The Armarna Letters; Rib-addi of Byblos

EA75; From Rib-addi of Gubla (Byblos) to Akhenaten

Rib-addi spoke to his lord, the King of Lands:
May the Mistress of Gubla (Balaat, who was identified with Hathor) grant power to my lord. At the feet of my lord, my sun, I fall down seven times and seven times. Let the king, my lord, know that Gubla, your handmaid from ancient times (trading partner), is well.

However, the war of the 'Apiru (Hapiru or Abiru) against me is severe. (Our) sons (and) daughters are gone, (as well as) the furnishings of the houses, because they have been sold in Yarimuta to keep us alive. My field is "a wife without a husband," lacking in cultivation. I have repeatedly written to the palace regarding the distress afflicting me,.. but no one has paid attention to the words that keep arriving. Let the king heed the words of his servant... They ... all the lands of the king, my lord. Aduna, the king of Irqata (a town north of Byblos), mercenaries have killed, and there is no one who has said anything to Abdi-Ashirta (ruler of Amurru), although you knew about it. Miya, the ruler of Arashni, has taken Ardata; and behold now the people of Ammiya have killed their lord; so I am frightened.

Let the king, my lord, know that the king of Hatti has overcome all the lands that belonged to the king of Mittani or the king of Nahma (the land of the Mitanni) the land of the great kings. Abdi-Ashirta, the slave, the dog, has gone with him. Send archers. The hostility toward me is great ... and send a man to the city of ... I will ... his words.



EA79; From Rib-addi of Gubla (Byblos) to Akhenaten

Rib-Addi says to his lord, the King of Lands, the Great King, the King of Battle:
May the Lady of Gubla (Balaat, who was identified with Hathor) grant power to the king, my lord. At the feet of my lord, my Sun, I fall down seven times and seven times. Be informed that since Amanappa's (possibly Amenope, an Egyptian official) arrival to me, all the 'Apiru (also called Hapiru or Abiru) have turned their face against me at the instigation of Abdi-Ashirta (ruler of Amurru).

Let my lord listen to the words of his servant, and let him send me a garrison to defend the city of the king, until the archers come out. And if there are no archers, then all the lands will unite with the 'Apiru. Listen, since the conquest of Bit-Arha in accordance with the demand of Abdi-Ashirta, they seek in the same way to unite Gubla and Batruna; and thus all lands would be united with the 'Apiru. Two cities remain with me, and they are also attempting to take them from the king's hand. Let my lord send a garrison to his two cities until the arrival of the archers, and give me something to feed them. I have nothing.

Like a bird that lies in a net, a cage, so I am in Gubla. Furthermore, if the king is not able to rescue me from the hand of his enemy, then all lands will unite with Abdi-Ashirta. What is he, the dog, that he takes the king's lands for himself?



EA137; From Rib-addi of Gubla (Byblos) to Akhenaten

Rib-addi [speaks] to the king, his Lord, [the sun of all countries];
[I have prostrated myself] seven times and seven times at the feet of the king, my Lord. I have written repeatedly in order (to obtain troops), but have not received them, (and) the king, my Lord, has not listened to the words of his servant. I have sent my messenger to the palace, and (he has returned) empty (handed): there were troops for him. When the people of my house saw that no money had been given, they reproached me, the governors, my brothers, and they despised me. On the other hand, I set out for Hammuniri and in the meantime a brother of mine, younger than me, conspired against me at Gubla to deliver the city to the sons of Abdi-Ashirta. When my brother saw that my messenger had returned empty(handed) and that there were no occupation troops with him, he despised me and thus he committed a crime, and he expelled me from the city. May the king, my Lord, not hold back (before) the actions of this dog.

Now I cannot enter the land of Mitsru (Egypt); I am old and I (suffer of) a serious disease in my own flesh. May the king, my Lord, know, that the Gods of Gubla (Byblos) are angered and the disease has become chronic, although I have confessed my sin to the Gods. Therefore I have not appeared before the king, my Lord. Now then, I have sent my son, servant of the king, my Lord, to the king, my Lord. May the king, my Lord, listen to the words of his servant and may the king, my Lord, give troops of archers to conquer the city of Gubla in order that enemy troops not enter her, nor the sons of A[bdi-A]shirta, and it become necessary that the troops of archers of the king, my Lord, reconquer it. See, (there are) many men who love me in the city and few are my enemies. When the troops of archers will be leaving and the day of their arrival be known, the city will return to the king, my Lord. And may my Lord know (that) I am willing to die for him.

When I was in the city, I made an effort to keep it for my Lord and my heart was firm (in the support of) the king, my Lord. It would not have delivered the city to the sons of Abdi-Ashirta. Therefore my brother has caused enmity between me and the city, to deliver it to the sons of Abdi-Ashirta. May the king, my Lord, hold back with respect to the city. Certainly there is inside her (walls) much gold and silver, and in her temples there is much of everything. If they conquer her, may the king, my Lord, do with his servant as he wants, but may he give me the city of Buruzilim as residence.

