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Ancient Egyptian history: The End of the Egyptian-Hittite Hostilities
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[Image: The conquest of Merom]
The conquest of Merom
1285 BCE

The End of the Egyptian-Hittite Hostilities

    After the inconclusive Battle of Kadesh both the Hittite empire and Egypt came under increased pressure from the Sea Peoples and the reemerging Assyria, which led them to conclude a peace treaty about 16 years later, in the twenty-first year of the reign of Ramses II. The treaty has been preserved both in its Hittite and Egyptian version and its contents are identical apart from the opening: In the Egyptian version it was the Hittite king suing for peace, while in the Hittite version it was the pharaoh, who sent emissaries to Hatti.

    Both empires make an undertaking not to attack each other's territories, to come to each other's aid in an emergency and to extradite rebels and political refugees. The gods are invoked to bear witness and be guarantors of this peace. The frontiers are not laid down in this treaty but can be inferred from other documents. From the treaty between Hatti and Amurru we learn that this country belonged mostly to the Hittite sphere of influence. The Anastasy A papyrus describes Canaan during the latter part of the reign of Ramses II and enumerates the Phoenician coastal towns under Egyptian control. The harbour town of Sumur north of Gebal (Byblos) is mentioned as being the northern-most town belonging to Egypt, which points to it having contained an Egyptian garrison. The Bible mentions the northern borders of the inheritance of the children of Israel:

And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor: From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad. And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazar-enan: this shall be your north border.
Numbers, 34
This points to the border having been some forty kilometres south of Kadesh.

    The fact that Hattusili III came to power after ousting the son and legitimate successor of Muwatalli, Mursili III, who fled to Egypt and was given asylum by Ramses, makes the insistence on extradition of fugitives even more understandable. Hattusili had complained

When I wrote to him: send me my enemy, he didn't extradite him. Therefore there was anger between me and the King of Egypt.
    No further Egyptian campaigns in Canaan are mentioned after the conclusion of the peace treaty, the northern border seems to have been quiet and the rule of the pharaoh was strong until the death of Ramses II. When the king of Mira attempted to involve Ramses in a hostile act against the Hittites, the Egyptian responded that the times of intrigue in support of Urhiteshub had passed
Today there is fraternity between the Great King of Egypt and the king of Hatti, between Re and Teshub.
    These sentiments were shared by Queen Nefertari in her letter to the Hittite queen
I hear, my sister, that you have written to ask after my peace and the relations of good peace and fraternity that exist between the Great King of Egypt and the Great King of Hatti, his brother. Re and Teshub will deal with this so you can raise your look, may Re assure the peace and strengthen the good fraternity between the Great King of Egypt and the Great King of Hatti, his brother, for ever.
    Hattusili wrote to Kadashman-Enlil, king of Karduniash in the same spirit, reminding him of the time when his father, Kadashman-Turgu, had offered to fight the king of Egypt. The Hittite king encouraged the Babylonian to oppose another enemy, which must have been the king of Assyria whose allies had
killed the messenger of the king of Egypt, may Kadashman-Enlil come to his aid
and prevent the Assyrians from cutting the link between the Canaanite province of Egypt and the ally of Ramses.

    Peace reigned until Ramses' successor Merneptah had to undertake a campaign to Canaan shortly after his accession in order to quell unrest among the local kings.

 


  -Egyptian Hittite Correspondence
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