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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.
Iankovskaia, N. B. “Zemlevladenie bol’shesemeinykh domovykh obshchin v klinopisnykh istochnikakh.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1959, no. 1.
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.
Kammenhuber, A. Die Arier im Vorderen Orient. Heidelberg, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
Historical information indicates familial and political ties between Mittani and Egypt," Ahmed said.
But there are also mentions of confrontations, which the author assigns to a second phase, when the power of Mittani had collapsed: the Assyrians, under the rule of Anur-uballit I, freed themselves from its authority and attacked their neighbor.
126: The transitive morpheme =i= used both in Mittani Hurrian and with "aspectless" forms in Old Hurrian, is almost certainly a late introduction.
When the kingdom of Mittani fell to Assyria, a Mittanian chariot commander fled to Babylonia with 200 chariots and their crews.
Chapter seven explores the interactions among Kassite Babylonia, Hatti, New Kingdom Egypt, Mittani, and Assyria, with reference to diplomacy, trade, warfare, ideology, and social organization from 1500 to 1274 B.
It comes rather from El Amarna letter 29, from the ruler of Upper Mesopotamian Mittani to the king of Egypt; it may be part of negotiations about treaty language, but it is not a treaty.
The long Hurrian letter from Mittani, EA 24, implies that Hurrian could be read in Egypt, and the capacity to write as well as read Hittite is indicated not only by the Hittite letter from Arzawa to Egypt, with its explicit request that correspondence be conducted in Hittite (EA 32), but by Pharaoh's letter in Hittite to Arzawa (EA 31).
The cases of Mittani under Sattiwaza and of Amurru after its rebellion are very instructive for this question.
Roseler ("Notes on the Mittani Letter," SCCNH 8 [1996]: 281-84) gebotene Deutung dieser Form als Essiv.
Giorgieri re-examine several passages of the Mittani letter from El-Amarna, while G.
the most powerful states of the Near East, Egypt, Hatti, Mittani, Babylonia, and Assyria, formed an international society, a "Great Powers' Club" with conventional forms of diplomacy and settled rules of protocol.
The transitive meaning "to take up" might be suited even to a passage in Mittani letter I 87 (ag = os = a), referring to a gift that is taken up to the Sun-god.