The battle of Qadesh

Trojans at the Battle of Qadesh

(Read the article on one page)

The Battle of Qadesh (Kadesh) immortalized the embellished feats of Ramesses II (i.e. Ramesses the Great), the 19th Dynasty Pharaoh of the New Kingdom of Egypt ca. 1279 - 1213 BCE. The pharaoh would use this battle as a marketing tool to show his Egyptian subjects and then the rest of the world, that he is not one to contend with. The year was 1274 BCE and the location, Qadesh, an ancient Levantine city in what is now part of Western Syria. Ramesses led the Egyptians while Muwatalli II (ca. 1295 - 1272 BCE) led the Hittites (Healy, 21). In his youth and the early part of his reign, Ramesses campaigned northeast of his kingdom as he felt it was his obligation to reclaim the land his forefathers once ruled (Healy, 19). The land in question was overtaken by the Hittite forces under the direction of Mursilis II (ca. 1321 - 1295 BCE).

What would culminate into the Battle of Qadesh extends generations back into the past, toward the beginning of the Late Bronze Age (as early as the late 16th Century BCE). It all began with the desire of the great powers of the ancient Near East to exploit the economic resources and trade of the Levant. During this period Syria was at the crossroads of world commerce. Goods from the Aegean and beyond entered and left the Near East via ports such as Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra). These traded goods ranged from copper, tin, chemicals, tools, glass, ingots, ivory, faience, jewelry, timber, textiles, to even foodstuffs. Once reaching the Levant, the trade then expanded beyond that point by a network of extensive trade routes. It was an ideal location for imperial control. It is not surprising that the great powers of Egypt, Mitanni, and Hatti spilled a lot of blood in wars designated to ensure their respective control of this attractive region (Healy, 9-18).

In the early part of the 14th century BCE, the Hittite monarch Suppiluliumas extended his empire into Mitanni territory in what was northern Syria. This event would soon invalidate a few decades old peace treaty between the kingdom of Mitanni, or Hurrians, and Egypt, which originally gave Egypt claim to the land of Amurru, the Eleutheros valley, and Qadesh (Healy, 14). It was during this time of peace that the Egyptian New Kingdom reached its apogee, enjoying a period of wealth and prosperity. Tributes poured in from Egypt’s possession of Canaan and the established secure borders with Mitanni allowed for the unimpeded movement of goods along the Near Eastern trade routes (Healy, 9). So when that prosperous period was challenged by the Hittites and began to deteriorate everything that the Egyptians worked hard for, it was only natural for Egypt to defend its land. It was also only a matter of time before the power of Mitanni fell to the Hittites, leaving the Egyptians in conflict with the Hittites alone. During the Hittite expansion into Syrian territory toward the south, the province of Qadesh was eventually taken. Its recovery would be the focus of the Egyptians until the time of Ramesses II (Healy, 19).

The Hittite Empire

The Hittite Empire at the height of its power (red), bordering on the Egyptian Empire (green). Credit: Wikipedia

The battle between two giant forces would eventually take place. In the aftermath, the Egyptians would boast of their victory. Its events would be retold and written on inscriptions and reliefs through the land. Archaeology, however, has shown us a different side to this tale. When the Hittite language was deciphered in the mid-20th Century CE (Macqueen, 24), a peace treaty between the two opponents would be translated, indicating that both parties had called for a truce. Neither side would truly emerge victorious. The Egyptian account of this event would also reveal the allies of the Hittites, which included tributary nations and mercenaries for hire, one of which is of particular interest; the one being the Trojans.

The Hittite Peace Treaty

The Hittite Peace Treaty. Credit: Wikimedia

The province of Wilusa (Greek: Ilion) or Truwisa (Greek: Troya) was a subject or tributary state to the greater Hittite empire. They paid tribute to receive aid and protection from Hatti (Bryce, 74). References to this province are routinely mentioned in the archives found at the old Hittite capital of Hattusha. A lot of those references also relate to a conflict between Wilusa and Ahhiyawa (Achaeans), one of the names given to the ancient Greeks, placing the ancient Greeks on Anatolian soil as early as the 14th-13th centuries BCE and inspiring the epic poem, the Iliad (Bryce, 102).

Comments

Well, NASA believes that Mayan and Egyptian hieroglyphics can be used to communicate with ET. WHY? NASA has been studying the Maya for a long time now. WHY? Could it be that they know something that they are keeping away from the public?

My research dates both the Egyptian and Mayan Civilizations to tens of millions of years old each.

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Cherry of Zennor broke with ‘reality’ and reached something deeper
Faerie folklore is a type of mythology. The form has spent much time debased to the level of children's stories; tales pulled up from an archaic folkloric past that bear little relevance to a modern society saturated with every imaginable storytelling media, from IMAX to Xbox. But if we give the folklore a chance and scratch the surface a little, the stories begin to demonstrate something much deeper: meaning.

Myths & Legends

Male and female cones on the Wollemi pine
A popular idea in science fiction is the resurrection of prehistoric creatures such as dinosaurs, mammoths, and even Neanderthals. In reality, such a resurrection of a prehistoric creature has yet to be achieved, although there is currently an attempt to create a hybrid mammoth-elephant embryo by a Harvard team.

Human Origins

Noah's Sacrifice - watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot
The imperfect state of archaeological researches in the Near East impedes any definite identification of the original race or races that created the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. According to Gordon Childe, however, the predominant racial element in the earliest graves in the region from Elam to the Danube is the ‘Mediterranean’.

Ancient Places

Male and female cones on the Wollemi pine
A popular idea in science fiction is the resurrection of prehistoric creatures such as dinosaurs, mammoths, and even Neanderthals. In reality, such a resurrection of a prehistoric creature has yet to be achieved, although there is currently an attempt to create a hybrid mammoth-elephant embryo by a Harvard team.

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article