Issue P011 of 6 October 2001

The Quetesh Stele

Steve Whittet
Independent Scholar

I have been looking at an Egyptian stele, [1] where Egypt and Syria are shown brought together [2] by Quetesh (goddess of the high waters) to share a border [3] at Kadesh in the mountains above the lands of El under the auspices of the Goddess Anat

Abover her head is the inscription
[k:t:nu  i(rt  t :k33 kn]
(ktnu uraeus tkaakn)                   (High goddess of the high place)[4]

On Respu's side
[anpu det god det the thing itself]    (Anpu the god himself)
[a:hotep:h ptnu hk3k:pdt]              (thanks the skys rulers(goddesses) for protection)
[netru det goddess det plural]

On Mins side
[min det god wr ak k3 swt ty f A
at hotep pt hr det the thing itself]
                                        (min the great god rejoices,
                                        from his double plumes,
                                        the heavens reward my face)

Above the serving girls bringing provisions to Anat
[rdi det give ]                         (give)
[ti:ta det goddess]                      the land of the goddess
[snk knskadet the thing itself]          sustenence (suckel)
[tApt   Anat]                            (this heavenly Anat)
[N:t det plural ]                        (rain down from on high)
[sw det people]                          the peoples 
[w3d f]                                  (make green)
[nbt tprdet  the thing itself
tuy det people]                          (every house of this people)
[sa fn] (every son of Syria's)
[ay det peoples lands]                   (peoples lands)

Above Anat
[antat]                                   (Anat)
[Uraus nbt]                               every goddess
[nbht][netru]                             in heaven
                                          Behind her
                                          strength control
                                          the lands

This is very similar to the form of a kuduru. [6]


[1] Qetesh

[2] A good image of the goddess Qetesh shows her standing on a lion facing the viewer (head of Hathor) flanked by Min of Egypt and Reshpu of Syria holding a lotus out to Min and oppies? to Reshpu above the court of Anat

[3]Joshua:11 and Judges:IV connections to the Egyptian account of the battle of Kadesh

A. ) In the Egyptian and Hittite and Biblical accounts of the Battle of Kadesh the Hittites have allies among the Syrians living among the Hittites in the region of Kadesh at the time in question.

B.) The accounts describe an ambush of the Egyptians when they were strung out in long lines of chariots in the mountains

C.) This kind of territory is extremely bad ground for chariots.

D.) Qetesh-Anat might be associated with Kadesh-Anath.

E.) The gods and goddesses of the plague seem to exist among the Sumerians, Hittites, Mycenean Greeks,Mittani, Canaanites, Israelites and Egyptians

F.) Kadesh in the mountains (north of Hazor)

G.) The Kadesh mentioned in the campaigns of Thutmosis I and III and Seti I is in the mountains

H.) The Kadesh mentioned in Joshua:11 and Judges:4 is near a shrine to Anat on Mt Tabor.

I.) The towns Merom, (Meri-Amon), Kadesh, Beth Shean, Yenoam, Hamath, Asteroth, Shilo, Hazor and Shabtuna, mentioned in the accounts of Ramesses II, Seti I, Joshua:11 and Judges:4 are all a part of the region which worships Qetesh and Anat

[4] Qetesh, the lady of heaven, is associated with holyness, high waters, the bamath and purification

A.) Her shrine is at the common source of the Jordan and Orontes

B.) This source of two rivers is the border of
       1.) upper renu and the djadi,
       2.) the lands of Syria and Canaan,
       3.) the territory of the Hittites, their vassals the Mittani and Egypt,
       4.) the border of the tribe of Naphtali
C.) (the symbol of two rivers, (figures holding a vase from which two rivers flow)
       1.)the Tigris and Euphrates (Gudea of Lagash)
       2.)the common source of the Orontes and Jordan (Venus of Mari)

[5] In Egyptian the letter L is a lion, but this is also a symbol of Israel.

