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Dan’ Kahn

University of Haifa

* In Memory of Prof. Anson F. Rainey, toriographic texts,4 Plague Prayers,5 who passed away on 19.2.2011. and Royal Egyptian texts engraved on the walls of the Temple.6 Abstract1

The purpose of this paper is to review the Historical Background relationships between and the King- A. Struggle for Dominion of dom of (also known as Northern in Egyptian sources) during the reign of III, King of Egypt (c. 1390- During the middle of the 16th cen- 1352 BCE), and , King of Mitan- th ni. It is commonly accepted that they were tury BCE the Theban 17 Dynasty peaceful during the reign of Amenhotep dislodged the rulers and III. However, reading texts carefully, dete- regained control over the whole of rioration in relations and even a short Egypt. After conquering , period of animosity between them can be army marched north- observed, though relations soon improved. ward and reached the . In this article I shall forward the evidence and suggest a reason for this animosity. During this period the Kingdom of Mitanni, which was on the ascent, Sources expanded its borders into northern Syria as well. Both kingdoms were The sources for studying the rela- on the verge of collision. tions between Egypt and Mitanni Mitanni is first mentioned in during the reign of Amenhotep the inscription of Amenemhat, the III are numerous and of various court astronomer during the reigns 2 genres: The Letters, Hit- of and I. 3 tite vassal treaties, Hittite royal his- Although the context is broken, it 1 I would like to thank Prof. Itamar Sing- seems that one of these kings warred er, Prof. Jared Miller and Dr. Amir Gilan for their useful comments. All errors are, however, my responsibility. 26-58. 2 Moran, The , 41-100; 4 Deeds of Suppiluliuma; Miller, “The Kühne, Die Chronologie der internationa- Rebellion of Hatti’s Syrian Vassals.” len Korrespondenz, 17-48. 5 Singer, Hittite Prayers, 49-69. 3 Beckman, Hittite Diplomatic Texts, 6 Urk. IV, 1658, 1693, 1696. THE RELATIONS BETWEEN AMENHOTEP III AND TUSHRATTA 137 against Mitanni c. 1500 BCE.7 for the second time. Despite these The inscriptions of , son attacks on Mitanni proper, its con- of Ebana and Ahmose Pennekheb, trol over northern Syria remained, who served under in continuing to subjugate Haleb, the Egyptian army, mention their Nuhasse, and other states in north- bravery in battle against Naharin. ern Syria. These private inscriptions add to Thutmose III’s son, Amenhotep the royal inscriptions of Thutmose II did not succeed in changing the III, who reports setting a next power balance in northern Syria. to his grandfather’s stele, Thutmose The description of the capture of 8 I, on the bank of the Euphrates. the Mitannian courier in the Sha- No mention is made of military ron Valley led scholars to claim that activity against Mitanni by Thut- Mitannian hostile activity against mose III during the early years of Egypt penetrated into Egyptian his sole reign.9 The battle at Megid- held territory in Canaan. How- do against the Canaanite coalition, ever, Singer raised the possibility headed by the king of Qidshu (on that the valley mentioned should the Orontes), the dominant mili- rather be identified as being the tary force in the Southern , Siryon Valley, close to the Hermon may have had a Hurrian leader- (Snir) mountain.11 Furthermore, ship.10 Singer proposed that the cylinder During Thutmose III’s eighth carried by the Mitannian cou- campaign in his 33rd regnal year he rier was containing a request for crossed the Euphrates and attacked peace with the Egyptian king and the heartland of Mitanni, though not an attempt to incite rebellion its king escaped. Two years later, in the Egyptian held territories in his 35th regnal year, Thutmose of Canaan. It is possible that fol- attacked the Mitannian heartland lowing this request a peace treaty was concluded between Mitanni 12 7 Brunner, “Mitanni in einem ägypti- and Egypt. However, this fragile schen Text.” peace did not last long, for in less 8 Urk. IV 697.5. than twenty years there is hostility 9 It is not clear if the stele found at between the two powers. el ‘Oreimeh should be dated to the reign of Thutmose III or Amenhotep II. In the days of Thutmose IV (c. See: Albright, “A Royal Stele of the New 1401-1391 BCE) the two king- Empire”; der Manuelian, Studies in the Reign of Amunhotep II, 90-92. 10 Epstein, “That Wretched Enemy of 11 Singer, “‘Emeq Šārōn’ or ‘Emeq ”; may have been under Śiryōn’?” Hurrian sovereignty as well. See: Redford, 12 Bryan, “The Egyptian Perspective on “Mitanni,” 149. Mittani,” 77.