Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Treaty of Kadesh.

Today was supposed to be something else, but yay history!!

Along about three thousand years ago, there were two world powers in the Middle East, the Egyptians (gold), and the Hittites (blue).
Also some green and pink guys, but that's for another day and I've already ranted on base twelve a couple times.

So anyway, as superpowers are known to do, they fought over territory. Mostly over who was gonna control the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. The Egyptians had the power that wealth can buy you, and a really good standing army. The Hittites had iron. Yeeeeah.

They slugged it out back and forth over the territories along the Med, typically not fighting too much within their own borders, because of course not. World powers. Some things never change. BUT! The whole thing reached critical mass at a battle historians call the Battle of Kadesh. Because that was the name of a village nearby.

The battle took place somewhere around 1274 BCE, and was, honestly, a huge mess. Both sides had heavy losses. But of course, again in the way of world powers ever since, both sides claimed they won and set up monuments bragging about how badass they were. (Technically the Hittites gained more ground and therefore I guess "won" but I think most of the ground gained was sand, so, uh, yeah. Have fun with that, Hittites.)

A few years later, Ramesses the Allegedly Great launched another campaign to take back the sand dunes. (Seriously, anyone remember the "war" over the Falkland Islands? I swear this is an ancient version of it. At the time it was described as 'two bald men fighting over a comb' and damn if that's not familiar.) The Egyptian army went AROUND Kadesh, took a town called Dapur, said "yay, we won!" and then went home, leaving the town to revert to Hittite control. SUPPOSEDLY, this is when the pharaoh realized he couldn't hold territory that far away and decided something had to be done.

I like to imagine the pharaoh's wife, with hands on hips, hearing of another plan for another invasion, yelling "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?" because that's usually what happens in these circumstances.

 And so, the world's first written-down-and-signed-by-everyone peace treaty. There are some agreements that we know of that were older, but this is the oldest we've got that was all formal and official. We have copies from both sides.

Looks like the Egyptian one may have been, uh, edited? in later years.

It's actually pretty cool, and again shows nothing really changes but the language and material it's written with. It spells out where boundaries are between them, pledges mutual aid in case anyone else (Assyrians) attack that area, and even allowed for an exchange of prisoners and refugees.

A copy of the Hittite version hangs in the entry of the United Nations, as a reminder that we can actually do this.


Emily said...

Well, huh. A history lesson! Fun! I am seriously thrilled that the School of Julie is back. That base 12 thing...and you forgot about base 60!...stunned me.

It always surprises me all over again to see how little people have changed over the passage of time.

David Austin Smith said...

I love hearing your "voice"...

David Austin Smith said...

I love hearing your "voice"...