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That "Dahamunzu" letter!!
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arthur
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 8:34 am    Post subject: That "Dahamunzu" letter!! Reply with quote

I have never quite been able to believe in the "Dahamunzu" letter inasmuch that it purports to be from a widowed, Egyptian Queen, Nefertiti, Ankhesenamun or whomever, as an attempt to solicit a Prince from the Hittites with the intention of making him Pharaoh. I cannot see how that it could have been 'clandestine' if envoies were sent to test the verasity of this seemingly incredible offer.

Since, as believe to be true, the only mention of this letter is found among the Hittite archives, I wonder whether it could have been concocted later either to justify retrospectively some event, or inflate someone's image.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess it's possible, but it would be quite a ruse.

There are (fragments of) six or so letters associated to this correspondence. And there is mention of visits of "diplomats" (or envoys, not sure what thier title would be). That would be quite a hoax on the part of the Hittites.

But I do agree with you that the whole episode is strange. A queen just offering the throne to a foreign prince seems out of character or possibly desperate.

Very Happy It's something that does invite conspiracy theories, doesn't it?

Did the Hittites make it up to justify a war?
Did the Queen try to put the Hittites on the wrong foot to make sure they would not invade? Buy time in other words.
Did the Queen really just try to end all hostilities by trying to broker the mother of all diplomatic marriages?
Did someone else at the Egyptian court set this in motion because they wanted conflict so that the army could take over?
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Meretseger
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I like the theory that 'Dahamzu' was 'King' Neferneferuaten (Meritaten) trying to hang on to power after Smenkhkara's death. As eldest daughter of a King without sons she had a darned good claim and apparently did succeed in holding power for a few years. She may have seen an alliance with a foreign power as a way to make that permanent.

'Dahamzu' writes that *she* had no sons, not that there were no royal princes (like the future Tutankhamun who was probably Smenkhkara's son by another wife, Baketaten?). If Neferneferuaten seemed to be in charge Supp. might have been persuaded to back her.
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anneke wrote:
But I do agree with you that the whole episode is strange. A queen just offering the throne to a foreign prince seems out of character or possibly desperate.


Charlotte Booth, in her recent Horemheb: The Forgotten Pharaoh, makes a pretty strong case for it being wholly concocted by Mursilis (sp?) years later in order to retroactively justify Suppiluliamas's (sp?) aggression against the Egyptians.
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Sothis
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever the motivation for the letters, they do not seem to have been made up by Mursilis II.
Fragments of an actual letter have been found and translated (KUB XIX,20).

This letter regards the aftermath of the whole affair. Suppiluliumas refers to someone from Egypt writing to him over and over again.

For details see link and read neseret`s post from 5th November.
http://forum.egyptiandreams.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=4221&start=90&sid=e9ba176680b871f6736be08b71c47b28
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Sothis
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What reasons does Charlotte Booth give for her theory?
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arthur
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I find difficult to take at face value is that someone or some faction within the Egyptian Court could make such an offer to the Hittites, and hope to 'get away with it', without being found out. If Hittite representatives arrive in Egypt, wanting to know if 'the offer' was genuine, as they certainly would, given the unprecedented nature of the Egyptians asking for a Prince from the Hittites, so he could be made Pharaoh. Surely, if the offer was genuine, on the part of the Egyptians it would have to be sanctioned at the highest level.

I understand that there is some evidence of Ay trying his best to deny that the Egyptians were responsible for the disappearance of Zananza, so presumably such a person was actually dispatched to Egypt. Again, are the sources for this exercise in diplomatic 'damage limitation' only Hittite, or Egyptian, too?

I just wonder whether whatever events actually took place between the Egptians and Hittites at this time, the story of the 'plea from Pharaoh's widow to the Hittite ruler was a later Hittite 'invention' to justify any grievances they might have had, regarding what they might have seen as Egyptian perfidy.
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Sothis
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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The correspondence between the Hittite king and the succeeding Pharao origins FAFAIK from real "letters" which were sent in between the two countries. So at least here it is no mere recount.

