Egyptian–Hittite peace treaty

Peace treaty concluded between Ancient Egypt and the Hittites / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Egyptian–Hittite peace treaty, also known as the Eternal Treaty or the Silver Treaty, is the only Ancient Near Eastern treaty for which the versions of both sides have survived. It is also the earliest known surviving peace treaty. It is sometimes called the Treaty of Kadesh, after the well-documented Battle of Kadesh that had been fought some 16 years earlier, although Kadesh is not mentioned in the text. The treaty was concluded between Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II and king of the Hittite empire Ḫattušili III in c. 1259 BC. Both sides of the treaty have been the subject of intensive scholarly study.[upper-alpha 1] The treaty itself did not bring about a peace; in fact, "an atmosphere of enmity between Hatti and Egypt lasted many years" until the eventual treaty of alliance was signed.[1]

Quick facts: Egyptian–Hittite peace treaty, Created, Disco...
Egyptian–Hittite peace treaty
The Hittite version (above, at the Istanbul Archaeology Museums) and Egyptian (below, at the Precinct of Amun-Re in Karnak)
Createdc.1259 BC
Discovered1828 (Egyptian) and 1906 (Hittite)
Present locationIstanbul Archaeology Museums and Precinct of Amun-Re in Karnak

The Egyptian Kadesh inscriptions were displayed on large temple inscriptions since antiquity; they were first translated by Champollion, but it was not until 1858 that they were identified with the Hittites mentioned in the Bible.[2] In 1906, Hugo Winckler's excavations in Anatolia identified cuneiform tablets which corresponded with the Egyptian text.[upper-alpha 2]

Translation of the texts revealed that this engraving was originally translated from silver tablets given to each side, which have since been lost.

The Egyptian version of the peace treaty was engraved in hieroglyphics on the walls of two temples belonging to Pharaoh Ramesses II in Thebes: the Ramesseum and the Precinct of Amun-Re at the Temple of Karnak.[upper-alpha 3] The scribes who engraved the Egyptian version of the treaty included descriptions of the figures and seals that were on the tablet that the Hittites delivered.[3]

The Egyptian-Hittite peace treaty between Ramesses II and Ḫattušili III, mid-13th century BCE. Neues Museum, Berlin

The Hittite version was found in the Hittite capital of Hattusa, now in Turkey, and is preserved on baked clay tablets uncovered among the Hittite royal palace's sizable archives. Two of the Hittite tablets are displayed at the Museum of the Ancient Orient, part of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, while the third is displayed in the Berlin State Museums in Germany.[4] A copy of the treaty is prominently displayed on a wall in the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.[5][6]

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