The ‘Eternal Treaty’ from the Hittite perspective

Trevor Bryce

In 1259 BC, 15 years after the battle of Kadesh, the Hittite king Hattusili III drew up with the pharaoh Ramesses II a treaty intended to establish 'peace and brotherhood' between the two Great Kings forever. Yet the royal brothers' declarations of love and esteem for each other did little to disguise the hostility and mistrust which characterized their relationship. There were a number of specific as well as more general reasons for this.

So why did the Great Kings establish an alliance? At least in Hattusili's case, the motives were as much personal as they were political or diplomatic. The purpose of this paper is firstly to examine afresh the relationship between the treaty-partners in the years leading up to and following the treaty, and secondly to investigate what the underlying reasons were for concluding such a treaty.

My emphasis will be primarily on the Hittite king's motives, which will be discussed particularly in the light of a number of relatively recent developments in the field of Hittite studies.

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To reference this article we suggest
Bryce, T., 'The 'Eternal Treaty' from the Hittite perspective', BMSAES 6 (2006), 1-11, http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/bmsaes/issue6/bryce.html

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