Amarna letters

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EA 161, letter by Aziru, leader of the Amurru (Amorites), one of the Amarna letters

The Amarna letters (sometimes "Amarna tablets") are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Mesopotamia. The letters were found in Upper Egypt at Amarna, the modern name for the capital of the Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom, primarily from the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, better known as Akhenaten (1350s-1330s B.C.E.). The Amarna letters are unusual in Egyptological research, being mostly written in Akkadian cuneiform, the writing method of ancient Mesopotamia that was used in international diplomacy in the second century B.C.E.[1] The known tablets currently total 382 in number.

The Amarna letters reveal a treasury of knowledge concerning the political relations and social customs of their times. For example a correspondence between Amenhotep III and the Babylonian king Kadeshman-Enlil shows a fascinating negotiation involving Amenhotep's procurement of a Kadeshman-Enlil's daughter as a bride. A number of letters involve urgent requests for military aid.

Biblical scholars are particularly interested in the correspondence between the local kings of Canaan and their Egyptian overlords, in which a group of nomadic raiders known as the Habiru are mentioned as a military threat, raising the possibility that this group may be related to the biblical Hebrews.

Contents

The Letters

Amarna

Location of Amarna

Point rouge.jpg

These letters, consisting of cuneiform tablets mostly written in Akkadian—the international language of diplomacy for this period—were originally discovered by a peasant woman at the ancient city Amarna in 1887. Local residents uncovered a large number of them from the ruined city and then sold them on the antiquities market. Once the location where they were found was determined, the ruins were thoroughly explored and additional letters were discovered from what must have been a repository of royal correspondence.

The first archaeologist who successfully recovered more tablets was William Flinders Petrie in 1891-1892, who found 21 fragments. Émile Chassinat, then director of the French Institute for Oriental Archeology in Cairo, acquired two more tablets in 1903. Norwegian Assyriologist Jørgen Alexander Knudtzon's published a landmark edition of the Amarna correspondence, Die El-Amarna-Tafeln in two volumes (1907 and 1915).[2] Since Knudtzon's edition, some 24 more tablets, or fragments of tablets, have been found, either in Egypt, or identified in the collections of various museums, bringing the total number of the collection to 382.[3]

The tablets originally recovered by local Egyptians have been scattered among museums in Cairo, Europe and the United States: 202 or 203 are at the Vorderasiatischen Museum in Berlin; 49 or 50 at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo; seven at the Louvre; three at the Moscow Museum; and one is currently in the collection of the Oriental Institute in Chicago.[4]

Amenhotep III

The full archive, which includes correspondence from the reigns of both Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten), contained over three hundred diplomatic letters; the remainder being a miscellany of literary or educational materials. These tablets shed much light on Egyptian relations with Babylonia, Assyria, the Mitanni, the Hittites, Syria, Canaan, and Alashiya (Cyprus). They are important for establishing both the history and chronology of the period. Letters from the Babylonian king Kadashman-Enlil I anchor the timeframe of Akhenaten's reign to the mid-fourteenth century B.C.E.

The letters record, among many other things, how Amenhotep III set out to collect a wife from each of his fellow monarchs. One king, Kadeshman-Enlil of Babylon, reported that his sister, who had been sent earlier, seemed to have disappeared without trace. He wrote to inquire about her whereabouts:

Now you are asking for my daughter as your bride, but my sister was given to you by my father and is there with you, although no one has seen her and no one knows whether she is still alive or dead. (EA 1)

Although Kadeshman-Enlil was at first reluctant to send his daughter to be married, he eventually agreed:

As for the girl, my daughter about whom you wrote to me concerning marriage. She has become a woman: she is ready. Just send a delegation to collect her... (EA 3)

Kadeshman-Enlil apparently had hoped for a reciprocal bride, but Amenhotep would have none of this:

When I wrote to you about the possibility of my marrying your daughter you wrote to me as follows: “No daughter of a king of Egypt has ever been given to anyone.” Why not? You are a king and you can do what you like. (EA 4)

Significance for Biblical Studies

The Amarna letters also deal to a great extent with relations between Egyptian rulers and their vassal kings in the cities of Canaan. Of particular interest for biblical scholars is the fact that the letters revealed the first mention of a Near Eastern group known as the Habiru (also called "Apiru" and "Hapiru"), whose possible connection with the Hebrews has been much debated. These particular letters complain about attacks by armed groups of Habiru who attacked cities and were sometimes willing to fight on any side of the local wars in exchange for equipment, provisions, and quarters.

