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Mursilis II

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Mursilis II, also spelled Mursili II was a king of the Hittite Empire between 1321 BCE and 1295 BCE according to the Short Chronology.

Mursilis II was a king of the Hittite Empire who reigned from approximately 1321 to 1295 BCE. His reign is notable for its military campaigns, consolidation of Hittite power, and interactions with contemporary powers, including ancient Egypt. Mursilis II succeeded his father, Suppiluliuma I, and worked to strengthen the empire during a period of considerable geopolitical change in the Near East.


  1. Hittite Empire:

    • The Hittite Empire was centered in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) and became one of the dominant powers in the Near East during the Late Bronze Age.
    • The empire reached its peak under Suppiluliuma I, who expanded Hittite influence through military conquests and diplomatic marriages.
  2. Family and Lineage:

    • Mursilis II was the son of Suppiluliuma I and succeeded his older brother, Arnuwanda II, who had a short and relatively uneventful reign.
    • His ascent to the throne was marked by a series of military challenges and the need to consolidate his father’s conquests.

Reign of Mursilis II

  1. Military Campaigns:

    • Mursilis II is known for his numerous military campaigns, particularly against the Kaska people in the north, who were a constant threat to the Hittite heartland.
    • He also conducted campaigns in Arzawa in western Anatolia and reinforced Hittite control over Syria, which included key cities like Carchemish and Aleppo.
  2. Consolidation and Administration:

    • Mursilis II focused on consolidating the Hittite Empire’s territories and reorganizing its administrative structure to ensure effective governance.
    • He was diligent in maintaining detailed records of his military campaigns and administrative activities, which provide valuable historical insights.

Interactions with Ancient Egypt

  1. Diplomatic Relations:

    • The Hittite Empire and Egypt were two of the major powers in the Near East, and their interactions were often marked by both conflict and diplomacy.
    • Mursilis II's reign followed a period of intense rivalry between the Hittites and Egyptians, particularly in the region of Canaan and Syria.
  2. Correspondence and Treaties:

    • Although direct correspondence between Mursilis II and the Egyptian pharaohs of his time is not well-documented, the broader context of Hittite-Egyptian relations during this period involved complex diplomatic interactions.
    • These interactions culminated in the famous Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BCE, during the reign of Mursilis II's successor, Muwatalli II, and the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II. The battle ended in a stalemate but eventually led to the first known peace treaty in history.
  3. Military Conflicts:

    • The Hittite expansion into Syria and their control over key city-states often brought them into direct conflict with Egyptian interests in the region.
    • The Hittites and Egyptians vied for control over strategic locations and trade routes, leading to periodic military confrontations.

Achievements and Contributions

  1. Cultural and Religious Reforms:

    • Mursilis II is known for his religious devotion and efforts to restore and maintain the worship of traditional Hittite gods. He conducted rituals and built temples to appease the gods, which he believed were essential for the prosperity and stability of his reign.
    • His detailed annals and records of prayers, known as the "Plague Prayers," provide insights into his personal piety and the Hittite religious practices of the time.
  2. Historical Records:

    • Mursilis II left behind extensive records of his reign, including military campaigns, administrative reforms, and religious activities. These records are among the most detailed and valuable sources of information about the Hittite Empire.
    • His annals, written in Hittite cuneiform, are a crucial source for understanding the history and culture of the Hittites.

Legacy and Impact

  1. Historical Significance:

    • Mursilis II’s reign is significant for the consolidation and expansion of the Hittite Empire, as well as for his efforts to stabilize and administer the empire effectively.
    • His military campaigns and administrative reforms helped to secure the Hittite Empire’s dominance in Anatolia and Syria, setting the stage for subsequent rulers.
  2. Diplomatic Influence:

    • The interactions between the Hittites and Egyptians during and after Mursilis II’s reign had long-lasting implications for Near Eastern politics. The eventual peace treaty between the two powers is a testament to the complex and evolving nature of their relationship.
    • His reign contributed to the diplomatic and military history of the Late Bronze Age, influencing the balance of power in the region.


Mursilis II, who reigned from approximately 1321 to 1295 BCE, was a significant ruler of the Hittite Empire known for his military prowess, administrative reforms, and religious devotion. His reign involved extensive military campaigns to secure and expand Hittite territories, particularly against the Kaska in the north and in Syria. While direct interactions with Egypt during his reign are not extensively documented, the broader context of Hittite-Egyptian relations included rivalry and diplomacy, culminating in the Battle of Kadesh during his successor's reign. Mursilis II's detailed records and annals provide valuable insights into the Hittite Empire's history and his legacy as a stabilizing and consolidating force in the Late Bronze Age Near East.

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