An Account of the Battle of Megiddo

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An Account of the Battle of Megiddo
by Tjaneni, translated by Henry Breasted James
Translated for the 1906 work Ancient Records of Egypt: Historical Documents, this ancient account of the 1482 BCE Battle of Megiddo is considered to be one of the first accurate depictions of war.

Mighty Bull, Shining in Thebes; King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands; Menkheperre; Son of Re.

His Majesty commanded to cause to be recorded his victories which his father, Amon, gave to him, upon a tablet in the temple which his majesty made for his father, Amon, setting forth each expedition by its name, together with the plunder which his majesty carried away therein. It was done according to all the command which his father, Re, gave to him.

Year 22, fourth month of the second season, on the twenty-fifth day his majesty was in Tharu on the first victorious expedition to extend the boundaries of Egypt with might.

Now, at that period the Asiatics had fallen into disagreement, each man fighting against his neighbor. Now, it happened that the tribes - the people, who were there in the city of Sharuhen; behold, from Yeraza to the marshes of the earth, they had begun to revolt against his majesty.

Year 23, first month of the third season, on the fourth day, the day of the feast of the king's coronation, he arrived at the city, the possession of the ruler, Gaza.

Year 23, first month of the third season, on the fifth day; departure from this place in might, - in power, and in triumph, to overthrow that wretched foe, to extend the boundaries of Egypt, according as his father, Amon-Re, had commanded that he seize.

Year 23, first month of the third season, on the sixteenth day, he arrived at the city of Yehem.

His majesty ordered a consultation with his valiant troops, saying as follows: "That wretched enemy, the chief of Kadesh, has come and entered into Megiddo; he is there at this moment. He has gathered to himself the chiefs of all the countries which are on the water of Egypt, and as far as Naharin, consisting of the countries of the Kharu, the Kode, their horses, their troops. Thus he speaks, 'I have arisen to fight against his majesty in Megiddo.'"

They spoke in the presence of his majesty, "How is it, that we should go upon this road, which threatens to be narrow? While they come and say that the enemy is there waiting, holding the way against a multitude. Will not horse come behind horse and man behind man likewise? Shall our advance-guard be fighting while our rear-guard is yet standing yonder in Aruna not having fought? There are yet two other roads: one road, behold, it will carry us, for it comes forth at Taanach, the other, behold, it will bring us upon the way noth of Zefti, so that we shall come out to the north of Megiddo. Let our victorious lord proceed upon the road he desires; but cause us not to go by a difficult road."

Then went messengers concerning this design which they had uttered, in view of what had been said by the majesty of the Court: "I swear, as Re loves me, as my father Amon, favors me, as my nostrils are rejuvenated with satisfying life, my majesty will proceed upon this road of Aruna. Let him who will among you, go upon those roads ye have mentioned, and let him who will among you, come in the following of my majesty. Shall they think among those enemies whom Re detests: 'Does his majesty proceed upon another road? He begins to be fearful of us,' so will they think."

They spoke before his majesty: "May thy father Amon, lord of Thebes, presider over Karnak, grant thee life. Behold, we are the following of thy majesty in every place, whither thy majesty proceedeth; as the servant is behind his master."

Then his majesty commanded the entire army to march upon that road which threatened to be narrow. His majesty swore, saying: "None shall go forth in the way before my majesty." He went forth at the head of his army himself, showing the way by his own footsteps; horse behind horse, his majesty being at the head of his army.

Year 23, first month of the third season, on the nineteenth day; the watch in safety in the royal tent was at the city of Aruna. "My majesty proceeded northward under the protection of my father, Amon-Re, lord of Thebes, who went before me, while Harakhte strengthened my arms."

The enemy went forth in numerous battle array. The southern wing was in Taanach the northern wing was on the ground south of Megiddo. His majesty cried out to them before they fell; behold, that wretched foe of the city Aruna.

Now, the rear of the victorious army of his majesty was at the city of Aruna, the front was going forth to the valley; they filled the opening of this valley. Then they said in the presence of his majesty: "Behold, his majesty goeth forth with his victorious army, and it has filled the hollow of the valley; let our victorious lord hearken to us this time and let our lord protect for us the rear of his army and his people. Let the rear of this army come forth to us behind; then shall they also fight against these barbarians; then we shall not need to take thought for the rear of our army." His majesty halted outside and waited there, protecting the rear of his victorious army.

Behold, when the front had reached the exit upon this road, the shadow had turned, and when his majesty arrived at the south of Megiddo on the bank of the brook of Kina, the seventh hour was turning, measured by the sun.

Then was set up the camp of his majesty, and command was given to the whole army, saying: "Equip yourselves! Prepare your weapons! for we shall advance to fight with that wretched foe in the morning." Therefore the king rested in the royal tent, the affairs of the chiefs were arranged, and the provisions of the attendants. The watch of the army went about, saying, "Steady of heart! Steady of heart! Watchful! Watchful! Watch for life at the tent of the king." One came to say to his majesty, "The land is well, and the infantry of the South and North likewise."

