Amarna letters

From New World Encyclopedia


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.

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.

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# 1Amenhotep III to Babylon king KadashmanEnlil
EA# 2Babylon king KadashmanEnlil to Amenhotep 3
EA# 3Babylon king KadashmanEnlil to Amenhotep 3
EA# 4Babylon king KadashmanEnlil to Amenhotep 3
EA# 5Amenhotep 3 to Babylon king KadashmanEnlil
EA# 6Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 3
EA# 7Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 8Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 9Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 10Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 11Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 12princess to her lord
EA# 13Babylon
EA# 14Amenhotep 4 to Babylon king BurnaBuriash 2
EA# 15Assyria king AshurUballit 1 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 16Assyria king AshurUballit 1 to Amenhotep 4
EA# 17Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 18Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 19Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 20Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 21Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 22Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 23Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 24Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3
EA# 25Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4
EA# 26Mitanni king Tushratta to widow Tiy
EA# 27Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4
EA# 28Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4
EA# 29Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4
EA# 30Mitanni king to Palestine kings
EA# 31Amenhotep 3 to Arzawa king Tarhundaraba
EA# 32Arzawa king Tarhundaraba to Amenhotep 3(?)
EA# 33Alashiya king to pharaoh #1
EA# 34Alashiya king to pharaoh #2
EA# 35Alashiya king to pharaoh #3
EA# 36Alashiya king to pharaoh #4
EA# 37Alashiya king to pharaoh #5
EA# 38Alashiya king to pharaoh #6
EA# 39Alashiya king to pharaoh #7
EA# 40Alashiya minister to Egypt minister
EA# 41Hittite king Suppiluliuma to Huri[a]
EA# 42Hittite king to pharaoh
EA# 43Hittite king to pharaoh
EA# 44Hittite prince Zi[k]ar to pharaoh
EA# 45Ugarit king [M]istu ... to pharaoh
EA# 46Ugarit king ... to king
EA# 47Ugarit king ... to king
EA# 48Ugarit queen ..[h]epa to pharaohs queen
EA# 49Ugarit king NiqmAdda 2 to pharaoh
EA# 50woman to her mistress B[i]...
EA#051Nuhasse king Addunirari to pharaoh
EA#052Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #1
EA#053Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #2
EA#054Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #3
EA#055Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #4
EA#056... to king
EA#057...
EA#058
EA#058[Qat]ihutisupa to king(?) obverse
EA#059Tunip peoples to pharaoh
EA#060Amurru king AbdiAsirta to pharaoh #1
EA#061Amurru king AbdiAsirta to pharaoh #2
EA#062Amurru king AbdiAsirta to Pahanate
EA#063Amurru king AbdiAsirta to pharaoh #3
EA#064Amurru king AbdiAsirta to pharaoh #4
EA#065Amurru king AbdiAsirta to pharaoh #5
EA#066--- to king
EA#067--- to king
EA#068Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #1
EA#069Gubal king RibAddi to Egypt official
EA#070Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #1
EA#071Gubal king RibAddi to Haia(?)
EA#072Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #3
EA#073Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #1
EA#074Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #4
EA#075Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #5
EA#076Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #6
EA#077Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #2
EA#078Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #7
EA#079Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #8
EA#080Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #9
EA#081Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #10
EA#082Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #3
EA#083Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #11
EA#084Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #12
EA#085Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #13
EA#086Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #4
EA#087Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #5
EA#088Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #14
EA#089Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #15
EA#090Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #16
EA#091Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #17
EA#092Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #18
EA#093Gubal king RibAddi to Amanappa #6
EA#094Gubla man to pharaoh
EA#095Gubal king RibAddi to chief
EA#096chief to RibAddi
EA#097IapahAddi to SumuHadi
EA#098IapahAddi to Ianhamu
EA#099pharaoh to Ammia prince(?)
EA#100Irqata peoples
EA#1001Tagi to LabAya
EA#101Gubla man to Egypt official
EA#102Gubal king RibAddi to [Ianha]m[u]
EA#103Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #19
EA#104Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #20
