the puzzling complications of their sys- tem of writing. It is approximately estimated that there are already known more than 200 signs in their system, and this number is increas- ing with each new inscription. As far as can l)c inferred from th

- Image ID: RM2WT2
. Annual report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Institution; Smithsonian Institution. Archives; Discoveries in science. THE ANCIENT HITTITES. 691 close attention, have been In vain. The cause of faihire is the meager t)r indefinite information concerning the Hittites on the part of their neighbors or successors, and the puzzling complications of their sys- tem of writing. It is approximately estimated that there are already known more than 200 signs in their system, and this number is increas- ing with each new inscription. As far as can l)c inferred from th
Library Book Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: RM2WT2
. Annual report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Institution; Smithsonian Institution. Archives; Discoveries in science. THE ANCIENT HITTITES. 691 close attention, have been In vain. The cause of faihire is the meager t)r indefinite information concerning the Hittites on the part of their neighbors or successors, and the puzzling complications of their sys- tem of writing. It is approximately estimated that there are already known more than 200 signs in their system, and this number is increas- ing with each new inscription. As far as can l)c inferred from the inscriptions and from other writing systems of western Asia, some single signs stand for entire words which in reading are either to be pronounced, or are merely explanator}-, to indicate the notional sphere into w^hich a preceding or following written-out word l)elongs;" some denote a s^dlable, others again merely a sound. The mingling of all these signs naturally renders the S3^stem very obscure, since one and the same word can be written in an entirely different manner. In the uniform writing systems of the Egyptians and Bal)vlonians, inscriptions which presented the same content in ditferent parallel scripts and languages, one of which was known or easy to make out, smoothed the difficulty of decipherment. It is true that we have also for the Hittite writing system such an example, which naturally has been much discussed. It is the bilingual inscription of "Tarkudimme'' (fig. 2). But, unfortunately, it is too short and presents in itself too many riddles to be of any use. The object made of silver, in form something like a hollow hemisphere, formed the upper part of a dag- ger handle and was to serve as a seal. The convex surface is engraved with a figure and writing. On the edge runs a cuneiform inscription reading: "Tarkudimme, King of the country of Erme i'i or Me ?)." In the center, to the right and the left of the figure of the King, is a Hittite

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