Battle of Kadesh, c.1275 B.C

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Famous battle between the Egyptians led by Ramesses II (the Great) and the Hittites. Kadesh was a city-state situated at the end of the Lebanese mountains, and had been the subject of conflict between the Egyptians and Hittites during the reign of Ramesses' father Seti, after which the Hittites had retained the city. Ramesses took a large army north with him to regain the city, divided into four divisions. Ten miles from the city the Egyptian army captured two Bedouin, Hittite spies, who convinced Ramesses that the Hittite army was still over one hundred miles north of the city. Ramesses decided to march at speed on Kadesh, thinking that the city would be vulnerable. Unfortunately, the Hittite army was already at Kadesh, and when the Egyptians were split by the river Orontes, they attacked. The first two divisions, which included that of Ramesses, appear to have disintegrated under the shock attack, leaving Ramesses temporarily very vulnerable.Luckily for him, the Hittite attack was limited in scale, and the arrival of elite Egyptian forces saved him, and the remains of the Egyptian army arrived to secure Ramesses's position. On the following day, some form of negotiations appear to have happened, after which Ramesses and his army returned to Egypt. For the rest of his reign, Ramesses claimed Kadesh as a great victory, and details of the battle were carved on the walls of his many temples and monuments. The Hittite sources suggest a different story, with the bruised and battered Egyptian army forced to withdraw, and the Hittites victorious, and their version of the story is supported by their continued occupation of Kadesh.
How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (20 October 2000), Battle of Kadesh, c.1275 B.C, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_kadesh.html

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