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The Kadesh Treaties: Part II

The Kadesh Treaties
So it was a full 16 years after the Battle of Kadesh in year 21 of Ramesses II’s reign that a peace treaty was eventually agreed in written form. Ramesses II records the event itself. “Year 21, first month of winter, day 21 under the majesty of Ramesses II. This day, his majesty was at his capital city. There came the three Royal Envoys of Egypt, together with the first and second Royal Envoys of Hatti, bearing the silver tablet, which the Great Ruler of Hatti, Hattusil, sent to Pharaoh to request peace from the majesty of Ramesses II.” We have the treaty twice over.
We have it once in Egyptian records written in hieroglyphs on a temple wall, but we also have it almost word for word, there’s a good comparison between the two, from Hattusa which is the capital of the Hittites, written on a clay tablet in cuneiform, of course. And both versions cover the same basic things. First of all, a friendly alliance. “Now with regards to the time of Muwatallis, the Great Ruler of Hattie, my brother, he fought with Ramesses II, the Great Ruler of Egypt. But now, as from today, behold Hattusil makes a treaty to establish the relationship which Re made and which Seth made- the land of Egypt with the land of Hatti- to prevent hostilities arising between them forever.”
They also talk about agreeing territory. “The Great Ruler of Hatti shall never trespass against the land of Egypt to take anything from it. Ramesses II shall never trespass against the land of Hatti to take anything from it.” They also talk about sending each other aid in times of need. “If some other foe should come against the territories of Ramesses II and he sends word to the Great Ruler of Hatti saying, come with me as an ally against him, the the Great Ruler of Hatti shall act with him and shall slay those foes. But If the Great Ruler of Hatti is not disposed to go personally then he shall send his troops and chariotry and they shall slay his foes.
And so, Ramesses II should do the same for Hattusil.” There’s also the agreement of mutual extradition of fugitives and the appropriate treatment of those fugitives. “If an Egyptian, or two or three shall flee, and they come to the Great Ruler of Hatti, then the Great Ruler of Hatti shall seize them and have them brought back to Ramesses II, Great Ruler of Egypt. As for the person handed back to Ramesses II, Great Ruler of Egypt, let not his error be charged against him, let not his house, his wives, or his children be destroyed, and let not him be killed. Let there be no injury done to his eyes or his ears, his mouth or his legs.
In fact, let no crime be charged against him and similarly in the other direction too.” Finally, the whole thing’s witnessed before the Gods. Not just the Gods of Egypt but the Gods of Hatti too. “As for these terms, 1,000 Gods, male and female, who belong to Hatti, together with 1,000 Gods, male and female who belong to Egypt, they are with me as witnesses and they have heard these terms.”

Here is the treaty of Khadesh in more detail. Both sides acknowledge that they have been at war, but this treaty ends animosity between the two sides. Surprisingly, the treaty takes the idea of peace even further to suggest that the two sides are now allies and will support each other in the event of an attack from a third power.

Is there anything that surprises you in this treaty? Is there anything not stated that you expected to be. Put down your thoughts in the comments section.

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Superpowers of the Ancient World: the Near East

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