David storms Jerusalem: was he the last and greatest of the Habiru chiefs?

The Habiru appear to be active on a broad area including Syria, Phoenicia, and to the south as far as Jerusalem. When the el-Amarna archives were translated, some scholars eagerly equated these Habiru with the biblical Hebrews. Besides the similarity in names, the description of the Habiru attacking cities in Canaan seemed to parallel the biblical account of the conquest of that land by Hebrews under Joshua and later Israelite leaders.

A Letter from King Abdu-Heba of Jerusalem (EA 286) shows how this Canaanite king sought the aid of his Egyptian overlords against the dreaded Habiru.

To the king, my Lord, thus speaks Abdu-Heba, your servant. At the feet of the king, my Lord, seven times and seven times I prostrate myself... Oh king, my Lord, there are no garrison troops here!... May the king direct his attention to the archers, and may the king, my Lord, send troops of archers... The Hapiru sack the territories of the king. If there are archers (here) this year, all the territories of the king will remain (intact); but if there are no archers, the territories of the king, my Lord, will be lost! To the king, my Lord thus writes Abdu-Heba, your servant. He conveys eloquent words to the king, my Lord. All the territories of the king, my Lord, are lost.

Other letters speak of the Habiru joining forces with other cities to attack a king who seeks aid from his Egyptian allies.

Many scholars believe that the Hapiru were a component of the later peoples who inhabited the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Noted Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, for example, holds that the stories of Joshua's conquest of Canaan represent a legendary account based in part on stories passed on by Habiru raiders who attacked Canaanite towns, much as described in the above letter of the king of Jerusalem.[5] Indeed, the Book of Judges describes how the Israelites attempted but failed to take that very city after succeeding in gaining control of surrounding territories. Finkelstein also suggests that the future King David, described by the Bible as a leader of a roving band of outlaw Judahites during the time of of King Saul, was the last and greatest of the Habiru bandit leaders. Eventually he succeeded it conquering the important towns of Hebron and Jerusalem and later extended his rule to other territories as well.

Amarna Letters List

Organizational Summary

Map of the ancient Near East during the Amarna period, showing the great powers of the period: Egypt (green), Hatti (yellow), the Kassite kingdom of Babylon (purple), Assyria (gray), and Mittani (red). The extent of the Achaean/Mycenaean civilization is shown in orange.

In terms of their numerical designations, the Amarna Letters are arranged politically in a roughly counterclockwise manner, beginning with Babylon and moving northwest and eastward toward Assyria and Mittani, then southward to Syria, Lebanon and Canaan:

  • 001-014 Babylonia
  • 015-016 Assyria
  • 017-030 Mittani
  • 031-032 Arzawa
  • 033-040 Alasia
  • 041-044 Hatti
  • 045-380+ Syria/Lebanon/Canaan

The Amarna Letters from Syria/Lebanon/Canaan are distributed roughly as follows:

  • 045-067 Syria
  • 068-227 Lebanon (where 68-140 are from Gubla, also called Byblos)
  • 227-380 Canaan

Complete listing

Note: spellings vary widely and some assignments are considered tentative.

