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Current time:0:00Total duration:13:16

The Hittite Empire and the Battle of Kadesh

Video transcript

now I'm going to talk about a people that began to settle and eventually conquer much of Anatolia modern-day Turkey at the beginning of the second millennium BCE and these people are known as the Hittites and the word Hittite is referred to in the Hebrew Bible in the Old Testament and it's worth dissecting that word a little bit because the word comes from the idea that this region that they conquer in modern-day Turkey was referred to as Hattie and Hattie had original inhabitants known as the Hattie ins but the Hittites conquer and displace these Hattie uns but they are referred to as the Hittites because they cut they settle in Hattie now they're considered to be indo-european people this is a word that you will hear often in world history and that's because what linguists have found is that many modern languages seem to have a root in what's called proto-indo-european language and I'll do a whole video on it but looking at linguistic structures we believe we're one model is is that many of the people who speak these indo-european languages or these ones that are derived from that proto-indo-european and that includes the Greek and languages related to Greek we're talking about Latin we're talking about the Germanic languages including what I'm speaking right now which is English which is fundamentally a Germanic language with a lot of Latin influence we're talking about Celtic but we're also talking about more Eastern languages like Persian and Hindi and Bengali all of these have a lot of commonalities to them which which we believe gives evidence that at one point it was a very closely related group of people who are coming from this Caucasus region and this map that you see here this shows one model for how those people spread and eventually broke off into various tribes speaking different but very related languages so for millennia the 4th millennium BCE they were since they were in this region right over here which would be southern Russia the Caucasus right around there and then by 2500 BCE that's orange area they had spread even further and then by 1000 BCE they had spread even further and the Hittites would have been one of those people because they settle in Anatolia right over here now we don't know as much about Hittites as we know about say the ancient Egyptian or the Mesopotamians but we know that they were a significant civilization now if you look at this timeline here it shows the various civilizations that were emerging around this time we're down talking about the the mid to late second millennium so this is 1700 BCE I'll write that down just to make sure we know that's BCE 1600 BCE so on and so forth and I show these various civilizations that existed around that time so when you and they should they correspond to this map here so you have Mycenaean Greece which emerges around 1600 BCE all the way to about 1100 BCE you have the New Kingdom of Egypt which is from about 1550 BCE to a little bit after 1100 BC and we do a whole series of videos on ancient Egypt and then we talk about the Old Kingdom the Middle Kingdom and of course the New Kingdom and the New Kingdom of Egypt is important because they're going to be one of the key rivals for the Hittites in this period the New Kingdom of Egypt is often referred to as the Egyptian Empire because it was the most powerful time of ancient Egypt now and you see that right over here in this brown color now in this purplish blue color that is the Hittite civilization and this map right over here you can see that they started to really settle and conquer that area at the beginning of the second millennium and by 1600 you have the old hittite kingdom and then as we get to about 1400 BCE you have the new hittite kingdom often known as the Hittite Empire and this is where they really start to flex their muscle and notice they're flexing their muscles at roughly the same time as the Egyptians and so this map right over here this is in roughly the 14th century what this area look like so we're talking roughly this zone and you can see there are several civilizations many of them that were in their peak you see the Mitanni kingdom right over here you see the middle Assyrian Empire and we talk about them when we talk about Mesopotamia and you see Kassite Babylonia right over here the calf sites took over after the amorite under Hammurabi and his dynasty and we'll see that they also have a connection to the Hittites so this will hopefully acquaint you with time these are Bronze Age civilizations the state of the art of Technology for most of the them was bronze which is combining copper and tin and you can make weapons and tools and jewelry with it now what's interesting about the Hittite is that they were one of the first to start to use iron iron required a little bit more technology in order to melt iron you have to get the furnace to be even hotter and the Hittites we know did make use of iron now they are also known as great charity charioteers this is an image of what a Hittite chariot will look like and so with the combination of iron chariots they that's one of the things that help them establish something of an empire now I mentioned that they come into conflict with many other peoples in fact they come into conflict with most of the folks that you see on this on this picture over here the first time that you really see them in in a significant way conquering things is in 1595 BCE and this would be the old Hittite Kingdom but this is what famously ends Hammurabi's dynasty the amaura dynasty in Babylon right over here they go to Babylon in 1595 BCE and they overthrow it they're not able to maintain rule they have to go back there start to be fragmentation dissension at home but it's the end of the amorite and then eventually another group the catfights take over this region and you can see them in grey right over here now what's also interesting in this timeline that we have it we're talking about hundreds of years it's important to keep things in perspective is that you see that a lot of these civilizations in the Middle East and Mesopotamia this area is often referred to as the Levant it's referred it's it's related to the word Levante