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Letter from Burnaburiash to Amenhotep IV


ME E29785

Room 55: Mesopotamia

    Letter from Burnaburiash to Amenhotep IV

    Kassite dynasty, about 1359-1333 BC
    From Tell el-Amarna, Egypt

    Diplomatic links between Meopotamia and Egypt

    This clay tablet is part of a collection of 382 cuneiform documents discovered in 1887 in Egypt, at the site of Tell el-Amarna. They are mainly letters spanning a fifteen- to thirty-year period. The first dates to around year 30 of the reign of Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC), and the last to no later than the first year of the reign of Tutankhamun (1336-1327 BC). The majority date to the reign of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) (1352-1336 BC), the heretic pharaoh who founded a new capital at Tell el-Amarna.

    Many letters are written by Canaanite princes to their overlord, the Egyptian king. This, however, is one of several sent to the king by rulers of the other great Near Eastern powers - Hittite, Mittanian and Babylonian.

    It is addressed to Amenhotep IV from Burnaburrias, a king of the Kassite dynasty of Babylonia. It is written in Mesopotamian Akkadian, the diplomatic language of the period. Burnaburrias calls the pharaoh his 'brother', with the suggestion that they are of equal rank. Burnaburrias complains that Amenhotep IV does not send such valuable gifts to him as he sent to his father Kurigalzu. He refers to longstanding friendly relations between the royal houses of Egypt and Babylonia. He also reminds Amenhotep how Kurigalzu refused to join the Canaanites in an alliance against Egypt. Burnaburrias then asks why the Assyrians have been allowed to come to Egypt since he claims they are his vassals. Finally he announces the dispatch of gifts of lapis lazuli and horses. 

    W.L. Moran, The Amarna letters (John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1992)


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