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The Suteans were a Semitic people who lived throughout the Levant and Canaan c. 1350 BC, and were later to be found in Babylonia also. They are mentioned in eight of the 382 Amarna letters. Like the Habiru, they traditionally worked as mercenaries. They are listed in documents from the Middle Assyrian Empire (1395-1075 BC) as being extant in the Assyrian colony city of Emar, in what is now north east Syria. Together with other Semitic peoples; the Chaldeans and Arameans, they overran swathes of Babylonia c. 1100 BC. They were eventually conquered by Assyria, along with the rest of Babylonia.[1][page needed]

Amarna letters

One letter mentioning the Suteans is entitled "Waiting for the Pharaoh's words", from Biryawaza of Dimasqu-(Damascus) to pharaoh:

"I am indeed, together with my troops and chariots, together with my brothers, my 'Apiru and my Suteans, at the disposition of the archers, wheresoever the king, my lord, shall order (me to go)."

EA 195 (EA for el Amarna), lines 24-32.[2]

This usage is somewhat atypical of the usage of Habiru and external mercenary forces in the Amarna letters, since this letter quotes them as being necessary and beneficial to the efforts of Biryawaza.

The Sutean language appears to have been Semitic.


  1. George Roux. Ancient Iraq. ISBN 978-0140125238.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Moran, William L. The Amarna Letters. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987, 1992. (softcover, ISBN 0-8018-6715-0)