UARDA - VOLUME 9.
UARDA - VOLUME 9.
Once or twice Pentaur and his companions had had to defend themselves
against hostile mountaineers who rushed suddenly upon them out of the
woods. When they were about two days' journey still from the end of
their march they had a bloody skirmish with a roving band of men that
seemed to belong to a larger detachment of troops.
The nearer they got to Kadesh the more familiar Kaschta showed himself
with every stock and stone and he went forward to obtain information; he
returned somewhat anxious for he had perceived the main body of the
Cheta army on the road which they must cross. How came the enemy here in
the rear of the Egyptian army? Could Rameses have sustained a defeat?
Only the day before they had met some Egyptian soldiers who had told
them that the king was staying in the camp and a great battle was
impending. This however could not have by this time been decided and
they had met no flying Egyptians.
"If we can only get two miles farther without having to fight" said
Uarda's father. "I know what to do. Down below there is a ravine and
from it a path leads over hill and vale to the plain of Kadesh. No one
ever knew it but the Mohar and his most confidential servants. About
half-way there is a hidden cave in which we have often stayed the whole
day long. The Cheta used to believe that the Mohar possessed magic
powers and could make himself invisible for when they lay in wait for
us on the way we used suddenly to vanish; but certainly not into the
clouds only into the cave which the Mohar used to call his Tuat. If
you are not afraid of a climb and will lead your horse behind you for a
mile or two I can show you the way and to-morrow evening we will be at
Pentaur let his guide lead the way; they came without having occasion to
fight as far as the gorge between the hills through which a full and
foaming mountain torrent rushed to the valley. Kaschta dropped from his
horse and the others did the same. After the horses had passed through
the water he carefully effaced their tracks as far as the road then for
about half a mile he ascended the valley against the stream. At last he
stopped in front of a thick oleander-bush looked carefully about and
lightly pushed it aside; when he had found an entrance his companions
and their weary scrambling beasts followed him without difficulty and
they presently found themselves in a grove of lofty cedars. Now they had
to squeeze themselves between masses of rock now they labored up and
down over smooth pebbles which offered scarcely any footing to the
horses' hoofs; now they had to push their way through thick brushwood
and now to cross little brooks swelled by the winter-rains.
The road became more difficult at every step then it began to grow dark
and heavy drops of rain fell from the clouded sky.
"Make haste and keep close to me" cried Kaschta. "Half an hour more
and we shall be under shelter if I do not lose my way."
Then a horse broke down and with great difficulty was got up again; the
rain fell with increased violence the night grew darker and the soldier
often found himself brought to a stand-still feeling for the path with
his hands; twice he thought he had lost it but he would not give in till
he had recovered the track. At last he stood still and called Pentaur
to come to him.
"Hereabouts" said he "the cave must be; keep close to me--it is
possible that we may come upon some of the pioneer's people. Provisions
and fuel were always kept here in his father's time. Can you see me?
Hold on to my girdle and bend your head low till I tell you you may
stand upright again. Keep your axe ready we may find some of the Cheta
or bandits roosting there. You people must wait we will soon call you
to come under shelter."
Pentaur closely followed his guide pushing his way through the dripping
brushwood crawling through a low passage in the rock and at last
emerging on a small rocky plateau.
"Take care where you are going!" cried Kaschta. "Keep to the left to
the right there is a deep abyss. I smell smoke! Keep your hand on your
axe there must be some one in the cave. Wait! I will fetch the men as
far as this."
The soldier went back and Pentaur listened for any sounds that might
come from the same direction as the smoke. He fancied he could perceive
a small gleam of light and he certainly heard quite plainly first a
tone of complaint then an angry voice; he went towards the light
feeling his way by the wall on his left; the light shone broader and
brighter and seemed to issue from a crack in a door.
By this time the soldier had rejoined Pentaur and both listened for a
few minutes; then the poet whispered to his guide:
"They are speaking Egyptian I caught a few words."
"All the better" said Kaschta. "Paaker or some of his people are in
there; the door is there still and shut. If we give four hard and
three gentle knocks it will be opened. Can you understand what they are
"Some one is begging to be set free" replied Pentaur "and speaks of
some traitor. The other has a rough voice and says he must follow his
master's orders. Now the one who spoke before is crying; do you hear?
He is entreating him by the soul of his father to take his fetters off.
How despairing his voice is! Knock Kaschta--it strikes me we are come
at the right moment--knock I say."
The soldier knocked first four times then three times. A shriek rang
through the cave and they could hear a heavy rusty bolt drawn back the
roughly hewn door was opened and a hoarse voice asked:
"Is that Paaker?"
"No" answered the soldier "I am Kaschta. Do not you know me again
The man thus addressed who was Paaker's Ethiopian slave drew back in
"Are you still alive?" he exclaimed. "What brings you here?"
