Hittite Idols and Royal Seals

The Vedic deities Mitra and Indra were also known in one corner of the Hittite empire. The Hittites lived in the territory on the south shore of the Black Sea. Their empire reached its peak in the second millennium B.C. Its domain extended from the Hellespont to Armenia and northern Syria, with its capital Hattusas located in northern Anatolia, where Boghorazkoy now stands. The Hittites shared elements of Semitic and Indo-European culture; their main language was distantly related to Indo-European.

Stone figures and gold items from Hittite burials at Ala├ža Huyuk bear a striking resemblance to mushrooms. The stone figures have incised on them numerous concentric rings, thought to represent eyes. The Hittite hieroglyph for "great king," found in numerous royal seals, also bears a strong resemblance to a mushroom. Traditionally the kings of Hattusas were priest-kings,, heads of a religion observed by a minority of citizens. In Yasilikaya, bas-reliefs depict the king (and deities) holding in the palm a curious "familiar," a dwarf or homunculus that floats above the hand. It is tempting to assume that proto-Hittite kingship originally derived from a hereditary shaman, who may have employed hallucinogens such as the fly agaric. This is only conjecture on my part, and I await the response of a Hittite specialist to correct me.

Images and excerpt from Adrian Morgan's Toads and Toadstools: The Natural History, Folklore, and Cultural Oddities of a Strange Association, (1995, p. 112).

For more on hallucinogenic mushrooms and their history, see:

Hittite Idols
Hittite Royal Seal
Hittite Royal Seal Description
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