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(mĭtăn`ē), ancient kingdom established in the 2d millennium B.C. in NW Mesopotamia. It was founded by Aryans but was later made up predominantly of Hurrians. Washshukanni was its capital. Mitanni controlled Assyria for a period and was engaged in military efforts to hold back Egyptian forces intent on conquering Syria. In c.1450 B.C. the army of Thutmose III of Egypt successfully advanced as far as the Euphrates; the king of Mitanni surrendered, sending tribute to Egypt, which halted its invasion. Friendly relations later developed between the two powers as evidenced by correspondence between King Tushratta of Mitanni and Amenhotep III of Egypt. In the 14th cent. B.C., Mitanni became involved in struggles with the Hittites and c.1335 fell to the Hittites as well as to resurgent Assyrian forces.



(Hanigalbat), an ancient state in northern Mesopotamia, on the territory of presentday northern Syria. Mitanni probably arose in the 16th century B.C. Its population consisted of Hurrians and Semites. The official languages were Akkadian and Hurrian, but the kings bore Indo-Iranian names, and it is possible that the dynasty came from the Iranian Plateau. Mitanni warriors were highly skilled in horse breeding and chariot warfare, enabling the Mitanni dynasty to unite the small Hurrian tribal groups of Mesopotamia and to subjugate the Semitic (Amorite-Akkadian) city-states.

At its height the Mitanni state headed a loose union of small kingdoms and city-states stretching from the Mediterranean and the Taurus Mountains of Asia Minor to the mountains bordering on Iran. In the 15th century B.C. the Mitanni relinquished to Egypt the lands west of the Euphrates and established friendly relations with Egypt that were reinforced by dynastic marriages, documented in the correspondence of the Mittani king Tushratta with the Egyptian pharaohs Amenhotep III and Akhenaton in the 14th century B.C. An internecine struggle after the death of Tushratta led to intervention by the Hittite king Suppiluliumas I, and the Mitanni state lost its political importance. It was finally overthrown in the 13th century B.C. by Assyria, formerly a Mitanni dependency. No written works of Mitanni have survived, with the exception of Tushratta’s letters, found in Egypt. However, governmental and private commercial archives of the small kingdoms that were subjects of Mitanni have survived, including Alalakh (excavations at Tel Atchana in northern Syria), Arrapkha (excavations at modern Kirkuk), and Nuzi (excavations at Yorghan-Tepe in Iraq). These documents have provided valuable information about the history of an ancient commune.


D’iakonov, I. M. Predystoriia armianskogo naroda. Yerevan, 1968.
D’iakonov, I. M. “Ariitsy na Blizhnem Vostoke: konets mifa.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1970, no. 4.
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Iankovskaia, N. B. “Communal Self-government and the King of Arrapha.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 1969, vol. 12, part 3.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In passing, we also question Mendenhall's identification of the Abdi-hepa (more properly IR-he-ba), king of Jerusalem (EA 280, 285-90, 366) as a "Human (i.e., Mitannian) king." Clearly, the theophoric element in his name is Human (namely, the goddess Hebat), but this does not necessarily make the ruler himself Human.
Whether proclaiming his "marriage" with the Egyptian Tiye or the Mitannian Gilukhepa, the digging of a pleasure lake at the site of Djarouka, or lion and bull hunts, the goal of all of these scarabs was simply to confirm the king's suzerainty over his subjects, Egypt and the surrounding nations, as well as the chaotic world of hostile forces.
In chapter 8, Middle Babylonian examples, which include Mitannian, Middle Assyrian and Elamite (there are fourteen from Tchoga Zanbil), the following points should be noted: Abb.
Roseler give new readings for several passages of EA 24, the Mitannian letter found at Tell el-Amarna.
The cylinder seals included forty-seven Mitannian Common Style seals (thirteen represent imports from Mitanni; thirty-four consist of locally made Palestinian copies), four eclectic seals from the eastern Mediterranean, an Old Babylonian seal, and two miscellaneous seals.
According to the pottery found, level 5 is felt to postdate the latest occupation at Tell Leilan, while level 4 above, excavated in 1987 and 1988, is dated to the mid-second millennium ("Mitannian" period; Bachelot 1990, Bachelot et al., 1990: 20).
The sequence of second-millennium pottery is quite important since it includes material from the "Habur Ware," "Mitannian" (Nuzi Ware), and Middle Assyrian periods.
At the time of the Berne symposium, the excavations have reached the levels of the Middle Assyrian and the immediately preceding Mitannian periods, but no important public buildings and no inscriptions have been found.
Mallowan and has been excavated since 1976 by David and Joan Oates; and both series of campaigns have uncovered tablets from the Sargonic and, in the latter series, also of the Mitannian, periods--not numerous but of prime importance for the historical geography of the Habur Triangle.
Oates, the Mitannian palace was burned to the ground and was not replaced by a new building.