"My lord here will tell you" answered Kaschta as he made way for Pentaur
to enter the cave. The poet went up to the black man and the light of
the fire which burned in the cave fell full on his face.
The old slave stared at him and drew back in astonishment and terror.
He threw himself on the earth howled like a dog that fawns at the feet
of his angry master and cried out:
"He ordered it--Spirit of my master! he ordered it." Pentaur stood
still astounded and incapable of speech till he perceived a young man
who crept up to him on his hands and feet which were bound with thongs
and who cried to him in a tone in which terror was mingled with a
tenderness which touched Pentaur's very soul.
"Save me--Spirit of the Mohar! save me father!" Then the poet spoke.
"I am no spirit of the dead" said he. "I am the priest Pentaur; and I
know you boy; you are Horus Paaker's brother who was brought up with
me in the temple of Seti."
The prisoner approached him trembling looked at him enquiringly and
"Be you who you may you are exactly like my father in person and in
voice. Loosen my bonds and listen to me for the most hideous
atrocious and accursed treachery threatens us the king and all."
Pentaur drew his sword and cut the leather thongs which bound the young
man's hands and feet. He stretched his released limbs uttering thanks
to the Gods then he cried:
"If you love Egypt and the king follow me; perhaps there is yet time to
hinder the hideous deed and to frustrate this treachery."
"The night is dark" said Kaschita "and the road to the valley is
"You must follow me if it is to your death!" cried the youth and
seizing Pentaur's hand he dragged him with him out of the cave.
As soon as the black slave had satisfied himself that Pentaur was the
priest whom he had seen fighting in front of the paraschites' hovel and
not the ghost of his dead master he endeavored to slip past Paaker's
brother but Horus observed the manoeuvre and seized him by his woolly
hair. The slave cried out loudly and whimpered out:
"If thou dost escape Paaker will kill me; he swore he would."
"Wait!" said the youth. He dragged the slave back flung him into the
cave and blocked up the door with a huge log which lay near it for that
When the three men had crept back through the low passage in the rocks
and found themselves once more in the open air they found a high wind
"The storm will soon be over" said Horus. "See how the clouds are
driving! Let us have horses Pentaur for there is not a minute to be
The poet ordered Kaschta to summon the people to start but the soldier
"Men and horses are exhausted" he said "and we shall get on very slowly
in the dark. Let the beasts feed for an hour and the men get rested and
warm; by that time the moon will be up and we shall make up for the
delay by having fresh horses and light enough to see the road."
"The man is right" said Horus; and he led Kaschta to a cave in the
rocks where barley and dates for the horses and a few jars of wine had
been preserved. They soon had lighted a fire and while some of the men
took care of the horses and others cooked a warm mess of victuals Horus
and Pentaur walked up and down impatiently.
"Had you been long bound in those thongs when we came?" asked Pentaur.
"Yesterday my brother fell upon me" replied Horus. "He is by this
time a long way ahead of us and if he joins the Cheta and we do not
reach the Egyptian camp before daybreak all is lost."
"Paaker then is plotting treason?"
"Treason the foulest blackest treason!" exclaimed the young man.
"Oh my lost father!--"
"Confide in me" said Pentaur going up to the unhappy youth who had
hidden his face in his hands. "What is Paaker plotting? How is it that
your brother is your enemy?"
"He is the elder of us two" said Horus with a trembling voice. "When my
father died I had only a short time before left the school of Seti and
with his last words my father enjoined me to respect Paaker as the head
of our family. He is domineering and violent and will allow no one's
will to cross his; but I bore everything and always obeyed him often
against my better judgment. I remained with him two years then I went
to Thebes and there I married and my wife and child are now living
there with my mother. About sixteen months afterwards I came back to
Syria and we travelled through the country together; but by this time I
did not choose to be the mere tool of my brother's will for I had grown
prouder and it seemed to me that the father of my child ought not to be
subservient even to his own brother. We often quarrelled and had a bad
time together and life became quite unendurable when--about eight weeks
since--Paaker came back from Thebes and the king gave him to understand
that he approved more of my reports than of his. From my childhood I
have always been softhearted and patient; every one says I am like my
mother; but what Paaker made me suffer by words and deeds that is--I
could not--" His voice broke and Pentaur felt how cruelly he had
suffered; then he went on again:
"What happened to my brother in Egypt I do not know for he is very
reserved and asks for no sympathy either in joy or in sorrow; but from
words he has dropped now and then I gather that he not only bitterly
hates Mena the charioteer--who certainly did him an injury--but has some
grudge against the king too. I spoke to him of it at once but only
once for his rage is unbounded when he is provoked and after all he is
my elder brother.
