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Battle of Kadesh


Battle of Kadesh

Battle of Kadesh


The Battle of Kadesh is thought to have been fought in Syria at the end of May 1300 (or 1286 or 1275) B.C. between Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II and the Hittites. This Egyptian battle is unusual for two reasons: it is well recorded and the side that recorded it may not have won.

Scholar Henry Breasted, archaeologist Maurice Pezard, and military historian Alfred H. Burne have principally contributed to our knowledge of Kadesh. The Battle of Kadesh is better attested than other battles of the ancient Near East because of textual and visual evidence, but it's mostly one-sided, from the side of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses. During the reign of Ramses' father, Set I (1418-1304), Egypt had control over Amurru and Kadesh, but by the time Ramses was pharaoh they were in Hittite control. Amurru wished to be under Egypt's control, so Ramses marched out to help. The Egyptians say the Hittite forces, which contained Hittites and members of 18 other states, were between 18,000 and 19,000 men, led by Muwatallish; with 10,500 of them in 3-man chariots. Breasted estimates 20,000 Egyptians. Ramses did not fare well in the battle and withdrew.

Source: "Kadesh Revisited: Reconstructing the Battle Between the Egyptians and the Hittites,' by Antonio Santosuosso. The Journal of Military History, Vol. 60, No. 3. (Jul., 1996), pp. 423-444.

The Battle of Kadesh is considered a chariot battle. The figures for the Hittites shouldn't be taken as reliable. Another inaccuracy is the lack of mention of 2-man as well as 3-man chariots.

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