The Battle of Megiddo was fought between Egyptian forces under the command of Pharaoh Thutmose III and a large rebellious coalition of Canaanite vassal states led by the king of Kadesh. It is the first battle to have been recorded in what is accepted as relatively reliable detail. Megiddo is also the first recorded use of the composite bow and the first body count. All details of the battle come from Egyptian sources—primarily the hieroglyphic writings on the Hall of Annals in the Temple of Amun-Re at Karnak, Thebes (now Luxor), by the military scribe Tjaneni. The ancient Egyptian account gives the date of the battle as the 21st day of the first month of the third season of Year 23 of the reign of Thutmose III. It has been claimed that this was April 16, 1457, BC, according to the Middle Chronology, although other publications place the battle in 1482 BC or 1479 BC. The Egyptians routed the Canaanite forces, which fled to safety in the city of Megiddo. Their action resulted in the lengthy siege of Megiddo.

Annals of Thutmose III During Thutmose III’s first campaign in the Levant, his personal scribe, Tjaneni, kept a daily journal on parchment. In approximately his 42nd regnal year, many years after his campaigns in the Levant had ended, Thutmose III instructed his artisans to inscribe his military exploits into the walls of Amun-Re’s temple at Karnak. The annals describe in lavish detail 14 campaigns led by Thutmose III in the Levant, the booty gained through his campaigning, tribute received from conquered regions, and, lastly, offerings to Amun-Re. The sequence of depictions indicates the New Kingdom’s belief on the interactions of the gods with warfare: praise and offerings to the deities in exchange for their divine help in war. Additionally, the annals show the long-lasting effects of the battle of Megiddo. After Thutmose III’s victory at Megiddo and his successful campaigns in the Levant over the next 20 years, Egypt’s rise to power in the international community and its evolution into an empire is evident in the annals. Depictions show international diplomacy through the giving of gifts from Babylon, the Hittite Empire, and other prominent and powerful regions during this time period.

Campaign against the kingdoms of Canaan Pharaoh Thutmose III began a reign in which the Egyptian Empire reached its greatest expanse by reinforcing the long-standing Egyptian presence in the Levant. After waiting impatiently for the end of his regency by the Egyptian Pharaoh Hatshepsut, he immediately responded to a revolt of local rulers near Kadesh in the vicinity of modern-day Syria. As Egyptian buffer provinces in the land of the Amurru along the border with the Hittites attempted to change their vassalage, Thutmose III dealt with the threat personally. The Canaanites are thought to have been allied with the Mitanni and Amurru from the region of the two rivers between the headwaters of the Orontes and the Jordan. The driving and main force behind this revolt was the King of Kadesh.