Battle of Carchemish
|Battle of Carchemish|
|Part of the Egyptian–Babylonian wars|
part of the army of the former Assyria
|Commanders and leaders|
|Necho II||Nebuchadnezzar II|
|Casualties and losses|
When the Assyrian capital Nineveh was overrun by the Medes, Scythians, Babylonians and their allies in 612 BC, the Assyrians moved their capital to Harran. When Harran was captured by the alliance in 609 BC, the capital was once again moved, this time to Carchemish, on the Euphrates river. Egypt (a former vassal of Assyria) was allied with the Assyrian king Ashur-uballit II, and marched in 609 BC to his aid against the Babylonians.
The Egyptians and Assyrians together crossed the Euphrates and laid siege to Harran, which they failed to retake. They then retreated to north western Assyria (in what is today north eastern Syria).
The Egyptians met the full might of the Babylonian and Median army led by Nebuchadnezzar II at Carchemish where the combined Egyptian and Assyrian forces were 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.
Records of the battle
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, decisively. 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."
The battle is also mentioned and described in the Bible, in the Book of Jeremiah. The battle mentioned in 2 Chronicles 35:20-27 is not the same; the event referred to there is the Battle of Megiddo (609 BC), which occurred four years earlier, also near Carchemish (2 Chronicles 35:20).
- Horn, Siegfried H (1967). "THE BABYLONIAN CHRONICLE AND THE ANCIENT CALENDAR OF THE KINGDOM OF JUDAH". Andrews University Seminary Studies (5/1967): 20. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
- Wiseman, D. J. (1956). Chronicles of Chaldaean Kings (626-556 B.C.). British Museum: British Museum Publications, Ltd. p. 99.
- British Museum. "Cuneiform tablet with part of the Babylonian Chronicle (605-594 BC)". https://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/me/c/cuneiform_nebuchadnezzar_ii.aspx. External link in
- Grant, R.G. (2005). Battle: A Visual Journey Through 5,000 Years of Combat. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 18.
- Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq
- King, Philip J., 1993 Jeremiah: An Archaeological Companion, Westminster/John Knox Press p.22 
- Chronicle Concerning the Early Years of Nebuchadnezzar II. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
- The Bible, Jeremiah 46:3–12