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The battle is generally dated to BC in the Egyptian chronology and is the earliest battle in recorded history for which details of tactics and formations are known. It is believed to have been the largest chariot battle ever fought, involving between 5, and 6, chariots in total.
As a result of the multiple Kadesh inscriptionsit is the best documented battle in all of ancient history. After expelling the Hyksos ‘ 15th Dynasty around BC, the native Egyptian New Kingdom rulers became more aggressive in reclaiming control of their state’s borders. Many of the Egyptian campaign accounts between c. During the late Eighteenth dynastythe Amarna letters tell the story of the decline of Egyptian influence in the region.
The Egyptians showed flagging interest here until almost the end of the dynasty. This process continued in the Nineteenth Dynasty.
Like his father Ramesses ISeti I was a military commander who set out to restore Egypt’s empire to the days of the Tuthmosid kings almost a century before. Inscriptions on the Karnak walls record the details of his campaigns into Canaan and ancient Syria. He made an informal peace with the Hittites, took control of coastal areas along the Mediterranean Sea and continued to campaign in Canaan.
A second campaign led to his capture of Kadesh where a stela commemorated his victory and Amurru kingdom. His son and heir Ramesses II campaigned with him. There are historical records that record a large weapons order by Ramesses II in the year before the expedition he led to Kadesh in his fifth regnal year. However, at some point both regions may have lapsed back under Hittite control. What exactly happened to Amurru is disputed. Bryce suggests that, although it may have fallen once again under Hittite control, it is more likely Amurru remained a Hittite vassal state.
In the fourth year of his reign, he marched north into Syria, either to recapture Amurru  or, as a probing effort, to confirm his vassals’ loyalty and explore the terrain of possible battles.
The army moved beyond the fortress of Tjel and along the coast leading to Gaza. The recovery of Amurru was Muwatalli’s stated motivation for marching south to confront the Egyptians. Ramesses led an army of four divisions: There was also a poorly documented troop called the nrrn Ne’arin or Nearinpossibly Canaanite military mercenaries with Egyptian allegiance  or even Egyptians,  that Ramesses II had left in Amurruapparently in order to secure the port of Sumur.
Also significant was the presence of Sherden troops within the Egyptian army. This is the first time they appear as Egyptian mercenaries, and they would play an increasingly significant role in Late Bronze Age history, ultimately appearing among the Sea Peoples that ravaged the east Mediterranean at the end of the Bronze Age. Healy in Armies of the Pharaohs observes:. On the Hittite side, king Muwatalli had mustered several of his allies, among them Rimisharrinaa, the king of Aleppo.
This list is of considerable interest to Hittitologists, as it reflects the extent of Hittite influence at the time. Muwatalli had positioned his troops behind “Old Kadesh”, but Ramesses, misled by two spies whom the Egyptians had captured, thought the Hittite forces were still far off, at Aleppo,  and ordered his forces to set up camp. Ramesses II describes his arrival on the battlefield in the two principal inscriptions he wrote concerning the battle, the so-called “Poem” and the “Bulletin”:.
From the “Poem” Now then, his majesty had prepared his infantry, his chariotry, and the Sherden of his majesty’s capturing, His infantry went on the narrow passes as if on the highways of Egypt.
Now after days had passed after this, then his majesty was in Ramses Meri-Amon, the town which is in the Valley of the Cedar.
His majesty proceeded northward. After his majesty reached the mountain range of Kadesh, then his majesty went forward. His majesty reached the town of Kadesh The division of Amon was on the march behind him; the division of Re was crossing the ford in a district south of the town of Shabtuna at the distance of one iter from the place where his majesty was; the division of Ptah was on the south of the town of Arnaim; the division of Set was marching on the road. His majesty had formed the first ranks of battle of all the leaders of his army, while they were [still] on the shore in the land of Amurru.
The lord proceeded northward, and his majesty arrived at a vicinity south of the town of Shabtuna. As Ramesses and the Egyptian advance guard were about 11 kilometers from Kadesh, south of Shabtuna, he met two Shasu nomads who told him that the Hittite king was “in the land of Aleppo, on the north of Tunip ” kilometers away, where, the Shasu said, he was ” too much afraid of Pharaoh, L. The prisoners revealed that the entire Hittite army and the Hittite king were actually close at hand:.
When they had been brought before Pharaoh, His Majesty asked, ‘Who are you?
Champs de Bataille II: La bataille de Kadesh | Board Game | BoardGameGeek
He has sent us to spy on you. I had heard that he was in the land of Aleppo. They are armed with their infantry and karesh chariots.
They have their weapons of war at the ready. They are more numerous than the grains of sand on the beach.
Behold, they stand equipped and ready for battle behind the old city of Kadesh. After this, Ramesses II called his princes to meet with him and discuss the fault of his governors and officials in not informing the position of Muwatalli II and his army. Bataillle Ramesses was alone with his bodyguard and the Amun division, the vizier was ordered to hasten the arrival of the Ptah and Seth divisions, with the Re division having almost arrived at the camp.
The Re division was caught in the open and scattered in all directions. Some fled northward to the Amun camp, all the while being pursued by Hittite chariots.