"For some days they have been preparing in the camp for a decisive
battle and it was our duty to ascertain the position and strength of the
enemy; the king gave me and not Paaker the commission to prepare the
report. Early yesterday morning I drew it out and wrote it; then my
brother said he would carry it to the camp and I was to wait here. I
positively refused as Rameses had required the report at my hands and
not at his. Well he raved like a madman declared that I had taken
advantage of his absence to insinuate myself into the king's favor and
commanded me to obey him as the head of the house in the name of my
"I was sitting irresolute when he went out of the cavern to call his
horses; then my eyes fell on the things which the old black slave was
tying together to load on a pack-horse--among them was a roll of writing.
I fancied it was my own and took it up to look at it when--what should
I find? At the risk of my life I had gone among the Cheta and had found
that the main body of their army is collected in a cross-valley of the
Orontes quite hidden in the mountains to the north-east of Kadesh; and
in the roll it was stated in Paaker's own hand-writing that that valley
is clear and the way through it open and well suited for the passage of
the Egyptian war-chariots; various other false details were given and
when I looked further among his things I found between the arrows in his
quiver on which he had written 'death to Mena' another little roll of
writing. I tore it open and my blood ran cold when I saw to whom it was
"To the king of the Cheta?" cried Pentaur in excitement.
"To his chief officer Titure" continued Horus. "I was holding both the
rolls in my hand when Paaker came back into the cave. 'Traitor!' I
cried out to him; but he flung the lasso with which he had been catching
the stray horses threw it round my neck and as I fell choking on the
ground he and the black man who obeys him like a dog bound me hand and
foot; he left the old negro to keep guard over me took the rolls and
rode away. Look there are the stars and the moon will soon be up."
"Make haste men!" cried Pentaur. "The three best horses for me Horus
and Kaschta; the rest remain here."
As the red-bearded soldier led the horses forward the moon shone forth
and within an hour the travellers had reached the plain; they sprang on
to the beasts and rode madly on towards the lake which when the sun
rose gleamed before them in silvery green. As they drew near to it they
could discern on its treeless western shore black masses moving hither
and thither; clouds of dust rose up from the plain pierced by flashes of
light like the rays of the sun reflected from a moving mirror.
"The battle is begun!" cried Horus; and he fell sobbing on his horse's
"But all is not lost yet!" exclaimed the poet spurring his horse to
a final effort of strength. His companions did the same but first
Kaschta's horse fell under him then Horus's broke down.
"Help may be given by the left wing!" cried Horus. "I will run as fast
as I can on foot I know where to find them. You will easily find the
king if you follow the stream to the stone bridge. In the cross-valley
about a thousand paces farther north--to the northwest of our stronghold
--the surprise is to be effected. Try to get through and warn Rameses;
the Egyptian pass-word is 'Bent-Anat' the name of the king's favorite
daughter. But even if you had wings and could fly straight to him they
would overpower him if I cannot succeed in turning the left wing on the
rear of the enemy."
Pentaur galloped onwards; but it was not long before his horse too gave
way and he ran forward like a man who runs a race and shouted the pass-
word "Bent-Anat"--for the ring of her name seemed to give him vigor.
Presently he came upon a mounted messenger of the enemy; he struck him
down from his horse flung himself into the saddle and rushed on towards
the camp; as if he were riding to his wedding.
During the night which had proved so eventful to our friends much had
occurred in the king's camp for the troops were to advance to the long-
anticipated battle before sunrise.
Paaker had given his false report of the enemy's movements to the Pharaoh
with his own hand; a council of war had been held and each division had
received instructions as to where it was to take up its position. The
corps which bore the name of the Sungod Ra advanced from the south
[Kadesh was the chief city of the Cheta i. e. Aramaans round
which the united forces of all the peoples of western Asia had
collected. There were several cities called Kadesh. That which
frequently checked the forces of Thotmes III. may have been
situated farther to the south; but the Cheta city of Kadesh where
Rameses II. fought so hard a battle was undoubtedly on the
Orontes for the river which is depicted on the pylon of the
Ramesseum as parting into two streams which wash the walls of the
fortress is called Aruntha and in the Epos of Pentaur it is stated
that this battle took place at Kadesh by the Orontes. The name of
the city survives at a spot just three miles north of the lake of
Riblah. The battle itself I have described from the Epos of
Pentaur the national epic of Egypt. It ends with these words:
"This was written and made by the scribe Pentaur." It was so highly
esteemed that it is engraved in stone twice at Luqsor and once at
Karnak. Copies of it on papyrus are frequent; for instance papyrus
Sallier III. and papyrus Raifet--unfortunately much injured--in the
Louvre. The principal incident the rescue of the king from the
enemy is repeated at the Ramessetun at Thebes and at Abu Simbel.