Year 23, first month of the third season, on the twenty-first day, the day of the feast of the new moon, corresponding to the royal coronation, early in the morning, behold, command was given to the entire army to move. His majesty went forth in a chariot of electrum, arrayed in his weapons of war, like Horus, the Smiter, lord of power; like Montu of Thebes, while his father, Amon, strengthened his arms. The southern wing of this army of his majesty was on a hill south of the brook of Kina, the norther wing was at the northwest of Megiddo, while his majesty was in their center, with Amon as the protection of his members, the valor of his limbs. Then his majesty prevailed against them at the head of his army, and when they saw his majesty prevailing against them they fled headlong to Megiddo in fear, abandoning their horses and their chariots of gold and silver. The people hauled them up, pulling them by their clothing, into this city; the people of this city having closed it against them and lowered clothing to pull them up into this city. Now, if only the army of his majesty had not given their heart to plundering the things of the enemy, they would have captured Megiddo at this moment, when the wretched foe of Kadesh and the wretched foe of this city were hauled up in haste to bring them into this city. The fear of his majesty had entered their hearts, their arms were powerless, his serpent diadem was victorious among them.

Then were captured their horses, their chariots of gold and silver were made spoil, their champions lay stretched out like fishes on the ground. The victorious army of his majesty went around counting their portions. Behold, there was captured the tent of that wretched foe in which was his son. The whole army made jubilee, giving praise to Amon for the victory which he had granted to his son on this day, giving praise to his majesty, exalting his victories. They brought up the booty which they had taken, consisting of hands, of living prisoners, of horses, chariots of gold and silver...

Then spake his majesty on hearing the words of his army, saying: "Had ye captured this city afterward, behold, I would have given Re this day; because every chief of every country that has revolted is within it; and because it is the capture of a thousand cities, this capture of Megiddo. Capture ye mightily, mightily."

His majesty commanded the officers of the troops to go, assigning to each his place. They measured this city, surrounding it with an inclosure, walled about with green timber of all their pleasant trees. His majesty himself was upon the fortification east of this city, inspecting.

It was walled about with its thick wall. Its name was made: "Menkheperre Thutmose III-is-the-Surrounder-of-the-Asiatics." People were stationed to watch over the tent of his majesty; to whom it was said: "Steady of heart! Watch." His majesty commanded, saying: "Let not one among them come forth outside, beyond this wall, except to come out in order to knock at the other door of their fortification."

Now, all that his majesty did to this city, to that wretched foe and his wretched army, was recorded on each day by its the day's name. Then it was recorded upon a roll of leather in the temple of Amon this day.

Behold, the chiefs of this country came to render their portions, to do obeisance to the fame of his majesty, to crave breath for their nostrils, because of the greatness of his power, because of the might of the fame of his majesty the country came to his fame, bearing their gifts, consisting of silver, gold, lapis lazuli, malachite; bringing clean grain, wine, large cattle, and small cattle for the army of his majesty. Each of the Kode among them bore the tribute southward. Behold, his majesty appointed the chiefs anew.

340 living prisoners; 83 hands; 2,041 mares; 191 foals; 6 stallions; a chariot, wrought with gold, its pole of gold, belonging to that foe; a beautiful chariot, wrought with gold, belonging to the chief of Megiddo; 892 chariots of his wretched army; total, 924 chariots; a beautiful suit of bronze armor, belonging to that foe; a beautiful suit of bronze armor, belonging to the chief of Megiddo; 200 suits of armor, belonging to his wretched army; 502 bows; 7 poles of mry wood, wrought with silver, belonging to the tent of that foe. Behold, the army of his majesty took 1,929 large cattle, 2,000 small cattle, 20,500 white small cattle.

List of that which was afterward taken by the king, of the household goods of that foe who was in the city of Yenoam, in Nuges, and in Herenkeru, together with all the goods of those cities which submitted themselves, which were brought to his majesty: 38 lords of theirs, 87 children of that foe and of the chiefs who were with him, 5 lords of theirs, 1,796 male and female slaves with their children, non-combatants who surrendered because of famine with that foe, 103 men; total 2,503. Besides flat dishes of costly stone and gold, various vessels, a large two-handled vase of the work of Kharu, vases, flat dishes, dishes, various drinking-vessels, 3 large kettles, 87 knives, amounting to 784 deben. Gold in rings found in the hands of the artificers, and silver in many rings, 966 deben and 1 kidet. A silver statue in beaten work, the head of gold, the staff with human faces; 6 chairs of that foe, of ivory, ebony and carob wood, wrought with gold; 6 footstools belonging to them; 6 large tables of ivory and carob wood, a staff of carob wood, wrought with gold and all costly stones in the fashion of a scepter, belonging to that foe, all of it wrought with gold; a statue of that foe, of ebony wrought with gold, the head of which was inlaid with lapis lazuli; vessels of bronze, much clothing of that foe.

This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.
Original:
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
 
Translation:
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).