The Hittite chariotry then rounded north and attacked the Egyptian camp, crashing through the Amun shield wall and creating panic among the Amun division. However, the momentum of the Hittite attack was already starting to wane, as the impending obstacles of such a large camp forced many Hittite charioteers to slow their attack; some were killed in chariot crashes. Only with help from the gods did Ramesses II defeat his attackers and return to the Egyptian lines: I found the mass of chariots in whose midst I was, scattering them before my horses[.
Ramesses personally led several charges into the Hittite ranks together with his personal guard, some of the chariots from his Amun division and survivors from the kdesh division of Re.
The Hittites, who believed their enemies to be totally routed, had stopped to plunder the Egyptian camp and, in doing so, became easy targets for Ramesses’ counterattack.
Ramesses’ action was successful in driving the looters back towards the Orontes river and away from the Egyptian camp,  while in the ensuing pursuit, the heavier Hittite chariots were easily overtaken and dispatched by the lighter, faster, Egyptian chariots. Although he had suffered a significant reversal, Muwatalli II still commanded a large force of reserve chariotry and infantry, plus the walls of the town.
As the retreat reached the river, he ordered another thousand chariots to attack the Egyptians, the stiffening element consisting of the high bataolle who surrounded the king. As the Hittite forces approached the Egyptian camp again, the Ne’arin troop contingent from Amurru suddenly arrived, this time surprising the Hittites.
Finally, the Ptah division arrived from the south, threatening the Hittite rear. After kaxesh charges, the Hittite forces were almost surrounded, and the survivors were pinned against the Orontes. There is no consensus about the outcome or what took place, with views ranging from an Egyptian victory to a draw,  or, in the view of Iranian Egyptologist Mehdi Yarahmadian Egyptian defeat with the Egyptian accounts simply propaganda. Logistically  unable to support a long siege of the walled city of Kadesh, Ramesses gathered his troops and retreated south towards Damascus and ultimately back to Egypt.
Once back in Egypt, Ramesses proclaimed victory, having routed his enemies, however he didn’t try further to capture Kadesh. The new lighter, faster, two-man Egyptian chariots were able to pursue and take down the slower three-man Hittite chariots from behind as they overtook them.
Hittite records from Boghazkoyhowever, tell of a very different conclusion to the greater campaign, where a chastened Ramesses was forced to depart from Kadesh in defeat.
Modern historians essentially conclude the battle was a draw, a great moral victory for the Egyptians, who had developed new technologies and rearmed before pushing back against the years-long steady incursions by the Hittites.
In the eighth and ninth years of his reign, Ramesses extended his military successes ; this time, he proved more successful against his Hittite foes when he successfully captured the cities of Dapur and Tunip where no Egyptian soldier had been seen since the time of Thutmose III almost years previously. His victory proved to be ephemeral, however. The thin strip of territory pinched between Amurru and Kadesh did not make for a stable possession.
Within a year, they had returned to the Hittite fold, which meant that Ramesses had to march against Dapur once more in his tenth year. His second success here was equally as meaningless as his first, since neither Egypt nor Hatti could decisively defeat the other in battle. The running borderlands conflicts were finally concluded some fifteen years after the Battle of Kadesh  by an official peace treaty in the 21st year of Ramesses II’s reign BC in conventional chronologywith Hattusili III, the new king of the Hittites.
The treaty that was established was inscribed on a silver tablet, of which a clay copy survived in the Hittite capital of Hattusain modern Turkeyand is on display at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. An enlarged replica of the Kadesh agreement hangs on a wall at the headquarters of the United Nationsas the earliest international peace treaty known to historians.
An Egyptian version survives on a papyrus. Although there is more evidence in the form of texts and wall reliefs for this battle than for any other battle in the Ancient Near Eastalmost all of it is from an Egyptian perspective. Indeed, the first scholarly report on the battle, by James Henry Breasted inpraised the sources that allowed the reconstruction of the battle with certainty.
The main source of information is in the Egyptian record of the battle for which a general level of accuracy is assumed despite factual errors and propaganda. The Poem has been questioned as actual verse, as opposed to a prose account similar to that recorded by other pharaohs. Likewise, the Bulletin is itself simply a lengthy caption accompanying the reliefs.
In addition to these lengthy presentations, there are also numerous small captions used to point out various elements of the battle. Outside of the inscriptions, there are textual occurrences preserved in Papyrus Raifet and Papyrus Sallier III and a rendering of these same events in a letter from Ramesses to Hattusili III written in response to a scoffing complaint by Hattusili about the pharaoh’s victorious depiction of the battle.
Hittite references to the battle, including the above letter, have been found at Hattusaalthough no annals have been discovered that might describe it as part of a campaign. Instead, there are various references made to it in the context of other events.
This is especially true of Hattusili III, for whom the battle marked an important milestone in his career. The New Kingdom pp.
In addition to these lz, the Hittite king also hired the services of some of the local Shasu tribes. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Battle of Kamdesh.
Battle of Kadesh
On the Orontes River near Kadesh. Ancient Egypt portal Ancient Near East portal. Event occurs at Archived from the original on Healy, Qadesh BC: An Encyclopedia of Battles.
Atlas of Military History.