Amarna Letters: Letters by Rib-Addi of Biblos

Letters by Rib-Addi of Biblos

EA 75

Rib-addi spoke to his lord, the King of Lands:

May the Mistress of Gubla grant power to my lord. At the feet of my lord, my sun, I fall down seven times and seven times. Let the king, my lord, know that Gubla, your handmaid from ancient times, is well.

However, the war of the 'Apiru against me is severe. (Our) sons (and) daughters are gone, (as well as) the furnishings of the houses, because they have been sold in Yarimuta to keep us alive. My field is "a wife without a husband," lacking in cultivation. I have repeatedly written to the palace regarding the distress afflicting me, . . but no one has paid attention to the words that keep arriving. Let the king heed the words of his servant........... They . . . all the lands of the king, my lord. Aduna, the king of Irqata, mercenaries have killed, and there is no one who has said anything to Abdi-Ashirta, although you knew about it. Miya, the ruler of Arashni, has taken Ardata; and behold now the people of Ammiya have killed their lord; so I am frightened.

Let the king, my lord, know that the king of Hatti has overcome all the lands that belonged to the king of Mittani or the king of Nahma[4] the land of the great kings.

Abdi-Ashirta, the slave, the dog, has gone with him. Send archers. The hostility toward me is great. ................ and send a man to the city of . . . I will . . . his words.

EA 79

Rib-addi says to his lord, the King of Lands, the Great King, the King of Battle:
May the Lady of Gubla grant power to the king, my lord. At the feet of my lord, my Sun, I fall down seven times and seven times. Be informed that since Amanappa's arrival to me, all the 'Apiru have turned their face against me at the instigation of Abdi-Ashirta. Let my lord listen to the words of his servant, and let him send me a garrison to defend the city of the king, until the archers come out. And if there are no archers, then all the lands will unite with the 'Apiru. Listen, since the conquest of Bit-Arha in accordance with the demand of Abdi-Ashirta, they seek in the same way to unite Gubla and Batruna; and thus all lands would be united with the 'Apiru. Two cities remain with me, and they are also attempting to take them from the king's hand. Let my lord send a garrison to his two cities until the arrival of the archers, and give me something to feed them. I have nothing.

Like a bird that lies in a net, a kilubi/cage, so I am in Gubla. Furthermore, if the king is not able to rescue me from the hand of his enemy, then all lands will unite with Abdi-Ashirta. What is he, the dog, that he takes the king's lands for himself?

EA 137

Rib-addi [speaks] to the king, his Lord, [the sun of all countries]; [I have prostrated myself] seven times and seven times at the feet of the king, my Lord. I have written repeatedly in order (to obtain) [ troops ], but have not received them, [ and ] the king, my Lord, has not listened to the words of his servant. I have sent my messenger to the palace, and [he has returned] (with) empty (hands): there were troops for him. When the people of my house saw that no money had been given, they reproached me, the governors, my brothers, and they despised me. On the other hand, I set out for Hammuniri and in the meantime a brother of mine, younger than me, conspired against me at Gubla[1] to deliver the city to the sons of Abdi-Ashirta. When my brother saw that my messenger had returned empty(handed) and that there were no occupation troops with him, he despised me and thus he committed a crime, and he expelled me from the city. May the king, my Lord, not hold back (before) the actions of this dog.

Now I cannot enter the land of Mitsru[2]; I am old and I (suffer of) a serious disease in my own flesh. May the king, my Lord, know, that the Gods of Gubla are angered and the disease has become chronic, although I have confessed my sin to the Gods. Therefore I have not appeared before the king, my Lord. Now then, I have sent my son, servant of the king, my Lord, to the king, my Lord. May the king, my Lord, listen to the words of his servant and may the king, my Lord, give troops of archers to conquer the city of Gubla in order that enemy troops not enter her, nor the sons of A[bdi-A]shirta, and it become necessary that the troops of archers of the king, my Lord, reconquer it. See, (there are) many men who love me in the city and few are my enemies. When the troops of archers will be leaving and the day of their arrival be known, the city will return to the king, my Lord. And may my Lord know (that) I am willing to die for him.

When I was in the city, I made an effort to keep it for my Lord and my heart was firm (in the support of) the king, my Lord. It would not have delivered the city to the sons of Abdi-Ashirta. Therefore my brother has caused enmity between me and the city, to deliver it to the sons of Abdi-Ashirta. May the king, my Lord, hold back with respect to the city. Certainly there is inside her (walls) much gold and silver, and in her temples there is much of everything. If they conquer her, may the king, my Lord, do with his servant as he wants, but may he give me the city of Buruzilim as residence.

Now I am with Hammuniri, since Buruzilim has made the (other) cities hostile (to me) . They have become enemies for fear of the sons of Abdi-Ashirta. When I came to Hammuniri because of the sons of Abdi-Ashirta, when they were stronger than I and there was no encouragement for me from the mouth of the king, I said to the king, my Lord: See, the city of Gubla (is) his. In her (there are) many things of the king, the possessions of our ancestors. If the king holds back, he will not have left any city of Kinahnu[3]. May the king not hold back his action. Now I have sent to the king, my Lord, your servant, my son. May the king send him quickly with troops to take the city. If the king, my Lord, feels compassion for me and returns me to the city, then I will keep it for the king, my Lord, like previously. If the king, my Lord, [ does not return to me ] to her [... ] the city of Buruzilim [... will do] as she sees fit to his servant (?) ... Hammulniri [ I remain with him (?)].

May [the king, my Lord], listen to [the words] of his servant and send immediately troops to take the city. May the king, my Lord, not hold back with regard to this evil deed, that was committed against the countries of the king, [my Lord], and may the king, my Lord, quickly send troops of archers to take the city immediately. When they say in front of the king about the city: "the city is strong", it is not strong before the troops of the king, my Lord.

[1] Byblos
[2] Egypt
[3] Canaan
[4] Nahma (Naharima, Naharin - i.e. the two rivers): Mitanni

Sources: K.C.Hanson after a translation by Mercer

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