Essay 2: Marriage Diplomacy

This collection consists of two letters between the Babylonian and Egyptian kings. The letters are part of the cache of clay tablets found at the site of ancient Akhetaten (modern el Amarna), the capital of the Egyptian kingdom during the reign of Akhenaten. At the time, the Near East was fully integrated into an international system that included the entire region. A number of large territorial states interacted with one another as equals and rivals, but they all remained invested in the use of diplomacy to maintain the overall status quo. Diplomatic marriages played a key role by confirming these close relations and strengthening the idea that the Great Kings of the Near East all belonged to the same community.

A rebuttal from the king of Egypt

Say to Kadashman-Enlil, the king of Babylon, my brother, on behalf of Amenhotep, the Great King, the king of Egypt, your brother: All is well with me. May it be well with you! May it also be very well with your household, with your wives, with you...

Refused marriage proposal


Moreover, you, my brother, when I wrote to you about marrying your daughter, as regards not giving her you wrote to me, saying, “Never has a daughter of the king of Egypt been given to anyone.” Why is she not given? ...