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Posted on August 31st, 2012, by

Diplomacy as a special phenomenon of social life appeared sufficiently long ago and till now had developed to the level of stable social institution with its specific forms of organization and subjective bearers. When did diplomacy begin? At fist the origin of the diplomacy was connected with Gods and angels, they held negotiations between the Heaven and the Earth. In fact, it should be mentioned that diplomacy appeared simultaneously with the tribal system: the first exchange of food, goods, and problems connected with territory for the hunting, farming or fishing. At first these problems were solved by force, but later people understood that they can be solved peacefully. Diplomacy, as we see it in our time, appeared with the developing of the productive forces, public conscience, and first principles of law. Unfortunately our generation doesn’t have a lot of information about diplomacy of the Ancient times, but we know that first signs of diplomatic practice appeared in Ancient Egypt.

Egypt was the largest state of the Near East. Egyptian border during the XVIII dynasty reached the spurs of Taurus and the Euphrates River.

In the international life of the Ancient East during this time Egypt played a leading role. Egyptians maintained a lively trade, cultural and political connections with all countries which they knew – with the Hittites’ state in Asian Near East, with northern and southern states of Mesopotamia (the State of Mitanni, Babylon, Assyria), Assyrian and Palestinian princes, Cretan kingdom and the Aegean. Special State Chancellery of Foreign Affairs was in charge of the diplomatic correspondence in Egypt.

Among the most famous documents of the ancient oriental diplomacy the greatest interest in terms of content and richness are the Amarna letters: correspondence and agreements of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II with the Hittite king Hattusili III, which was concluded in 1278 BC. Amarna was the area on the right bank of the Nile in Middle Egypt, the former residence of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenophis IV. In the Amenophis’s palace in 1887-1888 BC the archive, containing the diplomatic correspondence of the pharaohs of XVIII dynasty – Amenophis III and his son Amenophis IV, was discovered. Currently the Amarna letters are located in the British Museum in London and at the State Museum in Berlin.

Most of the Amarna letters are letters of Syrian and Palestinian princes to Pharaoh, they depended on. Syrian and Palestinian principalities played the role of buffer states between the two major powers of ancient Eastern world – the state of the Hittites on the one hand, and Egypt – on the other. Pharaoh was advantageous to maintain a constant strife between the princes and in such a way to strengthen his influence in Syria.Ā  The main content of Syro-Palestinian princes’ letters were: mutual exchange of greetings and courtesies, negotiations on the marriages and the request to Pharaoh for the military aid, gold and gifts. By welcoming and requests align complaints, denunciations and slander princes against each other.

Both Egypt and the Hittites pretended to the Syro-Palestinian region. During the reign of Suppiluliuma (1380-1346 BC) the Hittite kingdom had reached a dominant influence in Asia and successfully could dispute with Egypt about the Asian possessions – Sinai mines, Lebanese forests, and trade routes. Growth of the Hittite forced the Pharaoh to seek new allies among the Mesopotamia states – Mitanni and Babylon – hostile to the Hittites. The Amarna archive kept diplomatic letters of Babylonian and Mitannian kings to Amenophis III and Amenophis IV.

The contents of these letters rather varied, but it is always talking about kings themselves, whose personality identifies with the entire state. Amenophis III wanted to have Babylonian princess in his harem and informed about this wish his “brother”¯, the Babylonian king Kadashman. Babylonian king was slow in satisfying this request, referring to the sad fate of his sister, one of the pharaoh’s wives. In response to the letter he complained about unfair Babylonian ambassadors, who gave the king false information about the status of his sister. Kadashman in his turn accused the pharaoh of impolite treatment with his commissioners. They were not even invited to the anniversary celebration. Eventually Kadashman agreed to send his daughter to the Pharaoh’s harem, but in response he wished to obtain one of the Egyptian princesses as a wife, gold and gifts. The letter begins with the usual greetings and expressions of “brotherly”¯ loyalty. “

You are the king. You may do as you wish.”¯ But then conversation stopped to be so “brotherly”¯ “Kadashman Enlil of Babylon to Amenhotep of Egypt. How is it possible that, having written to you in order to ask for the hand of your daughter – oh my brother, you should have written me using such language, telling me that you will not give her to me as since earliest times no daughter of the king of Egypt has ever been given in marriage? Why are you telling me such things? You are the king. You may do as you wish. If you wanted to give me your daughter in marriage who could say you nay?”¯ The message ends with insistence on sending gold and gifts. “As to the gold about which I wrote you, send me now quickly during this summer [”¦] before your messenger reach me, gold in abundance, as much as is available. I could thus achieve the task I have undertaken. If you send me this summer [”¦] the gold concerning which I’ve written to you, I shall give you my daughter in marriage. Therefore, send gold, willingly, as much as you please.”¯ (Lalouette, 1986)

Another example: “To Napkhuria, king of Egypt, my brother, my son-in-law, who loves me and whom I love, thus speaks Tushratta, king of Mitanni, your father-in-law who loves you, your brother. I am well. May you be well too. Your houses, Tiye your mother, Lady of Egypt, Tadu-Heba, my daughter, your wife, your other wives, your sons, your noblemen, your chariots, your horses, your soldiers, your country and everything belonging to you, may they all enjoy excellent health. From his side, Tushratta was ready to do all kinds of services and send all sorts of gifts to Pharaoh. “If my brother will house”¯ want something for his home, I’ll give ten times more than he requires. My land is his land, my house is his (Lalouette, 1986). All these documents are in cuneiform, in the Babylonian language – language of diplomacy at the time. The hieroglyphic text carved on the walls of temples of Karnak and Ramesseum (Thebes). It is a copy of the translation from the original, which was written in another language, probably the Hittite language: Babylonian cuneiform, which served for international correspondence in that era. To the main text the Egyptian scribe added the date and the message about the arrival of the ambassadors who had brought a draft treaty. In the archives of the Hittite kings several fragmented copies of the Hittite version of the treaty on clay tablets were also survived, some of which are stored in the Hermitage.

This contract is the first from the surviving document of such kind and extremely important for the history of international relations. It was concluded on the initiative of the Hittite king Hattusili, who succeeded to the throne of his brother Muwatalli. Both sides were exhausted from the long war which lasted 16 years. In the Hittite army even risings began because of the hardships of a protracted struggle. Peace was made on the 21th year of the reign of Ramses II (1295 BC). Hattusili sent a draft peace proposal, inscribed on a silver tablet. Ramses on the basis Hattusili’s project made his own, which was sent to Hittite king. Both kings perpetuated the eternal peace and promised to help each other, hold they have conquered the country in Asia. Both sides also pledged to give each other political fugitives. The agreement had been formalized by marriage Hittite king’s daughter with Ramses.

The world has changed and it continues to change and diplomacy changes together with it. The world was divided not only into states with different social systems (capitalism – feudalism), but with contradictory systems (capitalism – socialism), so there was a necessity to combine all these systems in international relations. Nowadays the number of monarchic states decreased and the number of republican states increased, so the diplomatic practices were changed, the First World war was an incitement to this fact. The role of publicity in the politics was changed and “new diplomacy”¯ had to notice that fact.

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