Amarna letter EA 364

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EA 364, Obverse.
(high resolution expandible photo)

Amarna letter EA 364, titled: Justified War,[1] is a tall narrow clay tablet letter of correspondence, about 5 in x 3 in, and in relatively pristine condition. Because of its narrowness, each line only averages 4–7 cuneiform characters in the Akkadian language.

Letter EA 364 is one of the Amarna letters, about 300, numbered up to EA 382, mid 14th century BC, about 1350 BC and 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 364 is from Ayyab to the Pharaoh, and is a response to the King (pharaoh) referring to a letter from the Pharaoh's messenger Tahmassi; Ayyab, the governing-man (often—("who/which"-(ša))-"man, city")-Aštartu, is in control of one of the city-states in Canaan, and is stating his continued support of guarding his city, (and his region), after 3 regional cities were taken in warfare-hostilities.

Text of EA 364

The following English language text, and Akkadian is from Rainey, 1970, El Amarna Tablets, 359-379:[2]

(Line 1)--To the "King, my Lord",
(2)--thus (speaks) Ayyab
(3)--your servant: at
(4)--the feet of my lord
(5)--7 times (and) 7 times
(6)--I have fallen down. I am the servant
(7)--of the "King, my Lord", "And"--[ "and"=Ù (omitted by Rainey)]
(8)--("and") the dust of(at?) (i.e. beneath)-(dust= "dust"(SAHAR)-/-(/="2nd and") "dust"-(a-pa-ru)-("And-("dust-and-dust")"))
(9)--(at/beneath)-his two feet.
(10)--I have obeyed (lit.: heard) the message
(11)--of the "King, my Lord",
(12)--to me from
(13)--the hand of Atahmaya.
(14)--I will still guard
(15)--very diligently
(16)--[the land]s of the "King, my Lord".
(end photo obverse)
(17)--Furthermore, see!
(18)--the king of Hasora
(19)--has occupied (taken)
(20)--3 towns from me!
(21)--On the day that I heard (of it), I commanded (!)
(22)--to commence hostilities
(23)--against them
(24-25)--until the "King, my Lord" may be apprised.
(26)--And may the "King, my Lord",
(27)--take counsel
(28)--concerning his land.


(Line 1)--a-na LUGAL EN-[ ia ]
(2)--um-ma A-iYa-aB
(3)--ARAD-ka a-na!
(4)--GÌR.MEŠ EN-ia
(5)--7-šu 7-ta-an
(6)--am-qut a-na-ku
(7)--LUGAL EN-ia Ù-(Rainey omitted)
(8)--SAHAR /-(=u) a-pa-ru
(9)--2 GÌR.MEŠ-šu
(10)--[eš15(=is)]-(=)-te- ša-par
(11)--LUGAL EN-ia
(12)--a-na ia-ši i-na
(13)--qa-ti IA-TaH-Ma-iYa
(14)--a-di aṣ-ṣur-[ mi ]
(15)--[ ma ]-gal [ ma ]-[ gal ]
(16)--[ KUR ].MEŠ LUGAL EN-[ ia ]
(end photo obverse)
(17)--ša-ni-tam a-mur
(20)--3 -tu [ ia ]-ši
(21)--i-na UD aš- ù [ a ]-ma-[ ru ]
(22)--i-pé-eš15 nu-kùr-ti
(23)--i-na šu-a-šu
(24)--a-di-mi li-di-mi
(25)--LUGAL EN-ia
(26)--ù LUGAL EN-ia
(28)--a-na ARAD-šu

Letter EA 364, Moran translation

Moran's non-linear letter English language translation (translated from the French language):[3]

EA 364, Obverse:

(Lines 1-9)--"To the king, my lord: Message of Ayyab, your servant. I fall at the feet of my lord 7 times and 7 times. I am the servant of the king, my lord, ("and"-omitted) the dirt at his feet.
(lines 10-16)--I have heard what the king, my lord, wrote to me through (='by the hand', qa-ti ) Atahmaya. Truly, I have guarded1 very carefully (ma-gal ma-gal) [the citie]s2 of the king, my lord.

EA 364, continued Bottom, Reverse:

(lines 17-28)--Moreover, (ša-ni-tam) note that it is the ruler of Haṣura who has taken 3 cities from me. From the time I heard and verified this,3 there has been waging of war against him. Truly, may the king, my lord, take cognizance, and may the king, my lord, give thought to his servant."--(complete EA 364, with minor lacunae, lines 1-28)

Selected cuneiform signs in EA 364

Sign "tah"

Often personal names (PN) contain special cuneiform characters, and Tahmassi's name, spelled "Atahmaya" is an example of such. Sign "tah" 100x25px (based on the more common "qab"-"GABA"-100x25px) can be seen in line 13—IA-TaH-Ma-iYa. (In the photo of EA 364 (obverse), the cuneiform signs become out-of-focus below lines 9 and 10.) The "tah" sign has only one use, as tah, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, (12 times).[4]

Because Tahmassi's name is from the Egyptian god Ptah (a creator god), some clues to the spelling and pronunciation of "ptah" can be guessed. "Ptah-mine", Ptah (is) mine, "Mine, My (God) is Ptah", with -iya the suffix for 'my' still used in the languages of present day.

Variants of EN, for "Lord"

The "en" 100x25px cuneiform sign, is used frequently in the Canaanite city-state letters to the Pharaoh for "Lord", (as EN (lord Sumerogram)), for Akkadian language bēlu.[5] It is often part of the phrase "King-Lord-mine", LUGAL-EN-ia; a variant often in the letters (because of the addendum of an RI sign) contains an equivalent for LUGAL, "ŠÀR", for (LUGAL=king=Šarru), "ŠÀR-RI, EN-ia". Also, singly "Lord-mine" is used in some letter texts, and often with alphabeltic spellings of "bēlu" instead of using "EN": in EA 364, (above)–line (end l.3) and 4 state: " feet 'Lord(EN)-mine' ".

In letter EA 364, the common variety of many sub-varieties is used, 100x25px. It shows distinctly in lines 364:1,4,7, and 11 the two verticals-right, with the angled wedges at their base. The lone vertical at center-left is equally tall (not on all Amarna letters), and strikingly visible, and without the angled wedge at the base. Some letters have an additional wedge at the base (making it the 3rd, 'vertical-with-wedge-base').

See also


  1. Moran, William L. 1987, 1992. The Amarna Letters. EA 364, Justified War, p. 3623.
  2. Rainey, 1970, El Amarna Tablets, 359-379, (AOAT 8, Alter Orient Altes Testament 8), EA 364, pp. 22-23.
  3. Moran, William L. 1987, 1992, The Amarna Letters, letter EA 364, Justified War, p. 362.
  4. Parpola, 197l. The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Sign List, pp. 155-165, no. 169, p. 158.
  5. Parpola, 197l. The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Glossary, pp. 119-145, bēlu, p. 122.