The Decissive Battles of Ancient History: Megiddo (1479 BC)

Figure 1.--We do not have an image of the battle of Megiddo (1479 BC). This ivory piece from the Canaanite royal palace at Megiddo shows the king on his throne before an official/priest, musician and soldier. To the right a charioteer escorts bound prisoners. This piece was dated at about 1200 BC, a couple centuries after the great battle, but it gives us an idea of the weaponery and dress of the period. Meggido was one of the largest and most powerful Canaaite cities at a time when the Jews were moving into the area. The conflict is described in the Bible (books of Judges and Kings).

Some historians point to Megiddo as the first battle recorded in detail by history. Megiddo is one of the most fought over places in the world. It is located in central Palestine on the plain of Esdraelon (Valley of Jezreel). Megiddo'is located on a strategic position commanding the Via Maris, one of the principal trade routes between Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia. Remains at the site have been dated to 3000 BC. It is likely that battles were fought there before the 1479 battle. The first recorded battle in history involved an invasion by Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III. The Pharaoh marched east against the king of Kadesh in Palestine who had organized a revolt against Egypt. This Canaanite coalition had received aid from the Mitanni Empire hich was developing vassal city-states encroaching upon areas previously controlled by Egypt (15th century BC). The king of Kadesh and his allies took up positions in Megiddo, a strong fortress controlling invasion and trade routes north to Lebanon and east to the Euphrates. Megiddo sat on a height where the road emerged from the narrow Aruna Pass into the wide Plain of Esdraelon. Tuthmosis less than a year after becoming Pharaoh moved against the Canaanites. He marched from the border fortress of Sileh along the Sinai road called the "Ways of Horus" to Gaza. This was the main Egyptian strong poinnt in Canaan. Along the way he besiged Jaffa leaving forces there under general Djehuty. His slow march suggest that the Canaanite alliance had considerable support even in the south. Megiddo is also mentioned in the Bible, but centuries later. Babylon was a new empire that arose in western Asia centered on the ancient city with the decline of the Assyrian Empire, The Babylonian Empire gradually expanded and defeated the Assyrians. The Jews under their king Josiah were Assyrian alliess. The Egyptiansdispatched troops to assist the Babylonians, but Josiah and the Jews at the battle of Megiddo blocked the Egyptian column (609). The Babylonians even without Egyptian assistance defeated the Assyrians . Babylonian became the dominant power in western Asia. It was at Meggido that of Sisera's host were defeated (Jud. 5:20). Here Gideon's 300 chosen men surprised and routed them on the northern plain (Jud. 7). Several other battles recorded in the Bible occurred here. Meggido is btter known to Biblical scholars as in the New Testament it is reffered to as Armageddon,. (Saint John took the Hebrew for Mount Megiddo, Har Megiddo.) The book of Revelation profesizes that this will be the location of the last great battle which will be fought by the forces of good and evil. Field Marshall Edmund Allenby in World War II commanded Australian cavalry and Indian infantry up the Aruna Pass to surprise and defeat the Turks occupying the heights of ancient Megiddo.


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Created: 10:50 AM 3/3/2017
Last updated: 10:50 AM 3/3/2017