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  Shuttarna II




Tushratta was king of the Mitanni at the end of the reign of Amenhotep III and throughout the reign of Akhenaten. He was especially generous with gifts to his "brother", the pharaoh. Once he sent a slave boy and girl along with treasures he had captured from the Hittites, and another time he sent thirty women skilled in music, needlework, and other Asiatic arts. The marriage of Amenhotep III with his daughter Tadukhipa was the occasion for another orgy of mutual gift-giving, and his complaints about Amenhotep's failure to live up to his promises carried over into the reign of Akhenaten.

Many of the Amarna letters were written by Tushratta. The first letter from him, and from Naharin in general, to be received at Akhetaten recounts the events that led to his coming to the throne, and asks for friendship and support from Pharaoh Amenhotep III. This dates his accession to about Year 33 of Amenhotep III. The rest of his letters to Amenhotep III primarily dealt with the lengthy negotiations for the marriage of Tadukhipa. After Amenhotep's death, his correspondance with Akhenaten was mostly complaints about the failure of the new king to live up to his father's promises of gifts. Tushratta claimed that Amenhotep III had promised him, among other things, two statues of solid gold. When those gifts, reduced in both quantity and quality, arrived in Naharin during the early months of Akhenaten's sole reign, the statues were found to be wooden, simply overlain with gold. The rest of his correspondance never failed to mention this episode of what he considered deception on the part of the pharaoh. He also complained about the length of time his ambassadors were detained in the Egyptian court. These facts could be evidence of a growing coolness in the relations between the two nations, political marriages notwithstanding, especially after the Mitanni's military excursion into Syria to check the growing power of the Hittites.

Tushratta also wrote to Queen Tiye, another sign of her importance in the ruling house of Egypt. In one letter, Tushratta replies to the Dowager Queen's request that he continue sending his embassies to her son, the new pharaoh. In two others, he advises Akhenaten to consult his mother. Apparently he was so vexed about the broken promises that he tried every possibility open to him, including asking the Queen Mother to plead his case, and referring Akhenaten to her to confirm that the old king had indeed promised him those two golden statues.

Towards the end of Akhenaten's reign, outright war erupted between the Mitanni and the Hittites. For a time the outcome was uncertain but in the end the Hittites were victorious, Tushratta was murdered, and the Mitanni nation, Egypt's ally, was no more.

Aurelien Joly is a Tunahead.