Amarna Letters: Letter from the king of Cyprus

Letter from the king of Cyprus

EA 35

Speak to the King of Egypt, my brother. Thus says the King of Alashiya, your brother:

All goes well with me. With my houses, my wife, my sons, my chief men, my horses, my chariots, and in my lands, it is well. And with my brother may it be well. With your houses, your wives, your sons, your chief men, your horses, your chariots, and in your lands, may it be very well.

My brother, behold, my messenger I have sent with your messenger to you to Egypt. Now I have sent 500 (talents[1]) of copper to you; I have sent it to you as a gift[2] - for my brother. Do not let my brother be concerned that the amount of copper is too little, for in my land the hand of Nergal[3], my lord, has killed all the men of my land, and so there is not a (single) copper-worker.

Therefore, do not let my brother be concerned. Send your messenger along with my messenger quickly and all the copper that you desire I will send you, my brother.

You are my brother; you should send me silver[4], my brother - a great quantity. Give me the best silver, then I will send you, my brother, all that you, my brother, request.

Furthermore, my brother, the ox my messenger requested give to me, my brother. And sweet oil, my brother send to me, my brother: two containers; and send me a specialist in eagle-omens[5].

Furthermore, my brother, the people of my land speak to me about the lumber[6] that the king of Egypt receives from me. So, my brother, make the payment to me.

Furthermore, a man of Alashiya died in Egypt, and his possessions are in your land, but his son and wife are with me. Let my brother, therefore, attend to the affairs of the man of Alashiya; and give it into the hand of my messenger, my brother.

Do not be concerned, my brother, that your messenger has remained three years in my land, for the hand of Nergal is upon my land and upon my house. My wife bore a son, who is now dead, my brother.

Send your messenger with my messenger very promptly, then a gift for my brother I will send you.

Furthermore, my brother, the silver for which I asked you, let my brother send in great quantity. And, my brother, the gifts for which I asked you, send, and all my desires let my brother fulfill, and whatever desires you mention to me I will do.

With the King of Hatti[7] and the King of Shanhar[8] you have not been placed on the same level (?).

As for me, whatever presents my brother has sent to me, I have returned to you double.

Your messenger has come to me promptly, and my messenger shall come to you promptly.

[1] talent: about 25 kg to the Greeks. If the 500 refers to the flat fourhandled copper ingots current in the Late Bronze Age which weighed a talent each, the transport would have amounted to about 12.5 tons of copper. See copper mining
[2] gift: 'Brothers' did not trade with each other, but they certainly could exchange gifts, even if these exchanges were accompanied by requests and manifestations of dissatisfaction. Moreover as a brother king the ruler of Cyprus does not prostrate himself in front of the pharaoh.
[3] Nergal: Mesopotamian sun god and ruler of the world of the dead. In his role as god of the midday heat he caused pestilences, wars and destruction. He was also god of health and fertility.
[4] silver: compared with the later silver mines in Greece, Egyptian production of silver as an adjunct of gold was relatively small scale.
[5] eagle-omens: the Egyptians were known for their magicians throughout the Levant: Ten measures of magic have come into this world. Egypt received nine of them, the rest of the world only one measure
[6] lumber: Egypt imported much of its timber from the Levant, above all from Byblos in today's Lebanon
[7] Hatti: Major Anatolian power during the second millennium BCE. Rivalled Egypt for hegemony in Syria.
[8] Shanhar: country in northern Syria