Frank J. Yurco

Peace in their time. Filling the space between two engaged pillars—the slightly projecting blocks at left and upper right—this long hieroglyphic text established peace between Ramesses II and the Hittite king Hattusilis III after some two decades of hostilities that included the famous battle at Kadesh, in northern Syria, in 1275 B.C.E. Concluded in the 21st year of Ramesses II’s reign (1258 B.C.E.), the Treaty misled earlier scholars into thinking that the four battle scenes, two on each side of the treaty, related to Ramesses II. Although reliefs depicting the battle of Kadesh once stood to the left of the Treaty, they were largely, though imperfectly, erased at some time before Merenptah’s battle reliefs were carved. Who erased the Kadesh reliefs is not known, but it is possible that Ramesses II felt that the commemoration of the battle was inappropriate beside the Peace Treaty and therefore ordered his own relief erased.