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Bedřich Hrozný

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Bedřich Friedrich Hrozný Czech: ˈbɛdr̝ɪx ˈɦrozniː; May 6, 1879 – December 12, 1952 was a Czech orientalist and linguist He deciphered the ancient Hittite language, identified it as an Indo-European language and laid the groundwork for the development of Hittitology


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Deciphering of the Hittite language
  • 4 Publications
  • 5 References


Hrozný was born in Lysá nad Labem, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary In the town of Kolín he learned Hebrew and Arabic At the University of Vienna, he studied Akkadian, Aramaic, Ethiopian, Sumerian and Sanskrit, as well as the cuneiform used in Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and Persia He also studied orientalism at Humboldt University of Berlin


In 1905, following excavations in Palestine, he became Professor at the University of Vienna

In 1906, at Hattusa modern Boğazkale, about 200 km east of Ankara a German expedition found the archives of the Hittite kings in cuneiform, but in an unknown language While on active duty in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I, Hrozný published in 1917 a description of the language showing that it belonged to the Indo-European family1

In 1925 Hrozný led a Czech archaeological team that discovered 1000 cuneiform tablets containing contracts and letters of Assyrian merchants in the Turkish village of Kültepe, and excavated the nearby ancient Hittite city of Kanesh

Later in his life, he tried to decipher the hieroglyphic script used by the Hittites and scripts used in ancient India and Crete, but failed in his effort From 1919 to 1952, he was a Professor of cuneiform research and ancient Oriental history at the Charles University in Prague After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia he was made rector of the Charles University

A heart attack in 1944 ended his scientific work2

Deciphering of the Hittite languageedit

To solve the mystery about the Hittite language, Bedřich Hrozný used two sentences that appeared in a text that reads NINDA - an ezzatteni watar - ma ekutteni It was known at that time that the ideogram for NINDA meant bread in Sumerian Hrozný thought that the suffix -an was perhaps the Hittite accusative Then, he assumed that the second word, ed-/-ezza, had something to do with the bread and assumed that it could be the verb to eat The comparison with the Latin edo, the English eat and the German essen led to the assumption that NINDA - an ezzatteni means "you will eat bread" In the second sentence, Hrozný was struck by the word watar that has similarities to the English water and German Wasser The last word of the second sentence, ekutteni, had the stem eku-, which seemed to resemble the Latin aqua water So, he translated the second sentence as "you will drink water" Using these insights, Hrozný continued his work and was able to publish the Hittite grammar in 19173


  • Sumerisch-babylonische Mythen von dem Gotte Ninrag Ninib Berlin: Wolf Peiser, 1903
  • Obilí ve staré Babylónií = “Wheat in Ancient Babylonian” Vienna: Hölder in Kommission, 1913
  • “Die Lösung des hethitischen Problems”, Mitteilungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 56 1915: 17–50
  • Die Sprache der Hethiter, ihr Bau und ihre Zugehörigkeit zum indogermanischen Sprachstamm Leipzig: JC Hinrichs, 1917 reprint: Dresden: TU Dresden, 2002
  • Hethitische Keilschrifttexte aus Boghazköi, in Umschrift, mit Übersetzung und Kommentar Leipzig: JC Hinrichs, 1919
  • Über die Völker und Sprachen des alten Chatti-Landes: Hethitische Könige Leipzig: JC Hinrichs, 1920
  • Keilschrifttexte aus Boghazköi, vol 5 of 6: Autographien Leipzig: JC Hinrichs, 1921 reprint: Osnabrück: Zeller, 1970
  • Les inscriptions hittites hiéroglyphiques: Essai de déchiffrement, suivi d’une grammaire hittite hiéroglyphique en paradigmes et d’une liste d’hiéroglyphes Prague: Orientální Ústav, 1933
  • Über die älteste Völkerwanderung und über das Problem der proto-indischen Zivilisation: Ein Versuch, die proto-indischen Inschriften von Mohendscho-Daro zu entziffern Prague, 1939
  • Die älteste Geschichte Vorderasiens und Indiens Prague: Melantrich, 1940, 1941, 1943
  • Inscriptions cunéiformes du Kultépé, vol 1 Prague, 1952
  • Ancient history of Western Asia, India and Crete New York, 1953


  1. ^ Luraghi, Silvia 1997 Hittite Munich: Lincom Europa p 1 ISBN 3-89586-076-X 
  2. ^ Falvey, Christian 2009-05-13 "Bedřich Hrozný – Re-Discoverer of the Hittite Language" Radio Praha Retrieved 2012-01-01 
  3. ^ Buck, C D 1920 "Hittite an Indo-European Language" Classical Philology 15 2: 189–190 JSTOR 263436 

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