Picture the scene: in the second millennium, an elder Hittite potentate writes to a young Assyrian despot. That’s Tudhaliya to Tukulti-Ninurta, who has just assumed power.
It is true, you defeated with your weapons (the Hurri despot), and you have now become a great king. But why do you speak to me in terms of brotherhood?
And why are you always writing to me?
I imagine some poor scribe, pressing this message into wet clay, and looking up: you want me to put that drivel on a clay tablet?
Tudhaliya goes on:
By the way, my boy, among us kings, one writes to another for aid.
To which Tikulti-Ninurta responds:
I will never write to another king for aid [that is: up yours, you old fart]