Monday 14 November 2022

Megiddo 1457 BC - Through the Aruna pass

Historical Background

In the first year of his reign the young pharaoh Thutmose III. was confronted by a large revolt in the northern provinces of Egypt (mostly modern day Syria and northern Israel) under the leadership of the king of Kadesh. The pharaoh decided to crush the uprising in person to stabilize his own position and lead his army north to Megiddo, the center of the revolt. In front of the city lays the Carmel mountain range, which blocks the way. There were three possible routes, to the east or the west of the mountains or - the most dangerous - through the small Aruna pass directly over the mountains. As Thutmose predicted that the easy paths around were blocked by the enemy he decided for the gamble on the direct route. The pass is very narrow and the Egyptian army had to cross it partly in single file for several hours, with the danger of getting ambushed every second. But it didn't happen. So the Egyptians come out of the mountain directly in front of Megiddo, where only a part of the enemy army was around - the blocking forces still on the other routes. The resulting battle was a victory for Thutmose but not a total one, so the city had to be put under siege, which lasted for several months. Finally Megiddo capitulated and the pharaoh showed considerable mercy when not killing the enemy leaders.

The moment depicted is the march of the heavy Egyptian infantry through the narrow defiles of the Aruna pass. Every moment the enemy can appear and defeat the army in detail.

The diorama

The figures are from Zvezda, the mule from Matchbox. As I had only 4 infantry poses available a little creativity was necassary to achieve a satisfying marching column. Much is unclear about this battle, even the exact year (also possible 1482 or 1479 BC). The equipment of the heavy infantry was maybe somewhat lighter - without upper body armour, which was slowly beginning to appear. The famous striped head cloth (Nemes) was definitely a later invention and had to be removed on every single figure.

The groundwork was made of plaster, MIG light earth ground, gravel, coffee powder, some colour variations, Faller grass and a little reindeer moss.

Photos (click to enlarge)

Video (Youtube)


Mark Healy - Quadesh 1300 BC (Osprey Campaign 22)
Mark Healy - New kingdom Egypt (Osprey Elite 40)
Terence Wise - Ancient armies of the middle east (Osprey Men-at-Arms 109)
Nic Fields - Bronze age war chariots (Osprey New Vanguard 119)
Nic Fields - Soldier of the Pharaoh (Osprey Warrior 121)
S. Anglim, ... - Fighting techniques of the ancient world 3000 BC - 500 AD