September 27th 2012

Title: The Road to Megiddo

Speaker: John Johnson

The twelfth Horus season began with an excellent talk by John Johnson ‘The Road to Megiddo’.  He traced the development of Egyptian power from its low point when the Hyksos controlled much of the land to the time when Tuthmosis III, at the battle of Megiddo, defined the boundaries of Egyptian power in Asia for the next four centuries.  The depths of John’s understanding and the quality of his research made for a very informative and enlightening evening.  It was also very accessible partly through the carefully chosen illustrations but also because John wears his scholarship lightly, and with humour makes his impressive learning highly accessible.

The blood lines of the Egyptian rulers were traced from the seventeenth dynasty pharaohs who first took the fight to the Hyksos to the three Tuthmoses who were unrelated to the first rulers of the eighteenth dynasty, Ahmose and Amenhotep I.  The tradition of brothers marrying sisters seems to have resulted in Amenhotep having no children.  He chose his successor well for both Tuthmosis I and Tuthmosis III were very able warriors able to control Nubia and take the fight to the Mitanni who were disrupting Egyptian influence in Syria/Palestine.  Tuthmosis II died young leaving the kingdom in the hands of his sister/wife Hatshepsut while the heir was a young child.

John has researched the battle of Megiddo in great detail, and we could all marvel at the way Tuthmosis overcame the logistical problems involved in a desert campaign over hundreds of miles against a very powerful enemy.  He concerned himself with everything from the construction of a more robust chariot to a new design of sandals better fitted for marching in the desert.  He proved himself to be a masterly tactician, who defied the enemy’s expectations by taking a route they had not anticipated, until they found him at their gates.  In the ensuing battle he was winning until his army let the enemy escape into the fortress by stopping to loot their discarded belongings.  There followed a long siege, until the Prince of Kadesh finally surrendered.  It was a triumph for Tuthmosis who had secured his control of the region and took back to Egypt massive quantities of gold, livestock, prisoners of war and slaves

by Mary Bonsall

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