The Amarna Letters from Tyre as a Source for Understanding Atenism and Imperial Administration

Abstract

It has long been recognized that the corpus of letters from Tyre discovered in the Amarna letter archive contain a number of Egyptianisms. Scholars have also recognized the presence of some West Semitic traits in the corpus, which are typical of the letters from Syro-Palestine. However, the intellectual context of those linguistic/cultural traits of the letters has not been adequately investigated. This paper examines the Egyptianisms and West Semiticisms in the light of the contemporary religious movement in Egypt, Atenism, and the New Kingdom imperial administration. We conclude that the evidence from these letters indicates that more traditional aspects of Egyptian royal ideology might still have been current during the Amarna Period and propose that there was a pragmatic purpose for the Egyptianisms and West Semiticisms: Abi-milki, the governor of Tyre, was attempting to appeal to the Egyptian imperial administration.

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Siddall, L. R., (2010) “The Amarna Letters from Tyre as a Source for Understanding Atenism and Imperial Administration”, Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 2(1), p.24-35. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/azu_jaei_v02i1_siddall

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Luis Robert Siddall (University of London and Macquarie University, Sydney)

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