I don`t think though that the Hittites invented the story for their own purpose.
Maybe they "adjusted" a little here and there, but to make up all these unbelievable events it would have taken someone with an incredibly vivid imagination!
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christphe
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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what surprises me the most in the way archelogist refer to this story is that they think this was a secret or an attempt to secure the power of a desperate queen.
If this event was real as it seems, the "queen" did this in order to achieve something and probably with the help and advises of all important officials from her court. Ay, Horemheb, Natchkim?
The aim may have been to have a prisonier as the Hittite king claimed in his response or to stop the advance of the hittite army
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Sothis
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you mean the Egyptians intended to take the Hittite prince hostage?
Prison rather than the throne?
How vicious! But it`s an interesting new thought.
BTW I almost never believed that the whole thing was an honest request at all.
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christphe
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sothis wrote:
Do you mean the Egyptians intended to take the Hittite prince hostage?
Prison rather than the throne?
How vicious! But it`s an interesting new thought.
BTW I almost never believed that the whole thing was an honest request at all.


The whole story is studied by Marc Gabolde and other french or belgium egyptologist. It took at least 5 month for Any to travel from egypt to anatolia two times.
In one of her reply the queen implies the hittite's king defience. It is not possible that she did this request whithout the support of her army and Viziers. Since we know how patriotic were Egyptians she may very well have been manipulative.
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neseret
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sothis wrote:
Whatever the motivation for the letters, they do not seem to have been made up by Mursilis II.
Fragments of an actual letter have been found and translated (KUB XIX,20).

This letter regards the aftermath of the whole affair. Suppiluliumas refers to someone from Egypt writing to him over and over again.

For details see link and read neseret`s post from 5th November.
http://forum.egyptiandreams.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=4221&start=90&sid=e9ba176680b871f6736be08b71c47b28


I'd like to add one additional fact: there is an Egyptian copy of this letter which a found in fragments in Egypt and translated by Edel. Sadly, I'm away from my library at the moment but it's included in the post referenced above.

So, Booth would need quite a bit of argument to explain that away, IMO.

I do not see the letter as a ruse to lure away a Hittite prince as a hostage: I suspect it was a desperate act of a widowed queen trying to maintain her status and dynastic line on the throne. Further, it it worked, the combination of the two empires and the peace between them would have left an outstanding mark on the ancient world at the time.
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arthur
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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am grateful for it being brought to my attention that there is evidence for these events from Egyptian sources. I wonder if 'the letter' was motivated by a sort of reversal of the 'bride diplomacy' practiced by A3. If Egypt perceived itself to be at extreme peril from the Hittite Empire, perhaps the idea was to remove the danger by allying the two empires by the importation of a Hittite prince to be the notional Pharaoh. However, perhaps like George 1st of England, who never mastered the English language, this mail-order Pharaoh would, it was to be hoped, have little to do with the day-to-day running of state affairs. However, given who Zannanza's father was, this might well have been a vain hope.

Going back to the original question as posed: was at least some of the substance of the letter a later, Hittite invention. I wonder if, perhaps like the supposed 'promises' made by the Edward the Confessor to justify William of Normandy's claim to the English throne, the 'send me one of your sons and he will be Pharaoh of Egpyt' part of the 'letter' invented to add weight to certain promises, which the Hittites thought they had been made by the Egyptians, upon which the former thought the latter had reneged.
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Meretseger
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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Making a Hittite prince Pharoah was a highly risky tactic very likely to turn a weakened Egypt into a satellite of Hatti. It is difficult to see it has anything but a desperate effort of a King's Wife to stay in power with foreign support - which is why I favor Neferneferuaten as Dahamanzu
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Sothis
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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meretseger wrote:
Making a Hittite prince Pharoah was a highly risky tactic very likely to turn a weakened Egypt into a satellite of Hatti. It is difficult to see it has anything but a desperate effort of a King's Wife to stay in power with foreign support - which is why I favor Neferneferuaten as Dahamanzu

But then this Neferneferuaten would not have been King herself and would have had a late husband with the name Nibhururia (or close to it).
This means that it could not have been King Neferneferuaten and not Meritaten as her husband`s name would have been Ankhkheperure, nothing even close to the name the Hittite mentions in his recount.
The only possible candidate IMO could be Nefertiti herself as Akhi`s prenomen was in foreign correspondence Nabhururia and possibly once also Nibhururia. Whatever her plan was, the existence of two royal princes could have forced her to use the somewhat cautious expression "I have no sons", meaning that she still would not have told a lie because they really weren`t her sons.
There is some suggestion that there was a Hittite attack on Amka at the end of Akhi`s reign which could have been the same attack the Hittites are talking about in the Dahamunzu Affair. Still, as everyone knows it is general opinion that all that happened after Tut`s death.

I think that sorting out what really happened and what was added later by the Hittites will always remain guesswork unless some new evidence shows up.
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