Archers (Egyptian pítati)
The Archers (Egyptian pítati), or "Pítati", or "Pítati–army–forces"-(spelled: "pí-ta-ti"), were the
pharaoh's Archer-Army often requested and dispatched, to support the Egyptian vassalage in Canaan, or northern Canaan. They are recorded in the correspondence of the 1350 BC Amarna letters, and were often requested to defend against the Habiru, also rogue vassal-kings and foreign troops of neighboring kingdoms-(for example Hatti), who were on the attack.
The vassal cities, and '
city-states' were constantly requesting the services-(protection) of the Pharaoh's armies, by means of this "archer-army" force, basically garrisonforces. A request for lodging, and preparations, ..of food, drink, straw, and other supplies required, is often demanded by the pharaoh, for a small, or a large contingent.
The pítati archer force were mercenaries from the southern Egyptian "land of
Kush"-(named "Kaša", or "Kaši" in the letters).
A letter example--no. 337
A vassal–state letter example from
Hiziru, a 'mayor'-(often referred to as the "Man of the City"-(Lú)), in ancient Palestine is EA 337-(EA for 'el Amarna'), entitled: "Abundant supplies ready". The letter is short, and undamaged::Say to the king, my lord, my Sun, my god: Message of Hiziru, your servant. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, 7 times and 7 times. The king, my lord, wrote to me, "Prepare the supplies before the arrival of a large army of "pí-ta-ti" of the king, [m] y l [ord] ." May the god of the king, my lord, grant that the king, my lord, come forth along with his large army and learn about his lands. I have indeed prepared accordingly abundant supplies before the arrival of a large army of the king, my lord.:The king, my lord, wrote to me, "Guard Maya," the commissionerof the king, my lord. Truly. I guard Maya very carefully. -EA 337, lines 1-30 (complete)
Archers and myrrh"
Letter no. 3 of 5 by
Milkiluof "Gazru", modern Gezer::"Say to the king, my lord, my god, my Sun: Message of Milkilu, your servant, the dirt at your feet. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, my god, my Sun, 7 times and 7 times. I have heard what the king, my lord, wrote to me, and so may the king, my lord, send the "archers" to his servants, and may the king, my lord send myrrhfor medication." -EA 269, lines 1-17 (complete)
Part of the debate in analyzing the army-archer-force is whether the army just annually accompanied the pharaoh's
commissioner/ envoyand were then extracting tribute, or whether the archer-force duty was strictly military, and in support of the Egyptian borderlands control and influence. The short time period of the Amarna letters, 15-20 years, (17?), may give an answer to the influence of the archer-forces.
*Moran, William L. "The Amarna Letters." John Hopkins University Press, 1987, 1992. (softcover, ISBN 0-8018-6715-0)
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