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The Battle Of Kadesh Essay

1077 words - 5 pages

Battle of Kadesh
In 1274 BC, the young Egyptian pharaoh Rameses II led an army of 20,000 against 50,000 troops from the Hittite Empire. 3,000 years ago, the Levant was the crossroads of the ancient world, where trade routes for metals from the West merged with trade routes for spices from the East. At this convergence of three continents lay the area of modern-day Syria, a region unable to establish a state of its own and defend itself, hence making a prime target for the superpowers of the time to compete for. Kadesh happened to lie precisely on the border where the mighty Egyptian and Hittite empires met. To both superpowers, Kadesh represented a critical asset, controlling trade access ...view middle of the document...

Muwatalli’s forces were about 50,000 strong, although in a twist of fate, the 11,000 troops that made up the chariotry would end up being the only warriors from the Hittite side to engage in combat.
The first exchange of the battle took place when two Bedouins were encountered by Rameses’ Amun core, which head set out ahead of the rest of the forces. Upon questioning, they informed the Egyptian troops that the Hittites were still days away from reaching the city, leading the Egyptians to believe that they could camp outside Kadesh in peace, and face the Hittites fully prepared and rested. While the Amun set up camp along the Orontes River outside the city, a pair of Hittite scouts was captured, and under physical torture before the Pharaoh they cracked and revealed the actual location of Muwatalli’s forces. To Rameses’ horror, the Hittites were lying in wait in the wooded grove just to the other side of the river. Blinded by his lust for victory, the Pharaoh’s Amun division had left the other three corps lagging behind in the south, leaving only a quarter of his men to face the enemy.
Not even bothering to saddle his horse, Rameses’ messenger took off to warn the remainder of the Egyptian army of the impending attack. Before the whole army could assemble, the Hittite chariots stormed across the Orontes and charged the Egyptian Re division, currently making its way up from the south, from its eastern flank, using the element of surprise as well as their heavy mass of their chariots to decimate the Re. What was left of the Re corps fled to up to the Amun camp, having been caught off completely off guard by the Hittites, who now turned around and made a beeline for the camp itself. Crashing through the camp, the Hittite chariots caught the Egyptians by surprise again, this time dispersing Rameses’ own Amun division. Basking in their double victory, the Hittites grew complacent and careless, letting down their guard to loot and pillage the ravaged Egyptian camp.
Rameses seized this opportunity to launch a valiant counterattack. Making a quick prayer to his god and rounding up what was left of his Re and Amun divisions, he...

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