I don't know why this show made such a biased attempt to portray the Hittites. Certainly they weren't a perfect people, but the way that they presented this was just wrong. Example: "They found images of the Hittites themselves, and others that revealed their obsession with warfare, and with death." Certainly a loaded statement, and hardly one designed to endear them to an audience who have never heard of them before. It's not as if they were more warlike than their neighbors. Another example "The Hittites planned and executed a strategy to become a great superpower." They make them seem nothing more than Machiavellian schemers intent on world domination. The references to their willingness to execute a man for almost any offense were verging on an outright lie. Certainly in their early empire the laws were more brutal, but by the time of their expansion (which is the period covered after all) they had reduced the number executable offenses significantly. For the era they lived in they could actually be considered to have an enlightened legal system. Executions were replaced by fines for all but the most serious offenses. No eye for an eye in the Hittite law book.
They referred to their paranoia and constant state of fear without mentioning the fact that their homeland was permanently open to invasion. The Hittite homeland was invaded numerous times throughout their rule and the producers make them sound paranoid and neurotic! Jumping at shadows for no apparent reason. Honestly, this show teaches nothing honest about the Hittite culture. The Hittites weren't nice people but they were no worse than their neighbors. The Egyptians used to collect the penises of their dead enemies to get an accurate count of casualties, the Assyrians ruled through sheer terror, and the Hebrews made a habit of slaughtering every inhabitant of sacked cities, something that was barbaric even then. They refer to the level of control that the king held over every aspect of his subject's lives, but they failed to mention that the Mycenaeans cared so much for the same things that their archives contained nothing but tax records. You would never guess that the Hittites main contribution was in the art of diplomacy.
Where this documentary does show it's worth is in the recreations. They must have had a reasonable budget because some of the scenes are amazing. The city of Hattusas comes to life in a way that is impossible without computer graphics. The information about the discovery of the civilization (Which, to be fair, is what they focus on) is extremely interesting. And some of the on location photography is incredible. So if you're interested is seeing how this ancient civilization was discovered, or you want to see the civilization recreated, then this is for you. Just don't go away thinking that you understand the Hittites any better.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this