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Where Black
History Lives!​

The Standing on the Shoulders of Giants "Teach & Learn" Black History Curriculum​​

Specially designed for Parents, Teachers, Homeschool, or Independent Study, grades 5+


Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilization
(200,000 B.C. - 476 B.C.)

Unit 1: Class 12: Ancient Kemet (Egypt): The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 3

Pharaoh Rameses the Great, 19th Dynasty (1292-1186 BCE)

Battle of Kadesh
Pharaoh Amenhotep III, 18th Dynasty, Reign: June 1388 BC to December 1351 

They marched for two months before reaching a place where he felt confident in arranging his army in battle formation for attack on the city and waited with his Amun division for the others to catch up. At this time, two Hittite spies were captured who, under torture, gave up the location of the Hittite army which they said was nowhere near the city. Reassured, Ramesses abandoned his plans for an immediate strike and gave orders for his division to encamp and wait for the rest of the army to arrive. The Hittite army, however, was actually less than a mile away and the two spies had been purposefully sent. As Ramesses was pitching camp, the Hitties roared out from behind the walls of Kadesh and struck.

The battle is described in Ramesses accounts, Poem of Pentaur and The Bulletin, in which he relates how the Amun division was completely overrun by the Hittites and the lines were broken. The Hittite cavalry was cutting down the Egyptian infantry and survivors were scrambling for the safety of their camp. Recognizing his situation, Ramesses called upon his protector god, Amun, and fought back. According to historian Margaret Bunson:

"Ramesses brought calm and purpose to his small units and began to slice his way through the enemy in order to reach his southern forces. With only his household troops, with a few officers and followers, and with the rabble of the defeated units standing by, he mounted his chariot and discovered the extent of the forces against him. He then charged the eastern wing of the assembled foe with such ferocity that they gave way, allowing the Egyptians to escape the net which Muwatalli had cast for them (131)."

Ramesses had only just turned the tide of battle when the Ptah division arrived and he quickly ordered them to follow him in the attack. He drove the Hittites toward the Orontes River killing many of them while others drowned trying to escape. He had not considered the position his hasty charge might place him in, however, and was now caught between the Hittites and the river. All Muwatalli II needed to do to win at this point was to send his reserve troops into battle and Ramesses and his army would have been destroyed; yet, for some reason, the Hittite king did not do this. Ramesses rallied his forces and drove the Hittites from the field.

He then claimed a great victory for Egypt in that he had defeated his enemy in battle but the Battle of Kadesh nearly resulted in his defeat and death. According to his own reports, it was only owing to his own personal courage and calm in battle (and the goodwill of the gods) that he was able to turn the tide against the Hittites.

Rameses immortalized his feats at Kadesh in the Poem of Pentaur and The Bulletin in which he describes the battle as a dazzling victory for Egypt but Muwatalli II also claimed victory in that he had not lost the city to the Egyptians. The Battle of Kadesh led to the first peace treaty ever signed in the world between Ramesses II of Egypt and Muwatalli II's sucessor, Hattusili III (died 1237 BCE)of the Hittite Empire.

After the Battle of Kadesh, Ramesses devoted himself to improving Egypt's infrastructure, strengthening its borders, and commissioning vast building projects commemorating his victory of 1274 and his other accomplishments. 


The vast tomb complex known as the Ramesseum at Thebes, the temples at Abu Simbel, the hall at Karnak, the complex at Abydos and literally hundreds of other buildings, monuments, temples were all constructed by Ramesses. Many historians consider his reign the pinnacle of Egyptian art and culture and the famous Tomb of Nefertari with its wall paintings is cited as clear evidence of the truth of this claim. Nefertari was Ramesses' first wife and his favorite queen. Many depictions of Nefertari appear on temple walls and in statuary throughout his reign even though she seems to have died fairly early in their marriage (perhaps in child birth) and her tomb, even though discovered looted, was a work of art in construction and decoration.

After Nefertari, Ramesses married Istnofret and, after her death, his daughters became his consorts. Even so, the memory of Nefertari seems to have always been close in his mind in that Ramesses had her likeness engraved on walls and statuary long after he had taken other wives.

People To Know
Queen Nefertari. The twin statues depict Pharaoh Amenhotep III in a seated position, his hands resting on his knees and his gaze facing eastwards towards the river. They once stood at the entrance gate of Amenhotep's memorial temple, a massive construct built during the pharaoh's lifetime, where he was worshipped as a god-on-earth. Click for pictures and learn why they were once called the "Singing Statues." 



Page 2 of 3


Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilation

UNIT 1: CLASS 1 - Ancient Africa: The Origin of Humanity, PART 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 2 - Ancient Africa: The Origin of Humanity, PART 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 3 - The Beginnings of Civilization 
UNIT 1: CLASS 4 - Ancient Nubia/Kush (6000 B.C. – 1500) Part 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 5 - Ancient Nubia/Kush (6000 B.C. – 1500) Part 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 6 - The Whitening of Ancient Kemet/Egypt
UNIT 1: CLASS 7 - Ancient Egypt: Predynastic Period & The Old Kingdom (10,500 B.C. – 2,181 B.C.)  Part 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 8 - Ancient Egypt: The Old Kingdom & First Intermediate Period (3150 B.C. – 2055 B.C.) Part 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 9 - Ancient Egypt: The Middle Kingdom & Second Intermediary Period (2055 B.C. – 1550 B.C.) 
UNIT 1: CLASS 10 - Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 1
UNIT 1: CLASS 11 - Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 2
UNIT 1: CLASS 12 - Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 3
UNIT 1: CLASS 13 - The Queen of Sheba & Solomon (10th Century B.C. – 955 B.C.)
UNIT 1: CLASS 14 - Ancient Egypt: The 25th Nubian Dynasty & Late Period (760 B.C. – 332 B.C.) 
UNIT 1: CLASS 15 - Ancient Egypt: Greco-Roman Period (332 B.C. – 476 B.C.) 
UNIT 1: CLASS 16 - Hannibal Barca – Defender of Carthage (247 B.C. – 181/183 B.C.)