"And The Stone Fell by Reason of Its Great Weight"
Measures and Measurement in the Hittites
Prof. Dr. İlknur Taş

Online Talk

March 29, 2022 / 18:00

The Art of Weights and Measures exhibition, organized by Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Pera Museum with a selection from the Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection, one of the foundation's three main collections, aims to explore the economy, culture, intercultural system relations, the dynamics of public trust and the journey of standardization of units, anchored around weights and measuring instruments, through the eyes of civilizations, gods, merchants, masters and apprentices, from the 2nd millennium BC to the present, and sheds light on the transformations and continuities. Expert speakers in the talk series titled “And the Stone Fell within by Reason of Its Weight” with inspiration from a verse in Homer's Iliad will examine trade, weighing and measurement systems used in the periods the exhibition covers, namely the Age of Assyrian Trade Colonies, the Hittites, the Hellenistic Period, as well as the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire.

Establishing a well-organized political, military and administrative system by dominating the peoples living on the lands stretching to Northern Syria and a significant portion of Anatolia, including Hattusha (Boğazkale-Çorum) as the capital, the Hittites used various measures and measurement techniques.

Looking at the Hittites, one can see measures and measurements used in religious, legal, military and administrative areas and almost every other area that the state exercised its power over, from pleasing the believed gods to the regulation of the most important income sources of the state, from magic and cult practices to the organization of holidays and celebrations. Just as mathematics, which examines the properties of quantities based on measure, exists in all areas of life in the modern world and is considered in tandem with the understanding of modern state, it is possible, to a certain extent, to talk about a systematic measurement system that is based on numbers and within the limits of logic, although we do not call it mathematics in the case of the Hittites.

In the second speech of the series, Prof. İlknur Taş will explain, to the extent allowed by the modern concepts we use to perceive our world, the measures and measurements used by the Hittite State and the mathematical concepts that ultimately emerged.

The talk will be broadcast live on Pera Museum’s YouTube channel. The  event will be Turkish.

About Prof. Dr. İlknur Taş

After completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Ankara University, Faculty of Language, History and Geography, Prof. Dr. İlknur Taş received her Ph.D. with her thesis titled “Tudhaliya IV's Policy towards the Assyrian State and the Vassal Kingdoms in Syria” from Ankara University, Faculty of Language, History and Geography, Department of History, Department of Ancient History.

Taş, who spent two years doing research at Eberhard Karls Tübingen University in Germany to prepare for her doctorate studies, was accepted by the University of London, SOAS (the School of Oriental & African Studies) for her post-doctoral studies after completing her Ph.D. thesis. İlknur Taş, who was an Academic Member of the Athens Institute For Education And Research from 2009 to 2013, continues her studies at Hitit University.

İlknur Taş, who has written articles in the leading journals of her field in German, English and Turkish, has a book published in Germany on cuneiform tablets, in addition to her other academic contributions such as papers, articles and book chapters.

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