It was translated into French by Vicomte E. de Rouge. The camp of
Rameses is depicted on the pylons of Luqsor and the Ramesseum.]
so as to surround the lake on the east and fall on the enemy's flank;
the corps of Seth composed of men from lower Egypt was sent on to Arnam
to form the centre; the king himself with the flower of the chariot-
guard proposed to follow the road through the valley which Paaker's
report represented as a safe and open passage to the plain of the
Orontes. Thus while the other divisions occupied the enemy he could
cross the Orontes by a ford and fall on the rear of the fortress of
Kadesh from the north-west. The corps of Amon with the Ethiopian
mercenaries were to support him joining him by another route which the
pioneer's false indications represented as connecting the line of
operations. The corps of Ptah remained as a reserve behind the left
The soldiers had not gone to rest as usual; heavily armed troops who
bore in one hand a shield of half a man's height and in the other a
scimitar or a short pointed sword guarded the camp
[Representations of Rameses' camp are preserved on the pylons of the
temple of Luxor and the Ramesseum.]
where numerous fires burned round which crowded the resting warriors.
Here a wine-skin was passed from hand to hand there a joint was roasting
on a wooden spit; farther on a party were throwing dice for the booty
they had won or playing at morra. All was in eager activity and many a
scuffle occurred amoung the excited soldiers and had to be settled by
Near the enclosed plots where the horses were tethered the smiths were
busily engaged in shoeing the beasts which needed it and in sharpening
the points of the lances; the servants of the chariot-guard were also
fully occupied as the chariots had for the most part been brought over
the mountains in detached pieces on the backs of pack-horses and asses
and now had to be put together again and to have their wheels greased.
On the eastern side of the camp stood a canopy under which the standards
were kept and there numbers of priests were occupied in their office of
blessing the warriors offering sacrifices and singing hymns and
litanies. But these pious sounds were frequently overpowered by the loud
voices of the gamblers and revellers by the blows of the hammers the
hoarse braying of the asses and the neighing of the horses. From time
to time also the deep roar of the king's war-lions
[See Diodorus 1. 47. Also the pictures of the king rushing to the
might be heard; these beasts followed him into the fight and were now
howling for food as they had been kept fasting to excite their fury.
In the midst of the camp stood the king's tent surrounded by foot and
chariot-guards. The auxiliary troops were encamped in divisions
according to their nationality and between them the Egyptian legions of
heavy-armed soldiers and archers. Here might be seen the black Ethiopian
with wooly matted hair in which a few feathers were stuck--the handsome
well proportioned "Son of the desert" from the sandy Arabian shore of the
Red Sea who performed his wild war-dance flourishing his lance with a
peculiar wriggle of his--hips pale Sardinians with metal helmets and
heavy swords--light colored Libyans with tattooed arms and ostrich-
feathers on their heads-brown bearded Arabs worshippers of the stars
inseparable from their horses and armed some with lances and some with
bows and arrows. And not less various than their aspect were the tongues
of the allied troops--but all obedient to the king's word of command.
In the midst of the royal tents was a lightly constructed temple with the
statues of the Gods of Thebes and of the king's forefathers; clouds of
incense rose in front of it for the priests were engaged from the eve of
the battle until it was over in prayers and offerings to Amon the king
of the Gods to Necheb the Goddess of victory and to Menth the God of
The keeper of the lions stood by the Pharaoh's sleeping-tent and the
tent which served as a council chamber was distinguished by the
standards in front of it; but the council-tent was empty and still while
in the kitchen-tent as well as in the wine-store close by all was in a
bustle. The large pavilion in which Rameses and his suite were taking
their evening meal was more brilliantly lighted than all the others; it
was a covered tent a long square in shape and all round it were colored
lamps which made it as light as day; a body-guard of Sardinians
Libyans and Egyptians guarded it with drawn swords and seemed too
wholly absorbed with the importance of their office even to notice the
dishes and wine-jars which the king's pages--the sons of the highest
families in Egypt--took at the tent-door from the cooks and butlers.
The walls and slanting roof of this quickly-built and movable banqueting-
hall consisted of a strong impenetrable carpet-stuff woven at Thebes
and afterwards dyed purple at Tanis by the Phoenicians. Saitic artists
had embroidered the vulture one of the forms in which Necheb appears a
hundred times on the costly material with threads of silver. The cedar-
wood pillars of the tent were covered with gold and the ropes which
secured the light erection to the tent-pegs were twisted of silk and
thin threads of silver. Seated round four tables more than a hundred
men were taking their evening meal; at three of them the generals of the
army the chief priests and councillors sat on light stools; at the
fourth and at some distance from the others were the princes of the