Skip to main content

Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

See other formats

40 The Political Approach to the Classical World
were no doubt anxious to renew good terms with their old ally;
the Hittites had never been powerful on sea as the Egyptians
were, and so it may be no coincidence that in Ugarit, a short
time afterwards, we find an Egyptian official of high rank making
offering to the god Baal, and at the same time the Hittite king
Hattusil admitting, in a letter to the king of Babylon, that he
has no longer jurisdiction over Amurru and Ugarit.
The truth is that the Hittite sun was sinking. Assyria was
gaining strength, and from the west a far greater peril was ap-
proaching. Vigorous northerners were entering Asia Minor from
the European side and threatening the Hittite Empire on its
most vulnerable flank. In 1400 or thereabouts the Cretan mon-
archies were overthrown. The great palace of Knossos was
destroyed. Henceforward Mycenaean goods from the mainland
of Greece replaced Minoan and were even more widely dis-
tributed through the Mediterranean lands. And at about the
same time, a state Akhkhiyawa appears in the archives of
Boghaz-keui. It seems to be situated in the extreme south-west
of Asia Minor, and it is at least possible that this name is an
attempt to render into the cuneiform script the word i4^;ata.
Various familiar Achaean names such as Atreus have also been
identified by some scholars, and it seems that we have here a
record of the relations which existed between a branch of the
new-comers from Europe and the great Hittite Power which
dominated the peninsula. That these relations were at first
friendly is testified by the documents; it is even possible that
Shubbiluliuma himself married an Achaean princess. But now
the pressure from central Europe was becoming more insistent.
The inhabitants of western Asia Minor were being driven out
of their homes, some to seek a living by piracy round the
Mediterranean. Their menace was felt in Egypt. Merenptah,
the successor of Harnesses II, had to deal with an invading horde
of'peoples of the sea' who had joined forces with the marauding
Libyan tribes of the Western Desert and were threatening to