[6] kuduru: (a list of gods used to mark a border)


The Setting of the Battle

A.) In the time of Tuthmosis I the Egyptians had made incursions into Upper Retnu or Syria as far north as the Euphrates.

B.) By the time of the Armana letters Egyptian vassals like Lab'ayu are engaged in giving over cities like Shechem to the Apiru' and the problems with Lab'ayu and his sons extend over all of Canaan as far south as Beth Shean including Hamath, Meggido, Gezer, Beth Shean, Shechem, Jehrico and Jerusalem.

C.) By the time of Ramesses and the battle of Kadesh the Egyptians had lost Syria and are engaged primarily in campaigns in the Djadi or Canaan

D.) By the time of Merenpthah c 1224-1214 BC the Sea People are established as far south as the Libyan coast and attacking the Egyptian Delta

E.) Merenptah boasts of having destroyed Israel, yet by the 20th Dynasty Egypt is being administered by the Libyan sea people known as the Meshwesh (often abreviated to ma, the Hittite word for man)

F.) After c 1200 BC Homers Iliad and Odyssey place Greeks like Menealaus in Egypt and indeed the Greeks and later the Phoenicians did begin to establish emporia and colonies in Egypt and Libya at places like Sais, and Corona

The Broader Time Frame in Terms of Egyptian Chronology

A.) c 1628 BC Thera erupts, Greeks or Proto Greeks begin showing up on the Palestinian coast
      Between c 1640 and c 1532 we have the Second Intermediate Period
      Between c 1585 and c 1532 we have the 15th Dynasty which is the Hyksos
      Between c 1550 and c 1307 we have the 18th Dynasty and chariot warfare in Syria
      c 1285  we have the battle of Kadesh, a chariot battle in the mountains of Syria
      c 1214 we have the "sea people" invading Egypt.

B.) It might appear that the erruption of Thera introduces the Hyksos period while the expulsion of the Hyksos is continued by a series of campaigns into Upper Retnu and the Djadi throughout the 18th Dynasty.

C.) By the time of Wen Amon Egyptians are encountering Peleset and Tjeker enroute to Byblos to buy Cedar.

The Hyksos Period

A.) Perhaps we should briefly consider what leads up to the Hyksos period. In the 11th Dynasty Egypt is ruled from Thebes by the (Antefs)|'s and in the 12th Dynasty c 1991-1783 BC by the (Amen em hat)|'s. The 11th Dynasty rulers cartouches include the antef glyph which consists of the legs of a man walking. Interestingly, this is also the glyph of a Hittite storm god. The Antef glyph last occurs in a 13th Dynasty Egyptian cartouch c 1750 BC. In the Hyksos period a homogeneous trading culture extends from Egypt to Mesopotamia.

B.) Between the 11th and 18th Dynasty in Egypt we have a number of emporia or trading cities established in the Nile Delta . Gradually, the trading interests appear to become so powerful in Egypt that they vie with the politicians and priests for control of the nation.

The Role of Increased International Trade

A.) During the periods in which the political capital is located at Thebes, rather than in the Nile Delta, there is an increased focus on international trade paid for with the gold of the wadi Ham ma'at, and the gold or [nub] of Nubia.

B.) Increased trade across the Red Sea from Elat at the head of the gulf of Aquaba included bitumen coming from the Dead Sea, copper from the Arabah, Frankinsense from Oman, Lapis Lazuli from Afghanisttan and Myhr from Yemen or Punt. These Red Sea trade routes continue north to Kanesh.

The Expansion of Empires and the Definition of Borders

A.) In the period between c 1800 and c 1200 BC while the Hittite and Mittani empires are expanding vigorously into the lands of the Amurru the Egyptians and their holdings in Canaan seem to be driven steadily southward. Thebes trade interests are increasingly across the Red Sea and in Nubia.

B.) Egyptian campaign reports throughout the 18th dynasty refer to Kadesh in the mountains. It appears to be located at the point where the headwaters of the Jordan flow south into the djadi and the headwaters of the Orontes flow north into upper retnu.