EA# letter author to recipient
EA# 1 Amenhotep III to Babylon king KadashmanEnlil
EA# 2 Babylon king KadashmanEnlil to Amenhotep 3
EA# 3 Babylon king KadashmanEnlil to Amenhotep 3
EA# 4 Babylon king KadashmanEnlil to Amenhotep 3
EA# 5 Amenhotep 3 to Babylon king KadashmanEnlil
EA# 6 Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 3
EA# 7 Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 8 Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 9 Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 10 Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 11 Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 12 princess to her lord
EA# 13 Babylon
EA# 14 Amenhotep 4 to Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2
EA# 15 Assyria king AshurUballit 1 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 16 Assyria king AshurUballit 1 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 17 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 18 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 19 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 20 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 21 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 22 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 23 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 24 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 25 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4
EA# 26 Mitanni king Tushratta to widow Tiy
EA# 27 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4
EA# 28 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4
EA# 29 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4
EA# 30 Mitanni king to Palestine kings
EA# 31 Amenhotep 3 to Arzawa king Tarhundaraba
EA# 32 Arzawa king Tarhundaraba to Amenhotep 3(?)
EA# 33 Alashiya king to pharaoh #1
EA# 34 Alashiya king to pharaoh #2
EA# 35 Alashiya king to pharaoh #3
EA# 36 Alashiya king to pharaoh #4
EA# 37 Alashiya king to pharaoh #5
EA# 38 Alashiya king to pharaoh #6
EA# 39 Alashiya king to pharaoh #7
EA# 40 Alashiya minister to Egypt minister
EA# 41 Hittite king Suppiluliuma to Huri[a]
EA# 42 Hittite king to pharaoh
EA# 43 Hittite king to pharaoh
EA# 44 Hittite prince Zi[k]ar to pharaoh
EA# 45 Ugarit king [M]istu ... to pharaoh
EA# 46 Ugarit king ... to king
EA# 47 Ugarit king ... to king
EA# 48 Ugarit queen ..[h]epa to pharaohs queen
EA# 49 Ugarit king NiqmAdda 2 to pharaoh
EA# 50 woman to her mistress B[i]...
EA#051 Nuhasse king Addunirari to pharaoh
EA#052 Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #1
EA#053 Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #2
EA#054 Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #3
EA#055 Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #4
EA#056 ... to king
EA#057 ...
EA#058
EA#058 [Qat]ihutisupa to king(?) obverse
EA#059 Tunip peoples to pharaoh
EA#060 Amurru king AbdiAsirta to pharaoh #1
EA#061 Amurru king AbdiAsirta to pharaoh #2
EA#062 Amurru king AbdiAsirta to Pahanate
EA#063 Amurru king AbdiAsirta to pharaoh #3
EA#064 Amurru king AbdiAsirta to pharaoh #4
EA#065 Amurru king AbdiAsirta to pharaoh #5
EA#066 --- to king
EA#067 --- to king
EA#068 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #1
EA#069 Gubal king RibAddi to Egypt official
EA#070 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #1
EA#071 Gubal king RibAddi to Haia(?)
EA#072 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #3
EA#073 Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #1
EA#074 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #4
EA#075 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #5
EA#076 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #6
EA#077 Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #2
EA#078 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #7
EA#079 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #8
EA#080 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #9
EA#081 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #10
EA#082 Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #3
EA#083 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #11
EA#084 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #12
EA#085 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #13
EA#086 Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #4
EA#087 Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #5
EA#088 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #14
EA#089 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #15
EA#090 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #16
EA#091 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #17
EA#092 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #18
EA#093 Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #6
EA#094 Gubla man to pharaoh
EA#095 Gubal king RibAddi to chief
EA#096 chief to RibAddi
EA#097 IapahAddi to SumuHadi
EA#098 IapahAddi to Ianhamu
EA#099 pharaoh to Ammia prince(?)
EA#100 Irqata peoples
EA#1001 Tagi to LabAya
EA#101 Gubla man to Egypt official
EA#102 Gubal king RibAddi to [Ianha]m[u]
EA#103 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #19
EA#104 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #20
EA#105 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #21
