International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 B.C.

By Mario Liverani | Go to book overview

30
Equal vs. Unequal Marriages

The protest by the Babylonian King at having his chariots mixed up with those of the small kings (see Chapter 26) has a parallel (in the same letter) with the protest over his sister having been lumped together with the other women in the pharaonic harem. The fate of the princess (daughter of the previous Babylonian king, and sister of the present one) is of course relevant in the frame of a negotiation for a second princess (daughter of the present king) to be sent to Egypt.

Since you wrote to me: ‘You told my messengers, while your wives were standing all together at your presence: “Look your lady who stays in your presence”. But my messengers did not recognize her, whether she was (really) my sister (the person) who was with you.’ You also wrote: ‘My messengers did not recognize her, who could recognize her?’ So you said. Why don't you send a man of value who can tell you a word of truth, and the greetings of your sister who is here, and order (him) to enter and look her house and her position by the king? And since you wrote: ‘Perhaps she is the daughter of a dependant, or else of a Kashkean, or else a woman of Hanigalbat, or perhaps she is from Ugarit, whom my messengers have seen: who told them that she was with you? She did not open her mouth and did not say anything to them’ . . . 1

The polemic between the two kings deteriorates further in the rest of the letter, focusing on gifts. In the Babylonian view the son-in-law should send more of them, while in the Egyptian view he need only send gifts by way of reciprocation of those received from the father-in-law. Pharaoh can even ask sarcastically: ‘Is it nice, that you give away your daughters in order to obtain the gift of your neighbours?’ 2

-189-

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International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 B.C.
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Territory and Borders 15
  • 1 - Inner vs. Outer Territory 17
  • 2 - Universal Control 23
  • 3 - The Boundaries of the World 29
  • 4 - Symbolic Attainment of the World Border 34
  • 5 - The Coexistence of Different States 38
  • 6 - Moving Borders 46
  • 7 - The Boundary as a Watershed for Taxation 52
  • 8 - The Boundary as a Watershed for Responsibilities 57
  • 9 - Runaways and Extradition 66
  • 10 - Messengers and ‘Ambassadors’ 71
  • Part II - War and Alliance 77
  • 11 - The One Against Many 79
  • 12 - War as Elimination of the Rebels 86
  • 13 - Conquest as a Cosmic Organization 91
  • 14 - Peace as Submission 97
  • 15 - Ordeal by War 101
  • 16 - The Rules of War 108
  • 17 - The Battle of Megiddo 116
  • 18 - Peace as Mutual Recognition 122
  • 19 - The Ideology of Protection 128
  • 20 - The Ideology of Brotherhood 135
  • Part III - Circulation of Goods 139
  • 21 - Priority and Continuity of the Redistributive Pattern 141
  • 22 - Intervention of the Reciprocal Pattern 146
  • 23 - Accumulation vs. Circulation 151
  • 24 - Self-Sufficiency vs. Interdependence 155
  • 25 - The Ideology of Life 160
  • 26 - Hatshepsut and Punt: Trade or Tribute? 166
  • 27 - Wen-Amun and Zakar-Ba'Al: Gift or Trade? 170
  • 28 - The Annals of Tuthmosis Iii: Tribute or Gift? 176
  • 29 - The Origins of Tribute 183
  • 30 - Equal vs. Unequal Marriages 189
  • 31 - Conclusions 196
  • Chronologies 203
  • Notes 205
  • Index 233
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