Secrets of Ancient Egypt
The Battle of Kadesh
The Battle of Kadesh: A Debate between the Egyptian and Hittite Perspectives
The Oriental Institute Lecture Series organized by the University of Chicago brings notable scholars from around the country and abroad as they present on new breakthroughs, unique perspectives, and innovative research applications related to the Ancient Middle East.
The Battle of Kadesh, ca. 1285 BC, is the earliest military encounter that can be analyzed in detail. This conflict between the Egyptian forces of Ramses II and the Hittite army of Muwatalli was celebrated as a personal victory by Ramses, but is often treated by modern scholars as an Egyptian defeat or as a stalemate. In any case, the battle had profound impact on international politics of the age, with unexpected results. Join us for a lively debate presented from the two sides of the ancient conflict, provided by noted Oriental Institute scholars Robert Ritner, for the Egyptian side, and Theo van den Hout, for the Hittites.
Iconic: Yul Brynner as Ramses in the Ten Commandments
The less iconic Exodus: Gods and Kings
The decisive battles "Qadesh Egypt against Hittites"
In 1274BC, a young Egyptian Pharaoh, Ramesses II led an army of 20,000 men against 40,000 soldiers from the Hittite empire. Both sides would fight one of the earliest recorded battles in History, at Kadesh. At stake? The security and prosperity of Egypt.
The Battle of Kadesh (also Qadesh) took place between the forces of the Egyptian Empire under Ramesses II and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh on the Orontes River, in what is now Syria.
The battle is generally dated to 1274 BC, and is the earliest battle in recorded history for which details of tactics and formations are known. It was probably the largest chariot battle ever fought, involving perhaps 5,000–6,000 chariots.