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The Amarna Letters
     

The Amarna Letters

by William L. Moran (Editor)
 

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An ancient inscription identified some of the ruins at el Amarna as "The Place of the Letters of the Pharaoh." Discovered there, circa 1887, were nearly four hundred cuneiform tablets containing correspondence of the Egyptian court with rulers of neighboring states in the mid-fourteenth century B.C. Previous translations of these letters were both incomplete and

Overview

An ancient inscription identified some of the ruins at el Amarna as "The Place of the Letters of the Pharaoh." Discovered there, circa 1887, were nearly four hundred cuneiform tablets containing correspondence of the Egyptian court with rulers of neighboring states in the mid-fourteenth century B.C. Previous translations of these letters were both incomplete and reflected an imperfect understanding of the Babylonian dialects in which they were written. William Moran devoted a lifetime of study to the Amarna letters to prepare this authoritative English translation.

The letters provide a vivid record of high-level diplomatic exchanges that, by modern standards, are often less than diplomatic. An Assyrian ruler complains that the Egyptian king's latest gift of gold was not even sufficient to pay the cost of the messengers who brought it. The king of Babylon refuses to give his daughter in marriage to the pharaoh without first having proof that the king's sister—already one of the pharaoh's many wives—is still alive and well. The king of Karaduniyash complains that the Egyptian court has "detained" his messenger—for the past six years. And Egyptian vassal Rib-Hadda, writing from the besieged port of Byblos, repeatedly demands military assistance for his city or, failing that, an Egyptian ship to permit his own escape.

Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
The acknowledged master of these texts is William Moran, who produced a complete re-edition of the tablets, in French, in 1987. The Amarna Letters is a revised version of this, done into English. Open it, and hear these voices from a vanished empire speak after three and a half millennia.

Libraries and Culture
Fascinating... The refined scholarship and mature pedagogy of a distinguished student of the ancient Near East.

Zeitschrift für Assyriologie
A superb treatment of the Amarna Letters.

Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie
A superb treatment of the Amarna Letters.
Zeitschrift fuur Assyriologie
A superb treatment of the Amarna Letters.
Booknews
Discovered at el Amarna in about 1887, were nearly 400 cuneiform tablets containing correspondence of the Egyptian court with rulers of neighboring states in the mid-14th century B.C. Moran has prepared an authoritative English translation which supplants previous translations that were incomplete or based on imperfect understanding of the particular Babylonian dialects. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801867156
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
12/19/1992
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
499,353
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.05(d)

Meet the Author

William L. Moran (1921-2000) was Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities, Emeritus, in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University.

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