The Armant Stela:
The Asiatic Campaigns of Thutmose III

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[Map: The incursion of Thutmose III into Palestine]
Lower Egypt, Sinai and Djahi

The Armant Stela:
The Asiatic Campaigns of Thutmose III

Horus of Edfu, great god, lord of heaven, may he give life! Words to be spoken: `I have given you all life and dominion, all health, and all valour and strength.'
Month, lord of Thebes. The good god, lord of action, Menkheperre, given life forever, Tjenenut. Praising the god four times,so that he may be given life. Words to be spoken: `I have given you all life and dominion, all health, all joy, while the kingship of the Two Lands is under your command. May you live like Re!'
Words to be spoken: `I have given you millions of years, while all foreign lands are under your feet.'
Source: M.J. Nederhof

  -Month: also Montu, war god, centre of worship: originally Hermonthis, later Thebes
-Two Lands: Upper and Lower Egypt
-all foreign lands are under your feet: for the Egyptian attitude towards foreigners: Egyptians and foreigners
-Menkheperre: Thutmose III (c.1504-1450)
Son of Re, his beloved, Tuthmosis, ruler of truth, given life forever.
Live Horus: Mighty Bull, Appearing in Thebes;
the Two Goddesses: Enduring of Kingship, like Re in Heaven;
the Horus of Gold: Majestic of Appearances, Mighty of Strength;
the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands, Lord of Making Offerings: Men-kheper-Re;
the Son of Re, of his Body: Thut-mose Heqa-Maat, beloved of Montu, Lord of Thebes, Residing in Hermonthis, living forever.
-Hermonthis: Armant, Iuni, in the nome of Thebes.
Year 22, 2nd month of the second season, day 10. Summary of the deeds of valor and victory which this good god performed, being every effective deed of heroism, beginning from the first generation; that which the Lord of the Gods, the Lord of Hermonthis, did for him: the magnification of his victories, to cause that his deeds of valor be related for millions of years to come, apart from the deeds of heroism which his majesty did at all times. If (they) were to be related all together by their names, they would be (too) numerous to put them into writing
Source: J.B. Pritchard

-Year 22, 2nd month of the second season, day 10: approximate Julian date: 4th February 1482 BCE
When he shoots at a copper target, all wood is splintered like a papyrus reed. His Majesty offered an example thereof in the temple of Amun, with a target of hammered copper of three digits in thickness; when he had shot his arrow there, he caused protrusion of three palms behind it, so as to cause the followers to pray for the proficiency of his arms in valour and strength. I am telling you what he did, without deception and without lie, in front of his entire army, and there is no word of exaggeration therein.
When he spent a moment of recreation, hunting in any foreign land, the quantity that he captured was greater than what the entire army achieved. He slew seven lions by shooting in an instant. He captured a herd of twelve wild bulls in an hour at the time of breakfast, their tails behind him. He killed 120 elephants in the foreign country of Nija when he came from Naharina.
He crossed the river Euphrates, and trampled the towns on its banks, which were destroyed by fire forever. He erected a stela of victory on its [...] side.
He captured a rhinoceros by shooting in the southern land of Taseti, after he had gone to Miu to seek out him who had rebelled against him in that land. He erected his stela there as he had done at the ends [...]
Source: M.J. Nederhof

-hunting: a favourite pasttime of royalty, cf. Hunting elephants, and for some of the population a necessity, cf. Fishing and hunting.
-Naharina: region north-east of Retenu, often referring to the region between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, but here a region in southern Syria.
-He erected a stela of victory: which has been lost.
His majesty made no delay in proceeding to the land of Djahi, to kill the treacherous ones who were in it and to give things to those who were loyal to him; witness, indeed, [their] names, each [country] according to its time. His majesty returned on each occasion, when his attack had been effected in valor and victory, so that he caused Egypt to be in its condition as (it was) when Re was in it as king.
-land of Djahi: ill-defined coastal region in Canaan.
[Year 22, 4th month of the second season, day...
Proceeding] from Memphis, to slay the countries of the wretched Retenu, on the first occasion of victory. It was his majesty who opened its roads and foxed its every way for his army, after it had made [rebellion, gathered in Megid]do. His majesty entered upon that road which becomes very narrow,' as the first of his entire army, while every country had gathered, standing prepared at its mouth. ... The enemy quailed, fleeing headlong to their town, together with the prince who was in... (15)... to them, beseeching [breath], their goods upon their backs. His majesty returned in gladness of heart, with this entire land as vassal... [Asia]tics, coming at one time, bearing [their] tribute...
Source: Pritchard, James B. (ed.) Ancient Near Eastern Texts.
Princeton, 1969., pp. 234-238.
-Year 22, 4th month of the second season, day...: approximate Julian date: March - April 1482 BCE
-Retenu: Canaan - today's Israel, the West Bank, southern Lebanon, and south-western Syria
-that road which becomes very narrow: His officers did not like the king's choice: How is it, that we should go upon this road, which threatens to be narrow? While they come and say that the enemy is there waiting, holding the way against a multitude...
From the Annals
Even after the power of the Canaanite coalition was broken in the Battle of Megiddo, Retjenu was not pacified and Thutmose campaigned there every two to three years, e.g.:
Year 29. behold, [his] majesty was [in Za]hi subduing the countries revolting against him, on the fifth victorious campaign.
From the Annals
    Almost all subsequent campaigns were directed against rebellious cities in Upper Retenu (that is, Syria) and not Lower Retenu, Djahi. The city of Kadesh and the kingdom of Mitanni were generally the focus of the king's military campaigns. (See: Pritchard, James B. Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Princeton, 1969., pp. 238-242. )

    The conquest of Canaan by Thutmose III came at the end of a long period during which the urban culture of the region had gradually crumbled. The infiltration of northern groups during the 16th century B.C. was a major factor in the collapse of the Canaanite urban system. The fall of the Hyksos Dynasty, a close ally of the south Canaanite centres of Palestine, and Ahmose's conquest of the centre of Sharuhen (Tell el-'Ajjul ?) further contributed to the collapse. Inner Canaan remained outside the area conquered and dominated by Ahmose and his heirs. It was a weakened, partly desolate and ruined country that Thutmose III was able to conquer and subdue following his decisive victory at Megiddo.

[Image: Commemorative Scarab]

Commemorative scarab
Source: Petrie Museum website, UC12034 [1]

    The deeds of Thutmose were immortalized in great detail in monumental inscriptions, but the pharaoh's fame was also spread with the help of commemorative scarabs bearing short inscriptions like The good god, Menkheperre, who casts down Kadesh.

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May 2005