Although he only ruled for 11 years, according to Cottrell Seti I must be regarded "as one of the greatest of the Warrior Pharaohs". He obtained much distinction as a soldier and administrator, and even dated the years of his reign as renaissance. Kitchin claims Seti's overriding aim was the renewal of Egypt through following the examples of Thutmose III and Amenhotep III, and his throne name 'Men-ma-re' was a cross between these great kings. As a man of military upbringing, he hoped to restore those areas of Syria which had been part of the Egyptian area by following the strategy of Thutmose III. Similarly, he also wished to equal the magnificent buildings of Amenhotep III.
Seti's military campaigns are celebrated in reliefs on the walls of the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak. They show his prowess in battle and give some details of his moves in Syria; however a clear chronological picture is not evident.
His ultimate objective was to conquer the lands of Kadesh and Amurru. This would be achieved through gaining a hold on Palestine, controlling the Phoenician coastline, and launching an attack on Syria from the coast. Seti achieved this during his first six years, leading many historians to state he was equal in military greatness to Thutmose III.
The first campaign, in year 1 of Seti's reign, was based on a claim of rebellion in Asia, with the Karnak inscriptions telling of how Seti received reports that the Bedouin of Palestine were "plotting rebellion". This was what the king was waiting for - an opportunity to lead his army out of Egypt. They were easily defeated, and he erected a victory stela at Beth-Shan. In the next three years he also dealt with disturbances in Galilee and took control of the...