Battle of Kadesh

In one of the world’s largest chariot battles, fought beside the Orontes River, King Ramesses II sought to wrest Syria from the Hittites and recapture the Hittite-held city of Kadesh. There was a day of carnage as some 5,000 chariots charged into the fray, but no outright victor. 

The Kadesh Treaty (Hittite version), early cuneiform inscription. The world’s earliest peace treaty that is still extant between the Hittites and Egyptians. It was signed by Hattušiliš III and Ramesses II in 1259 BC. Now in the Istanbul Archaeology Museums.

The Kadesh Treaty (Hittite version)
The Kadesh Treaty (Hittite version)
Shasu spies shown being beaten by the Egyptians. Battle of Kadesh, ca. 1274 BC. A detail of a relief inside the Great Temple of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel.
Shasu spies shown being beaten by the Egyptians. Battle of Kadesh, ca. 1274 BC. A detail of a relief inside the Great Temple of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel.

A relief depicts king Ramesses II in a chariot with a bow and arrow during the siege of a Syrian fortress. The scene was modified and an atef crown was added above the Blue Khepresh Crown to insinuate the edification of Ramesses II. Detail from inside the Great Temple of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel, Lower Nubia.

Battle of Kadesh
King Ramesses II in a chariot with a bow and arrow during the siege of a Syrian fortress

The Battle of Kadesh or Battle of Qadesh took place between the forces of the New Kingdom of Egypt under Ramesses II and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh on the Orontes River, just upstream of Lake Homs near the modern Lebanon–Syria border.