Ancient Egyptian history: The Asiatic campaigning of Ramses II
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The roads in Canaan
described by the
Anastasy A papyrus c.1270 BCE
The Asiatic Campaigning of Ramses IIThe Egyptians invested little effort in defending their sphere of influence in the Middle East under Akhenaten and his 18th dynasty successors. Ramses I, a general under Horemheb, was elevated to the throne. He was succeeded by his son, Seti I, who, after campaigning in Canaan a number of times, appointed his son Ramses II as co-regent.
His first campaign seems to have taken place in the fourth year of his reign and was commemorated by the erection of a stela near Beirut (Be'erot). The inscription is almost totally illegible due to weathering.
The Beirut stela, dated to year 4 of the reign of Ramses II
The second campaign led him to Kadesh the following year, where Ramses was surprised by the Hittite king Muwatalli.
Year 5, 3rd month of the third season, day 9, under the majesty of (Ramses II). When his majesty was in Djahi on his second victorious campaign, the goodly awakening in life, prosperity, and health was at the tent of his majesty on the mountain range south of Kadesh.The encounter ended in a stand-off, Kadesh, Amurru and the northern Phoenician coast remaining in the hands of the Hittites.
Canaanite princes, seemingly influenced by the Egyptian incapability to impose their will and goaded on by the Hittites, rose against their overlord.
Ramses II storming Askalon in the south of Canaan
The town which his majesty desolated in the year 8, Merom.Deper, identified by Breasted with Tabor, had a Hittite garrison which, once conquered, sang the praise of the Egyptian king, at least in Ramses' inscriptions:
Said the vanquished of Kheta in praising the Good God: "Give to us the breath that thou givest, O good ruler. Lo, we are under thy sandals; thy terror, it has penetrated the land of Kheta...."
The conquest of Deper
King's son, of his body, his beloved, Khamwese.In year nine, Ramses erected a stela at Beth Shean. After having reasserted his power over Canaan, Ramses led his army north. A mostly illegible stela near Beirut, which appears to be dated to the king's second year, was probably set up there in his tenth. He took towns in Retenu, and Tunip in Naharin:
King of Upper and Lower Egypt: Usermare-Setepnere, Son of Re: Ramses-Meriamon, given life. The king himself, he says: "I swear as Re loves me, as my father Atum favors me, as my nostrils are rejuvenated with satisfying life ////// the [palace (?)]."
The wars exhausted both the Hittites and the Egyptians and in the 21st year of the reign of Ramses II they concluded a peace treaty , which fixed the border between the two empires south of Kadesh in Syria.
 J. Assman in Krieg und Frieden im alten Ägypten: Ramses II und die Schlacht bei Kadesh (1983) proposes that the depictions and inscriptions concerning the Kadesh battle were designed, among other things, to justify a change in foreign politics, from confrontation to co-existence with the main Levantine power, Hatti. The 'activist' party centred around the army high command had taken over the kingdom with the accession of Horemheb to the throne, and was diminished in influence after the change of heart of its main proponent, Ramses II, four decades of fruitless conflict later.
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