Dressing Up for the Gods: Ceremonial Garments in Hittite Cultic Festivals according to the Philological and Archaeological Evidence

Mouton A., Erbil Y. H.

JOURNAL OF ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN RELIGIONS, vol.20, no.1, pp.48-86, 2020 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1163/15692124-12341312
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ATLA Religion Database, Old Testament Abstracts Online, Religion and Philosophy Collection
  • Page Numbers: pp.48-86
  • Keywords: Hittite, religion, cult, festival texts, iconography, relief vases


Through the combined study of Hittite cuneiform texts and the iconography of Hittite relief vases (Anatolia of the second half of the second millennium BCE), this paper addresses the ceremonial garments of key participants in cultic ceremonies, namely the royal couple, priests and priestesses, as well as festival entertainers. The paper also discusses a particular gesture which is frequently mentioned in Hittite religious texts: the act consisting of seizing someone else's seknu-garment. We argue that such a gesture might be related to the purity rules regarding the Great King's body. Throughout this paper, several correspondences between the iconography and the textual evidence are also suggested.