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The Amarna Letters Paperback – 31 Oct 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; New Ed edition (31 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801867150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801867156
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 309,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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.

(Times Literary Supplement)

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

(Libraries and Culture)

A superb treatment of the Amarna Letters.

(Zeitschrift für Assyriologie)

About 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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First Sentence
Say [t]o Kadasman-Enlil, the king of Karadun[i]se, my brother: Thus Nibmuarea, Great King, the king of Egypt, your brother. Read the first page
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Legal Vampire on 9 July 2010
This book consists mainly of translations of the correspondence from a couple of decades during the Fourteenth Century B.C. between the kings of Egypt (Akhenaten, his father Amenophis III and Akhenaten's short-lived immediate successors) and other Middle Eastern Kings and Princes of the time.

Although this represents a tiny part of the long span of Ancient history, the survival of this correspondence in the abandoned royal palace at Amarna is virtually unique, although some letters are badly damaged or missing.

The letters were written to serve the immediate concerns of people over three thousand years ago, not for our interest or benefit. In parts they are obscure or repetitive. Someone who does not yet know that much about the period would do better to start with less specialised and more populist works then this book.

However, if you already know a reasonable amount about New Kingdom Egypt then you will almost certainly want to read and be interested by especially the correspondence with the major foreign kings.

Pharoah's correspondents included the rulers of major powers like Babylon, Assyria and the Hittites, who addressed the king of Egypt as their "brother", and whose letters are the more interesting, lively and revealing of character. It is strange to read the very words these people from long lost civilizations had to say to one another.

The last and longest part of the book consists of letters from more obscure Canaanite and Syrain princes who addressed the king of Egypt as their "lord" and in theory were under his authority, although they sometimes enjoyed enough independence to wage war against each other, and sometimes intrigued disloyally with foreign powers.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 25 Jan 2009
William Moran has scored a triumph in his book The Amarna Letters. These "letters" were discovered at the end of the 19th century, on the site of Akhenaten's ancient city in a remote part of Egypt. They are simply clay tablets written in cuneiform, and represent correspondences to and from Egyptian Pharaohs and neighbouring rulers. The information in the letters helps in our understanding of the social and political history of Egypt, Syria and Palestine in the fourteenth century BC.

This book sets out the letters in order and gives a literal translation on each one. The reader can instantly see what was sent from Mittani to Egypt, or from Egypt to Qadesh etc. Moran includes notes from authors and academics which gives a broader understanding of the meanings of the letters.

It is of interest to anyone who wants to know more about life at the end of the 18th dynasty of Ancient Egypt, and to scholars who would like to dig more deeply into their understanding of the political situation.

A map of the Near East is included and I would recommend this book as essential reading for anyone interested in the Amarna period.
Amarna... the Missing Evidence
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe VINE VOICE on 29 Oct 2011
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For the serious historian who is unafraid of a 'heavy' read, this book will make a very interesting gift. My brother in law (who is interested in Egyptology) was delighted to receive a copy.
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Arrived promptly, well packaged and in excellent condition. a fascinating read, which brings people to life. The letters give a wonderful glimpse into life three thousand years ago.
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I have read a number of translations of the Amarna Letters and find Moran excellent. His translations are excellent as are his footnotes but he makes the letters easy to read with headings which both reflect the content of each letter which also add a fun element.
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