Although the Ancient Egyptian propaganda machine declared Ramesses II’s Kadesh campaigns a victory, neither the Hittites or Egyptians were victors. In year 4 of his kingship, Ramesses reclaimed the Hittite vassal kingdom of Kadesh, installing the elite Ne’arim mercenaries to hold the port at Sumur. During year 5, the Hittites began advancing south to roust the Egyptians. With four divisions and 2,000 chariots, Ramesses moved along the northern Nile coast, ready to engage in battle with his enemy. False intelligence meant that the Hittites took the first divisions by surprise and there was an early Hittite ‘victory’. While they were looting the Egyptian camps, reinforcements, including the Ne’arim, surrounded the Hittites. After a bloody chariot battle, the two adversaries arrived at an uneasy truce. In year 8 and 10, Ramesses launched campaigns in the trans-Jordanian, northern Syrian and Phoenician territories to restore Egyptian authority, undermined by the Kadesh campaigns.
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