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Ramesses II and The Battle of Kadesh in 1274 B.C.

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Ramesses and The Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC

Ramesses II was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt and is considered to be the greatest and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian empire. He was born about 1303 B.C. and became known as Ramesses the Great. His early aim as pharaoh was to reassert control over Cannan.

One of the many battles that Ramesses was involved with was the battle of Kadesh in the fifth year of his reign, and he was intent on defeating the Hittites and taking the city with all of it's treasures. Kadesh was an important city because it controlled the over-land trade routes and allowed access to the south of the region. As Ramesses and his army of four divisions with hundreds of chariots approached Kadesh, Ramesses heard from two captured Shasu spies that the Hittite king and his army had fled before them. This spurred the Egyptians onwards and Ramesses set of on the final approach with just the division of Amun - leaving his other three divisions, Re, Seth and Ptah, behind thereby splitting up his combined forces. This was a serious mistake because Muwatalli and his army had not fled but were waiting for the Egyptians in the woods with 40,000 troops. The Hittites soon attacked Ramesses and the one division with him and then went on to attack the remaining 3 divisions. Ramesses managed to rally his army and made a series of heroic chariott charges towards the Hittites. Finally, the Hittite army was forced to withdraw into the walls of Kadesh.

Ramesses and his army did not have the resources to sustain a long siege of the city so settled for an uneasy truce before marching home to his city in the Egyptian delta. When Ramesses was back in Egypt he proclaimed the battle of Kadesh as an Egyptian victory. However, modern historians refer to it as a draw.

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