“A MASS OF SUMERIAN, AKKADIAN, HITTITE, EGYPTIAN, MITANNIAN AND CANAANITISH MATERIAL”
MERCER, S.A.B. The Tell El-Amarna Tablets. Toronto: Macmillan, 1939. Two volumes. Octavo, original blue cloth, top edges gilt. $1000.
First edition, one of 900 copies, of this translation of the important Amarna cuneiform tablets. With photographic frontispiece in each volume and folding map at rear of Volume II.
Amarna, 190 miles south of Cairo, is the site of the pharaoh Ikhnaton's capitol city, Akhetaton (the Horizon of Aton), founded in 1350 BC and abandoned 30 years later, after the death of Ikhnaton. The site was discovered in 1824, and has been excavated by several noted archaeologists, including Howard Carter and Flinders Petrie. It was at this site that the now-famous painted limestone bust of Nefertiti in her flat-topped crown was discovered. In 1887, "a peasant woman is said to have been digging, on the site of the ruins of Akhetaton, for dust to fertilize her garden, when she came across what turned out to be about 300 cuneiform tablets. The news of the discovery spread rapidly, and the tablets were soon scattered… they were hawked about among the dealers… still others were lost, and some were destroyed." Mercer's work transliterates and translates all of the tablets available in museums and private collections, "almost all letters which passed between Egypt and various rulers and countries of the Nearer Orient."
Interiors quite clean, spines sunned. A near-fine copy.