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Letter from Tushratta to Amenhotep III


ME E29793

Room 55: Mesopotamia

    Letter from Tushratta to Amenhotep III

    Mitannian, about 1370-1350 BC
    From Tell el-Amarna, Egypt

    Diplomatic links between Mesopotamia 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.

    This letter is written in Akkadian, the diplomatic language of Mesopotamia at the time. It is addressed to Amenhotep III from Tushratta, king of Mitanni (centred in modern Syria). Tushratta calls the pharaoh his 'brother', with the suggestion that they are of equal rank. The letter starts with greetings to various members of the royal house including Tushratta's daughter Tadu-Heba, who had become one of Amenhotep's many brides. Diplomatic marriages were the standard way in which countries formed alliances with Egypt.

    Tushratta goes on to inform Amenhotep that, with the consent of the goddess Ishtar, he has sent a statue of her to Egypt. He hopes that the goddess will be held in great honour in Egypt and that the statue may be sent back safely to Mitanni.

    Three lines of Egyptian, written in black ink, have been added, presumably when the letter arrived in Egypt. The addition includes the date 'Year 36' of the king.

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


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