'The king, my lord, wrote me in a tablet: "⋯"' (EA 149:54-55): Direct citation and communication in the Syro-Canaanite El-Amarna letters

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Abstract

This paper examines the use of direct citation in the correspondence between the Egyptian Pharaoh and his officials and his Syro-Canaan vassals in the El-Amarna archive. A frequent phenomenon in the modern and ancient world alike, direct citation serves to support the writer's claims, lay the blame on or absolve others, demonstrate loyalty, and depict distress. The examples adduced fall into four categories: authoritative, third-party, confirmative, and fabricated/imaginary speech. Raising the question of the validity of applying modern linguistic theories to ancient sources, these types are analysed in the light of the international diplomacy that flourished in the Fertile Crescent during the 14th-century BCE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-466
Number of pages12
JournalActa Orientalia
Volume71
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest.

Keywords

  • Direct citation
  • El-Amarna
  • International diplomacy
  • Linguistic theory

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