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Hieroglyphic Luwian: history and analysis


Admission requirements



Hieroglyphic Luwian is the language in which the monumental inscriptions of the Hittite Empire (1650-1180 BC, central-Anatolia) as well as the Neo-Hittite city states (1100-700 BC, south-east-Anatolia) are written. It is written in an indigenous hieroglyphic script (which has nothing to do with the Egyptian hieroglyphs).

Linguistically, Hieroglyphic Luwian belongs to the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family. Thus, it is closely related to Hittite, and, more remotely, to languages such as Greek, Latin, Sanskrit as well as English and Dutch.

In this course, both the writing system and the entire grammar of Hieroglyphic Luwian will be treated, with the aim of being able to independently read and interpret Hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions in the hieroglyphic script.

In addition, the student will be introduced to various scientific publications. These will represent current debates and recent discoveries on matters such as historical phonology and morphology as well as the placement of Hieroglyphic Luwian within the Anatolian language branch and the origins of the Hieroglyphic Luwian script.

Course objectives

After finishing this course, the student will be able to:

  • determine the place of Hieroglyphic Luwian within (the Anatolian branch of) the Indo-European language family;

  • correctly transliterate Hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions with the help of a sign list;

  • translate and grammatically analyse Hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions using a word list and sign list;

  • critically analyse and comment on transliterations and translations of Hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions.

  • reproduce the main arguments of several scientific discussions regarding the interpretation of the Hieroglyphic Luwian material and comment them accordingly.

  • form his/her own opinion on proposed (phonological/morphological) interpretations of the Hieroglyphic Luwian material.


The timetable is available on the MA Linguistics website

Mode of instruction

The student is expected to attend the weekly BA seminar (2 hours per week).

In addition, a reading list will be provided with 1. references to various scientific publications (for self-study) and 2. a list containing titles of Hieroglyphic Luwian texts which are to be read and translated independently.

During the semester, there will be several tutorial sessions where questions about the secondary literature will be answered and difficulties arising in independent translations will be discussed.

Course Load

Total course load: 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours.

  • Seminars: 26 hours

  • Preparation seminars: 65 hours

  • Independent reading of literature: 35 hours

  • Independent preparation of texts: 85 hours

  • Extra tutorials: 4 hours

  • Preparation exam: 63 hours

  • Final exam: 2 hours

Assessment method


Written examination 100 %

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Resit: students who fail the course may resit the exam and/or course paper.


Not applicable.

Reading list

Syllabus + reading list: will be distributed by the lecturer in digital form before the first class.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in [English]) and Dutch

Students other than MA Linguistics need permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.