The Anatolians were a group of distinct Indo-European peoples who spoke the Anatolian languages and shared a common culture. The Anatolian languages were a branch of the larger Indo-European language family.
The archeological discovery of the archives of the Hittites and the belonging of the Hittite language to a separate Anatolian branch of the Indo-European languages caused a sensation among historians, forcing a re-evaluation of Near Eastern history and Indo-European linguistics. In accordance with the Kurgan hypothesis, J. P. Mallory notes in Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture that it is likely that the Anatolians reached the Near East from the north, either via the Balkans or the Caucasus in the 3rd millennium BC. The Hittites, who established an extensive empire in the Middle East in the 2nd millennium BC, are by far the best known members of the Anatolian group. Following the Bronze Age collapse, the lands of the Anatolian peoples were invaded by a number of peoples and empires at high frequency: the Phrygians, Bithynians, the Medes, the Persians, the Greeks, the Galatian Celts, Romans and the Oghuz Turks. Many of these invaders settled in Anatolia, in some cases causing the extinction of the Anatolian languages. By the Middle Ages, all the Anatolian languages (and the cultures accompanying them) were extinct, although there may be lingering influences on the modern inhabitants of Anatolia, most notably Armenians.
List of Anatolian peoples
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