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Amarna letters

The Amarna letters are an archive, written on clay tablets consisting of diplomatic correspondence between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom, between c. 1360–1332 BC. The letters were found in Upper Egypt at el-Amarna, the modern name for the ancient Egyptian capital of Akhetaten, founded by pharaoh Akhenaten during the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt; the Amarna letters are unusual in Egyptological research, because they are written in a script known as Akkadian cuneiform, the writing system of ancient Mesopotamia, rather than that of ancient Egypt, the language used has sometimes been characterised as a mixed language, Canaanite-Akkadian. The written correspondence spans a period of at most thirty years; the known tablets total 382, of which 358 have been published by the Norwegian Assyriologist Jørgen Alexander Knudtzon's in his work, Die El-Amarna-Tafeln, which came out in two volumes and remains the standard edition to this day.

The texts of the remaining 24 complete or fragmentary tablets excavated since Knudtzon have been made available. The Amarna letters are of great significance for biblical studies as well as Semitic linguistics, since they shed light on the culture and language of the Canaanite peoples in pre-biblical times; the letters, though written in Akkadian, are colored by the mother tongue of their writers, who spoke an early form of Canaanite, the language family which would evolve into its daughter languages and Phoenician. These "Canaanisms" provide valuable insights into the proto-stage of those languages several centuries prior to their first actual manifestation; these letters, comprising cuneiform tablets written in Akkadian – the regional language of diplomacy for this period – were first discovered around 1887 by local Egyptians who secretly dug most of them from the ruined city of Amarna, sold them in the antiquities market. They had been stored in an ancient building that archaeologists have since called the Bureau of Correspondence of Pharaoh.

Once the location where they were found was determined, the ruins were explored for more. The first archaeologist who recovered more tablets was Flinders Petrie, who in 1891 and 1892 uncovered 21 fragments. Émile Chassinat director of the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, acquired two more tablets in 1903. Since Knudtzon's edition, some 24 more tablets, or fragments, have been found, either in Egypt, or identified in the collections of various museums; the initial group of letters recovered by local Egyptians have been scattered among museums in Germany, Egypt, France and the United States. Either 202 or 203 tablets are at the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin; the archive contains a wealth of information about cultures, kingdoms and individuals in a period from which few written sources survive. It includes correspondence from Akhenaten's reign, as well as his predecessor Amenhotep III's reign; the tablets consist of over 300 diplomatic letters. These tablets shed much light on Egyptian relations with Babylonia, Syria and Alashiya as well as relations with the Mitanni, the Hittites.

The letters have been important in establishing the chronology of the period. Letters from the Babylonian king, Kadashman-Enlil I, anchor the timeframe of Akhenaten's reign to the mid-14th century BC, they contain the first mention of a Near Eastern group known as the Habiru, whose possible connection with the Hebrews—due to the similarity of the words and their geographic location—remains debated. Other rulers involved in the letters include Tushratta of Mitanni, Lib'ayu of Shechem, Abdi-Heba of Jerusalem, the quarrelsome king, Rib-Hadda, of Byblos, who, in over 58 letters, continuously pleads for Egyptian military help; the letters include requests for military help in the north against Hittite invaders, in the south to fight against the Habiru. Amarna Letters are politically arranged in rough counterclockwise fashion: 001–014 Babylonia 015–016 Assyria 017–030 Mitanni 031–032 Arzawa 033–040 Alashiya 041–044 Hatti 045–380+ Syria/Lebanon/CanaanAmarna Letters from Syria/Lebanon/Canaan are distributed roughly: 045–067 Syria 068–227 Lebanon 227–380 Canaan.

Note: Many assignments are tentative. This is just a guide. William L. Moran summarizes the state of the chronology of these tablets as follows: Despite a long history of inquiry, the chronology of the Amarna letters, both relative and absolute, presents many problems, some of bewildering complexity, that still elude definitive solution. Consensus obtains only about what is obvious, certain established facts, these provide only a broad framework within which many and quite different reconstructions of the course of events reflected in the Amarna letters are possible and have been defended.... The Amarna archive, it is now agreed, spans at most about thirty years only fifteen or so. From the internal evidence, the earliest possible date for this correspondence is the final decade of the reign of Amenhotep III, who ruled from 1388 to 1351 BC as early as

Alfred John Kempe

Alfred John Kempe was an English antiquary. Kempe was born in London on 4 June 1784, the only son of John Kempe, bullion-porter in the Royal Mint, his wife Anne, youngest daughter of James Arrow of Westminster, who died in 1835; the novelist Anna Eliza Bray was his sister. He was not trained for any specific employment. For about five years Kempe held a commission in the Tower Hamlets militia, but resigned his post in 1811, lived for a time at Chepstow and Swansea. In the summer of 1813 he moved to the neighbourhood of Holwood Hill in the parish of Keston in Kent. Charles Alfred Stothard, who married his sister, interested him in antiquities and they spent much time exploring the district. On Kempe pursued investigations into the ancient remains at Keston with Thomas Crofton Croker. Following Stothard's death in 1821, Kempe helped his sister bring her husband's Monumental Effigies of Great Britain to completion, writing most of the additional text. For a short time Kempe lost it due to staff cuts.

From about 1840 to 1845 employment was found for him at the state paper office, working on transcribing and calendaring, but his health broke down. He died at Stamford Villas, Fulham Road, London, 21 August 1846, was buried in Fulham churchyard 27 August. Kempe was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1828, he contributed to Archaeologia from 1816, exhibited curiosities at its meetings. From its members he formed the "Society of Noviomagus", which took its name from the Roman city supposed to have been built on Holwood Hill. For many years he was on the staff of the Gentleman's Magazine, copies of his articles were printed separately between 1830 and 1832, his paper on Tavistock Abbey was incorporated into his sister's Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy. Kempe was the author of: The Battle of an Ode. "An Investigation of the Antiquities of Holwood Hill", which appeared in the Military Register, vol. 1, was appended to John Dunkin's Outline of History of Bromley in Kent. Introduction and descriptions for The Monumental Effigies of Great Britain, by C. A. Stothard.

