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The battle and siege of Megiddo: c.1469 BC

Thutmose marches his army north up the coast at an impressive speed, in daily stages of between 10 and 15 miles (16-24 km). When he strikes inland, there are three routes through the mountains to the enemy's encampment near Megiddo. He takes the most difficult and the most improbable - a defile so narrow that in places two chariots cannot move abreast in it. He duly takes the enemy by surprise. By the time they come forward to meet him, his troops are deployed across the plain in front of Megiddo. They reach to each side of the valley. The pharaoh commands from the centre in his chariot.

A quick glance and a brief skirmish is enough to convince the enemy. Leaving just 83 dead and 340 prisoners, they withdraw to the safety of Megiddo.

The walls of Megiddo are too strong for Thutmose to storm or undermine. Instead, constructing a line of defence around the town to prevent any rescue attempt, he waits. He has to wait for seven months, because there is a good supply of water within the walls. But eventually the leaders within the town send their children out as hostages and beg for mercy.

Thutmose lifts the siege, having made his point and extended the borders of Egyptian control (they stretch further afield at this time than at any other). The benefit of the campaign also includes one extremely valuable commodity, worth recording in precise detail in the temple inscription. The pharaoh brings home 2041 of the enemy's horses.

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