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Ancient Egypt: The Asiatic campaigns of Amenhotep II
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Asiatic campaign of Amenhotep II
Campaign of year 2 (?)
After Y. Aharoni, Carta's Atlas of the Bible, 1964

The Asiatic campaigns of Amenhotep II

The Karnak Stela

[Year 2 (?)] ////// under the majesty of
Horus: Mighty Bull, Great of Strength, ////// Part of Atum, Favorite of the Two Goddesses, Mighty in Opulence, Wh is Crowned in Thebes,
Golden Horus: Who seizes by His Might in all Lands,
[King of Upper and Lower Egypt] ////// Opet. Okheperure, Lord /// of the Sword, Who Binds the Nine Bows,
Son of Re, of his Body, Lord of All Countries: Amenhotep (II), Divine Ruler of Heliopolis, Giver of Life, Forever, like Re.
- Amenhotep II: r. ca. 1450-1412 BCE
-Year 2: ca. 1448 BCE. The Amada Stela commemorating a campaign in year 3 mentions another campaign a year earlier.
-Nine Bows: the enemies of Egypt
[His majesty was] in the city of Shemesh-Edom; his majesty furnished an example of bravery there; his majesty himself fought hand to hand. Behold, he was like a fierce-eyed lion, smiting the countries of Lebanon [/// /// (?)] //////-s-khu was his name.
List of that which his majesty captured on this day: Asiatics, 18 living persons, 16 horses.
First month of the third season, day 26; his majesty crossed over the ford of the Orontes on this day, caused to cross [//////] ////// [/// /// /// (?)] like the might of Montu of Thebes. His majesty raised his arm, in order to see the end of the earth; his majesty descried a few Asiatics coming on horses [/// (?)] coming at a [gallop (?)]. Behold, his majesty was equipped with his weapons of battle, his majesty conquered with the might [of Set (?)] in his hour. They retreated when his majesty looked at one of them. Then his majesty himself overthrew their [/// (?)], with his spear [/// /// /// /// (?)]. Behold, he carried away this Asiatic [/// (?)], his horses, his chariot, and all his weapons of battle. His majesty returned with joy of heart [to] his father Amon; he (his majesty) gave to him a feast [/// (?)].
List of that which his majesty captured on this day: his horses, 2; chariots, 1; a coat of mail; 2 bows; a quiver full of arrows; a corselet; and [/// (?)].
-First month of the third season, day 26: approximate Julian date: 12th May 1448 BCE.
-overthrew their [/// (?)], with his spear: The Asiatics must have panicked. They were seemingly killed - they are not listed as captives - while they were fleeing. They still had ammunition, but were defeated by a spear, not exactly a long range weapon.
-his majesty captured: Possibly personally. The kings were often in the thick of battle in these days, cf. Ramses when he had to fight off the Hittites at Kadesh by himself.
Second month of the third season, day 10; passing southward toward Egypt, his majesty proceeded by horse to the city of Niy. Behold, these Asiatics of this city, men as well as women, were upon their walls praising his majesty, /// /// /// to the Good God. -Second month of the third season, day 10: approximate Julian date: 26th May 1448 BCE
-were upon their walls praising his majesty: unless help was near, wise citizens surrendered to passing warlords.
-Good God: Pharaoh.
Behold, his majesty heard saying that some of those Asiatics who were in the city of Ikathi had [plotted (?)] to make a plan for casting out the infantry of his majesty [who were (?) in the city, in order to overturn /// /// /// /// who were loyal to his majesty. Then [his] majesty put them in [/// /// /// /// /// (?)] in this city /// /// he /// them immediately, and he pacified [this] city ////// against the entire country ///.
Second month of the third season, day 20(+x). /// [////// (?)], made the city of Ikathi ////// ////// //////.
//////of his children. Statement of that which [his majesty] captured //////////// his chariot ////// list of captives ////// [weapon]s of war without number ////// his majesty was adorned with [his] regalia.
////// His majesty /// the tribe of Khatithana united /// ///. Behold, the chief /// /// /// /// /// the city, for fear of his majesty. His chiefs, his wives, his children were carried captive, and all his people likewise. Statement of which his majesty himself captured /// /// /// /// his horses.
-Ikathi: There were a number of garrison towns in Canaan and Retenu: Gaza, Beth Shan, Jaffa, Ulaza, Sumur etc. Ikathi was seemingly among them. Gaza was the most permanent one, defending the coastal road to Egypt.
-Second month of the third season: tenth month of year 2.
/// /// day 27; his majesty went forth from the house of the Beautiful-of-Face and proceeded [to (?)] Memphis, bearing the plunder which he had taken in the country of Retenu. List of that which was taken:
Nobles alive 550(+x)
Their [wiv]es 240
[Vessels wrought (?)] of gold 6,800 deben
Copper 500,000 deben
Horses 210
Chariots 300
The whole land beheld the victories of his majesty.
-Beautiful-of-Face: Ptah (Breasted)
-Nobles: semitic Maryannu
-deben: about 90 grammes. Thus, the booty included 612 kg of gold and 45 tons of copper.
By the Good God, Lord of the Two Lands, Lord of Offerings /// /// /// ///, beloved of Amon, protector of him who is in Thebes, celebrator of the feasts of the house of Amon, lord of Thebes, [/// /// (?)], Son of Re, Thutmose ([IV (?)]), given life [forever] and ever.