Circumstantial Narrative of the Campaign in Saxony, 1813. With Observations on the different kinds of Sanctuary recognised by the common Law. Proceedings at Meeting for Preservation of Lady Chapel at St. Saviour's, Southwark, 28 Jan. 1832. Preface signed A. J. K; the Loseley Manuscripts. Preserved in Muniment Room of James More Molyneux at Loseley House, Surrey. Edited, with Notes. A Few Words to Tradesmen and Public on the desirableness... of abridging the Number of Hours of Business. On 3 October 1808 he married at Leyton, Mary, daughter of J. Prior, a captain in the merchant service, who bore him eleven children. Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Courtney, William Prideaux. "Kempe, Alfred John". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 30. London: Smith, Elder & Co

Stephen Elliott Jr.

Stephen Elliott, Jr. was a Confederate States Army brigadier general during the American Civil War. He was a planter, state legislator in South Carolina and militia officer before the Civil War and a fisherman after the war. Elliott again was elected to the state legislature after the war but was unable to serve due to his early death. Stephen Elliott, Jr. was born on October 1830 in Beaufort, South Carolina. He was the eldest son of Ann Hutson Habersham. Rev. Elliott was a large plantation owner as well as a preacher to the Black people of the area. After studying at Harvard College for a time, he graduated from South Carolina College in 1850, he became a planter on South Carolina. Elliott served in the South Carolina legislature, he was captain of a militia company. Elliott was known for his skill as a yachtsman and a fisherman. In 1854, he married Charlotte Stuart and would have three children with her including Henry S. Elliott. Elliott served in the Confederate States Army within South Carolina from the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 until the spring of 1864, advancing from captain to colonel.

In order to participate in the bombardment of Fort Sumter, he attached himself to a different unit than his Beaufort Volunteer Artillery company. The Beaufort Artillery company became an infantry company, so Elliott started his official Confederate Army service as a captain in the 11th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment, he participated in the defense of South Carolina. He was wounded in the leg at an engagement at Fort Beauregard, South Carolina on November 7, 1861. In August 1862, he was appointed Chief of Artillery for the 3rd military district of South Carolina, he made some raids against Union targets after the Union Army captured the South Carolina coastal islands, including making attacks with torpedoes. On April 9, 1863, his raiders sank the steamer George Washington. In 1863, he became major and lieutenant colonel of artillery. For a time in late 1863, he commanded the Confederate force at Fort Sumter, where he received a head wound during the bombardment of Charleston by Union forces on December 11, 1863.

In the spring of 1864, Elliott was in command of Holcombe's Legion. At that time, he was ordered to Virginia with his regiment, he took command of Brigadier General Nathan G. Evans' old brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia, he commanded his brigade at the Battle of the Wilderness. On May 24, 1864, Elliott was promoted to brigadier general. On June 16, 1864, Elliott's brigade counterattacked after a Union Army assault took some advanced Confederate trenches in the Petersburg defenses, establishing a salient in the Confederate line. On July 30, 1864, Elliott's brigade was defending the Confederate line at Elliott's Salient near the spot the Union Army's mine blew, which precipitated the Battle of the Crater. Elliott's brigade had nearly 700 soldiers wounded in the explosion and ensuing battle. Elliott was asleep in a "bombproof" near the line and awakened to find the destruction and chaos surrounding him. Finding no troops nearby since he was close to the site of the explosion, he went to find his remaining men and organize a counterattack in line with a previous plan to deal with such a mine attack.

After finding two of his regiments intact, Elliott led them forward, positioning them to defend against an assault and to counterattack. He impatiently jumped on the parapet to lead his men in the attack. At this moment, Elliott was wounded in the chest and left arm. After several months recovering from his wounds, which in fact had not healed properly, Elliott joined General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee in North Carolina, where he led a brigade of former Charleston defenders and untested soldiers. From January 2, 1865 through March 1865, the brigade was in Taliaferro's division of Hardee's corps. For the few remaining weeks of the war, the brigade was in Anderson's division of Stewart's corps. At the Battle of Bentonville on March 19, 1865, Elliott ordered his brigade to charge the Union left flank when he found that his line overlapped the Union line; the Union skirmish line was put to flight. The brigade's success did not last as they were broken and sent into retreat when they charged the strong Union main line, supported by artillery.

At the point where the Confederate retreat halted, in the middle of an artillery barrage, Elliott tried to reform his brigade for another assault, despite receiving a piece of shrapnel in his leg. In the event, Confederate commanders saw that the brigade was too shaken to make another attack and they were ordered to kneel or lie down and hold their ground. Elliott had again received another serious wound, his brigade surrendered with Johnston's army at Bennett Place near North Carolina. Elliott had been sent home to convalesce from his latest wound before Johnston's surrender. Although the Eichers found no record of his parole or pardon, in his 1866 eulogy, Trescot noted that he had received a special Executive pardon at the request of Union General Quincy Gillmore, commanding at Hilton Head Island near Elliott's hut. After the Civil War, Elliott found that his plantation property had been seized for nonpayment of taxes and distributed to his former slaves, they treated him well upon his return but it made it clear that the land no longer belonged to him.

Thereafter, he returned to a home in Charleston and a former fishing hut at the seashore, began to make a living as a fisherman and was again elected to the South Carolina legislature. However, he was debilitated by his wounds and exposure and died before taking office on February 21, 1866, at Aiken, South Carolina, he was b