Thursday Sep 15, 2022

Primary Source IV: EA 35 The Hand of Nergal

This month's primary source dates to circa 1350BCE. It is a Letter from the King of Alashiya (i.e., Cyprus) to the Pharaoh of Egypt. This particular letter, EA 35, has been dubbed, "The Hand of Nergal." The Amarna Letters are a series of correspondences between the Great Powers in the Bronze Age written in Akkadian using the cuneiform script (the diplomatic language of the Bronze Age). In this abridged reading, you'll hear the King of Alashiya call the Pharaoh "brother" a number of times. This "honorific" reflects their equal footing as sovereigns and hints at Cyprus' strength as a regional power. Chillingly, however, you'll hear him refer to the "Hand of Nergal" -- the plague god that has decimated the island and impacted his ability to export copper. Next month's episode, we'll learn about the Amarna Letters, Alashiya and more. Join us we explore the Bronze Age with Louise Hitchcock!

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