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This article is about Kadesh in Syria, see also Kadesh (South of Israel) or Kedesh

Kadesh (the most popular spelling; more accurately Qadesh) was an ancient city of the Levant, located on the Orontes River, probably identical to the remains at Tell Nebi Mend, about 24 km southwest of Hims (ca. 34°35′N 36°31′E) in what is now western Syria.

[edit] History

Kadesh is first noted as one of two Canaanite cities (the other being Megiddo) that led a coalition of city states opposing the conquest of the Levant by Thutmose III. In mounting this opposition, Kadesh (known as Qidshu in the Akkadian language Amarna letters) was probably guided by the ruler of Mittani, Egypt's primary foreign rival in control of the Levant. Defeat in the subsequent Battle of Megiddo ultimately led to the extension of Egyptian hegemony over the city, as well as the rest of southern Syria. Correspondence between the ruler of Kadesh and the pharaoh Akhenaten is preserved amongst the Amarna letters. The names of three kings of Kadesh survive from contemporary sources: Suttarna (fl. c. 1350 BC); Etakkama (c. 1340's) and Ari-Teshub (fl. c. 1330-1325).

The city is best known, however, as the location of one of the best documented battles of the ancient world, the Battle of Kadesh, staged between the superpowers of the 13th century BC: the Egyptian and the Hittite Empires. An Egyptian vassal for approximately 150 years, Kadesh eventually defected to Hittite suzerainty, thereby placing the city on the contested frontier between the two rival empires. In response to this Hittite ascendancy and expansion southwards, the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II prepared an aggressive military response. The subsequent battle, fought near Kadesh, very nearly witnessed an Egyptian military disaster. Ramesses II was able to recover the initiative, however, and the two armies withdrew in stalemate, both claiming victory. Kadesh, however, remained under Hittite overlordship.

The subsequent impasse between Egypt and Hatti ultimately led to what is now recognised as one of the earliest surviving international peace treaties, concluded several decades later between Ramesses II and his Hittite counterpart, Hattusili III.ca:Cadeix (Síria) de:Kadesch (Syrien) pl:Kadesz (miasto) pt:Kadesh ru:Кадеш sk:Kadeš


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