1301 BC. An Egyptian land army, numbering more than 20,000, (divided in 4 divisions) was raised. The leader - Pharoah Ramesses-II of the XIX Dynasty. They were out to punish a small kingdom of Hittites, for trying to lure Amuru, Egyptian vassals, to their side. Another force set sail, in ships, to reach Byblos and squeeze the Hittites in the world’s first pincer movement.
What followed was a historic chariot battle.
An estimated 2500 Hittite (Ramesses’ estimate) chariots saw action. For two days the battle of Kadesh raged. Fought on the banks of the Orontes River in Syria. The Hittites had cobbled an alliance of small kingdoms. The Egyptian king was saved at the last minute by the appearance of his reserve troops.
On one side was the Egyptian Pharoah RamessesII (1279-1212 BCE). The builder of Temple Of Abu Simbel, Temple Of Nefertari; lived for more than 90 years, . He is believed to be Pharaoh at the time of Exodus of Hebrews under Moses. Ramesses II was known in history for construction that occurred during his reign. On the other side were an unknown (to modern history) element - The Hittites led by Muwutalli II.
During the march, leading to the Kadesh battle, the Egyptian army captured two Bedouin “spies”. These “spies”, after being sufficiently beaten, “revealed” to the Pharoah important information - giving confidence to the Pharoah that the Hittites feared the approaching Egyptian army. The truth was the opposite.
The awaiting Hittites ambushed the Egyptian army. These spies, in fact, were Hittites - sent to misinform the Egyptians!!
Cause of War Of Kadesh
Both these kingdoms were interested in the Syria and Palestine areas through which trade was carried out with India. Syriac and Palestinian lands were controlled by the Amuru - who were Egyptian vassals. The Hittites were a liberalising element in the Middle East /West Asia and possibly the Amurus had defected to practice their religion and save their culture from the Egyptians - instead of being slaves.
The Historic Treaty
After this battle, the Egyptians and the Hittites sat down and wrote their versions of this battle - which makes it rather unique. One of the few times in history, we get both versions of the battle. Two copies of the treaty were made. One, in Egyptian hieroglyphics and the other, in Hittite-Akaddian, and both survived. Only one difference in both the copies - the Egyptian version (recorded on a silver plaque) states that the Hittite king who wanted peace. In the Hittite copy, it was Ramesses-II who sent emissaries.
Peace broke when the queens of Hatti and Egypt, Puduhepa and Nefertari, both of Indo-Aryan extract and parentage, respectively, sent one another congratulatary gifts and letters. Over the next 15 years, they arrived at modus vivendi and drafted a peace treaty.
This peace treaty is the first in recorded history. A replica of this peace pact, in cuneiform tablet, found at Hattusas, Boghazkoi, hangs above the Security Council Chamber, United Nations, in New York, - a demonstration to modern nations the power of peace through international treaties. At Boghazkoi other Hiitite treaties have been found.
The second discovery in the West Asian history, is the Treaty between the Mitannis and Hittites. In 1450 BC, Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites entered into a treaty with the Mitannis. The Mittanis of the Amarna Tablets fame were linked to the significant power in the region – Egypt. As laready outlined in the Part-1 of this post, the Mittanis were the closely associated with the Egyptian Pharoahs by marriage. And the Mittanis were also Indo-Aryans.
What Is Special About This Treaty
In this treaty, Vedic Gods like Indra, Varuna, The Ashwini twins were invoked to bless and witness the treaty. The Hittites who had become past masters at treaties did not invoke these Gods with any other kingdom – except the Mitannis. Hittites and Mitannis were Indo- Aryan kingdoms - in full presence, with their Vedic Gods and culture.
The Zannanzas Puzzle
The 3rd interesting link between the Mitannis and the Hittites was the Zannanzas affair. After the death of Tutankhamen, (The Boy King) the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt was without a ruler. Tutankhamen’s queen, Ankhesenamun, a princess of Mitanni descent, needed a husband to continue the dynasty and protect the throne. She sent some urgent missives to the Hittite King, Suppiluliuma - asking him to send his son, to her as a husband, and become the King Of Egypt. The suspicious Hittite king ignored the missive. A second missive followed - and then a young prince was sent to Thebes (the capital was moved from Amarna back to Thebes).
The young prince never reached Egypt. He was possibly killed en route. And Tutankhamen’s Queen? Never been heard of since then.