EA#106 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #22
EA#107 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #23
EA#108 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #24
EA#109 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #25
EA#110 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #26
EA#111 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #27
EA#112 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #28
EA#113 Gubal king RibAddi to Egypt official
EA#114 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #29
EA#115 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #30
EA#116 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #31
EA#117 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #32
EA#118 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #33
EA#119 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #34
EA#120 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #35
EA#121 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #36
EA#122 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #37
EA#123 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #38
EA#124 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #39
EA#125 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #40
EA#126 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #41
EA#127 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #42
EA#128 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #43
EA#129 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #44
EA#129 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #45
EA#130 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #46
EA#131 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #47
EA#132 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #48
EA#133 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #49
EA#134 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #50
EA#135 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #51
EA#136 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #52
EA#137 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #53
EA#138 Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #54
EA#139 Ilirabih & Gubla to pharaoh #1
EA#140 Ilirabih & Gubla to pharaoh #2
EA#141 Beruta king Ammunira to pharaoh #1
EA#142 Beruta king Ammunira to pharaoh #2
EA#143 Beruta king Ammunira to pharaoh #3
EA#144 Zidon king Zimriddi to pharaoh
EA#145 [Z]imrid[a] to a official
EA#146 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #1
EA#147 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #2
EA#148 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #3
EA#149 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #4
EA#150 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #5
EA#151 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #6
EA#152 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #7
EA#153 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #8
EA#154 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #9
EA#155 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #10
EA#156 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #1
EA#157 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #2
EA#158 Amurru king Aziri to Dudu #1
EA#159 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #3
EA#160 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #4
EA#161 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #5
EA#162 pharaoh to Amurra prince
EA#163 pharaoh to ...
EA#164 Amurru king Aziri to Dudu #2
EA#165 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #6
EA#166 Amurru king Aziri to Hai
EA#167 Amurru king Aziri to (Hai #2?)
EA#168 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #7
EA#169 Amurru son of Aziri to a Egypt official
EA#170 BaAluia & Battiilu
EA#171 Amurru son of Aziri to pharaoh
EA#172 ---
EA#173 ... to king
EA#174 Bieri of Hasabu
EA#175 Ildaja of Hazi to king
EA#176 AbdiRisa
EA#177 Guddasuna king Jamiuta
EA#178 Hibija to a chief
EA#179 ... to king
EA#180 ... to king
EA#181 ... to king
EA#182 Mittani king Shuttarna to pharaoh #1
EA#183 Mittani king Shuttarna to pharaoh #2
EA#184 Mittani king Shuttarna to pharaoh #3
EA#185 Hazi king Majarzana to king
EA#186 [Majarzana] of Hazi to king #2
EA#187 Satija of ... to king
EA#188 ... to king
EA#189 Qadesh mayor Etakkama
EA#190 pharaoh to Qadesh mayor Etakkama(?)
EA#191 Ruhiza king Arzawaija to king
EA#192 Ruhiza king Arzawaija to king #2
EA#193 Dijate to king
EA#194 Damascus mayor Namiawaza to king #1
EA#195 Damascus mayor Namiawaza to king #2
EA#196 Damascus mayor Namiawaza to king #3
EA#197 Damascus mayor Namiawaza to king #4
EA#198 Ara[ha]ttu of Kumidi to king
EA#199 ... the king
EA#200 servant to king
EA#2001 Sealants
EA#2002 Sealants
EA#201 Artemanja of Ziribasani to king
EA#202 Amajase to king
EA#203 AbdiMilki of Sashimi
EA#204 prince of Qanu to king
EA#205 Gubbu prince to king
EA#206 prince of Naziba to king
EA#207 Ipteh ... to king
EA#208 ... to Egypt official or king
EA#209 Zisamimi to king
EA#210 Zisami[mi] to Amenhotep 4
EA#2100 Carchemish king to Ugarit king Asukwari
EA#211 Zitrijara to king #1
EA#2110 EwiriShar to Plsy
EA#212 Zitrijara to king #2
EA#213 Zitrijara to king #3
EA#214 ... to king
EA#215 Baiawa to king #1
EA#216 Baiawa to king #2
EA#217 A[h]... to king
EA#218 ... to king
