Updated: Feb 10
The buildup to the battle of Kadesh involved his early campaigns into Canaan. This first took place in Year 4 and involved a Canaanite prince who was mortally wounded by an Egyptian archer. This Canaanite army was subsequently routed, and these princes were carried off as prisoners to Egypt. During this campaign, Ramesses II captured the Hittite vassal state of Amurru. In response, the king of the Hittites, Muwatallis II, marched south into Kadesh to confront the Egyptians.
In Year 5, Ramesses gathered together one of the greatest forces of Egyptian troops ever seen: about 20,000 men who were organized into four divisions of 5000 each, named respectively after the gods Amun, Ra, Ptah, and Seth. His chariot force numbered around 2,000. Muwatallis II assembled an even greater army with about 20,000 – 40,000 men and 3,000 chariots.