Battle of Carchemish

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Battle of Carchemish
Part of the Egyptian-Babylonian wars
Date c. 605 BC
Location Carchemish
Result Decisive Babylonian victory. End of Egyptian intervention in the Near East.
Belligerents
Egypt
part of the army of the former Assyria
Babylonia
Commanders and leaders
Necho II Nebuchadnezzar II

The Battle of Carchemish was fought about 605 BC[1][2][3] between the allied armies of Egypt and former Assyria against Babylonia.

Background[edit]

When the Assyrian capital Nineveh was overrun by the Babylonians in 612 BC[citation needed], the Assyrians moved their capital to Harran. When Harran was captured by the Babylonians in 610 BC[citation needed], the capital was once again moved, this time to Carchemish, on the Euphrates river. Egypt was allied with the Assyrian king Ashur-uballit II, and marched in 609 BC[citation needed] to his aid against the Babylonians.

The Egyptian army of Pharaoh Necho II was delayed at Megiddo by the forces of King Josiah of Judah. Josiah was killed and his army was defeated. The dead body of Josiah was delivered to Jerusalem immediately and buried according to the customs of Judah's kings, near the grave of King David.

The Egyptians and Assyrians together crossed the Euphrates and laid siege to Harran, which they failed to retake. They then retreated to northern Syria.

Battle[edit]

The Egyptians met the full might of the Babylonian army led by Nebuchadnezzar II at Carchemish where the combined Egyptian and Assyrian forces were soundly destroyed. Assyria ceased to exist as an independent power, and Egypt retreated and was no longer a significant force in the Ancient Near East. Babylonia reached its economic peak after 605 BC.[4]

Records of the battle[edit]

The Nebuchadnezzar Chronicle, now housed in the British Museum, claims that Nebuchadnezzar "crossed the river to go against the Egyptian army which lay in Karchemiš. They fought with each other and the Egyptian army withdrew before him. He accomplished their defeat and beat them to non-existence. As for the rest of the Egyptian army which had escaped from the defeat so quickly that no weapon had reached them, in the district of Hamath the Babylonian troops overtook and defeated them so that not a single man escaped to his own country. At that time Nebuchadnezzar conquered the whole area of Hamath."[5]

The battle is also mentioned and described in the Bible, in the Book of Jeremiah and 2 Chronicles.[6] [7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Horn, Siegfried H (1967). "THE BABYLONIAN CHRONICLE AND THE ANCIENT CALENDAR OF THE KINGDOM OF JUDAH". Andrews University Seminary Studies Journal (5/1967): page 20. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Wiseman, D. J. (1956). Chronicles of Chaldaean Kings (626-556 B.C.). British Museum: British Museum Publications, Ltd. p. 99. 
  3. ^ British Museum. "Cuneiform tablet with part of the Babylonian Chronicle (605-594 BC)". http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/me/c/cuneiform_nebuchadnezzar_ii.aspx. 
  4. ^ King, Philip J., 1993 Jeremiah: An Archaeological Companion , Westminster/John Knox Press p.22 [1]
  5. ^ Chronicle Concerning the Early Years of Nebuchadnezzar II. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  6. ^ The Bible, Jer. 46:3-12
  7. ^ The Bible, 2 Chr. 35:20-24