EA#219 ... to king
EA#220 Nukurtuwa of (?) [Z]unu to king
EA#221 Wiktazu to king #1
EA#222 pharaoh to Intaruda
EA#222 Wik[tazu] to king #2
EA#223 En[g]u[t]a to king
EA#224 SumAdd[a] to king
EA#225 SumAdda of Samhuna to king
EA#226 Sipturi_ to king
EA#227 Hazor king
EA#228 Hazor king AbdiTirsi
EA#229 Abdi-na-... to king
EA#230 Iama to king
EA#231 ... to king
EA#232 Acco king Zurata to pharaoh
EA#233 Acco king Zatatna to pharaoh #1
EA#234 Acco king Zatatna to pharaoh #2
EA#235 Zitatna/(Zatatna) to king
EA#236 ... to king
EA#237 Bajadi to king
EA#238 Bajadi
EA#239 Baduzana
EA#240 ... to king
EA#241 Rusmania to king
EA#242 Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #1
EA#243 Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #2
EA#244 Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #3
EA#245 Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #4
EA#246 Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #5
EA#247 Megiddo king Biridija or Jasdata
EA#248 Ja[sd]ata to king
EA#248 Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh
EA#249
EA#249 AdduUr.sag to king
EA#250 AdduUr.sag to king
EA#2500 Shechem
EA#251 ... to Egypt official
EA#252 Labaja to king
EA#253 Labaja to king
EA#254 Labaja to king
EA#255 MutBalu or MutBahlum to king
EA#256 Aiab to king
EA#256 MutBalu to Ianhamu
EA#257 BaluMihir to king #1
EA#258 BaluMihir to king #2
EA#259 BaluMihir to king #3
EA#260 BaluMihir to king #4
EA#261 Dasru to king #1
EA#262 Dasru to king #2
EA#263 ... to lord
EA#264 Gezer leader Tagi to pharaoh #1
EA#265 Gezer leader Tagi to pharaoh #2
EA#266 Gezer leader Tagi to pharaoh #3
EA#267 Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #1
EA#268 Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #2
EA#269 Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #3
EA#270 Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #4
EA#271 Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #5
EA#272 Sum... to king
EA#273 BaLatNese to king
EA#274 BaLatNese to king #2
EA#275 Iahazibada to king #1
EA#276 Iahazibada to king #2
EA#277 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #1
EA#278 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #2
EA#279 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #3
EA#280 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #3
EA#281 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #4
EA#282 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #5
EA#283 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #6
EA#284 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #7
EA#285 Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#286 Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#287 Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#288 Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#289 Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#290 Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#290 Qiltu king Suwardata to king
EA#291 ... to ...
EA#292 Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #1
EA#293 Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #2
EA#294 Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #3
EA#295
EA#295 Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #4
EA#296 Gaza king Iahtiri
EA#297 Gezer mayor Iapah[i] to pharaoh #1
EA#298 Gezer mayor Iapahi to pharaoh #2
EA#299 Gezer mayor Iapahi to pharaoh #3
EA#300 Gezer mayor Iapahi to pharaoh #4
EA#301 Subandu to king #1
EA#302 Subandu to king #2
EA#303 Subandu to king #3
EA#304 Subandu to king #4
EA#305 Subandu to king #5
EA#306 Subandu to king #6
EA#307 ... to king
EA#308 ... to king
EA#309 ... to king
EA#310 ... to king
EA#311 ... to king
EA#312 ... to king
EA#313 ... to king
EA#314 Jursa king PuBaLu to pharaoh #1
EA#315 Jursa king PuBaLu to pharaoh #2
EA#316 Jursa king PuBaLu to pharaoh
EA#317 Dagantakala to king #1
EA#318 Dagantakala to king #2
EA#319 A[h]tirumna king Zurasar to king
EA#320 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #1
EA#321 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #2
EA#322 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #3
EA#323 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #4
EA#324 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #5
EA#325 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #6
EA#326 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #7
EA#327 ... the king
EA#328 Lakis mayor Iabniilu to pharaoh
EA#329 Lakis king Zimridi to pharaoh
EA#330 Lakis mayor SiptiBaLu to pharaoh #1
EA#331 Lakis mayor SiptiBaLu to pharaoh #2
EA#332 Lakis mayor SiptiBaLu to pharaoh #3
EA#333 Ebi to a prince
EA#334 ---dih of Zuhra [-?] to king
EA#335 --- [of Z]uhr[u] to king
EA#336 Hiziri to king #1
EA#337 Hiziri to king #2
EA#338 Zi... to king
EA#339 ... to king
EA#340 ...
EA#341 ...
EA#342 ...
EA#356 myth Adapa & South Wind
EA#357 myth Ereskigal & Nergal
EA#358 myth fragments
EA#359 myth Epic of king of Battle
EA#360 ...
EA#361 ...
EA#365 Megiddo king Biridiya to pharaoh
EA#367 pharaoh to Endaruta of Akshapa
EA#xxx Amenhotep 3 to Milkili
H#3100 Tell elHesi
P#3200 Pella prince MutBalu to Yanhamu
P#3210 Lion Woman to king
T#3002 Amenhotep to Taanach king Rewassa
T#3005 Amenhotep to Taanach king Rewassa
T#3006 Amenhotep to Taanach king Rewassa
U#4001 Ugarit king Niqmaddu

