In the course of the brief reign of Ramses I (Necho I), Tirhaka, who had fought against Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal, died at his capital of Napata. In Assurbanipal’s words, “The night of death overtook him.” (1) He left behind, widowed, his chief wife Duk-hat-amun, but no sons—a son and another wife had been captured years earlier by Esarhaddon in Memphis and deported to Assyria. The succession to the Ethiopian throne would pass through Duk-hat-amun if she could find a husband of royal blood; if not, Tirhaka’s nephew, Tandamane, was next in the line of succession.

In the biography of Suppiluliumas, compiled by his son Mursilis, there is quoted a letter from a queen of Egypt named Dakhamun: “My husband died,” she wrote, “and I have no son. People say that you have many sons. If you were to send me one of your sons, he might become my husband.” (2) She added she did not wish to marry a commoner from among her subjects. Since the reign of Suppiluliumas has been placed about 600 years before the reign of Tirhaka, the identity of Dakhamun has remained a mystery. She is usually identified as one of Akhnaton’s daughters. But of all the queens of ancient Egypt, only one had a name that corresponds to Dakhamun of the annals of Mursilis—namely, Duk-hat-amun, the widow of Tirhaka.

A request of this kind was unheard of, and Suppiluliumas sought the advice of his consellors, exclaiming: “Since of old such a thing has never happened before me!” They advised caution: He should first assure himself that no deception was being planned. It was decided that the royal chamberlain should be sent to Egypt to find out “whether perhaps they have a prince” and “do not really want one of my sons to take over the kingship.”

Dakhamun answered in a letter: “Why do you say: ‘They may try to deceive me’ ? If I had a son, would I write to a foreign country in a manner which is humiliating to myself and to my country? You do not trust me and tell me even such a thing. He who was my husband died and I have no sons. Shall I perhaps take one of my servants and make him my husband? I have not written to any other country, I have written only to you. People say you have many sons. Give me one of your sons and he is my husband and king in the land of Egypt.”

At this, Suppiluliumas “complied with the lady’s wishes,” and sent her a prince.

But a few weeks later the news arrived that the prince had been assasinated. Whether this was done by the Assyrians, who held control over Syria-Palestine, as well as northern Egypt, or whether a court intrigue by the opponents of Duk-hat-amun caused the prince’s death is not known.


  1. Luckenbill, The Records of Assyria, II.

  2. H. G. Guterbock,