Constructing Egyptian dating through ANE information

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Mon Sep 27 19:41:37 EDT 1999

There is a wealth of information to be found in the Amarna letters. The
chronologies of the kingdoms of Egypt, Hatti, Mitanni, Babylon and Assyria
are linked at a single point. Amenhotep III was in correspondence with
Kadashman-enlil of Babylon as were their sons. Amenhotep had married two of
Kadashman-enlil's daughters, as well as a daughter of the Mitannian king,
Shutarna II, who was soon followed by Tushratta. Suppiluliumas I, the
Hittite who defeated Tushratta, also sent a letter found at Amarna.
Ashur-uballit I was the king responsible for Assyria's independence from
the weakened Mitanni. He managed to send the one letter before Akhnaten
died. (Donald B. Redford's "Akhenaten: the Heretic King", 1984, Princeton,
is a good source for information on the Amarna letters.)

Hittite records tell us that while Suppiluliumas I was beseiging Carchemish
he received a messenger from Egypt attempting to arrange a marriage between
a son of the Hittite king and the widowed queen of Egypt, who most
interpret as Ankhesenamen (not Nefertiti). A son was eventually sent, but
was killed by Horemheb before he arrived. (Again, Redford and see Aldred,
"Akhenaten: King of Egypt",1988, T&H)

Four generations after Amarna Shalmaneser reversed the situation under
which the Assyrians before Ashur-uballit lived by capturing the rump of
Mitanni and making Assyria the dominant player in the Asian field, enough
to cause the treaty between Ramses II and Hattusilis III, which as I said
in a previous post exists in two copies one from Egypt, the other from
Hatti. (Kitchen, "Pharaoh Triumphant", 1982, Aris & Phillips.) We therefore
have strong support for the tie-in between the various ANE kingdoms and
hopefully no problems with a relative chronology for the period.

Liverani ("Antico Oriente", Laterza, 1988/95) provides a series of
chronologies for various kingdoms indicating the synchronized attestations
between rulers of those various kingdoms, most consistently useful being
those between Assyria and Babylon that cover a period of several hundred
years. He also provides resources for checking the chronological order of
the Hittite kings down to Suppiluliumas II when Hatti was destroyed by
groups of the Sea Peoples. This corresponds chronologically with the period
of Ramses III.

There is an inscription on the walls of Madinat Habu for the eighth year of
Ramses III's reign referring to the Sea Peoples which reads, "No land could
stand before their arms, from Hatti, Kode, Carchemish, Cilicia and Cyprus
on, but were cut off at one time. [snip] Their confederation consisted of
Peleset, Tjekker, Shekelesh, Denyen and Weshesh." (Wm Murnane, "United with
Eternity: A concise Guide to the Monuments of Medinet Habu", OI U.Chic,
1980) Naturally the archaeological record is plain in the places mentioned.
These events took place about the time of the minor Assyrian ruler
Ninurta-apil-Ekur. The Tjekker mentioned here are also mentioned by
Wenamun. We therefore have a parallelism of about two hundred years between
Egypt and Hatti until the destruction of the latter.

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