Country attested in the Hattuša archives (alternative and older spelling, Ahhiya) as a foreign land, often associated with Arzawa, i.e. western Anatolia. References mention kings, persons, ships, and deities of Ahhiyawa, and in so far as they are datable, span the period c.1400–1220 bce. At least one king of Ahhiyawa was ranked as a ‘Great King’, thus the equal of the Hittite and Egyptian kings. Location and identification remain controversial: the identification as ‘Achaean’ (Mycenaean) Greece by Forrer in 1920 has been much disputed. Arguments against emphasize the difficulty both of seeing an early form of Achaea in Ahhiyawa, and of identifying archaeologically a political entity in Greece or the Aegean islands which could correspond to the character of Ahhiyawa. Some also seek to locate Ahhiyawa on the Anatolian mainland. Arguments in favour, which have been regaining ground since c.1980 with the increasing evidence for a Mycenaean presence in western Anatolia, emphasize principally the improbability that the Hittites, with their interest in western Anatolia, should never have mentioned the Mycenaeans. The location of Ahhiyawa across the sea from Anatolia, following the natural interpretation of the references, is also adduced. See mycenaean civilization.
The recent discovery (1998) of a bilingual hieroglyphic Luwian (see anatolian languages)–Phoenician inscription at Çineköy near Adana in Cilicia shows that in the 8th cent. bce the Luwian name for Plain Cilicia was Hiyawa, from which the Assyrian designation Qawe/Que was doubtless taken. The origin of the name has been plausibly sought in Ahhiyawa, and its presence in Cilicia explained as resulting from a post–bronze age migration from western Anatolia, associated with the name of Mopsos, recognized in epichoric Cilician inscriptions as the ancestor of the royal house. Corroboration for the Ahhiyawa–Hiyawa–Achaea links comes from the classical observation (Hdt. 7.91) that the Cilicians were previously called Hypachaeoi. Further, two 13th cent. bce Akkadian letters from Ugarit attest the presence of Hiyawan men in Lukka (Lycia).