J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, §§ 782ff.

-Thutmose: The stela was seemingly erected by Thutmose IV, son of Amenhotep II.

The Amada Stela

Amada Stela, Source: Lepsius
Source: Lepsius, Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien, Abtheilung III, Pl.65
2nd campaign of Amenhotep II
Second Asiatic campaign of Amenhotep II
After Y. Aharoni, Carta's Atlas of the Bible, 1964
Year 3, third month of the third season, day 15, under the majesty of ......... Amenhotep (II), beloved of Harakhte and Amon, lord of Thebes, Good God, creation of Re, sovereign who came forth from the body, mighty; likeness of Horus upon the throne of his father; great in strength, whose like does not exist; of whom a second is not found.
He is a king very weighty of arm; there is not one who can draw his bow among his army among the hill-country sheiks (or) among the princes of Retenu, because his strength is much greater than (that of) any king who has ever existed; raging like a panther, when he courses through the battlefield; there is none fighting before him; an archer mighty in smiting; a wall protecting Egypt; firm of heart, [///] in the hour of [conflict (?)]; trampling down those who rebel against him; [instantly (?)] prevailing against all the barbarians with people and horses, when they came with myriads of men, while they knew not that Amon-Re was his ally, (nor) that he would be seen to [approach (?)] instantly, strength in his limbs; likeness of Min in the year of terror.
-Year 3, third month of the third season, day 15: approximate Julian date: 30th June 1447 BCE
-not one who can draw his bow: Breasted: This is the basis for the well-known legend of Herodotus (III, 21), which represents Cambyses as unable to draw the bow of the king of Ethiopia.
-Retenu: the region north of Canaan, today's Lebanon and western Syria divided into Upper (northern) and Lower (southern) Retenu.
There is not one that saves himself from him; he makes a [slaughter (?)] among his enemies, the Nine Bows likewise. All lands and all rebellious countries pay him impost, for he is a king [//////]. There is not one who makes a boundary for him; (but) they live by his breath. King of kings, ruler of rulers, who captures the boundaries of [/// ///]; the only mighty one, whose fame is exalted until Re in heaven knows it, (and) [the one who faces him (?)] in the day of smiting. There is no boundary made for him toward all countries united, (or) toward all lands together; (but) they fall instantly because of his flaming crest, like ////// //////. There is none among them that escapes from the overthrow, like the foes of Bastet on the road of Ir-Amon. It is a happy chance for all those who know that he is his real son, who came forth from (his) limbs, one with him, in order to rule that which the sun encircles, all the lands, and countries which he knew, that he might seize them immediately with victory and power. -rebellious: outside Egyptian control.
-impost: to the Egyptians there was little difference between the tribute paid by conquered peoples and the presents sent to the pharaoh from countries beyond his control. They were considered his due.
-There is not one who makes a boundary for him: i.e. the pharaoh decides where his rule ends.
He is a king with heart favorable to the buildings of all the gods, being one who builds their temples (and) fashions their statues. The divine offerings are established for the first time, loaves and bveer in plenty and fowl in multitude as a daily offering every day, forever; large cattle and small cattle at their seasons, without [///]. He gave the house to its lord, supplied with everything, with oxen, calves, young cattle, fowl [without] limit, this templebeing supplied throughout with loaves and wine. He established [revenues (?)] for the first time [for] (his) fathers, the gods, to be seen of the people, to be known of all.
Behold, his majesty beautified the temple which his father, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Menkheperre (Thutmose III), had made for (his) fathers, all the gods, built of stone as an everlasting work. The walls around it are of brick, the doors of [cedar of the best] of the Terraces; the doorways are of sandstone, in order that the great name of his father, the Son of Re, Thutmose (III), may remain ia this temple forever and ever.
The majesty of this Good God, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands, Okheprure extended the line and loosened the [///] for all the fathers, [the gods] making for it a great pylon of sandstone opposite the hall of the [sacred chamber (?)] in the august dwelling; surrounded by columns of sandstone as an everlasting work; many tables with vessels of silver and bronze, oblation-standards, altars, fire-pans, [oblation-vessels (?)], oblation-tablets,[///].
-beautified: Breasted: "Beautified" means here to "supply with inscriptions", the monument hafing been left uninscribed by Thutmose III.
-Terraces: The mountain slopes of Lebanon
-Okheprure: Amenhotep II
Then his majesty caused that this tablet should be made and set up in this temple in the place of the Station of the King, and engraved with the great name of the Lord of the Two Lands, the Son of Re, Amenhotep (II), Divine Ruler of Heliopolis in the house of the fathers, the gods, after the return of his majesty from Retenu the Upper, having overthrown all his enemies, extending the boundaries of Egypt, on the first victorious campaign.
When his majesty returned with joy at heart to his father, Amon, he slew with his own weapon the seven princes, who had been in the district of Tikhsi, and had been placed head downward at the prow of his majesty's barge, the name of which was: "Okheprure-is-the-Established-of-the-Two-Lands." One hanged the six men of those fallen ones, before the wall of Thebes; those hands likewise. Then the other fallen one was taken up-river to Nubia and hanged [on (?)] the wall of Napata, in order to cause to be manifest the victories of his majesty, forever and ever in all lands and countries of the land of the Negro; since he had taken the Southerners and hound the Northerners, the back-lands of the whole arth, upon which Re shines; that he might make his boundary as far as he desired, none opposing his hands, according to the command of his father Re, Amon-Re, lord of Thebes; in order that the Son of Re, of his body, his beloved, Amenhotep (II), divine ruler of Heliopolis, might be given life, stability, satisfaction, joy of heart, through him, like Re, forever and ever.