Now I am with Hammuniri, since Buruzilim has made the (other) cities hostile (to me). They have become enemies for fear of the sons of Abdi-Ashirta. When I came to Hammuniri because of the sons of Abdi-Ashirta, when they were stronger than I and there was no encouragement for me from the mouth of the king, I said to the king, my Lord: See, the city of Gubla (is) his. In her (there are) many things of the king, the possessions of our ancestors. If the king holds back, he will not have left any city of Kinahnu (the levant area). May the king not hold back his action. Now I have sent to the king, my Lord, your servant, my son. May the king send him quickly with troops to take the city. If the king, my Lord, feels compassion for me and returns me to the city, then I will keep it for the king, my Lord, like previously. If the king, my Lord, (does not return to me) to her ... the city of Buruzilim (... will do) as she sees fit to his servant ... Hammu[niri] I remain with him.

May (the king, my Lord), listen to (the words) of his servant and send immediately troops to take the city. May the king, my Lord, not hold back with regard to this evil deed, that was committed against the countries of the king, (my Lord), and may the king, my Lord, quickly send troops of archers to take the city immediately. When they say in front of the king about the city: "the city is strong", it is not strong before the troops of the king, my Lord.


Unfortunately, No help came from Egypt and Rib-Addi disappeared from the historical records.



Other earlier letters from Ribb-Addi

Rib-Addi sends to his lord, the king of the world, the great king, the king of the universe (?) (whom) the divine lady of Gebal has known alone; to the king my lord, at the feet of my lord, my Sun-god seven times seven I prostrate myself.

This year (certain) men into the presence of the king, who (is) like the god Assur and the Sun-god in heaven, have come; they have reported to him: "The sons of Ebed-Asherah [6] according to their desires have taken 2 horses of the king and chariots, and the men whom he sent have given (them); and the Yivana [12] is on a mission to the country of Tyre, for eight days doing this deed in it."

They speak words of accusation before the king, the Sun-god. I am thy faithful servant, and the news which (the king) knows and hears have I sent to the king my lord. [But (?)] they (are) dogs [13], and they have [gone] into the presence of the household troops of the king, the Sun-god. I sent [messages] to thy father, and he [listened] to his servant, and [the father] des[patched] the household troops. The country was not taken by Ebed-Asherah for [himself]: it was the property of the governors, since I fought before them against him, and they (were) always strong, and the Misians [14] brought the [straw (?)] of barley always: they did not [despise (?)] the officer, since I collected horses and (was) strong before them, since we know that both strength and existence (belong) to a strong king. As yet they have not marched up (the country) since I have despatched two men, messengers, to the city of Zemar, and also the leader of all the men, this one (here present), to bring back word to the king of each one thing as much as they have heard. The two men by night have carried (it), and by night they have brought (it) back, even the messengers of the king, from the presence of the dogs.

If the heart of the king, the Sun-god, at this time they have engaged, [this] year I shall dwell [in] my [city] [ ] in thy heart and the [horses (?)][ ] and the men [ ] .

The Beduin are marching away from the city of Zemar [15] [and] I defend the city, and I have not given it up; and the king will hear the words of his servant, and will send ten men of the country of Melukhkha and ten men of the country of Egypt to defend the city for the king, the Sun-god, the lord of thy faithful servant.



Rib-Addu [sends to his lord], the great king, the king [of the universe (?)] (to whom) the divine lady of [Gebal has given] strength; to the king, my lord, at the feet of my lord, my Sun-god, [seven] times seven I prostrate myself.

Still the king, my lord, says: "For what reason art thou sending him to me?" Behold me; there is no governor in my service from the city of Zemar, and still the face of every one (is) towards me and the two men of Egypt whom I send to Pharaoh. There is no going forth, there is no sending to the king; there is no man who will carry my letter to Pharaoh. Now these two men will carry a letter to the king, but I myself go not forth. Always am I afraid and turn my face towards [the king] my lord. I send [ ] thy lord, since he will go up (?) [ ] I will send (?) on the days [ ] and I send to Pharaoh, and he will send and will cause soldiers to come [ ] .

The officer has not taken Ebed-Asherah [8] along with his property according to my orders. Words of accusation do I send to my lord, and thou sayest: "Wherefore dost thou send words of accusation"

If thou hearest my words at my mouth, I will take Aziru like [ ] .

Behold me, strong (is) my king! Already this year Ebed-Asherah the dog reckon the cities of the governors of the king for [themselves]: they have smitten the cities [ ] of Aziru, they have not [ ] the king, to their cities; they have not [ ] for themselves, from the city of Ze[mar], the city of Ullaza [17], the city of Sawa [ ] their chariots, the prince [ ] he sends the man [ ] soldiers [ ] the city of Zemar [ ] Aziru despatches [ ] .

