The Battle of Kadesh: Ancient Egypt vs. The Hittites


Kelly Macquire
published on 25 May 2021

The Battle of Kadesh was waged between Ancient Egypt under the rule of Ramesses II (also known as Ramesses the Great), and the Hittite Empire under King Muwatalli II. According to Egyptian chronology, the battle was fought in 1274 BCE at the city of Kadesh, a city in Syria that was an important trade centre in the ancient world. Not only is the Battle of Kadesh the best-recorded conflict from the ancient world, but it's the earliest battle whose formations and tactics are known and fully documented.

After Ramesses received the omens he needed, he led the Amun division of his forces out of the gates of the grand city he had built, Per-Ramesses, with the Ra, Ptah and Set divisions following, totalling around 20,000 men. The Hittite army was close at hand, and Ramesses II soon found himself and his division ambushed and overrun by Hittites. The Egyptians, using their chariots, and with the Hittite forces either drowning in the river or being slaughtered on land, drove the rest of the Hittite forces from the field. Ramesses II was most proud of this victory over the Hittites, but Muwatalli also claimed victory since he did not surrender the city of Kadesh to the Egyptians.

The aftermath of the battle resulted in the first known peace treaty in history, known as the Treaty of Kadesh. In 1258 BCE the Treaty of Kadesh was signed and included terms such as if a person of importance were to seek refuge in the other’s territory, they had to be returned. The Treaty of Kadesh initiated a period of open trade relations between Egypt and the Hittites until the fall of the Hittite Empire around 1200 BCE.

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The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

Ismoon / fr:Image:Egypt_Abou_Simbel6.jpg - Aoineko
CC BY SA 3.0

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2021, May 25). The Battle of Kadesh: Ancient Egypt vs. The Hittites. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Battle of Kadesh: Ancient Egypt vs. The Hittites." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified May 25, 2021.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Battle of Kadesh: Ancient Egypt vs. The Hittites." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 25 May 2021. Web. 19 Apr 2024.