The Anatolians were a group of distinct Indo-European peoples who spoke the Anatolian languages and shared a common culture. The Anatolian languages were the oldest 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 revalation of Near Eastern history and Proto-Indo-European lingustics. 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 Hitties, 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
- Beckwith, Christopher I. (2009). Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Princeton University Press. ISBN 1-4008-2994-1. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- Fortson, IV, Benjamin W. (2011). Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 1-4443-5968-1. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- Hock, Hans Heinrich; Joseph, Brian Daniel (1996). Language History, Language Change, and Language Relationship: An Introduction to Historical and Comparative Linguistics. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3-1101-4784-X. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- Mallory, J. P. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Douglas Q. Adams. ISBN 1884964982. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Melchert, H. Craig (2012). "The Position of Anatolian".
- Sharon R. Steadman; Gregory McMahon (15 September 2011). The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia: (10,000-323 BCE). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-537614-2. Retrieved 23 March 2013.