I am [at] the gate; the men [ ] to the country of Egypt [ ] and he sent [ ] in their hand to me. Constantly I have sent this man, but I do not send [messengers] to the king. Now these two Egyptians have come forth to complain to me, and I cannot venture out. If this year there are no household troops, then the provinces will [fall] to the Beduin, but if it is the wish of the king to save them I will send my household troops to Yankhame and to Biri, (saying): "March along with the governors!"

They have occupied the country of the Amorites; in quietude they have marched through it. This have I done of myself along with Yapa-Addu and along with Kha[tip].

And the king will send [ ] all the property which they have taken from these men for the king. Another man has not taken it for another. We have been successful for the king. Accordingly the king will send a horse to his servant, and I will defend the city of the king. I have nothing at all whatsoever; everything has been given away to save my life; and as for this messenger, the king shall send him in all haste, and shall furnish guards to defend his faithful servant and the city, and (shall furnish) men of Melukhkha along with them like the god Zi of thy fathers.

A man of Yari[muta]. At the gate I (stand). A [ ] I send [to] Pharaoh for the protection of the men of the country of Milu[kha]; but thou dost not hear; yet why is the king constantly sending men of the guard [from] the country of Milukha to its defence? They have not [surrendered] the city to the Beduin.



Rib-Addu says to the king of the world, the great king, the king [of the universe (?)] (to whom) the divine lady of Gebal has given strength; to the king, my lord, at the feet of my lord, my Sun-god, seven times seven I prostrate myself.

Verily let the king my lord know that strong is the hostility of Ebed-Asherah [8] against me. Now the city which contended against me [ ] he has taken. [ ] Again, what about [Ebed-A]sherah the dog? And he has come [against] all the cities of the king, the Sun-god; [word] to the king of the country of Mitana [18] [and] the king of the country of Kasse [19] he has sent, since he has [ ] and he has collected all the Beduin against the city Sigata and the city of Ambi, and he has taken also [the territory (?)] of this city, and there is no place which the Beduin have not entered.

[Make war (?)] against him; seize [ ] Send me 400 [men] [ ] horses [ ] [send] the household [troop]s to look after [the do]gs; and gratuitously again there have been handed over the country of the king and the city of Zemar, the city of your guard, to the Beduin, and thou refrainest from sending the household troops (and) an officer, yet (so) thou wilt destroy the enemies of the king from all his country, and all the provinces will be attached to the king. Accordingly do not thou, O great lord, hold aloof from this message.



[To] Khayapa (an Egyptian official)... Rib-Addu [speaks] thus: At thy feet I fall. O Amon, the god who (is) su[preme], thou knowest thy light (is) in the countenance of the king my lord, of whom, behold, thou (Khayapa) art a dog (referring to symbol of a dog which represented an official), the king knows (it), and in thy own person the king has sent thee as a Commissioner. Wherefore dost thou delay and dost not speak to the king that he may send troops and that they may march to the city of Zemar?

What is Ebed-Asherah (Abdi-Ashirta: Ruler of Amurru), the servant, the dog? yet he has taken the country of the king himself. What is his origin? yet (he is) strong among the Beduin, strong (is) his power, and he has despatched 50 convoys of horses and 200 foot-soldiers, and they are stationed in the city of Sigata in his presence. Until the household troops appear he will not assemble all the Beduin; yet he has taken the city of Sigata and the city of Ambi.



To the king my lord, my Sun-god, speaks Rib-Addu thy servant thus:
At the feet of my lord, my Sun-god, seven times seven I prostrate myself. The king my lord knows that Salma-salla the son of Ebed-Asherah (Abdi-Ashirta: Ruler of Amurru) has entered the city of Ullaza, in order to strengthen the cities of Ardata [20], Yibiliya, Ambi, (and) Sigata, all the cities, for themselves, and the king has sent a force to the city of Zemar until the king shall give counsel to his country in regard to the sons of Ebed-Asherah the servant, the dog.

The king of the country of the Kassi (Babylonia), and the king of the country of Mitani are strong and have taken the country of the king for themselves already, and they have seized the cities of thy governor, yet thou delayest in granting the request [of] thy Commissioner, and they have seized the cities for themselves.

Now they have taken the city of Ullaza. If therefore, thou delayest until they have taken the city of Zemar and also have slain the Commissioner and the household troops which (are) in Zemar, what could one do? and I could not march up to Zemar the city. The cities of Ambi, Sigata, Ullaza, (and) Arvad are hostile to me. They have plotted, even they, that they shall enter the city of Zemar, even these cities, (and their) ships. And the sons of Ebed-Ashe[rah] (are) in the field, and ... and ... have not marched up ... and the city of Gebal has acted. Against the Beduin (and) against the city of Arvad I march, since its ... has joined the Beduin.

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