1457 BC: The Battle of Megiddo is fought. The Egyptian forces were led by the Pharaoh, Thutmose III while the opposition was a coalition of Canaanite vassal states led by the King of Kadesh. The battle is noteworthy because it is the earliest battle to have been recorded in what is today considered to be relatively reliable detail. It was not written about at the time of the battle itself, but rather later in the Pharaoh’s life when he had his scribe/historian write out the wonders of his many conquests. The hieroglyphic writings were preserved in the Hall of the Annals in the Temple of Amun-Re at Karnak, Thebes or what is today, Luxor. Tjaneni was the author.
The battle was the 21st day of the first month of the third season of Year 23 of the reign of Thutmose III which calculated to this date, according to the Middle Chronology. Other publications put the date in 1482 BC or 1479 BC. The battle was an Egyptian victory and not only were the Canaanite forces defeated, but they were forced to flee to city of Megiddo which was then placed under a lengthy siege. The battle was the first where composite bows were used and it was the first to have had a fairly accurate body count. Thutmose led between 10- and 20,000 men into battle with 4,000 killed and another 1,000 wounded. The Canaanites had between 10- and 15,000 men fighting with 8,300 killed and another 3,400 captured.
This was Thutmose’s first campaign in the Levant (a term first used 3,000 years later to describe the eastern region of the Mediterranean Sea and the lands found there) and is also sometimes referred to as the Fertile Crescent region, the lands of the Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates Rivers. The Pharaoh brought his scribe with him and Tjaneni kept a daily journal on parchment. Years later, in the 42nd regnal year and after Thutmose’s campaigns in the Levant had ended with great expansion of lands under his control, he had his scribe write out the history of his illustrious battles. Also included were the tribute received from the conquered and the gifts offered to Amun-Re.
Megiddo is an archaeological tell or mound found in present day northern Israel about 20 miles southeast of Haifa. This important site is more familiarly known by its Greek name, Armageddon. During this time in history, it was an important Canaanite city-state. It was first settled in the Early Bronze Age about 3500 BC – 3100 BC and there have been 26 layers of excavation at the site. Megiddo was at its largest during the Middle Bronze Age and was still able to prosper after Thutmose conquered it during this campaign in the Late Bronze Age. During this time, and elaborate palace was built there.
By 3000 B.C. the art of Egypt was so ripe and so far advanced that it is surprising to find any student of early culture proposing that the crude contemporary art of the early Babylonians is the product of a civilization earlier than that of the Nile. – James Henry Breasted
Egypt gave birth to what later would become known as ‘Western Civilization,’ long before the greatness of Greece and Rome. – John Henrik Clarke
Our earliest evidence of government, in the ruins of Babylon and Egypt, shows nothing but ziggurats and pyramids of wasted taxpayer money, the TARP funds and shovel-ready stimulus programs of their day. – P. J. O’Rourke
A book has got smell. A new book smells great. An old book smells even better. An old book smells like ancient Egypt. – Ray Bradbury