The campaign of Seti I in Northern Palestine
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The Seti campaign in Canaan
The campaign of Seti I
in Northern Palestine


Seti Stele
Seti Stela at Beit Shean

Campaign of Seti I in Northern Palestine

Seti I Mer-ne-Ptah

The Beth Shan Stela

Year 1, 3rd month of the third season, day 10.

Beit Shean Live the Horus: Mighty Bull, Appearing in Thebes, Making the Two Lands to Live; the Two Goddesses: Repeating Births, Mighty of Arm, Repelling the Nine Bows; the Horus of Gold: Repeating Appearances, Mighty of Bows in All Lands; the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands: Men-maat-Re [Ir]-en-Re; the Son of Re, Lord of Diadems: Seti Mer-ne-Ptah,(full titulary of Seti I) beloved of Re-Har-akhti, the great god. The good god, potent with his arm, heroic and valiant like Montu, rich in captives,
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knowing (how to) place his hand, alert wherever he is; speaking with his mouth, acting with his hands, valiant leader of his army, valiant warrior in the very heart of the fray, a Bastet terrible in combat, penetrating into a mass of Asiatics and making them prostrate, crushing the princes of Retenu, reaching the (very) ends of (m) him who transgresses against his way. He causes to retreat the princes of Syria (Kharu), all the boastfulness of whose mouth was (so) great. Every foreign country of the ends of the earth, their princes say: "Where shall we go ?" They spend the night giving testimony in his name, saying: "Behold it, behold it? in their hearts. It is the strength of his father Amen that decreed to him valor and victory. On this day one came to speak to his majesty, as follows:
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"The wretched foe who is in the town of Hamath is gathering to himself many people, while he is seizing the town of Beth-Shan. Then there will be an alliance with them of Pahel. He does not permit the Prince of Rehob to go outside." (Generally all the cities are near Beth-Shan.) Thereupon his majesty sent the first army of Amen, (named) "Mighty of Bows," to the town of Hamath, the first army of the
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Re, (named) "Plentiful of Valor," to the town of Beth-Shan, and the first army of Seth, (named) "Strong of Bows," to the town of Yanoam. (See Karnak inscription on felling trees near Yanoam.) When the space of a day had passed, they were overthrown to the glory of his majesty, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt: Men-maat-Re; the Son of Re: Seti Mer-ne-Ptah, given life.

Pritchard, James B. Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Princeton, 1969., pp., 253-254.

    Seti I conducted his first Canaan campaign in the first year of his reign. The battles were fought only in the northern part of the country and the southern part was not lost even during the decline of Egyptian power prior to the accession of the 19th dynasty. Seti conquered Hatzor and Beth Anath, followed the Phoenician coast up north of Gebal and continued into the Mountains of Lebanon. One of his reliefs depicts him felling Lebanese cedars.

    The excavations at Beth Shan (Beit Shean) uncovered two victory stelae, which proves that even on his first campaign he passed through Beth Shan, setting up order in this region. The rebels, the kings of Hamath and Pahel, tried to capture the town Beth-Shan, the Egyptian stronghold in this region. They besieged Rehob, a town south of Beth-Shan, which was opposed to their activities.

    Seti sent three divisions (Amen, Re and Suteh) to relieve Beth-Shan, capture the rebellious Hamath and Yanoam, which lay south of the Lake of Tiberias on the road to Hatzor and dominated the passage of the River Jordan. This action considerably strengthened the Egyptian hold over Canaan.

    The second stela had been used as a doorstep during the Byzantine Period and had been thought to be illegible for a long time. It describes the attack by the Apiru from Mount Yarmath (Yarmuta) - the town of Yarmoth-Ramath north of Beth Shan, near the crusader castle of Belvoir - on Egyptian held territory, and the Pharaoh's reaction:

His Majesty ordered some of his soldiers and of his many chariots to go to the mountain of Djahi. After two days they returned unharmed from the mountain of Ya... (Yarmath) with offerings, prisoners and booty...
    From the reliefs of Seti I we learn that he fought against the Hittites. He even reached Kadesh and erected a victory stela there. But the war against the Hittites was concluded only seventy years later after the Battle of Kadesh.


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