An illustration of two Hittite women sitting. The Hittites were an ancient Anatolian people who spoke a Hittite language of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family, and established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia (on the Central Anatolian plateau) ca. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height ca. the 14th century BC, encompassing a large part of Anatolia, north-western Syria about as far south as the mouth of the Litani River (a territory known as Amqu), and eastward into upper Mesopotamia. After ca. 1180 BC, the empire disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some surviving until as late as the 8th century BC.