Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUCLA

Hittite Queenship: Women and Power in Hittite Anatolia


Though scholars have long acknowledged the unusual prominence of royal women in the Late Bronze Age, few studies have examined the relationship between women and power. What were the sources of a royal woman’s power, and how did they differ from those of men? To what extent could a queen exercise control over members of the royal court? What techniques of resistance did royal women adopt to contest the will of the king, and to what extent were those tactics successful? This dissertation seeks to answer these questions. Turning first to the religious sphere, I demonstrate that festivals and religious ceremonies were arenas in which the king and queen displayed royal power and in which the social hierarchies of the Hittite court were created and reinforced. Turning next to conflicts within the royal household, one sees that royal women utilized a variety of tools to resist the will of the king. The power of the king should not be viewed as unidirectional; rather, any attempt of the king to exercise power over members of his family was frequently met with resistance in the form of violence or witchcraft. Though an examination of the life of Puduḫepa, I examine the sources of a queen’s power and how a queen was able to parlay power in some arenas, such as her responsibility for raising children, into political power. Finally, I broach the topic of shifting notions of queenship from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age by studying depictions of royal women in Anatolian monuments.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View