Join Date: May 2006
These extended exchanges on the Ancient World are really taxing my memory. I am not a scholar of ancient history, I do not have time to do a crash course in Wiki history, so I am constrained to writing from my fractured remembrances of high school history and just plain old general knowledge.
If I get a few dates and numbers wrong, and I fail to spell names correctly, you can put it down to my aging memory.
The Battle of Qadesh is probably the best documented battle of the ancient world, we know why it occurred, when it occurred, the outcomes, and the consequences.
In the Ancient World there was a group of countries that historians refer to as the "Great Powers Club", this "club" was made up of the major powers in The Levant, Mesopotamia and Anatolia, these powers were Egyptian Empire, Hittite Empire, Babylon, Assyria and Mitani.
The balance of power between the members of this "Club" went through cycles of change, they all wanted to expand their areas of influence and build their empires. A system of exchange of royal gifts developed, whereby the rulers would exchange gifts of things over which they had control. One of these gifts was women, who were from the royal line of one ruler, given as a wife to another ruler. Egyptian rulers refused to give women of their royal line to other rulers because royal Egyptian women were required as wives for their own Royal Egyptian brothers and other close relatives. However, the Egyptian Rulers were more than agreeable to accepting as wives the women from royal lines of other rulers.
This exchange of royal gifts was a part of diplomacy that took place in this part of the world, between these powers, at that time in history. If my memory is correct, contact between the Club members was mostly by letter, the language used was Arcadian, or maybe that is Akadian, I forget, but it was written in cuneiform.
Now, just because they were all in the same club did not mean that they necessarily got along with each other very well. It is convenient to think of the club members as including the Hittites, because everybody has heard of the Hittites, but the Hittites actually migrated into Anatolia and absorbed the Hatti, and then the Hatti as Hittites invaded the Mitrani , so by the time that the "Club" was functioning, the Mitrani were actually under the control of the Hittites.
I suspect that investigation might demonstrate that by the time Tushratta traded off his daughter to Amenhotep III, the Mitrani were already dancing the jig to a tune played by the Hatti/Hittites
The Hittites were a pretty aggressive people, and long before the battle of Qadesh they had been causing more than a little disquiet in the Eastern Mediterranean. When the Hatti/Hittite armies took over the Mitrani lands they also took over the Egyptian vassal states, or tributary states, of Amaru and Qadesh. This was the start of a war that lasted for a couple of hundred years. The Egyptians wanted the lands of Qadesh and Amaru back, the Hittites wanted to hang onto them, even though the original Hittite conquest of these places was only a by-product of a much larger action.
The peak of hostilities was the Battle of Qadesh, but it really didn't fix things, even when the treaty was accepted by both sides.
In fact, I was taught that what many people regard as a "peace treaty" was not really a peace treaty at all, but it was an agreement for Egypt and the Hittites to maintain a cordial alliance for mutual benefit. It appears this type of treaty was not uncommon in that part of the world at that time.
So --- yes, there was most definitely active diplomacy between the major powers of the Eastern Mediterranean during this period. As I have already remarked, I am not a scholar of ancient history, everything I have written above is just general knowledge, not specialist knowledge. Perhaps a specialist in the relevant branch of the study of history might be able to direct us to some written evidence of diplomatic ties between the members of the "Great Powers Club", but for me, the generally accepted position that there was active diplomacy present is sufficient:- if the people who are experts in this field tell me that there was active diplomacy between these Club members, I'm prepared to accept that.
This has been an interesting diversion, and I thank you David for making me stretch my memory and think hard enough to give me a headache, but whether there was diplomacy active or not, whether the KT dagger came from the Hittite court or from a Hittite vassal, it does not alter the fact that only Hittite technology could have produced this blade at that time in history.
And to get back to the Jambon hypothesis, was there sufficient meteoritic material available to make all those Hittite swords, tools, and jewellery out of meteorite? Seriously?