Kadesh Treaty

The Kadesh Treaty was established ~1269 BC between Hittite king Hattusilis III and Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II, and is the earliest known equitable peace treaty.

Ramses II's reign began with hostility against the Hittite Empire, culminating in the mutually devastating Battle of Kadesh. The overextended Hittites lost the critical Mitanni region; and Egypt's defeat prompted its Levantine vassals to revolt.

Nearly six years after the Battle of Kadesh, Egypt and the Hittites allied for: non-aggression to avoid further ruin; and mutual military aid to thwart the encroachment of the Sea Peoples.


Kadesh Treaty, ~1269 BC. Akkadian on Terracotta from Hattusa. Museum of the Ancient Orient Bo. 10403+6549+6674. Image by L. M. Clancy, 2009/08/28.

Two Egyptian and three Akkadian versions of the treaty are known to exist. One Egyptian version was carved into the walls of the temple of Amon at Karnak; another was carved into the walls of the Ramesseum, though it embellished Egypt's peacemaking role. The three Akkadian versions are much closer to the formal agreement; these were excavated at Hattusha by joint Turkish and German teams (led by Hügo Winckler and Teodor Makridy). One of these Hittite tablets are at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; two are at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums. Below are excerpts from the treaty:

Treaty of Rea-Mashesha-Mai Amana the great king, the king of the land of Egypt, the valiant, with Hattusilis, the great king of the Hatti land for establishing good peace and good brotherhood worthy of great kingship forever.

These are the words of Rea-Mashasha-Mai Amana: Now I have established good brotherhood [and] good peace between us forever. In order to establish good peace [and] good brotherhood in the relationship of the land of Egypt with the Hatti land forever.

Thus: Behold, as for the relationship between the land of Egypt and the Hatti land, since eternity the god does not permit the making of hostility between them because of a treaty [valid] forever.

If an enemy from abroad comes against the land of Egypt and Rea-Mashesha-Mai Amana, the king of the land of Egypt, your brother sends to Hattusilis, the great king of the Hatti land, his brother saying: "come here to help me against him" to Hattusilis, the king of the Hatti land shall send his footsoldiers [and] his charioteers and shall slay my enemies.
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