J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, §§ 792ff.

-Okheprure: Amenhotep II

From the Memphis Stela

Total of booty which the king carried off:
Lords of Retenu, 127
Brothers of the lords, 179
Apiru, 3,600
Living Shasu, 15,200
Hurrites, 36,300

After Y. Aharoni, Carta's Atlas of the Bible, 1964
The decisive battle against the local rulers and their Mitanni allies took place north of the Lake of Tiberias.
-Lords: semitic Maryannu
-Shasu: Bedouins
-Hurrites: The main population of the interior, the Canaanites at this time were the merchant elite in the coastal towns.

From the Elephantine Stela

Year 4. His majesty commanded to have the sails made for the voyages of these gods dwelling in Elephantine; large sails, each one of 10 cubits, while they were (formerly) small sails of 3 cubits.
His majesty commanded to add one day for his mother, Anuket, to her feast of Nubia, at her voyage of the "Beginning-of-the-River." The supplies are: bread, beer, oxen, geese, wine, incense, fruit, every good and pure thing, as dues each year, as an increase upon the 3 days of her customary feast, in order to make her great feast of the first (month) of the third season of 4 days' duration, to abide and to endure; that he may be given life forever.

J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, § 798.

The Elephantine Stela is almost identical with the Amada Stela, apart from this addition.
-first (month) of the third season: ninth month

From the Karnak Chapel

List of those countries which his majesty smote in their valleys, overthrown in [their] blood ////// that be might be given life forever.
1. Retenu [the Upper];
2. Retenu [the Low]er;
3. Kharu;
12. Kadesh;
13. Aleppo;
14. Niy;
15. Sezar;
16. Thenew;
17. Ketne.

J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, § 798A.

Twenty-four prisoners in two rows bear the names of the countries they represent. Those on the left are still legible.
-Retenu [the Upper]: The northern part of Retenu.
-Sezar: seemingly identical with Sendjar where Thutmose III fought a battle:
I beheld the royal victories of the King Menkheperre, given life, in the country of Senzar, when he made a [great] sl[aughter] [among] them.
Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt Part Two, §584

Turra inscription

He made (it) as his monument for the gods and goddesses, for whose temples of a [million of years] the quarry-chamber was opened, in order to quarry fine limestone of Ayan.
Year 4, under the majesty of the king, Okheprure, Son of Re [Amenhotep (II)], given life.
His majesty commanded [to open] the quarry-chambers anew, in order to quarry fine limestone of Ayan, in order to build his temples of a million of years; after his majesty found [the quarry-chambers which are in Troja] beginning to go to ruin since the times that were before. It was my majesty who made (them) anew, that he might be given satisfying life, like Re, forever.
-quarry-chamber: limestone was at times quarried in galleries. The quality of unweathered underground stone was much better.
-Ayan: the mountain of Tura near Memphis.
Made under the hand of the hereditary prince, count, satisfying the king by maintaining big monuments; vigilant for the temples; who erected tablets in the land of Naharin and in the land of Karoy, overseer of works in the temples of the gods of the South and North, king's-scribe, Min[hotep (?)]. -Karoy: town in Nubia.

J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, §§ 799f.


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