International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 B.C.

By Mario Liverani | Go to book overview

17
The Battle of Megiddo

The description of the minimal nucleus, the ‘simple form’ of the battle array in the Late Bronze age, is provided by a Hittite text, a passage in the Annals of Tudhaliya II: ‘The city of Tiwara drew up its army against me: behind the army was a wood, and a river was flowing beyond. And I, Tudhaliya, I went to battle against it, and the gods gave it to me.’ 1 The roles are clearly distinguished: one army is on the defensive, the other has to attack. The defenders are protected on two sides: the forest (in other cases a mountain, or a walled town), which is in their rear and provides a route of escape should the attack be successful; and the river, which constitutes a natural obstacle against the advance of the attacking army. The latter must launch a frontal assault, force a crossing of the river, and then overwhelm the enemy. In another text the pattern is also clear. The Kashka army is drawn up behind a river, which it assumes will give it protection against attack by the king, Hattushili III. However, despite this and despite the arrows and rocks which they shoot at him, the king is sheltered by the shield of the goddess Shaushga and is able to cross the river unhurt, and to penetrate the enemy array ‘with one chariot only’. 2

Viewed geometrically, the battle is the penetration of a horizontal line by a vertical wedge, and this impression is stronger when the defenders are mainly footsoldiers and the attackers are a chariot squadron. From the military point of view the defenders have to concentrate their strength at the critical moment when the attackers are seeking to cross the natural obstacle; otherwise the battle is won by the impetus of the attack and the defenders must withdraw in order to avoid major casualties. Therefore the real task is to hold (on one side) or to force (on the other) the defensive line. From the ideological point of view, the defenders are cautious and fearful: they rely on natural or artificial obstacles, they prearrange an

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International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 B.C.
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Territory and Borders 15
  • 1 - Inner vs. Outer Territory 17
  • 2 - Universal Control 23
  • 3 - The Boundaries of the World 29
  • 4 - Symbolic Attainment of the World Border 34
  • 5 - The Coexistence of Different States 38
  • 6 - Moving Borders 46
  • 7 - The Boundary as a Watershed for Taxation 52
  • 8 - The Boundary as a Watershed for Responsibilities 57
  • 9 - Runaways and Extradition 66
  • 10 - Messengers and ‘Ambassadors’ 71
  • Part II - War and Alliance 77
  • 11 - The One Against Many 79
  • 12 - War as Elimination of the Rebels 86
  • 13 - Conquest as a Cosmic Organization 91
  • 14 - Peace as Submission 97
  • 15 - Ordeal by War 101
  • 16 - The Rules of War 108
  • 17 - The Battle of Megiddo 116
  • 18 - Peace as Mutual Recognition 122
  • 19 - The Ideology of Protection 128
  • 20 - The Ideology of Brotherhood 135
  • Part III - Circulation of Goods 139
  • 21 - Priority and Continuity of the Redistributive Pattern 141
  • 22 - Intervention of the Reciprocal Pattern 146
  • 23 - Accumulation vs. Circulation 151
  • 24 - Self-Sufficiency vs. Interdependence 155
  • 25 - The Ideology of Life 160
  • 26 - Hatshepsut and Punt: Trade or Tribute? 166
  • 27 - Wen-Amun and Zakar-Ba'Al: Gift or Trade? 170
  • 28 - The Annals of Tuthmosis Iii: Tribute or Gift? 176
  • 29 - The Origins of Tribute 183
  • 30 - Equal vs. Unequal Marriages 189
  • 31 - Conclusions 196
  • Chronologies 203
  • Notes 205
  • Index 233
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