How Do We Know All This
In 1906-07, an Turkish archeologist , Theodore Makridi-Bey, started excavations at Boghazkoi, (now identified as the ancient city of Hattusas) in Cappadocia, 150-200 kms from Ankara, Turkey. He was joined by Hugo Winckler, a German archaeologist, specialising in Assyria. They unearthed more than 10,000 clay tablets which proved to be of tremendous interest. A Czech cryptographer, born in Poland, working in Germany, Friedrich (or Bedrich) Hrozny, working in Germany cracked this code over the next 15 years - and that set off a furore amongst archaeologists.
What Do The Boghazkoi Tablets Show
Deciphered cuneiform tablets show Hittite worship of Varuna, Mitra and Indra - Gods worshipped by Indo Aryans. Rulers and Kings had names likes Shutruk (Shatrughna), Tushrutta meaning “of splendid chariots” (similar to Dashratha; Master of Ten Chariots) Rama-Sin (Assyrian Moon Good was Sin; in Hindi Ramachandra), Warad (Bharat). One of the Hiitite allies against Ramesses II was Rimisharrinaa, रामशरण, the King of Aleppo. (One of grand uncles is also named as रामशरण - a common Indian name 4000 years later, 4000 kilometers apart).
These Hittites ruled immediately before and after Hammurabi - the much proclaimed western world’s first law giver. Hammurabi’s legal concepts of vengeful laws and retributive justice are the basis of laws in the 3 ‘desert religions.’
The Elam culture had a language which is similar to Dravidian languages. The Mitannite, Kikkuli, wrote on how to manage chariot horses. Egyptian king, Amenhotep I, married a Mittanite princesses. Elamites were founders of the first kingdom in the Iranian geography.
Some archaeologists await the discovery of tombs to establish the identity of kings. They may never find them. In Vedic cultures, there are no tombs - like the Pyramids, or the Catacombs, or Mausoluems. Vedic Indo Aryans cremate their dead. They do not build memorials or mausoluems.
The Hittite kingdom is often called the “kingdom of thousands of gods.” Like the Mittani, they also adopted all the gods of the people they conquered . The Hittites (like Mittanis) did not impose their religion on the conquered peoples (Why does this sound familiar?). Both the Mitannis and the Hittites adopted the gods of the conquered tribes. This is significant as the Western concept of slavery was to deprive the captured from the religions (The Wends and their religion). This is another display of slave reform by Indics 3000 years ago.
Valued 3000 Years Later
These inscriptions were held sacred by the locals, 3000 years later and William Wright, an European investigator, had difficulty in noting these inscriptions. In 1870 The Hittites were named, by William Wright and Oxford University linguist A. H. Sayce, based on Biblical short references, as one of the tribes of Palestine in the first millennium BC. It was a “son of Heth—a Hittite—who sold the Prophet Abraham the land to bury his much-loved wife, Sarah. Modern view is Hattusha Hittites (Yazilikaya/Boghazkoi/Carchemish) have nothing to do with the Biblical Hittites.
The Boghazkoi tablets changed modern history. From a completely Greco-Roman (read Euro-centric) history, the pendulum had swung to the other end. Boghazkoi showed Indian presence in the thick of West Asia in the year 2000BC with their culture and technology. This has pushed Indian history back by at least by 2000 years - to 4000 BC.
The Amarna letters and the Boghazkoi tablets have given archaeological proof of the Indo Aryan spread. Earlier, theories were retro-fitted, based on Biblical dates (Max Mueller’s, (specialist in “Compartive Theology”); main aim - “save” Indian pagans; make them see “the light” of Christian belief), colonial propaganda (Max Mueller, though a German, was a British employee) and racism. Hazy systems like philology, linguistics, comparative linguistics were used to define history. Now hard archaeological proof shows something else. Written texts, deciphered and decrpyted give us a new theory.
These discoveries and their implications have been buried under a mound of silence. Although well known in academic circles, these discoveries have not been used to update popular history. In the next (and last instalment of this series) I will trace how DNA testing is the third major tool used to reveal history!
PS - One of the big hits in Japan is the manga comic series “Red River” by Chie Shinohara. The entire series is based on this interaction between the Hittites and The Egyptians. The Red River is a work of fiction - so it cannot be taken as history - but the intrigue, silence, drama obviously inspired the author.