November 6, 2019

Boston Harper Lecture

Text and Image: A New Interpretation of an Object of Hittite Art

Theo van den Hout
Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor of Western Civilization and of Hittite and Anatolian Languages at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
Chief Editor of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary

Between about 1650 and 1200 BC, the Hittite Kingdom reigned over ancient Anatolia (in modern-day Turkey). One of the most stunning objects of Hittite art is a silver vessel in the shape of a stag held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Dated around 1400–1300 BC, it is of unknown provenance. Given its missing archaeological context, we have only the object itself to go by. But a new reading and interpretation of two short inscriptions on the vessel may restore something of that context. Join Theo van den Hout of the Oriental Institute to pursue a new understanding of an ancient artifact.

Theo van den Hout is the Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor of Western Civilization and of Hittite and Anatolian Languages at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and chief editor of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary. He is the author of several books, most recently The Elements of Hittite (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and many articles on ancient languages. A new book, A History of Hittite Literacy: Writing and Reading in Late Bronze Age Anatolia, is due out in 2020. Van den Hout is a corresponding member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 2016 fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and a senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. He received his PhD from the University of Amsterdam in 1989.

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