Ahhiyawa, Hatti, and Diplomacy: Implications of Hittite Misperceptions of the Mycenaean World

by Nicholas G. Blackwell

Hesperia, Volume 90, Issue 2
Page(s): 191-231
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.90.2.0191
Year: 2021


This article considers formal diplomatic relations between the Mycenaeans and Hittites through analysis of the Hittite Tawagalawa Letter. Consensus attributes that tablet's authorship to Ḫattušili III (ca. 1267-1237 B.C.), who complained to the king of Ahhiyawa about a Hittite renegade named Piyamaradu. The historical context of Ḫattušili's foreign policy, particularly his Treaty of Kadesh with the Egyptian pharaoh Rameses II, supports a revised understanding of his correspondence with Ahhiyawa. The Tawagalawa Letter alludes to an existing nonaggression pact between Hatti and Ahhiyawa modeled after the well-known Hittite-Egyptian contract. This new idea reconciles the discrepancy between a unified Ahhiyawa and a politically fragmented Mycenaean world. Such diplomacy can also account for technological similarities that exist between Mycenae and Hattuša.