THOTHMES THE THIRD AND AMENHOTEP THE SECOND.
No sooner had Thothmes III. burst the leading-strings in which his sister had held him for above twenty years, then he showed the metal of which he was made by at once placing himself at the head of his troops, and marching into Asia. Persuaded that the great god, Ammon, had promised him a long career of victory, he lost no time in setting to work to accomplish his glorious destiny. Starting from an Egyptian post on the Eastern frontier, called Garu or Zalu, in the month of February, he took his march along the ordinary coast route, and in a short time reached Gaza, the strong Philistine city, which was already a fortress of repute, and regarded as “the key of Syria.” The day of his arrival was the anniversary of his coronation, and according to his reckoning the first day of his twenty-third year. Gaza made no resistance: its chief was friendly to the Egyptians, and gladly opened his gates to the invading army. Having rested at Gaza no more than a single night, Thothmes resumed his march, and continuing to skirt the coast, arrived on the eleventh day at a fortified town called Jaham, probably Jamnia. Here he was met by his scouts, who brought the intelligence that the enemy was collected at Megiddo, on the edge of the great plain of Esdraelon, the ordinary battle-field of the Palestinian nations. They consisted of “all the people dwelling between the river of Egypt on the one hand and the land of Naharain (Mesopotamia) on the other.” At their head was the king of Kadesh, a great city on the upper Orontes, which afterwards became one of the chief seats of the Hittite power, but was at this time in the possession of the Rutennu (Syrians). They were strongly posted at the mouth of a narrow pass, behind the ridge of hills which connects Carmel with the Samaritan upland, and Thothmes was advised by his captains to avoid a direct attack, and march against them by a circuitous route, which was undefended. But the intrepid warrior scorned this prudent counsel. “His generals,” he said, “might take the roundabout road, if they liked; he would follow the straight one.” The event justified his determination. Megiddo was reached in a week without loss or difficulty, and a great battle was fought in the fertile plain to the north-west of the fortress, in which the Egyptian king was completely victorious, and his enemies were scattered like chaff before him. The Syrians must have fled precipitately at the first attack; for they lost in killed no more than eighty-three, and in prisoners no more than two hundred and forty, or according to another account three hundred and forty, while the chariots taken were nine hundred and twenty-four, and the captured horses 2,132. Megiddo was near at hand, and the bulk of the fugitives would reach easily the shelter of its walls. Others may have dispersed themselves among the mountains. The