Chronology

William L. Moran summarizes the state of the chronology of these tablets as follows:

Despite a long history of inquiry, the chronology of the Amarna letters, both relative and absolute, presents many problems, some of bewildering complexity, that still elude definitive solution. Consensus obtains only about what is obvious, certain established facts, and these provide only a broad framework within which many and often quite different reconstructions of the course of events reflected in the Amarna letters are possible and have been defended....The Amarna archive, it is now generally agreed, spans at most about thirty years, perhaps only fifteen or so.[6]

From the internal evidence, the earliest possible date for this correspondence is the final decade of the reign of Amenhotep III, who ruled from about 1388 to 1351 B.C.E., possibly as early as this king's thirtieth regnal year. The latest date any of these letters were written is the desertion of the city of Amarna, commonly believed to have happened in the second year of the reign of Tutankhamun later in the same century in 1332 B.C.E. Moran notes that some scholars believe one tablet, EA 16, may have been addressed to Tutankhamun's successor Ay.[7]

Notes

  1. Gwendolyn Leick, The Babylonians: An Introduction (London: Routledge, 2003, ISBN 0415253152), 20-21.
  2. William Moran, The Amarna Letters, xiv.
  3. Moran, xv.
  4. Moran, xiii-xiv.
  5. Finkelstein believes the Book of Joshua reflects the ideology of the Kingdom of Judah under seventh century B.C.E. monarch Josiah, but that it preserves stories from the time of the Habiru, retelling them in trimphalist fashion so as to encourage Josiah's own ill-fated campaign against the Egyptian Pharoah Neccho II.
  6. Moran, xxxiv.
  7. Moran, xxxv, n. 123.

References

  • Cohen, Raymond and Raymond Westbrook. Amarna Diplomacy: The Beginnings of International Relations. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0801871030
  • Finkelstein, Israel. David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition. Free Press, 2006. ISBN 0743243625
  • Goren, Y., Israel Finkelstein and N. Na’aman. Inscribed in Clay—Provenance Study of the Amarna Tablets and Other Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, 2004. ISBN 9652660205
  • Moran, William. The Amarna Letters. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0801867156
  • Petrie, William Flinders. Syria and Egypt: From the Tell el Amarna Letters. Adamant Media Corporation, 2001. ISBN 978-1402195228

External links

All links retrieved September 25, 2012.

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