C.) In this location the two respective watersheds serve as a natural border. Reaching the waters of the Orontes or crossing the Orontes or coming forth from the Orontes would in effect amount to crossing the border into the Hittites territory

The Players

A.) A number of city states and nations attempt to forge alliances to get control of parts of Upper Retnu or Syria between c 1800 BC and c 1200 BC.) It goes back to the alliance of shunna, Lagash, Elam Mari, and the Hittites c 1782BC

1.)Babylon, and the Hittites gain an advantage and begin to expand into Syria
2.) The Hyksos begin to wrest away control of Egypts delta

3.) Egyptians, Hurrians, Kassites, the Hittite vassals, Mittani/Washukanni, Ishuwa, Kizzuwatna, Alshe, Mukish, Niya, Nuhashe and the Amurru with their Links to Hazor and the coastal cities from Ugarit to Byblos are involved in the campaign

4.) There are international trade relations underlying the political and diplomatic struggles in the north

A.) The Syro-Anatolian/ Canaanite trade with Kanesh, in particular as regards metals.
B.) The Niya trade links between the coastal cities,
    Ugarit and Byblos with Allepo and Damascus.
C.) The Amurru trade links to the south, including Sideon, Tyre and Hazor
D.) The role of the Jordan and Orontes as trade routes.
Political developments and the definition of spheres of influence

A.) In the reign of Amenemhat I (1991-1962 BC) Sinuhe of Egypt visited the region and found it mostly inhabited by nomadic tribes

B.) The founding of Kanesh as a trading center (c 1880-1750 BC) connected trade up the Euphrates from Ashur through Haran and Carchemish to Kanesh in a period contemporary with the reigns of Samsuiluna and Shamshi-Adad

C.) Domestication of the horse: From Syro-Anatolia toIndia the domesticated horse is first utilized c 1800 BC

D.) Shamash Adad died c 1780 BC, Zimri Lin his son was conquored by Hamurapi the king of Babylon c 1757 BC

E.) Tuthmosis I (1504 -1492 BC) extended Egypts sphere of influence to the Euphrates

The Kings and States Involved c 1850 BC

A.) The mention of Syrian kings in Genesis:14. The period when the Hittites begin to emerge as a group sufficiently well organized to have a king list is the same period when Genesis 14:1 takes the opportunity to give us a list of kings.

A bit after the "first arrival of the Hebrews in Egypt" there is in Genesis 14:1 a reference to four great kings.

B.) They were Amraphael king of shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedor-laomer, king of Elam and Tidal king of the Goiim making war on Bera king of Sodom, Birsha kibg of Gomorrah, Shinab, king of Admah, and Shemeber the king of Bela or Zoar.

C.) Assuming shinar = Eshunna; and the title Amra (empowered by the sun god) is equivalent to the title Ibal (empowered by the storm god) then Amra-pha-el might be taken as Ibal-pi-el ruling c 1850-1840 BC (CAM, p 111)

D.) Assuming elLasar = el Larsa; (power of larsa) Ari-och might be taken as Sin eri-bam c 1842-1841 BC

E.) Assuming Elam = Elam; Chedor-laomer might be taken as Addah-ushu ruling at the time of Senwosret III between c 1878-1841 BC

F.) The names and dates in the king lists from Genesis:14.1 agree with the names and dates in the king lists from other sources; The Mari letters, The Armana letters CAM, Baines and Mal'ik, and the ANE

The movements of Peoples

A.) Note that at the time the Hittites are supposed to have conguered Babylon the Hittites have barely begun to establish themselves as a kingdom, let alone as an empire. In fact it is the Mittani, Assyrians and Kassites who are inheriting north western Mesopotamia, Syria and Anatolia from the Akkadians who themselves only begin emerging as a semitic rival to Sumer in Kish c 2400 BC.

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