Amarna letter EA 362

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Amarna letter EA 362 (Reverse), photographed at the Louvre.
(very high-resolution expandable photo)

Amarna letter EA 362, titled: "A Commissioner Murdered,"[1] is a finely-inscribed clay tablet letter from Rib-Haddi, the mayor/'man' of the city of Byblos, (Gubla of the letters). Byblos, being a large coastal seaport Mediterranean city, was a city that was aligned with Egypt (Miṣri), with an Egyptian community. Rib-Haddi, as the city-state leader wrote the largest number of letters to the Pharaoh, in a sub-corpus of the 1350 BC Amarna letters (about 70 letters).

Near the end of his rule, Rib-Haddi penned two large diplomatic letters summarizing conditions of his hostilities with peoples like the Hapiru, but also other city-state rulers, vying for regional ascendency. Letter EA 362 relates the hostilities, and even talk of disease, upon his land. The letter ends addressing the fate of Egypt's commissioner Pawura.

The Amarna letters, about 300, numbered up to EA 382, are a mid 14th century BC, about 1350 BC and 20–25 years later, correspondence. The initial corpus of letters were found at Akhenaten's city Akhetaten, in the floor of the Bureau of Correspondence of Pharaoh; others were later found, adding to the body of letters.

Letter EA 362 is numbered AO 7093, from the Louvre.

The letter

EA 362: "A Reckoning Demanded"

EA 362, a letter by Rib-Haddi to Pharaoh, 1 of approximately 70 letters in the Rib-Haddi sub-corpus of the Amarna letters. (Not a linear, line-by-line translation, and English from French.)[2]

(Lines 1-4)--Rib-Haddi. Say to the king, my lord: I fall beneath the feet of my lord 7 times and 7 times.1
(5-11)--I have indeed heard the words of the king, my lord, and my heart is overjoyed. May my lord hasten the sending of the archers with all speed. If the king, my lord, does not send archers, then we ourselves must die and
(12-20)--Gubla2 will be taken. He was distraught recently: he is also distraught now.3 Recently they were saying, "There will be no archers," but I wrote with the result that archers came out and took their father. (fatherlands?).
(21-30)--Now indeed they are saying, "Let him not write or we will certainly be taken."4 They seek to capture Gubla, and they say, "If we capture Gubla, we will be strong;"5 there will not be a man left, (and) they (the archers) will certainly be too few for them.6
(31-39)--I for my part have guarded Gubla, the city of the king, "night (and) day". Should I move to the (outlying) territory, then the men will desert in order to take territory for themselves,7 and there will be no men to guard Gubla, the city of the king, my lord.
(40-50)--So may my lord hasten the archers or we must die. Because my lord has written to me, they know indeed that they are going to die, and so they seek to commit a crime.8 As to his having said9 before the king, "There is a pestilence in the lands," the king, my lord, should not listen to the words of other men. There is no pestilence in the lands. It has been over for a long t(i)me.10
(51-59)--My lord knows that I do not write lies to my lord. All the mayors are not in favor of the archers' coming out, for they have peace. I am the one who wants them to come out, for I have distress.
(60-65)--May the king, my lord, come out, for I have distress. Look, the day you come out, all the lands will be (re)joined to the king, my lord. Who will resist the troops of the king?
(66-69)--May the king, my lord, not leave this year free for the sons of Abdi-Aširta, for you know all their acts of hatred11 against the lands of the king. Who are thy that they have committed a crime and killed the commissioner: -ki-na, (Prefect)-Pewure?--(complete Obverse & Reverse, EA 362)

Akkadian text

The Akkadian language text:[3]


Tablet Obverse:

(Line 1)--{umma(inferred)} [1.]-Rib-Haddi(Rib-dHaddi) qabû--({"message"} Rib-Haddi, speaking..!)
(2)--ana Šarru(LUGAL) bēlu-ia--(to King-Lord-mine)
(3)--ana šupalu šēpu(pl) bēlu-ia--(at (the) feet, my lord)
(4)--7 ta u 7 matu--(seven times and seven,.. I bow.)
(5)--ema šemû amatu(pl)--("Now-(at-this-time)", I hear (the) words)
(6)--šarru, bēlu-ia ù ha libbu--((of) King, my lord, and 'rejoiced'-heart,..)
(7)--magal hatu li--(greatly. "Hotly"(Quickly) Lord)
(8)--šuru ṣābu(pl) pí-ṭá-ti7--(send(issue) archers with[haste])
(9)--ar-hi- šumma Šarru(LUGAL) bēlu-ia--(haste!.. (If) King-Lord-mine)
(10)--lā šuru ṣābu(pl) pí-ṭá-ta5--((does) not send archers)
(11)--ù nu nimūt--(then,.. we die)
(12)--ù ālu(pl) Gubli--(and (the) cities (of) Byblos(Gubli))
(13)--laqû(tu-ul11-qú-ma) agami--((are) taken. ..Today,...)
(14)--tul šālšami--(yesterday,...(and) "the day before",...)
(15)--magu inanna(eninna)--(it (Byblos) "has been in dire straits". ..Now)
(16)--tul šālšami--((formerly)-yesterday,...(and) "the day before",...)
(17)--qa nu--((they) were saying:.."There Are No"..)
(18)--ṣābu(pl) pí-ṭá-ta5 ù šaru--(archer-troops. ..I wrote)
(19)--ù aṣu ṣābu(pl) pí-ṭá-tu--(and "to come forth" (the) archers)
(20)--ù leqû 1.(diš)-A-Ba-Šu-Nu(abu-father)--(and take 1.-"Father-(Land)-theirs")
(21)--ama inanna(eninna) qa--("Now-(at-this-time)" ..(Now..) ..(they) say:...)
(22)-- šapāru(yi-ru) ù--((Let him)-"Don't write.. and-("that"))
(23)--leqû ù ama--(we be taken!" ... And,.. now..)

See also


  1. Moran, William L. 1987, 1992. The Amarna Letters. EA 289, A Commissioner Murdered, p. 359-361.
  2. Moran, William L. 1987, 1992. The Amarna Letters. EA 289, A Commissioner Murdered, p. 359-361.
  3. Rainey, 1970. El Amarna Tablets, 359-379, Anson F. Rainey, Glossary:Vocabulary, Personal Names, etc, pp. 55-94. (AOAT 8, Alter Orient Altes Testament 8)