Upu or Apu, also rendered as Aba/Apa/Apina/Ubi/Upi. was the region surrounding Damascus of the 1350 BC Amarna letters. Damascus was named Dimašqu/Dimasqu/ etc. (for example, "Dimaški"-(see: Niya (kingdom)), in the letter correspondence.
The region is only referenced in three letters, EA 53, 189, and 197 (EA is for 'el Amarna'). Etakkama of Qidšu (Kadesh) in the Beqaa (named the Amqu) is in partial control, between allegiance to Pharaoh, and conjoining forces with the king of Hatti.
An example of the intrigue is from the last third of EA 53, (entitled: "Of the villain Aitukama"):
- "My lord, if he (i.e. pharaoh) makes this land a matter of concern to my lord, then may my lord send archers that they may come here. (Only) messengers of my lord have arrived here.
- My lord, if Arsawuya of Ruhizzi and Teuwatti of Lapana remain in Upu, and Tašša (Tahash) remains in the Am[q], my lord should also know about them that Upu will not belong to my lord. Daily they write to Aitukama (Etakkama) and say as follows: "Come, tak[e] Upu in its entirety."
- My lord, just as Dimaški (Damascus) in Upu (falls) at your feet, so may Qatna (fall) at your feet. My lord, one asks for life before my messenger. I do not fear [at al]l in the presence of the archers of my lord, since the archers belong to my lord. If he sends (them) to me, they will en[ter] Qatna." -EA 53, (only lines 52-70(End)).
The intrigue of the three Amarna letters appears to involve areas to the north and northwest of Damascus, into Lebanon and the Beqaa (named Amqu).
- Bryce, Trevor (15 March 2012). The World of The Neo-Hittite Kingdoms: A Political and Military History. OUP Oxford. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-19-150502-7.
Damascus’ history extends well back before the Aramaean occupation. It is first attested as one of the cities and kingdoms which fought against and were defeated by the pharaoh Tuthmosis III at the battle of Megiddo during Tuthmosis’ first Asiatic campaign in 1479 (ANET 234-8). Henceforth, it appears in Late Bronze Age texts as the centre of a region called Aba/Apa/Apina/Upi/Upu [Apu]. From Tuthmosis’ conquest onwards, for the remainder of the Late Bronze Age, this region remained under Egyptian sovereignty, though for a short time after the battle of Qadesh, fought in 1274 by the pharaoh Ramesses 11 against the Hittite king Muwatalli II, it came under Hittite control. After the Hittite withdrawal, Damascus and its surrounding region marked part of Egypt’s northern frontier with the Hittites.
- Moran, William L. (ed. and trans.) The Amarna Letters. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.
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