The World’s First Peace Treaty

by Julian Ku

I’ve spent the last week travelling in Egypt (Failed State Rank No. 31) taking in the sights and wandering for the past few days in the Western Desert (somehow, they survive there without internet access).

Of course, during that short time, there have been violent clashes between the government and opposition protesters, the government claims to have killed the individual responsible for the recent terrorist attacks in the Sinai, and who knows what else?

I am tempted offer some important insights about Egypt and Arab culture and the future of the Middle East, but let me save those insights for some other time (say, after I leave the reach of Egyptian secret police). For now, let me share a picture of what may be the world’s first written peace treaty between Ramses II and the Hittites and set down on a wall of the Temple of Karnak in Luxor (ca. 1300 B.C.). No doubt you are wondering what it says (I have no idea). If I could read it, the obvious question that comes to mind – is this treaty self-executing?

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