EA#105Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #21
EA#106Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #22
EA#107Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #23
EA#108Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #24
EA#109Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #25
EA#110Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #26
EA#111Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #27
EA#112Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #28
EA#113Gubal king RibAddi to Egypt official
EA#114Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #29
EA#115Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #30
EA#116Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #31
EA#117Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #32
EA#118Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #33
EA#119Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #34
EA#120Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #35
EA#121Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #36
EA#122Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #37
EA#123Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #38
EA#124Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #39
EA#125Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #40
EA#126Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #41
EA#127Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #42
EA#128Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #43
EA#129Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #44
EA#129Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #45
EA#130Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #46
EA#131Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #47
EA#132Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #48
EA#133Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #49
EA#134Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #50
EA#135Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #51
EA#136Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #52
EA#137Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #53
EA#138Gubal king RibAddi to pharaoh #54
EA#139Ilirabih & Gubla to pharaoh #1
EA#140Ilirabih & Gubla to pharaoh #2
EA#141Beruta king Ammunira to pharaoh #1
EA#142Beruta king Ammunira to pharaoh #2
EA#143Beruta king Ammunira to pharaoh #3
EA#144Zidon king Zimriddi to pharaoh
EA#145[Z]imrid[a] to a official
EA#146Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #1
EA#147Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #2
EA#148Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #3
EA#149Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #4
EA#150Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #5
EA#151Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #6
EA#152Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #7
EA#153Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #8
EA#154Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #9
EA#155Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #10
EA#156Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #1
EA#157Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #2
EA#158Amurru king Aziri to Dudu #1
EA#159Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #3
EA#160Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #4
EA#161Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #5
EA#162pharaoh to Amurra prince
EA#163pharaoh to ...
EA#164Amurru king Aziri to Dudu #2
EA#165Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #6
EA#166Amurru king Aziri to Hai
EA#167Amurru king Aziri to (Hai #2?)
EA#168Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #7
EA#169Amurru son of Aziri to a Egypt official
EA#170BaAluia & Battiilu
EA#171Amurru son of Aziri to pharaoh
EA#172---
EA#173... to king
EA#174Bieri of Hasabu
EA#175Ildaja of Hazi to king
EA#176AbdiRisa
EA#177Guddasuna king Jamiuta
EA#178Hibija to a chief
EA#179... to king
EA#180... to king
EA#181... to king
EA#182Mittani king Shuttarna to pharaoh #1
EA#183Mittani king Shuttarna to pharaoh #2
EA#184Mittani king Shuttarna to pharaoh #3
EA#185Hazi king Majarzana to king
EA#186[Majarzana] of Hazi to king #2
EA#187Satija of ... to king
EA#188... to king
EA#189Qadesh mayor Etakkama
EA#190pharaoh to Qadesh mayor Etakkama(?)
EA#191Ruhiza king Arzawaija to king
EA#192Ruhiza king Arzawaija to king #2
EA#193Dijate to king
EA#194Damascus mayor Namiawaza to king #1
EA#195Damascus mayor Namiawaza to king #2
EA#196Damascus mayor Namiawaza to king #3
EA#197Damascus mayor Namiawaza to king #4
EA#198Ara[ha]ttu of Kumidi to king
EA#199... the king
EA#200servant to king
EA#2001Sealants
EA#2002Sealants
EA#201Artemanja of Ziribasani to king
EA#202Amajase to king
EA#203AbdiMilki of Sashimi
EA#204prince of Qanu to king
EA#205Gubbu prince to king
EA#206prince of Naziba to king
EA#207Ipteh ... to king
EA#208... to Egypt official or king
EA#209Zisamimi to king
EA#210Zisami[mi] to Amenhotep 4
EA#2100Carchemish king to Ugarit king Asukwari
EA#211Zitrijara to king #1
EA#2110EwiriShar to Plsy
EA#212Zitrijara to king #2
EA#213Zitrijara to king #3
EA#214... to king
EA#215Baiawa to king #1
EA#216Baiawa to king #2
EA#217A[h]... to king
