Egyptian-Hittite correspondence in the 13th century BCE
Main menu Main Index and Search Page History List of Dynasties Cultural Chronolgy Mythology Aspects of Life in Ancient Egypt Glossary of ancient Egyptian Terms Herodotus on the Pharaohs Ancient Egyptian Reader Apologia and Bibliography

The Egyptian and Hittite Empires
The Egyptian and Hittite spheres of influence

Egyptian-Hittite Correspondence

The contents of Egyptian-Hittite correspondence under Ramses II are varied. Among others, they deal with
  • the fate of Urhiteshub, the nephew and deposed predecessor of Hattusili, who was married to a Babylonian princess and who went into exile in Egypt, after he and his followers had been causing trouble in southern Asia-Minor and northern Syria,
  • the making and shipment of a silver tablet with the cuneiform text of the Egypto-Hittite peace treaty in the 21st year of the reign of Ramses II
  • the wish of Nefertari to visit her sister Puduhepa and King Hattusili
    I burn to go to you with Ramses, my husband, to see the good state of peace your country enjoys
  • Hattusili's daughter - Ramses' bride to be the marriage of Hattusili's daughter, whose Egyptian name was Maat-Hor-Neferu-Re, to Ramses II in the 34th year of his reign.
    The Great King, the king of Egypt, son of Re, Ramses beloved of Amen, speaks thus.
    Speak thus to the queen of the land of Hatti, the great Queen Puduhepa: Behold, I, your brother, am well. My houses, my sons, my armies, my horses, my chariots and everything in my lands, are very well. May you, my sister, be well! May your houses, your sons, your armies, your horses, your chariots, your nobles, and everything in your land be very well!
    Speak thus to my sister: Behold! My messengers have reached me accompanied by my sister's messengers and have brought me news that my brother, the king of the land of Hatti, the Great King, is in good health...
    Speak thus to my sister: The great King, the king of the land of Hatti, has written to me thus: Let the people come and pour sweet-smelling oil on my daughter's head and let her be taken to the house of the Great King, the king of Egypt, my brother. Behold! My brother has written thus to me. This decision my brother has made known to me is wonderful. The Sun God has approved of him. The Weather God has approved of him. And the gods of Egypt and the gods of Hatti have approved of him for making this excellent decision to unite two great lands forever...
    Extracts from a letter sent by Ramses II to Queen Puduhepa
    It had to be assured that she would become the main queen in the harem
    And you (gods) give her to the house of the king! And she will be the ruling (queen) of the Egyptians.
    Extract from a letter sent by Ramses II to Queen Puduhepa [1]
    and would not be prevented from receiving her father's messengers. The giving birth to a daughter by her is mentioned, upon which the Hittite king responded, that the birth of a boy would have secured the rule over the Hittite empire.
  • There is also evidence in the correspondence of a second marriage of Ramses II with a daughter of Hattusili, so far only known from hieroglyphic sources.
  • Many letters mention gifts such as golden beakers presented by Ramses II, gold necklaces and linen cloth from Queen Naptera (Nefertari)
    ... See, I have sent you a gift, in order to greet you, my sister... for your neck (a necklace) of pure gold, composed of 12 bands and weighing 88 shekels (8*88=704 gr.), coloured linen maklalu-material, for one royal dress for the king... A total of 12 linen garments.
    Extract from a letter sent by the Egyptian Queen to Queen Puduhepa [2]
    and Ramses II sent medicines and doctors, among them Pariamahu, to the Hittite king to cure him of an eye-disease [4] .
  • Two sea-going vessels were delivered to the Hittites for them to copy [4].
About one fifth of the extant correspondence is from the Hittite royal family itself, since they have never been sent. The oldest letter, in Akkadian, is that of a queen called Dakhamunzu by the Hittites, considered by many to have been Tutankhamen's widow Ankhesenamen, to the Hittite king Suppiluliuma, proposing an alliance by marriage between the two kingdoms [3].



 -Back to Ramses II
-Marriage as a tool of foreign politics during the New Kingdom
-History Contents Page
-Dynasty List
-Main Index and Search Page
Links(Opening in a new window)
These are just suggestions for further reading. I do not assume any responsibility for the availability or content of these websites.
-[1] Letter from Egyptian King Ramses II to Hittite Queen Puduhepa
-[2] Letter from the Egyptian Queen to the Hittite Queen Puduhepa
-[3] The Zannanza affair
-[4] Leiden University - Annual Egyptological Bibliography 1994: Abstracts
-The great queen Puduhepa and the great king Hattusili III


Feedback: Please report broken links, mistakes - factual or otherwise, etc. to me. Thanks.

© January 2001