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The Kadesh Treaties: Part I

The first treaty of Khadesh
After The Battle of Kadesh, things weren’t quite settled between Ramesses II and Muwatalli, the Hittites. Think about it this way. Ramesses II didn’t actually manage to realise the aims of the mission, to capture Kadesh. That stayed in Hittite territory when Ramesses II returned back to Egypt. So we know that tempers were still frayed, and one reason we know that is because Ramesses II continued to campaign in Syria, Palestine after the Battle of Kadesh. He didn’t come into direct contact with the Hittites, but he was still there in a military capacity. But by 1258 BCE, a treaty was formed. So that’s a key year. That’s one of the first treaties we have between two superpowers.
We’ve got to wonder why that treaty was formed, and it’s probably to do with a new threat emerging in the background, Assyria. Assyria is based along the Tigris River in modern Iraq. Now the Mittanian state has pretty much all but gone by this time, so there’s no buffer zone between the Assyrians, and the Hittites, and the Assyrians and the Syria- Palestinian lands, which Egypt have a stake in. So, for that reason, the Hittites and the Egyptians seemed to get together, form a treaty to protect themselves, their borders, and their interests from this growing threat.

After the indecisive battle of Khadesh, both sides move away form direct contact, until in 1258BC, a treaty is signed between the two superpowers. The main reason for this appears to be destabilisation caused by the conquest of the Mittani state by the Hittites and the appearance of new power on the scene in the form of Assyria.

In the next step, you will see some of the terms that were started in the peace treaty. Can you envisage what any of these terms may be?

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Superpowers of the Ancient World: the Near East

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