Blog #6- Amarna Letters

This week I found the topic of Amarna letters to be very fascinating. These tablets which were written in Akkadian, the language of Mesopotamia, gave archaeologists an idea of the political and economic growth that occurred in ancient Egypt during the New Kingdom especially under the reign of Amunhotep II and its views on foreign policy at the time. Found on these tablets were correspondence between Egypt and the powers of Southwest Asia, both major and minor civilizations. The presence of a large amount of these tablets have been found, over 380, in a small temple called the House of Ammuru in the records office inside the administrative buildings is significant and after finding these I’m sure the archeologists believed it to be the jackpot. The letters give great insight into the relationships Egypt had with other surrounding civilizations and even included letters from other states looking for military aid from Egypt, which I’m sure Egypt ignored unless there were economic ties between the two such as a trade network.

Since the Amarna letters give us a look into the history of Egypt during this time, we are also given the chance to learn about the Hittites expanding their territory and their success as an independent state. It has been said that the widowed wife of one of the pharaohs, thought to be Tutankhamens, had written a letter to the Hittite king at the time stating Egypt had no ruler. When I first heard this I wondered why she would put her state in danger like that. You may correct me if I’m wrong but I would think that the king would realize that Egypt was very vulnerable with no ruler and would try to conquer it and she would probably be in a worse situation that she was in before. After saying they had no ruler, the widowed wife asked the king to send a Hittite prince to assume the throne. The officials of Egypt and individuals who wanted to be pharaoh themselves dislike this idea so much that it is believed that they assassinated the prince on his way to Egypt. Due to the discovery of these tablets, we are able to really see the shift Egypt underwent from a state concentrated on military campaigns to a state of diplomacy.

Leave a Reply