The victory of Ramses II over the Khita’s was probably one of the greatest stories of Egyptian literary works on war that had survived thousands of years to convey to us, the present generation, the underlying truths on how the centuries-past generations of Egyptians had regarded their Pharaohs: as a leader, a warrior, a general, and a man-god. WAR The poem starts with the king of Khita, together with his enormous armies and chariots, laid in wait for an ambush on the Egyptian Pharaoh.
He had his armies divide into two groups, the first initiated a surprise attack on the Legion of Hormakhu, south of Kadesh, and successfully annihilated the Egyptian armies in that town who were not expecting such an attack (Halshall, 1998). Upon being informed of the tragedy that befell his troops, Ramses II quickly readied himself for war, donning his weapons and armors, and galloping on his majestic horses.
But soon he found himself in the middle of the Hittite army; completely surrounded and alone, in an impossible battle between 2,500 chariots against one (Halshall, 1998). Due perhaps to his imminent defeat and utter helplessness, the Pharaoh-god called upon his deceased father for help. Enumerating the many glorious monuments, temples, shrines, and sacrificial offerings he had made for the glory of the deceased former god/Pharaoh Ammon, his father (Poem of Pentaur, 2003). And behold! Ammon had heard his cry from the temple of Hermonthis and had come for his beloved son for help. With strength as the sun-god Ra, and arms as strong as hundreds of thousands of men, Ammon found grace in Ramses II’s valor and bravery, and allowed for Ramses II to use Ammon’s god-strength in defeating the Hittites. And when Ramses II, alone except for his charioteer, Menna, finally assaulted the 2,500 strong enemy, the entire Khita army, together with their king, were stunned, frozen with fear, unable to wield their sword and spear, for Ramses II fought with the spirit of a god.
And when the day had come to pass, Egypt’s Pharaoh was able to slay each and every army of the Khita. No one was able to escape alive, each and everyone was fell by the Pharaoh. Propagandistic Element The Battle of Kadesh, as written by the ancient Egyptian authorities during Ramses’ reign, was a literature made for propagandistic purpose. Perhaps the ruler’s aim, other than for the citizens’ assertion of their belief of the Pharaoh as a god-man, was also to use this as a psychological tool on other nations against planning an invasion against Egypt.
These types of exploits of Egypt’s Pharaohs being engraved on the walls of temples further amplify the effect of invincibility and immortality of the rulers of Egypt, by making it as a monument for all nations to see. Such is the case in one of the walls (Fig. 1. 1) where Egyptian chariotry is engaged in a battle between Hittite foot soldiers, when in actuality based on facts, it had been Hittites’ tradition to do battle using chariots (Battle of Kadesh, 2003).
Thus, using politics in asserting control and obedience over the populace, as well as in warfare, rulers of ancient kingdoms often relied on exaggerated literature on war-victories as a means in achieving these. In the modern history, we have witnessed similar propagandistic methods used by governments, usually in defense of its purpose in declaring war: Hitler’s Arian race ideology, Marx’s and Lenin’s Russian Proletariat Revolution, the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and so forth. Almost always, the adage that goes, the victors write history, is appropriate.