Thursday, January 31, 2008

Review: War and Peace in the Ancient World

Bryn Mawr Classical Review (Reviewed by Peter Hunt, University of Colorado, Boulder)

Kurt A. Raaflaub (ed.), War and Peace in the Ancient World. Oxford: Blackwell, 2007.

This book has one chapter dedicated to ancient Egypt:

Lanny Bell's chapter on "Conflict and reconciliation in the ancient Middle East: the clash of Egyptian and Hittite chariots in Syria, and the world's first peace treaty between 'superpowers'" provides a historical account of the conflict between the Hittites and Egyptians over their spheres of influence in Syria. The most famous episode in this war was the indecisive battle at Qadesh. But as both sides became concerned with more immediate threats than each other, they decided to make peace (108-9). The peace treaty lasted until the Hittite empire fell, about 80 years later. A contrast concludes Bell's treatment: despite Egyptian royal "propaganda" which continued to celebrate military victories, largely imaginary, over the Hittites, "the success of the treaty was a milestone marking Egyptian recognition of peace as an acceptable alternative to war as a means of resolving conflict"

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