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Amarna letters of about 380 documents, in cuneiform on clay tablets, found at Tell el-Amarna in Middle Egypt in 1887.
The archive dates back to the time when the Pharaoh “heretic” Akhenaten had moved the capital from Thebes to the new city of Akhenaton (Tell el-Amarna), it extends back in time (Amenophis III) and lasts until the first years of the reign of Tutankhamun.
These are mainly letters exchanged between Egypt and the kingdoms of Near East Asia, using Babylon as a contact language.
The letters are divided into two groups depending on whether the corresponding Pharaoh are the “great king” independent peers, or the “little king”, his vassals. The first group includes 39 letters and 5 attached inventory; the main topics are the ceremonial exchange of gifts, the marriage negotiations, congratulations to the new king of enthronement, and allow you to rebuild diplomatic norms of the time. The second group includes about 300 letters, most of the answers vassals or letters on their own initiative. Egyptian letters that warned the arrival of the armed contingent for the annual collection of the tax, the answers assured that everything was ready, adding complaints about local problems and requests for help.
The archive is also important from a linguistic point of view, for the trilingual (the Babylonian language as a “third” between an Egyptian partner and one Canaanite or Hurrian).
Dates back to 1887, the discovery of the ruins of the city, by a peasant in search of fuel, a significant number of clay tablets covered with cuneiform writing. The tablets are offered for sale in Cairo the following year and the British Museum he bought a small part. The majority went to the Berlin museum.
Subsequently, the tablets, and the place of occurrence, they sank into oblivion until it began to reappear on the black market, tablets, and fragments. Only in 1891 Flinders Petrie, during a season of excavations at Tell el-Amarna, found other documents of the same type, this time, will be organically cataloged at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where are still found today.
Amarna letters of about 380 documents.
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