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The Amarna Letters Paperback – October 31, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0801867156 ISBN-10: 0801867150

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (October 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801867150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801867156
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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)

From the Publisher

"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

Customer Reviews

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Admittedly _The Amarna Letters_ is geared towards a very narrow audience.
doc peterson
To my knowledge, this book is the first single volume collection of these important letters in English!
Stephen Rives
It requires some kind of "experience" in egyptian topic, very good for enthusiasts of Amarna Period.
Joanna Kruszewska-papuszka

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Dougal on November 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you've been tantalized over the years by references to the Amarna Letters in scholarly works, and disappointed by the few examples in Pritchards, here they are, finally and completely, in all their repetitious, formulaic, fragmentary glory. This isn't exactly light reading, due ancient prose style, the condition of the tablets and the limitations of the translators, but the letters do provide a unique window into a small period of the Bronze Age. Particularly compelling (and annoying!) are the 70 or so letters of the perpetually beleaguered mayor Rib Hadda, who was apparently under siege and begging for help from Pharaoh for several years straight. Besides letters from mayors of towns under Egypt's influence, there are some from Assyrian kings, and a couple from Pharaoh himself. Fundamentalists often refer to the references to the Apiru in these letters as evidence of the Hebrews, but once you read these, it becomes apparent that the Apiru designate mercenary outlaws who ranged throughout Canaan, Syria and Anatolia. Why anybody would want to claim that these Bronze Age Hole-In-The-Wall- James-Gang-type outlaws were God's chosen people is a mystery to me. Anyway, it was great to finally read these letters for myself.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David Oldacre on February 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
As Professor Moran points out in his preface, his main objective was to provide an up to date translation of "the entire corpus of Amarna letters which reflects the advances of the last 75 years." Indeed there is little or no explanation about the meanings of the events referred to in these letters. On the other hand, my somewhat incompatible objective in buying this book, was to go to the source in order to satisfy myself about the veracity or otherwise of the interpretations of some of these letters by other historians. However, and possibly because of their repetitive nature, I did get a picture of what was going on in the area of what is now Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, during the last years of Amenhopis III and his son Akhenaten,

For me, a thorough reading of the 27 page Introductory chapter and its 140 notes turned out to be absolutely essential reading to get a general idea of the historical context of these letters. This introduction covers the following topics:

Discoveries and publications

The Archive

Language and Writing

The International Correspondence

The Vassal Correspondence

Chronology

with copious notes on the various theories and points of disagreement between many of the eminent of the scholars who have studied the tablets.

The book includes detailed translations of those tablets which are letters and inventories between the contemporary rulers and Egyptian vassals with the Pharoahs who resided at Akhetaten, the ruins of which are to be found at the site of El Amarna where the tablets were found, and which is about 190 miles south of Cairo on the East bank of the Nile River.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Rives on March 13, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tel El Amarna is the modern name of where the Nile capital of Egypt once stood. Egypt was briefly ruled from this location by Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (1352 - 1336 B.C. 18th Dynasty). Amenhotep, meaning "Amon is satisfied", took on the name Akhenaton, "he who is serviceable to Aton", when he exalted Aton by making the cult of the sun disc the primary religion of Egypt. Under Akenaton the capital city of Egypt was moved from Thebes to Akhetaton, "the horizon of Aton."
This new capital city was later abandoned by Tutankhamen when Egypt returned to her old orthodoxy. Akhetaton was never re-occupied in any significant way, and in her ruins were found hundreds of administrative documents known as the Amarna tablets (the first batch found in 1887 by locals). These cuneiform (wedge-writing) tablets are, primarily, communications from Asiatic kings to Egypt.
Moran has done a superb job in giving the English speaking world access to the Amarna letters. To my knowledge, this book is the first single volume collection of these important letters in English! Moran is to be thanked.
Among other things, these letters are useful to the historian for studies of Canaan during the Israel conquest period. For example, the letters are full of requests for help from Canaanite kings to Egypt concerning a mysterious people called the ha-BI-ru (Hebrews?). Note: To assist us in reading these letters in terms of the ha-Bi-ru and their relationship to Israel, we have three informative articles by M. G. Kline published in the Westminster Theological Journal in issues 18, 19 and 20. He concludes that the ha-Bi-ru are a "scourge employed by Yahweh to chastise the Israelites for their failure to prosecute the mandate of conquest.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Fabian Boudville on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
William Moran's book is the most comprehensive and thorough analysis of the Amarna letters. It is well organised, well-sourced and deals primarily with the 350+ clay tablets that Moran was able to personally inspect for himself in the 1970's and 1980's. There can be little surprise that Moran's study is today considered to be the standard translation of the archive of Amarna letters by most scholars. Contrary to a certain book review here, Moran never actually comes out in favour or in opposition of the theory of a co-regency between Akhenaten and his father Amenhotep III. He only outlines the implications of both scenarios on the chronology of the foreign letters in the introduction to his book. (see pp.xxxiv-p.xxxvix) As an Assyriologist, the author rightfully leaves such speculation to Egyptologists and is non-committal on the coregency issue. Moran merely writes: "Another and, depending on one's interpretation of the letter, a possibly even more serious crux concerns the reading of the hieratic docket on EA 27: '[yea]r 2" or "[yea]r 12'? It raises, on one reading of the letter, the vexing and still unsettled question of the co-regency of Amenophis IV (ie: Akhenaten) with his father (ie. Amenhotep III). The letter is addressed to the former, and probably not long after the latter's (ie. Amenhotep III's) death. If so, and if the first reading is correct, then a short co-regency remains a possibility, but it would have to be established, not from the Amarna letters, but from other evidence. But if the second is right, then a co-regency, and a long one of ten years or so, seems inescapable." (p.Read more ›
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