EA#218... to king
EA#219... to king
EA#220Nukurtuwa of (?) [Z]unu to king
EA#221Wiktazu to king #1
EA#222pharaoh to Intaruda
EA#222Wik[tazu] to king #2
EA#223En[g]u[t]a to king
EA#224SumAdd[a] to king
EA#225SumAdda of Samhuna to king
EA#226Sipturi_ to king
EA#227Hazor king
EA#228Hazor king AbdiTirsi
EA#229Abdi-na-... to king
EA#230Iama to king
EA#231... to king
EA#232Acco king Zurata to pharaoh
EA#233Acco king Zatatna to pharaoh #1
EA#234Acco king Zatatna to pharaoh #2
EA#235Zitatna/(Zatatna) to king
EA#236... to king
EA#237Bajadi to king
EA#238Bajadi
EA#239Baduzana
EA#240... to king
EA#241Rusmania to king
EA#242Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #1
EA#243Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #2
EA#244Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #3
EA#245Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #4
EA#246Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #5
EA#247Megiddo king Biridija or Jasdata
EA#248Ja[sd]ata to king
EA#248Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh
EA#249
EA#249AdduUr.sag to king
EA#250AdduUr.sag to king
EA#2500Shechem
EA#251... to Egypt official
EA#252Labaja to king
EA#253Labaja to king
EA#254Labaja to king
EA#255MutBalu or MutBahlum to king
EA#256Aiab to king
EA#256MutBalu to Ianhamu
EA#257BaluMihir to king #1
EA#258BaluMihir to king #2
EA#259BaluMihir to king #3
EA#260BaluMihir to king #4
EA#261Dasru to king #1
EA#262Dasru to king #2
EA#263... to lord
EA#264Gezer leader Tagi to pharaoh #1
EA#265Gezer leader Tagi to pharaoh #2
EA#266Gezer leader Tagi to pharaoh #3
EA#267Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #1
EA#268Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #2
EA#269Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #3
EA#270Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #4
EA#271Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #5
EA#272Sum... to king
EA#273BaLatNese to king
EA#274BaLatNese to king #2
EA#275Iahazibada to king #1
EA#276Iahazibada to king #2
EA#277Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #1
EA#278Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #2
EA#279Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #3
EA#280Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #3
EA#281Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #4
EA#282Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #5
EA#283Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #6
EA#284Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #7
EA#285Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#286Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#287Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#288Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#289Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#290Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh
EA#290Qiltu king Suwardata to king
EA#291... to ...
EA#292Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #1
EA#293Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #2
EA#294Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #3
EA#295
EA#295Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #4
EA#296Gaza king Iahtiri
EA#297Gezer mayor Iapah[i] to pharaoh #1
EA#298Gezer mayor Iapahi to pharaoh #2
EA#299Gezer mayor Iapahi to pharaoh #3
EA#300Gezer mayor Iapahi to pharaoh #4
EA#301Subandu to king #1
EA#302Subandu to king #2
EA#303Subandu to king #3
EA#304Subandu to king #4
EA#305Subandu to king #5
EA#306Subandu 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#314Jursa king PuBaLu to pharaoh #1
EA#315Jursa king PuBaLu to pharaoh #2
EA#316Jursa king PuBaLu to pharaoh
EA#317Dagantakala to king #1
EA#318Dagantakala to king #2
EA#319A[h]tirumna king Zurasar to king
EA#320Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #1
EA#321Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #2
EA#322Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #3
EA#323Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #4
EA#324Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #5
EA#325Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #6
EA#326Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #7
EA#327... the king
EA#328Lakis mayor Iabniilu to pharaoh
EA#329Lakis king Zimridi to pharaoh
EA#330Lakis mayor SiptiBaLu to pharaoh #1
EA#331Lakis mayor SiptiBaLu to pharaoh #2
EA#332Lakis mayor SiptiBaLu to pharaoh #3
EA#333Ebi to a prince
EA#334---dih of Zuhra [-?] to king
EA#335--- [of Z]uhr[u] to king
EA#336Hiziri to king #1
EA#337Hiziri to king #2
EA#338Zi... to king
EA#339... to king
EA#340...
EA#341...
EA#342...
EA#356myth Adapa & South Wind
EA#357myth Ereskigal & Nergal
EA#358myth fragments
EA#359myth Epic of king of Battle
EA#360...
EA#361...
EA#365Megiddo king Biridiya to pharaoh
EA#367pharaoh to Endaruta of Akshapa
EA#xxxAmenhotep 3 to Milkili
H#3100Tell elHesi
P#3200Pella prince MutBalu to Yanhamu
P#3210Lion Woman to king
T#3002Amenhotep to Taanach king Rewassa
T#3005Amenhotep to Taanach king Rewassa
T#3006Amenhotep to Taanach king Rewassa
U#4001Ugarit 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 March 10, 2016.

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