Hittite rock reliefs in Southeastern Anatolia as a religious manifestation of the late bronze and iron ages
The LBA rock reliefs are the works of the last three or four generations of the Hittite Empire. The first appearance of the Hittite rock relief is dated to the reign of Muwatalli II who not only sets up an image on a living rock but also shows his own image on his seals with his tutelary deity, the Storm-god. The ex-urban settings of the LBA rock reliefs and the sacred nature of the religion make the work on this subject harder because it also requires philosophical and theological evaluations. The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate the reasons for executing rock reliefs, understanding the depicted scenes, revealing the subject of the depicted figures, and to interpret the purposes of the rock reliefs in LBA and IA. Furthermore, the meaning behind the visualized religious statements will be investigated. Whether there was a cultural continuity in the IA in the context of iconography, functions, and meanings will be proposed. Various iconographies depicted on the living rock and used on the royal seals reveal that the politico-religious discourse of the Hittite kingship gained a new ideological perspective. The IA rock monuments indicate a Hittite cultural inheritance along with the Assyrian influence. However, IA states also produced a number of inscribed colossal statues and stelae, and rock reliefs. In general, the Hittites were executing rock monuments which carry religious elements as a way of promulgating their political propaganda, and attributing the authority of the king to the mighty god/s.