Har Megiddo or Tel Megiddo are names for the Megiddo city mound. Har Megiddo gave us the word Armageddon, the supposed site of the end of world battle from the book of Revelations in the Bible.
A Tell or Tel, is the usual name for the structure. What looks like a natural hill is in fact the remains of human occupation. A town is built on the plain using mud brick. Over time the bricks crumble and new houses are built on top of the old ones. After centuries of occupation the town rises above the plain.
Megiddo was the site of the first reliably recorded battle in history on this day in 1457 BCE. The Egyptians, led by Pharaoh Thutmose III defeated the Canaanite army led by the King of Kadesh.
It is the first battle to record a casualty list. The first recorded use of the compound bow. And the first recorded battle in the area that has recorded the greatest density of battles of any place in the world.
The land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and from Antioch in the North to the Sinai and Aqaba in the South. This narrow corridor is the primary highway for land movements between Africa, Europe and Asia. Anyone controlling this land can benefit from imports, exports and innovations of three continents. They can strategically control access from continent to continent.
Amenhotep fought campaigns here. The Israelites fought the Canaanites. Ramses the Great fought the Hittites here in the huge chariot battle of Kadesh. The Egyptians sacked Jerusalem in the reigns of Pharaoh Sheshonk and King Rehoboam. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged Jerusalem. Alexander the Great besieged Tyre. The Seleucids fought an elephant and phalanx battle against the Ptolomies at Raphia in the modern Gaza strip. The Maccabees fought the Seleucids.
The Romans fought there, including emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Vespasian and Titus. The Arabs drove out the Byzantines. The Crusaders drove out the Arabs. The Mamelukes drove out the Crusaders. Napoleon fought the Mamelukes here. Then the Turks drove out the Mamelukes. The British drove out the Turks in World War 1. They fought the Vichy French in World War 2. The Israelis then drove out the British. The Egyptians, the Syrians, the Jordanians, the Palestinians, the Iranians, the Iraqis and the Lebanese have all tried to drive out the Israelis. They fought the war of 1948. Then the British and the French invaded Suez. This was followed by the six day war, the Yom Kippur war, the South Lebanon war, the Intifada, the second Intifada.
If you Google the name of a town in this area of the world with the words “Battle of” in front of it, Google will ask “Which Battle?”
The battles I have mentioned here are only the really famous ones. There are many, many more. Armageddon indeed!