from Italian for to rise because for it for the Romans for the European for those in the West this is where the Sun rose this was the East it was the eastern Mediterranean and so you have all of these civilizations that are in the Levant in the 14th century BCE and the 13th century BCE but then they start to decline and that general period after the or around the 12th century BCE is known as the Bronze Age collapse when a lot of these civilizations become a lot more fragmented now I've already alluded to the fact and I talked about this in a lot of detail in the ancient Egypt video that the chief rivals of the Hittites or were the Egyptians and vice-versa and it's particularly the case in the 14th and 13th centuries where both of them were quite powerful empires you have the Egyptians moving up into this area right over here modern-day Israel and Lebanon and you have the Hittites moving down from the north from Anatolia into modern-day Syria and there's a whole series of conflicts that are mad that emerge in this area and one of the most famous and one of the most significant happens in 1274 BCE and that is the Battle of Kadesh Kadesh is a is an area that has switched hands multiple times between the Egyptians and the Hittites at this time you have Ramses the second considered the greatest Egyptian pharaoh he is the pharaoh he is the ruler of Egypt and he wants to recapture Kadesh and what's significant about the Battle of Kadesh it's the earliest battle where we have a significant account of the tactics of the strategy of the formation of the troops we know that there are over 50,000 soldiers involved it's currently believed it might be the largest chariot battle in an olive-oil history that we at least know about and the actual outcome of the Battle of Kadesh seems to be a stalemate our accounts of it come prime early from the Egyptians we don't have any or we don't have any significant Hittite surviving accounts of the Battle of Kadesh but it gave us a lot of information but beyond just the battle itself being significant because we have this detail about what battles were like at that time period with chariots and and the type of tactics that were used what's also significant is sixteen years after the Battle of Kadesh you have the Egyptian Hittite peace treaty in 1258 BCE and the reason why this is significant is this is sometimes referred to as the first peace treaty in history I would qualify a little bit of saying it's the first peace treaty that we know about in this part of the world and this right over here is the Hittite version of it and what's especially cool about this peace treaty and just you know what these other pictures are this is a Hittite ramp discovered at the Hittite capital of hot osa this is some pictures of the Hittite gods of the underworld but once again we don't have as complete of a picture of the Hittite verses say the Egyptians but what's neat about also neat about this treaty it's sometimes called the Treaty of Kadesh but it doesn't refer directly to Kadesh these folks have been in conflict with each other for nearly for over a hundred years right over here so this treaty is really to talk about not just Kadesh and this treaty happened sixteen years after the Battle of Kadesh but to talk about let's just have a permanent peace between our two great empires and what's cool about it is we have surviving accounts from the Hittites that were discovered in Catoosa and we also have a symmetric account that we get from the Egyptians and so that's this is the one from the Hittites and this is from the Egyptians it's written in Akkadian which wasn't their language Akkadian we talked about was a Semitic language and they use that cuneiform script which remember we get from the Sumerians but it's cool to get the same treaty written in different scripts from both sides of the conflict and I'll just read a little bit of it because it's neat to just think about it and of course they didn't write it in this language modern English wouldn't show up for many actually thousands of years from this point this is a translation now from the beginning of the limits of eternity as for the situation of the great rule of Egypt with the great prints of Hattie the God did not permit hostility to occur between them through a regulation but in the time of mullah Tallis the great prints of Hattie my brother so this is from the point of view of hakushi Ellis who is the hittite king at the time of the treaty he fought with Ramses Mary Amman the Pharaoh Ramses the great ruler of Egypt but hereafter from this day behold ha to sillas the great Prince of hoti is under a regulation in order not to permit hostility to occur between them forever that's that's those are big words well hold Hattusa list sometimes it's spelled hot to silly the Great Prince of Hattie has set himself in a regulation with loser Mott ray set up an r/a that's sometimes how how ran Jesus referred to the great ruler of Egypt the beginning from this day to cause a good peace and Brotherhood occur between us forever while he is in brotherhood with me and he is at peace with me and I am in Brotherhood with him and I am in peace with him forever behold I as the great Prince of Hattie am with Rameses Miriam owned in good peace and in good Brotherhood the children of the children of the Great Prince of Hattie are in Brotherhood and peace with the children of the children of Rameses Miriam owned the great ruler of Egypt for they are in our situation a brotherhood and an end and our situation of peace the land of Egypt with the land of Hattie shall be at peace and in Brotherhood like unto us forever hostilities shall not occur between them forever so not only are they and this is just part of the text line it's actually quite interesting do a web search for the Egyptian Hittite treaty text and you can actually get the whole text this is just part of an excerpt of it but they go into much more details about how they might provide aid for each other how they're not going to have conflict etc etc so I'll leave you there but it's the important thing to take away is is some of these modern notions of peace treaties and military tactics they go deep into history and this is some of the earliest evidence we find but I would suspect as we discover more things we might find even earlier evidence